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greater love that takes than gives. Was not the lamb his own? And did he not gather it to his own bosom? If he had not loved it, he would not have taken it. Was it not his own jewel? And did he not set it as a gem in his own crown? Let the thought of murmuring be rebuked by the following beautiful story from the Mishna of the Rabbins:
"During the absence of the Rabbi Meir, his two sons died, both of them of uncommon beauty, and enlightened in the divine law. His wife bore them to her chamber, and laid them upon her bed. When Rabbi Meir returned, his first inquiry was for his sons. His wife reached to him a goblet; he praised the Lord at the going out of the Sabbath, drank, and again asked, 'Where are my sons?' "They are not far off,' she said, placing food before him that he might eat. He was in a genial mood, and when he had said grace after meat, she thus addressed him: 'Rabbi, with thy permission, I would fain propose to thee one question.' 'Ask it then, my love,' replied he. 'A few days ago, a person intrusted some jewels to my custody, and now he demands them; should I give them back to him?' 'This is a question,' said the Rabbi, 'which my wife should not have thought it
necessary to ask. What! wouldst thou hesitate or be reluctant to restore to every one his own?' 'No,' she replied, "but yet I thought it best not to restore them without acquainting thee therewith.' She then led him to the chamber, and, stepping to the bed, took the white covering from the dead bodies. 'Ah! my sons, my sons,' loudly lamented their father. 'My sons! the light of my eyes, and the light of my understanding: I was your father, but you were my teachers in the law.' The mother turned away and wept bitterly. At length she took her husband by the hand and said, 'Rabbi, didst thou not teach me that we must not be reluctant to restore that which was intrusted to our keeping? See; the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, and blessed be the name of the Lord.' 'Blessed be the name of the Lord,' echoed the Rabbi, 'and blessed be his holy name for ever.""
We should esteem it a mark of honor and peculiar regard, if the king should choose one of our children to be taken into his family, and trained for the throne. There are thousands of little children besides ours, whom God might have taken, if he had been pleased; but he loved ours so much, and loved us so
much, that he came into our humble household, and gently bore away from our arms our infant child, and took him into his own family, and placed him among the brightest and best, and made him a king. There is love in that precious love—a Father's love.
There is love in thus chastising us when we wander, and He would draw us back. I have seen a shepherd striving to drive his flock into the fold, while they would refuse to enter, and prefer to run off into the highways, where they were in danger of being torn and lost. At length, when wearied with efforts to urge them in, he takes a lamb into his arms, and folds it gently in his bosom, and walks into the inclosure, while the mother follows, and the whole flock come on, and are soon folded in the place of safety and peace. So have I seen a family whom God would win to his house and home in heaven; but they became worldly-minded, and wandered away among the dangerous paths of a deceitful, unsatisfying earth; and when his calls and commands had been lost upon them, he has taken their lamb, their pet lamb, their youngest child, and laid it in his own bosom; and then, O then, how readily the mother and all the little flock have followed him to the gate
of the celestial city, into which he has entered with their darling in his arms!
It was love, infinite love, that ordered such a plan; and it will be felt the more, the more the heart is softened, and the eyes are opened to behold the hand that does it.
"Before I was afflicted, I went astray." "It is good for me that I have been afflicted." So David was able to say while yet in the house of his pilgrimage; and so shall we say, if not now, when we come to sit down by the river of the water of life, our children with us, broken households reunited, and talk over the trials of the way by which we have been led, and admire and adore the grace that directed the blow that laid our early hopes in ruins, blasted our fond domestic joys, buried our babes, and broke our hearts.
The Child is happier now.
WE desire our children's happiness; we pray and labor for it; we are willing to make great sacrifices of our comfort to secure it for them. In sickness, we forget our own health and lives for the sake of theirs. We watch them, and toil for them, and would die for them. We more than die for them sometimes.
And if we grieve when their happiness calls them from us, our grief is selfish; it is for ourselves, and not for them, we mourn. But we should not mourn, if we knew what he has gained whom we have lost. Instantly on being released from the body, the spirit of the infant returns to God who gave it. Endowed with capacities that, if permitted to expand and improve on earth, would in fifty years, perhaps, have made him wiser than Newton, or Plato, or Solomon, it rushes into the mysteries of the divine Mind, and, on wings of thought such as angels use in rising into the regions of knowledge that pass all under