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What a source of consolation and hope has the word of the Lord been to the afflicted in every age. The Psalmist said, comfort in my affliction, for thy word hath quickened me. Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to
66 This is my
hanging from the ceiling. He was totally unable to move either hand or foot, having more than four years been entirely deprived of the use of his limbs; yet the whole time suffering extreme anguish from swellings at all his joints. As soon as I had recovered a little from my surprise at seeing so pitiable an object, I asked, “ Are you left alone my friend in this deplorable situation ?"' "
No, Sir,” replied he, in a touchingly feeble tone of mild resignation, nothing but his lips and eyes moving while he spake) “ I am not alone, for God is with me.” On advancing, I soon discovered the secret of his striking declaration ; for his wife had left on his knees, propped with a cushion formed for the
purpose, a Bible lying open at a favourite portion of the Psalms. I sat down by him and conversed with him. On ascertaining that he had but a small weekly allowance certain, I inquired how the remainder of his wants were supplied. Why, Sir,” said he,
“ 'tis true, as you say, that seven shillings a-week would never support us; but when it is gone I rely upon the promise I found in this book: · Bread shall be given him and his water shall be sure;' and I have never been disappointed yet; and so long as God is faithful to his word I never shall.” I asked him if he ever felt tempted to repine under the pressure of so long continued and heavy a calamity. Not for the last three years,” said he, “blessed be God for it;" the eye of faith sparkling and giving life to his pallid countenance while he made the declaration : for I have learned from this book in whom to believe, and though I am aware of my weakness and unworthiness, I am persuaded that he will not leave me nor forsake me. And so it is, that often
hope ; unless thy law had been my delights I should then have perished in mine affliction.” Be anxious, therefore, to read the Scriptures, and pray
that the divine Spirit may open the eyes
you may see the beauties and feel the benefits of so invaluable a treasure. Those with whom you are acquainted, may perhaps recommend something to amuse you. A silly tale or publication, containing only the passing news or events of the day may be put into your hands; but alas, you want not to be entertained. What has a sick and dying man, standing upon the verge of eternity, to do with any thing amusing. He wants something to do his soul good-something that will point him to the source of his safety and happiness for another world. What can be more awful than to see an invalid, whose bodily disorder is of a dangerous nature, reading a listening to a nonsensical novel; yet this has often been the case. Friends recommend such works to divert and cheer the mind of the sick person ; but he wants something else to cheer him : he has no need to have his
when my lips are closed with locked jaw, and I cannot speak to the glory of God, he enables me to sing his praises in my heart.”
This and much more did I hear during my first visit, and in my subsequent visits I generally found him with his Bible on his knees, and uniformly witnessed like resignation, iowing from the blessing of God upon the constant perusal of his holy word.
attention diverted from, but directed to serious things. The scenes of earth, the things of time and sense, the follies of the world should be forgotten rather than fostered. Consult, therefore, your own best interests, rather than the recommendations of friends, whose motives may
be very good, but whose plan, if adopted, would be decidedly injurious. Keep close to your Bible and books of strictly a religious
and devotional nature; hear nothing else. Read nothing else--and doubtless you have pious friends who will visit you. You are not so situated as to say,
“No man čareth for my soul.” Send for a minister or serious neighbour who may converse with you, read to you, and pray with you, and do this in the first stage of your sickness. Relations and friends of sick people, have sometimes, from the fear of agitating the mind of the sufferer, or perhaps secretly disliking religion themselves, deferred sending for some one competent to administer comfort and instruction, till the chance of doing any good is nearly
Either the mind or the body is in that state as to allow very little attention to be paid to what may be advanced. And indeed, the invalid himself may be disposed to procrastinate upon this subject. Though there may be a conviction, that it is necessary to think of the poor soul that is not fit to enter eternity, yet there is a feeling of aversion to religion in the heart; and therefore, one season after another is postponed with the hope that recovery may be experienced, and therefore the pious visit rendered unnecessary. The same delay is sometimes discovered with regard to the body. The man feels himself ill, he thinks of the doctor, but is willing to do without him, if possible. He thinks he shall be better the next day, or the next week; while at the same time, his disorder insensibly gains strength, and becomes every moment more difficult, if not impossible, to cure; whereas the application of medicine, in the earlier stage of the complaint, might have been of essential service.
So some foolishly and fatally act by the soul; they hope they shall be able to do without a spiritual instructor, they hope that religion, the cure of the soul, may not be required; and thus they lose, in many cases, the only opportunity of attaining spiritual health and cure; they become in that state that the balm of Gilead cannot be applied, and the physician then can do them no good. If you are sick, delay not. You postponed the consideration of spiritual things when you were in health, to the more convenient season (as you then thought) of sickness; put it off no longerthe season of death may come upon you
You ought, afflicted friend, to be thankful that you live where there are such ample means of religious instruction. Ministers and friends are willing to visit you and converse with you, and through God's blessing
(for they are but instruments,) they may be very serviceable to you in the vast concerns of your soul. If they visit you, receive them kindly, and listen to them attentively. Do not think they are enemies if they speak faithfully to you. They do not wish to deceive you. They design to point out to you your real condition as a sinner before God, and if they wound you, it is only to lead you more effectually to an all-sufficient Saviour.
And while they pray for you, remember that you must pray for yourself. The apostle, while he exhorts the sick to send for minis-, ters and elders to pray, likewise_says, any is afflicted let him pray.
The simple circumstance of others offering up petitions for you, at the footstool of mercy, will not avail, unless you are inclined to pray yourself. Pray when they pray--and pray when they are not with you. In the stillness of the night, should intervals of ease be afforded you, commune with your own heart upon your bed, and direct your prayer to God. No season is so suitable for prayer as the time of sickness. It is a source of regret with many individuals that they cannot pray, at least they think that they cannot. But perhaps they somewhat mistake the nature of prayer. There is no person, however illiterate, however unaccustomed to the exercises of devotion--but who can pray in a manner that Gud can both hear and accept, though if