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SAINT’S EVERLASTING REST.
THE THIRD PART.
SEVERAL USES OF THE FORMER DOCTRINE OF REST.
TO MY DEARLY BELOVED FRIENDS,
THE CITY OF COVENTRY,
BOTH MAGISTRATES AND PEOPLE,
RICHARD BAXTER devoteth this part of this Treatise, in thankful acknow. ledgment of their great affection toward him, and ready acceptance of his labours among them, wbich is the highest recompense, if joined with ohedi. ence, that a faithful minister can expect;
HUMBLY beseeching the Lord on their behalf, that he will save them from that spirit of pride, hypocrisy, dissension, and giddiness, which is of late years gone forth, and is now destroying and making havoc of the churches of Christ; and that he will teach them highly to esteem those faithful teachers whom the Lord hath made rulers over them,' (1 Thes. v. 12, 13; Heb. xiii. 7, 17,) and to know them so to be, and to obey them : and that he will keep them unspotted of the guilt of those sins, which in these days have been the shame of our religion, and have made us a scandal or scorn to the world,
SAINT'S EVERLASTING REST.
THE THIRD PART.
CHAP, I. Secr. I. Whatsoever the soul of man doth entertain, must make its first entrance at the understanding ; which must be satisfied, first of its truth, and, secondly, of its goodness, before it find any further admittance; if this porter be negligent, it will admit of any thing that bears but the face or name of truth and goodness; but if it be faithful, able, and diligent in its office, it will examine strictly, and search to the quick; what is found deceitful, it casteth out, that it go no further ; but what is found to he sincere and current, it letteth in to the very heart, where the will and affections do with welcome entertain it, and by concoction, as it were, incorporate it into their own substance. Accordingly, I have been hitherto presenting to your understandings, first, the excellency of the rest of saints, in the first part of this book; and then the verity in the second part. I hope your understandings have now tasted this food, and tried what hath been expressed. Truth fears not the light. This perfect beauty abhorreth darkness; nothing but ignorance of its worth can disparage it. Therefore search, and spare not; read, and read again, and then judge. What think you ; is it good, or is it not? nay, is it not the chiefest good? And is there any thing in goodness to be compared with it? And is it true, or is it not ? a Nay, is there any thing in the world more certain, than that there remaineth a rest to the people of God? Why,
a Caveat quivis Christo fidelis sibi ab impiissimis sermonibus, quibus despicati et profligatissimi quidam homines utantur, dicentes, morte omnia deleri, Dullam esse futuram vitam, in alio mundo ; et homines ut pecora morte consumi; ideoque si corpori belle prospiciatur, animæ abunde prospectum esse, &c. Gravissimis pænis hujusmodi sermones à Christiano magistratu punien. dos esse arbitramur. Etenim si nulla est vita post hanc præsentem, cur, &c. Vide ultra, Bullinger. Corp. Doct. Christian. lib. x. c. 1. p. (mihi) 141.
THE SAINT'S EVERLASTING REST.
361 if your understandings are convinced of both these, I do here, in the behalf of God and his truth, and in the behalf of your own souls, and their life, require the further entertainment hereof; and that you take this blessed subject of rest, and commend it as you have found it to your wills and affections ; let your hearts now cheerfully embrace it, and improve it, and I shall present it to you, in its respective uses.
And though the laws of method do otherwise direct me, yet because I conceive it most profitable, I will lay close together in the first place, all those uses that most concern the ungodly, that they may know where to find their lesson, and not to pick it up and down intermixed with uses of another strain. And then I shall lay down those uses that are more proper to the godly by themselves in the end.
Use I.-Showing the unconceivable misery of the ungodly in
their loss of this Rest. Sect. II. And first, If this rest be for none but for the people of God, what doleful tidings is this to the ungodly world! That there is so much glory, but none for them; so great joys for the saints of God, while they must consume in perpetual sorrows ! Such rest for them that have obeyed the Gospel ; while they must be restless in the flames of hell! If thou who readest these words, art in thy soul a stranger to Christ, and to the holy nature and life of his people, and art not of thein who are before described, and shalt live and die in the same condition that thou art now in; let me tell thee, I am a messenger of the saddest tidings to thee, that ever yet thy ears did hear : that thou shalt never partake of the joys of heaven, nor have the least taste of the saints' everlasting rest. I may say to thee, as Ehud to Eglon, 'I have
b Consuevimus nos homines, præsertim qui crassiore mente præditi sumus, metu potius quam beneficiis quod oportet addiscere.--Theophylact. in Joan. c. 5, v. 22; Judg. ii. 20, 21. Non improbissimi quique tam facile Christianæ doctrinæ subduntur, quam simpliciores et recti, graves alioquin et modesti. Hi namque suppliciorum denunciata formidine, quæ et maxime movet, et ab his, ut caveant ad modum exhortantur quorum gratia inseruntur tormenta, enixe adeo dedere se totos Christianæ disciplinæ nituntur ; tantopere nostra hac ipsa detinentur doctrina, æternas veriti pænas, &c.- Origen. cont. Celsum, circa fin. I add these for them that think we should win men to Christ, only by arguments from his love, and not by any mention of hell, which I confess must not be the chief; for terror will not win to love. But yet, 1. Fear, and care, and obedience, are necessary as well as love. 2. God would not have given us mixed affections, if he would not have had us to use them. 3. 'The doctrine and example of Christ require us to stir up in men both love and fear.