Saturday, March 12, 2011

Jeremiah Burroughs on Preaching and the Heart

Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs is in the Sibbesian camp:
"That which comes from the heart will most likely go to the heart, though I know god can take that which comes but from the lips and carry it to the heart when he pleases, yet ordinarily that which comes from the heart goes to the heart, therefore ministers when they come to speak the great things of the gospel should not seek so much for brave words, and convincing ways of man's wisdom but let them get their own hearts warmed with that grace of the gospel, and then they are most like to speak to the hearts of their auditors.... Otherwise they speak with the tongues and men and angels, yet become like the sounding of brass and the tinkling cymbal. This is an expression even of a Jesuit, it was then a great shame, that god's ministers should not labour to speak so as that they may speak to the hearts of people: you must be desirous of such kind of preaching as you find speaks to your hearts, not that comes merely to your ears: how many men love to have the word jungle in their ears, and in the mean time their hearts go away and not one word is spoken to them? But when you find a minister speak to your hearts, close with it, bless god for it, and count it a sad day when you go from a sermon and there is not one word spoken to your hearts in that sermon." JEREMIAH BURROUGHS ON HOSEA, P495.
I want to be a preacher whose "heart is warmed with that grace of the gospel." Burroughs also observes: "The goodness of God in the Gospel is so rich that the truth is because the hearts of men are so vile, and so ready to abuse it, we are almost afraid to preach it." 
Does my own preaching near scandalise me? Am I shocked that such good news can come to people such as me? Affect me! Move me! And what happens when the gospel comes to people? What does Christ do when he has us?
"Christ as soon has he is married to the soul takes it as it were by the hand and walks to the Galleries and there opens his heart to her. There is many a sweet tune that a gracious heart has with Christ in his Ordinances, where Christ opens even his whole soul to it... Here is the furit of our union with Christ. Oh that our hearts were inflamed with desire after further conjugal communion with him!"
Sourced from the google books edition of Burrough's Hosea Commentary. Anyone wanting to buy me a copy of the new edition feel free... looks great but a bit pricey! Really looking forward to preaching Hosea 2:14-20 soon - and hoping to spend a lot more time in that book in the coming months.

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