by C. H. Spurgeon
From the July 1869 Sword and Trowel
HAT A MISTAKE to imagine that, by hearing first one preacher and then another, we can derive benefit to our souls! More is wanted than such hearing. A raven may fly from cage to cage, but it is not thereby changed into a dove. Go from room to room of the royal feast, and the sight of the tables will never stay thy hunger. Reader, the main thing is to have and hold the truth personally and inwardly; if this be not seen to thou wilt die in thy sins, though ten thousand voices should direct thee to the way of salvation. Pity indeed is it that the bulk of hearers are hearers only, and are no more likely to go to heaven than the seats they sit on in the assembly of the saints.
A neighbor near my study persists in practicing upon the flute. He bores my ears as with an auger, and renders it almost an impossibility to think. Up and down his scale he runs remorselessly, until even the calamity of temporary deafness would almost be welcome to me. Yet he teaches me that I must practice if I would be perfect; must exercise myself unto godliness if I would be skillful, must, in fact, make myself familiar with the word of God, with holy living, and saintly dying. Such practice moreover will be as charming as my neighbor's flute is intolerable.