It is, doubtless, a dictate of our common humanity, to cherish reverence and affection for the ashes of the dead. Even the savage, driven into the wilderness by the march of civilization, parts from the graves of his fathers as reluctantly as from his corn-fields and hunting-grounds. Some men, it is true, affect indifference concerning the place and manner of their sepulture. Like certain of the ancients, who gave orders that their bodies should be burned, and the ashes thrown to the winds, - or others, who would have their remains exposed to the birds and beasts of prey, - they deem it a weakness to feel any concern about the disposal of their bodies after death. Yet even such persons, with all their professed indifference concerning themselves, do not fail to show a tender respect for the dust of their deceased friends. Like other men, they wish to have their remains suitably composed for the grave, and the spot of their interment marked by some commemorative memorial.

But where shall our bodies rest ? Not in the crowded city or town, amid the haunts of traffic and pleasure and vice, where Gain will ere long disturb their repose and subject them to indignities; but in the country, under the open sky, and amid all the genial influences of nature. This has been the almost universal desire of mankind. In the earliest records of our race, we read that Abraham bought a field and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, for a permanent burial-place for himself and his descendants. The ancient Egyptians and Persians buried their dead in the country. The former had a public cemetery on the shores of the lake Acherusia. It was a large plain, surrounded by trees, and intersected by canals. The bodies of the dead were first embalmed, and then buried in the sand or in tombs cut out of the rocks, The custom of burning the remains of the dead, originated with the Greeks, from whom it was copied by the Romans. After the ceremony of cremation, the ashes were gathered into an urn, and the whole was carried in procession and interred by the side of the public roads without the city.

Many of the gardens around Jerusalem were used as family burial-places. The early Christians interred their dead in caverns, probably to conceal them from the malice of their persecutors. The ancient Germans were wont to bury in groves consecrated by their priests. The Turks burp their dead amid groves of Cypress, which they style, very poetically," cities of silence,"

The rural cemetery, however, as we now see it, is of comparatively modern origin, and is the offspring, in no small degree, of modern refinement and a Christian civilisation. The connection of such burial-places with the public health, is a consideration not to be overlooked. When a multitude of bodies are interred side by side, and, as is sometimes the case, one above another,- it is impossible but that the surrounding air should be tainted with a noxious effluvia. The atmosphere of a church can hardly be wholesome, when the soil about it and beneath its floors is crowded with the decaying relics of the dead. It can not be healthful to visit such places often, nor to live in their immediate neighborhood. Much better is it to commit the remains of our dead to the fresh earth, where the pure winds blow, and amid flowers and verdure.

Rural cemeteries also exert an important influence on the public taste. When properly laid out, they present to the eye a pleasing landscape adorned with trees and shrubs and vines, with well-kept roads and walks, and tasteful monuments. All classes in society can obtain easy access to them, and can learn by their own inspection how beautiful is nature - how beautiful in her own simplicity, and also when her charms are heightened by the hand of art That such places will be visited by large numbers, all experience shows. To say nothing of the multitudes who throng Pere la Chaise, near Pans, and other cemeteries in Europe, we are told that the principal grounds of this kind in our own country are resorted to annually by thousands. Laurel Hill, near Philadelphia, was visited in one year (1848) by upwards of 80,000, and Greenwood and Mount Auburn by a still greater number. Nor do these thousands enter the gates of our cemeteries to no good purpose. They are moved, it may be insensibly, with pure and tender and lofty emotions, and they carry away with them finer tastes and higher conceptions.

The works of art here beheld, unlike those seen in some public resorts, present nothing to inflame the passions or corrupt the heart.

And this suggests another advantage of rural cemeteries - their influence on the moral feelings. Can any good come from visiting the old-fashioned grave-yards, barbarously kept as many of them are ? Who has not been shocked at seeing their rude hillocks, crowded together in dreary rows, perhaps grassless, or covered with rank weeds and briars, their head-stones tilted over at all angles, or broken and prostrate? Was any one ever made better by walking through a burying-ground used as a sheep-pasture, or left open to the street by a broken fence, or allowed to stand treeless and shrubless, exposed to the glaring sun and howling wind Such sights sadden us, indeed; but they do not mend our hearts. They remind us that we must die; but they also make us dread to die - dread to think that our bodies must be put into the same festering earth, and be treated with the same neglect.

But why clothe death with such unnecessary terrors! It is sad enough to turn away from life and all we hold dear, without adding to the sadness by rendering the grave an object of disgust and dismay? Rather, let us make our burial-grounds pleasant and attractive; places where we shall be inclined to go often, to muse upon life and its grandest concerns, and upon death and the glorious rewards awaiting the good after death, - to reflect upon the virtues of those whose dust sleeps around us, and to consider how we may imitate those virtues. The spirit of Themistocles was fired by visiting the tombs of the illustrious dead. "The Romans buried their most honored citizens along the Appian Way, that the youth as they entered the city might be moved to emulate their virtues and share their renown." The early Christians worshipped near the graves of the martyrs, that they might be filled with their spirit And so, may not we, while walking among the tombs of the good departed, catch something of their spirit and be filled with aspirations after a better life?