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rious ambition, of that immortality which the good have ever pursued, which Thou hast finally won for them, and which thine own Resurrection has triumphantly confirmed !
ON THE DEATH OF QUEEN CHARLOTTE.*
GENESIS, xlix. 31.
There they buried Abraham and Sarah his
wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah !
HESE words, among the last that were spoken by the Patriarch Jacob, call us into a melancholy, indeed, but by no means an unpleasing train of meditation. They call us from the common daily occupations and enjoyments of life to the profound consideration of that last scene in which they must all close, and whatever
Preached December 6, 1818, being the Sunday after Her Majesty's Funeral.
dislike we may, in general, entertain for such a contemplation, there are, still, occasions in which we find it near our hearts, and as the only one on which we are inclined to enter. Who does not, indeed, feel himself, at times, drawn as by an irresistible spell, from all the gayest and most glorious appearances of present existence, and fixed in deep stillness of soul on that silent and motionless retreat, into which nothing of the noise and stir of the world is ever permitted to intrude? Nor is it only in seasons of overwhelming affliction, when our heads are bent down over some beloved tomb, and our thoughts, and our eyes, are closed to all that is commonly attractive and delightful,- it is not only in such seasons that we find a melancholy gratification in the gloom of mortality itself. There is a sorrow of a milder and a more pensive character, there are remembrances of those who have long left us, but which still hover over the hallowed spot in which their earthly remains were laid
there are the tombs of our fathers, and of the old time before them—there are the tombs of the elevated in mind, or in station : We love to go forth and meditate' amid their sacred calm, and in the minutest circumstances
and feelings which they suggest to us, we take, for a time, a deeper interest than in all the tumult and the splendours of surrounding existence !
It was with such a feeling, and in the view of his own approaching mortality, that the Patriarch Jacob, after having called his family around him, and pronounced that warm blessing in which the long glories of future ages were, at once, present to his prophetic spirit-fixes all his remaining interest on the simple sepulchre of his fathers in a distant land. “ I am to be gathered (says he) unto my people: bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a burying-place. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife ; and there I buried Leah.”
In the present hours, my brethren, the general feeling of the people of this land carries them to this solemn contemplation. . The ancient Sepulchre of our Kings has once more been
thrown open before us. The revered Wife of our Sovereign, and the Mother of our Royal House has, within these few last days, been conveyed to that dark abode;-we cannot but follow her, for a time, into the quiet scene of her repose,--and while we sit down by that grave in which She is now levelled with the lowest of her people, we feel it, as the truest honour to her memory, and what her pious mind would most have approved of, to gather from the spectacle of mortal decay, which She now presents to us, those lessons of wisdom, which, in the extinction of the highest human fortune, impress us deeply with the common doom of our weak and transitory nature.
I. The first and most natural sentiment which this contemplation awakens, is that of the vanity of earthly grandeur or glory. Is this, then, its termination ?
Are all its splendours, all those objects on which the ambition of man is so incessantly engaged, brought at last to this conclusion ? What are we labouring for in our little day? To acquire some unnecessary increase of wealth, or of dignity, some name or