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to dust; and says to the grave, Thou art my father, and to the worms, my mother, and my sister ? Job. xvii. 14. Even now, still there is an indissoluble relation betwixt that dust and that glorious soul. As it was with our Blessed Saviour, the Eternal Son of God; even in triduo mortis the union was not dissolved of that dead body to the all-glorious Deity: so it is with his members in this lower union, by virtue whereof our Saviour argues the still-existence of the blessed Patriarchs; I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob: he says not of their souls, but of their persons: whereupon it was, that the Jews call their burial places, not Dina na, the house of the dead, but O" na the house of the living.
In regard, therefore, of that inseparable relation, wherein the body stands to the soul, it is well worthy of good terms from us : but chiefly in regard of the future estate of the body; for it is sown in corruption, shall rise again in honour. In reference hereto, were those solemn and costly obsequies of the dead of old: for though heathens, that did not acknowledge a resurrection, had some ceremonies of respect to the corpses of their friends; as the old poet could say, Tarquini corpus bona fæmina lavit et unrit; yet God's people bestowed their cost, with relation to a resurrection. which sense is that of St. Paul not unprobably taken by some; I Cor. sv. 29: Else, what should they do, that are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? And, surely, all their precious ointments had been but cast away, if they had not been bestowed with the hope and expectation of a future estate. In the full account whereof, the Jews, even at this day, returning from the funeral of their dead friends, are wont to pull up grass and cast it behind them, with those words of the Psalm lxxii. 16. They shall flourish and spring forth like the grass of the earth. As, therefore, those, who find a great heir in a mean condition of for the present but are assured of a rich and plentiful inheritance which he shall once infallibly enjoy, are ready to regard him, not according to his baseness present but his greatness ensuing ; so must we do with this body of ours, honour it for the glory which shall be put upon it in the resurrection of the just, and not despise it for the present earthliness and vileness.
(2.) Now, as Abraham's example shews us there must be a meet burial-place provided for the dead; so, in the second place, that it must be a Set and Designed Place; not at random, or variable uncertainty ; but appointed, and put apart for that use. So we see was this of Abraham. He did not bury one in Chaldea, another in Canaan; one in Sichem, the other in Machpelah; but settled this ground to this good and only purpose: which, because it is a holy employment, in regard of the bodies of the saints that are there bů. ried, it is locus sacer, “holy:" not for that the dust of it hath in it. self any inherent quality of sanctity, but for that it is destined and set apart for this holy use. Hence these places were called of old, κοιμητήρια, “the sleeping-places” of Christians : and even those High Priests and Elders, whose consciences would serve them to barter with Judas for the blood of his Master; yet would pretend
so much charity, as with the redelivered silverings of Judas to buy a field for the burial-place of strangers, called thereupon ’Axendad.
Out of the consideration of the holy designation of these peculiar places, came both the title and practice of the consecration of Cemeteries; which, they say, is no less ancient than the days of Calixtus the first, who dedicated the first cemetery, about the year of our Lord two hundred and twenty: although these cemeteries, being then only the outer courts of the Churches, perhaps seemed not to need any new or several forms of consecration, but took part of the dedication with the holy structures; and, indeed, by the Council of Arles it was decreed, That if any Church were consecrated, the Churchyard of it should require no other hallowing than by simple conspersion.
But superstition hath been idly lavish this way. The various and unnecessary ceremonies of which consecration whoso desires to see, let him consult with Hospinian in his Tract De Origine Dedicationum, 10 cap: where he shall have it fully recounted, out of the Pontifical of Albertus Castellanus, what a world of fopperies there are, of crosses, of candles, of holy water, and salt, and censings. Away with these trumperies. But, thus much let me say, that, laying aside all superstitious rites, it is both meet and necessary, that these kind of places should be set aside to this holy use, by a due and religious dedication, as we do this day.
You must know, first, that no creature is, in and of itself, holy: it becomes so, either by an infusion and participation of holiness, if it be a creature capable thereof; or, by destination, to some sacred purpose, and by prayers and holy actions tending thereunto.
This latter way we find in usual practice, both with God's people; and, in their way, with strangers from the commonwealth of Israel.
Thus Moses, by God's command, when he had erected the Tabernacle and furnished it with utensils, did, by holy anointings, hal
. low both the priests, and it; and the tables, and altars, and vessels thereto appertaining. Thus did Solomon, when he had built and perfected the Temple, with the altars, and all other the sacred appurtenances. And this feast of the Dedication of the Second Temple was honoured by our Saviour with his presence and celebration
And his father David, when he had built a house for himself, would not take possession of it without a kind of dedication; as ye may find, Psalm xxx. in the title, A Psalm or Song, at the dedicotion of the house of David. Neither was this, as ye may perhaps think, a matter proper to David, as who was a prophet of God; but ye shall find, that it was both of ancient and general use among the Jews: insomuch as Moses is bidden to proclaim, Deut. xx. 5, If there be any man, that hath built a new house, and not dedicated it, let him return lest he die, and another dedicate it.
And, if this were done to those private and momentary dwellings, how much more fit is it to be done to our common Say na, the house of our age! and, if it were thus in merely civil things, much more in matters appertaining to God!
Neither do I hold it an ill argument of Durand, however censured by some, if the Jews used these dedications, how much more we! For, however the Jewish Church abounded more with rites and ceremonious observations than the Christian; (it was the fig tree in the vineyard, all leaves ;) yet we must learn to distinguish of such ceremonies as were in use with them. They were of two sorts : some were of a typical prefiguration of things to come, and especially of the Messiah, and matters pertaining to his Kingdom; others were of a moral use and signification, conducing to religious decency and good order.
The former of these were long since abrogated; neither can we revive them without great prejudice and injury to that Christ, who was the end of the Law: and whoever doth so, I must, in seconding the zeal of St. Jerome, say, In barathrum diaboli devolutumn iri.
The other are of eternal use; and either may, or must be, continued in the Church till time shall be no more, according to the nature and quality of them. Of this kind are the decent forms of administration of God's public services, and the appendances there. of; in the fashion of buildings, of habits, of solemn music, and this of meet consecration, of those things which are to be devoted to any holy use.
And this is done these two ways: first, by the public prayers made and used for that purpose; secondly, by a public declaration of those, to whom that authority is committed, of the designation of that place or thing, to the uses intended, together with a separation or sequestration of it thereunto. After which, that place becomes holy ground; and is so to be accounted and employed thereafter: whereupon, to fight or quarrel in a Church-yard, is by law more penal than in the field or street: and what the privileges of these sanctuaries have been of old, you well know. Perhaps some of you are ready to boggle
at this, as if it were an uncouth point. It is an error, ascribed by Gabriel Prateolus to the Waldenses or poor men of Lyons, Asserunt nihil interesse quâcunque tellure corpora humana sepeliantur, sive locus sacer sit, sive non; • That there is no difference of burial-places, whether a man be interred in a holy place, or not:” wherein I know you will be willing to receive a satisfaction. Know then, that we must distinguish betwixt those things, which are essential to the good estate of the soul; and those, that are of meet convenience for the person. As ye see it is in respect of the bodily life; some things are necessary and essential to it, as meat, and drink, and raiment; other things are of meet use for the convenience of the man, as housing, fashions of attire, bedding, forms of diet, and the like: so it is in respect of the soul: there are some things essential to the well-being of it; as repentance, faith, perseverance in both; the soul that departs thus endowed cannot fail of glory and happiness, whatever is done to the body, or wherever it is bestowed: there are other things of convenience to the person, both of the dead and living; thus is a de cent interment of those that die in the Lord.
As, therefore, burying or not makes nothing to the state of the soul, but much to the honour or disgrace of the person, and, by way of relation, therefore, reaches to the soul; so, burying in consecrated, or unholy ground: we do, therefore, hold it a night and privilege of the faithful, that they are laid in Christian burial; and an aggravation of the punishment of malefactors, self-felons, and excommunicated persons, that they are buried out of that compass.
I remember Hospinian tells a story of a German Bishop, that, having, upon a large fee, consecrated the whole Church-yard, was asked by some of the parish, where they should bestow the children that died unbaptized, or those that die under censure: he saw his error, and, to correct it, did unhallow one piece of ground, for a new fee, of that which he had formerly consecrated.
Surely it is very expedient, that God's faithful people should be interred together: neither is it a small contentment to think, that we have good company, even in that region of desolation: whence it was, that the Patriarchs desired to be marshalled together in their graves; and the old Prophet, 1 Kings xiii. 31. gave charge, as in way of approbation of that young Seer whom he had seduced, When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre, wherein the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his hones: and Ruth would be buried where Naomi lies: although our main care and consolation must be, that our souls are gathered to the spirits of just men, in that glory to whose partnership the body shall once happily attain
. The principal draws in the accessary: labour thy soul may be safe and happy, the body cannot fail of blessedness. But it is justly lamentable to see, some especially of a more eminent rank, that spend their care upon their body, to have it hearsed, churched, and chancelled; to have curious and costly tombs; how to set forth their monument with rance, jet, alabaster, porphyry, and all gay stones the earth can afford; and, in the mean time, make no provision for the happy estate of their souls. These are true spiritual unthrifts: gloria animalia, as Tertulliau's word is; whose bodies are not left so loathsome, as their names unsavoury, and their souls miserable.
Hitherto, that there must be a meet place, a place fixed and designed, for the burial of the dead.
(3.) Now let us a little look into the Choice of the Place. It was a' field, and a cave in that field: a field, not sub tecto, but sub dio; a field before Mamre, a city that took his name from the owner, Abraham's assistant in his war; before it, not in it.
And indeed both these are fit and exemplary: it was the antientest and best way, that sepultures should be without the gates of the city. Hence you find, that our Saviour met the bier of the widow's son, as he was carried out of the gates of Naim to his burial: and hence, of old, was wont to be that proclamation of the Roman funerals
, Ollus ecfertur fords. And we find that Joseph of Arimathea had his private burial-place, in his garden, without the city; for it was near to Calvary. And so was Lazarus's sepulchre without Be.
thany: our Saviour staid in the field, till the sisters came forth to him; and the neighbours came forth after them: so they went together to the sepulchre. And, certainly, much might be said to this purpose for the convenience of out-funerals, without respect of those Jewish grounds, who held a kind of impurity in the corpses of the dead: but, that, which might be said, is rather out of matter of wholesomeness and civil considerations, than out of the grounds of theology.
In time, this rite of burial did so creep within the walls, that it insinuated itself into Churches; yea, into the holy of holies, quires and chancels, near unto the holy table, God's Evangelical Áltar.
But, I must tell you, this custom hath found entertainment only in the Western Churches, that is, those that were of correspondence with the Roman: for the Greek Church allows no such practice, and the Roman at first admitted it very sparingly; so as Olim Episcopi et alii Principes sepeliebantur in Ecclesid; “None but Princes and Bishops," as Martinus Vivaldus,“ were of old interred in Churches:” afterwards, the privileges grew larger to other emi. nent benefactors unto the Church, and uone but them. And now, that it is grown so common both in our Churches and the Roman, we may thank partly superstition, partly ambition and covetousness: Superstition, of them, that think the holiness of the place doth not a little avail the soul, at which error of the Romanists we shali touch anon; Ambition, of those, that love these twTorncías both living and dead; Covetousness, of those greedy hucksters of the Church of Rome, who, upon the sale of their suffrages, hoise the prices of their holy ground to their unreasonable advantages.
But, to speak freely what I think concerning this so common practice, I must needs say, I cannot but hold it very unfit and inconvenient; both,
First, in respect of the Majesty of the place. It is suplený, Lord's House;" Bacinony', “the Palace of the King of Heaven:” and what prince would have his Court made a charnel-house? How well soever we loved our deceased friends, yet, when their life is dissolved, there is none of us, but would be loth to have their corpses inmates with us in our houses: and why should we think fit to offer that to God's house, which we would be loth to endure in our own? The Jews and we are in extremes this way: They hold the place uuclean, where the dead lies; and will not abide to read any part of the Law near to ought that is dead: we make choice to lay our dead in the place, where we read and preach both Law and Gospel.
Secondly, in regard of the Annoyance of the Living: for the air, kept close within walls, arising from dead bodies, must needs be offensive; as we find by daily experience: more offensive now, than of old to God's people. They buried with odours; the fragrancy whereof was a good antidote for this inconvenience; She did this to bury me, saith our Saviour: not so with us; so as the air receives no other tincture, than what arises from the evaporation of corrupted bodies. To which must be added, that these human bo