Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Sauer Press Legacy

When the first Christoph Sauer died, his like-named son and successor published an obituary for his father. In it he characterized his father's character and motivations and declared that he, too, would carry on in the same tradition. He wrote:

"On September 24 [1758] the old and well-known printer Christoph Sauer departed this temporal life in the sixty-fourth year of his life, after living in this country for thirty-four years.

"He was always kind and friendly to friend and foe. He boasted neither of his skillfulness nor of his mind, but rather remained humble. He at all times was concerned for the good and the freedom of this country, and he would neither by presents nor by flattery of the important be influenced to ignore this. For this reason he finally brought upon himself the hatred of those, both great and small, who would have been glad to see the country become subjected physically to bondage and slavery, and spiritually to darkness and shadow, so that they might fish in troubled waters. Yet, he feared their hatred as little as he sought their favor, and kept a watchful open eye and disclosed their plans wherever he noticed them....

"In the meantime, I do feel myself compelled, out of love to God and for my neighbor, also to be a watchman and, according to the ability which God will grant me, to serve my neighbor with the gift which God has given me. It is true that I would rather, as heretofore, earn my humble bread by my bookbinding trade, and be freed of the burden of the printshop....

"Yet, as long as there is no one to whom I could entrust the printshop, I find myself obligated for the sake of God and my neighbor to continue until providence sees fit to give me an assistant of whom I am certain that he is so founded in the fear of God that he would not be moved by money or flattery to print something which is against the honor of God and the well-being of this country. For it is to the honor of God and the well-being of this country that this printshop has been dedicated. And I will seek always to maintain this aim."

Source: The Brethren Encyclopedia