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Arguments and general Heads of Discourse, by from us, and to incorporate them into our affections,
way of Consideration, to awaken a stupid by the general practice of others, and the mistaken Conscience, and the careless Sinner.
notions of the world: as, 1. Many sins before 1. And here let the minister endeavour to affect men are accounted honourable ; such as fighting his conscience, by representing to him, a duel, returning evil for evil, blow for blow, &c.
That Christianity is a holy and strict religion: 2 Some things are not forbidden by the law of that the promises of heaven are so great, that it is man, as lying in ordinary discourse, jeering, scoffnot reasonable to think a small matter and a little ing, intemperate eating, ingratitude, circumventduty will procure it for us: that religious persons ing another in contracts, outwitting and overreach-, are always the most scrapulous; and that to feel ing in bargains, extorting and taking advantage nothing, is not a sign of life, but of death: that of the necessities or ignorance of other people, imwe live in an age in which that which is called portunate entreaties and temptations of persons and esteemed a holy life, in the days of the apos- to many instances of sin, as intemperance, pride, tles and primitive Christianity would have been and ambition, &c.; all which, therefore, do strangeesteemed indifferent, sometimes scandalous, and ly blind the understanding and captivate the aflecalways cold: that when we have "done our best, tions of sinful men, and lead them into a thousand all our righteousness is but as filthy rags;" and snares of the devil which they are not aware of. we can never do too much to make our calling 3. Some others do not reckon that they sin against and election sure:" that every good man ought to God, if the laws have seized upon the person : and be suspicious of himself, fearing the worst, that many who are imprisoned for debt, think themhe may provide for the best: that even St. Paul, selves disengaged from payment; and when they and several other remarkable saints, had at some pay the penalty, think they owe nothing for the times great apprehensions of failing of the “mighty scandal and disobedience. 4. Some sins are prize of their high calling :”) that we are com- thought not considerable, but go under the titles manded to "work out our salvation with fear and of sins of infirmity, or inseparable accidents of trembling;” inasmuch as we shall be called to an mortality; such as idle thoughts, foolish talking, account, not only for our sinful words and deeds, | loose revellings, impatience, anger, and all the but even for our very thoughts: that if we keep events of evil company. 5. Lastly; many things all the commandments of God, and “yet offend are thought to be no sins: such as mispending of in one point (i.e. wilfully and habitually,) we are their time, whole days or months of useless or imguilty of all,'' James ii. 10: that no man can tell pertinent employment, long gaming, winning how oft he offendeth, the best of lives being full of men's money in great portions, censuring men's innumerable blemishes in the sight of God, how- actions, curiosity, equivocating in the prices of buyever they may appear before men; that no maning and selling, rudeness in speech or behaviour, ought to judge of the state of his soul by the cha- speaking uncharitable truths, and the like. racter he has in the world; for a great many per These are some of those artificial veils and cosons go to hell, who have lived in a fair reputation verings, under the dark shadow of which the enehere; and a great many, on the other hand, go to my of mankind makes very many to lie hid from heaven, who have been loaded with infamy and themselves, blinding them with false notions of reproach: that the work of religion is a work of honour, and the mistaken opinions and practices great difficulty, trial, and temptation : that “many of the world, with public permission and impunity, are called, but few are chosen;" that "strait is the or (it may be) a temporal penalty; or else with gate, and narrow is the way, that leadeth to life, prejudice, or ignorance and infirmity, and direct and few there be that find it :" and lastly, that, error in judgment. "if the righteous themselves shall scarcely be Now, in all these cases, the ministers are to be saved," there will be no place for the unrighteous and inquisitive and strictly careful, that such kind of sinner to appear in, but of horror and amazement. fallacies prevail not over the sick; but that those
By these and such-like motives to consideration, things, which passed without observation before, the spiritual man is to awaken the careless sinner, may now be brought forth, and pass under the and to bring him to repentance and confession of severity of a strict and impartial censure, religious his sins; and if either of himself, or by this means, sorrow, and condemnation. the sick man is brought to a right sense of his 4. To this may be added a general display of condition: then,
the neglect and omission of our duty; for in them 2. Let the minister proceed to assist him in un- lies the bigger half of our failings: and yet, in derstanding the number of his sins, i. e. the seve- many instances, they are undiscerned; because ral kinds of them, and the various ways of preva. our consciences have not been made tender and ricating with the Divine commandments. Let him perceptible of them. But whoever will cast up
his make him sensible how every sin is aggravated, accounts, even with a superficial eye, will quickly more or less, according to the different circum- find that he hath left undone, for the generality, as stances of it; as by the greatness or smallness of many things which he ought to have done, as he the temptation, the scandal it gives to others, the hath committed those he ought not to have done: dishonour it does to religion, the injury it brings such as the neglect of public or private prayer, of along with it to those whom it more immediately reading the Scriptures, and instructing his family, concerns; the degrees of boldness and impudence, or those that are under him, in the principles of the choice in acting it, the continuance in it, the religion: the not discountenancing sin to the expense, desires, and habit of it, &c.
utmost of his power, especially in the personages 3. Let the sick man, in the scrutiny of his con- of great men: the '“ not redeeming the time,” science and confession of his sins, be carefully re- and “growing in grace," and doing all the good minded to consider those sins which are no where he can in his generation : the frequent omissions condemned but in the court of conscience: for there of the great duty of charity, in visiting the sick, are certain secret places of darkness, artificial relieving the needy, and comforting the afflictblinds of the devil, which he uses to hide our sinsed: the want of obedience, Juty, and respect to
parents: the doing the work of God negligently, capable of it, by a religious and holy conformity to or not discharging hiinself with that fidelity, care, all the forementioned particulars respecting his and exactness, which is incumbent upon him, in condition and circumstances, he may then give the station wherein the providence of God hath him the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, And placed him, &c.
it is the minister's office to invite sick and dying 5. With respect to those sins which are com- persons to this holy sacrament, provided they dismitted against man, let the minister represent to cover a right sense of their duty. And, the sick man that he can have no assurance of his Note, That the Holy Sacrament is not to be adpardon, unless he is willing to make all suitable ministered to dying persons, when they have no amends and satisfaction to his offended and in- use of their reason to join with the minister in his jured brethren; as for instance, if he hath lived celebration of it. For the sacraments operate not in enmity with any, that he should labour to be of themselves, but as they are made efficacious by reconciled to them; if he is in debt, that he should the joint consent and will
, and religious acts and do his utmost to discharge it; or if he hath injured devotion of the party that receives them. And any one in his substance or credit, that he should therefore all fools, and distracted persons, and chilendeavour to make restitution in kind for the one, dren, and lethargical and apoplectical people, or and all possible satisfaction for the other, by hum- that are any ways senseless and incapable of hubling himself to the offended person, and beseech- man and reasonable acts, are to be assisted only by ing him to forgive him.
prayers. 6. If the sick person be of evil report, the minis Note also, That in cases of necessity, where the ter should take care, some way or other, to make sacrament cannot be so conveniently administered, him sensible of it, so as to show an effectual sor- the sick may be admonished to receive it spiriturow and repentance. This will be best done by ally, i. e. by representing the symbols of the body prudent hints, and insinuations, of recalling those and blood of our Lord to his mind, and applying things to his mind whereof he is accused by the them to himself by faith, with the same preparavoice of fame, or to which the temptations, perhaps, tions of faith and repentance, as if they were realof his calling, more immediately subject him. Or ly present. For no doubt but God, in such a case, if he will not understand, when he is secretly who considers all things with exact justice, and prompted, he must be asked in plain terms con-chiefly respects the sincerity of our hearts and incerning these matters. He must be told of the tentions, will excuse the absence of the outward evil things which are spoken of him in public, and and visible sign, when necessity, and not contempt of the usual temptations of his calling:
or neglect, was the occasion of it. And it concerns the minister to follow this advice, without partiality, or fear, or interest, or respect of persons, in much simplicity and prudence, having no other consideration before him, but the conscientious discharge of his duty, and the salva
SECTION IV. tion of the person under his care.
7. The sick person is likewise to be instructed Of applying spiritual Remedies to the unreasonconcerning his faith, whether he has a reasonable able l'ears and Dejections of the Sick. notion of the articles of the Christian religion, as they are excellently summed up in the Apostle's It sometimes happens that good men, especially Creed.
such as have tender consciences, impatient of the 8. With respect to his temporal concerns, the sick least sin, to which they are arrived hy a long hahit is to be advised to set every thing in order, and (if of grace, and a continual observation of their ways, he hath not already) to make his will as soon as he overact their part, and turn their tenderness into
For if he recovers, this cannot be detri- scruples, and are too much dejected and doubtful mental; but, if he dies, it will be of great comfort concerning their future salvation. In such a case, and satisfaction to him. And here it must be re- the minister is to represent to them, that the man membered that he distribute every thing according who is jealous of himself, is always in the safest to the exact rules of justice, and with such a due condition: that if he fears on his death-bed, it is care, as to prevent all law-suits and contentions but what happens to most considering men; and for the future: and, if he be able, he is to be ad- that therefore to fear nothing then, is either a sinmonished to do something likewise out of charity, gular felicity, or a dangerous presumption. and for the sake of his poor brethren.
But to restrain the extravagance of fear, let him 9. In all the course of his visitation, the minis- be reminded of the terms of ihe Gospel :-that it ter should frequently be exhorting the sick man is a covenant of grace and mercy to all: that to patience and a blessed resignation to the will of “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinGod; and not to look upon his sickness as barely ners:" that he continues our "Advocate in heaven," the effect of second causes, but as inflicted on him and daily "intercedes" with his Father for us: by Divine Providence for several wise and good that the whole heavenly host rejoices at the conends: As, for the trial of his faith; the exercise of version of a sinner: that the angels are deputed by patience; the punishment of his sins; the amend- God, to be our guardians against violent surprises ment of his life; or for the example of others, who, and temptations: that there are different degrees seeing his good behaviour in such a day of cala- of glory in heaven; so that, if we arrive not at the mity, may glorify their Father which is in heaven: greatest, we may yet hope, by divine merey, that or else, that it is for the increase of his future wel. we should not be excluded the less: that God hath fare, in order to raise him the higher in glory promised to hear the "prayers of the righteous” hereafter, by how much the lower he hath been for his servants: that he labours with us by his depressed here.
Spirit, and as it were "beseeches us, in Christ's 10. When the spiritual man hath thus dis- stead, to be reconciled to him," 2 Cor. v. 20: that, charged his duty, and the sick hath made himself of all his attributes, he glories in none so much as
in the titles of mercy and forgiveness: that there And to this sad purpose, some have interpreted fore we do injustice to the Father of mercies, if we Rev. xxi. 8, to belong to them, where the fearful retain such hard thoughts and suspicions of him: are joined together with the most abominable, who that God calls upon us to forgive our brother “se- shall have their part in the lake which burneth venty times seven;" and yet all that is but like the with fire and brimstone. forgiving “an hundred pence,” for his sake, who To cure the depraved and unhappy notions of forgives us " ten thousand talents:” and therefore such as these, it may be argued : that it is plain if we are ordered to show such an unrestrained from Scripture, that the first beginnings of, or temper of forgiveness, it is only to animate us to movements towards, an holy life, are usually owing trust in God's much more unbounded mercy. to the passion of fear : that to this, both our Saviour
By these and the like arguments, the spiritual and his apostles do all along address themselves in man may raise the drooping spirits of good men, their earnest entreaties of mankind to turn from in their causeless dejections. But because there the ways of sin to God.—"Fear him," saith our are many other cases of the like nature, which the Saviour, “who is able to destroy both soul and physician of souls will meet with in visiting his body in hell,” Matth. X. 28; so chap. vi. 15; neighbours, especially such as are of melancholy Mark xvi. 16. And to this purpose the apostle dispositions, it may not be improper to mark the says, “Work out your salvation with fear and principal of them here, and to prescribe the reme- trembling,” Phil. ii. 12, and 2 Cor. v. 11, “Knowdies.
ing the terrors of the Lord,” saith he,'"we per
suade men.” And in most of the Scripture proofs, Considerations to be offered to Persons under we shall find the chief argument of religion to be Religious Melancholy.
urged from a fear of punishment for the neglect
thereof: so that to be dejected, and render our lives 1. Some truly religious persons are under sad comfortless on this account, were the most unreaapprehensions of not being in the favour of God, sonable extravagance; since this were to suppose, because they find their devotions to be very often that God hath implanted the passion of fear in us cold, their prayers distracted, and their delight in in vain ; or, what is worse, only to vex and torment spiritual matters not to be so great and permanent us; and that our Saviour and his apostles, persuadas their pleasure and satisfaction are in the things ing us to be religious from the terrors of the Lord, of the world.
had deceived and misled us. Now to such as have made religion the great And as for that text, Rev. xxi. 8—" The fearbusiness of their lives, who have endeavoured to ful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murcure those distracted thoughts they complain of, derers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idoland to inflame their souls with divine love, it may aters, and all liars, shall have their part in the be offered, that the different degrees of affection lake which burneth with fire and brimstone,” &c. with which men serve God, do very often depend it is plain, that by the fearful in this place is meant, upon the difference of their tempers and constitu- either such as refuse to embrace the Christian retions; since some are naturally so dull and heavy, ligion, or who, having embraced it, are afraid to as to be little affected with any thing; whilst others continue steadfast to the end, on account of the are of such a tender make, as to be affected almost cross; and therefore cannot be supposed to have with every thing, so as to be soon exalted with joy, any reference to those who are “working out their or depressed with sorrow: that sickness, losses, and salvation with fear and trembling,” according to all afdictions, and even religion itself, in its long the direction of the Gospel. Not but that we are and continual exercise of self-denial and thought- to intermix with this fear an entire love and affecfulness, do naturally produce such a tenderness of tion to God, to the utmost of our powers. spirit, that the best of men have never been able 3. Some very pious hut unhappy persons, are at all times to keep their affections at an equal grievously tormented with wicked and blasphemheight: that the zeal and warmth with which ous thoughts, so as to fall under the greatest agosome are affected, is not always an argument of nies of mind; and often to be so near distraction, their goodness: that a sensible pleasure in religious as to choose death rather than life. exercises, wherein the passions are affected, is not For the relief and comfort of these, the minister 80 acceptable to God as a reasonable service: that should suggest to them, that such horrid and frightdistraction of thought in the service of God is ful thoughts are either occasioned through melanowing, for the most part, to bodily weakness; and choly prevailing over their spirits, and disordering therefore, if we do not give way to it, but do all the frame of their minds ; or else from the malice
we can to suppress those wandering thoughts, we of the devil, and the spirits of darkness, who do · may be assured we shall never be blamed for being all they can to shake our faith, and to embitter the
subject to that which, by reason of the weakness Christian life. of our nature, we cannot help: that the first mo If to the former we ascribe such horrid thoughts, tions of our mind, as it is impossible to hinder they may be comforted upon assurance, that they them, are reckoned by all divines not to be sinful, will not be imputed to them as their sin, any more provided we do not encourage them.
than a fever or any bodily distemper will
, which 2. Some are extremely dejected, because, upon they did not willingly procure, and which they strict examination of themselves, they find, as they have tried all means to remove. think, all their religion to be owing to their fears; If to the latter, they may be encouraged rather and fear being a slavish and sordid passion, they to rejoice; as nothing is a greater sign of their are apt to conclude, that all those services which being high in the favour of God, than when they are not the result of a more noble principle, will are under the most violent temptations of the be rejected by God, since, as he is all love, and devil. “ My brethren, count it all joy,” saith St. goodness, and perfection, he will not be pleased, James, "when ye fall into divers temptations ;" They think, with any sacrifice, but what is offered chap. i. 2. To that effect, they may be taught to by love,
consider, that the way to heaven is justly said to be
by the gates of hell: that the "same afflictions are , instruction, that "if any man be overtaken in a accomplished in their brethren which are in the fault
, ye which are spiritual restore such a man in world," who in various kinds are tempted of the the spirit of meekness, considering lest ye also be tempter; 1 Peter v. 9 : that Satan " desired to have tempted.” The Corinthian Christian committed St. Peter to sift him as wheat;” Luke xxii. 31 : incest
, and was pardoned: and Simon Magus, that our Saviour himself was tempted by him, and after he was baptized, oftered to commit the sin the best of men have always been most obnoxious we call simony, and yet Peter bade him pray for to his malice; and that to live in carnal security, pardon; and Saint James tells us, that if the without any molestations from him, is the most sick man send for the elders of the church, and dangerous state: that the being so much concerned they pray over him, and he confess his sins, they and afflicted at such evil thoughts, is a certain ar- shall be forgiven him;" chap. v. 14. gument of a good disposition, since the wicked That even in the case of very great sins, and and profane are rather pleased than tormented great judgments inflicted upon sinners, wise and with them.
good men have declared their sense to be, that Arguments of this kind are the most proper to God vindicated his justice in that temporal pube offered to such unhappy persons: but in case nishment; and so it was supposed to have been their faith and hope be totally overcome by the done in the case of Ananias, &c. : that nothing devil
, and they fall' into direct despair, it will be can be more absurd than to think that so great and necessary then to endeavour the cure of so great good a God, who is so desirous of saving all, as an evil and temptation, by the addition of the fol- appears by his word, by his sending his Son, by lowing exercise:
his oaths and promises, by his very nature and
daily overtures of mercy, should condemn any, An Exercise against Despair. without the greatest provocations of his majesty,
and perseverance in them. Let the minister suggest to them, that God is Upon the strength of these arguments, the des not willing that any should perish, but desirous pairing person may be further taught to argue that all should come to his glory: that for this end thus with himself: we were created : that he is so far from being "ex I consider that the ground of my trouble is my treme to mark what is done amiss," that he will sin; and were it not for that, I should have no not refuse the returning prodigal, nor reject the reason to be troubled; but since the "whole world worst of criminals, upon their sincere repentance: lieth in wickedness," and since there cannot be a that the thief upon the cross is a demonstrable greater demonstration of a man's abhorrence of proof of this, and a standing example to prevent sin, than to be so deeply affected with sorrow for the greatest sinner from despair: that if God is so it; I therefore will erect my head with a holy merciful and condescending to the vilest transgress- hope, and think that God will also be merciful to ors, much rather may we hope to be pardoned for our me a sinner, as he is to the rest of mankind. I weakness and infirmities : for he“knoweth where- know that the mercies of God are infinite; that he of we are made, he remembereth that we are but sent his Son into the world on purpose to redeem dust:" nay, he hath assured us, that he will not such as myself; and that he hath repeatedly probreak the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking mised" to give to them that ask, and to be found of fax:"that all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, them that seek him;" and therefore I will not disexcept one, which is the sin against the Holy trust his goodness, nor look upon the great God Ghost; "the sin unto death," as Saint John calls it. of heaven and earth to be worse than his word.
But that no man commits a sin against the Holy Indeed, if from myself I were to derive my title to Ghost, if he be afraid he hath, or desires that he heaven, then my sins were a just argument of may not; for such penitential passions are against despair: but now that they bring me to Christ, the very nature and definition of that sin: that al- that they drive me to an appeal to God's mercy, though forgiveness of sins is consigned to us in they cannot infer a just cause of despair. I am baptism, and baptism is but once; yet, forgiveness sure it is a stranger thing, that the Son of God of sins being the special grace of the Gospel, it is should come down from heaven, and take upon secured to us for our life, and ebbs and flows ac- him our nature, and live and die in the most igcording as we discompose or renew the perform- nominious state of it, than that a sinful man, ance of our baptismal vow; therefore it is certain, washed by the blood of Christ, and his own tears that no man ought to despair of pardon, but he who and humiliation, should be admitted to pardon, and hath voluntarily renounced his baptism, or wil- made “partaker of the kingdom of heaven :" and lingly estranged himself from that covenant: that it were stranger yet, that he should do so much if it were not so, then all preaching and prayers for man, and that a man that desires, that labours were in vain, and all the conditions of the Gospel after it to the utmost of his power, that sends up invalid, and there could be no such thing as repent- strong cries and prayers, and is still within the ance, nor indeed scarce a possibility of any one's covenant of grace, should inevitably miss that end being saved, if all were to be concluded in a state for which our Saviour did and suffered so much. of damnation, who had committed sin after bap It is certain, that of all the attributes that betism.
long to God, there is none more essential to his To have any fears, therefore, on this account, nature, and which he takes more delight in, than were the most extravagant madness: for Christ his mercy; and it is as certain also, there must be "died for sinners," and God hath comprehended proper objects for this boundless and immense atall under sin, that" through him he might have tribute of God; and the most proper, if not only, mercy upon all;" Rom. xi. 32. And it was con objects of mercy in the creation, are the children cerning baptized Christians, that Saint John said, of men; and of men, surely those who are most “ If any man sin we have have an Advocate with grieved and wearied with the burthen of their the Father, and He is the propitiation for our sins;" sins. I, therefore, who am as pitiful an object and concerning lapsed Christians, Saint Paul gave of mercy as any, will cheerfully hope, that God
will hoth forgive me here, and give me the bless-, him. And the minister must be infinitely careful, ing of eternal life hereafter: for I know that that he does not attempt to comfort vicious pereternal life is purely the gift of God, and there- sons with the comfort of God's elect, lest he prosfore have less reason still to despair. ' For if my titute holy things, and encourage vice, and render sins were fewer, and my unworthiness of such a his discourses deceitful; and the man unhappily glory were less, yet still I could not receive it but find them to be so when he descends into the reas a free gift and donation of God, and so I may gions of darkness. now; and it is not expectation beyond the hopes But because very few are tempted with too of possibility, to look and wait for such a gift at great fears of miscarrying, but the generality even the hands of the God of mercy. The best of men of the most profligate sort, are rather inclined to deserve it not; and I, who am the worst, may unwarrantable assurances of their future salvation, have it given me. I know that I have sinned it will highly concern the ministers to prevent in grievously and frequently against my heavenly time so great and reigning an imposition of the Father : but I have repented, I have begged par
devil. don, I have confessed and forsaken my sins, and Wherefore, to the former considerations to have done all that is possible for me to make awaken the careless sinner and a stupid conscience, atonement. I cannot undo what is done; and I the following may be added, upon occasion, to perish, if there be no such thing as a remedy, or check the overweening thoughts of the presumpremission of sins. But then I know my religion tuous. must perish together with my hope, and the word of God itself must fail as well as I. But I cannot, I dare not entertain such a thought. I firmly believe that most encouraging article of faith, the
SECTION V. remission of sins ; and since I do that which all good men call repentance, I will also humbly hope for a remission of mine, and a joyful resur
Considerations against Presumption. rection.
And here, let the bold and arrogant sinner furI know that the devil is continually lying in ther know, that a man cannot think too meanly wait to seduce and destroy the souls of men; of himself, but may very easily run into the conwherefore I will fortify my spirits, and redouble trary extreme: that the growths in grace are long, my guard, and call upon God to enable me to re- difficult
, uncertain, often interrupted, consisting sist all the fiery darts of this malicious adver- of great variety, and almost innumerable parts sary.
and distinctions, which a careless person can Or perhaps this exceeding dejection, or malady never discover; that the more a man presumes, of mind, may arise from the distemper and weak- the greater reason he hath to fear; because the ness of my body; or at most, I hope, it is only a confidence of such men is generally like that of disease of judgment, not an intolerable condition, children and young people, who have no other I am fallen into: and since I have heard of a reason, but that they understand not the dangers great many others who have been in the same and follies of their self-conceits: that “the heart of condition with myself, and yet recovered, I will man is deceitful above all things, and desperately also take courage to hope that God will relieve me wicked;” deceiving itself, and deceiving others, in in his good time, and not leave my soul for ever innumerable instances; and being often “in the in this hell of depraved fancy and wicked imagin- gall of bitterness," when the man appears with ation. In fine, I will raise up my dejected spirits, the fairest outside to the world: that it is certain, and cast all my care upon God, and depend upon all " have sinned and come short of the glory of him for the event, which I am sure will be just; God;" but not so certain, that any one's repentand I cannot but think, from the same reason, ance is real, and effective to salvation : that virtue full of mercy. However, now I will use all the and vice are oftentimes so near neighbours, that spiritual arts of reason and religion, to make me we pass into each other's borders without observamore and more desirous of loving God: that if I tion, and think we do justice, when we are cruel; miscarry, charity also shall fail, and something or call ourselves liberal, when we are loose and that loves God shall perish, and be damned: foolish in our expenses, &c. which if it be impossible (as I am sure it is,) then That the self-accusing publican was justified, I may have just reason to hope I shall do well. rather than the self-confident Pharisee: that if
These considerations may be of service to“ bind Adam in Paradise, David in his house, Solomon up the broken hearted,” and to strengthen the in the temple, Peter in the family of Christ, Judas "bruised reed,” of a good man's spirit, in so great among the twelve apostles, and Nicholas among and terrible a dejection. But as cases of this the deacons, and if the angels in heaven itself, nature are very rare, so the arguments here made did fall so atrociously, then we have all the reason use of are rarely to be insisted upon; and never, in the world“ not to be high minded, but to fear;" but to well-disposed persons, or reformed penitents, and when we are most confident of ourselves, " to or to such as in the general course of their life, take heed lest we fall;" there being nothing, so have lived pretty strictly, and conformably to the likely to occasion it, as pride and a great opinion rules of religion. For if the man be a vicious of ourselves, which ruined the angels, which God person, and hath gone on in a continual course of resists, which all men despise, and which betray sin, to the time of his sickness, these considera- us into carelessness, and a wretched, undiscerning, tions are not proper. Let him inquire, in the and unwary spirit. words of the first disciples after Pentecost, “ Men These are the main parts of ecclesiastical duties and brethren, what shall we do to be saved ?" and offices in the visitation of the sick; which And if we can but entertain so much hope, as to being severally performed, as occasion requires, it enable him to do as much of his duty as he can remains only that the minister pray over the sick, for the present, it is all that can be provided for and remind him to do all the good actions he is