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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.
Then shall the Minister exhort the sick Person after this form, or other like.
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 of others; and that your faith may be found in the day of the Lord, laudable, glorious, and honourable, to the increase of glory and endless felicity; or else 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 for his dear Son Jesus Christ's sake, 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.
If the Person visited be very sick, then the Curate may end his exhortation in this place, or else proceed.
TAKE, therefore, in good part the chastisement of the Lord; for (as St. Paul saith, in the twelfth chapter to the Hebrews), "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? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh, which 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 Scriptures for our comfort and instruction, that we should patiently and with thanksgiving bear our Heavenly Father's correction, whensoever, by any manner 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 arise again from death, and dwell with him in everlasting life. Now, therefore, taking your sickness, which is thus profitable for you, patiently; I exhort you, in the name of God, to remember the profession which you made unto God in your baptism. And forasmuch as after this life, there is - an account to be given unto the Righteous Judge, by whom all must be judged without respect of persons; I require you to examine yourself, and your estate, both towards God and man; so that, accusing and condemning yourself, and your own faults, you may find mercy at your Heavenly Father's hand for Christ's sake, and not be accused and condemned in that fearful judgment. Therefore I shall
rehearse to you the Articles of our Faith, that you may know whether you believe as a Christian man should, or no.
Here the Minister shall rehearse the Articles of the Faith, saying thus: Dost thou believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth?
And in Jesus Christ his only begotten Son, our Lord? And that he was conceived by the Holy Ghost; born of the Virgin Mary; that he suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried; that he went down into hell, and also did rise again the third day; that he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, and from thence shall come again, at the end of the world, to judge the quick and the dead?
And dost thou believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy Catholick church; the communion of saints; the remission of sins; the resurrection of the flesh; and everlasting life after death?
The sick Person shall answer,
All this I steadfastly believe.
Then shall the Minister examine whether he repent him truly of his sins, and be in charity with all the world; exhorting him to forgive, from the bottom of his heart, all persons that have offended him, and, if he have offended any other, to ask them forgiveness; and where he hath done injury or wrong to any man, that he make amends to the utmost of his power. And if he hath not before disposed of his goods, let him then be admonished to make his will, and to declare his debts, what he oweth, and what is owing unto him; for the better discharge of his conscience, and the quietness of his executors. But men should often be put in remembrance to take order for settling of their temporal estates, whilst they are in health.
These words, before rehearsed, may be said before the Minister begins his prayer, as he shall see cause.
The Minister should not omit earnestly to move such sick Persons as are of ability, to be liberal to the poor.
Here shall the sick Person be moved to make a special confession of his sins, if he feel his conscience troubled with any weighty matter. After which confession, the Priest shall absolve him (if he humbly and heartily desire it) after this sort:
OUR Lord Jesus Christ, who hath left power to his church to absolve all sinners, who truly repent, and believe in him, of his great mercy forgive thee thine offences! And by his authority committed to me, I absolve thee from all thy sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
And then the Priest shall say the collect following:
Let us pray.
O MOST merciful God, who, according to the multitude of thy mercies, dost so put away the sins of those who truly repent, that thou rememberest them no more; open thine eye of mercy upon this thy servant, who most earnestly desireth pardon and forgiveness. Renew in him, most loving Father, whatsoever hath been decayed by the fraud and malice of the Devil, or by his own carnal will and frailness; preserve and continue this sick member in the unity of the church; consider his contrition, accept his tears, assuage his pain, as shall seem to thee most expedient for him. And, forasmuch as he putteth his full trust only in thy mercy, impute not unto him his former sins, but strengthen him with thy blessed Spirit; and when thou art pleased to take him hence, take him unto thy favour, through the merits of thy most dearly beloved Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Then shall the Minister say this Psalm.
In thee, O Lord, have I put my trust; let me never be put to confusion: but rid me, and deliver me in thy rightcousness; incline thine ear unto me, and save me.
Be thou a strong hold, whereunto I may alway resort: thou hast promised to help me, for thou art my house of defence, and my castle.
Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the ungodly; out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.
For thou, O Lord, art the thing that I long for: thou art my hope, even from my youth.
Through thee have I been holden up ever since I was born: thou art he that took me out of my mother's womb; my praise shall always be of thee.
I am become as it were a monster to many; sure trust is in thee.
O let my mouth be filled with thy praise; that I may sing of thy glory and honour all the day long.
Cast me not away in the time of age; forsake me not when my strength faileth me.
For mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul, take their counsel together; saying, God hath forsaken him; persecute him, and take him, for there is none to deliver him.
Go not far from me, O God; my God, haste thee to help me.
Let them be confounded and perish, that are against my soul let them be covered with shame and dishonour, that seek to do me evil.
As for me I will patiently abide alway; and will praise thee more and more.
My mouth shall daily speak of thy righteousness and salvation for I know no end thereof.
I will go forth in the strength of the Lord God; and will make mention of thy righteousness only.
Thou, O God, hast taught me from my youth up until now therefore will tell of thy wondrous works.