|Vol. IV, No. 5
Ab 5606, August 1846
By a Moralizing Layman.
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.—Psalms 30:5.
My Dear Readers,—
It is doubtful whether I could have chosen a more appropriate moment for the selection of this text than the present. Whilst I write, our nation is in the midst of its national mourning, and whilst our houses of prayer are clothed in gloom, the hearts of all true Israelites, overflowing with grief, are bitterly lamenting the loss of our home, our glory, and all that constitutes our nationality. Throughout the wide world, the scattered people of God are now mourning over their departed glory, and memory sickens at the remembrance of the hours when
It is, indeed, with us the season of weeping and sadness. But, behold! a voice bringing comfort and consolation, has said, "Say unto Jerusalem, that her warfare is accomplished;" and now when we look abroad, and observe the events fast transpiring around and about us, we gather an assurance of its truth. The time is rapidly approaching when Israel shall find rest, and the seed of Jacob be comforted. The streaks of light now faintly gleaming in the East, bid us believe that the morning which shall bring joy to our souls, is now about to dawn, and we, the persecuted and oppressed, whose ceaseless wanderings have been a marvel and a wonder to the world, shall speedily find rest for our wearied spirits. In the expectation of this happy restoration, let us commerce in due season the work of preparation, so that we may be made acceptable and worthy of the great benison about to be bestowed on us. The appositeness of the words of the text to the present condition of our nation, being thus briefly reviewed, let us pass to its consideration individually.
It being the common lot, that we should all endure either a greater or less degree of affliction in this life, the language of the "sweet singer of Israel," which conveys to us the consoling assurance that our woes shall not continue for ever, is a refreshing balm, that awakens us from despondency to hope and confidence. It is essentially necessary that such a promise should be extended to us; for there are moments, when afflictions and woes have so nearly exhausted all our faith, that but for such an assurance, we would yield without a struggle, and fall beneath the weight of our sorrows. As it is, hope is eternal. We have known those upon whom the chilling blasts of poverty have fallen so keenly, that the starving family, bereft of every earthly thing, have lain down to perish; and yet, as the broken-hearted father has surveyed the perishing children, clamouring in vain for food, and regarded the speechless wife, sinking rapidly beneath the gaunt power of famine, he has remembered those golden words, "joy cometh in the morning," his fainting spirit is yet upheld, and lo! when the dawn breaks upon them, they have not been forgotten; relief has been sent, and they are saved and comforted. The iron hand of death may interpose, and tear from a loving and lovely family its head and support, rudely snatching from them the very fountain of their joys; for a period, distress and wo will agitate the bereaved widow, and the cry of the orphan will ascend in loud and bitter lamentation, "refusing to be comforted;" but the healing power of time, shedding a benign and gentle influence, will close up the wounds, and the tears will be dried from their eyes, and joy again dwell with their spirits. Disappointments are continually occurring to us, and distress, at the failure of our hopes, induces despondency and gloom; but, as time rolls on, we find the disappointments we so deeply mourned were events transpiring for our good, and then joy cometh again to bless our souls. Thus, ever in life, we mourn not continually, and however dark the present hour, there is always in reserve some good not yet developed, which will be sent in the appointed time to cheer and elevate us. The whole history of life teems with this truth; every day that we live renders it more palpable to us.
Whilst we are all striving continually after comfort and happiness, some of us jeopardizing the safety of our souls in its attainment, let us devote some reflection to this subject as one of the means by which the great desire of our existence may be consummated. Let us consider the lesson that we can gather in a correct understanding of the afflictions that we are called upon to endure, whilst, with a living faith in the speedy return of joy, we address ourselves to that Source from which comfort is never refused; and let our lives be so dedicated to deeds of charity and purity, that in the midst of our severest trials that faith will burn with undying brightness. We must prepare ourselves for this happy state of mind, by a life free from irregularities and transgressions; by a life whose retrospections convey no assurance that our present woes are but the meet and proper rewards of former error. For should such be our unhappy conviction, it will be indeed difficult to bring to our aid and consolation the hope, that our sorrows will speedily terminate. Cognizant of the justice of the retribution that has been visited upon us, we can only wait with resignation, the interposition of the merciful attributes of the Power that hath dealt out unto us our reward. Therefore these reflections teach us the importance of a virtuous and a holy life, assured that from that source alone can we anticipate comfort in the hour of distress, or enjoyment in the day of prosperity. And we should feel thankful that our life is thus cast, that every thing incidental to its existence contains an admonition for our good, and that the examination of the tenure by which it is held, gives us a clearer conception of our duties and obligations.
But there is another meaning in the words of my text, far more precious than any to which I have yet alluded. It is the promise of joys enduring for eternity. When the night of our sad lives shall be closed—when such of you, my dear readers, as shall have passed through this world in sorrow and affliction, with your hearts bowed down in sadness, and your spirits bent beneath the weight of woes which overburdened and oppressed them—when you shall have finally passed the threshold of death: then shall the night of your affliction be passed, and a glorious morning open to your view—an eternal morning, the brightness of which shall never fade, the sweetness of whose refreshing joys shall never pall upon the sense. The bright promise, that "weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning," shall be realized unto you for ever and for ever. And the tears of wo, which coursed furrows in your cheek while living, shall prove dimpled joys, in which your satisfied spirit shall manifest the rest and happiness it hath found in its new abode. In the morning shall joy come, when the angel, lifting from your weary soul the habiliments of earth, shall translate to its proper levelling the etherealized spirit, purified by its afflictions, and fitted for companionship with those whose