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as “an heritage of the Lord;” and feels that they are related to the deepest and purest affections of his heart; God loves them “with an everlasting love,” and has environed them by His providence, addressed them in the Bible, and given them into angel charge ; and the World's Redeemer has taken them up in His arms, clasped them to His swelling bosom, bound a wreath of ever-living glory round their young brows, and blessed them; and, what is infinitely beyond all, has died on Calvary's cross to redeem them from perishing!
GATHERED SPRING FLOWERS.
“There is a Reaper whose name is Death,
And, with his sickle keen,
And the flowers that grow between.
• Have nought but the bearded grain ? Though the breath of these flowers is sweet to me,
I will give them all back again.'
He kissed their drooping leaves ;
He bound them in his sheaves."
Death is in the world: this is as clear as the sun in the sky. It is also equally clear that all, without a single exception, are his intendedly-fated victims, and that it will be an utter impossibility to elude his piercing eye, or avoid the fatal shaft sent from his bow. Sombre, indeed, is the reflection, that whatever be the circumstance of each - whether kings occupying thrones, or beggars sit
ting on dunghills — whether rich or poor, reverenced or despised — we are converging towards one destined point
“ And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
But what seems to add a far deeper melancholy to such a solemn reflection is, that the infant just born into the world, and awoke to life to behold the sunshine of a mother's smile, to listen to a mother's lullaby, and to feel the warm and strong beatings of a mother's heart, should perish prematurely. We can understand, to some extent, why advanced humanity should die. Constituted as it now is, its evergoing machinery naturally wears itself out, and cannot work beyond a given period. It is then for a while dispensed with, whilst the intelligent and deathless spirit soars to immortal regions. It has, as the late Dr. Chalmers beautifully styled it, the Sabbath morning and afternoon of life; the evening shadows then fall, and the night of death sets in upon it. But it seems a strange mystery why nature's fairest spring flowers should be so early blasted by the cold
breath of the Destroyer. “Reason here is all perplexity; philosophy is nonplussed; and science dumb-founded.” Death itself is an enigma, which becomes more profound in the exit of little children.
It is an essential point to consider first why death is in the world at all; for such a consideration will doubtless elucidate a great portion of the mystery associated with the death of infants, and facilitate our endeavour to arrive at just and scriptural views of this sad theme.
Various theories have obtained amongst different classes of thinkers concerning death. Some have spoken of it as a part of that necessary discipline which the Governor of the World exerciseth over the entire human family, the benefits of which are to be seen only at the resurrection. Others have represented it as “ the debt of nature,” which, when paid, mankind are free from all future evil. The naturalist states our mortality-as he does our sorrows to be the absolute and unerring result of nature's fixed laws, which are like the unalterable decrees of the Medes and Persians. He avers that it is man's destiny to die—that he was constituted expressly to die. Jeremy
Taylor propounds a theory in some respects not unlike this, and maintains that “that death which God threatened to Adam, and which passed upon his posterity, is not the going out of this world, but the manner of going.” This is the least objectionable theory of the three named. But we think the Bible teaches a far different philosophy of death : and though its doctrine brings human pride down to the dust, we prefer it a thousand-fold to the theories fabricated by erring man. In his peculiarlynervous style, St. Paul—the prince of apostolic writers—unfolds the whole subject in a few inspired words:—"By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”— Rom. v. 12. In the Bible, then, death is declared expressly to be the "wages of sin.” This puts an end to all controversy on this sombre question. It is temporal punishment on the guilty violaters of God's righteous law. Divine vengeance has smitten humanity with a fatal plague, which is constantly sweeping off the earth-to the darkness, and silence, and corruption of the tomb—the beauty, the intelligence, and the life of myriads. It has