TREATISE ON PREACHING
THE EFFECTS OF PREACHING
Let us remark on this point that preaching in certain cases produces no fruit, and that accidentally it may even happen that it produces bad fruit. Sometimes it produces what is not bad in itself, yet is not entirely good and can be corrupted, whereas in other cases it produces excellent results.
Therefore, firstly, we shall note why preaching remains unfruitful; secondly, what are the evil fruits that it produces; thirdly, what are those fruits which are not entirely good; fourthly, what are those which are perfectly good; fifthly, how preaching must be heard in order that it be fruitful; sixthly, how these instructions should be put in practice.
XXIV. Causes of Sterility
One sees from time to time that there are sermons which, despite their number, produce no fruit; this is not astonishing since it sometimes happened even in the preaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ, as He said to St, John: “My word takes no hold among you” (John 8:37). The gloss on this subject teaches that the word is a hook and that it fails in its objective when it does not take from the heart of the auditors lust, murder, or any other sin, just as the hook is useless when it fails to take any fish from the water. But this fruitlessness sometimes occurs because of the hearers, for there are among them some who resemble the land which remains without any fruit although it is cultivated sufficiently. “When thou shalt till it,” said the Lord to Cain, “it shall not yield to thee its fruit” (Gen. 4:12).
At other times it will be the fault of the preacher, for a skillful farmer, by his work, will make a not too fertile land productive; while one who lacks the required knowledge fails to produce even from fertile land. So it may happen that the fruit of preaching dies in the heart of the listener, because the preacher is not solicitous. “I passed by the field of the slothful man,” the Book of Proverbs tells us, “and behold it was all filled with nettles” (Prov. 24:30,31) – the result of his sloth.
Sometimes it will be the nature of the sermon which renders it inefficacious; for some preachers in their discourses make use of authorities, or figures, or examples, which are so inapposite and absurd that they are unable to produce any effect on souls, like a diseased seed which cannot produce good fruit. When Seneca says is apropos: “We do not ask for many orators, but we need those who are useful.”
At other times sterility is caused by an absence of divine grace; for the seed cast upon the ground does not fructify without the rain and dew; in like manner, preaching does not profit those who hear it without the grace of the Holy Spirit. “If the Holy Spirit,” says St. Gregory, “does not help the listener, the sermon of the preacher is unavailing: and later on he repeats again: “Man is instructed by the word, when the soul is penetrated by the unction of the Holy Spirit.”
It may also happen that failure is the result of the snares of the enemy; for when the birds devour the train that has been sown, there is no fruit; likewise when the devil takes away the seed sown by the word, the effect is destroyed. Here we can see realized the words of the Master: “Those are they who have heard; then the devil comes, and takes away the word from their heart, that they may not believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12).
Thus, when preaching is unfruitful, it is because of the hearer, or the preacher, or because of the quality of the sermon preached, or the absence of grace, or the malice of the enemy.
But under another aspect we must note ten reasons which often hinder success. The first his hardness of heart, for there are some who have hearts “as hard as stone” (Job 41:15), and preaching does not produce in them any more fruit than the seed fallen upon a rock. This is why it is written in the Psalms: “Today if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts” (Ps. 94:8). The second reason is a foolishness of mind, for a fool who does not comprehend what is told him cannot draw any profit from it, having become like the ground where the seed does not take root. It is said in Ecclesiasticus: “He speaketh with one that is asleep, who uttereth wisdom to a fool” (Ecclus. 22:9), he will not comprehend any more than any one who is deep in sleep. The third is excessive malice, like a multitude of brambles which prevent a field from yielding fruit as long is it is not cleared of them. “Casting aside,” says St. James, “abundance of malice, with meekness receive ingrafted word” (Jas. 1:21), as if to say: the word will be of no profit unless malice first of all be excluded from your hearts. The fourth is lack of opportunity, for thus says Ecclesiastes: “There is a time and opportunity for every business” (Eccles. 8:6), and one must bear this in mind for preaching to be profitable; for it is useless to sow in such and such a season. Ecclesiasticus says: “A parable coming out of a fool’s mouth shall be rejected: for he doth not speak it in due season” (Ecclus. 20:22). The fifth obstacle to success in preaching is what is known as animality, for if there are certain soils which are capable of raising barley, rye, and the common grains, but are unable to bear good wheat, so are their sensual men unfit to produce the spiritual fruits of preaching. “The sensual man,” says St. Paul, “does not perceive the things that are of the Spirit of God, for it is foolishness to him” (I Cor. 2:14); and if he does not perceive them how can he profit by them? The sixth is forgetfulness, for a forgetful man is lake a broken vase which does not keep in the water. “the heart of a fool,” says Ecclesiasticus, “is like a broken vessel; and no wisdom at all shall it hold” (Ecclus. 21:17). And if it does not retain it, how will it draw any profit from it? The seventh is distaste for the divine word: St. GregorySt. Gregory, says: “The nourishment of the soul is the word of God, but if one is not careful to keep it in the memory, it will belike food that the stomach vomits forth. And when one is not able to retain nourishment, his life is despaired of.” The eighth is secular business. “These are they,” says the Lord, "who are choked by the cares of life and their fruit does not ripen” (Luke 8:14). The ninth is disobedience in regard to the word of God. Men do not listen, says St. Augustine, with the spirit of obedience, to the instructions of those who are the first to transgress them, and so they condemn both the word of God and those who preach it. The tenth obstacle to the success of preaching is the bad disposition of those to whom God is a stranger, and there are very many like this. “My sheep,” says St. John, “hear my voice, and follow me,” but he had said previously, “a stranger they will not follow because they do not know the voice of strangers” (John 10:27, 5).
XXV. Causes Which Render Preaching Injurious
On this subject we must remember that there are many who hear the word of God, but do not do it. “My people,” said the Lord to Ezechiel: “Sit before thee and hear thy words and do them not “ (Ezech. 33:31). And thus, because of their disobedience, the fruit offered in preaching only does them harm.
In some cases they do not completely believe what is told them of future punishments, rewards, and other such-like truths. “They believed not,” said the Psalmist, “his word and they murmured in their tents” (Ps. 105:24,25). Such are those who say: “How can this or that be true?” And thus it is that with them preaching results in the vice of incredulity.
At other times what is preached displeases them: “The luxurious man,” says Ecclesiasticus, “hath heard it” (the word) “and it shall displease him” (Ecclus. 21:18). And among them arises an aversion to good.
Sometimes they scorn what is taught them. “They despised his words” (II Par. 26:16), says Paralipomenon, and likewise one reads in the Book of Proverbs: “Fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov. 1:7). Consequently, preaching only produces in these men a scorn for the mysteries of God.
In some cases they go so far as to ridicule the truths that are proposed to them, like those of whom it is written: “They mocked the messengers of God and misused the prophets” (II Par. 36:16). And so for them all that results from preaching is a derision for the servants of God.
In other cases they hate the preacher because he opposes the unruly will of men. “I have hated Micheas son of Jemla,” said Achab, “because he has prophesied not good but evil” (II Kings 22:8). For these people preaching is only the source of a hatred for those whom they ought to love.
There are men who not only hate the preachers but cruelly persecute them, as seen in the case of the Jews with regard to the Apostles: “Behold,” said the Lord to them, “I send you prophets; and some of them you will put to death, and some you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from town to town” (Matt. 23:34). These men are the weeds that the devil has sown among the good grain, and which will be cast into the flames at the end of time. “Lord,” the Apostles will say to the Divine Master concerning these, “didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? How then does it have weeds?” and He will answer them: “An enemy has done this”; then He will add: “Gather up first the weeds, and bind them in bundles to burn” (Matt. 13:27,28,30). These men are also figured by the thorns and thistles of uncultivated soil, of which it is written: “For an earth that drinks in the rain . . . but that which brings forth thorns and thistles is worthless, and is nigh unto a curse, and its end is to be burnt!” (Heb. 6:7,8).
We also find hem symbolized in the vine carefully cultivated by the master, who expects a vine full of sweetness, but receives only bitterness. To them may be applied the words of Deuteronomy: “Their grapes are grapes of gall, and their clusters most bitter, their wine is the gall of dragons, and the venom of asps which is incurable.” Let us also not how terrible is the punishment: “Are not these things,” says the Lord, stored up with me, and sealed up in my treasures? Revenge is mine, and I will repay them in due time” (Deut. 32:32,34,35). For these the only fruit that preaching brings is damnation and eternal fire.
XXVI. Causes Which Spoil the Good That Preaching Produces
It may sometimes happen that preaching produces certain fruits good enough in themselves, but in spite of this, do not have a good effect. We note, first of all, the understanding of truth. “The declaration of thy words,” says the Psalmist, “giveth light: and giveth understanding to little ones” (Ps. 118:130); but what good is understanding to those who do not bear good fruits? St. James answers: “Therefore, he who knows how to do good, and does not do it, commits a sin” (Jas. 4:17).
Next, let us note the pleasure found in preaching; for there are some who listen eagerly to preaching, as one listens to harmonious music. “And thou are to them,” says Ezechiel, “as a musical song which is sung with a sweet and agreeable voice” (Ezech. 33:32). But how many of these merit the reproach of the Gospel of not being moved by beautiful words? “We have piped to you,” it is written, “and you have not danced” (Matt. 11:17); for the one should follow the other. The Psalmist also said: “Rejoice in the Lord and exult” (Ps. 31:11); in other words, “rejoice outwardly while performing the works of the just.”
We must also consider emotion. Preaching moves some to contrition, like those of whom it is written: “Now on hearing this they are pierced to the heart” (Acts 2:37). Men become contrite because of fear, as Felix who “became alarmed” (Acts 24:25) upon hearing St. Paul; or because of some good resolution, as the Athenians who said to the Apostle: “We will hear thee again on this matter” (Acts 17:32); or because of some other pious affection, as we find in the Book of Psalms, where the author says to God: “Thy lightnings enlightened the world: the earth shook and trembled” (Ps. 76:19). By lightnings is understood preachers. But all this is of little importance to some people for as soon as the sermon is ended their ardor departs, as a boiling kettle cools when it is taken off the fire. This type of emotion is not sufficient for salvation. “The Lord in not in the earthquake” (III Kings 19:11), says the book of Kings. And it is to be noted that these three effects of preaching (understanding, pleasure, and emotion) correspond to three faculties of our heart.
Let us note also the judgment of those – and they are numerous – who keenly appreciate sermons and who speak in this manner: “The sermon was well delivered, or its delivery was poor, it was too long, or it was too short, it was too subtle, or it was trite,” and like expressions. “Doth not the ear,” says Job, “discern words?” (Job 12:11.) But of what value are words? Are they not so much straw? “Those, then, who get only words from a sermon resemble a field in which is found only straw. But it is said in Jeremias: “What hath the chaff to do with the wheat?” (Jer. 23:28).
The next example of unproductive fruit are the eulogies or admiration given to preachers, like that of “the woman who hearing Jesus speak to the crowd lifted up her voice and said to Him: ‘Blessed is the womb that bore thee and the breasts that nursed thee’” (Luke 11:27). But to show that this admiration was of no avail if His teaching was not followed, Our Lord replied: “Rather, blessed are they who hear the words of God and keep it” (Luke 11:28).
Let us not also the knowledge required to preach. It is this that some seek in sermons; they wish to learn so that, in turn, they may preach to others; but this is not very useful to them, for one does not preach for his own benefit. “Thou therefore who teachest another,” said St. Paul, “but you do not teach yourselves” (Rom. 2:21). These last three fruits consist only in words, which have little value: “The kingdom of God is not in words, but in power” (I Cor. 4:20).
So, too, we note the making of good resolutions; for if the word of God is called a seed, it is because it has the power to germinate good resolutions. But there are only too many who conceive but do not give birth; their conception will be of little avail, and it is of them that it is written: “The children are come to the birth; and the woman on travail hath not strength” (IV Kings 19:3).
We should note as one of the benefits of preaching, the request for advice; to have made the audience see this is to contribute to their salvation. This is was that the Jews “were pierced to the heart at the words of St. Peter, and said to him and the other Apostles: ‘Brethren, what shall we do?’” (Acts 2:37.) But there are many who seek advice but do not follow it; and so the advice is of little use to them, as it is not much good to an invalid to have a doctor’s prescription if it is not filled out and used. This is what the Philosopher remarked, and what also the Book of Proverbs says: “Then shall they call upon me, and I will not hear,” and the reason is added: “Nor consented (they) to my counsel” (Prov. 1:28, 30)
Finally, we note an endeavor to do good; but there are some who do not persevere in what they have begun. “And these,” according to St. Luke, “believe for a while and in the time of temptation fall away” (Luke 8:13). They will not attain salvation which is reserved only for those who persevere.
These last three abortive fruits have been about good conceived, advised, begun, but not persevered in.
XXVII. The Good Results of Preaching
Among the results of preaching there are ten which are entirely perfect.
The first is the conversion of infidels to the faith. A memorable example of this is the preaching of the Apostles and disciples which converted the whole world. The Acts tell us: “But some of them were Cyprians and Cyreneans, who on reaching Antioch began to speak to the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. (Acts 11:20).
The second is the repentance of sinners. Thus St. Luke says, “The men of Nineve repented at the preaching of Jonas” (Luke 11:32).
The third is the humiliations willingly suffered by those who were once very worldly. Many, after hearing the word of God, have given up luxury to lead a humble life. Thus it was that “when Achab had heard these words” (of the prophet Elias) “he rent his garments, and put haircloth upon his flesh, and fasted and slept in sackcloth, and walked with his head cast down” (III Kings 21:27).
The fourth is the confession of sins; for the word of the preacher has caused many to confess what they never dared to make known. When St. John the Baptist preached, “there went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan, confessing their sins” (Matt. 3:5-6).
The fifth good effect of preaching is the reception of the Holy Spirit who, during sermons, communicates Himself to a large number. “While Peter was still speaking these words,” says the Acts, “the Holy Spirit came upon all who were listening to his message” (Acts 10:44).
The sixth is the sanctification of sinners, for the power of sanctification lies in the word of God; this is why Jesus Christ says this prayer: “Sanctify them in the truth. Thy word is truth” (John 17:17), and again: “You are already clean because of the word that I have spoken to you” (John 15:3).
The eighth is the deliverance of those who were enslaved by Satan. “Out of his teeth I took away the prey” (Job 29:17); the prey signifies the victim of the devil snatched away by preaching.
The ninth is the joy of the angels, who delight on knowing how preaching spreads the glory of Jesus Christ through the world. This is why the spouse of the Canticle, who is none other than Jesus Christ, said: “Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the friends hearken; make me hear thy voice” (Cant. 8:13). According to the gloss these friends are the angels; and the proof that they delight in preaching is the attention with which they hearken to it.
The tenth is the rout of the army of the demons, for preaching has deprived the devil of a great number of souls, as one may read in the Book of Judges: “And the three hundred men (of Gedeon) nevertheless persisted sounding the trumpets. And the Lord sent the sword into all the camp (of the Madians), and they killed one another” (Judges 7:22). This has been interpreted as the work of preachers as they preach the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity.
XXVIII. Why we Should Listen to Preaching
This section falls under two questions: the first, why is it necessary to listen willingly to preaching? the second, how should we listen to it?
The dignity of the preacher should, first of all, inspire a desire to hear the word of God. For we prefer to listen to one who has authority or wisdom or such qualities. But the preacher speaks not as a man or as one concerned with profane sciences, but as inspired by God. Our Lord said of preachers: “He who hears you, hears me” (Luke 10:16). They are as it were His mouth and the words which they speak come from him; and this is why the prophets repeated so often at the end of their discourse: “Thus speaks the Lord,” in other words: “Be attentive for these are not our words, but the words of God which we speak to you.”
The matter contained in the word of God should also claim our attention; for the subject of the preacher is not at all mediocre or despicable, but of great importance, equal to any subject which man willingly gives his full attention to; this is why the Book of Proverbs says: “Hear, for I will speak of great things” (Prov. 8:6). The utility of the word should also merit our attention. In truth, words taken from human law are useful for the defense of temporal goods, those taken from medicine for the conservation of bodily health, those from philosophy for the acquisition of sciences; but the words of preaching are for the good of souls. If we willingly receive advice which contributes to our bodily health, how much more ought we to pursue what has for its object the salvation of the soul? This led St. James to say: “With meekness receive the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (Jas. 1:21).
Another reason is our natural instinct. The lamb and small chicken run at the sound of their mother’s call, as do many other animals. Man should also do the same at the sound of the voice of his Creator. “He who is of God hears the words of God” (John 6:47). Another reason is found in the frequency of sacred exhortations which urge us to listen to the Lord. How often do we find in Solomon, in David, in the prophets, and in all the sacred books the words: “Hear! Hear!” In regard to this St. James admitted no excuse. “Let every man,” he says, “be swift to hear” (Jas. 1:19).
Another reason is the example of the primitive Church, which followed John the Baptist and Jesus even into the desert, as is related in the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. John.
Another reason is the particular grace concealed in certain sermons. It is the Lord, says the Psalmist, “who declareth his word to Jacob,” and he adds: “He hath not done in like manner to every nation” (Ps. 147:19). Woe to the one who repulses such a grace; for by so doing he deprives himself of salvation. “Since you reject it,” (the word of God) said Paul and Barnabas to the Jews at Antioch, (you) “judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life” (Acts 13:46).
A final reason for listening is the recompense which the teacher distributes to his listeners. In other schools it is the students who pay the master; there, on the contrary, he gives to them, and what he gives is priceless; for who can say how great or how numerous are the gifts that God bestows on the hearers of His word? Thus eternal Wisdom has said: “Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my doors” (Prov. 8:34).
Since so many reasons urge us to listen to the word of God, it is with cause that Jeremias cried out thrice: “O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord” (Jer. 22:29).
About the manner of hearing the word, we note first of all that some become sad when they are told to go to a sermon, whereas they ought to cry out with the Psalmist: “I will rejoice at thy words,” my God, “as one that hath found great spoil” (Ps. 118:162).
Sometimes they come reluctantly, different from that “Very great crowd” which hastened “from every town” to hear our Lord, and from the people which “cam to him early in the morning in the temple, to hear him” (Luke 21:38).
Others leave before the sermon is finished, like those of whom it is written in the prophecy of Zacharias: “but they would not hearken: and they turned away the shoulder to depart” (Zasch. 7:11). By this act they deprive themselves not only of indulgences and prayers which follow the sermon, but also of the best part of the sermon which the preacher holds until the end; for the fruits of preaching depend more on the conclusion than on the beginning, as is the case in every good word. Ecclesiastes says: “Better is the end of a speech than the beginning” (Eccles. 7:9).
Some never stop moving, sometimes they stand, then they sit, or they leave and then re-enter. Showing no desire to listen they do not take the trouble to find a place in order to hear and understand better the words of the preacher. It is against these that St. Augustine cries out, saying: “He who negligently listens to the word of God is no less culpable, than he who through negligence allows the Sacred Host containing the body of Our Lord Jesus Christ to fall to the ground.” Others will not remain quiet although silence is requested of the congregation. “The Levites,” says Nehemias, “made silence among the people to hear the law” (II Esd. 8:7); likewise in the Acts of the Apostles we read that “Paul arose, and motioning with his hand for silence, said ‘Israelites and you who fear God, hearken’” (Acts 13:16).
There are others who disturb the congregation by walking up or down through the people, or moving about, or annoy the audience in some manner. They would do well to obey Ecclesiasticus who said of them: “Be meek to hear the word of God” (Ecclus. 5:13). For as an animal naturally peaceful does not disturb another by biting it, or striking it or any other such thing, so the listener ought to conduct himself in such a manner that everyone can listen to the sermon in peace.
There are some who are completely occupied in prayer, or in reading, or in something else during the sermon, and consequently pay no attention to what is said. They ought to listen carefully to the word of God, as is recommended in the Book of Psalms: “Attend, O my people, to my Law” (Ps. 77:1); and as is shown in the Acts: “And the crowds with one accord gave heed to what was said by Philip” (Acts 8:6).
Others listen with boredom when they should be greedy and desirous for the word of God, as is written of the nobles of Beroea”: “They received the word with great eagerness” (Acts 127:11).
The reason given for boredom is that the sermon is too long. We should recall the example of the Jews, to whom “Esdras read it (the law of Moses) from the morning until midday, before the men, and the women, and all those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book” (II Esd. 8:3), yet no one was discouraged by this long discourse! This example shows us how much attention we should pay to preaching.
Certain people quickly become impatient when they hear something that displeases them; but it is then that patience is necessary. This is why St. Paul said to Agrippa: “I beg thee therefore to listen to me with patience” (Acts 26:3).
Others while listening to the word of God show no sign of devotion. How different from Mary “who also seated herself at the Lords feet and listened to his word” (Luke 10:39). Thus, she realized what St. Bernard said: “The word of God should be heard devoutly.”
To sum up, those who wish to hear the word of God properly would receive it with joy, come to it with eagerness, stay to the end of the sermon, and listen with avidity, patience and piety.
XXIX. How it Should be Put Into Practice
Let us remark first of all that those who come to hear the word of God and do not put it into practice, draw down upon themselves a great many evils.
The first is that they change a good into an evil, for the knowledge of what is right, a thing excellent in itself, becomes evil for them. St. Peter says: “For it were better for them not to have known the way of justice, than having known it, to turn back from that holy commandment delivered to them” (II Peter 2:21).
There is also an increase in the seriousness of the sin for a man who knows what he ought to do yet does not do it; he is more to blame than the man who does not know nor do what he ought. St. Luke says: “But that servant who know his master’s will, and did not make ready for him and did not act according to his will, will be beaten with many stripes” (Luke 12:47).
Another evil incurred is a loathsomeness which falls on the sinner who knows the hatefulness of his sin yet does not try to purify himself of his filth. For this sinner is more detestable than the one who does not see his own sins. St. James says: “For if anyone is a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his natural face in a mirror; for he looks at himself and goes away, and presently he forgets what kind of a man he is” (Jas. 1:23).
Yet another evil falling on those who hear the word of God but fail to do it is the foolishness of all that they do for the Lord said: “Everyone who hears these my words and does not act upon them, shall be likened to a foolish man who builds his house on sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against the house, and it fell, and was utterly ruined” (Matt. 7:26,27).
An even greater evil is the fact that there is cause to despair for the return of the soul to life, as one despairs for the life of a man who stomach cannot retain food. The Psalmist said: “Their soul abhorred all manner of meat: and they drew nigh even to the gates of death” (Ps. 106:18). For the word of God is the food of the soul and the life of him who cannot retain this nourishment is indeed without hope.
To be condemned by God is the most terrible evil of all. Jesus said: “And if anyone hear my words, and do not keep them, it is not I who judge him; the word that I have spoken will condemn him on the last day” (John 12:47,48), that is to say, that it will be the cause of his damnation. This is why He said on another occasion: “Come to terms with thy opponent quickly” (which is the word of God, when it is in contradiction to our conduct) “while thou art with him on the way; lest thy opponent deliver thee to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and thou be cast into prison” (Matt. 5:25).
We must now note the good assured to whoever does the word of God as soon as it is heard. First is the admission into the ranks of the disciples of Jesus Christ. It is not sufficient in order to be a disciple of such a Master, to have hung upon His word, as it suffices in the case of other masters; but one must also practice what He teaches, as he has said: “If you abide in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed” (John 8:31). Furthermore, He bestows on us the favor of becoming His friends. “He who has my commandments,” known through preaching, “and keeps them, he it is who loves me” (John 14:21). Better still and more desirable, we become His brother. He said, “My brethren, are they who hear the word of God and act upon it” (Luke 8:21).
They who do the word of God receive the blessing of God. St. Paul said: “For the earth that drinks in the rain that often falls upon it, and produces vegetatian that is of use to those by whom it is tilled, receives a blessing from God” (Heb. 6:7). They place their salvation outside the realm of doubt for “it is not they who hear the Law that are just in the sight of God; but it is they who follow the Law that will be justified” (Rom. 2:13).
Finally, they will receive the blessing spoken by Jesus: “Blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep it” (Luke 3:23).
Conclusion. – Everything that has just been said shows that great evils befall those who hear the word of God without keeping it; whereas priceless blessings are assured to those who hear it and put it into practice. Everyone therefore ought to take all possible care to practice faithfully these instructions.
To Praise * to Bless * to Preach