Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

The next day again, his state remained as before. He continued to receive visits; had full possession of his senses; the powers of his mind and soul were not impaired; with his wonted charity, he took no notice of himself, and cared only for others. A friend had sent him, the day before, a bunch of grapes just gathered ; he pressed his hand, and said, with a low, broken voice, “You need not be uneasy ; it was not your grapes that brought it on.” That same day, which was the day of his death, he ordered his dinner, and was unusually cheerful; so that it was afterwards supposed that he was rejoicing secretly at the thought of his dissolution, which had now begun to be perceptibly approaching, or that he wished, by his cheerfulness, to inspire those who were about him with hope; for his intimate friends perceived, in spite of his cheerfulness, an entire alteration of his features, which clearly announced to them what was shortly to take place.

Towards evening, at four o'clock, he desired to rise from bed; and, as the nurse had gone to a distance, at his request he was assisted in this by one of his friends, who had come to visit him, and a young priest of the seminary. We cannot better communicate the circumstances more immediately attending his death, than from the mouth of the latter: “When he had got out of bed with our assistance, and, being wrapped up in his cloak, had seated himself in a wooden armchair which generally stood by his bed, he was exhausted, and leaned his head back on a cushion, which was placed on the back of the chair. Mr. P. K. took occasion, from this, to ask him if he had a pain in his head: Not exactly that,' he answered, but there is something so dark about my head. It is an unpleasant feeling, when we ourselves can perceive that our mental faculties are growing more dull; yet we must thank God even for this. How grievous would be our departure, if, as death approached, the faculties of the mind still retained their strength! But if they are grown dull, we can more easily offer them in sacrifice to God, for' (as he said laughing) then we can make no farther use of them.' The nurse now told us that the bed was ready, and, leaning on us, he got into it again. When he had lain down, and the nurse was called back, he said, 'I do not lie at ease; there is something missing.' His pillow had been left upon the arm-chair. placed it under his head, and then he said, “Now I lie comfortably;' on which we parted from him. He desired the nurse to go to some distance from the bed, and sit and wait by the window, for he wished to sleep a little. She had scarcely sat down there when she perceived that he was worse, by an uneasy movement which he made; she hastened to the bed, and just heard the words, “Jesus, to thee I live! Jesus, to thee I die.' He made one more motion with his hand, as if he would take his leave of her. She ran to the normal school, where Bullenhar and Hölling were still engaged about the examination of the normal scholars, and cried out, 'Overberg is dying ! Both hastened to the place, many seminarists followed, and I also came back to him. He lay quietly in the bed, and seemed to have already expired. All stood around speechless, and for a good while there prevailed a deep silence. When I lifted my eyes, I observed that the bishop, and the vicar-general, and many others, were come in. The bishop first broke the silence and said, “His is a blessed death!' Doctor L., who was present, was then asked whether he had actually expired. He came to the bed, examined him, and said, "He is dead! Mr. Bullenhar announced his death to the normal scholars, who were still assembled : a general loud weeping and sobbing expressed but imperfectly the grief which, in the most anxious expectation of the event, had not hitherto broken forth. Only two days before, they had seen their beloved father in the midst of them. All determined to remain in Münster for the funeral.”

He was laid out quite late in the evening. The seminarists put on him his sacerdotal vestments: and the next day, the body was exposed to view in the great hall. For three days successively, the galleries and staircases of the seminary were crowded with people, who wished once more to see the earthly remains of the venerated man. Those who were set to watch by him, could not keep off the press of people, nor hinder the hair of his head being all cut off. Every one wished to possess some memorial of him. His books and effects were sold afterwards for double and triple their value.

On Sunday, the 12th of November, the body was solemnly committed to the earth. Thirty-six seminarists, with lighted white torches, surrounded the hearse on both sides. Clergy, high and low, civil authorities, nobles and citizens, professors, students, all boys and girls' schools of the town, united, formed the immense funeral procession, such as had never been seen before. In spite of the bad weather, the road from the seminary to the church-yard was crowded with people, on both sides; among whom, however, there prevailed a most extraordinary silence. Those who saw him laid in the grave, were not the only ones who wept over him : through the whole country flowed tears to his memory,—tears of sorrow, tears of gratitude and love. The news of his death fell like a clap of thunder on his friends at a distance, who had not been able to hear anything of his illness.

Immediately after the announcement of his death in the “ Münster Intelligencer," the general wish was expressed in the same paper, that a monument should be erected to the deceased, in token of public gratitude. The direction was barely given where contributions might be sent; no regular subscription was got up; no one was even solicited in person for a contribution, which very probably the distinguished friends and admirers of the deceased had expected to be done; yet there came in a considerable sum, principally in very small contributions. Even the poorest schoolmaster would satisfy the feelings of his heart, by contributing his mite in testimony of the merit of this universally-revered man. It was not the richness of the gifts, nor any splendour in the execution, consequent upon such richness, but only the circumstance, that the monument was completed by contributions from the greatest possible number of hands, which could, in a worthy manner, give honour to the departed. It was not set up in a public place, but in one which corresponded with the modest character of Overberg ; that is, in the interior court of the ecclesiastical seminary.

The monument is an obelisk, placed on a cubical pedestal, which rests on two steps, and is decorated at the corners with four reversed torches, and on the frieze above, with the emblems of the priesthood, of instruction, and of literary fame. On the west side of the obelisk, facing the entrance of the seminary, is placed a bust of Overberg, in marble, crowned with a wreath of oak. Below it this inscription.

“ BERNARD OVERBERG,

TEACHER OF THE NORMAL School." On the Pedestal.—“Member of the Chapter, Dean of Uberwasser, Regent of the Episcopal Seminary, Synodal Examiner, Counsellor of the Consistory, and Knight of the Third Class of the Order of the Eagle."

On the reverse side of the obelisk, to the East.—“Teacher of the Masters for a period of forty-three years. It was thus permitted him to be a benefactor of the whole Province of Munster."

On the pedestal. “ His saving influence was not confined to the limits of this country. A great part of the youth of Germany will, from henceforward, be instructed on his plan. He advanced the kingdom of God by word and work. To numberless persons he has given consolation, advice, and help. He excluded none from his love."

“REQUIESCAT IN PACE."

The two sides of the obelisk have on them the day of his birth, and of his death; and on the pedestal were the following texts :6 Blessed is the man that hath found wisdom, and is rich in prudence. Prov. iii. 13. • The fear of the Lord is the lesson of wisdom, and humility goeth before glory. Prov. xv. 33."

Over the grave of Overberg, his friend, the Vicar-General Melchers, placed a cross with this inscription.—“ There is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved. Acts iv. 12."

On the back of the cross are the words, “ Faith, Hope, Charity;" three words which were often heard from the mouth of Overberg, which are sufficient, by themselves, to express his entire character, to represent his interior life-that life of the soul which death follows not.

REQUIESCAT IN PACE.

THE CHRISTENDOM OF NOVALIS.

(Translated from the German.)

(Concluded from p. 314.) As the sciences have now arrived at their highest point, we can more easily view their state and progress. The want of them was long felt in the last century; with them we became more known. Nature began to appear more destitute ; for, growing accustomed to the splendour of our discoveries, we clearly saw that they were only a borrowed light, and that even with proper instruments and proper methods we could not discover the “ essential,” nor construct any system from that which was discovered. Every enquirer must therefore acknowledge, that one science cannot exist without another: thus arose the sciences from the “mystification-attempt; thus the very character of that strange philosophy has become a pure-scientific element, for a symmetrical foundation of knowledge. Others brought the sciences into new and nearer relations; they introduced a vigorous intercourse between them, and endeavoured to arrange their naturalhistorical classification.*

Thus things continue to advance, and so we may easily judge how

*"The harmony of the sciences, that is, when each supports the other, is, and ought to be, the true and brief way of confutation and suppression of all the smaller sort of objections ; but on the other hand, if you draw out every axiom, like the sticks of a faggot, one by one, you may easily quarrel with them, and bend and VOL. VI.

22

favourable this intercourse must be to the outward and inward world that surrounds us; how consonant with the higher formation of the understanding,-- with the knowledge of the one, and the exaltation and cultivation of the other; and how amidst these circumstances the atmosphere clears up, and the ancient heavens and a yearning after it, the living astronomy, must again come forth.

We will now turn our attention to the political spectacle of these our times. The old and new world are engaged in warfare, whilst the imperfection and weakness of former states and institutions have been but too manifest in the frightful phenomena they have displayed. Perhaps in these events, as in the sciences, a nearer and more various connexion between the European States is designed, as the historical result of this war! Perhaps a new movement is about to take place in the hitherto slumbering powers! Shall Europe again awake? Shall the States be united, and a common system of knowledge be formed ? Is the Hierarchy destined to form the solid foundation of the States,to become the intellectual principle of their union? Is it impossible that the secular powers can be in equilibrium ? A third element, both spiritual and temporal at the same time, can alone solve this question. Between the conflicting powers no peace can be established : the name of peace is but an illusion--a mere truce. From the views of cabinets, and from common opinion, no unio can be conceived. Both parties, urged on by the spirit of the age and of society, have powerful and necessary claims which must be brought forward. Both represent the imperishable strength of the human breast: on the one hand we see respect for antiquity, attachment to spiritual institutions, a love for the monuments of our ancestors, and their old glorious connexions, and the joy of obedience: on the other hand, a rapturous feeling for liberty is visible--an absolute expectation of a more extended sphere of action,---a love for novelty,--an unfettered intercourse with every state,--a pride in human exertions--a satisfaction in the enjoyment of personal rights, in the possession of everything, and a powerful desire of citizenship. Let not the one hope to annihilate the other : here plundering can be of no avail; for the inward capital of every state doth not lię behind ramparts ;--it can never be stormed.

Has there not been enough of war ? But never will it cease until

break them at your pleasure.”—Bacon. De Aug. Scient. Lib. vii. p. 330. (See Dr. Wiseman's “ Lectures on the Connexion between Science and Revealed Religion." London, 1836.)

« PredošláPokračovať »