Martha Noyes Williams.

Voices from the silent land; or, Leaves of consolation for the afflicted online

. (page 1 of 14)
Online LibraryMartha Noyes WilliamsVoices from the silent land; or, Leaves of consolation for the afflicted → online text (page 1 of 14)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


'• The MaBEST herald by our ^ate allotted

Beckons and with inverted torch doth stand
To lead us with a gentle hand

Into the land op the dear departed,
Into the Silent Land ' '"








O, soothe us, haunt us, night and day,
Ye gentle spirits far away,
"With whom we shared the cup of grace,
Then parted— ye to Christ's embrace,
We to the lonesome world again ;
Yet mindful of th' unearthly strain
Practised with you at Eden's door.
To be sung on, where angels soar.
With blended voices evermore.










R 1938 L

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1853, by


In the Clerk's OfRce of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.





^\}t iHtmovVi of ®nc







" Why, he but sleeps :
If he be gone, he'll make his grave a bed.

"With fairest flowers,
ni sweeten thy sad grave. Thou shalt not lack
The flower that's like thy face, pale primrose, nor
The azured harebell, like thy veins ; no, nor
The leaf of eglantine, whom not to slander,
Outsweetened not thy breath ; the redbreast would,
With charitable bill, bring thee all this ;
Yea, and furred moss besides, when flowers are none
To winterground thy corse."


" Into the Silent Land I " Ah, who can say that the
footsteps of none he once loved on earth have entered
the " shadows of that pale realm " ? Death, sooner or
later, cometh to all : the white and venerable locks of
the aged, the maturity of manhood, the ruddy freshness
of youth, whose flashing eye is salient with life and
health, and the tender bud of infancy, — all soon, too
soon, fall before the scythe of the pitiless destroyer.

"The air is full of farewells for the dying.
And mournings for the dead."

No suffering, no anguish, is like unto that of the
deeply heart-stricken mourner, as he bendeth over his
forever-hushed, but beloved, dead. Often, at such
times, the heart and soul, though wonderfully stirred,
feels a grief " too deep for tears." A link of the
chain that bound him to earth has been rudely riven ;
and the vanity of this life, the nearness of eternity,
with its all-absorbing interests, are felt and acknowl-
edged. Such sad visitations of Providence induce

1 * 5


within us an insatiable desire to know more of the
future ; and the flight thitherward of the spirit of one
who in life has been very dear, perhaps the dearest,
seems to cast a soft halo of light into that future.
Then the Christian finds the blessed promises of God,
and the death and resurrection of Christ, unspeakably
precious ; he feels the need of the heavenly Comforter,
and, while seeking to cast all his care on him, " know-
ing that he careth for him," what may have seemed the
dark and distant future is illumed with an almost
unclouded noonday brightness. Every earthly woe,
every trial and care, can be mitigated by the con-
soling and sustaining influences of our holy religion.
God has promised to " comfort all who mourn," if, in
the time of their sorrow, they seek him.

Prayer, and reading the word of God, will not only
afi'ord sweet consolation in the deepest affliction, but
prove a tower of defence, a shield against the tempta-
tions that frequently assail us at such times. Another
source of comfort is to be found in the perusal of the
writings of good and holy men who have felt the same
bitter heart grief, and whose works abound with pas-
sages most touchingly fitted to console under the heavi-
est afflictions ; teaching us how to meet, bear, and wisely
use all such chastenings for our spiritual advancement.
Our literature, tot), contains much prose and poetry
addressed to the heart stricken, desponding, and des-


olate, who, in times of bereavement, love to linger
among the "graves of their household," and dwell
upon the state of the departed.

These " Voices from the Silent Land " have been col-
lected in the freshness of a very deep affliction, and
completed before its daily-gushing anguish had passed
away. The compiler's aim and object is to induce
some to make a good and wise use of afflictive dis-
pensations, to see the hand of God in them all, and to
feel that "the Judo-e of all the earth will do ridit."
She can only desire that the perusal of these pages
may prove as sweet and soothing a source of consola-
tion to others as their preparation has been to herself.
The women of the United States, however elevated
and affluent their station, are rarely entirely free from
the perplexities and anxieties of domestic cares, and
can seldom find sufficient leisure to peruse or examine
all the works from which this volume has been gath-
ered ; therefore it is designed more particularly for
my countrywomen whom God, in infinite wisdom, may
have caused to pass under the rod of affliction, but
who, I trust, can say, with the poet, —

*' 'Tis sweet, as year by year we lose
Friends out of sight, in faith to muse
How grows in paradise our store."

M. N. W.

May 10, 1851.


The compiler would express lier grateful acknowledgments to
Mrs. Julia Norton, Messrs. W. C. Bryant, H. W. Longfellow,
N. P. WtUis, Park Benjamin, Charles Sprague, J. T. Fields, a«kd
ot^he£«, for kindly granting her permLssion to publish the articles,
which appear in this volvime, from their pens.



Death, Barton, ... 13

The Dead are every where, Atwmjnious, . . 14

Blessed are the Dead, Dach, .... 16

Duty of comforting the Afflicted, Jeremy Taylor, 17

The Hour of Death, Hema^is, ... 18

What is Death ? Croley, ... 20

Death a Sleep, Harris, ... 22

Death and Sleep, Krummacher, . 22

He giveth his Beloved Sleep, Spencer, ... 24

The Death Bed, Hood, .... 26

Music at a Death Bed, Hemans, ... 27

Praise in Times of Affliction, Melvill, ... 28

Rejoicing in Heaven, Howitt, ... 31

The Farewell to the Dead, Hemans, ... 32

Against repining at Death, Drummond, . . 34

Mourn not the Dead, Cook, .... 35

Better to lose temporal than spiritual Mercies, . . Brooks, .... 37

On the Death of Joseph Rodman Drake, .... Halleck, ... 39

Death not formidable to the Christian, Saurin, ... 40

Death no longer the King of Terrors, Moore, .... 41

He has gone to his God, 3Irs. J. Norton, 42

The Grave, Moiityomery, . 43

The Grave, Jones, .... 45

The Language of a Gravestone, C. Elizabeth, . 48

Hymn of the Churchyard, BeBhme, ... 49

Choice of Burial-place, Melvill, ... 51

God's-acre, Longfellow, . . 52 '^

They are all gone, Vaughan, ... 53

In Affliction look to Jesus, Winslow, ... 54

Broken Ties, . Home Journal, . 56 "^

Consolation, E. B. Broioning, 58


Consolatory Epistle, St. Basil, ... 59

The nauch-loved Dead, il/ary E. Lee, . 60

Days of Tribulation, Krummacher, . 64

The Spirit's Land, Author of Selwm, 6-5

. 67

. 67

. 68

. 70

. 71

. 73

. 74

A Death Bed, Aldrich, .

Departed Friends, Henry,

The Departed, Betijamin,

Meekness under the Chastening Rod, Leighton, .

On the Death of Edward Payson, D. D., .... Willis, . .

The Tomb not fearful to the Christian, Hervey,

Footsteps of Angels, Long fellow.

To a Bereaved Sister, S. W. Williams, 76

To my Brother in Heaven, H. W. Rocktcell, 77

Bereavement, E. B. Brow7iing, 79

The early Dead, Clark, .... 80

Improvement of Affliction, Hall, .... 81

My Mother's Grave, Aldrich, ... 82

Friend after Friend departs, Montgomery, . 84

Benefit of Affliction, Baxter, ... 85

Consolation sought and found, Bowritig, ... 86

I see thee still, Sprague, ... 88

"Words to a mourning Husband, Hall, .... 89

She sleeps that still and placid Sleep, Hervey, ... 91

Knowledge of Christian Friends in a Future "World, Mason, ... 93

The Future Life, Bryant, ... 94

I knew that we must part, Sprague, ... 95

Sanctified Afflictions, Flavel, .... 98

On the Death of a Sister, Anotiymous, . . 99

" Sorrow not, even as others which have no hope," . C. Wesley, . . 101

Fear of Death, Jeremy Taylor, . 102

On the Death of a Friend, Heber, .... 104

In Affliction dwell upon the Brevity of Life, . . . Brooks, . . . 105

Dirge in Autumn, Clark, .... 106

Thoughts at the Grave of Beloved Ones, .... Mrs. J. Norton, 108

The Graves of a Household, Hemans, . . .110

Retrospect, Tupper, . . . Ill

Heavenward, Rev. A. C. Coxe, 113

The Pious Dead, Krummacher, . 115

Recognition of the Saints in Heaven, Dick, . . . .116

Heaven, Anonymous, . .117

The Spirit's Echo, . . • Mrs. J. Norton, 118

Detached Thoughts, 119

Resignation, 127

Childi-enin Heaven, Anonymoxis, . . 128


A Cottager's Lament, Anonymous, . . 129

The Reaper and the Flowers, LongfelloWy . . 130 ^^

On the Death of an Infant, Hervey, . . .131

Death of the First Born, Clark, .... 133

Hymn for an Infant's Funeral, Richmond, . . 135

An Angel Presence, Waterston, . . 136

Thoughts while making the Grave of a New-bom

Child Willis, .... 137

To a Mother bereft of an Infant Daughter, . . . Rev. H. Hooker, 140
Words of Luther on losing a Daughter, .... Michalet, . . . 141

Dirge for a Young Gul, Fields, .... 142

Active Duty alle\'iates Sorrow, H. More, . . . 143

To the Memor)^ of a Child, H.W. Rockicell, 144

To a Bereaved Father, Leighton, . . . 145

To a Bereaved Mother, J. Q. Adams, . 146 ^^

The Endurance of Afflictions, Hall, .... 148

Death of an Infant, Sigourney, . .151 ^

My Child, Pierpont, . . .152

Songs in the Night of Bereavement, Winslow, . . . 154

The Dying Infant to its Mother, Cecil, .... 156

Condoling Letter to Bereaved Parents, Payson, . . . 158

To a Mother on the Death of a Daughter, .... Mrs. Dana, . . 161

A Cherub, Doaiie, .... 162

Hope, Heber, .... 163

In Afflictions look to the Sa^■ior, Flavel, .... 164

A Mother's Lament, Montgomery, . 165

Submission to God in the Hour of Tribulation, . . T. a Kempis, . 167

To an Infant in Heaven, Ward, . . . .169

God the only Source of all Support and Consolation, Drelincourt, . . 171

God's Kind Care of us, Quarles, . . . 172

The Faded One, Clark, .... 173

The Death of the Flowers, Bryant, . . .174

A Dirge, Hemans, . . .176

The Light above us, LifeMme.Guyon, 178

The Yoice of the Rod, Brooks, . . .179

Dirge, Lando7i, . . .181

O, stay those Tears, Norton, . . .182

Letter to a Bereaved Mother, Mrs. I. Graham, 183

God a Refuge in Trials, Beddome, . . .186

Reminiscences, Montgotnery, . 187

Weep not for the Past, ' . Grisicold, . . .188

Christian Resignation, . , H. More, ... 189

Resignation, Loiigfellotc, . . 195 1^

A Belief in a Superintending Pro^^dence, &c., . . Wordsn-orth, . 198



Reasons against Immoderate Sorrow,

Submission to Afflictions,

Praise for Afflictions,

Song of Death,

No more,

Crossing the Dark River,

Christians by the River of Death,

Pilgrim safely on the other Side of the Dark River,

The Grave,

Farewell of the Soul to the Body,

Final Reunion of the Soul and Body,

Hope for the Moiu-ner,


Intimations of Immortality,

The Resurrection,

There is a Land,

The Dying Christian to his Soul,

The Final Judgment, .

The Day of Judgment,

The Recognition of Friends in Heaven, . . . .


O, talk to me of Heaven,

The Happiness of Heaven,


" What must it be to be there ! "

The Silent Land,


Patrick, . . .201
Swaine, . . . 212
C. Fry, . . .212
Anonymous, . . 214
Hematis, . . . 216
Monro, . . . 218
3Irs.E. H. Evam, 219
Bimyan, . . .221
W. Irving, . . 223
Sigourney, . . 226
Flavel, . . .228
Bart07i, . . . 230
G. Moore, . . 231
Dana, .... 237
Melvill, . . .238
Rev. A. C. Coxe, 242
Pope, .... 244
Harris, . . . 24o
Milman, . . . 250
Dorr, .... 252
Melvill, . . . 259
Bowles, . . . 262
Dwight, . . . 264
Ken, .... 269
Anonymous, . . 270
Hervey, . . .271
Salis, .... 272
Longfellow, . . 274



Bernard Barton.

It is when death and darkness come, men learn, if
not before, what their nature is ; to what it is exposed,
and by what sustained ; what it needs and craves.
The future and eternity are made sure. They are
brought close around them. They have an interest
there now ; they have treasure there. A part of
themselves is there. The parent who gave them
being ; the brother or sister who shared that being ;
the child who was all their own, is there — and they
are there also. Their nature, all their affections, were
reposed in those objects ; and you cannot, no power
can change — death, worlds, cannot sever them wholly.
Their very removal to an unknown state makes that
state known. Their flight into the distant and dark
future illumes that future. The angel of death, who
bore the loved away, opened the heavens as he as-
cended ; and now the eye of faith penetrates, the
heart of faith lives, in that spiritual world. There
is sorrow and trembling yet. But there is hope, the
anchor of the soul. There is faith, the very substance
of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.


kL. )


There is prayer and communion, tlie soul's pinions, on
which it soars to the bright presence of the spirits it
here loved, the Savior whom it trusts, the Father in
whom it dwells. From the region and shadoAv of
death, light is sprung up. It is the light of God's
countenance ; it irradiates the features, the souls, with
which we have been long familiar — with which we
may now live forever.



The dead are every where !
The mountain side, the plain, the wood profound,
All the wide earth, the fertile and the fair,
Is one vast burial ground !

Within the populous streets,
In solitary homes, in places high,
In pleasure domes, where pomp and luxury meet,
Men bow themselves to die.

The old man at his door,
The unweaned child, murmuring his wordless song.
The bondman and the free, the rich, the poor.
All — all to death belong !

The sunlight gilds the walls
Of kingly sepulchres, inwrought with brass ;

t « c

I t m


And the long shadow of the cypress falls
Athwart the common grass.

The living of gone time
Builded their glorious cities by the sea ;
And, awful in their greatness, sat sublime,
As if no change could be.

There was the eloquent tongue ;
The poet's heart, the sage's soul was there ;
And loving women, with their children young.
The faithful and the fair.

They were, but they are not.
Suns rose and set, and earth put on her bloom ;
Whilst man, submitting to the common lot,
Went down into the tomb.

And still amid the wrecks
Of mighty generations passed away,
Earth's honest growth, the fragrant wild flower, decks
The tomb of yesterday.

And in the twilight deep,
Go veiled women forth, like her who went —
Sister of Lazarus — to the grave to weep.
To breathe in low lament.

The dead are every where !
> Where'er is love, or tenderness, or faith ;
Where'er is pleasure, pomp, or pride ; where'er
Life is or was, is death !



Simon Bach.

O, HOW blessed are ye whose toils are ended !
Who, through death, have unto God ascended !

Ye have arisen
From the cares which keep us still in prison.

We are still as in a dungeon living,

Still oppressed with sorrow and misgiving ;

Our undertakings
Are but toils, and troubles, and heart-breakings.

Ye, meanwhile, are in j^our chambers sleeping,
Quiet, and set free from all our weeping ;

No cross nor trial
Hinders your enjoyments with denial.

Christ has wiped away your tears forever ;
Ye have that for which we still endeavor.

To you are chanted
Songs which yet no mortal ear have haunted.

Ah, who would not, then, depart with gladness,
To inherit heaven for earthly sadness ?

Who here would languish
Longer in bewailing and in anguish ?


Come, Christ, and loose the chains that bind us ;
Lead us forth, and cast this world behind us.

With thee, th' Anointed,
Finds the soul its joy and rest appointed.


Jeremy T a y l o k .

Certain it is, that as nothing can better do it, so
there is nothing greater, for which God made our
tongues, next to reciting his praises, than to minister
comfort to a weary soul. And what greater measure
can we have than that we should bring joy to our
brother, who, with his dreary eyes, looks to heaven
and round about, and cannot find so much rest as to
lay his eyelids close together — than that thy tongue
should be tuned with heavenly accents, and make the
weary soul to listen for light and ease ; and when he
perceives that there is such a thing in the world, and
in the order of things, as comfort and joy, to begin to
break out from the prison of his sorrows at the door
of sighs and tears, and by little and little melt into
showers and refreshment ? This is glory to thy voice,
and employment fit for the brightest angel. But so
have I seen the sun kiss the frozen earth, which was
bound up with the images of death, and the colder
breath of the north ; and then the waters break from
their enclosures, and melt with joy, and run in useful



channels ; and tlic flies do rise again from their little
graves in walls, and dance a while in the air, to tell
that there is joy within, and that the great mother of
creatures will open the stock of her new refreshment,
become nseful to mankind, and sing praises to her Re-
deemer. So is the heart of a sorrowful man under the
discourses of a wise comforter ; he breaks from the
despairs of the grave, and the fetters and chains of
sorrow ; he blesses God, and he blesses thee, and he
feels his life returning ; for to be miserable is death,
but nothing is life but to be comforted ; and God is
pleased with no music from below so much as in the
thanksgiving songs of relieved widows, of supported
orphans, of rejoicing, and comforted, and thankful

" Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom
he receiveth. If ye endure chastenmg, God dealeth ■^^ith you as ANith sons ;
for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?" — Hebrews xii.


Mrs. He mans.

Leaves have their time to fall.
And flowers to wither at the north wind's breath

And stars to set — but all.
Thou hast all seasons for thine own, Death !

Day is for mortal care ;
Eve, for glad meetings round the joyous hearth ;


Niglit, for the dreams of sleep, the voice of prayer —
But all for thee, thou mightiest of the earth.

The banquet hath its hour —
Its feverish hour — of mirth, and song, and wine ;

There comes a day for griefs o'erwhehning power,
A time for softer tears — but all are thine.

Youth and the opening rose
May look like things too glorious for decay,

And smile at thee — but thou art not of those
That wait the ripened bloom to seize their prey.

Leaves have their time to fall,
And flowers to wither at the north wind's breath.

And stars to set — but all,
Thou hast all seasons for thine own, Death !

We know when moons shall wane,
When summer birds from far shall cross the sea.

When autumn's hue shall tinge the golden grain —
But who shall teach us when to look for thee ?

Is it when Spring's first gale
Comes forth to whisper where the violets lie ?
Is it when roses in our paths grow pale ? —
They have one season — all are ours to die.

Thou art where billows foam ;
Thou art where music melts upon the air ;

Thou art around us in our peaceful home ;
And the world calls us forth — and thou art there.


Thou art where friend meets friend,
Beneath the shadow of the elm to rest ;

Thou art where foe meets foe, and trumpets rend
The skies, and swords beat down the princely crest.

Leaves have their time to fall,
And flowers to wither at the north wind's breath.

And stars to set — but all,
Thou hast all seasons for thine own, Death !

♦•' It is not the design or plan of God — his nature will not allow of any
such design or plan — to deprive his creatures of happiness, but only to
pour the cup of bitterness into aU that happiness, and smite all that joy
and prosperity which the creature has in any thing out of Himself J" —


Rev. George Croley.

What is death ? 'tis to be free ;

No more to love, or hope, or fear ;
To join the dread equality ;
All, all alike are humble there.
The mighty wave
Wraps lord and slave.
Nor pride, nor poverty, dares come
Within that refuge house — the tomb.


Spirit with the drooping vnng,

And the ever-weeping eye,
Thou of all earth's kings art king ;
Empires at thy footstool lie.
Beneath thee strewed,
Their multitude
Sink like waves upon the shore ;
Storms shall never rouse them more.

What's the grandeur of the earth

To the grandeur round thy throne ?
Riches, glory, beauty, birth,
To thy kingdoms all have gone.
Before thee stand
The wondrous band —
Bards, heroes, sages, side by side —
Who darkened nations when they died.

Earth hath hosts, but thou canst show

Many a million for her one.
Through thy gates the mortal flow
Has for countless years rolled on.
Back from the tomb
No step has come ;
There fixed till the last thunder's sound
Shall bid thy prisoners be unbound.



Rev. John Harris.

So ample and sufficient are the preparatory meas-
ures which Christ has taken for the final extinction
of death, that he speaks of it in terms of comparative
disparagement and indifference. So effectually is it
disarmed and mutilated, and so completely at the dis-
posal of Christ, that he speaks of it already as if it
were not. "Whosoever believeth in me shall never
die." " If a man keep my sayings, he shall never
taste of death ; he shall never see death." In accord-
ance with these representations, he has given the state
of death the soft and tranquillizing name of sleep.

" For if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again, even so them also
which sleep in Jesus will God bring \vith him." — 1 Thessalonians iv.



K R U M M A C II E R .

In brotherly embrace walked tlie Angel of Sleep
and the Angel of Death upon the earth. It was even-
ing. They laid themselves down upon a hill not far
from the dwelling of men. A melancholy silence pre-
vailed around, and the chimes of the evening bell, in
the distant hamlet, ceased. Still and silent, as was
their custom, sat these two beneficent genii of the
human race, their arms entwined with cordial famil-
iarity ; and soon the shades of night gathered around
them. Then arose the Angel of Sleep from his moss-
grown couch, and strewed with a gentle hand the
invisible grains of slumber. The evening breeze waft-
ed them to the quiet dwelling of the tired husbandman,
infolding in sweet sleep the inmates of the rural cot-
tage, from the old man upon the staff down to the
infant in the cradle. The sick forgot their pain ; the
mourners their grief ; the poor their care. All eyes
closed. His task accomplished, the benevolent Angel
of Sleep laid himself again by the side of his grave
brother. " When Aurora awakes," exclaimed he, with
innocent joy, " men praise me as their friend and ben-
efactor. 0, what happiness, unseen and secretly, to
confer such benefits ! How blessed are we to be the
invisible messengers of the Good Spirit ! How beau-
tiful is our silent calling ! " So spake the friendly
Angel of Slumber,


The Angel of Death sat with still deeper melancholy
on his brow, and a tear, such as mortals shed, appeared
in his large dark eyes. " Alas ! " said he, " I may not,
like thee, rejoice in the cheerful thanks of mankind ;
they call me, upon the earth, their enemy and joy
killer." " my brother," replied the gentle Angel of
Slumber, " and will not the good man, at his awaken-
ing, recognize in thee his friend and benefactor, and
gratefully bless thee in his joy ? Are we not brothers,

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Online LibraryMartha Noyes WilliamsVoices from the silent land; or, Leaves of consolation for the afflicted → online text (page 1 of 14)