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Richard Baxter – Men, Maintain Your Marital Love

18 Mar

Richard Baxter

4. Remember that justice commandeth you to love one that hath, as it were, forsaken all the world for you, and is contented to be the companion of your labours and sufferings, and be an equal sharer in all conditions with you, and that must be your companion until death. It is worse than barbarous inhumanity to entice such a one into a bond of love, and society with you, and then to say, you cannot love her. This was by perfidiousness to draw her into a snare to her undoing. What comfort can she have in her converse with you, and care, and labour, and necessary sufferings, if you deny her conjugal love? Especially, if she deny not love to you, the inhumanity is the greater.

5. Remember that women are ordinarily affectionate, passionate creatures, and as they love much themselves, so they expect much love from you. And when you joined yourself to such a nature, you obliged yourself to answerable duty: and if love cause not love, it is ungrateful and unjust contempt.

6. Remember that you are under God’s command; and to deny conjugal love to your wives, is to deny a duty which God hath urgently imposed on you. Obedience therefore should command your love.

7. Remember that you are relatively, as it were, one flesh; you have drawn her to forsake father and mother, to cleave to you; you are conjoined for procreation of such children as must bear the image and nature of you both; your possessions and interests are in a manner the same. And therefore such nearness should command affection; they that are as yourselves, should be most easily loved as yourselves.

8. Take more notice of the good, that is in your wives, than of the evil. Let not the observation of their faults make you forget or overlook their virtues. Love is kindled by the sight of love or goodness.

9. Make not infirmities to seem odious faults, but excuse them as far as lawfully you may, by considering the frailty of the sex, and of their tempers, and considering also your own infirmities, and how much your wives must bear with you.

10. Stir up that most in them into exercise which is best, and stir not up that which is evil; and then the good will most appear, and the evil will be as buried, and you will more easily maintain your love. There is some uncleanness in the best on earth; and if you will be daily stirring in the filth, no wonder if you have the annoyance; and for that you may thank yourselves: draw out the fragrancy of that which is good and delectable in them, and do not by your own imprudence or peevishness stir up the worst, and then you shall find that even your faulty wives will appear more amiable to you.

11. Overcome them with love; and then whatever they are in themselves, they will be loving to you, and consequently lovely. Love will cause love, as fire kindleth fire. A good husband is the best means to make a good and loving wife. Make them not forward by your froward carriage, and then say, we cannot love them.

12. Give them examples of amiableness in yourselves; set them the pattern of a prudent, lowly, loving, meek, self-denying, patient, harmless, holy, heavenly life. Try this a while, and see whether it will not shame them from their faults, and make them walk more amiably themselves.

~Richard Baxter~

The Practical Works of the Rev. Richard Baxter, vol. 4 (London: James Duncan, 1830), 118–119.

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Richard Baxter – Narrow Is The Way

13 Nov

Richard BaxterIf you go into twenty families, and ask them all, Whether any of them are in an unsanctified state, unrenewed and unpardoned, and under the wrath and curse of God? you will meet with few that will not tell you, they hope it is better with them than so; and though they are sinners, as all are, yet that they are repenting, pardoned sinners. Nay, there is scarce one of many of the most wicked and notoriously ungodly, but hope they are in a penitent, pardoned state. Even the haters of God will say they love him; and the scorners at godliness will say that they are not ungodly; and that it is but hypocrisy and singularity that they deride: and it were well for them, if saying so would go for proof, and he that will be their judge would take their words. But God will not be deceived, though foolish men are wise enough to deceive themselves. Wickedness will be wickedness when it hath clothed itself with the fairest names: God will condemn it when it hath found out the most plausible pretences and excuses. Though the ungodly think to bear it out in pride and scorn, and think to be saved by their hypocritical lip-service, as soon as the most holy worshippers of the Lord, yet “shall they be like chaff which the wind driveth away: they shall not be able to stand in judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.” And if God know better than foolish men, then certainly the flock is little to whom the “Father will give the kingdom.” And “wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” When Christ was asked, “Lord, are there few that be saved?” he answered, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”

~Richard Baxter~

The Practical Works of Richard Baxter, Vol. 2 (London, England; James Duncan; 1830) p. 5-6

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Richard Baxter – Preach the Gospel Publicly and Privately

22 Jun

I know that preaching the gospel publicly is the most excellent means, because we speak to many at once. But it is usually far more effectual to preach it privately to a particular sinner.

~Richard Baxter~

The Reformed Pastor (Edinburgh, Scotland; Banner of Truth Trust; 2007) p. 196

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