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reading. Whilst thus engaged, the curacy of the Ban de la Roche became vacant, in consequence of M. Stouber's removal to Strasbourg. No sooner had the latter decided upon taking this step, than it occured to him, that Oberlin, with whose piety and zeal he was well acquainted, would be admirably calculated for the vacant post, and, with the view of communicating this intelligence, he went to his lodging.
It was a little attic, up three pair of stairs. On opening the door, the first object that caught his attention was a small bed, standing in one corner of the room ; covered with brown paper-hangings. “That would just suit the Steinthal,” said he to himself. On approaching the bed, he found Oberlin lying upon it, and suffering from a violent tooth-ache. He rallied him about the simplicity of his curtains, and the homeliness of his apartment.
“ And pray,” continued he, after having taken a survey round the room, 66 what is the use of that little iron pan that hangs over your table ?" “That is my kitchen,” replied Oberlin; “ I am in the habit of dining at home with my parents every day, and they give me a large piece of bread to bring back in my pocket. At eight o'clock in the evening, I put my bread into that pan, and, having sprinkled it with salt, and poured a little water upon it, I place it over my lamp, and go on with my studies till ten or eleven o'clock, when I generally begin to feel hungry, and relish my self-cooked
supper more than the greatest dainties."
Stouber congratulated him on the happiness of possessing so contented a disposition; and, assuring him that he was exactly the person he had wished to find, communicated the object of his visit.
Oberlin was rejoiced at the proposition ; but having nearly concluded his engagement to undertake the office of military chaplain, he would not accept the parish until a free discharge from his engagement was obtained, and until he was convinced that no candidates for clerical prefer nt, who had a prior claim to himself, would accept the situation.
These two points were soon arranged, in consequence of a candidate making application for the one office, whilst the other, which offered scarcely any emolument, was left unsolicited. The Ban de la Roche, as a sphere of pastoral labor, was wholly uninviting to any, but those who, in singleness of heart, were wishing to forsake all for Christ; Oberlin, therefore, after many earnest prayers that a blessing might rest upon himself and upon the little flock commit
ted to his charge, accompanied his new friend and patron thither, and arrived at Waldbach, on the 30th of March, 1767. He was at this time in the twenty-seventh year of his age.
On Oberlin's arrival at Waldbach, he took up his residence in the parsonage house, a tolerably commodious building, formerly occupied by M. Stouber. It had a court-yard in front, and a good garden behind, and stood in a delightful situation, very near the church, being surrounded by steep dells clothed with wood, and rugged mountains, the tops and sides of which were partially covered with pines, and a few other straggling trees.
The first glance which he threw over the mountains destined to be the scene of his ministerial labors, convinced him, that notwithstanding the partial reformation effected by M. Stouber's exertions, neither the necessities of his flock, nor the difficulties which opposed their removal, were of any ordinary kind.
They were alike destitute of the means of mental and social intercourse; they spoke a rude patois, resembling the Lorraine dialect, and the
medium of no external information ; they were entirely secluded from the neighbouring districts by the want of roads, which, owing to the devastation of war and decays of population, had been so totally lost, that the only mode of communication, from the bulk of the parish to the neighbouring towns, was across the river Bruche, a stream thirty feet wide, by stepping-stones, and in winter along its bed; the husbandmen were destitute of the most necessary agricultu ral implements, and had no means of procuring them ; the provisions springing from the soil were not sufficient to maintain even a scanty population; and a feudal service, more fatal than sterile land and ungenial climate, constantly depressed and irritated their spirits.
Confident, however, that strength would be afforded, if rightly sought, Oberlin at once resolved to employ all the attainments in science, philosophy, and religion, which he had brought with him from Strasbourg, to the improvement of the parish and the benefit of his parishioners.
Those individuals over whom M. Stouber had gained an influence, silently acquiesced in the projects of his successor; but a very determined spirit of opposition soon manifested itself among the opposite party, under the supposition that old practices are always safe, and that whatever
is new must be pernicious. They resolved, therefore, not to submit to innovation, but to try what they might be able to effect by determined resistance. On one occasion, soon after his arrival, they laid a plan to way-lay their new minister, and inflict upon him a severe personal castigation, judging that such a measure, at the commencement of his career, would prevent his future interference.
Oberlin happily received information of their intention, and, without being disconcerted at the intelligence, immediately determined upon a mode of correction, in which the peculiar gentleness and decision that formed such leading traits in his character were remarkably displayed.
Sunday being fixed upon for the execution of this attempt, when the day arrived, he took for his text those words of our Saviour, in the fifth chapter of St. Matthew : " But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil ; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also;" — and proceeded from these words to speak of the Christian patience with which we should suffer injuries, and submit to false surmises and ill usage. - After the service the malecontents met at the house of one of the party, to amuse themselves in conjecturing what their pastor would do, when he should find him