XXXIV. Of anointing the sick
XXXIV. Anointing the sick is a rite of divine original and perpetual obligation. The end is, the recovery of the sick. The administrators are, ministers. The manner is, the sick to send for them; make confession to them; they to pray over him; anoint; and absolve him. The unction is to be as universal as is seemly.
A citation of the following passage is a proof of the chief parts of the above proposition. We presume the oil was olive, because we read of none other. The german baptists anoint only the head, except one part of the body be specially affected, then they anoint both. We prefer a more universal unction. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. Jam. v. 14-16.
Here follows are example of the manner in which the rite has been performed. The sick sent for the ministers of his church. Expressed his desire to be anointed. The ministers recited to him the case of some who were, in a judicial way, afflicted for some particular sins, 1 Cor. xi. 30. Desired him to reflect, and confess if he were conscious or suspicious of any such thing in his case. The sick did so very frankly and honestly, and desired the ministers to pray that his sin might be forgiven him. Then one of the ministers kneeled, and prayed in some such words as these.
“Look upon us, O Lord, for behold we pray! Look upon us, for we pray over the sick. A sick brother. A sick friend. A sick penitent who hath faith to be healed. Who hath a grievous sin to be forgiven. And grace to confess, and give glory to God! Look upon us, for we are come to anoint him with oil in they name! He hath faith in the rite, he hath called for the elders of the church to give him the unction. He hath faith in the efficacy of the fervent prayer of the righteous man, for he crieth, Brethren, pray to the Lord for me that I may be forgiven! We, with him, depend on the promised annexed to the ordinance. We believe it shall be even as thou hast said. Our prayer is the prayer of faith. Our doing as thou hast commanded in obedience to faith. His calling for us is of faith. Therefore heal him, O Lord! O Lord raise him up! Forgive a penitent, good Lord! Good Lord let him be loosed from the sin he confesseth! Let our prayers avail much! Let the unction avail much. even so Lord Jesus, Amen.”
Then the minister poured the oil on his own hand and anointed the sick, saying these words.
“We anoint with oil in the name of the Lord Jesus that thou mayest be healed : By that name be thou made whole every whit : He woundeth and he healeth : He slayeth and he maketh alive! In the name of the same Lord Jesus and by the power of the keys committed to us, we declare unto thee, being penitent, the remission of thy sin, and loosing from this bond. Even so Lord Jesus. Amen.”
When the unction was over the other elder prayed in words to this effect.
“Now Lord we have done as thou commandest, and yet there is room : Let that room be filled with the Lord's doings, and the work shall be accomplished. We have harkened to the voice of a sick and penitent brother; and have anointed him with oil; and prayed for him in thy name. We again call over him thy name that he may be healed. Let it please thee, O physician of value, to make him whole every with. We again most fervently pray to thee that his sin may be forgiven him, and he loosed from his bonds of affliction and lifted up. We are agreed, O most merciful Jesus, two of us are agreed on earth as touching what we shall ask of thee, firmly depending on thy promise. Let it be done for us of our father who is in heaven. The healing and raising up of a sick brother we implore of thee on our bended knees. The absolution of penitent brother we most earnestly crave. Heal O God. Forgive O God. Raise up O most merciful Lord our God. Is not this the time for thee to work? Speak the word, Lord, and the desire of our hearts will come. The anointing will be effectual. The prayers will avail. The name of the Lord Jesus be surely magnified. We rejoice. Our brother relieved. And we, and he, and thy church have fresh occasion to ascribe honours to our God, and sing worthy is the lamb forever. Amen.”
The event answered our expectation. We have heard of many signal cures attending it among the german baptists, with whom the rite is in common use, and much veneration.
From Customs of Primitive Churches, Edwards, pp. 94-95