*[ This sermon was formerly published by the Author in a separate form, and the following Preface to that publication explains so well the circumstances under which all the other sermons have been preserved, that it has been thought best to reprint the Preface here. ]
“For the publication of the commonplace observations contained in the following pages, the commonplace excuse may, perhaps, suffice, that printing was the simplest way of multiplying copies for a few friends who desired them. Perhaps, too, the uncommonness of the occasion may justify the writer in giving to an ephemeral discourse an existence somewhat less transient than the minutes spent in listening to it.
“The sermon is published as nearly as possible as it was spoken. It was written out concisely for a friend on the day of its delivery, with no intention of publication. Afterwards, it seemed better to leave it in that state, with only a few corrections, and the addition of a few sentences, than to attempt to re-write it after an interval too great to recall what had been said. This will account for the abruptness and want of finish which pervades the composition.
“The writer takes this opportunity of disowning certain sermons which have been published in his name. They would not have been worth notice, had not the innumerable blunders of thought and expression which they contain been read and accepted by several as his. For this reason he feels it due to himself to state that they are published without his sanction, and against his request, and that he is not responsible for either the language or the ideas.”]
“And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die; and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. So Joseph died, being a hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.” - Gen. 1:24-26.
here is a moment when a man’s life is re-lived on earth. It is in that hour in which the coffin-lid is shut down, just before the funeral, when earth has seen the last of him forever. Then the whole life is, as it were, lived over again in the conversation which turns upon the memory of the departed. The history of threescore years and ten is soon recapitulated: not, of course, the innumerable incidents and acts which they contained, but the central governing principle of the whole. Feverish curiosity sometimes spends itself upon the last hours: and a few correct sentences, implying faith after the orthodox phraseology, would convey to some greater hope than a whole life breathing the Spirit of Christ separate from such sentences. But it is not thus the Bible speaks. It tells us very little of the closing scene, but a great deal of the general tenor of a life. In truth, the closing scene is worth very little. The felon, who, up to the last fortnight, has shown his impenitence by the plea of not guilty, in the short compass of that fortnight makes a confession, as a matter of course exhibits the externals of penitence, and receives the Last Supper. But it would be credulity, indeed, to be easily persuaded that the eternal state of such an one is affected by it. A life of holiness sometimes mysteriously terminates in darkness; but it is not the bitterest cries of forsakenness - so often the result of physical exhaustion - nor even blank despair, that shall shake our deep conviction that he whose faith shone brightly through life is now safe in the everlasting arms. The dying scene is worth little - little, at least, to us - except so far as it is in harmony with the rest of life.
It is for this reason that the public estimate pronounced upon the departed is generally a fair criterion of worth. There are, of course, exceptional cases - cases in which the sphere of action has been too limited for the fair development of the character, and nothing but the light of the judgment-day can reveal it in its true aspect - cases in which party spirit has defaced a name, and years are wanted to wash away the mask of false color which has concealed the genuine features - cases in which the champion of truth expires amidst the execrations of his contemporaries, and after ages build his sepulchre. These, however, are exceptions. For the most part, when all is over, general opinion is not far from truth. Misrepresentation and envy have no provocatives left them. What the departed was is tolerably well-known in the circle in which he moved. The epitaph may be falsified by the partiality of relations; but the broad judgment of society reverses that, rectifies it, and pronounces with perhaps a rude, but, on the whole, fair approximation to the truth.
These remarks apply to the history of the man whose final scene is recorded in the text. The verdict of the Egyptian world was worth much. Joseph had gone to Egypt some years before, a foreigner; had lived there in obscurity; had been exposed to calumny; by his quiet, consistent goodness, had risen, step by step, first to respect, then to trust, command, and veneration: was embalmed after death in the affections, as well as with the burial rights, of the Egyptians; and his honored form reposed at last amidst the burial-place of the Pharaohs.
In this respect the text branches into a twofold division. The life of Joseph, and the death which was in accordance with that life.
1. The history of Joseph, as of every man, has two sides - its outward circumstances and its inner life.
The outward circumstances were checkered with misfortune. Severed from his home in very early years, sold into slavery, cast into prison - at first grief seemed to have marked him for her own. And this is human life. Part of its lot is misery. There are two inadequate ways of accounting for this mystery of sorrow. One, originating in a zeal for God’s justice, represents it as invariably the chastisement of sin, or, at the least, as correction for fault. But, plainly, it is not always such. Joseph’s griefs were the consequences, not of fault, but of rectitude. The integrity which, on some unknown occasion, made it his duty to carry his brethren’s “evil report” to their father, was the occasion of his slavery. The purity of his life was the cause of his imprisonment. Fault is only a part of the history of this great matter of sorrow. Another theory, created by zeal for God’s love, represents sorrow as the exception, and happiness as the rule of life. We are made for enjoyment, it is said, and on the whole there is more enjoyment than wretchedness. The common idea of love being that which identifies it with a simple wish to confer happiness, no wonder that a feeble attempt is made to vindicate God by a reduction of the apparent amount of pain. Unquestionably, however, love is very different from a desire to shield from pain. Eternal love gives to painlessness a very subordinate place in comparison of excellence of character. It does not hesitate to secure man’s spiritual dignity at the expense of the sacrifice of his well-being.
The solution will not do. Let us look the truth in the face. You can not hide it from yourself “Man is born to sorrow as the sparks fly upward.” Sorrow is not an accident, occurring now and then, it is the very woof which is woven into the warp of life. God has created the nerves to agonize, and the heart to bleed; and before a man dies, almost every nerve has thrilled with pain, and every affection has been wounded. The account of life which represents it as probation is inadequate: so is that which regards it chiefly as a system of rewards and punishments. The truest account of this mysterious existence seems to be that it is intended for the development of the soul’s life, for which sorrow is indispensable. Every son of man who would attain the true end of his being must be baptized with fire. It is the law of our humanity, as that of Christ, that we must be perfected through suffering. And he who has not discerned the divine sacredness of sorrow, and the profound meaning which is concealed in pain, has yet to learn what life is. The Cross, manifested as the necessity of the highest life, alone interprets it.
2. Besides this, obloquy was part of Joseph’s portion. His brethren, even his father, counted him a vain dreamer, full of proud imaginings. He languished long in a dungeon with a stain upon his character. He was subjected to almost all the bitterness which changes the milk of kindly feelings into gall: to Potiphar’s fickleness, to slander, to fraternal envy, to the ingratitude of friendship in the neglect of the chief butler, who left his prison and straightway forgot his benefactor. Out of all which a simple lesson arises, “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils.” Yet that may be overstated. Nothing chills the heart like universal distrust. Nothing freezes the genial current of the soul so much as doubts of human nature. Human goodness is no dream. Surely we have met unselfishness, and love, and honor among men. Surely we have seen, and not in dreams, pure benevolence beaming from human countenances. Surely we have met with integrity that the world’s wealth could not bribe; and attachment which might bear the test of any sacrifice. It is not so much the depravity as the frailty of men, that makes it impossible to count on them. Was it not excusable in Jacob, and even natural, if he attributed to vanity his son’s relation of the dream in which the sun, and the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down before him? Was it not excusable if Potiphar distrusted his tried servant’s word, when his guilt appeared so indisputably substantiated? Was not even the chief butler’s forgetfulness intelligible, when you remember his absorbing interest in his own danger, and the multiplied duties of his office? The world is not to be too severely blamed if it misrepresents us. It is hard to reach the truth - very hard to sift a slander.
Men who believe such rumors, especially in courtly life, may be ignorant, hasty, imperfect, but are not necessarily treacherous. Yet even while you keep this in mind, that the heart may not be soured, remember your dearest friend may fail you in the crisis: a truth of experience was wrapped up in the old fable, and the thing you have fostered in your bosom may wound you to the quick; the one you have trusted may become your accuser, and throw his own blame, with dastard meanness, upon you. That was the experience of Joseph. Was not that His fate who trusted Judas? There is One, and but One, whose love is as a rock which will not fail you when you cling. It is a fearful, solitary feeling, that lonely truth of life; yet not without a certain strength and grandeur in it. The life that is the deepest and the truest will feel most vividly both its desolation and its majesty. We live and die alone. God and our own souls - we fall back upon them at last. “Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.”
3. Success, besides, marked the career of Joseph. Let us not take half views of men and things. The woof of life is dark; that we granted: but it is shot through a web of brightness. Accordingly, in Joseph’s case, even in his worst days, you find a kind of balance to be weighed against his sorrows. The doctrine of compensation is found through all. Amidst the schemings of his brothers’ envy he had his father’s love. In his slavery be had some recompense in feeling that he was gradually winning his master’s confidence. In his dungeon he possessed the consciousness of innocence, and the grateful respect of his fellow-prisoners.
In that beautiful hymn which some of you read last Sunday,* [* Keble’s Christian Year. Twenty-fifth Sunday after Trinity.] you may remember that a parallel is drawn between human life and the aspects of the weather. The morning rainbow, glittering among the dangerous vapors of the west, predicts that the day will not unclouded pass away. The evening rainbow declares that the storms are past, and that serene weather is setting in. Such is the life of all whom God disciplines. The morning or the evening brightness is the portion of a life, the rest of which is storm. Rarely are the manful struggles of principle in the first years of life suffered to be in vain. Joseph saw the early clouds which darkened the morning of his existence pass away, and the rainbow of heavenly peace arched over the calmness of his later years. “The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man.” And it is for this special purpose it is written, “And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation; the children also of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were brought up on Joseph’s knees.” Long life, and honored old age, a quiet grave; these were the blessings reckoned desirable in Jewish modes of thought: and they are mentioned as evidences of Joseph’s happiness.
And this, too, is life. The sorrows of the past stand out most vividly in our recollections, because they are the keenest of our sensations. At the end of a long existence we should probably describe it thus: “Few and evil have the days of the years of thy servant been.” But the innumerable infinitesimals of happiness that from moment to moment made life sweet and pleasant are forgotten; and very richly has our Father mixed the materials of these with the homeliest actions and domesticities of existence. See two men meeting together in the streets - mere acquaintances. They will not be five minutes together before a smile will overspread their countenances, or a merry laugh ring of, at the lowest, amusement. This has God done. God created the smile and the laugh, as well as the sigh and the tear. The aspect of this life is stern - very stern. It is a very superficial account of it which slurs over its grave mystery, and refuses to hear its low, deep under-tone of anguish. But there is enough, from hour to hour, of bright, sunny happiness, to remind us that its Creator’s highest name is love.
Now turn to the spirit of Joseph’s inner life. First of all, that life was forgiveness. You can not but have remarked that, conversant as his experience was with human treachery, no expressions of bitterness escape from him. No sentimental wailing over the cruelty of` relations, the falseness of friendship, or the ingratitude of the world; no rancorous outburst of misanthropy; no sarcastic skepticism of man’s integrity or woman’s honor. He meets all bravely, with calm, meek, and dignified forbearance. If ever man had cause for such doubts, he had; yet his heart was never soured. At last, after his father’s death, his brothers, apprehending his resentful recollections of their early cruelty, come to deprecate his revenge. Very touching is his reply. “Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me: but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore, fear ye not: I will nourish you and your little ones.”
This is the Christian spirit before the Christian times. Christ was in Joseph’s heart, though not definitely in Joseph’s creed. The Eternal Word whispered in the souls of men before it spoke articulately aloud in the Incarnation. It was the Divine Thought before it became the Divine Expression.* [*Aogoz endi iqetoz - profojikoz.] It was the Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world, before it blazed into the Day-spring from on high which visited us. The mind of Christ, the spirit of the years yet future, blended itself with life before He came; for His words were the eternal verities of our humanity. In all ages love is the truth of life, Men can not injure us except so far as they exasperate us to forget ourselves. No man is really dishonored except by his own act. Calumny, injustice, ingratitude - the only harm these can do us is by making us bitter, or rancorous, or gloomy: by shutting our hearts or souring our affections. We rob them of their power if they only leave us more sweet and forgiving than before. And this is the only true victory. We win by love. Love transmutes all curses, and forces them to rain down in blessings. Out of the jealousy of his brothers Joseph extracted the spirit of forgiveness. Out of Potiphar’s weak injustice, and out of the machinations of disappointed passion, he created an opportunity of learning meekness. Our enemies become unconsciously our best friends when their slanders deepen in us heavenlier graces. Let them do their worst; they only give us the Godlike victory of forgiving them.
2. Distinguished from the outward circumstances, we find simplicity of character: partly in the willingness to acknowledge his shepherd-father in Egypt, where the pastoral life was an abomination; partly in that incidental notice which we have of the feast at which he entertained his brethren, where the Egyptians sat at a table by themselves, and Joseph by himself. So that, elevated as he was, his heart remained Hebrew still. He had contracted a splendid alliance by marrying into one of the noblest families in Egypt, that of Potipherah, the priest of On. And yet he had not forgotten his country, nor sought to be naturalized there. His heart was in that far land where he had fed his father’s flocks in his simple, genial boyhood; the divining-cup of Egyptian silver was on his table; but be remembered the days when the only splendor he knew was that coat of many colors which was made for him by his father. He bore a simple, unsophisticated heart amidst the pomp of an Egyptian court.
There is a great mistake made on the subject of simplicity. There is one simplicity of circumstances, another simplicity of heart. These two must not be confounded. It is common to talk of the humble poor man, and the proud rich man. Let not these ideas be inseparably blended together. There is many a man who sits down to a meal of bread and milk on a wooden table, whose heart is as proud as the proudest whose birth is royal. There is many a one whose voice is heard in the public meeting, loudly descanting on legal tyranny and aristocratic insolence, who in his own narrow circle is as much a tyrant as any oppressor who ever disgraced the throne. And there is many a man who sits down to daily pomp, to whom gold and silver are but as brass and tin, and who bears in the midst of it all a meek, simple spirit, and a “heart refrained as a weaned child:” many a man who lives surrounded with homage, and hearing the applause and flattery of men perpetually, on whose heart these things fall flat and dead, without raising one single emotion of fluttered vanity.
The world can not understand this. They can not believe that Joseph can be humble while he is conscious of such elevation above the crowd of men - not even dreaming of it. They can not understand how carelessly these outsides of life can be worn, and how they fall off like the unregarded and habitual dress of daily life. They can not know how the spirit of the Cross can crucify the world, make grandeur painful, and calm the soul with a vision of the Eternal Beauty They can not dream how His life and death, once felt as the grandest, write mockery on all else, and fill the soul with an ambition which is above the world. It is not the unjewelled finger, nor the affectation of an almost Quakerish simplicity of attire, nor the pedestrian mode of travelling, nor the scanty meal that constitute humility. It is that simple, inner life of real greatness, which is indifferent to magnificence, and surrounded by it all, lives far away in the distant country of a father’s home, with the Cross borne silently and self-sacrificingly in the heart of hearts.
3. One characteristic of Joseph’s inner life remains - benevolence. It was manifested in the generosity with which he entertained his brethren, and in the discriminating tenderness with which he provided his best beloved brother’s feast with extraordinary delicacies. These were traits of thoughtfulness. But further still. The prophetic insight of Joseph enabled him to foresee the approach of famine. He took measures accordingly; and when the famine came, the royal storehouses were opened, and every man in Egypt owed his life to the benevolent providence of the Hebrew stranger. It was productive of a great social revolution. It brought, by degrees, all the land of Egypt into the power of the Crown, so that a kind of feudal system was established, every man holding in direct tenancy from the Crown. Hence the nation became compacted into a new unity, and power was concentrated in the hands of government, partly by the pecuniary revenue thus added, and partly by the lustre of goodness which Joseph had thrown round the royal acts. For acts like these are the real bulwarks of a throne. One such man as Joseph does more to strengthen the Crown than all the speculations. solemn or trifling, which were ever written on the “Divine right of kings.” There is a right divine which requires no elaborate theory to make it felt.
II. The death of Joseph was in accordance with his life.
1. The funeral was a homage paid to goodness. Little is said in the text of Joseph’s funeral. To know what it was, we must turn to the earlier part of the chapter, where that of Jacob is mentioned. A mourning of seventy days - a funeral whose imposing greatness astonished the Canaanites. They said, “This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians.” Seventy days were the time, or nearly so, fixed by custom for a royal funeral; and Jacob was so honored, not for his own sake, but because he was Joseph’s father. We can not suppose that Joseph’s own obsequies were on a scale less grand.
Now weigh what is implied in this. This was not the homage paid to talent, nor to wealth, nor to birth. Joseph was a foreign slave, raised to eminence by the simple power of goodness. Every man in Egypt felt, at his death, that he had lost a friend. There were thousands whose tears would fall when they recounted the preservation of lives dear to them in the years of famine, and felt that they owed those lives to Joseph. Grateful Egypt mourned the good Foreigner; and, for once, the honors of this world were given to the graces of another.
2. We collect from this, besides, a hint of the resurrection of the body. The Egyptian mode of sepulture was embalming; and the Hebrews, too, attached much importance to the body after death. Joseph commanded his countrymen to preserve his bones to take away with them. In this we detect that unmistakable human craving, not only for immortality, but immortality associated with a form. No doubt the Egyptian feeling was carried out absurdly. They tried to redeem from the worm the very aspect that had been worn, the very features they had loved; and there was a kind of feeling, that while that mummy lasted, the man had not yet perished from earth. They expected that, in process of years, it would again be animated by its spirit.
Now Christianity does not disappoint, but rather meets that feeling. It grants all that the materialist, and all that the spiritualist, have a right to ask. It grants to the materialist, by the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, that future life shall be associated with a material form. Leaving untouched all the questions which may be raised about the identity of the atoms that have been buried, it simply pronounces that the spirit shall have a body. It grants to the spiritualist all he ought to wish - that the spirit shall be free from evil. For it is a mistake of ultra-spiritualism, to connect degradation with the thought of a risen body; or to suppose that a mind, unbound by the limitations of space, is a more spiritual idea of resurrection than the other.
The opposite to spirituality is not materialism, but sin. The form of matter does not degrade. For what is this world itself but the form of Deity, whereby the manifoldness of His mind and beauty manifests, and wherein it clothes itself? It is idle to say that spirit can exist apart from form. We do not know that it can. Perhaps even the Eternal Himself is more closely bound to His works than our philosophical systems have conceived. Perhaps matter is only a mode of thought. At all events, all that we know or can know of mind, exists in union with form. The resurrection of the body is the Christian verity, which meets and satisfies those cravings of the ancient Egyptian mind that expressed themselves in the process of embalming, and the religious reverence felt for the very bones of the departed by the Hebrews.
Finally, in the last will and testament of Joseph we find faith. He commanded his brethren, and through them, his nation, to carry his bones with them when they migrated to Canaan. In the Epistle to the Hebrews that is reckoned an evidence of faith. “By faith Joseph gave commandment concerning his bones.” How did he know that his people would ever quit Egypt? We reply, by faith. Not faith in a written word, for Joseph had no Bible; rather, faith in that conviction of his own heart which is itself the substantial evidence of faith. For religious faith ever dreams of something higher, more beautiful, more perfect, than the state of things with which it feels itself surrounded. Ever, a day future lies before it: the evidence for which is its own hope. Abraham, by that creative faith, saw the day of Christ, and was glad. Joseph saw his family in prosperity, even in affluence; but he felt that this was not their rest. A higher life than that of affluence - a nobler destiny than that of stagnant rest, there must be for them in the future; else all the anticipations of a purer earth, and a holier world, which imagination bodied forth within his soul, were empty dreams, not the intuitions of God’s Spirit. It was this idea of perfection, which was “the substance of things hoped for,” that carried him far beyond the period of his own death, and made him feel himself a partaker of his nation’s blessed future.
And that is the evidence of immortality. When the coffin is lowered into the grave, and the dull, heavy sound of earth falling on it is heard, there are some to whom that sound seems but an echo of their worst anticipations; seems but to reverberate the idea of decay forever, in the words, “Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” There are others to whom it sounds pregnant with the expectations of immortality, the “sure and certain hope of a resurrection to eternal life.” The difference between these two feelings is measured by the difference of lives. They whose life is low and earthly, how can they believe in aught beyond the grave when nothing of that life which is eternal has yet stirred within them? They who have lived as Joseph lived, just in proportion to their purity and their unselfishness, must believe it. They can not but believe it. The eternal existence is already pulsing in their veins; the life of trust and high hope, and sublime longings after perfection, with which the decay of the frame has nothing at all to do. That is gone - yes - but it was not that life in which they lived, and when it finished, what had that ruin to do with the destruction of the immortal?
For what is our proof of immortality? Not the analogies of nature - the resurrection of nature from a winter grave - or the emancipation of the butterfly. Not even the testimony to the fact of risen dead; for who does not know how shadowy and unsubstantial these intellectual proofs become in unspiritual frames of mind? No; the life of the spirit is the evidence. Heaven begun is the living proof that makes the heaven to come credible. “Christ in you is the hope of glory.” It is the eagle eye of faith which penetrates the grave, and sees far into the tranquil things of death. He alone can believe in immortality who feels the resurrection in him already.
There is a special application to be made of this subject to our hearts. It is not often that the pulpit can be used for a funeral eulogium. Where Christ is to be exalted in solitary pre-eminence, it is but rarely that the praise of men may be heard. Rank, royalty itself, could not command from the lips of a minister of the King of kings one syllable of adulatory, undeserved, or unfelt homage. But there are cases in which to loftiness of birth is added dignity of character; and then we gladly relax the rule, to pay a willing tribute to the majesty of goodness.
There is one to whom your thoughts must have reverted often during the history which we have been going through, suggesting a parallel, all the more delicately felt from the absence of direct allusion. That royal lady, for whose loss the marvellous uniformity of the unbroken funeral hue which pervades this congregation tells eloquently of general mourning, came to this land a few years ago like Joseph, a foreigner - like Joseph, the earlier years of her sojourn were spent in comparative obscurity - like Joseph, she had her share of calumny, though in a different form. There are many here who can remember that in that year when our political feuds had attained the acme of rancor, the irreverent lip of party slander dared to breathe its rank venom upon the name of one of the gentlest that ever adorned a throne. There are some who know how that unpopularity was met: with meekness - with Christian forgiveness - with quiet dignity - with that composure which is the highest result and evidence of strength. Like Joseph, she passed through the temptations of a court with unsullied spotlessness - like Joseph, the domestic and social relationships were sustained with beautiful fidelity - like Joseph, she lived down opposition, outlived calumny - like Joseph, she used the noble income intrusted to her in acts of almost unexampled munificence - like Joseph, her life was checkered with sorrow; and when the clouds of earlier difficulties had cleared away, the rainbow sign of peace, even in the midst of broken health, spanned the calmness of her evening years - like Joseph, she will have a regal burial, and her ashes will repose with the dust of England’s princes amidst the mourning of the nation in which she found a home.
The homage which is given to her is not the homage yielded to rank or wealth or genius. There will be silver on her coffin, and magnificence in the pageantry which attends her to the grave;* [* This anticipation has not been realized. In one of the most touching and unaffected documents that ever went right home to English hearts, the queen of a British sovereign requested to be borne to the grave as the wife of a sailor.] but it is not in these that the glory of her funeral lies. These were the privileges of the most profligate of her ancestors as well as her. These are the world’s rewards for those whom she delights to honor. There will be something in her funeral besides which these things are mean. There is a grandeur in a nation’s tears; and they will be shed in unfeigned reverence over the remains of all that was most queenly, and all that was most womanly. No political fervor mixes with her obsequies. She stood identified with no party politics. No peculiar religious party mourns its patroness. Of all our jarring religious sects, in the Church and out of it, not one dares to claim her as its own. Her spirit soared above these things. It is known that she scarcely recognized them. All was lost in the sublimer name of Christian. It is a Christian who has passed from this earth away, to take her place in the general Assembly and Church of the first-born: to stand before God, the Judge of all, among the spirits of the just made perfect.
One word more. Honoring the Queen, profoundly reverencing the Woman, let not contemplation stop there. Do not bury thought in the human and finite. Mildly as her lustre shone on earth, remember it was but one feeble ray of the Light that is Uncreated. All that she had she received. If we honor her, it is to adore Him who made her what she was. Of His fullness she had received, and grace for grace. What she was, she became through adoring faith in Christ. It is an elevating thing to gaze on human excellence, because through it the Highest becomes conceivable. It is a spirit-stirring thing to see saintly goodness asserting its celestial origin by turning pale the lustre of the highest earthly rank; for in this universal mourning our noble country has not bowed the knee in reverence to the majesty which is of time. Every heart in England has felt that the sovereign was merged in the servant of Christ. “The King’s daughter was all glorious within.” Hers was Christian goodness. Her eyes had beheld the King in His beauty, and therefore her life was beautiful, and feminine, and meek, and simple. It was all derived beauty. She had robed herself in Christ. “Reflecting back, as from a burnished mirror, the glory of the Lord, she was changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”* [* 2 Cor. 3:18. This appears to be the true force and rendering of the metaphor.]
Subjoined are the directions given by her late Majesty for her own funeral. ‘The reader will be glad to have them preserved in a form less inconvenient than the columns of a newspaper. Should he be one who feels it a relief to miss, for once, the worn-out conventionalisms of religious expression, and come in contact with something fresh and living, he will find more in these quiet lines than in ten sermons; more to make a very happy tear start; more of the simplicity and the beauty of the life in God; more to cool the feverishness of his heart, and still its worldliness into silence; more of that deep rest into which the meek and humble enter; more that will make him long to be simple, and inartificial, and real, as Christ was, desiring only, in life. and death, and judgment, to be found in Him.
“I die in all humility, knowing well that we are all alike before the Throne of God, and request, therefore, that my mortal remains be conveyed to the grave without any pomp or state. They are to be moved to St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, where I request to have as private and quiet a funeral as possible.
“I particularly desire not to be laid out in state, and the funeral to take place by daylight, no procession, the coffin to be carried by sailors to the chapel.
“All those of my friends and relations, to a limited number, who wish to attend, may do so. My nephew, Prince Edward of Saxe Weimar, Lords Howe and Denbigh, the Hon. William Ashley, Mr. Wood, Sir Andrew Barnard, and Sir D. Davis, with my dressers, and those of my ladies who may wish to attend.
“I die in peace, and wish to be carried to the tomb in peace, and free from the vanities and the pomp of this world.
“I request not to be dissected, nor embalmed; and desire to give as little trouble as possible.
(Signed) “Adelaide R.