A Few Words
Spoken by the Rev. Canon St. Hill, at the grave of John Warren, who, at the age of 71 years, died at Havelock North, the 5th September, 1897.
MY DEAR FRIENDS,
From the day when I took charge of the Church of England here in Havelock, and that was more than eighteen years ago, he whom we have just now laid in his last resting place, has been well-known to me. To some of you he may have even been known longer. He has been associated not only with the members of the Church, but with every one living in and about Havelock. With the children who have been brought when babes to be baptized in the Church of England, with the young men and young women who have been married in St. Luke’s, with the old, who have lived as many years or more than he himself lived, with many of those, among whose graves we are now standing, our old friend John Warren has had to do ; with those who have passed away with the dead he has had to do. With the living and with the dead the memory of John Warren is associated. Quiet, unobtrusive and industrious, he has always been an example of that right-minded independence which keeps its own self respect, and for that reason is entitled to the respect of all others. No man ever did a more honest day’s work than John Warren. No one who employed him ever found it necessary to inspect narrowly his day’s work. No one ever dreamt of having to guard himself against his smart practice or trickery ; John Warren never scamped a contract or broke a contract, and therefore John Warren was universally respected, and has left a legacy to his children better than money or land. He was one of the type let us hope still to be found in the colony of the honest, unassuming, sturdy, self-reliant, old English working man, a title too often looked upon in these days as disparaging. John Warren never thought he was lowering himself if he called him whose work he did and whose wage he took, ” Master,” and no one who gave him work or wage but spoke of him as ” that good fellow, Warren.” No man has left, and no man can leave a better name behind him than John Warren has left. For honesty, integrity, uprightness, trustworthiness are jewels fit for a crown, whether he who wears the crown is clad in the village smock-frock or in imperial purple. And what has it all come to? To a shallow grave. It has come to what we shall all come to – to live in and be pledged by the memory of ourselves which we shall leave behind us. Either to have many excuses made for us, large allowances given us, or to hope that whilst there must be much to be forgiven, there is nothing to be avenged, nothing of which to be ashamed. It has come to what we shall all come, to live in the hearts of our sons and daughters with such inheritance of love and respect as these hearts have for us. It has come to what we shall all come to, the end of toil and endeavour, of pain and suffering, of disappointment and sorrow, but also to the boundless mercy of God, through Jesus Christ.
“Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.”