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Past Life.

A Fragment.

“The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.”

* * * * He stood upon the verge of existence, and there saw stretched out before him the map of his eventful life. Afar in the distance he beheld himself, as in infancy, basking in the <<545>>warm sunshine of maternal love, and anon in the gay season of boyhood, coursing along the merry streamlets to gather the buds of joy that fringed their dewy sides.

And yet a little farther onward, he saw himself in the full flush of youth, striving with eager haste to gather the harvest that knowledge had opened to his gaze. He looked upon himself, as in manhood, ere disappointment had damped his ardour, or sickness diminished his strength, when hope with her wand conjured up before his enraptured sight beautiful visions and sweet vistas, when all was purity and truth, when, shunning the paths of pleasure, he had striven to reach those virtues and attainments that would enable him to perform more readily the duties of life.

But pain and sorrow threw their gloom over his brow, whilst the bonds of affection were torn asunder, and friendships had flown to a home more bright. Faith came to his aid, the gloom vanished from his brow, his mind regained its power, and once more the sons of earth felt honoured in his smile. But, isolated and alone, he sought only those upon whom the crown of sorrow weighed heavily, and found happiness in healing the wounds of the spirit-broken.

And now, as he stood upon the threshold of eternity, and beheld his past life in all its lights and shadows, he saw how far the days of sunshine had outnumbered the hours of gloom, and how even those moments of affliction had thrown into stronger light the purity of affection, with all its radiance and beauty. He saw, too, the many pitfalls that had lain in his path, and into which he must have fallen, had not Faith been his guide and support; and he blessed that Providence which had converted the seeming evil into surpassing good.

A shade of melancholy came over his spirit, as he felt how soon a void would be felt by those who fondly looked for his smile; but it soon passed away, as thoughts of the might and mercy of God’s love filled his heart; for, he knew that when he departed, He would be to them a Father and a Friend, and the last earthly tie was severed as the voice of Faith sounded musically in his ear, “Behold, the reliever cometh, and the gates of light shall soon be opened to thee.”

He turned, and saw a spirit of majestic presence standing on the right of Faith. His form was clothed with the mists of night. On his brow sat enshrined the glory of eternity. In his eyes <<546>>beamed forth more than human love. “Child of earth, but heir of immortality,” said he, “to those whom Faith guides to this acclivity, I am the messenger of everlasting Love. For these no terrors enshroud my brow, nor are their souls withered by the lightning of my glance. But to those who venture here unguided and alone, for them the gates of bliss open not, but all down the dark and rugged path of doubt and mistrust, where linger the phantoms of evil imaginings and impure desires, unguided must they seek their way, if repentance with her absolving power comes not, ere it be too late, to their aid. But come; thy days on earth are ended, and heaven is open to thy spirit’s abode, where bliss is so pure that it needs no sorrow to enhance it, and where the mind and heart find at last the fullness of their desire.”

S. S.