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The contemplation of death also, cannot but impress us with a conviction of the uncertain and perishable nature of all things here below; cannot but remind us of that land of darkness to which we are all so evidently tending. Pass but a few years more, and this assembled crowd will be every one of them -consigned to the grave, out of sight, and out of remembrance. The sun, indeed, will rise and set, but not to us. The tides will ebb and flow, the laws of nature will have their course, the earth will still give her increase, and the business of the world go on; but we shall be removed from this scene, shall have no share in what is passing.
Such meditations naturally tend to fill the mind with a sense of our entire dependence upon God. There is nothing in reality so near and essential to us, and yet there is nothing for the most part so distant from our perceptions, as the Deity. He is about our path, and about our bed, in every breath we breathe, in every thought we think ; and yet, for this very rezson, and because he ought to be every thing, he too often becomes nothing to us—unseen, or disregarded. But in the season of adversity, when all other helps have failed, we then perceive the necessity of fleeing unto God.
His providential care becomes first the object of faith, then of hope, and lastly of consolation.
These should be the feelings of every pious mind under al the trials and vicissitudes of life. He who makes affliction of death productive of their proper effects, will see in the arm God a power overruling all things, and which can preserve amidst all adversities,
He becomes satisfied that the views of the Deity never ultimately terminate in misery, but that good is constantly educed out of evil.
1. The vanity of all earthly greatness, the uncertainty and the transitoriness of every terrestrial enjoyment, can in no other instance be so convincingly brought home to our mind and feelings. Who now can trust in any thing of this world? Who now can build his hopes upon the morrow? Who but must perceive, that youth, and health, and riches, are not, for an in
stant, to be depended upon?
That the paths of grandeur lead but to the grave. For what event could be farther from all expectation, than that which has placed in the silent tomb, the parent and her child ? If human efforts, if hunian prayers, could have averted the dart of death, we had not now been lamenting together over the common failure of our fondest wishes. The first lesson, therefore, which this appalling dispensation should suggest, is, a full conviction of our own helplessness, and a sense of our dependence upon God. We here behold the precariousness of the tenure of life, and the Aleetingness of our abode upon earth. .
So powerful is the hold which pleasure gains on our affections, so devoted our attachment to the interests and concerns of the world, that we see the young and strong borne to their tombs, we hear the last knell'of departed life, without at all laying these things to heart, without holding ourselves the more prepared, to meet our God. But the recent calamitous affliction by which a nation has been visited, forces reflection upon all, compels the most unthinking to consider their latter end.
While, however, we thus behold the sovereignty of the Godhead, and perceive the weakness of our common nature, we should, at the same time, neither murmur nor despair. Every thing is ordained or permitted by God for our ultimate happiness, or improvement. Little as we do see into the plans of Providence, and unable as we are to penetrate far into the veil of human events, yet do we see enough to convince us, that God never willingly, or but for their own good, punisheth the sons of inen. Though the fate and issue of things be wisely hid in the womb of time, yet have we the sure word of Scripture and experience for believing, that the lot will at length fall into the lap of the righteous. We grieve not then, as they without hope. Though troubled we are not forsaken, though cast down we are not destroyed. Let us but act our parts well, and we may leave the ulterior disposal of every thing unto the Lord. The history of ages has demonstrated, that the
prosperity of empires and individuals is for the most part proportionate to their virtue. Instead, therefore, of repining at any of the dispensations of the Almighty, much more instead of ! doubting that God is just and gracious, let us rather proceed with renewed confidence to the discharge of our respective duties, well knowing that our Redeemer liveth, and that He ! without whose permission not even a sparrow falleth to the ground, will never forsake the children who deserve his care. Thus believing and acting, whether we live or die, tre shall live or die unto the Lord: and thus, as at present, under this most mysterious visitation, we shall still trust in the God of our salvation, and say, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away--but blessed be the name of the Lord.”
2. We see, in the second place, from that genuine expression of grief which has so generally manifested itself, the influe ence and the weight of moral worth and character in every situation and circumstance of life. She, of whom we have been deprived, had laid aside for a time the splendours of royalty, and was exemplifying the private virtues of a domestic station. By the culture and improvement of these, she wa qualifying herself for that exalted office, which she would, as we fondly expected, one day (though late, we hoped) be called upon to discharge. In the shade of retirement, by the exercise of benevolence a benevolence, the extent of which the tears of her neighbourhood have evinced, she was preparing herself for those high destinies, to which both her birth and merit appeared to be leading her. In consequence she was becoming daily, more, a nation's pride: and we vainly flattered ourselves with thinking, that the happiness which England had enjoyed, and the glories which it had achieved under female reigns, would all again have been displayed under her’s. But what are the hopes of man! She is gone!! our wishes and expectations are shrouded with her in the grave. Still however, though dead, she speaketh. That consolation which she experienced herself upon learning the death of her infant, must, from the same hallowed source, be sought for and found by us.
us. If we
really loved her, when living, if we really mourn for her, when dead, let these her words be for ever embalmed in our memories, “ It is the will of God."
1, and be
Sermon by Henry G. White, M. A., preached at the Church of
Job, chap. ix. v. 12. “ Behold He taketh away!-Who can hinder Him 2-Who will.say unto
Him,-What doest thou ? SO true is it, that we come forth and are cut down like a flower-we flee also as a shadow, and continue not. The morning of our mortal life is irradiated with all the resplendence of youth, and health, and beauty; but ere our noon-day sun has fulfilled its meridian course, the clouds of darkness suddenly gather together, and shroud it in the premature night-fall of death. Such is the uncertain tenure on which we hold our natural life, and such is the certain doom under which it sooner or later sickens, decays, and dies,-a tenure so frail, that in the midst of life we are in death,-a doom so inevitable, that as it is appointed unto all men once to die, so all conditions, persons, and natures, after having been registered in the records of the living for their respective periods ordained to all by the Omniscient Creator of their being, must sink without distinction or exception into the silent mansions of the dead-they go hence and are no more seen!—These are the common truths of mortal infirmity, which our common experience every hour confirms; but when they are chronicled in our country's grief, as evidenced by some signally afflictive instance of general calamity, their important lessons are impressed upon our acknowledgment with a deeper interest of universal assent. Such is the impression with which they bave this day led us hither into the House of our God, Before the Throne of Grace we have bent our heads in prayer, while our spirit is oppressed with mourning, and
the ti bextil
with the melancholy recollection of that precious gift of His Supreme Government, which we so lately possessed, but which we now have only the sad alternative of contemplating as passed from our sight, and lost to our earthly hope for ever. We confess how true such reflections are ; and while the pious sentiment of the text restrains the murmur of our natural feeling, the involuntary sigh of national sorrow thus applies them :- So rose to our delighted view in all the early charms of youth, so grew in all the bloom of health, and alas ! So prematurely fell in all the beauty of the purest excellence, this cherished flower of Britain's pride, the illustrious and endeared object of a people's regrets--at one dread instant we have seen both the firstling Scion and the parent Plant cut down, and laid low in the dust of the earth ---but !--- The Lord huth taken away, who can hinder? Who will say unto Him, what doest Thou?
Could youth and beauty-could rank and dignity---could personal goodness and christian piety—could filial tenderness and conjugal truth-could the graces of the Princess and the virtues of the woman-could these have pleaded exemption from that decree which has comprehended the whole race of mankind in one common lot of infirmity and death-then, we had still possessed the illustrious original of our well-deserved eulogies and unfeigned regrets.
But, alas! who is proof against the mortal exposure of our nature to that appointment of the grave which sin has brought into the world, and which, in the inscrutable counsels of Him who gave us being, is one time or other fixed for all the children of men? Who shall trust in the possessions of Earth to evade the decree of Heaven? And what power, what skill, shall, prevent execution of the command, when the Destroying Angel, invested with the fiat of God, shall be sent forth to fulfil it?
Yet, when the terror-striking blow is given, our faith should teach us to consider it as the act of Him who has a sovereign right over us, to dispose of us as He pleases, and to give take away as
His mercy and wisdom may decide,
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