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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,
He stands beside th' untimely bier; Hark! down all time the numbers roll,
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:
Thus mourned the man of God's own heart,
And solemn truths his griefs reveal; Ere from the bier our thoughts depart,
May God divine instruction seal. Warn us of sin, and wean from earth, Where joys are strangled in their birth.
Not so you mourn’d, if through Christ's blood,
You trust your lov'd one rose on high,
He swelld th' eternal minstrelsy.
Not in rebellion was he found,
Not spurning sire's or mother's love,
When wisdom bade him hence remove:
But glory soon shall gloom disperse,
And then God's reasons all displayed; You shall his righteous acts rehearse,
Whose hand was on your Isaac laid. Who took him to his glorious throne, That you might press more eager on.
Ee'n David raised a cheerful song,
Ere yet he quitted sorrow's vale;
That faith o'er nature could prevail.
Ee'n so may you, the Lord still lives,
Father of mercies is his name;
Go mourner, and put in your claim.
Better than son or daughter he,
Who bending from his gracious throne,
To me make all thy sorrows known.
THE BIRTHDAY OF THE AFFLICTED ONE.
“ A man who was blind from his birth."-John ix. 1.
In many families there is an afflicted one. Some are afflicted in a similar manner to the young man abovementioned. Other families have one or more deaf and dumb. Some children are lame, others afflicted with an incurable malady, and a few are destitute of reason. Why God permits such cases to exist we cannot say; except that we are sure that they are intended for the moral discipline of those among whom these afflicted ones are cast. To humble pride, to teach us dependence upon God, to awaken sympathy, and exercise sub. mission, are, doubtless, among the ends which God has in view.
Let those families which are mercifully exempted from such trials be truly thankful; but let them beware of pride and self-glorying. What avails a perfectly formed body if the mind be empty and vain, and the soul deformed by pride and evil passions. It may be, vain young person, that the rude structure which you are inclined to look at with contempt contains a soul much fairer than yours. If you, fair maiden, grow up in pride and vanity; far better that you were lame or blind. If you, young man, employ your intellect in reasoning against God, and in evading his claims, far better you had been born an idiot.
Let no one cast reflections upon the families thus afflicted. “Who did sin; (say the disciples) this man, or his parents ?” They took it for granted, that one or the other had so acted as to cause God in judgment to withhold the blessing of sight. The Lord's answer reproves them, and instructs us : “ Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents, but that the works of God should be manifested in him.” We should not judge according to the appearance, nor try to account for all God does. Our business is not to find out why so much misery is permitted, but to do all we can to
relieve it. Let us show all kindness toward such afflicted families; and if they are poor, do all in our power to assist them. Especially to the afflicted one, let all tenderness be shown. Ah! there is one whose love is not likely to fail, however afflicted and deformed its object may be; it is in such cases that a mother's love appears so beautiful and triumphant. But let others aid the mother in her devoted kindla
Brothers and sisters can do something to soothe the sufferer's pain, and to make the long hours pass away more pleasantly. On the birthday of the afflicted one, let some extra tokens of affection prove that you do not think him a burden; cause him to feel by the tenderness of your love, that there is yet something worth living for. Leave not the sad heart to pine orer the thought of being neglected by all. Win his gratitude, and you will be abundantly repaid.
But having pleaded the cause of the amicted one, I would say a few words to such of this class as are capable of understanding. God hath given you life, and it is his sovereign will which hath made you what you are, and placed you where you are. Repining will do you no good, but resignation will. Listen to what God says to you in his word. You have much leisure for studying it, let it be your companion and you will not be solitary; your comforter, and you will be happy; your teacher, and it will tell you of a world