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The Visitor's Book of Texts (Bonar)

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The pastoral visitation of the sick and sorrowful is a spiritual exercise. Its purpose is to bring God’s Word to those in need in the prayerful hope of the Spirit’s blessing upon it. Such visitation is not the preserve of pastors only; it is the duty of the whole church, as our Lord reminded his disciples with the words, ‘I was sick, and ye visited me’.

How we should visit the sick, and what we should say on our visits to them are the important matters addressed in this most useful book. Written by a spiritual giant of the nineteenth century church, the book contains much-needed advice and clear guidance. Bonar gathers together a great number of Bible verses that will prove eminently suitable for a wide range of individual cases. These selected scriptures are interspersed with the author’s own brief, spiritual, and helpful comments. Here then is a book that should be in the hands of every Christian visitor. It ought to be consulted prayerfully before embarking with God’s Word to the sick and sorrowful.


Table of Contents:

PART I – The Word Brought Near the Sick
1 The believer is sick 3
2 The sick believer troubled— 17
  I By temptation 19
  II By circumstances connected with his sickness 23
  III Under bodily pain 28
3 The believer is dying 35
4 The sick person’s spiritual state is unknown to you 49
5 The sick person lacks knowledge 59
6 The sick person is self-righteous 69
7 The sick person is anxious 81
8 The sick person is a backslider 93
9 The sick person is hardened, because sceptical 105
10 The sick person is indifferent 117
  PART II – The Word Brought Near to Seven Classes Who May Be Found in the Sick Room  
11 Recovery from sickness—the believer’s case 129
12 Recovery from sickness—the case of the nominal Christian and the unbeliever 139
13 For the aged who are sick 147
14 For young men or women who are sick 161
15 For children who are sick 173
16 For those attending to the sick 183
17 For the friends of the sick 193
  PART III – The Word Brought Near to the Sorrowful  
18 The sorrowful, when their thoughts are directed to their own loss in the death of friends 203
19 The sorrowful, when their thoughts are directed to the state of those who have died— 215
  I In regard to those who have died in the Lord 218
  II In regard to those of whose state you are ignorant 222
  III In regard to those of whom you fear the worst 225
20 The sorrowful—widow and orphan 231
21 Sorrowful because of forebodings and cares 241
22 Sorrowful because of worldly circumstances 255
23 Sorrowful because of persecution, lack of sympathy, or the like 263
24 The sorrow of the world 271



Andrew Alexander Bonar (1810-92), the youngest brother of Horatius, was born in Edinburgh and educated at Edinburgh University. He was ordained at Collace, Perthshire in 1838, where he was minister in the Church of Scotland to the Disruption (1843) and in the Free Church until moving to Finnieston Free Church, Glasgow in 1856. He was Moderator of the Free Church Assembly in 1878. He visited Palestine with Robert Murray M’Cheyne in 1839, and was his friend’s biographer after his early death.