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though I should have no other help nor assistance in the world; though no more strength remains in my body, I would not fear; for, “ O God, thy staff and thy rod will comfort me,” Ps. xxii. God will not only draw near to thy sick-bed; but he will embrace and receive thee in his protection, he will kiss thee with the kisses of his mouth, and make thee taste of the sweetness of bis divine comfort, Cant. i. He will cherish thee as a mother doth her child to pacify it, and make thee so sensible of his love, that thou mayest say with the spouse, “His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.” With his gracious hand he will wipe off that cold sweat, and into his bosom he will receive thy sighs and thy groans; and thy tears he will gather up into his most precious bottles. And as when drops of blood fell from him, the holy angels appeared to comfort him, Luke xxii. so in thy greatest and most difficult encounters, when thou shalt be at handy-blows with Death itself, his faithful ministers, his messengers, the angels of his right hand, shall visit thee, to supply thee with spiritual comfort, 2 Cor. V. Rev. v. And when these earthly comforters shall fail, he shall send to thee some of these powerful spirits that wait before his glorious throne, Dan. vii. O good God, if we could but perceive the things that are of themselves invisible, and if thou didst but give us eyes like to those of the holy prophet, we should perceive legions of immortal spirits flying about in the houses of sorrow, with an intent to assist the christian soul, Isa. vi. 2 Kings vi. Finally, as the sun, with the light and the strength of its beams, drives away the thickest clouds, and comforts with its delightful countenance the face of the earth ; so Jesus Christ, the Sun of Righteous, ness, who carries healing under his wings, banisheth all sadness with the light of his divine grace, Mal. iii. and with the presence of his holy Spirit expels away the most sensible griefs, and fills us with unspeakable joy, and with the peace of God, which passeth all understanding:
A PRAYER and MEDITATION for a sick Person, who desires
to prepare for Death.
ALMIGHTY and gracious God! the Author of light
and darkness, and the wise Disposer of good and evil, I acknowledge and adore thy hand, that thou hast laid me upon this sick-bed, to punish me for my sins. I cannot complain of thy justice, but rather I reverence thy wisdom and goodness; for I have deserved a severer treatment at thine hands, having abused thy mercies, and misemployed my health and strength in pursuing after worldly vanitiesand carnal pleasures more earnestly than after thy glory, or mine own salvation ; for which neglect I am heartily sorry, and repent, and could willingly water this couch with my tears. O my God! that knowest that this my grief proceeds from a sincere displeasure for having offended so gracious a Lord, who now in this correction discoverest to me thy tender compassion, in that thou rebukest me not in thy wrath ; I take this distemper of body as a testimony of thy paternal love and care, since this is thine ordinary method of dealing with thy dearest children. Idoubt not butit will provetomine eternal advantage, in regard thou hast promised that “all things shall work together for good to them that love thee.” I am willing to suffer these pains and aches, so that they may advance thy glory and my salvation. I refer myself to thy wise disposal; thou knowest what is most expedient for me, and I am sensible of thy power to restore me to life, and rescue me out of the grave. Thy blessing alone is able to give a healing virtue to all these potions, medicines, and receipts administered to me ; but if it be thy pleasure to continue this disease, continue to me, I beseech thee, O my Redeemer! the inward comforts and assistance of thine holy Spirit. Increase my patience, faith, and humility, that I may submit to thy sacred will. Remove from me all the grief and displeasure that renders me uneasy,
and fill my soul with thy peace, joy, and love; that now be. ing separated from the society of men, I may lift up my heart and mind unto thee, my God; and withdraw them from these lower vanities. Grant that I may employ these few moments that thou affordest me, to prepare for my departure, to take a review of my former sinful life, to beg pardon, and repent, and to trust upon thine eternal mercy by alively faith, that I may lay hold on thy salvation, and be able to say with David, “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips, when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watch.” My sickness seems tedious, but my sins have contie nued longer; and all this bodily pain and grief is nothing in comparison of the happiness that I expect in heaven. For what are those momentary sufferings in respect of the everlasting joys? Grant, I beseech thee, that this distemper of my body may turn to the health and safety of my soul, and may oblige me to consecrate the residue of my life to thy service, and to thy glory; that I may be weaned from the world, and resign myself into thine hands; that Christ may be gain unto me both in life and in death. But if it be thy will to put a period to my sorrows and sufferings by death, here I am, O God! ready to obey thy motion and will, without the least resistance or displeasure ; for my troublesome abode, undermined by sickness, causeth me to wish for my departure. My soul is willing to forsake this infirm body; for thou hast prepared for it a more lasting and a glorious dwelling above. This couch, where I am now stretched, minds me of the cold grave where I must shortly rest; and this death, that draws nearer and nearer to me, will free me from this chain of misery, put an end to all my grievances, and
lead me out of this rotten lodge, to introduce me into the • glorious palace of immortality, where thy divine Majesty
dwells, and where I shall for ever glorify thee in the company of the holy angels, and sanctified souls. Amen.
4 PRAYER and MEDITATION for a sick Person tormented with
FATHER of mercies, and God of all comforts! look
with an eye of pity upon my dreadful and sharp sufferings. Thou piercest me through with thine arrows, and fillest my soul with bitterness; thy wrath is kindled against me, and thou increasest my sorrows and pains, both by night and by day. Sure my sins must be extraordinary and heinous, since they have provoked thee to deal so severely with me, who art mercy itself, and not willing to afflict the sons of men. O my God, consider my weakness and frailty, and let not thine almighty power and the fierceness of thy wrath be displayed against such an infirm creature as I am, a worm of the carth, dust and ashes ; nothing in comparison of thee, O infinite Being! Remember that I am related to thee in thy blessed Son, and am thine adopted child; vouchsafe me therefore thy favourable assistance, to put an end to my sorrows and sufferings, that are so excessive and extraordinary, that I could willingly speak as Jonas, “ Death is better to me than life:" for I am withered like parched ground in summer, and a violent heat consumes and tortures me. O when wilt thou, my God, who hast redeemed me from the torments of hell, rescue me out of these violent and bodily pains? I will give a check to these indecent groanings and complaints, that become not such a sinful creature as I am. Thou art in this most just and righteous; but I must cover my face with shame and confusion : for, were thy punishments far more grievous, were I cast into everlasting flames, I could have no cause to complain of thy severity, by reason of my sinful life. O my God! my sufferings are great, but nut to be compared with my Saviour's, when the cold sweat and drops of blood fell down from his precious body. My grief is violent, but not to be paralleled with the glory that thou
hast hast promised to thy chosen servants. O'merciful Saviour ! thine heavy hand shall never hinder me from trusting and hoping in chee. I am persuaded, that this severe dealing is designed for my good and salvation; and, in thine own time, thou wilt take away from me this bitter cup, that I may not drink up the dregs: nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done. With this affliction, grant me grace and strength to bear it patiently, and let thy punishment be proportion able to my weakness; and grant me an happy end and issue, that neither death, nor life, nor pain, nor torment, may ever separate me from thy love, or pluck me out of thine hand. My good God! forsake me not in my distress, but comfort and assist me, and put an end to this bitter afflic. tion. I am fainting, and my soul is weary within me: vouchsafe to me thy divine consolations, the cordials of thy holy Spirit. My friends and kindred grieve and weep for mine affliction, but can give me no assistance. Thou only art my hope, thine hand alone can relieve and deliver me from my excessive grief and sufferings. Quench these violent pains that consume me, and remove me out of the reach of misery. I cannot but long for death, that will put a period to my torments, release me from mine, affiliation, and wipe away all tears from mine eyes. O my God! when shall my crying and groans be changed into songs of praise and thanksgivings? When shall I be admitted to the society of the blessed, who are escaped out of all tribulations, and have washed their garments in the blood of the Lamb ? Draw me, and I shall run after thee, and glorify thee for ever in thine heavenly temple. Amen.