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one himself to increase his means, and then shared his home with his brothers and sister. We are not told at what period of his history he became truly converted to Christ, but it imperceptible in its beginning, his new life was sure and steadfast. The intensity of his character manifested itself in every direction. He early took up the reformation of prisoners, walking six miles to Düsseldorf to hold his first service with them. For three years he conducted these meetings, going through storm and tempest, heat and cold, and even persevering when hemorrhage was the consequence of such exertions. In the midst of these labours he found a true helpmeet in Frederica Münster, who for fourteen years proved to himself the best of wives, and to their ten children the best of mothers.
With the idea of the reformation of prisoners still burning within him, Fliedner, who had previously visited refuges in England established by Elizabeth Fry for those who had been discharged, turned his first efforts in that direction. The poor creatures whom he received soon increased in number, and larger accommodation had to be provided by collections. It was emphatically a work of faith and of constant dependence on the Lord for supply both of funds and of helpers, but though basket and store were often very low, they were always refilled at the time of extremity, verifying the promise, “The Lord knoweth those who trust in Him." The asylum for released prisoners received nearly thirty inmates at a time, and became the means of pointing out to hundreds of degraded ones the way of salvation.
The next step in the ladder of Christian enterprise was to found a hospital for sick people. It began at first in a most humble way, with nothing provided but the barest necessaries of life, and apparently more like a poor-house than a hospital. Nevertheless the sick came in, and though almost incredible hardships had to be endured by the willing helpers who offered themselves for the service, yet an air of cheerfulness reigned throughout. The institution was designed for “ deserted or loathsome cases,” but God blessed the selfdenying efforts, and spiritual and bodily healing were often bestowed. Soon, from the central hive were sent forth workers to preside over similar institutions elsewhere, or to nurse in workhouses or in private houses. Every sphere of woman's work seemed to open before them: prison doors, cottage homes, infant schools. This last thought was beautifully carried out. Fliedner established a Normal School for Infant Schoolmistresses, in which, up to 1842, above one hundred and twenty young girls were trained for the work. In that year the indefatigable Pastor founded an Orphanage, which had the double advantage of giving practice to those deacons who wished to be teachers and of developing among the inmates any latent talent for the care of the sick or of the children. But in the midst of his growing work, the Lord sent him heavy domestic trial. Within a year not only did he and his eldest daughter pass through severe illness, but two little girls were laid at the same time in the same grave. Far more afflicting than all that had gone before was the death a few months after of his devoted wife, who had nobly, with generous self-surrender, and at the cost of much personal fatigue, borne her full share in his work. Alluding to the loss of her children, she had written, a little before her own departure : "I am tranquil, though I weep much; I do not grudge my children their happiness, I know they are all in their Saviour's arms. I hope to close the year 1841 in calm resignation to the will of God, who only is good and righteous. The Lord will not try us beyond our strength.” Her favourite hymn was, 'Shall I not sing praise to Thee?'
“All things else have but their day ;
God's love only lasts for aye.” This spirit of resignation to God's will was re-echoed by her bereaved husband. “ God only knows,” he says, “how this great gap is to be filled up. .. We trust in Him that He will fill it up in His own time and way: That way is dark now, but He is love." Work for his Master became the
best antidote for his sorrow. With the generous help of the Royal Family in Berlin, Fliedner built anotherswing to the central institution, containing wards for the sick, a diningroom, chapel, &c. In 1843 a second “helpmeet" was provided for him in the good providence of God, who, by her previous life and training, was especially adapted to prove a partner in his life-work, having been superintendent for three years of the female surgical ward of the great Hamburg Infirmary. Fliedner used to say of his two marriages, “Twice have I experienced that in seeking some one for the service of the Lord, I have found the best blessing for myself.”
In glancing over the details of the life of this remarkable man, a giant in philanthropy, we see an illustration of the precept, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” In the year 1845 he founded, besides several other additions, a Dispensary, where many deaconesses acquired medical skill, which afterwards was the means of blessings to thousands. Farm buildings and a bakehouse were erected, and by means of indefatigable exertion in travelling and applications by letter, the needed funds were supplied. The answers to prayer seemed sometimes almost miraculous, the exact sum required being sometimes sent in unawares. Three years of his life, from 1849 to 1851, Fliedner spent chiefly in distant journeys on behalf of his beloved mission, visiting North America, Jerusalem, Constantinople, England, France, and Switzerland, and traversing Germany in every direction. From Jerusalem he writes: “On a lovely Saturday morning, I went to the Mount of Olives. Sabbath stillness was around me. The many-coloured dome of the Mosque of Omar, the Golden Gate in the walls, and the long row of tombs at its foot were glittering in the bright sunshine. To the right rose the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, while close under my feet lay the silent. Gethsemane. I fell into a mood of thankful gladness, the more I meditated on the undeserved blessings that the Eternal Son of God had once wept and prayed here, for my redemption as well as others, and returned home, inwardly rejoicing, with fresh love to Him and His blessed Gospel. Oh, that such moods could last longer, nay, for ever!" On his return he visited the King and Queen, and told them the results of his journey, and, finally, returning to the loved sphere of his labours at Kaiserwerth, he praised the Lord in the appropriate words, “The Lord is our defence, and the Holy One of Israel is our King.”
In addition to all these multiplied labours Fliedner wrote his work on the “Book of Martyrs” and other Confessors of the Evangelical Church, and edited the periodical called "The Friend of the Sick and Poor.' He established a home for servants who were out of place, and founded an Institution for Lunatics. Nor did he forget to care for his faithful co-workers, but purchased a cottage among the hills where the sisters could go sometimes in the summer, and get refreshment and rest. Being threatened with consumption, and advised to try a warmer climate, he once more visited the East, that he might see how the work prospered there. But the active life was drawing to a close. On reaching Berlin, he for the last time saw his beloved king, thanked him for all his help, and fervently commended him to God in prayer. From that time he gradually declined, though to the last all his strength was dedicated to the service of his Lord. He had been permitted to see thirty "Motherhouses" spring from the summer-house beginning, and 1,600 deaconesses, labouring in more than 400 different places for the poor and needy. In the year 1864, more than 30,000 persons in all were confided to their care. Truly it might be said, “What hath God wrought !”
And now the labourer was to be gathered home, with his hand full of sheaves, to lay down at the feet of the Master. As he laid himself on his bed he said, “To be a pardoned child of God is all that is needed.” “My only motto is, 'Here cometh a poor sinner, Lord, whose ransom Thou hast paid, and who longs to be admitted on high,'” adding with a bright smile, “ Thank God, that is my only motto.” When
“ How can
his family were assembled around him, he said, I praise Him enough? How blessed it is to serve such a Master, one who will forgive all faults, who will bounteously pardon my many sins ! 'The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin ;' that is what I cling to. One thing is needful, that you should be saved, that you should strive to enter in at the strait gate; then we shall meet again above, and rejoice for ever and ever. Pray too for me, that God may be gracious and merciful to me, and that I may lay my aged head in the dust, in perfect trust in Him who is mercy itself." Sending a farewell message to his fellow-labourers, he said, “Give my hearty thanks to all friends of the work, down to the youngest child who collects pence for us. The Lord will reward them. ... May He bless our Royal house, and especially our king, and fill him with His Spirit. Amen! May God bless and further His kingdom, and cast down the strongholds of Satan. The great Jehovah is with us. Oh, how sweet it is to serve the Lord, who is the Redeemer from all evil! What were we without Him ?" His mind was full of praise. “How kind is the Lord,” he said, “to have given me such a precious wife, and such dear children; how well off I am, even now!” He retained his consciousness to the end, once faintly whispering “Sweet Jesus !” His last fleeting breath was spent in an attempt to repeat the words, 66 He hath overcome death-con
“ Is heaven here ?” asked his youngest grandchild, when looking on the countenance still radiant with the glow of heavenly peace; surrounded with flowers and palmbranches.
“Is that a deathbed where a Christian lies ?
Yes, but not his—’tis death itself there dies !” “ I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth : Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”
MARY E. BECK.