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« lives have been lovely, in their deaths
should not be divided.” : .
But to return: our blessed Saviour, by a plain and familiar similitude, compares this office of preaching to the soiving of seed; 'which, in good husbandry, should have'a soil.well ordered and prepared to receive it, and to nourish it with all suitable supplies, till it come to a fruitful harvest, to which all is directed. The same course must be taken with this seed of the word, which we sow among you, if you mean to reap the fruit and benefit of it at the last great harvest. If ye do not attend our preaching, it is not in our power to sow good seed at all. And if ye do not also carefully attend to it, it will not be in our power to sow it to any good purpose: for what thus falls by the way-side upon careless' and inattentive hearers, the devil, like a ravenous bird of prey, will soon snatch away and devour." And what falls upon stony places, upon hard and flinty hearts, will by no means' endure the hot and scorching beams of tribulation and persecution,
but for want of sufficient root and nourishment will soon decline and wither away. The thorny cares also of this world, and the deceitfulness of the riches and pleasures of it, will spring up and choke the seed of the word that falls among them, and render it unfruitful. And that, and that only, which falls on the good ground of an honest and good heart, where is care to understand, faith to believe, a will to obey, and love to retain it, will thrive and flourish, and bring forth fruit unto eternal life. is in ti: i; os Jones, De GT i
And that it may the better thus thrive with you all, and bring forth fruit, some an hundred fold, some sixty, and some thirty, let me recommend it to you, when you would hear a sermon with a design to profit by it, to attend sincerely and fer, vently to all the prayers of the church that go before and accompany it. Begin thus with God and end with him ; which will both put your hearts into a fit temper for profiting by the instructions given you, and so will leave them. By this means you will be able to imprint what
you hear upon your memories, and apply it in your practice ; which is the great end of our preaching : For vain is our preaching, and vain also is your hearing, if it bring not forth the fruits of good living
But whether ye will hear, or whether ye will forbear, remember this, that there is a God in heaven, to whom ye are accountable for every opportunity of improvement, as well as we for every opportunity of improving you. Soon must you and I stand together at his all righteous tribunal: And at that awful hour, may both of us be able to give such an account of the talents committed to our charge, that ye may receive the fruit of your labours, and we may have the unspeakable comfort of having both saved ourselves and them that hear us !
SER, SERMON LXVIII.
1 John iii. 17.
But whoso hath this world's good, and sceth
his brother have need, and shutteth up his
bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth te the God in him?
AMIDST the various attacks which
have been made upon Christianity since its first promulgation in the world, there is one part of it which has always escaped “ the arrows and firebrands” of its enemies: no one has yet been hardy enough to call in question the benevolence of its principles; no one has yet dared to deny that its Divine Author conținually “ went about doing good,” and that the direct tendency of all, its doc