« ZurückWeiter »
SOME men are great in the intellect, some in the imagination, and some few-oh, why are they not more in number ?-are great in the heart, in the affections, in the exercise of Christian benevolence,-forgetting or despising selfand living only to do good. This is the highest greatness of man, and this was the greatness of Papa, or Father, Oberlin: so called by his parishioners of the Ban de-la-Roche, which is a wild mountainous district, in a remote part of the French territories.
Oberlin was more than fifty years pastor of the Ban de-la-Roche. He found its inhabitants in a wretched condition, poor, and ignor
ant, and wicked.
And he worked a social and
religious reformation among them.
At the commencement of his labours, many of the peasants, hating all improvement, and hating Oberlin for attempting it, agreed to waylay their pastor, and inflict on him a severe personal chastisement. Oberlin learned their design, and on a Sunday, the day they had fixed for their malignant act, he preached to them on the text-"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." After the service, the peasants were met in a house, when the door opened, and Oberlin entered with quiet intrepidity.
"Here I am, my friends," said he ; "your design on me I am acquainted with; you have wished to deal with me in a practical manner, and to chastise me because you deem me culpable. If I have in fact violated the rules which I have laid down for you, punish me for it. It is better that I should deliver myself up to you, and save you the meanness of resorting to an ambuscade."
The peasants were overcome at once, they entreated his forgiveness, and promised never again to doubt of his affection for them.
THE only thoroughfares through the district were absolutely impassible during six or eight months of the year, and at the best they were in a most wretched state. This was the greatest hinderance to the prosperity of the people. Assured of this fact, Oberlin called together his parishioners, and proposed that they themselves should open a road a mile and a half in length, and build a bridge over the river Bruche, so that they might no longer be imprisoned in their villages three fourths of the year. The boldness of the proposal astonished the assembly. was impossible ;" and every one had some particular private concerns which prevented his engaging in the work. Some hinted that the roads were well enough as they were. Oberlin was not discouraged. He pointed out the advantages which all would derive from having an outlet for the produce of their fields, and the