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ON THE DEATH OF HIS
MY DEAR MR.
June 6th, 1834. A LETTER received this
morning informs me of the melancholy event which has at length realized all your fears; and language can ill describe the tenderness with which I think of you, and Mrs.
and the rest of your afflicted family. Yours is no ordinary bereavement. You have lost a most amiable and dutiful child, “ your heart and your heart's joy,”- ?-one who found her happiness, from her earliest years, in cultivating the benevolent and generous affections, and who never admitted of any competition in her mind between the considerations of selfishness and opportunities of doing good. The beautiful vision is fled. Her brief days are gone. She has been called away in the midst of her loveliness ; with all the sweet promises of life opening around her, and in circumstances which teach us that this world is only a fleeting show, and that we ought to possess the comforts that we find in it as if we possessed them not.
I know how hard you have felt it to yield her up; and I also know that you will have recourse to the rock that never can be shaken. I pray that God would fill you with peace, and enable you to bear your severe trial with unquestioning resignation to his will. It is thus that he works his own great ends.
There are, indeed, many reasons why you should lift up your head and wipe away your tears. It must soothe you to reflect that the dear loved object for whom you mourn, is not now exposed to the changes of mortality,—that pain and languor can oppress her no more,—that she is taken from you to be happy for ever. Though the grass and the flowers will grow over her grave, Faith bids you look forward to a day,-oh, what a day of surprising wonder and ecstasy to you !—when you will meet her again, in the kingdom of the everlasting Father, where the obscurities of our present state shall be scattered, where there shall be no night, neither any darkness at all!
“That life,” said one of the most eloquent writers of a former age, “ is not best which is longest ; and when young persons have descended into the grave, it shall not be inquired how long they lived, but how well.” *
I should be truly glad, my dear Sir, if even at this distance and in this seclusion, I were able to suggest any thing that might afford you comfort. But my heart is full. A thousand and a thousand unutterable recollections come crowding upon me, and I can only breathe a prayer to the throne of mercy that your sorrow may be softened and sanctified and blessed.
With feelings of the warmest and kindest regard to Mrs. - and to all the members of your family, I remain, my dear Mr. ever most affectionately yours,
Jeremy Taylor's Holy Living, p. 137, edit. 1695.
TO MR. ---, ON THE AWFULLY SUDDEN
DEATH OF HIS BROTHER.
[***] MY DEAR SIR,
April 28th, 1832. know that when I resided in your neigh
bourhood, I never was a careless spectator of your sorrows; and I shall not attempt to tell you how much I am concerned to hear of the sad bereavement which has again torn your bosom with anguish, and bowed you down to the dust. Oh, you may well mourn, you may well weep, that one in whose tried and faithful affection you could so securely trust, one who was so single-hearted, so kind and affectionate, so generous, so steady in principle, and so rich in domestic and social happiness, should be thus hurried away in the vigour of life, in the maturity of his understanding, and in the midst of his virtues, his activity, and his enjoyments !
This is a dispensation which strikes us with awe, and baffles all our conjectures; though the purposes of God have doubtless been those of mercy both towards the dead and towards the living. As Milton sublimely says ;
How oft amidst
To you and to those around you, the change has been unutterably awful; but who that is in any de
gree acquainted with the character of
excellent brother, can for a moment hesitate to believe that it has been glorious and blessed to him? Who can doubt, that, through the loving-kindness of his God, he is gone to receive a bright reward? He will come no more among you upon earth ;-you will listen in vain for the bound of his footsteps and the accents of his voice ;-in this mortal state, you will never again behold him; it is a comfort, however, to think that he lived the life of a Christian: and in his most engaging example, he has bequeathed to you an inheritance compared with which, power, wealth, and earthly dignities, are as nothing in the scale.
A few short days will pass, and we shall all assemble in the world of spirits; and oh! with what astonishment, with what holy rapture, if we should find mercy to pity and forgive us, shall we again embrace the objects of our fondness, and join with them, before the eternal throne, in celebrating our deliverance from the bondage of the grave!
It is when “ the light is darkened in our tabernacle,” it is in circumstances of deep, heart-rending affliction, it is amidst those sad and sudden reverses, when our anticipations and our joys are scattered to the winds as in scorn, that we feel the value of our Christian hopes; it is when the hand of the Most High presses heavily upon us, that the truths of revelation are doubly dear to our souls.
In events like this there is a startling voice which it would be madness to disregard. Oh, let it not speak in vain! It reminds us that we ourselves cannot escape the universal law. It admonishes us to
transfer our thoughts, our cares, our affections, our hopes from vain and momentary, to everlasting objects. It conjures us to redeem the time, to reach forward to new attainments in truth and goodness, and to expedite our work.
Remember me most affectionately to all your mourning circle, and, in particular, should you have a favourable opportunity, to poor Mrs. You will believe me that, in these dark melancholy hours, she is often present to my mind. Great as her trial is, I pray that she may be enabled to support it. May that Almighty Being who is the friend of the widow, even God in his holy habitation, keep her under the shadow of his wings, and fill her soul with pious trust and love! He has said, “When thou passest through the fire, I will be with thee, and when through the floods, they shall not overflow thee.”
It was kind in you, at a season of such distress, to call me to your recollection, and to write to me. You know how to touch my heart. I hope your sweet children are still a comfort and a blessing to you. Ever yours, with unalterable attachment,