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Chronicles of the Schonberg-Cotta Family By Elizabeth Rundle Charles Characters: 4572

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04


Thekla's Story.

Wittemberg, September, 1527.

I have said it from my heart at last! yes, I am sure I say it from my heart, and if with a broken heart, God will not despise that.

"Our Father which art in heaven, thy will, not mine be done."

I thought I could bear anything better than suspense; but I had no idea what a blank of despair the certainty would bring.

Then came dreadful rebellious thoughts, that God should let him die alone; and then recurred to my heart all they had said to me about not making idols, and I began to fear I had never really loved or worshipped God at all, but only Bertrand; and then came a long time of blank and darkness into which no light of human or divine love or voices of comfort seemed in the least to penetrate. I thought God would never receive me until I could say, "Thy will be done," and this I could not say.

The first words I remember that seemed to convey any meaning at all to me were some of Dr. Luther's in a sermon. He said it was easy to believe in God's pardoning love in times of peace, but in times of temptation when the devil assailed the soul with all his fiery darts, he himself found it hard, indeed, to hold to the truth he knew so well, that Christ was not a severe judge, or a hard exactor, but a forgiving Saviour, indeed love itself, pure unalterable love.

Then I began to understand it was the devil, the malignant exacting evil spirit that I had been listening to in the darkness of my heart, that it was he who had been persuading me I must not dare to go to my Father, before I could bring him a perectly submissive heart.

And then I remembered the words, "Come unto me, ye that are weary and heavy laden;" and, alone in my room, I fell on my knees, and cried, "O blessed Saviour, O heavenly Father, I am not submissive; but I am weary, weary and heavy-laden; and I come to thee. Wilt thou take me as I am, and teach me in time to say, 'Thy will be done!'" And he received me, and in time he has taught me. At least I can say so to-night. To-morrow, perhaps, the old rebellion will come back. But if it does, I will go again to our heavenly Father and say again, "Not submissive yet, only heavy-laden! Father, take my hand, and say, begin again!"

Because amidst all these happy homes I felt

so unnecessary to any one, and so unutterably lonely. I longed for the old convents to bury myself in, away from all joyous sounds. But, thank God, they were closed for me; and I do not wish for them now.

Dr. Luther began to help me by showing me how the devil had been keeping me from God.

And now God has helped me by sending through my heart again a glow of thankfulness and love.

The plague has been at Wittemberg again. Dr. Luther's house has been turned into an hospital; for dear as are his K?the and his little Hans to him, he would not flee from the danger, any more than years ago, when he was a monk in the convent which is now his home.

And what a blessing his strong and faithful words have been among us, from the pulpit, by the dying bed, or in the house of mourning.

But it is through my precious mother chiefly that God has spoken to my heart, and made me feel he does indeed sustain, and care, and listen. She was so nearly gone. And now she is recovering. They say the danger is over. And never more will I say in my heart, "To me only God gives no home," or fear to let my heart entwine too closely round those God has left me to love, because of the anguish when that clasp is severed. I will take the joy and the love with all its possibilities of sorrow, and trust in God for both.

Perhaps, also, God may have some little work of love for me to do, some especial service even for me, to make me needed in the world as long as I am here. For to-day Justus Jonas, who has lost his little son in the plague, came to me and said,-

"Thekla, come and see my wife. She says you can comfort her, for you can comprehend sorrow."

Of course I went. I do not think I said anything to comfort her. I could do little else but weep with her, as I looked on the little, innocent, placid, lifeless face. But when I left her she said I had done her good, and begged me to come again.

So, perhaps, God has some blessed services for me to render him, which I could only have learned as he has taught me; and when we meet hereafter, Bertrand and I, and hear that dear divine and human voice that has led us through the world, we together shall be glad of all this bitter pain that we endured and felt, and give thanks for it for ever and for ever!

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