Of our various liturgies used in worship are these always repeated at the graveside during committal services. Leading the people, there are almost no words I love as much:

Man that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up, and is cut down like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and ne’er continueth in one stay.

In the midst of life we are in death: of whom may we seek for succour, but of Thee, O Lord, Who for our sins art justly displeased?

Yet, O Lord, 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 unto our prayers; but spare us, Lord most holy, O God most mighty.

O holy and most merciful Saviour, Thou most worthy Judge eternal, suffer us not, at our last hour, for any pains of death, to fall from Thee. Amen.

Reading this morning, I was comforted by these confessions of faith and comfort below, and I thought to publish them here so others missing loved ones who died in Christ might also have their faith strengthened and receive comfort. With hope in the resurrection,

Thou Knowest, Lord

Henry Purcell, 1677

(words from Cranmer’s prayer book; used at our committal services)

Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts;
Shut not Thy merciful ears to our prayers;
but spare us, Thou most worthy Judge Eternal,
Suffer us not, at our last hour,
for any pains of death
to fall from Thee.

Now The Laborer’s Task Is O’er

John Ellerton, 1875

1 Now the laborer’s task is o’er;
Now the battle day is past;
Now upon the farther shore
Lands the voyager at last.

Father, in thy gracious keeping,
Leave we now thy servant sleeping. A-men.

2 There the tears of earth are dried,
There its hidden things are clear,
There the work of life is tried
By a juster judge than here. [Refrain]

3 There the penitents, that turn
To the cross their dying eyes,
All the love of Jesus learn
At his feet in Paradise. [Refrain]

4 ‘Earth to earth, and dust to dust,’
Calmly now the words we say;
Leaving him to sleep, in trust,
Till the resurrection-day. [Refrain]

(At sea, instead of stanza 4, the following shall be sung:)

5 ‘Till the sea gives up its dead,’
Calmly now the words we say,
Laid in ocean’s quiet bed
Till the resurrection-day: [Refrain]

Lord, Let at Last Thine Angels Come

Martin Schalling, 1567

Lord, Thee I love with all my heart;
I pray Thee ne’er from me depart,
With tender mercies cheer me.
Earth has no pleasure I would share,
Yea, heaven itself were void and bare
If Thou, Lord, wert not near me.
And should my heart for sorrow break,
My trust in Thee no one could shake.
Thou art the Portion I have sought;
Thy precious blood my soul has bought.
Lord Jesus Christ,
My God and Lord, my God and Lord,
Forsake me not! I trust Thy Word.

2. Yea, Lord, ’twas Thy rich bounty gave
My body, soul, and all I have
In this poor life of labor.
Lord, grant that I in every place
May glorify Thy lavish grace
And serve and help my neighbor.
Let no false doctrine me beguile
And Satan not my soul defile.
Give strength and patience unto me
To bear my cross and follow Thee.
Lord Jesus Christ,
My God and Lord, my God and Lord,
In death Thy comfort still afford.

3. Lord, let at last Thine angels come,
To Abram’s bosom bear me home,
That I may die unfearing;
And in its narrow chamber keep
My body safe in peaceful sleep
Until Thy reappearing.
And then from death awaken me
That these mine eyes with joy may see,
O Son of God, Thy glorious face,
My Savior and my Fount of grace,
Lord Jesus Christ,
My prayer attend, my prayer attend,
And I will praise Thee without end.

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