[The following continues the transcription of an article titled “GOLDEN WEDDING” from the Herald and Tribune on March 26, 1874.]
As this is a suitable occasion to speak about the social relations and reciprocal duties of Husband and Wife, since nearly all present are married ladies and gentlemen, some long and others shorter time in the fields of experience of matrimonial life, we can talk plainly and familiarly in regard to those relations and duties as evolved in the sacred scriptures, for marriage is an institution of God, and dates back to the creation and is founded in the requirements of man’s nature.
I would like to elaborate on this subject esteemed ministers present who have at least more theory in this line than I have, therefore I leave the evolving of the subject to them; only adding my testimony (from a little experience and a wide observation) to the happiness of connubial life, and while I assert here today that it is possible to be happier in the married state than in any other, for only in this state that the boundless capabilities of human affections can be fully known or appreciated, this is known by every husband and wife, where the influence of love is pure in its character, but it is also true that it is possible to be more miserable too when bound in that indissoluble bond where love is wanting or has become extinct.
Love may arise spontaneous, but will not continue without care and culture, thus causing their mutual affections to outlive the bloom of youth and shed its radiance like the sunset glow of evening around old age.
The Rev. J. D. Tadlock then said: There are two sets of circumstances under which I have always found it difficult to make a speech; one is, when I have no speech to make; the other, when thoughts come swarming so thick and fast, that the mind cannot elect what to say. This is the present difficulty.
During an experience of 20 years in teaching, I have observed that invariably there is a set of composition dedicated to the seasons; when spring comes, the young farmers are indulged in celebrating spring as the Queen of the Seasons. After much being said about its green meadows, budding woods, flowery orchards, buzzing insects and singing birds, it never fails to receive the preference over the other seasons.
Summer comes, and with it comes another round of compositions, praising the beauties and enjoyments of summer, its rich foliage of the woods, its cool shades its golden harvest fields, its luscious fruits, its dewy mornings and balmy evenings; and now summer is the best of the four seasons.
Autumn comes and the young fancy, again let loose, indulges in high praises of autumn, the crimson-tinted woods, reflecting their golden colors beneath the dim rays of the sun, are more beautiful than the flowers of May; the revolving heavens are brighter than in Summer. Pleiades have come back to lead the way across the starry vault. Aurora Borealis, displays his crimson hues, and the milky way belts the night with her broad zone of light; The fruitage of the year is perfected, the cool refreshing air, is exhilarating, the family group, gathers about the hearth-stone to enjoy the blazing fire; and so the conclusion now is, that autumn is the best of the seasons.
By and by winter comes, and here is nothing prettier than ice-bound ponds and snow-clad hills, with its short days and long nights, it is peculiarly the season of quiet and repose; the trees with their dangling icicles, glittering like diamonds in the clear winter morning sunlight are admired more than when wearing their Summer robes; the conclusion again is that winter is the favorite season.
Now which is true? I say all, each has its peculiar beauties, advantages and enjoyments, each is best and all are good; thus we may represent and illustrate the four seasons of life, childhood, youth, mature life and old age; we have here in our company today, representatives of them all, children, full of frolic and romp, as springtime is of life, they would rather be children than anybody else; Lore are young men and maidens, joyous in the present, and hopeful of the future. To them, their season of life is best; here are those in the prime and vigor of manhood and womanhood, bearing the burden and heat of the day, battling for victory and success in life, at that period when life’s grandest achievements, stir the energies; to such, mature life is best.
And I fancy that best of all if there be a better and best, is a green old age, attained after a life of integrity and usefulness, from which it is the privilege of one to look back with the consolation, that the grand, and controlling purpose of of life, has been to be faithful in his relations to God and man, and forward with the Christians’ hopes and anticipations, I trust, that the testimonies of this day, may encourage the faith of us all to do right and trust the faithfulness of God, and stimulate us to live such lives as we may delight to review and such as may be a pledge of a better one hereafter.
Mr. Rankin said that while he agreed in the main with the brother, who had just spoken, that each age of life was the best in its season, yet in one sense, he though the evening of life, the best of them all; the morning is indeed beautiful, with its rising freshness, and rosy light.
The mid-day is grand, when the sun is high in the blue robed sky; but, there is something real good in quiet silly eve, when tired nature, makes preparation for soft slumber, when the toils of the day are well done, and the shades of night are creeping up the hills to shut off the light, when soft music steals softly over the plain, and faint echoes, from the spirit land, seem to float down on moonlit wings, and the stars come out from their azure thrones, to smile over the scene.
How pleasant at this hour for the toilworn farmer, to sit upon his piazza and rest from the well performed labor of the day; his well cultivated fields have yielded a yellow harvest, his orchards a rich supply of golden fruits; and now. Without the fear of want, he is ready to sink into the repose of night.
What a beautiful emblem of the last days of the good man. He imagined, that, there was a sweetness, not of earth to the veteran of “three score and ten,” at this period, when the passions of youth and the high fervor of manhood have softened down into the rich breathings of the vesper air. Old age has its infirmities, but no less its pleasures. It is a trial for one’s manhood to be placed upon the “retired list” and daily feel this “mortal coil being shuffled off,” but then comes the consolation that it is only the Angel of the Lord who has kept long sentinel around the clay tenement of the soul, now taking up his tents, turning the “wheel at the cistern” and loosing the silver cords of life in order to transport his change to the “mansions of the Father.”
He wished to be allowed to congratulate Colonel Telford and his excellent lady upon their long life of usefulness and success. God has blessed you, give him the praise. Like Abraham and Sarah you have journeyed together. You have your trials. Now you may rest in the faith of Abraham’s God and in the affections of your children, who have grown up around you like olive branches. You have said they are all daughters, twelve in number, I reckon you are happy in the tender love of such affectionate daughters.
With these and their families and your numerous friends around you I can believe your last days your best. And in the sacred relations of man and wife may you be more happy till the end come. Then, when the shades of evening shall darken into night around your footpath, I pray, that you may have faith to hope and strength to wait till the Master calls you to that reunion of your family above, in the City whose streets are gold and in that Light which is not of the sun where none shall grow old.
After Rev. W. B. Rankin had closed his remarks, Rev. R. N. Lee said, in looking at these beautiful and valuable gifts of gold and books, “there was one he admired more than all the others — the Bible, that inestimable gift of God to man — and he doubted not if those whose marriage we celebrate would speak the secrets of their hearts they would say that that blessed book had been the guide of their youth and the support and solace of their declining years.
In reference to those whose seats are vacant here today they are gone before you to that “Celestial City not made with hands but eternal in the heavens,” and to increase interest there. And I doubt not that those loved and dear ones were taken from you to be jewels for the bright crowns which you are to wear after you shall have passed the Jordan of life and entered into that rest prepared for those who die the death of the righteous, therefore we should willingly give them up.
If some friend was weaving for you a very beautiful crown and would say to you the crown was almost complete and only wanted some precious jewels which you possessed to adorn and complete its beauty, would you not say take them and use them, thus God has taken your dear departed ones that they may be stars in the crowns that you are to wear as a reward for a faithful and devoted life.”
The exercises in the parlor were concluded by a very appropriate prayer by Rev. John Bell.
Dinner was then announced and the guests repaired to the dining room where they found a very sumptuous repast, consisting of all the luxuries the country could afford.
After consuming about two and a half hours by the several tables the company, (excepting a few who remained over night) after wishing the host and hostess many days of happiness ere they should be called from their toils here below to join those who await them in that bright world above, where there is no “marrying or giving in marriage,” went to their respective homes, and no doubt feeling as we that it had been one of the most pleasant days of their lives and that they witnessed a scene where all things were done up in decency and order.