« PreviousContinue »
should we weep? can we bring them back again?--we shall
go to them, but they shall not return to us. And can it be, would you have them return? do you lament their felicity ? are you grieved for their happiness ? would you wish to bring them back again ? would you wish to have your dear child, your affectionate parent, your faithful consort, your valuable relation, now safely landed in the haven of eternal rest, would you wish to have them again placed on the uncertain shore of this life, and subjected to all its temptations and difficulties? would you have them walk over the precipice once more, fight the dangerous battle over again, again run the arduous race, be tempted, sin, and suffer again? would
have them indeed return for your gratification, from that holy place to this place of sin, from joy to trouble, from rest and peace to new vexations ? their sentiments are different, their affections raised and ennobled, and as well as they loved us, they would not come back to us for all the universe ; and yet, as well as we loved them, we cannot, for our unreasonable grief, wish them joy of their new elevation and dignity!
-Oh! let us struggle against these unworthy apprehensions, and congratulate ourselves, that we have already friends dear as our own souls, friends for whom we could well have been content to die, that we have such already in the kingdom of God, and waiting to welcome us to that blessed and better country !
There is the joy, there is the grand source of consolation under the loss of friends,—we shall meet again! They are delivered from their trial, while we are left behind a few weary years longer; and behold, the time of our departure also cometh, when we shall follow our friends, and be for ever with them and with the Lord ! For ever! comfortable truth, never more to hang over the dying bed, to catch the last mournful farewell, to hear the sad, agonizing, heart-rending groan! We shall meet, meet with an inexpressible reciprocation of endearing love and multiplied joy, to find ourselves all thus together, after our parting sorrows,-together, not in the world of trial, trouble, and sin, but in a place
where all things and persons that are anywise offensive shall be totally removed! No falseness or rancour, no partiality or mistake, no prejudice or infirmity, no malice or envy, no passion or pride shall ever discompose us there, nor aught be found to molest or hinder the heavenly pleasure circulating through every happy heart, and dwelling upon every joyful face and thankful tongue !
Let us elevate our souls to that blissful meeting, let us reflect upon its unspeakable comforts, and we shall silence all our complaints, and have only one anxious concern, how to improve our own souls and to secure the Redeemer's favour, that we may not fail to meet,-to meet, and enjoy for ever, those whose loss we so sensibly feel, and so tenderly regret. And let us observe, that this is a most awakening motive to the cultivation of sincere and undissembled friendship, to activity in all its kind and endearing offices, to the valuing our beloved and Christian minds ; namely, to look beyond the narrow limits of this world, and the short satisfactions of the present transitory scene, to that future, that glorious meeting, the exquisite raptures of which the good heart may faintly conceive, but can never fully express. If we have any love for our friends, any tender desire to meet them again, this is one of the strongest arguments possible to incite us to a diligence in all the duties of our holy religion ; for what anguish can be conceived so great as to meet those friends again, only to be condemned by the Judge which hath blessed them, and to be hurried, for ever hurried from them into misery eternal ! -Surely, if we consider this, we shall be anxious to serve and honour our God, and so will the joy of our future meeting be certain and inexpressibly great.
Look not, then, oh afflicted mourner, to the breathless body and the devouring grave; hang not over the melancholy contemplation, nor esteem thy valued friend as for ever lost to thee; a day is coming, thrice happy, glorious day,-oh speed it, God of infinite love and goodness; make us fit, and hasten that joyful day !-a day is coming when thou shalt be set free from all the
anguish of distressful sorrow; when thy eyes, to weep 110 more, shall be closed on this world, and thy soul shall ascend to the paradise of God! There shall the enraptured parents receive again their much-loved child; there shall the child, with transport, meet again those parents in joy, over whose graves, with filial duty, he dropped the affectionatetears; there shall the disconsolate widow cease her complaints; and her orphans, orphans no more, shall tell the sad tale of their distress to the husband, the father; distress even pleasing to recollect, now that happiness is its result, and heaven its end !There shall the soft sympathies of endearing friendship be renewed; the affectionate sisters shall congratulate each other, and faithful friends again shall mingle converse, interests, amities, and walk high in bliss with God himself; while all shall join in one triumphant acknowledgment of his wise and fatherly goodness, who from afflictions deduceth good, who bringeth men to glory, through much tribulation, and purifieth them for his kingdom in the blood of the suffering Lamb!
CHRIST'S ADDRESS TO THE WIDOW OF NAIN.
BY THE REV. JAMES WHYTE.
Fond nature ! cease thy tears;
LUKE vii. 13.-Weep not.
The affection of a mother towards her child is proverbial. “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb ?" To her, the heart turns instinctively in the hour of calamity, and never turns in vain. She will be alienated neither by misfortune nor crime. She will
hide the tear that moistens her cheek, lest it should seem to reproach the author of her woes.
Even a father's attachment towards his babe is great. Witness the bitterness of spirit which dictates the exclamation of the aged patriarch Jacob:
- Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away. All these things are against me.” Witness the agony of the monarch of Israel over the untimely death of a much loved, but profligate and rebellious son. " And the king was much moved, and went up to his chamber over the gate and wept; and as he wept, thus he said, O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! would God'I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
Yet it is justly believed that a mother's love is still more ardent. Almighty God has graciously rendered her duty her blessing; and reconciled her to innumerable privations and toils, from which the father is daily exempted. To this she submits with the most cheerful alacrity, and will sacrifice—what will she not sacrifice for the comfort of her babe?
Though a family be numerous, it is the first wish of a parent's heart to see them spared : and it deeply wounds when one of them is cut down, while they grow up as olives planted around the table. But a calamity such as this paragraph records has brought down many a parent's gray hairs with sorrow to the grave; for the young man that was carried out was an only child—“ the only son of his mother.”
When the affections of the heart centre in one object they cling to it as their all.
The loss of an onlybegotten and well-beloved son is a calamity the most full of solenn and soul-subduing tenderness. It is one of those strokes which penetrate to the vital seat of happiness; which blight the fairest prospects, and excite the bitterest pangs which men endure in this world
It was the lot of this female, however, to experience this poignant anguish : "to mourn for an only son, to be in bitterness for a first-born.”
The calamity was greatly aggravated by her circum
stances. “She was a widow.” Possibly she had seen happier days; her prospects were fair and cloudless; but they were soon overcast. Death entered with relentless purpose within the pale of her domestic circle, and consigned her much-loved husband to the grave. Again and again had she visited the spot endeared by a thousand tender recollections. Again and again had she wept there, until the power of weeping no longer remained. She had a child, an only child. With the deepest solicitude she had watched over his infancy, and superintended the education of her orphan boy. She indulged the fond hope, that the house of her husband would be built up, and that his name would be revived and perpetuated in the person of his son.
The beauties of his childhood, the opening talents of his youth, and his first efforts in business were all marked by her with exquisite delight. He grew up before her the image of his father; and with eyes glistening with tears of gratitude, she had looked upon him and said, “ This shall be the companion of my widowhood, and the staff of my declining age; when I am old and grayheaded, he shall sooth my sorrow, smooth my dying pillow, and close my eyes in death.". The heart of her child responded to her wishes. He said, " I will be as a husband to my mother.”
My brethren, there is no security in human bliss. He died. His mother is now widowed and childless. He grew up fair and fresh as the gourd for the head of Jonah; but God had prepared a worm that smote it, and it withered. His youth struggled hard with death, and his mother clung to hope while there was a hope to cling to. Hour after hour, she sat watching his body as it hastened to decay; that feeble frame, which in infancy she had nursed with all a mother's anxieties and fears. With indescribable emotions, she watched the hourly ravages of disease, as now another and another rose fades from his cheeks. It is when the weeping mother is looking for the last time on the countenance, now faded and wasting, that the heart drinks in all the bitterness of human wo.