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and an infallible deliverance from every distress and every evil. He had experienced numerous instances of this kind in his life, and they had recently been frequently repeated ; so that, though he led a frugal life, yet it was without care and with the greatest cheerfulness; and he applied himself most diligently to his studies, although he could not reckon on any certain subsistence from one quarter of a year to another. I urged him to write his life, and he promised to do so."
Such is the unequivocal testimony of Goethe, who was most intimately acquainted with him; and surely no one will say that Goethe was a man to be beguiled by religious fanaticism, especially towards the latter part of his life, when he wrote the sentences which I have just quoted.
In youth, Stilling was extremely poor, destitute of the common comforts and necessaries of life. After a long season of anxiety and prayer, he felt satisfied that it was the will of God, that he should go to a University and prepare himself for the medical profession. He did not, at first, make choice of a University, but waited for an intimation from his Heavenly Father; for as he intended to study simply from faith, he would not follow his own will in any thing. Three weeks after he had come to this determination, a friend asked him, whither he intended to go. He replied he did not know. “Oh,” said she, “our neighbor Mr. T. is going to Strasburg to spend a winter there, go with him.” This touched Stilling's heart; he felt that this was the intimation he had waited for. Meanwhile Mr. T. himself entered the room, and was heartily pleased with the proposition. The whole of his welfare now depended on his becoming a physician, and for this, a thousand dollars at least, were requisite, of which he could not tell in the whole world where to raise a hundred. He nevertheless fixed his confidence firmly on God, and reasoned as follows: "God begins nothing without terminating it gloriously; now it is most certainly true that He alone has ordered my present circumstances entirely without my co-operation.—Consequently it is also most certainly true, that he will accomplish every thing regarding me in a manner worthy of himself.” He smilingly said to his friends who were as poor as himself—“I wonder from what quarter my Heavenly Father will provide me with money. When they expressed anxiety, he said, “Believe assuredly
“Where do you
that He who was able to feed a thousand people with a little bread lives still, and to Him I commit myself
. He will certainly find out means. Do not be anxious, the Lord will provide.”
Forty-six dollars was all that he could raise for his journey. He met unavoidable delay on the way, and while in Frankfort, three days ride from Strasburg, he had but a single dollar left. He said nothing of it to any one, but waited for the assistance of his Heavenly Father. was walking the street and praying inwardly to God, he met Mr. L., a merchant from ihe place of his residence, who says to him: “Stilling, what brought you here ?” “I am going to Strasburg to study medicine.” get your money to study with ?” “I have a rich Father in heaven." Mr. L. looked steadily at him and inquired, “How much money have you on hand ?"
" One dollar,” says Stilling. “So," says Mr. L. “Well, I'm one of your Father's stewards,” and handed him thirty-three dollars. Stilling felt warm tears in his eyes; says he, “I am now rich enough I want no more.'
This first trial made him so courageous, that he no longer doubted that God would help him through every thing.
He had been but a short time in Strasburg, when his thirtythree dollars had again been reduced to one, on which account he began again to pray very earnestly. Just at this time, one morning, his room-mate, Mr. T- says to him “Stilling, I believe you did not bring much money with you, and offered him thirty dollars in gold, which he gladly accepted as in answer to his prayers. In a few months after this, the time arrived when he must pay the Lecturer's fec, or have his name struck from the list of students. The money was to be paid by six o'clock on Thursday evening. Thursday morning came and he had no money, and no means of getting any. The day was spent in prayer. Five o'clock in the evening came, and yet there was no money. His faillı began almost to fail; he broke out into a perspiration—his face was wet with tears. Some one knocked at the door. “Come in," said he. It was Mr. R-, the gentleman of whom he rented the room. “ I calied," said Mr. R
10 see how you like your room?” “Thank you,” says Stilling, “ I like it very much.” Says Mr. R--,"I thought I would ask you one other question; have you brought any money with
you ?" Stilling says he now felt like Habakkuk when the Angel took him by the hair of the head to carry him to Babylon.* He answered, “No, I have no money.” Mr. R- looked at him with surprise, and at length said, " I see how it is, God has sent me to help you.” He immediately left the room, and soon returned with forty dollars in gold.
Stilling says he then felt like Daniel in the lion's den, when Habakkuk brought him his food. He threw himself on the floor and thanked God with tears. He then went to the College and paid his fee as well as the best. His whole College life was one series of just such circumstances. He was often in want of money, but he never asked man for it ; for he had no man to ask; he asked God for it, and it always came when he needed it. Was he authorised to enter on a course of study with such prospects, and such expectations ? The leadings of providence were such, that he had not a shadow of doubt that it was his duty to enter on this course of study; he prayed fervently for divine guidance, and felt that he had it; he availed himself of all the lawful means in his power for the supply of his own wants—and when he had no means of his own, he asked help of God-and never failed to receive what he asked for. He became one of the most useful physicians, and one of the greatest benefactors to the poor ihat the world has ever seen. He restored sight during his life, to nearly five thousand blind people, most of whom were very poor, and unable to render him any pecuniary reward.
What stronger proof can we have that God was his guide ? Let us take a series of events of the same kind from the life of another person who lived a century previous, and was of a calling and character quite different from that of Stilling. Augustus Herman Franke was a parish minister in the city of Halle, with a small salary, barely sufficient for his own support, and no property except his books. He was a man of cool, deliberate judgment and extensive learning, and was benevolent on principle rather than impulse. His heart was affected with a view of the wretched condition of the children of the uneducated poor, in Halle, and was determined to
* See History of Bel and the Dragon in the Apocrypha, verses 33-39.
do something for their relief. In process of time he had a large orphan establishment, containing between three and four hundred children, entirely dependent on his exertions for their education, their clothing, and their daily food. His means of course were continually running short, and he had no other resource than prayer to God.
This was a resource which never failed. Hear his own testimony, as it has been confirmed by thousands of witnesses: “In the month of April, 1696, our funds were exhausted, and I knew not where to look for the necessary supplies for the next week. This caused me great distress; when some person, who is yet unknown to me, put into my
hands a ihousand dollars for the orphans. At another time when our stores were exhausted, we laid our case before the Lord, and had scarcely finished our prayer, when there was a knock at my door and a letter was handed in with $50 in gold: $20 soon after came, which completely supplied our wants, and we were taught that God will often hear prayer almost before it is offered. In the month of October, 1698, I sent a ducat to a poor and afflicted woman, who wrote me that it came to hand at a time when she greatly needed it, and she prayed God to give my poor orphans a heap of ducats for it. Soon after, I received from one friend two ducats ; from another wenty-five ; from two others foriy-three; and from Prince Paul of Wertemburg five hundred. When I saw all this money on the table before me, I could not but think of the prayer of the poor woman, and how literally it had been fulfilled. In February, 1699, I was almost entirely without funds, though much was needed for the daily wants of the children and other poor. In this state of difficulty, I comforted myself with the promise of the Lord Jesus: Seek
ye first the kingdom,' &c. When I had given out the last of our money, I prayed to the Lord. As I left my room to go into the college, I found a student waiting for me, who put $70 into my hands. Soon afterwards, we were in the greatest want, but I trusted in the Lord and determined to go to my closet and spread my wants before him. I arose to go to my closet, and while on my way, a letter was put into
hands from a merchant, informing me that he had received a cheque for a thousand dollars, to be paid me for the orphan house. How forcibly did I feel the truth of the promise, “Before they call I will answer, and while they are yet speaking I
will hear.'—Isa. 65: 24. I had now no reason to ask for assistance, but I went to my closet and praised the Lord for his goodness. At another time the superintendent of the building came to me and asked me if I had received any money for the payment of the laborers ; ‘No,' said I, but I have faith in God.? Scarcely had I uttered these words, when some one was announced at the door. On going to him, I found he had brought me thirty dollars. I returned to the study and asked the superintendent how much money he needed. He replied, thirty dollars. There they are,' said I. At another time of great need, I prayed particularly, "Give us this day our daily bread.' I dwelt upon the words this day, for we needed immediate aid. While I was vet praying, a friend came to my door and brought me $400. At one time I was recounting to a Christian friend some of our remarkable deliverances from want, by which he was so much affected, that he even wept. While I was speaking, as if to confirm my statements, I received a letter containing a cheque for $500. At another time I was in need of a large sum, but did not know where to obtain even ten dollars. The steward came; but having no money for him, I asked him to come again after dinner, and in the inean time gave myself to prayer.
When he came in the afternoon, all that I could do was to ask him to come again in the evening. In the afternoon I was visited by a friend, with whom I united in prayer to God. As I accompanied my friend to the door, on his departure, I found the steward standing on one side, and on the other a person who put into my hands $150. On another occasion, the superintendent began to pay the laborers with only fourteen dollars, but before he got through, he received enough to complete the payments. One of my orphan children who was about to go on a visit to his friends, came and asked me for two dollars to bear his expenses. I told him I should be glad to give them to him, but that I had not more than a half dollar in the world. This he could scarcely believe, as he had never discovered the least signs of poverty at the orphan house. I told him to return to me again after a short time. I thought of going to borrow the money, but being engaged in a piece of business which could not be postponed, and knowing that the Lord could easily send me the sum, if it was his will, I kept my seat. In less than a quarter of an hour, a person came in bringing me