Books to Read

From Richard Baxter’s A Christian Directory, Chapter 2, Part 1, page 56,

Make careful choice of the books which you read. Let the holy Scriptures ever have the pre-eminence; and next them, the solid, lively, heavenly treatises, which best expound and apply the Scriptures; and next those, the credible histories, especially of the church, and tractates upon inferior sciences and arts: but take heed of the poison of the writings of false teachers, which would corrupt your understanding; and vain romances, play-books, and false stories, which may bewitch your fantasies, and corrupt your hearts.
Let Scriptures be first and most in your hearts  and hands, and other books be used as subservient to it.”

Advertisements

Avoiding Extremes, Following God

From Richard Baxter’s A Christian Directory, Chapter 2, Part 2, pages 48-49,

When you are repenting of or avoiding any extreme, do it not without sufficient fear and caution of the contrary extreme. In the esteem and love of God, your ultimate end, you need not ear overdoing: nor any where, when impediments, and backwardness or impotency, do tell you that you can never do too much. But sin lieth on both sides of the rule and way: and nothing is more common, than to turn from one sin to another, under the name of duty or amendment. Especially this is common in matter of opinion. 
Some will first believe, that God is nothing else but mercy, and after, take notice of nothing but his justice. First, they believe that almost all are saved, and afterward, that almost none: first, that every profession is credible, and next, that none is credible without some greater testimony: first, that none are now partakers of the Holy Spirit; and next, that all saints have the Spirit, not only to illuminate and sanctify them, by transcribing the written word upon their hearts; but also to inspire them with new revelations, instead of Scripture.
The remedy against this disease, is, to proceed deliberately, and receive nothing and do nothing rashly and unadvisedly in religion. For, when you have found out your first error, you will be affrighted from that into the contrary error. See that you look round about you; as well to the error that you may run into the other side, as into that which you have run into already.

An Impregnable Rock and Fortress

From Richard Baxter’s A Christian Directory Chapter 2, Part 1, page 43,

God is on your side, who hath all your enemies in his hand, and can rebuke thenm, or destroy them in a moment. On what is the breath or fury of dust or devils, against the Lord Almighty!
In the day when thou didst enter into covenant with God, and he with thee, thou didst enter into the most impregnable rock and fortress, and house thyself in that castle of defence, where thou mayest (modestly) defy all adverse powers of earth or hell. If God cannot save thee, he is not God. And if he will not save thee, he must break his covenant. Indeed, he may resolve to save thee, not from affliction and persecution, but in it, and by it. But in all these sufferings you will be “more than conquerors, through Christ that loveth you.” That is, it is far more desirable and excellent to conquer by patience, in suffering for Christ, than to conquer our persecutors in the field, by force of arms.”

Getting into Doctrinal Controversy

From Richard Baxter’s A Christian Directory Chapter 2, Part 1, page 40,

“Begin not too early with controversies in religion: and when you come to them, let them have but their due proportion of your time and zeal: but live daily upon these certain great substantials, which all christians are agreed in.
Plunge not yourselves too soon into controversies: For, (1) It will be exceedingly your loss, by diverting your souls from greater and more necessary things: you may get more increase of holiness, and spend your time more pleasingly to God, by drinking in deeper the substantials of religion, and improving them on your hearts and lives.
(2) It will corrupt your minds, and instead of humility charity, holiness, and heavenly-mindedness, it will feed your pride, and kindle faction and a dividing zeal, and quench your charity, and possess you with a wrangling, contentious spirit, and you will make a religion of these sins and lamentable distempers.”

The Devil’s Temptation With Religion

From Richard Baxter’s A Christian Directory, Chapter 1, Part 1, page 32,

“Therefore the devil will make them a religion which shall please them and do their sins no harm…and a little will draw a carnal heart to believe a carnal doctrine. It is easier to get such a new religion, than a new heart. And then the devil tells them that now they are in the right way, and therefore they shall be save. A great part of the world think their case is good, because they are of such or such a sect or party, and of that which (they are told by their leaders) is the true church and way.
But remember, that whatever law you make to yourselves, God will judge you by his own law. Falsifying the king’s coin is no good way to pay a debt, but an addition of treason for your former misery. It is a new and holy heart and life, and not a new creed, or a new church or sect, that is necessary to your salvation. It will never save you to be in the soundest church on earth, if you be unsound in it yourselves, and are but the dust in the temple that must be swept out: much less will it save you, to make yourselves a rule, because God’s rule doth seem too strict.”