I am lucky enough to have in my personal library a book entitled ‘The Mourner’s Friend or Sighs of Sympathy For Those Who Sorrow’. It is a collection of prose and verse compiled to give comfort to the grieving. Edited by J.B. Syme, published in 1852 by S.A. Howland in Worcester, Mass, USA; its contents are predominantly by American authors. My copy of the book has some water damage, ageing paper, and precarious binding, so before it deteriorates my project to preserve the words of the authors will find its way here on the MOLAM blog.
Thoughts Upon Death
When we are in affliction on account of the death of some friend whom we loved, or some other misfortune that has happened to us, we ought not to seek for consolation in ourselves, nor in our fellow-creatures, nor in any created thing ; we should seek it in God alone. And the reason is, that creatures are not the primary cause of those occurrences which we call evils ; but that the providence of God, being the true and sole cause of them, the arbiter and the sovereign, we ought, undoubtedly, to have recourse directly to their source, and ascent even to their origin, to obtain satisfactory alleviation. For, if we follow this precept, and consider this afflicting bereavement, not as the result of chance, nor as a fatal necessity of our nature, nor as the sport of those elements and atoms of which man is formed, – for God has not abandoned his elect to the risk of caprice or chance, – but as the indispensable, inevitable, just, and holy result of a decree of the providence of God, to be executed in the fulness of time ; and, in short, that all which happens has been eternally present and preordained in God ; if, I say, by the teachings of grace we consider this casualty, not in itself, and independent of God, but independent of itself, and according to the will of God, in the justice of his decree, and the order of his providence, which is the true cause, without which it could not have happened, by which alone it has happened, and in the precise manner in which it has, – we should adore in humble silence the inaccessible height of his secrets ; we should venerate the holiness of his decrees, we should bless the course of his providence ; and, uniting our will to the will of God himself, we should desire with him, in him, and for him, those very things which he has wished in us, and for us, from all eternity.