Imatges de pÓgina
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and idolatrous worlhip. It is well known that the custom of making funeral orations in praise of the dead obtained among them. The manner in which their funeral services were performed is as follows P: “Upon the eighth day, " that is, after the person's decease, a certain cryer, in manner of a bell-man, “ went about the town to call the people to the solemnization of the funeral, “ in this form of words ?, Exequias L. Titio L. Filio quibus eft commodum ire. Jam tempus est, ollus ex edibus effertur. After the people had assembled them“ selves together, the bed being covered with purple, or other rich coverings, " the last conclamation being ended, a trumpeter went before all the company, • certain poor women, called Præfice, following after, and singing songs in " the praise of the party deceased. Those that carried this bed, were the “ next of the kin, so that it fell often among the senators themselves to bear “ the corps; and because the poorer sort were not able to undergo the charges " of such solemnities, thereupon were they buried commonly in the dusk of " the evening; and hence a vespertino tempore, those that carried the corps, “ were termed vefpe, or vespillones. In the burial of a senator, or chief “ officer, certain waxen images of all his predeceffors were carried before him “ upon long poles, or spears, together with all the enfigas of honour which “ he deserved in his life time. Moreover, if any servants had been manu“ mized by him, they accompanied the mourners, lamenting for their master's “ death. After the corps followed the dead man's children, the next of the “ kin, and other of his friends, atrati, that is to say, in mourning apparel. “ The corps being thus brought into their great oratory, called the Roftra, " the next of the kin" laudabat defuntum pro roftris, id eft, made a funeral “ oration in the commendations principally of the party deceased, but touch“ ing the worthy acts also of those his predecessors, whose images were there “ present.”

. The account given by a later writer, is in these words : “ In all the fu“ nerals of note, says he, especially in the pubļic, or indi&tive, the corps was “ first brought, with a vast train of followers, into the Forum ; here one of “ the nearest relations ascended the Roftra, and obliged the audience with an' " oration in praise of the deceased. If none of the kindred undertook the “ office, it was discharged by some of the most eminent persons in the city for

learning and eloquence, as Appian reports of the funeral of Sylla!. And 66 Pliny the younger, reckons it as the last addition to the happiness of a. « very great man, that he had the honour to be praised at his funeral by the " most eloquent Tacitus, then Consul ; which is agreeable to Quintillian's ac

very i Godwin's Rom. Hift. Antholog. 1:2. sçet, 2. Co 2%. -9.Rosin. Antiq. 1. 5. * Seuton, Jul. Cæsar, c. 6, * Kennet's Antig. gf Rome, part 2. b. 5. 6. 10. P. 35. * Εμφυλ, lib. 1,

u Lib. 2. ep. 1.

count of this matter , Nam & funebres, &c. For the funeral orations,

says he, depend very often on some public office, and by order of senate, « are many times given in charge to the magistrates, to be performed by " themselves in perfof. The invention of this custom is generally attributed

to Valerius Poplicola, soon after the expulsion of the regal family. Plutarch “.tells us, that honouring his collegue's obsequies with a funeral oration, ic « so pleased the Romans, that it became customary for the best men to cele« brate the funerals of great persons with speeches in their commendations.'

Thus Julius Cæfar '; according to custom, made an oration in the Roftra, in praise of his wife Cornelia, and his aunt Julia, when dead; wherein he shewed, that his aunt's descent, by her mother's side, was from kings, and by her father's from the gods. Plutarcb says ", that “ He approved of the law of " the Romans, which ordered fuitable praises to be given to women as well as " to men, after death.” Though by what he says in another place *, it seems that the old Roman law 'was, that funeral orations should be made only for the elder women; and therefore he says, that Cæfar was the first that made one upon his own wife, it not being then usual to take notice of younger women in that way : but by that action, he gained much favour from the populace, who afterwards looked upon him, and loved bim as a very mild and good man. The reafon why such a law was made in favour of the women, Livy tells us, was this, That when there was such a scarcity of money in the public treasury, that the sum agreed upon to give the Gauls to break up the siege of the city and capitol, could not be raised, the women collected among themselves, and made it up; who hereupon, had not only thanks given them, but this additional honour, that after death, they should be solemnly praised, as well as the men :' which looks as if before this time, only the men had those funeral orations made for them.

But to proceed : This custom of the Romans very early obtained among the Christians; some of their funeral sermons or orations are now extant, as that of Eufebius on Conftantine, and those of Nazianzen on Bafil and Cæfarius; and of Ambrose on Valentinian, Theodofius, and others. Gregory, the brother of Basil', made, tixridolor doyor, a funeral oration for Melitius, Bishop of Antioch: in which orations, they not only praised the dead, but addressed themselves to 4 I 2

them, * Infit. lib. 3. e. 9.

Suet. in Jul. Cæfar, c. 6. De Mulier, virtut. in principio. • In vit. Cæsar. in principio, * Hift ab U. C, 1. 5. c. 50. Socrat. Eccl. Hift. lo 5. c. 9.

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them, which seems to have introduced the custom of praying to departed
saints. Now these orations were usually made' before the bodies of the de-
ceased were committed to the ground, which custom has been, more or less,
continued ever since, to this day.

And now, Sir, having thus far proceeded in my enquiries on this subject,
I cannot but conclude, that those rites and ceremonies among the heathens,
which have been thus delivered from one people to another, are what have
given birth to funeral sermons and otations among us Christians; and though
the practice, no doubt, is considerably improved, and cleared of many things
which would smell too rank of paganism, and is thrown into a method which,
perhaps, may be of some service to Christianity, yet notwithstanding this new
dress, its original may very easily be discerned. The method in which the
characters of deceased persons are given in our funeral sermons, is very much
the same with that observed in those pagan orations, where first an account is
given of the parentage of the deceased, then of his education ; after that,
we hear of his conduct in riper years: then his many virtues are reckoned up,
with his generous, noble, and excellent performances.

I would not be understood as though I condemned the practice because of its rise and original; for why may not the customs of heathens, if just and laudable in themselves, and no ways pernicious to Christianity in their consequences, be followed by us Christians? And seeing we are come into this practice, there is one thing we should take care to follow them in, and that is, not to make those sermons or orations for every one ; but for those only whose characters are distinguishing, who have been eminently useful in the world, and in the church of Christ. The old heathens only honoured those with this part of the funeral solemnity, who were men of probity and justice, or renowned for their wisdom and knowledge, or famous for warlike exploits : This, as Cicero informs us, being part of the law for burials, which directs, that the praises only of honourable persons shall be mentioned in the oration. The Jews also make funeral oracions in praise of the party deceased', provided he is a person of note, or a man of worth and value amongst them, such as the minister of the congregation, or the like. It would be much more agreeable, if our funeral discourses were not so common, and if the characters given of the deceased were more just; devoid of that fulsom Aattery, with

which

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. Onuphrius de fepel. mort c. 8.
- Honoratorum virorum laudes in concione memorantor, &c. De legibus, l. 2. prope finem.

+ Buxtorff Jud Synag. c. 49. Lco Modena's Hift. of the rites, customs, &c. of the prelent
Jewe. par. 5. c. 8. fe&t. 4.

which they too often abound. I would not be understood, as though I thought the deceased lady, whose funeral sermons have occafioned this effay, was a person undeserving of having her meinory perpetuated this way, or that what is there said of her is not just and true.

As for scripture history, I cannot, Sir, recollect any passage which gives countenance to our practice, unless that short oration of David's at the grave of Abner, may be judged of this fort, 2 Sam. iii. 33, 34. Iofepbus & seems to have this view of it, when he says, David buried him very magnificently, and composed funeral Lamentations for him.

And it is observable, that Cocceius, in his Funeral Oration on Maccovius, after he had remarked, that the practice was agreeable, not only to the ancient custom of that University, before whom he delivered it; but also to the customs of the Arbenians and Romans, who judged it very ornamental and profitable to the Commonwealth, to praise those who had been famous in peace or war: he further directs his auditors to David's Elogium on Saul and Jonathan, in 2 Sam. i. 17, &c. and to the anniversary lamentation of the daughters of Israel for the daughter of Jeptbab, in Judges xi. 40. in favour of this custom. But, with submission, I take it, that these instances will ra. ther justify the use of funeral odes, than of funeral sermons and orations.

And now, Sir, if I thought, I should not trespass too much upon your patience, I would briefly enquire into the rise and original of our funeral elegies and odes, which are likewise made to perpetuate the memory, and celebrate the praises of the dead. Who were the inventors of elegy is very uncertain, for Horace tells us it was controverted in his cime, and left undetermined by the critics". As to the original of the name, the Grecians' “ had

a custom of drawling out their words, and repeating the interjection, 6 m, i, 1, 1, with tears; and hence, if we may credit the Scholiaft upon Ariftophanes , funeral lamentations were called (asyor, Elegies.

With respect to singing at the interment of the dead, Macrobius ' says, “ It “ is established by the practice of most nations or countries, who do it upon " this persuasion, that after the decease of the body, the soul returns to the “ original of the sweetness of music, that is, to heaven;" And it is no great difficulty to collect some instances of this kind.

Potter says on this head, that the Grecians " “ had mourners and musicians " to increase the folemnity: these Homer calls etap xep Spavar, because they en:

« deavoured & Emila Qiss ourypa faneros Opniego Antic. lib. 7. De arte poetica. i Potter's Archeolog. Græc. vol. 2. par. 4. C. 3•

k Avibus. Somn, Scip. 1. 2. c. 3.

* Potters Antiq. vol. 3,

« deavoured to excite forrow in all the company, by bearing their breasts, “ and counterfeiting all the actions of the most real and passionate grief. • They are likewise termed, aodon, spoondon, &c. from the songs they sung at “ funerals. Of these there seem to have been three, one in the procession, “ another at the funeral pile, a third at the grave.” The pipes or flutes they made use of at thofe folemnities were those of the Carian, Mysian, Lydian, and Pbrygian original.

“ Those who were killed by elephants, either in the hunting of them, or “ in battle, Ælian informs us ", were buried very honourably, and had cer“ tain hymns sung in their honour by the Lybians. The argument of these

hyoins was, That those were valiant men, who engaged with such a beast; " and that the best funeral ornament was to die gloriously.

What was the custom of the ancient Romans in the burial of their dead, is fufficiently notorious : It has been already observed, that at the funeral process, certain poor women, called Præfice, sung fongs in the praise of the party deceased; these women were hired for this purpose, making a trade of it, and gecting their livelihood by it. Besides these, there were also, Siticines, and Tibicines. “ The name Siticines ', A. Gellius o derives from fitus and cano, " from singing to the dead: They were of two forts, fome founding on the “ trumpet, others on the flute or pipe. That the trumpets had a fare in w this solemnity, we learn from Virgil, in the funeral of Pallas," Æn. xi.

« Exoritur clamorque virum, clangorque tubarum.". And from Propertius, Lib. 2. Eleg. 7.

Ab! mea tum quales caneret tibi, Cynthia, fomnos

« Tibia, funesta triffior illa tuba.. ci Suetonius ' mentions the-Tibia, in the funeral of Julius Cæfar, and Seneca " in that of Claudius'; and Ovid says of himself in plain words,

a Interea noftri quid agant nisi triste libelli ?
Tibia funeribus convenit ista meis."

Trift. 5. Eleg. 1. Cicero ' says, It was the custom, not only that the praises of deserving men should be mentioned in the oration, but also “ that Tibicines, or pipers should

« follow

Var. Hift. l. 12. C. 55. p Lib. 20. C. 3.

C. 84.

• Kennet's Antiq. par. 2. b. 5. P. 345.

1 Vid. Apocol. • De legibus, l, 2. prope in.

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