« EelmineJätka »
In these moments the grief and melancholy that rankle about the heart are unseen and unsuspected by others, who may even fondly imagine that the sorrows of the afflicted one are at least in a degree dispelled.
Alas! they imagine not the agonies which wait his retirement, or the thorns which strew his pillow! Most certainly these gleamings of vivacity are perfectly compatible with profound grief and great mental suffering : it is the result of an extreme sensibility of mind, apt to be strongly impressed by its situation, and overpowered by the feelings which that situation excites.
That gaiety and playfulness of deportment which is sometimes observed in individuals known to have cause of melancholy, is in fact no inconsistency of character.
That sort of melancholy which is the most genuine as well as the most amiable of any, neither arising from natural gloominess of temper nor prompted by accidental chagrin, but the effect of delicate sensibility impressed with a sense of sorrow, or a feeling of its own weakness, will frequently be found indulging itself in a transient sportiveness of external
behaviour, amidst the pressure of a sad, or even the anguish of a broken heart. We may ascribe this constitution of our nature to the beneficient ordination of our Creator, who thus causing a “pause in grief,” strengthens the spirit to bear its pressure, before it has power to call in higher aids. There is a time to weep, there is a time to mourn ; nature must have her tribute, and religion asks nothing contrary to it.
“ Oh, there are tender ties
It is permitted us to weep when these tender ties are severed: but there is a sorrow of the world which “worketh death ;" let us beware lest it gain the dominion, and hide from us our privileges, our sources, our resources, and neutralize our principles.
It may surely then be safely asserted, that complaint, great love of solitude, melancholy countenance and air, are not the invariable characters of grief; but there is a mark which not only indicates its existence, but which
constitutes its undeviating characteristic. This is the love of change, an unceasing restlessness, which forbids repose
in in any situation, or any employment. A total incapacity of application or of thought, save upon the one absorbing idea, which, depressing as it is, has something in it so fascinating that the mind subjected to its influence is arrested and absorbed as it were in the contemplation of its cause. The good of which the individual is deprived is perhaps now only appreciated according to its value ; and it is this contemplation of qualities which once gave delight, or which were fondly expected to give delight, which mingles a sacred pleasure with the anguish of privation. Two other positions respecting grief appear equally erroneous as those already alluded to.
They are these :—That grief should be amused, and that the lost object should never be mentioned or recalled to the attention of the mourner:
“Oh, they may talk, but let th' assertors learn,
Waits the fit moment, and when time has calm'd
To amuse by dissipation is a vain, if not a cruel attempt to relieve the oppressed spirit. The contrast of external gaiety to the internal torture and perturbation of soul is too strong
too violent. It cannot fail to add to, rather than diminish the anguish of the sufferer. No: gentle and soothing society, pious, cheerful, but not gay, friendly but not officious and troublesome, consistent but not dictatorial, is the best human alleviation granted by the great Disposer in the hour of human trial, and in proportion as it is more or less imbued with the spirit of Him who sought out and shared in human woe, will be the degree of comfort derived from such society; for by its constraining influence, the heart may be gently opened to receive the spirit of rich consolation flowing from the exhaustless fountain of God's love and grace.
But we are not to speak at present of the
remedies which mere earth affords for the
to which man is born, or rather those to which rebellion against his Creator has rendered him liable.
We contemn not, we undervalue not the alleviations flowing from sympathy, as far as they extend,
“ For we have known what sweet relief
E'en powerless pity yields to grief."
But yet there are perhaps few but have experienced in the hour of calamity, when the chastening hand of God is stretched forth, that the dearest friends can prove but miserable comforters. They cannot raise the fainting heart, they cannot satisfy the longing soul, they cannot revive such as sit in darkness and the shadow of death. A stronger arm than that of man is required to support, a power mightier than that of man must give command to the trembling soul—“ Peace, be still.”
Such are a very few of the mistaken notions concerning the true solace of grief, and the deficiency of judgment in the time and mode of application.