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connected with the internal persuasion and confidence, that the spirit had departed to another sphere, and might be troubled by outward indignity offered to its former tenement: or, if further than this, a glimmering hope existed, that the mortal should at some future day rejoin the immortal, it is easy to conceive that this belief, so consoling to the hopes and aspirations of humanity, would naturally beget a feeling, and instil a habit of outward respect and reverence to the remains of the dead.
However, on this point let us conclude, with the excellent, if quaint, reflection of good old Weever :
“ Thus you see by the premises, how magnificent our ancients were in the ordering and expenses of funerals ; how sumptuous in their houses of death, or sepulchres ; and how carefull to preserve their dead carcases from putrefaction : for so much as the soule,' saith Sandys, knowing itselfe by divine instinct immortall, doth desire that the bodye (her beloved companion) might enjoy (as farre forth as may be) the like felicity, giving, by erecting lofty monuments and these dues of funerall, all possible eternitie.'
“But now, judicious reader, understande, that howsoever I have spoken, or whatsoever I shall speak of buriall, and the ceremonies thereunto belonging : yet I speak now out of Saint Augustine, and Ludovicus Vives, his commentator, that it is not prejudiciall to a Christian soule to be forbidden buriall; for although the Psalmist complaines how that none would bury the dead bodies of God's servants, yet this was spoken to intimate their villany which did it, rather than their misery which suffered it. For though that, unto the eyes of man, these acts
seem bloudy and tyrannous, yet precious, in the sight of the Lord, is the death of his saints.' And our faith holding fast the promise, is not so fraile as to think, that the ravenous beasts can deprive the body of any part to bee wanting in the resurrection; where not a haire of the head shall be missing : a new restitution of our whole bodies being promised to all of us in a moment—not only out of the earth alone, but even out of the most secret angles of all the other elements wherein any bodye is or can bee possibly included. A bad death never follows a good life ; for there is nothing that maketh death bad, but that estate which followeth death. What power then hath the horrour of any kinde of death, or the want of buriall, to affright their soules that have led a virtuous life? Quo loco, quo modo, quo tempore, fiat hæc emigratio, quid interest ? undique Christi fidelibus, ad coelestia regna patet aditus.
“ The familie of the gorgeous rich glutton prepared him a rich funerall, unto the eyes of men; but one farre more sumptuous did the ministering angels prepare for the ulcered beggar, in the sight of God; they bare him not into any sepulchre of marble, but placed him in the bosome of Abraham!”
NOTICE TO CHAPTER II.
In a former portion of this work, reference has been made to the customs of embalming and incineration, and it was the author's intention to attempt a description of the ancient art of embalming, as practised by the Egyptians, and of some other sepulchral rites of that celebrated people.
He also considered, that he could in no way better deserve an approving word from intelligent readers, than by presenting them with the “Hydrotaphia” of Sir Thomas Brown, as the best, and, to many, a novel description of the custom of “ Urn-Burial.”
The limits of this work, however, obliged him to defer one of these intentions, and he has therefore chosen to appropriate the present chapter to an abridgment of that quaint, but interesting and meditative
essay. In concluding this notice, it may not be inapposite to quote the encomium of “The Quarterly Review :"
“The Hydrotaphia of Sir Thomas Brown is one of the most beautiful works of that admirable author. There is perhaps no other writer, either of our own or of any other country, whose intellect had so perfectly assimilated all its stores of learning. His feelings seem always to have ended in meditation; and his meditations, on the other hand, always bring with them a subdued and vivid feeling.”
The author must also beg leave to recommend to his readers, an edition of this tract, published in the year 1838, and edited by J. A. St. John, Esq., in which will be found some highly interesting notes and criticisms.
In the deep discovery of the subterranean world a shallow part would satisfy some inquirers; who, if two or three yards were open about the surface, would not care to rake the bowels of Potosi and regions towards the centre. Nature hath furnished one part of the earth, and man another. The treasures of time lie high, in urns, coins, and monuments, scarce below the roots of some vegetables. Time hath endless rarities, and shows of all varieties; which reveals old things in heaven, makes new discoveries in earth, and even earth itself a discovery. That great antiquity, America, lay buried for a thousand years; and a large part of the earth is still in the urn unto us.
Though if Adam were made out of an extract of the earth, all parts might challenge a restitution, yet few have returned their bones far lower than they might receive them: not affecting the graves of giants, under hilly and heavy coverings, but content with less than their own depth, have wished their bones might lie soft, and the earth be light upon them ; even such as hope to rise again, would not be content with central interment, or so desperately to place their relics as to lie beyond discovery, and in no way to be seen again ; which happy contrivance hath made communication with our forefathers, and left unto our view some parts which they never beheld themselves.
Many have taken voluminous pains to determine the state of the soul upon disunion ; but men have been most fantastical in the singular contrivances of their corporeal dissolution ; whilst the soberest nations have rested in two ways-of simple inhumation and burning.
That carnal interment, or burying, was of the elder date, the old examples of Abrahain and the patriarchs are sufficient to illustrate ; and were without competition, if it could be made out that Adam was buried near Damascus, or Mount Calvary, according to some tradition. God himself, that buried but one, was pleased to make choice of this way, collectible from Scripture expression, and the hot contest between Satan and the archangel, about discovering the body of Moses. But the practice of burning was also of a great antiquity and of no slender extent. For (not to derive the same from Hercules) noble descriptions there are hereof in the Grecian funerals of Homer, in the formal obsequies of Patroclus, and Achilles ; and somewhat elder in the Theban war, and solemn combustion of Meneceus, and Archemorus, contemporary unto Jair, the eighth judge of Israel. Confirmable also among the Trojans, from the funeral pyre of Hector, burnt before the gates of Troy, and the burning of Penthesilea, the Amazonean queen ; and long continuance of that practice, in the inward