January Sermon Illustrations

January 14, 2010

In the nave of the Abbey Kirk at Haddington one can see a grave with this inscription over it: "In her bright existence she had more sorrows than are common but also a soft invincibility, a capacity of discernment, and a noble loyalty of heart which are rare. For forty years she was the true and loving helpmate of her husband, and by act and word unweariedly forwarded him as none else could in all of worthy that he did or attempted. She died at London, 21st April, 1866, suddenly snatched from him, and the light of his life as if gone out."

It is the inscription upon the grave of Jane Carlyle. In truth she was the light of Carlyle's life; but, if someone is to judge by the pathetic entries in his diary, he never realized that fact until she was snatched from him and the light of his life was as if gone out. In all literature there is nothing more moving than these words of Carlyle taken from his diary after a visit to the grave of his wife: "Cherish what is dearest while you have it near you, and wait not till it is far away. Blind and deaf that we are; oh, think, if thou yet love anybody living, wait not till death sweep down the paltry little dust clouds and dissonances of the moment, and all be at last so mournfully clear and beautiful when it is too late.

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