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counts of the lives, deaths, and remarkable dying sayings, of those ministers in their own society, who have been eminent for their labours. These are drawn up by individuals, and presented to the monthly meetings, to which the deceased belonged. But here they must undergo an examination before they are passed. The truth of the statement, and the utility of the record, must appear. It then falls to the quarterly meetings to examine them again, and these may alter, or pass, or reject them, as it may appear to be most proper. If these should pass them, they are forwarded to the yearly meeting. Many of them, after this, are printed; and, finding their way into the bookcases of the Quakers, they become collected essays of morality, and operate as incitements to piety to the rising youth. Thus the memorials of men are made useful by the Quakers in an unobjectionable manner; for the falsehood and flattery of epitaphs are thus avoided; none but good men having been selected, whose virtues, if they are recorded, can be perpetuated with truth.
They discard also mourning garments-These are only emblems of sorrow-and often make men pretend to be what they are not-This contrary to Christianity-Thus they may become little better than disguised pomp, or fashionable forms-This instanced in the changes and duration of common mourning—and in the custom also of court-mourning-Ramifications of the latter.
As the Quakers neither allow of the tombstones, nor the monumental inscriptions, so they do not allow of the mourning garments of the world.
They believe there can be no true sorrow but in the heart, and that there can be no other true outward way of showing it than by fulfilling the desires, and by imitating the best actions, of those whom men have lost and loved. "The mourning, says William Penn, which it is fit for a Christian to have on the departure of beloved relations and friends, should be worn in the mind, which is only
sensible of the loss. And the love which men have had to these, and their remembrance of them, should be outwardly expressed by a respect to their advice, and care of those they have left behind them, and their love of that which they loved."
But mourning garments, the Quakers contend, are only emblems of sorrow. They will therefore frequently be used, where no sorrow is. Many persons follow their deceased relatives to the grave, whose death, in point of gain, is a matter of real joy; witness young spendthrifts, who have ` been raising sum after sum on expectation, and calculating with voracious anxiety, the probable duration of their relations' lives. And yet all these follow the corpse to the grave, with white handkerchiefs, mourning habits, slouched hats, and dangling hat-bands. Mourning garments, therefore, frequently make men pretend to be what they are not. But no true or consistent Christian can exhibit an outward appearance to the world, which his inward feelings do not justify.
It is not contended here by the Quakers, that because a man becomes occasionally a hypocrite, this is a sufficient objection against any system; for a man may be an Atheist even in a Quaker's garb. Nor is it insinuated, that individuals do not
sometimes feel in their hearts, the sorrow which they purpose to signify by their clothing. But it is asserted to be true, that men who use mourning habits as they are generally used, do not wear them for those deceased persons only whom they loved, and abstain from the use of them where they had no esteem, but that they wear them promiscuously on all the occasions which have been dictated by fashion. Mourning habits therefore, in consequence of a long system of etiquette, have become, in the opinion of the Quakers, but little better than disguised pomp, or fashionable forms.
I shall endeavour to throw some light upon this position of the Quakers, by looking into the practice of the world.
In the first place, there are seasons there, when full mourning, and seasons when only half mourning, is to be worn. Thus the habit is changed, and for no other reason, than that of conformity with the laws of fashion. The length of this time also, or season of mourning, is made to depend upon the scale of men's affinity to the deceased; though nothing can be more obvious, than that men's affection for the living, and that their sorrow for them when dead, cannot be measured by this standard. Hence the very time that a
man shall mourn, and the very time that he shall only half-mourn, and the very time that he shall cease to mourn, is fixed for him by the world, whatever may be the duration of his own sorrow.
In court-mourning also, we have an instance of men being instructed to mourn, where their feelings are neither interested nor concerned. In this case, the disguised pomp, spoken of by the Quakers, will be more apparent. Two princes have perhaps been fighting with each other for a considerable portion of their reigns. The blood of their subjects has been spilled, and their treasures have been exhausted. They have probably had, during all this time, no kind disposition one towards another, each considering the other as the aggressor, or as the author of the war. When both have heen wearied out with expense, they have made peace. But they have still mutual jealousies and fears. At length one of them dies. The other, on receiving an express relative to the event, orders mourning for the deceased for a given time. As other potentates receive the intelligence, they follow the example. Their several levees or drawing-rooms, or places of public audience, are filled with mourners. Every individual of each sex, who is accustomed to attend them, is now habited in black. Thus a round of mourning