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under his immediate control; and he who had once formed
The rector Martini, though doubtless possessed of
Thus I lived and employed myself for four years and a half, for this was the length of time that I remained in the Gymnasium at Regensburg, strictly speaking, among the ancient Greeks and Romans. At the public recitations, indeed, as there always were many dull scholars among us, only a little of each author was explained. To accommodate these, we were confined almost to one place. Those who felt inclined to, however, read much more out of the school. While I was connected with the rector's class, we scarcely ended the fifth book of the Iliad. In the mean time, I had already read my Homer through more than once, at home. That the same was true with regard to Xenophon, Cicero, Livy, Horace, Virgil, Ovid, Curtius, Terence and Pliny the younger, all of which were attended to in our public recitations, needs not be said. At home also we had writers at hand, who were not meddled with at school. I began therefore to form an acquaintance with Hesiod, the Greek tragedians, with Isocrates, Demosthenes and Plutarch, among the Greeks; and with Suetonius, Tacitus, Juvenal, the Scriptores Historiae Augustae, and Seneca; and at least, to collect literary notices of the other writers of antiquity.
Here I must observe that my favorite author about this time, was Cicero, whom I continued to look upon as unequalled in regard to rhetorical diction, until I became acquainted with Demosthenes. Of course, I made great efforts to imitate his style in Latin, and as in addition thereto I had obtained possession of John Augustus Ernesti's edition of the ancients, (his Initia Doctrinae Solidioris, had
then been introduced as a text-book,*) and his Opuscula, so by the example of this successful Ciceronian, I became farther confirmed in the opinion, that he who would acquire a good style, must adhere to Cicero in particular, as a guide. Hence, it was not easy for me to let a single day pass without reading something of Cicero's. At the same time, I had commenced the study of the French and the Italian languages; and it was not long before I could read the best authors especially in the former, in connexion with the ancients. Accordingly, with great zeal, I took hold of Fenelon's Telemaque, Racine's and Corneille's Tragedies, Moliere's Comedies, Boileau's Satires, and Bossuet's Introduction to Universal History; nor did I ever grow weary of comparing together those authors. known to me who had treated of the same events, or ever come away from it, without having observed much and learned many useful things. That under such circumstances, my inclination for poetry should increase, was a matter of course. Not only did I improve every occasion which was presented us for making Latin and German verses as a class, but I made many of my own accord and, as my acquaintance with the majority of our German poets increased, acquired facility in this species of writing, until I became quite skilful. In all cases, I gained in readiness at expressing myself in my native language, and this was the greatest advantage I derived from these exercises. Nature had not destined me for a poet, and as such, I should never have produced any thing excellent.
* [This work comprises an excellent course of literature.]
Answers the questions, why he did not read sermons for personal edification, or ministerial improvement-Remains at Regensburg as auditor-Connexion with Prof. Grimm-Acquires a deep relish for the Crusian philosophy.
MY DEAR Friend
"And did you then," you ask me, in your last, "did you live all the time you passed at school, among the heathen? Did you attend to nothing that had a more immediate reference to the business of preaching, to which you had devoted yourself? Did you not occasionally hear or read a sermon for your own edification?" Permit me to answer these questions of yours in detail.
During my residence at Regensburg, I heard a multitude of sermons. The laws of the school required us to go to church twice every Sabbath and festival, and twice on week days. One sermon, therefore, on the Sabbath, and two on week days, were the least that fell to our share. Here I found sufficient nourishment for those religious feelings which had early been excited, and by the wisest means, carefully cherished in me by my father; and though attendance upon divine worship was of but little benefit to my ministerial education, it did not fail to prove a blessing to my heart.
As regards my own personal edification, I cannot recollect a period in my life in which I altogether neglected it. It was a matter of necessity for me to collect my thoughts together, and reflect upon my moral condition; but I frankly confess to you, that I never resorted to sermons for aid in such meditations, and that during my residence at Regensburg, I never read any,—not a single one. In neglecting to do so, I may have committed a great error, which I shall not undertake to deny; but listen to me and hear what it was that induced me to act as I did.
It is impossible for any one to be accustomed at an earlier age, to look upon the Bible as the book of all books,
than I was. commenced learning to read with the Proverbs of Solomon, which were printed with distinct syllables for the sake of children; and scarcely had 1 attained to any degree of skill in reading, when my father, to whom the Scriptures were every thing in matters of religion, presented me with a Bible. Hence, when a child of five years of age, I began to read the Bible. I read it in course as I found it, from the beginning to the end, and did it more than once; never suffering a single day to pass, without having completed my task in this respect. This was indeed a childish notion. I felt so, and therefore never told my father of it, but read my Bible in silence, and altogether for myself. In the mean time, however, I derived increasing delight from reading it; embraced every opportunity which presented, to ask my father questions respecting it; and, as I advanced, made many useful reflections of my own, until I gradually acquired the habit of using it for purposes of personal edification, with-out calling any thing farther to my aid, than a spiritual song. This habit I carried with me to Regensburg. As I was always able, while there, to read the New Testament in the original, reading the Bible presented me with new attractions. I ran to my Bible, therefore, whenever I wished for instruction, animation, or comfort; and as I found every thing in it that I wanted, in great abundance, I never once thought of seeking after other means of edification.
"Still, it would have exerted a happy influence," as you think, "upon my education as a minister of the Gospel, if I had occasionally read a masterly sermon." I will not deny it. The sermons of Mosheim, Jerusalem, Cramer, Sack, and others, not to mention many in foreign languages, were not only worthy of being read, but studied.
I must tell you, however, my dear friend, that when at Regensburg, I had not definitely resolved upon becoming a minister of the Gospel, and was very uncertain what course I should pursue. From my very youth, indeed, I had felt a strong inclination for the sacred office, and, if I may so express myself, a kind of internal call to preach; and hence, could never hear any thing said respecting my choosing another mode of life, without experiencing a strong internal opposition which I was unable entirely to
suppress. So weak however was my body, and so critical my health, that many, and a lady in particular, for whom, as she always took care of me with maternal tenderness, I had the greatest respect, told me that I was not made for a preacher, and should never have strength enough to sustain the labors of the sacred ministry; and that self-preservation required me to direct my attention to some other pursuit. Indeed, I was twice brought to the very borders of the grave by a burning fever, from which it was a long time before I recovered. This confirmed my patrons and friends in the opinion they had formed, and made them think it best for me to devote all my time to such studies as would be of use to me upon whatever course of life I should in future determine. Under such circumstances, my friend, it was natural, that I should lose sight of every thing that related immediately and especially to the business of preaching. That by reading the choicest writers of antiquity, however, which then so entirely engrossed my mind, I was taking the best step for obtaining a ministerial education, was something of which I did not conceive. It was afterwards, I first learned, that I had employed my time to the greatest advantage without knowing it.
There is another circumstance, however, which I must mention, as it had an immediate bearing upon my education as a minister of the Gospel. With the six classes of the Gymnasium at Regensburg, there was connected a division called the auditory, which any one entered who had completed the time prescribed by law for the six classes, and fitted himself for the university. To these auditors, as they were called, lectures were delivered by the regular professors at the Gymnasium, upon theology, philosophy, philology, and other sciences, the object of which was to initiate the hearers into the university course, and prepare them for making a profitable use of its exercises. Strangers were at liberty to enter upon their academnical career immediately from the upper class, or to attend in the first place to the lectures of the auditory. I chose the latter because I should otherwise have been obliged to go away at Michaelmass, at which time no regular course commenced at the university, and the most