Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Good Words 1860
John Evangelist Gossner

I. - The Scholar

"Pereat Adam: Vivat Jesus!" - Gossner's Diary.

John Evangelist Gossner, Born 1773, Died 1858.

"Ora et labora," writes Dr Wichern, in one of his pleasant papers, " is carved in a peasant's house in the Vierland. 'It must be French,' said a neighbour's wife, as I stood looking at the legend; ' but it just means:—

Pray with one hand, work with t' other, God will bless them both together!'

The translation made up for any deficiency in language, and presently she ran in to praise the good old time when people believed in ora et labora." The honest woman was right; such faith belongs to a good old time, the time of St Paul and St John. The much-decried Middle Ages knew something about it. But the world has long since lost sight of it in any public way, save in a pretty motto. To work is honest enough; nay, work has been exalted into a kind of deity in our day, and a kind of service has been promulgated for the worship. But prayer over and above the work is treated as a courteous superfluity. Let the work be done manfully, to the best of your ability, it is preached; let it be even blundering, provided it be sincere; but prayer is somewhat a waste of energy, and cannot really mend what is good already. The tendency of our time has been to exalt the lower and visible agencies, to depreciate the higher and spiritual. The height to which mechanical skill has been carried, and the aid which science has been made to render it, until itself has become mechanical, have bred in men a contempt for any work which is not mechanical. Not many years ago a clever writer suggested that the time was coming when grave, common-sense Englishmen would fall down before the spindle and the steam-engine. And may there not be something of that idolatry traceable in the national review of itself, in the thorough quiet materialism in which it ends J Is there not more than ever the disposition to throw over upon praying men, who believe in an invisible power, and skill, and law, and presence, the charge of folly, enthusiasm, fanaticism? Is there not the notion that the world is only what the world sees itself to be, and that if you take other than worldly forces you will come to no result? Praying men may not always have been judicious; there may be some plausible foundation for separating the worker from the prayer; foolish things may have been attempted by well-meaning but unwise people. Let the world have the credit of this admission. It does not touch the power and reality of prayer, as a force of which, though the world knows nothing, yet it establishes greater than the world's works. The man who prays best will be the man who works best. The man who prays that he may do a work for which he has no possible aptitude or fitness, is praying against the laws of prayer. If, on the one hand, it may be said, not in Carlyle's but the Christian sense, that, true work is prayer ; so, on the other, it may be said that true prayer is work. They run into each other, not as things arbitrarily joined, but as different aspects of the same man. And it so happens, that in our own generation, there is a singular group of men, who, somewhat about the same time, and without the least knowledge of one another, and in very different spheres, took for their watchword that French puzzle of the honest Vierlander, and over whose lives might be written as their clearest exponents, ora et labora. They are men who maintain that God exercises some direct influence in the affairs of the world; who therefore appeal to Him in any puzzle or difficulty; who expect His help, and as they believe that He has the hearts of all men in His hand, do not know any special circle or class of men, or any special type of actions, within which that help must be limited. They distinctly believe in God as their Father, and never care to realise Him either as a pure infinite Intelligence, or as an Eternal Law. They believe, also, that prayer is not an arbitrary provision for temporary circumstances, but that it is fixed in the ways of God, and in harmony with the settled relations of the world and the laws of human conduct. And they believe that if in God's name they begin a fitting work, God will establish it; answer their prayers regarding it; enable them to deal wisely, and righteously, and prosperously by it; and that behind every other means to its success, and as the very highest means, and often supplanting the other, there in prayer itself. Each of them has done something very remarkable in its way, quite independent of the mode of operation. It may be interesting to trace these several works, ascending to the principle asserted by their working. It will be necessary in doing so to dwell at some length upon the character and history of the workers themselves. If they are right, they read a very earnest lesson to our times and to ourselves.

Any time within the last few years strangers who visited Berlin may perhaps have met in Potsdam Street, and especially if they ever took an early ramble out through the Potsdam Gate, an old and venerable clergyman, walking with a firm and sometimes rapid step, with unbent shoulders, towering, like Saul, above the crowd, a few white hairs straying from under his broad-brimmed hat,—a man of so unusual and commanding a presence as to be easily remembered. There was a peculiar blending in his face of a loving, gracious kindliness with the deep-scored lines of a strong, resolute will. One or two might doff their caps to him; the children might whisper, "There goes the old father;" but beyond this natural respect to his years, there was nothing to betray that he was of more note than his simple seeming. His name did not appear among the ministers of the town; it was seldom spoken in the circle in which strangers moved; those who pricked out their Sunday's round in the service-list and went over the preachers, fashionable or famous or only good, never saw him in the pulpit. On the 30th of last March he died. The Bethlehem Church could not contain the mourners. A blow was felt to have fallen on the city. The sorrow penetrated the palace. Divines and statesmen met at his tomb. The courtliest preacher and the most popular dropped common wreaths of fairest words upon his coffin;—a member of the cabinet wrote a long oration on his death. Who was he? What had he done?

John Evangelist Gossner was born of Roman Catholic parents in Hausea, a little village of Bavaria, 14th December 1773. When very young he was sent to the Jesuit school at Augsburg, and then prepared to enter the university of Dillengen. Sailer, Zimmer, Weber, and other well-known men were among the professors, and under them it had become a place of note for learning, and, what was much rarer, for piety. A strong personal love of the Saviour bound many members of the Bavarian Roman Catholic Church together. They did not seek emancipation from former systems; they did not enter upon grievances, nor contend so much for principles. They sought rather an individual communion with God, a life in the soul which would vivify the form— the enjoyment of realising the grace of Christ rather than to clear and rearrange the doctrines of the faith. This tendency towards mysticism was met by other similar tendencies of the period, penetrated metaphysics and science as well as religion, opened up views of the truth wider than ecclesiastical tradition permitted, and led men to disregard the limits of the Church in their interest and sympathy for the soul. It was not at all dogmatic; it did not enter into conflict with systematic theology. It took for granted most of what had been; sought to discover the hidden and forgotten truth in it. It radiated from personal influence, from the piety that made itself unconsciously felt, and that, quite as unconsciously, led to the setting up of the godly heart above the formal rule of faith. Dillengen was notorious for it. Sailer, though without much foundation, was regarded as its representative; Martin Boos had passed through the university ten years before, and had already gone beyond Sailer. The Jesuits warned their pupil of the dangerous doctrines. They said that Dillengen was a place where young people would lose their religion. Young-people however went, until in 1795 the Jesuits banished the leaders; and with the rest went young Gossner. He appears to have remained there till 1793, and to have entered afterwards the Georgian College at Ingolstadt, where he studied canon law. He was ordained a presbyter in 1796, and the year after commenced his active duties as curate in a country village. It was here, a few months later, that he was made "to see and to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ; to confess it in his heart as the power and wisdom of God."

But the ground had been long prepared in which the good seed took such thorough root. One day, at Augsburg, a school-fellow said to him, "I have a book in which the name of Jesus stands on every page." "And I," replied Gossner, "have a book in my hand in which the name of Jesus is never mentioned. Shall we exchange?" The offer was accepted, and he obtained Lavater's "Letters to a Young Man on his Travels." There is something singularly prophetic in the young lad with his love of poetry and story leaving his cherished folkslore and romance for a book which had Jesus on every page. It is the only light that is thrown, during that time or long after, on the thoughts that were stirring within him. It must be taken for what it is worth. At any rate, there was some movement and far below the surface; and when his teacher was proud of his learning in Scotus and Aquinas, he was weighing the letters of a Swiss heretic. The key of faith on which Lavater's life was set seems to have stirred a slumbering chord in Goss-ner's. But they stood wide apart. That which the one had almost as a passion, so deep-rooted that it might be called innate, the other came to by a tedious process and discipline. But the "Letters" had done their work. His respect for Lavater shewed how truly the book had met him. We may differ from the man who helps us, but we cannot help loving him; the words that lighten us over a dark and lonely passage of our life may sink in our later judgment, but we honour them and bless the pen that wrote them. Gossner was very unlike Lavater, yet in later days when it became the fashion among the younger generation to despise him, Gossner's voice was loud in his honour and defence. Whatever earnestness was thus excited about Jesus in the academy was not likely to pass away in the university. Unfortunately both the studies and the men there were such as would give it a wrong direction. The ethics of the schoolmen do not satisfy the thirst for a personal salvation, and the science of morals in a Roman Catholic college is not encouraging to a humble and mistrustful soul. Sailer and Zimmer were very excellent people, very thorough and enthusiastic professors, for beautiful character and an uncommon piety and love-ableness; but dogmatically or scientifically they were merely strong moralists, engaged with religion while they touched little on the central Lamb of God—the omnipotence of sacrifice, the impotence of works. Holy living, works of righteousness, the human striving to be like the divine, these were their great points; and though the evil seemed partly carried off by their own humility and love of Jesus, it was really only driven deeper,for these made it amiable and seductive to their scholars. Not long after a poor girl said to Sailer, "You have been baptized with water as of John, but you have not the baptism with the Holy Ghost and with fire as of Jesus;" and he confessed that it was partly true. Gossner left him with a strong personal affection, with a zeal for God, with a clear sense of the divine beauty of the truth, but, as one of his friends described it, knowing nothing of the power of Christianity, nothing of the Crucified, nothing of faith no more than if it had been a strange country, holding fast only by morality. He studied dogmatics two years, read hard, was greatly praised, formed an impregnable system but only to test its weakness, and then in dismay forsook systematic for pastoral theology. In pursuit of this he went to Ingoletadt. He was restless, in search of something undefined even to himself, oppressed with a vague pain and misgiving. He began a diary, which was found among his papers with the motto, Noli me tangere. It is much occupied with sermons by a certain Professor Niedermayr, sermons which produced a marked impression on his mind. He preached twice himself, to his great dissatisfaction it appeared. He plunged into the literature of the time. The great epochal change of the Revolution was making itself felt; minds were moved by it unconsciously, fresh breezes of thought were stirring in the silent death of the cloisters, fresh sympathies were wakened. He stumbled upon very "disquieting books"—Kant, Fessler, Steinbart, Pfenniger, &c. His restlessness increased. The atmosphere of the seminary grew stifling. Sailer was now banished to Munich, and he set out to visit him. But Sailer did not quite understand these new ideas, and he was not quite confident to Sailer; they were both uncomfortable—the one from exile, the other from mental trouble, and he returned sadder than he went. Matters continued thus till he got his curacy and the joy of liberty threw other feelings into the shade. "Now," he wrote, "I could breathe, I lived once more, and really felt that I was an existence." Another pleasure followed and was linked to the real blessing of his life. Sommer, one of the neighbouring curates, was a man after his own heart; a quiet friendship sprung up between them; they used to meet in a little wood half-way between their cures for private, unrestrained speech about themselves and the state of their hearts before God. One day Sornmer spoke of Tersteegen. Gossner read him, as he had read Lavater, with blessing and delight. Another day he spoke of one Martin Boos, a heretic it was said, and yet, he added, there must be something good about him. They heard presently that a manuscript book of his, with the pregnant title, "Christ for us and in us," was circulated in the neighbourhood. This also was eagerly read. But three years before Gossner had begun to study the Bible; and as he felt less peace and comfort, he studied it the more, and mostly upon his knees; and when he mentions his conversion he says, "The Bible opened my eye and heart." The work, begun after this long preparation, ran swiftly on. Sommer wrote that he lay continually at the feet of Jesus, that his only work was to beat upon his breast and weep over the old Adam, that he looked most like an angel, and was ready, for the Lord's sake, to go to prison or death. Shortly after Gossner wrote in his diary upon a visit from Langer-mayr, "One is so unfaithful, I said. Yes, said he; the Lord must be faithful, the Lord Himself. That made a great impression. What he said came back after he left; the Lord must be faithful, not we. . . . . . And always I seemed to say and feel, Back, thou devil ! Thou old Adam in me, die ! Live, Lord Jesus! And so it was; and this whole day my prayer has been just this, repeating Pereat A dam! Vivat Jesus!" These days of betrothal went by, and were succeeded by others dark and joyless and weak and marked especially by carelessness in prayer. It was unbearable until the joy of the presence was restored, and "I felt so art thou, left alone, without the Lord; then what thou truly art is the Lord. I started, thinking, is it possible that Thou Lord canst be with and in me? . . . There is only one Lord, and I carry Him in me! Adam, Adam, die! Jesus, live in me, I give myself to Thee that by Thee Adam may die." And he quaintly adds in dialogue :— "I.. Lord, what wilt Thou in me? Dominus: I will have nothing in Thee or from Thee. I: Thou canst have a superfluity of that. I have nothing, and I am nothing, and Thou takest but a heap of sins." There is here a touch of that infinite humour which broke out continually in his speech, flashing in afterwards through the grim shadows and sorrows of his life like Lear's Fool upon the windy moor. It was a part of his very nature as it has been of all natures akin to his—the strong-willed, deep-thoughted, and childlike Augustine, and Luther, and Knox, and many another; and as the puzzle of life was solved and the burden of it fell off, this humour rose lightly up and sparkled over his speech, sometimes in the gro-tesquest forms, or in the simple confidence of a child at play, or running into a keen irony against himself, or as a light among the dark retreats of sin, irresistible in the gravest positions and as visible in his secret communion as his social intercourse, though so softened and chastened by the presence of God that it never even remotely suggests irreverence.

Soon after he had received Christ for us and in us, he went to Seeg, where Fenneberg the vicar received him into his house. Fenneberg was a good, true, pious man, full of faith and the Spirit, and with him and Schmid, another scholar of Sailer's, and the author of well-known and well-loved books for children, Gossner gained strength and light. The household life of the vicar and his two curates has not been very distinctly preserved. The diary deals mostly with personal matters; yet, judging from one incident, it must have abounded in the most practical and impressive teaching. A poor man, with an empty purse, came one day and begged three crowns that he might finish his journey. It was all the money Fenneberg had, but as he besought him so earnestly in the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus he gave it. Immediately after, he found himself in great outward need, and seeing no way of relief, he prayed, saying:— "Lord, I lent Thee three crowns; Thou hast not yet returned them, and Thou knowest how I need them. Lord, I pray Thee, give them back." The same day a messenger brought a money-letter, which Gossner reached over to Fenneberg, saying, "Here, father, is what you expended." The letter contained two hundred thalers (L.30) which the poor traveller had begged from a rich man for the vicar; and the childlike old man in joyful amazement cried out, "Ah, dear Lord, one dare ask nothing of Thee, for straightway Thou makest one feel so much ashamed! "

In 1801 Gossner went to Augsburg, where he had the honour of being brought before the same Inquisition as Boos, sleeping in the same dungeon and tended by the same jailer, who, like his predecessor of Philippi, had been converted through his prisoner. Notwithstanding, he laboured in Augsburg till 1804, when he was removed to the village of Dirlewang, a cure which he retained till 1811. Much of his religious history is identified with this place. His first step was to form a society of like-minded friends. They numbered five who met to confirm and inflame their love of Christ, to pray, and to intercede for other friends and brethren. Before a month had passed, the following entry occurs in his diary:—"Truly the Lord has marvellously blessed our prayer-meetings. How true it is, as James writes, the effectual, fervent prayer availeth much. What I have experienced of prayer at these seasons is beyond all my expectation, more even than I can understand." He was learning the secret of the Lord, slowly becoming conscious of that gigantic power which God puts into His child's hands, and by using which he became a prince in the Church of Christ. Other experiences followed and openings into wider circles of religious life. He read Zinzendorf, fell into the acquaintance of a pious Quaker, wrote to Karg in Nuremberg and Steinkopf in London about a new translation of the New Testament. Sailer was to procure the necessary imprimatur. The Bible Society in England and the Mission Society in Basle took it up, and some years later it was not only completed, but 60,000 copies were disposed of in an incredibly short time. All this did not occur without the bitterest opposition and a persecution so keen and unrelenting that at length he laid down his charge and withdrew to Munich. He lived in retirement, wrote some of those devotional books with which his name will always be associated in the religious literature of Germany, and, as he became better known, was asked to preach. His audience rapidly increased—a smaller circle gathered round him for private teaching and communion—he established prayer-meetings for them in his house, and drew to him the scattered ones in whose hearts Boos had already sowed the gospel. Tidings of this wonderful movement reached Berlin in a letter of 1816. It could be scarce credited. People went to Munich to satisfy themselves of what they heard: Von Bethman-Hollweg, the two Sacks, Snethlage, a long roll of visitors worthily closed by Schleiermacher, and to which also, though not at this period, must be added F. H. Jacobi. They found more than they expected; above all, they found in Gossner himself the spirit of the movement. He was a new type of character, but of genuine, real character ; and they left him—wise and gifted men, whose names rang as leaders through the then world of thought—with amazement, respect, and love. Meanwhile troubles awaited him. He had introduced public singing at the meetings in his house; he ventured to bring choral music with German words into the church during the Advent services of 1817. An energetic friend personated the organist, precentor, director, and teacher; those who came, we learn, were edified. But there is a class of persons who are always waiting to be scandalised by an innovation. They denounced this "new and uncatholic worship" to the Consistory; and when this failed, fresh accusations were put forward. He had printed extracts from Protestant writers in his books; he had written an offensive tract on the human heart—("A Temple of Sin, or a Workshop of Satan;") moreover, he had translated the New Testament; and as at this time that devilish engine with the heavenly name—Concordat—was introduced into the state, and the minister who had said he would leave the pious folk to their piety, began to profess he must root out all sectaries. Gossner again resigned his office. This time it was the north that afforded him a shelter. The Munich letter had left very permanent results in Berlin. The government had recently acquired the Rhenish provinces. They offered Sailer the archbishopric of Cologne, Boos a professorship and Gossner a pastorate at Dusseldorf. The two latter accepted. Goss-ner's preaching produced "a mighty sensation;" people cried out during the sermon—it was felt as if they must all be changed. If the Jesuits won't be converted now, it was said, they must have seven skins. Even here, however, his enemies reached him; and after a short stay he accepted an invitation from the Emperor Alexander to St Petersburg.

He was appointed to the large Maltheser Church from which Lindl was going to Odessa to be Probst of Southern Russia. Lindl was one of the same school and bore the same stamp of the true mint. He had belonged to the aesthetic side of the old rationalism, and sought the salvation of his flock in the cultivation of their taste. To this end he had erected a theatre for the young people, and otherwise also strove to lead them in the narrow way. But during Gossner's stay in Munich, deeper springs were opened in his heart by the casual reading of some fragments of Jung Stilling. There was then little difficulty in frank intercourse between Protestants and Romanists if they had a meeting-point in Christ. Gossner had warm Protestant friends in Wurtemberg and Baden; in Munster the Princess Gallitzin bade Claudius and Stolberg to the same table; Furstenberg and Katerkamp moved in one circle with Hamann. Sympathy for the truth led them together; there was neither an ecclesiastical nor a political life; those who were earnest drew off from the crowd and towards one another. Lindl determined to see Stilling for himself. On his way he went to Munich. Gossner counselled him to make the 25th Psalm his prayer during the entire journey; and he returned in joy. Having received light and peace from God he preached the gospel with great fulness and power and with an overwhelming eloquence, until persecution drove him by slow steps to Russia. His refinement and grace, his mysticism and hidden meanings and apocalyptic speech, his command of feeling, the pathos of his voice, the fiery flow of his zeal, alternating with his sweet, persuasive pleading, combined to attract crowds of the higher circles of the capital as well as the habitual church-goers. In six months he had endeared himself to numbers—a kind of mighty-worded, mystic - speaking, poetic, brilliant Irving of the north. It was a critical position to fill. And Gossner was plain-spoken; manly and vigorous, but withal ungainly; monotonous in his voice and perhaps of an occasional harshness in manner: his words flowed quietly about the text, a still, clear water through which it could be always seen; there was no adornment, but the simplest and yet often profound and searching unfolding of the Scripture. It was only quiet, faithful teaching that went to the heart. The crowds remained and increased. His first Sunday in St Petersburg was Lindl's farewell and all the people wept that he was gone. The next Sunday he preached himself and all the people wept for joy that he was come. His fame soon went abroad. There was a breathless silence while he spoke. People came to him from Caesar's household. Lords and ladies-in-waiting rubbed with beggars off the street; the Greek Church shouldered the Romish in the vestibule; the Lutheran pressed by both. The service was often interrupted by cries. The sighing and praying and smiting on the breast and murmur of "God be merciful to me a sinner," was once so loud that he knew not what to do, and was obliged to pause. One day among the crowd a cry rose, "Hear it; it is the voice of God!" Without faltering he answered, "Hold thy peace," and continued the sermon, for he was humble to the heart's core. When Bishop Eylert asked him if he was not touched with sectarianism, "No, my lord bishop," he answered; "good shepherds do not rend the flock." "How many," said one of his friends, "how many, dear father, will meet you in eternity to whom you have shewed the way of life!" "It is not," he replied, "the poor instrument that will be praised, but the Workman. He alone has done it; and nothing is left to me but disgrace and shame for all my unfaithfulness, carelessness, and failure." And if he was humble he was also bold; and though as nothing before God he stood like a prophet to the world. No sin, no rank or pride, ever made him quail or stoop for a moment from his place as God's messenger. Rebuke or counsel, it must be uttered, sometimes in the homeliest way, sometimes with a noble, simple dignity. He often pointed with outstretched finger to some one on whom his eye fell, held up his sins before him, and besought him to repent; and not seldom the sinner was constrained to obey. When the present King of Prussia visited him in his hospital, and expressed his pleasure, and asked if he had any wish that he could fulfil, he only raised his finger and pointed upwards, and said, "My wish is that I may know your Majesty by my King yonder."

He had laboured in Petersburg for nearly four years when the gathering dissatisfaction of the Greek popes and the antipietistic section of the Russian nobles found a pretext for his dismissal. The priests saw their churches empty; the nobles resented Madame de Krudener's influence over the Emperor. All the clergy were not like the honest preacher, who found one day but lour or five hearers and invited them to adjourn with him to the Maltheser Church where they would hear something much better. All the nobles were not like Prince Gallitzin. Lindl had married and lost his Probstship already. Gossner had written a book in which he denied the perpetual virginity of Mary. Lutherans, Calvinists, and Romanists joined in the clamour. He belonged to none, and there were some of all who hated him. One Saturday he found an order on his table forbidding him to enter the pulpit again. He had a private audience. The Emperor assured him of his esteem; repeated that it was impossible to retain him; begged him, if he was in any strait, to look with confidence to him, and handed him 1000 roubles. He handed them back, with the remark that he served a richer Lord than the Emperor, and prepared to depart. One party demanded his banishment to Siberia, another that he should be handed over to the Pope, or thrown into prison. Some of his writings were burned, others confiscated. [He wrote on the second volume of his "Spirit of the Life and Doctrines of Jesus Christ in the New Testament,"—"On the 8th May 1824, thou, dear little book, didst drive me out of St Petersburg, leaving thy firstborn brother there in arrest, to be burned in the cloister on the 9th October."] They were laid under ban throughout the empire for the future. And with an escort of Cossacks, whom the Emperor made responsible for his safety, he passed over the border. There was great woe when the loss was known. Gossner is gone—Father Gossner is gone, was on everybody's lips. A crowd of sympathizers and spiritual children accompanied him part of the way, weeping as they went. For himself, he came to Berlin "like a bear robbed of her whelps." "I was like a father," he said, "who is robbed of all his children in one day." As his friend Bethman-Hollweg describes it,—"It was written in every lineament of his face, 'Henceforth let no man trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.'" One singular mark of this period remained with him till his death; consistories, synods, public and officious bodies had haunted him for years, pursued him from cure to cure and from the Danube to the Neva; and to the very last nothing gave him so much horror and alarm as the mere name of a Board.

From Berlin he went to Hamburg, and from Hamburg to Leipzig. He yearned after his Petersburg "children," and was unhappy till he had leisure, not only to write to them, but for them. In Leipzig he found what he sought—wrote much and held intercourse with few, and through the friendship of Tauchnitz, the publisher, was enabled to support himself by his pen. Every week he wrote a sermon for his beloved Maltheser Church. His "Spiritual Casket"—a far commoner book in German than ever Bo-gatzky was or will be in English households—his "Life of Martin Boos," his "Family Pulpit," and others of his most valuable works, were the fruit of this repose. It did not last long. After two years, the police— that everlasting torment of quiet people abroad— discovered a sufficient reason for intermeddling. He was not of any confession! He said he was a Christian. They declared the answer was insufficient and unsatisfactory, somewhat dangerous indeed. "Well, now I know," he cried, "that in Christendom one dare no longer be a Christian for fear of the police." And in Leipzig, at least, it was so; he could not remain. A hundred asylums were pressed upon him at once; princes and statesmen were as forward to receive him as the rest—Reuss, and Dohna, and Rehden, and Stolberg. He fixed upon Berlin, and found it to be the place of God's appointing. Hitherto his life seemed aimless and broken; a very weary wandering and loosing of any ties that held oat promise. He is scarce in one place till he is persecuted to another; scarce opens his lips till a sealed order closes them; scarce at rest till he is in motion. It was a painful education. Every step of the journey he had to stop and cry Pareat Adam! Vivat Jesus! It was a thorough undoing of the human and the self, a learning of lessons that were repeated till they were got, and often bitterly, by heart. The life of faith is not a simple outburst; effectual prayer is not the easy steady flow of a first love. They come out of slow and patient and somewhat harsh training. Whatever Gossner had learnt it was in this school of God; and the apt scholar there passes at once into the teacher's place.

Return to Book Index Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus