by Philip Bennett Power
Edited by Thomas M Witte
This little book is a companion to the ‘Sick-man’s Comfort Book.’ They have a common origin, each having been suggested to me while praying by the sick-bed of an afflicted servant of God, whom I visit from time to time; and who has now lain for thirteen years on a bed of suffering.
From her sick-bed some of these flowers have been gathered; and although she is now reduced so low as not to be able even to articulate at all, still from the look in her eye, and the motions of her lips, which a friend can interpret, the flowers can be seen to be still blooming.
A book so small as this must of necessity be imperfect. It can treat but slightly of any point, and many it must leave untouched altogether. For example, in these pages there is no separate mention of Patience and Usefulness, and many other graces belonging to the sick estate.
But imperfect as it is, if the Holy Spirit’s influence accompany its perusal, it may help to make many a sick-bed a place of God-glorifying in the world. It may help to make the sickbed wear a new and brighter and more hopeful aspect in the sight of the sufferer.
When Madame Guyon was imprisoned in the Castle of Vincennes, in 1695, she not only sang but wrote songs of praise to her God. ‘It sometimes seemed to me,’ she said, ‘as if I were a little bird whom the Lord had placed in a cage, and that I had nothing now to do but sing. The joy of my heart gave a brightness to the objects around me. The stones of my prison looked in my eyes like rubies. I esteemed them more than all the gaudy brilliancies of a vain world. My heart was full of that joy which Thou givest to them that love Thee in the midst of their greatest crosses’—a sentiment which she embodied, during one of her imprisonments, in a touching little poem, which begins thus:—
‘A little bird I am,
Shut from the fields of air;
And in my songs I sit and sing
To Him who placed me there;
Well pleased a prisoner to be,
Because, my God, it pleaseth Thee.’
Thus may it be with the readers of the following pages. They may see their sick-beds to be places of wealth, and beauty, and green spots for God in a world which, so far as glorifying Him is concerned, is only too desert-like and bare.
Only, as I have more than once reminded the reader, let it be distinctly understood that these pages are not for the actual sick-bed people only. They form a small part of the sick folk of the world. Nor are they in all cases to be numbered amongst its severest sufferers.
I have written for the arm-chair people, and the sofa people, and the people who are weak and ailing, and who find life a weariness and drag, and who in one form and another must walk slowly, or it may be sit down altogether on its shady side.
The suffering ones of God are spread over a much larger area than that covered by sick-beds.
May these lines help all who are thus dealt with by God, to bring forth fruit to His glory. May they inspirit them, and make them feel that they are something worth, and that their life is not a wasted one, but one which God has appointed, not only for their good, but also for His own praise.
Table of Contents
2.What People Are To Think Of Their Sick-Beds
3.The Flower Of Humility
4.The Flower Of Gratitude
5.The Flower Of Hope
6.The Flower Of Praise
7.The Flower Of Resignation
8.The Flower Of Contentment
9.The Flower Of Faith