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requires them to use the most young, and to the cause of the diligent means to restore its Redeemer; every attempt to sink salutary influence, and to awaken that catechism; which was so the attention of parents and chil. piously composed and so caudren to its all important contents. tionsly introduced; which is They may pretend a wish for an characterized by such internal improved plan of religious educa- excellence ;" and is, besides, so tion. But the methods adopted extensively supported by the are sofficient to convince the at- public authority of the church, tentive observer, that they are and ratified by the uniform testieither governed by a desire to mony of ages. Let the churchsupplant that system of theolo- .es of God awake ; let them ask gy, which the reformed church for the old way, and walk in the has generally embraced, or, at footsteps of the flock; and let least; are' criminally indifferent them always beware of men desrespecting it. '
titute of the truth, whose impoSuch are the circumstances of sing arts and devious example the present times, that we cannot would lead them into paths, help lamenting, as hostile to the where fatal danger lurks, and the religious improvement of the Saviour is not seené Pastor
ORIGINAL LETTER BY REV, MR.' tion to her offspring ; which will
RICHARD BAXTER TO A PROD- not suffer me to see you perish • IGAL SON.
i in utter silence, and to forbear my
admonition, how ungrateful soevSir,
erit may prove to your corruption. The many obligations laid up- . I have long inquired after on me by the kindness of your vour welfare ; and, from the parents, and the last request of voice of Fame, I heard a very your mother on your behalf, sad report of you: That vou command me toʻmake known my were quite given up to drinking, thoughts to you concerning your sporting, idle company and courpresent and everlasting state. ses, in flat licentiousness, in your
I know the grace of God is disobedience to your father, and free, and that many parents are to the grief of his heart; and in heaven, whose children are in that, as you were a child when 'hell ; but yet, some respect the you should have been a man, so mercy of God hath to children now you grow worse than man or
for their parents' sake; which child; so that your father has · puts me in some hope of you; purposed to marry, and disinherit and, for myself, I cannot think of you, that he might not leave his your mother, whose soul is now estate to such . I was loath with God, without a strong affec- to credit this report ; but made further inquiry of some that I but what you see? Do you live knew to be your friends, and all only by sense, and not by faith? confirmed it; so that I am in Say not so, without an acknowlgreat fears lest it be true. - 176 edgment of brutishness; do not
Sir, believe it, these lines are so, unless you will disown your not begun to you without tears. manhood. Alas ! that the only son, the too I beseech you, tell me, do you much beloved darling of my dear ever think of dying, and of what deceased friend, should prove a follows? If not, what shift do wretch, an invincible neglecter you make to overcome your wit, of God and his salvation, and an so far as to forget it? If you do, heir of everlasting misery (with- what shift make you to overcome out conversion!) Shall the soul your wit and sense itself so far of such an affectionate, careful as to disregard it ? Can your mother see you in damnation ? guilty soul endure the terrors of Shall the heart of a loving father, an offended Majesty ? Is it nothwho looked for much of his earth- ing to be condemned by the most ly comfort in you, have his great- holy God to everlasting tor. est earthly sorrow from you? ments ? Is it not sorrow enough to put Sir, you had best bethink you him to part with half himself, quickly, whom you have to do but he must see his only son as with. It is not only an earthly lost and dead while he is alive? father that you offend, but you are
Sir, if you cannot feel words, a creature and a subject of eteryou shall shortly have that which nal Majesty. You owe him your will make you feel. What ! is highest love and obedience...... your heart become a stone? He will make you know yourHave you so lately seen the face self, and know your Maker, and of death in a deceased mother, know his laws, and know your and do you no better bethink you duty, or he will make you howl of your own ? I beseech you for in endless misery for it. You the sake of her that charged you may make bold with a man like by her last word to you, to be yourself; but be not too bold ruled by ine; nay, I beseech with the consuming fire. The you, for the sake of God and of sun is darkness in comparison of your soul, that you would take his glory ; the heavens and earth these lines a little into your pri- are but as an hand breadth, in vate serious thoughts, if you comparison of his infiniteness. know how to be serious; and Thousands and ten thousands of that you will not proceed any glorious angels are praising HIM, further in your folly, till you can while such a thing as you are: tell how to answer the question slighting, forgetting and disobeywhich I shall now put to you. ing HIM. And do you think
Sir, what do you think on? he will long put up with this at Do you not believe that the infi- your hands ? If you dare take nite God beholdeth you, and that your Prince by the throat, if you you live in his presence? Is dare play with a raging hunGod's presence nothing to you ? gry lion, yet do not play with the Are you affected with nothing wrath of God. If you dare
ta n to para
venture on fire or water, yet learn of the world hath told yqu, that more wit than to venture on “they that are after the flesh, hell-fire.
do mind the things of the flesh; Do you think these are but and they that are after the Spirit, empty words ? Believe you not a the things of the Spirit :" that life to come? If you do not, « to be carnally minded is death; your unbelief shall not procure that if ye live after the flesh ye your escape : but experience shall die ; that they who are in shall convince you, and make you, the flesh cannot please God; in despite of you, believe or con, and that if any man have not the fešs that there is an endless life Spirit of Christ, he is none of that you should trave provided his.” for. If you do believe it, you Sir, all these, and a hundred are out of your wits, man, to be more such, are the true words of lieve one thing, and do another; Ged, which I mind you of, that to believe that you are near to you may see who it is that you heaven or hell, and yet make are so bold with, and what it is light of it!
that you cast your soul on. O, Sir, it is but a few days that Jest not with damnation. Hearkyou have to take your fleshly en not to the suggestions of pleasures in ; but it is long and your vain imagination, nor to long indeed that you must suffer the deceitful words of prating for it, if speedy sound conversion sensualists, when you see the prevent it not. How many words of God against them. Re: years must your flesh and member who you are and where bones lie in the earth, while you stand. Though you are a your soul is paying dear for your gentleman, you are but a lump of wilfulness! And how many walking dirt, as to that bod: millions of years after must soul ily part which you pamper. and body lie in hell! Will you You are continually in the hand take comfort in the remembrance of God. How afraid am I, lest of your present pleasures? Will I should ere long hear of your it ease your torments, think you, death, and so you should be past to remember that once you had recovery in hell, and out of the your will, and once you gratified reach of warnings and advice! your flesh ?
and what a base dishonour is it Sir, deal plainly and not deceit. to your understanding, that you fully with yourself. Are you should set so high an estimate considerately resolved to sell all on the sordid delights of your your hopes of heaven for your freshly mind, as to cast away God pleasure ? Are you resolved of and Christ, and heaven, and soul, it? Will you make so mad a and friends, and credit, and bargain ? Will you venture upon conscience, and all for them! hell for a little sensual delight ? Why, Sir, is it really your If this be your deliberate resolu: judgment that your fleshly plea: tion, you be not worthy the sures are worth all these? If it name of a man, nor worthy to be, what a blind and sottish come into the company of men, mind have you? I dare say and If it be not, what mean you, to do profess, that no man in Bedlam it? The Governor and Judge hath a greater error. If it be not your judgment, will you go send you; and as you go, ex. . against your own judgment ? amine your soul by it, and alWhy, in this, you are far worse low it your most sober solitary than any beast ; for a beast hath thoughts. no reason to rule his appetite, Thirdly, That you would pre. and so disobeyeth not his reason; sently, this night, betake your but you have reason, if you self to God in prayer on your will not stifle and bury it, but use knees, and lament with tears your it. What is it that you love former folly, and earnestly beg sp much better than God, than his pardoning grace, and beseech Christ, than heaven and all? Is him to give you a new, a holy, a it drink and play, and fleshly plea. mortified mind; and make this sure? Why a heathen, a Turk, seriously your daily practice ; a dog, a swine, hath his part in and then, go to your father, and these as well as you. Take it on your knees, confess your sin not ill that I speak to you in and disobedience, and beg his so plain and homely a phrase. I pardon, and promise unfeignedly tell you the day is even at hand, to do so no more ; and that when your tongue shall confess from this day forward, you will that I spoke not half so ill of take your fleshly disposition for your way of folly as it doth de- the great and dangerous enemy serve. You have read in Luke, of your soul; on the conquest (the sixteenth) of him that was of which your salvation lieth ; tormented in hell, because he and which you must study to had his good things in this life, subdue, and not to please. Read in gay clothing and delicious what Paul himself thought nefare : and how much worse than cessary, I Cor. ix. 25-27; and this do you !
that you never more meddle O, Sir, remember sin, is de- with sports and recreations, or ceitful, the flesh is base, the world drink, or fleshly pleasures, but is worthless, pleasures here are soberly and ordinately, and no but short; but God is of infinite more than is needful to fit you perfection; heaven is a certain du- for the service of God; and that table possession; holinessis sweet your care and business, and eveand amiable ; the life of godliness ry day's work may be (when is clean, and safe, and pleasant you have bewailed your youthful · I am loath to word with you folly) to do God all the service any further ; but address myself that you can, and make ready to you, in the grief of my heart, for your appearing before the for your sin and misery, with Lord ; and make sure of that these three important requests, everlasting glory, which you which I entreat you, that you have forfeited. will not deny me.
Go not out of doors till you First, That you will, patiently have examined yourself whether and considerately, read over and you go on your Master's busiover this letter, which I write to ness; and whether your work be you.
such that you would be comfort Secondly, That you will delib- ably found in, if death shall call erately read over this treatise of you before you come in a conversion, which herewith I gain.
« One thing is needful," and that load that must be on your all thing's else are toys. Choose soul to all eternity. the better part, which shall never Sir, nobody shall know from be taken from you, Luke x. 42 ; me what I write to you, if you hate such a disposition as han- keep it to yourself and amend; kers after sensual, brutish de- and as long as no eye seeth it lights, and loveth pleasures more but your own, the plainest dealthan God; and had rather be at ing, in so great a cause, can be no sports or drinking, than in his injury to you. But let me tell service ; and loves the company you, if you shall go on in folly, of merry jovial fools better than and turn not unto God, and live of them that fear the Lord, Psal. not in his fear, perbaps I may XV. 4 ; and had rather sport and publish to the knowledge of the talk away time, than spend it in world the admonition, which I preparing for eternal glory ; for have given you, that ........it if this be the present frame of may appear, that if you were your mind, as true as the word disobedient to a dying mother, of God is true, you are dead in yet, I was faithful to the last sin, and an heir of hell ; and charge of a dying friend ; and if cannot be saved, unless convert you durst abuse the Lord by sining, saving grace, do make you ning, so durst not I by letting a new creature, and give you a you alone. But God forbid that new heart, so that “old things you should put me to this! I pass away, and all things be- cannot, I will not yet give up come new," with you, 2 Cor. v. my hope, that God hath mercy 17.
for a son of so many prayers and Sir, I again beseech you to tears, which have been poured grant me these three requests that out for you by a saint now in I have made to you. It would heaven ; and which the Lord is rejoice me much to hear of your witness are seconded with the conversion, as it grieves me to tears of your surviving monitor, hear what you are, and fear what with which these lines were be, you will be. If you yield this gun, and are now ending; and much to God and me, you will which shall be followed with my have the everlasting comfort of prayers while God will give me it. If you will not, I do testify a heart to pray, that you may to your face, that it is not your presently prove a returning fleshly pleasures, nor idle, delu- prodigal ; that both your earthly sory companions, nor your un- and beavenly Father may rebelief, stupidity, false imagina- joice, and say, " This our son tions, or childish folly, that shall was dead, and is alive again; save you from the burning wrath was lost and is found.” (Luke of God; and I profess, I had xv. 32.) I pray you read the rather be a toad than you. And whole chapter. let me add, the words of a dying Sir, I remain an earnest desirmother, and the earnest requests er of your conversion and salvaof her and your yet surviving tion, friend, shall witness against you
RICHARD BAXTER. before the Lord, and aggravate