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Section II.—THE MORAVIANS IN GERMANY.—In Germany, and on the Continent generally, they still adhere in the main to the ideal set up by Zinzendorf. We may divide their work into five departments.

First, there is the ordinary pastoral work in the settlements and congregations. In Germany the settlement system still flourishes. Of the twenty-six Moravian congregations on the Continent, no fewer than twelve are settlements. In most cases these settlements are quiet little Moravian towns, inhabited almost exclusively by Moravians; the Brethren’s Houses and Sisters’ Houses are still in full working order; the very hotel is under direct church control; and the settlements, therefore, are models of order, sobriety, industry and piety. There the visitor will still find neither poverty nor wealth; there, far from the madding crowd, the angel of peace reigns supreme. We all know how Carlyle once visited Herrnhut, and how deeply impressed he was. At all the settlements and congregations the chief object of the Brethren is the cultivation of personal piety and Christian fellowship. We can see this from the number of services held. At the settlements there are more services in a week than many a pious Briton would attend in a month. In addition to the public worship on Sunday, there is a meeting of some kind every week-night. One evening there will be a Bible exposition; the next, reports of church work; the next, a prayer meeting; the next a liturgy meeting; the next, another Bible exposition; the next, an extract from the autobiography of some famous Moravian; the next, a singing meeting. At these meetings the chief thing that strikes an English visitor is the fact that no one but the minister takes any prominent part. The minister gives the Bible exposition; the minister reads the report or the autobiography; the minister offers the prayer; and the only way in which the people take part is by singing the liturgies and hymns. Thus the German Moravians have nothing corresponding to the “prayer meetings” held in England in Nonconformist churches. In some congregations there are “prayer unions,” in which laymen take part; but these are of a private and unofficial character.

Meanwhile, a good many of the old stern rules are still strictly enforced, and the Brethren are still cautious in welcoming new recruits. If a person not born in a Moravian family desires to join the Moravian Church, he has generally to exercise a considerable amount of patience. He must first have lived some time in the congregation; he must have a good knowledge of Moravian doctrines and customs; he must then submit to an examination on the part of the congregation-committee; he must then, if he passes, wait about six months; his name is announced to the congregation, and all the members know that he is on probation; and, therefore, when he is finally admitted, he is a Moravian in the fullest sense of the term. He becomes not only a member of the congregation, but a member of his particular “choir.” The choir system is still in force; for each choir there are special services and special labourers; and though the Single Brethren and Single Sisters are now allowed to live in their own homes, the choir houses are still occupied, and still serve a useful purpose.

Second, there is the “Inner Mission.” In this way each congregation cares for the poor and neglected living near at hand. There are Bible and tract distributors, free day schools, Sunday schools, work schools, technical schools, rescue homes, reformatories, orphanages and young men’s and young women’s Christian associations. In spite of the exclusiveness of settlement life, it is utterly untrue to say that the members of the settlements live for themselves alone. They form evangelistic societies; they take a special interest in navvies, road menders, pedlars, railwaymen and others cut off from regular church connection; they open lodging-houses and temperance restaurants; and thus they endeavour to rescue the fallen, to fight the drink evil, and to care for the bodies and souls of beggars and tramps, of unemployed workmen, and of starving and ragged children.

Third, there is the work of Christian education. In every Moravian congregation there are two kinds of day schools. For those children who are not yet old enough to attend the elementary schools, the Brethren provide an “Infant School”; and here, having a free hand, they are able to instil the first principles of Christianity; and, secondly, for the older children, they have what we should call Voluntary Schools, manned by Moravian teachers, but under Government inspection and control. At these schools the Brethren give Bible teaching three hours a week; special services for the scholars are held; and as the schools are open to the public, the scholars are instructed to be loyal to whatever Church they happen to belong. In England such broadness would be regarded as a miracle; to the German Moravians it is second nature. In their boarding-schools they pursue the same broad principle. At present they have nine girls’ schools and five boys’ boarding-schools; the headmaster is always a Moravian minister; the teachers in the boys’ schools are generally candidates for the ministry; and, although in consequence of Government requirements the Brethren have now to devote most of their energy to purely secular subjects, they are still permitted and still endeavour to keep the religious influence to the fore. For more advanced students they have a Pædagogium at Niesky; and the classical education there corresponds to that imparted at our Universities. At Gnadenfeld they have a Theological Seminary, open to students from other churches.

Fourth, there is the Brethren’s medical work, conducted by a Diakonissen-Verband, or Nurses’ Union. It was begun in 1866 by Dr. Hermann Plitt. At Gnadenfeld the Brethren have a small hospital, known as the Heinrichstift; at Emmaus, near Niesky, are the headquarters of the Union; the work is managed by a special committee, and is supported by Church funds; and on the average about fifty nurses are employed in ministering to the poor in twenty-five different places. Some act as managers of small sick-houses; others are engaged in teaching poor children; and others have gone to tend the lepers in Jerusalem and Surinam.

Fifth, there is the Brethren’s Diaspora work, which now extends all over Germany. There is nothing to be compared to this work in England. It is not only peculiar to the Moravians, but peculiar to the Moravians on the Continent; and the whole principle on which it is based is one which the average clear-headed Briton finds it hard to understand. If the Moravians in England held services in parish churches—supposing such an arrangement possible—formed their hearers into little societies, visited them in their homes, and then urged them to become good members of the Anglican Church, their conduct would probably arouse considerable amazement. And yet that is exactly the kind of work done by the Moravians in Germany to-day. In this work the Brethren in Germany make no attempt to extend their own borders. The Moravians supply the men; the Moravians supply the money; and the National Lutheran Church reaps the benefit. Sometimes the Brethren preach in Lutheran Churches; sometimes, by permission of the Lutheran authorities, they even administer the Communion; and wherever they go they urge their hearers to be true to the National Church. In England Zinzendorf’s “Church within the Church” idea has never found much favour; in Germany it is valued both by Moravians and by Lutherans. At present the Brethren have Diaspora centres in Austrian Silesia, in Wartebruch, in Neumark, in Moravia, in Pomerania, in the Bavarian Palatinate, in Würtemburg, along the Rhine from Karlsruhe to Düsseldorf, in Switzerland, in Norway and Sweden, in Russian Poland, and in the Baltic Provinces. We are not, of course, to imagine for a moment that all ecclesiastical authorities on the Continent regard this Diaspora work with favour. In spite of its unselfish purpose, the Brethren have occasionally been suspected of sectarian motives. At one time the Russian General Consistory forbade the Brethren’s Diaspora work in Livonia {1859.}; at another time the Russian Government forbade the Brethren’s work in Volhynia; and the result of this intolerance was that some of the Brethren fled to South America, and founded the colony of Brüderthal in Brazil (1885), while others made their way to Canada, appealed for aid to the American P.E.C., and thus founded in Alberta the congregations of Brüderfeld and Brüderheim. Thus, even in recent years, persecution has favoured the extension of the Moravian Church; but, generally speaking, the Brethren pursue their Diaspora work in peace and quietness. They have now about sixty or seventy stations; they employ about 120 Diaspora workers, and minister thus to about 70,000 souls; and yet, during the last fifty years, they have founded only six new congregations—Goldberg (1858), Hansdorf (1873), Breslau (1892), and Locle and Montmirail in Switzerland (1873). Thus do the German Moravians uphold the Pietist ideals of Zinzendorf.

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