There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak
more eloquence than ten thousand tongues. They are the messages of overwhelming grief, of
deep contrition, of unspeakable love. If there were wanting any argument to prove that man is
not mortal, I would look for it in the strong convulsive emotions of the breast, when the soul
has been deeply agitated; when the fountains of feeling are rising, and when tears are gushing
forth in crystal streams. O, speak not harshly of the stricken one - weeping in silence! Break
not the solemnity by rude laughter, or intrusive footsteps. Despise not woman's tears - they
are what make her an angel. Scoff not if the stern heart of manhood is sometimes melted to
sympathy - they are what help to elevate him above the brute. We love to see tears of affection.
They are painful tokens, but still most holy. There is pleasure in tears - an awful pleasure. If
there were none on earth to shed a tear for us, we should be loth to live; and if no one might
weep over our grave, we could never die in peace.
Genuine tears are the involuntary and faithful expressions of the soul. The soul's sorrow or joy
- for joy weeps - guilt or innocence - for insulted virtue has its tears - glistens in the pearly
drip. Tears relieve the soul; they are prevailing orators; they win triumphs which neither the
infernal sword, nor divine speech could ever achieve. A true tear is electric to the true. A tear
dropped in the silence of a sick chamber often rings in heaven with a sound which belongs not
to earthly trumpets or bells.
Tears generally tremble in our eyes when we are happy, and glisten like pearls, or dew-drops
on the flower cup; but when we first realize any overwhelming and unlooked for happiness, we
gaze round with a smile of bewildered ecstasy, and no tears tremble in our eyes. The extremes
of joy and sorrow are too great, too deep for tears.
Tender, holy and sanctifying are human tears - crystals of affection and pity - jewels of the
soul. One trickled on the cheek of a child. It had been crossed in the fulfillment of some
anticipation, and from a grieved heart gushed up the sympathizing tear. Another trembled
from the eyelid of youth. He had felt the touch of a bitter reproof, or of disappointed love, and
to soften his brain and sorrow came the same beautiful tear.
O, ye tears! what a mission have ye wrought in our sorrowing world! How tenderly worshiped
on the altars of pity and sincere love - how gloriously sanctified repentance and grief! Down in
the damp cell where the martyr rattles his chains; in the dungeon where the patriot waits for
the block - ye have performed, O tears! the same blessed work. Even to joy ye have been a
balm of oil - a refiner's fire. When the Macedonian passed the pillar of Hercules, he was
conquered by tears - the same tears that sprang but now, like dew-drops, from the lashes of
yon blue-eyed child. For what different ends, and yet unchanged, have ye wrought. Every
moment mellowing and calming some sad, worn heart - aye, every day doing some mission for
each of our souls. Ye have gushed over battle-fields and over festive halls; around the bier and
the board; and deeper, holier, have been our loves and our friendliness with each return of
your hallowed feet - aye, feet! for tears have feet, and they come treading up the soul like so
many angels, offering sacrifices through our eyes.
Repress them not, child - they are a purifying vent to thy young heart. Repress them not, O
youth - they are good and holy for thee. Repress them not, mother, - for unto thee God has
given them to be a comforter in the lone and bitter hour. And thou, manhood, quench not the
fountain whose upheaving is the most beautiful manifestation of thy spiritual life. Tears,
beautiful, blessed tears, be ever with every reader - with us all; our token when we sigh for the
absent, or weep for the lost - a sacred witness that our regrets and sorrows are sincere.
It is a striking fact that the dying never weep. The sobbing, the heart-breaking agony of the
circle of friends around the death-bed, calls forth no responsive tears from the dying. Is it
because he is insensible, and stiff in the chill of dissolution? That cannot be, for he asks for his
father's hand, as if to gain strength in the moral struggle, and leans on the breast of his
mother, sister or brother, in still conscious affection. Just before expiring, he calls the loved
ones, and with quivering lips says: "Kiss me," showing that the love which he has borne in his
heart is still fresh and worm. It must be because the dying have reached a point too deep for
earthly sorrows, too transcendent for weeping. They are face to face with higher and holier
things, with the Father in Heaven and His Angels. There is no weeping in that blessed abode
to which the dying man is hastening.
The Royal Path of Life - Aims and Aids to Success and Happiness - 1882 by T.L. Haines & L.W. Yaggy