Richard Baxter- “The Life of Joy”

My daughter is in school to become an editor. She tells me my writing is wordy. I think that wordiness is comparative. Take, for example, this 250-word sentence by puritan pastor Richard Baxter. My question for her then is, compared to that many wordsdo you still think that I am wordy?

Anyhow, the writing style and even the entire puritan mindset is so different than my own that I have often found reading the Puritans to take a fair bit of effort and patience. But, I have also found that the work that it takes to read them is always worth it in the end. The Saint’s Everlasting Rest was a book that God used to strengthen me at a time in my life that I felt pretty low. (And, comparatively speaking – as in compared to other puritans like John Owen – it isn’t too difficult to read.) Anyways, this is an excellent quote on “The Life of Joy” by Richard Baxter. I thought that I would share it with you.

(Taken fromMotives to a Heavenly Life in The Saint’s Everlasting Rest, page 107).

Whoever thou art, therefore, that readest these lines, I require thee, as thou tenderest thine allegiance to the God of heaven, as ever thou hopest for a part in this glory, that thou presently take thy heart to task; chide it for its wilful strangeness to God; turn thy thoughts from the pursuit of vanity; bend thy soul to study eternity; busy it about the life to come; habituate thyself to such contemplations, and let not those thoughts be seldom and cursory; but settle upon them; dwell here; bathe thy soul in heaven’s delights; drench thine affections in these rivers of pleasure, or rather, in the sea of consolation; and if thy backward soul begin to flag and thy loose thoughts to fly abroad, call them back, hold them to their work, put them on, bear not with their laziness, do not connive at one neglect; and when thou hast once in obedience to God tried this work, and followed on till thou hast got acquainted with it, and kept a close guard on thy thoughts till they are accustomed to obey, and thou hast got some mastery over them, thou wilt then find thyself in the suburbs of heaven, and, as it were in a new world; thou wilt then find, indeed, that there is sweetness in the work and way of God, and that the life of Christianity is a life of joy.

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