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any, the gentle Mary, with impatient haste, broke the beautiful alabaster casket and lavished its precious odors upon the person of her beloved master, the disciples were indignant at the costly waste, but Christ defended her devotion, saying, "Let her alone; she hath wrought a good work on me, she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying !"
The devoted Arimathean sepulchered the body of Jesus with every honor that night and secrecy would allow, and the Marys prepared spices and ointments with which to embalm the sacred remains of the revered Master. Of the first Christian martyr it is recorded, “ Devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.” From these Scripture examples we infer that it is not unchristian to honor the dead; that tears, lamentations, weeds of woe, and words of eulogy are alike in the order of nature and the order of God, sanctioned by universal custom and not forbidden by the Christian religion.
It is true that Christianity, by its genius, inculcates moderation in grief, economy in expenditure, and truthfulness in eulogy. We need not beat breasts and tear our hair or howl like savages. We need not lavish such sums upon monuments and mausoleums as to require penal restrictions like the ancient Greeks. We need not use such words of fulsome adulation, lying eulogy and panegyric as have been the custom with other countries and other ages. We need not make a wholesale applica
tion of the motto, “De mortuis nil nisi bonum,” concerning the dead say nothing but good, but we may and should bury our dead with a suitable amount of that respect that has been shown to the dead in all ages
and countries. It is this attention to the dead that distinguishes man from the animal races, that vindicates his claim to superior reason in this life and points to immortality.
Honors paid to the dead are a stimulus to every one so to live as to deserve eulogy at his death. It was a wholesome custom, that of some of our Indian tribes, not to bury a man unless somebody could say something good of him. It was a fearful curse, that of Jehovah upon Jehoiakim king of Judah. “They shall not lament for him, saying Ah, my brother! Ah, Lord! or, Ah, his glory! He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the , gates of Jerusalem.”
Eulogies after death will avail nothing unless we have deserved them while living. The best of eulogies is a good life. It is impossible to cover up a bad life with a speech at a funeral or a lying epitaph. It may not be said of us “a great man and a prince hath fallen,” but it may be said by every passer by, this is the grave of a good man.
of a good man. Character is immortal. It dies not, it will not lie down in the ground. Ghosts in graveyards is an exploded superstition, but, about the costly obelisks of the cities of the dead, springing up in the green wood, in the suburbs of every city
and village, reputations flit, like troubled ghosts about the shores of Styx and Acheron in the ancient Hades.
To-day we are a nation of mourners. The horror that brooded over our hearts like a pall of hell's own weaving, as the telegraph winged over the land the news of the assassination, has given place to grief and tears.
On Wednesday last, at high noon, the people of the United States assembled in their places of worship to celebrate the funeral services of their murdered Chief. Never before was such universal and spontaneous homage paid to the memory of mortal. Never before were so many millions gathered at the same hour to honor the obsequies of one man. The funerals of other days have been celebrated piecemeal or as an after thought. Here, thanks to the telegraph, our entire nation stood around the bier and over the open coffin of our common head. And that wonderful funeral procession! to reach, without figure, from the capital of the nation to the capital of Illinois, -sixteen hundred miles! When did the world ever before witness such a funeral cortege! It is true, only the hearse with nine cars flies along the rails, but everywhere, from city and hamlet, mountain, vale and prairie, it raises and carries along with it a mighty tide wave of mourning humanity. Everywhere it rolls through an avenue walled on either side with silent crowds, uncovered, unsurging, tearful; its approach
heralded and its departure signaled by tolling bells and booming cannon. By day it flies through cities and villages covered with weeds of woe, and by night, flaming torches mark its course and show the tears glittering like blood drops on the bronzed cheeks of rural populations. Everywhere flags at half mast, dirges by martial bands, and requiems at the stations sung by young men and maidens. Everywhere weeping and eulogies, music and flowers. Was there ever such attendance upon the relics of one not regally born ? It is a nation's tribute to a citizen ruler whose firmness and integrity, quaint shrewdness and blunt common sense have carried it through a terrible crisis in its history and given liberty to millions.
The nation is right in paying the highest funeral honors to our late departed Chief Magistrate. We owe it to our national self respect. Shall the head of the family, the father, the Saviour of the nation die, and the children not mourn ?
The nation thus reproves crime. Slavery, secession, treason, assassination, barbarism, stand aghast in the presence of this sublime outburst of national sorrow. The bloody corpse of Lucretia expelled the Tarquins from Rome. The bloody fragments of the murdered wife of a Levite thrilled all Israel with horror, and they well-nigh exterminated the tribe of Benjamin for abetting the murder. The bloody corpse of our murdered chief, carried in solemn procession through the country, will leave in its funeral train the solemn
purpose to visit vengeance upon traitors and treason. By these rites the nation honors goodness, honesty, integrity. Abraham Lincoln was not a church member, but he was a Christian and led a life of virtue and a life of prayer. He was the Christian head of a Christian nation, and deserves Christian burial.
His sudden and tragical death has inspired the nation with mutual forbearance, sympathy, unity, fraternity. Political papers have moderated their acerbity. Opposing parties shake hands over the coffin of their common father, and agree to bury past animosities and to stand nobly by his successor in this hour of trial. It is due to the idiocy and malignity of human nature, that a few pitiful souls spit upon his bier, and trample on these universal weeds of mourning, but the grand record of history will be “A devout nation carried ABRAHAM LINCOLN to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.”
SUBSTANCE OF A SERMON PREACHED AT THE UNITARIAN
BY REV. EDGAR BUCKINGUAM.
We trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel. LUKE, xxiv, 21.
We are not required by public proclamation, nor induced by general expectation to spend again our Sunday hour in lessons drawn directly from the death of the President. The hearts of the people are full with this single subject of thought, and it is well to