House of God
It was late one year; the vines had red leaves; showers fell, and the cold winds increased. This was not a happy time for the poor people. The days were dark, but it was darker still within the cramped old houses. One of these stood with its gabled end toward the street, with low windows, poor and humble in appearance; and poor indeed was the family that lived there, yet courageous and diligent, with the love and fear of God within their hearts.
God was soon to give them one more child. The hour of its birth had come; the mother lay in pain and need. From the church tower came the sound of chiming bells, so deep, so festive. It was a holiday, and the solemn ringing of the bells filled the heart of the praying woman with faith and devotion; she lifted her soul to God in fervent prayer, and at that moment her little son was born; and she was happy beyond words. The bell from the church tower seemed to send forth her joy over town and country. Two bright baby eyes gazed up at her, and the little one's hair shone as if it were gilded. On that gloomy November day the child had been welcomed into the world by the chiming bells; the mother and father kissed it and wrote in their Bible, "The tenth of November, 1759, God gave us a son," adding later that he had received at his baptism the names, "Johann Christoph Friedrich."
But the old bell was well off; it lay hidden in the shelter of the church wall of Marbach.