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BOEHLER, Peter (bay-let), Moravian bishop, born in Frankfort-on-the-Main, Germany, 31 December 1712" died in London, England, 27 April 17'75. He was graduated at Jena, and in 1736 became a tutor. On 1(; December 1737, he was ordained a Moravian minister by Count Zinzendorf, founder of the brotherhood. In 1738 he was sent as a Moravian evangelist to the Negro population of Carolina and Georgia; but on his way thither he was detained for several months in England, and became acquainted with John and Charles Wesley, and a number of awakened students at Oxford. His influence upon John Wesley formed and directed, to a considerable extent, the religious convictions of the founder of Methodism, and it is recorded in Wesley's published journal that Boehler was the person through whose instrumentality Wesley was brought to believe in Christ. Having reached Georgia, Boehler devoted himself to evangelistic labors among the Negroes and Oglethorpe's colonists, and subsequently in the German settlement in South Carolina. When the Moravian colony, in consequence of the war with Spain, was broken up in 1740, he led the remnant to Pennsylvania, and there established the settlement of Bethlehem. On the Delaware River Boehler was met by Count Zinzendorf, Nitschman, the first bishop of the renewed Unitas Fratrum, and the elders David Nitschman and Arma, who had come to America oil a mission to the Indians. He accompanied them in their perilous undertaking, and underwent severe toils and privations. In 1741 he returned to Europe, and two years later brought a large colony of Moravians to America. For several years he officiated as pastor of the Moravians at Bethlehem, and came to be recognized as one of the superintendents of the sect. As the Church expanded, the community of Nazareth was founded by Boehler near the original settlement. In 1745 he again went to Europe, where, on 10 January 1748, he was consecrated to the episcopacy at Herrnhut and given the oversight of the Churches in England, Ireland, Wales, and America. After discharging the duties of his office in various parts of Germany and England, he arrived in 1753 a third time in America, where he assisted in superintending the Moravian Churches until 1764, when he was called to Germany to take his seat in the directory, which stood at the head of the whole Unitas Fratrum. He died while on an official visit to the English Churches. Bishop Boehler is highly esteemed, even at the present day, both among Wesleyans and Methodists ; the former, as a visible token of what he did for John Wesley, have built a memorial chapel in London, known as the Peter Boehler chapel. See T. P. Lockwood's "Memorials of the Life of Peter Boehler" (London, 1868).
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