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jJie animation of which must arouse, warm, and invigorate the most lethargic. Let not those who are well omit this friendly aid: or the sick neglect to obey the injunction of the church, and not only Send for the priest, but fend et,rly *, that the longer time and greater opportunity may be afforded, both by the frequency of his visits, and the inter* mediate improvement and application of his ghojlly counsel and advice.
The office of the good archbishop Laud, begins with .an examination which agrees in its order with that recommended by our church, and the excellency of which will sufficiently appear on an attentive perusal of it. It is ample, excellent, minute, practical, charitable! equally applying and enforcing the objects offaith and works; and strikingly contrasting the two covenants, or what is called the terrors of the Law, and the mercies of the Gospel ; by enforcing our claims and thankfulness in their respective applications of them.
The prayers and meditations which follow, breathe the fame spirit of piety, which as we have remarked, ever distinguish the devotions of this good prelate. In the preparatory meditations for death, the fame excellency, humility, and fervour appear—calling upon the depth of God's mercies, by the depth of his own sins; and professing his readiness to wait for the appointed time of God, arduous and difficult as his trials were, even such as to make him wish he could be hidden in the grave, and kept secret, until God's wrath was past; that wrath by which our church was at that time troubled and punished by unparalleled calamities both from within and without A
To the Trinity, he never fails to pay his unfeigned adoration—highly necessary and important as it was then—(nor less so Now and with apostolic charity, entreating to be spared, if not for himself, yet for God's name in him—that he might not be disappointed of his hope—bearing correction patiently, because God had done it—wherefore, (he adds, in a strain of elevated and pious eloquence) not for My Jake,
* Let the ministers of religion be sent to, says Bishop Taylor, pot only against the agony of death, but be advised with in, the whole conduct of the sickness. Holy Dying. C. 5. Sect. 2. p. 187.
+ See p. 258 of the Daily Office, quoted in our number for Dec. *806, p. 4W.
but for THINE; for the fake of Thy glory and truth; th\y many great and manifold merciessake, for the sake of fefus
.Christ, and of the Holy Ghojl, receive Me, that am return
. ing to myself, and unto Thee. Amen.
He then concludes with a short penitentiary; brief, but excellent, applicable, and striking; ending with a prayer From St. Augustine, that he may have grace not to Fear dying, but.be prepared To Die: and that the Lord Jesus may have mercy on his foul, whenjhe takes her flight, and bring her unto life eternal. Amen. The Absolution finishes and completes his service.
On the subject of examination much has been written and said; and most of it as improperly as respecting the Holy Communion * of which it forms a part. Archbishop Seeker's advice hereon is excellent "Self-examination is a constant duty, especially when we have the most need to know and amend our condition; the chief is, to compare our actions, words, and thoughts, as well as we are able, with <he rule of our duty, conscientiously and coolly; neither accusing ourselves of what we have not done amiss, nor suppressing what we have: neither disturbing our peace with infirmities, nor disguising as such, wilful sins: remembering that God is merciful and good, yet also jujf. and holy. Repentance implies disapprobation and sorrow, without which inward change, outward sorrow is nothing; but whether it is vehement, or silent, is of small moment, if real and deep. It is an useless nicety to disquiet themselves about the proportion or mixture of their sins, if the proper effect is produced. Concern for frailties making ut humble and watchful; and penitence for wilful sins that we forsake, will he accepted." See his Sermons on Sickness, or Dr. Stevens edition of them, entitled The Duties of the Sick, in a tract, p. 38. 40. But in the general, so much depends upon the peculiar nature and circumstances of the cafe, thejudgment that is formed of it by the officiating clergyman, his knowledge of characters, and application of judgment between God and the penitent in the execution of his commission, that it is difficult to give any specific rule, that must ;not at last depend upon himself for its application. The learned Ostekvald observes (in his very valuable work on the ministry) that " visiting the sick is one of the most important functions of the ministry, as it is performed at a
* See a useful form in the New Week's Preparation.
time, when men are ready to leave the world, and that time determines their fate to all eternity. It is particularly so with rcfpeS to Ministers; it is the last care they hare to take for sinners, and God will require their blood at the hands of him who has suffered them to perish." He adds, "This function is also one of those which is very Ill discharged, the generality of ministers use no preparation for ft, notwithstanding it is no less difficult than important."'* One Cannot but wish therefore, as the excellent bishop Wilson expresses it, "that such as have the care of fouls, would think in good earnest how to improve such momentous occasions to the best advantage." t
This importance therefore enforces the greater need to execute it well; not only with respect to the sick persons, but those around them. How much good may be done to them! what an opportunity is thus afforded to a zealous, good, and sensible man to improve! of how much benefit may it be the happy cause! Should the invalid recover, the clergyman has a door of communication opened to him ever after, as his spiritual guide and earthly friend, as many have happily realised, and owned with jov. Should he not, how thankfully may he reflect upon having improved the opportunity thus afforded him, of doing good to those, who were "out of his reach" before. Yet, to caut on, to counsel, to reprove, to exhort, to solace, to attemper every feeling, and every infirmity, how great the skill that is requisite, how arduous the preparation to perform it well! Every assistance sffbuld be, and indeed is, sought with avidity, and received with gratitude |, And when we consider how
* Ostervald's Lect. on the Sacred Ministry, Lect. 14. Sec, 2. a work of sueh practical utility and excellency, that no clergyman should want it.
+ Parochialia, p. 147.
\ See The Clergyman's Companion in Visiting the Sick, which contains a very useful selection from our best divines. Spinckes% Sick Man Visited, an excellent body of instructions divided into visits. Dr. Coney's Companion for a Sick Bed. All the doo tor's works are excellent. See his Devout Soul, 1 Part, B. 5, C. -6, p. 241. Bishop Taylor's Holy Dying. C. 5. of The Visitation of the Sick, p. 185, and that admirable little manual, and. excellent companion, Bishop Wilson's Parochialia of Visiting the Sick, p. 147. including an excellent form of examination, plain, practical, and effective. TJtese works afford abundance of information, both
much advantage is taken of this by the designing sectary, a proportionately greater degree of skill and caution is required of our clergy. For at these times, when the heart is tender, and the mind pliant, and the will obedient, the ignorant are easily imposed upon and deceived into fatal and lading errors: and it is found by experience that the less the fense, and the greater the former depravity of the " sick man visited," the more precipitately does he run into the opposite extreme, and if he dies, dies frequently in gross delusion, or if he lives, continues to live the dupe of artifice, of ignorance, of enthusiasm, and schism. These calls of our venerable mother are surely loud enough to be heard, and to enforce attention and obedience from her sons, or must a voice of thunder be substituted, from that great head of the Church, who imperiously commands his ministers to be JbJiant, both in season ana out of season; that Every OpporTUNiTY may be as Zealously improved by Them, as it must be accounted for to HIM!!! And as it is the duty of the Clergy to quit them like men on all these occasions, as the ambajfadors of Ckrtji, and ministers of God, ever Seeking Out such means of doing good; so are the Laity bound to obey the injunctions of the church, and as the rubric directs them, "give notice" of their sickness, and that not to any person they please, but to the regularly ordained and appointed " mini/ter of theparijk," in which they live,* and "this should be done at the beginning of the illness, that they may have the more time, and that the increase of the illness may not prevent their receiving the advantage of it, by making them insensible, from pain or any other cause. A death-bed repentance has no certainty, be
for the clergy and the laity, which latter will find much assistance from Stonehouse's Advice to a Patient, price 3d; and Stanhope's Meditations for Sick Persons, price 2d; very plain and useful tracts, sold by Messrs. Rivinglons, (both dispersed by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and the Endeavour Society.) See also the Offices for the Sick, very properly added to almost every manual of devotion, especially Spinckes's Church of England's Man's Companion in the Closet. Dodd's Comfort for the Afflicted will be found a very useful book, as containing much instruction and consolation under the various calamities that may befal either the mind, body, or estate, under which 3 heads they are arranged.
* See Rubrick to the office for visitation of the sick in the common prayer,
causecause it fcasDo fouaiaion. There is nofrfff of fiacernr, bra RtfOEUATios. Health is the t:me to (hew these fruks, and noi a death-bed."* Remeraber then the advice of archbishop i>ecker, *• all we can certainly determine is, that such rtpertince as they are capable of, united with Christian Faith, is the best and only thing to which they can have recourse. Right behaviour will certainly make their cafe, in some degree, better: and wrong behaviour then, when even* thing conspires to remind them of what they ought tohave rememlyercdjooner, must make it unspeakable worse. Their duty therefore is clear. Frightening themselves beyond the capacity of thinking and acting reasonably, must do harm." + But as they may be taken off by sudden death, they ihould recollect, that those who neglect God in health, have the least reason to expect his mercies at the time or in the man* ner of their death. They must therefore use all proper and lawful means for the recovery of their health, in the way of medicine, &c. be thankful for them, pray for a blessing upon them, and leave the event to God J, as they may do, with the most perfect confidence, when they thus use every means that is required of them,both fortheir bodies and souls.§ "Let them desire the prayers of the church,and stiew a good example to those about them, and be kind, and thankful to them:" that in all things behaving themselves as sincere Christians, they may be prepared for any event that may befall them, and that whether living or dying (key may be the Lord's, Should they die, they will enter into his joy; ssiould 'hey live, they will praise his name, by whom they have escaped death: and rejoice in the opportunity of proving the sincerity of their repentance, and the vows they made when they were in trouble. Let them, read and practise bishop Gibson's Advice to
* The Duties of Health and Sickness plainly and shortly stated; 3rd edit. p. 13. printed by the Endeavour Society, price 5}d; Sold by Messrs. Rivingtons, St. Paul's Church-yard, aud Hatchard, Piccadilly. .
f The Rev. Dr. Stevens's Duties of the Sick, from archbishop Seeker, p. 42, a very useful tract just printed, by Messrs. Rivingtons. See also his Grace's Sermons on this subject in his works.
% Duties of Health and Sickness, as before, p. 14.
§ The late Dr, Gregory of Edinburgh, very pertinently observed, there was no impropriety in seeing the Clergyman and Physician attend the same person. See his elegant Lectures on the Duties of a Physician,
Vol. XIII. Churchtiu Mag. for August 1807.