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time to see the face, to attend the body to the grave, and to return.
7. The true object of funeral addresses is not so much to eulogize the dead, as to instruct, comfort, and benefit the living
8. It may be proper to speak of the vices of the deceased, when these have resulted in ruin ; but only in the way of charity and kindness—if at all.
9. Let the speaker trace the overruling providence of God.
10. Let him show this as the true ground of comfort. It comforted Eli : “ It is the Lord ; let him do what seemeth him good." I Sam. iii. 18.
II. Consolation can be drawn often from the character of the dead. Mourners are always partial friends, and they love to hear a kind word from their minister. But the minister must keep soberly within the truth.
12. Other consolations are those of religion, in case one has died in hope and peace. In cases of rather doubtful piety one had best be silent He need disturb no hopes, but he must be careful not to lower the standard of Christian living.
13. Dr. Pond objects to saying openly that the dead are lost. The inference is hard enough to bear.
14. Funeral sermons generally are to be discouragedespecially when one is expected to take the Sabbath for them. It certainly ought not to be expected. Indeed, one may remark, that of late years it is unusual to look for a formal discourse, unless the dead person has held public positions or possessed extended influence.
15. Very properly, too, Dr. Pond opposes Sunday
funerals. And if the ministers of our various towns and cities combined to oppose all but those which were imperative, there would be a marked advantage gained.
16. As to going beyond one's own parish, Dr, Pond counsels prudence and wisdom. Let one not be used to encourage churches, or communities, in depending upon other pastors, and refusing to have what they are well able to support. We may add that Christian and ministerial courtesy strictly require, that one should never supersede a brother minister, in the duty which belongs to him as the pastor of the dead.
Nor should families neglect that polite and kindly treatment of the clergyman, which, when forgotten, makes this part of his duty sometimes both difficult and delicate.
17. Finally, let the minister be punctual. Anything but dilatoriness at a funeral !
II. PREPARATION FOR BURIAL.
“When we have received the last breath of our friend and closed his eyes," says good Jeremy Taylor, “there is a time to weep and lament, as he is worthy. Something is to be given to custom, something to fame, to nature, and to civilities, and to the honor of the deceased friend.
“When thou hast wept a while, compose the body to burial : which, that it be done gravely, decently, and charitably, we have the example of all nations to engage us, and of all ages of the world to warrant ; so that it is against common honesty, and public fame and reputation, not to do this office.
" It is good that the body be kept veiled and secret,
and not exposed to curious eyes ; or the dishonors brought by the changes of death discerned and stared upon by impertinent persons.
“Let it be interred after the manner of the country, and the laws of the place, and the dignity of the person. For so Jacob was buried with great solemnity, and Joseph's bones were carried into Canaan, and devout men carried Stephen to his burial, making great lamentation over him.
And so our blessed Saviour was pleased to admit the cost of Mary's ointment, because she did it for his burial. In this, as in everything else, as our piety must not pass into superstition, or vain expense, so neither must the excess be turned into parsimony, and impiety to the memory of the dead." III. MINISTERS OF CHRIST TO BE SENT FOR.
Acts ix. 36–39. “Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas : this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. And it came to pass in those days that she was sick, and died : whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. Then Peter arose and went with them.'
Every one who dies in a Christian land is entitled to a Christian burial, and the minister who refuses such ser. vice has little sympathy with the apostle or with Barnabas, the “Son of consolation,” and least of all with his Master. “Learn much of Christ in such an hour,” says McCheyne. "Study Him at the grave of Lazarus (John xi.); at the gate of Nain (Luke vii.), and a!so 'within the veil' (Rev. i. 18)."
IV. THE FIRST FUNERAL.
Gen. xxiii. 2-4, 19, 20.
“And Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her. And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying, I am a stranger and a sojourner with you : give me a possession of a burying-place with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.
And after this Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre : the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan. And the field and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a burying-place by the sons of Heth.”
“1. Here is deep feeling for a fellow-pilgrim's death. 2. Here is the pilgrim feeling increased : anew he confesses that he is but a stranger here. 3. Here is faith as well as feeling, for therefore it is he buries Sarah in Canaan. He believes the word of God about that land, and he looks forward to resurrection by Him who is to be revealed there. 4. These are the accompaniments of the first funeral mentioned in the Bible.”—A. Bonar.
V. THE BURIAL OF RACHEL.
Gen. xlviii. 7. “And as for me, when I came from Padan, Rachel died by me, in the land of Canaan, in the way, when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath : and I buried her there, in the way of Ephrath ; the same is Beth-lehem.”
In these broken sentences one can almost hear the sighs and heart-throbs of the departing patriarch. The scene of Rachel's death was just as vivid before his mind, as though it had occurred but the day before.
(Cf. Abraham's burial, Gen. xxv. 9; Isaac's, Gen. xxxv. 29; Jacob's, Gen. 1., and Abner's, 2 Sam, iii. 31.)
[Other instances :--Aaron, Deut. x. 6. Saul, 2 Sam. ii. 4, 5; I Chron. X. 11, 12; 2 Sam. xxi. 12-14. Samson, Judges xvi. 31. The head of Ishbosheth, 2 Sam. iv. 12. Rehoboam, 1 Kings xiv. 31. Asa, 1 Kings xv. 24. Jehoshaphat, 1 Kings xxii. 50. Ahaziah, 2 Kings ix. 27, 28. Hezekiah, 2 Chron. xxxii. 33. Ananias and Sapphira, Acts v. 6, 9, 10.]
VI. THE BURIAL OF JESUS.
“And now when the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathea, a good man and a just,. . . who was a disciple of Jesus, ... who went in boldly unto Pilate and craved the body of Jesus.
And when Pilate knew of the centurion that Jesus was already dead, he gave the body to Joseph. And he bought fine linen, and came and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, who brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in the linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new sepulchre hewn out of the rock, wherein was never man laid, which belonged to Joseph. And there was Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Joses, sitting over against the sepulchre, and beheld where he was laid. And they returned and prepared spices and ointments.”—Gospels in Harmony.
Joseph and Nicodemus-the two Marys--the fine linen the winding-sheet-the spices—the new sepulchre—the
sitting over against the sepulchre.”—How suggestive all these incidents to the “ disciples of Jesus”!
"All the thoughts and exercises of my mind are employed in the tomb of Jesus. He is dead-I die with Him.