Why Wyneken? Why Baltimore?

Concerning conditions in the cities, probably speaking of Baltimore, Wyneken writes:

“You will find thousands of our people who, either forced by bodily want, or lured on by prospects of carnal liberty and outward comfort which the Prince of Darkness held out to them, have here made their homes.  Numbers of those who already in the old country had sunken into the mire of profligacy here indulge with all the greater wantonness their beastly inclinations, having no reverence whatever for sacred things and knowing no restraints of even the merest outward decency.  Horror and dismay fills me even now, while writing these lines, when I remember the shamelessness wherewith vice, not hidden’ in the darkness of night, but in the broadest daylight, struts about in the streets of a seaport, and how I there found the grossest indecency and the most disgusting dens of vice conducted by Germans.

Others, rejoicing to have cast off the fetters of the Church as well as of the State, do indeed live in outward decency, yet without the Church, without hope, alas! even without any desires for anything higher. The ever-changing and yet so monotonous daily routine satisfies them and becomes the tomb of all holy longings after a perfect rest and the bliss of heaven.

The children follow in the footsteps of their parents, some grow up without any education whatever, while others learn in the public schools only those things which enable them to get along in this life.

The majority are carried along in the current of greed, which in America has reached its greatest depth and most sweeping force, and probably here delivers the greatest number of victims into the sea of perdition.

“But God be praised, not all forsake their God and the faith of their fathers thus; their souls do crave food, congregations are formed, churches are built, and schools are erected. But probably in all larger cities the number of German orthodox ministers is inadequate for the size of the German population. The ministers have enough, yea, more than enough to do with those who voluntarily commit themselves to their spiritual care.

But who goes forth to the dens of infamy, into the busy factories, where carnal minds are laboring merely for the bread of this present life? Who calls the countless sinners who do not at all concern themselves about church and divine worship? Behold, here we need missionaries who are burning with zeal for the Lord and neither dread the pitying scoffs of the worldly-wise nor the diabolical laughter of abject indecency, but force their way into their houses and into their hearts to win them for Christ. But these missionaries are wanting.”

From Ebenezer: Reviews of the Work of the Missouri Synod During Three Quarters of a Century…edited by William Herman Theodore Dau, p. 55ff