Saturday, January 7, 2012

“She resigned her breath”

Sarah Flanagan Cellar (d. 1823) was the wife of Thomas Cellar, who provided the land for the cemetery in which they both now rest.

In memory of
wife of
who departed this life July 18, 1823;
aged 68 years.

As a neighbor, friend, relative, She was greatly
beloved; and having long lived a christian life,
She resigned her breath in hope of immortality.

There is an epitaph at the bottom of the stone, taken from the fourth and fifth verses of the hymn “Now Let Our Souls on Wings Sublime” by Thomas Gibbons (b. 1720, d. 1785), a London clergyman.

Now let our souls on wings sublime,
Rise from the vanities of time,
Draw back the parting veil and see,
The glories of eternity.

Born by a new celestial birth,
Why should we grovel here on earth?
Why grasp at transitory toys,
So near to Heav’n’s eternal joys.

Shall aught beguile us on the road,
When we are walking back to God?
For strangers into life we come,
And dying is but going home.

Welcome sweet hour of full discharge,
That sets our longing souls at large.
Unbinds our chains, breaks up our cell,
And gives us with our God to dwell.

To dwell with God, to feel His love,
Is the full Heav’n enjoyed above;
And the sweet expectation now,
Is the young dawn of Heav’n below.

Let’s not overlook the intricate carvings on this gravestone.

Symbols of grief and mortality (willows, urns) are topped with a stylized sunburst, which can be interpreted as a symbol of the immortality that Mrs. Cellar hoped for when she “resigned her breath.”

Liberty Church Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

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