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The Dying Babe

The following extract from an anonymous contribution in the New York Methodist, tells a story which many parents could adopt as their own. Few will read it without tears:

All that morning I held the baby in my arms-all that long and weary morning. How hot was that little cheek l bow piteous the moaning! How feeble the cry! How restless! Oh! How sick was my little child! How hard to see it suffer, hour after hour, yet not be able to relieve it! My eyes grew dim with tears, and I could only faintly pray: “God, be merciful, and spare, oh I spare my little, my darling little babe.”

In vain! In vain! Again the doctor came, and then he spoke kindly; but we knew there was a depth of meaning in his words.

“Your child is very, very sick."

Then turning to my husband he added: “You had better not go down to the store this morning.”

Neither John nor I dared ask him any questions, for we felt there was something in his tone which bade us hope no longer. Something as sad to us as the tolling of the funeral-bell.

“John,” I said, after the doctor had left, “bring the baby to me.”

Tenderly he raised it up and placed it in my lap, and silently we watched the flame of life decreasing. No words were spoken. The measured ticking of the clock and the restless breathing of the baby alone were heard. An hour -- it seemed an hour -- passed away. I gazed upon the face of Willie; the eyes were fixed, the cheek was pale, and the breathing, how quick and short it was! Never had I seen a child so sick before; but I knew -- I knew -- the dread change was coming.

“O John! Our darling babe is dying.”

“Mary,” this was all John said, “ Mary, the will of God be done.”

“Yes, yes, dear husband,” I could hardly speak for weeping; “but it is so hard, so very, very hard, to lose a little child."

No more was said; but we wept together. We saw the eyes gently close and open, and close again; the breath came quicker and quicker; then – then -- more and more slowly -- the little stream of life was ebbing fast away.

Friends came into the room, but I heeded them not. Then some one gently touched me, and said, “Mary.” I knew the voice.

“O mother! You have come. Willie is dying.”

I can dwell no longer on that scene. Two days after, and John said, “In an hour the funeral services will take place. Let us take our last look at the child we loved while we are alone together.”

We drew near the coffin. There was the little face we had learned to love; but oh! the eyes were closed, the voice was hushed. There lay the child so still and quiet, the hands together and a wreath of pure white flowers beside them. I kissed the cold face:

“ O Willie! Farewell -- farewell --forever”

“No, Mary, not forever,” said John; “there is another and a better life.”

Then came the solemn funeral services, the journey to the cemetery, the open grave, and all was over. John and I came back to our sad and silent cottage on the hill. Only a few weeks ago it was that we visited the grave of Willie. We walked through the entrance of Greenwood, along the hard, smooth road to the hillside, near the quiet lake, and there, under the shadow of a wide-branching tree, we stood beside the little mound of earth. I gazed upon the monument which had just been placed there, with a rose-bud on a broken stem, engraved upon it the name of our lost child, the date of birth and death, and then the words:

“Safe in the Shepherd’s arms.”

We gazed and wept; and at last John said: “Mary, life is short. Here beside this grave let us resolve so to live that we shall meet our little one in our true home in heaven” There beside that grave we made the solemn vow, and we shall try to keep it. I know that I am weak and nervous. As I go to and fro in the daily work of the house, I grieve for the babe that has gone, for I miss it very much. Be patient, oh, my sorrowing spirit, be patient! I think it will not be long -- though I dare not tell my husband so -- before I shall sleep quietly beside my little babe; not long before I shall meet that gentle spirit in the skies.

- Golden Dawn.

Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer - 1893

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