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to us the riches of thine everlasting favour, and crown thy present benefits with honour and immortality. And to God be glory forever.-Amen.
Then the is dropped into the grave; and each brother near deposits a shovel full of earth on the coffin, if permitted.
The brethren return to the hall, or place where they formed, and the Masonic ornaments, if the deceased was an officer, are in due form returned to the lodge; the proper charges are delivered, and the lodge is closed with a blessing
May the Lord bless and keep us. May he give us light and truth, and unite our hearts forever.-So mote it be.
ANOTHER FUNERAL SERVICE.
The lodge being opened with the usual forms, at the hall, or some other convenient place, a procession is formed, and the brethren proceed to the house of the deceased. If singers are present, an anthem may be sung. The Master proceeds to the head of the corpse, and the service begins : the Master, or Chaplain, saying,
" What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death ?Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave ?”
Response.--" Man walketh in a vain shadow: he heapeth up riches, and cannot tell who shall gather them."
Master._" When he dieth, he shall carry nothing away; his glory shall not descend after him.”
Response.—" Naked he came into the world, and naked he must return : the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
The grand honours are then given, and certain forms used, which cannot be here explained. Solemn music is introduced, during which the Master strews herbs or flowers over the body, and taking the sacred roll in his hand,
“Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his."
The brethren answer:
“God is our God forever and ever; he will be our guide even unto death." The Master then puts up the roll, and says:
Almighty Father, into thy hands we commend the soul of our loving brother."
The brethren answer three times, “ The will of God is accomplished !--so be it.” Giving the grand honours each time.
The Master, or Chaplain, then repeats the following prayer:
“ Most glorious God, author of all good, and giver of all mercy, pour down thy blessings upon us, and strengthen our solemn engagements with the ties of sincere affection. May the present instance of mortality remind us of our approaching fate; and by drawing our attention towards thee, the only refuge in time of need, may we be induced so to regulate our conduct here, that when the awful moment shall arrive that we are about to quit this transitory scene, the enlivening prospect of thy mercy may dispel the gloom of death, and after our departure hence in peace and in thy favour, we may be received into thine everlasting kingdom ; and there enjoy, in union with the souls of our departed friends, the just rewards of a pious and virtuous life.Amen."
An anthem being sung, the Master retires from the corpse, and the coffin is shut up. An oration suitable to the occasion is delivered; and the Master, recommending love and unity, the brethren join hands, and renew to each other, in silence, their pledged vows.
The lodge is adjourned, and the procession begins, in the form hereafter described, to the place of interment, where the following exhortation is given:
Service at the Grave, by the Master, or Chaplain. “Here we view a striking instance of the uncertainty of life, and the vanity of all human pursuits. The last offices paid to the dead are only useful as they are lectures to the living ; from them, therefore, we are to derive instruction, and ought to consider every solemnity of this kind as a summons to prepare for our approaching dissolution.
Notwithstanding the various mementos of mortality with which we daily meet; notwithstanding we are convinced that death has established his empire over all the works of nature; yet, through some unaccountable infatuation, we are still apt to forget that we are born to die. We go on from one design to another, add hope to hope, and lay out plans for the subsistence and employment of many years, until we are suddenly alarmed with the approach of death, when we least expect him, and at an hour which we probably conclude to be the meridian of our existence.
“What are all the externals of majesty, the pride of wealth, or charms of beauty, when nature has paid her just debt? If for a moment we throw our eyes on the last scene, and view life stripped of its ornaments, and exposed in its natural meanness, we shall then be convinced of the futility of these empty delusions. In the grave all fallacies are detected, all ranks are levelled, and all distinctions are done
away. “While we drop the sympathetic tear over the grave of our deceased friend, let charity induce us to throw a veil over his foibles, whatever they may have been, and let us not withhold from his memory the praise his virtue may have claimed. Suffer the apologies of human nature to plead in his behalf. Perfection has never been attained ; the wisest as well as the best of men have erred. His meritorious actions, therefore, let us imitate, and from his weakness let us derive instruction.
“Let the present example excite our serious attention, and strengthen our resolutions of amendment. As life is uncertain, and all earthly pursuits are vain, let us no longer postpone the important concern of preparing for eternity ; but let us embrace the happy moment, while time and opportunity offer, to provide with care against that great change, when the pleasures of this world shall cease to delight, and the reflections of a life spent in the exercise of piety and virtue yield the only comfort and consolation.
6 Thus shall our expectations not be frustrated, nor shall we be hurried unprepared into the presence of that all wise and powerful Judge.
“ To conclude : Let us support with propriety the character of our profession on every occasion, advert to the nature of our solemn engagements, and pursue with unwearied assiduity the sacred tenets of Masonry; that from the endearments of a virtuous society on earth we may be raised to the blissful society in heaven.”
The following invocations are then to be made by the Master, and the usual honours to accompany each:
Master.-“ May we be true and faithful; and may we live and die in love !"
Response.—“So mote it be.”
Master.—“May we profess what is good, and may we always act agreeably to our profession!"
Response.—“So mote it be.”
prosper us ; and may all our good intentions be crowned with success !"
Response.-—“So mote it be."
The Secretaries are then to advance, and throw their rolls into the grave with the usual forms, while the Chaplain repeats, with an audible voice,
“Glory be to God on high, on earth peace and good will towards men.'
Response. So mote it be, now, from henceforth, and forever more.”
The Master is then to conclude the ceremony at the grave in the following words:
- From time immemorial it has been an established custom among the fraternity of free and accepted Masons, when requested by a brother on his death bed, to accompany his corpse to the place of interment; and there to deposit his remains with the usual formalities.
“In conformity to this laudable usage, and at the special request of our deceased brother, whose memory we revere, and whose loss we deplore, we are here assembled in the character of Masons, to resign his body to the earth from whence it came, and to offer up the last tribute of our affection to his memory; thereby demonstrating to the world the sincerity of our past esteem, and our steady attachment to the principles of our honourable order.
“ With proper respect to the established customs of the country in which we reside, with due deference to our superiors in church and state, and with unlimited good will to all mankind, we appear in the character of our profession. Invested with the badges of Masonry, we publicly declare our obedience and submission to the laws and government of the country in which we live, and an ardent wish to promote the general good of society; we humbly implore the blessing of heaven on all our zealous endeavours for this laudable purpose, and pray for our steady perseverance in the principles of piety and virtue.
“ As it has pleased God, in the removal of our brother, to weaken the chain by which we are linked one to another, it becomes us, who survive him, to be more strongly cemented in the ties of union and friendship; and in some measure to make up his loss by a warmer zeal and fidelity in all the charities and duties of life.