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ultimate end of his contemplations, receives it as his reward and direction to heaven, in those moments when the outward man was perishing, in order that the inward man might ascend in freedom and purity, to the full enjoyment of eternal life in God. His last days and hours were pervaded and illumined by the influence of religion. Even his dreams were the image of his religious life and course of action.
“I have had," said he at one time,“ such a beautiful dream, - it has left me with the most agreeable feelings. I thought I was in a vast assembly, with a great number both of acquaintances and of strangers. They all turned their eyes upon me, and wished to hear from me something on religion. It was the hour of instruction, and with what delight did I
As the awful moment drew near, he seemed to be more and more absorbed in love, as the innermost fountain of his being. He indulged in the most affectionate expressions concerning his children and friends. To the former he said: “I leave you for a legacy the words of John, my children, ‘Love one another."” “I enjoin it upon you," said he to his wife, “to remember ine to all my friends, and tell them how dear they have been to my heart."
He had for some time been certain of his approaching death. He could wish to have been spared longer to his family. He felt that he had still many difficult tasks to perform before his entrance upon eternal rest. But he went forth to the last struggle with calmness and submission to the holy will of Everlasting Love.
“The last morning of his life, his sufferings evidently increased. He complained of violent internal burnings, and the cry of pain, for the first and the last time, was forced from his lips : Ah Lord, my sufferings are great!' In the most affecting manner, he then said to his family: "My dear children, you must now all retire and leave me to myself. you the sight of so much misery.' The traces of death were now apparent in his countenance, his eye grew dim, and the death-struggle was ended. Laying his two fore fingers on his left eye, as he often did when engaged in deep reflection, he began to speak: 'We have the reconciling death of Jesus Christ, his body and his blood." While saying this he raised himself up, his features became more animated, his voice grew clear and strong, and with priestly solemnity he
I would spare
continued: “Are you one with me in this faith ?' His family assenting aloud, he went on: Let us then receive the supper of the Lord.
There can be no need of the sexton. Quick, quick, for it is not the time to think of forms.' While the service was preparing, his friends waited with him in solemn stillness. When every thing was ready, his countenance lighted up with an indescribable brilliancy; his eye beaming upon them with a higher glow of love, he commenced the words of invocation for the introduction of the holy ordinance. Then, repeating the form of consecration in a loud and distinct voice, he administered the bread and the wine, first to his family and then to himself, with the remark :' I abide by these words of Scripture; they are the foundation of my faith. After he had pronounced the blessing, his eye turned once more with an expression of perfect love, first to his wife, and then to every individual present, and, in those deep and earnest tones which penetrate the heart, he continued : 'In this fellowship and faith we are then one, and will remain so.'
“ He now reclined on the pillow, the brightness still resting on his features. In a few minutes he said: 'I can remain here no longer.' And soon after: "Give me another position.' They turned him on his side; he breathed a few times, and life stood still. In the mean time his children had come in and were kneeling round the bed. His eye gradually closed.”
In the pangs of sorrow and the feeling of elevation I can add nothing but the words of Scripture : “ Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.” Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God; whose faith follow, considering the end of their conyersation."
[* It should be stated here, that several passages in Dr. Lücke's original article, which have reference merely to local controversies, and of little interest to any one in this country, have been omitted in the translation. Tr.]
ART. II. — The Stranger's Gift. A Christmas and New
Year's Present. Edited by HERMANN Bokum, Instructor in Harvard University. Boston, 1836. 12mo. pp. 103.
This little work is the production of one of that small but honored company of German scholars, who have made their home amongst us. They have sought under our institutions a sphere more congenial, than those of the old monarchies of Europe, to the temper of liberal minds, sympathizing with their race, and loving a free activity. They bring with them the goodly leaven of German thoroughness and industry, that zeal for learning for learning's sake, which we of this country need more of to rectify the popular superficialness to which we are all too prone. Distinguished for simplicity and purity of life, they modestly and unobtrusively enter upon any field of intellectual labor and usefulness for which they are found to be fitted. They adorn our letters, and within the scope of their influence do much to promote elementary education, and to animate and guide our young men in the pursuit of liberal studies. With remarkable readiness and facility they adopt our manners, language, sympathies, and enter into the spirit of our institutions. They are both with us and of us. They are more than welcome.
But “The Gift,” – that also is welcome, as well as its “Stranger” giver. It is happily conceived, and is written with a wise and Christian intent. The author's religious sensibilities, his recollections of his native home and country, and his benevolent hopes seem to have clustered themselves naturally about the festival of Christmas (a time very dear and holy to a German), and this pleasant book is the result.
Mr. Bokum, from his first arrival in the country, appears to have felt a lively interest in the German emigrants whom he found here. His book relates chiefly to them, their condition, wants, and prospects.
We are first introduced to the German settlements in the interior of Pennsylvania, which Mr. Bokum bas visited. We regret that he cannot give us a more favorable account of them.
They are called German because the land was originally occupied by German emigrants, and because those who now own it are descended from them, and are thought to retain the use of the German language, though in many parts of the interior a native of Germany will find it very difficult to recognise his mother tongue. But a very small portion have carefully fostered those principles of religious and intellectual cultivation which they imbibed in their own country. The greater portion have not only been deprived of the light which their forefathers enjoyed, but have been likewise excluded in a great measure from the influences which operate favorably on the religious, moral, and intellectual state of the American people.
“ It is well known, that the great mass of the first German settlers consisted of redemptioners, who fled from the oppression to which they had been subject in their native country. It is also known, that, by perseverance and industry, they succeeded in benefiting the country which had received them hospitably, and that they obtained a rich return from the produce of their agricultural labors. But it is far less known how little their religious and moral state corresponds to their physical well-being. The frequent and entire want of instruction, the necessity of gaining their livelihood by great and uninterrupted efforts, and the slow but certain reward which they obtained from the ground they cultivated, has been the cause that they seem to have become incapable of raising their eyes from the ground to Him who gave them both to will and to do according 'to his good pleasure.' The situation of their ministers almost prevents their usefulness, when they have to attend to the spiritual wants of six or seven congregations; and attempts at extending to them other means of instruction have but too often met with decided opposition, and have sometimes excited the most unexpected and unaccountable suspicions. A very devoted and benevolent friend of mine, for instance, endeavoured some time since to form a Sabbath school near the banks of the Lecha. For a long time he could not ascertain why his efforts were so little encouraged, until he finally was informed that he was suspected of forming this school with a view of increasing the tolls of the bridge over which the children had to pass. The state of morality, it may be easily imagined, cannot be a very high and devoted one where religion has so little practical influence.”
pp. 25–27. The following reasoning against education is original.
“But a few years ago an attempt was made in Pennsylvania to gain the influence of the rich German farmers in favor of a system of taxation, as it has been established in some of the New England States. 'If we have a general system of taxation,' was their short but logical reply, the children of the rich and the children of the poor will have the same means of being educated.
It is likewise certain, that the children of the poor will have time to go to school, while the children of the rich are employed eight months out of twelve on their farms. The children of the poor therefore will obtain three times as much learning as the children of the rich. In the course of time they will be sent to Congress, they will obtain all the good offices, and finally will rule over the children of the rich. - This shall never be the case!'"
- p. 30.
It appears that these people still retain the stirring old superstitions that were bred centuries ago in the Black Forest and the Hartz Mountains. The Wild Huntsman has crossed the ocean, holds his spectral chase in the forest, and pays his noisy nightly visits to his German patrons here, as he did of old, (perhaps does now) in the heart of Europe. horseshoe is still fixed over the door to keep off ghostly intruders. Blue lights hover over the spot where hid treasures ought to be discovered. The departed Indians have left the pow-wow physician to look after the health of their successors, and the tripod still occupies the corner of the sick-room, for the burning of efficacious charms. It would seem, that the entire race of elfs and goblins, which we are accustomed to suppose extinct, still flourish numerously in Pennsylvania, and exercise a lordly sway, undisturbed by the inroads of modern philosophy.
As to the literature of these degenerate children of Germany, “the Bible, some books on dreaming and witchcraft, and one or two German newspapers form the whole stock of their book-shelves." of one of these newspapers Mr. Bokum has the following:
“It was at first only the strange mixture of German and English words and terminations which attracted your attention more than the matter itself. But how great is your astonishment, when you find that the political news which the paper contains, is the very opposite of what you happen to have read the very same day in an English morning paper. Where such glaring deceptions can be practised, you have reason to conclude that even those who know how to read, are greatly in danger of becoming the tools of designing men; and a second glance at the paper seems to establish this fact. You meet there with a petition which opposes the interests of education, and yet many of the signers have been compelled to make three crosses, because they are unable to sign their names !” 30 s. VOL. II. NO. I.