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creed, should at least place near them the cheering emblems of a religious faith. If Death be represented with downcast look and inverted flame, let Immortality, as in the fine group of Thorwaldsen, stand by his side with torch high-blazing, and eyes upturned in love and rapture."
As to the last two of these symbols, copied from the façades of Egyptian temples, some advocate their use in our cemeteries, not as being perfectly satisfactory in themselves, but as representing the original, divine light shining upon the soul in all ages and countries, God having never left man without some ideas of immortality and an overruling Providence. Yet others would exclude them. We are a Christian people, they say; a better light has dawned upon us than Greece or Egypt ever saw, and shall we not everywhere acknowledge and proclaim it? The piety of the early Christians may well instruct Surrounded by the triumphs of pagan art, they yet originated new words and new symbols to express their doctrines and their hopes. When one of their number died, he was said to have "fallen asleep." They called their burial-places cemeteries, a word unknown to ancient Greek or Roman, meaning houses of repose, with an obvious reference to the morning of the resurrection. Over their tombs they inscribed such symbols as the Star of Faith, the Anchor of Hope, the Rainbow of Promise. And such words as these: "A father to his son borne away by the angels," "He is not dead, but sleepeth," and other sentences from the Scriptures.*
The increasing disuse of nearly all inscriptions on modern tombstones is much to be regretted; the long and high-flown eulogies in which our ancestors sometimes indulged were hardly more objectionable. It is a very ancient custom to record an epitome of the life and virtues of the deceased upon their monuments, a custom based on an instinctive sense of
A critical writer notes the contrast between the terms used for this purpose, by Christian Romans and Pagan Romans. In the mind of the first, "the body was depositus, that is, intrusted to the grave, while to the heathen it was situs or sepultus, interred, or buried;—the words implying a final and definitive position. Or, as the Christian dormit or quiescit, sleeps, or rests in death, so the heathen is described as abreptus, or defunctus, snatched away, or departed from life."
propriety and duty. Only let there be judicious moderation in the terms employed, and the practice has much to commend it. To one who has visited some of the old church-yards of New England, and spelt out their quaint but warm-hearted tributes to the memory of the dead, there is something exceedingly cold and inexpressive in the epitaphs of our modern cemeteries, which often consist of only the family name and a few dates. But Latin, bad poetry, bad grammar, and bad spelling, all can be forgiven, if thereby we can get at the heart and the history of those who have gone before us. Viewing the matter so, we confess it strikes us pleasantly to fall upon any of those old-time epitaphs which are apt to offend modern fastidiousness. Here is a specimen, copied from the tablet of the Rev. Joseph Moody, in the grave-yard at York, Maine. :
Altho' this stone may moulder into dust,
Yet Joseph Moody's name continue must.
And this, in a burying-ground at Dorchester, does not disturb us:
Here lies our Captain and Mayor of Suffolk,
A godly magistrate was he, and major-general.
Ten companyes also mourning marcht
The following, on the grave-stone of Rev. Peter Thatcher, of Attleborough, is in the style of Tate and Brady :
Whom Papists not
More often, inscriptions of a higher order meet us, such as the following:
He lived in peace, because he was just.
He died in hope, because he was a Christian.
And this highly poetical one, commemorating a sweet voiced maiden:
Rest undisturbed beneath this marble shrine,
But we need not further enumerate illustrative epitaphs: a
"It is better to dwell on those general traits of humanity which are common to all good men, than to confine the epitaph to certain extraordinary qualities. We do not come to the graye to study and analyze each person's peculiarity of character. We are better pleased with a few words, expressing in general terms his virtuous and peaceful life, and its happy and peaceful termination, than with an epigram or a dissertation. A sentiment conveyed in language simple enough to be intelligible to all, banishes the suspicion that the writer is endeavoring unjustly to exalt the dead above his real merits. The epitaph should be simple, that all may understand it; obvious, that it may require no study; brief, that all may read it; moderate, that it may be credited; poetical, that it may lay hold on the imagination; cheerful, that it may reconcile us to our inevitable fate; religious, that it may inspire the hope of a new life.”—p. 166.
But our remarks have reached their proper limit. We close by simply expressing our gratification that so much has been done of late, in all parts of the country, toward the establishment of rural cemeteries. The fact is significant, and it is honorable to the character of our people. We are not, then, wholly engrossed in the worship of mammon, neglectful of the amenities and tender charities of life. Let us encourage, more and more, every movement in this direction. Let us seek to make our homes more comely and attractive; and since we are all appointed to die, let us smooth the passage to the grave by the comforts of religion, and show our respect for the dead by beautifying their last resting place.
ARTICLE II.—THE SANCTION OF ALL LAW, DIVINE.
HUMAN government, society, and laws, are products of the human being. This human being is, in his turn, the creature of God, who, by the act itself of calling him into being appurtenanced with the powers, faculties, and desires of man, has appointed him his bounds, has given the projection and limit of his nature, and all its possible fruitage. So that it becomes pertinent and true to say that these-his institutions, all municipal institutions-require finally to rest, or find their basis in the Divine Mind, before they can with either justice or policy demand the worship, or even the abiding respect of humanity, to wit, the State, the Church, the Household; or the Individual. This is the primal axiom of Science, the focus from which with more or less directness, every whatsoever department of outlife radiates, the only possibility of any real intelligence, or any final judgment. God, the one, is so the universal presence and power of the diverse, that it is upon the determinations of his will alone, that they are, and how they are. Among the trees of the field he has appointed the apple-tree, prescribed the law of its fruitage, symmetry, growth. Now the vital forces of the tree, coöperating with other powers of nature, as light and heat, elaborate the juices which are stored up in the pulpy fruits set here and there upon its branches:this fruit-bearing society of labor, seemingly mechanical, seem- . ingly a product of the tree, upon its own resources, and its own plan, is nevertheless not so. It was not by its constitution a tree only, with freedom in product, but a tree with special faculties, involving potentially and by a first impulse a special and individual product, an apple. The whole power of the tree, the very unity of its nature, was unmanifested, till the fullness of its fruit had arrived. God's ordaining will, at the first, enveloped not only plumule, but twig, leaf, bud, flower, and fruit.
So with all His creations; throughout all nature, they are in
relation to Him as the numberless arcs of the periphery to the central point; and all products or sequentia of these creations are as the sine, cosine, tangent, or other property of this same circle. They have a true being, only as, and in the degree that, this dependence is observed, and their claim to obedience and reverence, one from another, is because they are in some true sense coördinate divine appointments.
Hence it is that the fundamental questions of jurisprudence are metaphysical, to be finally determined, not empirically, but by the subtle judgments of the moral sense, enlightened by the pure reason. The great superstructure of legal science is, in a large degree, empirical in its superficial expression, yet resting, in its last reduction, always upon some one or more of those pervasive, constitutional principles or forethoughts, which are the indwellers of the Jehovah soul, and to be recognized only by the lofty powers of intuition.
A great majority of statute laws are but legal formulæ, expressing in general propositions the aggregate experience of the societies that have enacted them, their common or average consciousness of right and wrong touching the given subject, hereafter to be amended or repealed, according to the spiritual progress of each society. Not so, however, with the fundamental ideas of Law, Liberty, Government, Duty, Obedience, -these are the aorta-ducts of legal existence, and must be so defined as to include and transmit in circulation to all future dependencies, the idea of God and the primordial truths of creation, or all their dependent being perishes, as the human body perishes when the viaduct of its heart-blood is severed near the seat of life. However remote from the focal divine heart the member may be, and how insignificant soever its function, unless it is daily, hourly, yea, momentarily traversed by the life-communicating blood of that pulsating center of beneficence, it becomes an excrescence, and at once sloughs away into corruption and death.
It is evident, therefore, that the opinions of pious divines, patriotic statesmen, and sage jurists can render us but little absolute service in adjudicating the initial elements or starting points of our science; they are in no proper sense authority;