"Mankind is born for trouble as surely as sparks fly
upward." (Job 5:7)
Convene, you mournful throng, and vent your dreary moans;
muster all your complaints, and recite the causes of your sorrow. Then hear
royalty itself break silence first in the melancholy list, and tell in
tears. Distress even attacks the throne, and sorrow and gloom penetrate
within the palace walls. Sorrow has a lodging place in every brow, from the
king to the beggar; and at one time or other, we may expect to see the
lodging possessed by all the gloomy train. Hence see one sad, under the loss
of his honor and reputation; another meeting with disappointment instead of
advancement; another seldom out of mourning, so fast his relations die
around him. Some have neither son nor grandson in the neighborhood; daughter
nor grand-daughter in the house.
There the affectionate wife has lost the husband of her
youth; and here the disconsolate mourner has interred his lovely spouse.
Here so many needy pensioners are real mourners at the burial of their
benefactors, who can be no more concerned for them; there a tender family
are weeping at the grave of both parents. Here the letter from the distant
Indies, brings the melancholy account of father, son, or brother's death,
who was long expected home, but now shall return no more; there the list of
the slain on the day of battle, fills many a sad heart with sorrow. Here a
sudden misfortune snatches one away in the bloom of life; there another is
slain by the bloody ruffian. Here the tender infant dies unseen in the
silent night; and there the pretty boy perishes in the water. Here the
devouring flame robs a man of his all, while some of the family are consumed
in the burning; there the fierce tempest sends the merchant's treasure into
the depths of the sea, and the crew go down together. Here the barren wife
longs to embrace a son; and there another bitterly bewails that ever her
wayward son was born.
Here one loses his good name innocently, and has no
method to clear it until the day of judgment; and there peace is taken away
from those who should live in daily harmony. Here some are oppressed with
pinching poverty; there others with pining sickness. Some are banished their
native country; others condemned to perpetual imprisonment. Some are
deformed from their mother's womb; others lose their limbs by accidents.
There sits the blind begging, while the lame is carried from door to door.
Of some God has tied the tongue, that it cannot speak; of others stopped the
ear, that it cannot hear. There some deprived of reason, neither rest
themselves, nor allow those around them to rest—their case is melancholy
In a word, what losses and crosses, sorrows and
distresses, uncertainties and anxieties, do mankind labor under! The wisdom
which is from above, will lead me to expect nothing but vanity and vexation
here below. But, O! how happy is the soul that has all the treasure in
heaven, all his happiness in God! May this be my case, and then I shall
triumph in the midst of losses, distresses, disappointments, and pain!