Monday, July 06, 2009

The Evanescence of Our Present World

No. CCCLXL - To Mrs. M'Corquodale
St. Andrews, 17th October 1827

My Dear Madam,

I very sincerely condole with you on the heavy bereavement which you have been called upon to suffer, the first loss I understand in your family, and which, in the absence yet of all personal experience myself upon the subject, I should regard as far more trying to nature than the dissolution of any other relationship. Affection points more strongly downwards - as from a parent to children - than in any other direction; and when I think of the suddenness of your daughter's death, her interesting age, and the many cares and attentions which the delicacy of her health has required from you, and which all go to strengthen affections and add to its tenderness - the shock you have experienced must be of no common severity. And what other comfort has one liable to the same visitations to offer, but those considerations which are familiar to all, though practically felt by few, even the evanescence of our present world, and the bliss and brightness of that invisible Heaven, where sorrow and separation are unknown.

We hear on these occasions of melancholy of the healing influence of time, and refuge is often taken in such expedients, as business, variety, and entertainments. These may soothe, but they do not sanctify. They drown the painful recollection; whereas the recollection should be kept alive and made the instrument of weaning our desires and expectations from a scene so transitory. The worldly would stifle the thought - the Christian softens it by pointing his eye upwards to God and forwards to eternity.

I am, yours, &c.,
Thomas Chalmers

Chalmers, Thomas Letters of Thomas Chalmers (Carlisle: Banner of Truth, 2007), 468.

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