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BURIAL OF THE DEAD.
THE office for the burial of the dead, according to the English ritual, commences on the approach of the body towards the church. In primitive times, the body, immediately after death, was washed and arrayed in new garments; and the clergy and people watched the remains until the time of burial
During this interval psalms were sung, and lessons read a. The body was then carried to the church, with singing of psalms or anthems, as we learn from the Apostolical Constitutions, from Dionysius Areopagite, Chrysostom, and other sources b. With this custom all the rituals of the eastern and western churches, that I have seen, concure; and, amongst others, the ritual of the English church directs the priest and other clergy to meet the corpse at the entrance of the cemetery, and precede it into the church, or towards the grave, singing or saying certain anthems appropriate to the occasion. Of these anthems, the two foriner have been long used in the English church in some part of the office for the departed.
a Martene de Antiq. Ecclesiæ Ritibus, lib. iii. c. 12. P. 553, buc. Bingham, Antiquities, book xxiii. c. 3.
b Martene, lib. ii. c. 14.
p. 573, &c. Bingham, ut sup.
c See the various orders for burial of the dead in Martene, lib. iii. c. 15. Goar, Rit. Græc.
P. 526, kc.
Ego sum resurrectio et vita : qui credit in me, etiam si mortuus fuerit, vivit : et omnis qui vivit et credit in me, non morietur in æternum d.
I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord; he that believeth on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in shall never die.
I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy this body,
flesh shall I God : whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.
Credo quia Redemptor meus vivit : et in novissimo die de terra surrecturus sum : et in carne mea videbo Deum Salvatorem meum.
Quem visurus sum ego ipse et non alius : et oculi mei conspecturi sunt e.
When the procession has entered the church, the office proceeds with psalmody and reading of scripture. A similar custom is mentioned by the author called Dionysius, as prevailing in his time in the eastf; and we find frequent mention of the same amongst the oriental fathers. Nearly the same order prevails in the patriarchate of Constantinople, where many anthems and psalms are sung, and lessons from the Epistles and Gospels are read 8. In the western churches it seems that the eucharist was celebrated at this time, in which prayers were made for the happiness of the deceased. This was customary in Africa in the fifth century, according to Augustineh; and in Italy in the time of Ambrosei;
C. I 2.
d Manuale Sarisb. Vigiliæ Mortuorum, fol. 127.
e Ibid. fol. 106.
See Goar, Rituale Græc. p. 526, &c.
August. Confess. lib. ix.
i Paulin. Vita Ambrosii : “Illucescente die Dominico, cum corpus illius, peractis sacramentis divinis de ecclesia levaretur, portandum ad Basilicam Ambrosianam,” &c.
and we find it recognized in all the western ritualsi. But it was not usual in the east, where the liturgy is not performed at funerals even to the present day k. The psalms which are appointed by the church of England on the present occasion are highly appropriate. A part of the lesson which follows has been used by the English church for a considerable length of time. It was anciently read in the celebration of the eucharist, which formerly took place in England, as in other western churches, at this time; and although the English church has not continued the custom, but adopted the practice of the church of Constantinople, the importance of this part of scripture has caused it to be used as the proper lesson on the present occasion. In the church of Constantinople they read part of the fourth chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Thessalonians, and a gospel from St. John!.
I Cor. xv. 20.
Epistola ad Corinthios. Now is Christ risen from Fratres, Christus resurrexit a the dead, and become the mortuis,primitiæ dormientium; first-fruits of them that slept. quoniam quidem per hominem For since by man came death, mors, et per hominem resurby man came also the resur- rectio mortuorum. Et sicut in rection of the dead. For as Adam omnes moriuntur, ita et in Adam all die, even so in in Christo omnes vivificabunChrist shall all be made alive. tur; unusquisque autem in suo But every man in his own ordinem order, &c.
From the church the procession advances to the sepulchre, where, as the necessary preparations are
j Martene, p. 595,604, 606, 608, &c. &c.
Goar, Rit. Græc. p. 525, &c. &c.
1 Ibid. p. 535:
m Man. Sarisb. missa pro defunctis, fol. 136.
making, the priest and clergy sing or repeat anthems; and then, the body being interred with a certain formulary, another anthem is sung or said. The same order is found in the ancient rituals of the eastern and western churches. The only thing worthy of notice in this part of the English ritual is, the form repeated by the priest, beginning, “ Forasmuch as it hath pleased Almighty God,” &c. This form of committing the “ body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes,” &c. seems, as far as I can judge, to be peculiar to our church; as we find that most other rituals of the east and west appoint some psalm or anthem to be sung or said while the body is placed in the tomb : but the same form nearly has been used in the English church for many ages, though anciently it followed after the body was covered with earth, and not while the earth was placed upon it. The anthems which precede and follow this formulary have generally been very anciently used in the English church on occasions connected with that which we at present consider.
Man that is born of a woman Homo natus de muliere, hath but a short time to live, brevi vivens tempore: repleand is full of misery. He tus multis miseriis : qui quasi cometh up, and is cut down, flos egreditur et conteritur, et like a flower; he fleeth as it fugit velut umbra : et nunwere a shadow, and never con- quam in eodem statu permatinueth in one stay.
net n. In the midst of life we are
Media vita in morte sumus, in death : of whom may we
quem quærimus adjutorem nisi seek for succour, but of thee, te, Domine! qui pro peccatis O Lord, who for our sins art nostris juste irascaris o. justly displeased ?
n Man. Sar. in Vigil Mortuorum, p. 119.
o Brev. Sarisb. Psalt. fol. 55
Sancte Deus, Sancte fortis, Sancte et misericors Salvator; amaræ morti ne tradas nos.
Noli claudere aures tuas ad preces nostras, Sancte fortis. Qui cognoscis occulta cordis, parce peccatis nostris. Sancte et misericors Salvator amaræ morti ne tradas nos P.
Yet, O Lord God most holy, O Lord most mighty, O holy and most merciful Saviour, deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.
Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts ; shut not thy merciful ears to our prayer ; but spare us, Lord most holy, O God most mighty, O holy and merciful Saviour, thou most worthy Judge eternal, suffer us not, at our last hour, for any pains of death, to fall from thee.
Forasmuch as it hath pleased Almighty God of his great mercy to take unto himself the soul of our dear brother here departed, we therefore commit his body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust ; in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ, &c.
I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, From henceforth blessed
are the dead which die in the Lord : even so saith the Spirit; for they rest from their labours.
Commendo animam tuam Deo Patri omnipotenti; terram terræ, cinerem cineri, pulverem pulveri : in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti 9.
After this anthem is concluded, the prayers commence with the short litany, which is followed by
p Brev. Sarisb. Psalt. fol. 55.
9 Manuale Sar. fol. 149. In
Audivi vocem de cælo, dicentem mihi, Scribe, Beati mortui qui in Domino moriuntur, amodo enim jam dicit Spiritus, ut requiescant a laboribus suis, opera enim illorum sequuntur illos r.
r Man. Sar. Antiphona in Vigil. Mortuorum, fol. 112.