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to the great Physician of Body and Soul. It is he alone that can uphold and comfort your diseased Body, or troubled Mind; it is he alone can relieve you; to him therefore, do you apply for Relief. Receive
with all due Submission and Thankfulness, whatever comes from his Hand; and believe that to be best for you, which infinite Wisdom allots.
When a Distemper first seizeth you, no Time is to be lost; Make your Will, to prevent Contention; pay your Debts; make Restitution of Goods unlaw fully gotten, and reconcile yourself to all that you may have offended. If you have hitherto neglected making your Will, it is fit it should be done immediately. Wise Men settle all their Affairs in their Health. You must not injure Wife or Children or Relations; nor defraud your Creditors; for if your last Act be unjust, you never can repent of it; and then what a fearful Doom is to be expected! If you have been charitable in your Life-time, the Remembrance of what, in Obedience to Christ, you have bestowed upon the Fatherless and Widows, or in any other useful Charity, will be of Comfort to you, Alms given for Christ's Sake, will be had in Remembrance before God, and entail a Blessing on your surviving Family: And now especially are you to shew Mercy, since you desire Mercy of God.
Let this excite your Charity to others that are in Misery: and Distress that the merciful Lord may take Pity upon you.
Send for your Minister, at the Beginning of your Sickness, and open to him the State of your Soul, that he may the better be enabled to acquaint you what Measures must be taken by you, to make your Peace with God. And though a private Friend may advise, and pray, privately for you, and with you, in your Sickness, yet you cannot promise yourself so good Assistance, and so much Comfort from. bis Prayers as your Minister's, because he is the very
Person God has chosen for this Employment. He will advise you for the best, and instruct you what must be done, to set your Soul in Order, and have your Pardon sealed in Heaven, before you go hence and are no more seen. Do this before your Senses are taken from you, and your Disease robs you of your Understanding and Memory. Be not so ignorant and foolish, as the greatest Part of the Coun try People are, who look on the Minister, in the Time of Sickness, as the certain Forerunner of Death. It is the Fault of Thousands, that they put off the great Work of Repentance till the last, and when it is to little or no Purpose, the Minister is called for in a great Hurry, and a few Prayers are said over the Sick; but alas! is not this Death-Bed Repentance, very uncomfortable, and not so certainly available to Salvation? When the wicked Man turns away from his Wickedness which he hath committed, and doth that which is lawful and right, we know assuredly, he shall save his Soul alive. But I have never met with a like Promise to him that has lived wickedly all his Life, and only laments and condemns his Folly, and promises an Amendment when he comes to die. God may, and I charitably hope he will, extend his Pity to all such as are truly convinced, though at the very last, of the Evil of their Doings, and unfeignedly resolve upon a Reformation, so far as he shall enable them for it. But I am not now speaking of what God may do, but what he has told us he will do, and what we may certainly depend upon. Bring forth, therefore, Fruits meet for Repentance, and let every one that nameth the Name of Christ, and pretends to be his Disciple and Servant, depart from all Iniquity. This is the certain and the only Way to please God, and to be for ever happy in the Enjoyment of him. O that Men were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter End,
O MOST blessed and gracious God, who only canst heal the Sick, look down with Pity on me, thy most unworthy Creature, who am but sinful Dust and Ashes. I most humbly beseech thee, for Jesus Christ his Sake, to accept of my unfeigned Sorrow for all my Sins past. Enter not into Judgment with thy Servant, O Lord, for in thy Sight shall no Man living be justified. Be pleased in Mercy to grant me a longer Continuance in this World, that I may have more Time to work out my Salvation, and do more Good in the World, than, I sorrowfully own and lament, I have hitherto done. Or, if this Sickness shall be a Sickness unto Death, give me a great and godly Sorrow for all the Offences of my Life past, and Patience, that I may quietly, meekly, and humbly, resign myself to thy good Will and Pleasure; that, when I depart out of this Valley of Tears, I may be received, through my dear Redeemer's Merits, into thine everlasting Kingdom, and rejoice with thy Saints for ever and ever. Amen.
Though you call in the Physician, yet you must be sure to look up to God for his Blessing. N
Medicines can heal our Sickness, if God does not give them Success. However we are to call in Assistance; for, says the wise Son of Sirach, Ecclus. xxxviii. 12. Give place to the Physician (and take his Advice) for the Lord hath created him.
When you take Physic.
O THOU great Physician of Souls, who hast appointed Means for the Recovery of our Health, give a Blessing to the Remedies now used, that my Pains may be eased, and my Health restored that if it be thy blessed Will, I may not die, but live, and declare the Works of the Lord. And grant I may never forget the Vows I now make unto thee of better Obedience, but that, as my Days are lengthened, I may daily increase in thy Holy Spirit more and more: That I may never cease to adore thee, my God, while I have my Being; which I beg for the Sake of my dear Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Amen.
If you recover your Health.
O LORD, thou Preserver of Health, who mightest justly have snatched me out of this World, in a sudden and terrible Manner, but hast in Mercy spared me, while many have been surprised in the midst of their Sins, and hurried
everlasting Misery; O give me a large Portion of thy Grace, that with joyful Lips I may acknowledge thy Lovingkindness, and glorify thy Goodness all the Remainder of my Life, through Jesus Christ my Saviour. Amen.
If Sickness has awakened you to consider your Danger, let your great Deliverer have your Thanks and Praise Thou wert hastening to the Regions of the Dead; but the Lord stood by thee, and saved thee. Take Care that his Grace be not bestowed in vain. If you do not amend your Doings, the more aggravated will be your Sins here, and your Torments more intolerable hereafter: Every Mercy, every Escape, must be accounted for: and that which is received unthankfully, will at last prove a Curse, and not a Blessing. Let then the Kindnesses of the Lord be ever in your Mouth: Order your Conversation aright, and live to him who hath done so great Things for you. Be not like hardened Wretches, who, as soon as their Health is restored, return to their old Vices. Think on the Vows you made when you was in Trouble, and let the Remainder of that Life, which God hath so wonderfully, and altogether without your Deservings, continued to you, be spent in God's Service.
If your Sickness increases, and there are small Hopes of your Recovery.
O GOD, who art infinite in Power, Compassion and Goodness, look down from Heaven upon me a miserable Sinner, here lying under thy Hand in great Weak