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mouldy,—they are, therefore, obliged to bake it soon after the corn is threshed out. Our youthful anchorites were lodged gratuitously by the people of Dormilleuse, who also liberally supplied them with wood for fuel, scarce as it was; but if the pastor had not laid in a stock of provisions, the scanty resources of the village could not have met the demands of so many mouths, in addition to its native population.'p. 264.
The situation becomes more striking when it is borne in mind that the scene was in one of the highest inhabited parts of the Alps, -aspot, indeed, which men would never have inhabited if they had not been driven there by persecution. Their communication with the other valleys was both difficult and dangerous, and that not only when the snow was falling and the wind high, but rendered so by the avalanches which threatened on all sides, and which were * falling thick, especially about Dormilleuse.' Once the students and many of the inhabitants were providentially preserved from one when returning home after a sermon, from the church. It rolled into a very narrow defile, and fell between two groups of people,-a moment sooner or later one of those parties must have been carried into the abyss below, and the flower of the youth of this region would thus have been destroyed. “The villages,' says Neff, are everywhere menaced by the impending danger. Upon several occasions lately, I have seen even our calm and daring Alpines express anxiety. In fact, there are very few habitations in these parts which are not liable to be swept away ;there is not a spot in the narrow corner of the valley which can be considered absolutely safe. But terrible as their situation is, they owe to it their religion, and perhaps their physical existence. If their country had been more secure and more accessible, they would have been exterminated like the inhabitants of Val Louise.'
• The separation of this little party is not the least interesting part in the history of their proceedings. Towards Easter, the opening spring gave the signal for their return to their several communes, and the studies of the school-room gave place to manual labour in the fields and woods. The breaking up of a society, which had been united by the strongest ties of mutual respect and affection, could not be contemplated without feelings of reluctance on all sides—but it was an event which was regarded with peculiar regret by the inhabitants of the secluded Dormilleuse. It was a perfect epoch in its history to have received in its bosom a company of young men, who, though they were of grave habits and serious demeanour, yet gave a dash of unwonted cheerfulness to the dull routine of Alpine life. To see them in the village sanctuary, to hear their voices at the close of day, and to listen to the swelling harmony, when their evening hymn of praise was raised to the throne of the Most High, to receive them in their
humble humble dwellings, and to meet them loy the torrent side, when the weather would permit them to take exercise-these were so many incidents to change the sameness of their usually unvaried existence, and the day, on which they were to bid farewell to their guests, was one of painful anticipation to the Dormilleusians. On the evening before they took their leave, the young men of the village prepared a supper for their new friends, and invited them to the parting banquet. It was a simple and a frugal repast, consisting of the productions of the chase. The bold hunter contributed his salted chamois, the less enterprising sportsman of the mountain laid a dried marmot upon the table, and one or two of the most successful rangers of the forest produced a bear's ham, as a farewell offering in honour of the last evening on which the conversation of this interesting group was to be enjoyed. It was at the same time a pleasing and a melancholy festival, but I do not find, in the pastor's Journal, that either the achievements of their ancestors, who had garrisoned this rocky citadel, and had repulsed numberless attempts to storm it, or the exploits of the chasseurs, who had furnished the festive board, formed the conversation of the evening. It seems to have savoured rather of the object which originally brought them together, and when one of the party remarked, “What a delightful sight, to behold so many young friends met together—but it is not likely that we shall ever meet all together again!"
-the pastor took the words up like a text, and enlarged upon the consolatory thought, that though they might see each other's faces no more in this life, they would most assuredly meet again in a joyful state of existence in the world to come, if they would persevere in their Christian course. He then gave them a parting benediction, and, after a long and mournful silence, which each seemed unwilling to interrupt, either by uttering the dreaded good-bye, or moving from his seat, the valedictory words and embraces passed from one to ano. ther, and they separated. The next morning, at an early hour, they were seen winding down the mountain-path to their several homes ; they of Dormilleuse gazed after them till their figures were lost in the distance, and the village on the rock appeared more dreary and desolate than ever.'—p. 265-268.
Three years of such unremitting exertions irremediably ruined Neff's constitution, which had shown symptoms of weakness at the commencement of his labour. One continual, or rather perpetual, course of excitement and anxiety-frequent and laborious journies on foot, in all weathers—the sharpness of the external air, and the suffocating heat of a small room, in which so many persons, not remarkable for their cleanliness, were crowded together, day after day,—these, with the fatigue of his daily, and almost hourly, lectures, would have undermined a stronger frame. Nor was his food such as to supply the unmerciful demands made upon his bodily powers. His meals were irregular, the food coarse and unwholesome, and thus a total derangement of the digestive organs
was brought on, which compelled him to leave his parish in April, 1827, in the vain hope that the inore genial climate of his native country might restore him : he lingered about twelve months in a state of severe suffering, and then went to his reward;
ispov ÚTVON Κοιμαται, θνησκειν μη λεγε τους αγαθους. Like Oberlin, indeed, who was his model, Felix Neff has left an example that will live and fructify. He has been singularly fortunate in finding a judicious biographer, one who, with warm feelings, possesses a sober mind; one who, with the most affectionate reverence for the virtues of this admirable man, has neither canonized what was erroneous in his conduct, nor sought to conceal it.
Neff's unremitting exertions, and the privations and hardships to which he voluntarily subjected himself, were such that he may almost be said to have perished by a slow suicide. But this, considering the zeal which consumed him, is more to be regretted, than imputed to him as a fault; he may even (though mistakenly) have thought it his duty so to spend himself, knowing in how great a degree his death, so hastened, would sanctify his memory, and tend to impress his lessons upon the hearts of those for whom he had sacrificed himself. But he exacted too much from those as well as from himself; being, as it were, wholly spiritualized himself, he allowed too little for ordinary humanity. He set his face against harmless sports, which are salutary as well for the mind as the body, it is proper to observe that his biographer intimates no dissent from his opinions upon this point;) and he established réunions or prayer-meetings throughout his parish, wherever he could, being so thoroughly persuaded of their utility as to assert that 'whosoever, even were he an angel, should neglect such meetings, under any pretext whatever, is very little to be depended on, and cannot be reckoned among the sheep of Christ's fold!' To those who agree with Neff here, we earnestly recommend a perusal of Mr. Gilly's very judicious remarks upon the sure tendency of such meetings to generate spiritual pride, and the whole train of evils that follow upon that easily besetting sin. The remarks are advanced in a spirit of true Christian meekness, and they are strengthened by the high practical authority of Thomas Scott, and the high intellectual one of Bishop Heber. We touch thus briefly upon this, only, as the biographer of this admirable man has done, lest it should be supposed that we think his example worthy to be followed in these, as in so many other things. It is a beautiful example. “Without derogating in the least degree,' says Mr. Gilly, “from Neft's merits, it may be said that much of his usefulness may be attributed to the practical lessons which Oberlin had previously taught. It is for this reason that few greater boons
can be conferred on society, than by giving all possible notoriety to the labours of such benefactors of mankind as our own Bernard Gilpin, and George Herbert, or Frederick Oberlin, who, in their humble stations of parish priests, promoted the temporal and spiritual good of their people at the same time. Many a young clergyman has received the same impression as Netf, from reading such biography; and has lighted his candle at such glorious lamps, and has been inspired with the noblest of all ambition, that of distributing happiness and comfort within the immediate circle of his duties. Neff himself is now a burning and a shining light, by which others will be kindled.
No English clergyman has difficulties of the same kind to contend with; but it is not less true than lamentable that there is scarcely a parish in England in which there are not much more formidable ones. Neff had no ale-houses in his parish, no beer-shops, (those most mischievous creations of the legislature, against which a cry is heard from all parts of the land). There were no schismshops there no interloping bigots or itinerant fanatics to obstruct his usefulness, by disparaging his office, vilifying his motives, and traducing his doctrines. No newspapers found their way there to counteract (systematically) his religious instructions, and to set before his people the details of every loathsome and every atrocious crime that is committed in the midst of a depraved and thoroughly corrupted society. There was no poverty there but what nature inflicted; it belonged to the place the people regarded it as their portion, their hereditary lot, and there was no close contrast to embitter it. There were none there who ground the faces of the poor--no iron-hearted manufacturers; and, on the other hand, none who existed in a state of hostility, secret or avowed, with the world and the world's law; no smugglers, no poachers, no sabbath-breakers ; none of that rising population which is to be seen, not in our great cities alone, but in all manufacturing and all populous places, and from which scarcely the smallest town is free running wild, as it were, among their fellowcreatures, and trained up from earliest childhood in the ways of sin, misery, and perdition. We could name parishes (and every reader assuredly could add to the list) to which, as to their moral state, the Ban de la Roche, when Oberlin commenced his labours there, was as the garden of Eden ; and as to the physical condition of a large proportion of the people, the poverty of Dormilleuse might seem like comfort and abundance when compared with them.
• If there is a crime in England,' says the author of an unpretending but very pleasing little volume,*_ if there is a crime in England * Evenings by Eden Side, by George Pearson, Kendal, 1832.
which may be properly termed national, it is the sin of Sabbath breaking. I do not know what idea a foreigner would form of Christian England, if he took a survey of our towns and villages on a Sabbath day: he would be led to look upon our bible societies, our missionary societies, as no more than - sunbeams glancing from a plain of ice. Let not the splendour of our good deeds, the heavenly halo which sheds its glory round us, blind us to the moral plague, which, lurking beneath, is preying upon the very vitals of society. Pass on from town to town, and from village to village; visit the churches, the chapels also, and see what proportion their united congregations bear to the population that swarms around them: visit the dwellings of the people, ask if family altars are common among them, and how many of their inhabitants are really on the Lord's side ? sum up the account, and the glory of England is laid in the dust.
Well does this amiable and right-minded writer renind those in high places who regard the sabbath with habitual contempt, that rank and fortune are dependent upon social order, in other words, upon the submission of the people to certain regulations, the observance of which is founded upon, and sanctioned by the sacred authority of that religion they so madly despise : for, let religion once lose its hold on the minds of the people, and hereditary power and pride will be swept away and mingle in the wreck of better things. Well has he said this to the great ; and well and eloquently too does he say“The waters are agitated, and public opinion, like a river that has burst beyond its banks, threatens to overturn all that is within its reach; and what is beyond its reach? The most durable works of man are unable to resist it: the torrent is rolling onward, and its waters are now heaving and splashing against a fabric that has withstood the storms of centuries,-a fabric that now trembles to its very foundation beneath the mighty pressure. Let the clergy not despise the signs of the times: the searching waters will also try the solidity of their structure, and what is not based upon the rock the uplifted billows will batter down.'
The clergy have not despised those signs. Whoever can call to mind the state of the church and of the universities thirty or forty years ago, must know, that in no other class has there been so great and undeniable an improvement. Were they but favoured by external circumstances as much as they are obstructed by them, the good that might be effected through their influence would be great indeed. For it is only by their zealous and persevering endeavours that that reformation can be hoped for, without which all other reforms (real or putative) will only mock the expectations that they excite. By them it is that men must be induced (as indeed from the pulpit we have heard them properly exhorted)