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It is true, there is and ever will be, in to say, in the language of Isaiah viii. 18, this estate, “ trouble in the flesh” yet is “ Behold I and the children whom the this to be over-rated or misprized, or its Lord hath given me, are for signs and for sanctifying influences to be forgotten ? / wonders in Israel, from the Lord of Hosts Many a father has had bitter anguish with which dwelleth in Mount Zion.” Such a his children, and the “ grey hairs” of father is blessed, in his children, while many been “ brought with sorrow to the spared, and dying has no fears for them, grave;" yea, many a pious parent has of such a character as to shake his depenhad to bewail the wickedness of his dance in Jesus. He may have many children ; how many sighs of a sorrowful children and no provision for them; of heart went forth from Jacob, under the these, some may be helpless, delicate incruel separation which his offspring pro- fants; he leaves them to God, and to the duced between him and the darling child people of God; he may have heard of of his affections, the Son of his Rachel ? such a thrice-honored institution as this, Who can forget the piteous exclamations and his last moments are soothed in the of holy David over the fratricidal inces- remembrance that you will not look coldly tuous, and all but parricidal Absalom ? | upon his beloved babes when he is no more 2 Sam. xviii. 33. “O my Son Absalom, with them. Many such have died and left my son, my son Absalom! would God I to their dear children no inheritance but had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, the blessing resting upon the seed of the my son !”
righteous, and the unspotted reputation It may be, that David in this trial was which they, through grace, enjoyed; chiefly concerned for the presumed state the blessing was accompanied by that of Absalom's soul ; and if his dying, in motto wbich you have prefixed to your the body, for his child might have been statements, Jer. xlix. 11. “ Leave thy the means of giving him “space for re- fatherless children to me, I will preserve pentance,” he would even have died for them alive ; and thy widows, let them his sinful child. Do all parents in trust in me!" The fathers were Promourning over their “ lost and loved” testant men, and they, the orphans were ones, contemplate aught beyond the loss Protestant born, and their fathers live of their sweet companionship? do they not to testify in their behalf, and their bethink them of " whither has the soul mothers are widows and sit solitary, and fled ?" Lift up thy heart, O bereaved the cry of the pitiful children is as that and believing parent, thy child is in the of the text, “ we are orphans and father. blissful habitation which God has pro- less, our mothers are widows." . vided.
| The value of such an appeal as the While ingratitude, rebellion, and pro- present, heralded by such a text as the fligacy may wring the heart of a parent, present, is this, that it brings each segis there no reverse illustration on the ment of the family circle before you, coinage of human currency and ex- the “ father," the “ mother,” and the perience? Yes, many a beautiful pic- “ child.” We have treated of the father, ture may be exhibited of “ fathers and will you grudge some consideration to children,” of fathers “ doubly' fathers and the mother, she is woman, and mother, of children “ twice born.” If God have and widow, and poor. Many a woman heard his prayers, if the “ nurture and now present is happy as wife and mother admonition of the Lord” have been duly and knows no sorrow, (such be long attended to, and the father sees his child distant and then be it sanctified!) growing in grace as in years, then does Women of our land! when you think of he indeed rejoice, his child is now natu- your homes and husbands, of your babes rally and spiritually his, and he is enabled smiling on a father's knee, or embraced
by a father's fostering hand ; remember. For though she be the wife of the rich the thousands who have no more a man and of the fondest husband, Scripture husband's arm to protect, and whose has manifested practical warnings for the children shall never more know a father's sake of all such. In Genesis xxx. I, smile.
we have the impatient and empassioned Il. Let us speak of their mothers. language of Rachel, “ give me children, Man's heritage, as we have described, is or else I die!" In Genesis xxxv. 16, we four-fold, that of woman two-fold ; she read that her fond wishes were gratified, is destined, in the first place, to pain but at a fearful cost-she died giving and sorrow (see Genesis iii. 16), in the birth to Jacob's youngest son--and the second place, to subjection. If man is dying mother called him “Benoni, son to be humble-woman is to hold a sub- of my sorrow !” nor does the memory of ordinate place in the school of humilia- this unexpected visitation depart from tion ; she is to “reverence her husband,” the memory of Jacob_many years had and he is to cherish and protect her. passed away, and Jacob, “ full of years,
This difference of position when rightly and riches, and honours," was about understood, is scarcely felt-the “ desire to die, and was giving his last blessing to is unto the husband,” and affection Joseph; ever at that solemn moment, the sweetens duty. If man have protracted good old man's mind was unaccountably and risksome toil for his portion, most carried back to the loss of other years, bitter is the penalty put upon his (Genesis xlviii. 7), and without any cherished partner in the fall the pangs seeming connexion with what he had of childbirth (the severest pangs that fall been previously saying, the venerable to the lot of mortality) are woman's father says, “and as for me, when I dowry; her frail tabernacle is liable to came from Padan, Rachael died by me, many infirmities—is inadequate to fatigue, in the land of Canaan, in the way, when and is often bowed down by sickness; yet there was but a little way to come the mother is subject to manifold ail- unto Ephrath, and I buried her there in ments, but these come not useless, and the way of Ephrath the same is, Bethwould fain leave a blessing behind them. lehem.” This episode, with its anile
The remarkable promise, 1 Tim. ii. 15, and affectionate particularity, appears to “ Notwithstanding she shall be saved in have been introduced by one of those child-bearing,” points out to facts for its untraceable, yet finely-linked associafulfilment; for it is unquestionable, that | tions, which issue in man's heart piety is more frequent among women |
« Lull'd in the countless chambers of the brain, than among men and in a proportion, Our thoughts are link'd by many a hidden probably, exceeding that of three woman
Awake but one, and lo! what myriads rise. to one man. Our churches are usually Each stamps its image as the other flies, better attended by women than by men;
And through the frame invisibly convey, and the disparity in number is particularly
The subtle, quick vibrations as they play." manifest at the Lord's table :-to those who give heed to the promise, we say, Another testimony to a mother's pangs observe the fourfold requisition of the and peril, is given in 1 Samuel iv. 19: verse_ the mother is called upon for the wife of Phinehas expiring, dies with the s faith' in the Lord Jesus—for charity' - peculiar national feeling of a Jewish for holiness' -for sobriety, or modera mother; premature labour had followed tion. Who can manifest these but the the deadly tidings, that her husband children of God? What mother living and his father were dead, and that the (as mothers do) amidst trials and perils, “ark of God was taken;" with her dying would not desire to be a child of God ? I breath she named her babe “ Ichabod," (" where is the glory?") saying, “ The tional investigation, may give you some glory is departed from Israel, for the idea of the brevity and uncertainty of ark of God is taken,” and she died. | life, and urge many fathers and mothers Here were many mental, as well as who hear me, to enquire, whether, ere bodily pangs, and such are weak woman's their happy young people may be preheritage not always, nor often it may sented for confirmation, they (the parents) be_but such have been, and such may may be withdrawn, and for ever! be and we know but one safe shelter Whatever be the loss sustained by the for such sufferings, and that is the blood husband in the removal of the mother of and righteousness of Christ, and one his dear children, as regards the children, consolation for the mourner, and that is greater, in the case of the poor, is the the visitation of the Holy Spirit. loss of the father : the mother, with several
But woman is not as man, often prema little ones, is suddenly plunged in want turely removed from the precious objects the wages no longer bring their of her care; this is not sufficiently under. accustomed hebdomadal comfort the stood, namely, that fathers are generally world is going on its busy round-the the first called away, and that the pro- children lack raiment-cold and rain proportion of widows is very great; if I beat on their unsheltered limbs—they mistake not, the proportion of excess in are left often without education—they this case is nearly as three to two, if not cry for food-they stray into scenes more. It may be, that the life of man of temptation they go forth-calas ! is exposed to greater danger, and pro- oftentimes the boy becomes the plunbably to greater temptations. I would derer_tho girl the harlot ; and who is be able to show this disproportion from so rich and so well circumstanced, and two calculations lately made, in the course of such high-born pretensions, that seof my own parochial labours. In 1835, curity of provision and protection is there were in my congregation one ensured for their children ? Great is hundred and twenty-four candidates for the fall which many a high-born wife exconfirmation; of these nine had lost periences -great--specially great is the fall both their parents—twenty-six had lost of the clergyman's widow, for she finds the their mothers, and thirty-five had lost world and all around her speedily change their fathers; thus, out of one hundred -none loses caste and comfort so speeand twenty-four candidates, sixty-one dily; but chief of all, the wife of the had lost parents, (the majority of these shopkeeper, or artizan, or poor labourer, so deprived having lost their fathers; is often truly desolate. Therefore, in this was nearly one-half the entire protecting the orphan, you show kindness number of candidates.) This appeared to the dead-you offer solace to the more plainly in 1839; in the same con- widow-you take a load of anxiety from gregation there were two hundred and her bosom-you leave her free to indulge thirty-one candidates for confirmation ; industry-you prove your sincere serof these nineteen had been deprived of vitude to Jesus, and honour him, who in both fathers and mothers, forty-two had | Psalm lxviii. has assumed the title of lost their mothers, and eighty-one had “ Father of the fatherless, and judge of lost their fathers ! thus, out of two hun- the widow.” May the widows, thus prodred and thirty-one (the entire number tected by your benevolence, be led to of candidates in 1839) one hundred and see their dependence on God who raised twenty-three children (more than half) you up, and may they remember that had lost parents, and the loss of fathers the Lord is to be sought as their “ huswas to the loss of mothers in the pro-. band,” their relative, and friend. portion of two to one. This congrega-' III. Let us speak of the orphan- We epeak in the last place of our chief object bound by every profession of Christianity of anxiety this day, to whom such fre--by every declaration of love to Christ, quent allusion has been already made to aid this cause_to become a husband we speak of childhood, interesting from to the widow, and a father to the fatherthe dawn of existence, till (grown and less; we can do this speedily and wisely taught) the adult is enabled to assume -We can become so, enjoying the place among the men of the nation ; the luxury of benevolence at an outlay, helplessness of infancy has ever its claim which can meet the finances of all :-and - the tenderness of the Saviour towards mark the prospect before us! the tear of such, is an endearing precedent for his sorrow quenched in peace, the lambs followers; but in no case is the infant so folded, and their adversary repulsed ; weak so helpless 80 unprotected—80 Christian education super-induced-bepitiable, as when the father is taken nevolence stimulated-generous men away : at any time, infancy would encouraged in their presidency and perish if unsustained and unprotected, guardianship_the love of Christ difbut rapidly and fearfully, when the fused- the church of Christ extended parent's hand is withdrawn. The mother, the glory of Jesus exalted! giving birth to the babe, needs cherish- We picture to our hearts the growth ing, and her babe requires for months, of those dear children to manhood and the continued care of a protector; alas! womanhood; we bethink us of times to often the mother dies, as Rachel and the come, when they too shall be the happy wife of Phineas, and who protects the parents of happy children, and bearing babe then? If the mother survives and grateful record of what was done for the father be removed, how many sorrows their helpless years, and of the benesurround the little one ; he grows in factors whom God raised up for them; years and intellect-- he sees other young they will speak of these things to their people happy in a father's protection, and children, and children's children, as when he turns to his melancholy home, reasons for gratitude to God and man; he finds one sitting in sorrow and seek charity will thus extend and refresh our ing to hide her bitter tears from the son Zion as a river; man will be led to or daughter of her bosom : happy still magnify God's goodness, and we, if is the orphan's lot, if the Christian spared to see the blessed results of comwidow be the orphan's mother-happy, bined and well-ordered benevolence, if the streaming eye looks upward and shall “ rejoice in the work of our hands,” speaks to him of his father and her father, and glorify God who made us, (albeit unhis God and her God; happy, if she worthy) the honoured instruments of can tell him, that his departed father good—the protectors of his forlorn ones loved God, and can appeal to him, to seek the cherishers of his lambs—the love to be what his dear departed parent of Christ constraining. May this be our would have wished him to be. We are portion, and this our joy. Amen.