Richard Baxter - Quote du Jour

All our work must be managed reverently, as beseemeth them that believe the presence of God, and use not holy things as if they were common. Reverence is that affection of the soul which proceedeth from deep apprehensions of God and indicateth a mind that is much conversant with him. To manifest irreverence in the things of God is to manifest hypocrisy, and that the heart agreeth not with the tongue. I know not how it is with others, but the most reverent preacher, that speaks as if he saw the face of God, doth more affect my heart, though with common words, than an irreverent man with the most exquisite preparations.{{1}}

—Richard Baxter


Quote is from Baxter’s book The Reformed Pastor, originally published in 1656. Of this work Philip Doddridge writes this “should be read by every young minister, before he takes a people under his stated care; and, I think, the practical part of it reviewed every three or four years; for nothing would have a greater tendency to awaken the spirit of a minister to that zeal in his work…”{{2}}.

However, it should be noted that Baxter’s theology must be taken with a grain of salt. J.I. Packer writes

“In theology, for instance, he devised an eclectic middle route between the Reformed, Arminian and Roman doctrines of grace: interpreting the kingdom of God in terms of contemporary political ideas, he explained Christ’s death as an act of universal redemption (penal and vicarious, but not substitutionary), in virtue of which God has made a new law offering pardon and amnesty to the penitent…’Baxterianism’…altered the content of the Puritan gospel…the fruit of the seeds which Baxter sowed was neonomian Moderatism in Scotland and moralistic Unitarianism in England.”{{3}}

However, even Packer would encourage to find inspiration in his word on the ministry in practicality. “As a pastor, however, Baxter was incomparable, and it is in this capacity that he concerns us now [in his book]. His achievement at Kidderminster was amazing. England had not before seen a ministry like it. The town…[contained] ‘an ignorant, rude and revelling people’ when Baxter arrived, but this changed dramatically.”{{4}}

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[[1]]Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor (Carlisle, PA, Banner of Truth, 2007), 119.[[1]]

[[2]]Ibid., 5.[[2]]

[[3]]Ibid., 9-10[[3]]

[[4]]Ibid., 11[[4]]