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[264] to be chronicled among calamities; it is not to be styled ‘a mysterious dispensation of Divine Providence’; it is scarcely rational to talk of being resigned to it. For what is more natural —what more universal—what more impartial—what more serviceable—what more desirable, in God's own time, hastened neither by our ignorance nor folly? Discarding, as I do, as equally absurd and monstrous, the theological dogma, that death settles forever the condition of those who die, whether for an eternity of bliss or misery for the deeds done here in the body —and believing, as I do, without doubt or wavering, in the everlasting progression of the human race, in the ultimate triumph of infinite love over finite error and sinfulness, in the fatherly care and boundless goodness of that Creator ‘whose tender mercies are over all the works of his hands’—I see nothing strange, appalling, or even sad in death.

When, therefore, my dear friend, I tell you that the loss of my dear boy has overwhelmed me with sadness, has affected my peace by day and my repose by night, has been a staggering blow, from the shock of which I find it very difficult to recover, you will not understand me as referring to anything pertaining to another state of existence, or as gloomily affected by a change inevitable to all: far from it. Where the cherished one who has been snatched from us is, what is his situation, or what his employment, I know not, of course; and it gives me no anxiety whatever. Until I join him at least, my responsibility to him as his guardian and protector has ceased; he does not need my aid, he cannot be benefited by my counsel. That he will still be kindly cared for by Him who numbers the very hairs of our heads, and without whose notice a sparrow cannot fall to the ground; that he is still living, having thrown aside his mortal drapery, and occupying a higher sphere of existence—I do not entertain a doubt. My grief arises mainly from the conviction that his death was premature; that he was actually defrauded of his life through unskilful treatment; that he might have been saved, if we had not been most unfortunately situated at that time. This, to be sure, is not certain; and not being certain, it is the only ingredient of consolation that we find in our cup of bitterness. . . .

He was a beautiful boy, but in no frail or delicate sense. He1 had a fine intellectual and moral development, with great bodily energy; he seemed born to take a century upon his shoulders, without stooping; his eyes were large, lustrous, and charged with electric light; his voice was clear as a bugle, melodious,


1 Cf. Lib. 19.59.

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