Project Canterbury

The Patriarchal Funeral, or,
A sermon Preached before the Right Honourable George Lord Berkeley
upon the Death of his Father
by John Pearson.

London: Printed by E. Cotes for John Williams at the Sign of the Crown
in St. Paul's Church-yard, 1658.

To the Right Honourable GEORGE Lord BERKELEY,
Baron of Berkeley, Mowbray, Seagrave, and Breouse.

My Lord,

I Have been lately honoured by your Lordship with a double command, one to preach, the other to publish, this Sermon: of the first of which though I might have been innocently ambitious, yet of the second I may be justly asham'd: partly, because the Sermon it self is much unworthy of publique view, especially upon an occasion of so great remark; partly, and more concerningly, in regard that having been so many years happy in the knowledge of your Lordship, and as long obliged as known unto your Honour, I have not hitherto appear'd with any thing worthy of your Lordship's Patronage. I shall therefore humbly crave the leave of making to my self this interpretation, that your Honour did intend this Command as a remembrance of my duty, that I may hereafter meditate something to demonstrate to whom I owe the encouragement of my studies. In the interim by this present Discourse I shall only give a testimony, how properly I have endeavoured the memory of your Father, by obscuring his virtues, and your concernments, in my expressions, from all persons who are strangers to your Family, while I speak to them which were known unto you both, as to such as cannot but be most sensible, and bear a perpetual remembrance, of them. Howsoever what is wanting in this Funeral Sermon, shall be supplyed in my perpetual devotion, praying for an everlasting succession of Benedictions upon your Honour, your Honourable and most Virtuous Lady, and your most hopeful issue, as becometh

Your Honours most obliged and devoted Servant

John Pearson.

The Patriarchal Funeral.

GEN. L. 10.

And he made a mourning for his Father seven daies.

THere are two great names concealed in this Text, but express'd by the Prophet David in a peculiar and eminent manner: Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the Sons of Jacob and Joseph. Great was the name of Abraham, but all his Sons were not accepted; only Isaac was in the Covenant. Great was the name of Isaac, but his Son Esau was rejected. Great then must the name of Jacob be, who had twelve Sons, and all accepted. The whole people of God descended from him, and were called Israelites, and the Sons of Jacob, as his by generation from his loins. One of these twelve was Joseph, and the rest did equally descend from him, and might be called his Sons by preservation, from his care and power. Howsoever, he is exempted from the number of his Brethren; and, that he might be styl'd a Father, two Sons of his are numbred with his Fathers Sons, and ranked with the Patriarchs. Thus were all the people of God the Sons of Jacob and Joseph; and Joseph, while the Son of Jacob, the Father of the Sons of Jacob. These are the two concealed in the Text; Jacob the Father, and that Father dead; Joseph the Son, and that a mourning Son: for he made a mourning for his Father seven daies.

These words contain a brief relation of a Patriarchal Funeral; in which two general parts are presented to our view; The Solemnization of the Obsequies; and, The Continuation of the Solemnities. In the description of the Solemnization there are four particulars observable, The Connexion. The Person. The Action. The Occasion. The Connexion, in the conjunctive particle And: the Person understood, in the following pronoun He: the Action represented, what He, that is, Joseph did, he made a mourning: the Occasion expressed, for whom he mourned, for his Father. The Connexion of the Text is double, in reference to the Person, and in relation to the Action. The Connexion of the Person, And he; the Connexion of the Action with the precedent actions of that person, And he made a mourning. I shall begin with the Connexion of the Person, and in my whole discourse exactly prosecute the method of the Text.

When aged Jacob yeelded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people, the Physitians embalmed Israel, and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten dayes. They were not as yet the apparent enemies of God; they had their tears for Jacob, who afterward would have drowned all his Sons; they preserved and prolonged the daies of his life; and when those were cut off, they continued the daies of his weeping. But there is a difference between a formal and a real sorrow, between a solemn and a serious grief, between a popular and a filial sadness. Wherefore Joseph is not contented with the Egyptian mourning; he hath a nearer relation then those strangers had, and therefore more of affection is expected from him; his filial sympathy must go beyond their accustomed civility; the Egyptians mourned, and He made a mourning for his Father. This is the Connexion in respect of the Person; that of the Action followeth.

When Jacob was near the time of his dissolution, Joseph put his hand under his thigh, and sware unto him that he would deal kindly and truly with him, that he would bury him in the burying place of his Fathers. When he gathered up his feet into the bed and died, Joseph fell on his Fathers face, and wept upon him, and kissed him, and so paid the first-fruits of a Funeral with his eyes and with his lips. After this he commanded the Physicians to follow with Spices and embalm him, desirous to preserve that body to the utmost possibility from corruption, from which he had received his generation. Then he entreated and obtained leave of Pharaoh to perform his Oath which he sware unto Jacob: he went up to the Land of Canaan to take possession with his Fathers body, and laid him in the field which Abraham bought. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife, there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, there Jacob buried Leah, and there Joseph buried Jacob. And having thus fulfilled all the duties belonging to a Son, there remaining but this one, fitter to be performed then required, he made a mourning for his Father. This is the Connexion of the Action.

The Person or chief mourner then is Joseph; he which once was dead in the thoughts of Jacob, and desires of his brethren, survives his Father to attend his Funeral, and to preserve his Brethren alive. His coming into Egypt cost aged Jacob many a tear; and he must passe into Canaan to demonstrate his gratitude, and pay that debt unto his Father there. This eminent Person is proposed for an example unto all ages of the world: what he here performed, was no legall Ceremony; he was a Patriarch, and long before the law: he was a singular and signal type of Christ, and hath done nothing which may misbecome the most retired and sublimed Christian.

And this will readily appear, if we joyn the Action to the Person. He made a mourning. I call't an Action, which may as well be term'd a Passion: as a mourning, so a Passion; as he made it, so an Action; a passionate action, or an active passion. The internal grief of his minde and sorrow of his heart, as an inward passion of his soul, was voluntarily rais'd within him by resolved and continued thoughts of his Fathers death; and at the same time the expression of that grief was willingly powred forth, as what he understood did well become him. We are not only to bewail our sins, but all those miseries which proceed from them: and therefore tears were not only lent us to declare Compunction, but also to express Commiseration. We reade our blessed Saviour twice did weep, once for the sins of Jerusalem, once for the death of Lazarus whom he loved. Two eyes Nature bestow'd upon us, though perfectly and distinctly we can see but with one at once, and both are equally made the fountains of tears, as we are sinners for Contrition, as we are Brethren for Compassion. When the first Martyrs bloud was shed for the Christian faith, devout men carryed Steven to his burial, and made great lamentation over him; such were the tears of the Infant Church. When Peter found Dorcas, a woman full of good works and Almesdeeds, dead, all the Widows stood by him weeping. Thus the first which died in Christianity, were followed with solemn tears: and it was a wise observation made by the Apostate Julian, That one of the means to convert so many Heathens to our Religion, was the care of the bodies, and the solemnities alwayes used at the Funerals of the dead. Thus far of the Action, He made a mourning.

The occasion of this sadness is expressed in a word, but must be considered in many more, as being the principal concernment both of the Text and Time. The mover of his passion, the object of his grief, the cause of his tears was his Father, And he made a mourning for his Father. This was so truly the occasion, that it was the only cause, that there can be no reason imaginable assigned why Joseph should mourn, but only because he had lost a Father. Though he was aged to extremity, though he was holy unto eminency, though he was happy to eternity, though no way disadvantagious by his death to any, yet because dead, and that a Father dead, he made a mourning for him.

We usually say of ancient persons, that they have already one foot in the grave, and the rest of their life is nothing else but the bringing of these feet together. Why then should we weep for the death of aged persons, when it can be but the second part of their Funeral? That sorrow seems to be but useless which is spent upon necessities, and that grief irrational which would create impossibilities. The daies of our years are threescore years and ten, and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow. What reason then can we produce, that the life of a man whom we esteem, should be sorrow to himself, and his death be grief to us? Now Jacob gave this account of his age to Pharaoh when he came down to Egypt. The daies of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years; and he lived in the land seventeen years; so the whole age of Jacob was an hundred forty and seven years. This extremity of age had fastned him to his bed, the perfect embleme and short forerunner of his grave. The eyes of Israel were dim, so that he could not see; he was already in the shades of darkness. Nay, the time drew nigh, saith Moses, that Israel must die; there was a natural necessity of his death, an apparent impossibility of longer life; and yet this consideration is no excuse to Joseph, but he made a mourning for his aged Father.

Secondly, the death of the righteous is to be desired rather then lamented: and it were a dishonour put upon Religion to think a pious man less happy dead, then when he liv'd. Weep not for me, was the language of the immaculate Lamb when he went to a shameful and a painful death: and why should he, which yeelds up his soul with comfort, leave his body to be covered with so much sorrow? Those which live in impiety, and depart in their iniquity, they which have here provoked the wrath of God, and goe hence with that wrath abiding on them, as they could create nothing to their relations but sorrow in their life, so must they necessarily increase it at their death. But Jacob was a Patriarch, of eminent and constant piety, particularly and remarkably belov'd of God, highly blessed by him, and powerfully blessing in his name; and yet when Jacob dieth, Joseph weepeth: And he made a mourning for his pious Father.

Thirdly, Death is nothing else but a change of a short and temporary for an unalterable and eternal condition. From whence it followeth, that those which dye in their sins, from thence begin to feel those torments which shall never cease: and therefore they leave behinde them a sad occasion of grief and sorrow to such as are apprehensive of the pains they feel. If the Rich man in the Gospel were so careful of his surviving brethren, and so concerned in their welfare; if they had as well understood his sad and irreversible condition, what floods of tears would they have shed for him who call'd so earnestly for a drop of water to cool his tongue! But as for such as pass from hence into a place of rest and joy, who change the miseries of this sinful world for the blessed presence of a good and gracious God; weeping at their departure may seem improper and unkinde officiousness, as 'twere a sorrow for their happiness, and envy at their felicity. Now the soul of Jacob was certainly at rest, and Joseph sufficiently assured of his happiness. He knew that his Father was heir of the same promise with Abraham: for he looked for a City which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God; he died in faith, and imbraced the promises; he confessed that he was a stranger on the earth, and that he sought a better countrey, that is, an heavenly; and therefore God had prepared for him a City, and he was in the bosome of Abraham, the place of felicity. But the happiness of his soul is no excuse to Joseph for the Funeral tears due at the interment of his body. And he made a mourning for his happy Father.

Fourthly, many persons expiring give too sad occasions of sorrow to their relations left behinde: they which depend upon them, whose subsistence liveth and dyeth, and whose hopes are buried, with them, may goe to their graves with unfeigned tears, lamenting not so much the departure of their friend, as their own loss; something they may weep for them, and more for themselves. But the death of Jacob was not of any such condition; there could no disadvantage arise from that to Joseph, no interest of his could suffer by it. He had already blessed all his Sons, and Joseph principally; there could be no more of heavenly favours expected from his prayers or prophesies. Had he died before he laid his hands upon Ephraim and Menasseh, had Joseph and his Sons been absent when he blessed the rest, he might have sadly mourned for the loss of his Father, and of the Benediction. If Esau lift up his voyce and wept, because he was defeated of the blessing while Isaac lived, Joseph might well have made a mourning, had he been prevented of the Benediction by an unexpected or a distant death. But Jacob blessed them, and with his blessing gave order for his burial, and with that blessing and that order died. And as his death was no way prejudicial to the spiritual, so was it not at all disadvantageous to the temporal condition of his Son. He suffered loss of no enjoyments by his Fathers death; Jacob had lived long by the favour and the care of Joseph, his filial gratitude alone preserv'd his life; but no such narrow thoughts abated the freeness of Joseph's sorrow. And he made a mourning for his Father.

If none of these considerations, which work so powerfully on other persons, did move this Mourner to express such sorrow, what were the Motives then which caus'd so deep a sense, what meditations wrought so powerfully on the heart of Joseph? I answer, they were but two. Mortality, and Paternity; the one supposed, the other expressed in the text: Jacob was the Father of Joseph, and that Father dead, and therefore Joseph mourned for him.

Mortality is a proper object to invite our pity, and privation of life alone sufficient to move compassion in the living. Weep for the dead, saith the Son of Sirach, for he hath lost the light. If for no other reason, yet because a man is dead, and by death deprived of those comforts which those that live enjoy, they which survive may providently bewail their future privation in his present loss. Thus every Grave-stone bespeaks or expects a tear; as if all those eyes which had not yet lost their light, were to pay the tribute of their waters to the dead Sea. This Fountain Nature never made in vain, nor to be always sealed up; that heart is rock which suffers it never to break forth; and be it so, yet if the rod of Moses strike, an affliction sent from God shall force it. Let us therefore be ready with our sorrowful expressions when we are invited by sad occasions; especially when a Father, who may command them, calls for them, as that Wise man did, My Son, let tears fall down over the dead. And if paternal authority demands them at the death of others, it is no filial duty which denyes them to attend upon a Fathers Funeral. Joseph a man of a gracious and a tender heart, moved with common objects of compassion, had a vulgar sorrow arising from the consideration of mortality; Joseph a Son full of high affection and of filial duty and respect, was touched with a far more lively sense by the accession of paternity: And he made a mourning for his Father: he made a mourning for his Father, which begat him; for his Father, which loved him; for his Father, which blessed him; for his Father, which had mourned for him; for his Father, which came down to dye with him.

First, he made a mourning for his Father who begat him: had there been no other but that naked relation, it had carryed with it a sufficient obligation. There is so great an union between the Parent and the Childe, that it cannot break without a deep sensation. He which hath any grateful apprehension of his own life received, cannot chuse but sadly resent the loss of that life which gave it. If the fear of the death of Croesus, by a natural miracle, could untie the tongue of his Son who never spake before; that man must be miraculously unnatural, the flood-gates of whose eyes are not open'd at his Fathers Funerals, though he never wept before. The gifts of grace doe not obliterate, but improve nature; and it is a false perswasion of Adoption, which teacheth us so far to become the sons of God, as to forget that we are the sons of men. Joseph a person high in the esteem of Pharaoh, higher in the favour of God, great in the power of Egypt, greater in the power of the Spirit, yet he forgets not his filial relation, yet he cannot deny his natural obligation, but as a pious Son he payes the last tribute of his duty to Jacob, And he made a mourning for his Father who begat him.

Secondly, he made a mourning for his Father who loved him. Love, when in an equal, commandeth love; and this is so just, that fire doth not more naturally create a flame. In this the similitude is so great, that there is no difference in the nature of the love produced, and that which did produce it. But when it first beginneth in a superior person, the proper effect which it createth in an inferior, is not of a single nature, but such a love as is mingled with duty and respect. The love of God to man challengeth love from us, but that of such a nature as cannot be demonstrated but by obedience; and that of a Father to his Son is of the same condition, though not in the same proportion. The Father loveth first with care and tenderness, with a proper and a single love; the Son returns it with another colour mingled with duty, blended with respect. Now Jacob had many children, and as an eminent example he lov'd them all: but among the rest, there was one clearer and warmer flame; for he loved Joseph more then all his children: the off-spring of Rachel, the Son of his old age, the Heir of his Vertues, the Corrector of his Brethren, the Beloved of God, had a greater share in Jacobs affection then the rest of his issue. He did not so much prefer his wives before his hand-maids, he did not so highly value Rachel before Leah, as he did esteem Joseph before the off-spring of them all. This was the paternal love of Jacob, and this was answered with as high a filial respect in Joseph; which after death could not otherwise be expressed then in tears; And therefore he made a mourning for his Father, who loved him.

Thirdly, he made a mourning for his Father who had blessed him. Blessing is the soveraign act of God, and the power of benediction like the power of God. He delegateth this power unto his Priests, who stand between God and Man, and bless the Sons of men in the Name of God. He derives the same upon our natural Parents, that children honouring them may expect his blessing upon their desires and prayers. And what greater favour could we ask of God, then that those persons who have the most natural affection toward us, should also have the greatest power to bless us? Now when the time drew nigh that Israel must die, when his body drew nearer to the Earth, and his soul to Heaven, when his desires were highest, and his words of the greatest efficacy, he called unto his Sons, and blessed them, every one according to his blessing he blessed them. But as he loved Joseph more then all his Brethren, so he blessed him above them all: he made one Tribe of every Son, and two of him: his affection shew'd it self Rhetorical in his Benediction, saying, The blessings of thy Father have prevailed above the blessings of my Progenitors: unto the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his Brethren. Giving this Benediction, Jacob dies; receiving this Blessing, Joseph survives, who can render no other Retribution after his death, but care of his Burial, and tears at his Funeral. And therefore he made a mourning for his Father, who had blessed him.

Fourthly, he made a mourning for his Father, who had mourned for him. The Parents cares and Fears are equal, and when any infelicity besides their children, their griefs are great; and all these bear a proportion with their love. Now the love of Jacob to Joseph was transcendent, and being so, it rais'd as high an hatred in the hearts of his Brethren; by which he was, in their intention, and in his Fathers opinion, dead. And now the Funeral is Joseph's, let us see how Jacob does appear. He rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his Son many days. Here is a real demonstration upon a supposed death, and a serious mourning at a feigned Funeral. Had his dearest Son been dead, yet he might well take comfort in his numerous off-spring, but he did not; for all his Sons and all his Daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted: and he said, For I will goe down into the grave unto my Son mourning; thus his Father wept for him. Thus it pleased God to permit this happy deceit of envious Brethren, this pious mistake of an affectionate Father, not only for a great example of Paternal love, but also to teach all Sons to measure their griefs at their Fathers death, by a consideration of those sorrows which their Parents would have expressed, had they dyed before them. Howsoever Joseph was but just in this: for he made a mourning for his Father, who had mourn'd for him.

Lastly, he made a mourning for his Father, who came down to die with him. It was the old expression of Parents comfort, that at their deaths they might have their children to close their eyes; and it hath been equally the desire of children to be made happy by that occasion, in shewing the last testimony of their duty at their Parents death. Now Jacob, who upon the supposed death of Joseph, had said, I will goe down into the grave unto my Son; upon the certain intelligence of his life and safety, resolveth to goe down and die with him. For when he saw the Waggons which Joseph sent, and his spirit revived, Israel said, It is enough: Joseph my Son is yet alive, I will goe and see him before I die: and when Joseph first presented himself unto him in the land of Egypt, the first words which he spake were these, Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive. Now he which said at first, I will goe and see him before I die, and when he saw him, said, Now let me die, resolved nothing in that journey but to die with Joseph. And he made a moursing for his Father, who came down to die with him.

For all these reasons Joseph mourned; for his Father, who begat him, remembring his natural generation; for his Father, who loved him, not forgetting his singular affection; for his Father, who had blessed him, considering his double Benediction; for his Father, who had mourned for him, meditating a pious retaliation; for his Father, who came down to die with him, embracing the opportunity of a dutiful expression. And thus I close up the first general part of the Text, or the Solemnization of the Obsequies.

The Second general Part of the same presents us with the Continuation of the Solemnity. Which ministers a double Consideration, one as consisting of not many days, the other as determining how many days. And he made a mourning for his Father seven days.

Immediately after Jacobs death in Egypt, forty days were fulfilled for his embalming, and the Egyptians mourned for him threescore and ten days. They which have no hope of a life to come, may extend their griefs for the loss of this, and equal the days of their mourning with the years of the life of man. But so tedious a Funeral Solemnity is a tacite profession of Infidelity. When Moses went up unto the Mountain of Nebo, and died there, the children of Israel wept for him in the plains of Moab thirty dayes. The plains of Moab were nearer to the Land of Promise then Egypt was, and some light of the joys of the life to come was discovered under the Law, and therefore more then half of the Egyptian Solemnity was cut off by the Faith of the Israelites. But this Patriarchal Funeral was made in Canaan, the Land of Promise, the Type of Heaven; it was appointed by Joseph a blessed Patriarch, and a Type of Christ: it continued some days, to declare his natural affection, but those not many, to express his religious expectation. Had it been extended longer, it had demonstrated more of duty, but less of faith, he had shew'd himself more a Son, but less a Patriarch. But now he is become a great Example, in mourning some days, of filial duty; in mourning few days, of Divinity. Which is our first Consideration.

The Second leads us to the determinate number of the days, which are expresly Seven. And he made a mourning for his Father seven days. The Iews took special notice of this act of Joseph, and in the land of Canaan observed the number of these days, Seven days doe men mourn for him that is dead, saith the Son of Sirach; and though it be not unto us a law, yet it is a proper subject of our Observation.

It was afterward one of the laws of Moses, He that toucheth the dead body of any man, shall be unclean seven days. And therefore well did Joseph teach the Israelites to mourn the same number of days, that with their tears of natural affection, they might mingle some thoughts of their natural pollution.

Again, the number of Seven is the number of rest, In six days the Lord made Heaven and Earth, the Sea, and all that in them is: and he rested on the Seventh day from all his works which he had made. Now Joseph knew that there remaineth a rest to the people of God, he was fully assured that as the days of the years of his Fathers pilgrimage were evil, so they ended in rest and happiness: that as sure as his body was past all weariness and pain, so his soul was placed above all possibility of grief or sorrow. A Dove brought Noah word into the Ark that the waters were on the face of the Earth, and he stay'd seven days, and then the Dove sent forth returned, and loe, in her mouth was an Olive leaf pluckt off, so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. If we mourn for the death of any person departed, and the waters appear upon the face of man, yet after the seventh day, when the Olive leaf is pluckt, when we have considered the peace, and rest, and joyes of the souls departed in the fear of God, 'tis time for the waters to abate, for mourning to cease.

Thirdly, the number of Seven is the number of holiness: as God rested the seventh day, so he blessed, and hallowed it. Seven days Aaron and his Sons the Priests were consecrated; seven days an Atonement was made, and the Altar was sanctified. Seven days hath Joseph set apart for his Fathers Funeral, to shew that mourning for the dead is something sacred, the tenth of the Egyptian mourning, an act of Piety, a part of Religion. The Jews observed that the Circumcision was deferred till the eighth day, that a Sabbath might pass upon the childe, and so sanctifie it before it was circumcised; and Joseph appointeth seven days for mourning, one of which must necessarily be that day which God blessed and sanctified in the beginning, to procure a blessing upon that duty, and to sanctifie his sorrow.

Upon which seasonable Consideration I shall take leave to conclude my meditations on the Text, and apply my self to the present Solemnity, which gave the occasion to consider it: that I may make such use of the work of this holy day, as may sanctifie the sorrow of it.

And now, most Honorable Sir, the Joseph of this time, the chief Mourner of this day, be pleased to endeavour the Sanctification of your mourning by these reflexive Meditations.

First, learn from hence to meditate upon your own Mortality, and be now assured, by this neer and home example, that your self shall die. This may seem but a cold monition, but a dull reflexion; every Grave preacheth that Doctrine, and every Skeleton readeth as good a Lecture: when we come into the House of God, our feet will learn thus much, and the ground we tread upon will thus far instruct us. 'Tis true, the examples of our mortality are numerous, but they are not equally efficacious; the nearer our relations are to those which die, the more we are concerned in their death, and there is none so neer in his concernment as that of the Father and the Son. There is a difference between the language of the Scriptures, and such a Prophet as Nathan was; one tells us that all men are sinners, the other says, Thou art the man. So common Funerals tell us all men are mortal, but that of a Father speaketh not only plainly, but particularly, Thou art so. From his vivacity the Son receiveth life, and in his death must read his own departure. 'Tis possible to imagine an immortal family, and then the deaths of others concern'd that not: but where the Father's dead, there can be no pretence or thought of immortality. Beside, there's something more then propinquity of nature in a Father: Religion teacheth us that our daies are otherwise bound up in our Parents lives. Remember the first Commandement with Promise, Honor thy Father and thy Mother, that thy daies may be long in the land: consider that you have lost in his death all further opportunity of improving the hopes of that promise; and that you stand now only, as to him, upon what comfort you have in your former duty, and in your past obedience. Thus learn to fix a more immediate and more concerning meditation of your own mortality, upon the death of him, in whose life yours was involved both by a natural and spiritual dependence.

Secondly, reflect upon that love and entire affection which you have lost; and could no otherwise be lost, but by losing him, in whom it lived. Love is of that excellent nature, that it is esteemed by the best of men, and accepted from the meanest persons; what then is the affection of a Father! what is the purity of that fire which God and Nature kindles in the breast of man! what were the flames which ever burnt upon the Altar of your Fathers heart, who never hated any man! See but the nature of Paternal love in David; who, when Absalom, his Son, but a most rebellious Son, openly sought his life and Crown, and dyed in that unnatural attempt, went up into his chamber and wept, and as he went, thus he said, O my Son Absalom, my Son, my Son Absalom; would God I had died for thee, O Absalom my Son, my Son: Measure by this example the affection you have so lately lost, who never gave any offence as Absalom did, and yet had in your Fathers eye all the reasons of love which Absalom could have. Know then you make a mourning, as Joseph did, for a Father that loved you: remember that the love of Jacob was divided between twelve Sons, and therefore, though it was high, it could not be whole and entire to Joseph, as for many years your Fathers hath been unto you.

Thirdly, I speak not this out of design to renew or advance your grief, to tell you what you have lost alone; but I propound this privation, that I may contrive it for your imitation, endeavouring to stir up the same fire, and to kindle the same affection in your self, who now are wholly to be considered in the same relation. What you were to him, others are now to you; and what he was to you, you are now wholly unto them. Before your natural affection was partly taken up with duty, respect, honor and obedience due to a Father from a Son; it is now taken off from those expressions, as to him, that it may descend the more entire upon those which come from you, as you from him. Thus far you have been the Joseph of the Text, be now the Jacob; that those two great names may be concealed not only in the Text, but in your breast. Thus far you have been the better part of Absalom, learn now to be the David: that we may truly say, that tender affection, that Paternal love, dyed not with your Father, but survives in you to your and his posterity.

Fourthly, I desire you to look not only upon that which you have lost, but also upon that which he hath left behinde him. Vulgar and common persons, as they carry nothing out of this world, so they leave nothing in it: they receive no eminency in their birth, they acquire none in their life, they have none when they die, they leave none at their death. But honorable persons, as they die like common men, so that only dieth with them which was common unto all degrees of men; their singular respects, the priviledges of their greatness, their honors survive them, and descend unto their Heirs with their Inheritance. Give me leave then yet to speak unto you as to the Heir of your Fathers honors; consider what the nature and design of honors are; remember they were first graciously conferred as a reward of the virtues of your Ancestors, and were as wisely continued upon a presumption, and as an encouragement, of the same virtues in their Successors. Your Honor knows how long the greatness of your Family hath been preserved: acknowledge first the vigilant providence and infinite goodness of God in the preservation of it, while so many glorious Titles have been lost, so many Noble Families cut off. Next, study to preserve and advance it further by the exercise of those virtues upon which it was first built, and hath been since continued: endevour to uphold not only your own, but the very name of Honor in this Age, in which partly the want of such virtues as are necessary to support it, partly the weakness of that power which first gave life unto it, partly the unreasonableness of foolish men who endeavour to cast a disesteem upon it, have too much eclipsed the glory of it.

Lastly, as I have advised you, with the Son of Sirach, to let tears fall upon the dead, and to use lamentation as he is worthy; so I shall conclude with his following advice, when that is done, then comfort thy self for thy heaviness; that is, not only be comforted after sorrow, that consolation may succeed your griefs, this is the common revolution of the world: not only be comforted in lieu of your sorrow, that consolation may recompense your griefs, that were but a vulgar compensation; but take comfort in your sorrow, and rejoyce in your self that you have been so happy as to be truly sad. There is so much deceitfulness in the heart of man, so much hypocrisie in Funeral mourning, that you may bless God for your own assurance of the sincerity of your natural affection, and religious respect to your Parents, and take delight in a just expectation, that it will be rewarded by the future respect of your children. So having performed the duty of Joseph, who made a mourning for his Father, you may expect the blessing of Joseph, given by the mouth of Jacob for whom he mourned, Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a Well, whose branches run over the wall. That this Benediction may be your Honors portion shall be my constant prayer, By the God of thy Father who shall help thee, and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. Amen. Amen.

The End.

Project Canterbury