By Louisa Lane Clarke
The parson's wife in affliction is worthy of consideration, in that she bears it more humbly and more cheerfully than others. Humbly, for she is one who by constant communing with self has learnt somewhat of the depth of native corruption, something of that stubborn will which afflictions come to bend. Whatever it be, and great are oftentimes her sorrows, "Is there not a cause?" she meekly says, and does not murmur at the blow. Sickness may lay its hand upon her, and she remembers how apt she is to forget that this is not her rest. Death comes and takes away a friend, a parent, or a child, and she feels that these might have been idols even in the sanctuary. Dares she rebel when she feels that they are broken by the God they dishonoured? Humbly therefore she bears the chastening, and cheerfully, for "afflictions spring not from the ground;" "The Lord loveth whom he chasteneth;" and hardly has the first bitterness been tasted, when the sweetness of God's love steals into the cup. Her soul was slothful in a time of ease, perchance, and her Lord has stirred up the nest she had made for herself on earth, so that she shall. soar higher on the wing of faith; or her heart was clinging unduly to some prop, some hope, some earthly treasure, and her God bath removed it from her sight; it may be he has taken there no physician there? Why then is not it to himself, that he may bestow it eternally upon her in all its fulness hereafter. "The Lord gave, and the Lord bath taken away; blessed be his name," she says, and walks trustfully on, turning to her husband with patient calmness, not willing to destroy his peace, or tempt his faith by refusing comfort. Thus in affliction she sets an example of quiet submission to God's will, suffering no selfish sorrow to prevent her duties, no trial to disturb her temper.
For besides all this, a continual sadness would be a reproach to her Master, a denial of the truth which her husband preaches. "What," would the ungodly say, "is our minister's comfort only for the pulpit?"' "What," would a suffering neighbour say, "is there no balm in Gilead, is there no physican there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?"