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FAREWELL ADDRESS OF MRS. MARGARET CAMPBELL TO HER DAUGHTERS. SPOKEN TO THEM IN THE IMMEDIATE PROSPECT OF DEATH.
[From the Christian Baptist, Vol. V.] MY DEARLY BELOVED CHILDREN, It appears to be the will of our Heavenly Father to separate me from you by death. The only desire I have had to live for some time past was for the good of my family. For myself I could expect to enjoy nothing more on this earth than I have already enjoyed ; and, therefore, for my own enjoyment, it is much better for me to be taken away than to continue with you. But I am reconciled to leave you, when I consider that if I continued with you I could not preserve you from evil. I might, indeed, advise you and instruct you ; but if you hear not Moses and the prophets, Christ and the Apostles, neither would you be persuaded by me. And as to natural evils, it is God alone who can defend you from these. You are able to read the oracles of God, and these are your wisest and safest instructors in everything. But I am reconciled to leave you from another consideration. I was left without a mother when I was younger than any of you ; and when I reflect how kindly and mercifully our Heavenly Father dealt with me; how he watched over my childhood, and guarded my youth, and guided me until now, I am taught to commit you, without a fear or an anxiety, into his hands. The experience I have had of his abundant goodness to me, emboldens me to commend you to him. But you must remember that you can only enjoy his favour, and I can hope for his blessing upon you, only so far as you believe in, and obey him. I have said you can all read the Holy Scriptures. This is what I much desired to be able to say of the youngest of you; and it is with great pleasure I repeat it, you can all read that blessed book, from which I have derived more happiness than from any other source under the skies. The happiest circumstance in all my life I consider to be that which gave me a taste for reading and a desire for understanding the New Testament. This I have considered, and do now consider, to be one of the greatest blessings which has resulted to me from my acquaintance with your father. Although I have had a religious education from my father, and was early taught the necessity and importance of religion, yet it was not until I became acquainted with the contents of this book, which you have seen me so often read, that I came to understand the character of God, and to enjoy a firm and unbounded confidence in all his promises. And now I tell you, my dear children, that all your comfort and happiness in this life, and in that to come, must be deduced from an intimate acquaintance with the Lord Jesus Christ. I have found his character, as delineated by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, in their testimonies, exceedingly precious; and the more familiarly I am acquainted with it, the more confidence, love, peace, and joy, I have ; and the more I desire to be with him. I say to you, then, with all the affection of a mother, and now about to leave you, I entreat you, as you love me and your own lives, study and meditate upon the words and actions of the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember how kindly he has spoken to, and of, little children ; and that there is no good thing which he will withhold from them who love him and walk uprightly.
With regard to your father, I need only, I trust, tell you, that in obeying him, you obey God : for God has commanded you to honour him, and in honouring your father, you honour him that bade you so to do. It is my greatest joy in leaving you, that I leave you under the parental care of one who can instruct you in all the important concerns of life, and who I know will teach you to choose the good part, and to place your affections upon the only object supremely worthy of them. Consider him as your best earthly friend, and, next to your Heavenly Father, your wisest and most competent instructor, guardian, and guide. While he is over you, or you under him, never commence, nor undertake, nor prosecute any important object without advising with him. Make him your counsellor, and still remember the first commandment with a promise.
As to your conversation with one another, when it is not upon the ordinary business of life, let it be on subjects of importance, improving to your minds. I beseech you to avoid that light, foolish, and vain conversation about dress and fashion, so common among females. Neither let the subject of apparel fill your hearts, nor dwell upon your tongues. You have never heard me do so. Let your apparel be sober, clean, and modest ; but every thing vain and fantastic avoid. If persons wish to recommend themselves to the vain and the giddy, they will dress and adorn themselves to please such persons ; but as I would deplore the idea of your either choosing or approving such companions, I would caution you, and entreat you to avoid the conversation, manners, and apparel, which would attract the attention of such persons. They are poor companions in sickness and death; they are no helpmeets in the toils and sorrows of life, and, therefore, we ought not to study to please them in the days of youth and health. I never desired to please such persons ; if I had, my lot might have been, and, no doubt, would have been, far different. No, my dear children, I chose the course which I now ap
prove, and which, when leaving the world, I recommend to you. And I am sure you can never be more happy in any other course, than I have been in that which I recommend to you. Persons ot discernment, men and women, of good understanding, and of good education, will approve you ; and it is among these, in the society of these, with such company, I wish you to live and die. I have often told you and instanced to you when in health-the vain pursuits and unprofitable vanities of some females who have spent the prime and vigour of their lives in the servile pursuits of fashion, some of whom have grown grey in the service ; and where and what are they now? Let these be as beacons to you. 1, therefore, entreat you neither to think of, nor pursue, nor talk upon such subjects. Strive only to approve yourselves to God, and to commend yourselves to the discerning, the intelligent, the pious. Seek their society, consult their taste, and endeavonr to make yourselves worthy of their esteem.
But there is one thing which is necessary to all goodness, which is essential to all virtue, godliness, and happiness; I mean necessary to the daily and constant exhibition of every Christian accomplishment-and that is, to keep in mind the words that Hagar uttered in her solitude, “ Thou, God, seest me." You must know and feel, my dear children, that my affection for you, and my desires for your present and future happiness cannot be surpassed by any human being. The God that made me your mother, has, with his own finger, planted this in my breast, and his Holy Spirit has written it upon my heart. Love you I must, feel for you I must ; and I once more say unto you, remember these words, and not the words only, but the truth contained in them—“ Thou, God, seest me." This will be a guard against a thousand follies, and against every temptation.
I must, however, tell you, that I have great confidence in the Lord, that you will remember and act upon, and according to the instructions given you. I feel grateful to you for your kind attention to me during my long illness ; although it was your duty, still I must thank you for it ; and I pray the Lord to bless, and, indeed, I know that he will bless you for it.
I cannot speak to you much more upon this subject. I have already, and upon various occasions, suggested to you other instructions, which I need not, as, indeed, I cannot, now repeat. As the Saviour, when last addressing his disciples, commanded and entreated them to love one another, so I beseech you to love one another. It is scarcely necessary, I hope, to exhort you to this ; nevertheless, I will mention it to you, and beg of you, all your lives through, to love one another, and to seek to make one another happy by all the means in your power. But I must have done, and once more commend you to God and to the word of his grace ; even to him who is able to edify you, and to give you an inheritance among all that are sanctified. That we may all meet together in the heavenly kingdom, is my last prayer for you : and as you desire it, remember the words of him who is the way, the truth, and the life. Amen.
SORROW FOR THE DEAD.
(From the Christian Baptist, Vol. V.] [The following article appears to connect itself with the Obituary notice in our last number, p. 129, &c. It appeared in the Christian Baptist about three months after the decease of the person there mentioned. Let the reader, if he pleases, look back to that article before he peruses these deeply affecting lines.-W. J.]
The sorrow for the dead is the only sorrow from which we refuse to be divorced. Every other wound we seek to heal — every other affliction to forget ; but this wound we consider it a duty to keep open-this affliction we cherish and brood over in solitude. Where is the mother that would willingly forget the infant that perished like a blossom from her arms, though every recollection is a pang? Where is the child that would willingly forget the most tender parents, though to remember be but to lament? Who, even in the hour of agony, would forget the friend over whom he mourns ? Who, even when the tomb is closed upon the remains of her he most loved, and he feels his heart, as it were, crushed in the closing of its portal, would accept consolation that was to be bought by forgetfulness ? No! the love which survives the tomb is one of the noblest attributes of the soul! If it has its woes, it has likewise its delights; and when the overwhelming burst of grief is calmed into the gentle tear of recollection ; when the sudden anguish and the convulsive agony over the present ruins of all that we most loved is softened away into pensive meditation on all that it was in the days of its loveliness
who would root out such a sorrow from the heart? Though it may sometimes throw a passing cloud even over the bright hour of gaiety, or spread a deeper sadness over the hour of gloom; yet who would exchange it even for the song of pleasure, or the burst of revelry? No! there is a voice from the tomb sweeter than song! There is a recollection of the dead, to which we turn even from the charms of the living. Oh the grave! the grave! It buries every error-covers every defect-extinguishes every resentment. From its peaceful bosom spring none but fond regrets and tender recollections. Who can look down upon the grave,
even of an enemy, and not feel a compunctious throb that ever he should have warred with the poor handful of earth that lies mouldering before him!
But the grave of those we loved—what a place for meditation! Then it is that we call up in long review the whole history of virtue and gentleness, and the thousand endearments lavished upon us, almost unheeded, in the daily intercourse of intimacy ; then it is that we dwell upon the tenderness, the solemn, awful tenderness of the parting scene-the bed of death, with all its stified griefs, its noiseless attendance, its mute, watchful assiduities—the last testimonies of expiring love—the feeble, fluttering, thrilling, O how thrilling! pressure of the hand—the last fond look of the gazing eye, turning upon us, even from the threshold of existence—the faint, faltering accents, struggling in death to give one more assurance of affection!
Aye, go to the grave of buried love and meditate! There settle the account with thy conscience for every past benefit unrequited-every past endearment unregarded, of that departed being who can never--never return to be soothed by thy contrition!
If thou art a child, and hast ever added a sorrow to the soul, or a furrow to the silvered brow of an affectionate parent-if thou art a husband, and hast ever caused the fond bosom that ventured its whole happiness in thy arms, to doubt one moment of thy kindness or thy truth—if thou art a friend, and hast ever wronged, in thought, or word, or deed, the spirit that generously confided in thee-if thou art a lover, and has ever given one unmerited pang to that true heart that now lies cold and still beneath thy feet; then be sure that every unkind look, every ungracious word, every ungentle action, will come thronging back upon thy memory, and knocking dolefully at thy soul—then be sure that thou wilt lie down sorrowing and repentant on the grave, and utter the unheard groan, and pour the unavailing tear, more deep, more bitter, because unheard and unavailing.
Then weave thy chaplet of flowers, and strew the beauties of nature about the grave ; console thy tender spirit, if thou canst, with these tender, yet futile tributes of regret ; but take warning by the bitterness of this thy contrite affliction over the dead, and be more faithful and affectionate in the discharge of thy duties to the living.