The Reformed Pastor
By Richard Baxter
Yet another email from my son with his progressing thoughts on Baxter's book, The Reformed Pastor.
The first observation you will note below is the definition of Reformed, like my son, I to have been reflecting on J.I. Packer's "helpful observation" these past few days.
"Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseeers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." Acts 20:28
"1. Take heed for you have heaven to win or lose..."
"...it concerneth you to begin at home, and to take heed to yourselves as well as to others."
"O sirs, how many men have preached Christ, and yet have perished for want of saving interest in him?"
"How many, who are now in hell have told their people of the torments of hell, and warned them to escape from it?"
"a holy calling will not save an unholy man."
"2. Take heed to yourselves, for you have a depraved nature and sinful inclinations."
"Sin dwelleth in us, when we have preached ever so much against it."
"In us there are, at the best, the remnants of pride, unbelief, self-seeking, hypocrisy, and all the most hateful, deadly, sins."
"3. Take heed to yourselves, because the tempter will more ply you with his temptations than other men."
"he knows what a route he will make... if the leaders fall before their eyes"
"As wise and learned as you are, take heed to yourselves, lest he outwit you... The devil is a greater scholar than you, and a nimbler disputant..."
"4. Take heed to yourselves, because there are many eyes upon you, and there will be many to observe your falls."
"5. Take heed to yourselves, for your sins have more heinous aggravations than other men's."
"It was a saying of king Alphonsus, that 'a great man cannot commit a small' sin'"
"a. You are more likely than others to sin against knowledge, because you have more than they..."
"b. your sins have more hypocrisy in them than other men's, by how much the more you have spoken against them."
"6. Take heed to yourselves, because such work as ours require greater grace than other men's."
"we have seen some private Christians of good esteem, who, having thought too highly of their parts, and thrust themselves into the ministerial office, have proved weak and empty men, and have become greater burdens to the Church than some whom we endeavored to cast out. They might have done God more service in the higher rank of private men, than they do among the lowest of the ministry."
"7. Take heed to yourselves, for the honor of your Lord and Master, and of his holy truth and ways, doth lie more on you than on other men."
"Would it not wound you to the heart to hear the name and truth of God reproached for your sakes; to see men point to you, and say, 'There goes a covetous priest, a secret tippler [alcoholic], a scandalous man; these are they that preach for strictness, while they themselves can live as loose as others; they condemn us by their sermons, and condemn themselves by their lives; notwithstanding all their talk, they are as bad as we.'"
"O take heed, brethren, of every word you speak, and of every step you tread, for you bear the ark of the Lord, you are entrusted with His honor!"
"Never did a man dishonor God, but it proved the greatest dishonor to himself."
"8. Lastly, Take heed to yourselves, for the success of all your labors doth very much depend upon this."
"a. Can it be expected that God will bless that man's labors, (I mean comparatively, as to other ministers) who worketh not for God, but for himself? Now, this is the case with every unsanctified man. None but converted men do make God their chief end, and do all or any thing heartily for his honor; others make the ministry but a trade to live by."
"O sirs, all your preaching and persuading of others, will be but dreaming and vile hypocrisy, till the work be thoroughly done upon your own hearts. How can you set yourselves, day and night, to a work that your carnal hearts are averse to? How can you call, with serious fervor, upon poor sinners to repent and return to God, that never repented or returned yourselves? How can you heartily follow poor sinners, with importunate solicitations to take heed of sin, and to lead a holy life, that never felt yourselves the evil of sin, or the worth of holiness?"
"What, can you love other men better than yourselves?"
"As Calvin saith on my text; 'For never will the man take diligent care for the salvation of others who neglects his own salvation.'"
"I CONFESS, THAT MAN SHALL NEVER HAVE MY CONSENT TO HAVE THE CHARGE OF OTHER MEN'S SOULS, AND TO OVERSEE THEM IN ORDER TO THEIR SALVATION, THAT TAKES NOT HEED TO HIMSELF, BUT IS CARELESS OF HIS OWN, except it were in case of absolute necessity, that no better could be had." [Original text was upper case]
"he who cherisheth sin in his own heart doth never fall upon it in good earnest in others... a wicked man may be more willing for the reformation of others than of his own... he can preach against sin at an easier rate than he can forsake it..."