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How often is the man labouring under the pressure of heavy affliction mortified and irritated, by the foolish evasions to his wishes to turn the conversation to the subject of his grief, so practised by well-meaning but most ill-judging friends; when on the contrary, if they would listen to his effusions when inclined to confidence, bear affectionately with his excess of feeling, and endeavour at intervals, as it were incidentally, to turn the conversation to the cheering and animating spirit of religion and revelation, the mind, under the blessing of God on the endeavour, would far sooner recover its calmness and tranquillity than if suffered to brood upon the afflicting visitation of heaven; for by being thwarted in its confidence the mind becomes irritated, and preys injuriously upon itself.
Business is a remedy often recommended; and it has its aids, like others of a transient and terrestrial nature, to relieve, by suspending for awhile the agony of grief: but it possesses no permanent efficacy ; for business, although it may distract or occupy the attention for a time, is a miserable toil to him whose mind grief has enervated, so as even the grasshopper is become a burden; and at the termination of the excitement, the grief recoils with redoubled force on a soul previously borne down by labour and fatigue.
It may be enquired, Is there then no remedy for grief? Is there no solace for human woe? Is there no balm in Gilead ? Is there no physician there? We may boldly reply, that for the internal conflict excited by the influence of grief, no reliance can be placed on an arm of flesh, or any of the powers of which
is possessed even in their maturest growth. Inquire of a man's talents, be they ever so superior, inquire if they possess a balm effectually to heal the wounds of the bereaved heart? They answer, “It is not with us.” Ask of human attainments, be they ever so rich and varied, they reply, “Seek it not with us.” Ask of the understanding however vigorous, and it pronounces, “We have sought it throughout all science in the world and found it not." Thus all terrestrial sources fail. But there is yet a remedy, a
never-failing remedy for sorrow, an assured antidote for every grief; and this we may with confidence assert is contained in the spirit of those blessed and encouraging words, “ When I am in heaviness I will think upon God.” (Psalm lxxviii.)
To illustrate this, will form the subject of the ensuing pages : and may God, from whom cometh all consolation and every good and perfect gift, vouchsafe his blessing to the humble endeavour, so that the mourner may exchange the spirit of heaviness for the spirit of holy joy!
Say, why was man so eminently rais'd Amid the vast creation, why empower'd Through life and death to dart his watchful eye With thoughts beyond the limits of his frame, But that th’ Omnipotent might send him forth,Might send him forth the sov’reign good to learn, To chase each meaner purpose from the breast, And through the mists of passion and of sense, And through the pelting storms of grief and pain To hold straight on, with constant heart, and eye Still fix'd upon his everlasting palm, Th’approving smile of Heaven? Else wherefore
In mortal bosoms this unquenched hope,
Man's immortality alone can solve
YOUNG.-Night 7th, 104.
“ But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.” This is the grand key-stone of the indestructible arch on which the beautiful structure of our hopes, our happiness, and our consolations is founded firm as the eternal Word itself! We might dwell upon the infinite importance of the doctrine, as to its general influence upon society—we might expatiate on its evidences from reason, from analogy, and from Scripture; but as it is not our intention or design either to argue with the sceptic, or to invade the province of the moral legislator,