Visitation of the sick

 Cautions in Visiting the Sick

Do not visit the sick when you are fatigued, or when in a state of perspiration, or with the stomach empty—for in such conditions you are liable to take the infection. When the disease is very contagious, place yourself at the side of the patient which is nearest to the window. Do not enter the room the first thing in the morning, before it has been aired; and when you come away, take some food, change your clothing immediately, and expose the latter to the air for some days. Tobacco smoke is a preventive of malaria. 


SICK, VISITATION OF. A duty entailed upon the Christian minister by Canon 76, and by the rubric before the Office for the Visitation of the Sick. This Office, with the exception of the Exhortations, is chiefly taken from the Sarum Use (which see). The Service has little changed since 1549, except by the addition in 1662 of the final Commendation, and of the four beautiful collects appended to the service. The Salutation is in obedience to our Lord's command (Luke x. 5). The Versicles are the same as those in the Marriage Service, except the prayer for deliverance from the enemy, which is taken from Ps. lxxxix. 22, 23. After two Collects come two very beautiful and practical exhortations, which are followed by an examination in the faith of the sick person. Next comes the provision for Confession and Absolution, which is similar to that in the first exhortation at Holy Communion, as to private confession and special Absolution. Till 1662 the initiative was left wholly to the sick person, "Then shall the sick man," &c., but now the minister is to "move him" to confession. The Absolution is only to be given if the sick person "humbly and heartily desire it." The latter part of the Absolution is taken from the ancient Office, and is declaratory, the first clause being precatory. The phrase, "I absolve thee," has been much discussed; this form has been used ever since the 12th century. A rubric in 1549 provided this Absolution for use in all cases of private confession, and thus it is probably the Absolution referred to in the Exhortation at Holy Communion. (See Absolution.) The next Collect is the original Absolution, or reconciliation of a dying penitent, in the Sacramentary of Gelasius, a 5th century compilation. After the Psalm comes a beautiful specimen of the ancient antiphon. The Benediction was composed in 1549, and the Commendation was added in 1662. (Num. vi. 24-26.) The four beautiful final prayers were added in 1662.