William Paley.

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the tacts themselves. Indeed they are not stated
at all ; they may rather be said to be assumed .
This is a distinction upon which we have relied
a good deal in former parts of this treatise ; and,
where the writer's information cannot be doubted,
it always, in my opinion, adds greatly to the value
and credit of the testimony.

If any reader require from the apostle more di-
rect and explicit assertions of the same thing, he
will receive full satisfaction in the tbllowing quo-

'■ Are they ministers of Christ 1 (I speak as a
fool) 1 am more ; in labours more abundant, in
stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent,
in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received 1
forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with
rods, once was I stoned; thrice I suffered ship-
wreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep ;
in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils
of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in
perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in
perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in
perils among false brethren; in weariness and
painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and
thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness,"
2 Cor. eh. xi. 23—28.

Can it be necessary to add more 1 "I think
that God hath set ibrth us the apostles last, as it
were appointed to death ; for we are made a spec-
tacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.
Even unto this present hour we both hunger and
thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have
no certain dwelling-place ; and labour, working
with our own hands : being reviled, we bless ;
being persecuted, we suffer it ; being defamed, we
entreat : we are made as the filth of the earth,
and are the oflscouring of all things unto this day,"
1 Cor. ch. iv. 9 — 13. I subjoin this passage to
the former, because it extends to the other apostles
of Christianity much of that which St. Paul de-
clared concerning himself.

In the following quotations, the reference to the
author's sufferings is accompanied with a specifi-
cation of time and place, and with an appeal for
the truth of what he declares to the knowledge of
the persons whom he addresses : " Even after that
we had suflered before, and were shamei'ully en-
treated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in
our God to speak unto you the Gospel of God
with much contention," 1 Thess. ch. ii. 2.

" But thou hast fully known my doctrine,
manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, per-
secutions, afflictions, which came unto me at An-
tlocli, at Iconimn, at Lystra : what persecutions
I endured : but out of them all the Lord deUvered
me," 2 Tim. ch. iii. 10, 11.

I apprehend that to this point, as far as the tes-
timony of St. Paul is credited, the cNidcnce from
his letters is complete and full. It appears under
every form in which it could appear, by occasional
allusions and by direct assertions, by general de-
clarations, and by specific examples.

VII. St. Paul in these letters asserts, in posi-
tive and unequivocal terms, his performance of
miracles strictly and properly so called.

" He therefore that ministereth to you the
Spirit, and worketh miracles (s^s^ycuv Juva/Jti;)
among you, doth he it by the works of the
law, or by the hearing of faith 1" Gal. chap,
iii. 5.

" For I win not dare to speak of any of those

things which Christ hath not wrought by me, *
to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,
through mighty signs and wonders (sv Suva.un
o-ii/iiiu.!/ K»i TifKToiv,) by the power of the Spirit of
God : so that from Jerusalem, and round about
unto Illyricura, I have fully preached the Gospel
of Christ," Rom. ch. xv. 18, 19.

" Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought
among you in all patience, in signs and wonders
and mighty deeds," (tv G->,/i£.o«s xai rtjao-i x«< iuva-
Hi<7i. f) 2 Cor. ch. xii. 12.

These words, signs, wonders, and mighty deeds,
(c-i^/jLux, XU.I Tifxra, xxi Svvci.f<.'.i(,) are the specific
appropriate terms throughout the New Testament,
employed when pulilic sensible miracles are in-
tended to be expressed. This will appear by con-
sulting, amongst other places, the texts referred
to in the note ; t and it cannot be known that they
are ever employed to express any thing else.

Secondly, these words not only denote mira-
cles as opposed to natural effects, but they denote
visible, and what may be called external, miracles,
as distinguished.

First, from inspiration. If St. Paul had meant
to refer only to secret illuminations of his under-
standing, or secret influences upon liis will or
affections, he could not, with truth, have repre-
sented them as " signs and wonders wrought oy
him," or " signs and wonders and mighty deeds
wrought amongst them."

Secondly, from visions. These woiild not, by
any means, satisfy the force of the terms, "signs,
wonders, and mighty deeds ;" still less could they
be said to be "wrought by hun," or ^^ wrought
amongst them :" nor are these terms and expres-
sions any where applied to visions. When our
author alludes to the supernatural communica-
tions which he had received, either by \ision or
otherwise, he uses expressions suited to the
nature of the subject, but very different from
the words which we have quoted. He calls
them revelations, but never signs, wonders, or
mighty deeds. " I will come," says he, " to
visions and revelations of the Lord ;" and then
proceeds to describe a particular instance, and
afterwards adds, " lest I should be exalted above
measure through the abundance of the revela-
tions, there was given me a thorn in the flesh."

* i. e. " I will speak of nothing but what Christ hath
wrought by me ," or, as Giotius interprets it, " Christ
hath wrought so great things by me, that I will not dare
to say what he hath not wrought."

t To these may be added the following indirect allu-
sions, which, though if they had stood alone, i. e. with-
out plainer texts in the same writings, they might have
been accounted dubious ; yet, when considered in con-
junction with the passages already cited, can hardly re-
ceive any other interpretation than that which we give

" My speech and my preaching was not with enticing
words of men's wisdom, but in demonstration of the
spirit and of power ; that your faith should not stand in
the wisdom of men, but in the power of God," 1 Cor.
ch. ii. 4 — 6.

" The Gospel, whereof I was rnade a minister, accord-
ing to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the
effectual working of his power," Ephes. ch. iii. 7.

" For he that wrought etfectually in Peter to the
apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty
in me towards the Gentiles," Gal. ch. ii. 8.

" For our Gospel came not unto you in word only,
but also in power and in the Holy Ghost, and in much
assurance," 1 Thess. ch. i. 5.

{Mark .\vi. 20. Luke xxiii. 8. John ii. 11,23; iii.
2 1 iv. 48, 54 ; xi. 49. Acts ii. 22 ; iv. 3 ; v. 12 ; vi. 8 ; vii.
16; xiv. 3; XV. 12. Heb. ii. 4.




Upon the whole, the matter admits of no soft-
ening qualification, or ambiguity whatever. If St.
Paul did not work actual, sensible public miracles,
he has knowingly, in these letters, borne his tes-
timony to a falsehood. I need not add, that, in
two also of the quotations, he has advanced his
assertion in the face of those persons amongst
whom he declares the miracles to have been

Let it be remembered that the Acts of the Apos-
tles described various particular miracles wrought
by St. Paul, which in their nature answers to the
terms and expressions wliich we have seen to be
used by St. Paul himself.

Here then we have a man of liberal attain-
ments, and in other points of sound judgment, who
had addicted his life to the service of the Gospel.
We see him, in the prosecution of his purpose,
travelling from country to country enduring every
species of hardship, encountering every extremity
of danger, assaulted by the populace, punished by
the magistrates, scourged, beat, stoned, left for
dead ; expecting, wherever he came, a renewal of
the same treatment, and the same dangers, yet,
when driven from one city, preaching in the next ;
spending his whole time in the employment, sa-
crificing to it his pleasures, his ease, his safety ;
persisting in this course to old age, unaltered by
the exjicrience of perversencss, ingratitude, preju-
dice, desertion ; unsubdued by anxiety, want,
labour, jx-rsecutions ; unwearied by long confine-
ment, undismayed by the prospect of death.
Such was St. Paul. We have his letters in our

hands ; we have also a history purporting to be
written by one of his fellow-travellers, and appear-
ing, by a comparison with these letters, certainly
to have been written by some person well ac-
quainted with the transactions of his life. From
the letters, as well as from the history, we gather
not only the account which we have stated of him,
but that he was one out of many who acted and
sufiered in the same manner ; and that of those
who did so, several had been the companions of
Christ's ministry, the ocular witnesses, or })re-
tending to be such, of his miracles, and of his
resurrection. We moreover find this same per-
son referring in his letters to his supernatural con-
version, the particulars and accompanying circum-
stances of which are related in the history, and
which accompanying circumstances, if all or any
of them be true, render it impossible to have been
a delusion. We also find him positively, and in ap-
projjriated terms, asserting that he himself worked
miracles, strictly and properly so called, in sup-
port of the mission which he executed ; the his-
tory, meanwhile, recording various passages of his
ministry, which come up to the extent of this as-
sertion. The question is, whether falsehood was
ever attested by evidence like this. Falsehoods,
we know, have found their way into reports, into
tradition, into books ; but is an example to be met
with, of a man voluntarily undertaking a hfe of
want and pain, of incessant fatigue, of continual
peril ; submitting to the loss of his home and coun-
try, to stripes and stoning, to tedious imprison-
ment, and the constant expectation of a violent
death, for the sake of carrying about a story of
what was false, and of what, if false, he must
have known to be so ■?






Rules for visiting the sick. — II. The office for the visitation of the sick.
III. The communion of the sick. — IV. A great variety of occasional prayers
FOR the sick; collected from the writings of some of the most eminent




This collection has been so much esteemed, that it has passed through nine editions. Having now
become exceedingly scarce, it was thought proper to reprint it.

The rules for Visiting the Sick, in five sections, are extracted chiefly from the works of Bishop
Taylor. The Occasional Prayers are taken from the devotional tracts of Bishop Patrick, Mr. Ket-
tlewell, and other pious and judicious divines. But in this Edition, the antiquated style of those
writers is corrected and improved ; at the same time, a spirit of rational piety, and unaffected simpli-
city, are carefully preserved.

A prayer by Dr. Stonehouse, and four by Mr. Merrick, the celebrated translator of the Psalms,
are added to the old collection.

The offices of Public and Private Baptism, though no ways relating to the Visitation of the Sick,
are retained ; as, in the present form, they will be convenient for the Clergy in the course of their
parochial duty.



When any person is dangerously sick in any parish, the minister or cui'ate, having knowledge there-
of, shall resort unto him, or her, (if the disease be not known, or probably suspected to be inlectioua,
to instruct and comfort them in their distress, according to the order of Communion, if he be no
preacher; or, if he be a preacher, then as he shall think most needful and convenient.

It is recommended to the Clergy to write out the prayers, which are to be used by the Sick them-
selves, or by the persons whose devotions they wish to assist, and to leave the copies with them.
2 G 233 20*





Lv all the days of our spiritual warfere, from
pur baptism to our burial, God has appointed his
servants the ministers of the church, to supply the
necessities of the people, by ecclesiastical duties;
and prudently to guide, and carefully to judge
concerning, souls committed to their charge.

And, therefore, they who all their lifetime de-
rive blessings from the Fountain of Grace, by the
channels of ecclesiastical ministers, ought then
more especially to do it in the time of their sick-
ness, when their needs are more prevalent, accord-
ing to that known apostolical injunction: "Is
any man sick among you, let him send for the
elders of the church, and let them pray over
him," &c.

The sum of the duties and offices, respectively
implied in these words, may be collected from the
following rules.


Rules for the Manner of Visiting the Sick.

1. Lkt the minister be sent to, not when the
sick is in the agonies of death, as it is usual to do,
hut before his sickness increases too much upon
him : for when the soul is confused and disturbed
by the violence of the distemper, and death begins
to stare the man in the face, there is little reason
to hope for any good elfect from the spiritual man's
visitation. For how can any regular administra-
tion take place, when the man is all over in a dis-
order '? how can he be called upon to confess his
sins, when his tongue falters, and his memory
fails him! how can he receive any benefit by the
prayers which are oflered up for him, when he is
not able to give attention to them 1 or how can he
be comforted upon any sure grounds of reason or
religion, when his reason is just expiring, and all
his notions of religion together with it 1 or when
the man, perhaps, had never any real sentiments
of religion before 1

It is, therefore, a matter of sad consideration,
that the generality of the world look upon the
minister, in the time of their sickness, as the sure
forerunner of death; and think his office so much
relates to another world, that he is not to be treated
with, as long as there is any hope of living in this.
Whereas it is higlily requisite the minister be sent
for, when the sick person is able to be conversed
with and instructed ; and can understand, or be
taught to understand, thecase of Ids soul, and the

rules of his conscience, and all the several bearings
of religion, with respect to God, his neighbour,
and himself For to prepare a soul for its change
is a work of great difficulty ; and the intercourses
of the minister with the sick have so much variety
in them, that they are not to be transacted at
once. Sometimes there is need of sj)ecial reme-
dies against impatience, and the fear of death ; not
only to animate, but to make the person desirous
and willing to die. Sometimes it is requisite to
awaken the conscience by "the terrors of the
Lord " to open by degrees all the labyrinths of
sin flhose innumerable windings and turnings
whicl insensibly lead men into destruction,) which
the habitual sensualist can never be able to disco-
ver, unless directed by the particular grace of
God, and the assistance of a faithful and ju-
dicious guide. Sometimes there is need of the
balm of comfort, to pour in " oil and wine" (with
the good Samaritan) into the bleeding wound,
by representing the tender mercies of God, and
the love of his Son Jesus Christ, to mankind:
and at other times it will be necessary to "reprove,
rebuke, and exhort, with all long suffering and
doctrine :" so that a clergyman's duty, in the vi-
sitation of the sick, is not over at once : but at
one time he must pray ; at another, he must assist,
advise, and direct ; at another, he must open to
hmi the nature of repentance, and exhort him to
a confession of his sins, both to God and man, in
all those cases which require it : and, at another
time, he must give him absolution, and the sacra-
ment of the body and blood of our Lord.

And, indeed, he that ought to watch all the
periods of his life, in the days of his health, lest
he should be surprised and overcome, had need,
when he is sick, be assisted and called upon, and
reminded of the several parts of his duty in every
instant of his temptation.

The want of this makes the visitations of the
clergy fruitless, because they are not suffered to
imprint those proper effects upon the sick, which
are needful in so important a ministration.

2. When the minister is come, let him discourse
concerning the causes of sickness, and by a gene-
ral argument move him to a consideration of his
condition. Let him call upon liim first, in general
terms, " to set his house in order," " to trim and
adorn his lamp," and " to prepare himself for an-
other world ;" and then let him perform the cus-
tomary duties of prayer, and afterwards descend
to other particulars, as occasion shall ofler, and
circumstances require.

3. According to the condition of the man, and



the nature of his sickness, every act of visitation
is to be proportioned. If his condition be full of
pain and infirmity, the exhortation ought to be
shortened, and the minister more " instant in
prayer:" and the little service the sick man can
do for himself should be supplied by the charitable
care of his guide, who is in such a case to speak
more to God for him than to talk to him : " prayer
of the righteous," when it is " fervent," hath a
promise to " prevail much in behalf of the sick"
person: but exiiortations must prevail by their
own proper weight, and not by the passion of the
speaker; and, therefore, should be olfered when
the sick is able to receive them. And even in this
assistance of prayer, if the sick man joins with the
minister, the prayers should be short, fervent, and
ejaculatory, apt rather to comply with his weak
condition, than wearisome to his spirits, in tedious
and long othces. But in case it appears he hath
ButTicient strength to go along with the minister,
he is then more at hberty to otTer up long petitions
for him.
After the minister hath made this preparatory
entrance to this work of much time and deli-
beration, he may descend to the particulars
of his duty, in the following method.


Of instructing the sick Man in the nature of
Repentance, and Confession of his Sins.

The first duty to be rightly stated to the sick
man, is that of repentance ; in which the minister
cannot be more ser\iceable to him than by laying
before him a regular scheme of it, and exhorting
him at the same time to a free and ingenuous de-
claration of the state of his soul. For unless they
know the manner of his life and the several kinds
and degrees of those sins vi'hich require his peni-
tential sorrow or restitution, either they can do
nothincr at all, or nothing of advantage and certain-
tv. Wherefore the minister may move liim to
this in the following mamier :

Arguments and Exhortations to more the sick
Man to Repentance, and Confession of his

1. That repentance is a duty indispensably ne-
cessarv to salvation. That to this end, all the
preachings and endeavours of the prophets and
apostles are directed. That our Saviour '"came
down from heaven," on purpose " to call sinners to
repentance.' * That as it is a necessary duty at
all times, so more especially in the time of sick-
ness, when we are commanded in a particular
manner to '• set our house in order." That it is a
work of great difficulty, consisting in general of a
" change of mind," and a '• change of life." Upon
which account it is called in Scripture, " a state
of regeneration, or new birth;" a "conversion
from sin to God;" a '• being renewed in the spirit
of our minds;" a •' putting off the old man, which
is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts of the
flesh," and a " puttincr on the new man, wliich is
created in righteousness and true holiness." That
so (Treat a change as this, is not to be etitjcted at

* Matt. is. 13.

once, but requires the utmost self-denial and reso-
lution to put it in execution, consisting in general
of the following particulars: — I. A sorrowful
sense of our sins : 2. An humble confession of
them : 3. An unfeigned abhorrence and forsaking
of them, and turning to the Lord our God with all
our hearts: 4. A patient continuance in well-
doincr to the end of our lives.

These are the constituent and essential parts
of a true repentance ; which may severally be dis-
played from the following motives of reason and
Scripture, as opportunity shall serve, and the sick
man's condition permit.

The first part of a true repentance is a sorrow-
ful sense of our sins, which naturally produceth
this good effect, as we may learn from St. Paul,
(2 Cor. vii. 10,) where he tells us, that " godly sor-
row worketh repentance." Without it, to be sure,
there can be no such thing ; for how can a man
repent of that which he is not sorry fori or,
how can any one sincerely ask pardon and for-
giveness for what he is not concerned or troubled
about 1

A sorrowful sense, then, of our sins, is the first
part of a true repentance, the necessity whereof
may be seen from the grievous and abominable
nature of sin ; as, 1. That it made so wide a se-
paration betwxt God and man, that nothing but
the blood of his only begotten Son could sutfice to
atone for its intolerable guilt : 2. That it carries
along with it the basest ingratitude, as being done
against our heavenly Father, " in whom we live,
and move, and have our being :" 3. That the con-
sequence of it is nothing less than eternal ruin,
in that "the wrath of God is revealed against all
impenitent sinners;" and "the wages of sin is
death," — not only temporal but eternal.

From these and the like considerations, the
penitent may further learn, that to be sorry for
our sins is a great and important duty. That it
does not consist in a little trivial concern, a super-
ficial sigh, or tear, or calling ourselves sinners, &c.
but in a real, ingenuous, pungent, and afflicting
sorrow : for, can that which cast our parents out
of Paradise at first, that brought down the Son
of God afterwards from heaven, and put him at
last to such a cruel and shameful death, be now
thought to be done away by a single tear or a
groan 1 Can so base a piece of ingratitude, as re-
belhng against the Lord of glory, who gives us all
we have, be supposed to be pardcned by a slender
submission 1 Or can that which deserves the tor-
ment of hell, be sufficiently atoned for by a httle
indignation and superficial remorse ?

True repentance, therefore, is ever accompanied
with a deep and afflicting sorrow ; a sorrow that
will make us so irreconcilable to sin, as that we
shall choose rather to die than to hve in it. For
so the bitterest accents of grief are all ascribed to
a true repentance in Scripture; such as a "weep-
ing sorely," or " bitterly ;" a " weeping day and
night ;" a " repenting in dust and ashes ;" a
"putting on sackcloth;" "fasting and prayer,"
&c. Thus holy David: "lam troubled, I am
bowed down greatly, I go mourning all the day
long, and that by reason of mino iniquities, which
are gone over my head, and, as a heavy burden,
are too heavy for me to bear:" Ps. xxx\iii. 4, 6.
Thus Ephra'im could say : " After that I was
instructed, I smote upon my thigh : I was ashamed,
yea. even confounded, because I did bear the re-
proach of my youth:" Jer. xxxL 19.



And this is the proper satisfaction for sin which
God expects, and hath promised to accept; as,
Ps. li. 17: " The sacrifices of God are a broken
spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou
wilt not c|^spise."

2. The next thing requisite in a true repent-
ance, is confession of sins, which naturally fol-
lows the other; for if a man be so deeply afflicted
with sorrow for his sins, he will be glad to be rid
of them as soon as he can ; and the way for this,
is humbly to confess them to God, who hatli pro-
mised to forgive us if we do. " I said, I will con-
fess my sins unto the Lord," saith the Psalmist ;
"and so thou forgavest the wickedness of my

Online LibraryWilliam PaleyThe works of William Paley ... : containing his life, moral and political philosophy, evidences of christianity, natural theology, tracts, Horae Paulinae, clergyman's companion, and sermons, printed verbatim from the original editions, complete in one volume → online text (page 61 of 161)