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own Cafe, we shall advance but slowly in any spiritual Improvement. The Seed brings forth no increase in the Granary, it must be thrown into the Ground before it will fructify ) if the Nature of any Duty is explained, we must consider whether we truly understand it; if. several Instances of it are laid down before us,. we must consider how far we come up to them in our Practice. If Directions are prescribed to get the Mastery of any Vice, we must consider how far we comply with them; and where we are defective, we must resolve to take those new Measures that are offered. - If the Deformity and Ingratitude of Sin is exposed, we must stxun it as the greatest EviL If the Advantages and Pleasures of Virtue are described, we must secure them to ourselves by an unwearied Continuance in Welldoing. This Method put in Practice, will certainly intitle us to the greatest Prosit imaginable from Preaching.
V. Hear without Prejudice. It were tobe wished that all the Priests of the Lord werecircumspect in their Lives, and blameless in their Converfation; but since they are Men; clothed with Flesh and Blood, and liable to the fame Temptations that others are exposed to, their Personal Insirmities should not so far possess People's Minds, as to deprive them of the Advantage of their good Instruction. So far as the Ministers of God fall Ihort of their Duty, they will themselves
answer for the Neglect of it; but still the People must give an Account for not improv» ing under their frequent Calls to Repentance and Amendment of Life. Let not therefore any particular difadvantageous Character so far insmuate itself into you, as to rob you of the Prosit and Advantage of a good Discourse: Consider what is faid, more than any Report that may diminish the Preacher's Reputation; which very osten may be false, and yet, if true, may be really no Hindrance to your own Improvement, if you make a right Use of the Sermon.
VI. Resolve to practise what you hear. If Men come only to a Sermon, to gratify their Curiosity with the Beauties and Ornaments of a Discourse; if they only aim at increasing their Knowledge, that they may-be the better able to talk concerning the Mysteries of the Gospel; it is no Wonder that their Lives continue unreformed. The great Advantage of the Christian Institution is, that it offers to the World a better Method, and a more exact Rule for the Conduct of Life, than was ever known before; and if you really design any Prosit to yourself by understanding it, you must immediately put it in Practice. Judge not therefore of your Improvement by those good Desires that may be stirred up in your Mind, but by the Influence the Instructions have upon your Practice. You hear a Discourse on Humility to some Purpose, when
from the Sense of Conviction, you submit to the lowest and meanest Ofsices for promoting the Welfare of your Fellow-Christians. You prosit by a Sermon upon the Duty of Family Prayer, if, having hitherto neglected it, you immediately establish it in your Families: The like Instances might be made in any other Virtue, or in any other Divine Institution. The great End of Hearing is not fulsilled when we are affected with a Sermon, the main Matter is still behind, which is, the putting useful Instructions into Practice; nay, the Convictions we receive of the Necessity of performing our Duty, will increase our Condemnation at the great Day, if we do not govern our Lives by them.
VII. In your Retirement rested: upon what you heard. This is the concluding Means of making the Preaching of the Minister prosit-, able and advantageous to you; it is like Digestion to our Victuals, it turns out into true Nourishment. The Pleasuies and Diversion of the World are apt to blot out those serious Thoughts which were impressed upon our Minds in the Church; the Cares and Business of the World are apt to choke the Word, so that it brings no Fruit to Perfection. To remedy these Hindrances of our spiritual Edification, we must take a convenient Opportunity to retire from Business and Pleasure; and surely on the Lord's Day nothing mould prevent it; and when we are by ourselves,
we should seriously reflect upon those great and useful Truths which have that Day been delivered to us. We should consider the Importance of them, to excite our Industry and Diligence in attaining them, we mould weigh the Excellency of then), that they may engage our Affections; we should reflect how necesfary they are to our Happiness, which will discover our own Folly in having neglected them hitherto, and make us truly wife for the Time to come. When we have thus made them familiar to our Thoughts by Consideration, they will be ready at Hand for all the Uses and Purposes of a Christian Life: They will direct us in our Duty, when it becomes dubious or dissicult* and always stir us up by Way of Remembrance; they will make us stedfastr and immoveable, always abounding in the Work of the Lord, so that our Labour shall not be in vain in the Lord.
MIDNIGHT; FROM BISHOP KENN'S MANUAL
FOR WINCHESTER SCHOLARS,
DEVOTIONS/or the Closet; mid for the. Family, and at the Holy Communion; and upon several other Occasions.
A MORNING HYMN.
Awake, my Soul, and with the Sun,