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phant exclamations does he enter the deep bed of the river! “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith : henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”—2 TIMOTHY IV. 7, 8. “0 death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory ? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”—1 Cor. xv. 55, 57. Conquered, yet he conquers; and, when he falls, victory is emblazoned on his “shield of faith.” Then “the battle of life" is hushed; the work of earth is done; the probation closed; and death to the Christian is
* * * * “ Like a shadow thrown,
as he enters into the rest which remaineth for the people of God! But in the instance of a dying infant, we hear no rapturous exclamation-no bursting of immortal joy-10 defiant and holy triumph over death and the grave. All its utterances are those of dying agony, rising spontaneously from the fainting heart of the little sufferer: or else it dies in fettered and mournful silence. As far as we can learn it has no dread for the “unknown future”-no hope for the “land of deepest shade.” Luther says that little children “ die without fear or anguish, without disputes, and without the temptations which usually beset death :" so he judged from being an eye-witness of the exit of his dear child Madeleine. Parental and Christian sympathy cannot therefore encourage and strengthen them in nature's grand and solemn conflict. Yet, if Heaven has a peculiar regard for young life and infant being-if they are the protogées of His love, and if He upholds and strengthens the fainting spirit of the adult Christian in dying, surely He does not forget those little ones in death, who then have far greater need of His almighty help than in life, and whose angels do always behold His face in glory! It would indeed be strangely unlike Him whose nature is all love and sympathy, and who “gathers the lambs in his bosom,” to leave helpless infancy alone in the pitchy darkness of its last
earthly hour, to battle single-handed with the grisly foe, and to struggle by itself with the rough and dashing surges of the cold river of death! It would be the veriest difficulty for us to believe the fearful contrary.
“ Yes ! o'er the couch an angel spread
His pure ethereal wings,
Unutterable things :
And whisperd soft of anguish spar'd
Of bliss immortal given!
With dreams of opening heaven !"
Poor mother! the scalding tears of maternal sympathy gush forth as thou seest thy little babe's exquisite sufferings,—those foreshadowings of death — and canst not alleviate them! Its piercing cry of agony drives thee to distraction! Fain wouldest thou suffer in its stead ! But it must die in thy lap! And yet, though thou perceivest them not, there are other arms-and they are far mightier than thine-around that dying child. “The Good Shepherd” has carried the lamb to the heavenly pasture, and encircled its fair brow with a halo of everlasting glory! That cold and dead piece of clay lying on thy soft lap, or in the little cradle, is but the perishable cabinet, the precious jewel now sparkles in the diadem of Jesus! Thy piercing cry cannot awake it from its deep and mortal slumber!
In the infancy of the world there was no death. No law had been violated, no guilt contracted. The “old serpent” had not trailed over the fair flowers of Eden, nor passed over its lovely bosom, nor left his slime-mark on its bright pathways. The sky was cloudless and serene; the sun was ever clear; nature was without a seared leaf; man's heart without a care or a sorrow; and everything was brimful of jubilant gladness! But alas! man sinned; guilt was contracted; Paradise marred; the ground cursed; and humanity smitten with disease and death! But, blessed be God ! Jesus Christ has “magnified the law;" He has made an atonement for sin. He has captured death, and robbed him of his sting, and despoiled the grave of its victory. His blood “cleanseth from all sin.” Now, as earth began with Eden, but was marred by the first Adam's sin, it will end with Eden, because of the second Adam's death. “Para
dise Lost,” will yet be “ Paradise Regained.” And as there was a happy period when there was no temporal death, there will ultimately be a repetition of this delightful state, with this mighty and glorious difference-DEATH WILL HIMSELF DIE, and God and angels will bury him in a grave from whence he will obtain no resurrection! An immortal life will then pulsate in every heart, and a relaxless energy strengthen every nerve. “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” -REV. XXI. 4.