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“ BLESSED be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Cor. i. 4.
In the spirit of these words of the apostle, the following pages have been penned. They contain no speculative theory to soothe the pangs, no untried remedy to heal the wounds inflicted by the arrows of human woe, but the practical results of experience, in proof that the exhaustless fountain from which the apostle drew comfort himself, and so affectionately offered to those in tribulation and anguish, is indeed of sovereign efficacy. The writer, long familiar with affliction and the paralyzing effects of grief, has individually experienced the reviving and all-healing power of the heavenly balm; hence she can, with firmest confidence, and does with affectionate earnestness, recommend it in the ensuing pages, as the effectual “ Solace of the Mourner.” Innumerable testimonies might be adduced in corroboration of her assertion, drawn from the experience of individuals of every rank, whose soul-cheering hopes have been eternally realized! We select but one instance, but that one is a host in itself. The suffering and bereaved Lady Rachael Russel thus writes: " I think the man a bad reasoner that, to do well, must take with indifference whatever happens to him. It is very fine to say, Why should we complain? that is taken away, which was lent to us but for a time we know, &c. They are the receipts of philosophers I have no reverence for, as I have not for any thing which is unnatural. It is not sincere ; and I dare say they did dissemble, and felt what they would not own. I know I cannot dispute with Almighty power, but yet, if my delight is gone, I must needs be sorry it is taken away, according to the measure it made me glad. The Christian religion, believe me, has alone the power to make the spirit easy under great calamity. Nothing less than the hope of being again made happy, can satisfy the mind. I am sure I owe more to it than I could have done to the world, if all the glories of it had been offered to me.” Such is the testimony of one who was tried in the fierce furnace of affliction, and came forth as gold ! Mark her further profession of the power of faith and love: “I trust I have acquired a perfect submission to my lot, attended by the constant conviction that it is the best for me. How many and how various are the thoughts of a troubled mind, but let no murmuring intrude. There will come a day when I shall be satisfied that God in mercy, as well as justice, has appointed my lot.” Thus a lively faith in the wisdom, the truth, and the goodness of God, as a beam of heavenly fire, enlightens the mind to perceive the beauty, the design, and the order of the divine dispensations, and enables the soul to rejoice even in tribulation; for if it bringeth forth fruit unto holiness, the word of inspiration informs us, “the end shall be everlasting life.”
If, holy Faith, no comforts sure were thine,
But, blessed be God, “ we follow not cunningly devised fables; we know in whom (we) have believed, and (are) persuaded that he is able to keep that which (we) have committed unto him against that day.” This God, this faithful God, is the object of a Christian's hope, and eternal life is eagerly expected, because God is there to be finally enjoyed. Which hope we have
as the anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; that is, this hope terminates in God; and it is this hope that endears to the mourner the precious volume which reveals to us the foundation of it; which elevates the soul beyond the anxious cares of earth, and leads it to consecrate all its powers to the glory of redeeming love. The language of a heart thus filled with a hope of heaven will be, when suffering the chastening of the Father of mercies, " Why art thou cast down, O my soul, and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou
in God, for I shall yet praise him who is the help of my countenance and