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ine, and dismay. The Ban de la Roche alone seemed to be an asylum of peace in the midst of war and carnage. Though every kind of worship was interdicted throughout France, and almost all the clergy of Alsace, men of learning, (among whom was his elder brother, Professor Oberlin,) talents, and property, were imprisoned Pastor Oberlin was allowed to continue his work of benevolence and instruction unmolested.* His house, in fact, became the retreat of many individuals of different religious persuasions, and of distinguished rank, who fled thither, under the influence of terror, from Strasbourg and its environs, and who always received the most open-hearted and cordial reception, though it endangered his own situation. “I once,
“I once," says a gentleman, who was then residing at Waldbach, “saw a chief
Once, indeed, in the year 1789, he was cited before the Supreme Council of Alsace, and had to clear himself from the accusation of having induced his parishioners to enrol themselves under the banners of Joseph the Second. He was not merely acquitted, but the court, informed by means of this proceeding of his virtues, and of the good that he had effected, after pronouncing judgment in his favor, expressed regret that so estimable an individual should have been drawn from his solitude, to the interruption of the exercise of his charitable labors.
actor of the Revolution in Oberlin's house, and in that atmosphere he seemed to have lost his sanguinary disposition, and to have exchanged the fierceness of the tiger for the gentleness of the lamb."
It is pleasing to see how a Christian minister could meet the difficulties of times like these, and how one of Oberlin's courage and aptitude could make the circumstances of so alarming a period, bend to his aim of profiting those committed to his charge. I will here insert a paper which he addressed to the younger members of his flock, in 1794, and wherein he took advantage of the actual state of the
government to teach them what true republicans should really be :
Young people are precious in the sight of God and of good men, when they are truly what they ought to be, — noble-minded, courageous, diligent, modest, pious, humble, docile, willing to employ all their energies for the welfare of their families, full of respect towards their superiors, and desirous of keeping the commandments.
"I desire that the numerous members of the French Republic should be animated by truly republican sentiments. I wish them to understand that public happiness constitutes private happiness, and that every individual ought therefore to endeavour to love for the public good; and to remember that his actions will only secure the favor and love of God, according to the motives from which they are performed.
“We are Republicans, when we neither live, nor act, nor undertake any thing, nor choose a profession or situation, nor settle in life, except for the public good.
“We are Republicans, when from love to the public we endeavour, by precept as well as by example, to stimulate our children to active beneficence; and seek to render them useful to others, by turning their attention to such pursuits as are likely to increase the public prosperity.
“We are Republicans, when we endeavour to imbue the minds of our children with the love of science, and with such knowledge as may be likely, in maturer life, to make them useful in the stations they are called to occupy; and when we teach them to love their neighbours as themselves.' “Lastly, we are Republicans, when we pre
our children from that self-interested spirit, which, at the present day, seems to have gained more ascendancy than ever over a nation, whose people have, notwithstanding,
sworn to regard each other, and to love each other as brethren, but the greater part of whom care only for themselves, and labor only for the public good, when they are compelled to do
Ah! far from us be this infernal spirit, as anti-republican as it is anti-christian.
“Oh, may you, my young friends, be counted henceforth among the active benefactors of your country.
“Oh, may you render yourselves worthy of this honorable title, by endeavouring to devote to the public good, and to the general happiness, your strength, your abilities, your leisure, and your talents; and by dedicating to this purpose all your attainments in knowledge, philosophy, and science.
“ You will then become precious in the sight of all good men, and God will protect and love you, and cause your undertakings to prosper. He will also one day recompense your faithfulness, by loading you with honor, and glory, and power, and riches, and happiness, and by saying to you, in the presence of the assembled universe, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things : enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.' Matt. xxv, 23. O God, grant that the Republic, and all true republicans, may prosper.
Upon the re-opening of the churches, in 1795, that benevolent renunciation of his own interests for the good of his flock, which, as I have frequently had occasion to observe, formed so distinguished a feature in Oberlin's character, was strikingly displayed; for he declared that in consequence of their reduced means he was willing henceforth, as long as God should grant him strength to do so, to serve them without any given salary, and that he wanted no annual collections; adding, that as every one knew how to find his way to the parsonage, he might bring his share, to whatever amount, and at whatever time he pleased; for he considered it unjust that the poor, who were at times unable to procure either salt or bread, and who formed the greater part of the community, should pay as much as those who were in more affluent circumstances. Nor had they, he assured them, any reason to fear his displeasure, even if they brought nothing at all, since he should consider that it was only for want of ability to do so; and it always afforded him more gratification to relieve than to oppress them. With respect to the payment of the schoolmasters also, they were to adopt the same plan, that is, to contribute according to their means, and to bring whatever they