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Schuermans
Schuermans

2017.103


Schuerman Village

Faith's Work Perfected

Chapter 1 Contents Chapter 3

Chapter II

The Work Widens

I choose for the Poor-school in the summer time a room adjoining my own study, and had a box fastened to the wall, with the inscription,

For educating poor children, and providing them with the needful books. Anno MDCXCVα
Under the box, I had this verse—
He that hath pity upon the poor, lendeth unto the Lord: and that which he hath given will He pay him again.β
On Whitsuntideγ I was visited by some strangers who took a great deal of interest in this new institution, and gave me a few crowns to help on the work, and afterwards some others continued to deposit funds in the box, and thus to encourage my heart and strengthen my hand.

Soon after this, when some of the citizens saw that the poor children were carefully instructed, they wanted to put their children also under the same influences, and so they sent them, and paid a penny and a-halfδ a week for their tuition. The teacher was employed five hours daily, and now received two shillingsε in addition to the stipend that I paid him.

Alms were distributed to the poor children two or three times weekly to make them love better to come to school, and to help make them more docile and tractable.

Some people out of town heard of what I was doing, and sent trifling sums of money to assist me; others sent parcels of linen to make shirts of, to help sustain the interest of the children in their studies. The school was kept the whole summer through, and the number of pupils, including those who paid their tuition, was between fifty and sixty. In all this it was plain that the blessing of God rested upon us, for there was not a crownζ collected as capital which He did not give.

I then began to receive the children of noblemen and of wealthy persons, giving them not only special instructors, but also a home with me. This was the beginning of the gymnasium. The occasion for my doing so was that some persons of influence applied to me for students to be private tutors in their families. As I could not respond to their wishes in this matter, because the students most fitted for this duty wished to continue their studies longer in Halle, I advised them to send their children to me, and promised to supply them with suitable teachers; a few were brought at once; others followed as soon as the arrangement was made public.

In the summer of 1695, I received a letter from an influential Christian, in which he offered me, to my entire surprise, seventy-five pounds,η requesting me to use it entirely at my discretion, for the benefit of poor students. The money arrived soon after, and I saw in it the evident blessing of God upon my work, and felt greatly encouraged to continue in it. This was the first large sum I had received.

This put into my hands ample means for the present. I soon looked up those students who seemed to be in the greatest need, and gave to them various sums— to some sixpence, to some twelvepence halfpenny, to others eighteenpence weekly, according to their several necessities— and many a poor student could live here, and prosecute his studies, who never would have been able to have made ends meet without this help, and must have left the University: some indeed had nothing at all, excepting what I gave them. The number whom I assisted in this way was over twenty, the most of them receiving about twelvepence weekly.θ

And this is the beginning of the flowing of that fountain which has never ceased to bless poor students at Halle from that time to this. The Lord’s name be priased for it.

The same summer another Christian in high position sent me fifteen pounds for the benefit of our poor people; and a good friend sent me also three poundsι toward maintaining the Poor-school. God showed us in these ways that He would not give up what He had once begun, but would pour down his blessings upon us, and for us “more than we could as or even think.” κ

Towards autumn I found it necessary to procure a room for my Poor-school. And since I had no more available space in my own house, I hired a room of my next-door neighbor. The number of children still increased so much that at the beginning of winter I was compelled to hire even another room. I then divided the pupils, and put the children of citizens under one teacher, and the children of poor parents under another. Each teacher gave instruction four hours daily, and received two shillings a week besides his board and fuel.

Footnotes

α 1695
β Proverbs xix.17
γ The week or weekend associated with “Whitsunday,” which is another term for Pentecost, traditionally the seventh Sunday after Easter. Oxford on Mac.
δ Per Intro., note β, £12/$15/€14.
ε Per note δ, £19/$24/€23.

ζ Per note δ, £480/$600/€550.
η Per note δ, £144 thousands/$180 thousands/€173 thousands.
θ Per note δ,
6p£48/$60/€58
12p£96/$120/€115
12 1/2p£100/$125/€120
18p£144/$180/€173
ι Per note δ, £15 (1867) = £29 thousands/$36 thousands/€35 thousands (2015),
£3 (1867) = £5800/$7200/€7000 (2015).
κ Ephesians iii.20.

Chapter 1 Contents Chapter 3