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life's uneven road, painfully taking the last slow steps with staff and crutch.
Every cradle asks us, “Whence?” and every coffin, “Whither?” The poor barbarian, weeping above his dead, can answer these questions as intelligently and satisfactorily as the robed priest of the most authentic creed. The tearful ignorance of the one is just as consoling as the learned and unmeaning words of the other.
No man, standing where the horizon of a life has touched a grave, has any right to prophesy a future filled with pain and tears. It may be that death gives all there is of worth to life. If those we press and strain against our hearts could never die, perhaps that love would wither from the earth. Maybe this common fate treads from out the paths between our hearts the weeds of selfishness and hate ; and I had rather live and love where death is king than have eternal life where love is not. Another life is naught, unless we know and love again the ones who love us here.
They who stand with breaking hearts around this little grave need have no fear.
The larger and the nobler faith in all that is and is to be tells us that death, even at its worst, is only perfect rest. We know that through the common wants of life, the needs and duties of each hour, their grief will lessen day by day, until at last this grave will be to them a place of rest and peace, almost of joy. There is for them this consolation: The dead do not suffer. If they live again, their lives will surely be as good as ours.
We have no fear. We are all children of the
same mother, and the same fate awaits us all. We, too, have our religion, and it is this,— help for the living, hope for the dead.
R. G. Ingersoll.
The Sorrow of Bereavement.
Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped. And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return : the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day. And Job spake, and said, Let the day perish wherein I was born. Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it. Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it ; let the blackness of the day terrify it.
As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months. Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein. Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark; let it look for light, but have none; neither let it see the dawning of the day.
For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept : then had I been at rest. There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest. There the prisoners rest together ; they hear not the voice of the oppressor. The small and great are there ; and the servant is free from his master.
Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul ; which long for death, but it cometh not; and dig for it more than for hid treasures; which rejoice exceedingly, and are glad when they can find the grave ? Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in?
As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me ; for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul ? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee. Deep calleth unto deep: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.
Yet the Lord will command his loving-kindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. ! I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where
is thy God? 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 health of my countenance, and my God.
Next to the encounter of death in our own bodies, the most sensible calamity is the death of a friend. It were inhumanity, and not virtue, not to be moved. In such cases, we cannot command ourselves : we cannot forbear weeping, and we ought not to forbear. We may accuse fate, but we cannot alter it: it is not to be removed either with reproaches or tears. They may carry us to the dead, but never bring them back again to
To mourn without measure is folly; and not to mourn at all is insensibility.
The comfort of having a friend may be taken away, but not that of having had one.
In some respects, I have lost what I have had ; in others, I still retain what I have lost. It is an ill construction of Providence to reflect only upon my friend's being taken away, without any regard to the benefit of his being once given me.
Let us therefore make the best of our friends while we have them. He that has lost a friend has more cause of joy that he once had him, than of grief that he is taken away. That which is past we are sure of. It is impossible to make it not to have been But there is no applying of consolation to fresh and bleeding sorrow: the very discourse irritates the grief and inflames it.
The Discipline of Sorrow.
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the 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.
Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thy heart; wait, I say, on the Lord. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men. have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.
We have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence : shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more