Copyright
Richard Baxter.

Select practical writings of Richard Baxter (Volume 2) online

. (page 1 of 66)
Online LibraryRichard BaxterSelect practical writings of Richard Baxter (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 66)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


-



S E L E C T



PRACTICAL WRITINGS



LIFE OF THE AUTHOR.



BY LEONARD BACON,

PASTOR OF THE FIRST CHURCH IN NEW HAVEN.



IN TWO VOLUMES.
VOLUME II.

H

*

SECOND EDITION, WITH ADDITIONS.



NEW HAVEN:
PUBLISHED BY DURRIE & PECK.

1835.



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1834,

BY DURRIE &, PECK,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Connecticut.






Printed by Hezekiah Howe & Co.



Stack
Annex



CONTENTS OF THE SECOND VOLUME.



DYING THOUGHTS. Upon Phil. i. 23.

[The reader of the " Dying Thoughts " may sometimes find himself perplexed, if not lost,
among the complicated divisions and subdivisions of the subject, divisions and sub-
divisions not always clearly indicated. Some attempt might have been made to mark
the progress of meditation and discussion in that work, and to point out the relations
of one part to another, and of the several parts to the whole, if the editor had deemed
it proper far him to use such liberty with the text of his author. If, however /the reader,
in studying that work, for it is a work to be studied, will occasionally advert to the
full syllabus exhibited in this Table of Contents, made out by Baxter himself, and not
by the editor,' he will find a clew to guide him easily through all its labyrinths.]

Page.
Preface, 12

Introduction, 13

DOCTRINE FIRST.

That the souls of believers, when departed hence, shall be with Christ,. ... 23

/. The necessity of believing this, proved, 23

//. Whether it be best believing it, without consideration of the difficulties

or proofs, 26

777. The certainty of it manifested, 28

I. From the immortality of the soul, which is proved,

1 . The soul is a substance, 28

2. It is a substance formally differenced from lower substance, by the vir-

tue of special vital activity, intellect, and free will, 30

3. It is not annihilated at death, 30

4. Nor destroyed by dissolution of parts, 31

5. Nor loseth its formal power or virtue, 31

6. Nor doth sleep or cease to act, 32

7. To cease to be individuate by union with any other common spirit, is

not to be feared, were it true, 35

But it is not like to be true, 40

II. The second proof : it is a natural notice, 41

III. From the duty of all men to seek a future happiness, 42

IV. From man's capacity of knowing God, etc. as differenced from brutes,. 43



4 CONTENTS.

Page.

V. From God's governing justice, 44

VI. From revelation supernatural, 45

VII. From God's answering prayers, 46

VIII. From our present communion with angels, 47

IX . From Satan's temptations, etc 48

X. Specially from the operations of God's Spirit on our souls, preparing them

for glory. (Faith excited, and objections answered in the application), 48

The proofs summed up in order, 59

Why this happiness is described by our " BEING WITH CHRIST," 60

What is included in our " being with Christ," GO

I. Presence with Christ's glorified body and soul, and Godhead, 60

II. United with him in each. Too near union not to be feared as destroying

individuation, 61

III. Communion with him in each, opened,. . . . ; G3

We must " DEPART," that we may be with Christ, 67

From what, 67

I. From this body and life ; yet it is far better so to do, 67

II. From all the fleshly pleasures of this life yet best, 71

III. From the more manly delights of study, books, friends, etc 73

Considered,

1. Of knowledge and books : the vanity, 73

2. Of sermons, 78

3. Of friends and converse, 78

4. Of God's word and worship, 80

5. Of Theology, 81

Of my own labors herein, 83

6. Notice of the affairs of the world, 87

7. From our service to the living, ; 89

The application to myself, 91

DOCTRINE SECOND.

To depart and be with Christ is far better ; or rather to be chosen, 94

I. Simply better, and properly, as it is the fulfilling of God's will, 95

II. Analogically better, as it tendeth to the perfection of the universe and

the church, 96

III. Better to myself, as to my own felicity, 96

Proved,

/. By general reasons from the efficients and means, 97

//. The final reasons, 100



CONTENTS. 5

Page.

///. The constitutive reasons from the state of my intellect, as to the intui-
tive manner of knowledge, and as to the matter, 105

Both opened,

1. I shall know God better, 112

2. And God's works the universe, 113

3. And Je'sus Christ, 114

4. And the church triumphant, the heavenly Jerusalem, 115

5. And all God's word, for matter and method, 117

6. God's present works of providence, 117

7. The nature and worth of mercies, 118

8. And myself body and soul, 118

9. And my fellow creatures, 120

10. And what the evil was from which I was delivered, enemies, dangers,

sins, etc 120

IV. The constitutive reasons from the state of my will, 120

i. Negatively,

1. Freed from temptations of the flesh, world, and devil.

2. There will be nothing in it that is against God, my neighbor, or

myself, 121

ii. Positively,

1. It will be conformed to God's will. The benefits of this fruition a

fixed will. The object God ; to love him, and be beloved of him, is "
one end. He is a suitable, full, near object, 121

2. The next object God's glorious image in the perfection of the universe, 125

3. The church triumphant, 126

The will's reception in glory, 128

1. What it is to be loved of God, 128

Excitations, 130

2. How blessed to be under the love of Christ, 131

Excitations, desires, 131

3." Communion with angels and saints by reception, 136

More of the good of union, and communion, as distinct from singular

propriety, 137

V. The constitutive reasons from our heavenly practice, 140

Better works for us there than here.

Proved,
What they are in general : what particularly,

1 . Concordant praising God, 140

Excitations and petitions, 141

2. The blessed probably used for the good of men, and things below, 142






6 CONTENTS.

Page.

Their opinion rejected that assert the cessation of sense ; proof. Objec-
tions from brutes answered, 143

The concluding application, 144

APPENDIX.

A BREVIATE OF THE HELPS OF FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE FOR A DYING MAN.

I. The gospel evidence on 1 Tim. iii. 16. A breviate of the proof of super-

natural revelation, and the truth of Christianity, 181

II. The difference between the world which I am leaving, and the world

which I am going to ; with reasons of my comfortable hope, 195

III. More reasons and helps of my faith and hope 199

IV. A discourse of the sensible manifestation of the kingdom of Christ, at
his transfiguration, which is expounded and applied for the help of faith
and patience, 205

V. Short meditations on Romans v. 1 5, of the shedding abroad God's love

in the heart, that we may rejoice in hope of the glory of God, 242

TRUE CHRISTIANITY ; or Christ's absolute dominion and man's neces-
sary self-resignation and subjection : in two assize sermons.
To the Right Honorable Serjeant Glyn, 259

I. THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION OF GoD-REDEEMER, AND THE NECESSITY OF

BEING DEVOTED AND LIVING TO HIM. 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20, 263

II. THE ABSOLUTS SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST; AND THE NECESSITY OF MAIt's

SUBJECTION, DEPENDENCE AND CHIEFEST LOVE TO HIM. Psalm ii.

1012 297

A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. Ezekiel xxxvi. 31, 325

RIGHT REJOICING : A SERMON. Luke x. 20 353

THE LIFE OF FAITH : A Sermon formerly preached before his Majesty,
and published by his command ; with another added for the fuller appli-
cation. Heb. xi. 1.

I. THE SERMON.

What Faith is, 389

The text opened, 390

The grounds of the certainty of Faith, briefly intimated. 391

Why God will have us live by Faith and not by sight, 395

Use 1. To inform us what a Christian or believer is ; described 397

Use 2. The reason why believers are more serious in matters of religion than

unbelievers are, 403



CONTENTS. 7

Page.
Use 3. Of examination, 404

The misery of unbelievers, 405

Marks of a true Faith, 406

Use 4. Exhortation to the serious exercise of Faith, 409

Some assisting suppositions, 410

How those will live, who thus believe, opened in certain questions,.. 415

Motives to live by a foreseeing Faith on things not seen, 419

The conclusion. 1. Exhorting to live by Faith. 2. And to promote this

life in others, 425

II. THE AD-DITIONS.

CHAP. I. The conviction and reproof of hypocrites who live contrary to the

Faith which they profess, 428

CHAP. II. A general exhortation to live as believers, ~. 434

CHAP. III. An exhortation to the particular duties of believers, 440

WHAT LIGHT MUST SHINE IN OUR WORKS : A SERMON. Matt.

v. 16, 455

THE FAREWELL SERMON OF RICHARD BAXTER; prepared to
have been preached to his hearers at Kidderminster, at his departure,
but forbidden 495

HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY : OR THE PUBLIC GOOD IS THE
CHRISTIAN'S LIFE. Galatians vi. 10. Directions and motives to
it : Intended for an auditory of London citizens ; and published for
them, for want of leave to preach them, 534

GOD'S GOODNESS VINDICATED, 577



MR. BAXTER'S



DYING THOUGHTS



PHIL1PPIANS I. 23.



WITH AN APPENDIX.






WRITTEN FOR HIS OWN USE IN THE LATTER TIMES OF HIS
CORPORAL PAINS AND WEAKNESS.



VOL. II.









THE exercise of three sorts of love, to God, to others, and to
myself, afford me a threefold satisfaction, conjunct to be willing to
depart.

I. I am sure my departure will be the fulfilling of that will which
is love itself, which I am bound, above all things, to love and
please, and which is the beginning, rule and end of all. Antonine
could hence fetch good thoughts of death.

II. The world dieth not with me when I die ; nor the church,
nor the praise and glory of God, which he will have in and from
this world unto the end ; and if I love others as myself, their lives
and comforts will now be to my thoughts, as if I were to live my-
self in them. God will be praised and honored by posterity, when
I am dead and gone. Were I to be annihilated, this would com-
fort me now, if I lived and died in perfect love.

III. But a better, glorious world is before me, into which I hope,
by death, to be translated, whither all these three sorts of love
should wrap up the desires of my ascending soul ; even the love of
myself, that I may be fully happy ; the love of the triumphant
church, Christ, angels, and glorified man, and the glory of all the
universe, which I shall see ; and above all, the love of the most
glorious God, infinite life, and light, and love, the ultimate, amiable
object of man's love ; in whom to be perfectly pleased and delight-
ed, and to whom to be perfectly pleasing forever, is the chief and
ultimate end of me, and of the highest, wisest, and best of creatures.
Amen.









THE PREFACE TO THE READER.






READER,

I HAVE no other use for a preface to this book, but to give
you a true excuse for its publication. I wrote it for myself, unre-
solved whether any one should ever see it, but at last inclined to
leave that to the will of my executors, to publish or suppress it
when I am dead, as they saw cause. But my person being seiz-
ed on, and my library, and all my goods distrained on by consta-
bles, and sold, and I constrained to relinquish my house, (for preach-
ing and being in London,) I knew not what to do with multitudes of
manuscripts that had long lain by me ; having no house to go to,
but a narrow hired lodging with strangers : wherefore I cast away
whole volumes, which I could not carry away, both controversies
and letters practical, and cases of conscience ; but having newly
lain divers weeks, night and day, in waking torments, nephritic
and colic, after other long pains and languor, I took this book with
me in my removal, for my own use in my further sickness. Three
weeks after, falling into another extreme fit, and expecting death,
where I had no friend with me to commit my papers to, merely
lest it should be lost, I thought best to give it to the printer. I
think it is so much of the work of all men's lives to prepare to die
with safety and comfort, that the same thoughts may be needful
for others that are so for me. If any mislike the title, as if it im-
ported that the author is dead, let him know that I die daily, and
that which quickly will be, almost is : it is suited to my own use :
they that it is unsuitable to, may pass it by. If those men's lives
were spent in serious, preparing thoughts of death, who are now
studying to destroy each other, and tear in pieces a distressed
land, they would prevent much dolorous repentance.

RICHARD BAXTER.






THE INTRODUCTION.



PHIL. L 23.

FOR I AM IN A STRAIT BETWIXT TWO, &C.

1 WRITE for myself, and therefore, supposing the sense of the
text, shall only observe what is useful to my heart and practice.

It was a happy state into which grace had brought this apostle,
who saw so much, not only tolerable, but greatly desirable, both
in living and dying. To live, to him, was Christ, that is, Christ's
interest or work. To die, would be gain, that is, his own interest
and reward. His strait was not whether it would be good to live,
or good to depart ; both were good ; but which was more desirable
was the doubt.

1 . Quest. But was there any doubt to be made between Christ's
interest and his own? Ans. No, if it had been a full and fixed
competition ; but oy Christ, or Christ's interest, he meaneth his
work for his church's interest in this world ; but he knew that
Christ also had an interest in his saints above, and that he could
raise up more to serve him here ; yet, because he was to judge by
what appeared, and he saw a defect of such on earth, this did turn
the scales in his choice ; and for the work of Christ and his
church's good, he more inclined to the delay of his reward, by
self-denial ; yet knowing that the delay would tend to its increase.
It is useful to me here to note,

That, even in this world, short of death, there is some good so
much to be regarded, as may justly prevail with believers to pre-
fer it before the present hastening of their reward.

I the rather note this, that no temptation carry me into that ex-
treme, of taking nothing but heaven to be worthy of our minding
or regard, and so to cast off the world in a sinful sort, on pretense
of mortification, and a heavenly mind and life.

As to the sense, the meaning is not that any thing on earth is
better than heaven, or simply, and in itself, to be preferred before
it. The end is better than the means as such, and perfection bet-
ter than imperfection.

But the present use of the means may be preferred sometimes
before the present possession of the end, and the use of means for

*fc '






14 BAXTCH'S DYCIG THIM. <IMTS.



a higher end may be preferred before the present possession of a
lower end, and every thing hath its season. Planting, and sowing,
and building, are not so good as reaping, and fruit-gathering, and
dwelling, but in their season, they must be first done.

2. Quest. But what is there so desirable in this life?

Answ. I. While it continueth, it is the fulfilling of the will of
God, who will have us here; and that is best which God willeth.

II. The life to come dependeth upon this, as the life of man in
the world upon his generation in the womb ; or as the reward upon
the work ; or the runner's or soldier's prize upon his race or fight-
ing ; or as the merchant's gain upon his voyage. Heaven is won
or lost on earth. The possession is there, but the preparation is
here. Christ will judge all men according to their works on earth.
"Well done, good and faithful servant," must go before "Enter
thou into the joy of thy Lord." " I have fought a good fight, I
have finished my course," goeth before " the crown of righteous-
ness which God, the righteous Judge, will give." All that ever
must be done for salvation by us, must here be done. It was on
earth that Christ himself wrought the work of our redemption, ful-
filled all righteousness, became our ransom, and paid the price of
our salvation ; and it is here that our part is to be done.

And the bestowing of the reward is God's work, who, we are
sure, will never fail. There is no place for the least suspicion or
fear of his misdoing, or failing, in any of his -undertaken work.
But the danger and fear is of our own miscarrying, lest we be not
found capable of receiving what God will certainly give to all that
are disposed receivers. To distrust God is heinous sin and folly ;
but to distrust ourselves we have great cause. So that if we will
make sure of heaven, it must be by giving all diligence to make
firm our title, our calling, and our election, here on earth. If we
fear hell, we must fear being prepared for it.

And it is great and difficult work that must be here done. It is
here that we must be cured of all damning sin ; that we must be
regenerate and new born ; that we must be pardoned and justified
by faith. It is here that we must be united to Christ, made wise
to salvation, renewed by his Spirit, and conformed to his likeness.
It is here that we must overcome all the temptations of the devil,
the world, and the flesh, and perform all the duties towards God
and man, that must be rewarded. It is here that Christ must be
believed in with the heart to righteousness, and with the mouth
confessed to salvation. It is here that we must suffer with him,
that we may reign with him, and be faithful to the death, that \\c
may receive the crown of life. Here we must so run that we may
obtain.

III. Yea, we have greater work here to do than mere securing



INTRODrCTION. 15

our own salvation. We are members of the world and church, and
we must labor to do good to man. We. are trusted with our Ma^-
ter's talents for his service, in our places to do our best to prepay*
gate his truth, and grace, and church ; and to bring home souls,
and honor his cause, and edify his flock, and further the salvation
of as many as we can. All this is to be done on earth, if we will
secure the end of all in heaven.

Use 1. It is, then, an error (though it is but few, I think, that
are guilty of it) to think, that all religion lieth in minding only the
life to come, and disregarding all things in this present life : all true
Christians must seriously mind both the end and the means, or way.
If they mind not, believingly, the end, they will never be faithful
in the use of means. If they mind not, and use not diligently, the
means, they will never obtain the end. None can use earth well
that prefer not heaven, and none come to heaven, at age, that are
not prepared by well using earth. Heaven must have the deepest
esteem, and habitual love, and desire, and joy ; but earth must
have more of our daily thoughts for present practice. A man that
travelleth to the most desirable home, hath a habit of desire to it
all the way, but his present business is his travel ; and horse, and
company, and inns, and ways, and weariness, &,c., may take up
more of his sensible thoughts, and of his talk, and action, than his
home.

Use 2. I have oft marveled to find David, in the Psalms, and
other saints, before Christ's coming, to have expressed so great a
sense of the things of this present life, and to have said so little of
another ; to have made so great a matter of prosperity, dominions,
and victories, on one hand, and of enemies, success, and persecu-
tion, on the other. But I consider that it was not for mere per-
sonal, carnal interest, but for the church of God, and for his honor,
word, and worship. And they knew that if things go well with
us on earth, they will be sure to go well in heaven. If the mili-
tant church prosper in holiness, there is no doubt but it will tri-
umph in glory. God will be sure to do his part in receiving souls,
if they be here prepared for his receipt. And Satan doth much of
his damning work by men : if we escape their temptations, we es-
cape much of our danger. If idolaters prospered, Israel was tempt-
ed to idolatry. The Greek church is almost swallowed up by
Turkish prosperity and dominion. Most follow the powerful and
prosperous side. And, therefore, for God's cause, and for heaven-
ly, everlasting interest, our own state, but much more the church's,
must be greatly regarded here on earth.

Indeed, if earth be desired only for earth, and prosperity loved
but for the present welfare of the flesh, it is the certain mark of
damning carnality, and an earthly mind. But to desire peace, and



16 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS.

prosperity, and power, to be in the hands of wise and faithful men,
for the sake of souls, and the increase of the church, and the honor
of God, that his name may be hallowed, his kingdom come, and
his will done on earth, as it is in heaven ; this is to be the chief
of our prayers to God.

Use 3. Be not unthankful, then, O my soul, for the mercies of
this present life, for those to thy body, to thy friends, to the land
of thy nativity, and especially to the church of God.

1 . This body is so nearly united to thee, that it must needs be
a great help or hindrance. Had it been more afflicted, it might
have been a discouraging clog ; like a tired horse in a journey, or
an ill tool to a workman, or an untuned instrument in music. A
sick or bad servant in a house is a great trouble, and a bad wife
much more ; but thy body is nearer thee than either, and will be
more of thy concern.

And yet if it had been more strong and healthful, sense and ap-
atite would have been strong, and lust would have been strong,
and therefore danger would have been greater, and victory and
salvation much more difficult. Even weak senses and temptations
have too oft prevailed. How knowest thou, then, what stronger
might have done ? When I see a thirsty man in a fever or drop-
sy, and especially when I see strong and healthful youths, bred up
in fullness, and among temptations, how mad they are in sin, and
how violently they are carried to it, bearing down God's rebukes,
and conscience, and parents, and friends, and all regard to their
salvation, it tells me how great a mercy I had even in a body not
liable to their case.

And many a bodily deliverance hath been of great use to my
soul, renewing my time, and opportunity, and strength, for service,
and bringing frequent and fresh reports of the love of God.

If bodily mercies were not of great use to the soul, Christ would
not so much have showed his saving love, by healing all manner
of diseases, as he did. Nor would God promise us a resurrection
of the body, if a congruous body did not further the welfare of the
soul.

2. And I am obliged to great thankfulness to God for the mer-
cies of this life which he hath showed to my friends ; that which
furthers their joy should increase mine. I ought to rejoice with
them that rejoice. Nature and grace teach us to be glad when our
friends are well, and prosper, though all in order to better things
than bodily welfare.

3. And such mercies of this life to the land of our habitation
must not be undervalued. The want of them are parts of God's
threatened curse ; and godliness hath the promise of this life, and
of that which is to corne, and so is profitable to all things. And



17

when God sends on a land the plagues of famine, pestilence, war,
persecution, especially a famine of the word of God, it is a great
sin to be insensible of it. If any shall say, ' While heaven is sure,
we have no cause to accuse God, or to cast away comfort, hope,
or duty,' they say well ; but if they say, ' Because heaven is all,
we must make light of all that befalleth us on earth,' they say
amiss.

Good princes, magistrates, and public spirited men, that promote
the safety, peace, and true prosperity of the commonwealth, do
hereby very much befriend religion, and men's salvation, and are
greatly to be loved and honored by all. If the civil state, called
the commonwealth, do miscarry, or fall into ruin and calamity, the
church will fare the worse for it, as the soul doth by the ruins
of the body. The Turkish, Muscovite, and such other empires,
tell us how the church consumed), and dwindles away into con-
tempt, or withered ceremony and formality, where tyranny brings
slavery, beggary, or long persecution on the subjects. Doubtless,
divers passages in the Revelations contain the church's glorifying
of God, for their power and prosperity on earth, when emperors
became Christians : what else can be meant well by Rev. v. 10.
" Hath made us kings and priests to God, and we shall reign on
the earth ; " but that Christians shall be brought from under hea-
then persecution, and have rule and sacred honor in the world,
some of them being princes ; some honored church guides ; and
all a peculiar, honored people. And had not Satan found out that



Online LibraryRichard BaxterSelect practical writings of Richard Baxter (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 66)