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A Mother's Faith--the Life Of Beate Paulus.





In a sketch of the life of Beate Paulus, the wife of a German minister
who lived on the borders of the Black Forest, are several incidents
which illustrate the power of living faith, and the providence of a
prayer-hearing God.

Though destitute of wealth, she much desired to educate her children,
and five of her six boys were placed in school, while she struggled, and
prayed, and toiled,--not only in the house, but out of doors,--to
provide for their necessities.

"On one occasion," writes one of her children, "shortly before harvest,
the fields stood thick with corn, and our mother had already calculated
that their produce would suffice to meet all claims for the year. She
was standing at the window casting the matter over in her mind, with
great satisfaction, when her attention was suddenly caught by some
heavy, black clouds with white borders, drifting at a great rate across
the Summer sky. 'It is a hail-storm!' she exclaimed in dismay, and
quickly throwing up the window, she leaned out. Her eyes rested upon a
frightful mass of wild storm-clouds, covering the western horizon, and
approaching with rapid fury.

"'O God!' she cried, 'there comes an awful tempest, and what _is_ to
become of my corn?' The black masses rolled nearer and nearer, while the
ominous rushing movement that precedes a storm, began to rock the sultry
air, and the dreaded hail-stones fell with violence. Half beside herself
with anxiety about those fields lying at the eastern end of the valley,
she now lifted her hands heavenward, and wringing them in terror, cried:
'Dear Father in heaven, what art thou doing? Thou knowest I cannot
manage to pay for my boys at school, without the produce of those
fields! Oh! turn Thy hand, and do not let the hail blast my hopes!'
Scarcely, however, had these words crossed her lips when she started,
for it seemed to her as if a voice had whispered in her ear,' Is my arm
shortened that it cannot help thee in other ways?' Abashed, she shrank
into a quiet corner, and there entreated God to forgive her want of
faith. In the meantime the storm passed. And now various neighbors
hurried in, proclaiming that the whole valley lay thickly covered with
hail-stones, _down to the very edge of the parsonage fields, but the
latter_ had been quite spared. The storm had reached their border, and
then suddenly taking another direction into the next valley. Moreover,
that the whole village was in amazement, declaring that God had wrought
a miracle for the sake of our mother, whom he loved. She listened,
silently adoring the goodness of the Lord, and vowing that henceforth
her confidence should be only in Him."

At another time she found herself unable to pay the expenses of the
children's schooling, and the repeated demands for money were rendered
more grievous by the reproaches of her husband, who charged her with
attempting impossibilities, and told her that her self-will would
involve them in disgrace. She, however, professed her unwavering
confidence that the Lord would soon interpose for their relief, while
his answer was: "We shall see; time will show."

In the midst of these trying circumstances, as her husband was one day
sitting in his study, absorbed in meditation, the postman brought three
letters from different towns where the boys were at school, each
declaring that unless the dues were promptly settled, the lads would be
dismissed. The father read the letters with growing excitement, and
spreading them out upon the table before his wife as she entered the
room, exclaimed: "There, look at them, and pay our debt with your faith!
I have no money, nor can I tell where to go for any."

"Seizing the papers, she rapidly glanced through them, with a very grave
face, but then answered firmly, 'It is all right; the business shall be
settled. For He who says, "The gold and silver is mine," will find it an
easy thing to provide these sums.' Saying which she hastily left the
room.

"Our father readily supposed she intended making her way to a certain
rich friend who had helped us before. He was mistaken, for this time her
steps turned in a different direction. We had in the parsonage an upper
loft, shut off by a trap-door from the lower one, and over this door it
was that she now knelt down, and began to deal with Him in whose
strength she had undertaken the work of her children's education. She
spread before Him those letters from the study table, and told Him of
her husband's half scoffing taunt. She also reminded Him how her life
had been redeemed from the very gates of death, for the children's sake,
and then declared that she could not believe that He meant to forsake
her at this juncture; she was willing to be the _second_ whom He might
forsake, but she was determined not to be the _first_.

"In the meanwhile, her husband waited down stairs, and night came on;
but she did not appear. Supper was ready, and yet she stayed in the
loft. Then the eldest girl, her namesake Beate, ran up to call her; but
the answer was, 'Take your supper without me, it is not time for me to
eat.' Late in the evening, the little messenger was again dispatched,
but returned with the reply: 'Go to bed; the time has not come for me to
rest.' A third time, at breakfast next morning, the girl called her
mother. 'Leave me alone,' she said; 'I do not need breakfast; when I am
ready I shall come.' Thus the hours sped on, and down stairs her husband
and the children began to feel frightened, not daring, however, to
disturb her any more. At last the door opened, and she entered, her face
beaming with a wonderful light. The little daughter thought that
something extraordinary must have happened; and running to her mother
with open arms, asked eagerly: 'What is it? Did an angel from heaven
bring the money?' 'No, my child,' was the smiling answer, 'but now I am
sure that it will come.' She had hardly spoken, when a maid in peasant
costume entered, saying: 'The master of the Linden Inn sends to ask
whether the Frau Pastorin can spare time to see him?' 'Ah, I know what
he wants,' answered our mother. 'My best regards, and I will come at
once.' Whereupon she started, and mine host, looking out of his window,
saw her from afar, and came forward to welcome her with the words: 'O
Madame, how glad I am you have come!' Then leading her into his back
parlor he said; 'I cannot tell how it is, but the whole of this last
night I could not sleep for thinking of you. For some time I have had
several hundred _gulden_ lying in that chest, and all night long I was
haunted by the thought that you needed this money, and that I ought to
give it to you. If that be the case, there it is--take it; and do not
trouble about repaying me. Should you be able to make it up again, well
and good--if not, never mind.' On this my mother said: 'Yes, I do most
certainly need it, my kind friend; for all last night I too was awake,
crying to God for help. Yesterday there came three letters, telling us
that all our boys would he dismissed unless the money for their board is
cleared at once.'

"'Is it really so?' exclaimed the innkeeper, who was a noble-hearted and
spiritual Christian man. 'How strange and wonderful! Now I am doubly
glad I asked you to come!' Then opening the chest, he produced three
weighty packets, and handed them to her with a prayer that God's
blessing might rest upon the gift. She accepted it with the simple
words: 'May God make good to you this service of Christian sympathy; for
you have acted as the steward of One who has promised not even to leave
the giving of a cup of cold water unrewarded.'

"Husband and children were eagerly awaiting her at home, and those three
dismal letters still lay open on the table, when the mother, who had
quitted that study in such deep emotion the day before, stepped up to
her husband, radiant with joy. On each letter, she laid a roll of money
and then cried: 'Look, there it is! And now believe that faith in God is
no empty madness!'"





Next: The Persecutor's Fate.

Previous: Cured Of Catarrh.



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