Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

'Twas there I gave her my good-bye,

There, did her blessing crave,
And oh, with what a mother's heart

She that sought blessing gave.
It was the last-ere I returned

She rested in her grave!

When now I call her form to mind,

Wherever I may be,
She still is standing at that rail

And weeping on for me!
She is in no familiar spot,

As oft in former years ; And never to my fancy she

As in her grave appears ; I see her only at that rail,

Bedewed with holy tears.

What draws my eye to yonder spot-

That bench against the wall ? What holy men’ries cluster there,

My heart still knows them all!
How often sat my father there

On summer afternoon;
Hands meekly crossed upon his lap,

He looked so lost and lone,
As if he saw an empty world,

And hoped to leave it soon.

Doth a return of childhood's joys

Across his spirit gleam ? Or is his fancy busy now

With some loved youthful dream? He raises now his eyes and looks

On yon hill's sacred crest; Perhaps he sees the graveyard there

Where mother's sleep is blest, And longs to slumber by her side,

In death's last peaceful rest.

All, all is still ! I hesitate

I fain would pass the door, But fear the pain of missing all

This home contained of yore. For, ah, it is not what it was

Though its inmates are kind ; What with our parents once we lose

We nevermore shall find; Death goes before and reaps the sheaves;

We can but glean behind.

Such is the fate of earthly loves

Where all things die or change.
Yes, even in the homestead here,

I feel alone and strange.
O were it not for yon bright heaven,

With its unchanging rest,

How heavy would our burdens be,

Our life how sore distressed;
But hope illumes our pathway to

The regions of the blest.

That is a lovely Fatherland:

There I shall never roam;
No mother there with tearful eyes,

Shall see me leave that home.
No father there shall seek the grave

Where his beloved lies;
That is no vale of woes like this,

Where all we cherish dies;
The beautiful is permanent

In those unchanging skies.
There we shall find what here we lose,

And keep it evermore;
There we shall join our sainted dead,
Who are but gone

before.
I'm fain, in lonely hours, to lift

The veil that let them through,
And wish it were God's holy will

To let me pass it too ;
Yet patience ? till my hour shall come,

To bid the world, Adieu !

THE ORPHAN'S DREAM.

FROM THE GERMAN OF AGNES FRANZ.

BY THE EDITOR.

The sultry day had gone, and with it its various scenes of active life. The birds no longer sailed through the air, and silence began to reign more and more in the groves.

A boy came along the road, weeping as he went, and complaining from the depths of his sorrowful heart: Whither shall I turn, poor orphan and homeless boy that I am! Am I then so entirely alone in this wide world that I find no heart that cares for me, and no eye that shall cast a friendly glance toward me? Why did I not sink down at once with my

mother into the grave; then I would not need to wander all day long alone, and seek from door to door in vain for bread. Alas ! I am a quite forsaken child! No one will now watch over or provide for me!

Deeply saddened he sat down under a tree; for his feet were weary from walking in the hot dust, and his head sank upon a mossy stone which lay at his side.

Here at once a strange vision or dream took possession of him. The landscape lying before him in the quiet twilight seemed to contract itself

upon the

around him, so that a great part of it lay within reach of his easy

vision. He looked down upon it as if he sat upon a high hill. Multitudes of beautiful forms glided before him, and it seemed to him as if he lay again in the tender arms of his mother, a quiet and happy child, nursed in the bosom of love.

There were gentle whispers among the little trees, and there was a soft sound, like the motion of little wings, around the flowers near to him. Then it was as if a soft hand had been laid upon his eyes, and it seemed to him as if one veil after another had been lifted from his vision.

A view seemed to open before him like the bright purple dawning of a new day. He saw thousands of bright shining forms move before him through the clouds and among the flowers on earth. All seemed lightwinged, and moved about in sweet and mild activity. A brilliant triumphal procession came forth from the shining gate of heaven; and as the boy's eyes became clearer, he saw that they were angels friendly and beautiful to behold. They scattered roses over the heavens, and from the misty wells in the sky they dipped the refreshing dew and distilled it the groves

and meadows. And as a thousand hands were busy in beautifying the heavens, so, also, did life and activity begin in the blooming valleys of earth. Each flower had its angel. The tall lily looked confidingly up to its guardian angel, who spread his hands over its tender petals; and the virgin rose bloomed under friendly angelic protection.

Even near the smallest flower stood a loving attending hand. The violet received its drop of dew, and the strawberry was watered with ambrosia. Soft and gentle hands directed the little worm in the moss to the cup of the violet, where it might refresh itself at the deep blue well. But now the boy also saw an angel near him, moving among the branches of the trees. He went up softly to the sleeping birds and scattered food into their nests. Then he went hastily to the caterpillar, who was not yet able to lift his wings out of the chrysalis, and tenderly carried him away, layhim

upon the leafs of a rose, where the cooling dew refreshed him. Then the angel lifted his little wings and moved from one bud to another, performing little offices of love.

All around were seen manifestations of ministering and protecting love, and its breath diffused life and blessing over all above and beneath.

The boy turned his eye upward as if he would gratefully pray to the Father in heaven, and then there appeared to him an indescribably beautiful form, which bent itself toward him and smilingly said:

“How could you imagine yourself forsaken, since I am always at your side, and have from the beginning watched over you like a guardian angel? Do not all things stand under the protection of love? How canst thou weep and complain as if thou wert forsaken? Behold the lilies of the field, and the fowls of heaven! Who cares for them? Is it not eternal love that watches over them? Why then should man, the favorite of heaven,

doubt and fear ? O thou that are cast down in thy heart, only believe and trust. No grain of sand rolls uncounted into the ocean. All that lives and has being is numbered and recorded in the book of life. Lay then thy head confidingly upon my bosom. I will surely lead you weil and faithfully to the end of your life.”.

Then the orphan boy lifted his hands toward the heavenly friend, and

eyes,

exclaimed: "I believe in Thee, O thou friendly Angel!” Then the veil again fell

upon

his and he saw no more the beautiful forms among the flowers, nor the animated cloud-images; but a beautiful faith had entered his heart, and a new hope stood like a mild moon over the night of his life, so that he feared no longer in the midst of darkness and sorrow.

When the boy awoke from his pleasant slumber the sun had already risen. Slowly he raised his eyes toward the young light. It was no longer the beautiful flowery grove and landscape which he had seen in his dreams, but before him lay the familiar scenes of the real world. No angel was to be seen; but instead he saw a venerable shepherd, who stood near him in affectionate silence.

“Will you go with me?" said the shepherd, with mild and sympathizing look.

“Father!” exclaimed the boy, unconsciously, and extended his arms towards him.

“Yes, I will be thy father when thou art forsaken," replied the friendly shepherd. “Follow me to my hut.”

Confidingly the boy took the hand which was extended toward him, and went with him down into the valley. But his dream did not vanish from his heart. Faith in an all-ruling and everlasting love took firm root in his soul. He became strong in joyful hope, and every painful doubt gave way to a firm, deep, inward trust in his heavenly Father's all-providing

care.

LIFE-PICTURES FROM CHURCH HISTORY, NO. 18.

JOHN VON STAUPITZ.

FROM THE GERMAN OF ULLMANN.

• BY L. H. S.

With a large number of the great doctors of the Church, the Christian · devoutness of pious mothers proved to be the life-germ from which all their thinking and activity were developed. Not a few, however, had a spiritual father in addition to, or in place of such a mother ;-a man, often not a blood-relation, and brought into contact only by guidance from on high, who gave light and consolation to the struggling, contending, perhaps crushed and erring youthful soul, and pointed out the true path for its earthly and heavenly future. John von Staupitz was a spiritual father

VOL. XVI.--4

of this sort to the youth, who afterwards became a reformer of the Church and a prophet of the German nation- to Luther. On this account his name should be ever held in blessed memory by the Evangelical Church.

He deserves such a position, not only on account of Luther, but on his own account. It is true that he did not come forth himself on the field of battle, although the struggle for the revival of the pure Gospel was going on during his life-time, but rather withdrew into the quietude of a contemplative life; therein, however, he remained true to his own peculiar nature and kept himself within the limits God had assigned him. Had he forced himself into a position for which he was not destined, he would have been untrue to himself. Even in the kingdom of God everything has its proper time, and every one his peculiar mission. Before the series of events could begin, which should call forth a new form of Christian faith and of society, seizing hold of the whole life of the German people and agitating the same, it was necessary that there should have been laid, first of all, in minds untroubled about the external corruptions of the Church, the foundation of a pure love for God and Christ, the foundation of a spirit of evangelical faith at least in those susceptible to it; for only from such a foundation would true activity for the Gospel proceed, and only thus could a large number of men be prepared, who, roused up by this activity and that which came af: ter it, to a still more effective declaration of the necessity of repentance and faith, would form the nucleus of a new evangelical congregation.

This preliminary inner construction of a foundation was not a contention or struggle, but a quiet planting and cultivation, the principal feature of which consisted in the effort to inflame a pure love of God in the heart ready for any sacrifice, and to lead, through love for and imitation of the Saviour, to perfect union with God, and to real peace of soul: this alone was the proper way in the midst of the external dead doctrine of works which then reigned in the Church, to secure an inward living Christianity; —that was to be attained, which the song asks from God in these apt words, “Grant that the glow of Thy love may destroy our cold works! The men who took this road exercised a great influence on the Reformers and their work, especially upon Luther. Many of them belonged to the best families of Germany, speaking and writing from the German mind in the German tongue,-they were known as Mystics. Among them, John von Staupitz took a prominent place on account of his simple, practical, evangelical spirit, and how much reason we have for venerating him very highly, considered alone as a man of Christian life, Christian experience and love, we shall see if we present, in the form of a brief account of his simple life, that which he has left behind in many writings as the significance of his inner life.

John von Staupitz sprang from an old noble family of Meissen, and on that account was favorably situated as regards civil life. His mind seems to have been directed from youth to a contemplative life. In order to be able to devote himself entirely to study and pious meditations, he entered the Augustinian Order. "He obtained the cultivation of the times at several of the Universities and was admitted to the Doctorate of Theology at Tübingen. But he was not destined to be prominent and active on account of the acuteness of his intellect or the vastness of his learning: the power of his life lay in the fulness of his Christian religious inner life, and in the mild, serene character of his own personality. Unsatisfied by philosophy,

>

« AnteriorContinuar »