and among people of every description, some funeral solemnities have been performed, and the
human body for ever treated with singular respect. Whether embalmed or interred, consigned to
the urn or the grave, the memory of the deceased was honored with, what was considered, decent
obsequies; the loss sustained by bereaved families deeply lamented; and addresses or orations,
suited to the sad occurrence, frequently pronounced. Christians, whose sympathies and passions
are not eradicated but sanctified, and whose estimate of the present and future state is more
accurate and extension than others, will surely upon such occasions, readily indulge in sacred
meditations, and willingly assist in devout exercises.
The superstitous ceremonies of the Church of Rome, connected with the doctrine of purgatory, and
prayers and masses for the dead, had so corrupted the ancient funderal service, and rendered it
so abhorrent and odious to the pious and celebrated reformers, that many Protestant Churches
abolished it altogether; and to this day, in some of them, it has never been introduced.
The motives which at the reformation were prevalent and perhaps sufficient to justify the practice
of our venerable ancestors, are not now of equal importance; nor do any existing circumstances,
at this day, suggest the necessity of a sullen silence
at the grave, or forbid the propriety of
a funeral service. A general persuasion of its expediency prevails among the people of almost every
denomination, and it would gratify them, to be favored with some religious rites, corresponding to
those serious occasions.
A funeral service would certainly be acceptable to the ministers and people of the Reformed Dutch
Church, and there would be no objection against reading it. They are accustomed to some forms,
which are always read at the administration of the sacraments, at ordinations, and other occasions.
These forms constitute a part of the public standards of their faith; they are convenient to the
ministers, pleasing to the people, and prove beneficial in preserving uniformity of doctrine and
sound words in the Church.
To other denominations who admit of no forms whatever, and would prefer extemperaneous addresses, a
collection of sentiments and expressions proper to be introduced at the grave, would doubtless be
cheerfully received as a valuable treasure from which they might enrich their funeral orations.
If all who ae interred in a Christian country were real Christians, and all who attended at funerals
were also such, the service or addresses would assume a very different style. But when we have