Friday, August 14, 2009

Negligent Hearing: A Thousand Lost Sermons

"Take heed how you hear. This is the warning of Christ to his disciples, after they hear the parable of of the seed (Luke 8:18)...When I consider how many labourers God has sent to his vineyard, and yet how little fruit it yields to the sower, I cannot impute it to lack of teaching, but to the lack of a kind of negligent hearing [so that] a thousand sermons have been lost and forgotten, as though they had never been preached at all. The devil ....labours all he can to keep us from hearing. To effect this, he keeps us at taverns, at plays, in our shops...He casts fancies into our minds, drowsiness into our heads, sounds into our ears, temptation before our eyes...He infects us with prejudice of the preacher... or takes us to dinner, or pastime, to remove our minds, that we should think no more of it."

-Henry Smith (1620–1668) "The Art of Hearing."