The Funeral of G.V. Wigram

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The Funeral of G. V. Wigram
(From N. Noel, The History of the Brethren 1:60-61)
On the afternoon of January 7, 1879, wrote the "Daily News" representative, a large number of persons assembled at Paddington Cemetery, Willesden-lane, situated about a mile from the Kilburn Railway Station on the North Western line, to witness the interment of the remains of Mr. George Vicesimus Wigram. It had been raining for some time before the hour fixed upon for the burial, viz: 3 o'clock; but, in spite of the bad weather, several hundred people, including a large proportion of ladies, were present. The little chapel of the cemetery, which is used in common by all religious bodies, was thronged early; many persons having to remain outside. The coffin was borne into the center by several friends of the deceased, amid signs of deep, affectionate emotion, following upon silent prayers, which had been offered up, to the moment of its arrival; and, immediately after, the ceremony (if such a word can be applied to what took place) commenced.
Not only was there nothing like a set formula, but there was absolutely no pre-arrangement; anything of that kind being directly opposed to one of the leading principles of a body which has no forms, no ministers, and no public or social worship, except what is carried on in private rooms, or in the houses of brethren, or of sisters (?).
A silence, almost painful, was first broken by Dr. Edward Cronin, who, in a short prayer, marked by great fervor and elevation, referred, with touching simplicity, to "George Wigram" as having followed Christ for nigh fifty years; and as "no mean man" amongst his brethren. Two or three minutes having then been passed in more silent prayer, some one read the 139th hymn in a little book, compiled many years ago by the late Mr. Wigram, premising that that hymn must be felt by all of them to be, in reality, a photograph of the deceased's soul. The hymn began with the words: "This world is a wilderness wide"; the third line being "I've no thought in the waste to abide," and the next one, "I've naught to regret nor to lose."
After another pause, came another spontaneous prayer from the lips of Mr. Christopher McAdam, one of the oldest friends of the deceased; and this was followed by the singing of two verses of a hymn composed by the deceased himself, No. 201 (this hymn was omitted in the revision of 1881) in the book already mentioned, beginning,
"Nothing but mercy'll do for me." Another prayer was then offered by Mr. J. B. Stoney.
Twenty minutes having thus passed, the coffin was carried from the chapel to the grave. Here, in close proximity to a large fir tree, were gathered probably not less than seven or eight hundred persons, to witness the actual interment. They evidently belonged almost entirely to the middle and well-to-do classes.
A tone, at once sympathetic and devout, pervaded the mass (among whom we observed a private of the Guards, an interested spectator).
The coffin, having been lowered without any utterance, there followed brief prayers; indeed, all the prayers were very short—from Mr. William Kelly, Mr. T. B. Baines, and Colossians R. F. Kingscote. Mr. J. Beaumont then read a few verses from the New Testament, concluding with the closing verses of the Book of Revelation. Mr. Coleman afterward offered the last prayer; which was succeeded by the singing of a verse beginning, "Forever with the Lord."
The oak coffin, a view of which was eagerly pressed for, was inscribed "George Vicesimus Wigram, died 1st January, 1879, Aged 73."
A brother in Christ, in Germany, provided the retranslation into English a letter by JND not available to me at the time for the biographical notes on G. V. Wigram in Precious Truths Revived and Defended Through J. N. Darby, vol. 2, "Appendix 11: G. V. Wigram."