He handed in his resignation to tlie Governor. The good man was staggered. For the sake of the slaves he incurred the Governor's displeasure, returned to Tappus, and earned his living, first as a night- watchman, and then as a plantation overseer. He had now, in the eyes of polite society, disgraced him- self.
Of the so-called Christian prosperous planters, only three — Lorenzen, Carstens, and his employer, Beverhout — had a spark of sympathy with his efforts. His situation was pitiful. In order to please the slaves once more, he had to resign the post of overseer. But the slaves did not respond by obeying his precepts.
He had made a little im- pression on Abraham and Anna ; he had two more converts, Gerard and Henry, and the rest continued their wicked life as before. At length, on June 11th, , he heard to his joy that a vessel had arrived from Copenhagen. As soon as he had finished his daily work he sent a messenger dowTi to the harbour to ask if any letters had arrived from Hermhut.
The messenger loitered. The dark- ness fell ; the slaves had gone to their huts ; and Dober, who had set out to meet the man, sat down on the lonely roadside beside a watch-fire.
Never before had he felt so sad at heart. For fifteen months he had heard no word from home. The frogs were croaking along the silver beach ; around him, through the flickering firelight, shimmered the purple haze ; and Dober pondered, lone and lorn, on the grand old days at Hermhut. From the quay the murmur of voices broke on his ear.
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With a thrill of mingled hope and fear, he waited. The sound drew nearer.
What tones were these that broke the evening calm? Instead of the lilting song of a slave, he heard the homely burr of the fatherland, and instead of the returning messenger, he saw his old friend, Tobias Leupold. Once more the two friends had met at eventide. With joy they rushed into each other's arms, and hour after hour they sat that night in eager conversation.
Strange news had Leupold brought. He had come, he said, with a gallant band to begin new work in St. The missionary career of Dober was over. At Herrnhut he had been elected by Lot to the post of Chief Elder ; he would now be the general manager of the foreign work ; and, therefore, by the command of God, he must leave St.
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Thomas for Herrnhut. With a breaking heart, he parted once more from Leupold. Thus, having sown the first Gospel seed in St. Thomas, did Leonard Dober make way for a greater man. Frederick Martin, — The next man was the real founder of the work in the Danish West Indies. As the silvery mist stole gently down on the Roman Catholic village of Ponmierschwitz, in Upper Silesia, a young man, named Frederick Martin, who had been imprisoned for his faith, broke through his guards and fled to Herrnhut. A few weeks later he was appointed to succeed Leonard Dober in St. Thomas ; and so successful were his efforts that Zinzendorf called him " The Apostle to the Negroes.
The situation in the West Indies was remarkable. As soon as a convenient opportunity- arose, Martin, without waiting for instructions from Herrnhut, and using money advanced for the purpose by the friendly planter Carstens, b ough t a small plantafeioR— about. In due tinie. For that conduct the Church was not in the least to be blamed. In those days no other course was possible. According to the law of the land, the slaves on any estate were simply an integral part of the property ; and no one could possibly buy the land unless at the same time he also bought the slaves.
For four reasons Martin held that he had set a good precedent : 1 He had land on which he could build a Church. On this estate, in fact, the first Church for public worship was built. In reply, however, to these arguments, it may be asked why, after buying the estate, Martin did not set the slaves at liberty. In reply to that question three answers may be given : 1 On the slavery question Martin was a child of his age. There is no proof, so far as I know, that he regarded slavery itself as wicked. For the time being, at least, he had to take the law as he found it.
In order to teach his converts the real ethical meaning of the Christian religion, he not only formed them into " Bands " for Bible study and prayer, but even taught them to pay into a poor-box and buy their own candles for the evening meetings. Thus they learned both to help each other and to support the Church. Some of his converts, of course, came from other estates, and these were always in- structed to be diligent, honest, and obedient.
For some months Martin devoted all his spare time to the task of making the personal acquaintance of every negro on the island. With a friendly smile upon his face he shook hands with them all.
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By this means he gained their confidence ; the negroes felt that he was interested in their welfare ; and The Danish West Indies. As soon as he received official authority, i. Meanwhile, however, his enemies rallied their forces. The first blow in public was struck by Pastor Borm. With the full approval of the Dutch Reformed Council, John Borm handed in to the Governor a document accusing Martin of two serious offences.
His first offence was of a singular nature. According to Borm, Martin's ordination had not yet been confirmed by the King of Denmark. Martin, there- fore, he said, was still a layman. He had no right to baptize at all ; his Holy Communion was a farce ; and those couples whom he had married were living in adultery. For the sake of peace the Governor suggested that Martin should cease baptizing until the required confirmation from Denmark arrived; and then, when Martin flatly refused, the Governor evaded the question by paying a visit to St.
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The next blow exhibited 42 A History of Moravian Missions. At this early period in the history of the renewed Moravian Church, many Moravians, like the Quakers, conscientiously objected to taking an oath ; of those Moravians Frederick Martin was one, and now he and his colleague, Freundlich, were summoned to give evidence in a case of theft.
The result can be imagined. The next blow was still more deadly. As soon as Martin was safely in jail, the Governor, the Sheriff, John Borm, and the rest of the Dutch Reformed Council, formed themselves into an examining board ; and now Martin and seven of his converts were summoned before this Board as heretics. The whole future of the mission was now at stake. In order to confuse the minds of the negroes, and compel them to give absurd answers, John Borm, the official examiner, submitted a series of conundrums.
Does he live in Guinea? Has Martin ever baptized in his own name? Has he ever mixed blood with water? Has he ever told you that his teaching is superior to the Lutheran or Reformed? Has he told you that after death the blacks will rule over the whites? At one time they informed the con- verts that Martin was an evil spirit, able to fly across the sea by night and back again in the early morning ; and frequently they also warned them that all black converts would blaze in hell like touchwood.
Some- The Danish West Indies. In spite, however, of these intimidations, most of the converts still remained loyal. Each evening they visited the castle and heard Martin preach through the bars of his cell ; his assistant, Mingo, maintained the Sunday services ; and at night the negroes sang so lustily that the planters could not sleep.