At first sight this list does not look very impressive; but we must, of course, bear in mind that most of these congregations were powerful settlements, that each settlement was engaged in Diaspora work, and that the branches of that work had extended to Denmark, Switzerland and Norway. In Great Britain a similar principle held good.
They had still only seventeen congregations in Germany, in the proper sense of that word; but, on the other hand, they had fifty-nine Diaspora centres, and about one hundred and fifty Diaspora workers. At the heart, therefore, of all their endeavours we see the design, not to extend the Moravian Church, but to hold true to the old ideals of Zinzendorf.
There lay the cause of the Brethren's failure in America. In spite of its rather stilted language, we can easily see in that sentence the form of an old familiar friend. It is really our German friend the Diaspora, and our English friend the system of United Flocks.
In Germany the system had a measure of success, and has flourished till the present day; in England it was doomed to failure at the outset. La Trobe gave the system a beautiful name. He called it the system of "United Flocks." On paper it was lovely to behold; in practice it was the direct road to consumption. In name it was English enough; in nature it was Zinzendorf's Diaspora.
They had begun their Diaspora work for the scattered, and their mission work for the heathen; and thus they had revived the old Church of the Brethren, and laid down those fundamental principles which have been maintained down to the present day. Meanwhile their patriotic instincts had been confirmed.
The children attended the Richelieu Lyceum and the "gymnasia" in larger proportion than children of other denominations, and they were among the first, not only in Russia, but in the whole Diaspora, to establish a "choir-synagogue" . "In most of the families," says Lilienthal, "can be found a degree of refinement which may easily bear comparison with the best French salon."
In the rest of the diaspora, persecution gave the Jews no respite, but in Babylonia, under Persian rule, they lived for some centuries comparatively free from molestation. The Law and the word of God went forth from Babylonia for the Jews of all lands. The Babylonian Talmud became the anthoritative code for the Jewish people, a holy book second only to the Bible.
Whatever the reason, while remaining dutiful to Rome, he devoted himself to the care of his people, to the maintenance of their full religious and national life, and to the strengthening of the Holy City against the struggle he foresaw. To the Jews of the Diaspora, moreover, the succession of Claudius brought a renewal of privileges.
At the Synod of 1782, and again at a Conference of Diaspora-workers, held at Herrnhut , the Brethren emphatically laid down the rule that no worker in the Diaspora should ever attempt to win converts for the Moravian Church. The Diaspora work was now at the height of its glory.
The most distinguished member of the Babylonian Diaspora was Daniel. Though not a prophet, he was surpassed by none in wisdom, piety, and good deeds. His firm adherence to Judaism he displayed from his early youth, when, a page at the royal court, he refused to partake of the bread, wine, and oil of the heathen, even though the enjoyment of them was not prohibited by the law.