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that you hear immediately to your heart, and conscience; “do I faithfully believe and act upon that doctrine, which the preacher is speaking of ? do I observe that precept which he is enjoining ? do I cultivate that disposition which he is recommending ? am I negligent of that duty which he is insisting on? do I deserve that rebuke which he has uttered?” Question yourselves in some such way

while you hear, and apply every thing to yourselves, making it a subject of constant prayer to God, (and more especially when you are just about to hear a sermon) that he will guide you into all truth, and bless the ministry of his word to your instruction, and you will not retire from church unedified and unimproved, as many do, and as you yourselves have often done before.

I will very briefly mention another cause of ineffectual hearing, on the part of those, who do entertain some desire to profit by it, and who do not rest in mere knowledge, but consider their hearts appealed to, and are for the time affected by what they hear, and yet are not permanently improved by it; it is this, that they do not take any trouble to carry on the work when once it is commenced ; they do not strive to retain, and keep up the impression made upon their hearts. .

-Herod heard John gladly; Felix trembled at


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the preaching of St. Paul; Agrippa was almost persuaded by the same apostle to be a Christian ; but neither of them was converted; the momentary effect produced upon them passed away, the seed that was sown bore no fruit, the riches and pleasures of this world choked it. My brethren, preaching will have but small effect upon you, if its influence in confined to the mere time when you are hearing; if you would derive lasting benefit from it, do not banish from your minds the subjects which have occupied your attention, the moment you turn your the church; but deliberately meditate on them afterwards, make it a point so to do, by reading, especially the holy scriptures, by conversation, by prayer; study to preserve, continually, the same frame of mind in which you are when in the house of God listening to his holy word, and examine yourselves whether you cherish those dispositions, and practice those duties, which seemed to you so necessary to be cultivated and performed, when


heard them enforced. Consider always, that what you are taught are not merely maxims pertaining to one day in the week, or to one brief space of that day, but rules for your daily and hourly life: take heed that you always hear with this conviction on your minds, and then there will be good hope, that the word received into your hearts will be as seed sown in good ground, and being watered by the holy dew of God's abundant blessing, will bring forth an hundred fold, even a harvest of all Christian

graces and virtues in this world, and of eternal joys in the life to come. May the word of God so mightily grow and prevail among us, through Jesus Christ our Lord, &c.

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St. MATTHEW xxv. 31, 32, 33. When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.

And before him shall be gathered all nations ; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.

And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

We this day enter upon what is called in the language of our church, the season of Advent; that is, a season, in which it is intended that we should prepare to celebrate the first coming of our blessed Saviour, by religiously meditating on the promise of his second coming. It is to this

* This and the following Sermon are the discourses alluded to at the commencement of Sermon xxiii. vol. I.

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