When I die, how can the cool grave hurt me?

birth and death.jpg

Geburts und Taufschein (Birth and Baptism Certificate for Tobias Grier) Allentown, Pennsylvania: H. Ebner und Comp., printed ca. 1824; written 1825. Broadside with hand coloring. Graphic Arts Broadside Collection.

From 1821 to 1829, Heinrich Ebner ran a printing firm in Allentown, Pennsylvania, which produced birth and baptismal certificates. This one matches two others found in the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Rare Book collection, with slightly different hand coloring. http://libwww.library.phila.gov/fraktur/detail.cfm?ItemID=frk01025.

Here is a rough translation of the central panel: To these two married people, namely Mister Sebastian Grier and his lawful wife Elisabeth Leister, was born a son into the world, the 2nd day of January in the year of our Lord, 1825. This son was born in Hilltown Township, Bucks County in [the] State [of] Pennsylvania in North America, and was baptized and received the name Tobias Grier on the 17th day of April in the year of our Lord 1825 from Mr. Pastor Rätter. The sponsors were Mister John Leister and his wife Maria.

Upper left: Scarcely born into the world, it is only a short measured pace from the first step to the cool grave in the earth. O with every moment! Our strength diminishes, and with every year we grow riper for the bier.

Upper right: And who knows in what hour the final voice will awaken us, because God has not revealed this to anybody yet. Who tends to his house will depart from the world with joy. Because surety, in contrast, can provoke eternal death.

Lower left: I am baptized, I stand united with my God through my baptism. I therefore always speak joyfully in hardship, sadness, fear and need. I am baptized, that’s a joy for me. The joy lasts eternally.

Lower right: I am baptized, and when I die, how can the cool grave hurt me? I know my fatherland and legacy that I will have with God in Heaven. After death, Heaven’s garment of joy and celebration is prepared for me.

Lower center: I am baptized in your name, God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I am counted as one of your seeds, to a people that you blessed. O! What fortune for me! Lord, let me be worthy of it!

For more information, see also: Klaus Stopp, The Printed Birth and Baptismal Certificates of the German Americans (East Berlin, Pa.: Russell D. Earnest Associates, 1997).

To see other examples: http://dspace.nitle.org/search?rpp=10&etal=0&query=geburts&page=3&order=DESC&sort_by=0