|Chapter 11||Contents||Chapter 1|
a sketch of the life of
The Minister's Daughter
I. The Pastor's Wife
II. The Lads
III. The Place Above The Trap-door
IV. Every-Day Life
V. King William
VI. The Neighbors, And Our Mother's Work Amongst Them
VII. The Broken Home
VIII. The New House, And Our First Vacation There
IX. The Rent
X. The Happy Close
XI. In Memoriam
The manuscript of this unpretending little volume fell into my hands in London. I brought it with me, and read it carefully on the sea.
The story brings before us one of those most attractive and beautiful characters we sometimes meet with in real life; a faithful Christian woman whose entire existence seemed to be lost in the will and wisdom of God. In a trust, fairly childlike, she rested unbrokenly. Some of the incidents here related have moved me much. I have not the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with the gifted lady who has written the narrative; but I am assured that in every particular it is positively true.
There never will be a deeper mystery in this world than that involved in the simplest and first exercise of prayer. How the eternal God can seem to leave anything whatsoever contingent on the requests of his creatures, passes philosophy. And that He goes so far in his offer as to say plainly, ask at will,0.1 is full of unutterable meaning. Now if one may gird up his faith, and rest assured that any petition he puts up is surely going to be answered, there seems little left to be desired for him.
This delightful little woman, dwelling chirk0.2 and cheerful on the borders of the Black Forest, believed God implicitly. She lived in the presence of the awful King of Heaven; yet never abashed, even while always reverent, she moved joyously forward among the sorrows and great perplexities of a more than usually burdened life. Her answers received, as she prayed, were wonderful.
Oh, there cannot be too much of this! God is our Father. Let us believe in Him.
This sketch is delightfully written. I have very cordially consented to see it safely through the press. I sincerely hope, and believe, it will help many a true Christian to rest unquestioningly and unqualifiedly on the truth of this one verse:
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you,
ye shall ask what ye will,
and it shall be done unto you.0.3
Chas. S. Robinson
Memorial Church, New York.
April 30, 1872.
Such was the Apostle's assertion, and his day did not close the long list of saints, faithful and true, who took God at His word, and gained glorious, though noiseless victories, by clinging to the Covenant of truth, which cannot be broken. Among the poor and hidden ones of earth, these; grand witnesses to God's faithfulness have often dwelt apart. Now and then, one shines out in public life, to make the world wonder, and ask, as of old they did about the Master: "Whence hath this man these things?"0.5
The following pages contain a narrative of facts, which to some may seem too strange, and to others, too insignificant, to be worthy of record. But to such as believe that God takes the truth, concealed from the wise of this world, and reveals it unto babes and simple folk, the story will bring a message of encouragement and good cheer.
Only a few years ago, there lived in a remote village in the South of Germany, a humble and devoted woman, the whole course of whose history bore a thrilling testimony to the might which still clings to a living faith. In order to trace the motive power of her life to its source, we must, after the fashion of German biographers, wander back among the chronicles of her family.
About one hundred years ago, any one chancing to find himself upon the dusty high road, between the villages of Karnwestheim and Muenchingen, in the early afternoon of a summer Sabbath, would have come upon a large concourse of country people, briskly trudging along through the hot sunshine. Youths and maidens, old men, and staid peasant matrons— in fact, a walking congregation— and in the midst of them, an earnest, holy messenger of Christ, who was their pastor. After attending morning worship, and the subsequent catechetical service in their own village, these hard-featured sons and daughters of toil would cheerfully set out in the wake of their valued minister, to go and listen to his sermon in the far off parish church of his father-in-law Flattich, a distance of several miles. The congregation at Muenchingen had meanwhile assembled, and often sang through several of the heart-stirring German chorals, whilst awaiting their favorite preacher.
This pastor Halm is described to us as a man of great devotion and power, exerting a remarkable influence both in and out of the pulpit. It was not his clear and well developed method of thought, or the gift of eloquence which he possessed in marked degree, that made the common people throng after him, and listen so gladly and intently to the Word of life from his lips. A dignified appearance added to these talents, no doubt, and gave weight to his discourse; but that which made him mighty to sound forth the love and glory of our Lord, and of His Christ, was the grace of the Holy Spirit, "the author and giver of life."
"As he stood before us"— said a competent judge, in later years, to his grandson— "his face almost transfigured with its expression of high unearthly light, we no longer felt as if listening to a mere man. Our hearts heard the voice of one whom God had entrusted with a message, straight from His own presence." Great was the joy spread abroad in a place, when the news reached it that Pastor Halm was coming to preach. The tidings travelled like wildfire, and everyone crowded to listen and share the blessing. It was the hallowed influence of men such as this, that effectually counteracted the flood of ritualistic free thinking, which threatened to destroy the spiritual life of Germany during the last century.
Such is the account which reaches us, of the father of Beate0.6 Paulus, a woman who proved not unworthy of her saintly parentage. The holy reverence in which she held his memory, may be gathered from an oft-repeated saying of her own children, when they noticed the eager delight with which on a free Sunday hour, she pored over the rich legacy of Halm's Sermons. "Mother," the little ones would naively exclaim, "the first seat in your heart is the dear Saviour's, but the very next is kept for your blessed father!" It is one of these children who, in graphic language, gives us the details of his mother's bright career, and as far as may be, we will adhere to the words in which he tells them. It may be well to anticipate the surprise that some portions of the story may elicite [sic] in American readers, by reminding them of the almost patriarchal simplicity, and primitive manners of the country of which Madame Paulus was a native.0.7 The position of woman there differs widely from that which she occupies with us, while at the same time, it is quite usual to find high, intellectual culture co-existing with modes of life which to us seem almost uncivilised in their severe hardihood.
0.1 John xvi.23-27.
0.3 John xv.7.
0.4 Hebrews xi.33.
0.5 Matthew xiii.56, Mark vi.2.
0.6 Beaté in the original.
0.7 Winttemberg, a small Kingdom in South Germany.
|Chapter 11||Contents||Chapter 1|