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then he continued in a lower tone, “she went to you last week in behalf of the Friend of whom I have been speaking, and you refused to bestow even a farthing in his cause, although he has done so much for you. Yes, Farmer Glasby, you look surprised; but it is all quite true. That friend is the Lord Jesus Christ; the debt cancelled is the mighty debt of your sins—the price paid, his precious life. Now I find written here, Farmer Glasby”—and Mr. Ashford opened his small pocket Bible—“. He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord;' and look, that which he hath given it shall be paid to him again.' If the heathen people far away over the seas, who have no knowledge of their Saviour, no understanding of his love
if such are not 'poor,' bereft of the truest riches, there can be no such thing as poverty in the world. You would not have pity on their darkness, Farmer Glasby; you would not spare from your abundance, any small gift for their souls. Did you not then refuse your Saviour's appeal? Did you not refuse to lend “unto the Lord ?!”
The farmer was some moments before he answered ; but by-and-by he muttered that he had “never before seen the matter in that light.” Mr. Ashford now thought it well to bid him good evening, and the two parted, each taking the way to his own dwelling.
But the vicar's story was not without its fruits. Next day, the farmer once more accosted him.
“Well, sir, I've been thinking over what you said, and I've come to the conclusion that I've not done as I ought, by a good deal. But, sir, you can tell your young lady to call at our house again, and in the meantime, here's something”—and he slipped a paper in the vicar's hand; “I only wish I'd lent more before in the same quarter."
As soon as the farmer had gone, Mr. Ashford opened the paper; enclosed he found a sovereign.
5 Ah!” said the vicar, as he walked away, “how many in this wide world repulse their Saviour, as he stands knocking at their door, and asking them to lend unto him. If, when in our turn we asked him to give unto us, he treated our requests in the same way-where should we stand at the judgment ?
AN INCIDENT IN THE LIFE OF JOHAN ARNDT. THROUGHOUT all the northern parts of Europe, wherever you find a pious family, you are sure to see a book called “ True Christianity” lying beside the Bible. Like our English “Pilgrim's Progress,” it is equally admired in the palace and in the cottage. It is met with in the country houses of the Swedish and Norwegian gentry and farmers, and even in the huts of the Laplanders. The name of the writer, Johan Arndt, is universally venerated ; and numerous anecdotes of his sayings and doings are current, which are so in accordance with what is known to be fact, that they probably are true.
He was born in 1555, and died in 1621; thus he lived in days of strife and trouble to the church, during which he did much to counteract the "evil that is in the world” by preaching the gospel, by his writings, and by the influence of a holy life. During the time he lived at Brunswick, where he preached the gospel for the space of nine years, he left the town early one morning, to pay a pastoral visit in a village at a considerable distance. It was a lovely morning in early summer, the trees had scarcely lost the fresh green of spring, and the birds were singing their joyful notes. Johan Arndt raised his voice, too, in a hymn of thanksgiving as he went along. Ere midday, however, the sky was covered with dark clouds, which soon discharged themselves in such violent rain, that the dust on the roads ere long became thick mud. Arndt sheltered himself as well as he could under a hedge, until he saw the stage cart from Halberstadt to Brunswick come up, and then engaged a seat on the driver's bench, which had a hood like a cabriolet to protect the driver and whoever sat beside him. It was a sort of baggage waggon, the hinder part carrying the goods and the front seat allowing room for three persons to sit comfortably without incommoding each other. They soon reached a little village inn, where the driver said he always stopped to dine. Arndt said he would dismount too, and sit in the room while the man had his dinner. When they entered, the dinner was laid in one part of a room, which was divided so as to form almost another room, one-half serving as kitchen and the other as salle à manger. Arndt sat in the outer, or kitchen part, while the driver went to his dinner. Three respectable looking women were already seated on the bench, at one side of the table. They had come out from Brunswick for a day's pleasuring in this village; but the rain coming on and preventing their roaming through woods, orchards, and meadows, as they had hoped to do, they sought refuge in the inn, and had just finished their dinner when the carrier sat down to his. Arndt could overhear all that passed in the room; nor was the conversation, in what in these days we should call the coffee-room, meant to be private. After expressing wonder that no one in the town had thought of sending out a carriage to fetch them home, they proposed taking places in the stage-waggon, and asked the carrier whether he could accommodate them.
“Well, ladies, I fear not,” the man replied ;' "my bench holds but three, and one place is already engaged. You are not very large, however, and two might perhaps be able to squeeze into the one seat, and the other manage to sit in the cart, on the straw amongst the barrels. They would keep off some of this heavy rain.”
There seemed to be no alternative but to walk through the mud or to accept the carrier's offer, and they agreed to his plan, and then continued their conversation. One said
“ I should not wonder if my husband has sent no carriage for me, just to save the price of it. Since he has been listening to Pastor Arndt's preaching, he has become quite stingy, and can scarcely bear to spend anything on what he calls worldly pleasure ; while he gives away all he can thus save to folk that he calls the poor of Christ's flock. He says what the pastor gives away in alms is something wonderful considering his small stipend, and ought to serve as example to others.”
Oh,” said the second, “it little matters to Pastor Arndt what he gives away. It is well known he has the secret of making gold; and if he does not do it himself, he keeps a man in his house to do it for him. That I call hypocrisy: why not do it himself instead of getting another. He can well afford to give it away, and not be the poorer for it.”
“Well,” said the third, “I don't think so bad of that. If he can make gold, why should he not do it? What I consider so bad is his finding fault with everybody, talking continually of our sinfulness, as if we did nothing
but sin from morning till night. To my mind this shows him to be a very bad man; for I have no doubt he judges others from what he knows of his own heart. No one who judges so harshly of others can be good or kind himself.”
I quite agree with you,” again began one of the others. "My husband and I go to church on Sundays and holidays; and we do no harm to any one. What more need a clergyman care for in his flock. But all the Evangelicals are getting just like him, and we shall have no pleasure nor peace; for all the young people are copying Pastor Arndt and taking up such notions of strictness, fancying this thing sinful and that thing blameworthy. It will be a gloomy world if these notions spread.”
By this time the carrier was ready to proceed on his way, and called to his passengers to take their places. The gentleman in black came out with the three women, and offered his hand to assist them to get up on the driving seat, saying
“I think, ladies, you can all three manage to sit beside the driver, without much crushing. I can take my place amongst the barrels ; the straw will make a comfortable seat.”
They accepted the offer with many thanks and some apologies, and all being ready, they drove off. Before they were half way to the town, however, the axle-tree broke completely, leaving the waggon divided into two parts, and they could go no farther. While they were deliberating what steps to take next, a cabriolet approached from the town, and the driver on seeing them drew up his horse to ask the carrier whether he had met Pastor Arndt anywhere in that direction. No," the man replied; nor should I have known him if I had.” To his
surprise, a voice from amongst the barrels called out, “Yes, Wilhelm; here I am, safe and well.”
Oh, sir,” said Wilhelm, “ Mrs. Arndt has been so uneasy about you, that she desired me to take a cabriolet and drive out to meet you on the road from Halberstadt.”
“ It was most kind and thoughtful,” Arndt replied ; “but the rain is now over, and with these boots I can very well walk the rest of the way; but here are three ladies, in holiday dresses, they can scarcely walk through this mud, you must drive them to their homes;" and turning to them he said, smiling, “I fear, ladies, you must again pack rather tightly, as this little carriage was made to carry only two persons.” Being quite aware that all they had been saying must have been plainly heard by Arndt, they began to apologise. He interrupted them, however, saying, “Nay, ladies, no apology is needed. Your conversation was but a mixture of truth and error, like many others. “One part, at all events, was false," she replied. “ Your conduct, sir, proves that what I said of a bad heart does not apply to you, for yours is a truly good one."
“On the contrary,” said Arndt, “my own heart proves to me the truth of what you said in that respect. Our hearts are all bad. If we examine ourselves, we must all confess it; but the gospel teaches us not to yield to the dictates of its sinful impulses, but to follow the precepts of Christ, and promises us the Holy Spirit to enable us to do
You were mistaken in saying I know how to make gold. I have no power to do that, but the God to whom the silver and the gold belong richly repays the little I give to those in need.” And then bowing to the one who had said her husband had been listening to his preaching, begged to be remembered to that worthy man, and walked away quickly.
These women were so won by Arndt's kindness and courtesy, that they were afterwards some of his most attentive hearers; and soon declared that if every one practised true Christianity, the world, so far from being gloomy, would be so happy as to be more like heaven than earth.
LORD! in a weary labyrinth,
A wilderness of ways,
The summer of my days;
Which as they glittered brake,
Or venom of the snake,
But now I lay me at thy feet,
With sad and trembling heart,
My higher hopes depart.
In folly's low employ-
Which lead to holier joy.