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tq the mansions with Christ, or to a dwelling with devils; and that endless eternity depends upon your attention to God's word. How attentively would a condemned rebel hearken to his prince, every word being either lise; or death to him! Consider, it is matter of lise and death to you, yea, your lise through all the ages of never ending eternity; your lise depends on right hearing, Dcut. XXXii. 47. And will you not take head? You would have God attentive to your word8 in the time of your distress, and will you not be attentive to his words in the time of your health? Could a minister tell you how you might acquire a good estate, or where you might sind a rich treasure, you would hearken to that; but, for an inheritance or treasure in heaven, many ihinic it not worth their while to notice: Is riot this an argument of strong carnality and atheism? O If we could imitate Christ's hearers, Luke xix. 48. it is said, " They were all very attentive to hear him the word attentive according to the original, may be rendered, They hanged on him, or They hanged their ears at Christ's lips! Let us, in like manner, hang upon Christ in hearing of the word, even as the child doch upon the breast, or as the bee upon a flower.:'
There is nothing that fatan aims at more, than to divert your attention in time of hearing the word. This enemy of your fouls is busy every day laying snares for you, seeking your ruin: But, O how active is he every Lord's day! The devil is still sirst at church; the children of God never gather together, but satan is among; them: And his great '.jesign is, to render this engine ot the word fruitless, because by it the strong holds of his kingdom have been battered and broken down. Now, the way he sinds molt success is, by tempting our eyes and thoughts to wander- in order to keep u> from being attentive in time of hearing. O then, if we would have the word to ptosit us, let us watch against satan's temptations and suggestions; let us guard against wandering, wearying, utowlini.ss, or any thing that may hinder our attention. Ami for those that can virite quickly, to write down the heads of the sermon in time of hearing; is by some reckoned a good mean to engage the C c 2 attention, attention, prevent drowsiness, and help the memory asterwards; and some have sound it very resreshing 3nd edifying a long time aster, to be looking over what they had written. But especially it is proper for young people to learn and use this way of writing.
VII. In a special manner, take heed to the word that suits your case, and most concerns your sonl; particularly to that word that discovers the sinsulness and vileness of a poor soul by nature; and to that word that points out the misery of the unbeliever, and that fhews the weight of those curses, the terror of that wrath, and severity of divine justice, to which he is hourly exposed; and to that word that set6 out fin in its black and bloody colours; to that word that shews your inability to help yourselfuout of your miserable state; to that word that discovers your need of Christ, and his excellency, sitness and suitableness for you; and to that word that comes close' home to your conscience, and tells you, as Nathan did David," Thou art the man," thou art the poor lost sinner that is condemned, and for ever undone, without Christ. Take heed to that word that points out your particular sins, your predominate lusts and idols I take with the charge, and cry out, Unclean, unclean. While hearing the word, you ought td place your sins, and especially your darling lusts, in the front of the ba-ttle (as Uriah) purposely to be slain, and say," Lord, let thess smooth stones taken out of the brook es the sanctuary be thrown by so skilsul and powersul a hand, that they may sink deep into the foreheads of these uncircumcised ones, to their utter ruin and destruction." And O it were happy, if, while the word doth touch our sins, our hearts wree melted like Peter's, and moved to go home and weep bitterly. O what reason hare we to weep, when we hear of the boundless mercy which we have despised, the matchless misery which we have deserved, the insinite love which we have abused, and the righteous law which we have transgressed!
VIII. Mix your hearing with faith, i. e. believe, 1. That it is God who speaks; the word is his, and not man's. 2. That he speaks to you in particlar, as if he mentioned you by name and sirname. Put not
reproofs reproofs and threatenings by yourselves, and say, They belong to your neighbour, and not to you; for this is a dangerous stratagem of the devil against your souls. But let every man open hi* ear, and hear what the Spirit - saith to him, and apply the word particularly to himself; for the best plaister that ever was made up, can do no good unless it be applied. 3. Believe that what the Lord speaks to you by his word, is true and certain; that his doctrine is holy, and his laws just: that his threatenings will be strictly executed, and his promises saithsully accomplished. It is for want of saith that the word doth not prosit. If but as much credit were given to the divine testimony and word of God, as we give to human testimony and the writings of men, the word would have more success and essicacy than, alas! it hath on the most part.
IX. Lay up what you hear in your hearts and memories, and be at all pains to retain it; for the devil, like the fowls of the air, is at hand to snatch away the seed of the word as soon as it lights, if we be not caresul to hide it in our hearts. Theresore it is a good help in time of hearing, to be often recalling and repeating the heads of what has been spoken in our minds; for when we hear a head but once, and think no more upon it till the sermon be done, we are sair to lose it.
X. Join cordially with the congregation in singing the praises of God. This is a heavenly duty, pleasant to God, and prositable to yourselves : theresore be conscientious in the persorming of it: " Sing with understanding," and meditate upon what y 'u sing; ** sing with grace in your hearts," Col. iii. 16. It is grace that sweetens the voice in God's ear, an old heart cannot sing a new song; nay, grace must be in a lively exercise when you sing, according to Psal. lvii. 8. you should cry to your hearts and to your graces," and particularly to saith, love and delight, as in Judges v. 12. "Awake, awake, Deborah, awak?, awake, utter a song," &c. There should be a great warmness of love and assssection to God when we sing to him, according to Isa. v. 1. .Look well then to yohr hearts in singing,
-. . mir.d mind the matter more than the music, the cleanness of the heart more than the clearness of the voice.
Non vox fed volum; non mufica choriula,sed cor s
I cannot pass some here, without a reproof, such as those, 1. Who sit dumb in the congregation, while their neighbours are praising God, as if the devil had tackt their tongues to the roof of their mouths: Think not this work below the greatest of you, sor it is your honour. Excuse not yourselves by faying, you cannot sing musically; for, if you had any delight in the duty, you would sing as you can. 2. Those who in singing, notice the tune more than the matter, and mind the voice more than the " making melody in their hearts to the Lord." 3. Those that absent themselves from the singing of the psalms, who either come not at the beginning of worship till the psalms be over, or rise and go out at the close besore the psalms be sung. Would you know whose disciples they are who do so, they are not Christ's, but Judas's; for when Christ sang the hymn on the back of the communion, Matt. xxvi. 30. all the disciples were present but Judas, who flipt out besore the psalms; and, since he turned his back upon so sweet a duty, it could not be a good errand he was going about; it was sirst to betray his Master, and then to hang himself. O then, take warning, and follow Judas's example no more.
XI. Let none go sorth besore pronouncing of the blessing. God allows none, great or small, to go out besore his worship be ended; both prince and people must meet and part at the same time, Ezek. xlvi. 10. Those that wilsully depart without hearing the blessing pronounced, and make a custom of it; if they repent not, it is to be seared they must one day stay to hear that sentence, " Depart from me, ye cursed." You run away from the blessing, but you cannot run from this curse. Wheresore let us stay the blessing, and reverently stand up (as the congregation of Israel did, 1 Kings viii. 14.) to receive our share in it, hoping and
praying praying that it may come down upon us, as it surely will, if we believingly look up to him, that " commands the blessing upon mot.nt Zion, even lise for evermore."
Concerning our behaviour betwixt Sermons. HAVING sinissied the work of the forenoon, you must take care how you dispose of yourselves betwixt sermons.
1. If the intermission be somewhat long, and your houses near at hand, then retire to them, meditating upon what you have heard, and sixing the conviction's and directions into your minds; beware of worldly thoughts or words by the way.
2. Assoon as you come home, go to secret prayer, and beg God's help to improve what you have heard, that it may kill sin, and quicken grace in you; and that God may strengthen your weak memories to retain it, and pardon your sailings in his service.
3. Eat sparingly betwixt sermons, lest it dull your spirits, and indispose you for the asternoon's work; and see that your discourse in time thereof be suitable to the day.
4. If time allow, neglect not to call your samilies together for the worship of God.
5. If you have any time to be alone, spend it frugally in reading- praying, or meditating; let not a moment of it be lost: Either think on what you have been hearing, or draw spiritual instructions from what you see. Do you sit by the sire, and see the sparks sly up? think, V Man is born to trouble as the sparks sly upward," Job. v. 7. "Sin hath silled my short lise with troubles; but blessed be God, that I am this day invited to come to Jesus Christ, who is a remedy both for sin and sorrow."
Dost thou see a spider in the window weaving cunning webfe to catch the silly sly? Think, " Satan, that cunning enemy, is doing the like for my poor soul-" Seest thou how the spider hides itself in its hole till once the fly be inrangled, and then runs to seize it, and drag it into its hole i So doth the devil lie in wait till once sinners be caught into his snares, and then he lays on