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gone of better days! Blessed be God for the halcyon days and the holy memories of home, – the best, the happiest spot on earth, – so bright, so happy, that, when we speak of that heavenly Father's mansion which lies before, we give it the selfsame name that the mansion lying behind us bears, – HoME!
S WE grow up and become fitted for the activities of life, we separate from the old home of childhood. That is one of the things that must be left behind. The memory of it remains, rejoicing and refreshing the man of middle life, while his dream is that he will take his age back to the place where he was born and grew, and there
“With wise and venerable cheerfulness,
a dream, to most men, alas ! impossible. I doubt if there be one more sanctifying influence than the recollections of a happy home, – which lie in that secret storehouse of experiences to which we more and more resort as we grow old, like those clouds out of which the storm has gone, which sometimes in a sum
mer's afternoon lie along the Eastern horizon — soft, fleecy, glorified. They are solace in toil, shelter in danger, comfort in trial, blessing in age.
“Thou holy, sacred name of home !
We may lose that home as a possession, but we keep it as a remembrance. The Home is sometimes broken in other ways and lost. Misfortune, sin, death, invade it. Man in his mistake, God in his providence, shatters our hope, breaks up our plans, and sends us out from the outraged or the desolated hearth, wanderers and solitary and sad. Few are the thresholds not crossed in some such way, very few the homes continued to man from infancy to age without some bitter, utter change. Few are they who have not at some time, in some way, lost a home. Too often it is with our homes as it is with our friends, we do not know their value till we lose them. As they slip from us they reveal the angel, and we lay hold upon their skirts to stay them, but we may not. Oh! the soul's deep yearning for the home that is lost! Oh! the darkness and misery of that spirit exiled from its Eden, kept from it by a mightier than he whose flaming sword forbade the returning steps of our first parents' There is no solitude like that of him who sits by the ashes of his own hearth; there is no agony like that of him, the echo of whose tread tells him that his is no longer home, for that is gone which made it so. There are words that may not be spoken, secrets not to be revealed, else would be unveiled sorrows such as have never seen the light, agonies that weary the night and make of solitude companionship. It must be in the orderings of Providence, that our homes be at some time desolate. “Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight.” Yielding to the pressure of grief, and the nameless and numberless other trials which improve the opportunity to crowd and press and importune, the husband, the wife — the one who is left — hurries away from the old home, hopes to find solace in absence, and in some quicker way accomplish that which God always does in his own. I always want to beg that man, that woman, who is rushing out of the home into which God has come with his great teaching, to pause and see if it be not possible to keep that which now has a new holiness — consecrated before by joy, consecrated now by trial. Many have regretted, too late, the ready following of impulse or the urgency of friends, and the losing so of hallowing influences and communions which come in their full force only amid familiar things. Time may bring a new home again, other ties, other joys. It is right, it is proper, it is just that it should. Children demand care which only those in the place of parents can give. They ought not to be separated from home and the full home influence. The man, the woman, has years and energies and duties — capacities of giving and receiving—which are best developed, exercised in the home, by that new relationship so many affect to ridicule, so many say can only be because the old is forgotten. “The heart that has truly loved, never forgets.” Let men respect other men's doings, though they cannot do so themselves. Let none fear in his own time and his own way, if his conscience so decree, to make a new home, in which to correct the mistakes he once made, in which to carry out to nobler issue the grand purposes of life. But let him stay by the old, broken home first ; let him get just there the sweetness as the bitterness of God's discipline. By and by, as the yearning of a homesick child, will come the yearning for a home again — a home to supplement and complete not obliterate the first. I have said this word because I have longed to say
* My Dream of Life, by Henry Ware, Jr.