Seite:Marsh Hallig 1856.djvu/216

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216
THE HALLIG.

and my house, we will serve the Lord.' How fearfully
has he revealed to you in his judgments, and by his
mercies also, that he wills not that any should perish,
but that all should turn to him and repent. As a brand
snatched from the burning, so the Lord would draw
your soul to himself. Oswald, my son, strive no longer
against him."
  "But, father," replied Oswald, as much embarrassed
as agitated by the emotion of his parent, "shall I then
sacrifice my youth to a joyless seriousness ?"
  "No, you shall not sacrifice it," said Mander ; "you
shall sanctify it, illuminate it, and your whole life, even
to the end, with a joy which is greater, and gives more
than all that you have thus far derived from worldly
pleasure. You shall obtain an inward, sure happiness
which can teach you to overcome such hours of agony
as those that have marked you forever."
  Surprised at the words, "have marked you forever,"
Oswald turned toward the little mirror, and now stood
there, paralyzed with horror. "When I am gray-
headed," he had said to the pastor, jestingly, "I will
perhaps think about my conversion." And lo ! that
one awful night had changed his hair to silver gray. He
had become a white-haired man in the flower of his
youth. Long he stood speechless, trembling in every
limb, and with the paleness of death on his face ; then
with the cry, "God, I acknowledge thee," he sank faint-
ing in the arms of his father.
  When he revived, he asked for a glass, but, at the first
look, he pushed it away with a shudder and groan. He
answered the soothing words which were said to him
only by a broken moan which spoke, now of a soul tor-