Page images
PDF
EPUB

I believe Nature, knowing the confusion and shortness of our life, hath industriously concealed the end of it from us, this making for our advantage ; for if we were sensible of it beforehand, some would pine away with untimely sorrow, and would die before their death came.

Every one should meditate seriously with himself, that it is not the longest life which is the best, but that which is the most virtuous.

But such exclamations as this, “ The young man ought not to be taken off so abruptly in the vigor of his years,” are very frivolous, and proceed from a great weakness of mind; for who is it that can say what a thing ought to be?

And who knows but that the Deity, with a fatherly providence and out of tenderness to mankind, foreseeing what would happen, hath taken some purposely out of this life by an untimely death? So we should think that nothing has befallen them which they should have sought to shun, —"For naught that cometh by necessity is hard.” — Plutarch.

What then do you wish to be doing when you are found by death? I, for my part, would wish to be found doing something which belongs to a man, beneficent, suitable to the general interest, noble. But if I cannot be found doing things so great, I would be found doing at least that which I cannot be hindered from doing, that which is permitted me to do: correcting myself, laboring at tranquillity of mind, rendering to the relations of life their due.

If death surprises me when I am busy about these things, it is enough for me if I can stretch out my hand to God and say: The means which I have received from thee for seeing thy administration of the world,

*

and following it, I have not neglected; I have not dishonored thee by my acts.

* That thou hast given me life, I thank thee for what thou hast given : so long as I have used the things which are thine I am content; take them back and place them wherever thou mayest choose ; for thine were all things, thou gavest them to me.

I think that what God chooses is better than what I choose; I will attach myself as minister and follower to him. — Epictetus.

When I consider the faculties with which the human soul is endowed, * * * I feel a conscious conviction that this active, comprehensive principle cannot possibly be of a mortal nature. And as this unceasing activity of the soul derives its energy from its own intrinsic and essential powers, without receiving it from any foreign or external impulse, it necessarily follows that its activity must continue forever.

I consider this world as a place which Nature never intended for my permanent abode; and I look on my departure from it, not as being driven from my habitation, but simply as leaving an inn. - Cicero.

That which we call death is but a pause or suspension, and in truth a progress to life : only our thoughts look downward upon the body, and not forward upon things to come. It is the care of a wise and good man to look to his manners and actions; and rather how well he lives than how long. To die sooner or later is not the business, but to die well or ill; for death brings us to immortality.

Why was such a one taken away in the prime of his years? Life is to be measured by action, not by time. A man may die old at thirty, and young at fourscore. Nay, the one lives after death; and the other perished before he died. The fear of death is a continual slavery, as the contempt of it is certain liberty. - Seneca.

Day and night show unto us the resurrection. The night falleth asleep and the day ariseth ; the day departeth and night cometh on. Let us mark how and in what manner the sowing taketh place. The sower casteth into the earth each of the seeds and these decay : then out of their decay the might of the Master's providence raiseth them up and they bear fruit. — Clement of Rome.

Vines hold not their clusters all the year; now are they fruitful, and now they shed their leaves like tears. Like the sun, the pure are clouded. On them the envious crowd may hurl its hate ; but it is as sparks falling on the clear stream — the sparks perish, the water goes shining on. Fear not the dark, friend; perchance the Water of Life may be found in the dark abyss of

Persian (Saadi).

sorrow.

We saw him in the garden, the pleasant garden,
With his companions and his children, the children he loved.
His children and his servants blessed him.
His home was the shelter of happiness.

Peace be upon him.
We saw him giving food to the hungry,
And clothing to the naked.
We saw him give help and succor to the aged,
And good counsel to the young.

He suffered not the stranger to sleep in the streets :
He opened his door to the wayfarer.

Peace be upon him. — Syrian Dirge.

Yes, the very least and the very greatest sorrows that God ever suffers to befall thee, proceed from the depths of his unspeakable love; and such great love were better for thee than the highest and best gifts besides that he has given thee, or ever could give theė, if thou could'st but see it in this light.

God is ever ready, but we are very unready; God is nigh to us, but we are far from him ; God is within,

are without; God is at home, we are strangers. The prophet says: “God leadeth the righteous by a narrow path into a broad highway, till they come into a wide and open place”: that is, unto the true freedom of that spirit which hath become one spirit with God. God help us all to follow him, that he may bring us unto himself!-John Tauler.

we

Lord, I know not what I ought to ask of thee; thou lovest me better than I can love myself. O my Father, give to thy child that which he knows not how to ask. I dare not pray either for crosses or consolations; I present myself before thee, I open my heart to thee. Behold those wants that I know not myself. See and do according to thy tender mercy.

I adore thy will without knowing it. I am silent before thee; I yield myself up, I would sacrifice myself to thy will, I could have no other desire than to do it. Teach me to pray; pray thyself in me. O

my God! what is death or life to me? Life is nothing; it is even a snare if it be too dear to me.

Death can only destroy this house of clay; it delivers the soul from the contamination of the body, and from its own pride. It frees it from the influence of the tempter, and introduces it forever into the kingdom of truth.

I ask not, then, O my Father, for health or for life. I make an offering to thee of all my days. Thou hast counted them. I would know nothing more. All I ask is to die rather than live as I have lived, and if it be thy will that I depart, let me die in patience and in love. Almighty God, who holdest the keys of the tomb in thy hand, to open and close it at thy will, give me not life if I love it too well. Living or dying, I would be thine. - Fenelon.

All death in nature is birth, and in death

appears visibly the advancement of life. There is no killing principle in nature, for nature throughout is life; it is not death which kills, but the higher life, which, concealed behind the other, begins to develop itself. Death and birth are but the struggle of life with itself to attain a higher form. — J. G. Fichte.

66

No set words or thoughts will enable us to meet death trustfully. Such trust is God's gift, and the more we detach ourselves from all save Himself,

the more freely He will give us” this, as all other blessings. Once attain to losing self in God, and death will indeed have no sting. -Jean Nicolas Grou.

Wherever I may be, through whatever worlds I may be led, I know that I shall forever remain in the hands of the Father who brought me hither, and calls me further on.

Herder.

« PreviousContinue »