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Strobel, and Faber. But after all these attempts, some of the letters already in print, and a multitude of those which exist in manuscript, have been entirely overlooked. De Wette appears to have done all that was possible in order to furnish a complete work, examining the archives of Weimar, the libraries of the universities, and other public and private collections, thus bringing to light more than a hundred epistles before unknown. He has had recourse to the most unexceptionable sources, consulting the autographs or the earliest impressions, in every case, and scrupulously noting the different readings of the text. The letters had so frequently been translated from German into Latin, and vice versa, that it became important to determine the original language in which each was written, which has been carefully done, and the ancient orthography and phraseology have been restored.

This work is so arranged as to constitute a copious journal of Luther's life. Each volume is prefaced with a chronological table of the principal events of the period to which it belongs. The strict order of time has been observed in the relative position, and each letter is preceded by a brief but comprehensive introduction and sketch of its contents. The volumes are moreover enriched with a likeness of the reformer, engraved after the portrait by Kranach, his contemporary and friend, and numerous facsimiles of his hand-writing.


1. Memoirs of John Frederic Oberlin, Pastor of Waldbach, in the Ban de la Roche. Compiled from authentic sources, chiefly in French and German. London, 1829.

Pp. 352, 5 plates.

2. The Life of John Frederic Oberlin, Pastor of Waldbach, in the Ban de la Roche. Compiled for the American Sunday School Union, and revised by the Committee of Publication. Philadelphia, 1830. Pp. 140, 2 lithographic plates.

We are surprised that the abridgment of these "Memoirs," issued by the American Sunday School Union, should be the

only form in which the volume has been republished in this country. The biography of one of the earliest pioneers of the religious enterprise of the age has certainly more than ordinary claims upon the attention of the Christian community. As a stirring proof of what may be effected by the well-directed efforts of a single individual, this narrative speaks loudly to the pastors of every church, who are commonly more disposed to lament over the inadequacy of their powers to their opportunities, than to apportion their energies to the exigence of the times; who, whilst they long for the mission of more labourers into the harvest-field, are apt to neglect to do with their might, whatever lies to their hand.

The original Memoirs are compiled by an anonymous female, from several small narratives in French and German, not known in this country, and from some original papers communicated to her. These authorities and documents are well arranged and connected, and the style of the author, with some inconsiderable exceptions, is quite appropriate and interesting.

The region which the name of Oberlin has drawn from obscurity, is a canton that originally belonged to Germany, and lies buried in the mountains of the north-east border of France, between Alsace and Lorraine. The French call it the Ban de la Roche; their German neighbours the Steinthal. It contains only about nine thousand acres, and is divided into two parishes, the one Rothau, the other comprising the five hamlets of Foudai, Belmont, Waldbach, Bellefosse and Zolbach, the inhabitants of which are almost exclusively of the Lutheran denomination.

Waldbach, the most central village, stands on the Champ de Feu, supposed to have been a volcanic mountain, which is separated from the Vosges range by a deep valley, and rises to the height of three thousand six hundred feet above the sea. The village is about half way up the mountain. The site of the whole district is represented to be highly romantic, though wild and insulated. The summits of the mountain remain covered with snow for a large portion of the year, whilst the valleys, which alone can be cultivated to any advantage, enjoy an Italian atmosphere. The population, so late as 1750, were in a state of comparative barbarism. Secluded in their rude recess from the polished countries adjacent, and deprived of communication by the want of roads, they appear to have surrendered themselves to sloth and ignorance, frequently suf

fering for want of sustenance on account of their repugnance to agricultural or other labour, and rapidly degenerating to the lowest grade of humanity. They had indeed a minister among them, who, it is probable, was not much above the common level, as it is mentioned that he had been twenty years without a Bible, and his parishioners had no other idea of the volume than that it was "a large book that contained the word of God." Under these circumstances it was of little avail to them, that by the decree which incorporated the district with the kingdom of France, liberty of conscience was guaranteed to them, and the privilege of professing their original Protestant faith: a license, however, of which they afterwards enjoyed the full blessing.

In the year 1750, Mr Stouber, a Lutheran clergyman, undertook the civilization of this forsaken community. It does not appear whence he came, or by what authority, but we conclude he was a voluntary missionary from Strasburg, which lies within a few miles. He found the principal school under the care of a superannuated swine-herd, who professed to teach "nothing," confessing that he "knew nothing himself." The office of schoolmaster, indeed, had fallen into such disesteem, that those who were best qualified for the station, that is, the few who could name the letters, disdained the employment as ignoble. Stouber overcame their scruples by an ingenious expedient. He abolished the illfavoured title of schoolmaster, and instituted that of messieurs les régents. By the adoption of this euphemism, instructers, such as they were, were obtained, school-houses were erected, and the parents were prevailed upon to send their children, though at first they viewed the elementary syllables as cabalistic symbols. Their progress, under the supervision of the pastor, was so self-recommendatory, that the elder children, and even some of the parents, emulated their progress, and Stouber was encouraged to establish an adult school, which was taught during part of Sunday, and in the evenings of winter. He cut fifty French Bibles into one hundred and fifty portions, which he bound and distributed. They were received with incredulity and distrust, but soon were generally perused, and found their way into many Roman Catholic families. Stouber was beginning to reap the reward of his labours, when, in 1756, he was removed to another parish; in four years, however, he obeyed a powerful impulse which summoned him back from a comfortable living to the wilderness of the Steinthal, and to the great joy of the villages re

sumed his office.

In 1764 he lost his wife, at the age of twenty; three years afterwards he was called to a church at Strasburg, and upon accepting the invitation, prevailed upon Mr Oberlin to become his successor.

John F. Oberlin was born at Strasburg, of a very respectable family, on the 31st of August 1740. He was one of nine children, who were carefully and well educated by their father himself. Several instances of a very early display of the generosity, philanthropy and amiableness of his disposition are given, which indicate an unusual bent to the law of kindness. He was religiously instructed by his pious mother, and became the subject of conviction in his childhood. These impressions were confirmed by attendance upon the preaching of a Dr Lorentz at Strasburg, after he had become a member of the theological class in the university. At the age of twenty he entered into a formal covenant, on the plan, and nearly in the words, of that recommended by Dr Doddridge in the "Rise and Progress," and solemnly renewed the engagement ten years afterwards, at Waldbach. After his ordination he served seven years as tutor in the family of a distinguished surgeon, where he acquired considerable knowledge of medicine, which he turned to good account in his after-life.

Oberlin had agreed to accept a chaplainship in the French army when he was urged by Mr Stouber to take his place in the Ban. He acceded to his solicitations and removed to Waldbach in March 1767, being then in the 27th year of his age. The condition in which he found his parish, improved as it had been during the incumbency of his predecessor, is thus described by the biographer.

"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 agricultural 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 spi

He saw the necessity of becoming their civil as well as spiritual leader, and of directing their attention to secure the commonest blessings of social life. His plans were unacceptable to the idle and ignorant part of his people, some of whom even resolved upon personal violence in resisting them. Their designs were only frustrated by his courage and decision, and the conspirators became the foremost of his coadjutors.

In 1768 Oberlin married a young lady of Strasburg, to whose judgment and co-operation he was much indebted in his subsequent enterprises. In his matrimonial, as in all his other projects, he deferred to the will of Providence, and acted only upon what he supposed to be a direct intimation of the Divine will. But his biographer, we are inclined to believe, has done him some injustice in ascribing his conduct, on some previous occasions of the kind, to expectations of interference, which are certainly unwarrantable.

The first active project devised by the new pastor was the cutting of a road to communicate with the main road to Strasburg, by means of which a vent might be found for the commodities of the peasants, and a general intercourse encouraged. The people heard the proposal with amazement, and made every plea to avoid conscription in such an impossible enterprize as it seemed. "Let all" said the undaunted reformer in concluding his proposal of the scheme in a general meeting, "let all who feel the importance of my proposition, come and work with me," throwing at the same time a pick-axe over his shoulder and proceeding to the designated spot. The example was stronger than all his arguments, and he soon had an efficient force.

"He presently assigned to each individual an allotted post, selected for himself and a faithful servant the most difficult and dangerous places; and, regardless of the thorns by which his hands were torn, and of the loose stones by which they were occasionally bruised, went to work with the greatest diligence and enthusiasm. The emulation awakened by his conduct quickly spread through the whole parish. The increased number of hands rendered an increased number of implements necessary; he procured them from Strasburg; expenses accumulated; he interested his distant friends, and, through their assistance, funds were obtained; walls were erected to support the earth, which appeared ready to give way; mountain torrents, which had hitherto inundated the meadows, were diverted into courses, or received into beds sufficient to contain them; perseverence, in short, triumphed over difficulties, and, at the commencement of the year 1770, a

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