Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mingling Thanksgiving and Mourning

A portion of a letter by Rev. Benjamin Morgan Palmer, esteemed professor at Columbia Seminary, South Carolina, and later pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of New Orleans, to a friend suffering grief because of the death of his father. This encouraging letter of sympathy was written October 9, 1856.

It would be superfluous to exhort any of you to patience and submission, for I doubt not you have already united in saying, 'The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.' While nature will have her pangs and wring her tribute of tears and grief, you have still so many materials of praise and song that you must mingle thanksgiving and mourning. His pure life, his unstained character, his long devotion to his Master's cause and Church, his pious counsels, and his fervent prayers, his faith and patience and hope—all meeting together in his dying moments; all these will be objects of memory to stay your sorrow and sustain you from despondency and gloom. If, too, the Church below has lost, the Church above has gained. It is only a transfer from one to the other, and the Church is not a loser, though we may miss him much.

The Life and Letters of Benjamin Morgan Palmer, by Thomas Cary Johnson, first published in 1906, printed by the Banner of Truth Trust, 1987, p. 167.

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