From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Richard Baxter: Puritan extraordinaire

(Richard Baxter)
Thanksgiving is situated just about midway between Richard Baxter’s November 12th birthday and his December 8th feast day.  This seems appropriate since Baxter was also one of the most inspiring leaders of 17th-century Puritan theology.

Wikipedia reports that “all forms of church government were regarded by him as subservient to the true purposes of religion.”  However, he was more moderate than radical in his stance regarding the Church of England.  His “non-separatist presbyterian approach” to church reform incorporated elements from various “doctrines of grace” that were at odds with one another.  Baxter therefore often found himself in the midst of controversy – and
worse yet, the victim of religious persecution.  At varying times he was banned from preaching, his possessions were seized, and he was imprisoned.  All because he sought to unite strands of an all-
too-divided Church...  Ironically, though, “his funeral was attended by both churchmen and dissenters.”

Before his death at age 76, Baxter had written a considerable body of theological works (some with compelling titles such as Jesuit Juggling: Forty Popish Frauds Detected and Disclosed, How to Spend the Day with God, A Saint or a Brute: The Certain Necessity and Excellency of Holiness, and Converse with God in Solitude.

While waiting on Eternity, consider this wake-up tip from Baxter regarding spending the day with God right here and now:  Let God have your first awakening thoughts; lift up your hearts to him reverently and thankfully…  Think of the mercy of a night’s rest and of how many that have spent that night in Hell; how many in prison; how many in cold, hard lodgings; how many suffering from agonizing pains and sicknesses, weary of their beds and of their lives...  How speedily your last night and day will come!  Observe that which is lacking in the preparedness of your soul for such a time and seek it without delay.


Copyright November 19, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved 

No comments:

Post a Comment