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which is the loveliest attire of the young; and in your warm affections let your parents have their due share. "They may be still with you ; but remember that they are returning to their earth, and that the grave which closes on them shall

open

for

you. A parent's curse or a parent's blessing is before you. O live with them so as that your flesh may rest with them in hope, and your spirits may mingle with theirs in

glory!

DISCOURSE IV.

THE CLAIMS OF WIDOWS.

1 TIMOTHY v.

3.

Honour widows that are widows

indeed.

It is a beautiful arrangement of Providence, that while the relations of life open a sphere for the exercise of various graces and virtues, the dissolution of those connexions calls forth principles into operation which could not have been exemplified with such lustre or utility in any other circumstances. Men under the impulse of caprice may leave that which they have reared to perish through their neglect, or may destroy it in the rage of malignant passion: but whatever superficial observers may suppose, or whatever the mind may suggest under the influence of gloomy forebodings and of disappointed hope, respecting the procedure of the Almighty, he wounds the heart to form it to penitence and devotion; and calls us to new scenes of action, that pious utility may show more abundantly the power of his grace, and mild resignation the efficacy of his consolations. It is thus apparent how dear our religious improvement is to the Father of goodness, and that for this purpose his wisdom and his love regulate the various changes of our condition.

The relation of husband and wife was formed by God, to excite those thus united to love and to good

works; and the separation which death produces
hath led to the display of a faith and patience of the
noblest order. Thus, also, an opportunity is afforded
for the exercise of charity in its best modifications,
in the relief of those whom sorrow hath bowed down,
and for the improvement of our own hearts in sobriety
and compassion. We are led to these remarks by the
character and by the precept in the text. Widows
formed a numerous class in the primitive church ; and
the Apostle felt himself called upon to state to them
their appropriate duties, and to others the respect
which they owed them. We will not wonder at the
favour with which persons of this class regarded the
gospel, when we consider the light which it sheds on
a future state, and the sympathy it provides for the
mourners, and contrast this with the uncertainty as to
another life in which heathenism left them, and the
cold and selfish spirit which it breathed.
- In this discourse I shall call your attention, in the
first place, to the spirit and character of the true
widow, and shall then explain the honour here en-
joined to be paid to her.

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I. Let us then consider the spirit and character of the true widow. The accuracy and fidelity of the Apostle are apparent in the moral discrimination with which he delineates their characters, to whom the pris vileges and the consolations he is describing pertain; and while he encourages the humble and the timid, he represses the presumptuous with due severity. The widow he recommends to the countenance of the church, is one whose character is such as entitles her to it.

1. She is one who is properly affected with the afflictive circumstances of her lot. There are many things which render the death of a husband a great calamity. The loss of his conversation and counsels, his sympathy and kindness, the loss of his exertions to support, gratify, and bless a family, for whose bappiness he seemed to live, calls up feelings of strong and bitter regret. The path over which his partner walked with him had its difficulties, but these were smoothed by his care ;

while
every

beautiful scene through which it led was enhanced by the delight which it gave him. Now her path appears dark and lonely, full of perils which she must encounter alone; and where it may present spots of verdure and fragrance, they can only be seen through her tears.

The removal of a husband often brings with it the termination of that intercourse with others which contributes to enliven and to improve. The hasty visit of condolence is soon paid, and she is left to feel her desolation ; nay, it not unfrequently happens that those most obliged by the hospitality and the good offices of a husband are the first to desert his family. The neglect of the selfish and the ungrateful renders reflection on the kindness of him who is no more still more painful. She feels that now her sorrows and fears must be shut up in her own heart. Happy is it when the full heart is relieved in the sweet and safe disclosures of devotion !

If the widow is left with children, many bitter anxieties and fears are suggested respecting their course and lot in the world; she is afraid that her control will be too feeble for the violent, that her inexperience will unfit her for giving suitable warnings and counsels as to the snares and difficulties of life ; while she feels that she cannot employ the methods which their father might have used for establishing them in the world, or securing them the counte. nance of others.

2. She is one who is mortified to the gaieties and dissipations of life. This is clearly intimated by the Apostle, when he contrasts her with one that lives in pleasure, and who is dead, while she liveth. The death of a husband is an event fitted to produce the most solemn impressions of the uncertainty and the emptiness of all earthly enjoyments, and of the nearness of his partner to death and judgment. The presence and the happiness of those we love is the principal charm in every scene of enjoyment; and when they are snatched from it, all seems covered with bleakness and gloom. It is impossible for a serious mind to avoid reflecting in such circumstances how near the fatal dart was to her heart, how cold that heart is which took so lively an interest in her welfare, and that the body is covered with worms and corruption to which she delighted to minister. So.ob. vious is this, that levity in one thus bereaved is considered as an outrage on decency and feeling; and when the weeds of the widow are seen in the circles of amusement, a displeasure is felt and expressed of which it must be painful to be the object.

Some have thus braved public opinion, and rushed into the follies of the world, as if they were deter, mined to have their share in every joy. How frivo. lous are the apologies which are made for such con,

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