Robert Traill (By what Means may Ministers best win Souls), Works 1:247:
It was a sad observation of the fourth century, that it became a matter of learning and ingenuity to be a Christian. The meaning was, that too much weight was laid on notions and matter of opinion, and less regard had unto the soundness of the heart and holiness of the life. In the beginning of the Reformation from Popery, the worthies whom God raised up in several countries, did excellently in retrieving the simplicity of the gospel from the Popish mixtures. But that good work took a stand quickly, and is on the declining greatly. How little of Jesus Christ is there in some pulpits! It is seen, as to success, that whatever the law doth in alarming sinners, it is still the gospel-voice that is the key that opens the heart to Jesus Christ. Would ministers win souls? Let them have more of Jesus Christ in their dealing with men, and less of other things that never profit them that are exercised therein.
Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/the-gospel-voice-opens-the-heart-to-christ.91104/, Comment 1
Robert Traill (By what Means may Ministers best win Souls), Works 1:241-242:
Take heed unto thyself, that thou be a lively, thriving Christian. See that all thy religion run not in the channel of thy employment. It is found by experience, that as it fares with a minister in the frame of his heart and thriving of the work of God in his soul, so doth it fare with his ministry both in its vigour and effects. A carnal frame, a dead heart, and a loose walk, make cold and unprofitable preaching. And how common is it for ministers to neglect their own vineyard? When we read the word, we read it as ministers, to know what we should teach, rather than what we should learn as Christians. Unless there be great heed taken, it will be found that our ministry and labour therein may eat out the life of our Christianity.
https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/be-a-lively-thriving-christian.91098/, Comment 1
Thomas Hodges on ministers who refuse to fight against heresy:
“…alas, here is the sad root of this misery, that either the ministers are ignorant, and unable to maintain the truth, confute and stop the mouths of gainsayers; or they are wicked and scandalous, like Eli’s sons, whose profane and ungodly courses lose all repute to the truth, making the things of God, (by those who measure truth by the lives and carriages of them that maintain it), to be abandoned and abhorred. If neither of these, yet perhaps they are careless, negligent, and inadvertent, not heeding how truth thrives, or how error spreads, as if to them it were of very small or no concern. In point of benefit they are greedy dogs, zealous enough for their profit, looking after that from every quarter; but in point of duty they lack heart, the fire of zeal for God’s glory is not in them, therefore they love their ease, to sleep, slumber, and take their rest; by which they give not only an opportunity to the evil one to sow his tares, but to those tares to take root and prosper.”
 Isaiah 56:10.
 1 Samuel 2:13.
 Revelation 2:20.
 Isaiah 56:11.
 Revelation 3:15.
“The Growth and Spreading of Heresy, (54).”
Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/ministers-must-fight-against-the-growth-and-spreading-of-heresy.92328/, Comment 1
“Pastors simply appear unable to discern what expectations should be fulfilled in their ministries. This common root problem has often been referred to by others in terms of ‘preaching without soul,’ ‘hollow men with hollow ministries,’ or even ‘the lack of a divine center in the ministry.’ Younger men in the ministry today are more concerned about ‘success’ than godliness and faithfulness. Preaching requires sustained and tedious effort over many years in order to reap significant and measurable harvests; it often cannot be calculated or observed in its effect because the results occur in the realm of the spirit. Unless the pastors who preach are profoundly spiritual in their orientation, then preaching will continue to be devalued and will eventually be disposed of altogether. … [Modern ecclesiastical problems] simply challenge them to counteract these forces with a resurgence of biblical, reformed, Puritan and expository preaching.”
Michael F. Ross, Preaching for Revitalization: How to revitalize your church through your pulpit, pp 132-33.
Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/91511-A-resurgence-of-biblical-reformed-Puritan-and-expository-preaching, Comment 1
The Westminster Presbyterian:
“As forms of worship for the church of the New Testament, God has appointed prayer, reading of the Scriptures, preaching the Word, singing of Psalms, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and the Lord’s Day.”
Read more: http://www.westminsterconfession.org/identity/simplicity-in-worship.php
Our inability lies in our unwillingness: Ps. Iviii. 4, 5, “They are like to the deaf adder, that stops her ear, which will not hearken to the charmer, charming never so wisely.” Mat. xxiii. 37, “How often would I have gathered thy children together as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not?” Luke xix. 14, “His citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.” Now what more proper cure for all these evils than the word of God? Teaching is the proper means to cure ignorance, for men have a natural understanding. Warning of danger and mindfulness of duty is the proper means to cure slightness. And to remove their impotency (which lies in their obstinacy and willfulness), there is no such means as to beseech them with constant persuasions. The impotence is rather moral than natural. We do not use to reason men out of bare natural impotency, to bid a lame man walk, or a blind man see, or bid a dead man live; but to make men willing of the good which they rejected or neglected; in short, to inform the judgment, awaken the conscience, persuade the will: yet it is true the bare means will not do it without God’s concurrence, the evidence and demonstration of the Spirit; but it is an encouragement to use these means, because they are fitted to the end, and God would not appoint us means which should be altogether in vain.
~Thomas Manton, “Sermons Upon 1 Peter 1:23,” in, The Complete Works of Thomas Manton (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1873), 21:332. [Some spelling modernized; italics original; and underlining mine.]
Source: http://www.puritanboard.com/showthread.php/89079-illustrations-of-moral-inability-%28Man-WILL-not-come-rather-than-merely-CANNOT-come%29, Comment #1
Robert Lewis Dabney (1820-1898) on how the prohibition of female preachers is not a statement on women’s worth:
A second answer is seen to this plea in the nature of the apostle’s grounds for the law. Not one of them is personal, local, or temporary. Nor does he say that woman must not preach in public because he regards her as less pious, less zealous, less eloquent, less learned, less brave, or less intellectual, than man. In the advocates of woman’s right to this function there is a continual tendency to a confusion of thought, as though the apostle, when he says that woman must not do what man does, meant to disparage her sex. This is a sheer mistake. His reasoning will be searched in vain for any disparagement of the qualities and virtues of that sex; and we may at this place properly disclaim all such intention also. Woman is excluded from this masculine task of public preaching by Paul, not because she is inferior to man, but simply because her Maker has ordained for her another work which is incompatible with this. So he might have pronounced, as nature does, that she shall not sing bass, not because he thought the bass chords the more beautiful- perhaps he thought the pure alto of the feminine throat far the sweeter- but because her very constitution fits her for the latter part in the concert of human existence, and therefore unfits her for the other, the coarser and less melodious part…
Every true believer should regard the scriptural argument as first, as sufficient, and as conclusive by itself. But as the apostle said in one place, that his task was “to commend himself to every man’s conscience in God’s sight,” so it is proper to gather the teachings of sound human prudence and experience which support God’s wise law. The justification is not found in any disparagement of woman as man’s natural inferior, but in the primeval fact: “Male and female made he them.” In order to ground human society God saw it necessary to fashion for man’s mate, not his exact image, but his counterpart. Identity would have utterly marred their companionship, and would have been an equal curse to both. But out of this unlikeness in resemblance it must obviously follow that each is fitted for works and duties unsuitable for the other. And it is no more a degradation to the woman that the man can best do some things which she cannot do so well, than to the man that woman has her natural superiority in other things.
~The Public Preaching of Women
Read more: http://www.piney.com/WomenDabney.html
Thomas Doolittle, “How Shall We Eye Eternity?”:
“When we are to preach to people that must live forever in heaven or hell, with God or devils: and our very preaching is the means appointed by God to fit men for an everlasting state: when we stand and view some hundreds of persons before us, and think, ‘All these are going to eternity: now we see them, and they see us; but after they shall see us no more in our pulpits, nor we them in their pews… It may be, some of them are hearing their last sermon, making their last public prayers, keeping their last Sabbath; and before we come to preach again, might be gone into another world” ; if we had but a firm belief of eternity ourselves, and a real lively sense of the mortality of their bodies and our own…how pathetically [tenderly] should we plead with them, plentifully weep over them, fervently pray for them, that our words, or rather, the word of the eternal God, might have effectual operation in their hearts!”