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Mount Calvary, at least to lie in that Region which should produce the first-fruits of the dead. And if according to learned conjecture, the bodies of men shall rise where their greatest Reliques remain, many are not like to erre in the Topography of their Resurrection, though their bones or bodies be after translated by Angels into the field of Ezechiel's vision, or as some will order it, into the Valley of Judgement, or Jehosaphat.
CHAPTER IV CHRISTIANS have handsomely glossed the deformity of death, by careful consideration of the body, and civil rites which take off brutall terminations. And though they conceived all reparable by a resurrection, cast not off all care of enterrment. And since the ashes of Sacrifices burnt upon the Altar of God were carefully carried out by the Priests, and deposed in a clean field ; since they acknowledged their bodies to be the lodging of Christ, and temples of the holy Ghost, they devolved not all upon the sufficiency of soul-existence; and therefore with long services and full solemnities concluded their last Exequies, wherein to all distinctions the Greek devotion seems most pathetically ceremonious.
Christian invention hath chiefly driven at Rites, which speak hopes of another life, and hints of a Resurrection. And if the ancient Gentiles held not the immortality of their better part, and some subsistence after death; in severall rites, customes, actions and expressions, they contradicted their own opinions : wherein Democritus went high, even to the thought of a resurrection, as scoffingly recorded by Pliny.3 What can be more expresse than the expression of Phocyl
1 Tirin. in Ezek.
3 Similis * * * * reviviscendi promissa Democrito vanitas, qui non revixit ipse. Qua (malum) ista dementia est, iterari vitam morte ? Plin. 1, vii. c. 55.
lides ?1 Or who would expect from Lucretius? a sentence of Ecclesiastes ? Before Plato could speak, the soul had wings in Homer, which fell not, but flew out of the body into the mansions of the dead; who also observed that handsome distinction of Demas and Soma, for the body conjoyned to the soul, and body separated from it. Lucian spoke much truth in jest, when he said that part of Hercules which proceeded from Alchmena perished, that from Jupiter remained immortall. Thus Socratess was content that his friends should bury his body, so they would not think they buried Socrates, and regarding only his immortall part, was indifferent to be burnt or buried. From such Considerations, Diogenes might contemn Sepulture. And being satisfied that the soul could not perish, grow carelesse of corporall enterrment. The Stoicks who thought the souls of wise men had their habitation about the moon, might make slight account of subterraneous deposition; whereas the Pythagoreans and transcorporating Philosophers, who were to be often buried, held great care of their enterrment. And the Platonicks rejected not a due care of the grave, though they put their ashes to unreasonable expectations, in their tedious term of return and long set revolution.
Men have lost their reason in nothing so much as their religion, wherein stones and clouts make martyrs; and, since the religion of one seems madnesse unto another, to afford an account or rationall of old Rites requires no rigid Reader. That they kindled the pyre aversely, or turning their face from it, was an handsome Symbole of unwilling ministration; That they washed their bones with wine and milk, that the mother wrapped them in linnen and dryed them in her bosome, the first fostering part, and place of their nourishment; that they opened their eyes towards heaven, before they kindled the fire, as the place of
1 Και τάχα δ' εκ γαίης ελπίζομεν ες φάος ελθεϊν λείψαν απoιχομένων, et deinceps.
Cedit enim retro de terra quod fuit ante in terram, etc.—Lucret. 3 Plato in Phæd.
their hopes or originall, were no improper Ceremonies. Their last valediction, thrice uttered by the attendants, was also very solemn, and somewhat answered by Christians, who thought it too little, if they threw not the earth thrice upon the enterred body. That in strewing their Tombs the Romans affected the Rose, the Greeks Amaranthus and myrtle ; that the Funerall pyre consisted of sweet fuell Cypresse, Firre, Larix, Yewe, and Trees perpetually verdant, lay silent expressions of their surviving hopes. Wherein Christians, who deck their Coffins with Bays, have found a more elegant Embleme. For that he seeming dead, will restore itself from the root, and its dry and exuccous leaves resume their verdure again; which, if we mistake not, we have also observed in furze. Whether the planting of yewe in Churchyards hold not its originall from ancient Funerall rites, or as an Embleme of Resurrection, from its perpetual verdure, may also admit conjecture.
They made use of Musick to excite or quiet the affections of their friends, according to different harmonies. But the secret and symbolicall hint was the harmonical nature of the soul; which delivered from the body, went again to enjoy the primitive harmony of heaven, from whence it first descended ;
which according to its progresse traced by antiquity, ,' came down by Cancer, and ascended by Capricornus.
They burnt not children before their teeth appeared, as apprehending their bodies too tender a morsell for fire, and that their gristly bones would scarce leave separable reliques after the pyrall combustion. That they kindled not fire in their houses for some dayes after was a strict memoriall of the late afflicting fire. And mourning without hope, they had an happy fraud against excessive lamentation, by a common opinions
that deep sorrows disturb their ghosts.2 Ī That they buried their dead on their backs, or in a supine position, seems agreeable unto profound sleep,
1 Vale, vale, nos te ordine quo natura permittet sequemur.
and common posture of dying ; contrary to the most naturall way of birth; Nor unlike our pendulous posture, in the doubtfull state of the womb. Diogenes was singular, who preferred a prone situation in the grave, and some Christians1 like neither, who decline the figure of rest, and make choice of an erect posture.
That they carried them out of the world with their feet forward, not inconsonant unto reason: As contrary unto the native posture of man, and his production : first into it. And also agreeable unto their opinions, while they bid adieu unto the world, not to look again upon it; whereas Mahometans who think to return to a delightfull life again, are carried forth with their heads forward, and looking toward their houses.
They closed their eyes as parts which first die or first discover the sad effects of death. But their iterated clamations to excitate their dying or dead friends, or revoke them unto life again, was a vanity of affection; as not presumably ignorant of the criticall tests of death, by apposition of feathers, glasses, and reflection of figures, which dead eyes represent not; which however not strictly verifiable in fresh and warm cadavers, could hardly elude the test, in corps of four or five dayes.?
That they suck'd in the last breath of their expiring friends, was surely a practice of no medical institution, but a loose opinion that the soul passed out that way, and a fondnesse of affection from some Pythagoricall : foundation, that the spirit of one body passed into another; which they wished might be their own.
That they powred oyle upon the pyre, was a tolerable practise, while the intention rested in facilitating the accension; But to place good Omens in the quick and speedy burning, to sacrifice unto the windes for a dispatch in this office, was a low form of super- ; stition.
The Archimime, or Jester, attending the Funerall 1 Russians, &c. 2 At least by some difference from living eyes. : Francesco Perucci, Pompe funebri.
train, and imitating the speeches, gesture, and manners of the deceased, was too light for such solemnities, contradicting their Funerall Orations and dolefull rites of the grave.
That they buried a peece of money with them as a Fee of the Elysian Ferrinan, was a practise full of folly. But the ancient custome of placing coynes in considerable Urnes, and the present practise of burying medals in the Noble Foundations of Europe, are laudable wayes of historicall discoveries, in actions, persons, Chronologies; and posterity will applaud them.
We examine not the old Laws of Sepulture, exempting certain persons from buriall or burning. But hereby we apprehend that these were not the bones of persons planet-struck or burnt with fire from Heaven; No reliques of Traitors to their Countrey, Self-killers, or Sacrilegious Malefactors; Persons in old apprehension unworthy of the earth ; condemned unto the Tartaras of Hell, and bottomlesse pit of Pluto, from whence there was no redemption.
Nor were only many customes questionable in order to their Obsequies, but also sundry practises, fictions, and conceptions, discordant or obscure, of their state and future beings; whether unto eight or ten bodies of men to adde one of a woman, as being more inflam
combustion, were any rationall practise ; Or whether the complaint of Perianders Wife be tolerable, that wanting her Funerall burning, she suffered intolerable cold in Hell, according to the constitution of the infernall house of Pluto, wherein cold makes a great part of their tortures; it cannot passe without some question.
Why the Female Ghosts appear unto Ulysses, before the Heroes and masculine spirits ? Why the Psyche or
blinde on earth, sees more than all the rest in hell; Why the Funerall Suppers consisted of Egges, Beans, Smallage, and Lettuce, since the dead are made to eat
i In Homer :-Wuxi Ongalov Telpeolao okîntpov bzw