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is to be chofen, than the raging Phrenzies of a Fever, or the sudden Stroke of an Apoplexy. Reflect upon the Condition of those Wretches, who are snatched out of the World, it may be, in an Act of damning Sin; but however in an Instant; without so much as the Power, or the Leisure, to seek Pardon or Peace, to commit their Souls to God, or so much as once implore his Mercy at the last Gasp. O! what would they have given, how much more would they gladly have endured to purchase this long Warning, these flow and solemn Approaches of Death, the happy Advantages thou now enjoyest of trimming thy Lamp, and putting thy Soul in readiness to meet the Bridegroom at his coming ? For, tho' we ought indeed to expect him every Hour, even in our most confirmed Health ; yet well is it for that Şervant, who receives express Notice of his Master's Approach, and takes care fo to provide for it, as in zealous Prayers, and eager Wishes to go out to meet him; and, having on the Wedding Garment, waits anly for his last Call, to enter with him to the Marriage.
wby art thou jo disquieted within me
and my God. xviii. 18. Tbe Lord bath chaftened and corrected me ;
but he hath not given me over unto Destruction.
I know, O Lord, that thy Judgments are right: and that Thou of very Faithfulness
bast caused me to be troubled. Lam. iii. 22. It is of the Lord's Mercies that I was not long
ago consumed : because his Compassions fail not.
The Lord is my Portion, saith my Soul: therefore will I hope in hini.
It is good for a Man that he should constantly 26. bope, and quietly wait for the Salvation of the Lord: for the Lord will not cast off for ever.
But tho' be cause Grief, yet will be bave 31. Compassion, according to the Multitude of his
32. Mercies. Tea, like as a Father pitieth his own Pfal.ciii. 13. Children, even so is the Lord merciful unto them that fear him.
Inthe Multitude of the Sorrows which I have xciv. 19. in my HeartythyComforts have refreshed my Soul. For, I know, That with thee there is Mercy :
CXXX. 7. and with my God is plenteous Redemption.
lxxix. 8. O remember not my old Sins, but have Mercy upon me, and that soon, for I am come to great Misery. Heal my Soul,which hath sinned against thee:
1 Sam.iii. 18. and then let the Lord do what seemeth him good.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, &c.
PRAY E R.
viour, extend thy accustomed Goodness, to me thy poor Servant, now cast upon this Bed of Languishing, and griev’d with Sickness. Sanétify, I beseech, thee this thy Fatherly Correction to me, and grant that I may receive it, with all the Patience and Submision of a Dutiful Child. I desire to acknowledge and adore thy Divine Wisdom and Goodness, in every Dispensation of Providence towards me; and only beg, that thou wouldest keep me safe under all, and then use what Methods thou pleaseft, of bringing me to thy self. Manifest thy Strength in my Weakness. Make even my feeble Condition an Instrument of thy Glory ; and, the more my outward Man decayeth, strengthen me, I beseech thee, so much the more continually, with thy Grace and holy Spirit in the Inner Man. Let the Sense of my Weakness add Strength to my Faith,
and Seriousness to my Repentance. That if it be tby good Pleasure to restore me to my former Health, I may lead the Residue of my Life in thy Fear, and to thy Glory'; or else grant me jo to take thy Visitation, that, after this painful Life ended, I may dwell with thee in Life Everlasting
For this, O Lord, is the chief, the most earnest Desire of my Soul ; that whether I live, I may live unto the Lord; or whether I die, I may die unto the Lord; so that living and dying I may be thine, through Jesus Christ,
dear and only Saviour. Amen,
M E D.
V. Upon Recovery from Sickness. 1. F Dangers and Distresses awaken our Considera
tion, the Deliverance from them ought not to pass unobserved. The Judgments of God extort Complaints from us; and Thall his Mercies be received in Silence? When he alicts and wounds, we seek him early; and shall we forget him, when he refreshes and heals us? That sure were most unworthy, most reproachful. The rather fo, because we are able to give our selves a very plain and rational Account, how it comes to pass that we receive Evil at the Hand of God; But the Good he vouchsafes us, furnishes just Matter, no less of Wonder, than of Thankfulness, Death is the Punishment of Sin; The Diseases and Decays of our Bodies are so many Degrees of, and Advances toward that Death: And our Consciences can find no Difficulty in justifying these painful Dispenfations. For none of us can descend into his own Breaft, without discovering infinite perfonal Offences, which might provoke God to take this forfeit Life, and to cut us off in the midst of our Days. But, when he forbears to do so, when he checks his Wrath, and suspends the Execution of that fatal Sentence gone
put against us; We can discern no Reason for 'This in our Selves, but must resolve it all into the fole, the undeserved, Goodness of our compassionate and longsuffering Lord.
And such, my Soul, is now thy Case. Thou wert hastening apace to the Regions of the Dead, and in Fear that thou should'st be depriv’d of the Residue of thy Years. But when thou wast almost cut off with pining Sickness, and thine Eyes Isa
12, 13. even failed with looking upward; when thou reckonedst each Night and Morning, that there would be an End of thee upon Earth; then did the Lord stand by thee and save thee, even because be bad Pl. xviii. 19. a Favour unto tbee.
II. Now, tho’this be the Condition common to all Mankind, that we contribute no part, to the Efficient or Meritorious Cause of such Goodness ; yet in the Final Cause we may and must bear a very considerable Part. We could not give the Blessing to our felves : We could not deserve that Almighty God should give it us: But it will lie upon us to take care, that such Grace be not bestowed in vain. In one respect indeed, and ftrictly speaking, neither This, nor any other of the Dispensations of Providence, can possibly be in vain. For some Effect they will of Necessity have, even with regard to Us. But, if they do not answer the good Purposes, for which they were design’d, better were it for Us, that we had never received them at all. The lengthening out our Days, if we do not amend our Manners, is but the ministring fresh and larger Opportunities of adding yet more, to our Sins here, and to our Torments hereafter. And happier had it been, to have been swept away with a swift Destruction,than to be deliver'd from our Fears, and live such a Life afterwards as is certain to render us more miserable in the End. Foreve. ry Mercy,every Escape,must be accounted for ; and these
which are entertained unthankfully, will at length prove Curses, instead of Blessings, to us. It will therefore become thee, my Soul, very seriously to consider, wherein true Thankfulness consists, and what are the Instances, by which it must be express’d.
III. When Men do any signal Acts of Kindness to each other, the Receiver esteems himself oblig'd to pay them back again, in some Service or Benefit as good. This is what Men cannot be excused from, provided fit Opportunities offer, and their Circumstances enable them to do it. But when the Power of doing thus is wanting, we are sensible, that so much as falls short in procuring a Friend's real Advantage, ought to be made up in all becoming Testimonies of Respect. In such a Readiness of Mind as plainly shews, that the Party does not however want the Will and hearty Defire, of returning fuch Favours in kind, and to the full.
Now the fame Rule of Equity must needs hold toward our great Benefactor in Heaven. He is indeed so great, that his All-sufficiency can neither need, nor receive, any Addition. And we are so very Poor and Impotent, that it were the Extremity of Vanity and Madnefs, to imagine our selves capable of adding to him. The utmost We can do is fo to demean our felves, that He, and all the World, may plainly perceive us duly sensible of his Bounty. Now this can be demonstrated only by our conftant and zealous Care, to please and honour him, by taking delight in the Obedience he hath enjoined us, and testifying, by our Practice, that we esteem the Service of fo liberal a Master, our most reasonable Duty, and perfect Freedom. Altho'therefore our Lips ought to set forth the Praises of the Lord, and his Kindness should ever be in our Mouths ; Yet are those Praises never fet forth effectually, yet is that Kindness never acknowledged as it ought, except our Lives and every Action publish it. The Professions of