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VISITATION AND COMMUNION OF THE SICK,
VISITATION OF THE SICK.
When any one is sick, notice thereof shall be given to the Minister, br, if any circumstance prevent his attendance, to one of the Elders oi (he Church, who, coming to the sick person, shall carefully inquire into his spiritual state.
[If the sick person be not baptized, he shall be immediately instructed as to his duty in this respect, and urged to become obedient to the faith, and enter into covenant with God. To this end the following Scriptnre passages shall be read and explained to him: Matt. xxviii. 18–20; Mark xvi. 16; John iii. 5;, Acts ii. 38-41; Rom. vi. 3-12; Gal. iii. 27; Col. ii. 12; Titus iii. 5; 1 Peter iii. 21. If the sick
person give evidence of true repentance and faith, the Minister shall baptize him in the presence of one or more Elders of the Church.]
When the necessary examination has beez made, and the proper instructions and exhortations have been given, the Minister, or Elder,
DEARLY BELOVED : Be fully persuaded that Alnighty God is the Lord of life and of death, and that all His creatures are so in His hands, that without His will they cannot so much as move. Wherefore, know certainly that this is God's visitation, coming not by chance, but by His fatherly hand. Know also that He will make whatever afflictions He sends upon us in this vale of tears, if they be received in
the right spirit, and used in the right way, turn out to our advantage: for He is able to do it, being Almighty God, and willing also, being a faithful Father.
That your present afflictions may be santified to you, humble yourself with continual repentance for all your sins under the mighty hand of God. Acknowledge His faithfulness and love, and endeavor to bear your sickness with true Christian patience, trusting in His mercy through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Resign yourself wholly to His will, while you look and wait for His salvation, either in your restoration to health, or in your translation to the joys of heaven.
That you may be further instructed in regard to God's will concerning you in this your sickness, and receive such encouragement and consolation as you need, listen to those things which are written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope.
Here shall be read or repeated some suitable portions of Holy Scripture. The following are given for direction and help.
Affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground.
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, ir seven there shall no evil touch thee.
Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
I will bring them through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried : they shall call on My name, and I will hear them: I will Bay, It is My people and they shall say, The Lord is my God.
Ye lave forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him: for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees.
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept Thy word. Thou art good, and doest good; teach me Thy statutes. It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes. I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are right, and that Thou in faithfulness hast afflict
Let, I pray Thee, Thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to Thy word unto Thy servant. Let Thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for Thy law is my delight.
We glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience, and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
We are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be con. demned with the world.
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
III. The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths 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. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: _if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now He that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (for we walk by faith, not by sight:) we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him.
For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. What I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having * desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my de. parture is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
V. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, Thou wilt revive
O God, who is like unto Thee! Thou, which hast showed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.
For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning
For the Lord will not cast off forever: 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.
For a small moment have I forsaken Thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath
mercy on thee.
Then the Minister, or Elder, shall pray with and for the sick person, slowly and distinctly rehearsing, in the first place, the Apostles' Creed, using afterward one or other of the following prayers, as the case may require, and closing with the Lord's Prayer.
A General Prayer for the Sick. O LORD God, in whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind; regard with tender compassion this Thy servant, whom it