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VISITING THE SICK:
L RULES FOR VISITING THE SICK.-II. THE OFFICE FOR THE VISITATION OF THE SICK.. III. THE COMMUNION OF THE SICK.-IV. A GREAT VARIETY OF OCCASIONAL PRAYERS FOR THE SICK; COLLECTED FROM THE WRITINGS OF SOME OF THE MOST EMINENT DIVINES OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND-TO WHICH ARE ADDED, THE OFFICES OF PUBLIC AND PRIVATE BAPTISM, WITH ADDITIONS AND ALTERATIONS.
THIS Collection has been so much esteemed, that it has passed through nine editions. Having now become exceedingly scarce, it was thought proper to reprint it.
The rules for Visiting the Sick, in five sections, are extracted chiefly from the works of Bishop Taylor. The Occasional Prayers are taken from the devotional tracts of Bishop Patrick, Mr. Kettlewell, and other pious and judicious divines. But in this Edition, the antiquated style of those writers is corrected and improved; at the same time, a spirit of rational piety, and unaffected simplicity, are carefully preserved.
A prayer by Dr. Stonehouse, and four by Mr. Merrick, the celebrated translator of the Psalms, are added to the old collection.
The offices of Public and Private Baptism, though no ways relating to the Visitation of the Sick, are retained; as, in the present form, they will be convenient for the Clergy in the course of their parochial duty.
MINISTERS TO VISIT THE SICK.
WHEN any person is dangerously sick in any parish, the minister or curate, having knowledge there of, shall resort unto him, or her, (if the disease be not known, or probably suspected to be infectious, to instruct and comfort them in their distress, according to the order of Communion, if he be no preacher; or, if he be a preacher, then as he shall think most needful and convenient.
Ir is recommended to the Clergy to write out the prayers, which are to be used by the Sick themselves, or by the persons whose devotions they wish to assist, and to leave the copies with them.
MANNER OF VISITING THE SICK;
ASSISTANCE THAT IS TO BE GIVEN TO SICK AND DYING PERSONS BY
In all the days of our spiritual warfare, from our baptism to our burial, God has appointed his servants the ministers of the church, to supply the necessities of the people, by ecclesiastical duties; and prudently to guide, and carefully to judge concerning, souls committed to their charge.
rules of his conscience, and all the several bearings of religion, with respect to God, his neighbour, and himself. For to prepare a soul for its change of the minister with the sick have so much variety is a work of great difficulty; and the intercourses in them, that they are not to be transacted at
And, therefore, they who all their lifetime derive blessings from the Fountain of Grace, by the channels of ecclesiastical ministers, ought then more especially to do it in the time of their sick
once. Sometimes there is need of special remedies against impatience, and the fear of death; not and willing to die. Sometimes it is requisite to only to animate, but to make the person desirous awaken the conscience by "the terrors of the
ing to that known apostolical injunction: "Is any man sick among you, let him send for the elders of the church, and let them pray over
ness, when their needs are more prevalent, accord-Lord;" to open by degrees all the labyrinths of sin (those innumerable windings and turnings which insensibly lead men into destruction,) which the habitual sensualist can never be able to discover, unless directed by the particular grace of balm of comfort, to pour in "oil and wine" (with God, and the assistance of a faithful and judicious guide. Sometimes there is need of the the good Samaritan) into the bleeding wound, by representing the tender mercies of God, and the love of his Son Jesus Christ, to mankind: and at other times it will be necessary to "reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all long suffering and doctrine:" so that a clergyman's duty, in the visitation of the sick, is not over at once: but at one time he must pray; at another, he must assist, advise, and direct; at another, he must open to him the nature of repentance, and exhort him to a confession of his sins, both to God and man, in all those cases which require it: and, at another time, he must give him absolution, and the sacrament of the body and blood of our Lord.
And, indeed, he that ought to watch all the periods of his life, in the days of his health, lest he should be surprised and overcome, had need, when he is sick, be assisted and called upon, and reminded of the several parts of his duty in every instant of his temptation.
The want of this makes the visitations of the clergy fruitless, because they are not suffered to imprint those proper effects upon the sick, which are needful in so important a ministration.
2. When the minister is come, let him discourse concerning the causes of sickness, and by a general argument move him to a consideration of his condition. Let him call upon him first, in general terms, "to set his house in order," "to trim and adorn his lamp," and "to prepare himself for another world;" and then let him perform the customary duties of prayer, and afterwards descend to other particulars, as occasion shall offer, and circumstances require.
3. According to the condition of the man, and
implied in these words, may be collected from the The sum of the duties and offices, respectively following rules.
Rules for the Manner of Visiting the Sick. 1. LET the minister be sent to, not when the sick is in the agonies of death, as it is usual to do, but before his sickness increases too much upon him for when the soul is confused and disturbed by the violence of the distemper, and death begins to stare the man in the face, there is little reason to hope for any good effect from the spiritual man's visitation. For how can any regular administration take place, when the man is all over in a disorder? how can he be called upon to confess his sins, when his tongue falters, and his memory fails him? how can he receive any benefit by the prayers which are offered up for him, when he is not able to give attention to them? or how can he be comforted upon any sure grounds of reason or religion, when his reason is just expiring, and all his notions of religion together with it? or when the man, perhaps, had never any real sentiments of religion before?
It is, therefore, a matter of sad consideration, that the generality of the world look upon the minister, in the time of their sickness, as the sure forerunner of death; and think his office so much relates to another world, that he is not to be treated with, as long as there is any hope of living in this. Whereas it is highly requisite the minister be sent for, when the sick person is able to be conversed with and instructed; and can understand, or be taught to understand, the case of his soul, and the 234
the nature of his sickness, every act of visitation | once, but requires the utmost self-denial and resois to be proportioned. If his condition be full of lution to put it in execution, consisting in general pain and infirmity, the exhortation ought to be of the following particulars:-1. A sorrowful shortened, and the minister more "instant in sense of our sins: 2. An humble confession of prayer:" and the little service the sick man can them: 3. An unfeigned abhorrence and forsaking do for himself should be supplied by the charitable of them, and turning to the Lord our God with all care of his guide, who is in such a case to speak our hearts: 4. A patient continuance in wellmore to God for him than to talk to him: "prayer doing to the end of our lives. of the righteous," when it is "fervent," hath a promise to "prevail much in behalf of the sick" person: but exhortations must prevail by their own proper weight, and not by the passion of the speaker; and, therefore, should be offered when the sick is able to receive them. And even in this assistance of prayer, if the sick man joins with the minister, the prayers should be short, fervent, and ejaculatory, apt rather to comply with his weak condition, than wearisome to his spirits, in tedious and long offices. But in case it appears he hath sufficient strength to go along with the minister, he is then more at liberty to offer up long petitions for him.
These are the constituent and essential parts of a true repentance; which may severally be displayed from the following motives of reason and Scripture, as opportunity shall serve, and the sick man's condition permit.
The first part of a true repentance is a sorrowful sense of our sins, which naturally produceth this good effect, as we may learn from St. Paul, (2 Cor. vii. 10,) where he tells us, that "godly sorrow worketh repentance." Without it, to be sure, there can be no such thing; for how can a man repent of that which he is not sorry for? or, how can any one sincerely ask pardon and forgiveness for what he is not concerned or troubled about?
A sorrowful sense, then, of our sins, is the first part of a true repentance, the necessity whereof may be seen from the grievous and abominable nature of sin; as, 1. That it made so wide a separation betwixt God and man, that nothing but the blood of his only begotten Son could suffice to atone for its intolerable guilt: 2. That it carries along with it the basest ingratitude, as being done against our heavenly Father, "in whom we live, and move, and have our being:" 3. That the consequence of it is nothing less than eternal ruin, in that "the wrath of God is revealed against all impenitent sinners;" and "the wages of sin is death,"-not only temporal but eternal.
From these and the like considerations, the penitent may further learn, that to be sorry for our sins is a great and important duty. That it does not consist in a little trivial concern, a superficial sigh, or tear, or calling curselves sinners, &c. but in a real, ingenuous, pungent, and afflicting sorrow: for, can that which cast our parents out of Paradise at first, that brought down the Son of God afterwards from heaven, and put him at last to such a cruel and shameful death, be now thought to be done away by a single tear or a groan? Can so base a piece of ingratitude, as rebelling against the Lord of glory, who gives us all submission? Or can that which deserves the torwe have, be supposed to be pardoned by a slender ment of hell, be sufficiently atoned for by a little indignation and superficial remorse?
True repentance, therefore, is ever accompanied with a deep and afflicting sorrow; a sorrow that will make us so irreconcilable to sin, as that we
1. That repentance is a duty indispensably necessary to salvation. That to this end, all the preachings and endeavours of the prophets and apostles are directed. That our Saviour "came down from heaven," on purpose " to call sinners to repentance." That as it is a necessary duty at all times, so more especially in the time of sick-shall choose rather to die than to live in it. For so the bitterest accents of grief are all ascribed to a true repentance in Scripture; such as a “weeping sorely," or "bitterly;" a night;" a "weeping day and repenting in dust and ashes;" a "putting on sackcloth;" "fasting and prayer," &c. Thus holy David: "I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly, I go mourning all the day long, and that by reason of mine iniquities, which are gone over my head, and, as a heavy burden, are too heavy for me to bear:" Ps. xxxviii. 4, 6. Thus Ephraim could say: "After that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth:" Jer. xxxi. 19.
ness, when we are commanded in a particular manner to "set our house in order." That it is a work of great difficulty, consisting in general of a "change of mind," and a "change of life." Upon which account it is called in Scripture, "a state of regeneration, or new birth;" a "conversion from sin to God;" a "being renewed in the spirit, of our minds;" a "putting off the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts of the flesh," and a "putting on the new man, which is created in righteousness and true holiness." That so great a change as this, is not to be effected at
After the minister hath made this preparatory entrance to this work of much time and deliberation, he may descend to the particulars of his duty, in the following method.
Of instructing the sick Man in the nature of
THE first duty to be rightly stated to the sick man, is that of repentance; in which the minister cannot be more serviceable to him than by laying before him a regular scheme of it, and exhorting him at the same time to a free and ingenuous declaration of the state of his soul. For unless they know the manner of his life and the several kinds and degrees of those sins which require his penitential sorrow or restitution, either they can do nothing at all, or nothing of advantage and certainty. Wherefore the minister may move him to this in the following manner:
Arguments and Exhortations to move the sick
Matt. ix. 13.
And this is the proper satisfaction for sin which | Rev. ii. 26. Hence our religion is said to be a God expects, and hath promised to accept; as, continual warfare, and we must be constantly Ps. li. 17: "The sacrifices of God are a broken "pressing forward toward the mark of our high spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou calling," with the apostle, lest we fail of the wilt not despise." prize.
And this it is which makes a death-bed refol-pentance so justly reckoned to be very full of hazard; such as none who defer it till then, can depend upon with any real security. For let a man be never so seemingly penitent in the day of his visitation, yet none but God can tell whether it be sincere or not; since nothing is more common than for those who expressed the greatest signs of a lasting repentance upon a sick bed, to forget all their vows and promises of amendment, as soon as God had removed the judgment, and restored them to their former health. "It hap pened to them according to the true proverb," as St. Peter says, "The dog is turned to his own vomit again, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire," 2 Pet. ii. 22.
2. The next thing requisite in a true repentance, is confession of sins, which naturally lows the other; for if a man be so deeply afflicted with sorrow for his sins, he will be glad to be rid of them as soon as he can; and the way for this, is humbly to confess them to God, who hath promised to forgive us if we do. "I said, I will confess my sins unto the Lord," saith the Psalmist; "and so thou forgavest the wickedness of my sin," Ps. xxxii. 6. So, Prov. xxviii. 13, and 1 John i. 9: "If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." So the returning prodigal went to his father with an humble confession of his baseness, and was received into favour again.-Luke xv. 18, 19.
And because the number of our sins are like The sick penitent, therefore, should be often the hairs of our head, or the sand of the sea, and reminded of this:-that nothing will be looked almost as various too in their kinds as their num-upon as true repentance, but what would terbers; confession must needs be a very extensive minate in a holy life: that, therefore, he ought to duty, and require the strictest care and examina- take great heed, that his repentance be not only tion of ourselves: for "who can tell how oft he the effect of his present danger, but that it be lastoffendeth?" saith David; "O, cleanse thou me ing and sincere, "bringing forth works meet for from my secret faults!" repentance," should it please God mercifully to prove him by a longer life.
But here it is much to be feared, that after all his endeavours to bring men to a sight of them
The penitent, therefore, should be reminded, that his confession be as minute and particular as it can; since the more particular the confession is, to be sure, the more sincere and safe the re-selves, and to repent them truly of their sins, the pentance. spiritual man will meet with but very little encouragement: for if we look round the world, we shall find the generality of men to be of a rude indifference, and a seared conscience, and mightily ignorant of their condition with respect to another For so we find them expressly joined together world, being abused by evil customs and princiby St. Paul, when he charges those whom by ples, apt to excuse themselves, and to be content vision he was sent to convert, to change their with a certain general and indefinite confession; mind, and "turn to God, and do works meet for so that if you provoke them never so much to repentance:" Acts xxvi. 20. And a little before, acknowledge their faults, you shall hardly ever he says, he was sent "to open their eyes, and turn extort any thing farther from them than this, viz them from darkness to light, and from the power" That they are sinners, as every man hath his of Satan unto God, that they may receive for- infirmity, and they as well as any; but, God be giveness of sin:" ver. 18. And we shall always thanked, they have done no injury to any man, find, when we are commanded to cease from evil, but are in charity with all the world." And, perit is in order to do good. haps they will tell you, "they are no swearers, no adulterers, no rebels, &c. but that, God forgive them, they must needs acknowledge themselves to be sinners in the main," &c. And if you can open their breasts so far, it will be looked upon as sufficient; to go any farther, will be to do the office of an accuser, not of a friend.
But, which is yet worse, there are a great many persons who have been so used to an habitual course of sin, that the crime is made natural and necessary to them, and they have no remorse of conscience for it, but think themselves in a state of security very often when they stand upon the brink of damnation. This happens in the cases of drunkenness and lewd practices, and luxury, and idleness, and misspending of the sabbath, and in lying and vain jesting, and slandering of others; and particularly in such evils as the laws do not punish, nor public customs shame, but which are countenanced by potent sinners, or wicked fashions, or good-nature and mistaken civilities. In these and the like cases, the spiritual man must endeavour to awaken their consciences by such means as follow:
3. A third thing requisite in a true repentance, is an unfeigned abhorrence and forsaking of sin, and turning to the Lord our God with all our hearts.
The penitent, therefore, must be reminded, not only to confess and be sorry for his sins, but like wise to forsake them. For it is he only "who confesseth and forsaketh his sins, that shall have mercy:" Prov. xxviii. 13. And this forsaking must not be only for the present, during his sickness, or for a week, a month, or a year; but for his whole life, be it never so protracted: which is the
4. Last thing requisite in a true repentance, viz. "a patient continuance in well-doing to the end of our lives." For as the holy Jesus assures us, that "he that endureth unto the end shall be saved;" so does the Spirit of God profess, that "if any man draw back, his soul shall have no pleasure in him" Heb. x. 38. Hence we are said to "be partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end," Heb. iii. 14, but not else; for it is to "him only that overcometh, and keepeth his works to the end," that our Saviour hath promised a reward:
• απήγγελλον μετανοείν,
Arguments and general Heads of Discourse, by | from us, and to incorporate them into our affections, way of Consideration, to awaken a stupid Conscience, and the careless Sinner.
1. And here let the minister endeavour to affect his conscience, by representing to him,
by the general practice of others, and the mistaken notions of the world: as, 1. Many sins before men are accounted honourable; such as fighting a duel, returning evil for evil, blow for blow, &c. 2. Some things are not forbidden by the law of man, as lying in ordinary discourse, jeering, scoffing, intemperate eating, ingratitude, circumventing another in contracts, outwitting and overreach
That Christianity is a holy and strict religion: that the promises of heaven are so great, that it is not reasonable to think a small matter and a little duty will procure it for us: that religious persons are always the most scrupulous; and that to feeling in bargains, extorting and taking advantage nothing, is not a sign of life, but of death: that of the necessities or ignorance of other people, imwe live in an age in which that which is called portunate entreaties and temptations of persons and esteemed a holy life, in the days of the apos- to many instances of sin, as intemperance, pride, tles and primitive Christianity would have been and ambition, &c.; all which, therefore, do strangeesteemed indifferent, sometimes scandalous, and ly blind the understanding and captivate the affecalways cold: that when we have "done our best, tions of sinful men, and lead them into a thousand all our righteousness is but as filthy rags," and snares of the devil which they are not aware of. we can never do too much to make our "calling 3. Some others do not reckon that they sin against and election sure:" that every good man ought to God, if the laws have seized upon the person: and be suspicious of himself, fearing the worst, that many who are imprisoned for debt, think themhe may provide for the best: that even St. Paul, selves disengaged from payment; and when they and several other remarkable saints, had at some pay the penalty, think they owe nothing for the times great apprehensions of failing of the "mighty scandal and disobedience. 4. Some sins are prize of their high calling" that we are com- thought not considerable, but go under the titles manded to "work out our salvation with fear and of sins of infirmity, or inseparable accidents of trembling" inasmuch as we shall be called to an mortality; such as idle thoughts, foolish talking, account, not only for our sinful words and deeds, loose revellings, impatience, anger, and all the but even for our very thoughts: that if we keep events of evil company. 5. Lastly; many things all the commandments of God, and "yet offend are thought to be no sins: such as mispending of in one point (i. e. wilfully and habitually,) we are their time, whole days or months of useless or imguilty of all, James ii. 10: that no man can tell pertinent employment, long gaming, winning how oft he offendeth, the best of lives being full of men's money in great portions, censuring men's innumerable blemishes in the sight of God, how actions, curiosity, equivocating in the prices of buyever they may appear before men; that no maning and selling, rudeness in speech or behaviour, ought to judge of the state of his soul by the cha-speaking uncharitable truths, and the like. racter he has in the world; for a great many persons go to hell, who have lived in a fair reputation here; and a great many, on the other hand, go to heaven, who have been loaded with infamy and reproach that the work of religion is a work of great difficulty, trial, and temptation: that "many are called, but few are chosen;" that "strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leadeth to life, and few there be that find it:" and lastly, that, "if the righteous themselves shall scarcely be saved,' there will be no place for the unrighteous and sinner to appear in, but of horror and amazement. By these and such-like motives to consideration, the spiritual man is to awaken the careless sinner, and to bring him to repentance and confession of bis sins; and if either of himself, or by this means, the sick man is brought to a right sense of his condition: then,
These are some of those artificial veils and coverings, under the dark shadow of which the enemy of mankind makes very many to lie hid from themselves, blinding them with false notions of honour, and the mistaken opinions and practices of the world, with public permission and impunity, or (it may be) a temporal penalty; or else with prejudice, or ignorance and infirmity, and direct error in judgment.
Now, in all these cases, the ministers are to be inquisitive and strictly careful, that such kind of fallacies prevail not over the sick; but that those things, which passed without observation before, may now be brought forth, and pass under the severity of a strict and impartial censure, religious sorrow, and condemnation.
4. To this may be added a general display of the neglect and omission of our duty; for in them lies the bigger half of our failings: and yet, in many instances, they are undiscerned; because our consciences have not been made tender and perceptible of them. But whoever will cast up his accounts, even with a superficial eye, will quickly find that he hath left undone, for the generality, as many things which he ought to have done, as he hath committed those he ought not to have done: such as the neglect of public or private prayer, of reading the Scriptures, and instructing his family, or those that are under him, in the principles of religion: the not discountenancing sin to the utmost of his power, especially in the personages 3. Let the sick man, in the scrutiny of his con- of great men: the "not redeeming the time," science and confession of his sins, be carefully re- and "growing in grace," and doing all the good minded to consider those sins which are no where he can in his generation: the frequent omissions condemned but in the court of conscience: for there of the great duty of charity, in visiting the sick, are certain secret places of darkness, artificial relieving the needy, and comforting the afflictWinds of the devil, which he uses to hide our sinsed: the want of obedience, duty, and respect to
2. Let the minister proceed to assist him in understanding the number of his sins, i. e. the several kinds of them, and the various ways of prevaricating with the Divine commandments. Let him make him sensible how every sin is aggravated, more or less, according to the different circumstances of it; as by the greatness or smallness of the temptation, the scandal it gives to others, the dishonour it does to religion, the injury it brings along with it to those whom it more immediately concerns; the degrees of boldness and impudence, the choice in acting it, the continuance in it, the expense, desires, and habit of it, &c.