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quires. And in order to attain this, pray and wrestle earnestly,

3. For an outpouring of the Spirit in his own ordinances, agreeably to the Lord's own promises, Prov. i. 23. Behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you ; that yourselves and others may be bettered by the word. Every one ihould be concerned for the fuccess of the gospel, not to themselves only, but to others also. Love to God and our neighbours souls hould engage to this, 2 Thess. iii. 1. ahove cited.

Now, both this preparation and prayer beforehand being done, beware ye lean not on them, but remember that all depends on the Spirit's influences, and that he is debtor to none, Cant. iv. 16. Awake, O north wind, and come thou, fouth, blow upon my garden, that the Spices thereof may flow out.

John iii. 8. The wind bloweth where it listeth. Cry therefore that the Spirit may render the word effectual.

II. Some things are to go along with hearing:

First, Attending unto the word diligently. This implies,

1. Waiting diligently upon the ordinances ; fo as people make it their buliness to catch opportunities of the word, and let none flip which providence will allow them to overtake. That they hang on about the Lord's hands in the galleries of ordinances, labouring to keep the try{t which God makes with finners there, 1 Tim.iv. 13. They that are only chance customers to ordinances, whose attendance is ruled by their own conveniencies, without conscience of duty, causing them to take them only now and then as their fancy takes them, cannot expect good of them. Blefjed is the man, says the personal Wildom of God, that beareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors, Prov. viii. 34:

2. Diligent attention to the word, If: Iv. 2. Hearken diligently unto me; listening carefully to it, as a . ter of the greateit weight, keeping the mind

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preparation, 1 Kings viii. 38. and if properly attended to, would be attended with great bleflings.

This preparation for the ordinances is necessary, considering two things especially. (1.) The greatness of him with whom we have to do, Heb. xii. 28. 29. Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear : for our God is a consuming fire. One would not rush without conlideration into the presence of his prince: why then should one rush thoughtlessly into the presence of his God? (2.) The weight of the work: To hear God's mind declared to us is a business of the greatest importance, eternity depends on it to us, life and death hang upon our improving or not improving it, 2 Cor. ii. 16. To the one, says the apostle, we are the favour of death un. to death; and to the other the favour of life unto life

. And were this duly considered, it would stir us Call up to the most diligent preparation.

Secondly, Prayer. We should be much in prayer before we go to ordinances, family-prayer, and secret prayer, and therefore ought not to spend the Lord's day morning so as not to have time for these. If ye would have good of the word read or preached, pray and pray earnestly before it. Pray,

1. For assistance to the minister. Hence the apostle fays, Brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, 2 Thest. ii. 1. Pray that the Lord himself would come out with him, directing him, instructing him, and exciting hin, what to speak, and how to speak. It is rare to {ee a lively people under a dead ministry; and there: fore people's own interest should engage them in concern for ministers.

2. For a meal to yourselves, Pfal. cxix. 18. Open thou mine eyes, that I may see wondrous things out of thy law. Pray that God would direct the word to your case, and send it home on your hearts with his bles. ing, that ye may be enlightened, fandlified, strengthencd, humbled, or raised up by it, as your cafe se.

quires. And in order to attain this, pray and wrestle earnestly,

3. For an outpouring of the Spirit in his own ordinances, agreeably to the Lord's own promises, Prov. i. 2 3. Behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you; that yourselves and others may be bettered by the word. Every one ihould be concerned for the fuccess of the gospel, not to themselves only, but to others also. Love to God and our neighbours souls should engage to this, 2 Thess. iii. I. above cited.

Now, both this preparation and prayer beforehand being done, beware ye lean not on them, but remember that all depends on the Spirit's influences, and that he is debtor to none, Cant. iv. 16. Awake, O north wind, and come thou, fouth, blow upon my garden, that the Spices thereof may flow out. John iii. 8. The wind bloweth where it lifteth. Cry therefore that the Spirit may render the word effectúal.

II. Some things are to go along with hearing:

First, Attending unto the word diligently. This implies,

1. Waiting diligently upon the ordinances ; so as people make it their buliness to catch opportunities of the word, and let none flip which providence will allow them to overtake. That they hang on about the Lord's hands in the galleries of ordinances, labouring to keep the tryst which God makes with finners there, i Tim.iv. 13. They that are only chance customers to ordinances, whose attendance is ruled by their own conveniencies, without conscience vf duty, causing them to take them only now and then as their fancy takes them, cannot expect good of them. Blefjed is the man, fays the personal Wildom of God, that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the poits of my doors, Prov. viii. 34.

2. Diligent attention to the word, If: lv. 2. Hearken diligently unto me ; listening carefully to it, as a matier of the greateit weight, keeping the mind off other

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things in the time, and bending it wholly unto the • word. In this there are these four things comprehended.

(1.) Outward gravity and composure, without which attention is marred, Luke iv. 20. If men do believe it to be God's word which they are hearing, this is as liitle respect to it as they can shew, namely, outward gravity; and therefore they are not to lay down their heads and sleep, nor to gaze hither and thither, far less to laugh, or to go out and in, here and there, in the time. This kind of behaviour is not without contempt of God, who speaks to men by his word.

(2.). A fixing and bending of the ear and mind to what is spoken. Hence is that counsel of the wise man, Prov. ii. 1. 2. My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; so that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding. - People must take care that they be not wandering in their heart while the Lord's word sounds before them. If the heart wander, and be thinking on other things, how can the word do them good, while Satan has thus stolen away the heart?

(3.). A discerning of what they hear, so as to distinguish betwixt truth and error, the corn and the chaff, Mark iv, 24. Take heed what ye hear: and therefore to mark always the agreement betwixt what is preached and the written word, for which the Bereans are highly commended, Acts xvii. 11. For they attend not rightly to the word who do not thus endeavour to discern what they hear.

(4.) An endeavouring to know the mind of God in his word, to hear with underlianding. This is to attend not only to the words, but to the things wrapt

in these words ; as “Lydia did, whose heart the Lord opened, that live attended unto the things which were /poken of Paul, Acts xvi. 14. It is not enough to hear the words, but the message from the Lord is to

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bè weighed and seriously considered, and the mind of God taken up therein.

There is great need of attending unto the word with diligence; and inaking serious work of it. For,

(1.) The matter in hand is of the greatest weight; it concerns éternity; it is a treaty of peace betwixt God and our souls; the proposal of a method to preserve our fouls from ruin, Luke xvi. 29. They have Moses and the prophets ; let them hear them; and this proposal is not to be carelessly managed. And God himself is the Speaker, and what he speaks should be diligently attended to, for his fake ; to prevent the breaking out of his wrath, which is threatened against those who do not hearken to him.

(2.) Because at best we will have much ado to hear well as we ought. We are naturally dull of hearing the Lord's word, Il. lviii. 4. 5. They are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; which will not bearken to the voice of the charmer, charming never fo wisely. And ofttimes there is a locked door betwixt him and us. Hence he is represented thus, Behold, I stand at the door, and knock, &c. Rev. iii. 20. And there is a thick wall of fe. paration also betwixt him and us, 11. lxix. 2. Your iniquities have separated between you and

your God, and

your fins have bid his face from you, that he will not hear. And there is always much noise about us, as long as the tempter is to the fore. Therefore the highest attention is requisite."

3. Lastly, If we do not thus attend, we lose, and our loss is great.

Thomas mifled one occafion of meeting with Christ, and unbelief got in upon him. And that word which we miss may be the most suitable to our case, which therefore Satan watches to carry off from us. Therefore we should never miss one occasion of hearing the word.

Secondly, Receiving the word rightly. This lies in two things.

1. Receiving it with faith, Heb. iv. 2. It is the mouth of the soul, by which one receives the fincere VOL. III.

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