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And you, dear child, around whom so many fond affections twine, abuse not the love so liberally showered upon you. You cannot derive happiness from being loved, unless you love again. And O remember, that there is a love more deep, tender, and undying, than that of the fondest parent. Seek an interest therein, and while you realize the love of the Saviour, all earthly relationships will be doubly blessed.
THE BIRTHDAY OF THE ABSENT ONE.
THE heart can still cling around those whose hands we cannot grasp; thought can hold communion with those whom the tongue cannot salute, and prayer avail for those to whom friendship and love cannot minister.
It is a birthday in the family, but not as usual, a day of cheerfulness and greeting. The family meet, and a tear stands in the eye, as the name of a dear one is mentioned. All feel that the absent one still belongs to them, although far away. between; but love spurns distances, and defies time; it still embraces its object, while a smile succeeds the tear, as hope tells of a meeting and greeting time, ere long, to be enjoyed.
Oceans, it may be, roll
Separations are painful to loving hearts, and the recurrence of particular days often make them especi
ally so, reviving vividly the remembrance of the parting pang. But, like many of our sorrows, such pains are often profitable. The cords of affection are drawn closer around those that remain, and a greater degree of carefulness is induced, lest we should so act as to cause bitter reflections, should others be separated from us. And then it stirs up the heart to more fervent prayer. Was not the father's voice this morning tremulous with emotion, as the absent one was alluded to at the mercy-seat? did not every heart thrill with emotion, and every new heart agonize in supplication? It is well! Whatever makes us wrestle with God, we may reckon among our chief mercies.
And then there is the tender epistle, bearing the date of the well-remembered day, and dated from the wellknown place. The letter which several hands combine to write, and all hearts unite to send; there breathes the father's yearning love, the mother's undying tenderness, the sister's soft affection, and the brother's manly regards, with the little one's playful remembrances. Oh, what a deep debt do families owe him who invented epistolary correspondence, and him also who projected so cheap a plan of carrying it on. Let parents and children, brothers and sisters, gladly avail themselves of the same, and make it not merely a vehicle of news and information, but a means of fanning affection and promulgating truth.
Absent one! thou art loved still
continue to love! Break not the link which binds thee to that dear circle. Thou mayest still move in the orbit of love, and still feel the attractive power of home. Let thine heart gravitate toward that loved spot, and it shall preserve thee from becoming a wandering star from social joys. Beware of procrastination in reciprocating the outpourings of affection. Be prompt and open in correspondThink of the gloom diffused through the family circle, the heaviness brought upon a father's heart, the bitter tears of a mother, caused by your neglect and want of filial affection. Young men, who have left home;-young women, exposed to the world's snares, think of a mother's warning and a father's prayers, when temptations assail you, and tremble at the thought of so acting, as to pour a flood of sorrow upon a happy home.
But, perhaps, there is an absent one whom the eye can no more gaze upon. In the family Bible, out of which the father read this morning, there is a record of a name who is no longer a dweller upon earth; whom no letter can reach, for whom no solicitude now avails. Yes, it is the birthday of the departed one. The age of the dweller in eternity I cannot know. If in sweet infancy the eye was closed on the scenes of time; however sweet and lovely the bud which death so ruthlessly tore down
"Shall we lament that God hath hous'd
A tender, pleasant plant;
And ere the storms of life came on,
Let us comfort ourselves with the thought of the good Matthew Henry, "that children are not born in vain if they help to people the New Jerusalem."
If the dear lamented one lived to express its hope in Christ, how fragrant is its memory; and how sweet the hope cherished? And O let the thought, how fragile are our loveliest domestic plants, keep us from fixing our hearts too firmly on them. Above all, let anxiety for the safety of the souls of our children take precedence of every other feeling, and let each bereaving dispensation quicken it into more vigorous exercise.
SORROW AND SOLACE.
"Oh my son, my son."-2 Sam. 18-32.
"Am I not better to thee than ten sons."-1 Sam. 1-8.
A PARENT'S joy! a parent's woe!
Ah! who can tell that ne'er has felt;
Take down the harp that silent hangs,
"Tis tuned for tones of deepest sorrow; "Twill utter forth the heart's keen pangs,
And other hearts with anguish harrow. Sweet psalmist, take thy own harp down, And mourn the fall of thy fair son.
He takes it, and with bleeding soul,
And call all erring parents there. "O Absolom! my son! my son ! Thou lost-thou much beloved one!
Would that thy sire for thee had died,
Would that the crown had deck'd thy brow, Ere all unwashed-unsanctified,
Thy soul did its long journey go:
Oh agony! till now unknown,
Ah whither, whither art thou gone?"
Thus mourned the man of God's own heart,
Ere from the bier our thoughts depart,