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those precious memories of days that are past that shall give solace and cheer. May the exceeding great and precious promises of Thy word, not only for the life that now is, but for that which is to come, support and strengthen them. May we all rejoice in Him who has brought life and immortality to light, and who walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death with the glad assurance that he will welcome us into one of the many mansions of our Father's house. So may we find the peace of God that passeth all understanding; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Or this: Almighty Father, whose holy purpose is one of Infinite Love, grant us
the spirit of patient resignation in all our trials, believing that thou wilt make all things work together for our good if we truly love thee. Be thou our stay in trial; our consolation in distress. Help us to see that death is not the destruction but the expansion of our life; that it opens the way into larger opportunities of service, and higher joys; that it cannot separate us from the love of God, but brings us into the home prepared for us. Strengthen us so to live this earthly life that this world shall be but the vestibule of that higher and more beautiful home where Thy children dwell in everlasting felicity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
| Then, if desired, an appropriate hymn may be sung. [ When they are come to the grave, while the body of the dead is made ready
to be laid therein, the minister may say, Man that is born of 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 never 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? I am the Resurrection and the Life, saith the Lord: He that believeth
in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth
and believeth in Me, shall never die. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved,
we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
1 Then, when the body has been placed in the grave, the minister shall say, Forasmuch as it hath pleased Almighty God to take unto himself the
soul of our brother departed (or, sister, or, this child), we therefore commit his body to the grave: earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; looking for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come, through our Lord Jesus Christ, wherein they who sleep in the death of the body shall awake in the life of the spirit according to the mighty working whereby God is able to subdue all things to himself.
Or this: Forasmuch as it has pleased Almighty God to take unto Himself the
soul of the departed (or our friend, or this child), we therefore commit his body to the grave, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, in the sure and certain hope that as he has borne the image of the
earthly, he shall also bear the image of the heavenly. The dust returns unto the earth as it was; and the spirit has returned
unto God who gave it. None of us liveth to himself, and none dieth to himself. For whether
we live, we live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.
[ When the body is to be cremated, the words "the elements” may be used
instead of "the grave," and "earth to earth” is to be omitted. | Then may be said or sung: I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the
dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.
| Then the minister shall offer prayer, using his own words, or, if he pre
fers, one of the following prayers, and shall follow it with the Benedic
tion. O merciful God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Resur
rection and the Life, we humbly beseech Thee to raise us from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness; that, when we shall depart this life, we may rest in Him; and that at the Resurrection we may be found acceptable in Thy sight, and receive that blessing which Thy well-beloved Son shall then pronounce to all that love and serve Thee, saying, Come, ye blessed of My Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world; grant this, we beseech Thee, O merciful Father, through Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Redeemer. Amen.
Or this: O God, Thou King eternal, immortal, and invisible, the blessed and
only Potentate; May we, who cannot see thee with the eye of flesh, behold Thee steadfastly with the eye of faith, that we may not faint under the manifold trials and temptations of this mortal life, but endure as seeing thee who art invisible; and grant that having fulfilled thy will upon earth, we may behold thy face in heaven, and be made partakers of those unspeakable joys which thou hast promised to them who love thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; for whose sake, we beseech thee to hear us; and unto whom, with thee the Father and the Holy Spirit, we ascribe all glory and praise, for ever and ever. Amen.
Or this: Almighty God, with whom do live the spirits of them that depart hence
in the Lord, and with whom the souls of the faithful, after they are delivered from the burden of the flesh, are in joy and felicity: We give thee hearty thanks that it hath pleased thee to deliver them out of the miseries of this sinful world; beseeching thee, that it may please thee, of thy gracious goodness to hasten thy kingdom; that we, with all those that are departed in the true faith of thy holy Name, may have our perfect consummation and bliss, in thy eternal and everlasting glory; through Jesus Christ Our Lord.
Amen. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the com
munion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.
REPORT OF THE COMMISSION TO PROMOTE THE MORAL AND RELIGIOUS WELFARE
OF MEN UNDER THE FLAG
This Commission, appointed by the National Council of 1913, represents a new interest of the Congregational churches on a line of religious work of growing importance to our nation, and, in view of present world conditions, deserving of very vital and prayerful consideration.
These are the facts concerning religious work in our Army and Navy. Your Commission has obtained most of them through the Washington office of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ which is acting for the churches in this matter in conjunction with the Association for the promotion of the Moral and Religious Welfare of our Soldiers and Sailors, organized since the appointment of your Commission. There are, at present, 150,000 men in the Army and Navy of the United States for whom only such religious privileges are available as the Federal Government provides. A recent letter from a Mississippi “Mother of two who went to the front” says: “I have a son on his second enlistment on the 'Minnesota', which has no chaplain.” Her oldest son, who served four years in the Navy, reports that they “do not have service a quarter of the time.” She adds: “We are all Baptists, and think our boys in blue, away from home and home influence, ought to have the best our nation affords." We also learn that Army and Navy chaplains have a difficult work to perform under difficult conditions and need the fraternal sympathy, co-operation, and prayers of their Churches. Many of them think that their Churches have little or no interest in them or their work, and feel a sense of isolation that is depressing. Many of the men in the Army and Navy come from good homes, from churches, from circles of good influence, and need to know that in the service of their country, separated from home privileges and blessings, their existence and interests are not forgotten. At the same time, some of our national legislators have opposed increase of chaplains on the ground that soldiers and marines quartered in or near settled places can attend the churches. But in not a few cases the boys in blue are not only not welcomed in the churches but are given to understand that they are not wanted. If this is hard to believe it is nevertheless an indubitable fact.
These are the conditions. Now what has been done up to the present to meet these conditions. The Government of the United States, responding to frequent representations by religious bodies, is gradually enlarging the facilities for religious work in camp, on battleships and at stations. These points are noteworthy:
1. The number of Naval chaplains, which has been shockingly inadequate for half a century, is to be doubled, and from seven to ten acting chaplains, from whom the permanent list will be increased, will be appointed yearly until there are fifty-two chaplains or more in the service. The Navy Department has under consideration a list of new regulations which the Federal Council has recommended, the effect of which, if accepted, will be greatly to increase the facilities of the chaplains for moral and religious work among the sailors and marines. Heretofore the Government has sent the chaplain empty-handed to his duties, providing neither Bibles nor musical instruments, ecclesiastical vestments nor vessels for the communion service. The various Churches have been quite as negligent.
2. The War Department has been moved to do much for the religious necessities of the soldiers. Congress has made an appropriation for recreation tents, moving picture machines, libraries, etc. Secretary Garrison has decided that hereafter there shall be included in the estimates of the War Department items for erection of chapels at all posts where chaplains are stationed until every such post is provided with a chapel; also items for the necessary equipment of such chapels, including organs, and for the care of the recreation tents, motion picture machines, etc.