Martha Noyes Williams.

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

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and ministers of one Father ? " As he spoke, the eyes
of the Death Angel beamed with pleasure, and again
did the two friendly genii cordially embrace each


Bishop Spencer.

I TREAD the churchyard's path alone,

Unseen to shed the gushing tear ;
I read on many a mouldering stone

Fond records of the good and dear.
My soul is well nigh faint with fear,

Where doubting Mary went to weep.
And yet what sweet repose is here —

" He giveth his beloved sleep."

The world is but a feverish rest.
To weary pilgrims sometimes given,

When pleasure's cup has lost its zest,
And glory's hard-earned crown is riven.


Here, softer than tlie dews of even
Fall peaceful on the slumbering deep,

Asleep to earth, awake to heaven —
" He giveth his beloved sleep."

Yes, on the grave's hard pillow rise

No cankering cares, no dreams of woe ;
On earth we close our aching eyes.

And heavenward all our visions grow.
The airs of Eden round ns flow,

And in their balm our slumbers steep.
God calls his chosen home, and so

" He giveth his beloved sleep."

Ah ! vainly would the human voice.

In this dull world of sin and folly,
Tell how the sainted dead rejoice

In those high realms where joy is holy —
Where no dim shade of melancholv

Beclouds the rest which angels keep ;
"Where, peace and bliss united wholly,

" He giveth his beloved sleep."

If on that brow, so fair and young,

Affliction trace an early furrow ;
If Hope's too dear delusive tongue

Has broke its promise of to-morrow ; —
Seek not the world again, to borrow

The deathful print its votaries reap.
Man gives his loved ones pain and sorrow,

God " giveth his beloved sleep."



Thomas Hood.

We watched her breathing through the night,

Her breathing soft and low,
As in her breast the wave of life

Kept heaving to and fro.

So silently we seemed to speak,

So slowly moved about,
As we had lent her half our powers

To eke her being out.

Our very hopes belied our fears.

Our fears our hopes belied ;
We thought her dying when she slept,

And sleeping when she died.

For when the morn came dim and sad.

And chill with early showers,
Her quiet eyelids closed ; — she had

Another morn than ours.

" We spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are
threescore years and ten ; and if, by reason of strength, they be fourscore
years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow : for it is soon cut off, and we
flyaway." — Psalm xc.



Mrs. He mans.

Bring music ! stir the brooding air

With an ethereal breath ;
Bring sounds, my struggling soul to bear

Up from the couch of death !

A voice, a flute, a dreamy lay,

Such as the southern breeze
Might waft, at golden fall of day,

O'er blue transparent seas ?

0, no ! not such : that lingering spell

Would lure me back to life,
When my weaned heart hath said farewell,

And passed the gates of strife.

Let not a sigh of human love

Blend with tlie song its tone !
Let no disturbing echo move

One that must die alone !

But pour a solemn breathing strain
Filled with the soul of prayer I

Let a life's conflict, fear, and pain,
And trembling hope, be there.


Deeper, yet deeper ! in my tliouglit
Lies more prevailing sound,

A harmony intoDsely fraught
With pleading more profound.

A passion unto music given,

A sweet yet piercing cry,
A breaking heart's appeal to Heaven,

A bright faith's victory.

Deeper ! 0, may no richer power
Be in those notes enshrined ?

Can all, which crowds on earth's last hour,
No fuller language find ?

Away, and hush the feeble song,
And let the chord be stilled ;

For in another land ere long
My dream shall be fulfilled.


Rev. H, Melvill.

Was it a strange preparation for the Mount of
Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane, to commemo-
rate the mercies and chant the praises of the most
high God ? Nay, it is recorded of Luther that, on
receiving any discouraging news, he was wont to say,
" Come, let us sing the forty-sixth psalm " — that


psalm wMcli commences with the words, "■ God is our
refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble ;
therefore will not we fear, though the earth be re-
moved, and though the mountains be carried into the
midst of the sea." And it were well for us if, in
seasons of trouble, we betook ourselves to praise, and
not only to prayer. If we find ourselves in circum-
stances of difficulty, if dangers surround us, and duties
seem too great for our strength, we almost naturally
cry unto God, and entreat of him assistance and
guardianship. And indeed we do right. God has
made our receiving conditional on our asking ; and
we can never be too diligent in supplicating at his
hands the supply of our many necessities. But ought
we to confine ourselves to prayer, as though praise
were out of place when mercies are needed, and only
become us when they have just been received ? Not
so ; praise is the best auxiliary to prayer ; and he who
most bears in mind what has been done for him by
God, will be most emboldened to supplicate fresh gifts
from above. We should recount God's mercies ; we
should call upon our souls, and all that is within us,
to laud and magnify his name when summoned to face
new trials, and encounter fresh dangers. Would it
sound strange if, on approaching the chamber where
the father of a family had just breathed his last, you
heard voices mingling, not in a melancholy chant, but
rather in one of lofty commemoration, such as might
be taken from the Jewish Hallel, " The Lord hath been
mindful of us ; he will bless us ; he will bless the house
of Israel ; he will bless the house of Aaron " ? " The
Lord is on my side : I will not fear what man can do



unto me." Would you be disposed to say that the
widow and the orphans, whose voices you recognized
in the thankful anthem, were strangely employed ?
and that the utterances over the dead would have
more fittingly been those of earnest petition unto
God, of deep-drawn entreaty for the light of his
countenance and the strength of his spirit ? Nay, the
widow and her orphans, if not actually praying the
most effectual of prayers, would be thereby most
effectually preparing themselves for praying unto
God. If, now that their chief earthly stay is removed,
they have to enter on a dark and dangerous path, they
cannot do better than thus call to mind what the
Almighty has proved himself to others and them-
selves. The anthem is the best prelude to the sup-
plication ; and their first step towards the Mount of
Olives will be all the firmer, if, before they cry, " Hold
thou up our goings in thy paths," they join in the song,
"His merciful kindness is great towards us, and the
truth of the Lord endureth forever ; praise ye the
Lord." .... Christ and Ms apostles " sang a hymn,"
ere " they went out into the Mount of Olives." What
had music, cheerful and animated music, to do with so
sad and solemn an occasion ? Nay, there is music in
heaven : they who stand on the " sea of glass mingled
with fire " have '' the harps of God " in their hands ;
" they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and
the song of the Lamb." Why, then, should music ever
be out of place with those whose affections are above ?
It would not be out of place in the chamber of the
dying believer. He has just received, through the
holy mystery of the eucharist, the body and the blood


of liis blessed Redeemer. And now liis own failing
Yoice, and the voices of relatives and friends, join in
chanting Avords the conclusion of the sacramental
service : " Glory be to God on high, and on earth
peace, good will towards men. We praise thee, we
bless thee, we worship thee, we glorify thee, we give
thanks to thee for thy great glory, Lord God, lieav-
enly King, God the Father Almighty." Wonder ye,
that, when there was the option either to say or to
sing, thc}^ chose the singing at such a moment ? Nay,
they all felt that they had a rough hill to climb ; and
they remembered that, when Christ and his apostles
had finished their last supper, " they sang a hymn,"
and then " went out into the Mount of Olives."


M A K Y H O W I X T .

SPIRIT, freed from bondage,
Rejoice, thy work is done ! •

The weary world is 'neath thy feet,
Thou brighter than the sun !

Awake, and breathe the living air

Of our celestial clime!
Awake to love that knows no change,

Thou who hast done with time !


Awake ! lift up thy joyful eyes, — ;

See, all heaven's host appears ;
And be thou glad exceedingly,

Thou who hast done with tears !

Awake ! ascend. Thou art not now
With those of mortal birth ;

The living God hath touched thy lips,
Thou who hast done with earth.


Mrs. He mans.

Come near. Ere yet the dust
Soil the bright paleness of the settled brow,
Look on your brother, and embrace him now

In still and solemn trust.
Come near. Once more let kindred lips be pressed
On his cold cheek ; then bear him to his rest.

Look yet on this young face.
What shall the beauty, from amongst us gone,
Leave of its image, even where most it shone,

Gladdening its hearth and race ?
Dim grows the semblance on man's heart impressed.
Come near, and bear the beautiful to rest.


Ye weep — and it is well ;
For tears befit earth's partings. Yesterday,
Song was upon the lips of this pale clay,

And sunshine seemed to dwell
Where'er he moved, the welcomed and the blessed.
Now gaze — and bear the silent unto rest.

Look yet on him whose eye
Meets yours no more in sadness or in mirth.
Was he not fair amidst the sons of earth —

The beings born to die ?
But not where death has power may love be blessed.
Come near, and bear ve the beloved to rest.

How may the mother's heart
Dwell on her son, and dare to hope again ?
The spring's rich promise hath been given in vain —

The lovely must depart.
Is he not gone, our brightest and our best ?
Come near, and bear the early-called to rest.

Look on him. Is he laid
To slumber from the harvest or the chase ? —
Too still and sad the smile upon his face ;

Yet that, even that, must fade.
Death holds not long unchanged his fairest guest.
Come near, and bear the mortal to his rest.

His voice of mirth hath ceased
Amidst the vineyards. There is left no place
For him, whose dust receives your vain embrace,

At the gay bridal feast.


Earth must take earth to moulder on her breast.
Come near ; weep o'er him ; — bear him to his rest.

Yet mourn ye not as they
Whose spirit's light is quenched. For him the past
Is sealed. He may not fall ; he may not cast

His birthright's hope away.
All is^not here of our beloved and blessed —
Leave ye the sleeper with his God to rest !


William Drummond.

Eternal things are raised far above the sphere of
generation and corruption, where the first matter, like
an ever-flowing and ebbing sea, with divers waves,
but the same water, keepeth a restless and never-
tiring current. What is below, in the universality of
the kind, not in itself doth abide. Man a long line
of years hath continued ; this man, every hundred, is
swept away.

This earth is as a table book, and men are the
notes : the first are washen out, that new may be
written in. They who forewent us did leave a room
for us ; and should we grieve to do the same to those
who should come after us? Who, being suffered to
see the exquisite rarities of an antiquary's cabinet, is
grieved that the curtain be drawn, and to give place


to new pilgrims ? And when the Lord of this universe
hath showed us the amazing wonders of his various
frame, should we take it to heart when he thinketh
time to dislodge ? This is his unalterable and inevita-
ble decree : as we had no part of our will in our
entrance into this life, we should not presume to any
in our leaving it, but soberly learn to will that which
He wills, whose very will giveth being to all that it
wills ; and, reverencing the Orderer, not repine at the
order and laws which, ail-where and always, are so
perfectly established, that who would essay to correct
and amend any of them, he should either make them
worse or desire things beyond the level of possibility.


Eliza Cook.

Mourn not the dead — shed not a tear
Above the moss-stained sculptured stone,

But weep for those whose living woes
Still yield the bitter, rending groan.

Grieve not to see the eyelids close
In rest that has no fevered start ;

Wish not to break the deep repose

That curtains round the pulseless heart.


But keep thy pity for the eyes

That pray for night, yet fear to sleep,

Lest wilder, sadder visions rise

Than those o'er which they waking weep.

Mourn not the dead — ^tis they alone
Who are the peaceful and the free ;

The purest olive branch is known
To twine about the cypress tree.

Crime, pride, and passion hold no more
The willing or the struggling slave ;

The throbbing pangs of love are o'er.
And hatred dwells not in the grave.

The world may pour its venomed blame,
And fiercely spurn the shroud-wrapped bier ;

Some few may call upon the name.
And sigh to meet a " dull, cold ear."

But vain the scorn that would offend,
And vain the lips that would beguile ;

The coldest foe, the warmest friend,

Are mocked by Death's unchanging smile.

The only watchword that can tell
Of peace and freedom won by all

Is echoed by the tolling bell.
And traced upon the sable pall.

"The heart knows that it may sorrow; that no prohibition has heen
littered to stifle the voice of woe. Rachel was not chid Avhen she wept


for her children ; and that grief in itself is perfectly innocent, who shall
deny, when we point to the Holy One, ' a man of sorrows, and acquainted
with grief,' throughout the whole course of his \'isible abode among the
sons of Adam ? The stillness commanded is not that of apathy, or of
indifference, or of forced acquiescence : it is a patient waiting for the
promised crown, wMle bending under the predicted cross." — Chaklotte



Rev. Thomas Brooks.

Thou canst not tell how bad thy heart might have
proved under the enjoyment of those near and dear
mercies that thou now hast lost. In the winter men
gird their clothes close about them, but in the summer
they let them hang loose. In the winter of adversity
many a Christian girds his heart close to God, to
Christ, to godliness, to duties, who, in the summer
of mercy, hangs loose from all.

Who can seriously consider this, and not hold his
peace, even then when God takes a jewel out of his
bosom ? Heap all the sweetest contentments and
most desirable enjoyments of this world upon a man,
they will not make him a Christian ; heap them upon
a Christian, they will not make him a better Chris-
tian. Many a Christian hath been made worse by the
good things of this world ; but where is the Christian
that hath been bettered by them ? Therefore be quiet
when God strips thee of them.



Get thy heart more affected with spiritual losses,
and then thy soul will be less afflicted with temporal
losses. Hast thou lost nothing of that presence of
God that once thou hadst with thy spirit ? Hast
thou lost none of those warmings, meltings, quicken-
ings, and cheerings that once thou hadst ? Hast thou
lost nothing of thy communion with God, nor of the
joys of the Spirit, nor of that peace of conscience, that
thou once enjoyedst? Hast thou lost none of that
ground that once thou hadst got upon sin, Satan, and
the world ? Hast thou lost nothing of that holy vigor,
and heavenly heat, that once thou hadst in thy heart ?
If thou hast not, — which would be a miracle, a won-
der, — why dost thou complain of this or that temporal
loss ? For what is this but to complain of the loss of
thy purse, when thy gold is safe ? But if thou art a
loser in spirituals, why dost thou not rather complain
that thou hast lost thy God, than that thou hast lost
thy gold ? and that thou hast lost thy Christ, than that
thou hast lost thy husband? and that thou hast lost
thy peace, than that thou hast lost thy child ? and
that thou art a loser in spirituals, than that thou art
a loser i-n temporals? Dost thou mourn over the body
the soul hath left? Mourn rather over the soul that
God hath forsaken, as Samuel did for Saul, (1 Sam.
XV. 35.)



Fitz-Greene Halleck.

Green be the turf above thee,

Friend of my better days !
None knew thee but to love thee,

Nor named thee but to praise.

Tears fell, when thou wert dying.

From eyes unused to weep ;
And long, where thou art lying,

Will tears the cold turf steep.

When hearts, whose truth was proven,

Like thine, are laid in earth.
There should a wreath be woven,

To tell the world their worth.

And I, who woke each morrow

To clasp thy hand in mine.
Who shared thy joy and sorrow.

Whose weal and woe were thine, —

It should be mine to braid it

Around thy faded brow ;
But I've in vain essayed it,

And feel I cannot now.


While memory bids me weep thee,
Nor thoughts nor words are free,

The grief is fixed too deeply,
That mourns a man like thee.



Death has nothing that is formidable to the Chris-
tian. In the tomb of Jesus Christ are dissipated all
the terrors which the tomb of nature presents. In
the tomb of nature I perceive a gloomy night, which
the eye is unable to penetrate ; in the tomb of Jesus
Christ I behold light and life. In the tomb of nature
the punishment of sin stares me in the face ; in the
tomb of Jesus Christ I find the expiation of it. In
the tomb of nature I read the fearful doom pronounced
upon Adam, and upon all his miserable posterity,
" Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return," (Gen.
iii. 19 ;) but in the tomb of Jesus Christ my tongue is
loosed into this triumphant song of praise : " death,
where is thy sting ? grave, where is thy victory ?
.... Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory,
through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Cor. xv. 55, 57.)
" Through death he hath destroyed him that had the
power of death, that is, the devil ; that he might de-
liver them who, through fear of death, were all their
lifetime subject to bondage."



G. Moore.

The true believer always connects the moral attri-
butes of Deity with his conceptions of divine power ;
and with him, therefore, providence is but another
name for the Creator's faithfulness to his creatures.
Throughout the wide universe. Faith beholds evidence
that goodness regulates might ; so that all her expec-
tations are raptures, because all futurity, all eternity,
can be nothing but the unfolding of love. Hence
Death is no longer the king of terrors, with uplifted
hand ready to strike the trembling heart, but like an
angel at the bed of a slumbering child, fanning it to
sleep with a lily plucked from paradise, and filling
the soul with visions of heaven, by blending in bright-
ness, before its eyes, the sweetest images of earthly
beauty and affection.

A *



Andrews Norton.

He lias gone to Ms God ; he has gone to his home ;
No more amid peril and error to roam.
His eyes are no longer dim ;

His feet will no more falter ;
No grief can follow him ;
No pang his cheek can alter.

There are paleness, and weeping, and sighs below ;
For our faith is faint, and our tears will flow.
But the harps of heaven are ringing ;

Glad angels come to greet him ;
And hymns of joy are singing.

While old friends press to meet him.

0, honored, beloved, to earth unconfined,
Thou hast soared on high, thou hast left us behind.
But our parting is not forever ;

We will follow thee by heaven's light,
Where the grave cannot dissever
The souls whom God will unite.



James Montgomery.

There is a calm for those wlio weep,

A rest for weary pilgrims found :
They softly lie, and sweetly sleep.
Low in the ground.

The storm, that wrecks the wintry sky,

No more disturbs their deep repose
Than summer evening's latest sigh.
That shuts the rose.

I long to lay this painful head

And aching heart beneath the soil,
To slumber, in that dreamless bed,
From all my toil.

The grave, that never spoke before,

Hath found at length a tongue to chide ;
0, listen ! I will speak no more —
Be silent, pride !

Art thou a mourner ? Hast thou known

The joy of innocent delights.
Endearing days forever flown.

And tranquil nights ?


0, live ! and deeply cherish still

The sweet remembrance of the past ;
Eely on Heaven's unchanging will
For peace at last.

Though long of winds and waves the sport,

Condemned in wretchedness to roam,
Live ! thou shalt reach a sheltering port,
A quiet home.

Seek the true treasure, seldom found.

Of power the fiercest griefs to calm.
And soothe the bosom's deepest wound
With heavenly balm.

Whate'er thy lot, where'er thou be.
Confess thy folly — kiss the rod ;
And in thy chastening sorrows see
The hand of God.

A bruised reed he will not break ;
Afflictions all his children feel ;
He wounds them for his mercy's sake —
He wounds to heal.

Humbled beneath his mighty hand.
Prostrate his providence adore :
'Tis done ! arise ! he bids thee stand,
To fall no more.

Now, traveller, in the vale of tears,
To realms of everlasting light,


Through time's dark wilderness of years,

Pursue thy flight.

There is a calm for those who weep,
A rest for weary pilgrims found ;
And while the mouldering ashes sleep

Low in the ground, —

The soul, of origin divine,

God's glorious image freed from clay,
In heaven's eternal sphere shall shine

A star of day !

The sun is but a spark of fire,

A transient meteor in the sky ;
The soul, immortal as its Sire,

Shall never die!



" Man goetli to his long home ; " to " the house
appointed for all living." " There the wicked cease
from troubling, and there the weary be at rest.
There the prisoners rest together ; they hear not the
voice of the oppressor. The small and great are
there ; and the servant is free from his master,"


As a flower of the field, so man springs up, grows,
flourishes, and fades, and disappears. He may be cut
ofi" in the morning, or in the midst, of his days, or his
existence may be prolonged to old age ; but every
step that he takes on earth is a step towards the
grave. The day will come when the frail tenement
shall be consigned to the dust. " I have said to cor-
ruption. Thou art my father ; to the worm. Thou art
my mother and my sister."

This world will soon be to me a mere nothing. I
shall exist, but I shall be a stranger to the plans,
cares, sorrows, and vicissitudes of my successors in this
vale of tears. I shall soon be forgotten ; and ages
will revolve, and generation succeed generation, while
this dust and ashes shall be mingled with the clods
of the valley, and with the elements of nature. But
while I meditate on what lies before me, let me not
fail to gather substantial improvement from the sub-
ject. Lessons of piety are valuable lessons. While
then I look upon the grave, let me learn the necessity
of dying to the world, before I die in it. Let me be
urged to lay up treasures for that state of being where
there is no change and no end.

Is the grave to be ere long my dwelling ? How, then,
can I fix my heart on earthly things ? The rich, and
great, and wise, and powerful among men go down to
the chambers of silence. " We brought nothing into
this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
And having food and raiment, let us be therewith con-
tent." The shroud, the coffin, the bier, and the grave
— these teach me the emptiness of the world, and the


vanity and folly of ambition and avarice. I think of
these, and the pageantry of the world melts from my

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Online LibraryMartha Noyes WilliamsVoices from the silent land; or, Leaves of consolation for the afflicted → online text (page 2 of 14)