Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Ministerial Pride, Part III, Richard Baxter

Following the previous posts are these comments from the essay, Ministerial Pride, by Puritan pastor, Richard Baxter. It is published in the Puritan Reformed Journal, Volume I, Number I, 2009 and can be purchased here.

"Hence also it is, that men do so magnify their own opinions, and are as censorious of any who differ from them in lesser things, as if it were all one to differ from them, and from God. they expect that all should conform to their judgment, as if they were the rulers of the church's faith; and while we cry down papal infallibility, too many of us would be popes ourselves, and have all stand to our determinations, as if we were infallible!"

"I confess I have often wondered that this most heinous sin should be made so light of, and thought so consistent with a holy frame of heart and life, when far less sins are by ourselves, proclaimed to be so damnable in our people! And I have wondered more, to see the difference between godly preachers and ungodly sinners, in this respect. When we speak to drunkards, worldlings, or ignorant unconverted persons, we disgrace them to the utmost, and lay it on as plainly as we can speak, and tell them of their sin, and shame, and misery. And we expect that they should not only bear all patiently, but take all thankfully...But if we speak to ministers against their errors or their sins, if we do not honor them and reverence them, and speak as smoothly as we are able to speak, yes, if we mix not commendations with our reproofs, and if the applause is not predominant, so as to drown all the force of the reproof, they take it as almost an insufferable injury!"

"Brethren, I know this is a sad confession, but that all this should exist among us, should be more grievous to us -- than to be told of it. Could the evil be hidden, I would not have disclosed it, at least so openly in the view of all. But, alas, it has been so long open to the eyes of the world. We have dishonored ourselves by idolizing our honor; we print our shame, and preach our shame, thus proclaiming it to the whole world. Some will think that I speak over-charitably when I call such persons godly men, in whom so great a sin as pride, does so much prevail. I know, indeed, that where it is predominant, not hated, and bewailed, and mortified in the main -- there can be no true godliness; and I beseech every man to exercise a strict jealousy and search his own heart...(may) the Lord be merciful to the ministers of this land, and give us quickly another spirit, for grace is then a rarer thing than most of us have supposed it to be."


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Dave Sarafolean said...

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