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Holy Living and Dying

Together with
“Prayers containing the Whole Duty of a Christian”


Rev. Jeremy Taylor

(1613-1667, Chaplain to King Charles I)

Originally Published 1651

1851 Edition


Title Page of Holy Living and Dying by Jeremy Taylor (Sermon and exhortations on Christian Living)

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Holy Living and Dying by Jeremy Taylor (Sermon and exhortations on Christian Living, 1851 Edition)



CHAPTER III Of the State of Sickness, and the Temptations incident to it, with their proper Remedies

Section IX General Rules and Exercises whereby our Sickness may become safe and sanctified

5. In every sickness, whether it will or will not be so in nature and in the event, yet in thy spirit and preparations resolve upon it, and treat thyself accordingly, as if it were a sickness unto death. For many men support their unequal courage by flattery and false hopes; and because sicker men have recovered, believe that they shall do so;




CHAPTER I Consideration of the General Instruments and Means serving to a Holy Life, by way of Introduction.

Section I The first General Instrument of Holy Living, Care of our Time ... 3

Rules for employing our Time ... 5
The Benefits of this Exercise ... 11

Section II The second General Instrument of Holy Living, Purity of Intention ... 12

Rules for our Intentions ... 13
Signs of Purity of Intention ... 16

Section III The third General Instrument of Holy Living; or the Practice of the Presence of God ... 19

Several Manners of the Divine Presence ... 20
Rules of exercising this Consideration ... 23
The Benefits of this Exercise ... 25
Prayers and Devotions according to the Religion and Purposes of the foregoing Considerations ... 27
For Grace to spend our Time well ... ib.
The first Prayers in the Morning as soon as we are dressed ... 28
An Act of Adoration, being the Song that the Angels sing in Heaven ... ib.
An Act of Thanksgiving, being the Song of David, for the Morning ... ib.
An Act of Oblation, or presenting Ourselves to God for the Day ... 29
An Act of Repentance or Contrition ... ib.
Prayer or Petition ... 30
An Act of Intercession or Prayer for Others, to he added to this or any other Office, as our Devotion, or Duty, or their Needs, shall determine us ... ib.
For the Church ... ib.
For the King ... ib.
For the Clergy ... 31
For Wife or Husband ... ib.
For our Children ... ib.
For Friends and Benefactors ... ib.
For our Family ... ib.
For all in Misery ... ib.
Another Form of Prayer, for the Morning ... 32
An Ejaculation ... 34
An Exercise to be used at any Time of the Day ... 34
Hymn, collected out of the Psalms, recounting the Excellences and Greatness of God ... ib.
Another Hymn ... 35
Ejaculations ... 36
Prayer ... ib.
A Form of Prayer for the Evening, to be said by such who have not Time or Opportunity to say the public Prayers appointed for this Office ... 38
Another Form of Evening Prayer, which may also bo used at Bedtime ... 39
Ejaculations and short Meditations, to be used in the Night, when we awake ... 41
Ad Section II A Prayer for holy Intention in the Beginning and Pursuit of any considerable Action, as Study, Preaching, &c. ... 42
Ad Section III A Prayer meditating and referring to the Divine Presence ... 43

CHAPTER II Of Christian Sobriety

Section I Of Sobriety in the General Sense ... 43
Evil Consequences of Voluptuousness or Sensuality ... 44
Degrees of Sobriety ... 45
Rules for suppressing Voluptuousness ... ib.

Section II Of Temperance in Eating and Drinking ... 48
Measures of Temperance in Eating ... 49
Signs and Effects of Temperance ... 50
Of Drunkenness ... 51
Evil Consequents of Drunkenness ... 52
Signs of Drunkenness ... 54
Rules for obtaining Temperance ... ib.

Section III Of Chastity ... 56
The evil Consequents of Uncleanness ... 59
Acts of Chastity in general ... 62
Acts of Virginal Chastity ... 64
Rules for Widows, or Vidual Chastity ... 65
Rules for Married Persons, or Matrimonial Chastity ... ib.
Remedies against Uncleanness ... 68

Section IV Of Humility ... 72
Arguments against Pride, by way of Consideration ... ib.
Acts or Offices of Humility ... 74
Means and Exercises for obtaining and increasing the Grace of Humility ... 79
Signs of Humility ... 84

Section V Of Modesty ... ib.
Acts and Duties of Modesty, as it is opposed to Curiosity ... 85
Acts of Modesty, as it is opposed to Boldness ... 87
Acts of Modesty, as it is opposed to Indecency ... 88

Section VI Of Contentedness in all Estates and Accidents ... 91
Instruments or Exercises to procure Contentedness ... 95
Means to obtain Content, by way of Consideration ... 105
Poverty, or a low Fortune ... Ill
The Charge of many Children ... 116
Violent Necessities ... 117
Death of Children or nearest Relatives and Friends ... 118
Untimely Death ... 119
Death unseasonable ... 120
Sudden Death, or Violent ... 122
Being Childless ... ib.
Evil or unfortunate Children ... ib.
Our own Death ... 123
Prayers for the several Graces and Parts of Christian Sobriety ... ib.
A Prayer against Sensuality ... ib.
For Temperance ... 124
For Chastity; to be said especially by unmarried Persons ... ib.
A Prayer for the Love of God, to be said by Virgins and Widows, professed or resolved so to live; and may be used by any one . ib. A Prayer to be said by Married Persons in behalf of themselves and each other ... 12-5
A Prayer for the Grace of Humility ... 126
Acts of Humility and Modesty, by way of Prayer and Meditation ... ib.
A Prayer for a contented Spirit, and the Grace of Moderation and Patience ... 127

CHAPTER III Of Christian Justice.

Section I Of Obedience to our Superiors ... 129
Acts and Duties of Obedience to all our Superiors ... ib.
Remedies against Disobedience, and Means to endear our Obedience; by way of consideration ... 133
Degrees of Obedience ... 136

Section II Of Provision, or that part of Justice which is due from Superiors to Inferiors ... 137
Duties of Kings, and all the Supreme Power, as Lawgivers ... ib.
The Duty of Superiors, as they are Judges ... 139
The Duty of Parents to their Children ... 140
Rules for Married Persons ... 142
The Duty of Masters of Families ... 144
The Duty of Guardians or Tutors ... ib.

Section III Of Negotiation, or Civil Contracts ... 145
Rules and Measures of Justice in Bargaining ... ib.

Section IV Of Restitution ... 148
Rules of making Restitution ... 149
Prayers to be said in relation to the several Obligations and Offices of Justice ... 155
A Prayer for the Grace of Obedience, to be said by all Persons under Command ... ib.
Prayers for Kings and all Magistrates, for our Parents, spiritual and natural, are in the following Litanies, at the end of the fourth chapter ... 156
A Prayer to be said by Subjects when the Land is invaded and overrun by barbarous or wicked people, enemies of the Religion or the Government ... ib.
A Prayer to be said by Kings or Magistrates, for themselves and their People ... 158
A Prayer to be said by Parents for their Children ... ib.
A Prayer to be said by Masters of Families, Curates, Tutors, or other obliged Persons, for their Charges ... 159
A Prayer to be said by Merchants, Tradesmen, and Handicraftsmen ... ib.
A Prayer to be said by Debtors, and all persons obliged, whether by Crime or Contract ... 160
A Prayer for Patrons and Benefactors ... 161

CHAPTER IV Of Christian Religion.

Of the Internal Actions of Religion ... 162

Section I Of Faith ... ib.
The Acts and Offices of Faith ... ib.
Signs of true Faith ... 163
The Means and Instruments to obtain Faith ... 165

Section II Of the Hope of a Christian ... 167
The Acts of Hope ... ib.
Rules to govern our Hope ... 168
Means of Hope, and Remedies against Despair ... 170

Section III Of Charity, or the Love of God ... 174
The Acts of Love to God ... 175
The Measures and Rules of Divine Love ... 177
Helps to increase our Love to God, by way of Exercise ... 178
The two States of Love to God ... 180
Cautions and Rules concerning Zeal ... 181
Of the external Actions of Religion ... 183

Section IV Of reading or hearing the Word of God ... 184
Rules for hearing or reading the Word of God ... 185
Advice concerning Spiritual Books and Ordinary Sermons ... 186

Section V Of Fasting ... 187
Rules for Christian Fasting ... ib.
The Benefits of Fasting ... 192

Section VI Of keeping Festivals, and Days holy to the Lord, particularly the Lord's Day ... ib.
Rules for keeping the Lord's Day, and other Christian Festivals ... 194

Section VII Of Prayer ... 197
Motives to Prayer ... 198
Rules for the Practice of Prayer ... 199
Cautions for making Vows ... 205
Remedies against Wandering Thoughts in Prayer ... 206
Signs of Tediousness of Spirit in our Prayers and all Actions of Religion ... 207
Remedies against Tediousness of Spirit ... 208

Section VIII Of Alms ... 211
Works of Mercy, or the several Kinds of corporal Alms ... 212
Works of Spiritual Alms and Mercy ... 213
Rules for giving Alms ... 214
Motives to Charity ... 220
Remedies against Unmercifulness and Uncharitableness ... 221

1. Against Envy, by way of consideration ... ib
2. Remedies against Anger, by way of exercise ... 222

Remedies against Anger, by way of consideration ... 226

3. Remedies against Covetousness, the third Enemy of Mercy ... 228

Section IX Of Repentance ... 233
Acts and Parts of Repentance ... 235
Motives to Repentance ... 241

Section X Of Preparation to, and the Manner how to receive, the holy Sacrament of the Lord's Supper ... 243
The Effects and Benefits of worthy Communicating ... 250
Prayers for all Sorts of Men and all Necessities; relating to the several parts of the Virtue of Religion ... 252
A Prayer for the Graces of Faith, Hope, Charity ... ib
Acts of Love, by way of Prayer and Ejaculation; to be used in private ... 253
A Prayer to be said in any Affliction, as Death of Children, of Husband or Wife, in great Poverty, in Imprisonment, in a sad and disconsolate Spirit, and in temptations to Despair ... 254
Ejaculations and short Meditations to be used in time of Sickness and Sorrow, or Danger of Death ... ib.
An Act of Faith concerning the Resurrection and the Day of Judgment, to be said by Sick Persons, or meditated ... 256
Short Prayers to be said by Sick Persons ... ib.
Acts of Hope, to be used by Sick Persons after a pious Life ... 258
A Prayer to be said in behalf of a Sick or Dying Person ... 259
A Prayer to be said in a Storm at Sea ... 260
An Act of Resignation ... ib.
A Form of a Vow in the time of Danger ... ib.
A Form of a Prayer to be used for a blessing on an enterprise ... 261
A Prayer before a Journey ... ib.

Ad Sect. IV. A Prayer to be said before the hearing or reading the Word of God ... ib.

Ad Sect. V. IX. X. A Form of Confession of Sins and Repentance ; to be used upon Fasting Days, or Days of
Humiliation ; especially in Lent, and before the Holy Sacrament ... ib.
Prayer ... 264

Ad Sect. VI. Special Devotions to be used upon the Lord's Day, and the great Festivals of Christians ... ib.
[1.] Ex Liturgia S. Basilii magna ex parte ... 265
A short Form of Thanksgiving to be said upon any special Deliverance, as from Childbirth, from Sickness, from Battle, or imminent Danger at Sea or Land, &c. ... 269
A Prayer of Thanksgiving after the receiving of some great Blessing, as the Birth of an Heir, the Success of an honest Design, a Victory, a good Harvest, &c. ... 271
A Prayer to be said on the Feast of Christmas, or the Birth of our blessed Saviour Jesus : the same also may be said on the Feast of the Annunciation and Purification of the B. Virgin Mary ... 272
A Prayer to be said upon our Birthday, or Day of Baptism ... 273
A Prayer to be said upon the Days of the Memory of Apostles, Martyrs, &c. ... 274
A Form of Prayer recording all the parts and mysteries of Christ's Passion, being a short history of it; to be used especially in the Week of the Passion, and before the receiving of the blessed Sacrament ... ib.
Prayer ... 278

Ad Sect. VII. VIII. X. A Form of Prayer or Intercession for all Estates of People in the Christian Church : the parts of which may be added to any other forms ; and the whole office, entirely as it lies, is proper to be said in our preparation to the Holy Sacrament, or on the day of celebration ... ib.
1. For Ourselves ... 279
2. For the whole Catholic Church ... ib.
3. For all Christian Kings, Princes, and Governors ... ib.
4. For all the Orders of them that minister about Holy Things ... 280
5. For our nearest Relatives, as Husband, Wife, Children, Family, &c. ... ib.
6. For our Parents, our Kindred in the Flesh, our Friends and Benefactors ... 281
7. For all that lie under the Rod of War, Famine, Pestilence : to be said in the Time of Plague or War, &c. ... ib.
8. For all Women with Child, and for unborn Children ... 281
9. For all Estates of Men and Women in the Christian Church ... 282

Ad Sect. X. The Manner of using these Devotions, by way of Preparation to the receiving the blessed Sacrament of the Lord's Supper ... 284
A Prayer of Preparation or Address to the Holy Sacrament ... ib.
An Act of Love ... ib.
An Act of Desire ... ib.
An Act of Contrition ... 285
An Act of Faith ... ib.
Petition ... 286
Ejaculations to be said before, or at the receiving, the Holy Sacrament ... ib.
Ejaculations to be used any Time that Day, after the Solemnity is ended ... 289



CHAPTER I A General Preparation towards a holy and blessed Death, by way of consideration.

Section I Consideration of the Vanity and Shortness of Man's Life ... 299

Section II The Consideration reduced to Practice ... 305

Section III Rules and Spiritual Arts of lengthening our Days, and to take off the objection of a Short Life ... 312

Section IV Consideration of the Miseries of Man's Life ... 322

Section V The Consideration reduced to Practice ... 327

CHAPTER II A General Preparation towards a holy and blessed Death, by way of exercise.

Section I Three Precepts preparatory to a holy Death, to be practised in our whole Life ... 330

Section II Of daily Examination of our Actions in the whole Course of our Health, preparatory to our Death-bed ... 335
Reasons for a daily Examination ... ib.
The Benefits of this Exercise ... 337

Section III Of exercising Charity during our whole Life ... 343

Section IV General Considerations to enforce the former Practices ... 345
The Circumstances of a Dying Man's Sorrow and Danger ... 34G

CHAPTER III Of the State of Sickness, and the Temptations incident to it, with their proper Remedies.

Section I Of the State of Sickness ... 349

Section II Of the first Temptation proper to the State of Sickness, Impatience ... 352

Section III Constituent or integral Parts of Patience ... 354

Section IV Remedies against Impatience, by way of Consideration ... 356

Section V Remedies against Impatience, by way of Exercise ... 364

Section VI Advantages of Sickness ... 368

Section VII The second Temptation proper to the State of Sickness, Fear of Death, with its Remedies ... 382
Remedies against the Fear of Death, by way of Consideration ... 383

Section VIII Remedies against the Fear of Death, by way of Exercise ... 388

Section IX General Rules and Exercises whereby our Sickness may become safe and sanctified ... 394

CHAPTER IV Of the Practice of the Graces proper to the State of Sickness, which a Sick Man may practise alone.

Section I Of the Practice of Patience ... 402
The Practice and Acts of Patience, by way of Rule ... 403

Section II acts of Patience, by way of Prayer and Ejaculation ... 410
The Prayer to be said in the Beginning of a Sickness ... 414
An Act of Resignation, to be said by a Sick Person in all the evil Accidents of his Sickness ... ib.
A Prayer for the Grace of Patience ... 415
A Prayer to be said when the Sick Man takes Physic ... 416

Section III of the Practice of the Grace of Faith in the Time of Sickness ... 417

Section IV Acts of Faith, by way of Prayer and Ejaculation, to be said by Sick Men, in the Days of their Temptation ... 421
The Prayer for the Grace and Strengths of Faith ... 423

Section V Of the Practice of the Grace of Repentance in Sickness ... ib.

Section VI Rules for the Practice of Repentance in Sickness ... 428
Means of exciting Contrition, or Repentance of Sins, proceeding from the Love of God ... 431

Section VII Acts of Repentance, by way of Prayer and Ejaculation, to be used especially by Old Men in their Age, and by all Men in their Sickness ... 436
A Prayer for the Grace and Perfection of Repentance ... 438
A Prayer for Pardon of Sins, to be said frequently in time of Sickness, and in all tho portions of Old Age ... 439
An Act ofholy Resolution of Amendment of Life, in case of Recovery ... 441

Section VIII An Analysis or Resolution of the Decalogue, and1 the Special Precepts of the Gospel, describing the Duties enjoined, and the Sins forbidden respectively; for tho Assistance of Sick Men in making their Confessions to God and his Ministers, and the rendering their Repentance more particular and perfect ... 442
I. Comm. Thou shalt have none other Gods but me ... ib.
II. Comm. Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, nor worship it ... 443
III. Comm. Thou shalt not take God's name in vain ... 444
IV. Comm. Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day ... 445
V. Comm. Honour thy father and thy mother ... ib.
VI. Comm. Thou shalt do no murder ... 446
VII. Comm. Thou shalt not commit adultery ... 447
VIII. Comm. Thou shalt not steal ... ib.
I.. Comm. Thou shalt not bear false witness ... 448
.. Comm. Thou shalt not covet ... ib.
The Special Precepts of the Gospel ... 449

Section IX of the Sick Man's Practice of Charity and Justice, by way of Rule ... 452

Section X Acts of Charity, by way of Prayer and Ejaculation: which may also be used for Thanksgiving in case of Recovery ... 457
Prayer ... 458

CHAPTER V Of the Visitation of the Sick; or the Assistance that is to be done to Dying Persons by the Ministry of their Clergy Guides.

Section I General Observations ... 460

Section II Rules for the Manner of Visitation of sick Persons ... 462

Section III of ministering in the Sick Man's Confession of Sins andRepentance ... 465
Arguments and Exhortations to move the Sick Man to Confession of Sins ... ib.
Instruments, by way of Consideration, to awaken a careless Person and a stupid Conscience ... 468

Section IV Of the Ministering to the Restitution and Pardon, or Reconciliation of the Sick Person, by administering the Holy Sacrament ... 477

Section V Of ministering to the Sick Berson by the Spiritual Man, as he is the Physician of Souls ... 487
Considerations against Unreasonable Fears of not having our Sins pardoned ... 488
An Exercise against Despair in the Day of our Death ... 494

Section VI considerations against Presumption ... 500

Section VII Offices to be said by the Minister in his Visitation of the Sick ... 503
A Prayer to be said by the Pastor secretly ... ib.
A Psalm ... ib.
Another Prayer ... 504
A Prayer to be said by the Standers-by ... 507
Another Prayer ... 509
Ejaculations ... 510
The Blessing ... 511
The Doxology ... ib.
A Prayer to be said in the Case of a sudden Surprise by Death, as by a mortal Wound, or evil Accidents in Childbirth, when the Forms and
Solemnities of Preparation cannot be used ... 512

Section VIII A Peroration concerning the Contingencies and Treatings of our departed Friends after Death, in order to their Burial, &c. ... 513

but therefore they neglect to adorn their souls, or set their house in order: besides the temporal inconveniences that often happen by such persuasions and putting off the evil day, such as are dying intestate, leaving estates entangled and some relatives unprovided for, they suffer infinitely in the interest and affairs of their soul; they die carelessly and surprised, their burdens on, and their scruples unremoved, and their eases of conscience not determined, and, like a sheep, without any care taken concerning their precious souls. Some men will never believe that a villain will betray them, though they receive often advices from suspicious persons and likely accidents, till they are entered into the snare; and then they believe it when they feel it, and when they cannot return; but so the treason entered, and the man was betrayed by his own folly, placing the snare in the regions and advantages of opportunity. This evil looks like boldness and a confident spirit, but it is the greatest timorousness and cowardice in the world. They are so fearful to die, that they dare not look upon it as possible; and think that the making of a will is a mortal sign, and sending for a spiritual man an irrecoverable disease: and they are so afraid lest they should think and believe now they must die, that they will not take care that it may not be evil in case they should. So did the eastern slaves drink wine, and wrapped their heads in a veil, that they might die without sense or sorrow, and wink hard that they might sleep the easier. In pursuance of this rule, let a man consider that whatsoever must be done in sickness ought to be done in health; only let him observe, that his sickness, as a good monitor, chastises his neglect of duty, and forces him to live as he always should; and then all these solemnities and dressings for death are nothing else but the part of a religious life, which he ought to have exercised all his days : and if those circumstances can affright him, let him please his fancy by this truth, that then he does but begin to live. But it will be a huge folly if he shall think that confession of his sins will kill him, or receiving the holy sacrament will hasten his agony, or the pastor shall undo all the hopeful language and promises of his physician. Assure thyself thou canst not die the sooner; but, by such addresses, thou mayest die much the better.

6. Let the sick person be infinitely careful that he do not fall into a state of death upon a new account; that is, at no hand commit a deliberate sin, or retain any affection to the old; for, in both cases, he falls into the evils of a surprise, and the horrors of a sudden death; for a sudden death is but a sudden joy, if it takes a man in the state and exercises of virtue; and it is only then an evil when it finds a man unready. They were sad departures when Tigellinus, Cornelius Gallus the praetor, Lewis the son of Gonzaga duke of Mantua, Ladislaus king of Naples, Speusippus, Giachettus of Geneva, and one of the popes, died in the forbidden embraces of abused women; or if Job had cursed God, and so died; or when a man sits down in despair, and in the accusation and calumny of the Divine mercy: they make their night sad, and stormy, and eternal. When Herod began to sink with the shameful torment of his bowels, and felt the grave open under him, he imprisoned the nobles of his kingdom, and commanded his sister that they should be a sacrifice to his departing ghost. This was an egress fit only for such persons who meant to dwell with devils to eternal ages: and that man is hugely in love with sin who cannot forbear in the week of the assizes, and when himself stood at the bar of scrutiny, and prepared for his final, never-to-be-reversed sentence. He dies suddenly to the worse sense and event of sudden death, who so manages his sickness that even that state shall not be innocent, but that he is surprised in the guilt of a new account. It is a sign of a reprobate spirit, and an habitual, prevailing, ruling sin, which exacts obedience when the judgment looks him in the face. At least, go to God with the innocence and fair deportment of thy person in the last scene of thy life, that when thy soul breaks into the state of separation, it may carry the relishes of religion and sobriety to the places of its abode and sentence.

7. When these things are taken care for, let the sick man so order his affairs that he have but very little conversation with the world, but wholly (as he can) attend to religion, and antedate his conversation in heaven, always having intercourse with God, and still conversing with the holy Jesus, kissing his wounds, admiring his goodness, begging his mercy, feeding on him with faith, and drinking his blood: to which purpose it were very fit (if all circumstances be answerable) that the narrative of the passion of Christ be read or discoursed to him at length, or in brief, according to the style of the four Gospels. But in all things let his care and society be as little secular as is possible.

CHAPTER IV Of the Practice of the Graces proper to the State of Sickness, which a Sick Man may practise alone.

Section I Of the Practice of Patience

Now we suppose the man entering upon his scene of sorrows and passive graces. It may be he went yesterday to a wedding, merry and brisk, and there he felt his sentence that he must return home and die (for men very commonly enter into the snare singing, and consider not whither their fate leads them): nor feared that then the angel was to strike his stroke, till his knees kissed the earth, and his head trembled with the weight of the rod which God put into the hand of an exterminating angel. But whatsoever the ingress was, when the man feels his blood boil, or his bones weary, or his flesh diseased with a load of a dispersed and disordered humor, or his head to ache, or his faculties discomposed, then he must consider that all those discourses he hath heard concerning patience and resignation, and conformity to Christ's sufferings, and the melancholy lectures of the cross, must all of them now be reduced to practice, and pass from an ineffective contemplation to such an exercise as will really try whether we were true disciples of the cross, or only believed the doctrines of religion when we were at ease, and that they never passed through the ear to the heart, and dwelt not in our spirits. But every man should consider God does nothing in vain; that he would not to no purpose send us preachers and give us rules, and furnish us with discourse, and lend us books and provide sermons, and make examples, and promise his Spirit, and describe the blessedness of holy sufferings, and prepare us with daily alarms, if he did not really purpose to order our affairs so that we should need all this, and use it all. There were no such thing as the grace of patience if we were not to feel a sickness or enter into a state of sufferings; whither, when we are entered, we are to practice by the following rules:

The Practice and Acts of Patience, by way of Rule

1. At the first address and presence of sickness, stand still and arrest thy spirit, that it may, without amazement or affright, consider that this was that thou lookedst for and wert always certain should happen; and that now thou art to enter into the actions of a new religion, the agony of a strange constitution; but at no hand suffer thy spirits to be dispersed with fear, or wildness of thought, but stay their looseness and dispersion by a serious consideration of the present and future employment. For so doth the Libyan lion, spying the fierce huntsman; first beats himself with the strokes of his tail, and curls up his spirits, making them strong with union and recollection, till, being struck with a Mauritanian spear, he rushes forth into his defense and noblest contention; and either escapes into the secrets of his own dwelling, or else dies the bravest of the forest. Every man, when shot with an arrow from God's quiver, must then draw in all the auxiliaries of reason, and know that then is the time to try his strength, and to reduce the words of his religion into action, and consider, that if he behaves himself weakly and timorously, he suffers never the less of sickness; but if he returns to health, he carries along with him the mark of a coward and a fool; and if he descends into his grave, he enters into the state of the faithless and unbelievers. Let him set his heart firm upon this resolution: "I must bear it inevitably, and I will, by God's grace, do it nobly."

2. Bear in thy sickness all along the same thoughts, propositions, and discourses, concerning thy person, thy life and death, thy soul and religion, which thou hadst in the best days of thy health, and when thou didst discourse wisely concerning things spiritual. For it is to be supposed (and if it be not yet done, let this rule remind thee of it and direct thee) that thou hast cast about in thy health and considered concerning thy change and the evil day, that thou must be sick and die, that thou must need a comforter, and that it was certain thou shouldst fall into a state in which all the cords of thy anchor should be stretched, and the very rock and foundation of faith should be attempted: and whatsoever fancies may disturb you, or whatsoever weaknesses may invade you, yet consider, when you were better able to judge and govern the accidents of your life, you concluded it necessary to trust in God and possess your souls with patience. Think of things as they think that stand by you, and as you did when you stood by others; that it is a blessed thing to be patient; that a quietness of spirit hath a certain reward; that still there is infinite truth and reality in the promises of the gospel; that still thou art in the care of God, in the condition of a son, and working out thy salvation with labor and pain, with fear and trembling; that now the sun is under a cloud, but it still sends forth the same influence: and be sure to make no new principles upon the stock of a quick and an impatient sense, or too busy an apprehension: keep your old principles, and upon their stock discourse and practice on towards your conclusion.

3. Resolve to bear your sickness like a child, that is, without considering the evils and the pains, the sorrows and the danger; but go straightforward, and let thy thoughts cast about for nothing but how to make advantages of it by the instrument of religion. He that from a high tower looks down upon the precipice, and measures the space through which he must descend, and considers what a huge fall he shall have, shall feel more by the horror of it than by the last dash on the pavement; and he that tells his groans and numbers his sighs, and reckons one for every gripe of his belly or throb of his distempered pulse, will make an artificial sickness greater than the natural. And if thou be ashamed that a child should bear an evil better than thou, then take his instrument and allay thy spirit with it; reflect not upon thy evil, but contrive as much as you can for duty, and in all the rest in-consideration will ease your pain.

4. If thou fearest thou shalt need, observe and draw together all such things as are apt to charm thy spirit and ease thy fancy in the sufferance. It is the counsel of Socrates: "It is (said he) a great danger, and you must, by discourse and arts of reasoning, enchant it into slumber and some rest." It may be, thou wert moved much to see a person of honor to die untimely; or thou didst love the religion of that deathbed, and it was dressed up in circumstances fitted to thy needs, and hit thee on that part where thou wert most sensible; or some little saying in a sermon or passage of a book was chosen and singled out by a peculiar apprehension, and made consent lodge awhile in thy spirit, even then when thou didst place death in thy meditation, and didst view it in all its dress of fancy. Whatsoever that was which at any time did please thee in thy most passionate and fantastic part, let not that go, but bring it home at that time especially; because, when thou art in thy weakness, such little things will easier move thee than a more severe discourse and a better reason. For a sick man is like a scrupulous; his case is gone beyond the cure of arguments, and it is a trouble that can only be helped by chance, or a lucky saying: and Ludovico Corbinelli was moved at the death of Henry the Second more than if he had read the saddest elegy of all the unfortunate princes in Christendom, or all the sad sayings of Scripture, or the threnes of the funeral prophets. I deny not but this course is most proper to weak persons; but it is a state of weakness for which we are now providing remedies and instruction: a strong man will not need it; but when our sickness hath rendered us weak in all senses, it is not good to refuse a remedy because it supposes us to be sick. But then, if to the catalogue of weak persons we add all those who are ruled by fancy, we shall find that many persons in their health, and more in their sickness, are under the dominion of fancy, and apt to be helped by those little things which themselves have found fitted to their apprehension, and which no other man can minister to their needs, unless by chance, or in a heap of other things. But, therefore, every man should remember by what instruments he was at any time much moved, and try them upon his spirit in the day of his calamity.

5. Do not choose the kind of thy sickness, or the manner of thy death, but let it be what God please, so it be no greater than thy spirit or thy patience; and for that you are to rely upon the promise of God, and to secure thyself by prayer and industry; but in all things else let God be thy chooser, and let it be thy work to submit indifferently and attend thy duty. It is lawful to beg of God that thy sickness may not be sharp or noisome, infectious or unusual, because these are circumstances of evil which are also proper instruments of temptation : and though it may well concern the prudence of thy religion to fear thyself, and keep thee from violent temptations, who hast so often fallen into little ones, yet, even in these things, be sure to keep some degrees of indifference; that is, if God will not be entreated to ease thee, or to change thy trial, then be importunate that thy spirit and its interest be secured, and let him do what seemeth good in his eyes. But as in the degrees of sickness thou art to submit to God, so in the kind of it (supposing equal degrees) thou art to be altogether incurious whether God call thee by a consumption or an asthma, by a dropsy or a palsy, by a fever in thy humors, or a fever in thy spirits; because all such nicety of choice is nothing but a color to a legitimate impatience, and to make an excuse to murmur privately, and for circumstances, when in the sum of affairs we durst not own impatience. I have known some persons vehemently wish that they might die of a consumption, and some of these had a plot upon heaven, and hoped by that means to secure it after a careless life; as thinking a lingering sickness would certainly infer a lingering and a protracted repentance; and by that means they thought they should be safest: others of them dreamed it would be an easier death, and have found themselves deceived, and their patience hath been tired with a weary spirit and a useless body, by often conversing with healthful persons and vigorous neighbors, by uneasiness of the flesh and the sharpness of their bones, by want of spirits and a dying life; and, in conclusion, have been directly debauched by peevishness and a fretful sickness ; and these men had better have left it to the wisdom and goodness of God; for they both are infinite.

6. Be patient in the desires of religion ; and take care that the forwardness of exterior actions do not discompose thy spirit, while thou fearest, that by less serving God in thy disability thou runnest backward in the accounts of pardon and the favor of God. Be content that the time which was formerly spent in prayer be now spent in vomiting, and carefulness, and attendances; since God hath pleased it should be so, it does not become us to think hard thoughts concerning it. Do not think that God is only to be found in a great prayer, or a solemn office: he is moved by a sigh, by a groan, by an act of love; and therefore, when your pain is great and pungent, lay all your strength upon it, to bear it patiently: when the evil is something more tolerable, let your mind think some pious, though short, meditation; let it not be very busy, and full of attention; for that will be but a new temptation to your patience, and render your religion tedious and hateful. But record your desires, and present yourself to God by general acts of will and understanding, and by habitual remembrances of your former vigorousness, and by verification of the same grace, rather than proper exercises. If you can do more, do it; but if you cannot, let it not become a scruple to thee. We must not think man is tied to the forms of health, or that he who swoons and faints is obliged to his usual forms and hours of prayer: if we cannot labor, yet let us love. Nothing can hinder us from that but our own uncharitableness.

7. Be obedient to thy physician in those things that concern him, if he be a person fit to minister unto thee. God is he only that needs no help, and God hath created the physician for thine: therefore use him temperately without violent confidences, and sweetly without uncivil distrusting, or refusing his prescriptions upon humors or impotent fear. A man may refuse to have his arm or leg cut off, or to suffer the pains of Marius's incision; and if he believes that to die is the less evil, he may compose himself to it without hazarding his patience, or introducing that which he thinks a worse evil; but that which in this article is to be reproved and avoided is, that some men will choose to die out of fear of death, and send for physicians, and do what themselves list, and call for counsel and follow none. When there is reason they should decline him, it is not to be accounted to the stock of sin; but where there is no just cause, there is a direct impatience.

Hither is to be reduced, that we be not too confident of the physician, or drain our hopes of recovery from the fountain through so imperfect channels, laying the wells of God dry, and digging to ourselves broken cisterns. Physicians are the ministers of God's mercies and providence in the matter of health and ease, of restitution or death ; and when God shall enable their judgments, and direct their counsels, and prosper their medicines, they shall do thee good, for which you must give God thanks, and to the physician the honor of a blessed instrument. But this cannot always be done : and Lucius Cornelius, the lieutenant in Portugal under Fabius the consul, boasted in the inscription of his monument, that he had lived a healthful and vegete age till his last sickness, but then complained he was forsaken by his physician, and railed upon AEsculapius for not accepting his vow and passionate desire of preserving his life longer; and all the effect of that impatience and folly was, that it is recorded to following ages that he died without reason and without religion. But it was a sad sight to see the favor of all France confined to a physician and a barber, and the king (Louis XL) to be so much their servant, that he should acknowledge and own his life from them, and all his ease to their gentle dressing of his gout and friendly ministries: for the king thought himself undone and robbed if he should die: his portion here was fair; and he was loath to exchange his possession for the interest of a bigger hope.

8. Treat thy nurses and servants sweetly, and as it becomes an obliged and necessitous person. Remember that thou art very troublesome to them; that they trouble not thee willingly: that they strive to do thee ease and benefit, that they wish it, and sigh and pray for it, and are glad if thou likest their attendance; that whatsoever is amiss is thy disease, and the uneasiness of thy head or thy side, thy distemper or thy disaffections; and it will be an unhandsome injustice to be troublesome to them because thou art so to thyself; to make them feel a part of thy sorrows, that thou mayest not bear them alone; evilly to requite their care by thy too curious and impatient wrangling and fretful spirit. That tenderness is vicious and unnatural that shrieks out under the weight of a gentle cataplasm; and he will ill comply with God's rod, that cannot endure his friend's greatest kindness ; and he will be very angry (if he durst) with God's smiting him, that is peevish with his servants that go about to ease him.

9. Let not the smart of your sickness make you to call violently for death; you are not patient unless you be content to live; God hath wisely ordered that we may be the better reconciled with death, because it is the period of many calamities; but wherever the general hath placed thee, stir not from thy station until thou be called off, but abide so, that death may come to thee by the design of him who intends it to be thy advantage. God hath made sufferance to be thy work, and do not impatiently long for evening, lest at night thou findest the reward of him that was weary of his work; for he that is weary before his time is an unprofitable servant, and is either idle or diseased.

10. That which remains in the practice of this grace is that the sick man should do acts of patience by way of prayer and ejaculations; in which he may serve himself of the following collection.

Section II acts of Patience, by way of Prayer

“I will seek unto God, unto God will I commit my cause, which doth great things and unsearchable, marvellous things without number.” Job 5:8-9, 11, 16-20.

“To set up on high those that be low, that those which mourn may be exalted to safety.
So the poor have hope, and iniquity stoppeth her mouth.
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.
He shall deliver thee in six troubles; yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.
Thou shalt come to thy grave in a just age, like as a shock of corn cometh in his season.
I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate upon 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.” Psalm 63:6-8.

“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.” Psalm 23:3-4.

“In the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion; in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.” Psalm 27:5.

“The Lord hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary: from the heaven did the Lord behold the earth: to hear the groaning of his prisoners; to loose those that are appointed to death.” Psalm 102:19-20.

“I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice, and he gave ear unto me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted; I remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Thou boldest mine eyes waking;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak. Will the Lord cast me off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Is his promise clean gone for ever? Doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? And I said, This is in my infirmity; but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.” Psalm 77: 1-4, 7-10.

“No temptation hath taken me but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer me to be tempted above what I am able; but will, with the temptation, also make a way to escape, that I may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthains 10:13.

“Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning; that we, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope. Now the God of peace and consolation grant me to be so minded.” Romans 15:4-5.

“It is the Lord; let him do what seemeth good in his eyes.” 1 Samuel 3:18.

“Surely the word that the Lord hath spoken is very good, but thy servant is weak: O remember mine infirmities; and lift thy servant up that leaneth upon thy right hand.
There is given unto me a thorn in the flesh to buffet me. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For when I am weak, then am I strong.” 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10.

“O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life. And I said, My strength and my hope is in the Lord; remembering my affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.
It is the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, said my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
The Lord is good to them that 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. 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.” Lamentations 3:58, 18-26, 31-33, 39.

“Wherefore doth a living man complain - a man for the punishment of his sins? O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past: that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!” Job 14:13.

“Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” Job 2:10.

The sick man may recite, or hear recited, the following Psalms in the intervals of his agony.


“O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.” Psalm 6.

“Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak: 0 Lord, heal me, for my bones are vexed.
My soul is also sore vexed; but thou, O Lord, how long?
Return, O Lord, deliver my soul; O save me, for thy mercy's sake.
For in death no man remembereth thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?
I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim: I water my couch with my tears.
Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all my sorrows.
Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping.
The Lord hath heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer.
Blessed be the Lord, who hath heard my prayer, and hath not turned his mercy from me.”


“In the Lord put I my trust: how say ye to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain?” Psalm 11.

“The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord's throne is in heaven; his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. Preserve me, O God; for in thee do I put my trust. Psalm 16:1.

“O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord; my goodness extendeth not to thee.
The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.
I will bless the Lord who hath given me counsel; my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.
I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.
Thou wilt show me the path of life; in thy presence is the fulness of joy, at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.” Psalm 17.


“Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am in trouble: mine, eye is consumed with grief; yea, my soul and my belly.” Psalm 31.

“For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing; my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.
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.
When thou saidst, Seek ye my face, my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.” Psalm 27.

“Hide not thy face from me; put not thy servant away in thine anger; thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
O how great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!” Psalm 31.

“Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man; thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.
I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes; nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplication when I cried unto thee.
O love the Lord, all ye his saints; for the Lord preserveth the faithful, and plenteously rewardeth the proud doer.
Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.”

The Prayer to be said in the Beginning of a Sickness.

O Almighty God, merciful and gracious, who in thy justice didst send sorrow and tears, sickness and death, into the world, as a punishment for man's sins, and hast comprehended all under sin, and this sad covenant of sufferings, not to destroy us, but that thou mightest have mercy upon all, making thy justice to minister to mercy, short afflictions to an eternal weight of glory; as thou hast turned my sins into sickness, so turn my sickness to the advantages of holiness and religion, of mercy and pardon, of faith and hope, of grace and glory. Thou hast now called me to the fellowship of sufferings: Lord, by the instrument of religion let my present condition be so sanctified that my sufferings may be united to the sufferings of my Lord, that so thou mayest pity me and assist me. Relieve my sorrow and support my spirit; direct my thoughts, and sanctify the accidents of my sickness; and that the punishment of my sin may be the school of virtue, in which, since thou hast now entered me, Lord, make me a holy proficient, that I may behave myself as a son under discipline, humbly and obediently, evenly and penitently; that I may come by this means nearer unto thee; that, if I shall go forth of this sickness by the gate of life and health, I may return to the world with great strengths of spirit, to run a new race of a stricter holiness and a more severe religion : or, if I pass from hence with the outlet of death, I may enter into the bosom of my Lord, and may feel the present joys of a certain hope of that sea of pleasures, in which all thy saints and servants shall be comprehended to eternal ages. Grant this for Jesus Christ's sake, our dearest Lord and Saviour. Amen.

An Act of Resignation to be said by a Sick Person in all the evil Accidents of his Sickness.

O eternal God, thou hast made me and sustained me; thou hast blessed me in all the days of my life, and hast taken care of me in all variety of accidents; and nothing happens to me in vain, nothing without thy providence; and I know thou smitest thy servants in mercy, and with designs of the greatest pity in the world: Lord, I humbly lie down under thy rod; do with me as thou pleasest; do thou choose for me not only the whole state and condition of being, but every little and great accident of it. Keep me safe by thy grace, and then use what instrument thou pleasest of bringing me to thee. Lord, I am not solicitous of the passage, so I may get to thee. Only, O Lord, remember my infirmities, and let thy servant rejoice in thee always, and feel, and confess, and glory in thy goodness. O, be thou as delightful to me in this my medicinal sickness as ever thou wert in any of the dangers of my prosperity; let me not peevishly refuse thy pardon at the rate of a severe discipline. I am thy servant and thy creature, thy purchased possession, and thy son ; I am all thine; and because thou hast mercy in store for all that trust in thee, I cover mine eyes, and in silence wait for the time of my redemption. Amen.

A Prayer for the Grace of Patience.

Most merciful and gracious Father, who, in the redemption of lost mankind by the passion of thy most holy Son, hast established a covenant of sufferings, I bless and magnify thy name that thou hast adopted me into the inheritance of sons, and hast given me a portion of my elder Brother. Lord, the cross falls heavy and sits uneasy upon my shoulders; my spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak ; I humbly beg of thee that I may now rejoice in this thy dispensation and effect of provi-dence. I know and am persuaded that thou art then as gracious when thou smitest us for amendment or trial, as when thou relievest our wearied bodies in compliance with our infirmity. I rejoice, O Lord, in thy rare and mysterious mercy, who by sufferings hast turned our misery into advantages unspeakable : for so thou makest us like to thy Son, and givest us a gift that the angels never did receive: for they cannot die in conformity to, and imitation of, their Lord and ours: but, blessed be thy name, we can ; and, dearest Lord, let it be so. Amen.


Thou, who art the God of patience and consolation, strengthen me in the inner man, that I may bear the yoke and burden of the Lord without any uneasy and useless murmurs and ineffective unwillingness. Lord, I am unable to stand under the cross, unable of myself; but thou, O holy Jesus, who didst feel the burden of it, who didst sink under it, and wert pleased to admit a man to bear part of the load, when thou underwentest all for him, be thou pleased to ease this load by fortifying my spirit, that I may be strongest when I am weakest, and may be able to do and suffer everything thou pleasest through Christ, who strengthens me. Lord, if thou wilt support me, I will for ever praise thee; if thou wilt suffer the load to press me yet more heavily, I will cry unto thee, and complain unto my God; and at last I will lie down and die, and by the mercies and intercession of the holy Jesus, and the conduct of thy blessed Spirit, and the ministry of angels, pass into those mansions where holy souls rest and weep no more. Lord, pity me ; Lord, sanctify this my sickness; Lord, strengthen me; holy Jesus, save me and deliver me. Thou knowest how shamefully I have fallen with pleasure; in thy mercy and very pity, let me not fall with pain too. O let me never charge God foolishly, nor offend thee by my impatience and uneasy spirit, nor weaken the hands and hearts of those that charitably minister to my needs: but let me pass through the valley of tears and the valley of the shadow of death with safety and peace, with a meek spirit and a sense of the Divine mercies; and though thou breakest me in pieces, my hope is thou wilt gather me up in the gatherings of eternity. Grant this, eternal God, gracious Father, for the merits and intercession of our merciful High Priest, who once suffered for me, and forever intercedes for me, our most gracious and ever-blessed Savior Jesus.

A Prayer to be said when the Sick Man takes Physic.

O most blessed and eternal Jesus, thou who art the great Physician of our souls, and the Sun of righteousness arising with healing in thy wings, to thee is given by thy heavenly Father the government of all the world, and thou disposest every great and little accident to thy Father's honor, and to the good and comfort of them that love and serve thee; be pleased to bless the ministry of thy servant in order to my ease and health, direct his judgment, prosper the medicines, and dispose the chances of my sickness fortunately, that I may feel the blessing and loving-kindness of the Lord in the ease of my pain and the restitution of my health; that I, being restored to the society of the living, and to thy solemn assemblies, may praise thee and thy goodness secretly among the faithful, and in the congregation of thy redeemed ones here in the outer courts of the Lord, and hereafter in thy eternal temple forever and ever. Amen.

Section III of the Practice of the Grace of Faith in the Time of Sickness

Now is the time in which faith appears most necessary and most difficult. It is the foundation of a good life, and the foundation of all our hopes; it is that without which we cannot live well, and without which we cannot die well; it is a grace that then we shall need to support our spirits, to sustain our hopes, to alleviate our sickness, to resist temptation, to prevent despair ; upon the belief of the articles of our religion we can do the works of a holy life, but upon belief of the promises we can bear our sickness patiently, and die cheerfully. The sick man may practice it in the following instances.

1. Let the sick man be careful that he do not admit of any doubt concerning that which he believed and received from a common consent in his best health and days of election and religion. For if the devil can but prevail so far as to unfix and unrivet the resolution and confidence or fullness of assent, it is easy for him so to unwind the spirit, that from why to whether or no, from whether or no to scarcely not, from scarcely not to absolutely not at all, are steps of a descending and falling spirit; and whatsoever a man is made to doubt of by the weakness of his understanding in a sickness, it will be hard to get an instrument strong or subtle enough to reinforce and insure: for when the strengths are gone by which faith held, and it does not stand firm by the weight of its own bulk and great constitution, nor yet by the cordage of a tenacious root, then it is prepared for a ruin, which it cannot escape in the tempests of a sickness and the assaults of a devil. Discourse and argument, the line of tradition and a never-failing experience, the Spirit of God and the truth of miracles, the word of prophecy and the blood of martyrs, the excellency of the doctrine and the necessity of men, the riches of the promises and the wisdom of the revelations, the reasonableness and sublimity, the concordance and the usefulness, of the articles, and their compliance with all the needs of man and the government of commonwealths, are like the strings and branches of the roots by which faith stands firm and unmovable in the spirit and understanding of a man. But in sickness the understanding is shaken, and the ground is removed in which the root did grapple and support its trunk; and therefore, there is no way now but that it be left to stand upon the old confidences, and by the firmament of its own weight; it must be left to stand, because it always stood there before; and as it stood all its lifetime in the ground of understanding, so it must now be supported with will and a fixed resolution. But disputation tempts it, and shakes it with trying, and overthrows it with shaking. Above all things in the world, let the sick man fear a proposition which his sickness hath put into him contrary to the discourses of health and a sober, untroubled reason.

2. Let the sick man mingle the recital of his creed together with his devotions, and in that let him account his faith; not in curiosity and factions, in the confessions of parties and interests for some over-forward zeal are so earnest to profess their little and uncertain articles, and glory so to die in a particular and divided communion, that in the profession of their faith they lose or discompose their charity. Let it be enough that we secure our interest of heaven, though we do not go about to appropriate the mansions to our sect; for every good man hopes to be saved, as he is a Christian, and not as he is a Lutheran, or of another division. However, those articles upon which he can build the exercise of any virtue in his sickness or upon the stock of which he can improve his present condition, are such as consist in the greatness and goodness, the veracity and mercy, of God through Jesus Christ; nothing of which can be concerned in the fond disputations which faction and interest hath too long maintained in Christendom.

3. Let the sick man's faith especially be active about the promises of grace, and the excellent things of the gospel; those which can comfort his sorrows and enable his patience; those upon the hopes of which he did the duties of his life, and for which he is not unwilling to die; such as the intercession and advocation of Christ, remission of sins, the resurrection, the mysterious arts and mercies of man's redemption, Christ's triumph over death and all the powers of hell, the covenant of grace, or the blessed issues of repentance; and, above all, the article of eternal life, upon the strength of which eleven thousand virgins went cheerfully together to their martyrdom, and twenty thousand Christians were burned by Dioclesian on a Christmas-day, and whole armies of Asian Christians offered themselves to the tribunals of Arius Antonius, and whole colleges of severe persons were instituted, who lived upon religion, whose dinner was the eucharist, whose supper was praise, and their nights were watches, and their days were labor; for the hope of which then men counted it gain to lose their estates, and gloried in their sufferings, and rejoiced in their persecutions, and were glad at their disgraces. This is the article that hath made all the martyrs of Christ confident and glorious; and if it does not more than sufficiently strengthen our spirits to the present suffering, it is because we understand it not, but have the appetites of beasts and fools. But if the sick man fixes his thoughts and sets his habitation to dwell here, he swells his hope, and masters his fears, and eases his sorrows, and overcomes his temptations.

4. Let the sick man endeavor to turn his faith of the articles into the love of them; and that will be an excellent instrument, not only to refresh his sorrows, but to confirm his faith in defiance of all temptations. For a sick man and a disturbed understanding are not competent and fit instruments to judge concerning the reasonableness of a proposition. But, therefore, let him consider and love it, because it is useful and necessary, profitable and gracious; and when he is once in love with it, and then also renews his love to it, when he feels the need of it, he is an interested person, and for his own sake will never let it go, and pass into the shadows of doubt-ing, or the utter darkness of infidelity. An act of love will make him have a mind to it; and we easily believe what we love, but very uneasily part with our belief, which we for so great an interest have chosen and entertained with a great affection.

5. Let the sick person be infinitely careful that his faith be not tempted by any man, or anything; and when it is in any degree weakened, let him lay fast hold upon the conclusion, upon the article itself, and by earnest prayer beg of God to guide him in certainty and safety. For let him consider that the article is better than all its contrary or contradictory, and he is concerned that it be true, and concerned also that he do believe it: but he can receive no good at all if Christ did not die, if there be no resurrection, if his creed hath deceived him; therefore all that he is to do is to secure his hold, which he can do no way but by prayer and by his interest. And by this argument or instrument it was that Socrates refreshed the evil of his condition, when he was to drink his aconite. "If the soul be immortal, and perpetual rewards be laid up for wise souls, then I lose nothing by my death: but if there be not, then I lose nothing by my opinion; for it supports my spirit in my passage, and the evil of being deceived cannot overtake me when I have no being." So it is with all that are tempted in their faith. If those articles be not true, then the men are nothing; if they be true, then they are happy: and if the articles fail, there can be no punishment for believing; but if they be true, my not believing destroys all my portion in them, and possibility to receive the excellent things which they contain. By faith we quench the fiery darts of the devil; but if our faith be quenched, wherewithal shall we be able to endure the assault? Therefore seize upon the article, and secure the great object, and the great instrument, that is, the hopes of pardon and eternal life through Jesus Christ; and do this by all means, and by any instrument, artificial or inartificial, by argument or by stratagem, by perfect resolution or by discourse, by the hand and ears of premises or the foot of the conclusion, by right or by wrong ; because we understand it, or because we love it, super totam materiam; because I will, and because I ought; because it is safe to do so, and because it is not safe to do otherwise; because, if I do, I may receive a good; and because if I do not, I am miserable; either for that I shall have a portion of sorrows, or that I can have no portion of good things without it.

READ THIS BOOK ONLINE: "Holy Living and Dying," Together with “Prayers containing the Whole Duty of a Christian,” by Jeremy Taylor


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