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anniversary commemoration, by festivals, of some great and notable mercies to the church or state, the memory whereof should be transmitted to posterity; nor to give any persons their due honour, who have been the instruments thereof : yet, because the festivals of the Church's institution now observed are much abused, and many sober, godly persons (ministers and others) are unsatisfied of the lawfulness of the celebrating them as holidays, let the abuse be restrained ; and let not the religious observation of those days, by public worship, be forced upon any that are thus unsatisfied, provided they forbear all offensive behaviour thereupon.
Of Prayer and Thanksgiving for particular
Members of the Church.
BESIDES the petitions that are put up for all in such distresses, in the general prayer, it is meet that persons in dangerous sickness, or other great affliction of body or mind, and women that are near the time of child-bearing, (when they desire it,) shall be particularly recommended to God in the public prayers of the Church: because all the members constitute one body, and must have the same care one for another, as suffering all with one that suffereth, and rejoicing all with one that is honoured. And the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous, especially of the whole congregation, availeth much with God. But because diseases, distresses, and grief of mind, are so various, that no forms that are particular can suit them all; and because every minister should be able to suit his prayers to such various necessities of the people: we desire that it may be left to his discretion to pray for such, according to their several cases, before or after
But we desire that, except in case of sudden necessity, they may send in their bills of request to him the night before; that he may consider of their cases, and may publish only such, and in such expressions, as in prudence he shall judge meet for the ears of the assembly.
In the more ordinary cases of persons in sickness, danger, and distress, and that are delivered from them, these following prayers may be used, or such like.
A Prayer for the Sick, that is in hopes of recovery.
Most merciful Father, though our sin Numb. xxxii. doth find us out, and we are justly
Luke xxiii. 41. afflicted for our transgressions, yet we Lam. iii. 22. are not consumed in thy wrath ; but Ezra ix. 13. thou punishest us less than our iniquities do deserve. Though thou causest grief, yet wilt thou Lam. ii. 32, 33. have compassion according to the multitude of thy mercies : for thou dost not willingly afflict and grieve the children of men.
Thou revivest Isa. lvii, 15, 16, the spirit of the humble, and the heart of the contrite ones : for thou wilt not contend for
ever, neither wilt thou be always wroth; for the spirit would fail before thee, and the soul which thou hast made. Look down in tender mercy on the affliction of this thy servant. O Lord, Psal. vi. 1. rebuke him not in thy wrath ; neither chasten him in thy hot displeasure. All his desire Psal. xxxviii. 9. is before thee, and his groaning is not hid from thee. Have mercy upon him, O Lord, Psal. vi. 2, 3, 5. for he is weak : 0 Lord, heal him, whose bones and soul is vexed. In death, there is no remembrance of thee : in the grave, who shall give thee thanks ? Remember that we are but flesh; Psal. lxxviii.39.
Luke iv. 39.
Psal. l. 15.
Lam. iii. 40.
a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again. Job xiii. 25. Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro, and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble? Remember not Psal. xxv.7, 18; the iniquities of his youth, or his trans
gressions: look upon his affliction and Isa. xxxviii. 16,
his pain, and forgive all his sins. Though Psal. cxix. 175. the sorrows of death do compass him Isa. xxxviii. 21. about, yet if it be for thy glory and his
good, recover him, and let him live and Psal. cxxxix.13. praise thy name.
Rebuke his sickness ; direct unto such means as thou wilt Psal. cxix. 71, bless.
In the time of his trouble we
call upon thee ; do thou deliver him, and let him glorify thee. However, shew him the sin that doth offend thee : let him search and try his ways, and confess and turn from his iniquity ; and let it be good for him that he was afflicted. Let
this be the fruit of it, to purge and take
away his sin; that, being chastened of Lam. iii. 24, 25,
the Lord, he may not be condemned 26, 27, 31.
with the world. And though chastise
ment for the present seemeth not to be Heb. xii. 6, 7. Isa. xxxviii. 19, joyous, but grievous; yet afterwards let
it yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness to this thy servant, that is exercised therein.
Isa. xxvii. 9. 1 Cor. xi. 32. Heb. xii. 11.
Psal. xxx, 5.
16; v. 8.
In the mean time, O Lord, be thou his portion, who art good to the soul that seeketh thee, and waiteth for thee. Let him patiently and silently bear thy yoke ; let him hope and quietly wait for thy salvation: considering that thou wilt not cast Psal. cxvi. 9, off for ever: that thy anger is but for a
Psal, xxx, 11, moment, but in thy favour is life ; 12. weeping may endure for a night, but 2 Cor. i. 9; iv. joy cometh in the morning : and that Heb. x. 38. whom thou lovest, thou chastenest, and scourgest every son whom thou receivest : and that if he endure chastening, thou dealest with him as a son. If he be recovered, let him devote himself entirely to thy glory ; that when thou hast put off his sackcloth and mourning, and girded him with gladness, he may speak thy praise, and give thee thanks. If he receive the sentence of death in himself, let it cause him to trust in thee that raisest the dead; knowing that as thou didst raise up the Lord Jesus, thou wilt raise him up also by Jesus, Therefore suffer not his hope to faint : but though his outward man perish, yet let his inward man be renewed from day to day ; and let him live by faith, and look at the things which 2 Cor. iv. 18, 17. are not seen, even at the exceeding, eternal weight