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 by American and European authors and some surprising famous names. 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.
A most traditional motif of glory in death, to assuage the pain of the living.
THE CHAMBER OF DEATH.
HOW glorious is the dying chamber of the Christian ! It is the very union of time and eternity, a meeting of the living on earth with the angels in heaven. The place is holy, for it is filled with those ministering spirits, waiting for the soul departing from this perishing world for the everlasting habitations of the redeemed. But glorious as this is, it shrinks before the greater glory of him who is present ; Jesus himself is present, and the Holy Spirit is there, to finish the work of salvation. Ah ! how different, could we see the throng in the chamber of the unsaved departing soul. If words cannot express, or imagination conceive, the glory of the former, neither can the horror of the latter be supposed, where the bed is surrounded by fiends, eagerly waiting for their prey. But it is not in this solemn hour only that these unseen spirits are beside us. They are constantly present for good or for evil, in the bustle of the world or the solitude of the lonely. By day and by night we are surrounded by this unseen host, waiting, during all its pilgrimage, on the soul of man. Go into the sick-chamber. Mark all the routine of the sick-bed, the fruitless visit of the physician, the profound sympathy of friends, the prayer of the minister, too often desired only to close the last scene. Ask, then, if there be not to one and all a fast-coming eternity, a message from the Lord in the house, saying, “This night thy soul shall be required of thee ;” and this very night shall that soul see a holy and just God, and hear the question, whether Christ has been indeed precious, and his redemption been indeed the chief desire in life, and the only hope in death.