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PART III

DIRECTIONS FOR THIS DUTY

It is so great a work which we have before us, that it is a thousand pities it should be destroyed in the birth, and perish in our hands. And though I know that we have a knotty generation to deal with, and that it is past the power of any of us to change a carnal heart without the effectual operation of the Holy Ghost; yet it is so usual with God to work by means, and to bless the right endeavors of his servants, that I cannot fear but great things will be accomplished, and a wonderful blow will be given to the kingdom of darkness by this work, if it do not miscarry through the fault of the ministers themselves. The main danger arises from the want either of diligence, or of skill. Of the former, I have spoken much already. As to the latter, I am so conscious of my own unskilfulness, that I am far from imagining that I am fit to give directions to any but the younger and more inexperienced of the ministry; and, therefore, I expect so much justice in your interpretation of what I say, as that you will suppose me now to speak to none but such. But yet something I shall say, and not pass over this part in silence, because the number of such is so great; and I am apprehensive that the welfare of the Church and nation doth so much depend on the right management of this work.

The points as to which you need to be solicitous, are these two:

1. To bring your people to submit to this course of private catechizing or instruction; for, if they will not come to you, or allow you to come to them, what good can they receive?

2. To do the work in such a way as will most tend to the success of it.

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