Archive for the ‘Puritans’ Category

The Puritan hated bear-baiting

September 17, 2009

The Puritan hated bear-baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.

Thomas Macaulay

Does this tell us more about the Puritans or our prejudices against them?

Works of charity do most powerfully remove prejudice

September 16, 2009

Experience hath fully proved that works of charity do most powerfully remove prejudice, and open the heart to words of piety. If men see that you are addicted to do good, they will the more easily believe that you are good, and that it is good which you persuade them to. When they see that you love them, and seek their good, they will the more easily trust you.

Richard Baxter, Reformed Pastor, p.152

The charge of a pastor requireth personal dealing

September 13, 2009

I have found by experience, that some ignorant persons, who have been so long unprofitable hearers, have got more knowledge and remorse in half an hour’s close discourse, than they did from ten years’ public preaching. I know that preaching the gospel publicly is the most excellent means, because we speak to many at once. But it is usually far more effectual to preach it privately to a particular sinner…

If physicians should only read a public lecture on physic, their patients would not be much the better of them; nor would a lawyer secure your estate by reading a lecture on law. Now, the charge of a pastor requireth personal dealing, as well as any of these.

Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, Banner, p.186, 179

Cromwell’s Final Prayer

September 3, 2009

Lord, though I am a miserable and wretched creature, I am in covenant with Thee through grace. And I may, I will come to Thee for thy people. Thou hast made me, though very unworthy, a mean instrument to do them some good, and Thee service; and many of them have set too high a value upon me, though others wish and would be glad of my death; Lord, however Thou do dispose of me, continue and go on to do good for them. Pardon Thy foolish people! Forgive their sins, and do not forsake them, but love and bless them. Give them consistency of judgment, one heart, and mutual love; and go on to deliver them, and with the work of reformation; and make the name of Christ glorious in the world. Teach those who look too much on Thy instruments, to depend more upon Thyself. Pardon such as desire to trample upon the dust of a poor worm; for they are Thy people too. And pardon the folly of this short prayer. And give me rest for Jesus Christ’s sake, to whom, with Thee and Thy Holy Spirit, be all honour and glory, now and for ever! Amen.

Oliver Cromwell

An Unconverted Minister

August 19, 2009

A graceless, inexperienced preacher is one of the most unhappy creatures upon earth and yet he is ordinarily very insensible of his unhappiness; for he hath so many counters that seem like the gold of saving grace, and so many splendid stones that resemble Christian jewels, that he is seldom troubled with the thoughts of his poverty; but thinks he is ‘rich, and increased in goods, and stands in need of nothing, when he is poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked.’ He is acquainted with the Holy Scriptures, he is exercised in holy duties, he liveth not in open disgraceful sin, he serveth at God’s altar, he reproveth other men’s faults, and preacheth up holiness both of heart and life; and how can this man choose but be holy? Oh what aggravated misery is this, to perish in the midst of plenty! – to famish with the bread of life in our hands, while we offer it to others, and urge it on them! That those ordinances of God should be the occasion of our delusion, which are instituted to be the means of our conviction and salvation! and that while we hold the looking-glass of the gospel to others, to show them the face and aspect of their souls, we should either look on the back part of it ourselves, where we can see nothing, or turn it aside, that it may misrepresent us to ourselves! If such a wretched man would take my counsel, he would make a stand, and call his heart and life to an account, and fall a preaching a while to himself, before he preach any more to others.

Richard Baxter, Reformed Pastor, pp.54-55

Education: We study creation to find the Creator

August 5, 2009
Your study of physics and other sciences, is
not worth a rush, if it be not God by them that you seek
after. To see and admire, to reverence and adore, to love
and delight in God appearing to us in his works, and pur-
posely to peruse them for the knowledge of God, this is the
true and only philosophy, and the contrary is mere foolery,
and is called so again and again by God himself. This is
the sanctification of your studies, when they are devoted to
God, and when he is the life of them all, and they all intend
him as their end, and principal object. 

Therefore I shall presume to tell you by the way, that it
is a grand error, and of dangerous consequence in the Chris-
tian Academies. (Pardon the censure from one so unfit for
it, seeing the necessity of the case commandeth it,) that they
study the creature before the Redeemer, and set themselves
to physics, and metaphysics, and mathematics, before they
set themselves to Theology : when as, no man that hath not
the vitals of Theology is capable of going beyond a fool in
philosophy ; and all that such do is but doting about ques-
tions, and opposition of science, falsely so called. And as
by affecting a separated creature-knowledge Adam fell from

Richard Baxter, Reformed Pastor, 1830, p.219

Evangelistic zeal – the perspective of eternity

July 31, 2009

‘O sirs, surely if you had all conversed with neighbour Death as oft as l have done, and as often received the sentence in yourselves, you would have an unquiet conscience, if not a reformed life, as to your ministerial diligence and fidelity: and you would have something within you that would frequently ask you such questions as these:

“Is this all thy compassion for lost sinners? Wilt thou do no more to seek and to save them? . . .

Shall they die and be in hell before thou wilt speak to them one serious word to prevent it? Shall they there curse thee for ever that thou didst no more in time to save them?”

Such cries of conscience are daily ringing in my ears, though, the Lord knows, I have too little obeyed them…. How can you choose, when you are laying a corpse in the grave, but think with yourselves, “Here lieth the body; but where is the soul? and what have I done for it, before it departed? It was part of my charge; what account can I give of it?” O sirs, is it a small matter to you to answer such questions as these? It may seem so now, but the hour is coming when it will not seem. ‘

— the cries of the vicar of Kidderminster, Richard Baxter, to his ministerial brethren.From the Reformed Pastor, Banner, p.194

if by faith we did indeed look upon them as within a step of hell, it would more effectually untie our tongues, than Croesus’ danger, as they tell us, did his son’s. He that will let a sinner go down to hell for want of speaking to him, doth set less by souls than did the Redeemer of souls; and less by his neighbor, than common charity will allow him to do by his greatest enemy. O, therefore, brethren, whomsoever you neglect, neglect not the most miserable! Whatever you pass over, forget not poor souls that are under the condemnation and curse of the law, and who may look every hour for the infernal execution, if a speedy change do not prevent it. O call after the impenitent, and ply this great work of converting souls, whatever else you leave undone.

Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, Banner, p.95

Croesus, King of Lydia (6th C. BC) was about to be killed by a Persian soldier, when the horror of the sight loosened the tongue of Croesus’ dumb son, and he cried out, ‘Fellow, slay not Croesus.’ The power of speech thereafter remained with the youth.

(ibid note)

Books – spiritual help

July 30, 2009

Many a one may have a good book, even any day or hour of the week, that cannot at all have a good preacher.

Richard Baxter

Baxter on Preaching

June 28, 2009

I preached as never sure to preach again;

And as a dying man to dying men

Richard Baxter

Power of God’s Word

November 23, 2008

An ungodly Welsh clergyman, shopping at a fair in the eighteenth century, bought an article which happened to be wrapped in a page torn from an old Puritan folio. The reading of that one page led to his sound conversion. As Luther said, `Satan hates the use of pens,’ and never were pens more powerfully wielded in the cause of God than by the Puritan divines of the seventeenth century.