Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday in Pentecost, Proper 16: Go to God for life

Opening Sentence
I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord." Psalm 122:1

Blessed Jesus, at Thy Word



Commemoration: Thomas Gallaudet and Henry Winter Syle
O loving God, whose will it is that everyone should come to you and be saved: We bless your Holy Name for your servants Thomas Gallaudet and Henry Winter Syle, whose labors with and for those who are deaf we commemorate today; and we pray that you will continually move your Church to respond in love to the needs of all people; through Jesus Christ, who opened the ears of the deaf, and who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 1, 2, 3

Lessons: Job 4:1, 5:1-11, 17-21, 26-27Acts 9:19-31; John 6:52-59

How few ministers do preach with all their might, or speak about everlasting joys and everlasting torments in such a manner as may make man believe that they are in good earnest! Alas, we speak so drowsily or gently, that sleepy sinners cannot hear. The blow falls so light that hard-hearted sinners cannot feel. The most of ministers will not so much as exert their voice, and stir up themselves to an earnest utterance. But if they do speak loud and earnestly, how few do answer it with weight and earnestness of matter! And yet without this, the voice does little good; the people will esteem it but mere bawling, when the matter doth not correspond. It would grieve one to the heart to hear what excellent doctrine some ministers have in hand, while yet they let it die in their hands for want of close and lively application. . . .

Though I move you not to constant loudness in your delivery (for that will make your fervency contemptible), yet see that you have a constant seriousness; and when the matter requireth it (as it should do, in the application at least), then lift up your voice, and spare not your spirits. Speak to your people as to men that must be awakened, either here or in hell. Look around upon them with the eye of faith, and with compassion, and think in what a state of joy or torment they must all be for ever; and then, me thinks, it will make you earnest, and melt your heart to a sense of their condition. Oh, speak not one cold or careless word about so great a business as heaven or hell.

I confess I must speak it by lamentable experience, that I publish to my flock the distempers of my own soul. When I let my heart go cold, my preaching is cold; . . . and so I can oft observe also in the best of my hearers that when I have grown cold in preaching, they have grown cold too; and the next prayers which I have heard from them have been too like my preaching. . . . O bretheren [sic], watch therefore over your own hearts; keep out lusts and passions, and worldly inclinations; keep up the life of faith and love, and zeal: be much at home, and much with God. . . . A minister should take some special pains with his heart, before he is to go to the congregation: if it be then cold, how is he likely to warm the hearts of his hearers?

Therefore, go then specially to God for life. . . .

Richard Baxter
Quoted in A Quest for Godliness by J.I. Packer

O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus