Page images

You ought to be thankful to those, who are the instruments of God in your relief, and pray that every blessing may attend them: but the Lord himself creates the medicines, and gives skill to the physicians, and ability and inclination to your generous benefactors. Through his goodness you have all that can alleviate your distress, or tend to remove your disorder, without any trouble or expence to yourselves; this is great cause for gratitude: and on him you must still depend for your cure, and give him thanks for it.

7. Having through your sickness and confinement, (as far as you are not totally disabled by your disorder,) much leisure from worldly business and company; and therefore much opportunity for getting acquaintance with the scriptures, and your own state and character; and being favoured with the means of grace in the scriptures read among you, the exhortations given you, the prayers offered up for you and with you, and the administration of sacred ordinances by your chaplain: you should consider seriously how you may obtain real advantage from these things; which you cannot do, unless you diligently apply your mind to them, and use them heartily, as in the presence of God, and with a desire and expectation of his gracious assistance and blessing.

Especially, should you be disposed to approach the Lord's table; remember that the bread and




wine are only the outward and visible sign of an ' inward and spiritual grace:" that not the outward sign, but this inward and spiritual grace, (even the body of Christ which was broken, and his blood which was shed, upon the cross, as the atonement of our sins, and which are verily and ' indeed received,' by the true believer, in the Lord's supper,) bring salvation to the soul: and that you must feed upon him in your hearts, by 'faith with thanksgiving.2' Receiving the sacrament implies a humble confession of guilt, in that we come to the table 'not trusting in our own righteousness, but in God's manifold and great ' mercies;' an entire reliance on the atoning sacrifice of the death of Christ, through faith in his blood, for forgiveness of sins and acceptance with God, as the only way in which he is merciful to sinners; a cordial receiving of him as our Lord and Saviour; an avowed confession of our faith in him, and obligations to him; a thankful remembrance of his sufferings as the ransom of our souls, and the purchase of our salvation; and a solemn dedication of ourselves, as bought with his blood, to serve him in body and soul, and live to his glory in all righteousness and true holiness all the days of our future life.

You must therefore consider that you come to the Lord's table, not to merit of God, but to re" See the Church Catechism.

* Read very carefully the whole Communion Service.

ceive the pledge of unmerited blessings: not to atone for your own sins; but to receive the benefit of the atonement, which the Son of God made in our nature on the cross; to express your unworthiness of, and thankfulness for, this inestimable gift; and to seek grace from him, that you may lead the rest of your life as one who is partaker of this great salvation.

If therefore you are living in known sin, or neglect of known duty: if you are proudly trusting in your own goodness; establishing your own righ teousness, and not thankfully relying on the atonement of Christ; if you are not desirous of living a new life: in short, if you do not come in deep humiliation, and repentance of sin, express dependence on Christ, with many previous prayers, and serious purposes through his grace of living a life of faith and holiness; and if you come not forgiving all others from your heart, as you hope for forgiveness from God; your service will be mere formality, and you will receive unworthily. But coming in the exercise of repentance, faith, love, and gratitude, seeking forgiveness for yourselves, forgiving others, and earnestly desiring and praying to lead a new life, you will be an acceptable communicant; and may humbly expect, that your 'soul shall be strengthened and refreshed by the 'body and blood of Christ, as your body is by the 'bread and wine."'

* Read John vi, 27–58.

8. You should consider how you can render yourselves useful to others in the hospital. How you can promote peace and regularity in your ward, repress immorality or improper conduct; alleviate the sufferings of any of the patients; be assistant to the nurses; speak any thing for the warning, instruction, or encouragement of others; read the scriptures or good books to such as are willing to hear but incapable of reading; pray for them or with them; or do any thing, which can in any respect be beneficial. This is evidently your bounden duty; and the least return you can make for the kindness shewn to you.

9. Should you perceive that your dissolution approaches, consider how you may most properly meet that solemn event. Settle all your other concerns as speedily as possible, that nothing may distract your mind in the hour of death; and remember that sacraments and other religious duties are but means of grace: but that, renewed repentance of sin, and cordial acceptance of Christ, and committing your soul into his almighty hand, to be washed by his blood, and sanctified by his grace, and received into his presence, is the only effectual preparation. To this, if your strength and senses permit, add serious warnings and exhortations to all around you, to be ready also, for they know not when their time shall come.

10. Finally, if you find your health restored, and your release from confinement approaching; consider that you are returning to the converse and business of a world full of snares and temptations; and with serious apprehensions of the consequences, by earnest prayers commit yourself to the keeping of divine grace, that the world, the flesh, and the devil may not prevail against you: leave the hospital or your sick room "with fear "and trembling," lest you should break the vows of God which are upon you, and return again to sinful practices. Not only return thanks to your kind benefactors, or formally in some place of worship; but let it be your first business in secrecy and seriousness, and also in your family if you have one, to render thanks to God for his mercies, to beg his grace to enable you to make suitable returns, and to supplicate his blessing upon the instruments of his goodness. Like Hezekiah after his sickness, and the man whom Christ healed and afterwards found in the temple,' let the house of God be the first place you go to. Make a daily practice of reading the scriptures seriously and attentively; begin and end each day with fervent prayer; avoid ungodly company, as you would persons infected with the plague; dread, and pray against temptations to sin; be sure to hallow the whole Lord's day, and attend on every means of grace: that "sin no more, lest a worse

you may

Read John v.

[ocr errors]
« EelmineJätka »