Burial service

BURIAL SERVICE, THE. The present arrangement of this Office is the outcome of several revisions. In 1549 (1st Prayer Book of Edward VI.) there was a special Communion Office for use at funerals. The custom obtaining in many places of the mourners coming to church on the Sunday next following the funeral perhaps has its origin in the ancient practice of their receiving Holy Communion together. The Rubric denying Christian burial to the unbaptized, the excommunicate, and to suicides was added in 1661. The first two sentences, or anthems—John xi.25, 26, and Job xix.25-27, formed part of an ancient Office. The third sentence, I Tim. vi.7, and Job i.21, and the two Psalms, were added in 1549. The Lesson formerly formed part of the Mass for the Dead. The sentences, or anthems, to be said at the grave side are from old Offices, so also what follows down to the Collects. The prayer, "For as much," &c., is called the Committal Prayer, and the practice of casting earth upon the coffin is part of a very old ceremony. The last two prayers were added in 1552, and the "Grace" in 1661. Many of the dissenting sects use this Service. The whole Office is of a nature to cheer the heart of the mourner, and to rouse in all a "hope full of immortality."