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in the rigour of former times, and no one can reasonably expect, or I should think, reasonably desire, its revival.

It only remains for me to observe, that after some few Remarks on Reverence for the Bodies of the Dead and on Interment; the office under consideration will be divided into three sections. First, the introductory sentences when the body is brought into the church-yard; next, the service in the church; and, lastly, the service at the grave; in all and each of which will be found much closely applicable to the living, and well adapted for the improvement of the mind, and for the consolation of the heart. The subject is one, which, if duly considered, is capable of affording comfort at a season when comfort is usually most wanted, and most sought for; and if the period be improved, as by earnest prayer, and

the diligent study of the word of God, the anxious inquirer may lay hold on that rod and that staff, which will guide and support him when passing through the valley of the shadow of death.

ON REVERENCE FOR

THE BODIES OF THE DEAD, &c.

THE care of dead bodies has been in all ages considered an act of religious duty; the Heathens called it a law of the immortal Gods; and the Romans especially had a peculiar Deity to preside over this very proper act of decency. The Athenians were so strict, that they would not admit any to be magistrates, who had not taken care of their parent's sepulture, and beheaded one of their generals after he had gained a victory,

for throwing the dead bodies of the slain, during a tempest, into the sea; and Plutarch relates, that before they engaged with the Persians, they took a solemn oath, that if they were conquerers, they would bury their foes; this being a privilege which even an enemy hath a right to; as being a debt which is owing to humanity. The practice of burning bodies was of great antiquity, and of no slender extent; most customs are founded upon some reason, and it appears that a purifying virtue was supposed to exist in fire.1 The Jewish nation sometimes admitted this practice, for the men of Jabesh burnt the body of Saul, 1 Sam. xxxi. 12. and to avoid contagion or pollution, in time of pestilence, burnt the bodies of their friends, or used great

1 Indian Brachmins often burnt themselves alive, and thought it the noblest way to end their days.

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