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THE VISITATION OF THE SICK.
To be used when the Sick Person desires it.
The Minister may begin with saying,
of others, and that your faith may be found in the day of the Lord, laudable, glorious, and honorable, to the increase of glory and endless felicity; or whether it be sent unto you to correct and amend in you whatsoever doth offend the eyes of your heavenly Father; know you certainly, that if you truly repent of your sins, and bear your sickness patiently, trusting in God's mercy, manifested by his dear Son Jesus Christ, and render unto him humble thanks for his fatherly visitation, submitting yourself wholly unto his will, it shall turn to your profit, and help you forward in the right way that leadeth unto everlasting life.
PEACE be to this house, and to all who dwell in it.
And he may exhort the
DEARLY beloved, know this, that Almighty God is the Lord of life and death, and of all things to them pertaining, as youth, strength, health, age, weakness, and sickness. Wherefore, whatsoever your sickness is, know you certainly, that it is God's visitation. And for what cause soever this sickness is sent unto you; whether it be to try your patience for the example
If he think fit, the Minister may proceed in his Exhortation.
TAKE therefore in good part the chastisement of the Lord; for as St. Paul saith, Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not? Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh, who corrected us, and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. These words, good brother, are written in holy scripture for our comfort and instruction; that we should patiently, and with thanksgiving bear our heavenly Father's correction, whensoever by any maner of adversity it
shall please his gracious goodness to visit us. And there should be no greater comfort to christian persons than to be made like unto Christ, by suffering patiently adversities, troubles, and sicknesses. For he himself went not up to joy, but first he suffered pain; he entered not into his glory before he was crucified. So truly our way to eternal joy is to suffer here with Christ; and our door to enter into eternal life is gladly to die with Christ; that we may rise again from death, and dwell with him in everlasting life.
HEAR further what the scripture saith for the comfort of those who are in sickness and distress.
Then shall be repeated the following Passages of Scripture, or a portion of them.
BEHOLD, happy is the man whom God correcteth; therefore despise not thou the chastening
of the Almighty; for he maketh sore, and bindeth up; he woundeth, and his hands make whole. Job, v. 17, 18.
I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore under the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee; for thy right hand hath upholden me. Psal. lxiii. 6, 7, 8.
God restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the path of righteousness, for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psal. xxiii.
The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto those who wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. Lam. iii. 24, 25, 26.
For the Lord will not cast off for ever; but though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men. Lam. iii. 31, 32, 33.
I am like a broken vessel. But I trusted in thee, O Lord; I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand; make thy face to shine upon thy servant; save me for thy mercy's sake. Psal. xxxi. 12, 14, 15, 16.
I said in my heart, I am cut off from before thine eyes; nevertheless, thou heardest the voice of my supplication when I cried unto thee. Psal. xxxi. 22.
Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye who hope in the Lord. Psal. xxxi. 24.
Then shall be said such of the following Prayers as may be thought most fit for the occasion.
O LORD, look down
from heaven, behold, visit, and relieve this thy servant. Look upon him with the eyes of thy mercy; give him comfort, and sure confidence in thee; support him under all the trials of his present sickness, relieve his pains, if it seem good unto thee, and keep him in perpetual peace and safety; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, maker of mankind, who dost correct those whom thou dost love, and chastise every one whom thou dost receive; we beseech thee to have mercy upon this thy servant visited with thy hand, and grant that he may take thy visitation patiently; and fit him, O Lord, for whatever in thy righteous providence thou hast appointed for him; that he may have cause to glorify thy name for his present sufferings, and find that thou, O God, of very faithfulness, hast caused him to be troubled. Hear
our prayers, O Lord, and grant our requests, for thy mercy's sake in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
HEAR us, almighty and most merciful God and Father; extend thy accustomed goodness to this thy servant who is grieved with sickness. Sanctify, we beseech thee, this thy fatherly correction to him, that the sense of his weakness may add strength to his faith, and seriousness to his repentance; that if it shall be thy good pleasure to restore him to his former health, he may lead the residue of his life in thy fear and to thy glory; or else give him grace so to take thy visitation, that after this painful life is ended, he may dwell with thee in life everlasting, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Instead of the three preceding Prayers, may be said the following Prayer.
OUR Father in heaven,
look down with mercy and pity upon thy servant, and lay not thy chastening hand upon him more heavily than he can bear. Let him acknowledge, with submission and humility, that even in judgment thou art merciful, and that of very faithfulness thou hast caused him to be troubled. Thou dost afflict him with a Parent's wisdom. - O sustain him with a Parent's love. Let thy grace be sufficient for him in all his need, and let the holy influences of thy Spirit hold him up in his weakness, and inspire his heart with strength, and hope, and confidence. Let not any pain or suffering, however acute, discompose the order of his thoughts, his submission, his gratitude, or his duty. Together with his trials, wilt thou provide a way for his escape, even by the mercies of a longer and holier life, or by the mercies of a peaceful and blessed death it pleaseth thee, O Lord.
Thou knowest all the necessities and all the infirmities of thy servant; fortify his soul, we beseech thee, with spiritual joys and perfect resignation, and fill him with desires of holiness and of thy heavenly kingdom. Make his repentance entire, and his faith strong, and his hope steadfast, so that if thou dost please to continue him yet longer in life, he may serve thee with a devoted heart, and whenever thou shalt call his spirit away from earth, it may enter into the rest of the sons of God, and be with thee, and the holy Jesus, and the spirits of the just made perfect, for ever and ever.
O Lord, hear; O Lord, be merciful; O Lord, heal, and pity, and save. Accept the prayer now offered in behalf of thine afflicted servant. Bless all his friends, and reward all the kindness which is which is shown him. Forgive him his trespasses, as he forgives those who trespass against him.