Imágenes de páginas

eclipse, we are consoled with the reflection that he walked in the light while he possessed the light; that as long as the exercise of reason was continued, he communed with eternal truth ; and that, from the shades which now envelope him, he will, at no very distant period, emerge into the brightness of celestial vision. Though it may be difficult to conceive of a series of events more likely to awe the mind to a sense of the power and presence of the Deity, than those we have witnessed, he has thought fit to address us once more, if not in louder, yet in more solemn and affecting accents. An unexampled depopulation of the species by the sword, had indeed nearly rendered death the most familiar of all spectacles, and left few families unbereaved; but neither the narrative of battles, nor the sight of carnage, is best suited to inculcate the lessons of mortality; nor are the moral features of that last enemy ever less distinctly discerned, than in the moments when he is most busy; or on those fields of slaughter, where he appears the principal agent. The “pomp and circumstance of war,” the tumultuous emotions of the combatants, and the eager anxiety of the contending parties, attentive to the important political consequences attached to victory and defeat, absorb every other impression, and obstruct the entrance of serious and pensive reflection. How different the example of mortality presented on the present occasion Without the slightest warning, without the opportunity of a moment's immediate preparation, in the midst of the deepest tranquillity, at midnight, a voice was heard in the palace, not of singing men and singing women, not of revelry and mirth, but the cry, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh. The mother, in the bloom of youth, spared just long enough to hear the tidings of her infant's death, almost immediately, as if summoned by his spirit, follows him into eternity. “It is a night much to be remembered.” Who foretold this event, who conjectured it, who detected at a distance the faintest presage of its approach, which, when it arrived, mocked the efforts of human skill, as much by their incapacity to prevent, as their inability to foresee it ! Unmoved by the tears of conjugal affection, unawed by the presence of grandeur, and the prerogatives of power, inexorable Death hastened to execute his stern commission, leaving nothing to royalty itself, but to retire and weep. Who can fail to discern, on this awful occasion, the hand of Him, who bringeth princes to nothing, who maketh the judges of the earth as vanity; who says, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown ; yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth; and he shall blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble 2

It is better, says Solomon, to go to the house of mourning, than to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men, and the living will lay it to heart.

While there are few who are not, at some season or other, conducted to that house, a nation enters it on the present visitation, there to learn, in the sudden extinction of the heiress of her monarchy, the vanity of all but what relates to eternity, and the absolute necessity of having our loins girt, our lamps burning, and ourselves as those who are looking for the coming of the Bridegroom. We presume there are none who can survey this signal interposition of Providence with indif. ference, or refrain from “laying it to heart.” No, illustrious Princess, it will be long ere the name of Charlotte Augusta is mentioned by Britons without tears : remote posterity also, which shall peruse thy melancholy story, will “lay it to heart,” and will be tempted to ask, why no milder expedient could suffice to correct our levity, and make us mindful of our latter end; while they look back with tender pity on the amiable victim, who seems to have been destined by the inscrutable wisdom of Providence, to warn and edify that people by her death, which she was not permitted, to the extent of her ambition, to benefit by her life. Should her lamented and untimely end be the means of giving that religious impulse to the public mind, which shall turn us to righteousness, the benefits she will have conferred upon her country, in both worlds, will more than equal the glories of the most prosperous and extended reign.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

preAched At


JUNE 5, 1825.


« AnteriorContinuar »