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thee. Thou art a Galilean, and surely thou art one of them, and thy effort to put him away is vain, since the matter is so clear. “Did I not see thee in the garden with him!" But Peter, nothing daunted, persists, “I know him not!”
What puts a climax on this aggravated denial is, that it was so short a time after the last Communion. Perhaps not four hours before, Peter sat with the Saviour and the rest of the disciples in the upper room, in the most awfully solemn service in which a mortal can engage, perhaps mingling tears of sympathy and love with the adorable Jesus! Think of
From the Communion table to cursing, and swearing, and denying the Lord, in a few hours! Oh, Peter, is that indeed you!—He had also an example before him in Judas, which, we should have thought, would have frightened him back forever from an act of the kind. He had just seen how the treachery of Judas had wounded the heart of the Lord; but in the face of it he goes and does nearly the same thing, and strikes a fresh stroke into the wound which he had already received in the house of his friends!
In addition to all this, Peter had every thing to encourage him to own the Saviour. He had no reason to think that the Saviour would forsake him. He had said to him but a short time before, “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” He had warned him also against this very thing. All the Saviour's conduct toward him previously, furnished him with the most abundant assurance of his faithfulness to him in all his promises. Of his willingness and power to deliver both himself and His disciples in every emergency, Peter could have had no doubt. And besides this, had he stood faithfully by the Saviour's side, he would not have been alone. There was John, who had gone in with Him, into the judgment hall: he had his example to encourage him. But no; it is all to no purpose. Hear him yonder, among the profane and blood-thirsty rabble, an angry and cursing disciple! I know not the man! And that is Peter!
In about the beginning of the present century, there came to this country from Wittenberg, Germany, a man by the name of F. Rapp. He was a weaver by trade, and though he had but a common education, was one of those
persons, whose strong native character will always command influ
As it would seem, he was under the power of a deep, religious life; though his personal piety was of a peculiar, mystic, and irregular type. This had already broken fellowship with the established Church at home, and he came to America mainly to enjoy religious freedom in his own way.
About that time there were others in that part of Germany who felt similarly dissatisfied with the national (Lutheran) Church. The State clergy, it was claimed, were strongly rationalistic, and lacked personal piety and moral earnestness in their holy office. So these people, unwilling longer to be regulated by the National Church; and, under the influence of the books of the mystic writers on religious subjects, finally refused to
bring their children to be baptized by such pastors, and themselves refused the holy communion.
Such a state of things soon brought them into collision with the State authorities. And as a relief at once from all the troubles of the case, most of them resolved to immigrate to free America. As a colony therefore they proposed to settle together, and in the same community enjoy their common religious notions untrammelled by outside restrictions. They had probably been in communication with Mr. Rapp, who had doubtless given them glowing reports of the religious toleration and other great advantages to be found and enjoyed in our land. At all events, he went to Philadelphia and Baltimore to meet them, most of whom came over in the Summer or Autumn of 1803.
Ohio had just then been formed into a state; and the tide of immigration, under the somewhat extravagant descriptions of its soil and climate, had already strongly set in that direction. It was accordingly proposed to locate the expectant colony in the neighborhood of what is now Columbiana and Salem, Ohio. For their use, they designed to secure a body of land sufficiently large-probably some thousands of acres. As already somewhat acquainted with American life and customs, it was thought Mr. Rapp could materially assist the colonists in finding a suitable locality and securing the desired quantity of lands. It does not seem that they at first, “had all things in common;" for some who preceded the main body had already bought their own farms, in the region where they proposed to settle as a body. Communism, as well as many other peculiarities, came in afterwards.
Mean while Mr. Rapp had been brought into negotiations for some lands in Western Pennsylvania, which had been ceded by the general government to the State, in payment for some revolutionary claims, and were now in the hands of some Philadelphia bankers. Some thousands of acres were in Butler and Allegheny counties. A portion of these was finally purchased and preparations speedily made for the colony to take possession of their new, wild home; which to many became a scene of sorrow, toil and want. But perhaps this was not owing to any thing connected with the selection of this particular locality. Doubtless their experience in any other place, under their peculiar circumstances, would have been similar. Those who had before settled in Ohio, sold out there and removed to this place.
Having assumed, by a sort of common consent, in the selection of their proposed home, as well as in some other matters, a sort of leadership for the whole community, Mr. Rapp's personal influence soon raised him to a position of importance in the general control of their affairs. Some men are born to command, and true leadership must be in-born, in whatever character it is to hold sway.
Care and responsibility, however, came along with office; whether formally given, or informally assumed.' So Mr. Rapp found it. In the outstart there was much need of organizing and administrative talent. In even voluntary societies there must be a governing head. When, therefore, in 1804, the settlement began to be formed, all was found at loose ends, and some one must govern and organize the whole. Many of the people were without means; and even those who had money could not get for themselves and other needy ones, the common necessaries of life. In the midst of want and suffering, common to all new settlements, there was need for a controlling spirit, to inspire hope, to beget patience, to infuse fortitude and to invent relief.
Here was Mr. Rapp's opportunity. He set them to work to build temporary sheds for dwellings; yet the means for even these were so limited, that for the first year, as many as seven families were sheltered by a oneboard shed on the main street of what is now Zelienople. The new and unsubdued lands were to be cleared out. The rich bottom lands along the Connoquenessing were not yet planted and productive. And, altogether, the people were little better off than if they had been cast upon a distant desert. Those who had means, however, for the time being, freely helped, as far as money could, those who were poor; and out of this necessity, most probably, grew the final and fuller community of goods, which afterwards distinguished their polity.
Under the steady control of their master mind, farms were cleared, fields planted, houses built, and sufferings from physical want began to grow less. Weaving-looms were set up, carpenter and blacksmith shops were opened, and finally a mill was set running; so that, with rigid economy and unceasing industry, material prosperity dawned upon them. Their previous hard schooling in adversity had also taught them to be content with less than what many others think indispensable to their happiness; so that production soon became greater than consumption, and thus the community increased its wealth.
Gradually the town of Harmony, Butler County, Pennsylvania, grew up, with its large sturdy-looking brick buildings, having high gables and ancient-looking windows, and few front doors. A severe storm, some ten years ago, blew down most of those old high gables of the main houses; and the church, which is now occupied as their place of worship by the Reformed congregation. So that the queer-looking town has lost some of its peculiar looks, as originally belonging to its character.
Plan and plat of town, as all its surroundings, grew out of the peculiar mystic thought and habits of its founders. After the plan of the New Jerusalem are its streets and entrances. Three main streets, running east and west, are crossed at right angles by three main streets running north and south; so that there are three entrances (gates) on the east, three on the south, three on the west, and three on the north. Here was the final gathering of the nations to be! How they would all get into that town, the good Lord only knows! Perhaps they would indefinitely extend the streets lengthwise; but that would leave four large and long angular open spaces, lying between the nearest eastern and southern gates, as also between the nearest southern and western, and so on. But as to matter of fact, the town with its not very magnificent distances, as to plan, was never either all built up, nor to its full limits occupied. Its largest population was not much above perhaps seven hundred, certainly not, as an old intelligent neighbor thinks, at any time, one thousand inhabitants. The date of its founding may be set down at 1804; but not much of its building was done till the year following, and some of its more substantial part as late as 1810.
During the period falling between these two dates, most of the peculiarities of Rapp's system were by degrees developed. They had obligatory industry—of which, beside husbandry, the principal interest was weaving.
They had schools for the children; and a building for a sort of public worship, at which the female portion were the principal attendants, and Mr. Rapp, unordained Pontifex maximus. They had no special ministry, neglected the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, but had, instead of this last, a love feast. In all their religious character the humanly mystic, not divinely mysterious element, preponderated. They were good, quiet, honest and industrious people, and were generally well liked by their outside or gentile neighbors. They held all their material wealth in a common fund for the general good.
Rapp became, not only their presidential head in temporal matters, but also their spiritual leader and guide. Without any ordination or even formal appointment thereto, he became, to all intents and purposes to them, a Pope. He ruled and governed all things with absolute authority; and the dissent and opposition, whenever such arose, could never unseat him in the general mind of the people.
Finding the family relations obnoxious to his plans, he abrogated the marriage vows between husband and wife, broke up the order of
the family, and arranged the domestic affairs of the community to suit his views. It is said that he introduced the Confessional, and the auricular revelations made to him, gave him power, especially through the women, to reach those who disregarded the new rules of household relations, which made him the only head of their common family.
Every aggrieved party had no other redress, than to withdraw from the society, and start the world anew, with empty hands. Those, who had been used to all the comforts of life, in Germany, whose means had all been absorbed into the general wealth; who had their little allowance of flour doled out stintedly, for their daily or weekly rations; and carried in their little pokes their measured living from the general store-if they, in the end, became dissatisfied, could go back to the world, without receiving their own, or even their common proportion of the common wealth. Thus Rapp prevailed in Harmony, though there was begotten thereby much disharmony.
Large pleasure gardens, fancifully ornamented, were laid out adjoining Mr. Rapp's residence. One had labyrinthic walks hedged in, through which it was not easy to find the right way into the richly canopied pavilion at the centre. In this, it is said, the young people of the neighborhood, were delighted, after the property came into profane hands, to losc themselves in love rambles among the thickly hedged avenues. What mystic purpose it served, apart from Mr. Rapp's enjoyment in the sacred meditations of his pavilion, does not seem to be known.
Just beyond the winding stream, rises a high knoll or mount, from the top of which a fine view is had of the whole surrounding valley. The abrupt front of this was dressed into a stone-walled, terraced vineyard; through which a winding stone stairway, cut out of the soft rock, ascended to the highest point. Here, a kind of throne or episcopal seat was quarried out of the rock, with a flat rocky canopy projecting overhead. The seat and rocky covering remind one in shape and size of a somewhat enlarged buggy seat and top Here, it is said, Rapp used to sit and oversee (as ETTLOKOT05) the laborers in the fields.
To the front of this, south-east-ward in a field, is their burying ground. They had the good sense to leave the native forest trees stand to shade and shelter the resting place of their departed ones. Tradition has it, that Mr. Rapp's only son, who is said to have died from the effects of his father's fanaticism, lies buried there with many others, who departed during their ten years' sojourn at Harmony. Before they removed, they covered the whole surface of the grave-yard with stones to a thickness of some three or four feet; so that when the fence enclosing it shall in after ages no longer stand to mark the place, it will be so unfit for the ploughshare as to save it from profane cultivation. To the north-west of this same hill in another grave-yard lie the remains of Rev. Jacob F. Dieffenbacher, one of the most faithful pioneer laborers of the Reformed Church in western Pennsylvania, who died in Harmony some twenty odd years ago, whose smouldering dust is perhaps not so sacredly guarded.
Various reasons, to themselves doubtless satisfactory, though probably the real ones are not generally known, led them, at the end of a ten years' sojourn, to sell out their whole real estate to the Zieglers and remove to the state of Indiana. On the banks of the Wabash a New Harmony was founded in 1814; where the society remained till 1826, when the remaining part followed those already two years before removed, and setled finally on the banks of the Ohio River at Economy, Pa. The principal cause of their last removal from the Wabash, was the unhealthiness of the climate there, by which their number was considerably reduced by death. They now number perhaps less than three hundred souls, and have millions of wealth.
Judging by what has here been brought together entirely from the outside, there must be something interesting and instructive in the history of the people who settled and built Harmony. The town, as it now stands along side of Zelienople, the seat of the Orphans' Home established by Rev. Dr. Passavant, seems still to cast long shadows of memory, from the unreal of the mystic looms and schemes of fancy sought to be established on its early foundation. The project of the mystic, in breaking up families, has an offset here in the “Home” founded on the eternal principle enshrined in the family relation-so that “the solitary” orphan is set together with others "in families.” The Real, takes the place of Fancy. Faith and good works, take the place of mystic dreams. In the Lord, and so in His Church, faithful fellowship outlives and surmounts the dulí schemes of human appointments for self-exaltation; starting in pious (?) schism.
Eighteen years ago Rapp died: the fragments of his society, what was left after the split and division by his most successful rival, a German count from Prussia, are now mainly held together by their immense and increasing material wealth.—Each waiting to be of the last few who shall inherit the whole. The time will come for writing the history of this movement. Its internal struggles, troubles, disturbances, and such like experience, would doubtless make a most interesting chapter. And when it is so written, the world will learn something instructive from the early history of the quiet little town of Harmony.
How to DIE WELL.—The only way to die well, and be at peace
with God, is to live well. It is a foolish thing to rely upon what is very improperly called a death-bed repentance, to which God hath made no promise. Repentance consists in a relormation of life, and what an absurd thing it is for a man to pretend to reform his life, when his life itself is just at an end.