Tschoop The Converted Indian Chief – Part 3

The change which took place in the heart and conduct of this man was very striking; for he had been distinguished in all parties of his countrymen as the most outrageous in wickedness, and had even made himself a cripple by debauchery. Sometime after, he related the occasion of his conversion to the following manner: – “Brethren, I have been a heathen, and have grown old among the heathen; therefore I know how heathen think. Once a preacher came, and began to explain to us that there was a God. We answered, ‘Dost thou think us so ignorant as not to know that? Go back to the place whence thou camest.’ Then again another preacher came, and began to teach us, and to say, ‘You must not steal, nor lie, nor get drunk,’ &c. We answered, ‘Thou fool, dost thou think that we do not know that? Learn first thyself, and then teach the people to whom thou belongest, to leave off these things; for who steals, or lies or is oftener drunk than thine own people?’ And thus we dismissed him. After some time, brother Christian Henry Rauch came into my hut, and sat down by me. He spoke to me nearly as follows:- I come to you in the name of the Lord of heaven and earth; he sends me to let you know that He will make you happy, and deliver you from the misery in which you lie at present. To this end he became a man, gave his life as a ransom for man, and shed his blood for him,’

When he had finished his discourse, he laid himself down upon a board, fatigued by the journey, and fell into a sound sleep. I then thought, what kind of a man is this? There he lies, and sleeps. I might kill him, and throw him out into the woods: and who would regard it ? But this gives him no concern. However, I cannot forget his words; they constantly recurred to my mind. Even when I was asleep, I dreamt of that blood which Jesus shed for us. I found this to be something different from what I had ever heard before, and I interpreted Christian Henry’s words to the other Indians. Thus, by the grace of God, an awakening took place amongst us. I say, therefore, brethren, preach Christ our Savior, and his sufferings and death, if you would have your words to gain entrance amongst the heathen.”

In October, 1741, several missionaries arrived from Europe to assist the Rev.

Mr. Ranch in the field of his labors. The declarations of those Indians, who were under concern for the salvation of their souls, greatly supported and strengthened the faith and courage of this devoted servant of the Lord, and it afforded him and his fellow-laborers great joy when Tschoop came to him of his own accord, and dictated the following letter to the Brethren who were about settling at Bethlehem in Pennsylvania : — ” I have been a poor wild heathen, and for forty years as ignorant as a dog. I was the greatest drunkard, and the most willing slave of the devil; and as I knew nothing of our Savior, I served vain idols, which I now wish to see destroyed by fire. Of this I have repented with many tears. When I heard that Jesus was also the Savior of the heathen, and that I ought to give him my heart, I felt it to be my duty to offer myself with soul, body, and spirit to Him; but my nearest relations, my wife and children, were my enemies; and my greatest enemy was my wife’s mother. She told me that I was worse than a dog, if I would not any more believe in her idol; but my eyes being opened, I understood that what she said was nothing but folly, for I knew that she had received her idol from her grandmother. It is made of leather, and decorated with wampum, and she being the oldest person in the house, made us worship it, which we have done, till our teacher came and told us of the Lamb of God who shed his blood, and died for us ignorant people. I was astonished at this doctrine, and as often as I heard it preached, my heart grew warm. I even often dreamt that our teacher stood before me, and preached it to me. Now I feel and believe that our Savior alone can help me by the power of his blood, and no one else. I believe that he is my God, and my Savior, who died on the cross for me, a sinner. I wish to be baptized, and frequently long for it most ardently. I am lame, and cannot travel in winter, but in April or May I will come to you. The enemy has often tried to make me unfaithful ; but what I loved before, I consider more and more as worthless and sinful. I am your poor wild Tschoop.’

The desire of Tschoop to be baptized was fulfilled the following year, but after his countrymen Shabasch, Seim, and Kiop had received this rite on the 11th of February, 1742. These three Indians had accompanied the missionary Rauch to Oly, near Reading in Pennsylvania, where a synod of the Brethren was held, after the arrival of Count Zinzendorf in this country. These three, the firstfruits of the North American Indians, were baptized by the Rev. Mr. Ranch, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; Shabasch by the name of Abraham, Seim by the name of Isaac, and Kiop by the name of Jacob. When they came home, they testified to all their relations and friends of the grace bestowed upon them by God, and their words made an abiding impression upon the minds of their countrymen.

On the 16th of April, of the same year, 1742, the first sacrament was performed in Shekomeko, in the midst of a heathen country. The Rev. Mr. Rauch had then the great pleasure to administer holy baptism to his dearly beloved Tschoop, who then received the name of John. This man, who formerly looked more like a wild beast than a human being, was now transformed into a lamb, and whoever beheld him was amazed at so evident a proof of the powerful efficacy of the word and sacrament of the Lord. The account of this baptism, and above all things, the visible and in every point of view remarkable change effected in the minds and conduct of the four newly baptized converts, raised the astonishment of the heathen Indians far and near. Many came from different places to hear the words of the precious gospel of salvation, through the merits of a crucified Savior and Redeemer. And among the converts no one evinced a more striking growth in grace than John, now no more called Tschoop. He possessed the peculiar gift of expressing himself in a plain, intelligible, and convincing manner. In a letter he dictated to Count Zinzendorf, he describes his former state, and adds, ” that he had perceived the first emotion in his heart during the preaching of the cross of Jesus, and that it immediately struck him as something more than common, for he felt himself warmed by it. That his teacher had repeatedly told him, that none but the crucified Savior could help him, if he would only submit to Him in all things ; but that having loved so many things in this world, he despaired’ of ever being able to give them up. That he had cleaved fast to the world, and was full of self-love; fearing also the reproach of men, and yet convinced that unless he surrendered his whole heart to the Savior, he would be eternally lost on account of his unbelief,”

In another letter he sent to the Count, he concludes a more extensive description of the uneasiness and anxiety of his mind occasioned by his former wicked and sinful course of life, with these words : ” But now I am happy, for I know that our Savior has done much for me : I am now as much humble as I was sorrowful. As I felt that I loved Him, I immediately wished for brethren who loved Him likewise. Therefore I love brother Ranch and you. and all my brethren here, and all brethren everywhere, even those whom I shall never see in this world All who love the Lord Jesus I love and salute. I rejoice more and more because our Savior makes others likewise happy, and not me only. I am always glad when the brethren make known to us His word ; it is sweet to my taste, and I attend closely, that I may be and do as the Bible directs. And it is easy. There are men who say that the Bible is a hard book; but I have not come so far as to find it hard, it is all sweet and easy ; I therefore wait patiently till I come to the hard part. As yet I only know that it is easy and sweet, and can say nothing more, except that I feel the power of the Savior’s blood.”

About the end of July, of the same year, he dictated the following letter to the congregation in Bethlehem ” My dear brothers and sisters — I love you much. The sensations of my heart, I cannot describe. I feel that I love my Savior, but I see that much is still wanting. Formerly I did not know what it was to be a truly humble sinner, but now I find the poorer I am in spirit, the more happiness I enjoy. I perceive plainly, that. there is no true pleasure but in communion with our Savior, nor will I have any but in Him. I cannot be humble enough when I consider what He has done for me ; for I was a very bad man, cold as a piece of ice, and dead as a stone. His blood has softened and warmed me. This is all I can say to my friends, the heathen Indians, for I always think that when they feel the power of our Savior’s blood in their hearts, they will be better in one hour than I have been in two years; they know already that all is truth, for they now perceive that all that continue in sin, do not believe in the great Son of God. Nothing is so important to me, as to hear of the blood of the Savior. I also perceive that it is the only thing which can melt the hearts of men. I am now like a piece of wood in His hands, and He may form me according to His good pleasure. I am ready to do every thing that is written in the Bible, with a willing heart. And I find it true that I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me. I also believe that all which my teachers say is really contained in the Bible, and the experience of my heart tells me that it is, for my heart is also a book. I find in it everything that I must tell and preach to my friends. I am also convinced, that it is very needful for us to form such a congregation as the Bible describes, and to follow the rules contained therein. I long for it greatly, for we are a very wild people, but our Savior can make us tame and tractable. If we only become His good and willing children, then everything will be easy, and may He grant this grace for His blood’s sake.”

Tschoop The Converted Indian Chief: Written for the American Sunday School Union, and Revised by the committee of publication. American Sunday-School Union. Philadelphia. 1842.