Funeral Speech kept by L. L. Laestadius 1856
In accordance with the passing of the child of John Ericson Kaunisvaara and Anna Greta Isaacson Lahti, who drowned in Pajala in the Tornio river and moved through death into eternal life on St. Johns' Day in the year 1856.
David says, "The righteous are snatched away from misfortune." For a Christian has nothing pleasant in this world, for which reason he should live here. For trouble and adversities meet us here, not only those every day temptations on the road of life which a Christian cannot avoid any more than doubts, but especially the spiritual oppression, from which spiritual sorrow and pain follow; besides that, the bitter gall which the world vomits upon the Christians, hatred, mockery and belittling.All these matters effect so much that a Christian can find no joy in this world. For that reason we can truly say that the righteous are taken away from misfortune, when they die young.
Two members of the Christian congregation have met with this good fortune last Sunday evening when the Lord in His wisdom has seen it well to take a child who was just baptized away from misfortune, and Anna Greta Isaacson Lahti, who was an adult and well known for the congregation. The afore mentioned child was so young that she knew nothing of this world's troubles. If the Christians doubt of the salvation of the unbaptized children, then let their unbelief be changed to belief that this child has been taken away from misfortune, and sits now in the bosom of Jesus together with the other Children who Jesus blessed here formerly, because this Child is carried into the kingdom of heaven by all holy Christian angels.
Is there not reason to joy now, dear parent, when you see your youngest child sitting on Jesus lap? Behold now, dear parent, how Jesus puts His hand around her and blesses her. She has come to a better Father now. She has reached a better heaven and earth, where righteousness dwells. If only the sorrowing parents would be able to strive so that they, too, would reach that blessed place where their child is now and thank the heavenly Father who has saved them from misfortune.
Therefore strive, you parents, that you could reach that blessed place where your child is now. The afore mentioned young woman who also was snatched away from misfortune by sudden death at the same moment as this child. She moved away at the best age of youth when all people would want to live in the world and be happy. Should we now be sorrowful or joyous over her death?
If we would examine only the effects of nature, then we surely would have cause to sorrow over the passing of our Christian sister, who so soon and contrary to nature was separated from our midst. In our mind, it would have been pleasant to hear her singing in the fore-court of the Lord as she sang on St. Johns' Day, kneeling at the Lord's Supper and receiving the Lord's body and blood for the last time, for she did not live many hours afterward. If the Parents, brothers and sisters look only on the natural effects, then you would have reason to weep and lament. So do those who have no hope. They grieve over the dead as the daughters of Jerusalem wept over Jesus, and did not understand to weep over themselves and their Children.
But if we observe the spiritual effects, then we have reason to rejoice for this our Christian sister is now singing the eternal hymn of victory on Mt. Zion. She does not more long for her parents, brothers or sisters who remained here to wait until they, too, can move to the warm climate and into the new Jerusalem where all Christian people will meet their Children, brothers and sisters, if they only strive in their most precious faith to the end. We believe in truth that this our Christian sister has been snatched away from misfortune, but we are in greater danger here for we do not know what can happen to us in the future.
Behold, good people, how many souls have gone to perdition when the angel of death has not come soon to get them at the time when they were taken into marriage with the Saviour. If they had died young, such a misfortune would not have happened to them, which now has become the lot of those who have fallen from grace.
Do not lament for her, you parents, brothers and sisters. Do not weep over her, but weep for yourselves and your children, for those days shall come when it will be said, "Blessed are the wombs which never bare and the paps which never gave suck. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?"
Hear this, you flock of the world, also, who have come to see how death has snatched a Christian away from misfortune. What did you come to see? A reed shaken here and there in the wind, or what did you come to see? If she was a reed, then she was a broken reed which the Lord has promised not to crush. If she was a flower, then she was such a flower of which David has sung. If she was a chickadee, then she was such a one, who sits on a branch of the tree of life and sings those songs that only the chickadees understand. This chickadee has often sung in the fore-courts of the Lord and in the meetings of the Christians. She has often embraced their legs who gave her soul milk to drink. She has often sighed for their sake who have not noticed their time of visitation. If she has been reckless, it is forgiven. If she has been unstable, she has been strengthened in the Holy Ghost. The angels of the enemy cannot get any joy over her but rather shame.
If they would understand now to look into the grave, when a flower of St. John, as I believe, soon will grow upon her grave. And all the girls who bear the finery, had to peek into the grave to see whether finery or glitter could be found there!
Sleep now in peace, you former clay pot of the soul. Sleep in the hope until the Lord will awaken you when He comes with the loud sound of a trumpet.
You parents, brothers and sisters, well known and foreign, relatives and their wives and men, now you can wet her earth with tears of love and joy, for she awaits you. She prays for you. Now she leans her head against Jesus' breast and embraces His feet as Mary Magdalena.
Her soul has been dear to us in her life time, and she has not become forgotten when she died, because she has often sung as a bird on the branch to a lonesome traveller, and now she is singing on high. She sang last time on St. Johns' Day, that was granted from above to be the day of her death. Although this song sounded like a voice of a cat in the ears of the sorrowless people, but that time will come when they finally must hear the voice of the cat in hell and there ask each others: “What howl is this?”
We believe that this our Christian sister who sang on St. Johns' Day, is now singing the new hymn on Mt. Zion among the elect in eternity. Amen.
Old copy written by Isaac Jacobson Palohuornas 1868 / Finnish National Archives / Kollers´collection nr. C 175/106:4