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Quotes by William Gouge


They therefore that ground what they preach upon the Scripture, and deliver nothing but what is agreeable to it, preach the word of God.


It is God’s word that does convert, quicken, comfort, and build up, or, on the other side, wound and beat down. What is the reason that there was so great an alteration made by the ministry of Christ and His disciples, by the apostles and others after them, indeed, by Luther, and other ministers of reformed churches? They did not preach traditions of elders like the scribes; nor men’s inventions like the Roman Catholics do. They preached the pure word of God. The more purely God’s word is preached, the more deeply it pierces and the more kindly it works.


The first [caveat] is concerning the matter which we hear, “Take heed what you hear,” (Mark 4:24). We must hear nothing with approval except what we know to be the word of God. We must, therefore, be well acquainted with the Scriptures ourselves, and by them test the things which we hear, whether they are the word of God or not, as the men of Berea did, Acts 17:11. The second caveat is concerning the manner of hearing, “Take heed how you hear,” (Luke 18:18). That which we know to be grounded upon the Scriptures we must receive, “not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God,” (1 Thess. 2:13). We must with reverence attend to it; we must in our hearts believe, and we must in our lives obey it.


Covetousness is styled “the lust of the eye,” (1 Jn. 2:16); that is, an inward inordinate desire arising from the sight of such and such a thing, (Josh. 7:21). Many things may be seen which are not desired, but if desired, and that inordinately, there is covetousness.


If upon the obtaining of the first desire, a man remain unsatisfied, and his desire be more and more enlarged, he hath a covetous heart.


Ministers are herein to imitate God, and, to their best endeavour, to instruct people in the mysteries of godliness, and to teach them what to believe and practice, and then to stir them up in act and deed, to do what they are instructed to do. Their labor otherwise is likely to be in vain. Neglect of this course is a main cause that men fall into as many errors as they do in these days


The more purely God’s Word is preached, the more deeply it pierces and the more kindly it works.