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A Narrative of Some of the Lord's Dealings with Ge

Beta and I with two other students


One day when I was in a tavern with some of my wild fellow-students, I saw among them one of my former school-fellows, named Beta, whom I had known four years before at Halberstadt, but whom at that time had despised, because he was so quiet and serious. It now appeared well to me to choose him as my friend, thinking that if I could but have better companions, I should by that means improve my own conduct. I entered into familiar discourse with him, and we were soon much knit to one another. "Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm." Jeremiah xvii. 5.

This Beta was a backslider. When formerly he was so quiet at school, I have reason to believe it was because the Spirit of God was working on his heart; but now, having departed from the Lord, he tried to put off the ways of God more and more, and to enjoy the world of which he had known but little before. I sought his friendship because I thought it would lead me to a steady life; and he gladly formed an acquaintance with me, as he told me afterwards, because he thought it would bring him into gay society. Thus my poor foolish heart was again deceived. And yet, God, in His abundant mercy, made him, after all, in a way which was never thought of by me, the instrument of doing me good, not merely for time, but for eternity.

About this period, June 1825, I was again taken ill in consequence of my profligate and vicious life. My state of health would therefore no longer allow me to go on in the same course, but my desires were still unchanged. About the end of July I recovered. After this, my conduct was outwardly rather better; but this arose only from want of money. At the commencement of August, Beta and I with two other students, drove about the country, for four days. All the money for this expensive pleasure had been obtained by pledging some of our remaining articles. When we returned, instead of being truly sorry on account of this sin, we thought of fresh pleasures, and, as my love for traveling was stronger than ever, through what I had seen on this last journey, I proposed to my friends to set off for Switzerland. The obstacles in the way, the want of money, and the want of the passports, were removed by me. For, through forged letters from our parents, we procured passports; and through pledging all we could, particularly our books, we obtained as much money as we thought would be enough. Beta was one of the party.

On August 18th we left Halle. It will be enough to say that we went as far as Mount Rigi in Switzerland, by the way of Erfurt, Frankfort, Heidelberg, Stuttgart, Zurich, and returned by the way of Constance, Ulm, and Nuremberg. Forty-three days we were, day after day, traveling, almost always on foot. I had now obtained the desire of my heart. I had seen Switzerland. But still I was far from being happy. The Lord most graciously preserved us from many calamitous circumstances, which, but for His gracious providence, might have overtaken us. But I did not see His hand at that time, as I have seen it since. Sickness of one or more of us, or separation from one another, which might have so easily befallen us, would have brought us, being so far from home, and having but just as much money as was absolutely needed, into a most miserable condition. I was on this journey like Judas; for, having the common purse, I was a thief. I managed so, that the journey cost me but two-thirds of what it cost my friends. Oh! how wicked was I now. At last all of us became tired of seeing even the most beautiful views; and whilst at first, after having seen certain scenes, I had been saying with Horace, at the end of the day, in my pagan heart, "Vixi," (I have lived), I was now glad to get home again.


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