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Now he is taken from amongst us, it soothes and comforts me more than words can express, to think that I recently visited him. When I left him, he appeared to me to be upon the threshold of eternity. I felt that he was giving me his blessing for the last time; it went to my inmost soul. The awful solemnity of that moment will never, never be forgotten.
Assure of my sincere, grateful attachment. It has been her privilege to render the declining years of my beloved father's pilgrimage, his best, his happiest years; and she has a sweet, an appropriate reward in her own bosom. I am persuaded, my dear S., that
will fondly cherish the remembrance of one whose delight it was to watch over you, and who, from the days of your earliest childhood, has been every thing to you. He has bequeathed to you his fine example. Lay it up, I beseech you, I earnestly beseech you, among your choicest, your most precious treasures. It will furnish you, as often as you muse upon it, with fresh encouragements to a life of virtuous and useful activity.
I long to write to you on another subject naturally dear to you, and interesting to me:- but my father, my poor father is gone!
mingles her tender regards with mine to you all; and I remain, my dear S.,
Ever most affectionately yours,
PRAYER ON THE LOSS OF FRIENDS BY
] I NFINITELY great and blessed God, who in
habitest eternity! Clouds and darkness are round about thee. We cannot comprehend thy ways, or fathom thy mysterious counsels: but we can approach thee in the belief that although thou turnest man to destruction, and sayest,“ Return, ye children of men,” thy perfections are unchangeable, thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion shall have no end. The sovereign Arbiter of events, thou sittest on the circle of the earth, and judgest the nations; and all thy works are done in truth.
Tbine ear is ever open unto our cry. Out of the depths of affliction we can lift up our hearts to thee. We can lay our cares and our anxieties at the foot of thy throne, persuaded that thou carest for us, and that if we seek thy face in prayer, thou wilt give peace and rest unto our souls. Thy loving-kindness and forbearance have never forsaken us; and in
thee alone, when we labour and are heavy laden with grief, we find our help.
We would gratefully own thy wisdom and goodness in all the vicissitudes with which our lives are checkered. We thank thee, the universal Parent, who hast fixed the hounds of our habitation, for the pure and exalted pleasures of domestic love, nor least of all for the happy hours which we have spent in the society of those whom thou didst raise up to rejoice in our joys and to sympathise in our sorrows, but who have finished their earthly course, rich in faith and full of hope, and are now beyond the reach of death.
Thou chastenest us with trouble, thou takest away the desire of our eyes, to remind us that upon earth there is nothing either permanent or sure ; to admonish us that we are born for immortality, and that this world is not our home. We gratefully acknowledge that in our severest trials thou hast not forgotten to be gracious, but hast left us the consolations of memory and of hope, which are neither few nor small. We adore thy name for ever, that thou hast sent Jesus Christ into the world, to bring life and immortality to light, to seek and to save those that were lost. We bless thee for the assurance that He who was once despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, will appear again in majesty and power, to deliver thy children from the bondage of the grave, and to lead them, with songs of rejoicing and salvation, to thine everlasting presence.
Increase our faith, merciful God! and strengthen
our hope, that we may look forward with full persuasion and confidence to the glory of that great day when the end shall come, when the triumph of sin and death will be over, and thou wilt be all in all.
Believing that when, at thine appointed time, those in whom we have delighted, die and return unto their dust, our loss is their unspeakable gain, that they have overcome the trials and temptations of the world, and are gone to receive from thee a crown of glory,-may we strive to check the murmurs of impatience, to bow with unfeigned submission to thy will, and for the language of complaint to substitute the voice of praise.
While we dwell with mournful pleasure on the excellencies of our departed friends, we earnestly pray, O Lord ! that the remembrance may comfort us in our grief, and engage us to purify our hearts during the remainder of our pilgrimage, to moderate even our innocent attachments, and to be followers of them as they were followers of Christ.
Convince us more and more, O thou God of the spirits of all men! that we are but strangers and sojourners here below, and that in a little time we too shall be gathered to our fathers.
Teach us to be faithful and affectionate to the associates whom thou still preservest to us. Quicken us to greater diligence, that we may redeem with all our care the opportunities of usefulness which we have lost, and may have our lamps trimmed and our lights continually burning.
Prepare us, we beseech thee, to meet the approach of death with tranquillity and composure. At that awful hour may our hearts be fixed, trusting in thee. Be thou still our sun and our shield. Devoutly thanking thee for the blessings with which thou hast cheered our abode on earth, and reposing a firm trust in thy promised mercy, through Jesus Christ, may we close our eyes in peace. And oh! grant, heavenly Father! that when the trumpet of the archangel shall awaken us from our slumbers in the dust, an entrance may be ministered unto us into those realms of eternal joy, where we hope to renew the tender and endearing intercourses of love, and where the pain of separation will neither be felt nor apprehended.
We would pour out our prayers at thy footstool, O thou God of consolati ! for all who, lil selves, are mourning over the ravages of mortality. Comfort and enliven their hearts; and teach them not to sorrow as others who have no hope, but to carry forward their views to a period when those who sleep in Jesus shall be for ever with the Lord.
Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven; give us day by day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil : for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Anien.