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until then. It would be as much a miracle for God to make a wicked person happy, either in this world or the world to come, as to raise the dead. So long, therefore, as misery in man, either here or hereafter, is the fruit of his own choice, it can offer no objection to the perfect benevolence of God.
It may be asked again, how can those who die in infancy and childhood, be happy in the future world, since they were not born holy, and have not lived long enough to acquire holy characters? I answer, that an infant, though not a moral agent and of course without any moral character, is still a subject of the kingdom of heaven, as expressly affirmed by the Saviour of all. He is innocent, having committed no sin; and pure, for his soul, being spiritual, must proceed directly from God, the father of spirits, from whom no impure thing can proceed. And because innocent and pure, just as he came from the hands of his Maker, he is an object of divine complacency and love, and at death, is conveyed to mansions of eternal blessedness. There he can suffer nothing; for his soul is free from sin, the only cause of suffering in a spiritual world. Nor can he ever suffer; he has no evil in himself and no temptations around him; he sees none but good examples to imitate, and hears only the language of truth and piety; he receives none but holy instructions, and associates with none but holy beings; of course he will commit no sin; and consequently can suffer no punishment. Though he suffers nothing, nor ever can, neither can he enter immediately upon perfect spiritual happiness. For he enters the other world as ignorant as he leaves this; his existence is but just commenced; he has not acquired the full exercise of his faculties; he has formed no moral character; of course, he is no more prepared for perfect spiritual happiness than an infant in this world. But in this state he cannot long continue; for he has entered the kingdom of heaven; he is in the society of the spirits of just men made perfect, who will delight in instructing him in the duties and enjoyments of the spiritual regions; he is received into the mansions of Jesus, who, while on earth, took little children into his arms and blessed them as the lambs of his fold; he is in the more immediate presence of God, who is love, and who loves all the works of his hands. Under such instructers, and with such examples, his progress in knowledge and holiness must be incalculable, and in exact proportion to his increase in these, will be his increase in unalloyed happiness. Thus, though destitute of personal holiness, when borne by angels to Abraham's bosom, he soon acquires a character altogether holy, and quickly becomes qualified for complete heavenly happiness.
This speculation on the future condition of all infants and children, seems to me both rational and scriptural, and perfectly consistent with the necessity of personal holiness as a preparation for future happiness. I must therefore conclude, from considering the nature of the soul, the nature of heavenly happiness, and the general scope of the New Testament, that christian goodness is absolutely essential to the soul's salvation; to its present and future happiness. Thus have I shown the nature and necessity of holiness; and answered such objections as might naturally be supposed to arise in the minds of many readers. The truth of my statements, and the correctness of my reasoning, every one must try by the test of his own experience, his own observation, and his own understanding of Christianity. But for one, I am persuaded, that there are no substitutes for christian goodness. We may talk of the mercy of God, or the atonement of Christ, or the doctrine of election; unless we have christian characters, we cannot enjoy real happiness in this life; we cannot expect to enjoy the happiness of heaven. W.
Death and Sleep.
The Angel of Sleep and the Angel of Death were journeying arm in arm on the earth. Evening drew on. They seated themselves on a hill not far from the habitations of men. A solemn silence reigned around, and the evening bell in the distant village ceased to be heard.
Tranquil and silent as it is their nature to be, these two benefactors of mortals sat in fraternal embrace, and night already approached.
The Angel of Sleep then rose from his mossy seat, and strewed with delicate hand the invisible germs of slumber. The evening breezes wafted them to the peaceful habitations of the weary husbandmen. Sweet slumbers now fell upon the inmates of the rustic dwellings, from the aged, whose tottering steps are supported by a staff, to the infant in the cradle. The sick forgot their pains, the afflicted their sorrows, and poverty its cares. All eyes were closed.
Having performed his task, the kindly Angel of Sleep resumed his seat beside his graver brother. When the morning dawn awakes, cried he with joyous innocence, then will men praise me as their friend and benefactor! O how delightful to do good secretly and unseen! How happy are we invisible ministers of the Most High! How pleasing the silent duty which we are charged to perform!
Thus spake the benevolent Angel of Sleep.
The Angel of Death surveyed him with silent melancholy, and tears, such as immortals weep, started into his large dark eyes. Ah! said he, why am I not destined, like thee, to receive the tribute of joyful gratitude! Mortals regard me as their enemy and the destroyer of their pleasures.
O my brother, replied the Angel of Sleep, will not the good, when they awake, acknowledge and thankfully bless thee as their friend and benefactor t Are not we brothers and servants of one Father?
He spoke, and the eyes of the angel of Death glistened, and the brother spirits clasped each other in a tender embrace.— From Dr F. A. Krummacher's Parables, translated from the German, by Frederic Shoberl. London. 1 &24.
The Guilty Conscience.
When Cain dwelt in the land of Nod, beyond Eden, to the east, he sat one day beneath a plantain-tree, and leaned his head on his hands, and sighed. And his wife went forth to seek him, carrying the infant Enoch in her arms. When she had found him, she stood long beside him, under the plantaintree, and heard the sighs of Cain.
Then said she to him: Cain, why sighest thou? Wilt thou never cease thy wailing? And Cain started, lifted up his head, and said: Ha! is it thou, Zillah?—Behold, my sin is too great to be forgiven! And when he had thus spoken, he again bowed his head, and covered his face with his hands.
Ah, Cain! said his wife, with soothing voice, the Lord is merciful and abounding in goodness.
When Cain heard these words, he again started, and said: What! must thy tongue, too, be a thorn to pierce me to the heart? But she replied: Far be that from me! But listen*
Cain, and look around thee. Are not our fields thriving, and have we not already twice reaped prolific crops? Is not the Lord bountiful to us, and doth he not deal graciously with us?
Yes, Zillah, answered Cain, to thee and to thy Enoch, but not to me! In his bounty I discover only how far I was from him when I slew Abel.
Zillah then interrupted him, and said: Dost not thou then cultivate the earth, Cain, and strewest thou not the seed in the furrows? Doth not the sun rise upon thee as in Eden, and the dew glisten for thee on the flowers and the sprays?
Ah, Zillah! my poor wife, replied Cain, I see only in the radiance of the dawn the bleeding head of Abel, and the dew appears to me on each spray as a tear, and on each flower as a drop of blood. Hath not the rippling brook a voice which mourns for Abel, and is it not his breath that meets me in the cooling breeze? More terrific than the word of wrath which spake to me in thunder, and asked: Where is thy brother Abel? is to me the still small voice that every where strikes my ear. And when night arrives, it envelopes me like the gloomy grave, and I am surrounded by the empire of death. Noontide alone is the hour for me, when the sun scorches my head, and my sweat trickles down into the furrows, and there is no shade to screen me from his rays.
Then said Zillah: O Cain, my beloved! behold, yonder come our sheep, white as the lilies of the field, and their udders distended with milk. See how they skip to their pens in the radiance of evening!
Cain looked steadfastly at them, and cried: Ah, they are Abel's sheep! Are they not stained with his blood? Their bleating is a lament for Abel. What could belong to Cain?
Zillah wept, and said: Am I not then, Zillah, thy wife, who loveth thee? He replied: How canst thou love Cain, who loveth not himself? What hast thou from me but tears and sighs? . . . How couldst thou love Cain, who slew Abel?
She then presented to him Enoch, her son, and the infant smiled at his father.
Then Cain fell on his face, beneath the plantain-tree, and sobbed, and said: Alas! must I still behold the smile of innocence? It is not the smile of the son of Cain—it is the smile of Abel, whom Cain slew.
Thus cried he, and lay sullenly with his face to the earth. But Zillah reclined against the plantain-tree; for she trembled exceedingly, and her tears trickled upon the ground.—Ibid
SEASONS OF PRAYER.
To prayer, to prayer ;—for the morning breaks.
To prayer ;—for the glorious sun is gone,
To prayer;—for the day that God has blest
There are smiles and tears in the mother's eyes,
For her new born infant beside her lies.
Oh hour of bliss! when the heart o'erflows
With rapture a mother only knows.
Let it gush forth in words of fervent prayer;
Let it swell up to Heaven for her precious care.
There are smiles and tears in that gathering band,
Kneel down by the sinner's dying side,