When I first saw the little one, who is now vividly present to my mind, she was closely nestled in her pillow, and T hardly caught a glimpse of the features on which day-light had shone only for three weeks. From time to time, I was told of her singular loveliness, but she had numbered five months before I was able to repeat my visit. Never shall I forget the feelings that arose as I gazed upon that child. The aspect of perfect health, combined with strength and sprightliness even beyond her age, seemed fully to justify the sanguine anticipations of a devoted mother, that she should successfully rear the babe; but every look that I cast upon it, brought closer to my heart a conviction, such as I had never felt before, respecting any infant, that it could not be formed for earth. It was not the exquisite loveliness of the child, the perfection of its features, the transparent brilliancy of its beautiful complexion, and the singular mouldings of its delicate limbs, which any sculptor might have coveted to perpetuate in alabaster of kindred purity; it was not even the tranquil expression of its placid brow, not the soft smile that gently dimpled its little budding mouth, nor the assurance of its delighted mother, that so sweet and calm a temper she had never traced in any infant: No: it was a character spread over the babe, of something so pure, so holy, so far removed from weak and wayward mortality, that while I gazed on her, my tears burst forth, partly from the irresistible conviction that I was looking upon a thing of heaven, and partly from the unavoidable association of those thoughts with a coming scene of maternal lamentation and woe.
Does any reader deem this a fanciful impression? then I will relate the simple fact, that subsequent to the realization of my forebodings, I met a dear Christian friend, who told me that, having about the same time seen the infant, she was so deeply struck by what I am vainly trying to describe, that she remarked to her husband, on leaving the house, how strong was her conviction, that the stamp of heaven was upon it, and that it would be very early removed to its home. In reply, he expressed his surprise that her secret thoughts should have so exactly corresponded with his own.
It may be asked, if in one case, the image of heavenly things be visible on an infant about to be received into glory, why not in many—in all ? I would reply, that among those who are taken home after a more lengthened pilgrimage, we sometimes behold extraordinary foretastes of the joy set before them, which they are able to communicate to surrounding friends, who doubtless, with the church at large, experience much comfort and encouragement therefrom. They seem, indeed, to be granted for that purpose: and why should not a peculiar demonstration of indwelling grace be occasionally afforded to the watchful eye of a tender mother, whose infant is about to be taken from her bosom; and to cheer, as it surely is cal -culated to do, the hearts of many mourning parents, who may be longing to accumulate proofs as to the actual manifestation of Christ's love to little babes, even in the flesh ?
In this case, the Lord had emphatically lent the infant heirs of glory to parental care, and very early received them to his own kingdom. Is it too much to believe of him whose name is "Love," and whose nature is " very pitiful," that under a reiterated blow upon the shrinking heart of a most fond young mother, he should vouchsafe an especial cordial ? was it not a sharp trial to see five little coffins successively borne away from her door, leaving but two of her household flock over whom to watch and to tremble ? Mothers, perhaps, can rightly answer this question. We do, most shamefully, limit the Holy One of Israel; and to Him alone is it known how many cups of Heavenly consolation are dashed from our lips, because blind unbelief cannot discern them.
One trait that I remarked in the beautiful babe, was a peculiarly pensive softness, that it was impossible to regard otherwise than as the meek and patient yearning of the soul after something that was not found in objects presented to the outward sense. I traced it, during the several opportunities that I had of observing her, and could not believe myself mistaken. The impression was that some glorious things had been revealed, as in visions of the night, to the baby, around whom we at least assuredly know that those angels were busy, who are " ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them that shall be heirs of salvation." And who will deny that an immortal and ransomed soul, unpolluted by actual sin, and on the point of crossing the threshold of heaven, may have perceptions, and enjoy revelations, quite inconceivable to us, in our depraved and darkened stage of perpetually out-breaking iniquity ? How foolish is the wisdom of the wise, when brought to bear upon a point of which neither they nor I can know anything! We cannot refer to our own infancy, because— even if memory could, under any circumstances, wander so far back as to our cradles—we were not of the number of those to whom exclusively these marks apply—infants chosen to early glory, before the world could put in its plea for a share of them.
The tiny bell will yet spring up among the heather, distinguished by its soft tint from the rougher and more abiding plants around it. Not formed, like them, to sustain the rude crush of careless footsteps, we anticipate its early doom in the fragile tenderness of its aspect. It was not so with the lovely antitype : she bore the impress of health and longevity; and the blight that laid her low, ere six months had passed over her, was no constitutional malady. I should rather trace the resemblance in this, that both bore too much the hue of heaven to abide long on earth. What I mean by the hue of heaven, as regards the babe, was that singular expression to which I have before alluded. Her beautiful brow was thoughtful, even to a careless eye ; and the grace that reigned in every movement of her head and limbs, was truly majestic. You could not study her countenance without fancying that she communed with a brighter world ; and that something of a calm sadness hung over her view of sensible things. I was struck by the manner in which she would take hold of her young brother, steadying the boy's face between her delicate hands, and gazing upon it with a kind of perplexed earnestness, as if other images were floating in her mind. Be it as it may, this we joyously know, than no sooner had the soft lid fallen for the last time over the clear, intelligent eye, than the spirit gained an accession of knowledge, to which the proudest attainments of reasoning man in his full maturity, are as the winding of the earth-worm through his dark and slimy crevices, compared with the loftiest flight of the eagle towards the morning sun. It is no questionable speculation: " I say unto you," said the Lord Jesus Christ, "that in heaven, their angels do always behold the face of my Father, which is in heaven." Oh, it is delicious to think of the rapture that is experienced by the glorified soul of such a one, when, mounting to the innumerable company of angels, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, it sings the song of the redeemed, at the moment of becoming acquainted with the mystery of redemption! " Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood," is the sound first heard, on entering the everlasting gates ; and then to learn the story of Christ's cress at the foot of Christ's throne ! to gaze on the Lamb that had been slain, while the tale of that propitiatory slaughter is drunk in amid the songs of heaven! To look back upon the world, while its snares are first unfolded, and know that it is fully, and for ever escaped ! Oh, ye weeping mothers ! bring such thoughts as these to the death-beds, the coffins, the graves of your happy, happy little ones, and you will feel that God does give vou wages for nursing, through a few short tearful days, those children for Him.