and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebecca his wife; and there I buried Leah.”
Such are the natural expressions of human feeling, as they fall from the lips of the dying.
Such are the reminiscences that forever crowd on the confines of the passes to the grave.
We seek again to have our home there with our friends, and to be blest by a communion with them.
It is a matter of instinct, not of reasoning.
It is a spiritual impulse, which supersedes belief, and disdains question.
But it is not chiefly in regard to the feelings belonging to our own mortality, however sacred and natural, that we should contemplate the establishment of repositories of this sort.
There are higher moral purposes, and more affecting considerations, which belong to the subject.
We should accustom ourselves to view them rather as means, than as ends; rather as influences to govern human conduct, and to moderate human suffering, than as cares incident to a selfish foresight.
It is to the living mourner — to the parent, weeping over his dear dead child — to the husband, dwelling in his own solitary desolation — to the widow, whose heart is broken by untimely sorrow — to the friend, who misses at every turn the presence of some kindred spirit — it is to these, that the repositories of the dead bring home thoughts full of admonition, of instruction, and, slowly but surely, of consolation also.
They admonish us, by their very silence, of our own frail and transitory being.
They instruct us in the true value of life, and in its noble purposes, its duties, and its destination.
They spread around us, in the reminiscences of the past, sources of pleasing, though melancholy reflection.