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ON THE DEATH OF THE PRINCESS
ST JOHN, xiv. 1. Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in
God, believe also in me.
THESE, my brethren, are among the most soothing words of our Faith. They were spoken, as you know, by our Saviour to his disciples, when he was about to be taken from them; and they have remained to every succeeding age to soften the afflictions of his people. They call us at once from a lower world, and all its mutability and suffering, to inhale the pure air of an higher
* Preached on Wednesday the 19th November 1817, being the day of the funeral of her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte Augusta.
region; and, from the troubles and disorders of man, they invite us into the sanctuary of God.
We lately sought for that sanctuary at the Altar; and this City exhibited, from all its crowded walks, a people of worshippers, who, under different forms, sought to attain the same high communion with God and their Saviour, which might in some measure free them from the temptations, and raise them above the miseries, of the world. But, alas ! in the very moments in which we were advancing to that spiritual communication, our hearts were smote with a most unparalleled national affliction ;-before the very altar of God, we were struck as by a thunderbolt from heaven, and, I fear, the deep feeling of our calamity interrupted the calm course of our devotion. Even now, we cannot look upon it with collected spirits; and on this melancholy day, when“ dust is returning to dust,” it is difficult to utter the words of consolation : yet, if possible, let the voice of Religion be heard; and even, while our hearts are dying within us, let us listen to that voice of compassion, which speaks to us from Heaven, “ Let not your hearts be troubled, ye believe in God.”
I. Yes, my brethren, what other belief can console us in these moments of despondency ?Where else can we find a resting-place for our souls, except in the assured conviction of the goodness and wisdom of an Almighty Disposer ? -What other light can penetrate through the thick darkness that has collected around the hopes and glories of this perishing existence ?the desire of nations, the virtuous affections and bright anticipations of the purest domestic bliss, still more, than of the most elevated fortune, torn and shattered, on the very eve of their accomplishment, and while looking forward in all the vivacity of hope for the fulness of their reward!
Alas! what is Man, and what are the splendours and the happiness of the World ? What are even the excellencies of human nature, if human nature be all ?-If there is no heavenly superintendence, no supreme and compassionate goodness, enfolding us amid the gloom and wretchedness of our way, in its everlasting arms, then, indeed, we are most miserable. But the belief of the wise and good in every age has pointed to an Almighty Ruler; and the order and benignity of Nature her