RESIGNATION.

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 including some surprisingly 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. 

RESIGNATION.

RESIGNATION is a virtue, the need of which is felt alike by all ; there is some period in the history of each individual, when the crushed and fainting spirit requires its sustaining strength. No condition of life is exempt from this necessity ; the monarch in his gilded palace, and the peasant in his lonely hut, alike experience the hour, when resignation alone can soothe the anguish of a wounded heart. There is none whose stream of life flows so smoothly, that its placid surface is not sometimes troubled by the storms of sorrow ; there is none, whose sky is always so bright that it is not sometimes overcast by clouds of adversity, from whose dark bosom are shot the thunderbolts that crush the fondest hopes, and the lightnings that blast the fairest idols of the heart. Man’s inheritance of earthly joys, is like an enchanted island in the midst of a rushing stream ; at firs, it expands before the eye, in beauty, – wide in extent, and all blooming with flowers and verdure ; but, continually washed away by the impetuous tide, he beholds it diminishing year after year ; ever is he called to mourn some favorite flower, some cherished plant, borne away upon the bosom of the stream, never to return ; until he stands alone on but a fragment of that once fair domain ; and at last yields himself to the fatal torrent, which bears him on to the ocean of eternity. The pathway of life is strown with the wrecks of time, – with blighted hopes, with shattered fortunes, and disappointed and crushed affections, – with the ruins of all that the heart has prized on earth !
It is not the philosophy of the stoic, that can impart to the soul that calm submission under the ills of life which it requires. It can only teach to conceal, not alleviate the anguish that preys within ; like the Indian hero, when lashed to the martyr-stake, the victim of unheard-of tortures ; to preserve a countenance of inflexible repose, while every nerve is wrung with agony. Not the affected indifference of the stoic, is the resignation which Christianity inspires ; nor, like that, is it the result of human pride, and a sullen and indomitable will, – it is the offspring of trust in God. It is the result of a calm conviction, that there is a God of mercy and goodness who reigns above ; and in his infinite benevolence controls all the events of earth and time ; that the rod that smites is that of a parent, and not of a ruthless tyrant ; that the “Destiny which shapes our ends,” shapes them wisely and benevolently.
Inspired by this lofty faith, the humblest child of God bears meekly, and with a cheerful and hopeful spirit, all the dispensations, however afflictive, of an all-wise and gracious Providence. Amid the darkest night of sorrow, he descries, on the horizon’s verge, the gilded dawn of a happier day ; to his view, through the blackest cloud of adversity, glances the sunlight of divine favor ; and on their portentous gloom ever smiles the rainbow of hope.

Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, 1818, Kunsthalle Hamburg, Germany.

Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, 1818, Kunsthalle Hamburg, Germany.

MORNING OF THE RESURRECTION.

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. 

MORNING OF THE RESURRECTION.

WHAT a sight will the morning of the resurrection disclose ! Time no longer ! At the sound of God’s trump, all the dead start from their long, long homes of the grave, and come forth to the judgement ! Many shall awake to everlasting life. The sea and earth shall yield up their innumerable dead. But some men will say, “How are the dead raised up, and with what body do they come ? ” And here Paul illustrates the subject by the comparison of grain, which must die before it can be quickened, and that the immortal body is no more like the mortal, than the blade and full stalk is like the corn which was sown. He continues his incomparable description of the scene : “God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.” As with the seed, so with the Christian at the resurrection : “It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption ; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory ; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power ; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. : As much as to say, we can no more comprehend the change in the plant than that in man ; but, “as we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” To the grandeur of the scene in the resurrection, in which the dead are raised from the grave, and their bodies changed to such an incomprehensible degree, that corruption puts on incorruption, and mortality immortality, he makes this extraordinary addition, that those who are then living shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and their bodies of flesh and blood be made immortal bodies ; the saying being for the first time brought to pass, Death is swallowed up in victory ; and all the redeemed, clothed with their house from heaven, break forth in harmonious concert, O Death ! where is they sting ? O Grave ! where is thy victory ?

What a scene, – the resurrection morn ! God gathering home his saints ; Christ come to take his bride home to the mansions he has prepared for her ! For whom are those glories prepared ? for whom those glorious spiritual bodies ? For those who shall have part in the first resurrection.

UNION OF GOOD MEN IN HEAVEN. By Rev. R. Hall.

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. 

 This is an excerpt from Reverend Robert Hall’s A Funeral Sermon for the Rev. Dr. Ryland who was born in January 29 1753. It appears in the publication The Works of the Reverend Robert Hall, A.M. published in London and also in New York in the same year 1832. A very popular theologian, philosopher, moralist and public preacher Rev. Robert Hall appears to have been a prolific and popular religious figure. Although, he lived and worked in England with the publication of his works in the US he was obviously a noteworthy inclusion here.
Reverend Robert Hall was born in 1764 and died in 1831. An English Baptist preacher from Arnesby, Leicestershire, he was known for his academic achievements at a young age. He spent 15 years in Cambridge, then in 1807 he became Minister of Harvey Lane Chapel.

UNION OF GOOD MEN IN HEAVEN. By Rev. R. Hall.

IF the mere conception of the reunion of good men in a future state, infused a momentary rapture into the mind of Tully ; if an airy speculation, for there is reason to fear it had little hold on his convictions, could inspire him with such delight, what may we be expected to feel, who are assured of such an event by the true sayings of God ! How should we rejoice in the prospect, the certainty, rather, of spending a blissful eternity with those whom we loved on earth ; of seeing them emerge from the ruins of the tomb, and the deeper ruins of the fall, not only uninjured, but refined and perfected, with every tear wiped from their eyes, standing before the throne of God and the Lamb in white robes, and palms in their hands, crying with a loud voice, Salvation to God, that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever ! what delight will it afford to renew the sweet counsel we have taken together, to recount the toils of combat, and the labor of the way, and to approach not the house but the throne of God, in company, in order to join in the symphonies of heavenly voices and lose ourselves amid the splendors and fruitions of the beatific vision !

To that state all the pious on earth are tending ; and if there is a law from whose operation none are exempt, which irresistibly conveys their bodies to darkness and to dust, there is another, not less certain or less powerful, which conducts their spirits to the abodes of bliss, to the bosom of their Father and their God. The wheels of nature are not made to roll backward ; everything presses on towards eternity ; from the birth of time on impetuous current has set in, which bears all the sons of men towards that interminable ocean. Meanwhile, heaven is attracting to itself whatever is congenial to its nature, is enriching itself by the spoils of earth, and collecting within its capacious bosom whatever is pure, permanent, and divine ; leaving nothing for the last fire to consume but the objects and the slaves of concupiscence ; while everything which grace has prepared and beautified shall be gathered and selected from the ruins of the world, to adorn that eternal city, “which hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it ; for the glory of God doth enlighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.”

Reverend Robert Hall by Unknown Artist in the Leicester Museum, England.

Reverend Robert Hall by Unknown Artist in the Leicester Museum, England.

“I WEEP NOT”. By Mrs. Amelia B. Welby.

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. 

 Amelia B. Welby (1819 – 1852) was an American poet who published two collections of poems (1844 and 1850) and contributed to the Louisville Daily Journal. She died at the age of 33, soon after the death of her only child.

“I WEEP NOT”. By Mrs. Amelia B. Welby.

I WEEP not as I wept,
When first they laid thee low ;
My sorrow all too deep is kept
To melt like common woe.
My sorrow all too deep is kept
To melt like common woe.
Nor do my lips e’er part
With whispers of thy name,
but thou art shrined in this hushed heart,
And that is all the same.

I could be happy now,
Had memory flown with thee,
But still I hear a whisper low,
And memory will not flee ;
A whisper that doth tell
Of thee, and thee alone ;
A memory, like the ocean shell,
Forever making moan.

For how can I forget
Thine eye of softest brown,
With its pale lids, just touched with jet
And always drooping down ;
And thy sweet form of grace,
That went to rest so soon,
And the turning up of thy sweet face
Beneath the placid moon !

I sometimes think thy hand
Is on my forehead prest,
And almost feel thy tresses, fanned
Across my beating breast ;
And catch the sunny flow
Of thy mantle on the air,
And turn to see if it is so, –
Alas ! thou art not there !

And I wander out alone
Beside the singing rills
When nothing but the wind’s low tone
Come stealing down the hills ;
And while along the deep
The moonbeams softly shine,
My silent soul goes forth to keep
Its blessed tryst with thine.

I weep not, though thou art laid
In such a lone, dark place,
Thou, who didst live without a shade
To cloud thy sweet young face ;
For now thy spirit sings
Where angels once have trod,
Veiling their faces ‘neath their wings
Around the throne of God !

They faults were slight, and few
As human faults could be,
And thy virtues were as many too
As gems beneath the sea ;
And thy thoughts did heavenward roam
Until, like links of gold,
They drew thee up to thy blue home
Within the Saviour’s fold.

Amelia B. Welby

Amelia B. Welby

THE STRANGER’S DEATH.

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. 

THE STRANGER’S DEATH.

THEY stand around the couch of the dying. Who ? I sit the tender mother and idolizing father ? Is he surrounded by sympathizing sisters and brothers, the playmates of his childhood, the friends of his early days ? No ; none of these are near him ; strangers watch his parting breath ; old, unfeeling strangers. No tear of pity bedews his burning brow, no kiss of tenderness is pressed upon his fevered lips, no soft hand of affection soothes his pillow of death. Why is this ? Is he forgotten in the home of his father / he who was once the joy of every heart, the beloved of all who knew him ? Ah, no ! that mother’s prayer is even now ascending to heaven for her treasured child ; all is joy in that home ; for the son, the brother, is returning to his native land. He left the shores of our happy New England, left all that was dear to his heart, with but little regret, for he fondly thought that a few moths would restore him to the embraces of his friends. To the South he bent his steps ; prosperity smiled upon him, success crowned his undertakings, already was his mission accomplished, and he had started for the place of his birth, when alas ! disease fastened upon him and he was prostrated upon a bed of suffering, never again to rise. There, without one friend to comfort, so speak to him of hope, he must pass away to the spirit-land. No prayer ascends from that chamber of death, save from the lips of the dying stranger. Look on that brow. Death as set there its seal, but it cannot efface the intellectual beauty, the soul-speaking expression of his noble countenance. His eyes are raised to heaven, his pale hands clasped in supplication ; for what does he pray ? Hard was it for him to resign every hope of life ; to die, with the first flush of manhood on his brow ; hard to lie down in the cold grave, in the spring-time of existence, and double hard to die far from the endearments of friends, and to leave his remains in a land of slavery and crime.

“O!” said he, when told that no hope remained of his recovery, ” I Cannot die here ; bear me to my kindred ; let me again hear the voices of loved ones, and I shall rest in peace. ” But he, at whose rebuke the tempest ceases its raging, and tranquility is restored to the angry deep ; he, the God of all who put their trust in him, forsook him not, but over the trouble depths of his spirit whispered ” Be still.” And now the strife is ceased, calm and peaceful is his soul : and he breathes that sweet prayer of resignation, “Father, thy will be done.” A seraphic smile radiates his features even in death, a light of no earthly beauty beams from his eye, his lips move and the words “meet in heaven” are faintly uttered, and all is over ; the spirit is with its God, where the weary rest forever.

Peace to thine ashes, my dear, departed brother. Long will they memory live int he hearts of those who love thee, but who may never drop a tear upon thy lonely grave. In the far distant valley of the Mississippi strangers have laid thee to rest, the flowers oft eh sunny South bloom over thee, thy dust mingles with that of the down-trodden and oppressed, whose cause thou didst ever nobly vindicate. Yet methinks thy spirit often revisits the scenes once so dear to thee, whispering comfort and hope to the hearts that mourn thine early departure, and painting thee to a blissful reunion, where disappointments never chill, and where friends never separate. Even now, in this stil evening hour, I seem to hear a sweet, familiar voice, in tones of richest melody, saying, –

Sister, I am happy now,
No anxious fears alloy;
No sorrow clouds my brow,
But perfect is my joy.

My heart no anguish knows,
My throbbing head finds rest;
I lean, in sweet repose,
Upon my Saviour’s breast.

EARTH’S ANGELS.

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. 

EARTH’S ANGELS.

WHY come not spirits from the realms of glory
To visit earth, as in the days of old,
The times of sacred writ and ancient story ?
Is heaven more distant ? or has earth grown cold ?

Oft have I gazed, when sunset clouds, receding,
Waved like rich banners of a host gone by ,
To catch the gleam of some white pinion speeding
Along the confines of the glowing sky ; –

And oft, when midnight stars, in distant chillness,
Were calmly burning, listened late and long ;
But Nature’s pulse beat on in solemn stillness ;
Bearing no echo of the seraph’s song.

To Bethlehem’s air was their last anthem given,
When other stars before The One grew dim ?
Was their last presence known in Peter’s prison ?
Or where exulting martyrs raised their hymn ?

And are they all within the veil departed ?
There gleams no wing along the empyrean now ;
And many a tear from human eyes has started,
Since angel touch has calmed a mortal brow.

No ; earth has angels, though their forms are moulded,
But of such clay as fashions all below ;
Though harps are wanting, and bright pinions folded,
we know them by the love-light on their brow.

I have seen angels by the sick one’s pillow;
Theirs was the soft tone and the soundless tread ;
where smitten hearts were drooping like the willow,
They stood “between the living and the dead.”

And if my sight, by earthly dimness hindered,
Beheld no hovering cherubim in air,
I doubted not, – for spirits know their kindred, –
They smiled upon the wingless watchers there.

There have been angels in the gloomy prison, –
In crowded halls, – by the lone widow’s hearth ;
And where they passed, the fallen have uprisen, –
The giddy paused, – the mourner’s hope had birth.

I have seen one whose eloquence commanding
Roused the rich echoes of the human breast,
The blandishments of wealth and ease withstanding,
That Hope might reach the suffering and oppressed.

And by his side there moved a form of beauty,
Strewing sweet flowers along his path of life,
And looking up with meek and love-lent duty ; –
I call her angel, but he called her wife.

O, many a spirit walks the world unheeded,
That, when its veil of sadness is laid down,
Shall soar aloft with pinions unimpeded,
And wear its glory like a starry crown.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 'A Soul Brought To Heaven', 1878.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau, ‘A Soul Brought To Heaven’, 1878.

THE EMIGRANT’S BURIAL. By L. M. Child.

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. 

 The author of this piece, like many other contributors, was a recognised human rights activist of her time, supporting women’s rights, the abolition of slavery and Native American rights. Interestingly, the author achieved significant recognition and success as a writer, not an easy feat for a woman. Lydia Maria Child (1802 – 1880) became well known for her novel Hobomok released in 1824 it became a sensation as it was the first historical novel written from a feminine point of view and contains a female protagonist who married a Native American Indian. In the piece below, the author displays her empathy for another ‘outsider’, the emigrant alone in a foreign land.

THE EMIGRANT’S BURIAL. By L. M. Child.

THE Englishman was an intelligent, well-informed young man, who, being unable to marry the object of his choice with any chance of comfortable support in his own country, had come to prepare a home for his beloved in the El Dorado of the West.

A neglected cold brought on lung fever, which left him in a rapid decline ; but still, full of hope, he was pushing on up the Mississippi in a steamer, for the township where he had planned for himself a domestic paradise. He was now among strangers, and felt that death was nigh. The Swiss emigrants treated him with that thoughtful, zealous tenderness which springs from genial hearts, deeply imbued with the religious sentiment. One wish of his soul they could not gratify, by reason of their ignorance. Being too weak to hold a pen, he earnestly desired to dictate to some one else a letter to his mother and betrothed. This Capt. T. readily consented to do ; and promised, so far as in him lay, to carry into effect any arrangement he might wish to make.

Soon after this melancholy duty was fulfilled, the young sufferer departed. When the steamboat arrived at its final destination, the kindhearted Capt. T. made the best arrangements he could for a decent burial. There was no chaplain on board ; and unused as he was to the performance of religious ceremonies, he himself read the funeral service from a book of Common Prayer, found in the young stranger’s trunk. The body was tenderly placed on a board, and carried out, face upwards, into the silent solitude of the primeval forest. The sun verging to the west, cast oblique glances through the foliage, and played on the pale face in flickering light and shadow. Even the most dissipated of the emigrants were sobered by a scene so touching and so solemn ; and all followed reverently in procession. Having dug the grave, they laid him carefully within, and replaced the sods above him ; then sadly and thoughtfully they returned slowly to the boat. Subdued to tender melancholy by the scene he had witnessed, and the unusual service h had performed, Capt. T. avoided company, and wandered off alone into the woods. Unquiet questionings and far-reaching thoughts of God and immortality lifted his soul towards the Eternal ; and, heedless of his footsteps, he lost his way in the windings of the forest. A widely devious and circuitous route brought him within sound of human voices. It was a gushing melody taking its rest in sweetest cadences. with pleased surprise, he followed it, and came suddenly in view of the new-made grave. The kindly Swiss matron and her innocent daughter, had woven a large and beautiful cross from the broad leaves of the papau-tree, and twined it with the pure white blossoms of the trailing convolvulus. They had placed it reverently at the head of the stranger’s grave ; and kneeling before it, chanted their Evening Hymn to the Virgin. A glowing twilight shed its rosy flush on the consecrated symbol and the modest, friendly faces of those humble worshippers. Thus beautifully they paid their tribute of respect to the unknown one, of another faith, and a foreign clime, who had left home and kindred to die among strangers, in the wilderness.

How would the holy gracefulness of this scene have melted the hearts of his mother and his beloved.

Lydia Maria Child, 1870

Lydia Maria Child, 1870