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oblige us to do all affectionate service to relatives and others; but how we are to do it is, for wise and good reasons, left to our own discretion. Yes, the ways of the Lord are right,' in this as well as in every thing else ; it is only the transgressors' who
fall here, but the just keep their footing, and walk uprightly.' Straightforward faithfulness, prudence, and discretion, will always have the best final issue. It is the faithfulness of God that preserves us, so that surrounding business of the world does not carry away our hearts, but only constrains us to be the more careful to keep them' collected 'with all diligence. When the love of God' governs us in things temporal as well as spiritual, all things must necessarily work together for our good.'”
IX.-To another Son-in-law.
“Jan. 2, 1752. ** Your letter of yesterday serves as a good new year's beginning for another annual course of communion in christian love between us, upon all its most essential matters. The love abiding in your two selves owns and blesses with us the goodness of God; and commends us to that goodness in these days (of remembrance), as, indeed, it always does. We also do the same for yourselves. May God bless our beloved friend and son-in-law in his ministerial duties, and in all other concerns engaged in for his glory; may he bless likewise your mutual union, and your dear children with you! We remain assured of your love, even as you continue to be assured of ours.
“ Yesterday I attended court as one of the 'deputation appointed to carry up the new year's address, in company with Counsellor Moser, who read it. To-day I have been at the sermon, and heard the court chaplain preach, as I did yesterday the senior preacher to the court. The wishes expressed by them in their sermons (particularly with reference to the new year,) were very energetic and full of meaning."
AS A FRIEND.
Though we have already seen much of Bengel's christian communion with a variety of friends in correspondence, yet, for a clearer view of his private life, it is worth while here to notice further particulars of the kind.
A large part of his early life was spent in pretty much retirement. That disposedness to true religion, that holy seriousness, which characterised even his childhood and youth, necessarily kept him aloof from all circles of worldly frivolity. But his various knowledge, his integrity, and affectionate behaviour, made him kindly regarded everywhere, and drew the hearts of many towards him. Thus even in his younger days at Stuttgart he was not without friends, whose intimacy he retained to the end of life. At Tübingen the number of his particular friends was increased; and a common fellowship of faith, love, and hope bound them for ever together. Bengel, at that period of his life, was remarkable for preferring the friendship of persons much older than himself; but in his later years, as if desiring to repay with interest the benefits he had thus received, he was equally remarkable for his familiar friendship with those who were far his juniors, some of whom were either then, or formerly had been, his own pupils. When he was at Halle, upon his tour for educational and literary information, he had the happiness of commencing the valuable friendship of Matthias Marthius, the well known and accurate editor of the Byzantine MS. We have already noticed him and Bengel frankly and affectionately corresponding upon apocalyptical subjects, (see chap. xvii.) The union between these two friends is further beautifully seen in the following passage of a letter from Marthius, in the year 1720:
“ I am at present so fully occupied, that I should not easily have been persuaded even to sit down and write a letter, were it not, that having been thinking of you, my dear friend, before God, I feel at this moment a strong impulse to express to you my christian love and remembrance. And how can I help loving
you, with whom I have so often bowed the knee at the throne of Grace, and thus laid the foundation of a friendship which is to last for ever! May He who, undoubtedly of his special goodness and wisdom, brought us together at Halle, held us so long together under the same roof, and fed us at the same table, sustain us still from the plentiful table of his own grace, and grant us to meet one day in glory as in our Father's house, where the Saviour is preserving many abiding places for them that love him !"
This valuable friendship had extended to the 9th of August, 1734, when Marthius sweetly fell asleep in the faith of his Redeemer. Only a short time before his death, he had given directions that all his sermons should be buried with him in his coffin, and that his funeral should be as private and plain as possible.
Bengel enjoyed a longer term of friendship with prelate Ph. H. Weissensee, whose numerous and most affectionate letters, found among Bengel's papers, fully testify it. We much regret that Bengel's answers to them have not been found, as passages of them, which reappear in those of Weissensee, are of so amiable and delightful a character, that one cannot but wish to peruse the whole. The correspondence of these faithful friends was upon every subject connected with their ministry, the state of their own minds, and their family concerns; and all their communications were evidently seasoned by mutual love to their common Lord. Had we not already somewhat exceeded the prescribed limits of this memoir, we should gladly have inserted many extracts from those interesting letters of Weissensee; but we have only room for the few which follow :
“ May 11, 1721. “During nearly the whole of this vacation our heavenly Father has led me in a different way from that I should have chosen for myself. Thus I am returned home, almost discontented in some respects; especially about the shortness of my hurried visit to yourself. But the Lord is hereby showing me more and more how good and requisite such things are for me; and the more inefficient and unworthy I feel myself to be, the oftener does he grant me moments in which I am overwhelmed by a sense of the glory of Christ, my interest in him, and communion with him; still my unworthiness of such vouchsafements fills me with sacred awe, and makes me almost tremble.--Hallelujah!
“I should like to know how yon worthy tutors at Denkendorf manage respecting the injunction in the statutes, that the students are to converse in Latin. We frequently attempt it here, and it goes on for a while; but every little rise retards the whole team, till at length it stops altogether; and one cannot always be applying stimulants; and as for reproofs, it seems best that they should be reserved for any delinquencies of a more serious nature.”
“Feb. 14, 1724. “ The work of Marthius which you kindly sent me, shows the well ordered mind of a plain and honest friend, a pious Christian, and a good minister of Jesus Christ; it has arrived most welcomely, for I feel it quite awakens me. Such warm-hearted, savoury, and purifying effusions and utterances of grace, as God still occasionally favours us with, are beneficial in counteracting those chills of despondency with which we are apt to be overtaken in the cold air and iniquity of these Last Times. They dispose us to pause, think of, and anticipate rather what is to be expected of the divine mercy, than what our sins might deservedly bring upon us. Presburg is a good school for practical divinity; yes, the people of God have always thriven best under oppression; and never in general where they have been made much of, and looked up to. God forgive me if it is presumption, to have often wondered that he did not cause his word to have free course everywhere; or at least in our Germany, upon her awakening at the Reformation; instead of which, he has reserved to himself his own prerogative and glory. He best knew what was good for his children, and for his kingdom in general; and how the different medicines for our health required to be mixed. Had the gospel found at first a general acceptance amongst us, its fulness for the harvest would, in my opinion, have long since arrived; as may be seen in some places to have been the case; and if such sights as these are so refreshing, what a joy will arise hereafter at the universal result!
“Take one thought more, which I find in dear Marthius, to God's praise, and my own shame. He says, there are some who come to me at my house, to pray with me, and to gain more acquaintance with the Scriptures. Others I visit myself, to inquire after the church which is in their house,' &c. My brother! how is such a poor project-maker as myself to stand, who have poured out sighing supplications before God to the same effect often and often, but have never felt able to break
through so 'many difficulties in my way? Will my good desires be of any use to me when I stand before the tribunal of the Lord ? will they be any joy to me in that day ? Surely they will then be but of little use to me. Jesus must now and ever be my all in all, &c.
“Your industry in the New Testament shows itself in your last letter; and I have only regretted that with all your extensive inquiries after manuscripts, you have had to shake many an empty tree. But in no instance of the kind will the providence of our God be unglorified, neither will your faithful exertions be unblest or unrewarded.”
“ June 4, 1725. “ All the copies of your Prodromus which you sent me are 'cast upon the waters, excepting one, which I reserve for the pater provincialis of the Franciscans; for I hope to beat up some game in that bushy quarter. I must beg you to entrust me with a few more for unforeseen occasions,” &c.
We close these extracts from Weissensee's letters with part of one he wrote to Bengel's widow on the day of her husband's decease.
“You have done me no more than justice, in considering me as one of those of his friends whose pain at this afflictive bereavement bears the nearest resemblance to what you yourself are suffering. And you show that you thus consider me, in your having transmitted to me, without a moment's delay, the painful tidings of your dearest husband's departure. It is a departure, however, from time into blissful eternity. Still the painful feelings which such a separation occasions me, resemble your own as nearly as any one's feelings well can. For I have now to lament the departure of a friend, whose affectionate intimacy, founded in God, I have enjoyed for more than forty years ; which has been tried and strengthened by long and uninterrupted communication upon every occurrence or difficulty that we met with in our ministry or family concerns; and which, up to only a few days since, has been cherished by such frequent interviews and converse between us before the Lord, as surely may promise me the greatest benefit both for time and eternity.”
Other intimate friends of Bengel were Samuel Urlsperger, dean of Herrenberg, and afterwards senior Lutheran minister at Augsburg; and Andrew Christian Zeller, who had been Bengel's