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Then SORROW touch'd by Thee, grows bright
With more than raptur'd ray;
We never saw by day!
Some years before, his friend Rees David, of Norwich, wrote him an admirable letter on this subject. Having given a few biographical particulars of this good man, a specimen of his talents on so interesting a topic will be acceptable.
Norwich, October 20, 1786. I received your letter last Saturday, and am truly concerned for your unexpected loss. I feel for and most sincerely sympathize with you in your mournful circumstances. The loss of a real friend is one of the greatest losses that we can suffer in this world.— It is the part of mere humanity to feel for the distresses of fellow creatures, but it is the part and privilege of real friends to do more than this. They are with pleasure induced to pour in the healing balm, and bind up the wounds of those whose best interest is ever near their hearts. If they hold their peace, who can be expected to administer comfort to the distressed?-Such is the part my real regard for you puts me now upon attempting ; a regard which for the space of more than thirteen years has swayed my mind on all occasions in your favour; and I pray God, it may terminate only with life! I am aware that it is easier to propose than to re
ceive comfort; and I know that when real Sorrow gets hold of the mind, it plays the tyrant altogether, and shuts up the avenues of the soul against all comfort. In this situation, the powers of the soul are deranged, so that they cannot profit from, or avail themselves of the consolations, which are at all other times within the reach of their powers.
What I have to offer has none of the charms of novelty to recommend it; and at any other time would have appeared more forcible from your own expressive pen ; but as now you are weighed down with sorrow, I must attempt to assuage your grief by reminding you of what follows.
I am sensible that the loss of real friends calls for the tribute of our tears, which indeed is one of the greatest in our power to pay to their memories. When this mournful respect is paid them, and their virtues are copied and made our own, we have done all in our power lawfully to do. I am persuaded The Deity is not displeased at our sighing and sorrow, when kept within due bounds; for our adorable Jesus himself, in the days of his flesh, wept at the grave of his friend! But if our passions are indulged too far, we dishonour God, hurt our own constitutions, unfit our souls for religious duties, and deprive our reinaining friends of the comforts and blessings which they have a right to expect at our hands. Surely, we should not imagine that the Dead, who are out of the reach of all the efforts of human friendship, ought to engross more of our attention than the Living, among whom we are
placed, and to whom we may be useful! Sorrow, illness, and distresses will come soon enough, without courting and meeting them half way. .
Beware then, my friend, of giving way to lowness. Your nerves, before this bereaving stroke, were much affected ; and if, therefore, you have any regard for your people, your friends, and yourself, you will use every possible means to brace your nerves and recruit your spirits. To stay at home all this Winter, will not, you may be assured, contribute to exonerate your mind; but to visit your real friends, you know, is the most likely means to do it. Let me entreat you then to come and see us as soon as you can. You know that I am always glad to see you ; and doubly so, when there is the least prospect of giving any ease to your mind. · Till I have the pleasure of seeing you, I hope you will for your own comfort remember, that in forming a friendship with any body, we know it is only for a time—that the purest friendship is liable to be dissolved by a thousand unforeseen events but that in Mr. Whithead you enjoyed a greater blessing than falls to the lot of most friends. Your friendship was never interrupted till Death parted you from one another! It lasted ten years ; and in that space of time, “he never took one step unfriendly” to you. If you outlive me, I hope you will have just grounds to say the same of me. That you have had all the comforts from his friendship which an imperfect state will admit of, without any of the inconveniences commonly attending
mutual attachment, till now—That your loss is his eternal gain—That your loss is only for a little time - That when you meet again, you shall not part to all eternity—That the God who raised you such a friend without your solicitation at first, can and will raise you as many more as you possibly want That it is impossible that his cause should suffer for want of friends to strengthen the hands of his ministers—That in the enjoyment of his friendship, you, possibly, promised yourself too much, and did not look to God as much as you ought; and that he removed him in mercy to you, to bring you more to his throne—You have reason, therefore, to bless his name. Be ready yourself-Adieu.
About three months after, this kind Barnabas, or Son of Consolation, was called to his reward. Mr. RICHARDS; who officiated at the interment, and preached the Funeral Sermon of his beloved friend David, thus writes on the melancholy occasion. The Epistle speaks for itself. Remarks would be impertinent. It lays open the recesses of the heart.
MY DEAR FRIEND,
Lynn, Feb. 25, 1787. I write this Letter under the greatest weight of sorrow that has ever laid upon my mind. I am just returned from Norwich, 'where I have been about a fortnight, attending the Funeral, and administering all the assistance I was able, to THE FAMILY of my most dear and valuable friend MR. Rees David, who departed this life on Wednesday morning, ten o'clock, the 6th day of this month, His disorder was a violent fever, which carried him off the twenty-first day of his illness, and in the thirty-ninth year of his age. I was older than he by little more than a month. Perhaps there were not two men upon earth that loved each other as much as we did. Sure I am that there were none who could love each other more. Even the wonderful and long celebrated loves of David and Jonathan, I will venture to affirm, did not exceed ours. Our hearts and souls were really united. Each could trust his life in the other's hand without any fear or hesitation. He bore me upon his thoughts in his dying moments. O GwilimGwilim-Gwilim-how my heart is united to thine," were some of the last words he ever spoke !* When his WIFE and FRIENDS. asked him if he would have them send for me, his answer was “ By no means.”-He would be but ill able to see me in this situation; and as to myself, the sight of him would so overcome me, that I do not think it would be any less than instant death to me. A more worthy and upright man I never knew. Not only the whole Church, which he left in a very flourishing state, but even the whole City, lamented his death. He left behind him a most amiable and respectable character. I had the very painful task of pronouncing the Funeral Oration, from Gen. iii. 19. Dust thou art, and unto dust