My dear young friend,
It is of some comfort to know that your government is as fond of paper and
regulations as is ours. Even so, need your church be so swift to cooperate?
Visiting the sick is a duty commanded of our Lord.
My own mind was awakened to this many years ago. There was a man, Hermanus.
By all accounts a greedy and evil man through most of his life, he rose in
wealth through his greed. As he became older, his wives became younger. But by
the grace of God he came to know the Lord, and was baptized.
As with all flesh, he met his end. In his instance it was a most painful
death of a lingering waste. I well remember his young wife. In fear that he
might alter his will, she forbade the church entry into the home. By God’s
mercy our bishop was an exceedingly humble man, and so gained entry. Soon he had
set a death watch, two each for four hours. I took one of those watches, and I
can tell you what joy it brought old Hermanus that he need not go to his reward
Consider it: by your test, this man would have died alone. Is that good? I
need scarcely mention that the death bed is often the garden of salvation. Is it
not also the case that many would go to their graves unforgiving – and thus
unforgiven – were it not for the comfort of the church? Even if a man’s
heart is at peace with all, the comfort of his fellow saints is welcome in the
dying hour. Hermanus would have turned his face to the wall and died alone had
he lived in your church. Is this reproach to you or us?
His widow yet lives. She enjoys his money and cares nothing for the church.
But there is yet time; even she must have a death bed. For such sinners Christ
Isaac the Alchemist