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Concerning Spiritual Books and Ordinary Sermons, take in these Advices also.

6. Let not a prejudice to any man’s person hinder thee from receiving good by his doctrine, if it be according to godliness; but (if occasion offer it, or especially to godliness; but (if occasion offer it, or especially if duty present it to thee- that is if it be preached in that assembly where thou art bound to be present) accept the word preached as a message from God, and the minister as his angel in that ministration.

7. Consider and remark the doctrine that is represented to thee in any discourse; and if the preacher adds accidental advantages, anything to comply with thy weakness, or to put thy spirit into action or holy resolution, remember it and make use of it. But if the preacher be a weak person, yet the text is the doctrine, thou art to remember, that contains all thy duty; it is worth they attendance to hear that spoken often and renewed upon thy thoughts; and though thou beest a learned man, yet the same things which thou knowest already, if spoken by another, may be made active by that application. I can better be comforted by my own considerations if another hand applies them than if I do it myself; because the word of God does not work as a natural agent, but as a divine instrument; it does not prevail by the force of deduction and artificial discoursings only, but chiefly by way of blessing in the ordinance and in the ministry of an appointed person. At least obey the public order, and reverence the constitution, and give good example of humility, charity, and obedience.

8. When Scriptures are read, you are only to inquire, with diligence and modesty, into the meaning of the Spirit; but if homilies or sermons be made upon the words of Scripture, you are to consider, whether all that be spoken be conforming to the Scriptures; for although you may practise for human reasons and human arguments ministered from the preacher’s art, yet you must practise nothing but the command of God, nothing but the doctrine of Scripture; that is, the text.

9. Use the advice of some spiritual or other prudent man for the choice of such spiritual books, which may be of use and benefit for the edification of thy spirit in the ways of holy living; and esteem that time well accounted for that is prudently and affectionately employed in hearing or reading good books and pious discourses; ever remembering, that God, by hearing us speak to him in prayer, obliges us to hear him speak to us in his word, by what instrument soever it be conveyed.

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