The Life and Works of Christopher Dock/4 Translation of the Schul-Ordnung
Simple and Thoroughly Prepared
Clearly setting forth not only in what manner children
may best be taught in the branches usually
given at school, but also how they may
be well instructed in the knowledge
Prepared out of love for mankind by the skilful schoolmaster
of many years experience,
And through the efforts of several friends of the
common good authorized to be printed.
Printed by, and to be had of, Christopher Saur, 1770
It is, beyond dispute, one of the first duties of parents and rulers to rear and rule their children and subjects in the fear of God. This, above all else, requires our greatest diligence and care in a twofold, yea, threefold manner:
First, we shall look upon them as precious gifts which God has entrusted to us, not only that we should play with them and have in them our temporal delights, but that we are under obligation to exert every effort to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Ephes. vi, 4.) Knowing that we shall be called to account for all that is given us, for unto whomsoever much is given, whatever it may be, of him shall much be required. (Luke xii, 48.) A pious teacher writes that parents may earn heaven or hell by their children, just as they bring them up.
Second, in addition to this, therefore, is required not only a formal admonition; “Not so, my children, do not such evil things,” as did the old priest Eli in I Saml. ii, 23, etc., nor with constant nagging or beating whereby children are incensed to anger, but rather an earnest admonition to the Lord, with sound punishment if these admonitions are not sufficient to suppress evil, and a good, steadfast life in godliness; for bad examples ruin more than all good precepts combined can build up. Children keep a sharp eye on those who are set over them, be they parents or teachers.
Third, in order not to offend one of these little ones, a thing which is fraught with such severe punishment (Matth. xviii, 6, 10), we require untiring prayer for ourselves and for the gifts entrusted to us, that God may add His blessing that they may be brought up to His glory. Even if we were to apply all diligence in planting good seed in our youth by good teaching, and water it by careful training, yet God must give it strength, or it will not flourish. For we cannot give our children other hearts, but God can. Therefore, we should earnestly continue to pray day and night and beseech Him for their sakes; and when parents and teachers once make this their main object and greatest care, to bring up their children and those entrusted to them to the honor of God and to do with them as the Lord has already admonished the children of Israel in the Old Covenant (5th book of Moses vi, 6, 7), “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Then in a few years we should see quite a different world. And although it does not lie in the power of parents to give their children new hearts, their efforts would still not be in vain, but God would add His blessing to their diligence, and if with all their diligence and those wholesome admonitions some should fail, they have still saved their own souls.
Ordinary life is similar to a household, the usual thing therein, be it orderly or disorderly, cleaves to the children throughout their lives, so that Solomon may well say in 22 Cap. v. 6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Can we not similarly plant early a fear of God; when at every opportunity vice is made hateful and virtue and love of God desirable? Therefore parents should be especially careful of the company into which they send their children, and especially what teachers they choose for them; for what they see and hear of these impresses itself deeply upon their tender spirits.
This my beloved father saw clearly, and already almost twenty years ago he felt a desire to meet our wants, as far as possible, in this respect, and as he knew of a man whose whole desire was to seek the children's best advantage in body and soul, to teach godliness as well as the ordinary branches, and in accordance with the advice of the Apostle Paul (Tit. ii, 7), always showed himself a good example, and was also blessed with a natural gift, he was desirous of obtaining a written statement of his school management that he might print and publish it, that other teachers who are anxious to instruct their children well and are not so richly gifted might find something in it to improve themselves. And for others, who care not whether the children learn anything or not, so long as they receive their pay, it should serve as a means of shaming them, when they see that parents too know how a well-planned school should be kept, and finally it is to teach the parents themselves what to do with children whom they earnestly wish to teach something good, for many parents in this country are obliged to teach their children themselves, (and others should do so rather than send them to teachers whose lives are stained with vice). These and other considerations have induced my beloved father to write to one of his good friends, as may be seen from the following letter.
Thus our good friend Dock was willing to write such a work, but when it was completed, he could not make up his mind to have it printed, because of a certain modesty, fearing that it would be looked upon as a monument to himself and thus be taken amiss. For this reason he was unwilling for it to be published during his lifetime, and it therefore lay nineteen years, until a few friends of the common good begged him persistently to have it published. Finally he yielded, and in the year just passed it was given me to publish. After reading it, and finding much pleasure therein, I consented to print it, but before I could attend to the work, the MS. was mislaid that I knew not how to find it again, and I feared that it had been sold as plain paper, so that I advertised in the newspaper for its return and offered a reward to the finder. When it still remained undiscovered, some people cherished evil thoughts, charging me with willfully putting it out of the way on account of some possible distasteful features in it. This I was forced to bear for some time, and had nothing to justify me but my good conscience. However, the author was not unhappy over the delay, and sent me a letter begging me not to worry over the loss of the MS., that it had never been his intention to have it published during his lifetime, and so he was quite well satisfied that it was lost. But when, as it seemed, I had borne my disgrace long enough, the MS. was finally found, in a spot where my men and I had repeatedly looked for it searchingly without noticing it, after having been lost for more than a year. So I have been unwilling to make any further delay, and here I give it to you, dear reader, as the honest, benevolent author wrote it, for the good of all who may read and profit by it. I hope no harm has been done by its having lain so long, for perhaps those who would have read it then would have laid it by and forgotten it by this time, and in our day it is as important as then, or more so. For experience teaches, that as the end of time draws nigh, so carelessness toward the good increases, and mankind is in godly things so careless and so indifferent to profitable instructionas was scarcely the case in the time of Noe, of which it is said: “They heeded it not.” And we see that almost everywhere children are far more carefully instructed in the equality of the world and useless things than in useful duties that stimulate to godliness.
That this little work may serve the purpose for which it was first written and compiled by the author, and having been delayed so long may be received with the greater attention, is the sincere wish of your faithful friend who has at heart the welfare of all men.
Germantown, March 27, 1770.
OCCASION FOR WRITING
THIS LITTLE BOOK
Friend Dielman Kolb:
The thought has frequently occurred to me, gone and returned, that you should (if you have the time in the future) some time write down for me the art and method employed in keeping school by our friend Dock. How he receives the children into school. How he manages various children in different ways. How he treats them kindly and lovingly that they both fear and love him. That they love one another. Also of their letter-writing. How he trains them to maintain silence. How he uses shame as an incentive to teach diligence. Also how he draws childlike pictures for them to practice. In fine, I should like to have you describe it to me briefly or at length, in such a manner that if he should depart this life we could give a just description of him, partly for the glory of God and partly for the instruction of other schoolmasters and of their successors, how it is possible to educate the youth. This I think would be well worth printing, during his life-time if he be willing, or afterward. At least I should like to send it to Germany if he should be unwilling to see it printed during his life. I consider it important, for it is desirable to know how to instruct children in letters and religion. While you could not use your pen I have gladly excused you, but now you have no such excuse as you had when you were ill. I have mentioned only a few points that chanced to occur to me. You can enlarge upon it, and I think there is nothing in his conduct toward children and adults but is worthy of consideration. I send my heartiest regards to you and your wife and remain indebted to you in love and service.
Germantown, Aug. 3, 1750.
Sollford, Aug. 8, 1750.
Salutem, Esteemed Friend:
With present writing will say that I was to-day, for a definite purpose, called upon to visit Friend Dielman Kolb, who told me that he is in receipt of a letter from Friend Christopher Saur, in which he inquires, in general, as to my school management, concerning which he would like to know, not only the art and method by which I receive the children, but also how I keep order among them. Then Friend Dielman explained to me thus: He would like to undertake such a labor of love for his Friend Saur, but as he is not thoroughly acquainted with my methods he is, therefore, not able to comply with Friend Saur's request in a satisfactory manner. Therefore he has begged me to take the burden upon my shoulders and make a report, to gratify Saur's wishes. This I am not able to refuse altogether on account of my love for Friend Saur and Friend Dielman, but I find many difficulties in a matter of this kind which I should like, first of all, to explain.
As regards reporting upon the questions that Friend Saur has put to Friend Dielman and the latter to me, I could easily answer them, seeing that my daily dealings with youth are known to me better than to another. But the difficulty is this: that it would appear as though I were trying to build up for myself a reputation, testimonial or unsavory monument, which, if it were indeed true, would deserve before God and all pious, Christian people, not honor, but rather ridicule and shame, and could not conduce to my soul's welfare and salvation. It would only be food for self-love. But may the Lord keep this far from me, for many pious hearts have been attacked by this robber and have lost what they had attained in the grace of God. For example, take even wise Solomon himself, who had not his equal in wisdom, riches, honor and glory, all of which and more he obtained from the Lord by prayer. In time he had through divine grace risen so high in knowledge,wisdom and understanding, that none was his equal; he flourished like a tree by the rivers of water. Of his wisdom and what he accomplished by it we may read at length in the first book of Kings, third to tenth chapters. Yet, after Solomon allowed self-love to conquer him, this beautiful tree still stood in honor and glory, but self-love had bred so many nests of caterpillars that many of Solomon'sfirst fruits were withered, which displeased God, as may be read in I Kings xi.
In my dealings with youth, this is of all my duties the heaviest burden upon my heart, and it outweighs everything else, call it what you may, namely this: How I may rule and conduct my household that I may some day receive a gracious testimonial from the great Shepherd of the sheep, who entrusted the young lambs to me through twenty-six years. They were really entrusted to me thirty-six years, by an occupation that no one knows better than I. But in this country I neglected that profession for ten years, for which I often felt the smiting hand of God, which before then had served me well. May the Lord graciously overlook my neglect of the youth during that time.
Further regarding the work asked of me, I stand here as in a deep valley, with a high mountain range before me, and I would much rather end my few remaining days down here in the valley, in the simplicity of life, God being willing, than climb the mountain. I hope my friend will be able to understand me. But as my friend's interest in this matter is the glory of God, and the good education of youth, I can and will not refuse to add what is in my feeble power. Especially as I shall soon, though only God knows when, leave this mortal habitation. O, it should be the supreme desire of every one to promote the glory of God and the common good, for this can make us happy here and in eternity. Holy Script tells us in so many places to do this. For the sake of brevity I shall quote only St. Peter's words (I Peter iv, 10, 11), “As every man hath received the gift even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth; that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ; to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
Beloved friend, this admonition of the Apostle binds me for the glory of God to serve my neighbor with the gift that God has given me, as I wish to be considered a faithful steward before God, this being as aforesaid the aim toward which I strive, and to obtain which is dearer to me than all that is visible. As I know that I can do nothing of my own strength without God's help and the strength of His Holy Spirit, and that my best work is incomplete, I give my school management to my friend on this condition: should he find anything therein that would serve for the glory of God or the assistance of others, let him put it where it belongs, and render unto God what is God's. (Psalm cxv, 1.) Also, if my friend during my life-time can give to me or my pupils any useful directions (that will add to the glory of God) I am willing and duty-bound to accept the same with love.
Now to arrive at the request of Friend Dielman, I could begin at once, but as Friend Christopher Saur asked of Dielman a report of everything, including the correspondence of the pupils with one another, I must give Friend Saur an explanation of this latter, so that when we come to it, he may be enlightened.
After I had, as stated above, given up the school at Skippack which I had taught for ten years, and lived ten years in the country, doing farmingaccording to my limited ability, various opportunities for teaching presented themselves, until finally I began teaching again, in the two townships of Skippack and Sollford, three days weekly in each school. But I was already acquainted with keeping school in this country, and knew that it is very different from methods in Germany, where the schools stand upon such pillars as the common man cannot well overthrow. Then when I considered the duties of the profession, and firmly determined to carry out all these duties, I also saw the degenerate condition of youth, and the many wrongs of this world by which adults spoil and distress youth. And I saw not only my own unworthiness, but also the unequal ability of parents in the training of their children, for while some seek the salvation of their children in precept and example, and do all in their power to promote the glory of God and the good of their children, others are quite the opposite. They teach their children evil by their own example, and thus the teacher must counteract this influence and be stern toward such unruly pupils. This readily gives a teacher the reputation of being partial. It is said that he is more severe with one child than with another. This indeed he must be, for the children's sake, that good children may not be ruined by bad ones. Otherwise it is of course a teacher's duty to be impartial. The poor beggar child, scurfy, ragged and lousy, if otherwise it have a good disposition and willingness to learn, should be as dear to him though he never receive a penny for it in this world, as the child of wealth from whom he expects good remuneration. The rich reward for the poor child will come in the next world. In fact, it would take too long to enumerate all the duties of a schoolmaster. But it would take still longer to enumerate his troubles. Considering all this, I early discovered that if I wished to accomplish good among children I must daily with David, lift up my eyes to the mountains for help (Psalm cxxi) if I wished to do good work in the world as it exists, and so I re-entered this work and have thus far remained in it. I often wish I could have accomplished more, but I thank God for helping me to do as much as I did.
Concerning Friend Saur's first question, how I receive the children at school, I proceed as follows: the child is first given a welcome by the other children, who extend their hands to him. Then I ask him if he will be diligent and obedient. If he promises this, he is told how to behave; and when he can say his A B C's and point out each letter with his index finger, he is put into the Ab. When he reaches this class his father owes him a penny, and his mother must fry him two eggs for his diligence, and the same reward is due him with each advance; for instance, when he enters the word class. But when he enters the reading class, I owe him a present, if he reaches the class in the required time and has been diligent, and the first day this child comes to school he receives a note stating: "Diligent. One pence." This means that he has been admitted to the school; but it is also explained to him that if he is lazy or disobedient his note is taken from him. Continued disinclination to learn and stubbornness causes the pupil to be proclaimed lazy and inefficient before the whole class, and he is told that he belongs in a school for incorrigibles. Then I ask the child again if he will be diligent and obedient. Answering yes, he is shown his place. If it is a boy, I ask the other boys, if a girl, I ask the girls, who among them will take care of this new child and teach it. According to the extent to which the child is known, or its pleasant or unpleasant appearance, more or less children express their willingness. If none apply, I ask who will teach this child for a certain time for a bird or a writing-copy. Then it is seldom difficult to get a response. This is a description of my way of receiving the child into school.
Further report concerning the assembling of the children at school:
The children arrive as they do because some have a great distance to school, others a short distance, so that the children cannot assemble as punctually as they can in a city. Therefore, when a few children are present, those who can read their Testament sit together on one bench; but the boys and girls occupy separate benches. They are given a chapter which they read at sight consecutively. Meanwhile I write copies for them. Those who have read their passage of Scripture without error take their places at the table and write. Those who fail have to sit at the end of the bench, and each new arrival the same; as each one is thus released in order he takes up his slate. This process continues until they have all assembled. The last one left on the bench is a “lazy pupil.”
When all are together, and examined, whether they are washed and combed, they sing a psalm or a morning hymn, and I sing and pray with them. As much as they can understand of the Lord's Prayer and the ten commandments (according to the gift God has given them), I exhort and admonishthem accordingly. This much concerning the assembling of pupils. But regarding prayer I will add this additional explanation. Children say the prayers taught them at home half articulately, and too fast, especially the “Our Father” which the Lord Himself taught His disciples and which contains all that we need. I therefore make a practice of saying it for them kneeling, and they kneeling repeat it after me. After these devotional exercises those who can write resume their work. Those who cannot read the Testament have had time during the assemblage to study their lesson. These are heard recite immediately after prayer. Those who know their lesson receive an O on the hand, traced with crayon. This is a mark of excellence. Those who fail more than three times are sent back to study their lesson again. When all the little ones have recited, these are asked again, and any one having failed in more than three trials a second time, is called “Lazy” by the entire class and his name is written down. Whether such a child fear the rod or not, I know from experience that this denunciation of the children hurts more than if I were constantly to wield and flourish the rod. If then such a child has friends in school who are able to instruct him and desire to do so, he will visit more frequently than before. For this reason: if the pupil's name has not been erased before dismissal the pupils are at liberty to write down the names of those who have been lazy, and take them along home. But if the child learns his lesson well in the future, his name is again presented to the other pupils, and they are told that he knew his lesson well and failed in no respect. Then all the pupils call “Diligent” to him. When this has taken place his name is erased from the slate of lazy pupils, and the former transgression is forgiven.
The children who are in the spelling class are daily examined in pronunciation. In spelling, when a word has more than one syllable, they must repeat the whole word, but some, while they can say the letters, cannot pronounce the word, and so cannot be put to reading. For improvement a child must repeat the lesson, and in this way: The child gives me the book, I spell the word and he pronounces it. If he is slow, another pupil pronounces it for him, and in this way he hears how it should be done, and knows that he must follow the letters and not his own fancy.
Concerning A B C pupils, it would be best, havingbut one child, to let it learn one row of letters at a time, to say forward and backward. But with many, I let them learn the alphabet first, and then ask a child to point out a letter that I name. If a child is backward or ignorant, I ask another, or the whole class, and the first one that points to the right letter, I grasp his finger and hold it until I have put a mark opposite his name. I then ask for another letter, &c. Whichever child has during the day received the greatest number of marks, has pointed out the greatest number of letters. To him I owe something — a flower drawn on paper or a bird. But if several have the same number, we draw lots; this causes less annoyance. In this way not only are the very timid cured of their shyness (which is a great hindrance in learning), but a fondness for school is increased. Thus much in answer to his question, how I take the children into school, how school proceeds before and after prayers, and how the inattentive and careless are made attentive and careful, and how the timid are assisted.
Further I will state that when the little ones have recited for the first time, I give the Testament pupils a verse to learn. Those reading newspapers and letters sit separately, and those doing sums sit separately. But when I find that the little ones are good enough at their reading to be fit to read the Testament, I offer them to good Testament readers for instruction. The willing teacher takes the pupil by the hand and leads him to his seat. I give them two verses to try upon. But if I find that another exercise is necessary after this (such as finding a passage in Scripture, or learning a passage, in which case each reads a verse), I give only one verse, which is not too hard for those trying to read in the Testament. If pupils are diligent and able, they are given a week's trial, in which time they must learn their lesson in the speller with the small pupils and also their lesson with the Testament pupil. If they stand the test they are advanced the next week from the spelling to the Testament class, and they are also allowed to write. But those who fail in the Testament remain a stated time in the A B C class before they are tested again. After the Testament pupils have recited, the little ones are taken again. This done they are reminded of the chapter read them, and asked to consider the teaching therein. As it is the case that this thought is also expressed in other passages of Holy Writ, these are found and read, and then a hymn is given containing the same teaching. If time remains, all are given a short passage of Scripture to learn. This done, they must show their writing exercises. These are examined and numbered, and then the first in turn is given a hard word to spell. If he fails the next must spell it and so on. The one to spell correctly receives his exercise. Then the first is given another hard word, and so each receives his exercise by spelling a word correctly.
As the children carry their dinner, an hour's liberty is given them after dinner. But as they are usually inclined to misapply their time if one is not constantly with them, one or two of them must read a story of the Old Testament (either from Moses and the Prophets, or from Solomon's or Sirach's Proverbs), while I write copies for them. This exercise continues during the noon hour.
It is also to be noted that children find it necessary to ask to leave the room, and one must permit them to do this, not wishing the uncleanness and odor in the school. But the clamor to go out would continue all day, and sometimes without need, so that occasionally two or three are out at the same time, playing. To prevent this I have driven a nail in the door-post, on which hangs a wooden tag. Any one needing to leave the room looks for the tag. If it is on the nail, this is his permit to go out without asking. He takes the tag out with him. If another wishes to leave, he does not ask either, but stands by the door until the first returns, from whom he takes the tag and goes. If the tag is out too long, the one wishing to go inquires who was out last, and from him it can be ascertained to whom he gave the tag, so that none can remain out too long.
To teach the uninitiated numbers and figures, I write on the blackboard (which hangs where all can see) these figures
far apart, that other figures can be put before and behind them. Then I put an 0 before the 1 and explain that this does not increase the number. Then I erase the 0 and put it after the 1, so that it makes 10. If two ciphers follow it makes 100, if three follow, 1000, &c. This I show them through all the digits. This done I affix to the 1 another 1, making 11. But if an 0 is put between it makes 101, but if it be placed after, it makes 110. In a similar manner I go through all the digits. When this is done I give them something to find in the Testament or hymnal. Those who are quickest have something to claim for their diligence, from me or at home.
As it is desirable for intelligent reading to take note of commas, but as the inexperienced find this difficult, I have this rule: If one of the Testament pupils does not read on, but stops before he reaches a comma or period, this counts one-fourth failure. Similarly if one reads over a comma, it is one-fourth failure. Repeating a word counts one-half. Then all failures are noted, and especially where each one has failed. When all have read, all those who have failed must step forward and according to the number of errors stand in a row. Those who have not failed move up, and the others take the lowest positions.
Regarding the correspondence, I may say that for twelve years I kept two schools, as already said, and for four summers (during the three months that I had free owing to the harvest) I taught school at Germantown. Then the pupils in Skippack, when I went to Sollford, gave me letters, and when Ireturned, the Sollford pupils did likewise. It was so arranged that pupils of equal ability corresponded. When one became his correspondent's superior, he wrote to another whose equal he tried to be.
The superscription was only this: My friendly greeting to N. N. The contents of the letter consisted of a short rhyme, or a passage from Scripture, and they told something of their school exercises (their motto for the week and where it is described, &c.). Sometimes one would give the other a questionto be answered by a passage of Scripture. I doubt not, if two schoolmasters (dwelling in one place or not) loving one another and desiring their pupils to love one another, were to do this in the love of God, it would bear fruit.
This is a piecemeal description of how children are taught letters, and how their steps are led from one degree to the next, before they can be brought to the aim that we have in view to the glory of God and for their own salvation, and which will be last discussed.
Now regarding his second question: How different children need different treatment, and how according to the greatness of the offense punishment must be increased or lessened.
I should gladly tell my friend all of this truly, but as the subject is such a broad one, I really do not know where to begin or end. This is because the wickedness of youth exhibits itself in so many ways, and the offenses which are taught them by those older than themselves are so various, and as God Himself declares: (I Moses viii, 21) “For the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth,” so that from this impure spring (unless by constant effort the bad is suppressed and rooted out) there is little hope of improvement. Corruption is so great, and increases daily in so many ways, that I am convinced that it is impossible to do anything of one's own power. Where the Lord does not help build, all that build work in vain. The slap of the hand, hazel branch and birch rod are means of preventing wicked outburst, but they cannot change the stubborn heart, which holds us all in such sway since the fall, that we are all inclined more to the bad than to the good, so long as the heart is unchanged and not renewed by the spirit of God. But while the seed of wickedness is present, it could not grow if we were convinced of its presence, and strove earnestly to remove it, not only from ourselves, but from our fellow man and from our youth. As this old evil and serpent's sting is the same in all, we all are enabled to seek earnestly the same surgeon and apply the means of recovery which He prescribes for such evil, to ourselves and our youth. For withoutrecovery we cannot reach peace, for the worm that forever gnaws our conscience through the serpent's sting leads to eternal damnation. May God mercifully assist us all, that we may not neglect the promise to enter into His rest, and none of us remain behind. Amen.
Because, as has been said, it would take too long to enumerate all cases, I shall give my friend only a few, together with the means that I have sought to apply. But these means cannot cure the damage. The Lord of Lords, who holds all in His hand, and for whose help we need much to pray in such cases, deserves all the praise if we see improvement.
First, among many children swearing or cursing is so common, expressing itself variously in so many wicked words. If this evil is not warded off, such sour “leaven leavens the whole lump,” therefore such children are carefully examined, whether they understand what they are saying. As it is frequently very evident that they do not, they are asked whether they have thought of the words themselves or have heard them; they usually reply that they heard them from So and So. If asked why they say it also, the answer is usually again, because So and So said it. Thus often ignorance is shown. They do not know why they are saying it. To such it must be explained that they must guard against such words; that they are against God's will and command. If they hear So and So use them, they shall tell that person that he or she is doubly sinning, for they got into trouble in school by repeating the words. If such children then promise not to use the words again, they go free the first time. But if after being warned they persist in the bad habit, after being certain that the accusation is true, they are put upon the punishment seat, with the yoke on their neck, as a sign of punishment. On promising to be good in the future they escape with a few slaps. If they again offend, the punishment is increased, and they must furnish surety. The oftener the offense, the more bondsmen. These bondsmen's business is to warn and remind the offender and prevent repetition. This is the rein and the bit to be put into their mouths for such offense, but the change of heart must come from a higher hand, and must be sought with diligent prayer. The import of God's word must also be explained to the offender and the other pupils. What great weight is in all this (if one persist and is found guilty to the end) and that man must render an account of himself, on the judgment day, of every idle word spoken. Such passages they must look up and read, and for their further instruction they are given a song or a psalm to learn.
Perhaps Pennsylvania was not infected by this contagious and wicked plague as early as some other countries that are long harassed with bloody war, where rough and unmannered soldiers have neither propriety nor decency, but do all sorts of wicked things in word and deed, without fear of God or man. The poor innocent children are hereby infected, and cursing and swearing become so common that many do not consider it a sin, even by adults. Children repeat such things, they are we know born into the world without the power of speech, so that we cannot blame them for bringing the use of such wicked words with them. O, no! the words they hear they learn to speak, they do not understand them, and do not know whether the word is good or evil. And as this country has been divinely protected from war thus far, and many of the first settlers were people who walked in the presence of God, little of this was heard among us. But a greater number of people coming to this country bring a greater quantity of this ware with them, and while it is not recognized as merchant's ware, it is still distributed and more generally used, to the great disadvantage of youth.
Secondly, the deep-seated wickedness of youth is exhibited in this way. When they have done a wrong, and are questioned regarding it, they usually try to cover it by a lie. Which, if it is not seriously punished and earnest effort made to eradicate such snake poison, leads to their destruction in time and eternity. Therefore parents and schoolmasters, in so far as they seek to promote the welfare and salvation of the poor children, must act betimes to prevent lying. To be sure, this wicked habit is very old. It exhibited itself directly after the fall, in Adam's first-born son, Cain, when he was asked to account for his great sin against Abel, his pious brother. God asked him, “Where is thy brother, Abel?” and he answered contrary to his knowledge and conscience: “I know not, am I my brother's keeper?” (I Moses iv, 9.) From this we see that this snake poison was manifest soon after the fall, and still bears fruit of death and destruction, which will be hard for parents and schoolmasters to account for if they do not seriously endeavor to keep their children from it. How near this is to my heart, none knows better than I. An accompanying song for pupils will reveal it in part. The Lord Jesus Himself testifies that the devil is the father of lies. (John viii, 44.) At His time the Scribes and Pharisees, while having the external appearance of piety, did things not for the glory of God, but for their own glory, and colored their cause with lies against truth, for which Christ said to them, as the verse tells us: “Ye are of your father the devil and the lusts of your father ye will do; he was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own, for he is a liar, and the father of it.” Such are Lord Jesus' own words. John the Baptist calls them for the same reason a generation of vipers, as may be seen in Matthew iii, 7. Read also and consider earnestly the twenty-third chapter of Matthew, and you shall find what woes follow lying and selfish actions. The last expression of the woes is described in the thirty-third verse: “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”
As I have said, by weeding out such bad twigs and plants from our children, and planting good things in their stead, then earnestly exhorting God to add growth to their watering, there is hope of doing some good. For the children themselves are always most to be pardoned, for they are as wax that can be pressed into any shape. But if such evil root is permitted to branch and grow, similar fruits will appear on the grown tree, I mean the grown man, that belong to woe and hell fire. For the kind of fruit is in the root, and the tree that does not bring forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. Now a lie is one of the fruits that belong in the fire. It is also the hiding place in which other sins conceal themselves. That a deceiver may continue his deceit and yet appear an honest man, he adorns his cause with lies. That a harlot may keep the name of being a virgin, she employs lies. A thief, murderer or adulterer does likewise, and if there is not sufficient clear evidence his crime is so covered by lies that he may still remain honest in the sight of the world. But if, while there is time for grace, such sins are not admitted, such hiding place can hide nothing, the end will have to bear the burden. For who denies his sins will not succeed, but he who admits and discontinues them, will obtain mercy. (Solomon ii, 13; I John i, 8, 9.)
Regarding the means of preventing these outbreaks, I see that it is beyond human power to exterminate the root. God alone through the power of His Holy Spirit must do this. Still it is the duty of preachers, directors, parents and schoolmasters to work diligently on themselves, their fellow man and children, to hate this sullied coat of the flesh, and to remove it, as much as by the grace of God is in their power. And it is my opinion that the first and most important means is to pray for God's help. As children are ignorant and foolish and do not understand the enormity of it, we need to remind them earnestly and lovingly: what qualities lead us to God, and which lead us away; which have within them the odor of life unto life and which that of death unto death. How good qualities come from the good and eventually return to it, how similarly evil comes of evil and leads back to it, and that good is rewarded with good and evil with evil. That God is the highest good and the source of all good. But Satan is the source of all evil, and as God is a God of truth, so Satan is the father of lies. For this reason we must love truth, and work truth in words and deeds, if we would go to heaven and be forever happy, for the reward of liars is hell and the fiery pit. Having taught such things we are also bound to make them acquainted with the passages in Holy Writ that testify to this. Further we must warn them if they wish to be happy they must avoid this wrong, for if they carelessly or perhaps intentionally disobey this command they will be punished for the good of their souls. If after this the pupil is found to trespass, and denies his guilt, the punishment is divided into two parts, and the lie is first and hardest punished, also for a lie no bondsman is accepted. For the original offense, according to its nature, the punishment is lessened by surety, or without bondsman may even be deferred on promise of reform. Also after punishment, the punishments threatened by Holy Writ are reiterated.
Stealing is also exhibited early in some children, and when caught in the act they usually try to lie; telling that one or the other gave it to them, or that they found it. And often the evidence becomes so confused that one has work enough to straighten it out. I have this rule for its prevention: No pupils are allowed to give away or exchange anything withoutthe previous knowledge of myself or their parents, be it at school, at home or on the road; and if they find anything they should give it to me, for it is not theirs if an owner can be found. If no one claims it for a certain time after being found, it belongs to the finder. In this manner I have succeeded, thank God, in reducing punishments for this offense to a minimum.
Greed for honor is exhibited among children, though not to such extent as among adults, in whom it has often led, for the sake of a title or an honor, to great war and bloodshed, not only among those in high places, but among people of low degree. Much quarrel arises from it; indeed the little word “thou” often creates quarrel and even riot; but among children the evil is much more easily governed. If a child persists in occupying a seat higher than the one he has deserved through merit in reading, writing, &c., and tries to crowd out the rightful occupant, he is placed at the tail of the class, as a warning to the other pupils, and must stay there until he has worked his way up. When the children realize this, the evil is easily remedied. But who will humiliate adults, if they will not humble themselves, as Christ teaches? (Matth. xx, 26, 27; Chap, xxiii, 12; Luke xiv, 11; Chap, xviii, 14.)
In the matter of quarrels, children are also much more easily appeased than adults. When children become angered at school or on the way there, and it is shown that both combatants are wrong, each one's fault is pointed out and the punishment for each defined, and also meted out if they are unwilling to make peace. Thereupon they are placed together on the punishment seat, apart from the other children until they are willing to make up; if not, deserved punishment will follow. But it rarely happens that they are put on the punishment seat. They prefer shaking hands, and then the case is adjusted. If this were the case among adults, and if they were as willing to forgive and forget,
By lawsuits no purses depleted would be,
And lawyers would never wax rich on their fee.
Gnawing conscience would come to rest,
With love and peace life would be blest;
Much less of ache and dole
For heart and soul.
I am further asked how I teach the children to refrain from talking, and train them to silence. To this I reply, that it is the hardest lesson for children to learn, and they would hardly do it of their own free will. It takes them long to learn to speak, and having learned they are loath to give up the privilege. But nothing more edifying can be taught children than that there is a time to speak and a time to keep silent, and none more difficult to instil. Indeed, it would seem that we grown ones have not learned this lesson too well ourselves, for we should often be more careful when to speak and when to keep silence. And the little organ, the tongue, is not easily tamed, nor can one punish it with the rod, as other organs. And the mischief done by words is done through the tongue, according to the constitution of the heart (Matth. xii, 25). Although often the talking done among children is not due to evil intention, nothing can be accomplished unless talking and silence each have their time. I have devised several means, all of which worked for a time, but not permanently, so that something new had to be tried. My method is as follows:
First, when the lesson is assigned, they learn it, after the custom of this country and England, by repeating aloud. To keep them all at work I move among them until I think they have had time enough to learn the lesson. Then I rap with the rod on the blackboard and there is silence. I now ask the first to recite; meanwhile a monitor, who has been detailed to this duty, stands on a bench or other high place where he can see all and reports the Christian and surname of each one who talks, studies aloud or does anything else that is forbidden. He also writes the name down. As some use partiality in this work, those who have been proven to be untruthful are discharged from the work unless they apply, and promise to be honest. Also those who have been on the punishment seat for lying are not allowed to be monitors, unless they prove truthful through a period of time. Thus provided with a monitor, one can hear the lesson or go on with something else that is instructive, without interruption. When the work is over this may be forgotten. But if it is noticed that the talkers take advantage of being forgotten, those noted by the monitor must come forward and sit on the punishment bench, one by one. They are given their choice between wearing the yoke or a rap on the hand. Most of them extend their hand for the rod.
This is the information asked for regarding the way I keep the children quiet, but it is by no means my intention to force this method upon any one else. Each must arrange his affairs in the best way that he can. But if my management written here by request and not from choice, should be in any way objected to, because it differs from that of Germany and other places, I will say in defense, that conditions here are different. Among the free inhabitants of Pennsylvania schools are differently constituted from those in Germany. For a schoolmaster there is definitely installed by the government, and the common man cannot readily remove him, hence he is in no great danger if he is too hard with children. Although I freely confess, even if I were thus installed by high authorities, I should still feel that the power to be hard with children was given me for their good. Now experience teaches that a timid child is harmed rather than benefited by harsh words or much application of the rod, and to improve it, other means must be employed. Likewise a stupid child is only harmed. A child that is treated to too much flogging at home is not benefited by it at school, but it is made still worse. If such children are to be helped, it must happen through other means.
A stubborn child that does not fear to do wrong needs to be sharply punished with the rod, and also earnestly reminded of God's word, in the hope of reaching the heart. But the timid and stupid must be reached by other means that make them more free in spirit and more desirous to learn. When the children are brought thus far it is no longer difficult for teacher or pupil, and my colleagues will agree with me that the souls put in our keeping are very precious. We will be called to account for them by our God, and though we have the power to punish they would, I think, agree with me in saying that it is preferable to bring the children to do things from a love of doing than to force them by the rod. The words “Thou shalt and must” and the words “I obey gladly” are very different in sound. For the latter the master needs no rod, and it sounds sweeter and is easier to account for. In Psalm cx, 3, it is written: “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness.” Now what is done willingly in body or soul is not in need of a rod. Again in Psalm xxxii, 8, 9, we read: “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse or as the mule, which have no understanding; whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.” Here again we see that they who allow themselves to be taught and led with the eye have no need of a bit and a bridle. We can see this difference in senseless animals. One driver does not employ half the shouting, spurring and whipping with his horses as another, and yet takes as heavy, yea heavier burden, over hill and dale. And when the work is done, the willing horses and also the teamster have had the easier time of it.
Regarding my friend's question, how I treat the children with love that they both love and fear me, I will say that in this respect I cannot take the least credit upon myself, if I am at all successful with children, either in teaching or in performing religious duties. First I owe God particular thanks, because besides calling me to this profession He has given me an extreme love of children. For if it were not for love it would be an unbearable burden to live among children. But love bears and never tires. If a natural mother did not love her children all the little incidents in the education of a child would be unbearably wearisome, but her love makes this burden light. When St. Paul explains his love to the congregation at Thessalonia he expresses it in the words of I Thes. ii, 1, 13. In verses 7 and 8, he compares his love to a mother's love when he says: “But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children; so being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.” My esteemed friend, these words of the Apostle express such love in that he was willing not only to impart the gospel, but his very life. But have all clergymen in this so-called Christendom from the time of the Apostles down, remained in this spirit? All have had a splendid example in the words of the Apostle just cited. Yea, he calls to all of us and says: “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example” (Phil. iii, 17). But as it was at the time of the Apostles and how it is in our so-called Christendom those can see best whose spiritual eyes are opened, I will leave the question open, and comply with my friend's request, feeling certain that he means well for the children's good. But suppose a mother felt like perpetuating her loving methods toward her children, and committed the same to a book, that after her death they might be continued, but the children should then receive another mother. She would be very likely to say to the children, your former mother raised you according to her ideas, I will follow mine. Then it would be of little use to the children that their mother wrote in pure love. Yet the mother did her part, even as St. Paul when he wrote: “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example.” Now those who do not desire to do as told in the seventeenth verse, but prefer the opposite, as the Apostle, weeping, wrote in the eighteenth and nineteenth verses, such follow their own ideas. Yet the Apostle had done his duty and had saved his soul.
I have told the friend in answer to his question regarding my treatment of the children with love, that I can take no credit for it. Love is a gift of God. According as one desires it, it is given and according as one guards and uses it, so it can be increased or diminished. But perhaps it can be stated by what qualities one can help or hinder love, profit or lose by it. The divine footprints that we follow in seeking righteous love show us that it is universal and extends to all creatures. “He letteth his sun shine on the wicked and the good, and sendeth rain to the just and the unjust.” To partake of the love of God man must follow these footprints. They will guide him in love, from one love to another by a consideration of creatures and protecting them.
The great work of the redemption of the human race was also universal, and if we had accepted it universally, believed, and followed in love the footsteps of Christ we would be firmly grounded in it. We would understand with the Saints the length and breadth, the depth and height of such endless love, and would know and realize that the love of Christ is better than all knowledge. All Christians are called upon to follow in Christ's footsteps, and to do this in love He has left us an example. (I Peter ii, 21; John xiii, 13-17, and other places.)
But as we accept all this, yet follow the footprints of the world in lust of the eye and the flesh and vain life, we may hope for little growth in the love of God, be it whoever it may, no matter what his titles, and if he have the most Christian title in the world. “For whoever loveth the world loveth not the Father.” (I John ii, 15.) The love of this world is not undefiled. Nor does it lead to a love of humanity. It leads only to what is mine or thine. So long as mine and thine are secure, the love of this world remains; but should self-love and glory suffer, war and turmoil begin at once.
The natural spark of love which God did not quench entirely after the fall, but exhibits in rational and irrational creatures according to their capacity, is in many ways weakened and suppressed by love of the world. I will only mention the natural love among natural people. It leads to their union in marriage, and so long as the natural spark of life is maintained, such love is not lessened, but increased, so that they are more closely bound together, produce children and support them together. For this is implanted in them in this natural love, even among heathens and such nations. For otherwisethe human race could not multiply in an orderly manner. Irrational creatures are also imbued with a natural love to feed their offspring. Christians have not only the natural spark to bring up their children, but also to bring them up in fear of God, according to commandments in the Old and the New Testament. And where such education is carried on in sincere love by parents and teachers, it will not be without blessing. For love, breeding and admonition to the Lord, form a three-fold cord that does not easily break. If parents and teachers have sincere parental love for children, it may beexpected that this will in turn produce a sincere filial love. When this love appears in the child, unless it is choked it may be expected to mature good fruit. But if liberty attempt to overpower this love and ignite it with wildfire, love, breeding and admonition to the Lord, as stated, must be used as a three-cord whip, then there is hope that love, fear and obedience will result. But all through God's gracious blessing, help and assistance, for He must be begged to add growth to planting and watering.
In God's grace and tender blessing
All is safe and of much avail;
But without His help and succor
The efforts of all men must fail.
The murderer of souls seeks constantly to combat true love with his false Delilah, world-love, that in its lust is dead to the good, so that it seeks to extinguish the natural spark of love left after the fall, and has succeeded in many cases. Then follows all ungodly conduct, piling up the wrath of God upon the day of wrath. It may be seen in the first world, and also in Sodom and Gomorrah, in Dathan and Abiram, as also in the destruction of Jerusalem and other places. What works of darkness have been done in times gone by! Holy Writ tells us in many places. For brevity I shall mention only: Romans i, 18 to end; II Peter ii, 4-6; Jude 7. And what works of this kind are done in our own time, experience tells us.
When we weigh a Christian's duty, his matrimonial duties as well, we find that love must always be the standard, and where it is wanting there will be much wanting in order, in education and admonition in the Lord, in the management of children, in parents and teachers. It is a true passage in Scripture that man is woman's head. But on the part of man it is well to consider what St. Paul tells to Christian husbands: (I Cor. xi, 3) “But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man.” Now it is beyond doubt true that if in his life and teachings the man follows Christ, and the woman the man, the children will follow their parents and teachers and obey them. So that sincere love fully specifies the weight of Christian duty. And yet in all this we have done no more than our duty, and blessedness still remains only a gracious gift. But all Christian duties are steps that we must place our feet upon, step by step. If we seek salvation our Lord Jesus has given us directions. While no man can deny another God's mercy, because without it we cannot live, there exists this difference between wise men and virgins and foolish men and virgins; between faithful and faithless servants: there is a difference of work, and unequal reward of grace or disgrace. So it is much better that we begin here in time of grace to walk the road that God has promised than to take the risk of sinning and remaining in sin, letting grace be so much mightier. (See Romans, vi, 1, 2.) Now if the Christian's place is thus fixed, that Christ is the head of the church, and therefore of each man, it is a foregone conclusion that it is each man's duty to teach what his master has taught him unto his wife also, whose head he is. And both parents, seeking the salvation of their children, will obey all the Lord's commandments, and teach them to their children, as has been commanded us. (I Moses xviii, 19; V Moses vi, 6, 7; Psalm lxxviii, 1-4; Ephes. vi, 4; Coloss. iii, 21, and other places.)
Now all the duties of parents to their children are also the duties of the teacher to whom the children are entrusted. And as he is in this sense head of these children, so Christ is his head, according to whose command we must act. When Christ came to this world to seek and to save, he called the children to him in especial love, caressed and blessed them and promised them the kingdom of heaven. (Mark ix, 36, 37.) For this reason we will not be blessed if we are tyrannical with them, however much they must be raised in discipline and in the fear of the Lord. Further, let us consider how the Lord Jesus taught his disciples, a record of which is kept for us in St. Matth. xviii, 1-6: “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth Me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” From the quoted words of the Lord Jesus we all have enough to learn. If we would enter heaven and be happy forever we need not imagine that the way is to glare at these children or even scold and punish them if they do not show us enough honor or pay us enough compliments. Ah, no, this is not the way to the kingdom of heaven. But if we turn from such selfish pride to Christ's teachings, and humble ourselves to the level of children, it not only leads us to the kingdom of God, but gives us a community with the children that is much more useful than all this keeping aloof. For who exalts himself here will be humbled, and who humbles himself will be exalted. There might be much more said here of qualities that are partly useful in implanting love by which the honor of God is enhanced and the common good increased. And many qualities might be enumerated that do the opposite, by which the honor of God is decreased and the common good injured. But I shall leave this matter to the judgment of others.
NOW FOLLOW A FEW USEFUL SCHOOL EXERCISES WHICH I FEEL COMPELLED TO MENTION, NOT FOR MY GLORY, BUT FOR THAT OF ALMIGHTY GOD, AND WHICH I GIVE THE YOUTH ENTRUSTED TO ME.
I may say that in my experience in this country I have had, at my school, children of various religious denominations, so that I could not teach them the same catechism. Nor have I such a catechism included, but when the children have learned to read well, the parents at home have to teach them the catechism themselves. In the teaching of hymns I have been given liberty. So I sang hymns and psalms with them, for the author of both religious songs and psalms is the Holy Ghost.
Besides this, it has been my aim to make them familiar with the New Testament from the exercises of finding chapters. This has been quite successful, so that when a passage was mentioned, they turned to it and read it without being prompted.
When this door is opened, I have aimed that they should cull the flowers in this Garden of Eden, — Holy Writ, — not only for their beauty, but also for their fragrance, by pointing out to them, to the best of my feeble power, which have a fragrance of life unto life when put to the use that is revealed in them. Also which have an odor of death unto death, that they might have knowledge from both sides of Holy Writ and might be able to see. Then just as truth has the odor of life unto life and when we follow it leads to life, thus lies have the odor of death unto death in them and lead to death if we follow them. For the reward of liars is the fiery pit, which is the other death. (Revel, xxi, 8.) Truth, however, frees him who follows it. (John viii, 31-35.)
Now as opposite qualities have opposite effects, some leading to life and others to death, so it is with love. Love has the odor of life, but hate, envy and enmity have the odor of death and lead to death, for they are the opposite of love.
Thus it is also with faith and faithlessness, charity and lack of charity, justice and injustice, chastity and unchasteness, humility and vanity. In fine, all Godlike qualities have life in them and lead to life; whoever trusts in their efficacy is born again from death into life. All Godless things and their qualities are of death, and lead to damnation, if one persists in them until death.
When this was explained to them in part, they had to look up passages referring to the various qualities. Whoever finds a passage, steps forward, the next follows, and so they form a row, boys and girls separately, as each finds some passage of Scripture until they are all in a row. Then the first reads his passage. But if another one should have the same passage, he steps out and looks for another, and then joins the ranks again at the foot of the class. This is done in order to have them find all the rare Bible gems which express these qualities. It also becomes evident that the more passages are found dealing with a certain quality, the more clearly does the truth of the same appear. In this way one passage of Scripture serves not only to fix another one in memory, but also to elucidate and explain it. After the references have all been read, the children are asked several questions, which are easily answered from such references. The references are then repeated. This generally gives rise to different points which are brought to light by the passages made use of, in part for instruction, partly for comfort and strengthening of faith, partly for warning and chastisement. Besides, when the pupils have had much practice in finding references, they are at times put to the test and reminded that outward seeking is not in itself undesirable, but that it should be tried in another form. I let them sit very still, pay attention, and think no idle thoughts, but the first passage that enters their minds, they shall stand and read. In this exercise I have often marvelled how God “has perfected praise out of the mouths of babes and sucklings” to destroy the revengeful foe.
As it is God's stern command that we should teach the children the commandments He has given us, and shall bring them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord, there are in the Scriptures many beautiful witnesses to the one God and His divine qualities; how He reveals Himself by His works, and how He created all things by the power of His word; the breath of His mouth, and His impenetrable omnipotence and omniscience; Scripture further testifies how through the devil's envy death, temporal and eternal destruction, came into the world, and how the human race by Satan's cunning fell into sin and disobedience, and that through this disobedience sin came into the world, and through sin, death, and thus death penetrated to all men, because they all sinned.
Holy Writ teaches us also, that God in His great mercy promised fallen mankind that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head, that they may be again redeemed from the curse through an eternal redemption. Of all this we find in Scripture many comforting promises given to the fathers from time to time through Moses and the Prophets, partly by signs and partly by visions and prophecies. Of these there are many in the Old Testament. Again, how such promise was fulfilled through Christ, the promised offspring of woman, by the Holy Ghost, God's mysterious plan of redemption — incomprehensible to man. Of His birth, ministry, life, suffering, death, resurrection and ascension, of all these the Scriptures tell explicitly. Also we find here how we can obtain this salvation. Also how a Christian shall do his duty through practicing piety in Christian virtue and rise step by step to become more like Him who created and redeemed him. I say in all these things we are instructed by the teachings of Christ and His Apostles, in the New Testament.
Now I should tell of each exercise in detail, how it is customary with children to have them read a passage relative to one or another quality, then to ask questions and have them answered by another quotation, so that one impresses the other, explains and amplifies it. But to explain all this would be very tedious. But as Holy Script contains everything, that is the place to seek and to find it. And because in Christ Jesus all treasures of knowledge and wisdom are hidden, I refer myself and all others to Scripture where such can be found. (Jerem. xxix, 13; Matth. vii, 7.) Does not the world seek diligently for honor and property, for gold, silver and precious stones? These and other treasures are held in righ esteem by the world, yet they are perishable, and not to be compared to the immortal treasures God offers us in His word. As we seek, so shall we find. If we seek the world in the delights of the eye and of the flesh and in vain living, we shall find it so, and finally also find the world's share and wages. But whosoever seeks God and everlasting life and follows Christ's footprints faithfully, he will also find and not seek in vain. His search will not be left unrewarded. (John xii, 26; Chap, xiv, 3; Chap, xvii, 24.)
To avoid tedium, I repeat I cannot describe many exercises that are conducive to blessedness of faith, love, hope, patience; in fine, all exercises of virtue that in Holy Script lead to blessedness, as they are written, useful for instruction, punishment, &c. As each should be taken up at a particular time with children, to tell of all this in detail would take too long.
But the true redeeming faith must embrace all that is useful in life and in the path of righteousness, and nothing is more acceptable to Jesus Christ than exhibiting one's faith in acts of love. To such the Lord Jesus Himself has given the shield that He shall be His armor bearer, empowered not only to win in this world (I John v, 5, 6), but also to quench all fiery darts of the Evil One (Eph. vi, 16). I shall only for my own and others' encouragement, and the strengthening of their faith, add a few things concerning the properties of faith so far as I am now, with my feeble strength and by the grace of God, able to do this. For without His grace and favor our actions and everything are in vain. Because I find this to be the case with myself, I feel called upon to write this down, simply and solely for the glory of God, and in honor of His holy name. For we may thank none but the dear God, that He has thus far in this dark world let His holy word stand like a light in a candle-stick. So long as our feet are turned in the path of peace, we can say with David (Psalm cxix, 105), “Lord, Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
But may God, who is a light, and in whom there is no darkness, send us light and truth, that they may lead and guide us through this dark valley of the shadow of death to His holy mountain and to His abode; that we may also in truth say with David (Psalm xxxvi), “In Thy light we see light.” O, that we may with the eyes of faith not only see this light, but also walk in it, and by it at last conquer all the powers of darkness, for which I wish and pray from my heart for help and power of faith from on high. Amen.
Some Questions for Children
Whereby the fear of God will be taught them through many excellent Scripture passages.
Q.1. — What is faith?
A. — The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews xi, 1.
Q. 2. — Whence cometh faith?
A. — So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans x, 17.
Q. 3. — To reach the beginning of faith, what teacher shall we choose?
A. — Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Hebrews xii, 2.
Q. 4. — What does faith do when it is righteous?
A. — Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. James i, 3.
Q. 5. — What must a Christian give in his faith?
A. — And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. II Peter i, 5, 6, 7.
Q. 6. — But who has not this to give?
A. — He is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. II Peter i, 9.
Q. 7. — Can one not please God without faith?
A. — Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews ii, 6.
Q. 8. — How precious then, is true faith?
A. — That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. I Peter i, 7.
Q. 9. — What comfort is it to believing souls to abide in faith?
A. — For we which have believed to enter into his rest, &c. Hebrews iv, 3.
Q. 10. — What is threatened the unbelieving?
A. — And to whom sware He that they should not enter into His rest, but to them that believed not. So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Hebrews iii, 18, 19.
Q. 11. — To what shall faithful souls be kept?
A. — Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. I Peter i, 5. See v, 41.
Q. 12. — By what quality do we reach true justice?
A. — If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed. Romans x, 9, 10, 11.
Q. 13. — When we through faith in Christ Jesus partake of such justice, what is the relation of God to such souls?
A. — Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans v, 1.
Q. 14. — Is mere faith of mouth sufficient, without fruits, spirit and life?
A. — For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James ii, 26.
Q. 15. — What is the end of all commandments and what is its character?
A. — Now the end of a commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned. I Tim. i, 5.
Q. 16. — But if the heart is not righteous, faith is feigned; in such condition do we partake of such promises?
A. — Thou has neither part nor lot in this matter, for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart be forgiven thee. Acts viii, 21, 22.
Q. 17. — Holy Script bears witness that Simon, the sorcerer, also was converted?
A. — Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well; the devils also believe, and tremble. James ii, 19 and fol.
Q. 18. — Which faith abides before God in Christ?
A. — Even as Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him for righteousness. Romans iv, 9.
Q. 19. — But what shall one do when he finds that he is still a sinner?
A. — The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye and believe the Gospel. St. Mark i, 15; Matth. iii, 2; Chap, iv, 17.
Q. 20. — What is promised to poor repentant sinners?
A. — For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. St. John iii, 16. Read also St. Luke xv; I Tim. i, 15; Luke xix, 10; Matth. xviii, 11; Matth. xi, 28, 29, 30.
Q. 21. — Are there in Holy Script other passages testifying that repentant sinners shall receive forgiveness of sins by believing in Christ Jesus?
A. — To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins. Acts x, 43.
Q. 22. — Does this promise refer to all repentant sinners, or is there a distinction?
A. — For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans x, 12, 13.
Q. 23. — Did God send His Son into the world to proclaim to us sinners the redeeming Gospel?
A. — The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. St. Luke xviii, 19; John iii, 17, 18; I John iv, 9; Gal. iv, 4, 5.
Q. 24. — Now as God, for love of us poor sinners did not spare His own Son, but sacrificed Him for us all, so that all believing in Him should not perish, but have eternal life; the next question is, seeing that true faith is the action of the Holy Ghost upon us, whereupon shalt this faith in Jesus Christ be founded, if we would have the Holy Ghost as our leader, and keep it? Have we certain information regarding this also in Holy Script, or may we in this regard believe according to our own will, judgment and liking whatever we wish?
A. — He that believeth on Me as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believed on Him should receive, for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.) John vii, 38, 39. See also II Peter i, 16 and 21.
Q. 25. — But if we find that we have given more attention to wise tales than to Holy Writ, thereby preventing the Holy Ghost from implanting the true faith in Jesus Christ; and we are then sorry from our heart and would like to become possessed of it again, how can we be helped?
A. — Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Matth. vii, 7, 8.
Q. 26. — Hath God also promised such poor and wretched ones that he could be found?
A. — Look upon Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else. Isaiah xlv, 22. Also Jerem. xxix, 11, 12, 13.
Q. 27. — Because the references given emphatically testify that God has promised a hearing to those repentant sinners who turn to Him with prayers, the question arises, what is the first thing they should ask for?
A. — Hide Thy face from my sins and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free Spirit. Psalm li, 9-12.
Q. 28. — To whom shall we pray?
A. — Then saith Jesus unto him, get thee hence, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve. Matth. iv, 10.
Q. 29. — In whose name shall we pray to the heavenly Father?
A. — Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it to you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name. Ask and ye shall receive, that your joy be fulfilled. John xvi, 23, 24.
Q. 30. — How shall our prayer proceed?
A. — Therefore, I say unto you, what things soever you desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and yet shall have them. Mark xi, 24; James i, 3, 6.
Q. 31. — How shall our prayer be shaped further, that we may be heard?
A. — This is the confidence we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us. I John v, 14.
Q. 32. — Now if the spirit be willing, but the power to believe too weak, who helps to strengthen this power in prayer?
A. — The Spirit helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Romans viii, 26 and 27.
Q. 33. — Does God's power still reign in such feeble ones when they reveal before God their weakness with humble and contrite heart?
A. — For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend forever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit shall fail before me, and the souls which I have made. Isaiah lvii, 15, 16.
Q. 34. — All witnesses cited from Holy Script clearly show that God's help is not lacking, however weak faith may be, if it be only of the right appearance before God, God will come to the aid of our weakness. For faith is an action of the Holy Ghost in us, if we will only allow it to act. So long, however, as unbelief has the upper hand within us, the evil spirit will through unbelief work acts of unbelief, namely, all uncleanness, dissension, untruth, injustice and all ungodly things in the children of unbelief, whereby God's wrath and punishment will come upon all ungodly conduct. Now the question is: If God's judgment is threatened over a city or country, and there is still enough faith left to admit that our punishment was caused by unbelief and sin, and we repent of wrong, and try to do right and justice, and raise once more in the heart by faith what unbelief has destroyed, will God be merciful still?
A. — Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it. Jerem. v, i; Ezek. xviii, 22, 23.
Q. 35. — But if no conversion follow?
A. — God judgeth the righteous and is angry with the wicked every day. If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready. He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors. Psalm vii, 11, 13.
Q. 36. — As since the fall, man likes to pose as knowing and wise, but often seeks wisdom in matters that God countsfoolishness, the question is: By what quality can we make a beginning in true wisdom?
A. — The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. A good understanding have all they that do His commandments; His praise endureth forever. Psalm cxi, 10.
Q. 37. — Because the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, is it desirable for the young to begin all their undertakings in the fear of God?
A. — The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs i, 7.
Q. 38. — To live wisely what must we avoid?
A. — Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding. Job xxviii, 28.
Q. 39. — Can we find information where true knowledge resides?
A. — Wisdom enters not the portals of a wicked soul, nor dwells in a body under the bondage of sin. For the Holy Ghost which teaches aright avoids the idolatrous and departs from the profligate who will be punished for his sins. Wisdom is so exalted that she will not permit the scoffer to go unpunished. For God is a witness of every thought. He knows the innermost recesses of every heart. He hears every word. The orb of the world is filled with the Spirit of the Lord. He who fathomest speech is everywhere. Therefore, he who speaks falsely will not escape; and the right by which he is to be judged will not fail him. Wisdom of Solomon i, 4-8.
Q. 40. — Where then doth it dwell?
A. — The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and is alone the heart's foundation of all believers. It dwells with the elect of womankind and is to be found only with the righteous and believing ones. Sirach i, 16.
Q. 41. — Because God has sent His Son into this world that through Him we shall live, who has left us an example in teachings and life, that we shall follow His footprints. Who also is made by God for wisdom, justice, healing and redemption. The question is: Do we need further to seek after knowledge, and study at high schools of philosophy, the books of philosophers and teachings of men, as it is customary in the world?
A. — Beware lest any man spoil you, through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him which is the head of all principality and power. Coloss. ii, 8, 10.
Q. 42. — Wherein then shall we continually study and remain?
A. — But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned, and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them. And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise, unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. II Timothy iii, 14, 17.
Q. 43. — Because Holy Script, if we follow it, teaches us salvation, and to found our faith on nothing but the one God and Christ whom He sent, which is the right way from death into life, and is also truth and life, the question now is: Whether on this road that leads to life we may expect crosses and troubles?
A. — Confirming the souls of the disciples and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. Acts xiv, 22.
Q. 44. — What is the benefit of trouble, if we are patient unto the end?
A. — For our light afflictions, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. II Corinth, iv, 17, 18.
Q. 45. — As the road to eternal life is so narrow and one must enter through trial and tribulation into the kingdom of God, is it necessary daily to pray God for strength and patience?
A. — For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith, but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back into perdition, but of them that believe in the saving of the soul. Hebrews x, 36-39.
Q. 46. — Have we also to expect persecution?
A. — Because God hath loved you, it had to be thus. Without temptation thou canst not be, in order that thou mayest be established in the faith. Tobia xii, 13.
Q. 47. — Then the pious will be saved by crosses and tribulations?
A. — Just as gold is purified by fire, those who please God are approved through the fire of tribulation. Sirah ii, 5.
Q. 48. — If it is the fate of a Christian on his road to life to be tried and purified by the fire of trouble, is it a Christian's sole mission to prepare to suffer persecution?
A. — My child, if thou desirest to be God's servant, prepare thyself for tribulations. Sirah ii, 1.
Q. 49. — How must we behave in such persecution?
A. — My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. James i, 2, 3.
Q. 50. — Is such trouble and persecution sent a Christian by God solely to preserve him, or has he other enemies for Jesus' sake?
A. — These things have I spoken unto you that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogue; yea the time cometh that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you because they have not known the Father, nor Me. But these things have I told you that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning because I was with you. John xvi, 1-4.
Q. 51. — Then if I understand aright, on this narrow way we may expect enemies?
A. — Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! Many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Psalm iii, 1, 2.
Q. 52. — How shall a Christian act toward his bodily foes, and what orders has he in his Christian knighthood from his King?
A. — But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. Matth. v, 44.
Q. 53. — If a Christian is to conquer his enemies by love, what arms does love carry that can injure enemies?
A. — Charity suffereth long and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh not evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. I Cor. xiii, 4-7.
Q. 54. — How is it with spiritual enemies; what weapons of Christian knighthood are used against them?
A. — For though we walk in the flesh we do not war after the flesh. (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. II Corinth, xi, 3, 4, 5.
Q. 55. — If the weapons and the fighting are not carnal, the enemies must be such as can be resisted in another way. Who are all these enemies?
A. — Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand up against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephes. vi, 10, 11. 12.
Q. 56. — Are these all the foes we must conquer?
A. — For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. I John v, 4.
Q. 57. — Are there other foes that fight against the soul?
A. — Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul. I Peter ii, 11. And also: Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Romans vi. 12.
Q. 58. — How shall we strengthen our power against such enemies?
A. — Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Ephes. vi, 10.
Q. 59. — Have we also news that a war has arisen?
A. — And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels; and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Revel, xii, 7, 8, 9.
Q. 60. — Now because this enemy was conquered in heaven, overcome and cast out, we while we live on earth must fight him here, and are unable to wage such war alone and without the help of God's divine power. Unless the strong hero of David's race, who can take his booty from the giant, come and help us, this enemy will seek to bar our way to heaven. For with our power nothing can be done, and our own strength is easily vanquished?
A. — But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and He that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee, and fol. Isaiah xliii, 1, 2, &c.
Q. 61. — If this is promised us poor ones for our protection, then we may be very happy in everything that may befall us in God's will.
A. — What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Romans viii, 31, 32, to the end.
Q. 62. — How have the faithful vanquished the enemy?
A. — And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death. Revel, xii, 11.
Q. 63. — If we can conquer by the death and blood of Christ, if we relinquish ourselves to absolute faith, have we a fortress in which we are safe from the foe and soul-murderer?
A. — The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it and are safe. Prov. xviii, 10.
Q. 64. — But this enemy and soul-murderer found our first parents in paradise in this tower, which he could not take by force, but caused it to surrender by deceit and cunning. The question is: Is it necessary to be watchful even within this fortress?
A. — Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. I Peter v, 8, 9.
Q. 65. — How long is it necessary to be watchful?
A. — Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. Luke xxi, 36.
Q. 66. — What is the war cry of these watchers?
A. — Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit ye like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity. I Corinth, xvi, 13, 14.
Q. 67. — What clothes shall they wear?
A. — Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long suffering, forbearing one another, forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any, even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity which is the bond of perfection. Coloss. iii, 12, 13, 14, to 17.
Q. 68. — Wherein consists their implements of war, armor and weapons, that they daily seize, and have in readiness if they wish to fight and conquer this soul-enemy?
A. — Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of wickedness. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all Saints. Ephes. vi, 13-18.
OR ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE CHILDREN
Tune: I Know a Floweret Beautiful and Fair.
|Come, dear children, come hither,|
|And learn to know Jesus.|
|Do come and see how good He is,|
|How innocent and faithful.|
|Come! call Him master.|
|O see His kindliness|
|That bends toward you,|
|How heartily he offers himself|
|To you at all times|
|To show much good.|
|He wants to teach you, quietly and piously|
|To live after God's will.|
|He calls, dear child, come|
|And become pious.|
|He will give thee all.|
|O, then come, children, do go on|
|Into Jesus's school.|
|Hear, learn and follow His teaching,|
|The lessons are not hard.|
|Sit down here|
|On the chairs of His wisdom.|
|How good it is, how fine and beautiful,|
|How lovely to behold,|
|When children are right obedient|
|And gladly alone|
|Go to Jesus's school.|
|here they learn with eagerness and joy|
|Rightly to pray, read, sing,|
|And seek their lifetime,|
|With Jesus to spend.|
|O such children are well off.|
|They will forever dwell|
|In heaven with joyful spirit,|
|Where Jesus does|
|Reward pious children.|
|They will there in great joy|
|Dwell every day and hour.|
|No fear, no wrong, no sadness,|
|No pain and sorrow|
|Will surround them there any more.|
|Therefore, dear children, learn gladly|
|And love Jesus filially.|
|Serve Him, as your God and Lord,|
|And fly far|
|From all that is sinful.|
|Do not follow the group of bad children,|
|The loafer and the gambler, |
|Who only mock your Jesus,|
|Who do not love God and|
|Will not be Jesus's pupil.|
|Become well acquainted with Jesus|
|And sit at His feet.|
|Give Him your right hand|
|And say: Savior!|
|O, let me kiss thee.|
|Hang like little children|
|About His loving arms,|
|And say, He shall be merciful|
|To you children|
|And have pity on you.|
|He shall bless you with understanding,|
|That you avoid the bad.|
|He shall become well acquainted with you|
|As a Savior|
|Who frees you from sin.|
|Yes, beg Him to|
|Give you pleasure and love.|
|His dear, gentle, sweet yoke|
|Still learn as children|
|To wear thoughtfully.|
|He shall your youthful hearts|
|Fill with His love,|
|That it think ever heavenward,|
|And all jesting|
|Ignore for His sake.|
|Thus, children, cling to Him heartily.|
|Ah! hang on His hands|
|And say: O Jesus, lead, then|
|Lead us henceforth.|
|O lead us to the end.|
|Lead us out of this wilderness|
|Of the wicked turmoil of the world,|
|Into the Fatherland, where we may be pleased,|
|O Jesus true,|
|With the glory of heaven.|
Tune: Who Letteth Only God Command.
|O, come here, ye children of men!|
|O come and see the nothingness,|
|The vanity of proud sinners|
|And their life's emptiness.|
|For all, all that ye see|
|Bears the inscription: it perisheth!|
|I lie here on my death bed,|
|Quite infected by the poison of sin.|
|My spirit knows no resting place|
|That the dear Hand has given me|
|Save only the name Jesus Christ,|
|Who also in death is my life!|
|My earthly life is over|
|And my days are passed.|
|The short pilgrimage is ended;|
|It is my time to die.|
|But I am glad, Lord Jesus Christ,|
|That Thou art with me.|
|I have by God's rich grace|
|Long ago said Good-night to the world,|
|And on the narrow path of Jesus|
|Sought true peace of spirit.|
|But I have not done what was useful,|
|And used far too little seriousness.|
|O God, through Thy loving hands|
|Prepare me now still,|
|That I at my final end|
|Depart comforted in Thy salvation.|
|Thy will be to me in eternity|
|A centre of contentment.|
|Herewith will I now take leave|
|From those who knew me here;|
|First from those who grieve,|
|In their poor condition of sorrow,|
|Fear God, and pray day and night;|
|Trust in Him; now good-night.|
|Good-night, ye rich of this earth,|
|Who call riches happiness.|
|I never wished to grow rich.|
|It only lasts a moment at best,|
|And Christ calls: a hard pain!|
|Think of it, I pray you as a parting.|
|Good-night, you wild swarm of youth,|
|Ye unconverted brood of heathens,|
|That know nothing of honor and virtue,|
|And bear fruit only for Satan.|
|Follow God's earnest word and advice,|
|Or you will never find grace.|
|Good-night, ye worldly hearts,|
|That seek pleasure on earth|
|In pastime, laughter, play, jesting,|
|And bear no fruit to your God. |
|O, do ye souls, do penance,|
|O, ye souls, do penance,|
|Else you will descend into darkness.|
|Good-night, all of you,|
|Thou false, bad, wicked world;|
|That your doings do not please me|
|My life has shown you.|
|If it had not, by God's grace,|
|Happened earlier, it would be too late now.|
- A German resents “Du,” the familiar form of address, from a stranger, especially one of lower rank.