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on the field of honor in defense of God and of religion. Gradually the Elector came to occupy a sort of paternal position with reference to the whole Reformed church, and his influence was felt in distant lands. Even Queen Elizabeth consulted him with reference to the affairs of the church of England.
During Frederick's later years his chief source of sorrow was the continued alienation of his eldest son, Louis, who was still violent in his opposition to the Reformed church, and even refused to see his father on his death-bed, though the latter earnestly requested it. The last days of the pious elector were, how ever, exceedingly edifying. To the friends who gathered around his dying bed he said: "I have lived long enough for you and the Church; I am now called to a better life. I have done for the Church all I could, but my power was limited. God, who can do all things, and who cared for His Church before I was born, liveth and reigneth in Heaven still, and will not forsake us; nor will He suffer those prayers and tears which I have offered up in this chamber upon my knees for my successor and the Church, to be without a blessing. "Then addressing his court-preacher he said: "The Lord may call me hence whenever it pleaseth Him; my conscience is at peace with the Lord Jesus Christ whom I have served with all my heart. I have been permitted to see that in all my churches and schools the people have been led away from men and directed to Christ alone." And again he exclaimed: "I have been detained here long enough through the prayers of God's people; it is now time that I should be gathered into the true rest with my Saviour. Then he requested his pastor to read the 31st Psalm and the 17th chapter of John, and after praying audibly and fervently he gently fell asleep in the Lord. His death occurred on the 26th of October, 1576.
AFTER FREDERICK'S DEATH. Louis VI. assumed the government immediately after his father's death. He immediately dismissed the Reformed professors, and introduced a strictly Lutheran church-order. Pastors were required to subscribe to the new order or to leave the country. Many of these says
Von Alpen "submitted for the sake of their wives and children," but others found a refuge at the court of Prince John Casimir, who ruled over several provinces. This state of affairs continued for about seven years, when Louis suddenly died, leaving an infant son, in whose name John Casimir assumed the government. The young prince was brought up in the Reformed church, and so it happened that the latter was for many years the established church in the Palatinate. The lines between the confessions had now been drawn, and Reformed and Lutheran churches existed side by side. The struggle was not yet over, but there was a season of rest.
The books in explanation and in defense of the Heidelberg Catechism, writ ten during this period, and subsequently, are almost innumerable. The most celebrated and valuable of these is the commentary bearing the name of Ursinus, first printed at Heidelberg in 1591, of which an English version has been published in this country by Rev. Dr. G. W. Williard. This great work was, however, really prepared by the distinguished theologian David Pareus, who gathered the notes taken by students from the lectures of Ursinus, and moulded them into a complete whole; and mus therefore, be regarded as sharing in th honor of having produced it.
Among later expositions of the cate chism we have found none so valuable as John D'Outrein's "Golden Jewel," first published in Dutch in 1719. We have a German translation, edited by F. A. Lampe, which once belonged to Rev. John Christopher Gobrecht, one of the patriarchs of the Reformed church in the United States. It is a volume of nearly twelve hundred pages. Though it contains some minor p-culiarities of doctrine it is still of great practical value, and we regret to say that we know of no English translation.
The defense of the Heidelberg catechism was everywhere conducted with self-sacrificing devotion, and thousands of men and women have shed their blood in its behalf. Though often attacked it is so thoroughly grounded in the Word of God that it can never be refuted. The Reformed church everywhere regard it as a precious legacy, and we trust it will be venerated to the latest generation.
THE AGED MINSTREL.
From the "Platt-Deutsch" of Klaus Groth.*
BY THE EDITOR.
I once was young and fair, I once was free from care, Bright roses bloomed upon my cheek, My ringlets played at hide and seek; And I was young and fair, And I was young and fair.
I once was free and bold; I sang for young and old; The people praised me when I sung, They said that I was fair and young; For I was free and bold,
For I was free and bold.
I did not spare my breath, I never thought of death. Through distant lands I took my way, And everywhere the world was gayAh! who could think of death? Ah! who could think of death?
And still I sing and play, While creeping on my way; I sing, but no one asks me why 'Mid songs of youth and love I sigh; But still I sing and play, But still I sing and play.
"THE KING'S BUSINESS."
Slowly and aimlessly out of the village wandered poor, half-witted Nat that pleasant summer afternoon. He had no particular destination, "only goin' somewhere"-his reply always to any question in regard to his movements. During the morning he had been parading the village street, his hat trimmed luxuriantly with feathers, while he sounded forth his own praise through the medium of a tin horn. Of course he had attracted attention. A small army of urchins had surrounded him, front and rear, and he had taken their shouts and teasing remarks for applause and admiration. But now his grandeur was gone. One by one his followers had forsaken him, until at last he was "left alone in his glory," and with poor Nat, like the rest of us, what does glory amount to when there are
none to witness?
This celebrated "Platt-Deutsch" poet was born at Heide, April 24th, 1819. In 1875 he was a profes
sor at the University of Kiel.
And so he moved onward in his drifting, uncertain way across the creek at the edge of the village, up the hill, until his stalwart form stood out against the sky-for Nat was strong in body though weak in mind; then he passed down on the other side to where the road entered a forest which stretched miles
away. It was here quiet and lonely, but Nat fancied this. He occasionally liked to escape from human voices and human habitations, to get away by himself and talk with the birds, the trees and the flowers. Here in the wood the wild vagaries of his brain found full play. Here no one disputed his claims. to greatness, no one denied his being a noted general, a gifted orator or musician, when the fancy seized him to be such. In fact Nat always had "greatness thrust upon him;" he was never an ordinary man in his own estimation, and he was not now.
But on this occasion a new fancy had taken possession of him-he was on business for the King. What King, or what was the particular business he did not precisely know, but he had derived his idea from various sermons he had heard at the village church and Sundayschool, which he attended with scrupulous punctuality through all weathers, and although he understood but little of the proceedings, yet chance sentences had fastened themselves on his sluggish brain.
"I'm on business for the King," he muttered, reaching up his great strong hand and wrenching a huge overhanging branch from its place and speedily converting it into a walking stick. "Yes, I'm on business for the King, the King of all around here, the birds, the trees, the flowers and the bumble-bees. He sent me, He did. Parson said so t'other Sunday. He said the King sent out his messengers to do His work. He sent out twelve on 'em once't, an' they wasn't to take no money in their purse nor nothin' to eat. Guess He sent me, 'cause I hain't got no money an' hain't had nothin' to eat all day."
He strode onward, murmuring his thoughts as he went, until after a time he came upon a public road which ran through the wood. A placard fastened to a tree by the roadside attracted his attention, and he paused to consider it.
He could not read, but as his eyes were fixed upon the printed characters the tinkle of a cow-bell was heard down the road, and presently a cow came into view, followed by the short, sturdy figure aud round, freckled face of Tommy Brock. Tommy was flourishing a large stick and shouting at the cow in his efforts to keep her in a proper homeward direction. As he came up claimed:
Hello, Nat! What are you doin' here?"
I'm on business for the King," replied Nat with dignity.
"On business for-who?" asked Tommy in surprise.
"For the King. He sent me," said Nat again. "That's His orders there, I take it," pointing to the placard. "What is it, Tommy ?"
"That? Why that's only an apvertisement," answered Tommy, his eyes opening wider in his astonishment. "It says, 'Go to Tracey's Half-Way House for a square meal.'"
"Yes, I know'd it! I know'd it!" exclaimed Nat exultingly. "The King said take no money nor nothin' to eat, an' He'd take keer of me. He says Go,' an' I'll obey orders," and instan ly his tall figure was moving swiftly down the road.
Tommy gazed after him a minute in bewildered silence, and then exclaimed emphatically as he turned away: My! but ain't he cracked!" With rapid steps Nat hurried forward, swinging his huge stick and talking to himself. He had taken the placard as a veritable command to go to Tracey's, and thitherward he directed his steps. It was not the first time he had been there. On previous occasions when he had passed that way he had been kindly treated by Mrs. Tracey, and perhaps that had something to do with the alacrity of his movement, and he hastened down the road till it brought him to a small stream, on the bank of which stood a saw-mill. Mr. Tracey, the owner of the Half Way House, was engaged at work here, and he turned aside to speak to him.
"I'm on business for the King, and I'm goin' to your house," he announced with the dignified gravity that belonged to his royal commission.
"What money's that?" asked a fellow workman as Nat turned away.
"My pension. My claim was allowed last week, and I got my money-five hundred dollars-yesterday. I was foolish not to put it in the bank right off but I didn't, and as I didn't have time to go to town yesterday I had to leave it at home. I reckon it's safe enough, though, till to-morrow night, and then ".
"Hist!" interrupted his companion suddenly. "What's that?" Tracey paused to listen. "I didn't hear anything," he said. "I thought I heard some one over there," pursued the other, pointing to a large, high pile of boards a few feet distant-the boards being piled in form of a square, with a large cavity in the centre. "Most likely it was rats, though."
More likely to be rats than anything else, there's so many about here," answered Tracey. Then he added jocularly: "Maybe, though, it's them burglars that's been playin' mischief 'round these parts for the last week or somaybe they're stowed away in that pile of lumber. My! if I really believed that I'd be uneasy myself, for the chaps would have heard all I said about my pension."
"What burglars is that?" inquired the other.
"What burglars? Why, man, don't you read the papers? Why, only yesterday the Sheriff and his deputies rode by my house on the hunt for 'em. Last Saturday night they broke into Lawyer Burke's house, in the village, and carried off about a hundred dollars, and then on Sunday night they got into the rail
road station, broke open the safe, and made off with about three hundred more. That's the biggest of their hauls, though they've entered several other places."
The conversation was continued on this topic for a few minutes, and then dropped. Neither of the men thought it worth while to investigate the cause of the noise, and they pursued their work for a short time and were then called over to the other side of the mill. Just as they disappeared a face peered over the top of the board-pile from the inside, another followed a moment later, and presently two rough, villainous-looking men came into view, and seeing they were unobserved, sprang quickly to the ground and hastened into the forest.
"Close shave that, as bein' as we was hid there all last night and all day till now," said one as he pushed through the underbrush.
"Yes; I thought as once them mill chaps was a comin' to look," responded the other. "Good for 'em as they didn't, an' tok us for rats; 'cause the p'lice be on the look-out now an' we don't want to use no shootin' irons an' make things too hot. We must move out lively from 'ere, Bill."
"Not till we get that 'ere pension," answered Bill significantly. "That layout were as good as pitched at us, an' it'd be a pity not to take it. 'Sides, the government owes me a pension for all the time I've lost in jails and prisons, an' this ere's a good chance to get it. I knows where the crib is, 'cause we stopped there last week for somethin' to eat, don't you mind? This feller that owns it was there at the time. There is nobody but a woman an' two little uns, an' they're easy fixed, an' there aint no other house nigh."
"But there's that 'ere other chap as said as he was a goin' there?"
"Him? He's crazy, an' if he goes there at all he'll only stop a bit an' move on. A tap on the head''ll settle him, anyway, if he's there-but then he won't be there."
During this time Nat was not idle. His tall form, with long and steady stride, was hastening forward "on business for the King." It did not occur to him what he should do when he reached Tracey's and had been supplied
with food. At present he was I obeying orders"-and beyond that his thought did not go. It was indeed a long walk he had undertaken, and it was just at dusk that he reached his destination. The Half-Way House was a lonely hostelry, situated at the intersection of two roads, with no other house in sight, and was a common stopping-place for persons passing to and from the city. Nat stepped boldly upon the broad piazza in front, and with full consciousness of his right walked unhesitatingly into the pleasant sitting-room. Mrs. Tracey came forward to meet him. Why, Nat, is that you?" "Yes'm," he answered gravely. "I was told to come here an' get a square meal. The King sent me.'
"The King sent you? Well, I guess I'll have to give you a supper then," said she. "And by the way, Nat, did you see my husband on your way here?"
"Yes'm; and he said for me to tell you he'd be home to-morrer night, n' for you not to be uneasy 'bout that money."
"O dear! I did so hope he'd come this evening," she sighed.
She was indeed uneasy on account of the money in the house. She had slept but little the preceding night for thinking of it, and had worried about it all through the day, and now another lonely night was before her. As she was preparing supper for her guest, another thought came to her. Could she not induce Nat to stop there for the night? His notion of wandering made it an uncertain request, and even if he remained, with his beclouded intellect, he could not be depended on in case of trouble. Still he would be company, and perhaps he might aid her-she prayed for that --if she needed help.
Nat," she said, as she poured out a glass of milk for him, "won't you stay here to-night?"
"I don't know whether it be orders," he answered uncertainly. "Parson said the King sent out his messengers, an' they wasn't to take no money nor nothin' to eat, an' I don't know if it be right to stop."
"O yes it is," replied Mrs. Tracey, catching at once an idea of his thonghts. "I heard what the parson said When the King's messenger entered a
house he was to abide there that is to feet, and grasping his stick he strode stop. Don't you remember?"
forward and opened the door. A fearful struggle met his view as he entered. Two rough, evil-looking men were there -one holding Mrs. Tracey, the other the children--and the villains were evidently trying to bind and gag their victims. As Nat witnessed the scene his
Nat considered the proposition. "Yes'm, that's his orders. I'll stop," he said.
"And, Nat," pursued the lady, rendered eager by her success, there's another thing the King said-you heard it at Sunday-school. He said, 'Suffer tall form seemed to tower yet higher, little children to come unto me'-that and a strange, fierce light gleamed from is such little children as mine there," his eyes.
pointing to them as they stood at her "I belong to the King!" he thunside. And the King said too, Who-dered. How dare you offend his little soever shall offend one of these little ones?" ones it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.' The King doesn't wish any harm to come to his little ones, in any way you remember that?" "Yes'm," replied Nat absently. "Well, then," continued Mrs. Tracey, driving the concluding nail into her argument, "if any bad, wicked men should come here to-night, and try to hurt me or these little ones that belong to the King, you would help us wouldn't you?"
She waited anxiously for the reply Nat looked at her vaguely for a moment, and then his eyes wandered aimlessly around the room, and then back to her. Finally he said quietly:
"The King sent me. I'll obey orders."
At this unexpected intrusion one of the burglars released his hold of Mrs. Tracey, and sprang forward with an oath to meet him. But it was in vain. The great stick was whirled in the air, and then came down with fearful force on the head of the villain, and he sank senseless to the floor. The remaining burglar hastened to his comrade's assistance, but he was like child in the hands of a giant, and in a moment he, too, was helpless and motionless. Nat stooped and drew the two insensible forms toward him.
"Nat! help! Nat, the King wants you!" came in smothered tones from the other room.
In an instant he sprang lightly to his
"Now bring them ropes, and I'll hang a"-he paused, and left the sentence unfinished. "But there aint no millstones 'bout here to hang 'round their necks!" he added, looking up bewildered. "Do you b'lieve a big rock would do? I must obey orders."
"No, I don't believe a rock would do," replied Mrs. Tracey, smiling in spite of her alarm. "But they will be coming to presently; I would just tie their hands and feet and leave them until morning."
How far he understood she did not know, and all her effort could draw out no more definite reply, and with that she was obliged to be content. As the evening grew late she provided her guest with a sleeping-place, in an adjoining room, by throwing a few quilts on the floor-for Nat would sleep nowhere else and then she lay down, without undressing, on a bed beside her children. But it was a long time before slumber visited her troubled spirit.
As for Nat, no thought of worry or I need not tell of the night that folanxiety for the future was on his mind lowed, of how Nat kept sleepless guard and he "slept the sleep of the just "over his captives, and of how, when and his dreams were peaceful. But morning came and help came with it, after a time those dreanis became dis- the burglars were safely lodged in the turbed and discordant-a voice seemed county jail. All that is easily surmised. to be calling to him from his King, and But at last Nat was a hero-not only in presently he awakened with a start. his own eyes but in the eyes of all others. He bore his honors meekly and with dignity, as a right belonging to a servant of the King. He accepted the numerous congratulations and hand
"Yes'm, so I will. The King said tie 'em hand and foot-that's his orders. They won't offend his little ones any more,' ," and in a few minutes Nat had them safely secured.