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often led to such applications to God for mercy, as have been attended with the happiest effects. Orton, in his Sermons to the Aged, tells us of a young man who had been long confined with a diseased limb, and was near his dissolution, when, at the desire of a friend, his loathsome sore was uncovered. He said, "There it is; and a precious treasure it has been to me! It saved me from the folly and vanity of youth; - it made me cleave to God as my only portion, and to eternal glory as my only hope; and I think it hath now brought me very near to my Father's house." Some young men, when they have met with disappointments in business, have been led to seek after the good part which shall never be taken from them, and to lay up treasures in Heaven; some, when their friends have dealt treacherously with them (than which scarce any thing can give a more violent shock to the glowing feelings of youth) been led to that Friend rests
young persons have been taking their last leave of the corpse of a brother or a sister dearly beloved, while they have been looking, for the last time, on their pallid countenance, and grasping, for the last time, their cold hand, have had their minds directed to Him who is not ashamed to call us Brethren; and who has said, "Whosoever shall do the will of my Father, who is in Heaven, the same is my mother, and sister, and brother."
5th. Affliction has often made the young experience the sympathy and compassion of our Lord Jesus. Christ is a friend born for adversity; and to the young of his people in affliction, he manifests peculiar kindness. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd, and gather the lambs with his arms, and carry them in his bosom. It is common with men to express peculiar concern for the young when in distress. Who can behold disease robbing their checks of their bloom, and wasting their beauty like a moth, without being disposed to pity! And will the Lord of compassion take no interest in their sufferings While parents are sitting by the bcd-side of a distressed son, watching with unntterable anxicty every change of his features, and listening to every groan that rises from his breast, Jesus is with them, and tends the object of their solicitude with a compassion far more tender, and a care far more assiduous than theirs. His compassionate eye sleep never closes; his ear is never shut to the complaints of his children; and his kind attentions are never unavailing. "As one whom his mo ther comforts, even so will I comfort you, and ye shall be comforted." How sweet, tender, and efficacious, are the comforts of a mother to a child in distress! Such is the figure employed to point out the consolations imparted by the Lord our Redeemer. The Son of man bore the yoke in his youth. In
* Job-xxxvi. 8, 9, 10.
his infancy, Herod sought to murder him. For years, it is probable, he wrought as a carpenter for the support of his widowed mother. During the whole of his public ministry, he bore our griefs, and carried our sorrows; and before he was thirtyfour years of age, he was crucified and slain. So heavy was that yoke which was wreathed about his neck, that it made his strength fail, and brought him to the dust of death. We have not an high priest who cannot be touched with the failing of our infirmities, but who was in all points tried like as we are, yet without sin. How much must this early experience of our Lord's compassion, endear him to the souls of the young! and how must it encourage them in their passage through the world, to know that Christ will be a present help to them in every time of need! and that he who has been the Guide of their youth, will be the Comforter of their old age!
Lastly. Affliction invigorates the minds of the young. The tendency of uninterrupted prosperity to enervate the mind, has been generally admitted. How seldom do we hear of a great or heroic character nursed in the lap of prosperity! But by hardships and trials, the mind is strengthened for sustaining losses the most severe, and executing schemes the most arduous. Prosperous situations in life may be resembled to those countries where the sun shines with a scorching heat, and where nature pours all the necessaries, nay the luxuries of life in the greatest profusion at mens' feet. It is not in such climates that we are to expect to meet with characters which are distinguished for energy of mind, or enterprize in conduct. If we wish to find these, we must look for them amid the ice and snows of the north, where necessity stimulates men to spirited and laborious exertion. By disappointments and trials in youth, some have acquired such a strength of mind, that they have endured the roughest blasts of distress in after-life without shrinking. Or should the man whose mind has been braced by adversity in youth, be raised to opulence and grandeur in the after-periods of his life, the remembrance of the hardships of his early days will give a double relish to pros-perity. Remembering his affliction and inisery, the wormwood and the gall, he will feel a higher satisfaction than he could otherwise have done, when God anoints his head with oil, and makes his cup to run over. The man whose heart has been made bitter by the saddening of his countenance in youth, is least of all likely to be corrupted by the influence of prosperity. Such a man will need no solicitation to stretch out his hand to relieve merit when struggling with distress, without a friend to patronize, without a comforter to sooth it. He knows the heart of the unfortunate in youth, and to them he feels himself constrained by every tie to shew kindness and respect.
Such are some of the advantages of afflictions to the young. It ought to be remembered, that they are also beneficial in the other periods of life. The cup of sorrow is mingled by a Being wise and compassionate; and he never puts it into our hands, nor holds it to our lips but when he sees it to be necessary. There is not a single drop more in it than he sees will be for qur profit, to make us partakers of his holiness. The afflictions which those in middle life meet with, are often blessed for checking their immoderate anxiety about the world, and leading them to seek first the kingdom of God, and the righteousness of it. Let not the aged question the advantages that arise to them from the infirmities of advanced life. Let them not say, The yoke of affliction may be necessary for the stubborn neck of youth, but how can it be so for me!" Let the storm blow on the green bay-trees of youth, let it shape their branches, let it strip them of their leaves; but let it not blow on the feeble almond-tree of age: it will quickly shatter it in pieces. By the infirmities of old age, God intends to awaken you to serious reflection, to detach your hearts from the world, to lead you to consider your latter end, and to make death welcome. The day will come when God shall wipe away all tears from the eyes of his saints, when he shall take the yoke from their necks, and place the crown of glory on their heads.
LETTER FROM A GENTLEMAN TO A LADY,
To the Editor.
The following letter was written many years ago, by a pious gentleman, to a lady his friend, on occasion of the death of her first-born child. Similar events are daily recurring in the course of Providence. As the hints suggested in this letter seem well adapted to administer consolation to christian parents, whilst experiencing such bereavements, your inserting it in your valuable Miscellany, may perhaps be gratify ing to other readers, as well as to, Sir,
Your most obedient Servant, C. K.
MY DEAR MADAM,
WHEN I saw, this day, by a letter from your father, that you are now in sackcloth, mourning the death of your first-born, my heart felt pain for you; and I was ready to say, Lord, why is it thus? What the provocation? Why thus deal in severity with persons whom thou so dearly lovest-Severity, did I say? Let me recall the imputation! 'Tis doubtless kindness; distinguishing love. Infinite Wisdom beholds and judges of things
in quite a different view from what dim-sighted mortals do. Hence the following reflections quieted me while musing upon this mournful event with respect to you. This life was never designed for a happiness or home to the pilgrim of hope: 'tis only designed for a state of probation for eternity. So soon as the time fixed by the eternal decree is ended, and the purposes of this probation, with respect to the divine glory and grace, are accomplished, a release is signed, admission to rest commanded, and a happy translation to the heavenly home effected. To Him, my dear Madam, who "out of the mouths of babes and sucklings perfecteth praise," and who hath also said, that the child shall die an hundred years old,--to Him, I say, it does not matter at what period of life he transplants his flowers to his parterre above. With him there is no need of manhood or old age to complete his workmanship, and to finish out the vessel of mercy for the employ of the courts above. He has already effected all he intended, all that was necessary for fitting your dear little babe for the station and honourable seryice to which he has now appointed him in his palace yonder. To none, methinks, can the description given of the followers of the Lamb, in Rev, xiv. 4, 5. but to him, and such as him, with equal propriety be applied. A pure, a virgin heart, a guileless, faultless tongue, to be sure, he now possesses: and, dear Madam, does he ride in such triumphant state? Is he decked with such robes of glory? Has he so amazingly soon attained to such a perfection of stature and honour, and to such inconceivable endowments of spirit, as to be a fit attendant upon the Lamb,- following him whithersoever he goeth? Is his speechless tongue so early loosed, to join the choir of his little brethren yonder, in their enraptured songs of praise to God and the Lamb? Sure he regrets not his quick translation! No. He found, though his stay was truly short, this world was indeed mara, bitterness to him. Think then, my dear Madam, how comfortable the Bethesda, the House of Mercy, where he now is, must be! 'Tis true, he knew, while here, neither father nor mother; but where he is, he acknowledges his Father in Heaven: beholding his glory, and seeing him as he is, he is transformed into the very same image. One day, I doubt not, you shall see him again, and know him too,—as he will also know you when you have joined the illustrious assem bly of the first-born. But oh what a wonderful change will you then see made upon your engaging little babe! Now, perhaps, the pangs of natural affection may, at times, provoke a quarrel with your Lord, who hath so early removed from you the desire of your eyes; but, in that happy day, you'll thank him for the call,-you'll praise him for the honour, you'll admire him for this very instance of love. What has he made you the mother of a child, so soon fixed as a pearl in his crown. Is it not distinguishingly kind in your infinitely gracious Lord,
to make you productive of a part necessary to complete the mystical body of Jesus? And let me add, are you not pleased that he is so soon arrived at this inexpressible honour? Yes, Madam, I know you are. Nature sometimes recoils, but grace preponderates; and you'll sing and say, It is well!-Thé whole of the above, you see, proceeds 'upon the belief of the assured happiness of your dear little infant; and, indeed, of this I have no doubt, nor of the happiness of any dying in infancy, whose parents are in covenant themselves; as, I trust, you both are. I mourn not then for your son; but would congratulate you both upon his dignity and honour: yet, as I know the bowels of a parent must yearn over such a child, I have dropped the above hints, as the best cordial in such distress, and the most solacing support in such a trial. Thanks be to God, you know their value! - you relish their sweetness; and, I trust, will be enabled to act such a part, as to evidence to all around, that you sorrow not as those who have no hope! Yet a little while, you and I, yours and mine, must also pass the gulph; and oh! how comfortable would the prospect be, all to meet in yonder happier clime, where all tears are for ever wiped away! Let this hope be our cordial while we travel thro the wilderness; and may our glorious Joshua at last divide Jordan's streams, that we may pass safely over! -I offer my most affectionate and respectful compliments, as do my wife, to you and your husband, and I am,
THE PRAYING SOLDIER.
DURING the late unhappy commotions in Ireland, a private soldier in the army of Lord Cornwallis, was daily observed to be absent from his quarters and from the company of his fellow-soldiers. He began to be suspected of withdrawing himself for the purpose of holding intercourse with the rebels; and on this suspicion, probably increased by the malice of his wicked comrades, he was tried by a court-martial, and condemned to die. The Marquis hearing of this, wished to examine the minutes of the trial; and, not being satisfied, sent for the man to converse with him. Upon being interrogated, the prisoner solemnly disavowed every treasonable practice or intention, declared his sincere attachment to his Sovereign, and his readiness to live and die in his service : - he affirmed, that the real cause of his frequent absence was, that he might obtain a place of retirement for the purpose of private prayer; for which his Lordship knew he had no opportunity among his profane comrades, who had become his enemies merely on