Obrázky na stránke


sweet voice, that the people would gather below his win- “Yes, he does not trouble himself; he lets the birds. dow to listen, as in the old days at the roofing ceremonies. care for him,” grumbled Anna, as she wiped the tears This did not please Anna, who used to say, “ Eli has from her eyes, and tried to regain her composure. become a regular barrel-organ; you only need to touch “ If by the birds ' you mean our Father in heaven, him, and he plays you a tune.”

then Eli is quite right to leave the cares to him. Look During the day, if he wanted anything, and Anna wa here, Anna: when Eli heard that I must go away for not there, or was unable to do it, he would call out, in several months, he said to me, ' Before you go, my boy, a loud voice, “Wood here!” and Joseph hastened up to I must learn to walk on my wooden leg again; the Lord perform the required service. On Sunday and Thursday will give me strength to do it, you will see.' So we evenings, Joseph, with a few other pious young men, fastened on the leg every day; at first only for a few came to Eli's little room to practise singing the psalms minutes, and then longer and longer, so that gradually and hymns. Eli always began by reading a chapter in he was able to stand on it. And he is standing up there, the Bible; and then they sang together, in four parts, with his stick in his hand, like an old grenadier, to give the beautiful old German hymns. Many a mocking re- you a surprise; and he is coming to drink coffee with mark was made in the house and in the street about you in your room. So do not spoil his pleasure, but look “these pietists." Anna too was displeased ; and when very much astonished when he comes limping in.” Mrs. Lindfelder asked her what objection she could have, “ You don't say so, Joseph !” cried Anna in amazeshe replied angrily, “The church is there for singing and ment; “now when you are going away, Eli is able to praying in, and this is not the place for it.”

walk again!” But to-day, as we have said, other cares weighed heavy “Did I not tell you, Anna, the old God lives still. on her heart. Winter was at the door; things were So be comforted, and go up and make Eli a cup of good getting dearer every day; and poor Anna had no money, coffee.” no meal in the barrel, and no oil in the cruse." And “Willingly, if I had only a halfpenny to get a drop of Joseph is going away, and the Lindfelders are in trouble milk!” themselves, and cannot help us, and in God's name, 1 | “Is that the difficulty ? I think I can help you don't know what is to become of us !” mourned Anna, there,” said Joseph, who put a shilling into her hand, on that Sunday evening, to the landlady, and burst into

and hastened away. tears.

At that moment the milkman's whistle was heard in The landlady tried to confort her, and said it would the street. Anna, with the shilling in her hand, was be best for Anna to go to the poorhouse, and say that already half comforted. “Lend me a jug,” she said to she could not support Eli any longer, and they must take the landlady; "by the time I have got up the steep him in now. “And then,” she added, “ if I were you, stair and down again, the milkman will be away.” Anna, I would sell my furniture, all except my bed, and The jug was given with no pleasant face, and the get some one to take you into a little room, where you woman murmured to herself, “Mr. Joseph is very ready would have very little rent to pay, and you would need with his shillings; but the old people must go for all less firewood and candles.”

that. I would be a fool to keep them any longer for But that touched Anna's tender point; for the pros- such a small rent.” pect of having no home of her own was like to break her Anna overheard these last words; and when, all out of heart; and to part from Eli,—that seemed to the good breath, she reached the top of the stair, where Eli came old soul worse than death. She laid her head on the bobbling to meet her, she burst into tears once more. table, and sobbed so bitterly, that her comforter was “What is the matter, Anna? I thought you would silent. She had intended to tell her she must give up be so glad to see that I could walk again.” the two attic rooms, which she and Eli had inhabited “What is the use, Eli ? For all that, you and I are now for thirty years, as a higher rent had been offered the most wretched creatures in the world !” for them; but at the sight of such grief she lost the “Why, then, Anna ?” heart to do it, and put it off till to-morrow.

“Oh, the landlady said" “Anna !” cried Joseph, coming in at that moment, “Let her say what she likes. I am not going to let “come up-stairs as quick as you can ; you have a guest her ill-natured tongue spoil my pleasure now.” in your room. But what does this mean? What is the “But if she turns us out of the house ?matter, Anna ?”

"Well, the good Lord has prepared for us, as for poor Instead of answering, Anna only wept more loudly, Lazarus, a more beautiful home in heaven. And now I and the landlady made a sign which Joseph seemed to am coming to have coffee with you in your room. It is understand ; for he gently raised the head of the weep- | long since I was there before." ing woman, and said kindly, “Don't take on so, poor “That's true, Eli; not since you came out of the Anna; the old God lives still, and

hospital. I will make a little fire in my own stove to 'We only heavier make our cross,

make the coffee, and that will warm room at the By wringing tears from every loss.'

same time." Go up now to old Eli, who is as happy as a child.” So they went in together to the little room ; and Eli

[ocr errors]

was glad to seat himself in his arn-chair, which Joseph “We are just as badly off as ever, Eli, and the six. had brought in, for his wooden leg still caused him much franc piece is like a drop of water in the Rhine." pain. While Anna lighted the fire with her last sticks, “Well, one drop is always better than no water, when made the coffee, lighted the little lamp, and set the one is thirsty. But you think, if you can't lift it with a table, Eli smoked his pipe in silence; but looked so con- big spoon, it's of no use." tented and happy, that Anna said to him, as she poured “There will soon be none at all, Eli, to lift with a out his coffee,

big spoon, or a little one either.” “I wish I were like you, Eli, and could be always so “But the six-franc piece, Anna ; I was so pleased to contented.—But what in all the world is this ?" she cried be able to give it to you." out in amazement, as sbe lifted her own cup and found “And I thank you for it, Eli ; but even if you could below it an old six-franc piece.

give me another, it would not be enough for all our Eli laughed so beartily that he had nearly spilled his wants.” coffee.

“Then get to-morrow just what we most need for the “But, Eli—"

day, and trust in the Lord for the next day.” Are you more contented now, Anna ?”.

“That's true, Eli; the Lord does care for us. But I “A six-franc piece! I have not seen one for a long would like to know why he cares so much better for the time,” said Anna, examining the old coin on every side. rich than for the poor ?" “ Wherever did you get it, Eli ?”

“What do you mean, Anna ?” “I found it in this leather bag, among my old rub- “Well, I mean that it seems very unjust that the rich bish."

should always have such good times, and the poor such “That explains how it is so black. But I will soon hard ones in the world." make it shine again. It is a pity we must lose fourpence You are wrong there, Anna. The rich have their in changing it. What do you say, Eli ? . Let me clear crosses too." out the rubbish to-morrow; perhaps I may find another “I wonder what they are,” said Anna, beginning to such among the rags.”

her seeds again. “They have houses as fine as the “I doubt that, Anna," said Eli, smiling, as he shook king's palace, and dresses that it is a pleasure to look the ashes from his pipe.

at, sacks of money, roast and boiled to their dinner “Who knows,” thought Anna, who was quite com- every day, and carriages to ride in! No, no, Eli; don't forted by this time. “Six francs and eighteen sous tell me that things are fairly divided. The Lord might ready money, and no debts !" It was long since she had give us some of what the rich have to spare. They felt so rich, for she had just paid up all arrears of rent would never miss what would keep our little household." with the remainder of Eli's pension. “And now let “The rich would not like that, Anna. Money is a her come ; when one has lived more than thirty years in powerful snare for a man's heart; the more one has, a house, one can't be turned out into the street without the more they wish, till they would rather give up

their good reason."

life than their money. You don't understand that; When she had cleared away, and opened window but I know it." and door of Eli's roon,—“For the singers have been “I wish that was true, and that you had the money ; there again, and the place feels so close, he will sleep all then we would be all right. But look here, Eli : only by the better for a little fresh air,”—she fetched her bag of two things do I know that there is a God in heaven,seeds and seated herself at the table beside Eli, who was only two. now reading in his Bible. Anna put on her spectacles " And these are ?” and commenced sorting the seeds, which had got all “That the rich women bear children like the poor, mixed up, thinking all the while what she should buy and that they must die like one of ns.” to-morrow with her six-franc piece. First a little fire- “That's it, Anna. The rich must die ; and as for 128, wood; then she would get her shoes mended, for there we may die soon. That is the difference.” were great holes in them, and it was wet feet that had “I don't know about that, Eli. God be thanked, I given her the rheumatism two years ago; then potatoes. am well and strong, and may live a long time yet.” But then she remembered all at once that she had no Are you afraid of death, Anna ?coffee, no oil for the lamp, no salt, no flour, no soap for “Awfully afraid, Eli; are you not ?” her washing--and the first thing necessary, a loaf “I used to be ; but now, thank God, I am afraid no bread, would cost twenty-eight sous-even a six-franc | longer.” piece could not buy all that! And if I had two of them “ How is that? I would be glad if it were so with it would not be enough !” she exclaimed sadly, pushed me." the seed-bag away, took off her spectacles, and had “I will tell you how it came. I repented, believed, tears in her eyes again already.

and prayed ; and the Lord in his mercy took away all “Well, Anna, are you not contented yet ?” asked Eli, fear of death out of my heart.” whose attention had been drawn from his book by her Anna looked at him in astonishment as he said these exclamation.

words, with clasped hands and beaming eyes. She did

[ocr errors]

not speak, but thought to herself : “These are some of Lazarus evil things : but now he is comforted, and thon his fanatical ideas."

art tormented. And beside all this, between us and “Yes, yes, Anna, it is as I tell you," continued Eli ; you there is a great gulf fixed,'—do you hear, Anna ! a " since I have found my Saviour, he is my life, and to great gulf, that keeps them apart, for Abraham goes on: die is gain. And often,—when it seems hard to be so so that they which would pass from hence to you canold, and lame, and helpless, and I long to be out of the not; neither can they pass to us that would come dreary narrow room, at work in God's free air, under from thence.'' the dear sun,-I say to myself: • Patience a little “Eli,” said Anna suddenly and earnestly, “what does longer, old boy, and then you will leave all your suffering that mean?—Thou hast received good things and art behind, and the dear angels will come and bear you tormented, and Lazarus is comforted because he had home to the everlasting Fatherland, as they once carried evil things. Does it mean that all the rich folk go to poor Lazarus to Abrahanı's bosom.'-You know the hell and all the poor to heaven ?” beautiful story of the rich man and Lazarus, Anna ?” “God forbid, Anna! It means only that each receives

"I may have heard it read in church, but I do not re- after death according as he lived on earth. I told you member it.”

that the rich man thought only of his fine house and “Why, do you never read in your Bible ?”.

his beautiful clothes, and liked to fare sumptuously every " I get along so slowly with the reading, that I always day, and have honour before men, and never asked about fall asleep over it ; and then I don't understand what's God and the kingdom of heaven. And so Abraham says in the Bible.”

to him, Thou hast received thy good thingsthat is, the “If you fall asleep over it, it's no wonder you don't good things which thou desiredst–in thy lifetime. But understand. But if you like, I will read to you about Lazarus had borne patiently his poverty, his misery, and Lazarus just now."

his pain, and had always thought, I will gladly suffer all Anna had no objection, and Eli began to read :- that God lays upon me, if I can only come to him in his " There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in heaven at last! And, for his faith and his patience, he purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day.'” was comforted and carried by the angels into Abraham's

" Aha !” interrupted Anna, “it seems the rich folks bosom-that is, into paradise.” then were just like those nowadays.”

“But, Eli, all poor people are not like Lazarus. " And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, There are houses that it makes one shudder to go into. which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring Every one is wilder than another; and they live as if to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich there was no God in heaven. The men are drunkards, man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his and the women idle slatterns; and one hears nothing sores !'”

but cursing, scolding, and quarrelling: it can hardly be “And the poor,” Anna broke in again, “they were no much worse in hell." better off then than they are now. But the little dogs “That is unfortunately true, Anna ; and such godless took pity on him ; yes, yes, the brute beasts have more poor people are doubly to be pitied, because they must than once put hard-hearted men to shame.”

go from that hell on earth to the everlasting hell. But, "* And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was God be praised ! neither are all the rich men like this carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom : the rich one: there are many who are faithful stewards of the man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his wealth intrusted to them, and who seek first the kingeyes, being in torments—””

dom of God, like Abraham, Job, Joseph at Pharaoh's "What had he done, then, that he went to hell ?" court, King David on his throne, and the prophet Daniel

"Lived in luxury and pleasure, without caring about in the palace at Babylon.—But now you must not be the salvation of his soul—without ever thinking of God always interrupting, Anna, or else we will never come and eternity; and “he lift up his eyes, being in torments, to the end of our story.-So the rich man said again :and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. ! I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy him to my father's house : for I have five brethren; that on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of he nay testify unto them, lest they also come into this his finger in water, and cool my tongue ; for I am tor- place of torment.”” mented in this flame.""

“He had a kind heart, after all, Eli; it was good of “I am sorry for him now, Eli. If I had been Laz- him, even in bell to be thinking of his brothers, and arus, I would have fetched him water."

wishing to keep them out of it. Why was he not wiser , soon in his ?


hear that heaven and hell are far from each other. It "You see, Anna, riches are a great temptation.

is as if you should wish to go from here to the nioon or When a man has all that he desires, and all men speak to the sun-you couldn't.”

well of him, it is very difficult for him to recognize his “No ; that would be impossible.”

spiritual poverty, to repent, and turn his mind fro “. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in earthly things to heavenly. And therefore our Saviour tuy lifetime receivedst thy good tiings, and likewise said : Children, how hard it is for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!" We poor “You wonld almost persuade one that it is a blessing folks are better off in that, and our task is easier." to be poor, Eli !—But listen ; there is the church-clock

“That may be, Eli; but there are two kinds of pov- striking. Yes, indeed, it is nine o'clock; how the time erty. When one has what one needs, it is easy to be goes by !" contented. I would never wish to live in a fine house, “Nine o'clock already! Then Joseph will be here and have such grand clothes-it would be no pleasure immediately to help me to bed. We must make haste to me. But I would like to have my crust of bread in and finish our story; but without interruption-do you peace, and to be able to stay in my own home with you. hear, Anna ?" For, Eli, when one is old and feeble, and cannot earn "I won't say another word.” their bread, and has nothing in the world but two eyes “Well, the rich man wanted to send Lazarus to his to weep with, that is a greater temptation than riches.” | brothers, to warn them; and Abraham answered :

“It is a trial of our faith, Anna, to see if we will bear. They have Moses and the prophets ; let them hear patiently want and suffering because it is the Lord's them. But be said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one will; and we must pray to him daily to keep us from went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And murmuring and unbelief.

he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the pro

phets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose 'If we are weak, the Lord is strong;

from the dead.'If we are poor, the Lord is rich."

When Eli had closed the Bible, Anna said,—“There “It's all very true, Eli; but still I think things are is one thing I would like to ask.” unfairly divided, and the Lord might have given the poor a little more and the rich a little less ; they would is done; and God grant that his word may be blessed to still have had enough."

our souls, so that in our old age we may make up for “That's just like a woman," answered Eli, a little what we neglected in our youth.” annoyed—“always coming back to your first word, after “Ah, yes, we have much to make up for-and we are one has talked reason to you for hours. I ask you, Who every one of us poor sinners. But, Eli, would it not is the happiest—the rich man, who, after enjoying him have been good if Lazarus could have come back and self in this short life, must sit for ever in hell ; or poor told how things went after death ?” Lazarus, who, after a short time of suffering, is in para- “One has come and told us-one who knows far better dise for eternity ?

than Lazarus." “Lazarus, of course there is no doubt about that ; “Who ?but-"

“The Lord Jesus Christ, Anna-blessed be his name! “Away with your if's and but's, Anna, or we will —who died for us, and rose again. In this very story never get to the end of it. See! in this world we are of the rich man and Lazarus, he has told us plainly what all, as it were, on a pilgrimage, journeying to our home awaits us after death. And if we do not believe him, in heaven, and the Lord gives us enough to support us neither would we believe Lazarus, or any other who on the way. The rich he has appointed to be his stewards should rise from the dead." on earth'; and they must learn to give and to be merci- “But how is it that people do not believe, Eli ?" ful, we poor folks to endure and be patient. You say “That comes from the deceitfulness of sin. When we things are unfairly divided : perhaps they are ; but if begin to be afraid of hell, and would like to repent, so so, we have undoubtedly received the better part. To that we might get to heaven, Satan comes and whispers the rich God speaks as a King, who demands an account in our ear, as the serpent did to Eve, "Thou shalt not of the goods intrusted to his servants; and woe to thein surely die.'”

rich man in the parable,– Depart from me, into ever- believe it rightly, and don't think of it, and always forlasting fire.' But our Savionr has so greatly honoured get it again."

if they are found unfaithful! Then he says, as to the True, Eli ; we know that we must die, but we don't the poor as to call them ' my brethren;" and all that is " And that is why David wrote in the ninetieth

done to us he counts it as done to himself (Matt. xxv. Psalm,-'Lord, teach us to number our days, that we 31-36). Yes, Anna, as often as I read that passage, the may apply our hearts unto wisdom.'” tears come into my eyes ; I must clasp my hands; and “Yes, Eli; but look here: the Lord Jesus lay in the if I could, I would fall down on my knees, to praise and grave only from Good Friday till Easter Sunday—and thank the Lord, that He whom all the angels serve is he had power over it, for he is the Lord, and not a not ashamed to call us brethren. And since we have sinner like us ; but we must lie under the ground for such a rich and powerful elder Brother in heaven, who years and years, and crumble to dust. It makes me has promised to care for us both in this world and the shudder to think of it.” next, should we not be content with our lot, and believe “Only the body, Anna—the poor weary body-which that he will do all things well, although it may seem is, so to speak, the garment of the soul: it must return hard to us now to tread the thorny path, like poor to the dust from which it was taken. But the soul Lazarus ?”

itself, immediately after death, is either carried by the

Arise !

care and sorrow

angels to paradise, like poor Lazarus, or is cast, like the Eli let her cry on for a while- and seemed much rich man, into hell—from which God in his mercy de- moved himself ; then he began to sing :liver us !”

Hope on, poor soul, hope ever ; “But every Sunday, when the pastor repeats the

Why art thou so dismayed ?

One mighty to deliver, Creed, he says,—'I believe in the resurrection of the

Is hastening to thine aid. body.' That's what I can't understand.”

Out of the depths he'll raise thee; “What sort of seeds are you picking out there ?"

Soon, through these clouds of night

That now oppress, amaze thee, “Cabbage seed; it has got mixed up with the pars

Shall burst a blessed light." ley." “ And a whole cabbage-head will come out of a little

“There comes Joseph; and there's not a better soul seed like this?"

in the world : he gave me a shilling this afternoon," "A head bigger than your own, Eli : it's a splendid said Anna, wiping her eyes with her apron. sort."

Eli took no notice of the interruption, and went on “But how does that happen ?”

with the next verse. When Joseph entered, he joined " It grows fast enough when once it is in the ground.” in, and they sang together with great earnestness :“That is to say, you sow the seed, but God must

Bid thou a long good-night; change it into a plant.”

Shake off that dark to-morrow “Yes, indeed. The Lord has shown us this year

That keeps thy heart in fright.

It is not thine to govern, again, that unless he makes the seed grow, nothing will

Or things to come foretell; come of it; but it's long before people learn to believe

The Lord alone is sovereign, that."

And doeth all things well." “Well, Anna, this little seed is a picture of the re

The oil in the little lamp was almost done, and Anna surrection of the body. The seed must be put in the

had no more in the house ; so she said to Joseph he earth, and die there ; just as our bodies must be buried, must make haste, or the lamp would go out; and she and moulder away. And the Lord watches over the

was afraid to go to bed in the dark. But poor Eli was little seed in the ground: he feeds it with dew and rain,

so helpless on his wooden leg, that Joseph had to take that it may send down its roots into the ground; and

it off, and, as before, take him in his arms and carry in spring he makes the sunshine warm, to call it out of him to bed. Anna looked at Joseph with a sigh ; and its grave. Then we see the grass and the flowers spring- Joseph, though he said nothing, thought, “What will ing up out of the earth, as on the great Easter morn- the old man do when I am no longer here to help him ?” ing our bodies will spring out of their graves at the

After Joseph had said good-night and left, Anna held Lord's call. Yes, yes, Anna, it's all true what I am

out her hand to Eli, and said,—“Those were fine things telling you; and you should rejoice at it, for then you

you told me to-night, Eli. And what was that you will not be any more the old, frail Swiss Anna, and I

were singing ? will be no longer the lame, cripple Eli; for the soul will

Shako off thy care and sorrow'" then put on its new garment, which will never grow old or die, and we shall live for ever and praise the Lord in

“No, no; that's all wrong, Anna. the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

Arise! to care and sorrow

Bid thou a long good-night; “Amen. I wish we were there already! Where did

Shake off that dark to-morrow you learn all that, Eli? It's very fine; but, after all,

That keeps thy heart in fright.

It is not thine to govern, I do wish we were not so dreadfully poor, and that we

Or things to come foretell-' could stay together as long as we live. If I had to part from you, and to give up my little home, it would be “Oh yes. I know the rest now. like tearing the heart out of my body-like leaving my

"The Lord alone is sovereign, father and mother.” And poor Anna began to weep

And doeth all things well.'
Good-night; and a sound sleep to you."

[ocr errors]

once more.




ESSONS from life, did I say? Alas! the occur in groups, and in one almost unvarying form, it

lesson this month is a lesson from death! is the duty of parents and teachers, and all who have
“Deaths oft” have been reported this in any way the charge of children, to instruct and warn

season, and these chiefly of children, from them carefully regarding the danger-its causes and its the breaking of ice. As most of these terrible accidents


« PredošláPokračovať »