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Yet art thou weak, for thy glory passeth away; the worm exulteth over thy departed strength, and thy mouldering frame perishes in the dust. Son of man, thou possessest the treasures of the earth; its flocks and herds; its fruits, and flowers, and gold, and ivory, and iron, the glittering gems of the mine, the pearl and coral of the ocean; yet art thou poor, for thou broughtest nothing with thee into the world, and it is certain thou wilt take nothing away when thou leavest it: thy riches are the lendings of thy Creator; “dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return !"
Son of man! Thou art endued with reason, and thy faculties are expanded for the reception of knowledge ; thou explorest the hidden courses of events, and givest thy heart“ to seek and search out, by wisdom, concerning all things that are done under heaven;" yet art thou ignorant, for thou knowest not thyself, neither canst thou apprehend the Being who created thee! As a man in a valley seeth only the mountains that are around him, so thou lookest on the pageants of time, and knowest not the secrets of eternity!
Son of man! Thou art weak, for thou canst not defend thyself from “ the arrow that flieth by day, or the pestilence that walketh in darkness !” Thou art poor, for thieves break through and steal thy costliest treasures, and moth and rust corrupt them! Thou art ignorant, for thou knowest not the term of thy existence, and thy very wisdom is foolishness with God.
Son of man! For a season forego thy pursuits; summon thy thoughts around thee, and hold secret communion with thy soul!
It is much to be strong in thy frame, to possess a body free from disease, to have a fair promise of the life that now is; but it is more to be satisfied that after worms shall have destroyed thy body, in thy flesh thou shalt behold thy God!
It is much to have an earthly inheritance, and to possess the riches of time; but more to have treasure through eternity, to become rich in faith and an heir of the kingdom of heaven.
It is much to be gifted with intellectual capacity, to be conversant with the languages and customs of thy kind, to understand arts and sciences, to comprehend “the words of the wise and their dark sayings,” to follow the stars in their courses, and to descant on the wonders of creation; but it is more to be wise unto salvation, to know that thy Redeemer liveth, and to enjoy that peace of God which surpasseth human comprehension and understanding
Son of man! Humble thyself before thy Creator, that he may strengthen, enrich, and instruct thee; that he may unfold to thy comprehension the mystery of godliness, confirm thee in the faith of Jesus Christ and him crucified, grant thee the means of grace and the hope of glory, guide thee by his unerring counsel, and afterwards bring thee to his eternal joy.-Weekly Visitor.
THE sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to heal—every other affliction to forget; but this wound we consider it a duty to keep open-this affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude. Where is the mother who would willingly forget the infant that perished like a blossom from her arms, though every recollection is a pang? Where is the child that would willingly forget the most tender of parents, though to remember be but to lament? Who, even in the hour of agony, would forget the friend over whom he mourns ? Who, even when the tomb is closing upon the remains of her he most loved; when he feels his heart, as it were, crushed in the closing of its portal; would accept of consolation that must be bought by forgetfulness ? No, the love which survives the tomb is one of the noblest attributes of the soul. If it has its woes, it has likewise its delights; and when the overwhelming burst of grief is calmed into the gentle tear of recollection; when the sudden anguish and the convulsive agony over the present ruins of all that we most loved, is softened away into pensive meditation on all that it was in the days of its loveliness, who would root out such a sorrow from the heart? Tho' it may sometimes throw a passing cloud over the bright hour of gaiety; or spread a deeper sadness over the hour of gloom; yet, who would exchange it, even for a song, of pleasure, or the burst of revelry? No, there is a voice from the tomb sweeter than song. There is a remembrance of the dead to which we turn even from the charms of the living. Oh, the grave !—the grave !-it buries every error-covers every defect-extinguishes every resentment. From its peaceful bosom spring none but fond regrets and tender recollections. Who can look down upon the
grave even of an enemy, and not feel a compunctious throb, that he should ever have warred with the poor handful of earth that lies mouldering before him!
But the grave of those we loved—what a place for meditation! There it is that we call up in long review the whole history of virtue and gentleness, and the thousand endearments lavished upon us, almost unheeded in the daily course of intimacy—there it is that we dwell upon the tenderness, the solemn, awful tenderness of the parting scene. The bed of death, with all its stifled griefs — its noiseless attendance -- its mute, watchful assiduities. The last testimonies of expiring love! The feeble, fluttering, thrilling-oh! how thrilling !--pressure of the hand. The last fond look of the glazing eye, turning upon us, even from the threshold of existence ! The faint, faltering accents, struggling in death to give one more assurance of affection!
Ay! go to the grave of buried love, and meditate! there settle the account with thy conscience for every past benefit unrequited-every past endearment unregarded, of that departed being, who can never-nevernever return to be soothed by thy contrition ! If thou art a child, and hast ev added
sorrow to the soul, or a furrow to the silver brow of an affectionate parent,-if thou art a husband, and hast ever caused the fond bosom that ventured its whole happiness in thy arms, to doubt one moment of thy kindness or thy truth, -if thou art a friend, and hast ever wronged, in thought, or word, or deed, the spirit that generously confided in thee,-if thou art a lover, and hast ever given one unmerited
to that true heart which now lies cold and still beneath thy feet;—then be sure that every unkind look, every ungracious word, every ungentle action, will come thronging back upon thy memory, and knocking dolefully at thy soul,—then be sure that thou wilt lie down sorrowing and repentant on the grave, and utter the unheard groan, and pour the unavailing tear; more deep, more bitter, because unheard and unavailing.
Then weave thy chaplet flowers, and strew the beauties of nature about the grave; console thy broken spirit, if thou canst, with these tender yet futile tributes of regret; but take warning by the bitterness of this, thy contrite affliction over the dead, and henceforth be more faithful and affectionate in the discharge of thy duties to the living.-Washington Irving.
IV.-AN UNBELIEVER'S TESTIMONY. I WILL confess that the majesty of the Scriptures strikes me with admiration, as the purity of the gospel hath its influence on my heart. Peruse the works of our philosophers with all their pomp of diction; how mean, how contemptible are they, compared with the Scriptures ! Is it possible, that a book at once so simple and so sublime, should be merely the work of man? Is it possible that the sacred personage whose history it contains, should be himself a mere man ? Do we find that he assumed the tone of an enthusiast, or ambitious sectary? What purity, what sweetness in his manner! What an affecting gracefulness in his delivery! What sublimity in his maxims! What profound wisdom in his discourses! What presence of mind, what subtilty, what truth in his
replies! How great the command over his passions Where is the man, where the philosopher, who could so live, and so die, without weakness, and without ostentation? When Plato described his imaginary good man, loaded with all the shame of guilt, yet meriting the highest rewards of virtue, he described exactly the character of Jesus Christ! the resemblance was so striking, that all the Fathers perceived it. What prepossession, what blindness, must it be, to compare the son of Sophroniscus to the Son of Mary! What an infinite disproportion there is between them! Socrates, dying without pain or ignominy, easily supported his character to the last; and if his death, however easy, had not crowned his life, it might have been doubted, whether Socrates, with all his wisdom, was anything more than a vain sophist. He invented, it is said, the theory of morals. Others, however, had before put them in practice; he had only to say, therefore, what they had done, and to reduce their examples to precepts. Aristides had been just before Socrates had defined justice; Leonidas had given up
his life for his country before Socrates declared patriotism to be a duty; the Spartans were a sober people before Socrates recommended sobriety; before he had even defined virtue, Greece abounded in virtuous men. But where could Jesus learn, among bis competitors, that pure and sublime morality, of which he only hath given both precept and example! The greatest wisdom was made known amongst the most bigoted fanaticism; and the simplicity of the most heroic virtues did honour to the vilest people on earth. The death of Socrates, peaceably philosophizing with his friends, appears the most agreeable that could be wished for; that of Jesus, expiring in the midst of agonizing pains, abused, insulted, and accursed by a whole nation, is the most horrible that could be feared. Socrates, in receiving the cup of poison, blessed, indeed, the WEEPING executioner who administered it; but Jesus, in the midst of excruciating tortures, prayed for his MERCILESS tormentors. Yes ! if the life and death of Socrates were those of a sage, the life and death of Jesus were those of a God! Shall we suppose