By Lewis Bayly
They who come to visit ihe sick, must have a special care not to stand dumb and staring in the sick person's face to disquiet him, nor yet to speak idly and ask unprofitable questions, as most do.
If they see, therefore, that the sick party is like to die, let them not dissemble, but lovingly and discreetly admonish him of his weakness, and to prepare for eternal life. One hour well spent, when a man's life is almost out-spent, may gain a man the assurance of eternal life. Soothe him not with the vain hope of this life, lest thou betray his soul to eternal death. Admonish him plainly of his state, and ask him briefly these, or the like questions:-
Questions to be asked of a sick Man that is like to die.
Dost thou believe that Almighty God, the Trinity of Persons in unity of essence, hath by his power made heaven and earth, and all things therein? and that he doth still by his divine providence govern the same, so that nothing comes to pass in the world, nor to thyself, but what his divine hand and counsel had determined before to be done?
2. Dost thou confess that thou hast transgressed and broken the holy commandments of the Almighty God in thought, word, and deed? and hast deserved for breaking his holy laws, the curse of God, which containeth all the miseries of this life, and everlasting torments in hell fire, when this life is ended, if so be that God should deal with thee according to thy deserts?
3. Art thou not sorry in thy heart, that thou hast so broken his laws, and neglected his service and worship, and so much followed the world, and thy own vain pleasures? and wouldst thou not lead a holier life, if thou wert to begin again?
4. Dost thou not from thy heart desire to be reconciled unto God in Jesus Christ his blessed Son, thy Mediator, who is at the right hand of God in heaven, now appearing for thee in the sight of God, and making request unto him for thy soul? (Rom. viii. 34; Heb. ix. 24.)
5. Dost thou renounce all confidence in all other mediators or intercessors, saints or angels (Heb. ix. 11), believing that Jesus Christ, the only Mediator of the New Testament, is able perfectly to save them that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them? (1 Tim. ii. 5; Heb. vii. 25) and wilt thou with David say unto Christ, "Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee?" (Psal. lxxiii. 25.)
6. Dost thou confidently believe and hope to be saved by the only merits of that bloody death and passion, which thy Saviour Jesus Christ hath suffered for thee; not putting any hope of salvation in thy own merits, nor in any other means or creatures; being assuredly persuaded, that there is no salvation in any other, and that there is none other name under heaven whereby thou must be saved? (Acts iv. 12; x. 43.)
7. Dost thou heartily forgive all wrongs and offences done or offered unto thee by any manner of person whatsoever? and dost thou as willingly from thy heart ask forgiveness of them whom thou hast grievously wronged in word or deed? and dosfr thou cast out of thy heart all malice and hatred, which thou hast borne to anybody, that thou mayest appear before the face of Christ, the Prince of peace, in perfect love and charity? (Isa. ix. 6; Heb. xii. 14.)
8. Doth thy conscience tell thee of anything which thou hast wrongfully taken, and dost still withhold from any widow or fatherless children, or from any other person whatsoever? Be assured that unless thou shalt restore, like Zaccheus, those goods and lands, if thou be able, thou canst not truly repent; and without true repentance thou canst not be saved, nor look Christ in the face when thou shalt appear before his judgment-seat.
9. Dost thou firmly believe, that thy body shall be raised up out of the grave, at the sound of the last trumpet? and that thy body and soul shall be united together again in the resurrection day, to appear before the Lord Jesus Christ; and thence to go with him into his kingdom of heaven, to live in everlasting bliss and glory?
If the sick party shall answer to all these questions like a faithful Christian, then let all who are present join together and pray for him, in these or the like words:-