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.”

Portrait of a Hypocrite

From Richard Baxter’s A Christian Directory Chapter 1, Part 1, page 25,

“This is the true character of a self-deceiving hypocrite. He is neither so fully persuaded of the certain truth of the Scripture and the life to come, nor yet so mortified to the flesh and the world, as to take the joys of heaven for his whole portion, and to subject all his worldly prosperity and hopes thereunto and to part with all things in this world, when it is necessary to the securing of his salvation: and therefore he will not lose his hold of present things, nor forsake his worldly interest for Christ, as long as he can keep it. Nor will he be any further religious than may stand with his bodily welfare; resolving never to be undone by his godliness; but in the first place to save himself, and his prosperity in the world, as long as he can.
And yet, because he knoweth that he must die, and for aught he knows, he may then find, against his will, that there is another life which he must enter upon; lest the gospel should prove true, he must have some religion: and therefore he will take up as much as will stand with his temporal welfare, hoping that he may have both that and heaven hereafter; and he will be as religious as the predominant interest of the flesh will give him leave. He is resolved rather to venture his soul, than to be here undone: and that is his first principle. But he is resoled to be as godly as will stand with a worldly, fleshly life: that is his second principle. But he is resolved to be as godly as will stand with a worldly, fleshly life: that is his second principle. And he will hope for heaven as the end of such a way as this: that is his third. Therefore he will place most of his religion in those things which are most consistent with worldliness and carnality, and will not cost his flesh too dear.”

What is Holiness?

From Richard Baxter’s A Christian Directory Chapter 1, Part 1, Page 23,

“Holiness consisteth not in a mere forbearance of a sensual life, but principally in living unto God. The principle or heart of holiness is within, and consisteth in the love of God, and of his word, and ways, and servants, and honour, and interest in the world, and in the soul’s delight in God, and the word and ways of God, and in its inclination towards him, and desire after him, and care to please him, and lothness to offend him. The expression of it in our lives, consisteth in the constant, diligent exercise of this internal life, according to the directions of the word of God.”

Why Become a Christian?

From Richard Baxter’s A Christian Directory, Chapter 1 Part 1, page 20,

Search the Scriptures, and consider how happy the saints of God are there described. Think what it is, to have a purified, cleaned soul; to be free from the slavery of the flesh and its concupiscence; to have the sensitive appetite in subjection unto reason, and reason illuminated and rectified by faith; to be alive to God, and disposed and enabled to love and serve him; to have access to him in prayer, with boldness and assurance to be heard; to have a sealed pardon of all our sins, and an interest in Christ, who will answer for them all and justify us; to be the children of God, and the heirs of heaven; to have peace of conscience, and the joyful hopes of endless joys; to have communion with the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit, and to have that Spirit dwelling in us, and working to our further holiness and joy; to have communion with the saints; and the help and comfort of all God’s ordinances, and to be under his many precious promises, and under his protection and provision in his family, and to case all our care upon him; to delight ourselves daily in the remembrance and renewed experiences of his love, and in our too little knowledge of him, and love to him, and in the knowledge of his Son, and of the mysteries of the gospel; to have all things work together for our good, and to be able with joy to welcome death, and to live as in heaven in the foresight of our everlasting happiness.”