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LEWIS I. HASBROUCK. LEWIS I. HASBROUCK.
SELECT PRACTICAL WRITINGS OF RICHARD BAXTER, WITH A LIFE OF THE AUTHOR, BY LEONARD BACON, PASTOR OF TOE FIRST CHURCH IN NEW HAVRN. IN TWO VOLUMES. VOLUME II. ENCOND EDITION WITH ADDITION'». NEW HAVEN: PUBLISHED BY DURRIE &c PECK. 1835,
Entered according toAct of Congress, in theyear 1834, by Puente & PECK, in the Clerk's office, of the District Court of Connecticut. Printed Oy ii'seine& Bowe & Co.
CONTENTS OF THE530051) 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 thesubject, divisions and subdivisionsnot always clearly indicated. Some attempt might have been made tomark the progress of meditation anddiscussion in that work, and topoint out the relations of one part to another, and of the several parts to the whole, if the editor had deemed it proper for 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 studiedwill 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 clue to guide him easilythrough all its labyrinths.] Preface, Introduction, Page. 12 13 DOCTRINE FIRST. That thesouls of believers, when departed hence, shall be with Christ, 23 I. Thenecessity of believing this, proved, . 23 II. Whether it be best believing it, without consideration of the difficulties or proofs, . . 26 M. The certainty of it manifested, 28 I. Prom 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 isnot 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
4 CONTENTS. Page. 7. To ceaseto be individuate byunion with any other common spirit, is not tobe feared, were it true, 35 But it is not like to be true, 40 II. The second proof: it is anatural 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 frombrutes, 43 V. FromGod's governing justice, 44 VI. From revelationsupernatural, 45 VII. FromGod's answering prayers, . 46 VIII. Fromour present communionwith angels, 47 IX. From Satan's temptations, etc_ 48 X. Specially from the operations of God'sSpirit on our souls, preparingthem for glory. (Faith excited, and objectionsanswered in the application,) 48 The proofs summed up in order, . . . 59 Why this happinessis described by our " BEING wren CHRIST," . . 60 What is includedin our "being with Christ," . 60 I. Presence with Christ's glorified body and soul, and Godhead, . 60 II. United'with him in each. Toonear union not to be feared as destroying individuation, . . . 61 III. Communion with him in each, opened, . . . 63 Wemust " DEPART," that we may be with Christ, 67 Fromwhat, . . . . . 67 I. From thisbody and life: yet it is far better so to do, . 67 II. From all the fleshlypleasures 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, . . 8I Of my own labors herein, 83 6. Notice of the affairs of the world, 87 -7. From our service to the living, 89 Theapplication tomyself, . 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 universeand the church, . 96 III. Better to myself, as to my own felicity, . 96
CONTENTS. Page Proved, L By general reasons from theefficients and means, 97 II. The final reasons, 100 177. The constitutivereasons from the stateof my intellect, as to the intbitive manner of knowledge,and as to the matter, . 105 Both opened, 1. I shall knowGodbetter, 112 2. AndGod's works the universe, . 113' 3. And Jesus Christ, . . . . 114 4. And thechurch triumphant, the heavenly Jerusalen, 115 5. And all God's word, for matter and method, 117 6. God'spresent works of providence, . 117 7. The nature and worth of mercies, . , 118 8. And myself body and soul, . 118 9. Andmy fellow creatures, . . . . . 120 10. And what the evil was from which I was delivered, enemies, dangers, sins, etc. . . . . . . . 120 1V. 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 objectGod; to love him, and be beloved of him is one end. He is a suitable, full, near object, . . 121 2. Thenext objectGod's glorious image in the perfection of theuniverse, 125 3. Thechurch triumphant, . . 126 The will's reception in glory, . 128 1. What it is to be loved of God, 128 Excitations, . . . . . 130 2. Howblessed to be under the love of Christ, 131 Excitations, desires, . . . . III 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 worksfor us there than here. Proved, What they arein general: what particularly, 1. Concordant praising God, . 140 Excitations and petitions, . 141 2. Theblessed probably used for the good of men, and things below, 142 Their opinion rejected that assert the cessation of sense ; proof. Objec- tions from brutes answered, . . 143 The concluding application, . 144
Ü s CONTENTS. APPENDIX. e BREVIATE OF THE HELPS OF FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE FOR A DYING MAN. Page. I. Thegospel 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 whichIamgoing to ; with reasons of my comfortable hope, 195 III. More reasons and helpsof 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 meditationson 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 resignationand subjection : in two assize sermons. To the Right Honorable Serjeant Glyn, . . 259 I. THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION OP GOD, REDEEMER, AND THE NECESSITY OF BEING DEVOTED ANDLIVING TO HIM. 1.COr. Vi. 19, 20, . . 263 II. THE ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST; AND THE NECESSITY OF MAN'S SUBJECTION, DEPENDENCE AND CHiEFEST LOVE TO HIM. Psalm ii. 10-12, 297 A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. Ezekiel xxxvi. 31, . . 325 RIGHT REJOICING : A SERMON. Luke x. 20, . . . 353 THE LIFE OFFAITH: A Sermon formerly preached beforebis Majesty, and published by his command; with another added for the fuller appli- cation. lieb. xi. 1. I. THE SERMON. What Faith is, . 389 The text opened, . . 390 The grounds of the certainty of Faith, briefly. intimated, . 391 WhyGod will haveus live by Faithand notby sight, 396 Use 1. To infórmus 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 Use 3. Of examination, . 404 Themisery of unbelievers, 405 Marks of a true Faith, 406 Use 4. Exhortation to the serious exerciseof Faith, 409 Some assisting suppositions, . . 410 How those will livewho thus believe, opened in certain questions, . 415 Motives to liveby a foreseeingFaith on things notseen, . 419 The conclusion. 1. Exhorting to live by Faith. 2. And to promote this life in others, 425 II. THE ADDITIONS.
CONTENTS. 7 Page. CHAP. I. The conviction and reproof of hypocriteswho live contrary to the Faithwhich theyprofess, 458 CRAP. II. A general exhortation to live as believers, . 434 CHAP. III. An exhortation to theparticular duties of believers, . . 440 WHAT LIGHT MUST SHINE INOUR 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, butforbidden, . . . . . 495 HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY: ORTHE PUBLIC GOOD IS THE CHRISTIAN'S LIFE. Galatians vi. 10. Directions andmotives toit: Intended for an auditory of London citizens; andpublished for them, for want of leave topreach them, . . . . . 534 GOD'S GOODNESS VINDICATED, . . . 577
MR. BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS UPON PHILIPPIANS I. 23. WITH AN APPENDIX. WRITTEN FOR HIS OWN USE IN THE LATTER TIMES OF HIS CORPORAL PAINS AND WEAKNESS. VOL. II. 2
THE exercise óf three sorts of love, to God, to others, and to myself, affordme a threefold satisfaction, conjunct to be willing to depart. I. I am sure my departure will be the fulfillingofthat 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 andcomforts 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! 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 tally 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 ofman's love ; in whom to be perfectly pleased and delight- ed, and to whom to be perfectly pleasing fotever, is the chief and ultimate endof me, and ofthe highest, wisest, and best ofcreatures. 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 relinquishmy house, (for preach- ing and being in London,) I knewnot 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 [email protected] 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 ownuse in my further sickness. Three weeks after, falling into another extreme fit, and expecting death, where I had no friendwith me to commit my papers to, merely lest it should be lost, I thought best to ¡ve it to the printer. I think it is so much ofthe work of all meií'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 thatthe 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. i. 2a FOR I AM IN A STRAIT BETWIXT TWO, &C. I 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 hot 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 by 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 tò 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 hasteningof 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 offthe world in a sinful sort, on pretense ofmortification, 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 themeans as such, and perfection bet- ter than imperfection. But the present use of the means may be preferred sometimes before the present possession ofthe end, and the use of means for
14 /BARTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. a'higher end may be preferredbefore the present possession of a lower end, ánd every thing bath 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. Quest. But what is there so desirable in this life? Answ. I. While it continueth, it is the fulfilling of the will of God, whowill 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 thereward 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 thejoy of thy Lord." " I have fought a good fight, I have .finished my course," goeth before "the crown of righteous, mess 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 ofour 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 bestowingof 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. Arid it is'great and difficult work that must behere done. It is here that we must be cured ofall 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 we 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
INTRODUCTION. 15 our own salvation. We are members of theworld and church, and we must labor to do good to man. We are trusted with'our Mas- ter's talents forhis service, in our placés to do our best to propa- 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, ifwe will secure the end of all in heaven. r 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 disregardingall things in this present life : all true Christians must seriously mindboth the end and the means, or way. If they mind not, believingly, the end, they will never be faithful in theuse of means. Ifthey mind.not, and use not diligently, the means, they will never obtain the end. Nonecan use earth well that prefer notheaven, and none come to heaven,. at age, that are . not prepared. by well using earth. Heavenmust have the deepest esteem, and habitual love, and desire, and joy ; but earth must have more of our daily thoughts for present practice. Aman that travelleth to the most désirable home, bath 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, suécess, 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 escapé 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
it 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 ofthe church, and the honor ofGod, 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 ofour 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 ofGod. 1. This body is so nearly united to thee, that it must needs, be a great help or hindrance. Had it beenmore 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- petite 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 especiallywhen.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 bath 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 to 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 usto be glad when our friends are well, and prosper, thoughall in order to better things than bodily welfare. 3. And such mercies ofthis 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 come, and so is profitable to all things. And
INTRODUCTION. 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 ofit. 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 consumeth, and dwpindles 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 ofthem being princes ; some honored church guides ; and all a peculiar, honored people. And had not Satan found out that cursed way of getting wicked men, that hate true godliness and peace, into the sacred places of princes and pastors, to do his work against Christ, as in Christ's name, surely no good. Christians would have grudged. at the power of rulers of state or church. Sure I am, that many, called Fifth Monarchy men, seem to make this their great hope, that rule shall be in the hands of righteous men ; and I think most religious parties would rejoice if those had very great power, whom they take to be the best and trustiest men ; which shows that it is net the greatness of power in most princes, or sound bishops, that theydislike, but the badness, real or supposed, of- those whose power they mislike. Who will blame power to do good Sure the three first and great petitions of the Lord's prayer in- clude some temporal welfare of the world and church, without which the spiritual rarely prospereth extensively, (though inten- sively în a few it may,) since miracles ceased. 4. Be thankful, therefore, for all the church's mercies here on earth for all the protection of magistracy ; the plenty of preach- ers ; the preservation from enemies; the restraint .of persecution ; the concord of Christians; and increase of godliness; which, in this VOL. it. 3
18 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. land, it hath had in our ages ; notwithstanding all Satan's malig- nant rage, and all the bloody years that have interrupted odr tran- quillity. How many Psalms of joyful thanksgiving be there for Israel's deliverances, and the preservation of Zion, andGod's Wor- ship in his sanctuary! Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love it. Especially that the gospel is continued, while so many rage against it, is a mercy not to be made light of. Use 4. Be especially thankful, O my soul, that God bath made any use of thee for the service of his church on earth. My God, my soul for this doth magnify thee, and my spirit rejoiceth in the review of thy great undeserved mercy ! Oh ! what am I, whom thou tookest up from the dunghill or low obscurity, that I should live, myself, in the constant relish of thy sweet and sacred truth, and with such encouraging success communicate it to. others That I must say, now my public work seems ended, that these forty-three or forty-four years, I have no reason to think that ever I labored in vain ! O, with what gratitude must I look upon all places where I lived and labored; but, above all, that place that had my strength. I bless thee for the great numbers gone to heaven, and for the continuance of piety, humility, concord, and peace among them. Andfor all that by mywritings have received any saving light and grace. O my God ! let not my own heart be barren while I labor in thyhusbandry, to bring others unto holy fruit. Let menot be a stranger to the life and power of that saving truth which I have done somuch to communicate to others. O,'let not myown words and writings condemn me, as void of that divine and heavenly na- ture and life which I have said so much' for to the world. Use 5. Stir up, then, O my soul, thy sincere desires, and all thy faculties, to do the remnant of the work of Christ appointed thee onearth, and then joyfullywait forthe heavenly perfection in God's own time. Thou canst t"ruly say, " To live, to me, is Christ." It is his work for which thou' livest : thou hast no other business in the world ; but thou dost his work with themixture of many oversights and imperfections, and too much troublest thy thoughts distrust- fully about God's part, who never faileth. If thy workbe done, be thankful for what is past, and that thou art come so near the port of rest: if God will add any more to thy days, serve him with double alacrity, now thou art so neat the end : the prize is almost within sight: time is swift and short. Thou hast told others that there is no working in the grave, and that it must be now or never. Though the conceit of meriting of commutative justice be no bet- ter than madness, dream not that God will save the wicked, no, nor equally reward the slothful and the diligent, because Christ's
INTRODUCTION. 19 righteousness was perfect. Paternal justice maketh difference according to thatworthiness which is so denominated by the law of grace. And as sin is itsown punishment, holiness and obedi- ence is much of its own reward. Whatever God appointeth thee to do, see that thou do it sincerely, and with all thymight. If sin dispose men to be angry because it is detected, disgraced, and re- sisted, if God be pleased, their wrath should be patiently borne, who will shortly be far more angry with themselves. If slander and obloquy survive, so will the better effects on those that are converted; and there is no comparison between these. I shall not be hurt, when I am with Christ, by the calumnies of men on earth ;'but the saving benefit will, by convertedsinners, be enjoy- ed everlastingly. Words and actions are transient things, and, be- ing once past, are nothing; but the effects of them, on an'immor- tal soul, may be endless. All the sermons that Ihave preached are nothing now; but the grace of God, on sanctified souls, is the be- ginning of eternal life. It is unspeakable mercy to be sincerely thus employedwith success ; therefore, I had reason, all this while, to be in Paul's strait, and make no haste in my desires to depart. Thecrown will come in its due time ; and eternity is long enough to enjoy it, how long soever it be delayed: but if I will do that which must obtain it for myselfand others, it must be quickly done, before my declining sun be set. O that I had no worse causes of my unwillingness yet to die, than my desire to do the work of life for my own and other men's salvation, and to finish my course with joy, and the ministry com- mitted to me by the Lord. Use 6. And as it is on earth that I must do good to others, so it must be in a manner suited to their state on earth. Souls are here closely united to bodies, by which they must receive much good or hurt: do good to men's bodies, if thou wouldest do good to their souls : say not, things corporeal are worthless trifles, for which the receivers will be never the better; they are things that nature is easily sensible of; and sense is the passage to the mind and will. Dost not thou find what a help it is to thyself to have, at any time, any ease and alacrity of body ? And what a burden and hin- drance pains and cares are? Labor, then, to free others from such burdens and temptations, and be not regardless of them. If thou must rejoice with them that rejoice, and mourn with them that mourn, further thy own joy in , furthering theirs, and avoid thy own sorrows in avoiding or curing theirs. But, alas ! what power bath selfishness in most I How easilydo we bear our brethren's pains, reproaches, wants, and afflictions, in comparison of our own ! how few thoughts, and how little cost or labor, do we use for their supply, in comparison of what we do for
20 BAXTER'S DYING TFIOUGISTS. ourselves ! Nature, indeed, teacheth us to be most sensible of our own case ; but grace tells us, that we should not make so great a difference as we do, but should love our neighbors as ourselves. Use 7. And now, O my soul, consider how mercifullyGod hath dealt with thee, that thy strait should be between two conditions so desirable. I shall either die speedily, or stay yet longer upon earth ; whichever it be, it will be a merciful and comfortable state ; that it is desirable to depart and be with Christ; I must not doubt, and shall anon more copiously consider. And if my abode on earth yet longer be so great a mercy as to be put in the balance against my present possession of heaven, surely itmust be a state which obligeth me to great thankfulness to God, and comfortable acknowledgment; -and surely it is not my pain, or sickness, my sufferings from malicious men, that should make this life on earth unacceptable, while God will continue it. Paul had his prick or thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him, and suffered more frommen (though less in his health) than I have done; and yet he gloried in such infirmities, and rejoiced in his tribulations, and was in a strait between living and dying ; yea, rather chose to li$e yet longer. Alas ! it is another kind of strait that most of the world are in. The strait of most is between the desire of life for fleshly interest, and the fear of death, as ending their felicity. The strait of many is, between a tiring world and body, which maketh them weary of living, and the dreadful prospect of future danger, which makes them afraid of dying : if they live, it is in misery ; if they must die, they are afraid of greater misery. Whichway ever they look, be- hind or before them, to this world or the next, fear and trouble is their lot. Yea, many an upright Christian, through the weakness of his trust in God, doth live in this perplexed strait ; weary of living, and afraid of dying ; between grief and fear, they are press- ed continually. But Paul's strait was between two joys ; which of them he should desire most; and if that be my case, what should much interrupt my peace or pleasure ? If I live, it is for Christ ; for his work, and, for his church ; for preparation for my own and others' everlasting felicity : and should any suffering, which maketh me not unserviceable, malte me impatient with such awork and such a life ? If I die presently, it is my gain ; God, who appointeth me my work, doth limit my time ; and sure his glo- rious reward can never be unseasonable, or come too soon, if it be the time that he appointeth. When I first engaged myself to preach the gospel, I reckoned (as probable) but upon one or two years ; and God bath continued me yet above forty-four ; (with such interruptions as others in these times have had;) and what reason have I now to be unwilling, either to live or die? God's
INTRODUCTION. 21 service hath been so sweet to me, that it bath overcome the trou- ble ofconstant pains, or weakness of the flesh, and all that men have said or done against me. But the following crown exceeds this pleasure, more than I am here capable to conceive. There is some trouble in all this pleas- ant work, fromwhich the soul and flesh would rest; and blessed are the dead, that die in the Lord ; even so saith the Spirit ; for they rest from their labors, and their, works follow them. But, O my soul, what needest thou 'be troubled in this kind of strait? It is not left to thee to choose whether or when thou wilt live or die. It is God that will determine it; who is infinitely fitter to choose than thou. Leave, therefore, his own work to himself, and mind that which is thine : whilst thou livest, live to Christ ; andwhen thou diest, thou shalt die to Christ ; even into his bless- ed hands : so live that thou mayest say, " It is Christ liveth in me, and the life that I live in the flesh,- I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me ; " and then, as thou hast lived in the comfort of hope, thou shalt die unto thecomfort of vision and fruition. And when thou canst say, "He is the God whose I am, and. whom I serve," thou mayest boldly add, ' and whom I trust, and to whom I commend my departing soul; and I know whom I have trusted.'
MR: BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. PHIL. i. 23. FOR I AM IN A STRAIT BETWIXT TWO, HATING A DESIRE TO DEPART, AND TO BE WITH. CFIRIST, WHICH IS FAR BETTER. -(Or, FOR THIS IS MUCHRATHER TO BE PREFERRED, OR SETTER.) " MAN that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trou- ble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down : he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. And dost thou open thine eyes upon such a one, and bringest me into judgment with thee ? " saith Job, xiv. 1-3. As a watch when it is wound up, or as a candle newly lighted, so man, newly conceived or born, beginneth a motion, which incessantly hasteth to its appointed period. And an action, and its time that is past, is nothing ; so vain a thing would man be, and to vain his life, were it not for the hopes of a more durable life, which this refdrreth to. But those hopes, and the means, do not only difference a believer from an infidel, but a man from a beast. When Solomon describeth the difference, in respect to the time and things ofthis life only, he truly tells us, that one end here befalling both, Both show that both are here but vanity, but man's vexation is greater than the beasts'. And Paul truly saith of Christians, that if our hope were only in this life, (that is, in the time and things of this life and world,) we were, of all men, the most miserable. Though even in this life, as re- lated to a better, and as we are exercised about things of a higher nature than theconcerns of temporal life, we are far happier than any worldlings. Being to speak to myself, I shall pass by all the rest of the mat- ter of this text, and suppose its due explication, and spread before my soul only the doctrine and uses of these two propositions con- tained in it. FIRST, That the souls of believers, when departed hence, shall be with Christ. SECONDLY, That so to be with Christ is far better for them than to be here in the body.
BAXTER'S ,DYING THOUGHTS. 23 THE SOULS OF BELIEVERS, WHEN. DEPARTED HENCE, SHALL BE WITH CHRIST. Concerning the FIRST, my thoughts shall keep this order. I. I shall consider the necessity of believing it. H. Whether it be best believing it, without consideration of the proofs or difficul- ties. HI. The certainty of it manifested for the exercise of faith. I. Whether the words'signify that we shall be in the same place with Christ, (which Grotius groundlessly denieth,) or only in his hand, and care, and love, I will not stay to dispute. Many other texts, concurring, do assure us that "we shall be with him where he is ;" John xü. 26, and xvii. 24, &c. At least, "with him," can mean no less than a state of communion, and a participation of felicity. And to believe .such a state of happiness for departed souls, is ofmanifold necessity or use. , I. If this be not soundly believed, a man must live besides, or below, the end of life. He must have a false end, or be uncertain what should be his end. I know it may be objected, that if I make it my end to please God, by obeying him, and doing all the good I can, and trust him with my soul, and future estate, as one that is utterly uncertain what he will do with nte, I have an end intended, whichwill make me godly, charitable, and just, and happy, so far as I am made for happiness ; for the pleasing of God is the right end of all. But, 1. Must I desire to please him no better than I do in this imperfect state, in which I have and do so much which is displeas- ing to him ? He that must desire to please him, must desire to please him perfectly ; andour desire of ourultimate end must have no bounds, or check. Am I capable of pleasing God no better . than by suoh a sinful life as this ? 2. God hath made the desire ofour own felicity sonecessary to the soul of man, that it cannot be expected that our desire to please him should be separated from this. 3. Therefore, both in respect of God, as the end, and of our feli- city, as our second end, we must believe that he is the beatifying rewarder ofthem that diligently seek him. For, 1. Ifwe make such an ill description of God, as that he will turn our pleasing him to our loss, or will not turn it to our gain and welfare, or that we know not whether he will do so or not, it .will hinder our love, and trust, and joy, in him, by which we must please him, and, consequently, hinder the alacrity, and soundness, and constancy, of our obedience. 2. And it will much dismiss that self-love, which must excite us ; and it will take off part of our necessary end. And I think the objectors would confess, that if they have no certainty what God
24 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. will do with tfiem, they must have some probability and hope, be- fore they can be sincerely devoted here to please him. And, I. Ifa man be but uncertain what he should make the end of his life, or what he should live for, how can he pitch upon an uncertain end? And if he waver so as to have no end, hecan use no means ; and if end and means be all laid by, the man liveth not as a man but as a brute : and what a torment must it be to a considering mind tobe uncertain what to intendand do in all the tenor and actions of his life ! Like a'man going out at his door, not knowing whither or what to do, or which way to go ; either he will stand still, or move as brutes do, by present sense, or as a wind- mill, or weathercock, as he is moved. 2. But if he pitch upon a wrong end, it may yet be worse than none ; for he will but do hurt, or make work for repentance and all the actions of his life mast be formally wrong, how goodsoever materially, if the end of them be wrong. II. And ifI fetch them not from this end, and believe not in God as a rewarder ofhis servants, in a better life, what motive's shall I have, which, in our present difficulties, will be sufficient to cáuse me to live a holy, yea, or a truly honest life ? All piety and honesty, indeed, is good, and goodness is desirable for itself; but the goodness of a means is its aptitude for the end ; and we have here abundance of impediments, competitors, diversions, and temp- tations, and difficulties ofmany sorts ; and all these must be over- come by him that will live in piety or honesty ; and our natures, we find, are diseased, and greatly indisposed to unquestionable du- ties; and will they ever discharge them, and conquer all these dif- ficulties and temptations, if the necessary motive be not believed? Duty to God and man is accidentally hard andcostly to the flesh, though amiable in itself. It may cost us our estates, our liberties, our lives. The world is not so happy as commonly to know good men from bad, or to encourage piety and virtue, or to forbear op- posing them. And who will let go his present welfare, without some hope ofbetter as a reward ? Men use not to serve God for nought ; 'nor that think it will be their loss to serve him. A life ofsin will not be avoided upon lower ends and motives : nay, those lower ends, when alone, will be a constant sin them- selves. A preferring vanity to glory, the creature to God, and a setting our heart on that which will never make us happy : and when lust and appetite incline men, strongly and constantly, to their several objects, what shall sufficiently restrain them, except the greater and more durable delights or motives fetched frompre- ponderating things ? Lust and appetite distinguish not between lawful and unlawful. We may see in the brutish politics of Ben-
BARTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 2J edictus Spinosa, in his Tractat. Theolog.. Polit., whither the prin- ciples of infidelity tend.' Ifsin so overspread the earth, that the whole world is as drowned in wickedness, notwithstanding all the hopes and fears of a life to come, what would it do were there no such hopes and fears ? III. And no mercy can be truly known and estimated, nor rightly used and improved, by him that seed' not its tendency to the end, and perceiveth not that it leadeth to a better life, and useth it not thereunto. God dealeth more bountifully with us than worldlings understand. He giveth us all the mercies of this life, as helps to an immortal stateofglory, and as earnestsof it. Sensual- ists know not what a soul is, nor what soul mercies are ; and, there- fore, not what the soul of all bodily mercies are, but take up only with the carcass, shell, or shadow. If the king would give me a lordship, 'and send me a'horse orcoach to carry -me to it, and 1 should only ride about the fields for my pleasure, and make no other use of it, should I not undervalue and lose the, principalbene- fit of my horse or coach ? No wonder ifunbelievers be unthank- fulf when they know not at all that part of God's mercies which is the life and real excellency of them. W. And, alas ! how should I bear with comfort the sufferings of this wretched life, without the hopes of a life with Christ? What should support and comfort meunder my bodily languishings and pains, my weary hours,-and my daily experience of the vanity and vexation ofall things under the sun, had I not a prospect of a comfortable end of all? I, that have lived in the midstof great and precious mercies, have all my life had something to do to over- come the temptation Of wishing that I had never been born, and had never overcome it but by the belief of a blessed life hereafter. Solomon's sense of vanity and vexation bath long made all the business, and wealth, and honor, and pleasure, of this world, as such, appear such a dream and shadow to me, that were it not for the end, I could not have much differenced men's sleeping and their waking thoughts, nor have much more have valued the wak- ing than the sleeping part of life., but should have thought it a kind of happiness to have slept from the birth unto the death. Children cry when they come into the world ; and I am often sorry when I am awakened out of a quiet sleep,' especially to the busi- ness of an unquiet day. We should be strongly tempted, in our considering state, to murmur at our Creator, as dealing muchhard- lier by us than by the brutes, if we must have had all those cares, and griefs, and fears, by the knowledge ofwhat we want, and the prospect ofdeath, and future evils, which they are exempted from, and had not, withal, had the hopes of a future felicity to support us. Seneca and his stoics had no better argument to silence such VOL. II. 4
BAXTER'S DYING TROUGIIT3. murmurers who believed not a better life, than to tell them, that if this life had more evil than good, and they thought God did them wrong, they might remedy themselves by ending it when they would. But that would not cure the repinings of a nature which found itself necessarily weary of the miseries of life, and yet afraid of dying. And it is no great wonder that many thought that pre- existent souls were put into these bodies as a punishment of some- thing done in a former life, while they foresaw not the hoped' end of all our fears and sorrows. ` O, how contemptible a thing is man !' saith the same 'Seneca; unless he lift up himself above human things.' Therefore, saith Solomon, when he had glutted himself with all temporal pleasures, "I. hated life, because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous to me; for all is vanity and vexation of spirit;" Eccles. ii. 17. H. I have often thought whether an, implicit belief of a future happiness, without any search into its nature,, and thinking of any thing that can be said against it, or the searching, trying way, be better. On the one side, 'I have known many godly women that never disputed the matter, but served God, comfortably, to a very old age, (between eighty and one hundred,) to have lived many years in a cheerful readiness and desire of death, and such as few learned, studious men do ever attain to in that degree, who, no doubt, had this as a divine reward of their long and faithful service of God, and trusting in him. 'On the other side, a studious man can hardly keep off all objections, or secure his mind against the suggestions of difficulties and doubts; and if they come in, they must be answered, seeing we give them half a victory if we cast them off before we can answer them. And a faith that is not up- held by such evidence of truth as reason can discern and justify, is oft joined with much secret doubting, which men dare not open, but donot, therefore, overcome ; and its weakness may have aweak- ening deficiency, as to all the graces and duties which should be strengthened by it. And who knoweth how soon a temptation from Satan, or infidels, or our own dark hearts, may assault us, which will not, without such evidence and resolving light, be over- come? And yet many, that try, and reason, and dispute most, have not the strongest or most powerful faith. And my thoughts of this have had this issue. 1. There is a great difference between that light which showeth us the thing it- self, and that artificial skill by which we have right notions, names, definitions,; and formed arguments, and answers to objections. This artificial, logical, organical kind of knowledge is good and use- ful in its kind, if right; like speech itself: but he that bath much of this, may have little of the former ; and unlearned persons that have little of this, may have moreof the former, and may have
HAST£Et'S DYING THf)L 21T.. t! those inward perceptions of the verity of the promises and rewards of God, which they cannot bring forth into artificial reasonings to themselves or others; who are taught of God, by the effetive sort of teaching which reacheth the heart, or will, as well as the un- derstanding, and is a giving of what is taught, and a making us such as we are told we must be'.* And who findeth not need to pray hard for this effective teaching of God, when he bath got all or- ganical knowledge, and words and arguments in themselves most apt, at his fingers' ends, as we say? When I can prove the truth of the word of God, and the life to come, with the most convin- cing, undeniable reasons, I feel need to cry and pray daily to God, to increase my faith, and to give me that light which may satisfy the soul, and reach the end. 2. Yet man, being a rational wight, is not taught by mere in- stinct and inspiration, and therefore this effective teaching of God doth ordinarily suppose a rational, objective, organical teaching and knowledge. And the aforesaid unlearned, Christians are con- vinced, by good evidence, that God'sword is true, and his rewards are sure, though they have but a confused_ conception of this evi- dence, and cannot word it, nor reduce it to fit notions. And to drive these that have fundamental evidence, unseasonably and hastily to dispute their faith, and so to puzzle them by words and artificial objections, is but to hurt them, by setting the artificial, organical, lower part, which is the body of knowledge, against the real light, and perception of the thing, (which is as the soul,) even as carnal men set the creatures against God, that should lead us to God, so do they by logical, artificial knowledge. But they that ate prepared for such disputes, and furnished with all artificial helps, may make good use of them for defending and clearing up the truth to themselves and others, so be it theyuse them as a means to the due end, and in a right manner, and set them not up against, or instead of, the real and effective light. But the revealed and necessary part must here be distinguished from the unrevealed and unnecessary. To study till we, as clear- ly as may be, understand the certainty of a future happiness, and wherein it consisteth, (in the sight of God's glory, and in perfect, holy, mutual love, in union with Christ, and all the blessed,) this is of great use to our holiness and peace. But when we will know more than God would have us, it Both but tend (as gazing on the sun) to make us blind, and to doubt of certainties, because we Cannot be resolved' of uncertainties. To trouble bur heads too much in thinking how souls, out of the 'body, do subsist and act, " This is the true mean between George Keith the Quaker's doctrine of continued inspiration and intuition; and that on the other extreme.allisonlibrary.regent-college.edu