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Death of Little Children.

CHAPTER I.

The Child is Dead.

IT is hard to believe it: that we shall no more hear the glad voice, nor meet the merry laugh that burst so often from its glad heart.

Child as it was, it was a pleasant child, and to the partial parent there are traits of loveliness that no other eye may see. It was a wise ordering of Providence that we should love our own children as no one else loves them, and as we love the children of none besides. And ours was a lovely child.

But the child is dead. You may put away its playthings. Put them where they will be safe. I would not like to have them broken or lost; and you need not lend them to other children when they come to see us. It would

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pain me to see them in other hands, much as I love to see children happy with their toys.

Its clothes you may lay aside; I shall often look them over, and each of the colors that he wore will remind me of him as he looked when he was here. I shall weep often when I think of him; but there is a luxury in thinking of the one that is gone, which I would not part with for the world. I think of my child now, a child always, though an angel among angels.

The child is dead. The eye has lost its lustre. The hand is still and cold. Its little heart is not beating now. How pale it looks! Yet the very form is dear to me. Every lock of its hair, every feature of the face, is a treasure that I shall prize the more, as the months of my sorrow come and go.

He was

Lay the little one in his coffin. never in so cold and hard a bed, but he will feel it not. He would not know it, if he had been laid in his cradle, or in his mother's arms. Throw a flower or two by his side: like them he withered.

Carry him out to the grave. is a hard road this to the grave. seems to disturb the infant sleeper. are, at the brink of the sepulchre.

Gently. It
Every jar

Here we
Oh, how

damp, and dark, and cold! But the dead do not feel it. There is no pain, no fear, no weeping there. Sleep on now, and take your

rest!

Fill it up! Ashes to ashes, dust to dust! Every clod seems to fall on my heart. Every smothered sound from the grave is saying, Gone, gone, gone! It is full now. Lay the turf gently over the dear child. Plant a myrtle among the sods, and let the little one sleep among the trees and flowers. Our child is not there. His dust, precious dust, indeed, is there, but our child is in heaven. He is not here; he is risen.

I shall think of the form that is mouldering here among the dead; and it will be a mournful comfort to come at times, and think of the child that was once the light of our house, and the idol-ah! that I must own the secret of this sorrow-the idol of my heart.

And it is beyond all language to express the joy, in the midst of tears, I feel, that my sin, in making an idol of the child, has not made that infant less dear to Jesus. Nay, there is even something that tells me the Saviour called the darling from me, that I might love the Saviour more when I had one child less to love. He knoweth our frame;

he knows the way to win and bind us. Dear Saviour, as thou hast my lamb, give me too a place in thy bosom. Set me as a seal on thy heart.

It

And now let us go back to the house. is strangely changed. It is silent and cheerless, gloomy even. When did I enter this door without the greeting of those lips and eyes, that I shall greet no more? Can the absence of but one produce so great a change so soon? When one of the children was away on a visit, we did not feel the absence as we do now. That was for a time; this is for He will not return. Hark! I thought for a moment it was the child, but it was only my own heart's yearning for the lost. He will not come again.

ever.

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Such thoughts as these have been the thoughts of many in the season of their first grief.

As heart answereth to the heart, there is a wondrous likeness in the sorrow of parents over the death of their little ones. The rich and the poor, the learned and the ignorant are alike, when they sit by the side of their babes in the struggles of death; and when they follow them to the grave, their hearts are

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true to nature, and nature mourns when the loved are torn away.

One of the iron sort of men, a man of war, sent for me to come and see him in his affliction. His child, a sweet girl of three or four years only, had been taken with the croup, and died before medical relief could be obtained. He met me in his hall, and fell on my neck, and wept like a child. I had never seen him weep before. I had never thought that such a man as he had tears to shed. And I do not know that he would have wept, had the pestilence or the sword swept off all the rest of those whom he loved, and spared the infant that nestled in his bosom.

If this is a weakness to those who have never tasted the cup, I am sure that none of them will be offended with these words, for they will not read them till they are weeping too. To be a brother in sorrow, you must have suffered. Even the Lord of heaven had to become a man, that he might, by his experience, learn to bear our sorrows. And then he wept with those who wept.

Some time ago I was at the funeral of the child of a pastor; and when the neighboring minister, who had been called upon to bury

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