Archive for the ‘Puritans’ Category

divers Nonconformists pitying the dying and distressed People, that had none to call the impenitent to Repentance, nor to help them to prepare for another World, resolved that no obedience to the Laws of any mortal Men whatsoever could justify them for neglecting of Men’s Souls and Bodies in such extremities

December 8, 2009

…divers Nonconformists pitying the dying and distressed People, that had none to call the impenitent to Repentance, nor to help them to prepare for another World, resolved that no obedience to the Laws of any mortal Men whatsoever could justify them for neglecting of Men’s Souls and Bodies in such extremities.

Richard Baxter, describing how those ministers ejected from their minsitries in 1662 returned to their flocks during the plague of 1665. The ministers who had taken up the vacant posts had abandoned their flocks to seek refuge from the plague.

Quoted in Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, p.246

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Oh! the thoughts of the hardship I thought my poor blind one might go under, would break my heart to pieces

December 8, 2009

But notwithstanding these helps, I found myself a man and compassed with infirmities; the parting with my wife and poor children, hath often been to me in this place, as the pulling the flesh from the bones, and that not only because I am somewhat too fond of these great mercies, but also because I should have often brought to my mind the many hardships, miseries, and wants that my poor family was like to meet with, should I be taken from them, especially my poor blind child, who lay nearer my heart than all besides: Oh! the thoughts of the hardship I thought my poor blind one might go under, would break my heart to pieces.

Poor child! thought I, what sorrow art thou like to have for thy portion in this world! Thou must be beaten, must beg, suffer hunger, cold, nakedness, and a thousand calamities, though I cannot now endure the wind should blow upon thee. But yet recalling myself, thought I, I must venture you all with God, though it goeth to the quick to leave you: Oh! I saw in this condition I was as a man who was pulling down his house upon the head of his wife and children; yet, thought I, I must do it, I must do it.

John Bunyan, on the consequences of refusing to conform and being sent to prison for the truth of Scripture, in Grace Abounding 327-328, quoted in Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, pp.188-9

Choose not that (calling) in which you may be most rich or honourable in the world: but that in which you may do most good

November 17, 2009

Choose not that (calling) in which you may be most rich or honourable in the world: but that in which you may do most good.

Richard Baxter

The Scripture sufficiency must be maintained, and nothing beyond it imposed on others; and if papists, or others, call to us for the standard and rule of our religion, it is the Bible that we must show them, rather than any confessions of churches, or writings of men

November 14, 2009

The Scripture sufficiency must be maintained, and nothing beyond it imposed on others; and if papists, or others, call to us for the standard and rule of our religion, it is the Bible that we must show them, rather than any confessions of churches, or writings of men.

Richard Baxter, Reformed Pastor, p.123

We must learn to distinguish between certainties and uncertainties, necessaries and unnecessaries, catholic verities and private opinions; and to lay the stress of the Church’s peace upon the former, not upon the latter

November 14, 2009

We must learn to distinguish between certainties and uncertainties, necessaries and unnecessaries, catholic verities and private opinions; and to lay the stress of the Church’s peace upon the former, not upon the latter. We must avoid the common confusion of speaking of those who make no difference between verbal and real errors, and hate that ‘madness formerly among theologians,’ who tear their brethren as heretics, before they understand them. And we must learn to see the true state of controversies, and reduce them to the very point where the difference lieth, and not make them seem greater than they are. Instead of quarrelling with our brethren, we must combine against the common adversaries; and all ministers must associate and hold communion, and correspondence, and constant meetings to these ends; and smaller differences of judgment are not to interrupt them.

Richard Baxter, Reformed Pastor, p.123

He who knoweth that he serveth a God that will never suffer any man to be a loser by him, need not fear what hazards he runs in his cause

October 14, 2009

He who knoweth that he serveth a God that will never suffer any man to be a loser by him, need not fear what hazards he runs in his cause: and he who knows that he seeks a prize, which, if obtained, will infinitely overbalance his cost, may boldly engage his whole estate on it, and sell all to purchase so rich a pearl.

Richard Baxter, Reformed Pastor, p.230

Sin dwelleth in us…and one degree prepareth the heart for another, and one sin inclineth the mind to more

October 4, 2009

Sin dwelleth in us…and one degree prepareth the heart for another, and one sin inclineth the mind to more. If one thief be in the house, he will let in the rest; because they have the same disposition and design. A spark is the beginning of a flame; and a small disease may cause a greater. A man who knows himself to be purblind*, should take heed to his feet. Alas! in our hearts, as well as in our hearers, there is an averseness to God, a strangeness to him, unreasonable and almost unruly passions! In us there are, at the best, the remnants of pride, unbelief, self-seeking, hypocrisy, and all the most hateful, deadly sins.

Richard Baxter, Reformed Pastor, p.73

* partly sighted

There is no rowing to paradise except upon the stream of repenting tears

September 23, 2009

There is no rowing to paradise except upon the stream of repenting tears.

Till sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet. Some bless themselves that they have a
stock of knowledge, but what is knowledge good for, without repentance? Learning and
a bad heart, is like a pretty face with a cancer in the breast! Knowledge without repentance
will be but a torch to light the way to hell.

Thomas Watson (more Watson gems)

I have known in my experience abominable murderers acquitted

September 21, 2009

…but, there are wicked and abominable laws. To hang a man for 6s. 8d., and I know not what ; to hang for a trifle, and acquit murder, is in the ministration of the law, through the ill-framing of it. I have known in my experience abominable murderers acquitted; and to see men lose their lives for petty matters this is a thing God will reckon for.

Oliver Cromwell

Under the Puritans capital punishment was removed except for murder and treason. This merciful reform of the harsh English law needs to be remembered by those who think of a puritan only as:

A person with a haunting fear that someone, somewhere is happy.

H. L. Mencken

If our words be not sharpened

September 19, 2009

it is no easy matter to speak so plainly, that the most ignorant may understand us; and so seriously that the deadest hearts may feel us; and so convincingly, that the contradicting cavillers* may be silenced. The weight of our matter condemneth coldness and sleepy dullness. We should see that we be well awakened ourselves, and our spirits in such a plight as may make us fit to awaken others. If our words be not sharpened, and pierce not as nails, they will hardly be felt by stony hearts. To speak slightly and coldly of heavenly things is nearly as bad as to say nothing of them at all.

Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, p. 117

* cavilla, Latin, ‘mockery’; cavil, a petty objection.

…he preacheth not heartily for his people, that prayeth not earnestly for them

ibid., p.122