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thy to be accepted indeed ; This is the Comfort and Confidence of poor returning Sinners. And, while I can see by Faith the Penalty of Eternal Damnation released, by Virtue of the Blood of this Lamb of God llain to take away the Sins of the World, I will submit with Patience to the Temporal Punishments inflicted by my provoked God; and thankfully accept the Sicknesses and AMictions of this present Life, as so many Warnings and Calls to Repentance.
V. And sure (my Soul) we shall take care to make this good Use of them. For these are the Discipline of the Lord; and if, after all that is come upon me for my evil Deeds, and for my great Trespasses, seeing that thou, my God, haft punished me less than ny Iniqui-, ties deserve ; if I should again break thy
13. be angry, till thou had'st utterly consumed me; and torment me so much the more, for neglecting so great Salvation. I take therefore this Chastisement with all possible Submisfion, and do with unfeigned Sorrow confess my manifold Offences. I implore thy Mercy, who art justly displeased with me; and, since in the midst of Life we are in Death, I cry earnestly to Thee for Succour; and beg, that howsoever thou thinkest fit to dispose of this Corruptible Body, thou would'st look graciously upon me in thy dear Son, and not delia ver my poor Soul into the bitter Pains of Eternal Death; but pity and save me for Christ Jesus his fake. Amen.
Here may be repeated the xxxviii. and li. Psalms.
Or else the Three Prayers at the End of the Commination.
P R A Y ER,
Vifitation of - the Sick.
the Multitude of thy Mercies, doft so put away the Sins of those who truly repent, that thou remembrest them no more ; Grant me, I beseech thee, true Repentance and i by boly Spirit ; and then open thine Eye of Mercy upon my languishing Condition, and give me the Comfort of Pardon and Forgiveness. Renew in me, molt loving Father whatsoever bath been decayed by the Fraud and Malice of the Devil, or by my own carnal Will and Frailness. Preserve and continue me in the Unity of thy Church : guard me by thy Power from all the Afaults of the Tempter, and suffer him not to take Advantage of my Weakness
. Consider, I beseech thee, my Contrition, accept my Tears, hear my own Prayers, and those of others on my Behalf, and afwage ny Pains, as Mall seem to thee most expedient for me. In thy Mercy, O Lord, I put my feeli Truft; in thy Mercy alone, and in the Merits and Safferings of 1ny Crucified Saviour. Impute not, O Lord, 197– to me my former Sins, but strengthen me with thy Blessed Spirit ; and whenever thou art pleased to take me hence, take me unto thy Favour, thro' the Merits of thy dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
the Mind, but that alone of our Sufferings being Just, this should in Reason persuade Meekness, and Patience, and Contentedness under them. For, as
the Prophet urges very well ; Wberefore
the Punishment of his Sin? The Thief upon the Cross,
abundantly more, to quiet our Repining Thoughts, and filence all Complaints; when the Sharpness of an Affiction, or the Sufferings of a Sick Bed, would provoke us to Impatience. Our Sins have been many and great enough to make God our Enemy, and do cry but too loud for the utmost Rigors of his Vengeance; yet are not these Adversities the Wounds and Bruises of an Enemy, but the Chastisements of a Father. One, that smites us indeed, but it is in Righteousness and FriendShip; and only with a Design to reprove and reform
Observe what heavenly Comforts the Apostle hath left behind, and how God himself hath explained -the Nature and Intent of his own Dispen
Hel. xii. sations. My Son, despise not thou the Chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of bim. For whom the Lord loveth be chasteneth, and scourgeth every Sose whom he receiveth. If ye endrre Chaftening, God dealeth with yout, as with Sons ; for what Son is be whom the Father chasteneth not? Furthermore, we have bad Fathers of our Flesh which corrected us, and we gave them Reverence; Mall we slot much rather be in fubjection to the Father of Spirits, and live? For they verily før a few Days chastened us after their own Pleasure, but He for our Profit, that we might be partakers of his Holiness. Now no Chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous ; nevertheless afterwards it yieldeth the peaceable Fruit of Righteousness, unto them that are exgrcised thereby.
II. What now can more illustrate the Wisdom of Providence, than the converting our bitterest Calamities into Occasions of our Virtue and Happiness? And which of all our Calamities is more likely to contribute to our Reformation, than those of Sickness and Pain ? Forthese, by touching our own Persons, are most sensible and grievous to be born; and, by punishing the Body, for the fake and service of which, most, if not all, our Wickednesses are committed, they meet with the very Cause, and go to the Root of the Disease, and so are best fitted to perfect the Cure. Our Physician of Souls is both skilful and kind; he will not give us over out of a cruel Indulgence to our own Eale. Our Father answers his Character, and gives seasonable Correction to prevent our utter Undoing. But in all this there is the Prudence of the Physician mixt with the Tenderness of the Parent. The One would not prescribe the bitter Cup, unless he knew it necessary and best for us ; and, if our Circumstances call for Correction, it is with Gentleness and Reluctancy, with Pain and Yearning of Bowels, that the Other fcourges.
III. Do thou therefore, O my Soul, confider, who chufes for thee, and learn to resign thy felf to his Difpofals; for they are the Appointments of one, who is wifer than thou, and who loves thee better than the gendereft Mother could. Do thou likewise consider, why he chuses thus, and learn to improve under the ferming Harshness of such Dispensations. Take gladly the wholesome Physick, and secure a good Operation to thy self. Have no Desires or Wishes of thy own, but, with a constant Reserve to the good Pleasure of God, think, and be assured, that what he does is best. Best in it felf, and best for thee too, if thy own Fault obstruct it not. Alas! we know not what to pray for as we ought, and should therefore beg nothing positively, but that God would do what he sees moft expedient. Ask therefore, my Soul, that he would
make thee an Instrument of his own Glory; that he would support thee in these Tryals, and not fuller thee to be tempted above that thou art able ; that he would command all things to work together for thy Good; and for the rest, take thy Saviour for thy Pattern, and, as oft as thou prayelt, that the Cup may. pass from thee, be sure forget not to add, from the very Bottom of thy Soul, Neveribeless, O Father, not my Will, but Thine be done.
IV. And, to render the Cupthou art now drinking as little unpalatable as may be, forget not also to suftain thy self, with the Comforts even of thy weakest Condition. Serioufly observe, how gracious the Lord is ; how he hath not only spared, when thou hast deserved Punishment, but in the very midst of his Wrath hath thought upon Mercy. If thy Pains be not perpetual, thank him for thy Intervals of Ease and Refreshment: If they be not acute and extreme, thank him for the Abatement and Moderation of them. If thou canst recruit thy feeble Spirits with Sleep, thank him for closing up thy Eyes, in gentle reviving Slumbers; If he held thy Eyes waking, thank him for the Opportunities of Meditating and Praying to him in the Night season. Yea, thank him especially for continuing to thee thy Understanding and thy Senses; and, that he hath given thee the Power and the Grace to make a good and holy Use of these; that the length of thy Sickness hath been so much a larger Opportunity of Preparing for that important Change, which, not this languishing Body of thine oniy, but also all those thou leaveft behind in full Health, and Beauty, and Vigor, must shortly undergo. If thou endurest much; consider, this is a good Method of weaning thy Affections from the World, and making Thee thirst and pant more earnestly after the lasting Joys of a better place. If the tedious lingring Distemper assault, and almost weary out thy Patience, think how much rather This