Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

place, the wish of friendship would have been, that you might be long happily exempted from them; now it is that you may gain from them as high an improvement and a triumph as ever an excellent mind won from trial. From you an example may be expected of the manner in which a virtuous and thoughtful person has learnt to bear the melancholy events of life. Even at such a season, it is not a duty to abandon the study of happiness. Do not altogether turn away from sweet hope, with her promises and smiles. Do not refuse to believe that this dark cloud will pass away, and the heavens shine again,--that happier days will compensate these hours that move in sadness. Grief will have its share, a painful share, but grief will not have your all, Caroline: there is good in existence still, rich, various, endless, the pursuit of which will elevate, and the attainment of which will crown you. Even your present emotions are the distresses of tender melancholy,-how widely different from the anguish of guilt! Yours are such tears as innocence may shed, and intermingle smiles, pensive smiles indeed, and transient, but expressive of a sentiment that rises towards heaven.

The most pathetic energies of consolation can be imparted by RELIGION alone, the never-dying principle of all that is happy in the creation. The firm persuasion that all things that concern us, are completely every moment in the hands of our Father above, infinitely wise and merciful: that he disposes all these events in the very best possible manner; and that we shall one day bless him amid the ardours

L

of infinite gratitude for even his most distressing visitations, such a sublime persuasion will make the heart and the character sublime. It will enable you to assemble all your interests together, your wishes, your prospects, your sorrows, and the circumstances of the persons that are dear to you, and present them in one devoutoffering to the best Father, the greatest Friend; and it will assure you of being in every scene of life the object of his kind, perpetual care.

Permit me, Madam, to add, that one of the most powerful means towards preserving a vigorous tone of mind in unhappy circumstances, is to explore, with a resolute eye, the serious lessons which they teach. Events like those which you have eld, open the inmost temple of solemn truth, and throw around the very blaze of revelation. In such a school, such a mind may make incalculable improvements. I consider a scene of death as being to the interested parties who witness it, a kind of sacrament, inconceivably solemn, at which they are summoned, by the voice of Heaven, to pledge themselves in vows of irreversible decision. Here, then, Caroline, as at the high altar of eternity, you have been called to pronounce, if I may express it so, the inviolable oath,-to keep for ever in view the momentous value of life, and to aim at its worthiest use, its sublimest end ; to spurn, with a last disdain, those foolish trifles, those frivolous vanities, which so generally within our sight consume life as the locusts did Egypt; and to devote yourself, with the ardour of passion, to attain the most divine improve

ments of the human soul ; and in short, to hold yourself in preparation to make that interesting transition to another life, whenever you shall be claimed by the Lord of the world.-Yours very respectfully and affectionately,

John Foster. Bristol.

TO A FRIEND, ON THE DEATH OF HIS

WIFE.

[REV. ROBERT HALL.

--]

MY DEAR FRIEND, I

CANNOT express the emotions of soul which I

felt on receiving from your valuable son an account of the death of his dear mamma. I often realize in my mind, and think I see you in various postures, and with indications of heartfelt sorrow and pungent perplexity.

Oh! the piercing pangs of grief attending such a separation! They cannot be expressed, nor pictured, but in idea. I have felt, I daily feel for you and your dear children; your and their loss is great indeed. More-Yet, stop, my friend,—the sluices of sorrow ought not to be kept open, but the torrent of grief abated, lest it swell beyond the bounds of Christian moderation, and overwhelm the soul.

How favourable to mourners is the blessed gospel! Gaze not, therefore, on the dark side of the cloud:

the dark and sable dispensation is tinged with radiant beams of the Sun of Righteousness, and portends a glorious coming day. Could you hear this dear departed spirit, her language would be,

“ Refrain from tears, I am well, weep not for me.”.

Consider, my dear friend, He who gave her, reserved a superior right to her. This she sweetly acquiesced in ; and though she gave herself to you for a time, yea, till time with her should be no more, she gave herself to the Lord in an everlasting covenant, never to be forgotten.

My friend, you will likewise consider, that you and she are not far separated; for, although all communication be now broken off, you are yet, and will for ever continue, in the same house, even the house of mercy,—that divine, capacious, and beautiful structure which Jehovah hath said, “ shall be built for ever.” In that house are many mansions ; we are in the lower apartments, while she is gone to the large upper room, where Jesus keeps the feast with his disciples; and by and by, I hope the Lord will give us a gracious beckon, and say, hither.”

You know, Sir, it is an evil time. A gloomy prospect attends the land ; her righteous soul may, in mercy, be taken from the evil to come. However, it is in the Lord's hands, who says, “ Be still, and know that I am God !” Difficulties and increasing cares, it is true, devolve upon you ; but know that the Lord is all-sufficient. It makes not much difference whether burdens be lessened or increased, if strength be in exact proportion ; and he who can

“ Come up not lie, hath said, “ My strength hath been perfected in thy weakness,” and “ as thy day is, so shall thy strength be.”

Creatures are like candles, very useful, and always most prized when the sun is absent; but if he arise, we can then do without them. May the Lord arise, and shine, and his glory light upon you and yours. As death does not separate from the Lord, neither does it divide the saints from one another. Your spirit and hers daily meet at the one throne-she to praise, you to pray; therefore, in that sense, though you be absent in body, you are present in spirit, and after a while you will meet in person to part no more; for “ those who sleep in Jesus will the Lord bring with him.” In the meantime, we are called to walk by faith, and not by sight: and he in whom we may safely confide, hath declared, “ all things work together for good.” It was a reconciling thought to me in great trouble, that afflictions are compared in Scripture to workmen, all employed and busy in the Christian's behalf. They work for you,-it might have been against you, as it frequently is found. They work together, not separately, but in happy harmony. I then thought, the more the better, if God direct and point out their employment; for the end to be accomplished is, a “ far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” As persons take pleasure in reviewing the industrious workmen, so the Christian, with Paul, may rejoice not only in the Lord, but in his tribulation also,I take pleasure in afflictions also.”

If God send a great affliction, (thought I,) we may

« AnteriorContinuar »