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

3. For an outpouring of the Spirit in his own ordinances, agreeably to the Lord's own promifes, Prov. i. 23. Behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you; that yourselves and others may be bettered by the word. Every one should be concerned for the fuccefs of the gospel, not to themselves only, but to o thers alfo. Love to God and our neighbours fouls fhould engage to this, 2 Theff. iii. 1. 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 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 bufinefs 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 tryft which God makes with finners there, 1 Tim. iv. 13. They that are only chance cuftomers to ordinances, whofe attendance is ruled by their own conveniencies, without confcience of duty, caufing them. to take them only now and then as their fancy takes them, cannot expect good of them. Bleed is the man, fays the perfonal Wildom of God, that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the pots of my doors, Prov. viii. 34.

2. Diligent attention to the word, If: lv. 2. Hearken diligently unto me; liftening carefully to it, as a t ter of the greatest weight, keeping the mind

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

This preparation for the ordinances is neceffary, confidering two things efpecially. (1.) The greatness of him with whom we have to do, Heb. xii. 28. 29. Let us have grace, whereby we may ferve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a confuming fire. One would not rush without confideration into the prefence of his prince: why then fhould one rufh thoughtlessly into the prefence of his God? (2.) The weight of the work: To hear God's mind declared to us is a bufinefs of the greateft 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, fays the apoftle, we are the favour of death unto death; and to the other the favour of life unto life. And were this duly confidered, it would ftir us all up to the most diligent preparation.

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

1. For affiftance to the minifter. Hence the apoftle fays, Brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free courfe, and be glorified, 2 Theff. iii. 1. Pray that the Lord himself would come out with him, directing him, inftructing him, and exciting him, what to fpeak, and how to fpeak. It is rare to fee a lively people under a dead miniftry; and therefore people's own interest should engage them in concern for minifters.

2. For a meal to yourfelves, Pfal. cxix. 18. Open thou mine eyes, that I may fee wondrous things out of thy law. Pray that God would direct the word to your cafe, and fend it home on your hearts with his bleff ing, that ye may be enlightened, fanctified, ftrengthened, humbled, or raifed up by it, as your cafe re

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

3. For an outpouring of the Spirit in his own ordinances, agreeably to the Lord's own promifes, Prov. i. 23. Behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you; that yourselves and others may be bettered by the word. Every one should be concerned for the fuccefs of the gospel, not to themfelves only, but to o thers alfo. Love to God and our neighbours fouls fhould engage to this, 2 Theff. iii. 1. above cited.

Now, both this preparation and prayer beforehand being done, beware ye lean not on them, but remem. ber 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 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 bulinefs 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 tryft which God makes with finners there, 1 Tim. iv. 13. They that are only chance cuftomers to ordinances, whofe attendance is ruled by their own conveniencies, without confcience of duty, caufing them to take them only now and then as their fancy takes them, cannot expect good of them. Bleffed is the man, fays the perfonal Wildom of God, that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the pots of my doors, Prov. viii. 34.

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

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

(1.) Outward gravity and compofure, 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 little refpect to it as they can fhew, namely, outward gravity; and therefore they are not to lay down their heads and fleep, nor to gaze hither and thither, far lefs 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 fpeaks to men by his word.

(2.) A fixing and bending of the ear and mind to what is fpoken. Hence is that counsel of the wife man, Prov. ii. 1. 2. My fon, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; fo 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 founds before them. If the heart wander, and be thinking on other things, how can the word do them good, while Satan has thus ftolen away the heart?

(3.). A difcerning of what they hear, fo as to diftinguifh 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 difcern what they hear.

(4.) An endeavouring to know the mind of God in his word, to hear with understanding. This is to attend not only to the words, but to the things wrapt up in thefe words; as Lydia did, whofe heart the Lord opened, that fe attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul, Acts xvi. 14. It is not enough to hear the words, but the meffage from the Lord is to

be weighed and feriously confidered, and the mind of God taken up therein.

There is great need of attending unto the word with diligence, and making ferious work of it. For, (1.) The matter in hand is of the greatest weight; it concerns eternity; it is a treaty of peace betwixt God and our fouls; the propofal of a method to preserve our fouls from ruin, Luke xvi. 29. They have Mofes and the prophets; let them hear them; and this propofal is not to be carelessly managed. And God himself is the Speaker; and what he speaks fhould 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, If. Iviii. 4. 5. They are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; which will not hearken to the voice of the charmer, charming never fo wifely. And ofttimes there is a locked door betwixt him and us. Hence he is represented thus, Behold, I ftand at the door, and knock, &c. Rev. iii. 20. And there is a thick wall of feparation alfo betwixt him and us, If. lxix. 2. Your iniquities have feparated between you and your God, and your fins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. And there is always much noife about us, as long as the tempter is to the fore. Therefore the highest attention is requifitë.

3. Lastly, If we do not thus attend, we lose, and our lofs is great. Thomas miffed one occafion of meeting with Chrift, and unbelief got in upon him. And that word which we mifs may be the most fuitable to our cafe, which therefore Satan watches to carry off from us. Therefore we should never miss one occafion of hearing the word. Secondly, Receiving the word rightly. two things.

This lies in

Heb. iv. 2. It is the one receives the fincere Q q

1. Receiving it with faith, mouth of the foul, by which VOL. III.

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