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He is the Father of the fatherless, and the Friend of the destitute. He has deprived you of my protection, that you may feel more sensibly the value of his
The visitation, for the present, may wear an aspect of severity ; but be assured, it has some gracious aim, which can fail only through your neglect. It calls you early to the exercise of patience and fortitude ; virtues incalculably important to the great ends of life. It impresses upon you the necessity of exerting your own reflection for the regulation of your own conduct, and of putting forth all the powers of your minds in overcoming the difficulties of your situation. View it thus, and take courage from the example of those who, in similar circumstances, have done valiantly. Trust in God, and quit youself like a man. Your fathers in the flesh can no longer watch for your safety. But, whilst you rely for support and direction upon the Father of your spirits, he will never leave nor forsake you. Seek your comfort, your encouragement, from the promises and the example of Him, who was himself made perfect by suffering. Then, though you may still sorrow, as a dutiful child, you will no longer sorrow as those who have no hope.' You will rejoice even in tribulation, and anticipate the happiness of that glorious day, when I shall welcome you, with all the warmth of paternal love, into the regions of everlasting peace!"
Such, if he could speak from the tomb, would be the advice and the encouragement of a pious father. And when such sentiments occur to the mind of an affectionate child, they will minister comfort, and restore it to composure.
Thus will it be gradually
prepared for recollecting, with a mixture of satisfaction and regret, the amiable qualities of heart and character, by which a parent has been distinguished in life; and for which his memory will be honoured in his family, and respected in his neighbourhood.
If our fathers have filled with credit that station, high or low, in which the providence of God had placed them; if they leave behind them this legacy of domestic worth and of Christian graces, let us, without envying the posthumous honours of the great, regard it as a gift of inestimable value, and cherish the memory of those who bequeath it. Whatever the vain and the worldly-minded may think, it is better than gold, yea, than much fine gold. For gold may minister to vice; but the memory of the just is blessed to their children, because it becomes an incentive to all that is virtuous and praiseworthy.
How indeed is it possible to review the character of an honoured parent, without breathing forth an ardent prayer, that we may be like him in holiness ! And such a prayer, often breathed in those moments when recollection is strong, will invigorate every effort to attain the resemblance which we so much desire. Viewing the virtues of our house, as its true glory, we shall resolve to preserve them as a sacred deposit, or we shall feel the yet more honourable ainbition of transmitting them to our posterity augmented and improved.
On the other hand, we shall blush at the very thought of sullying the family inheritance ourselves, and thus setting an example, which may tend to sully it still more in those who succeed us. What, indeed, can be so disgraceful, as by neglect, or by perversity, to interrupt the regular descent of those Christian endowments, which are the ornament of the rational nature, and the only foundation of permanent renown? And what grosser insult can be offered to the memory of a father, than to despise his lessons of piety, and to renounce those principles which conducted him to immortality? He who can think for a moment, of meeting a father thus insulted, at the great day of retribution, without a mixture of shame and horror, has lost all that is ingenuous in the character of a son.
But whilst the loss of a parent leads to a general review of those estimable qualities by which he was distinguished, it will give a more particular interest to the remembrance of those cares and attentions, to which we are indebted, in a great measure, for every advantage that we now enjoy, and every hope that we are permitted to indulge. Is it possible to look back upon that paternal solicitude which watched over the safety of our helpless years, and studied the improvement of our opening minds; that solicitude, which fear excited, and which hope relieved ; which prompted so many labours, and interrupted so many pleasures ; is it possible to think of this, without feeling, in all its force, that debt of gratitude and respect which we owe to the memory of an indulgent father?
“ Our fathers, where are they?" He who brought life and immortality to light resolves the question.
Ye believe in God, believe also in me. I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, there
may be also."
Here is an assurance, which takes from filial sorrow all that is bitter, and leaves only what is soothing and instructive. By this assurance we are enabled to anticipate a glorious entrance into that place where paternal affection will retain its ardour, but lose its solicitude ; where pious children will hail, in transports of gratitude, those venerated names, by whose counsels they were led into the ways of righteousness; where the errors of parental fondness, and the defects of filial obedience, with all the little jarrings of an imperfect state, will be for ever at an end.
ON THE DEATH OF A MOTHER.
(REV. JOHN KENRICK.] THE memory of a virtuous mother is blessed by
her children, when they call to mind what they owe to her care, in the formation of their habits, and the discipline of their tempers. As the parental relation is the first in which the human being discovers himself to stand, and serves to give him his first imperfect notions of duty and dependence, so it is more especially to the mother, that Providence has intrusted the task of drawing out those religious and moral powers which human nature contains within itself. She sees, if her observation and her watchfulness are quickened by genuine maternal tenderness, the passions, one by one, awakening in the infant breast; the trains of feeling and the associations of thought, beginning to link themselves more firmly together, till they become fixed and unchangeable habits. In that filial love, which is the requital of the maternal, those affections have their origin, which, as they spread wider and higher, ascend ultimately to the First Cause and Fountain of all good. How holy is the office of a mother, employed in instilling into her children's minds the first principles of religious knowledge and duty! Ather feet their little hands are clasped together, in the first aspiration which they venture to raise towards their Father who is in Heaven. She teaches them to connect the idea of . his power and skill, with all those vast or curious objects around them, which impress their minds with awe or wonder; his love, with those beauties of nature amidst which they delight themselves, and every source of joy which gladdens their hearts. Adapting her instructions to the progressive enlargementoftheir powers of conception, she leads them to the knowledge of him, as the moral governor of his creatures, the punisher of all the workers of iniquity, the rewarder of all those that diligently seek and obey him. The narratives of Scripture, beautiful in their divine simplicity, are employed to touch their hearts with admiration of the virtues displayed by the good of past ages; its hymns of thanksgiving and praise store their youthful memories ; the life, the precepts, and the sufferings of Him, who forbad not “ little children to come unto him,” but declared that “ of such is the kingdom of heaven,” prepare the way for the knowledge of those evidences, which establish bis claim to be the Son of God.