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You that are ministers!

"Oh, if you would draw any to you, let it be by love. You that are ministers, and especially appointed to the work of drawing others to God, what should you do? Open the love of God to them, present the grace of the gospel to souls, labour to work upon their hearts by all the mercies of God; by the mercy of God to them, received by them, and bestowed upon them.

Have you to deal with stony hearts? the way is to lay them upon the soft pillow of the gospel and so you may break them... the word is compared to a hammer; yea, but we must labour to lay the hearts of people upon the pillow of love, upon the grace of God in the gospel, that is the way to subdue them. None are so bound to God as those who are bound to him by love: those that are bound to God by fear, unmixed with love, their bands will not hold... but those who are held by bands of love, are bound for ever unto God.

When men cast off the sweet of their sin by the sweet of the love of God, then they will never return to their sin again.

If the ice be but broken over-night by the husbandman, when he come the next day he finds it frozen up again; but let the sun dart on it his warm beams, and then it runs down in streams: so the breaking of the heart by the terrors of law, is but like the breaking of the ice with a pole by a husbandman to give the cattle drink; but when the love of God comes to the heart, then the corruptions of the heart dissolve, even as the ice dissolves when the warm beams of the sun rest upon it.

The way, therefore to gain the hearts of men, is by love. And we should the rather do it, because it is the great design of God in the gospel, to manifest his love to the children of men he has in it opened his heart, and the treasures of his love. What is the gospel, but the manifestation of the treasure of the love of God? those eternal loving-kindnesses of God towards mankind are all displayed in the gospel, who does not endeavour to open this heart-love of God to the children of men in Jesus Christ. Oh! it is a pleasant work to be a minister of the gospel in this respect, to be always searching into the treasures of love and to array them before souls to win them unto God."

Jeremiah Burroughs. From Observations 13-14 in An Exposition of the Prophecy of Hosea XI.4, p476-477


  1. Brilliant! He has a touch of Sibbes' flair for illustrating his point...

  2. Puritans did have a real gift for illustrations. I often stand in awe.

    You intrigued me with the bits you skipped in the second para. Looked it up and saw that he saw the preachers work as “to lay [the heart] upon a pillow, [that] you may presently break it with a hammer”. Not quite what I would say. Think it would be better to say we need our old heart breaking (killing) and a new soft heart giving (making alive), but glad he sees that you need both the hard and the comforting words. But anyway.

    Listened to Tim Keller preach Isaiah 6 on the way to work this morning. Amazing sermon on a great passage about how the appearance of God left Isaiah broken (undone), but then he was healed and lifted up, and then sent out in mission. I am sure that is the way of all our meetings with God. He kills our old self, he brings us back to a new life, and in that life we go out in love toward the world in his mission. The preacher’s job, as Burroughs seems to understand, is to present God to us in such a way that all of that happens.

    Had great chat in evening service yesterday with some guys back from our church young people’s group weekend away. Speaking to them was really struck by the amazing privilege (or “pleasant work” in Burroughs terms) of sharing the Gospel.

    Sorry that was a bit of a ramble.

  3. Had to edit out some of what he said... it's that or post the whole book!

    Needs some talk of new hearts - though perhaps he's thinking of people already having new but hard hearts... not sure. Keller is something of an heir to these guys isn't he.


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