Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

:

66

the part of a prudent person, in order to avoid the former to expose himself to the latter; and he may thus address him further :—“ If any one skilled in medicine should pour out for you labouring under a heavy disease, some unpleasant potion, you would eagerly drink it that it might do you good, nor would you reject it on account of its flavour being less palatable than you liked; if you should receive any severe wound, you would willingly suffer it to be scarified and cut to the quick, nor would you, because they might occasion you some severe pain, take a dislike to the medical hands which believed were about to bring soundness to your wounded frame; why, therefore, do you neglect, why on account of their severity are you averse to those remedies by which your diseased soul may be restored whole, and your wounded conscience healed? Do you account the health of your soul of less value than that of your body? Do you imagine that without this care you can spiritually recover? He,

you

Fifthly, by means of a suitable Litany.

truly, who imagines so altogether errs; for the soul is much more valuable than the body, and its health far to be preferred before the health of the other; nor can hope be reasonably entertained of its recovery, unless it be sought for by the method pointed out: come now, therefore, and subject your past life to a diligent examination; the troubles you now so greatly dread, will, since it is so necessary that they should be undertaken, be wholesome, and at length (the soul recovering its health) end in quietness not otherwise to be acquired; and when you have obtained this, with no small pleasure will you recal your troubles to mind."

In the fifth place, that he should impress upon the sick some feeling for his sins, by means of a Litany so composed for this purpose, that the more usual offences of man be enumerated, whilst at the same time pardon be asked on their account, or against them God's grace implored; and the Curate, in a Litany of this description, may, according

to circumstances, insert petitions respecting the less common offences, if it shall seem to him expedient for the sick.

Almost any sick person may be brought by such means to examine in some degree his conscience; nor can it but happen that, tried by these methods, he will perceive his guilt, and acknowledge to himself at least, if he has at any time committed those things which are by all men accounted to be sinful, and which no one has ever yet perpetrated without some qualm of conscience, of which kind are false-witness, murder, adultery, theft, and all that class of heavier crimes: and with respect to those offences which men are daily wont to rush into without scruple, and which are commonly accounted not to be sins at all, or at any rate but small ones, and are of that sort that occupy the mind, such, for instance, as anger, pride, envy, and all evil thoughts; such also as injury to our neighbour, with regard to his fame and character, by those words of truth which neither justice demands nor charity requires, those

smaller frauds which in buying and selling of merchandise may be observed, the tempting of others to drunkenness or any other vice, frequent neglect of public prayers and participation of the Lord's Supper, omission of works of charity, delay of payments of debt, and, in a word, most sins of omission; with respect to these, I say, he will at once perceive, if dealt with by the methods already described, whether he has at any time been guilty thereof; but perhaps not acknowledge his guilt, because having always held them to be allowable, he will not easily be persuaded to consider them as sinful; and therefore, if the Curate should have any susshould hold picion that the sick whom he is visiting has offended in any of them, considering them as

What discourse the Curate

with those

who have

done wick

do not con

sider that they have sinned.

edly and yet harmless, it will be his especial duty to discourse thereon, and to show him his sins; and to this end he should point out those places of Scripture in which they are either expressly or by inference prohibited; he should instruct him that the same, in the judgment of all divines, are to be condemned as deserving of

eternal death, and to be imputed to corrupt affections. If the sick should think otherwise, he may tell him that it will avail him nought when brought before the tribunal of God, to plead that he thought it allowable, and that most men have offended in the same way without scruple, or that he was prohibited by no human law; for the Judge who is to be feared will declare, and his own conscience will testify, that God has implanted in him a law, and that his morals were to be conformable to that, and not to men's example or human laws and that it is to be imputed to him as

fault that he was ignorant of that law, nor is his feigned ignorance to be excused, if he has imprudently offended against that law.

to confess

which ought

vealed.

If the sick be unwilling to confess those Concerning sins which, in order that he may receive good are unwilling counsel, ought to be revealed, the Curate the sins should inquire for what cause he is unwilling to be reto disclose them, whether because he fears lest he to whom he confesses should, from feelings of ill will, or from a levity of spirit which ought to be condemned, at any time

« ПредишнаНапред »