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does usually work in and by the means, and rarely (if ever ) when the ordinary means are Nighced. 'Tis true, God himself is not eyed to means, nor to any of his own Ordinances,yet he tie si us to make use of them, when we may have chem. That foui cannot expect to be instructed by Gods Spirit, who is a slighter and negle&ter of Gods ordipary means.
Further consider, the intent of the Word is not only to regenerate, but to nourish, increase and perfect the Graces of the Saints, Eph.4.11,12, Our knowledge is imperfect. Those that know most,may learn more: We need new inforcements of duty: Our affections are dulland need a new ex. citement. None so wise, so knowing a Christian, but he may receive fome benefit from a different handling of what he himself knew before.
Therefore seeing the preaching of the Word was ordained for so greai and signal benefits to mankind, 'tis just with God, that they that bave flight thoughts of it, should be barren under it.
3. When thou are going to hear, confider whither thou art going. Thou art going to meet the great God of Heaven and Earth : A Godthat is not to be dallied with, Levit 10.3. I will be farctified in them that come nigh me. When the people went to hear the Liw, Exod. 19.10. The Lord said to Moses, Sanctifie the people, and let them wash their clothes. What does this
peak to us that Christians should only wash their bands and faces, and put on their best apparrel, when they come to hear the Word? No, che Apotle Fames, fam.1.21. cels us ; Lay apart all filt hines, and superfluity of nanghtines, and receive with meeknesse the ingrafted Word, that is able to save your souls. If thou findest thy Spirit Night and wandring, co fix it and make it serious, think with chy self, and imagine how it was with che Israelites going to receive the Law of God: When the Mount was all on a flame of fire, the ir umpet founding louder and louder, the people trembling and fore afraid. This is to beat the Devil with his own weapon ; for he often prevailes opon us, by casting in sinful Imaginations. Consider cherefore how the Lord is present in an efpecial manner where his Word is preached. Surely the Lord is in this place, as Facob laid of Bethel, Gen.28.16. The apprehension of Gods presence in the assemblies of his people, will preserve in thee an awful and reverent disposition of soal.
4. Before thou goest, fail not to poure forth earnest and fervent prayers into the Lord, and that in behalf,
1. Of the Minister.
I. In behalf of the Minister, that the Lord would teach him what he should teach the people, and direct and enable him to declare the mind of God,
and to preach such truths as may tend to the benefit, and salvation of thine and others foules. Certainly if people did more seriously and more frequently pray for their minifter, that the Lord wouldblef and prosper his labours, and direct him to divide the Word aright, to give to every one their pertion, to feed the people with knowledge and understanding; he might expect a greater bleffing and affof ance in his studies, and they more benefit by his endeavours. How earnestly does Paul beg prayers, Rom 15.30 ? Now I befeech you ( brethren) for the Lord Fesus Christs sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me, in your prayers to God for me. v.31.--That my fer. vice which I have for Ferusalem, way be accepted of the Saints. And Eph 6.18. Praying alwaies with all prayer, and supplication in the Spirit - for All Saints. v.19. And for me, that utterance may begiven unto me, that I may open my mouth beld19, to make known the mystery of the Gospel. v.20.
That therein I may speak boldly as 1 ought to Speak. Col.4.3. Withal praying for us, that God would open to us a door of utterance to speak the angstery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds.
inay make it manifest as I ought to Speak.
II. In behalf of thy self.
V.4. That I
1. That the Lord would fix thy mind, and make it serious. When the mind is serious, truths are ape to make impression,
2. That he would enlighten thy mind, and open 1 by heart, as he did the heart of Lydia, Acts 16.14.
chat chou maist have a clear and right understandi ing of those truths chat concern chy salvati,
3. That he would give thee a heart to believe, E and embrace the truih, in the love of it ; chat truth
may not only float in thy phantasie, but sink down into thy heart, Rom.10.10. With the heart man believeth unto righteousnelle. There is a Faith
of the head, and a Faith of the heart : Devils; \ and micked men have the Faith of the head; buc
they have no such belief, as affects the heart, and makes it close with truth, and love it and enbrace ic.
4. That the Spirit of God would set in with the preaching of the Word, and make it effe&tual for the beating down of thy corruptions.'Tis a remarke
able expression, that in 1/4.8.11. The Lord : Spake to me with a strong hand; not with a meer
voice, but a strong hand. Pray therefore chus, Lord speak to my lufts and corruptions this day with a strong band let them feel thy power, and the ftrength of thine arm, that so they may be effectu ally destroyed in me.
5. Labour to come with a teacheable and tractable frame of Spirit. Receive with meeknesse the ingrafted. Word, James 1. Christ was anointed to preach glad tidings to the meek, Isaiah 61.1,
There are three sorts of Spirits far from thistemper.
1. The cavilling Spirit, that is forward to cavil at the Word, and co frame Objections against it.
2. The wrathful Spirit, that is fierce and ready to rise up in armes against the just reproofs of the Word. When such are admonished or warned, they revile: Conviction, that should humble, provokes them. There is a great deal of difference between chose two places, and expressions, Acts 2.37. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the Apoftles, Men'and Brethren, what shall we do? And Afts 7.54 when they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnafhed on him with their teeth. Here is a great deal of difference between being pricked at the heart, and feeling compunction for sin in their Consciences, as it was with the true converts in the former place, and being cut to the heart, and vexed, when they heard their fins reproved, 35 it was with the malicious and obftinate Fewes in the latter.
A guilty Conscience chinks the Minister aims at him in particular, and intends to disgrace bim; he chinks he commits a trespasse by treading upon his ground, and coming so close to his Conscience. It stuck in Herods stomack when Fohn touched him about his Herodias: But (observe