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better discharging of his Conscience, and the Quiet-
Q. What is still farther necessary to make us
A. To wean our Affections from the Things of this World; for our Sorrow and Concern to part with them will bear a Proportion to the Love and Efteem wherewith we have enjoyed them; and to be separated from Objects, upon which we have fixed our Hearts, must be attended with great Uneasiness. We should therefore accustom ourselves to resign freely to God, what Death will snatch from us by Force; and gently to untie those Knots which fasten us to the World, that we may have less Pain when they are entirely broken. The Practice whereof consists in being less concerned for the Things of the Body, and all bodily Enjoyments; to expect, with Resignation to the Will of God, the Success of our Temporal Affairs; to suppress all ambitious and covetous Defires; to retrench sometimes the Use of lawful Pleasures; to abound in Works of Charity; to be ready to part with what we love most, when God thinks fit, and to bear all Losses and Afictions without murmuring. That with St. Paul we may be able to say we die daily; not only because, Cor. 15. the Time of our Death is every Moment ap- 31. proaching, but also because we find daily less Fondness of Life, less Earnestness for Trifles, less Desire for Glory, less Eagerness for Profit, and less Concern for whatever the World most esteems.
Q. What farther Care bould we exercije atout Preparation for Death ?
Ā. We should use great Circumspection about the Spending our Time, which is the precious Talent entrusted to us by God to fit and prepare our Souls for a happy Eternity; and ought not to be consumed in impertinent Visits, nor to be squandered in vain Diversions, nor to be loitered away in unaccountable Sloth, as if Mirth and doing nothing were the Business of Life. Wherefore, if we are settled in a Calling, let us manage it with Justice and Diligence, always remembring we have a Christian Calling of greater Importance; if we are not engaged in the World, let us chuse such Circumstances as we shall most approve in a dying Hour; if we have great Estates and the Advantages of Power and Understanding, let us look upon ourselves as under greater Obligations to spend our Time well; because in such Circumitances there is greater Capacity and Leisure to attend the Good of others, as well as the Salvation of our own Souls. In order to this, we should frequently reflect upon the great Business we have to do in this world, and the uncertain Time that is allotted to the Performance of it; fo that if we neglect what is in our Hands, we may never be trusted with another Opportunity; and let our Zeal be never fo great, when we come to die, we shall wish we had done more.
Q. What will give us particular Comfort upon e Death-bed?
4. Works of Mercy and Charity; because such Actions are the best Proof of our Sincerity in Religion, and are an Evidence that we can part with what is generally esteemed deareft in
this world for the Sake of that God whom we worship. Shewing Mercy to the Poor, perfects our Repentance, and entitles us to the Mercy of God, when we shall stand most in need of it. The Scrutiny at the Day of Judg-Mat. 25. ment will be, Whether we have fed the Hun-35,&c. gry, clothed the Naked, relieved the Stranger, and ministred to the Sick, and those that are in Prison; and what we in this kind do to the poor Members of Christ, is reckoned as done to himself.
Q. Wherein consists our immediate Preparation for Death?
A. In bearing our Sickness, that precedes it, with a true Christian Frame and Temper of Mind; with great Pacience under our Sufferings, and Resignation of Mind to the Will of God, with a firm Trust and Dependance upon his infinite Wisdom and Goodness, and with thankful Acknowledgments of those Mercies with which he allays the Sorrows of our Distemper, and lightens the Burden we labour under. Which Acts of our Mind should be frequently expressed in our Addresses to God, whose Grace and Amiftance we should constantly implore to enable us, in this Time of Tryal, to discharge the Duty of good Christians.
Q. Wherein consists the Exercise of Patience upon a Sick-bed?
A. In carefully restraining all Murmurings against God, or any Discontent, by Reason of what he lays upon us. In watching against all the Temptations to Anger, as the Mistakes and Inadvertencies of our Attendants, the unfeasonable Kindness of our Friends, the Disagreeableness of our Medicines, and the Preparation of
our Food. In curbing anxious Fears of worse that may happen: And in being content to wait God's Time for our Deliverance.
Q. Wherein consists the Exercise of Trust in God upon a Sick-bed?
A. In quieting our Minds under the Apprehension of future Evils, by considering that we are in the Hands of a good God, who will lay no more upon us than we are able to bear; and who will in his due Time either remove what affiets us, or give us Strength to endure it in such a Manner that it may contribute to the Improvement of our Virtue, and the Increase of our Happiness. And that, however destitute we leave our nearest Relations, as Wife and Children, yet that they are under the Protection of his Providence, whose Blessing is the richest Portion, and without which the best human Provision is no Security.
Q. Wherein consists the Exercise of Resignation upon a Sick-bed?
A. In resting fully assured that what God chufes for us is much better than what we could wilh for ourselves. In embracing our Sickness and our Pains as Correctives of our past Follies, and as proper Methods for our Growth in Grace. In being contented to refer the Continuance and Event of our Sickness to God's good. Pleasure, because his infinite Wisdom knows the best Seafon for our Deliverance : and as he first put us into this World, fo he is fittest to judge when we should go out of it.
Q. How may we exercise Thankfulness upon a Sick-bed?
A. By acknowledging that we suffer less than we deserve, and that our Sufferings are needful
to recover us to a right Mind, being designed by God to do us that Good, and to bring us to that Sense of him and ourselves, which perhaps nothing else would have done. By owning those frequent Allays God gives to our Sorrows, and those great Helps and Supports we receive under them, from the Advantage of our Friends good Attendance, fitting Medicines, and all other Conveniencies of Life. For in the worst Condition, if we turn our Prospect upon the best Part of it, we shall find Reason to own God's Mercy; and in the best Estate, if we always dwell upon what is grievous, we shall be too apt to make Complaints.
Q. How ought we to exercise our Devotion on a Sick-bed?
A. By desiring the Alistance of a spiritual Guide, to offer up our Prayers and to support our Weakness with the most comfortable Viaticum of the blessed Sacrament. By spiritualising all the Accidents of our Sickness, making them a Rise for pious and devout Thoughts, which may be sent up in frequent Ejaculations to God, who alone can be our Comfort under all our Distress. By imploring his Blessing upon all the Means we use for our Recovery, and by offering to him all the Pains we endure, as what we are more willing to suffer than to offend him.
Q. Wherein consists the Happiness of the Death of the Righteous ?
A. Not in any Freedom from painful and noiSome Diseases ; nor in any Exemption from sudden and unforeseen Accidents and Dangers, which often bring the Righteous as well as the Wicked to their Graves. For we see Lazarus, for whom