Near the close of his sermon, he said: “I presume many of you are aware that I deem it unnecessary as well as unwise, on occasions of this kind, for a minister to dwell at length upon the life and character of the deceased, for, as I have before said, our duty is with the living; but upon the present occasion, I think I may with propriety say, that we see before us the lifeless remains of one who has ‘died in the Lord.’ I have been for many years acquainted with our aged sister now departed, and have ever regarded her as an humble and earnest christian. I have frequently visited her during her lengthened period of suffering; and have felt deeply humbled for my own want of resignation to the ills of life, when I observed the exemplary manner with which this aged woman bore her sufferings, which at times were very severe; and more than this, I stood by her dying bed, which I can truly say presented a fore-taste of heavenly triumph.”
At the close of the service permission was given for any one who was desirous of so doing to look upon the “corpse,” and with many others I drew nigh the coffin. I had been told that the habitual expression of her countenance was one of pain, and I was surprised by the calm and peaceful expression which rested upon the face of the dead. There was no sign of past suffering visible; and the idea of perfect rest was conveyed to my mind, as I gazed upon her now lifeless features. When the strangers had all retired, the relatives and near friends drew nigh to take their last sad look of the aged one who in life had been so dear to them. It seemed that her age and utter helplessness had all the more endeared her to her children and other friends; and many of them wept audibly as they retired from the coffin. As the coffin was borne from the church, the choir sung in subdued tones, accompanied by the solemn notes of the organ, the beautiful hymn commencing with the lines,
“Thou art gone to the
grave but we will not deplore thee,
Though sorrows and darkness encompass the tomb;
The Saviour hath passed through its portals before thee,
And the lamp of his love is thy guide through the gloom.”
When the long procession reached the church yard, the coffin was lowered to its final resting place, and the Burial Service was read by their pastor, and most of the company departed to their homes. I know not how it was, but, although a stranger to the deceased, I was among the few who lingered till the grave was filled up. That funeral impressed me deeply; and has often since recurred to my mind, amid the cares and turmoil of after life.