cause to be assured that many have no pretensions to that exalted character, it would betray the doctrines
of the gospel, and prostitute the truth to speak of them, or to them, as such. Whilst therefore, with
the simplicity which adorns the dispensation of the New Testament, we abstain from unnecessary ceremonies;
and in faithfulness discern between the righteous and the wicked; all that with propriety we can perform at a funeral,
after the solemnities are closed, is to - adore God - meditate upon death - contemplate the cause of
death - add suitable addresses - to Mourners; to the Impenitent; and to Believers. - And conclude
with the doctrine of the resurrection, that glorious assurance of victory over death and the grave.
Impressed with a desire to render funerals edifying and consistent with the Christian character, a determination
was formed to prepare a service comprehending the enumerated articles, and agreeably to this arrangement.
Upon commencing the task, it was however immediately discovered, that greater attention and precision were requisite
in a work of this nature, than was at first anticipated. A funeral service must contain doctrines, promises,
and precepts, which by being daily and publickly pronounced, will justly be considered as expressing the faith,
hope, and rule of obedience, of the ministers and people who adopt them. Such a service
should also be calculated
to reach the heart with the most affecting arguments, and bind the conscience with undeniable authority.
But no essay, merely human, can possess these properties; whatever care must be employed to state the sentiments with
accuracy, and however sublime, pathetic and forcible the style, still the whole might be condemned as defective, and every
part exposed to exceptions and censure. There is therefore but one expedient to surmount every difficulty,
there remains but one alternative; it must be in the words of scripture. This will answer every question, this
will silence every objection, and insure the unanimous approbation of all professing Christians. However opposed
they may otherwise be to the tenets and phraseology of each other, yet to the oracles of God all avow their
subjection. These establish with authority what we are to believe and perform, and they speak to the heart and
conscience with an emphasis and power which no uninspired address can attain.
Selections from the sacred scriptures may be made, which will exhibit in the clearest light and most energetic language,
every thing pertaining to the subject. If this be done without an improper application of detached sentences, or
offering violence to any test; if a connection in the several paragraphs