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supplication. The sorrows of death compassed me: I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. Gracious is the Lord and righteous; yea our God is merciful. Psal. cxvi. 1.3-5.
The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me. Return to thy rest, O my soul: the Lord hath dealt bountifully with me. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. 6-8.
Precious in the sight of the Lord, is the death of his saints. O Lord, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid: thou shalt loose my bonds. .ver. 15, 16.
He that loveth not the Lord Jesus, let him be accursed. 1 Cor. xvi. 22.
O that I might love thee as well as ever any creature loved thee! He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God. There is no fear in love. 1 John, iv. 16. 18.
O most gracious and eternal God and loving Father, who hast poured out thy bowels upon us, and sent the Son of thy love unto us to die for love, and to make us dwell in love, and the eternal comprehensions of thy Divine mercies, O be pleased to inflame my heart with a holy charity towards thee and all the world. Lord, I forgive all, that ever have offended me, and beg, that both they and I may enter into the possession of thy mercies, and feel a gracious pardon from the same fountain of grace and do thou forgive me all the acts of scandal, whereby I have provoked, or tempted, or lessened, or disturbed any person. Lord, let me never have my portion amongst those that divide the union, and disturb the peace, and break the charities of the church, and Christian communion. And though I am fallen into evil times, in which Christendom is divided by the names of an evil division; yet I am in charity with all Christians, with all that love the Lord Jesus, and long for his coming, and I would give my life to save the soul of any of my brethren; and I
humbly beg of thee, that the public calamity of the several societies of the church may not be imputed to my soul, to any evil purposes.
Lord, preserve me in the unity of thy holy church, in the love of God and of my neighbours. Let thy grace enlarge my heart to remember, deeply to resent, faithfully to use, wisely to improve, and humbly to give thanks to thee for all thy favours, with which thou hast enriched my soul, and supported my estate, and preserved my person, and rescued me from danger, and invited me to goodness in all the days and periods of my life. Thou hast led me through it with an excellent conduct; and I have gone astray after the manner of men; but my heart is towards thee. O do unto thy servant, as thou usest to do unto those, that love thy name: let thy truth comfort me; thy mercy deliver me; thy staff support me; thy grace sanctify my sorrow; and thy goodness pardon all my sins: thy angels guide me with safety in this shadow of death, and thy most Holy Spirit lead me into the land of righteousness, for thy name's sake, which is so comfortable, and for Jesus Christ's sake, our dearest Lord and most gracious Saviour. Amen.
OF VISITATION OF THE
SICK: OR THE ASSISTANCE, THAT IS TO BE DONE TO DYING PERSONS BY THE MINISTRY OF THEIR CLERGY-GUIDES.
Gon, who hath made no new covenant with dying persons distinct from the covenant of the living, hath also appointed no distinct sacraments for them, no other manner of usages but such as are common to all the spiritual necessities of
living and healthful persons. In all the days of our religion from our baptism to the resignation and delivery of our soul, God hath appointed his servants to minister to the necessities, and eternally to bless, and prudently to guide, and wisely to judge concerning souls; and the Holy Ghost, that anointing from above, descends upon us in several effluxes, but ever by the ministries of the church. Our heads are anointed with that sacred unction, baptism (not in ceremony, but in real and proper effect), our foreheads in confirmation, our hands in ordinations, all our senses in the visitation of the sick; and all by the ministry of especially-deputed and instructed persons: and we, who all our life-time derive blessings from the fountains of grace, by the channels of ecclesiastical ministries, must do it then especially, when our needs are most pungent and actual. 1. We cannot give up our names to Christ, but the holy man, that ministers in religion, must enrol them, and present the persons, and consign the grace: when we beg for God's Spirit, the minister can best present our prayers, and by his advocation hallow our private desires, and turn them into public and potent offices. 2. If we desire to be established and confirmed in the grace and religion of our baptism, the holy man, whose hands were anointed by a special ordination to that and its symbolical purposes, lays his hands upon the catechumen, and the anointing from above descends by that ministry. 3. If we would eat the body and drink the blood of our Lord, we must address ourselves to the Lord's table, and he that stands there to bless and to minister, can reach it forth, and feed thy soul; and without his ministry thou canst not be nourished with that heavenly feast, nor thy body consigned to immortality, nor thy soul refreshed with the sacramental bread from heaven, except by spiritual suppletories, in cases of necessity and an impossible communion. 4. If we have committed sins, the spiritual man is appointed to restore us, and to pray for us, and to receive our confessions, and to inquire into our wounds, and to infuse oil and remedy, and to pronounce pardon. 5. If we be cut off from the communion of the faithful by our own demerits, their holy hands must reconcile us and give us peace; they are our appointed comforters, our instructors, our ordinary judges and in the whole, what the children of Israel begged
of Moses", that God would no more speak to them alone, but by his servant Moses, lest they should be consumed; God, in compliance with our infirmities, hath of his own goodness established as a perpetual law in all ages of Christianity, that God will speak to us by his ministers, and our solemn prayers shall be made to him by their advocation, and his blessings descend from heaven by their hands, and our offices return thither by their presidencies, and our repentance shall be managed by them, and our pardon in many degrees ministered by them: God comforts us by their sermons, and reproves us by their discipline, and cuts off some by their severity, and reconciles others by their gentleness, and relieves us by their prayers, and instructs us by their discourses, and heals our sicknesses by their intercession presented to God, and united to Christ's advocation: and in all this, they are no causes, but servants, of the will of God, instruments of the Divine grace and order, stewards and dispensers of the mysteries, and appointed to our souls to serve and lead, and to help in all accidents, dangers and necessities.
And they, who received us in our baptism, are also to carry us to our grave, and to take care, that our end be, as our life was, or should have been': and therefore it is established as an apostolical rule, "Is any man sick among you? let him send for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him"," w" &c.
The sum of the duties and offices, respectively implied in these words, is in the following rules.
Rules for the manner of Visitation of Sick persons.
1. LET the minister of religion be sent to not only against the agony or death, but be advised with in the whole conduct of the sickness: for in sickness indefinitely, and therefore in every sickness, and therefore in such which are not
u Exod. xx. 19.
ν Οἷόν περ αἰῶνα δεδώκατε, τοιαύτην καὶ τελευτὴν δοῦναι. Χenoph. περὶ παιδ. lib. viii. James, v. 14.
mortal, which end in health, which have no agony, or final temptations, St. James gives the advice; and the sick man, being bound to require them, is also tied to do it, when he can know them, and his own necessity. It is a very great evil, both in the matter of prudence and piety, that they fear the priest, as they fear the embalmer or the sexton's spade; and love not to converse with him, unless they can converse with no man else; and think his office so much to relate to the other world, that he is not to be treated with, while we hope to live in this; and, indeed, that our religion be taken care of only, when we die: and the event is this (of which I have seen some sad experience), that the man is deadly sick, and his reason is useless, and he is laid to sleep, and his life is in the confines of the grave, so that he can do nothing towards the trimming of his lamp; and the curate shall say a few prayers by him, and talk to a dead man, and the man is not in a condition to be helped, but in a condition to need it hugely. He cannot be called upon to confess his sins, and he is not able to remember them, and he cannot understand an advice, nor hear a free discourse, nor be altered from a passion, nor cured of his fear, nor comforted upon any grounds of reason or religion, and no man can tell, what is likely to be his fate; or if he does, he cannot prophesy good things concerning him, but evil. Let the spiritual man come when the sick man can be conversed withal and instructed, when he can take medicine and amend, when he understands, or can be taught to understand the case of his soul, and the rules of his conscience; and then his advice may turn into advantage: it cannot otherwise be useful.
2. The intercourses of the minister with the sick man have so much variety in them, that they are not to be transacted at once: and therefore they do not well, that send once to see the good man with sorrow, and hear him pray, and thank him, and dismiss him civilly, and desire to see his face no more. To dress a soul for funeral, is not a work to be dispatched at one meeting: at first he needs a comfort, and anon something to make him willing to die; and by and by he is tempted to impatience, and that needs a special cure; and it is a great work to make his confessions well and with advantages; and it may be the man is careless and indifferent, and then he needs to understand the evil of his sin, and