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PRAYERS FOR THE DEAD,
FOR THE USE OF
Members of the Church of England,
WITH A PREFACE;
TO WHICH ARE ADDED
MEDITATIONS ON THE FOUR LAST THINGS,
WITH INSTRUCTIONS FOR USING THEM,
AND OTHER DEVOTIONS.
“ The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord
2 Tim. 1. 18.
Next to the direct worship of God, there is nothing which arises more immediately from religious feeling than reverence for the Departed. Perhaps the amount of national religion in any country in ancient or in modern times, might be tested by this development of it alone; for a state of existence after death, is one of the first articles in the creed of Nature. If to believe that God is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him,” be the first truth to be learned, then to believe that there is a “where” He does reward His worshippers, is the second. On the other hand, to profess ignorance as to the state of the departed, is always the note of infidelity. Men are loth to contemplate a time in their being when things will assume their true hues and value, and when the objects of sense having returned to their original nothingness, spiritual things will appear in their real light and importance.
A witness in support of this view is found in the prevalence amongst all nations, in the most ancient times, of the rites of burial. There is the same sort of evidence that the universal custom of primitive times was to “ bury their dead out of their sight,” that there is of the original worship of one God. And this custom is as undoubted a note of belief in the resurrection of the flesh, burning the body or yet worse departures from primitive practice of infidelity, or some heretical depravation of the truth, as Abel's