Thursday, January 5, 2012

Epitaph: Now before the throne of God

Hannah Tinkham (b. 1831) is buried in Africa Cemetery next to her husband, Abel Tinkham, who died several years earlier.

Both gravestones are tall tablets with matching willow-and-urn motifs. Both carry poetic epitaphs borrowed from hymn lyrics.

Hannah, wife of
Abel Tinkham,
died Oct. 23, 1831;
aged 73 years.

She through firey [sic] trials trod,
She through great affliction came,
Now before the throne of God,
Sealed with his eternal name,

The epitaph is adapted from the hymn “What Are These in Bright Array,” lyrics written by James Montgomery (b. 1771, d. 1854), an English hymn writer and poet:

What are these in bright array,
This innumerable throng
Round the altar night and day,
Hymning one triumphant song?
“Worthy is the Lamb, once slain,
Blessing honor, glory, power,
Wisdom, riches, to obtain,
New dominion every hour.”

These through fiery trials trod;
These from great affliction came;
Now before the throne of God
Sealed with His almighty Name,
Clad in raiment pure and white,
Victor-palms in every hand,
Through their dear Redeemer’s might,
More than conquerors they stand.

Hunger, thirst, disease, unknown,
On immortal fruits they feed;
Them the Lamb amidst the throne
Shall to living fountains lead:
Joy and gladness banish sighs;
Perfect love dispel all fear;
And for ever from their eyes
God shall wipe away the tear.

Africa Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

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