The Duties of the Sick
Isaiah 38:1
In those days was Hezekiah sick to death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, Thus said the LORD…

The text mentions the obligations of sick persons —

I. RESPECTING THEIR FELLOW-CREATURES. "Set thine house in order." This direction may well be enlarged to comprehend —

1. Due regulation of all affairs in which the sick are interested.

(1) The principal point at which men should aim in settling their temporal affairs is justice; and one of the most evident branches of justice is paying debts.

(2) Besides those who are commonly called creditors, there is another sort — I mean those to whom we have done injuries, and owe restitution.

(3) But as we have all, more or less, need to ask pardon, another of our duties evidently is to grant it in our turn: when others have used us ill, not to "recompense" or wish them "evil for evil." The expedient to which, it is said, some have had recourse, of forgiving if they die, and being revenged if they live, is as foolish a contrivance to deceive themselves, and to mock God, as the human heart can frame.

(4) The next thing, after providing for the payment of our debts, and which, like that, should be done in health, but much rather in sickness than not at all, is disposing of the remainder of our substance. The principal rule is, that we ought not to be governed in it by fanciful fondnesses, much less by blamable resentments.

2. Proper advice to all persons with whom the sick are connected.

II. RESPECTING MORE IMMEDIATELY GOD AND THEIR OWN SOULS. "Then Hezekiah prayed unto the Lord." His prayer, indeed, if the whole of it be recorded in Scripture, was only that he might recover; a request which for the public good he had urgent reasons to make in the first place. And that being instantly granted, he had no need to apply further to God, in relation to his sickness, otherwise than by thanksgiving, which he did. But they who have more extensive wants at that time are both authorised and bound to enlarge in proportion the subject of their addresses to the throne of grace; and therefore I shall endeavour to comprehend under this head all the religious duties of the sick.

1. The first principle of all regard to God is faith. There are indeed very good persons who, m illnesses, are tempted to partial, or even total unbelief. And if any seeming reasons for it be suggested to their minds, they ought to inquire after, and oppose to them reasonable answers.

2. Self-examination.

3. Such repentance as our case requires.

4. The sick ought to be very constant in every other exercise of private piety. For as they are cut off from active life, they have more leisure for religious contemplation. And as they want all the improvement and comfort which they can have, so they will receive the most of both by frequent lifting up of their hearts to "the God of patience and consolation."

(T. Seeker, LL. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live.

WEB: In those days was Hezekiah sick and near death. Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, came to him, and said to him, "Thus says Yahweh, 'Set your house in order, for you will die, and not live.'"

Supreme Attention to Spiritual Concerns
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