“Letter to the Committee from the Bereaved Flock of the Rev. J.J. Weitbrecht”

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WE have to acquaint our readers with the death of one of our most devoted and experienced Indian Missionaries, one who had been labouring amongst the Bengalis for twenty years, and whose intimate acquaintance with their language gave him ready access to their understanding and their hearts. The Missionary we allude to is the Rev, J. J. Weitbrecht. He now no longer labours with us: he "rests from his labours." He had finished the measure of his work, and he has been removed. And yet this has been at the very moment when there were opening before him new and large prospects of usefulness, and when it seemed as if we could least spare him. He had observed the willingness of the Hindus to hear and receive instruction, which is so remarkable at the present moment; and he had resolved to take advantage of it by itinerating amongst them, from village to village and town to town, sowing the seed of the everlasting Gospel. But the Lord's ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts. The work is His own, and He will carry it on in His own way. And lest we should forget this, and begin to depend on the instrument more, and lean on Him less, He not unfrequently lays aside the strong instrument, and takes up that which is weak and apparently unfitted in its stead: yet His work goes on. He sends such dispensations, therefore, in love to us, to keep us in that state of due dependence on Him, without which we are not meet to be employed in it, and also in love to His faithful servants, whom the Lord does not wish should be always enduring the heat and burden of the day. It is, moreover, in the death of Missionaries that He calls forth new labourers to the field: such a dispensation as this often calls so powerfully on the consciences of men, that they can no longer delay or hesitate, but are constrained to come forward and offer themselves for the work.

Mr. Weitbrecht, having just returned from a Missionary tour, had gone up to Calcutta to attend the Missionary Conference. On the Wednesday evening he had preached to the assembled brethren, selecting for his text the words, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." On the Sunday evening he preached again in one of the Calcutta churches, and on his return to the Mission-house was attacked with cholera. Medical aid was immediately called in, and every means that human skill could suggest was perseveringly applied to stay the progress of the fatal malady, but in vain; and at four o'clock the next morning our dear brother sank to rest. It was indeed a falling asleep in Jesus. He had been sustained throughout the whole period in blessed peacefulness. When asked, "Is Jesus near you?" his uniform reply was, "Yes, very near, and very precious."

The following letter from his deeply-sorrowing Hindu flock at Burdwan to the Committee will be read with interest.

Burdwan Mission, March 10, 1852.

DEAR CHRISTIAN FRIENDS—With deep regret and unspeakable sorrow we now announce the death of our faithful, honourable, and beloved minister and friend, Mr. Weitbrecht, who forsook his sweet native country, dear relatives, and kind friends, and spent many years amongst us, in order to preach the blessed Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in this benighted heathen land of ours. He, in order to hold a Missionary Conference in Calcutta, left us in a strong, lively, and healthy frame of body, sincerely hoping to return within a few days; and we ourselves hoped so too, for we never expected or thought he would leave us for the next world so soon. But, alas! a few days after, we heard, to our great grief and surprise, that he had slept in his dear Saviour Christ, whom he loved so much in this life. Ah, dear friends! you cannot, we think, conceive what deep sorrow and heartrending anguish we felt when this melancholy and mournful intelligence reached us. There was a general weeping and a long lamentation in the whole Christian village for this kind, generous, and sympathizing pastor and friend. It has, indeed, been well for him that he has gone to his beloved Saviour, for he is now in perfect joy and happiness. But it is a great loss to us, who will scarcely, or perhaps never, get another such kind and feeling master and minister as Mr. Weitbrecht was; for having continued with him, some seventeen years, some twelve years, and others eight or nine years, we can all well testify his Christian character. Though we repeatedly offended and grieved him by our misbehaviour, he never reproved or punished us but with paternal affection and love. He behaved so properly towards every person, that we gave him among ourselves the name of physiognomist, or knower of characters.

What shall we say about his love to his fellow-creatures? If any were taken ill at any time, he would kindly carry him medicine, against all difficulties and inconveniences. Oh, how often did we see him go in the rain, under the burning sun, and at twelve in the night, to administer physic to the sick folk! When any one fell into any distress or misery, he assisted him in his usual kindness and benevolence.

As to his manner of preaching, and his conduct as a Christian pastor, we cannot describe them in words. The words he used in his discourses would strike and pierce into the hearts of hearers like a winged arrow. This we all know from our personal experience, and shall never forget. God grant, in His infinite mercy and ineffable bounty, that we may receive another such qualified and worthy pastor to take care of His tender flock.

His humility during the past two years filled every body with wonder. We frequently said to one another, "Our Sahib has now humbled himself to the dust: nothing fierce can now be seen in him. Ah! this is truly the character of a really converted and renewed soul."

When we look at the poor orphan children we feel very sorry. Who will so kindly support them as he did? Many of them say, with a hearty sob, "Why did not two or three of us die instead of our dear benefactor, who, if he remained alive, would tenderly beg and raise subscriptions for our maintenance? Still, God has mercifully left us a patroness and friend in Mrs. Weitbrecht, who is also very kind and affectionate, and she will surely do much good to the Mission."

Besides, the heathen that dwell around us are also shedding tears for our late pastor's kind treatment and love, because, when they were unjustly oppressed by police people, Mr. Weitbrecht would, notwithstanding they are idolaters, deliver them from their distress by threatening the annoyers. Thus they were so much attached to him.

He preached this year to the heathen as diligently and as zealously as ever. He went through jungles, towns, and villages, carrying the healing balm to the sick and dead in sin and trespasses. When discoursing, either with the Hindus or Mohammedans, he frequently took his passage for his subject, viz. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord"—Luke iv. 18, 19—and told them that, if they were not prepared and sanctified before death, they should never enter into heaven.

On Sunday evening, the 29th of February, he delivered a beautiful sermon to a vast congregation in Calcutta. His text was almost the last verse of the last chapter of the Book of the Revelation, namely, "Surely I come quickly; Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus." Rev. xxxii. 20. After returning home he was taken with cholera morbus, and, in spite of all cares, troubles, prayers, and tears on the part of his beloved wife and other kind friends, he was summoned away, after an illness of ten hours, by his ever-faithful and blessed Lord Jesus Christ, to live and reign with Him for eternity.

Thus you see, dear friends, that till his death our valuable minister continued faithful to Him who shed His precious blood for him on the cross. Now, let us conclude by warmly requesting you all to assist us, who are in every way helpless and miserable, with your incessant prayers to Him who is the Giver of every good and perfect gift, and who is really able to heal the wound He has made, to favour us with a kind, worthy, and bounteous pastor, such as we have just lost, according to His wise and holy will.

With best regards and most sincere wishes for your welfare, both in this world and in the next,

We remain, your's truly,


Digital Publication Details

Title: “Letter to the Committee from the Bereaved Flock of the Rev. J.J. Weitbrecht”

Creator(s): Philip Chunder Doss; Elijah Mudul; Nudia Chund Doss; Boistom Doss; Abraham Buxy; Gonesh Chundroo; Boycontoo Chundro; Thomas Christian; William Buckey; Timothy Christian

Publication date: (1852) 2022

Digital publishers: One More Voice, COVE

Critical encoding: Kenneth C. Crowell, Dino Franco Felluga, Cassie Fletcher, Kayla Morgan, Jocelyn Spoor, Adrian S. Wisnicki

One More Voice identifier: liv_026015

Cite (Chicago Author-Date): Philip Chunder Doss, Elijah Mudul, Nudia Chund Doss, Boistom Doss, Abraham Buxy, Gonesh Chundroo, Boycontoo Chundro, Thomas Christian, William Buckey, and Timothy Christian. (1852) 2022. “Letter to the Committee from the Bereaved Flock of the Rev. J.J. Weitbrecht.” Edited by Kenneth C. Crowell, Cassie Fletcher, Kayla Morgan, and Jocelyn Spoor. In “BIPOC Voices,” One More Voice, solidarity edition; Collaborative Organization for Virtual Education (COVE). https://onemorevoice.org/html/bipoc-voices/digital-editions-amd/liv_026015_HTML.html.

Rights: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

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