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Permit me, then, to turn your attention to the richest sources of consolation. That God who is the Fountain of life, the Father of spirits, the Author and Bestower of all blessings, has mercifully provided a sovereign balm to bind up and heal the broken heart; “ for he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.' The same hand which entwined the ties that connect parents and children, is often put forth to burst them asunder. The fact is of frequent occurrence, and familiar to every observer. In such circumstances, grief is perfectly natural, and while restrained within due limits, cannot be sinful; but though we may mourn, we must not murmur and repine, or cast reproach and contempt on the
dispensations of Providence. The rank atheist and avowed infidel, as we conceive, can hardly look on the wide-wasting ravages of death without perturbation and horror.
To him, the present world must seem a barren desert, and all beyond it a blank, a dreary void.
Reason can no more instruct itself, because it knows by instruction, than the eye can give light to itself, because it sees by the light. This observation applies peculiarly to religious matters ; and you may safely infer from it, to use the words of Bishop Horne, “ that a man may as well take a view of things on earth in a dark night, by the light of his own eye, as pretend to discover the things of heaven in the night of nature, by the light of his own
reason." The religion of the Bible alone supplies antidotes and remedies adequate to the countless maladies and wants of man; and those truths, the cordial belief of which prepares us to die with tranquillity, are best fitted to soothe and relieve the pangs of separation, when our children are snatched away from us. This will be readily admitted by every one acquainted with the records of history, and the events daily passing before his eyes. When the Shunamite beheld her only son after a short illness, expire on her knees, her maternal bosom was penetrated with anguish. She hastened to Mount Carmel, to make known her loss to the prophet. “ And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said
to Gehazi his servant, Behold, yonder is that Shunammite : run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband ? is it well with the child ?" This last question, touching the quick of sensibility, must have deprived her of all self-control and utterance had there been no more than nature. But she calmly replied, “It is well.” Religion, revealed religion only can so temper sorrow with submission, as to produce such instances of magnanimity.
Reader, do you lament a son or a daughter torn from your tender embrace ? Are you ready to faint under the smart of your wound, and the burden of your grief? Oh! have immediate recourse to the volume of
inspiration. There you will not fail to find topics of the deepest interest, and themes of the highest moment; topics and themes which, like anodynes and cordials of potent efficacy, are able to assuage your pain and revive your spirit. There you will see the immortality of the soul, the final resurrection of the body, and the future felicity of such as die in the Lord, revealed in the plainest and most positive terms. heathen, who had nothing but the faint glimmerings of reason, and the fitful flashes of vivid imagination, blended with the conflicting opinions of the schools, were left in a state of painful suspense respecting the nature and permanent existence of the soul : as the language of Socrates