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have thus entered into the joy of their Lord, while we are yet left to mourn here below!
Your sorrows, my dear friend, under the bereaving stroke of the holy hand of God, which has fallen so heavily upon you, are shared by the affectionate, sympathizing hearts of a nuinber of kind friends here, as well as by our own. But none, I believe, experience indeed has taught me to believe that none, excepting those who have felt it, can properly estimate the great. ness and poignancy of the affliction, involved in the loss of the best of friends, long enjoyed in the nearest and tenderest of all mortal connexions, and possessed in an high degree of the qualifications which made them the most desirable and valuable companions and helpers, in all the variety of circumstances and interests, pertaining to life and godliness. They who are called to suffer such a loss as this, have reason indeed to say, “ I am the person that has seen affliction.” Such is the language which you have now learned by esperience, to adopt as your own; and the painful import of it, you will feel for a long time to come, and often with increased emotions, when you reflect, that the face once so pleasant to behold, you will no more see in the land of the living ; that the interchange of hearts, of joys, of sorrows, and cares, and the sweet counsels taken together in the ways of God; in short, the rari. ous hours and instances of intimate, social, friendly, christian intercourse, will recur no more ; that his example of an humble and close walk with God, of sin. cere and fervent piety, of faithfulness to God and man, in scenes of active duty in public and private, and of calm submission to the divine will, under sufferings and trials, will shine no more before you and others, for
your and their instruction, encouragement, and comfort; and that no more will his heart, with his voice, be lifted up at the mercy seat, in prayer for you and your children; for the church, his country, and the world. But why should I thus open afresh the wounds of your bleeding heart, by reminding you of the greatness, the extent of your loss? Rather, let me attempt to sooth and alleviate the anguish and bitterness of your soul, which must be felt, when such recollections are exclusively indulged, by reminding you what reason you have at the same time, for consolation and thankfulness, as you have not been called to sorrow, like one having no hope, for your dear departed friend ; but on the contrary, to be comforted, and to rejoice on his account, in the persuasion that he now rests from his labours and trials on earth, and has entered into the joy, the full and everlasting joy of his Lord, in heaven !! Take then your harp from the willows, and with submission and gratitude, with tears of joy, and the anticipations of hope, sing away your sorrows, believing and persuaded, that
6. His months of affliction are o'er,
And now when the earthen vessel, to wbich the rich treasure of the gospel was committed, and which contained so many of your sweetest and best mortal comforts, is broken; how great also is the consolation, on your own account secured to you, by the everlasting covenant of grace, while it assures you, that the Lord, the ever living, all sufficient, and unchanging God, is your Friend and Saviour, your refuge and portion in the land of the living ; that he will never leave you nor forsake you, but will be found ready, by his gracious presence, to fill the great and wide breach, which he has made in your social, mortal comforts. He is ready to turn the tears of your present monrning, into songs of everlasting joy and praise, by making this affliction, which nature feels to be great and heavy, but which faith, contemplating it in the view of eternity, pronounces to be light and but for a moment, not only yield to you the present peaceable fruit of righteousness, but work out for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of future glory.
But what can I suggest, adapted to give your thoughts their right direction, or to sooth your sorrows, which is not already familiar to your own mind ? Long have you, as I trust and believe, been taught of God, by his word and Spirit, to understand, and with an approving, adoring heart, to acknowledge, that he is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all bis works ; that he doth no wrong to any of his creatures, and that as he doth all things well on the great scale, so in his infinite wis. dom, grace and love, he orders and sanctifies all things to work for good, to them that love him ; and long, as I doubt not, have you found by experience, that all the paths of the Lord towards you have been mercy and truth, while many of those things, which for awhile seemned to be most against you, have at length, appear. ed to be most favourable in their tendency and effects, to the promotion of your best interests, your spiritual interests at least, if not your temporal. Let your faith and persuasion of these things, be now strong,
and grow still stronger and stronger, and in the multitude of your troubled, anxious thoughts within you, let the comforts resulting from the firm belief of these things, still delight your soul.
And may He to whom it belongs to give peace effectually back to you, afflicted and destitute, as you may now feel yourself, to say from the heart, and with a cordial satisfaction, the Lord is my portion, therefore will I hope in him, yea, I will still joy in the God of my sal. vation. Thou shalt guide one with thy counsel, and by thy providence and grace, in the right and best way, through the changing scenes of mortality, the darkest and most perplexing, as well as the more pleasing and comfortable, and afterward receive me to glory. To the word and to the Spirit of his grace, I commend you ; and it is my earnest prayer, that while you have the consolation of knowing, that in covenant faithfulness, and for your present spiritual profit, and the advancement of your future eternal joy, the Lord has afflicted you; your dear children also, who are sharers with you in your affliction, and who are spared, I trust, to be in various ways comforters to you, may know that it is good for them to be thus afflicted, while this severe affliction, through the supply of the spirit of Christ, is made to turn to their salvation. When forsaken or deprived of so valuable a father, whose counsels and prayers, were so affectionately employed and contina ued for their present and eternal welfare, let their hearts be the more earnestly engaged in praying for themselves, that the Lord their heavenly Father, may take them up, and be their guide and guardian, their friend and Saviour, and sanctify them as seed that shall serve him, and be accounted to the Lord for a generation, which
he will delight to bless and to honor. May the Lord indeed bless them, and make them blessings ; and pre. pare and engage them to follow one parent, already gone to inherit the promises of grace fulfilled in glory, and to accompany another, “ Yet marching through Immanuel's ground, to fairer world's on high."
The bereaved church and congregation, lately favoured with his ministerial services, will, I hope, receive admonition from the frowning Providence, which has thus deprived them of the many inestimable bless. ings included in a faithful gospel ministry ; while they will, I trust, feel that it is their duty, to bow with submis. sion to the sovereign will of the Lord, who has an ab. solute right, whenever be pleases to remove from a people, the 'pastor whom he had appointed to watch for their souls, and to call out of bis vineyard a faithful labourer, who before he had borne the burden and heat of the day, so long as some others have done, were called home to their rest and reward. And let them, now with united hearts and fervent prayers, look up to the great Head of the church, who has smitten them, that he may heal them, that he may sanctify to them the heavy afflictive stroke with which he has visited them, and speedily send them another pastor after his own heart, who shall feed them with the knowledge of the pure gospel, and by a worthy example of christian faith and piety, go before them in the way to glory, honor and immortality.
In a poor state of health, and under the debilitating effects of very warm weather, I have, with an evident want of mental vigor, and no small degree of bodily fatigue, extended this letter to an unexpected and inconvenient length. After so long a delay, let it be