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union, gives a painful shock to every heart. When a family who, for years, have been living in comfort and peace, are suddenly shattered by some of their most beloved or respected members being torn from them; when the husband or the spouse are separated for ever from the companion who, amid every vicissitude of fortune, solaced their life; who had shared all their joys, and participated in all their sorrows; when the weeping parent is folding in his arms the dying child whom he tenderly loved; when he is giving his last blessing, receiving the last fond adieu, looking for the last time on that countenance, now wasting and faded, which he had once beheld with much delight; then is the time when the heart is made to drink all the bitterness of human
But I seek not to wound your feeling by dwelling on these sad descriptions. Let us rather turn our thoughts to the manner in which such events ought to be received and improved, since happen they must in the life of man.
Then, indeed, is the time to weep. Let not a false idea of fortitude, or mistaken conceptions of religious duty, be employed to restrain the bursting emotion. Let the heart seek its relief in the free effusion of just and natural sorrow. It is becoming in every one to show on such occasions that he feels as a man ought to feel. At the same time let moderation temper the grief of a good man and a Christian. He must not sorrow like those who have no hope. As high elation of spirits befits not the joys, so continued and overwhelming dejection suits not the griefs of this transitory world. Grief, when it goes beyond certain bounds, becomes unmanly; when it lasts beyond a certain time becomes unseasonable. Let him not reject the alleviation which time brings to all the wounds of the heart, but suffer excessive grief to subside by degrees into a tender and affectionate remembrance. Let him consider that it is in the power of Providence to raise him up other comforts in the place of those he has lost. Or, if his mind at present reject the thoughts of such consolation, let it turn for relief to the prospect of a future meeting in a happier world. This is indeed the chief soother of affliction ; the most powerful balın of the bleeding heart. It assists us to view death as no more than a temporary separation of friends. They whom we have loved still live, though not present to us. They are only removed into a different mansion in the house of the common Father. The toils of their pilgrimage are finished; and they are gone to the land of rest and peace. They are gone from this dark and troubled world, to join the great assembly of the just; and to dwell in the midst of everlasting light. In due time we hope to be associated with them in these blissful habitations. Until this season of reunion arrive, no principle of religion discourages our holding correspondence of affection with them by means of faith and hope.
Meanwhile, let us respect the virtues and cherish the memory of the deceased. Let their little failings be now forgotten. Let us dwell on what was amiable in their character, imitate their worth, and trace their steps. By this means the remembrance of those whom we loved shall become useful and improving to us, as well as sacred and dear; if we accustom ourselves to consider them as still speaking, and exhorting us to all that is good ; if, in situations where our virtue is tried, we call up their respected idea to view, and, as placed in their presence, think of the part which we could act before them without a blush.
Moreover, let the remembrance of the friends whom we have lost strengthen our affection to those that remain. The narrower the circle becomes of those we love, let us draw the closer together. Let the heart that has been softened by sorrow mellow into gentleness and kindness, make liberal allowance for the weaknesses of others, and divest itself of the little prejudices that may have formerly prepossessed it against them. The greater havoc that death has made among our friends on earth, let us cultivate connexion more with God, and heaven, and virtue. . Let those noble views which man's immortal character affords fill and exaltour minds. Passengers only through this sublunary region, let our thoughts often ascend to that divine country, which we are taught to consider as the native seat of the soul. There we form connexions that are never broken. There we meet with friends who never die. Among celestial things there is firm and lasting constancy, while all that is on earth changes and passes away. Such are some of the fruits we should reap from the tender feelings excited by the death of friends. But they are not only our friends who die. Our enemies also must go to their long home. Let us, therefore,
III. Consider how we ought to be affected, when they from whom suspicions alienated, or rivalry has divided us—they with whom we have long contended, or by whom we imagine ourselves to have suffered wrong, are laid, or about to be laid, in the grave. How inconsiderable then appear those broils in which we had been long involved, those contests and feuds which we thought were to last for ever? The awful moment that now terminates them makes us feel their vanity. If there be a spark of humanity left in the breast, the remembrance of our common fate then awakens it. Is there a man, who, if he were admitted to stand by the deathbed of his bitterest enemy, and beheld him enduring that conflict which human nature must suffer at the last, would not be inclined to stretch forth the hand of friendship, to utter the voice of forgiveness, and to wish for perfect reconciliation with him before he left the world? Who is there that, when he beholds the remains of his adversary deposited in the dust, feels not, in that moment, some relentings at the remembrance of those past animoşities which mutually imbittered their life?-There lies the man with whom I contended so long, silent and mute for ever. He is fallen ; and I am about to follow him. How poor is the advantage which I now enjoy ? Where are the fruits of all our contests ? In a short time we shall be laid together ; and no remembrance remain of either of us under the sun. How many mistakes may
there have been between us?. Had not he
his virtues and good qualities as well as I? When we shall both appear before the judgment-seat of God, shall I be found innocent, and free of blame, for all the enmity I have borne to him ?”—My friends, let the anticipation of such sentiments serve now to correct the inveteracy of prejudice, to cool the heat of anger, to allay the fierceness of resentment. How unnatural it is for animosities so lasting to possess the hearts of mortal men, that nothing can extinguish them but the cold hand of death! Is there not a sufficient proportion of evils in the short span of human lise, that we seek to increase their number by rushing into unnecessary contests with one another? When a few suns more have rolled over our heads, friends and foes shall have retreated together; and their love and their hatred be equally buried. Let our few days then be spent in peace. While we are all journeying onwards to death, let'us rather bear one another's burdens, than harass one another by the way. Let us smooth and cheer the road as much as we can, rather than fill the valley of our pilgrimage with the hateful monuments of our contention and strife.
Thus I have set before you some of those meditations which are naturally suggested by the prevalence of death around us ; by the death of strangers, of friends, and of enemies. Because topics of this nature are obvious, let it not be thought that they are without use. They require to be recalled, repeated, and enforced. Moral and religious instruction derives its efficacy, not so much from what men are taught to know, as from what they are brought to feel.
It is not the dormant knowledge of any truths, but the vivid impression of them, which has influence on practice. Neither let it be thought that such meditations are unseasonable intrusions upon those who are living in health, in affluence, and ease. There is no hazard of their making too deep or painful an impression. The gloom which they occasion is transient; and will soon, too soon, it is probable, be dispelled by the succeeding affairs and pleasures of the world. To wisdom it certainly belongs that men should be impressed with just views of their nature and their state; and the pleasures of life will always be enjoyed to most advantage when they are tempered with serious thought. There is a time to mourn ; as well as a time to rejoice. There is a virtuous sorrow, which is better than laughter. There is a sadness of the countenance, by which the heart is made better.
HOPE IN GOD THE ONLY REFUGE IN DISTRESS.
DUCHE, A. M.
When overwhelmed with grier,
My heart within me dies,
To Heaven I lift mine eyes.
PSALM xlii. 11.-Why art thou cast down, O my soul ?
and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
THE Psalm from whence my text is taken presents us with a lively picture of a true believer struggling under some violent assaults from the enemies of his peace.
Whether the distress of David was occasioned by the persecution of Saul, or the straits to which he was reduced by the unnatural rebellion of his son Absalom; whether it proceeded from a deep sensibility of those remains of corruption which lurk in the most regenerate breasts; or from an apprehension that God had withdrawn “ the light of his countenance" from his soul ; in either of these cases, his affliction must have been acute indeed, and he might well break forth into this affecting strain of religious melancholy :“Why art thou cast down, O my soul ? and why art thou disquieted within me? Why dost thou suffer these out