Page images
PDF
EPUB

The great fatigue occasioned by the con- voice of this indefatigable woman penetrated course to her of so many anxious souls in- into the cabinet of the Emperor at Vienna, duced her to go to Baden, because she perhaps even, indirectly, into the councils could have more quiet there. She was ac- of the Congress. That Alexander - to companied by her daughter, Empaytaz, whom, in 1812, the word of God had struck and Franz von Berckheim - a young man,

home whom the wonderful successes of who, a short time before, had given up a 1813 had incited to give the praise to God public appointment in Mayence in order to — who, in 1814, had shown himself a magfollow a course, under the guidance of Ma- nanimous Christian ruler — should give dame de Krudener, in which he could work himself up to the dissipation and frivolity out his own salvation and advance the of Vienna during the Congress, was to kingdom of God. Every three hours they Madame de Krudener a bitter grief. She desisted from their employments in order could not get rid of the idea that she had to unite in prayer. In fine weather, they a mission to him. Soon after the opening mounted the hills, reading the psalms as of the Congress, in October, 1814, she they walked; and when the hour of prayer wrote to Mademoiselle de Sturza : arrived, they performed their devotions in “ Judgment is approaching; it is at band. the open air.

We are standing upon a volcano! We The time spent at Baden was a refresh- shall now see guilty France chastised, ing and happy one. While there, she re- which, in accordance with the Divine deceived a command by revelation — so says cree, on account of the cross given it to her biographer - to go to a mill at Schluch- bear, has hitherto been spared. Christians tern, in Electoral Hesse, to await a meet- must not inflict punishment; and that man ing with the Emperor Alexander. A revi- alone whom the Eternal has chosen and val had taken place in the neighbourhood. consecrated — the man whom we are so The writings of Jung Stilling, and some happy as to call our sopereign — can give others, had caused such an excitement us peace. But the storm will soon burst. among the people, that whole communities These lilies, which the Eternal had prowere thinking of selling their possessions and tected — symbols of purity and fragility, going to the foot of the Caucasian moun- which were crushed by an iron sceptre betains to await the return of the Jews to the cause it was the will of the Eternal - these Promised Land. With the assistance of lilies, which should have been a call to Berckheim and other good men, Madame purity and to the love of God and to rede Krudener tried to turn them from such pentance have appeared only to vanish fanatical projects.

away; and the people, more hardened than She was in full activity here in the spring ever, dream only of tumult. . . . . You of 1815, when she was suddenly called to would like to tell me of the many great and carry the message of peace to the Emperor beautiful traits in the character of the Emof the East. Ever since Madame de Kru- peror. I think I know a good deal about dener's intercourse with Mary Kummer, a him already. I have known for a long desire for the spirit of prophecy had been time that the Lord will give me the pleasawakened in her; and the great events ure of seeing him. . . . . I have great happening around her, as well as her own things to say to him, for much has been spiritual development, conspired to in- communicated to me concerning him. The crease it. She had formerly willingly suf- Lord alone can prepare him to listen to it. fered herself to be guided by the peasant- But I do not disturb myself about it. It is prophetess : she now tried to produce an my part to be without fear and without reeffect upon national events by her own pre- proach: it is his to lie at the feet of Christ, dictions. Of three things she was confi- who is Truth. May the Eternal guide and dent — that after the first peace of Paris, bless him who is called to so high a misnew storms must burst over Europe; that sion!” God had assigned a great part, during the Mademoiselle de Sturza hastened to period of them, to the Emperor Alexander; communicate the predictions contained in and that she would be called, when the this letter to the Emperor, who, favourably right moment came, to appear before him inclined to the missionary zeal of Christian with a message of mercy for the purification ladies from his acquaintance with the and building-up of his own soul.

Quakers in England, always very suscepAt Carlsruhe she became acquainted with tible to feminine influence, and specially inRoxandra von Sturza, one of the ladies of terested in a lady who felt herself called the court of the Empress Elizabeth of Rus- upon to lead him out of the world to a lofty sia, and had led her nearer to the Saviour. mission, ardently desired to make her acThrough a correspondence with her, the quaintance.

There was one advantage for Alexander ner, and therefore you have no peace. in the return of Napoleon, that it took him Listen to the voice of a woman who was a away from the enervating atmosphere of great sinner, but who has found pardon at the Vienna Congress. The change did not the foot of the cross." at first suit him. He was depressed. The The Emperor shed tears and hid his remembrance of the life that he had led face in his hands. Madame de Krudener after experiencing the drawings of God's apologized for her earnestness. “No," he love, the responsibility which he felt to exclaimed, “ go on; your words are music rest upon him with respect to the desti- to my soul.” Three hours passed in connies of nations, and accusing and excusing versation of this nature, and the Emperor thoughts, produced a melancholy state of implored Madame de Krudener not to formind. He received the honours that were sake him. He felt that no one had ever paid him in Bavaria with repugnance, and before so touched his conscience, and unarrived at his head-quarters at Heilbronn. veiled the truth to him. Alexander went After a day of wearisome festivities, he re- on to Heidelberg, and took a small house tired early to the solitude for which he was there, to which he was attracted by a cross longing. He wrote afterwards to a friend : in the garden. He invited Madame de * At length I breathed freely, and the first Krudener to come there, and she hired a thing I did was to take up a book which I little cottage on the banks of the Neckar, always carry about with me; but in conse- where the Emperor spent every other evenquence of the dark cloud which rested up- ing. He selected chapters in the Bible for on my mind, the reading made no impres- reading, and the conversation was often sion upon me. My thoughts were con- kept up till two o'clock in the morning. fused, and my heart oppressed. I let the Empaytaz took part in these meetings. It book fall

, and thought what a comfort con- was certainly a singular spectacle to see versation with some pious friend would be the Autocrat of all the Russias humbly sufto me. This idea brought you to mind, fering himself to be guided in the way of and I remembered what you had told me peace by the young Genevan; to see how of Madame de Krudener, and the desire he confessed his weaknesses, and related that I had expressed to you to make her his spiritual experience. Then Empaytaz acquaintance. I wonder where she is now, would kneel down and pray, and the Emand whether I shall ever meet with her. peror would grasp his hand and say, with No sooner had this passed through my tears in his eyes, "O how I feel the power mind than I heard a knock at the door. İt of brotherly love which unites all the diswas Prince Wolkonsky, who said, with an ciples of Christ! Yes, your prayers will air of the greatest impatience, that he was be heard, and it will be given me from very sorry to disturb me at so unseasona- above to confess my Saviour openly before ble an hour, but that he could not get rid men." of a lady who was determined to see me. During the important days preceding the Ile said that her name was Madame de battle of. Waterloo, Alexander and his Krudener. You may imagine my amaze- friends were reading the Psalms, and conment. I thought I must be dreaming, and versing on the words of the king of Israel exclaimed, Madame de Krudener ! Ma- upon the events of his own life. When dame de Krudener!? This sudden response news of the victory arrived, they threw to my thoughts could not be accidental. themselves upon their knees. After the I saw her at once, and she addressed such prayer, the Emperor exclaimed, “Ohow powerful and comforting words to me, that happy I am! my Saviour is with me! I am it seemed as if she had read my very soul, a great sinner, but Ile will employ me to and they calmed the storm which had been give peace to the nations. how happy assailing me."

might they be, if they would only underThe bearer of divine messages drew stand the ways of Providence, and obey aside the veil from the Emperor's mind; the Gospel !” she told him of his sins, of the frivolity and The Emperor went to Paris, and invited pride with which he had entered on his mis- Madame de Krudener to follow him. She sion. “No, your Majesty, you have not employed the last few days of her stay at yet approached the God-Man as a sinner Heidelberg in carrying the Gospel to some praying for mercy. You have not yet re- condemned prisoners, and she had the ceived mercy from Fim who alone can for- pleasure of giving her daughter her blessing give sins upon earth. You are yet in your on her marriage with llerr von Berckheim. sins, and have not humbled yourself before In July she went to Paris, where the EmJesus. You have not yet cried out like peror assigned her a dwelling where he the publican, 'God be merciful to me a sin- I could readily visit her, and the meetings

of Heidelberg were continued, though per-| last three years by the wonderful dealings haps not quite with the same simplicity as of God. History ascribes the first idea of in the cottage there. Empaytaz, Berckheim the Holy Alliance both to the Emperor Aland his lady, and the Countess de Lezay, exander and to King Frederick William. took part in them.

Eylert dates its birth from the time of the Madame de Krudener, who, eleven years first unfortunate battles in the spring of before, had played a very different part at 1813. He says that Alexander related to Paris, had to go through evil report and him that at that period, when retreating good report, but she found abundant oppor- towards Silesia, the king and he rode for tunity for promoting religious revivals after some time side by side in silence. It was her own manner. There was divine ser- broken by the king with the words ** This vice every evening at seven o'clock in her cannot go on; we are going towards the spacious, but plainly-furnished, salon. She east when we ought to be going towards took her place among the listeners, always the west. We shall accomplish it by God's dressed in black or brown. Empaytaz help, but when He does, as I hope Ile will, prayed and expounded a portion of Scrip- bless our united efforts, we will make ture,

known our conviction to all the world, that Fontaine and Mary Kummer also came the honour is due to Him alone." Alexto Paris. She prophesied, and announced ander agreed, and gave the king his hand a prediction for the following day. While in ratification of the compact. It has, howshe was waiting for the spirit in Madame ever, been shown, that the carrying out of de Krudener's house, the Emperor came. the idea belongs to the Emperor after the She addressed him, and the sum and sub- second entry into Paris, and it is certain stance of her communication was to ask him that his friendship with Madame de Kruto provide funds to establish a religious dener, and the religious zeal which she community at Weinsberg. He had then awakened in his mind, gave the decisive seen enough of the prophetess, and Madame impulse to it. The practical results of the de Krudener also became tired of her. Holy Alliance were, perhaps, insignificant; Two days afterwards she and Fontaine re- indeed, this attempt to combine religion turned to Rappenhoff.

with politics wrought confusion; but it The Emperor's confidential relations with was a powerful testimony to the religious Madame de Krudener attracted a number awakening which took place in the hearts of people belonging to the best society to of rulers. her simple salon. She was so occupied After Alexander had accomplished this that she had scarcely time to eat. With project, and given Madame de Krudener a every one she conversed of the one thing warm invitation to St. Petersburg, he left needful. Heaps of letters covered her Paris. She had no hope of being soon able table, and though formerly so fond of advo- to follow him thither, but she did not recating her Saviour's cause by correspond-main much longer at Paris. During the ence, she could find no time to answer them. last few days of her stay there she had one 'She visited schools and prisons, and in the of those joys which are shared by the angels evenings Alexander came to her house with in heaven. She received indisputable evihis Bible under his arm. It suited his pe- dence that an old friend of her gay days culiar character to yield himself entirely to and literary vanity, and whose admiration her infiuence. As he had required the she had courted, had begun a life in God. presence of Stein, and allowed himself to On receiving some touching verses which be entirely guided by him when it was he had sent her with the motto of St. Bernnecessary to exert to the utmost bis moral bard, “O beata solitudo, O sola beatitupowers in opposing, Napoleon, so now he do," she burst into tears and fell upon her could not be satisfied unless his monitor to knees, exclaiming, “O my God, his heart repentance, Madame de Krudener, was still lives, and lives for thee." near at hand.

After Madame de Krudener left Paris in Before Alexander left Paris, he was very October, 1815, a life began for her which desirous of making a public confession of must possess great interest for every friendl faith. He wished to acknowledge the Gos- of the kingdom of God; but as it is not so pel which he had adopted as the guide of immediately connected with our subject, we his life, as the law also of his political shall pass rapidly over it. She went to course. It was the wish of his heart to Switzerland. "Wherever she went multibring his allies to join him in this acknowl-tudes of people who felt their need of salvaedgment, and to give permanence in a tion crowded round her, everywhere she "Holy Alliance” to the resolutions to testified of her Saviour to the sinner with which they had been impelled during the the wonderful power derived from a per

sonal experience of divine mercy. Wher-principally the country people who flocked ever she went she excited awakening and to hear the preaching of Christ. On the stir among the people; but the singularity journey she made the acquaintance of Pesand fanaticism of her proceedings, her pre- talozzi. It is well known that this man was sumption in denouncing woes upon the inspired by the sincerest love for the peocountries where her divine mission was not ple, although he had not clear spiritual immediately acknowledged, induced the views of the great source of love in the secular powers to put police regulations in mercy of God.

mercy of God. The singing, praying, and force against her. Like a princess in the preaching during the journey on which Pesrealms of piety, addressed as “gracious talozzi accompanied the party appeared to lady" by thousands of people who came to him so delightful that he found it difficult her for help, surrounded by a sort of spirit- to separate from his new friends. At Aarau ual court, attended by Empaytaz and her the concourse of people began again. The son-in-law, and sometimes by Professor well-known Roman Catholic missionary, Lachenal of Basle, but more often by Kell- Joseph Wolf, was among her hearers, and ner, formerly a post-master, a man who was confirmed in his Protestant tendencies. was entirely devoted to her, and inclined By degrees the whole canton, so to speak, to every sort of fanaticism, she travelled flocked to hear her. Just as the authorities from place to place – now persecuted, now were thinking of putting a stop to the meethailed with acclamation.

ings, she accepted an invitation to Schloss In conjunction with Kellner, Spittler, Liebegg, and her stay there was like a fesand Empaytaz, she founded a tract society tival for the people in the neighbourhood. at Basle. She then went to Berne, whither On her return to her son and daughter at she had been invited by her son, who was Hörnlein she proclaimed free mercy to the Russian ambassador to the Swiss confede- pilgrims to Einsiedeln. A woman of ninetyration. But the effect produced by her four, who was making the pilgrimage for preaching was so great that the police were the fiftieth time, to whom Madame de Krufrightened, and even respect for the em- dener announced the message of mercy, bassy could not secure her a peaceful resi- threw away her rosary, exclaiming, “ It is dence there; she was therefore requested done, it is done! My sins are forgiven. in the politest terms to leave the city. She Jesus has saved me!” had more success at Basle. There was About this time famine began to be felt. daily service at the hotel where she was Madame de Krudener sold all her possesstaying; there was singing and prayer, and sions. Her jewels alone fetched 30,000 Empaytaz preached, and the concourse was francs, which, together with the income she so great that the largest room in the hotel received from Russia, she devoted to feedwould not hold the people. Large crowds ing the poor. Her friends also denied were constantly assembled in the streets, themselves for the same purpose. At Unwhich excited the alarm of the police. terholz a gendarme was stationed at her There were frequent conversions; not only door to see that she only gave away food, girls and women, but strong men also suc- and did not preach, but she quietly contincumbed to the power of divine grace. ued her work. Lachenal, professor of philosophy, went to The authorities at Baden also endeavone of the meetings out of mere curiosity oured to silence her by means of gendarmes, to hear what it was that these people were but finding it useless, they sent to her a preaching, and his philosophy melted away corporal distinguished for his severity. In like a morning cloud before the simple the midst of his maltreatment of the poor, preaching of the gospel by Empaytaz. He Madame de Krudener pierced hiin with the gave his life, his time, his property at once arrow of the grace of Christ: he fell upon to God. A Roman Catholic priest who had his knees and prayed with her, and the lion followed Madame de Krudener from Berne, became a lamb. The attacks of the police returned with the remark, “I came here of Baden and Switzerland continued, and with a pope, but I am going away without sometimes provoked the people to acts of one.” At length she was driven away from violence. A number of poor people who Basle. A pious farmer on the border of were living in Professor Lachenal's house the territory of Baden offered her his coun- at Unterholz were turned out as if they had try house at Hörnlein. Madame de Kru- been criminals, with Empaytaz at their dener and her party took up their abode head, and when Madame de Krudener was there, living in the simplest possible man- seeking a little peace at Hörnlein there ner till April, 1816. The concourse of arose a vehement controversy about her in people was tremendous. Some few men of the newspapers. Wherever she went the education were among them, but it was people tocked to her; those hungering

after righteousness as well as those suffer-| thousands were wandering about in the ing from physical hunger, cold, and naked- fields and woods, seeking for weeds to apness, and all were relieved, notwithstanding pease their hunger. As long as Madame the persecution of the authorities. After de Krudener had anything to give she gave she had drunk the cup of insult and scorn it, but at the same time she offered the to the dregs without a murmur, only im- people the bread of life; and under the bibing fresh strength from it to persevere influence of the fearful times she admonin her life of love, she was banished from ished them to be converted, and proclaimed Hörnlein and Unterholz.

the approach of judgment with prophetic In the beginning of May, 1817, she went zeal, and this it was which caused her to be to Warmbach, and, driven thence, to Rhein- conducted by gendarmes from one country felden, where she was mobbed by the peo- to another. After being driven out of ple, not seeking help, but incensed that she Switzerland, she hastened through Würhad helped others, and she would have been temberg to Baden, where she found rest murdered if the police had not come to her for a few days at Freiburg, in the Breisgau. aid. After staying a few days at Möhlin, While there she was ordered to return to she went to Mungtz, everywhere followed Russia, with permission to take with her by crowds of people, among whom she dis- Kellner and her daughter, whose husband tributed the provisions which Lachenal bad preceded them in order to make arsent after her. In a few weeks she spent rangements for the colonists for the Cau100,000 francs on the poor. From Mungtz casus from south Germany and Switzershe wished to go to Canton Argau, but was land. Empaytaz and his mother, and forbidden by the government, then she Madame Armand, went to Geneva ; Lachewent through Laufenburg to Aarau ; but nal and his wife had already been ordered the following day she was conducted to the to return bome by the police at Basle. frontier by gendarmes.

Weary with her labours, Madame de KruAt length she met with a friendly recep-dener travelled through Würtemberg and tion at Lucerne. The same scenes were Bavaria tı) Saxony, always under the surrepeated, but, besides the common people, veillance of the police, as if she had been the priests and pupils at the seminary a prisoner of state. At Weimar she met flocked to hear her. In an address to her friend Mademoiselle de Sturza, and them, which has been preserved, with won- she enjoyed rest for a few days among the derful eloquence and knowledge of the sub- Moravian Brethren at Neudietendorf. Sbe ject she sketches a picture of a faithful then went to Leipzig, where after a few pastor, points out how a man may become days the authorities forbade anyone to one, and relates some particulars of the visit her. She would have been glad to life of John Tauler. But an encomium on spend the winter at Dessau in order to reMadame de Krudener, in comparison with cruit her health, but she was conducted to the clergy, which appeared in the public Eilenberg, and thence to Lübben. llere, prints, incited the authorities to take steps in the presence of a commissary of the poto put a stop to the assemblies, which for lice, she was permitted to hold a meeting, several successive days had been attended and took the opportunity of refuting some by three thousand people, and, warned to of the erroneous opinions which had been leave the place, she went to Zurich. Her circulated about her. arrival there had been announced some At Mitau the police tormented her by weeks before by a somnambulist, and the preventing Kellner from accompanying her crowds that flocked to her were so great any further, and sending away other perthat, in spite of the remonstrances of An- sons in her suite. She spent some time tistes Hess, she was only allowed to remain with her brother at Jungfernhof, and at twenty-four hours, and was conducted by length arrived at her estate at Kosse, where gendarmes to Lofstätten. Here she was she assumed the office of spiritual mother visited by Maurer from Schaffhausen, who to the people. While there, during her has left a very interesting description of his solitary walks on the shores of the lake, she meeting with her. George Müller also composed numerous hymns of a somewhat visited her, and candidly expressed his mystical character. She was joined by her doubts to her about her 'mission, but was daughter and her husband, and Ilerr von convinced that, though not free from error, Berckheim has given a lively description of her sole desire was to advance the kingdom the labours of his mother-in-law among the of God. It is painful to see how she was Esthonians. During her residence there, driven from place to place during the next news of the revolution in Greece, in 1820, few weeks. The famine was fearful; all reached her, and she hailed it with inspiritfeelings of humanity were quenched by it; I ing songs. Not long afterwards she received

« EelmineJätka »