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then they believe it, when they feel it, and when they cannot return but so the treason entered, and the man was betrayed by his own folly, placing the snare in the regions and advantages of opportunity. This evil looks like boldness and a confident spirit, but it is the greatest timorousness and cowardice in the world. They are so fearful to die, that they dare not look upon it as possible; and think that the making of a will is a mortal sign, and sending for a spiritual man an irrecoverable disease; and they are so afraid, lest they should think and believe now they must die, that they will not take care, that it may not be evil, in case they should. So did the eastern slaves drink wine, and wrapped their heads in a veil, that they might die without sense or sorrow, and wink hard, that they might sleep the easier. In pursuance of this rule, let a man consider, that whatsoever must be done in sickness, ought to be done in health; only let him observe, that his sickness as a good monitor chastises his neglect of duty, and forces him to live as he always should; and then all these solemnities and dressings for death are nothing else but the part of a religious life; which he ought to have exercised all his days; and if those circumstances can affright him, let him please his fancy by this truth, that then he does but begin to live. But it will be a huge folly, if he shall think that confession of his sins will kill him; or receiving the holy sacrament will hasten his agony, or the priest shall undo all the hopeful language and promises of his physician. Assure thyself, thou canst not die the sooner; but, by such addresses, thou mayest die much the better.
6. Let the sick person be infinitely careful, that he do not fall into a state of death upon a new account: that is, at no hand commit a deliberate sin, or retain any affection. to the old; for, in both cases, he falls into the evils of a surprise, and the horrors of a sudden death; for a sudden death is but a sudden joy, if it takes a man in the state and exercises of virtue and it is only then an evil, when it finds a man unready. They were sad departures, when Tigillinus, Cornelius Gallus the pretor, Lewis the son of Gonzaga duke of Mantua, Ladislaus king of Naples, Speusippus, Giachetius of Geneva, and one of the popes, died in the forbidden embraces of abused women; or if Job had cursed God, and so died; or when a man sits down in despair, and in the ac
cusation and calumny of the Divine mercy: they make their night sad, and stormy, and eternal. When Herod began to sink with the shameful torment of his bowels, and felt the grave open under him, he imprisoned the nobles of his kingdom, and commanded his sister, that they should be a sacrifice to his departing ghost. This was an egress fit only for such persons, who meant to dwell with devils to eternal ages: and that man is hugely in love with sin, who cannot forbear in the week of the assizes, and when himself stood at the bar of scrutiny, and prepared for his final, never-to-be-reversed sentence. He dies suddenly to the worse sense and event of sudden death, who so manages his sickness, that even that state shall not be innocent, but that he is surprised in the guilt of a new account. It is a sign of a reprobate spirit, and an habitual, prevailing, ruling sin, which exacts obedience, when the judgment looks hin. in the face. At least go to God with the innocence and fair deportment of thy person in the last scene of thy life, that when thy soul breaks into the state of separation, it may carry the relishes of religion and sobriety to the places of its abode and sentence".
7. When these things are taken care for, let the sick man so order his affairs, that he have but very little conversation with the world, but wholly (as he can) attend to religion, and antedate his conversation in heaven, always having intercourse with God and still conversing with the holy Jesus, kissing his wounds, admiring his goodness, begging his mercy, feeding on him with faith, and drinking his blood: to which purpose it were very fit (if all circumstances be answerable) that the narrative of the passion of Christ be read or discoursed to him at length, or in brief, according to the style of the four gospels. But, in all things, let his care and society be as little secular as is possible.
"Whoso him bethoft
How hard it were to flit
From bed unto the pit,
He would not do one sin
Inscript. marmori in Eccles. paroch. de Feversham in agro Cantiano.
OF THE PRACTICE OF THE GRACES PROPER TO THE STATE OF SICKNESS, WHICH A SICK MAN MAY PRACTISE ALONE.
Of the Practice of Patience.
Now we suppose the man entering upon his scene of sorrows, and passive graces. It may be, he went yesterday to a wedding, merry and brisk, and there he felt his sentence, that he must return home and die (for men very commonly enter into the snare singing, and consider not, whither their fate leads them): nor feared, that then the angel was to strike his stroke, till his knees kissed the earth, and his head trembled with the weight of the rod, which God put into the hand of an exterminating angel. But whatsoever the ingress was, when the man feels his blood boil, or his bones weary, or his flesh diseased with a load of a dispersed and disordered humour, or his head to ache, or his faculties discomposed, then he must consider, that all those discourses, he hath heard concerning patience and resignation, and conformity to Christ's sufferings, and the melancholy lectures of the cross, must, all of them, now be reduced to practice, and pass from an ineffective contemplation to such an exercise, as will really try, whether we were true disciples of the cross, or only believed the doctrines of religion, when we were at ease, and that they never passed through the ear to the heart, and dwelt not in our spirits. But every man should consider, God does nothing in vain; that he would not, to no purpose, send us preachers, and give us rules, and furnish us with discourse, and lend us books, and provide sermons, and make examples, and promise his Spirit, and describe the blessedness of holy sufferings, and prepare us with daily alarms, if he did not really purpose to order our affairs, so that we should need all this, and use it all. There were no such thing as the grace of patience, if we were not to feel
a sickness, or enter into a state of sufferings: whither, when we are entered, we are to practise by the following rules.
The Practice and Acts of Patience, by way of Rule.
1. At the first address and presence of sickness, stand still and arrest thy spirit, that it may, without amazement or affright, consider, that this was that thou lookedst for, and wert always certain should happen; and that now thou art to enter into the actions of a new religion, the agony of a strange constitution; but at no hand suffer thy spirits to be dispersed with fear, or wildness of thought, but stay their looseness and dispersion by a serious consideration of the present and future employment. For so doth the Libyan lion, spying the fierce huntsman, first beats himself with the strokes of his tail, and curls up his spirits, making them strong with union and recollection, till, being struck with a Mauritanian spear, he rushes forth into his defence and noblest contention; and either 'scapes into the secrets of his own dwelling, or else dies the bravest of the forest. Every man, when shot with an arrow from God's quiver, must then draw in all the auxiliaries of reason, and know, that then is the time to try his strength, and to reduce the words of his religion into action, and consider, that if he behaves himself weakly and timorously, he suffers nevertheless of sickness; but if he returns to health, he carries along with him the mark of a coward and a fool; and if he descends into his grave, he enters into the state of the faithless and unbelievers. Let him set his heart firm upon this resolution; "I must bear it inevitably, and I will, by God's grace, do it nobly."
2. Bear in thy sickness all along the same thoughts, propositions, and discourses, concerning thy person, thy life and death, thy soul and religion, which thou hadst in the best days of thy health: and when thou didst discourse wisely concerning things spiritual. For it is to be supposed (and if it be not yet done, let this rule remind thee of it, and direct thee) that thou hast cast about in thy health and considered concerning thy change and the evil day, that thou must be sick and die, that thou must need a comforter, and that it was certain, thou shouldst fall into a state, in which all
the cords of thy anchor should be stretched, and the very rock and foundation of faith should be attempted; and whatsoever fancies may disturb you, or whatsoever weaknesses may invade you, yet consider, when you were better able to judge and govern the accidents of your life, you concluded it necessary to trust in God, and possess your souls with patience. Think of things, as they think that stand by you, and as you did, when you stood by others; that it is a blessed thing to be patient; that a quietness of spirit hath a certain reward; that still there is infinite truth and reality in the promises of the gospel; that still thou art in the care of God, in the condition of a son, and working out thy salvation with labour and pain, with fear and trembling; that now the sun is under a cloud, but it still sends forth the same influence: and be sure to make no new principles upon the stock of a quick and an impatient sense, or too busy an apprehension: keep your old principles, and, upon their stock, discourse and practise on towards your conclusion.
3. Resolve to bear your sickness like a child, that is, without considering the evils and the pains, the sorrows and the danger; but go straight forward, and let thy thoughts cast about for nothing, but how to make advantages of it by the instrument of religion. He that from a high tower looks down upon the precipice, and measures the space, through which he must descend, and considers what a huge fall he shall have, shall feel more by the horror of it than by the last dash on the pavement: and he that tells his groans and numbers his sighs, and reckons one for every gripe of his belly or throb of his distempered pulse, will make an artificial sickness greater than the natural. And if thou beest ashamed, that a child should bear an evil better than thou, then take his instrument, and allay thy spirit with it; reflect not upon thy evil, but contrive as much as you can for duty, and, in all the rest, inconsideration will ease your pain.
4. If thou fearest thou shalt need, observe and draw together all such things as are apt to charm thy spirit, and ease thy fancy in the sufferance. It is the counsel of Socrates : "It is (said he) a great danger, and you must, by discourse and arts of reasoning, enchant it into slumber and some rest*." It may be, thou wert moved much to see a person * Καλὸς γὰρ ὁ κίνδυνος, καὶ χρὴ τὰ τοιαῦτα ὥσπερ ἐπάδειν ἑαυτῷ. 2 G