The desire to select some suitable spot wherein to deposit the remains of our departed kindred and friends seems almost innate in the human breast.
The stranger's field was bought with the accursed bribe of betrayal and treason, and there is an abhorrence to depositing our loved ones in places whose archetype was so desecrated by its purchase-money. The churchyard, to the man of sentiment, is as sacred as the church itself.
The cemetery bears a hallowed character, and we adorn its graves with vernal flowers or with evergreens to show that the dead, though away from our presence visibly, still live and bloom in our memories.
The oldest of all the histories that time has saved to us contains an affecting story of this reverence of the living for the dead, when it tells us how Abraham, when Sarah, his beloved wife, had died in a strange land, reluctant to bury her among strangers, purchased from the sons of Heth the cave of Machpelah for a burial-place for his people.
It is not, then, surprising that Freemasons, actuated by this spirit, should have been desirous to consecrate certain spots as resting-places for themselves and for the strange Brethren who should die among them
A writer in the London Freemason's Magazine for 1858 complained that there was not then in England a Masonic cemetery, nor portion of an established cemetery especially dedicated to the interment of the Brethren of the Craft. This neglect cannot be charged against the Freemasons of America, for there is scarcely a city or town of considerable size in which the Freemasons have not purchased and appropriated a suitable spot as a cemetery to be exclusively devoted to the use of the Fraternity.
These cemeteries are often, and should always be, dedicated with impressive ceremonies; and it was long to be regretted that our rituals provided no sanctioned form of service for these occasions.
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