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The Guardian.




"Until within a few weeks past, one man, Mr. John Van Vechten, of Catskill, was living, who remembered the funeral of Dominie Schuneman. The ceremony was in accordance with the customs which the Dutch, a hundred and seventy years before, had brought with them from the mother country. A man, especially deputed for the purpose, met each male comer at the door, and offered him a glass of rum from a flask. A woman waited in like manner upon each female comer. The relatives of the dead sat together around the corpse; the friends and acquaintances took their seats in another part of the room, or in an adjoining chamber. When the services were over-these were in Dutch-they who chose went up

I remember when a little boy I was taken to the funeral of one of our country neighbors. He was a worthy man, and the father of a Christian family. The house was filled with people, and a large crowd stood in the to the coffiu to take their last look at barnyard near by. At a certain stage the deceased. The coffin was then of the services, a number of committees closed, put upon a bier, and taken from passed through the crowd by twos, one the house to the grave, the relatives folcarried the waiter with glasses, and lowing, and a ter them all comers. another held a large bottle or decanter When the coffin had been laid in the of wine. As they slowly passed along ground, the procession returned to the they served every person with a glass of house, but in inverse order-the relawine. The family in this way meant tives and the empty bier and its bearers to show a mark of hospitality to those coming last. One room in the house who helped them to bury their dead. I was assigned to the bearers, another to know of no place in Pennsylvania where the assembled people. In each room a this custom is observed any longer. table had been set with bottles of rum, a jar of tobacco, and long clay pipes. All the men drank and smoked, talking in the meanwhile of the character and virtues of their dead pastor, of their horses, of the spring planting, and of the weather. One or two of the lower sort got tipsy, and amused themselves by singing funeral ditties out of doors."

Fortunately, all this kind of funeral conviviality has ceased in the Protestant Church. In certain localities wellmeaning people prepare large feasts at the burial of their dead. This custom originated. from good motives. We cannot let the people go away hungry, say such persons. Some may have


The burial of the dead should be decently and devoutly observed. But the practice of some funeral customs renders such an observance impossible. The most of such may have started with a harmless purpose. Even the Irish wake originally sprang from a kindly social feeling. Now it often means a disgraceful drunken row around the corpse of a friend.

Not only among the early Germans, but the Scotch Presbyterians, in Europe and America, were addicted to habits of this kind. Men like Chalmers and Guthrie took their glasses of punch or hot toddy in their earlier ministry, but later, when they saw the evil effects of the habit upon others shrank from the cup with horror. It was a feature at hospitable entertainments among the people, even at ministerial assemblies.

NO. 2.

Among our Dutch Reformed brethren a similar custom prevailed at funerals. Harper's Magazine reports the following, which happened at the burial of a prominent minister:

come a great distance. They cannot with a debt for years by the expenses wait for their meal until they reach of such a funeral feast. Let persons of home. No one can reasonably object wealth and social standing set the examto the feeding of the hungry in such a ple, and abolish this absurd custom, case. The evil of feasting at funerals and others will profit by it. comes from their being made general. Everybody is invited to eat. Some eat out of respect for the bereaved family, others to save the trouble and expense of preparing a meal at home, and others because they enjoy the good things offered. When a death occurs, persons are at once appointed to provide the necessary help and provision. For days kind neighbor women work late and early at baking and cooking. A large part of the house is in a continuous commotion by the preparations for the funeral feast. The bereaved family are harassed from morning till night about the perplexing cares of the table, at a time when they most need undisturbed quiet and freedom from care

The day of burial, which brings to many a bleeding heart unrelieved agony, sets the whole house into an uproar, with the spreading and clearing of tables, and the serving and washing of dishes. Where there is a crowd the inevitable rush for place; defies all decency, and dispels the lessons of the mournful occasion. Sometimes the eating begins before the religious services; and sounds of rattling dishes mingle harshly with the minister's prayer and sermon. The main part of the feast comes at the close. Sometimes a half a day is spent before all are supplied. And I have known cases where, after waiting a long time, persons had to go home hungry on account of the lateness of the hour. All this takes place in a home where there are crushed, bleeding hearts. Over these hangs the shadow of a great sorrow. If they only could be by themselves, or with a few pious friends, who might comfort and pray with them. But their grief must be aggravated by the staring annoyances of an uncomfortable crowd, and the anxieties and worry of entertaining hundreds of people, many of whom have no claim upon them, indeed, care nothing for them, save to enjoy the feast prepared. Thus, hundreds of dollars which might feed and clothe the poor. are needlessly thrown away. And many a family of scanty means is burdened

Very unreasonable is the custom which invests funerals with uncalled for gloom. Whilst the colors of mourning apparel may be a matter of taste, they are also a serious item of expense to many people. The rule to wear black seems to be so firmly fixed that even the poorest persons feel bound to conform to it. The house of mourning must be darkened. All the shutters are bowed. The people can scarcely see to find a seat. I have often had to stand inside the door, as blind as a bat, waiting for my eyes just coming from the sunlight to adjust their powers to the darkness. The minister blunders through the reading of a Scripture passage for the consolation of the mourners, for want of light. Why must the cheering sunlight of heaven be shut out from a home of sorrow? It is hard enough that sorrow's night hangs over the soul, but why must we increase its gloom by producing an artificial night in the house?

Two kinds of preaching are trying to a pastor: When he is expected to edify prisoners in jail by preaching to the doors of their cells, and to the long, reverberating corridors; and when he preaches to the stairway and railings at funerals. In other words, the people whom he is to comfort and impress are out of sight. In the parlor the best room in the house-a crowd of unrelated people are seated around the corpse. It may be the corpse of a child, a husband, a wife, a brother or a sister. During this most solemn service, held over and around the body of the dear departed, those of nearest kin are farthest removed from it. Sometimes my heart has been moved fully as much for the dead as for the living, when I saw the corpse of a dear one thus lying alone among strangers, while its fondest friends were removed to a cold distance. When the service is held in the church the mourners sit nearest the coffin. Why can they not do this when it is held at the house? If this were done the pastor would have the whole family in sight, instead of simply the stairway and

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The service is chiefly intended for the bereaved mourners. Let them all be seated around the corpse, and give the pastor an opportunity to speak to and pray for them where they can hear him and where he can see them.

a few people standing around the doors. the privileges of public worship? The touching of a corpse by a Jew rendered him ceremonially unclean, and for a season excluded him from certain privileges of worship. The Gospel knows of no such a rule. Yet almost universally the custom prevails, especially among ladies, that after the burial of a member of their family, it would be out of place for them to attend any religious meeting for a certain length of time. Thus, many godly people seek and find comfort in the worship of God's house, during the anxious period of suffering through which the departed have passed. At length, however, when the worst comes, and by death the dear one

I used to feel very awkward when entering a Jewish synagogue or a Mohammedan mosque I would be commanded by an usher to put on my hat. For a man to enter their place of worship with uncovered head is by them deemed irreverent. Among Christians the opposite is the case. Do we not exhort our people, from boyhood up, that they must always take off their caps or hats in a place of worship, and during wor- is removed out of their sight, leaving ship wherever offered? At funerals, their hearts and home dreary and desohowever, all the male relatives of the late, when they most need comfort, they deceased, however remotely related, are are shut out from the sanctuary of God, expected to keep their hats on during by an unscriptural and unreasonable the whole service, whether at the house custom. Oh the cruel bondage of an of mourning or at the church. In east- ill-timed misguided public sentiment, ern countries people hire paid mourners which in this and other cases rules with to do their wailing for them, who scream the rod of a tyrant over the riven hear's hideously, tear their garments and strew of a bleeding humanity! Every rightashes on their heads. There seems to thinking person ought not to stay away be neither reason nor religion in their from public worship one day after the practice; but let me ask as tenderly as the burial of a friend. Then, more than case admits: Is there reason or Scriptural ever, does the stricken one need the religion in the custom of men, at fune- Word of God, and the prayer of His rals or anywhere else, however related house. to the dead or to the living, keeping on their hats during prayer and praise? two honorable men, of good repute and And especially in times of deep sorrow godly character, Joseph of Arimathea the soul ought to feel disposed to hum- and Nicodemus, carried him to his ble itself not only in spirit, but even in tomb. The disciples of John the Bapoutward posture before God. Does the tist, took up his body and buried it. conduct of a man who keeps his hat on And after the martyrdom of Stephen, during prayer accord with such a feel-"devout men carried him to his buring? ial." The bearers of the remains of the sainted dead ought to be selected with care. In many cases, neighbors, be they good or godless, are selected. Twice I have seen one of the carriers so drunk that he staggered, One was so shaky in lowering the coffin, that I feared lest he might fall into the grave. One happened to be the funeral of a pious mother in Israel. The tipsy man was chosen solely on the ground of neighborly feeling. Don't let your dear friends be borne to the grave by wicked men, who in principle and practice revile the Saviour, who is our only comfort in life and death. People who were morally unfit to associate with them

When Christ had been crucified,

It is generally conceded by reliable theologians that the Bible teaches that kneeling and standing are the two only proper postures in prayer. Yet people usually present at a funeral, who would consider it wrong not to stand or kneel at times of ordinary worship, remain seated during the prayers at the funerals of their friends. Why? I do not know. But it seems to me to be a universal custom. Why is it proper and right to assume a posture in prayer, as a bereaved mourner, which would be improper at an ordinary act of worship on Sunday or week day?

Does the Bible exclude mourners from

while living, are unsuited to carry them a multitude staring through doors and when dead. Beautiful is the sight of pressing around them, and with prayerpious sons, tenderly carrying the re- ful hearts take their leave from their inains of their sainted parents to the dead, and thereafter no more parade quiet, silent tomb. And most becom- their parting ceremonies.

ing is it for disciples or learners to bear their teacher or pastor. and devout men to carry their fellow Christians to the grave.

The promiscuous exposure of the dead, save in exceptional cases, seems utterly out of place. To invite a crowd to defile past the open coffin in the a costly show, when the Lord's poor are churchyard or the cemeteries, violates pining in want. At least five hundred a delicate sense of propriety. Usually dollars' worth of flowers were disnot one half of the people care much played." A few marks of affection, for the living or dead. A vulgar, un- tastefully chosen, and with moderation, sympathizing curiosity prompts them to are a comfort to the living and an scan the pallid face, the flowers, the honor to the memory of the dead, but shroud, and the coffin; which they will to pile them up like so much hay shows afterwards discuss in the most heartless a lack of Christian propriety and good fashion. If some of these dear departed taste. One of the wealthiest and most ones could speak, who in their lifetime benevolent old ladies in our city, lately shrank from being stared at by such entered into rest. Her heart and hand crowds, they would beg not to be made were open to every good cause. Among a show of in this public way. the finely dressed mourners around her bier were poor widows in faded garments, who in groans and sobs mourned the loss of their best earthly friend. She was dressed in a neat, plain shroud, and a few nicely arranged wreaths lay on her slumbering form. She wished no money needlessly wasted at her funeral. "In the Lord's name give it to

In some communities mourners make a public parade of their sorrow. Before the coffin is closed the family surround the corpse and in the presence the living poor." Her pastor said, "if of a gathered crowd, kiss the remains all her deeds of charity could be woven of the departed one, and pour out their into a chaplet it would be one of exagony in cries and tears. If the fu- ceeding beauty." neral services are held in church, after all others present have filed past the coffin before the altar, the family and friends come forward to take another public parting from the dust of their dear one. This public exhibition, and laying bare of bleeding hearts, is contrary to every better feeling of religious propriety. It tears open the wounds of bereavement afresh, and exposes them to the eyes of curious crowd.

-"Of all

The fools who flocked to see the show,
Who cared about the corpse? The funeral
Made the attraction, and the black the woe."

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They truly mourn, that mourn without a witness."

Said a Christian lady, returning from a fashionable funeral recently, “Do not bury me under flowers when I die. It is a sin to make so much or such

Some people mourn from a sense of sincere sorrow, others from a sense of duty and propriety. The former elicit our condolence and sympathy, the latter our disgust. As a rule boisterous outbursts of grief indicate insincerity and affectation, and indeed often an utter want of piety. Very rarely do we find people of undoubted faith scream in hideous parade around the remains of their departed. An old neglected father Right-feeling people prefer to do all died lately. He had been an honest, this by themselves. Even from living hard-working man. Often had I pitied friends we do not wish to part before a him as he tottered along our streets, bis gaping crowd, but in the privacy of old, worn-out body enfeebled by heavy home. And from the remains of the burdens, borne to provide for and raise departed we had better part before the his children, who now, in his old age, people gather at the house of mourning. cast him off. They treated him worse Solemnly and silently let the family than a servant, so that their unfilial surround the coffin, unembarrassed by cruelty became a matter of notoriety in

the neighborhood. Yet, when the poor man died, money was lavished on his corpse for vain show, which was denied him when living. The children and grandchildren set up a fearful howling, and screamed, "O dear grandfather, must we give you up!"

This sort of mourning is a heathen custom transplanted to Christian soil. Miss West, in her very readable book, entitled, "The Romance of Missions," speaks of a funeral in Asia Minor in this wise:

"The Armenian relatives, women who still adhered to old ideas and customs, gave way to distressing demonstrations of grief; wildly throwing themselves upon the corpse, shrieking, beating their breast, crying out for her to come back, uttering the most doleful lamentations; and it was noticeable that those were most profuse in their outeries, and display of grief, who had shown the least love and care for their relative when she was living! It was custom, as tyrannical as fashion in other lands, that compelled this outward exhibition of a sorrow which in many

cases was very little felt.

A friend once dropped in unexpectedly upon a family where the mourning women, and especially the young wife of the deceased, had given way to the most extravagant expressions of grief, when the dead was carried forth, but a few hours before. To her surprise she found them all as merry as though nothing had happened, and the wife, happily relieved of her unloved and unmerciful tyrant, was at ease evidently enjoying her supper, and laughing with the rest. But on seeing the visitor she set up a most unearthly howling, and went into fearful paroxysms and contortions of her physical frame. Some of the younger widows make themselves almost bald at such times, tearing out their hair by handfuls and casting it from the upper windows into the streets below, when the bier is borne from the house. It is a costly, and often an unwilling sacrifice for the women of the east, whose hair is so great an ornament and glory. But we must do it! All the neighbors would talk about us and reproach us, if we did not show this honor to our dead,' said a woman with whom I once argued the foolishness of the practice."

Just as the people acted in the days of Jeremiah. "Neither shall men lament for them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them. Neither shall men tear themselves for them in mourning to comfort them for the dead."

ROUGH ON LAWYERS. -"Lord Brougham defines a lawyer as a legal gentleman who rescues your estate from your enemies and keeps it himself."



Some time ago, a worthy minister of our acquaintance, at the request of an intelligent member of his congregation, sent us a magazine containing a scientific article on "Prehistoric Races," and at the same time requested our opinion concerning the opinions advanced in it. We found that the author of the article utterly denied the unity of the human race, holding that the different races of men were as far apart as the various genera of animals, and insisting that they could never by any possibility have had a common origin. Indeed, he went so far as to assert that the Scriptures, properly understood, do not teach that all men are descended from a single primeval pair.

a copy of our reply; but as the subject is We have, unfortunately, not preserved at present attracting considerable attention we have determined to reconstruct it as nearly as possible from some notes which have remained in our possession. This explanation will account for any variations that may be observed when the following letter is read in print by its original recipient.

My Dear Brother:-I have read with great pleasure the article you have sent me, entitled "Prehistoric Races of Men." It is able and interesting, and as such, worthy of respect. At your request, I venture to make some remarks on the general subject of which it treats, though the field is so extensive that it is impossible to consider it fully within the limits of a single letter.

mankind springs from a number of dif The author of this article holds that ferent centers, and that the principal or evolved, in the countries which they races were probably separately created, severally inhabit. It is what is sometimes called the autocthonic theory. Though first advanced by La Peyrere, in 1655, it generally, in this country, shelters itself behind the great name of Agassiz.

At first sight this theory appears rea-onable; and, if we could accept it, there would be an end to many of the difficulties that now perplex us. When we, for instance, compare the peculiari

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