Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v2

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