« AnteriorContinuar »
it) those that most storm at a repreof, are usually those that most deserve it.
3. The earthy obdurate spirit. Let the Minister say what he will, he is Sermon-proof: He is resolved to hold his own: Indeed his fins may well be callid his own. 'Tis a sad word chaç is spoken of the Pharisees and Lawyers, Luke 7.30. They rejected the counsel of God against themselves. And that of the fewes, Acts 13.46. Te put it from you (namely the Word of God) andjudge your selves unworthy of eternal life; Lo we turn to the Gentiles.
But now a meek spirit is a tescheable and tractable spiric : A tender heart is apt to receive ima preffions, as you may observe in persons whose hearts are softned by afflictions ; How do Sermons work on such Labour therefore to come with such a frame of spirit to hear the Word, as those did in Acts 10.33. Wee are all here present before the Lord to hear the things that are commanded thee of Ged.
6. Come with an appetite, with a longing defire to the Word. Nothing makes wisolsome food more favoury and sweet, than appetite. Some people come to Church, as sickly people do co a Feaft; they sic down for company, though they have no stomack: 'Tis in yain to come co a Sermon, without a piritual appetite. Blessed are shey that hunger and thirst after righteousneß, for they fiall be Jatusfied: 'Tis our Saviours own
promise, Mat.5.6. Othat people were such to their Ministers, as those Fob speaks of, C. 29.23. who waited
for him, as for rain; gasping after the Word, as the chapt earth for showers! ó that there were some such Divine affe&tions in us, as were in holy David! that we could truly say, My soul is a hirst for God, even for the living God: My sont pants after Christ, after his pardoning Mercy, and fanétifying Grace, as the Hart panteth after the water brooks! We should chen lee sermons work other effects, than now we do: Buc when people come eicher with no appetite, no defire and love to the Word, (buc fic downin the Congregacion meerly for fishion or company fake) or when they come with distempered pallats, with prejudices and preposefsions against the fimplicity of the Gospel; che most Evangelicall 'Truths are to them bue as a banquet of sweet meats unto swine; they had rather have husks. They can relish ( may be) some wiccy jingling dilcourse ; but the preaching of Christ and him crucified, (which Paul thought forichly of) is 100 stale a Doctrine, and too flat a note for their
7. Having fought to the Lord, and taken pains to bring thy heart into right frame; come wish expectation to profit. 'Tis often said in the Gol. pel, Be it unto thee according to thy Faith. And truly, usually people profit by Sermons according to their expectations, Buc cake here this Cay
tion. Do not ground thy expectation on the parts or gifts of the Minister, but on Gods pro: mise ; looking for his bleffing to accompany his own Ordinance, usually people speed according to their aim and expe&tation. They that come to hear mans voice do hear ic. 'Tis said of Pauls companions, Acts 9.7. That they heard a voice. Acts 22.9. 'Tis said, they that were with kim, heard not the voice. They heard a found, but heard it not distinctly, as Christs voice. Some only hear an outward sound, the voice of many
buc not the voice of God in the Word.
Thus much of preparation before Hearing.
Secondly, I come now to give some Directions how thou shouldst carry thy self in time of Hearing.
1. Hear with the most fixed attention thou possibly canft. Aceend with reverence and seriousness. Mány weighty Truths are lost by negligént hearing, Though it cannot be expected, chat we should be totally free from wandring thoughts ; yec we oughc có be watchful, and not to allow our felves in them. And when we perceive oui hearts gone, we thould speedily recall chem, Dac vid (aies of Idols, they have eares, and hear net, -Pfal.11$ 6. We have too many fuch Idols in our Congregations.
There are three forts of eares, that are not clie hearing eares: hinein, that hear aright. 1. The dul ear. When people allow chema
selves in drowsinesse, and carelesseneß. What impressions, is it poslible che Word should make on a man chac is asleep? What knoweft thou, o seeper, but whilst thou haft slept, those truths have been delivered, which (hadft thou duly i minded) might have cended to chy everlasting salvation ? If such a Fudgment befel him that slept in the night, and that at an exceeding long Sermon, Acts 20.9,10.Whac shall we say of thole that sleep in the day ac a Sermon of an hour long.
2. The stoppidear, Some are resolved finners. They stop their eares like the Adder, against the voice of the Charmer, Charm he never so wisely, Psal.58.4. We read of some Zach.7.12. That made their heart as Adamant stone, that they might not bear. Tis a sad complaint the Prophet makes (And yet many Ministers may in these daies make the fame) I have pretched out my bands all the day.long to a disobedient and gain. Jaying people, 111.65.2. Rom. 10.21.
3. The itching ear, 2 Tim.4. 3,4. The Apoftle (peaks of lomne, who having itching eares, did turn away their cares from the Truth unto Fables. Wnen men affect only new things, and anot ber Gospel, as Paul speaks, Gal.l. They are half gone inco Heresie : Plain Doctrines chac tend to the conviction of sin, that discover the neceffing of conversion, that shew mans loft and indose condition by nature, & his only remedy by Chrift, the necessicy of Holinese and new obedience: there
Serious truths are coo stale for many curious eares. But remember, they were carnal people who com. plained, they had nothing but the old burden, Jer. 23.33,34.
II. Apply what thou hearest to thy felf, Job 5. ult. Hear thou this, and know it for thy felf. Do not ward off the blowes of the Word from thy self: Do not say within thy self, this reproof concerns such an one, &c. The Fewes being pricked in their hearts, Acts 2:23. said, what shall we do? not what shall others do to be saved. No plaister can do us good, except it be applyed.
III. Lift up thy heart in frequent, mental, ejaculatory prayers unto the Lord, to set the truths thom hearet, home upon thy foul : Lord belp me to remember and practise this leffon. Lord help me to forsake this fin ; Lord strengthen my Faith in the belief of this Truth. As che Disciples, when Chrift told them how oft they should forgive an offending brother, Luke 17.5. they instantly pray, Lord increase our Faith.
IV. Mix Faith with the Word. Heb.4.2. The Apostle cels of some that the Word profited not, because they did not mix it with Faith. O cursed infidelity! How many thousand foals haft thou dex stroyed? How many thousand Sermons haft thou made unsuccesseful? St. James tels us The Devils believe and tremble. That is more than many a wicked man does. Thus much of thy behaviour in time of heara