THE GOOD MOTHER. BY CHARLES LOWELL.

Proverbs xxx'i. 28. — her children arise up, and call her blessed.

The text needs no explanation. It must present to every mind the portraiture of a good mother. It is only such a mother who would be thus honored by her children. It is only such a mother who, in life, would receive their grateful homage, and whose memorial would be cherished by them among the dearest objects of then* remembrance.

There is something, indeed, in the very name of mother, which awakejis the tenderest associations, and must excite in every breast, not corrupted and hardened by vice, the liveliest emotions of affection and gratitude. It implies, in those who bear it, the most exuberant kindness toward those to whom it relates ; and is even used in Scripture to present to us the highest example our weakness can comprehend, of the Divine compassion. Can a mother forget her child ? The Lord ivill not forget thee.

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It is the name of one to whom we owe our being; on whom, devolves the care of our earliest years ; who sustains us in the most helpless period

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THE GOOD MOTHER.

of life ; who, with unceasing and untiring assiduity, watches and labors for our preservation and comfort; to whom no self-denial is irksome, and no exertion toilsome, that can promote our benefit; who, in our advancing years, regards us with an anxiety and solicitude which has no other name than maternal by which it can be expressed; whose faithful bosom is the depositary of our early joys and sorrows ; who in sickness is found at our pillow, wakeful without effort; performing such offices of kindness as a mother only could perform ; and in whom, if survived, the love for her
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children is the last earthly passion that warms the heart.

All this is included in the name of mother: affection intense; affection undying ; strong in life, and strong in death ; labor untiring ; care unremitted; anxiety unceasing. All this is associated with that dear and sacred name ; all this comes in to swell the tide of affection in the heart of a dutiful child — whilst it is enjoying the blessing of maternal love and care. All this comes in to swell the tide of its grief when, on earth, that love can be felt, and that care can be exercised no longer.

But this is not all. There may be much more than this, to enshrine this name in our hearts, and to cause them to thrill with the tenderest emotions when it is called up to remembrance. It is the name of one to whom, if she is faithful, we owe our first impressions of God and duty; who first

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THE GOOD MOTHER.

teaches our heart to feel its obligations, and our tongue to utter them; who watches the opening mind, and, as its powers unfold, instils instruction in wisdom and virtue, and lays the foundation of the future character; who, as we grow in years, is still our faithful monitor, judicious counsellor, and confidential friend, restraining and guiding us by the persuasive energy of her precepts, and the silent, but not less impressive eloquence of her life ; furnishing, while in the mercy of God she is permitted to remain with us, a beautiful illustration of the efficacy of the principles she inculcates, and the hopes she would inspire, and leaving behind her a bright and luminous track, which still marks out for us the path by which she ascended to heaven.

It is to such a mother that children look up with a veneration and love which may be felt, but cannot be described. It is the memory of such a mother which is embalmed in the hearts of children,
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not to decay till those hearts are mouldering in the dust. I should rather say, never to die, but to live with the immortal mind which has received the impress of her virtues.

How dear, how precious, is such a mother to her children who are worthy of her I How doubly precious when the parent, who had shared with her in their veneration and affection, is gone from them ; when she unites in herself all, in this world, that is comprehended in the parental relation, and alone can receive the offerings of filial piety. How anxious are they to give her every demonstration of

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their sense of her value to them, and of the obligation they owe her ! How watchful their solicitude to promote her happiness ; to anticipate her wishes ; to help her infirmities ; to render cheerful and pleasant the evening of her life ! How tenacious are they of every look of tenderness, as of beams that
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are soon to be withdrawn. How carefully do they gather up her words as treasures that will not long be supplied ; watching, as her day declines, to catch the last rays of her setting sun. How faithful are they to the calls of duty, in the closing scene ; ministering to her weakness, as she has ministered to theirs. And when the scene is over, — when the bitterness of death is past, how are they cheered in the ' solitude of their souls,' by the sounds of pious resignation, and humble confi^dence, and holy joy, which seem yet to vibrate on the ear, and will never, never cease to vibrate in the heart!

Blessed is such a mother ! Blessed in life ; blessed in death ; blessed, forever blessed, in the world beyond the grave. Her children arise up, and call her blessed. They bless her while she lives to bless. They bless her as they receive the last breathings of her spirit, which is on the wing for heaven. They bless her memory, which is left as a rich inheritance to her children's children. Long after she is gone, they look back upon her solicitude and fidelity with an interest which the lapse of time has not destroyed, — perhaps has not impaired.
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My hearers ! When one so honored, deservedly honored by her children, is taken away from among

THE GOOD MOTHER. O

US, 1 would gladly delineate the features of her character, and thus indulge my own feelings, whilst I paid a just tribute to the memory of departed worth. I would describe, on such an occasion, the qualities which rendered her an object of deep respect and warm affection, not only to her children, but to all who enjoyed her friendship. I w^ould describe the mind refined and cultivated ; the countenance beaming with sweetness and intelligence ; the manners dignified, yet winning ; the conversation, interesting to the wise from its wisdom, yet most attractive to the young and gay from its vivacity and playfulness ; the whole deportment inspiring happiness in all around her. I would dwell on her compassion, and tell of the ignorant whom her bounty had contributed to enlighten; the poor,
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whose w^ants it had supplied ; the widows, whose hearts it had caused to sing for joy. I would introduce you to her domestic cii'cle, and speak of her order, and economy, and industry. I would carry you to the bed of sickness and death, and repeat the words of consolation which she addressed to her children; and the words of humble, yet firm and steady confidence which she addressed to her God. I would describe her composure — nay, her joy and rapture, in the prospect of being with that God in heaven. All this, and more than this, I would minutely detail, were I to follow the prompting of my own heart ; but to this, on former occasions, I could only allude ; and to this, now that it may be told with so much truth, I must only allude. 1*

O THE GOOD MOTHER.

There are hearts which can fill up the sketch, and I could not do justice, by any description of mine, to the character which is imaged there.
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If the fervent wishes and prayers of children, friends, could have availed aught to stay the stroke, our friend ' had not died.' To us, indeed, she died. But,

' The dread patli once trod, Heaven lifts its everlasting portals high, And bids the pure in heart behold their God.'

We mourn, that in the retirement of domestic life, in the scenes of her labors of benevolence, in this place, to which she loved to resort ; we mourn, that where we have been accustomed to meet her, we shall meet her no more.

But, as we loved her, we rejoice that she has gone to her Father ; to the associates and friends of her early life whom it was her lot to survive ; to all who have gone before her to heaven. We rejoice that she has gone from a world in which there is so much pain and soitow, to a world where ' there is no. more pain ; and sorrow and sighing flee away.'

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They have been highly favored to whom it was permitted to enjoy, in the parental relation, so much that was worthy of their reverence and love, and to enjoy it so long. They are favored if they have known its value, and endeavored to improve it. May they still feel its energy exerting a powerful influence on their conduct! When the image of one so venerated and loved comes up to the mind, in health or sickness, in joy or sorrow, in seasons of

THE GOOD MOTHER.

retirement, or in seasons of business or pleasure, may it chasten, purify, elevate^ every thought and feeling and purpose and desire.

If, as I have more than once suggested, and delight to repeat, they who are glorified make a part of that ' cloud of witnesses ' by which we are compassed about ; if they are permitted to revisit the
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scenes of their former interest and attachments; if they are employed on errands of love and mercy to those who were the objects of their solicitude on earth; if they still hover around us, witnessing what is good in us, and instruments in the hands of Him who worketh by the instrumentality of second causes in cherishing every holy purpose, — how should we live !

My hearers! we are always in the presence of God, and the Spirit of God is always striving with us. May we live as in this presence, and by the assistance of this Spirit, follow on in the footsteps of the pious dead, animated by the consciousness that we are acting worthy of their memory, and that every step brings us nearer to their renewed intercourse, and their eternal reward.

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