Martha Noyes Williams.

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

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well aware that the actual entrance of death into the
domestic circle is unutterably solemn, and places
things in a dififerent light from what we ever saw
them in before. . . . This heavy blow is undoubt-
edly intended to quicken your preparation for a future
world. It loudly says to you, and to all, " Be ye also
ready ; for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son
of man cometh." God grant it may be eminently
sanctified by weaning you more completely from this
world, and " setting your affections " more entirely
and habitually " on things that are above." You will
then, in the midst of that deep regret such a loss has
necessarily inspired, have cause to bless God that you
were afflicted.

" Many are the afflictions of the righteous : but the Lord delivereth
him out of them all." — Psalm xxxiv.




She sleeps that still and placid sleep,
For which the weary pant in vain ;

And, where the dews of evening weep,
I may not weep again.

0, never more upon her grave

Shall I behold the wild flower wave !

They laid her where the sun and moon
Look on her tomb with loving eye.

And I have heard the breeze of June
Sweep o'er it, like a sigh.

And the wild river's wailing song

Grow dirge-like, as it stole along.

And I have dreamed, in many dreams.
Of her who was a dream to me ;

And talked to her, by summer streams,
In crowds, and on the sea.

Till in my soul she grew enshrined,

A young Egeria of the mind !

'Tis years ago — and other eyes
Have flung their beauty o'er my youth ;


And I have hung on other sighs,

And sounds that seemed like truth ;
And loved the music which they gave,
Like that which perished in the grave.

And I have left the cold and dead,
To mingle with the living cold ;

There is a weight around my head ;
My heart is growing old.

for a refuge and a home

With thee, dead Ellen, in thy tomb !

Age sits upon my breast and brain,
My spirit fades before its time ;

But they are all thine own again.
Lost partner of their prime.

And thou art dearer in thy shroud

Than all the false and living crowd.

Rise, gentle vision of the hours,

Which go like birds that come not back,

And fling thy pale and funeral flowers
On Memory's wasted track !

for the wings that made thee blest,

To " flee away, and be at rest."




Rev. John M. Mason.

The clay which we commit to the grave mider that
universal sentence, " Dust thou art, and unto ^ dust
shalt thou return," will be quickened again, and reas-
sume, even after the slumber of ages, the organization,
the lineaments, the expression, of that selfsame human
being with whom we were conversant upon earth :
otherwise it were a new creation, and not a resur-
rection ; and will be reanimated by that selfsame
spirit which forsook it at death: otherwise it were
a different being altogether, and not the one with
whom, under that form, we held sweet communion in
this life, and walked to the house of God in company.
It has, indeed, been questioned whether Christian
friends shall know each other in the world of the
risen. - But why not ? Did not the disciples know
the Lord Jesus after his resurrection? Did they not
know him at the moment of his ascension ? Shall the
body which he wore upon earth be the only one rec-
ognized in heaven? If Peter and Paul, if James and
John, shall not be able to distinguish each other, upon
what principle shall they be able to distinguish their
Lord? And why should the body be raised at all,
if the associations with which its reappearance is con-
nected are to be broken and lost ?



"William Cullen Bryant.

How sliall I know thee in the sphere that keeps
Tfhe disembodied spirits of the dead, —

Where all of thee that time could wither sleeps
And perishes among the dust we tread ?

For I shall feel the sting of ceaseless pain
If there I meet thy gentle presence not,

Nor hear the voice I love, nor read again
In thy serenest eyes the tender thought.

Will not thy own meek heart demand me there?

That heart whose fondest throbs to me were given?
My name, on earth, was ever in thy prayer ;

Shall it be banished from thy tongue in heaven ?

In meadows fanned by heaven's life-breathing wind,
In the resplendence of that glorious sphere.

And larger movements of th' unfettered mind,
Wilt thou forget the love that joined us here ?

The love that lived through all the stormy past,
And meekly with my harsher nature bore,

And deeper grew, and tenderer to the last.
Shall it expire with life, and be no more ?


A happier lot tlian mine, and larger light,

Await thee there ; for thou hast bowed thy will

In cheerful homage to the rule of right.
And lovest all, and renderest good for ill.

For me the sordid cares in which I dwell

Shrink and consume the heart, as heat the scroll ;

And wrath hath left its scar — that fire of hell
Has left its frightful scar upon my soul.

Yet, though thou wear'st the glory of the sky,
Wilt thou not keep the same beloved name ? —

The same fair, thoughtful brow, and gentle eye.
Lovelier in heaven's sweet climate, yet the same ?

Shalt thou not teach me, in that calmer home,
The wisdom that I learned so ill in this ? —

The wisdom which is love — till I become
Thy fit companion in that land of bliss ?


Charles Spraotte.

I KNEW that we must part — day after day,
I saw the dread destroyer win his way ;
That hollow cough first rang the fatal knell,
As on my ear its prophet-warning fell ;


Feeble and slow thy once light footstep grew,

Thy wasting cheek put on death's pallid hue,

Thy thin, hot hand to mine more weakly clung,

Each sweet " Good night " fell fainter from thy tongue ;

I knew that we must part — no power could save

Thy quiet goodness from an early grave ;

Those eyes so dull, though kind each glance they cast,

Looking a sister's fondness to the last ;

Thy lips so pale, that gently pressed my cheek.

Thy voice — alas ! thou couldst but try to speak ; —

All told thy doom ; I felt it at my heart ;

The shaft had struck — I knew that we must part.

And we have parted, sister — thou art gone !
Gone in thine innocence, meek, suffering one.
Thy weary spirit breathed itself to sleep
So peacefully, it seemed a sin to weep,
In those fond watchers who around thee stood.
And felt, e'en then, that God, e'en then, was good.
Like stars that struggle through the clouds of night,
Thine eyes one moment caught a glorious light,
As if to thee, in that dread hour, 'twere given
To know on earth what faith believes of heaven ;
Then like tired breezes didst thou sink to rest,
Nor one, one pang the awful change confessed :
Death stole in softness o'er that lovelv face,
And touched each feature with a new-born grace ;
On cheek and brow unearthly beauty lay,
And told that life's poor cares had passed away ;
In my last hour be Heaven so kind to me !
I ask no more than this — to die like thee.

But we have parted, sister — thou art dead !
On its last resting-place I laid thy head,


Then by tliy coffin side knelt down, and took

A brother's farewell kiss and farewell look ;

Those marble lips no kindred kiss returned ;

From those veiled orbs no glance responsive burned :

Ah, then I felt that thou hadst passed away,

That the sweet face I gazed on was but clay ;

And then came Memory, with her busy throng

Of tender images, forgotten long ;

Years hurried back, and as they swiftly rolled,

I saw thee, heard thee, as in days of old :

Sad and more sad each sacred feeling grew ;

Manhood was moved, and Sorrow claimed her due ;

Thick, thick and fast the burning teardrops started ;

I turned away — and felt that we had parted. —

But not forever — in the silent tomb,
Where thou art laid, thy kindred shall find room ;
A little while, a few short years of pain,
And one by one we'll come to thee again ;
The kind old father shall seek out the place.
And rest with thee, the youngest of his race ;
The dear, dear mother, bent with age and grief,
Shall lay her head by thine, in sweet relief ;
Sister and brother, and that faithful friend.
True from the first, and tender to the end, —
All, all, in His good time, who placed us here.
To live, to love, to die, and disappear.
Shall come and make their quiet bed with thee,
Beneath the shadow of that spreading tree ;
With thee to sleep through death's long, dreamless

With thee rise up and bless the morning light.





Sanctified afflictions are prescribed in heaven for
purifying our corruptions : " By this, therefore, shall
the iniquity of Jacob be purged ; and this is all the
fruit to take away his sin." (Is. xxvii. 9.) It is a glass
to represent the evil of sin and the vanity of the crea-
ture, to imbitter the world, and draw thy affections
from it. Fall in, therefore, with the gracious design
of God ; connect every affliction with prayer that
God would follow it with his blessing. God kills thy
comforts from no other design but to kill thy corrup-
tions ; wants are ordained to kill wantonness, poverty
is appointed to kill pride, reproaches are permitted
to destroy ambition. Happy is the man who under-
stands, approves, and heartily concurs with the design
of God in afflicting providences.




Another of God's servants hath put on
The garment of salvation. Young, and loved,
And beautiful, as if this world of pain
Were not unangelled, she hath dashed aside
Earth's sweetest draught, and thirsting for the springs
Of a celestial fountain, hath gone up
To taste the coolness of the living stream.

Peace to thee, sister — peace. We weep that thou
Hast left us thus alone ; our fairest flower
Faded in spring-time beauty ; our first star
Gone out at eventide. With thy soft smile,
And the glad music of thy gentle voice,
And all the spells with which thou'dst garnered love,
Thou hast passed from us ; and in grief we tread
Life's desert pathway onward, sorrowing much
That thy beguiling ministry will cheer
Our weary steps no more. But 0, for thee,
For thee, our sister, o'er a sinless heart
Folding a seraph's garment — to thy lip.
In the first thirst of an immortal thought,
Lifting an angel's chalice — who can weep ?

Joy, joy for thee, sweet sister ! Thou wilt feel
Life's bitterness no more. Thou hast put off
Earth's heavy raiment, and arrayed in white,



Hast gone to tread in holiness and joy

The house of many mansions. Joy for thee !

The gifted and the mighty of old time

Shall win thee from thy solitude, and teach

Thy lip the hallelujah to our God,

And all the hymns of heaven ; and thou shalt rest

Under the branches of the tree of life,

And bathe thy fingers in the living stream

Whose waters have no murmur, and shalt win

A compass and a mastery of mind

To fathom the deep mysteries of God,

And thou shalt soar with Gabriel, and tread

The mighty chambers of the vaulted sky,

Spanning the universe as with a thought.

And such shall be thy labor ; but thy depth

Of blessedness, whose fountain is the light

Of God's eternal presence, who can tell ?

Pray for us, sister, — if a spirit's lip
May breathe a prayer in heaven, — that we, from whom
Thou'st parted for a season, may so tread
This veil of sorrow, that when life hath passed,
We may go up to thee, and claim thy hand,
To lead us where the living waters flow.


HAVE NO HOPE." — i Thess. iv. 13.

Rev. Charles Wesley.

If death my friend and me divide,
Thou dost not, Lord, ray sorrow chide,

Nor frown my tears to see ;
Restrained from passionate excess,
Thou bidd'st me mourn, in calm distress,

For them that rest in thee.

I feel a strong, immortal hope,
Which bears my mournful spirit up

Beneath its mountain load :
Redeemed from death, and grief, and pain,
I soon shall find my friend again.

Within the arms of God. *

Pass the few fleeting moments more.
And death the blessing shall restore,
Which death hath snatched away ;
. For me, thou wilt the summons send.
And give me back my parted friend.
In that eternal day.



Jeremy Taylor.

Death is a thing that is no great matter in itself,
if we consider that we die daily, that it meets us in
every accident, that every creature carries a dart
along with it, and can kill us. And, therefore, when
Lysimachus threatened Theodorus to kill him, he told
him, that was no great matter to do, and he could do
no more than the cantharides could ; a little fly could
do as much.

Of all the evils of the world which are reproached
with an evil character, death is the most innocent of
its accusation. For when it is present, it hurts no-
body ; and when it is absent, it is indeed troublesome,
but the trouble is owing to our fears,, not to the
affrighting and mistaken object ; and besides this, if it
were an evil, it is so transient, that it passes like the
instant or undiscerned portion of the present time ;
and either it is past, or it is not yet ; for just when it
is, no man hath reason to complain of so insensible, so
sudden, so undiscerned a change. If we be afraid of
death, it is but reasonable to use all spiritual arts to
take off the apprehension of the evil : but therefore
we ought to remove our fear, because fear gives to
death wings, and spurs, and darts. Death hastens to
a fearful man : if, therefore, vou would make death


harmless and slow, to throw off fear is the way to do
it ; and prayer is the way to do that. If thou wilt
be fearless of death, endeavor to be in love with the
felicities of saints and angels, and be once persuaded
to believe that there is a condition of living better
than this ; that there are creatures more noble than
we ; that above there is a country better than ours ;
that the inhabitants know more and know better, and
are in places of rest and desire ; and first learn to
value it, and then learn to purchase it, and death can-
not be a formidable thing, which lets us into so much
joy and so much felicity. " The dead that die in the
Lord" shall converse with St. Paul, and all the col-
lege of the apostles, and all the saints and martyrs,
with all the good men whose memory we preserve in
honor, with excellent kings and holy bishops, and with
the great Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, Jesus Christ,
and with God himself. For " Christ died for us, that,
whether we wake or sleep, we might live together with
him." Then we shall be free from lust and envy, from
fear and rage, from covetousness and sorrow, from
tears and cowardice ; and these, indeed, property are
the only evils that are contrary to felicity and wisdom.
Then we shall see strange things, and know new propo-
sitions, and all things in another manner, and to higher

", Yea, though I walk tlirough the valley of the shadow of death, I will
fear no evil ; for thou art mth me ; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."
— Psalm xxiii.




Thou art gone to the grave ! but we will not deplore
Though sorrows and darkness encompass the tomb,
Thy Savior has passed through its portals before thee,
And the lamp of his love is thy guide tlirough the
gloom !

Thou art gone to the grave ! we no longer behold thee,
Nor tread the rough paths of the Avorld by thy side ;

But the wide arms of Mercy are spread to infold thee,
And sinners may die, for the Sinless has died !

Thou art gone to the grave ! and, its mansion for-
Perchance thy weak spirit in fear lingered long ;
But the mild rays of paradise beamed on thy waking,
And the sound which thou heard'st was the sera-
phim's song !

Thou art gone to the grave ! but we will not deplore

Whose God was thy ransom, thy guardian and guide ;
He gave thee, he took thee, and he will restore thee,

And death has no sting, for the Savior has died !




Rev. T. Brooks.

To silence and quiet your souls under the afflicting
hand of God, dwell much upon the brevity or short-
ness of man's life. This present life is not life, but a
motion, a journey towards life. Man's life, saith one,
is the shadow of smoke, yea, the dream of a shadow.
Saith another, Man's life is so short, that Austin
doubted whether to call it a dying life or a living
death. Thou hast but a day to live, and perhaps thou
mayst be now in the twelfth hour of that day ; there-
fore hold out faith and patience, thy troubles and thy
life will shortly end together ; therefore hold thy
peace, thy grave is going to be made, thy sun is near
setting, death begins to call thee off the stage of this
world, death stands at thy back, thou must shortly sail
forth upon the ocean of eternity ; though thou hast a
great deal of work to do, a God to honor, a Christ to
close with, a soul to save, a race to run, a crown to
win, a hell to escape, a pardon to beg, a heaven to
make sure, yet thou hast but a little time to do it in ;
thou hast one foot in the grave, thou art even going
ashore on eternity ; and wilt thou not cry out of thy
afflictions? Wilt thou not mutter and murmur when
thou art entering upon an unchangeable condition?


What extreme folly and madness is it for a man to
mutter and murmur when he is just going out of
prison, and his bolts and chains are just knocking off!
Why, Christian, this is just thy case ; therefore hold
thy peace ; thy life is but short, therefore thy troubles
cannot be long ; hold up, and hold out quietly and
patiently a little longer, (Rom. viii. 18,) and heaven
shall make amends for all.


Willis Gaylord Clark..

'Tis an autumnal eve — the low winds sighing

To wet leaves, rustling as they hasten by ;
The eddying gusts to tossing boughs replying,

And ebon darkness filling all the sky ;
The moon, pale mistress, palled in solemn vapor ;

The rack swift wandering through the void above,
As I, a mourner by my lonely taper,

Send back to faded hours the plaint of love.

Blossoms of peace, once in my pathway springing,
Where have your brightness and your splendor
gone ?

And thou, whose voice to me came sweet as singing,
What region holds thee, in the vast unknown ?

What star far brighter than the rest contains thee,
Beloved, departed — empress of my heart ?


What bond of full beatitude enchains thee
In realms unveiled by pen or prophet's art ?

Ah, loved and lost ! in these autumnal hours,

When fairy colors deck the painted tree.
When the vast woodlands seem a sea of flowers,

0, then my soul, exulting, bounds to thee —
Springs as to clasp thee yet in this existence.

Yet to behold thee at my lonely side ;
But the fond vision melts at once to distance,

And my sad heart gives echo — she has died !

Yes ! when the morning of her years was brightest.

That angel presence into dust went down ;
While yet with rosy dreams her rest was lightest.

Death, for the olive, wove the cypress crown ;
Sleep which no waking knows overcame her bosom,

O'er came her large, bright, spiritual eyes ;
Spared in her bower connubial one fair blossom —

Then bore her spirit to the upper skies.

There let me meet her, when, life's struggles over.

The pure in love and thought their faith renew, —
Where man's forgiving and redeeming Lover

Spreads out his paradise to every view.
Let the dim autumn, with its leaves descending.

Howl on the winter's verge! — yet spring will
come :
So my freed soul, no more 'gainst fate contending,

With all it loveth shall regain its home !




Mrs. Julia Nokton.

Again has Autumn scattered over tliese precious
mounds of earth her faded, leafy mantle. Lightly it
rests upon their unobtrusive elevations, beneath which
sleep some of earth's richest treasures.

And are these perishing mementoes all that re-
main of their deeply-cherished worth ? No. The halo
of glory with which their virtues have encircled their
memory shall never fade away. Our heavenly Guide
Book teaches us that " the memory of the just is

Then be still, my aching heart, and thankfully follow
life's beaten path until we are permitted to meet again
— to meet where their beautiful spirits are bathing in
immortal love and immortal knowledge. They have
passed through the " chances and changes " of this
mortal life, and plumed their wings for an everlasting
flight, where they can calmly review life's stormy sea,
and contemplate their future blessedness in their eter-
nal home. They sought the path that leads up to the
city of God, and thus entered into joy and felicity —
into an eternity vast and shoreless. They have en-
tered the swelling stream of bliss, which is mysterious


and fathomless. Far beyond the troubled waters of
time their ever-increasing capacity for enjoyment will
perpetually rise, and fill to the brim their cup of

Imagination here droops her wearied pinions, yet
still continues to wander in search of those beloved
spirits which have soared to the invisible world, un-
willing to break the chain that binds it to those so
dearly loved, so fondly cherished. And although the
wounded heart has passed through the hour when it
bled at every ruptured tie, — when cares and heavy
woes pressed long upon its very existence, until nought
was left but meek submission, — the belief that it again
will meet and recognize, in a higher and holier state
of existence, those so dearly loved upon the earth,
buoys up the heart, and bids it look forward to its
initiation into the celestial world, where the long-
incarcerated soul shall be free, and independent of
the feeble inlets of knowledge by the senses. When
the veil of mortality shall be riven, the stormy Jordan
passed, and the world of abiding realities entered, —
then the world of deceptive and fleeting shadows will
have forever passed away.

Sweet is it to hold converse with the pious dead.
A holy influence emanates from their blissful home,
and tills the soul with a feeling of sacred and solemn
awe. The spirit whispers peace, and fills the waiting
caverns of the soul with the bright hope of again
meeting those whom we believe to be in the abodes
of redeemed and happy spirits. In vivid expectancy
it awaits the morning of the resurrection, and the



happy reunion of kindred souls, where no tear of
grief bedews the cheek, no agonizing farewell rends
the heart ; where a purer and holier love will fill the
bosom than earth has ever known ; where dwell our
kindred with the wise and good of untold ages ;
where the " open ear of the soul " will obtain knowl-
edge from patriarchs and angels ; where our immor-
tal spirits shall go free, and, wafted by angel wings,
survey the boundless ocean of eternity.


Mrs. Hemans.

They grew in beauty, side by side,
They filled one home with glee ;

Their graves are severed, far and wide,
By mount, and stream, and sea.

The same fond mother bent at night
O'er each fair, sleeping brow ;

She had each folded flower in sight —
Where are those dreamers now ?

One, 'midst the forest of the west,

By a dark stream is laid ;
The Indian knows his place of rest.

Far in the cedar shade.


The sea, the blue, lone sea hath one —

He lies where pearls lie deep ;
He was the loved of all, yet none

O'er his low bed may weep.

One sleeps where southern vines are dressed,

Above the noble slain :
He wrapped his colors round his breast

On a blood-red field of Spain.

And one — o'er her the myrtle showers

Its leaves, by soft winds fanned ;
She faded 'midst Italian flowers —
• The last of that bright band.

And parted thus they rest, who played

Beneath the same green tree,
Whose voices mingled as they prayed

Around one parent knee.

They that with smiles lit up the hall,
And cheered with song the hearth —

Alas for love, if thou wert all.

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Online LibraryMartha Noyes WilliamsVoices from the silent land; or, Leaves of consolation for the afflicted → online text (page 5 of 14)