Baxter – Puritan personal work

Interesting sermon by Richard Baxter “The Reformed Pastor” here

The first and main point, which I have to propound to you, is this, Whether it be not the unquestionable duty of the generality of ministers of these three nations, to set themselves presently to the work of catechizing, and instructing individually, all that are committed to their care, who will be persuaded to submit thereunto? I need not here stand to prove it, having sufficiently done this in the following discourse. Can you think that holy wisdom will deny it? Will zeal for God; will delight in his service, or love to the souls of men, deny it?
1. That people must be taught the principles of religion, and matters of greatest necessity to salvation, is past doubt among us.
2. That they must be taught it in the most edifying, advantageous way, I hope we are agreed.
3. That personal conference, and examination, and instruction, has many excellent advantages for their good, is no less beyond dispute.
4. That personal instruction is recommended to us by Scripture, and by the practice of the servants of Christ, and approved by the godly of all ages, is, so far as I can find, without contradiction.
5. It is past doubt, that we should perform this great duty to all the people, or as many as we can; for our love and care of their souls must extend to all. If there are five hundred or a thousand ignorant people in your parish or congregation, it is a poor discharge of your duty, now and then to speak to some few of them, and to let the rest alone in their ignorance, if you are able to afford them help.
6. It is no less certain, that so great a work as this is should take up a considerable part of our time. Lastly, it is equally certain that all duties should be done in order, as far as may be, and therefore should have their appointed times. And if we are agreed to practice, according to these commonly acknowledged truths, we need not differ upon any doubtful circumstances.

….. I find the benefits and comforts of the work to be such, that I would not wish I had forborne it, for all the riches in the world.

….I remember how earnest I was with some of the last parliament, that they would settle catechists in our assemblies; but truly I am not sorry that it did not take effect, unless for a few of the larger congregations…..

My second request to the ministers in these kingdoms is that they would at last, without any more delay, unanimously set themselves to the practice of those parts of Church discipline which are unquestionably necessary, and part of their work…

My last request is, that all the faithful ministers of Christ would, without any more delay, unite and associate for the furtherance of each other in the work of the Lord, and the maintaining of unity and concord in his churches. And that they would not neglect their brotherly meetings to those ends, nor yet spend them unprofitably, but improve them to their edification, and the effectual carrying on the work.

Remaining elements are The Oversight of Ourselves
– ‘what it is to take heed of ourselves’
– ‘why we must take heed of ourselves’

The Oversight of the Flock divided into:
– the ‘nature’, the ‘manner’, the ‘motives’ of this oversight.

Finally, Application – The Use of Humiliation.

What I’ve read so far I like.