Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

US.

for those who attained faith to live according to them, curses upon the despisers and transgressors of them. There was something in it for everybody. The second was bought for him by the master: it was not so old. On the top always stood a proverb out of the Bible; then it was related how it had served here and there in the world for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness : that was a fine book. It consisted of many volumes. But much was never read at one time. It was Berend's opinion that, when too much was read, it was like taking too great cuts in ditching, it would not be properly clear. When we had finished a part, it was always thoroughly spoken about : it was only thus that the subject was properly got at. Many evenings the master himself came, and spoke with

When he went away, he tapped the pastor on his broad shoulders, and said, “It is right so, Berend." Frequently also he asked how Berend was getting on with us. There was seldom anything to complain of: we were all too fond of him. But if one who had just come was disposed to take liberties with him, he then addressed him and humbled him well, and we afterwards humbled him again.

If the master thought of hiring the servants for a fresh year, he first advised with the pastor : “ Berend, you know them better than I. What they are at work I know from the manager; but now tell me your opinion too. If there is a bad one among them, he might injure all the people ; he must be off.”

Berend did not skulk behind the hill. Some few never forgave him for opening the master's eyes, and for years showed dislike towards him. On the other hand he was often our intercessor. Whenever we had played a foolish trick, then, indeed, we begged that he would tell it to the master, that he might not get to know of it from anybody else. Truly, it went to a body's heart when anything of the kind had to be disclosed to him: he could look at one so distressingly during it. We would often rather have been flogged than be reproached by him. He did not strike with cudgels, but every blow hit the right spot. He knew us better than we knew ourselves.

It began already in his time to be the case, that many pastors did not any longer preach the old evangelical faith. When Berend was once speaking of reconciliation through Jesus Christ, a servant interrupted him, and said, “Berend, I have never before heard that from anybody; my pastor has never taught me so.”

you.

Berend Stein answered, “ For that reason I must tell it

The Lord Christ says, when men are silent, stones must cry out. In that he intended me also, a poor stone.* I am a poor mason, but I forsake not God's word; and so long as there is breath in me, I will confess it.”

In our village there were sixteen or eighteen at least of us, of whom Berend Stein's school consisted. Here and there one still lives. They might almost be picked out amongst the poor people. They were quiet fathers, who brought up their children in the fear of God; faithful servants towards their employers, diligent attendants at church, enemies to idling in public houses, silent, rejoicing people. I do not wish to say this for our boasting, but to the honour of God and of his servant. One or two have thrown contempt on Berend, and ridiculed him where they could ; but they have taken a wretched course. Unbelief and disorderliness brought them to the gin bottle ; the gin bottle to begging, to the workhouse, one even to jail, and two to an early grave. Berend foretold them their end. Two and twenty years did the labourers' pastor fulfil his office with much success.

VII. THE END OF THE LA BOURERS' PASTOR.

Berend's last clerk was my youngest brother Frank: he was always a quiet lad; he has already a white head. Whenever he speaks of the old man, he is always deeply affected. Our father died when Frank was but thirteen years old. The lad first looked after the turkeys in the yard, then became stable-boy, ploughman, and, at last, teacher. Very lately he acknowledged to me, That I have kept to the word of God, and that I can find consolation in my Saviour, I have, next to my Lord and God, to thank Berend Stein. In the dangerous years of youth he guided me as faithfully as ever a father could guide his son.

I do not think my poor

father would have kept me so tight in the rein as he did.”

When Frank was with the first team, the pastor was already sinking. His energy was gone. The last winter my brother fetched him every evening, and took him home. If any one asked him, " Frank, where are you going? or where have you come from?” he would answer, “ I am going to fetch my pastor;" or, “ I have been taking my pastor home.” Nur could Berend handle the violin any longer; his limbs had become too stiff. My brother played it; he was now full clerk. In

* Stein means stone.

66

If you

then come,

other respects everything took its old way. Oh! the last years up there were fine.

I had not been ploughman for a long time. I was thresher, and had married. But I still went up many evenings. In one thing he now somewhat altered. He did not look back so much ; he did not tell so many stories of the ancient times. He looked more forwards. He spoke with so much pleasure of the time when he should be with the Lord; how he rejoiced in the prospect of the time when he should at length be free and pure from all sin, when instead of the old body which could no longer get up the hill, he should have a new one, when he himself should see the Lord Christ, and with him the old homeless pilgrim Abraham, and his steward Eliezer, who however have now found a home ; and the severe Moses, who now however, in the presence of Christ, has become friendly; and the shepherd David with the harp, and the holy apostles, and the poor unknown and unnamed children of God, and his father and his mother. ,” he continued,

one after another, and the Lord puts upon you, instead of your ploughman's frock, the white raiment of the perfect children of God, my joy will be full.” There were evenings then when we quite forgot that we were in the servant's room at Mr. We stood at the gate of heaven, and many a time we seemed to look just inside.

But before Berend went to his rest, he had to endure one more bitter pain. Our good master had not come to the icicle state, which at one time gave the pastor so much anxiety. With great earnestness he had carried on the work with himself, his family, and us.

But there was also an excellence in the people. There was much less want of fidelity to the lame master than to farmers with sound legs. His fields were more carefully tilled than the fields of those who were every day behind with curses, storming, and blows. But as our master could take but little exercise, he became, in the course of years, very stout and full-blooded. Age helped. One evening the news ran through the village like running fire; the farmer has been struck with apoplexy. Within three days he was well, and dead. In the bright seasons he prayed diligently, and thanked tlie Lord for all the grace and goodness which he had shown him during his life. Amongst other things he also said, “Lord, I thank thee that thou hasť given me a faithful helper in regard to the souls of my poor people.” That was related to us by his son Charles on the day of his burial.

to us no more.

On the same day also his wife prayed Berend; 6. You will not leave me, Berend, will you? You will help me in training my people, as you have helped my husband. I need you still more than he did.” “Good lady,” replied the old man, “ I will not leave my office till my Master calls me away.”

No long delay indeed was appointed for him. He had to outlive his master only a year. His asthma became worse and worse.

In the following winter he became ill: he came

His sickness lasted only fourteen days. He was not left to want. The good lady sent my brother down to him, to wait on him as he lay. She had Dr. Michaelis sent for with her own horses from Aschersleben. He also has now been a long time dead. But I will still say it of him, now he is in his grave, he understood his business thoroughly. But what was still more, poor people were as acceptable to him as rich. I know a poor family, where the father lay very ill. Michaelis came ; examined him, wrote his prescription. When he gave it to the wife, he put a dollar into her hand at the same time, and said, “ As quick as possible to the apothecary's; the thing is important.” Before the wife could collect herself, he was already sitting in his carriage. Many such things are told of him. By Berend's bed he has sat for hours together, and spoken much with him. The good lady once asked him, if there was yet hope. He answered, 66 We cannot cure him now, but much may be learned from him.”

The good lady herself prepared his food, and brought it; and her little daughter Louisa, and Charles also, who acted as manager for his mother, looked in once or twice a day. May God reward them for what they did for the poor old

He has already rewarded them. Louisa has a faithful, pious husband, and has grown old in happiness. Charles possesses a fine farm of his own in Silesia.

The pastor was not silent upon the sick bed. Whoever came, also took away with him a little memorial from the treasury of his heart. Every night we watched with him two by two. I was not present at his death, but Frank, his clerk,

In his last night he had to read to him the beautiful hymn, “ There still remains a rest,” etc. When Frank had finished the sixth verse, Berend himself continued :

man.

There shall we rest and be at peace,

Our hearts feel no alarm.
O ye that sign, still hope in this,

And lean on Jesus' arm.

was.

Oh! give me wings to fly away

To yonder joyous throng:
My spirit would no more delay

To mingle in their song.
Arise. arise, we now have reached our home,

The blessed year of jubilee is come. Whilst he was speaking this verse, his countenance shone, as when the mild harvest sun shines upon a single spot. He laid himself back and went to sleep, just at the grey of the morning. We dug his grave through frost and snow. It was as if the earth was unwilling to receive him. It will have to give his body up more easily when the Lord calls at the resurrection.

The day before the burial I went with Frank to Walbeck, to fetch something green for the grave. We went by Quenstedt, and told Hanarendt and Friede of his death : they had always remained good friends. " That man has done very much for us, we must take part in the last honour,” answered Hanarendt in the name of both. They both came to the funeral. Labourers, and those who had been labourers, carried him to the grave. But Mrs. Stöbe, and Charles and Louisa, in spite of frost and snow, were not ashamed or afraid to follow Berend Stein. Indeed the lady had determined that he should find his resting-place close beside her husband. There he rests till God shall wake him with his master, at the last day.

AIM HIGH. Do not look at the practice and example of other Christians in forming the standard of piety at which you aim. The allowance of this thing has probably had a more disastrous influence on the church and on the world, than all other causes that could be named. Generally, when persons commence a Christian life, their consciences are susceptible and tender. They are strict and watchful in the performance of duty, and are pained even by a slight neglect. They have been wont to feel, that becoming religious implies a great change; that “old things must pass away, and all things become new.” And when they begin to look around among their Christian friends, and turn to them for aid, and to those who have had experience and made advances in Christian life, they find that they seem to look upon duties and deficiencies in a very different manner. They seem to neglect many things which the young Christian has felt to be very

« AnteriorContinuar »