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The uncle before alluded to, whose probable seat in a party was by the side of the most unattractive lady, though a man of brilliant social talents, was always sure to look after those whom he thought others would neglect; whether in the drawingroom, by the way-side, or in life's humble retreats.
I would inculcate upon the young three rules in regard to social intercourse, as follows:
First-Never express or manifest more pleasure or more liking than you really feel, in order that your own love of approbation may be gratified, your own popularity promoted.
Second-Let there be no want of correspondence between your manners to others; and your utterance in regard to them.
Third-Practice a true Christian courtesy to all men, under all circumstances.
DAYS OF MOURNING.
You may be surprised to see a chapter with this title. But must not such days surely come to every human creature whose existence is “bound" up in the same "bundle of life” with that of other mortal beings ?
And is there not a right and a wrong, a wise and a foolish, a rational and an irrational, way of spending them? Has not grief, like everything else, its uses and its abuses? And do not these depend upon the spirit with which it is received, and the manner in which it is entertained ?
I do not suppose that there are many rebellious mourners—I should hardly know what counsel to give to such a class. The phrase implies a condition of mind, when reason, if not actually dethroned, is so entirely set aside, that it is incapable of argument. But there is often a very imperfect state of submission—and grief from the loss of friends, instead of arousing the sufferer, as it should do, to a better, a more active performance of duty, is made an excuse for neglect of it, a plea for selfishness
and indolence. Its guise is as varied as are the phases of human character. In some it is meek and gentle, patient and full of tenderness, quiet, unobtrusive, uncomplaining. In others it is arrogant and exacting—a perpetual challenger of sympathy, and a claimant for especial consideration, as for one upon whom is laid a burden greater than was ever borne before, or who has a rare capacity for suffering. With some, it is silent, reserved, forbidding, irresponsive; with others it is genial, tender, kindly, grateful for sympathy. To some it is a heart-opener ; to others, a shutter up of the heart. In some cases it pours forth its lamentations as if, in the loss of one blessing, all that remained were entirely forgotten; in others, it utters, in touching tremulous accents, its acknowledgment of mercies still vouchsafed.
To some it is always a demon, a spirit of evil influence, and dreaded aspect; to others, it becomes a dear, cherished companion, with whom they hold sweet and hallowed converse; a high and holy communion. To some it brings fetters and clogs, to others freedom and inspiration. Some it holds to the earth, others it lifts towards the skies. In companionship with it, some hear a perpetual funeral march, while others catch the sound of holy anthems; and their ears are not insensible to the music of nature, or to a child's accents of joy.
Whoever, that has a living heart and a living
soul, loses a friend in any one of the nearest relations in life, goes through an experience which reveals to him much that he never knew before, both within and without himself. In his extremity he is in a peculiar manner brought, as it were, face to face with himself, and with his Maker. He is in a wilderness, wrestling with a terrible unknown power; and fortunate, when he lays his head to rest on a pillow of stone, if he can see in his dreams, a ladder reaching to heaven, with angels ascending and descending. His spirit withdraws itself into retirement, and is busy with questionings that never stirred it before. His condition is in some essential respects new and strange. There is a new earth where the lost one is not; a new heaven where he is. His own existence is changed by being abridged of a portion of itself, of that which made its life. He must learn to know this new state of things, and to adapt himself to these changes. He is, in some sort, new to himself. He finds heights and depths in his own nature never before revealed to him. He is placed in new relations both with the past and with the future ; he has a more intimate and interesting communion even with outward things. This world's hold upon him is loosened; and that part of his being which makes him kindred with the heavens, asserts its predominance. His soul expands; life's boundary is enlarged from the narrow circle that before
confined it, to one extending into infinity. He has been upon the very confines of earth and time, and had a glimpse into the eternal heavens. Life is divested of all its commonness; it has no more its every-day aspect; it presents itselfon its mysterious, incomprehensible side, and is felt, chiefly, through its affinities with the spiritual and invisible.
Suffering is a badge of dignity-while, at the same time, it is the one universal bond, “ the electric chain" of human brotherhood. It should not, therefore, sever one from his kind. That, certainly, is not its natural or legitimate office—its proper ultimate effect. It is true that the bowed soul cannot always uplift itself at once; that its condition for a time may be like that of an unmasted vessel which cannot be trimmed. Especially is this the case where the stroke is sudden as well as violent; so that for the time both mind and body are weakened by it. It is also true that grief makes withdrawal from general society imperative for a time. The stricken soul cannot bear the noise, observances, and bustle of the world, any more than the invalid can dispense, in the sick room, with quiet and stillness, and all restraint imposed by the presence of other than his ordinary attendants. There is something sacred in grief which demands a sanctuary-nay, which makes one of the mourner's dwelling, and places one about him wherever he may be. And still, it is not in its