Page:Great duty of confessing Christ before men, stated and recommended.pdf/24

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views of divine things, these are the prey of every innovator.—These summaries are also an excellent help to the memory. Order and method in all sciences, conduce to the acquisition of knowledge. The reason why so many people forget sermons, is, because they forget their catechisms; and it is not the multitude of things in the memory that embarass the mind, but the disorder in which they lie. Our most judicious hearers are those who are best acquainted with the first principles of the oracles of God. They follow us from Head to Head, and from Text to Text. Loose hearing may please for a while, but fixed hearing is ultimately profitable. Those hearers also who know the doctrine of God and Christ, are best able to resist the influence of error delivered from the pulpit. How unhappy are they who hear those preachers whose discourses are partly true and partly false; who have here a truth, and there an error; here a doctrine, and there an innovation; who seem eager only to startle their hearers with quirks, conceits and novelties; but judicious hearers detect the fallacy, and discover the cheat, and having tasted of the old wine, they say it is better than the new. These summaries serve also as a bond of union among ministers and people, that they may all stand fast in one spirit, and speak the same things. Let us therefore hold fast the form of sound words, in truth and love, and by the Holy Ghost dwelling in us. Let the savour of Christ’s knowledge be manifested by us in every place, and be a means of drawing others to the love and knowledge of religion, and at length may we be perfect and entire, lacking nothing; and give in our account with joy, and not with grief; believing that if we confess him before men, he will confess us before his Father which is in heaven. Amen.