We plan foundations for the dead,
But lay the earliest stone to Thee,
Who, as the whole Creation's Head,
Alone hast immortality.
For in, and through, and over all,
Extends Thy universal reign;
We know the heaven of heavens too small,
Thy power and glory to contain.
In Sinai's howling wilderness,
Of old Thy presence deign'd to dwell;
The Tabernacle stood to bless,
And guard the tents of Israel.
So on this yet unpeopled plot,
Whither the living shall repair,
And thronging graves surround the spot,
To Thee shall rise an house of prayer.
Watch o'er this sanctuary keep,
And oh! may all who slumber here,
Redeem'd from sin in Jesus sleep,
Till He who is their life appear.
As in His rock-hewn sepulchre,
Where man had never lain before,
Thy Son once rested,--we inter
Our kindred, seen on earth no more.
Then, at the last loud trumpet's breath,
When quick and dead before Him stand
Saved from both first and second death,
May these be found on his right-hand.
Sacred Poems and Hymns
We plan foundations for the dead. J. Montgomery. [Foundation Stone of a Cemetery Chapel.] The manuscript of this hymn is dated “May 5, 1848." The hymn was written for the laying of the foundation-stone of the chapel for the Church of England portion of the Sheffield General Cemetery. Montgomery's hymn, "Father of glory, God of grace," was written for the Opening of the same, and is dated "June 27, 1850." Montgomery died on April 30, 1854, and was buried under the shadow of the spire of this chapel.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)