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SERM. to all other amictions, loss of property, XX.
reputation, friends,—so also should it reconcile us to the loss of health, and to the apparently approaching loss of life, not only when it pleases God to deprive us of our substance, to cross us in our hopes and expectations, and to snatch from us our nearest connexions ; but when, in language of scripture, “ he puts forth his hand, and “ touches our bone and our flesh, and " threatens to take from us that breath “ which he bestowed, even then ought we " to bend submissively to his decrees.”— But patience under the pains of sickness is not only our duty, it is our interest also, and that both with regard to this world and the next. To fret, to repine, to give encouragement either to peevishness or despondency, will greatly increase any evil with which we may be afflicted, and more particularly sickness; while, by an opposite behaviour, we may frequently alleviate it, and that not only in idea, but SERM.
XX. in reality. It is our interest to be patient, likewise, with a view to our condition in the next world; whatever evils befall us here are capable of being converted into the greatest good to us hereafter by our conduct under them; and of all proper conduct, resignation is the ground and
, foundation. Another duty which I shall mention as necessary for the sick to exercise, is self-examination. This is required of us at certain seasons during the whole course of our lives, but it is more particularly our duty, when the last opportunity of making our peace with God is apparently arrived; then, especially, it behoves us to search what sort of persons we are, and what is our chance of eternal salvation.This self-examination is made by comparing our conduct with the rule of our duty; by asking ourselves, whether we have been habitually pious towards God? whether we
SER M. have offered our prayers and thanksgivings XX.
to him regularly at his house, on his own peculiar day? and whether we have been constant in the performance of the same pious offices, morning and evening, at our own homes)
We must inquire, likewise, whether we have behaved to our fellow-creatures as we could reasonably expect that they should behave towards us; whether we have been just, charitable, gentle, forgiving. This self-examination may to too many be a melancholy task; but this ought to be a strong argument with us not to act wrong in health, for if we do, we must take the consequences; and it is better for us to feel the most bitter remorse, and to undergo the most alarming terrors in this world, while they may possibly be the means of bettering our condition hereafter, than to stile all thought and reflection, and die with all our unrepented sins upon our heads.
For the reason why this self-examination SERM.
XX. is requisite is, that it is an introduction to the practice of two other duties, confession and repentance. By confession is meant, not confession to men but to God ; though the former in some cases, where the offender is in doubt what sort of atonement he ought to make, may be necessary for him in order to receive spiritual advice and consolation ; but however this may be, confession of our sins to God, as at all times, so especially at the approach of death, is indispensable ; it is indispensable in order to our repenting and obtaining forgiveness ; if we do not own that we have been guilty, how can we express sorrow for our sins, or intreat God to pardon us !
After confession follows repentance ; this is made up of sorrow that we have offended God, and endangered our own souls, and a firm purpose to reform our lives, if
SERM. it should please the Almighty to prolong
them. Let not, however, any one flatter
The repentance exercised at our latter