Hark! A voice divides the sky, happy are the faithful dead!
In the Lord who sweetly die, they from all their toils are freed;
Them the Spirit hath declared blessed, unutterably blessed;
Jesus is their great reward, Jesus is their endless rest.
Followed by their works, they go where their Head has gone before;
Reconciled by grace below, grace has opened mercy's door;
Justified through faith alone, here they knew their sins forgiven,
Here they laid their burden down, hallowed, and made fit for heaven.
Who can now lament the lot of a saint in Christ deceased?
Let the world, who know us not, call us hopeless and unblessed:
When from flesh the spirit freed hastens homeward to return,
Mortals cry, "A man is dead!" Angels sing, "A child is born!"
Born into the world above, they our happy brother greet,
Bear him to the throne of love, place him at the Savior's feet;
Jesus smiles, and says, "Well done, good and faithful servant thou;
Enter, and receive thy crown, reign with Me triumphant now."
Angels catch the approving sound, bow, and bless the just award;
Hail the heir with glory crowned, now rejoicing with his Lord:
Fuller joys ordained to know, waiting for the general doom,
When the archangel's trump shall blow, "Rise, ye dead, to judgment come!"
Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1742.
I especially like the way Wesley differentiates the earthly and heavenly perspectives of death. When from flesh the spirit freed hastens homeward to return, Mortals cry, "A man is dead!" Angels sing, "A child is born!"