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THERE is much wisdom in the counsel of the sacred writer, “In the day of adversity, consider.” Affliction, a stern but efficient teacher, disposes the mind and heart to receive instruction. When bereavement comes upon us, we are naturally disposed to look beyond the perishable treasures and gratifications of this world, and seek for something on which we may stay our souls with unwavering confidence; some rock of refuge which no tempest can shake-no torrent remove. It seems to be a principle implanted in our constitution by the Creator, that the unavoidable sorrows of this life should convince us of its uncertainty; and divert the mind from that which is finite and perishable, to the illimitable and immortal—the future world; which is the home of the soul, the object of its constant though, sometime, unconscious aspirations. The discovery of the utter incompetency of earthly objects to satisfy the desires of an immortal soul, is often the beginning of a new life; and this discovery most frequently résults from some stroke of affliction.
An afflicted person who is desirous to make a proper and christian use of the dispensations of Providence, is willing to keep the subject in his mind by meditation and prayer; and by reading. He has frequent recourse to the word of God for assistance and direction; and he seeks for other serious books, which offer advice and sympathy suited to the circumstances of his case. It is soothing and grateful to him to have the mourners of other times and distant lands breathe forth
their sorrows in the language which his own feelings are prompting him to utter. Heart speaks to heart, and a common sorrow unites him in strong bonds of brotherlood with all of his race, who have mourned like himself. When the heart is thus softened by sympathy, it is ready to hear the voice of Christian counsel, and learn the precious uses of adversity. Then is the period when much may be done by serious admonition and affectionate warning—when every thing may be hoped from persevering effort on the part of Christian friends. It is the season when the thoughtless may be awakened, and the pious rendered more diligent in their duties; when all who have felt the chastening may participate in its corrective influence.
To aid in the proper use and application of seasons of adversity, this little volume has been prepared. It is the work by which a bereaved parent sought to impress on her own mind, as well as to urge upon the minds of others, the importance of making a pious use of afflictive events. The employment afforded by the prosecution of it, has mitigated the anguish of a wound which none but the Great Physician can heal. She trusts that the reading of its pages may be as consolatory to others, as the preparation of them has been to herself; and that it may lead those who are called upon to mourn their departed blessings and friends, to rest their hopes on Him that is able to console and to save.
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