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too merry; we must not be fo merry as to throw off all the Signs of Affection and Love, all the Tokens of Efteem and Humanity; nor must we * forrow even as others, which have no Hope. But we must be fo merry as to be able to fing Pfalms, and fo afflicted as to be excited to pray.
HE antient Chriftians teftified their Abhorrence of Heathen Rites: They rejected therefore the Pagan Custom of burning the Dead, depofiting the inanimate Body entire in the Ground. -The carrying forth to the Church, and from thence to the Grave, was performed by near Relations, or Perfons of fuch Dignity as the Circumftances of the Deceafed required.-Singing of Pfalms, in Exultation for the Conqueft of the deceafed Friend over Hell, Sin, and Death, was the great Ceremony ufed in all Funeral Proceffions among the antient Chriftians.-* St. Jerom, in the Epitaph of Paula, informs us, that Bifhops were
*Paulam tranflatam fuiffe Epifcoporum manibus, cervicem feretro fubjicientibus. Durant, p. 227.
what in modern Language we call Under-bearers at her Funeral.-The learned Durant * gives us many Quotations from the antient Chriftian Writers, to prove that those of the highest Orders of Clergy thought it not a Reproach to their Dignity to carry the Bier. How different an Idea of this Cffice prevails in our Times!-Something inftead of the Pall† ufed at prefent to cover the Coffin, appears by the fame Writer to have been of great Antiquity.-He speaks alfo of black used in Mourning.-St. Cyprian feemed to inveigh against it, as the Indication of Sorrow upon an Event which to the Christian was Matter of Joy.-Mr. Bourne takes no Notice of Torches, which are still in Use on particular Occafions in Funeral Proceffions.-It appears by Durant, that this Cuftom has been of a long ftanding.
* Duranti de Ritibus, p. 227.
In Nobilibus, aureum velamentum fuper feretrum, quo Corpus obtegeretur, apponi confuetum. Ibid. p. 225.
Induebantur atris veftibus, præfertim apud Gallos-Hunc tamen lugubrem et atrum amictum videtur improbare Cyprian. Serm. de Mortalitate. Ibid.
Dum autem Funus efferebatur, faces præferebantur-Conftantii Corpus delatum fuiffe nocturins Cantionibus et cereorum ignibus. Ibid. p. 228.
Gallos funus honorificè curaffe et multitudinem Luminum, fplendorem fibi etiam per diem vendicantem, repercuffo folis radio, refulfiffe. Ibid.
Mr. Strutt tells us the burning of Torches was very honourable. -To have a great many was a fpecial Mark of Esteem in the Perfon, who made the Funeral, to the Deceased.
Vol. II. p. 108, of his Antiquities.
Thus, in the Epitaph of Budè:
-We farther learn from this Ritualift, that it was customary to invite the Poor to Funerals.
I find a beautiful Thought on this Subjectt, in St. Ambrofe's Funeral Oration on Satyrus, cited by Durant, which I flatter myself will be thought to have deferved a tranflation:-" The Poor alfo "fhed their Tears-precious and fruitful Tears! "that washed away the Sins of the Deceafed."They let fall Floods of redeeming Tears."
Funeral Sermons alfo are of great Antiquity. Doles were ufed at Funerals, as we learn from St. Chryfoftoms, to procure Reft to the Soul of the Deceased, and that he might find his Judge propitious.
Dr. Browne, in his Urne Burial, obferves, that the Custom of carrying the Corps as it were out of the
*Prætereà convocabantur et invitabantur necdum Sacerdotes et Religiofi, fed et Egeni Pauperes. Had our famous Poet, Mr. Pope, an eye to this in ordering, by Will, poor Men to fupport his Pall?
† Mr. Strutt in his English Era tells us, that Sir Robert Knolles (in the 8th Year of Henry IV.) died at his Manor in Norfolk, and his dead Body was brought in a Litter to London with great Pomp and much Torch Light, and it was buried in the White Friars Church-" where was done for him a folemne Obfequie, with a "great Feaft and lyberall Dole to the Poore." This Cuftom of giving a Funeral Feaft to the Chief Mourners, was univerfally practifed all over the Kingdom, as well as giving Alms to the Poor, in Proportion to the Quality and Finances of the Deceased. Vol. II. p. 109.
It should feem to have been from fuch figurative Expressions as these in the first Christian Writers, literally understood, that the Romanists have derived their fuperftitious Doctrine of praying for the Dead.
Ceterum priufquam Corpus humo injecta contegatur, defunctus oratione funebri laudabatur. Durant, p. 236.
§ Μᾶλλον δὲ τι μετα ταυτα πένητας καλεις ; ένα εις αναπαυσιν απέλθη ἵνα ἴλεω χ} τον δικαστην.
Homilia xxxii. in Matthei cap. non.
World with its Feet forward, is not inconfonant to Reafon," as contrary to the native Pofture of "Man, and his Production first into it."
It may be added to Mr. Bourne's Obfervations on Ever-greens used at Funerals*, that the planting of Yew Trees in Church-yards feems to derive its Origin from antient Funeral Rites; in which, (the Doctor conjectures) from its perpetual Verdure, it was used as an Emblem of the Refurrection.-He obferves farther, that the chriftian Custom of decking the Coffin with Bay, is a moft elegant Emblem. It is faid that this Tree, when feemingly dead, will revive from the Root, and its dry Leaves resume their wonted Verdure.
The Custom of laying flat † Stones in our Churches and Church-yards, over the Graves of better Sort of Perfons, on which are infcribed Epitaphs containing the Name, Age, Character, &c. has been tranfmitted from very antient Times, as appears from Cicero and others. I cannot better close these additional Remarks on the obfolete Cuftom of carrying Ever-greens at Funerals, than with a Description of it in the Words of the elegant Mr. Gay, in his Paftoral Dirge.-He paints the ruftic,
* Dr. Trufler in his Chronology tells us, that in the Year 1482, Yew Trees were encouraged in Church-yards (as being fenced from Cattle) for the making of Bows. Hence their Frequency in Churchyards. This feems to me the Obfervation of one totally ignorant of ecclefiaftical Antiquities. Are not all Plantation Grounds fenced from Cattle? And whence is it that there is usually but one Yew Tree in each Church-yard? How much more probable the Conjecture of the learned Author of the Vulgar Errors !
+ Cicero de legibus.
Lapidea Menfa terra operitur humato Corpore hominis qui aliquo fit numero, quæ contineat laudem et nomen mortui incifum. Mos ritinetur. Morefini Deprav. Rel. Orig. p. 86.
vulgar Ceremonies with great Truth, though his
The Reader, converfant in claffical Learning, will call to mind here the beautiful Thought in the Idyllium on Bion, by Mofchust-though the fine Spirit in it will perhaps evaporate, when we apply it to the Chriftian Doctrine of the Refurrection: The Antithefis will be deftroyed.
*I have almoft thought it unneceffary to give any other Proofs than Mr. Bourne has left us, of the Antiquity of finging Pfalms before the Corps. The learned Reader may not think the fubfequent quotation unworthy his Perufal. "Cantilena feralis per Antiphonas in pompa funebri et Fano debacchata hinc eft. "Inter Græcos demortui cadavere depofito in inferiori domus aula "ad portam, et peractis cæteris ceremoniis, Cantores funerales "accedunt et pivov canunt, quibus per intervalla respondebant "domefticæ fervæ, cum Affiftentium Corona, neque folum domi, "fed ufque ad fepulchrum præcedebant feretrum ita canentes."
Guichard. Lib. II. cap. 2. Funer. apud. Morefini, &c. p. 32.
ΑΜΜΕΣ δ' οι μεγάλοι και καρτεροὶ ἢ σοφοὶ ἄνδρες,
Alas! the meaneft Flowers which Gardens yield,
Revive in Spring, and bloom another Year:
But We, the Great, the Brave, the Learn'd, the Wise,
We fleep, for ever fleep, to wake no more.