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what work and what joy have been waiting for him in that other world."

An old tomb-stone bears this epitaph, and one might think an angel whispers it to a mourning mother's ear:

"Weep not, my mother, weep not; I am blest,
But must leave heaven, if I come to thee;

For I am where the weary are at rest,

The wicked cease from troubling. Come to me."

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I know there are thousands of hearts that will read these chapters, not with sympathy only, but with comfort and sacred peace. There is scarcely a house in the world, into which the sorrow has not come which follows the death of a child. It is almost literally

true

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"There is no flock, however watched and tended,
But one dead lamb is there;

There is no fireside, howsoe'er defended,
But has one vacant chair."

The child is dead. Our child is dead. Let us now go to the book of God, and learn its lessons in the time of our affliction.

CHAPTER II.

Can I bring him back again?

THE child of David, the bard and king, was dead. His son, his favorite son, his precious, well-beloved, best-beloved son, was dead. For seven long, anxious days and nights, while the scale trembled in suspense, he had fasted and wept. Kings' children die:

-Death, with impartial fate,
Knocks at the palace door and cottage gate."

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The crown often rests on an aching head, and the royal purple covers a sad heart, when the messenger of the grave steals into the king's chamber, and stops the breath of his babes. It is so in ours.

The kind attendants of the stricken father reasoned wisely, as they reason who do not understand the power of true religion. They said among themselves: He was weeping and praying while the child was yet alive; how he will vex himself, how much greater will be his anguish, now the child is dead!

They mistook the man. They judged him

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by their own standard, and were wrong. The pious father drew from a deeper fountain, and found waters they knew not of. He reasoned on other principles than those which lie on the surface of things, and he was strengthened.

He saw the servants whispering, and thought it was probably all over with the child. It was a sign that death was in the house, when even the servants would not speak above their breath. The dead cannot hear, but the living are still when death is at hand.

And David asked, "Is the child dead ?"
And they answered, "He is dead."

Then David arose from the earth, and washed and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the Lord,

AND WORSHIPPED.

Then he came to his own house, and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat. And the servants were filled with wonder that a father thus stricken with grief should so suddenly find comfort in his sorrow; and they said unto him,

"What thing is this that thou hast done? Thou didst fast and weep for the child while it was alive, but when the child was dead, thou didst arise and eat bread."

And David answered, "While the child was

yet alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, 'Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live?' But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? him, but he shall

I shall go to

not return to me."

"Can I bring him back again?" A sad inquiry. Can I bring him back again? Not Would I? Perhaps he would. Perhaps we would. But CAN I? Had tears availed to save, the child would not have died. Had prayer prevailed, the boy would yet be living, the joy of his parents' hearts, and the light of their eyes. But he is dead. He is gone. Could human skill avert the death-blow, he would have been saved. But all was done that skill could do, and yet he died. And there he lies. Can I bring him to life again? I may weep, but my tears fall on his icy brow, and he feels them not. His heart is still. He breathes no more. The love and wit of men are alike in vain to restore the spirit of this lifeless clay. Speak to it, and it hears not. Kiss it, and its lips are cold. Press it to your bosom, and it is not warmed. The child is dead, dead; and can I bring it back again? Ah, if I could! If rivers of waters running down my eyes, if oceans of tears

would float his spirit back to this deserted shell that once was animated with his precious soul, I would weep day and night for my departed.

But it is fruitless. And it is not the part of a rational being to expend the energies of his nature on that which avails him nothing. This may be the least and lowest source of comfort that reason offers to a mind distressed, but it is the dictate of wisdom, and grace adds its sanctions to the conclusion forced upon us by the law of nature. It is the will of God, and we cannot change the purpose if we would.

We cannot bring him back again. Then and therefore let us lay his ashes in their kindred dust, close the green turf over his mouldering form, and turn to the book of God for consolation in the day of our calamity.

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