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Of the visitation of the Sick. It is the Pastor's 7 The office of a true and faithful Pastor not duty to give spe; I only demands that he publicly instruct the cial atiention & symp'thy lo each
flock over which he is placed, but al:30 as far member of his as pissible privately admonish, reprove and dock. Acis: 20: comfort each one in particular. 20.
But man is never more in need of divine instruction and comfori, than when suffering under an afflictive dispensation, when visited by calamity and sickness, and especially when overtaken by the sorrows of death.
For under such amictions, a man's conneeii special al science is more apt to be disquiered than at tention.
any other time, inasmuch as he feels himself as it were summoned to judgment of God. And moreover the issaults of Suran are more violent at such rimes, who hopes utterly to crush the poor, sick, and troubled heart, and finally precipitate the soul into the dark abyss of despur.
2. Why Pastors owe? Wherefore as Ministers are the servants such faithfulness to of God, and God is pleased, along with the sick. Ps.6: 10; } viher glorious names, to reveal Himself Jer. 57: 16.
J especaly under this, that He is the refuge of the distressed, und saveil those that are of a broken and contrile heart," it is the duty of all Ministers 10 console distressed hearis, wish all symphy, faithfulness and diligence, and direct them, iccoruing to the gospel, omo Jesus Christ, who promiseth to help them in those exceedingly precious words: “Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." --Mauh. xi: 23.
To what the Pastor In visiting a sick person, the Minister shall have special i must primarily pay allention to the particuregard in the crim
lar sale of his mind, and ascertain what his menceinent of his visits to the sick.
i gries and distress may be; whether he is
J merely concerned about his bodily sullerings or the fear of dea:h, or wheiber he is more particularly iroubled on account of his sins and iheir penaliy, or is oherwise temp:ed. When this has been duly ascertained, he shall impart suitable instruction and comfort wisely and prudenily adapting the medicine to his sickness, condition, and perp.exiiy, and iaking care 10 say neither 100 lille nor 100 much.
But inasınuch as all the sick are not afflicted with the same anxiety and distress, and therefore no such form of instruction and confort can be prescribed as would be suitable for all cases;
the following points may nevertheless (according to circumstan-
Truths to be impress- First : That our sicknesses do not come
upon us accidentally, but from the hand Cause of all sickness.) of God, in His paternal providence, so that we may be brought to feel our sins as the cause of all our misery and wo, humble ourselves before God, and implore His grace and help. Wherefore she minister must see well to it, that the sick acknowledge and feel their sins, and heartily deplore and repent of them. Should this not be the case, be must faithfully hold up the law of God, and so set their sins before their eyes, in order ihat they may know and feel the merited wrath of God against sin, and awake to a desire for mercy. For without such knowledge and conviction they will not be suscep. tible of true and solid comfort.
The grace of God But as soon as the sick give evidence of for the pardon of such grief of heart, they shall not be further sin.
alarmed, but encouraged with the promises of the gospel. And thus in the second place, he shall proclaim unto them the grace of God in Jesus Christ, promised in the gospel to all penitent and believing sinners.' John ji: 16; Maith. xi: 28; Ezek. xxxiii: 11; Rom. viii: 1, 31-34, 38, 39, &c.; 1 Tim. i: 15; John i: 7, 9; Is. lii: 4, 5.
And such comfort can be very appropriately derived from the first question of the Catechism, and impressed by the scriptures there quoted, or others of like import; as for instance that iheir sick and afflicted body, as confineil 10 the bed of disease, togeiher with the weary and distressed spirit, belong unto the Lord Jesus Christ, are redeemed by His precious blood from sin, and all the power of the devil, and will be preserved unto eternal life. In the saine manner the articles of our christian faith may be explained, the minister showing from the word of God, how each one, especially the last four, afford consolation to the sick and afflicted.
Exhortation to In the third place, the minister shall present
patience. S good reasons drawn from the word of God, why the sick should resign themselves wholly to the will of God, co that should it please their allwise and faithful Father in heaven, to call them away in their sickness from this vale of tears, they may cheerfully renounce their weary and wasting life, and everything earthly, and prepare themselves for an elernal and blesscd life above; not permitting wife or children, or friends, or pleasures or riches, or whatever else the world may possess, that is counted desirable, to distress them. Especially since there is
no comparison between those things which we leave behind, and those awaiting us in heaven. Our wives and children will be well provided for by the Lord, who is the Father of the widow and orphan. Our kind and dear friends, whom we leave, will soon follow us to our eternal home. Temporal possessions are perishing, and could not long comfort us. Whilst i here we shall find fulness of joy, and at God's right hand pleasures for evermore. Phil. i: 23; Math. x: 37; 1 Cor. vii : 29, 30, 31 ; Philip. ii: 8, 9; Ps. 68: 6; 46: 9; 2 Sam. xii : 23; Ps. 49 : 18; xvi: 11; 1 Cor. ji: 9.
It may be proper also sometimes, when the sick are visited for the first time, to address them with the following exhortation, or something similar thereto:
Beloved Friend, since our heavenly Father hath visited you with bodily infirmity, it becomes you to receive this fatherly chastisement of the Almighty with patience, casting yourself upon His own good and gracious pleasure, in full assurance, that all things shall work together for good to them that love God. And that you may properly do this, consider diligently the following points set forth in the word of God. First, that all bodily afflictions are sent upon men by the Lord, on accoant of sin. For death came by sin, together with all the miseries belonging to the kingdom of death ; so that had sin not entered the world, neither death nor disease would ever have afflicted mankind. But since we are brought under sin by the fall of our first parents Adam and Eve, through the instigation of the Devil, we are also subject to the punishment threatened against sin by God, which is death, and all the infirmities, sicknesses, misery and wo, that lead to death. Christ redeems
On the other hand however, that we may from sin and not despair in our sins, and sicknesses, and tempdeath.
tations, nor perish in the fear and anguish of death, you must consider that God, of His great compassion and mercy, appointed and gave His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, to be our Mediator, Redeemer, and Saviour. He assumed our nature, and offered Himself in the same for the satisfaction of our sins, all which were heaped upon Himn by our Heavenly Father, as we are assured in His blessed Gospel. And now all are commanded to repent, believe and trust, ihat for the sake of this satisfaction and atonement of Jesus Christ His Son, He is willing again to become our reconciled Father forever, to forgive all our sins, as though we never had committed any, and to grant unto us the Holy Ghost, by whom we may be renewed in the image of God, unio eternal life. And further we are to be assured, that He will raise up our bodies in the last day by His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, re unire then with the soul, and inake them like unto His own most glorious body, and admit us, as His own redeemed people, lo che heavenly inheritance, to joys which no eye hall seen, no ear heari, ind i10 heitri conceived; ull which is also confirmed and sealed unto iis by ilic right use of the holy sacramenis.
Assurance i he For as ccita'nly as we and our children are pardon of sin by Ybap:ized wib w.lier, by which bod ly detilebaptism.
ments are removed so ceriajuly are we also washed, cleansed and sanctified by ile blood and Spriuf Christ, from our inward impurities. That is, (iod baz, for the sake of the shedding of Christ's blocd, pardoned all our sins, and sanctifies is by His Holy Spirit unio eternal life.
By the holy And as certainly is we see, in the Holy Sosper,
supper. Š that the breid or ihe Lord is broken, and the cup extended to us, and we eat and drink of the bread and wine in remembrance of Ilim, so cerainly is also the body of our Lord Jesus Christ ofiered and broken and His blood shed on thie cross for IIS, and thus become the tre munil, whe
pioper meal and drink for our souls unto ciernal life
We are therefore to feel asured, by the promised grace of God, offered to 113 in the gospel and in the holy sacraments, that no sins are so great and grievons, i810 exclude us from the mercy of God in Jesus Christ; and thus we my comfort vlirselves with true faith in the merits of His sufferings and death, and embrace the same wiih bearly contidenre.
In the third place, we must surrender our will entirely to that of our gracious and crernally righteous Father, not being terrified or alarmeil ist death, knowing that the temporal death of believers is only a sleep, and nu daili, yea an end of all the inis ry and wretchedness of this sinu lile, and ile door of enTrance into ciernal life. Neither should our husbands, wives, or children, füher, moher, or friends, or aught that may be dear to us in this world, distress 113, becalise we must be torn from them, and bid them adier, seeing that nothing we forsike here is worthy of comparison wih the felicity we shall find in heaven; and that our heavenly Father who hath hiihierto preserved us, will also be a Father to those whom we leave behind, that He will have compassion on them, and p.ovide for them, as He harh liitherio done for 118.
Wherefore beloved Friend, possess your soul in patience, and cominend yourself, soul and body, unto your faithful heavenly Father, and unto your Saviour Jesus Christ, who hash redeemed you, not doubting but that He will lay nothing upon you beyond your strength, and help you to bear all, and so order ihe issue of your afllicrion, that you shall not only be able to endure 1, but ihat it shall be proviolive of His glory ard your cternal welfare and siivillion. It is your duty also cheerfully to foigive any ibat may have wronged you, even your enemies, and patently await proinised deliverance. And should ii p'case the Lord io raise you up again from your sick ber, and restore you to localıh, it will become you to exercise yourself more diligently than ever in earnest and sincere repentance and in lioliness of life, remem. ing the command of Christ : “ behold thou allt made whole, sin no more lest a worse thing come upon thee."?
And in such as it is the duly ef Pastors 10 visit the sick of their fluek not only once but frequently, and without waiting for special invitation, in order that liese visiis may loi le fruitlees, they should read a chaper cf ilic swred scriptures to them, unless ileir weakness or illness should forbid it. Anong those most appropriate for the comfori of llie of cred are the following: John 10, 14, 15, 16, 17; Luke 15; Rom. 5, :d S; 1st Cor. 15; 2 Cor. 4, 5, Is. 53 ; l's. 22, 23, 25, 27, 12, 51, 91, 103, &c.
Should however ile delilily or sufering of the sick not allow of their listening to an entire chapter or Psılın, brief passages of scrip ure, selected from among llic 11.0:1 consoling may lie slowly repeated and impressed on their mind, such as Nati: is: 2, Be of good cheer, inny son, thy sins are forgiven thee. 1 John 1: 7, The blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God cleanse hvis from
Phil. 1: 21, 23, For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain, &c. Ps. 73: 25, 26, Whoin hve I in heitten but Thce, and ihere is none upon erth, &c. Rom. xiv: 8, For whether we live we live unto the Lord or whether we die, &c. Ps. 37: 6, 7, Commit ihy way unto the Lord, &c. Jub xix: 25, I know that my Releemer live!h, &c. Ps. xXx: 5, For Hisariger endureili but for il moment, &c.
The Pastor shall also unite in prayer with these preseni, wlierever the circumstances will allow if it, using citier the following langage, or some:hing similar therelo:
Prayer with the Sick. Everlasting and most merciful God and Father, in whose hand lieth life and deain, and who dusi so continually preserve us, that without Thy will ol a hair can fall froin our head, and by Whom all things that befal us in this life are made subservi.