Page:Letters to Mothers (1839).djvu/303

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at what hour they may he summoned. "Do all [235] things, as if you were to die to-morrow," said a writer of antiquity. Thus, Death, coming as a guest, long prepared for, may be both welcomed by us, and bear to us the welcome of angels.

We pay deference to good teachers. We desire to secure the benefits of their wisdom, for ourselves, and for our children. But who teaches like Death? Who like him reveals character? and unveils motives which had lain for many years, in a locked casket? and strips the illusion from the things which men covet? and makes us feel our own pitiable weakness, in not being able to soften the last pang for those we love? "The sun is best seen, at his rising and setting, says Boyle, so men's native dispositions are most clearly perceived, while they are children, and when they come to die." Though the chamber, where the man of wealth, meets his doom, displays every comfort and luxury that art can devise, who can behold the almost infantine helplessness of their possessor, without a new and deep feeling of the poverty of all costly things, the silk, the velvet, and the silver, which so many envy, and for which some sell their souls. Truly they seem as the "small dust of the balance," when he may not reach out a hand to touch them, or even bestow a glance upon them, for a