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A Penitential Vow.
OMy Great and Glorious From God, I who am less than*PDw. the Grain of Dust that hangs upon the Balance, profess seriously, and with the remorse of a wounded Spirit, that I am afhamed and confounded within my self, that I have so many ways finned against so good a God, so gracious a Father.
But what is past I cannot recall; tho' thy Mercy may forgive: And I hope will forgive.: . ,. , ;.. . . 1
But for the time to come, I call all thy holy Angels to witness; that I this Day, this very Hour , sacrifice my self wholly to Thee ., resolving to break off from all sinful Courses, and fuk ly purposing never to offend thee more..
But because thou knowest my Failings, and my Weakness is not hid from thee; I beg of thee, O my God, to fliew thy strength in my weakness; and to confirm my infirm Mind in this holy Resolution.
That so never repenting of this Repentance , nor w riveting in these Purposes, which T have now by thy-Grace so dehl erately made; I may go on conilantly in a pure and holy Life; till in the end of my Days I come to everlasting Joys, which thou hast prepared for them that love thee, through Jesus Christ my Lord.
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HAving proceeded thus far • What can further be done by the Sick person, to satisfy Himself and Others of the Sincerity of his Repentance?
Indeed, as I hinted before* the surest: Evidence of the Truth and Sincerity of Repentance, is Reformation and Amendment of Life. When a Man doth cease to do Bvil; and doth no more allow himself in those wicked Prafl/ces, which he formerly indulged; then we truly fay, I/e doth Repent.
But to deal faithfully with the Dying Person, this Restraint from Sin is to be understood, with respect to the time of his former Health and Vigour; and not to the present Confinement of a Sick Bed.
.For whatever his Practice may have been in the former time of his Health, his present Weakness. doth sufficiently convince him j That however his Inclination to some Sins may continue, yet now that he is confined to a Sick Bed, he hath, neither Ability nor Opportunity to commit them.
What the former Passages of his Life have been; and how far" in the time of his Health, he dkt
amend , amend and reform, we must leave to God, and his own Soul. My present Design doth direct me to Examine; What is now to be done further by a Sick and Dying Person, to evidence the Truth and Sincerity of his Repentance. And herein I (hall observe the Direction of the Church of England.
Tn the Rubrick of the Order for the Visitation of the Sick, The Minister is to Examine; Whether the Sick Person do Repent htm truly of his Sins ..>
And as an Evidence of the Truth of. his Repentance, he is to Admonish him, to be in Qha, rity. with all the World. And is then further to exhort him; to express this Charity in the following Particulars.
i. In Forgiving from the Bottom of his Heart all Persons that have Offended him.
x. And if he hath Offended any Other, to ask them Forgiveness.
-3, And where he hath done Injury or Wrong to any Man, that he make amends to the uttermost of his Power.
And as a further Instance of Charity,
4.: she Minister should not omit earnestly to move such Sick Persons as are of. Ability, to be liberal to the Poor.
From these Directions of our Church, the Sick Person, is instructed ,. how to examine the Truth of his! Repentance. And the Duties he is now to perform, may be reduced to these Two Generals. .'. >'•'■ .• < • . '. • ••: I.
1 Charity. '; z. Restitution...
Of which I slrall discourse distinct!}'.
Charity is expressed,
1. In Forgiving, z. Giving.