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rous affections ; morbid sensitiveness will take the place of healthful feeling; all this will naturally come on with the growing experience of life, if the love of God be not our support and safeguard. Every mind may not be conscious of this tendency, but every mind that thinks much and feels deeply will be conscious of it, and will feel it bitterly. Your body may live on ; but your soul, in its full development, in its deep wants, in its a strong hour” of trial and of reflection, must pine, and perish, and die, without this holy trust. Let it not so perish. Creature of God's love; believe in that love which gave thee being. Believe in that love which every moment redeems thee from death, and offers to redeem thee from the death eternal. Believe in God's love and be wise, be patient, be comforted, be cheerful and happy-be happy in time; be happy in eternity!

THE VOICES OF THE DEAD.

HEBREWS xi. 4: “And by it, he being dead, yet speaketh."

This is a record of virtue that existed six thousand years ago; but which yet liveth in its memory, and speaketh in its example. "Abel,” it is written, “offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and by it, he being dead, yet speaketh.” How enduring is the memorial of goodness! It is but a sentence, which is read in & moment—it is but a leaf from the school of time; and yet it is borne on the breath of ages—it takes the attributes of universality and eternity -it becomes a heritage from family to family, among all the dwellings of the world.

But it is not Abel alone, the accepted worshipper and martyred brother that thus speaks to us.

The world is filled with the voices of the dead. They speak not from the public records of the great world only, but from the private history of our own experience. They speak to us in a thousand remembrances, in a thousand instances, events, associations. They speak to us not only from their silent graves, but from the throng of life. Though they are invisible, yet life is filled with their presence. They are with us by the silent fireside, and in the secluded chamber; they are with us in the paths of society, and in the crowded assembly of men. They speak to us from the lonely way-side ; and they speak to us from the venerable walls that echo to the steps of a multitude, and to the voice of prayer. Go where we will, the dead are with us. We live, we converse with those who once lived and conversed with us. Their well-remembered tone mingles with the whispering breezes, with the sound of the falling leaf, with the jubilee shout of the spring-time. The earth is filled with their shadowy train.

But there are more substantial expressions of the presence of the dead with the living. The earth is filled with the labours, the works of the dead. Almost all the literature in the world, the discoveries of science, the glories of art, the ever-during temples, the dwelling-places of generations, the comforts and improvements of life, the languages, the maxims, the opinions of the living, the very frame-work of society, the institutions of nations, the fabrics of empire—all are the works of the dead; by these, they who are dead yet speak. Life--busy, eager, craving, importunate, absorbing life—yet what is its sphere, compared with the empire of death! What, in other words, is the sphere of visible, compared with the mighty empire of invisible life! A moment in time ; a speck in immensity; a shadow amidst enduring and unchangeable realities; a breath of existence amidst the ages and regions of undying life! They live—they live indeed, whom we call dead.

They live in our thoughts; they live in our blessings; they live in our life: “ death hath no power over them.”

Let us, then, meditate upon those—the mighty company of our departed brethren—who occupy such a space in the universe of being. Let us meditate upon their relation, their message, their ministry, to us. Let us look upon ourselves in this relation, and see what we owe to the dead. Let us look upon the earth, and see if death hath not left behind its desolating career, some softer traces, some holier imprint, than of destruction.

1. What memories, then, have the dead left among us, to stimulate us to virtue, to win us to goodness!

The approach to death often prepares the way for this impression. The effect of a last sickness to develop and perfect the virtues of our friends, is often so striking and beautiful, as to seem more than a compensation for all the sufferings of disease. It is the practice of the Catholic Church to bestow upon its eminent saints a title to the perpetual homage of the faithful, in the act of canonization. But what is a formal decree, compared with the effect of a last sickness, to canonize the virtue that we love, for eternal remembrance and admiration? How often does that touching decay, that gradual unclothing of the mortal body, seem to be a putting on of the garments of immortal beauty and life!

That pale check; that placid brow; that sweet serenity spread over the whole countenance; that spiritual, almost supernatural brightness of the eye, as if light from another world already shone through it; that noble and touching disinterestedness of the parting spirit, which utters no complaint, which breathes no sigh, which speaks no word of fear por apprehension to wound its friend, which is calm, and cheerful, and natural, and self-sustained, amidst daily declining strength and the sure approach to death; and then, at length, when concealment is no longer possible, that last, firm, triumphant, consoling discourse, and that last look of all mortal tenderness, and immortal trust ;—what hallowed memories are these to soothe, to purify, to enrapture, surviving love!

Death, too, sets a seal upon the excellence that sickness unfolds and consecrates. There is no living virtue, concerning which—such is our frailty-we must not fear that it may fall, or at least, that it may somewhat fail from its steadfastness. It is a painful, it is a just fear, in the bosoms of the best and purest beings on earth, that some dreadful lapse may come over them, or over those whom they hold in the highest reverence. But death, fearful, mighty as its power, is yet a power that is subject to virtue. It gives victory to virtue. It brings relief to the heart, from its profoundest fear. It enables us to say, “ Now all is safe! The battle is fought, the victory is won. The course is finished, the race is run, the faith is kept; henceforth it is no more doubt nor danger, no more temptation nor strife; henceforth is the reward of the just, the crown which the Lord, the righteous judge will give!” Yes, death-dark power of earth though it seem-does yet ensphere virtue, as it were, in heaven. It sets it up on high, for eternal admiration. It fixes its place never more to be changed—as a star to shine onward and onward, through the depths of the everlasting In life, there are many things which interfere with a just estimate

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of the virtues of others. There are, in some cases, jealousies and misconstructions, and there are false appearances; there are veils upon the heart that hide its most secret workings and its sweetest affections from us; there are earthly clouds that come between us and the excellence that we love. So that it is not, perhaps, till a friend is taken from us that we entirely feel his value, and appreciate his worth. The vision is loveliest at its vanishing away; and we perceive not, perhaps, till we see the parting wing, that an angel has been with us.

Yet, if we are not, from any cause, or in any degree, blind to the excellence we possess, if we do feel all the value of the treasure which our affections hold dear; yet, I say, how does that earthly excellence take not only a permanent but a saintly character, as it passes beyond the bounds of mortal frailty and imperfection: how does death enshrine it, for a homage more reverential and holy than is ever given to living worth! So that the virtues of the dead gain, perhaps, in the power of sanctity, what they lose in the power of visible presence; and thus-it may not be too much to say-thus the virtues of the dead benefit us sometimes as much as the examples of living goodness.

How beautiful is the ministration by which those who are dead thus speak to us—thus help us, comfort us, guide, gladden, bless us! How grateful must it be to their thoughts of us, to know that we thus remember them, not with mere admiration, but in a manner that ministers to all our virtues! What a glorious vision of the future is it, to the good and pure who are yet living on earth, that the virtues which they are cherishing and manifesting, the good character which they are building up here, the charm of their benevolence and piety, shali live when they have laid down the burden and toil of life-shall be an inspiring breath to the fainting hearts that are broken from them— wafted odour of sanctity to hundreds and thousands that shall come after them. Is it not so? Are there not those, the simplest story, the frail. est record of whose goodness is still and ever doing good! But frail records, we know full well—frail records they are not which are now in our hearts. And can we have known those whom it is a joy as well as a sorrow to think of, and not to be better for it? Are there those once our friends, now bright angels in some blessed sphere—and do we not sometimes say, “Perhaps that pure eye of affection is on me now; and I will do nothing to wound it?" No, surely it cannot be that the dead will speak to us in vain. Their memories are all around us; their footsteps are in our paths; the memorials of them meet our eye at every turn; their presence is in our dwellings; their voices are in our ears; they speak to us—in the sad reverie of contemplation, in the sharp pang of feeling, in the cold shadow of memory, in the bright light of hope and it cannot be that they will speak in vain.

II. Nay, the very world we live in,-is it not consecrated to us by the memory of the dead? Are not the very scenes of life made more interesting to us, by being connected with thoughts that run backward far beyond the range of present life? This is another view

of the advantage and effect with which those who are “ dead, yet speak” to us.

If we were beings to whom present, immediate, instant enjoyment were everything; if we were animals, in other words, with all our thoughts prone to the earth on which we tread, the case would be different-the conclusion would be different. But we are beings of a deeper nature, of wider relations, of higher aspirations, of a loftier destiny. And being such, I cannot hesitate to say for myself, that I would not have everything which I behold on earth the work of the present living generation. The world would be, comparatively, an ordinary, indifferent place, if it contained nothing but the workmanship, the handicraft, the devices of living men. No; I would see dwellings which speak to me of other things than earthly convenience, or fleeting pleasure ; which speak to me the holy recollections of lives which were passed in them, and have passed away from them. I would see temples in which successive generations of men have prayed. I would see ruins, on whose mighty walls is inscribed the touching story of joy, and sorrow, love, heroism, patience, which lived there—there breathed its first hope, its last sigh-ages ago. I would behold scenes which offer more than fair landscape and living stream to my eye; which tell me of inspired genius, glorious fortitude, martyred faith, that studied there-suffered there died there. I would behold the eart in fine, when it is spread before me, as more than soil and scenery, rich and fair though they be ; I would behold the earth as written over with histories

as a sublimo page, on which are recorded the lives of men and empires.

The world, even of nature, is not one laughing, gay scene. It is not so in fact ; it appears not so in the light of our sober, solemn, Christian teachings. The dark cloud sometimes overshadows it; the storm sweeps through its pleasant valleys; the thunder smites its everlasting hills; and the holy record hath said, “thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee.” It has been said that all the tones in nature are to use the musical phrase on the minor key. That is to say, they are plaintive tones. And although the fact is probably somewhat exaggerated when stated so strongly and unqualifiedły, yet to a certain extent it is true. It is true that that tonë always mingles with the music of nature. In the winds that stir the mountain pine, as well as in the wailing storm ; in the soft-falling shower, and in the rustling of the autumn leaves ; in the roar of ocean, as it breaks upon the lonely sea-beach ; in the thundering cataract, that lifts up its eternal anthem amidst the voices of nature ; and so, likewise, in those inarticulate interpretations of nature, the bleating of flocks, the lowing of herds, and even in the song of birds, there is usually something plaintive—something that touches the sad and brooding spirit of thought. And the contemplation of nature in all its forms, as well of beauty as of sublimity, is apt to be tinged with melancholy. And all the higher musings, the nobler aspirations of the mind, possess something of this character. I doubt if there were ever a manifestation of genius in the world that did not bear something of this trait.

It can scarcely be the part of wisdom, then, to refuse to sympathize with this spirit of nature and humanity. And it can be no argument against a contemplation of the world, as having its abodes sanctified by the memory of the departed, as having its brightness softly veiled over by the shadow of death—it can be no argument against such contem. plation that it is somewhat sober and sad. I feel, then, that the dead have conferred a blessing upon me, in helping me to think of the world thus rightly; in thus giving a hue of sadness to the scenes of this world, while, at the same time, they have clothed it with every glorious and powerful charm of association. This mingled spirit of energy and hu

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