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MOTHER'S MA G A ZINE.
THE DEATH OF INFANTS.
« Oh, when a mother meets on high
Hath she not then for pains and fears-
An over-payment of delight ?"
PROBABLY every one who expects to go to heaven, believes that those who die in infancy will certainly be there also. There have been Christians who had doubts on this subject ; I think there are few now; perhaps none. There is enough in the one precious declaration of the Saviour to put at rest all anxiety; and when we look at other passages of the Bible, and at the provisions of the gospel, the subject is cleared of its difficulties, and the sweet truth is cherished without a fear.
Yet it has sometimes pained me to observe that Christian parents, bereaved of their infants, find their chief consolation in the thought that the loved and lost are now in a better and brighter world than this. In some degree, this remark may apply to Christians when mourning over the grave of any pious friend. It is a source of comfort that those whom we love, if not with us, are happier than if they were. We are reconciled to the removal of a friend to a distant land, if his own interest and happiness are to be secured by the removal. The prospect of
THE DEATH OF INFANTS.
wealth will induce even an anxious parent to trust a darling boy to the temptations of a crowded city or a foreign port. And, on the same principle, we may be reconciled to the death of an infant or a pious friend, while religion has no share in the emotions under which we submit to the removal. Nay, in the quiet resignation, the almost complacency, perhaps the gentle joy with which we yield an infant's spirit to Him who lent it to us, it may be that we are selfish, and submit to its departure because we know that our babe is now an angel. This is not the fruit of religion,Philosophy, believing the Bible, though it had no faith in the Bible's Saviour, would silence every murmur, when the assurance of such a change is brought home to the soul. I would therefore waive the thought of my child's increased happiness, and seek consolation elsewhere, when the stroke of death makes my hearth desolate and my heart sad.
It is my Father's will. When I first learned to say “Our Father," I was taught to add “ thy will be done;" and my own children are taught to ask no other reason when their parent's will is known. Shall I have less confidence in the wisdom and love of Him whom I adore, than these little ones have in me? This is not blind submission; it is the acquiescence of love-the yielding of my way to one whose ways are better, though higher, than mine, and who is so dear to me, that if my own way seemed the best, I would still prefer to yield to his. So felt the aged and pious woman who was asked in her sickness whether she wished to live or to die. “Why," said she, “I have left it to the Lord; let him do what seemeth to him good.” “Yes, but if the Lord should leave it to you, which would you choose ?” “Well, if the Lord should leave it to me, I would just leave it back to him again.” So, if the Lord should ask me to decide the question, whether my children shall be taken away while they nestle as infants in their mother's arms, or in the bloom of their childhood, or the summer of youth, or be spared to the noontide or evening of life, I would desire to have grace to say, “ Not my will, but thine be done."
Just now a child of six summers came to my side with his daily lesson, and repeated as part of it these words : “In the
third petition (which is, “Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven), we pray, that God, by his grace, would make us able and willing to know, obey and submit to his will in all things as the angels do in heaven."
Think of it as the angels do in heaven. That is our prayera part of the prayer which Jesus taught his disciples—a prayer that we have offered every day since we could lisp the words ! “Thy will be done.” That is enough. I do not ask for more; I had almost said, I will not have anything else, to reconcile me to aught that God does. It pleases Him. It must be wise, good, holy, kind. It must be just the thing for me, and for His high purposes; and it becomes me to be still, and know that it is the Lord.
But then we may go farther, and find comfort in the thought that God is love. Dwell upon that word. What balm the thought sheds over the bleeding heart. Is God's hand heavily on you now ? God is love. Is the ground still unsettled over the babe that lately smiled at your breast? God is love. He cannot be unkind. It is assuredly in kindness that he has plucked the sweetest flower in your garden, and you shall see and say that it is kind, though you never confess it till you behold that flower again, radiant with immortal bloom. Love, the love of God, God who is love itself, has taken away what was dear to us, and we cannot find it in our hearts to complain of love. This disarms us. Nay, we will kiss the hand, we will kiss the rod that smites us, and believe that “it is well.”
« Oh, blessed be the hand that gave;
Still blessed when it takes :
Who heals the heart he breaks :
Whom heaven adores and death obeys." Thus should the Christian parent find the cup of sorrow mingled with sweetness; joy breaking out of grief, like springs in the desert, and peace that passeth all understanding flowing as a river into his soul. What if thou can'st not know why the Lord has thus dealt with thee? That is the very trial to which thou art
called to bow. This is the test of thy faith. Dry up thy tears and sing,
“Oh, let my trembling soul be still,
While darkness veils this mortal eye,
Wrapp'd yet in tears and mystery!
The truism that “ habit is second nature," has passed into a proverb, but, like many other things which are universally believed, is scarcely realized by any one. The difficulty of eradicating evil habits, inclines the possessor of them to persuade himself that they have no existence; or at least to believe that they are not after all very bad. Generally their formation is so imperceptible that we are not aware of their presence until they are too firmly fastened upon us to admit of a removal without strong effort. We may, for example, be aware that we occasionally indulge in evil speaking, but, it being contrary to our principles, we view it each time as an exception to our general course, and may have acquired the unenviable reputation of a “ busy-body in other men’s matters,” while we are even priding ourselves on our freedom from that very fault. So of procrastination, perhaps the most insidious of all habits. Indeed the same remarks will apply with equal force in many other cases.