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Offices to be said by the Minister in his Visitation of the Sick.
In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. “Our Father, which art in heaven,” etc.
O eternal Jesus, thou great lover of souls, who hast constituted a ministry in the church to glorify thy name, and to serve in the assistance of those that come to thee, prefessing thy discipline and service, give grace to me the unwrothiest of thy servants that I, in this my ministry, may purely and zealously intend thy glory, and effectually may minister comfort and advantages to this sick person; (whom God assoil from all his offences;) and grant that nothing of thy grace may perish to him by the unworthiness of the minister; but let thy Spirit speak to me, and give me prudence and charity, wisdom and diligence, good observation and apt discourses a certain judgment and merciful dispensation, that the soul of thy servant may pass from this state of imperfection to the perfections of the state of glory, through thy mercies, O eternal Jesus. Amen.
Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice; let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. Psalm cxxx.
If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who should stand.
But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayst be feared.
I wait for the Lord; my soul doth wait; and in his word do I hope.
My soul waiteth for the Lord, more than they that watch for the morning.
Let Israel hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.
And he shall redeem his servants from all their iniquities. Psalm cxxx.
Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the wickedness of my heels shall compass me about? Psalm xlix. 5.
No man can be any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him. Ver. 7.
For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceasern for ever. Ver. 8.
That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption. Ver. 9.
But wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others. Ver. 10.
But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Ver. 15.
As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness. Psalm xvii. 15.
Thou shalt show me the path of life: in thy presence is the fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm xvi. 11.
Glory be to the Father, etc.
As it was in the beginning, etc.
Almighty God, Father of mercies, the God of peace and comfort, of rest and pardon, we thy servants, though unworthy to pray for thee, yet, in duty to thee and charity to our brother, humbly beg mercy of thee for him, to descend upon his body and his soul; one sinner, O Lord, for another, the miserable for the afflicted, the poor for him that is in need; but thou givest thy graces and thy favours by the measures of thy own mercies, and in proportion to our necessities. We humbly come to thee in the name of Jesus, for the merit of our Saviour, and the mercies of our God, praying thee to pardon the sins of this thy servant, and to put them all upon the accounts of the cross, and to bury them in the grave of Jesus; that they may never rise up in judgment against thy servant, nor bring him to shame and confusion of face in the day of final inquiry and sentence. Amen.
Give thy servant patience in his sorrows, comfort in this his sickness, and restore him to health, if it seems good to thee, in order to thy great ends and his greatest interest. And however thou shalt determine concerning him in this affair, yet make his repentance perfect, and his passage safe, and his faith strong, and his hope modest and confident; that when thou shalt call his soul from the prison of the body, it may enter into the securities and rest of the sons of God in the bosom of blessedness and the custodies of Jesus. Amen.
Thou, O Lord, knowest all the necessities and all the infirmities of thy servant; fortify his spirit with spiritual joys and perfect resignation, and take from him all degrees of inordinate or insecure affections to this world, and enlarge his heart with desires of being with thee, and of freedom from sins, and fruition of God.
Lord, let not any pain or passion discompose the order and decency of his thoughts and duty; and lay no more upon thy servant than thou wilt make him able to bear; and together with the temptation do thou provide a way to escape, even by the mercies of a longer and a more holy life, or by the mercies of a blessed death; even as it pleaseth thee, O Lord, so let it be.
Let the tenderness of his conscience and the Spirit of God call to mind his sins, that they may be confessed and repented of; because thou hast promised that if we confess our sins we shall have mercy. Let thy mighty grace draw out from his soul every root of bitterness, lest the remains of the old man be accursed with the reserves of thy wrath; but in the union of the holy Jesus, and in the charities of God and of the world, and the communion of all the saints, let this soul be presented to thee blameless and entirely pardoned, and thoroughly washed, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The prayer of St. Eustatius the Martyr, to be used by the sick of dying man, or by the priests or assistants in his behalf, which he said when he was going to martyrdom.
I will praise thee, O Lord, that thou hast considered my low estate, and hast not shut me up in the hands of mine enemies, nor made my foes to rejoice over me; and now let thy right hand protect me, and let thy mercy come upon me; for my soul is in trouble and anguish because of its departure from the body. O let not the assemblies of its wicked and cruel enemies meet it in the passing forth, nor hinder me by reason of the sins of my past life. O Lord, be favourable unto me, that my soul may not behold the hellish countenance of the spirits of darkness, but let thy bright and joyful angels entertain it. Give glory to thy holy name and thou thy majesty; place me by thy merciful arm before thy seat of judgment, and let not the hand of the prince of this world snatch me from thy presence, or beat me into hell. Mercy, sweet Jesus. Amen.
A prayer taken out of the Euchologion of the Greek church to be said by, or in behalf of, people in their danger, or at their death.
βεβορβορωνενος ταιζ αναρτιαιζ, etc.
Bemired with sins and naked of good deeds, I that am the meat of worms cry vehemently in spirit; cast not me a wretch away from thy face; place me not on the left hand, who with thy hands didst fashion me; but give me rest unto my soul, for thy great mercy's sake, O Lord.
Supplicate with tears unto Christ, who is to judge my poor soul, that he will deliver me from the fire that is unquenchable. I pray you all, my friends and acquaintance, make mention of my in your prayers, that in the day of judgment I may find mercy at that dreadful tribunal.
When in unspeakable glory thou dost come dreadfully to judge the whole world, vouchsafe, O gracious Redeemer, that this thy faithful servant may in the clouds meet thee cheerfully. They who have been dead from the beginning, with terrible and fearful trembling stand at thy tribunal, waiting thy just sentence. O blessed Saviour Jesus! None shall there avoid thy formidable and most righteous judgment. All kings and princes with servants stand together, and hear the dreadful voice of the judge condemning the people which have sinned into hell; from which sad sentence, O Christ, deliver thy servant. Amen.
Then let the sick man be called to rehearse the articles of his faith; or, if he be so weak he cannot, let him (if he have not before done it) be called to say Amen when they are recited, or to give some testimony of his faith and confident assent to them.
After which it is proper (if the person be in capacity) that the minister examine him, and invite him to confession, and all the parts of repentance, according to the foregoing rules; after which he may pray the prayer of absolution.
O Lord Jesus Christ, who hath given commission to his church, in his name to pronounce pardon to all that are truly penitent, he of his mercy pardon and forgive thee all thy sins, deliver thee from all evils past, present, and future, preserve thee in the faith and fear of his holy name to thy life's end, and bring thee to his everlasting kingdom, to live with him for ever and ever. Amen.
Then let the sick man renounce all heresies, and whatsoever is against the truth of God or the peace of the church, and pray for pardon for all his ignorances and errors, known and unknown.
After which let him (if all other circumstances be fitted) be disposed to receive the blessed sacrament, in which the curate is to minister according to the form prescribed by the church.
When the rites are finished, let the sick man, in the days of his sickness, be employed with the former offices and exercises before described; and when the time draws near of his dissolution, the minister may assist by the following order of recommendation of the soul.
O holy and most gracious Saviour Jesus, we humbly recommend the soul of thy servant into thy hands, thy most merciful hands; let thy blessed angels stand in ministry about thy servant, and defend him from the violence and malice of all his ghostly enemies; and drive far from hence all the spirits of darkness. Amen.
Lord, receive the soul of this thy servant; enter not into judgment with thy servant, spare him whom thou hast redeemed with thy most precious blood; deliver him from all evil, for whose sake thou didst suffer evil and mischief; from the crafts and assaults of the devil, from the fear of death, and from everlasting death, good Lord, deliver him. Amen.
Impute not unto him the follies of his youth, nor any of the errors and miscarriages of his life; but strengthen his in his agony; let not his faith waver, nor his hope fail, nor his charity be disordered; let none of his enemies imprint upon him any afflictive or evil phantasm; let him die in peace, and rest in hope, and rise in glory. Amen.
Lord, we know, and believe assuredly, that whatsoever is under thy custody cannot be taken out of thy hands, nor by all the violences of hell robbed of thy protection: preserve the work of thy hands; rescue him from evil; take into the participation of thy glories him to whom thou hast given the seal of adoption, the earnest of the inheritance of the saints. Amen.
Let his portion be with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; with Job and David, with the prophets and apostles, with martyrs and all thy holy saints, in the arms of Christ, in the bosom of felicity, in the kingdom of God, to eternal ages. Amen.
These following prayers are fit also to be added to the foregoing offices in as there be no communion or intercourse but prayer.
O almighty and eternal God, there is no number of thy days, or of thy mercies; thou hast sent us into this world to serve thee, and to live according to thy laws; but we by our sins have provoked thee to wrath, and we have planted thorns and sorrows round about our dwellings; and our life is but a span long and yet very tedious, because of the calamities that enclose us in on every side; the days of our pilgrimage are few and evil; we have frail and sickly bodies, violent and distempered passions, long designs and but a short stay, weak understandings and strong enemies, abused fancies, perverse wills. O dear God, look upon us in mercy and pity; let not our weaknesses make us to sin against thee, nor our fear cause us to betray our duty, nor our former follies provoke thy eternal anger, nor the calamities of this world vex us into tediousness of spirit and impatience; but let thy Holy Spirit lead us through this valley of misery with safety and peace, with holiness and religion, with spiritual comforts and joy in the Holy Ghost; that, when we have served thee in our generations, we may be gathered unto our fathers, having the testimony of a holy conscience in the communion of the catholic church, in the confidence of a certain faith, and the comforts of a reasonable, religious, and holy hope, and perfect charity with thee our God and all the world; that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, may be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
O holy and most gracious Saviour Jesus, in whose hands the souls of all faithful people are laid up till the day of recompence, have mercy upon the body and soul of this thy servant, and upon all thy elect people who love the Lord Jesus and long for his coming, Lord, refresh the imperfection of their condition with the aids of the Spirit or grace and comfort, and with the visitation and guard of angels, and supply to them all their necessities known only unto thee; let them dwell in peace, and feel thy mercies pitying their infirmities, and the follies of their flesh, and speedily satisfying the desires of their spirits; and when thou shalt bring us all forth in the day of judgment, O then show thyself to be our Saviour Jesus, our advocate, and our judge. Lord, then remember that thou hast for so many ages prayed for the pardon of those sins which thou art then to sentence. Let not the accusations of our consciences, nor the calumnies and aggravation of devils, nor the effects of thy wrath, press those souls which thou lovest, which thou didst redeem, which thou dost pray for; but enable us all, by the supporting hand of thy mercy, to stand upright in judgment. O Lord, have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us; O Lord, let thy mercy lighten upon us, as our trust is in thee. O Lord, in thee have we trusted; let us never be confounded. Let us meet with joy, and for ever dwell with thee, feeling thy pardon, supported with thy graciousness, absolved by thy sentence, saved by thy mercy, that we may sing to the glory of thy name eternal hallelujahs. Amen. Amen. Amen.
Then may be added in the behalf of all that are present those ejaculations.
O spare us a little, that we may recover our strength before we go hence and be no more seen. Amen.
Cast us not away in the time of age; O forsake us not when strength faileth. Amen.
Grant that we may never sleep in sin or death eternal, but that we may have our part of the first resurrection, and that the second death may not prevail over us. Amen.
Grant that our souls may be bound up in the bundle of life; and in the day when thou bindest up thy jewels remember thy servants for good, and not for evil, that our souls may be numbered amongst the righteous. Amen.
Grant unto all sick and dying Christians mercy and aids from heaven; and receive the souls returning unto thee, whom thou hast redeemed with thy most precious blood. Amen.
Grant unto thy servants to have faith in the Lord Jesus, a daily meditation of death, a contempt of the world, a longing desire after heaven, patience in our sorrows, comfort in our sicknesses, joy in God, a holy life, and a blessed death; that our souls may rest in hope, and my body may rise in glory, and both may be beatified in the communion of saints, in the kingdom of God, and the glories of the Lord Jesus. Amen.
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work, to do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight; to whom be glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
To the blessed and only potentate, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen, nor can see, be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
After the sick man is departed, the minister, if he be present, or the major-domo, or any other fit person, may use the following prayers in behalf of themselves: —
Almighty God, with whom do live the spirits of them that depart hence in the Lord, we adore thy majesty, and submit to thy providence, and revere thy justice, and magnify thy mercies, thy infinite mercies, that it hath pleased thee to deliver this our brother out of the miseries of this sinful world. Thy counsels are secret, and thy wisdom is infinite; with the same hand thou hast crowned him, and smitten us; thou hast taken him into regions of felicity, and placed him among saints and angels, and left us to mourn for our sins; and thy displeasure, which thou hast signified to us by removing him from us to a better, a far better place. Lord, turn thy anger into mercy, thy chastisements into virtues, thy rod into comforts; and do thou give to all his nearest relatives comforts from heaven, and a restitution of blessings equal to those which thou hast taken from them. And we humbly beseech thee of thy gracious goodness shortly to satisfy the longing desires of those holy souls who pray, and wait, and long for thy second coming. Accomplish thou the number of thine elect, and fill up the mansions in heaven which are prepared for all them that love the coming of the Lord Jesus; that we, with this our brother, and all others departed this life in the obedience and faith of the Lord Jesus, may have our perfect consummation and bliss in thy eternal glory, which never shall have ending. Grant this for Jesus Christ's sake, our Lord and only Saviour. Amen.
O merciful God, father of our Lord Jesus, who art the first fruits of the resurrection, and by entering into glory hath opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers, we humbly beseech thee to raise us up from the death of sin to the life of righteousness; that being partakers of the death of Christ, and followers of his holy life, we may be partakers of his Spirit and of his promises; that when we shall depart this life we may rest in his arms, and lie in his bosom, as our hope is this our brother doth. O suffer us not, for any temptation of the world, or any snares of the devil, or any pains of death, to fall from thee. Lord, let thy Holy Spirit enable us with his grace to fight a good fight with perseverance, to finish our course with holiness, and to keep the faith with constancy unto the end, that at the day of judgment we may stand at the right hand of the throne of God, and hear the blessed sentence of ‘Come, ye blessed children of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world.' O blessed Jesus, thou art our judge, and thou art our advocate; even because thou art good and gracious, never suffer us to fall into the intolerable pains of hell, never to lie down in sin, and never to have our portion in the everlasting burning. Mercy, sweet Jesus, mercy. Amen.
O most gracious Father, Lord of heaven and earth, Judge of the living and the dead, behold thy servants running to thee for pity and mercy in behalf of ourselves and this thy servant, whom thou hast smitten with thy hasty rod and a swift angel; if it be thy will, preserve his life, that there may be place for his repentance and restitution; O spare him a little, that he may recover his strength before he go hence and be no more seen. But if thou hast otherwise decreed, let the miracles of thy compassion and thy wonderful mercy supply to him the want of the usual measures of time, and the periods of repentance, and the trimming of his lamp; and let the greatness of the calamity be accepted by thee as an instrument to procure pardon for those defects and degrees of unreadiness which may have caused this accident upon thy servant. Lord, stir up in him a great and effectual contrition, that the greatness of the sorrow, and hatred against sin, and the zeal of his love to thee, may in a short time do the work of many days. And thou, who regardest the heart and the measures of the mind more than the delay and the measures of time, let it be thy pleasure to rescue the soul of thy servant from all the evils he hath deserved, and all the evils that he fears: that in the glorifications of eternity, and the songs which to eternal ages thy saints and holy angels shall sing to the honour of thy mighty name and invaluable mercies, it may be reckoned among thy glories that thou hast redeemed this soul from the dangers of the eternal death, and made him partaker of the gift of God, eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
If there be time, the prayers in the foregoing offices may be added, according as they can be fitted to the present circumstances.
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