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Our History
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In the year 1715-16 Johann Naas and Jacob Preiss traveled together, preaching and proclaiming the gospel of our Lord through the country of Creyfelt, to Marienborn and Epstein, at the time when the King of Prussia's recruiting officers were canvassing the country to recruit his forces. They compelled every one they met of a goodly appearance to enlist in the ranks of the soldiers and more particularly did they aim at those of a tall stature, for to be his body, or lifeguard, which was composed of such. Therefore they left none of that class slip.

Johann Naas was just such a one, being a head taller than almost any other man in that vicinity, and also of a very stout athletic constitution accompanied with such grace and nobleness of demeanor as almost to strike a stranger with awe at the sight of him. Preiss on the contrary was a small decrepit kind of a man. So one day as it happened, they came in contact with the recruiting officers, when Naas was immediately seized and taken up to enlist. But he refused; upon which they put him to various tortures to compel him, such as pinching and thumb screwing him. He still resisted, however, until at length they took him and hung him up with a cord by his left thumb and right great toe, in which ignominious posture they meant to leave him suspended until he would yield to their wishes. But he still continued so steadfast and immovable that they began to despair of accomplishing anything by torture, and also to fear that he might give up the ghost if they left him longer suspended, so they took him down again and dragged him along by force into the king's presence, stating how they had tried by persuasion, and by torture, to accomplish their designs, but all to no purpose, as he still resisted. And yet they were too choice and too desirable an object to let pass. They had therefore brought him to the king to dispose of, as he thought proper.

The king then eyeing him very closely, said, "Why yes, I should like to have him very much - tell me why won't you enlist with me?" "Because I cannot," he replied, "As I have already enlisted in one of the noblest and best of enrollments long ago, and I cannot become a traitor to him." "Why, to whom then, or who is your captain?" asked the astonished king. "My captain," said he, "is the great Prince Immanuel, our Lord Jesus Christ. I have espoused his cause, and therefore cannot and will not forsake him." "Neither do I will that you should," answered the noble king, at the same time reaching in his pocket to present him with a gold coin as a reward for his fidelity, and bid him adieu. Upon which Naas went away very much rejoiced at his honorable dismission, and joined himself again to his companion Preiss, who meanwhile had been quite unmolested as he was of such a mean appearance that his service was not wanted. They continued their labors yet for awhile, until persecution became still more raging, when they fled with others to Serustervin, in West Friesland, Holland, from whence they emigrated to America in the Fall of 1719. Naas settled in Germanown, where he died on the 12th of may 1741, and his remains are interred there in the old burying ground of the Brethren.

Preiss settled in the neighborhood of Indian Creek, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and the remains are buried in their family burying ground on his own premises, now occupied by his great great grandson, Abraham Price, and within sight of the Brethren's meeting house at Indian Creek.

Naas was in many respects an extraordinary man, and was possessed of considerable talents, both as a preacher and a poet as many of his hymns do testify; among which I would mention the beautiful one beginning, "Eins betrubt mich sehr auf erden," "One thing grieves me much on the earth." (See psalterspiel No. 19 in Appendix.)

Abraham H. Cassel -- date unknown

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