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Almighty spare the sufferer! "Break not the 'bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax1." Thine
1 It is impossible to imagine a more affecting scene than that, to relieve the anguish of which this prayer is framed. The sufferer is as one, so eloquently described by the prophet, "walking in darkness," and having in himself "no light;" no light of hope left. Either conscience is full of gloomy terrors, or the body is weighed down by its infirmities; or mind itself-still sadder case of gloom-is darkened, and reason is dead or wandering. The prophet's subsequent call to such is, however, no mockery, "Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God." Even where this deepest gloom of the mind may darken a Christian's course, the light of the word and the illumination of the Spirit do not unfrequently pierce the darkness, and, for a passing hour, both enlighten the understanding and gladden the heart. There are those who have witnessed the power of the Word and Spirit thus exercised. They have seen how when all else of past life was either forgotten or confused in vague and perverted images, the morning and evening sacrifice of prayer and praise was remembered with reverence and delight-O blessed power of habitual prayer in the mind's day of health! They have seen those wandering thoughts, at all other seasons scattered and tossed about by every wayward impression of a disordered fancy, solemnly collect themselves for prayer. With hands clasped in the wonted form of supplication; with knee bent in holiest adoration ; the eye, wild before in all the glare of wonderment at its own imaginings, now calm as in childhood; and the voice, firm yet gentle, ardent yet humble-the suppliant has prayed. Whatever other feeling was dormant, devotion was even quickened—a chord which responded still, when touched to the praises of its God. Well does the writer remember daily witnessing all this, in the case of a dear and aged friend, through a long season of mental suffering, and gratefully does he bear this testimony to the blessed aid of the Church, in her holy services-services, so solemn, so touching, so well remembered even by those who had forgotten all else. How do scenes like this shame all those who in their health will not serve God; will not then live either to his honour or their own eternal welfare! Behold even the stricken mind testifies to the power of the Word and the consolation of the Spirit; and in all it does know, is wise unto its salvation! How
* Is. 1. 10.
all-seeing eye discerneth the latent spark of spiritual life, which Thy breath may fan into flame, till its light so shine before men even in the death-hour, 'that they shall glorify thy holy name, and bless Thee in thy goodness, as they adore Thee in thy power. True is it, that most justly Thou mightest visit him, and us all, with thy wrath and indignation; yet humbly we beseech Thee "not so to shut up thy tender mercies in displeasure." It is mercy, not 'justice we plead and mercy pitieth, where even yet 'justice condemneth. Freely exercise that mercy wherein Thou delightest; and mercy is thy delight, 'O our God! else had never Saviour been given to thy fallen ones. Make then this thy servant "to 'hear of joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice;" that he may lift up the 'hands that hang down, and the feeble knees; may rally his fainting powers; and learn from this thy 'holy word, "that the blood of Christ cleanseth from 'all sin." To Thee, therefore, we look to deliver him
encouraging, too, this fact, to those who cherish habitual piety. Here we see how God may see fit to bless that piety, when the afflicted mind recognises no other influence. O gracious God, how wondrously didst Thou temper thy fierce rough wind* ! Even a life like this--though shrouded in the awful darkness of mental alienation, terrible to the beholder, and fearful to the afflicted soul which suffered it was by thy mercy neither useless to others, nor without benefit, as we humbly trust, to the sufferer. Behold him, at such intervals of consciousness as Thou didst vouchsafe, bearing witness to the truth, and so letting his light even then shine before men, that they might well join in glorifying their Father which is in heaven. As they viewed him, looking forward with hope and joy, even from his course of clouds and darkness, to a brighter and a happier state, could they forbear the same view-the same hope for themselves!
* Isa. xxvii. 8.
'from fear of the 66 enemy. 0 give him peace at the ‘last, and enable him finally to conquer. Little will • he then heed, however hard be the struggle through which he passeth to his victory. The enemy may more and more hardly press upon him, may suggest 'more and more trying thoughts as the contest draws nearer and nearer to its close; but Thee his helper, 'fear yields to courage, doubt to hope, despair to con'fidence. The light of Thy countenance will both direct him to Thy holy word, teach him "a right understanding of its threats and promises," and so surely comfort him therein, that he shall have Peace. And ' we ask this, nothing wavering, but in all the bright hopes which that faith encourages, which is fixed, humbly but immovably, "upon the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Lord." He is our perfect sacrifice; He, our gracious Redeemer; He, our everlasting God. Amen!
WHEN the sick apply for grace and comfort to the holy Sacrament, there is provided a short addition to the Communion Service, admirably adapted to its purpose.
We find the Collect framed, and the appointed Scriptures chosen, with the same tender watchful care, which we have so often had occasion to remark as characteristic of our Church. However strong be
our faith, and well-founded our hope in the season of health, weakness of body, during sickness and suffering, will not unfrequently cause the mind so powerfully to sympathize, that the strongest faith becomes languid, and the firmest hope wavering. The sick man, depressed in spirit and in power, feels as though God had forsaken him: the terrors of the Lord gain the mastery, tempt to a forgetfulness of his love and mercy; and the sufferer is led almost to adopt the fearful language of despair, "My punishment is greater than I can bear 1." Then it is, that the Church reminds him, in this beautiful and appropriate Collect, that the Almighty and everlasting God doth correct those whom He doth love, and chasteneth every one whom He doth receive. This visitation of sickness and pain is no mark of anger from God, but an indication of that fatherly care for the soul's everlasting good, which willeth rather that his children suffer here for a
while, than hereafter for ever. Whatever severity of dispensation He willeth, we may be sure is necessary for the purifying our souls for heaven. Therefore there is in the Christian's heart, a perfect and absolute and cheerful resignation to the will of God; an entire trust in the lovingkindness as in the wisdom of his ordering and that, whether the issue of the visitation be life or death. Our prayer is offered in hope that God may see fit that his suffering servant recover; yet with a full feeling that sickness is a near step to death, and that the highest concern of every individual is to gain such an interest in the great atoning sacrifice, that "whensoever the soul shall "depart from the body, it may be without spot pre
"sented unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord." To sustain the hope that thus it may be with the sufferer now about to communicate, he is reminded of the glorious declaration of the Lord Jesus Himself, that whoso "heareth his word and believeth in him "that sent him, hath everlasting life, and shall not "come into condemnation; but is passed from death "to life'. It were difficult, even amid the rich treasures of comfort with which the Gospel abounds, to find a passage more impressive, or better calculated to bear up the soul of the dying above the fear of death, and even of judgment-The faithful, " is passed from death unto life!" O blessed words of the blessed Jesus! Glory and praise and thanksgiving be unto Thee for ever, Thou mighty Saviour and Redeemer! the everlasting Father! the Prince of Peace!
THE certainty of our own dissolution, and the frequency of that of others whom we survive, unite in giving to death an interest far beyond any other subject which can present itself to the mind of man. When death strives it is fruitless to contend, as it is impossible to fly. Whatever as to this world we fear or hope, enjoy or suffer, covet or dread, will with this world close-the saddest sorrows and the
1 John v. 24.