« 前へ次へ »
HE Publishers of this Edition, being desirous to
render this little Book as generally useful as it was possible; and considering that the two great
Occasions of Extraordinary Devotion, are the Seasons of Receiving the Blessed Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and that of Sickness ; they thought the former
, reaSonably well provided for, in the Fourth Book of the forego-.. ing Translation, and engaged Me to make some Supplementary Provision for the Latter. This I was the rather disposed to do, in regard a great part of that which follows lay by me, some time since composed at the Request of a Lady, (now I hope with God) who desired my Allistance in Preparing fome Meditations, that might be proper for ber then very weak and languifhing Condition. The manner in wbich they were drawn seemed not ill to suit with the Temper of the Author to which theġ are fixed; and the Design of cafta ing them into this Form, is to promote in some measure those Reasonings with a Man's own Mind, which at all times itdeed, but especially in such Circumstances, would
prove of excellent Advantages if frequent Use did but render them more familiar.
I am far from thinking, that these few Sheets have any thing in them of equal Perfection with those many Pious and well weighed Treatises, written by others upon this Subject. Much less would I have the Reader imagine, that either This or Those con supersede the Necessity and Benefit of the Prayers of the Church, and the Advice of our Spiritual Physicians,
These ought always to be consulted in the first Place, before Matters come to Extremity: find a conscientious Person, after all his own Care, will find Business enough for them. the Exercise of Piety prescribed in such Tracts will be good Helps, and fill up those Intervals very well, which the Lane guishings of a Sick Bed many timesallow, when it cannot be expected that the Ordinary Guides of our Souls should be ready with their Attendance, whose Directions in the Measures of Mens Repentance, while under the affliting Hand of God, and the proper Methods of Expressing their Thankfulnef's when delivered from it, as well as their prudent Comforts, administred to wounded and contrite Hearts, will notwithstanding be always seasonable and necessary.
The Devout Christian, who converses much with the Word of God, and the Offices of the Church, will find himself able to make large Additions to the following Devotions. In which it was much more difficult to restrain my Pen, than to expatiate a great deal further. But I considered the condition of the to Persons they were intended for ; and therefore contented my Self with such short Hints under each Head, as the Weakness of that would bear. If what I have offered bere may tend to the promoting of Piety, and the Sanétifying fucb Difpensations of Providence to any one of my Christian Brethren, by kindling in them. a holy Zeal, and inspiring good Purpca lés, I have my End. And this, with God's Bleffing, i hope it will ; and heartily pray that it may, in fome Degree be capable of
MEDITA ITON I. Upon Sickness in general, the Author, Causes and
End of it.
OME, my Soul, and let us reason together, concerning the Things that have befallen us. This Body, to which thou
art united, flags and droops ; the Vigor of it is abated, its Beauty withered and wasted; The well-knit Limbs are grown feeble, and with great difficulty. sustain their weight, or obey thy Commands. They scarce perfornythy Offices aright; and when they do, it is with Pantings and Tremblings, with Weariness and Faintness: They seem to groan and sink under their Burthen; and each Member whichi was formerly wont to serve Thee, with wonderful Cheerfulness and Activity; now calls for Succours from abroad, and is no longer able to fupport it felf. This is such a Change, as ought not to be felt only, but well considered too; Be not thout therefore like to. Horse and Müle, which, Pfal. xxxi, jo have no Understanding, buc lofe all Impreffions; as foon as the sense of the Stroke ceases. It is Thy
Privilege and Duty both, to reflect and ruminate ; to call back things, already past, and anticipate those which are to come ; and as for fuch as are actually prefent, to acquaint thy self with the Causes and Reafons, the End and Uses of them, as well as with the Nature and Quality of the Things themselves. All these are Operations proper to a reasoning Soul, and the present Occasion calls upon thee for the Exercise of them all. For thou canst not be sick as becomes a Man, and a Christian, without enquiring, whence, and wherefore it is, that thou art fo.: The first and moft necessary Step, both toward the patient enduring of the Anguish, and the successful Application of the Remedies, is to learn the true Original of our Disease.
1. Know therefore most assuredly, That what the Holy Ghost hath spoken concerning AMiction in general, is in an especial manner true concerning this par
ticular Branch of it, It cometh not forth out of 406 v. 6.
the Dust, neither doth Trouble spring out of the Ground. Our selves indeed were taken thence, and moulded into Man: But this was not the Effect of any Natural Cause : The God of Nature by his Almighty Power, commanded Earth and Afhes into this beauteous and wonderful Structure of Human Body. And He alone, who created and formed it, command's it back into its Native Duft again. . Every Disease and Decay, whether it be the Effect of Accident or Time, whether what we usually call violent and frortning our Days; or whether according to the Course of Nature, and the flower Declinings of Age, All are but to many Shocks, by which this Helly Tabernacle is shaken, or moulders by degrees, and by growing more ruinous and uninhabitable, gives the Soul warning to seek another Dwelling. And chefe are all. dispofed by a most steady and particular Providence ; and, if traced up to their fielt Original, have