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DEATH OF CHILDREN.
DEATH OF CHILDREN. DEATH, even to Christians, is the source of much sorrow; and, perhaps, the decease of children, gives to parents the keenest pangs that the human heart is capable of enduring. The distress of King David, as related in the second of Samuel, on account of the death of his first-born by "Bath-sheba his wife," is, probably, as strong an exemplification of the correctness of this sentiment, as history affords. When the child was taken sick, he besought God for its restoration to health, although he had been assured by the prophet, that it should surely die. "And David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth;" and when "the elders of his house" attempted to raise him from his prostrate position and comfort him, "he would not, neither did he eat bread with them." Thus did he continue to fast and mourn for seven days, until the child died, as had been foretold by Nathan; then he arose, anointed himself, changed his apparel, and ate bread. And now it was that David made use of that most beautiful passage: "But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." Here was perfect resignation, where before had been unmitigated anguish.
Upon this passage Dr. Clarke remarks: "It is one of the most solid grounds of consolation to surviving friends, that they shall by and by be joined to them in a state of conscious existence. This doctrine has a very powerful tendency to alleviate the miseries of human life, and reconcile us to the death of most beloved friends. And were we to admit the contrary, grief, in many cases, would wear out its subject before it wore out itself." To the truth of these sentiments, the happy experience of Christians in all ages bear conclusive testimony; for, as Dr. C. further remarks, in the comforting language of the word of life, "We well know who has taught us not to sorrow as those without hope for our departed friends."
We were blessed with three "olive plants," when our merciful Father in his wise, but painful, dispensation, saw fit to remove one, the second-born, from our embrace, into the "palace of angels and God." Then it was that the consolations of religion came seasonably to our support-for it seemed to us that none ever suffered as we did. The child died of whooping cough. He continued to get worse, for his constitution was naturally feeble and had been broken down by previous disease, until the day before he died. On Thursday evening, about 8 o'clock, he was taken with a spell of coughing, but his little frame was unable to bear the shock so often repeated, and he was thrown into convulsions, which affected the brain. It was three hours before we could obtain medical assistancebut medicine, nor the aid of kind friends who ran to our relief, could avert the blow-and our hearts felt it. I knew my much-loved child must die. In about an hour after the first convulsion, he revived so as to know us when we spoke to him, but his sight had
failed. He continued sensible until about 12 o'clock, during which time he was in most acute pain, and his calls, evidently for relief and ease, were heart-rending. He lingered until 5 o'clock on Friday evening, when his sanctified spirit returned to him who, in mercy, had encased it in a casket of clay, and lent it to us for a short time to gladden our hearts. Joshua is no more! We bow in meek submission to the will of the Lord, and own that he can do no wrong.
In a quiet country burial-ground, a few miles from the busy city, bencath the o'er-spreading boughs of an apple tree, repose his remains; and on a plain marble slab, marking the spot, is the following inscription: "Entombed here,
Aged 2 years, 8 months and 14 days."
Among the tokens of sympathy received from kind friends, during our season of grief, were the following communications. The first is an extract of a letter from a minister of the Gospel, learned and eloquent, but the subject of bodily affliction, who little thought, perhaps, when he was pouring into our stricken hearts the "medicine of consolation," that he himself would so soon have to mourn the demise of a beloved fathera minister of half a century's standing in the Church, who fell in the battle field with the panoply of the Gospel upon him; whose labors were most abundant, and whose praise is on the lips of thousands who have received spiritual benefit from his ministrations. He writes thus: "Suffer me, dear D., to condole with you in your recent melancholy bereavement the loss of your interesting little son. No more shall his musical prattle salute your ears, nor his exhibitions of future promise gladden your heart. The fond dreams of his parents are dispelled by the monster king. The playthings which amused your little one are thrown idly by, and their sight will only serve to awaken pensive recollections of the innocent and beloved one,
'Who sparkled, was exhaled, and went to heaven.' The ancients use to say, 'Whom the gods love, die young;' and under similar circumstances of distress endeavored to draw from the sentiment thus expressed, the medicine of consolation to heal their wounded and bleeding hearts. How grateful should we be who have a better word of promise to console us in affliction. You can, by faith, hear our blessed Savior still say, in a sense a little different from that originally intended, but, thanks be to God, equally true, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.' How infinitely superior are the rich and sublime hopes of our glorious Christianity, to all the groveling and insipid teachings of a worldly philosophy. Truly was I delighted with the vein of pious resignation running through your letter. How sweet the sentiment of Scripture, 'I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.'"
The next, in verse, is from a pious and intelligent lady; and if it convey the same balm to the hearts of any of your numerous readers, who may be sorrowing on account of the loss of a dear child, that it did to ours, its publication will not be in vain.
LINES ADDRESSED TO D. E. C., COMPOSED AT THE FUNERAL
THERE are few things more beautiful than tears, whether they are shed for ourselves or others; they are the meek and silent effusion of sincere feeling. I say nothing of tears of anger, though I believe such are sometimes shed; they are but a counterfeit coin. But
"Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them how many noble thoughts and warm emotions, which not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven."
'Twas a delicate flow'r, it languished and pined,
To wean thee from earth, was the trial design'd!
Then mourn not fond parent, thy sorrow forbear,
Thou stricken in heart-here is solace for thee! "Forbid not, but suffer the lambs to draw near,
(Of such is my kingdom,) and come unto me."
Thy Redeemer has spoken these accents of love,
As anthems of glory resound through the sky.
But like David of old, thou canst go to him there.
HYMN AT SEA.
BY MRS. SIGOURNEY.
GOD of the ever-rolling deep,
Our Father and our trust,
Who bidd'st its mighty billows sweep
Who bidd'st it towering o'er them raise
Yet giv'st them slumber calm and sweet,
O grant us, as the lonely dove
Unto the ark did flee,
Mid the hoarse tumult of the waves
elevate human nature, have found expression in tears. All strong emotion is at first voiceless; and if there were no channel by which its exuberance might escape, reason itself might sometimes suffer a shock. But as the summer rain falls gently on the flower which was fast fading in the burning noon, so tears are sent down to us from heaven to refresh and animate the withering soul. As tears are grateful in their influence, so their benefit is common-their fountains open to all. They are for every situation in life-for the young and for the aged; for the wealthy and for the indigent; for the virtuous and for the wicked; for the happy and for the sad: to no scene are they foreign; they are natural, and therefore, O blessed tears, the liveliest joy is made holier and better by your influence, and by your power is the deepest woe beguiled of half its pain!
The sight of the tears of others may call up in the mind, even of those who are careless of their cause, many varied thoughts. When we see tears on the blooming cheek of childhood, we think of the vernal shower-drop glittering on the tinted leaf of the rose-bud of May, that will soon be chased away by a burst of returning sunshine. When we see tears in the eyes of the warrior youth, whose soul burns almost too intensely with patriotic zeal for the liberty of his Fatherland, our sympathetic spirit already beholds the grandeur of the battle array, and the fearless soldier struck down and dying with the glory of victory in his very grasp. When we see tears on the countenance of the young and gentle bride, as mid the breathings of the parental blessing she looks her last on the dear familiar faces and scenes of her early innocent years, we feel that here, as it were, all the poetry of romance, and all the truth of reality, are mysteriously mingling together; and that the beautiful being before us stands as if between two worlds, like a bird yet lingering on the confines of one country, while her plumage is spread for her flight into some other. But when we see tears on the face of withered age-tears perhaps of holy feeling, while the eye of him who sheds them is fixed upon the page of the sacred book, more solemn ideas naturally present themselves to the mind: for the pains and disappointments of the present earthly scene, our wishes and our hopes are insensibly taught to rise in silent contemplation to that region where youth is unfading, and "where all tears shall be wiped from every eye."
"There we shall see his face,
And never, never sin;
There from the rivers of his grace,
Drink endless pleasures in."
Baltimore, November 20.
BY THE EDITOR.
"He saved others; himself he cannot save," Mark xv, 31.
NEVER was there more of truth and falsehood uttered in one sentence than in this. Of truth, because in its letter it asserts the necessity of Christ's suffering; of falsehood, because in its spirit it denies his omnipotence." Let us consider, first, the truth, and second, the falsehood of the text.
First, then, it is wholly true that "Christ saved others." He saved them from temporal calamities. It is common for infidelity to charge Christianity with apathetic indifference to the sufferings of this life. It questions the purity of that benevolence which busies itself in anxieties for the soul, but overlooks the pains of the body. It denies the sobriety of that faith which impels us to seek the treasures of another world, while we seem indifferent to the comforts of this.
memorate the Savior, and his deeds of healing mercy. Judea's hills and brooks and groves, her battle heights and plains, her fissured rocks, her very dust could it become reanimate and vocal, would join to vindicate our faith, by proclaiming the history of its Patron and its Lord.
That history informs us that Christ was never weary in his works of saving mercy. "He went through all Galilee," not only to teach in their cities, but "to heal all manner of sickness and disease among the people." His pity for the distressed spread abroad his fame, and "they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those possessed with devils, and those who were lunatic, and such as had the palzy; and there followed him great multitudes." The maimed, the blind, the dumb, the halt, the bowed together, waited his healing mandate. Nor did they wait in vain.
He did not stay till friendship sought him out, or flattery courted him from his retreats. He preferred not the mansion of the magistrate to the cottage of the poor, or the hovel of the vile. He did not spurn abject misery, and seek the sickly victims of luxury and pride. In a word, his charities were not human, but divine, and therefore divested of all partiality; falling upon the wretched like rain upon the field, or like sun-light upon the bright meridian. All, from the wisest to the simplest; from the courtly ruler to the reprobated publican; from refined and queenly delicacy to the seven times cursed Mary, were welcome to approach, and
The genius of infidelity addresses Christ's disciple thus: "You talk of two worlds, the present and the future. When you speak of this, your terms are intelligible; for this world is visible. By a thousand influences it impresses on the soul sensations of pain and pleasure. But what you say of a future is altogether mystery. That world is invisible. It has no beauty for the eye, no harmony for the ear; no fragrance or sweets to charm the waiting senses. If there be such a world, man is placed without the sphere of its soul-sound, if possible, the depths of his compassion. Childaffecting influences. You plead for a religion which is said to be compounded of truth and love; but alas! it has no eye to see, no heart to feel, no hand to relieve the sorrows which now assail the victims of misfortune. Its Quixotic zeal anticipates evils which may never come, and guards against ills which probably are visionSuch charity is graceless. It shows no credentials of its virtue and utility. It hinders, rather than promotes the bliss of man, by diverting his attention from the means of real happiness, to seek fictitious joys He saved others from the curse of ignorance. When which he hopes to seize hereafter. This religion will Christ appeared on earth, the light of useful knowledge not answer. Its charities are reprobate. It wants the had fled to other worlds. That which was called phiproper evidence of sincerity and worth, viz., consistency.losophy, served no other purpose but to render darkness True religion must breathe a love whose deeds shall be suited to the exigencies of this present suffering life, and not to a future, and an uncertain state of being."
Such are the expostulations of infidelity. And what can an accused religion answer to the charge? She can propose a prompt denial; and among a host of witnesses summoned for her defense, she can point, first, to Him who gave her being; who nursed her helpless infancy; whose tutelary doctrines and precepts and example fashioned her fair form, and molded all her manners-to Him whose meek and loving spirit has possessed, impelled, controlled, all her legitimate, unwavering disciples. Religion can silence such complaints by conducting her accuser to the fields of Palestine, and pointing to those scenes which rise as sacred monuments, or spread like shaded canvass, to com
hood, youth, and hoary age, were alike precious to the Savior of a world. His word calmed the rage of madness-his look rebuked the demon's fury-his touch restored unclouded vision to the eye of melancholy blindness-his ephphatha waked the ear of deafness to listening, joyful life-his mandate roused the dead, and despoiled the frighted sepulchre. But these were not his fairest trophies. He performed a work of still greater glory, however the world may view it.
visible. With sighs and lamentations the best of
He could not save himself because prophecy forbade The covenant to redeem had been published to the world. The private stipulation between the persons of the Deity had become a public pledge, of which heaven, earth, and hell were witnesses. The world, corrupt and accursed as it was, could now claim this deep humiliation of its Savior. The pledge was in the hands of his very crucifiers: for they held the types and promises which constituted a record obligation upon Jesus to "pour out his soul unto death." This obligation, selfassumed, bound the Savior to the cross.
ens revealed the tokens of a glad deliverance. The|| piety, "himself he could not save." He must not Savior was announced. He came as a light to bear evade the terrors of the cross. He could not for three witness to the truth, and "enlighten every man that reasons. Covenant, prophecy, and charity forbade it. cometh into the world." His doctrine was from heav- Covenant. He had conferred with the persons of en, and he impressed it with convincing energy on the the Godhead. With them his death was stipulated. conscience. He lifted up the vails which conceal the He had pledged himself to justice that he would vinworlds invisible, and displayed to human vision scenes dicate her rights—would meet her utmost claims. For of death and retribution. Man was no longer left to four thousand years he had received upon credit the the guidance of an obscure or erring light. The Sun "travail of his soul;" and now, when the travail of his of righteousness arose, and mortals were permitted to soul was upon him, he must not turn away from the bask and triumph amid enchanting scenes, which rose passion and the agony. He must fulfill his covenant, like paradise beneath the first bright sun of Eden. Go and bleed upon the cross. His word had gone forth, up to patriarchal ages, then turn down the stream of and now, to prove it, he "ought to have suffered these history, and see how the light of saving knowledge things." grows dim and dark in all your course, till you reach the times of Jesus. Then pause and wonder at the gloom. Do you say it was an era of scientific splendor? Alas, the splendor shone from hell! It was an intense reflection from the fires which light perdition. It was the science of falsehood, not of truth-of that which pains, not comforts-of that which kills, not revives of that which brutalizes and damns the soul, not purifies and adorns it for the supper of the Lamb. The Son of God alone could supplant this baleful science, extinguish these false lights, and diffuse that saving knowledge which has half transformed the world, and is leavening its moral mass into holiness and bliss. But Christ saved others from sin. He saved them from its guilt. He redeemed the race from the curse pronounced on Adam. He procured for helpless infancy, in every age and clime, judicial innocence. As his justified subjects, defiled but not condemned, polluted but not malicious, he received children to his arms, pronounced them blessed, and confirmed their sacred title to an inheritance in heaven. He also saved from guilt acquired by actual transgression. Millions in heaven and on earth, like the thief upon the cross, have enjoyed by faith this sweet deliverance. With a voice of benediction, Christ has announced their sins forgiven. He saved from its power. Sin defiles the heart, and renders it a fountain of corrupt and painful passions. What base desires and purposes proceed from within this fountain. No creature power can cleanse it. Its stains are like the leprosy till Christ commands, "Be clean." He cures the vile disorder. He is anointed to heal the broken-hearted, and release the dying captive from sin's most cruel bondage.
He saves from the punishment of sin. Where its guilt is remitted, and its pollutions are cleansed away, nothing hinders the free and full effect of mercy, which may then work as pleases her, for justice will not hinder. Hence her power is redeeming, and transfers the immortal spirit to the paradise above. Thus, as the text declares, Jesus Christ saved others.
But while he ministered thus to others, what befell himself. While he healed others, did he not heal himself? While he ruled the winds and calmed the seas and roused the dead, did he not defy his enemies? In conscious self-security, did he not scorn their wrath? No. In a sense most moving to the heart of humble
He could not save himself because charity forbade Charity to the universe-a love of holiness and righteousness, prompted him to do what would maintain the dominion of their most sacred principles. This required their vindication by the punishment of man; and Christ became man that he might suffer punishment. Charity towards mortals held him to his purpose. Love to the law and love to its transgressor moved him to form the redeeming covenant, bore him to this world, and warmed his heart in death. It was such a love that neither scornful words nor cruel weapons could restrain, but rather fed it. The more corrupt and demon-like the world he came to save, the more his bowels yearned to effect its renovation. The depth of its debasement was the fuel of his pity. Its very crimes fanned to flames his zeal for its salvation, so that he could not save himself and come down from the cross.
In the second place, let us consider the falsehood of the text. In its spirit, it derides the claims of Jesus to the Messiahship. How blind were these foul scoffers. What tokens could they covet of Christ's divine mission-of his proper Godhead, which his deeds did not afford them? Well might some of them exclaim, "When Christ appears, shall he do greater miracles than these which this man doeth?" Yet with sacrilegious blasphemy they stand around his cross and say, "Let him now descend, that we may believe!" Why believe? He had invoked dead Lazarus from the grave, while they stood gazing; yet the miracle only served to exasperate their hatred, and provoke crucifixion. Could they, without the devil's instigation, believe that he who, by a word, had healed Judea of its sicknesses, fed thousands on five small loaves, calmed the stormy seas, and restored the dead to life,
Let it echo and re-echo-HIMSELF HE CANNOT
He died, and all is well. "Tis well on earth-'tis well in heaven. "Tis well for you, sin-sick soul, burdened, faint and dying-well for thee, suffering pilgrim, who, like Mary, watch beside his sepulchre-well for you, backslider, who, like Peter, bewail the denial of your Lord-well for you, faithful soul, leaning, like John, upon his bosom-well for you, aged disciple, who hold him, like Simeon, in your trembling arms! Well was it for you, ye spirits of the just made perfect, whose robes are washed in his blood-and well for you, ye angels that excel in might, desiring to look into these holy and blessed mysteries-well for thyself, Father, Son, and Spirit, whose covenant and word and love are now assured and everlasting, that Jesus could not save himself and come down from the cross!
was the helpless victim of their malice? But their || song.
Having considered the truth and the falsehood of the text, we urge the application of its doctrine.
The necessity of Christ's sufferings affectingly appeals to the sinner and the saint. To the sinner, because transgression occasions that necessity. Had not man sinned, Christ had never died. Sin brought the blessed Jesus from the skies. Sin enrobed him in weak and suffering flesh. Sin imposed on him hunger and thirst, nakedness and weariness. Sin drove him to the mount for prayer, to the field or the wilderness for dwelling and for shelter. He must be tempted, persecuted, denied and betrayed, because we had sinned. He must endure the garden agony, must be buffeted and spit upon, must be crowned with thorns and dragged with thieves to shameful crucifixion, because we had sinned. And shall we sin still? Behold him in his glory before the world was, and trace him in his passage to the garden and the cross, then say-shall we sin still?
This subject contains an appeal to Christ's disciple. Why could not Jesus save himself? Because he loved you, Christian, with an everlasting love. Let this melt your heart into humble, contrite thankfulness. Rejoice with tears, that in the hour of deepest anguish his love for you was stronger than death. Rejoice that he held to his gracious purpose of redeeming you. With anthems, let earth and heaven celebrate that hour. Let both concert eternal melodies in memory of the cross. Let the taunts of crucifixion form the chorus of that
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, Amen!
I never passed one sunny hour,
Nor smiled, nor laugh'd with glee,
"Thy will be done," with tears I've said,
I know that it was good for me
When sorrows multiplied.
I've learned with patience now to wait,
My spirit has renew'd her strength,