baxter’s introduction

Richard Baxter wrote a treatise titled The Saints’ Everlasting Rest, based on the verse in Hebrews 4 – ‘There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.’

“My text is [the apostle’s] conclusion after diverse arguments, a conclusion which contains the ground of all the believer’s comfort, the end of all his duty and sufferings, the life and sum of all gospel promises and Christian privileges. What more welcome to men, under personal sufferings, afflictions, tiring duties, successions of sufferings, than rest? It is not our comfort only, but our stability. Our liveliness in all duties, our enduring tribulation, our honouring of God, the vigour of our love, thankfulness, and all our graces, yea, the very being of our religion and Christianity, depend on the believing, serious thoughts of our rest.

And now, reader, whatever thou art, young or old, rich or poor, I entreat thee, and charge thee, in the name of thy Lord, who will shortly call thee to a reckoning, and judge thee to thy everlasting unchangeable state, that thou give not these things the reading only, and so dismiss them with a bare approbation, but that thou set upon this work, and take God in Christ for thy only rest, and fix thy heart upon him above all. May the living God, who is the portion and rest of his saints, make these our carnal minds so spiritual, and our earthly hearts so heavenly, that loving him, and delighting in him, may be the work of our lives; and that neither I who write, nor you who read this book, may ever be turned from this path of life; lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, we should come short of it through our own unbelief or negligence!”

When it says in Revelation, ‘Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord,’ part of their blessedness consists in their entering into this rest. This is why there is no reason to regret the death of a believer for their own sake, even when there is sadness among those left behind who have lost a friend. But with eternity ahead of all of us, it is every reason to consider whether this is the prospect in front of each of us personally – if not, to take action so that it will be, and if so, to live the rest of the time here accordingly.

______________
Richard Baxter, The Saints’ Everlasting Rest. First published 1649. My copy is an undated but presumably nineteenth century reprint by the Religious Tract Society; quotation from p2-3.

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6 thoughts on “baxter’s introduction

  1. From the Contents page:

    What this rest contains
    1. A ceasing from means of grace
    2. A perfect freedom from all evils
    3. The saints’ personal perfection in body and soul
    4. The nearest enjoyment of God the chief good

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  2. Cath – the most current reprint (by Christian Focus Publications), dated 1998, of the complete work is 672 pages long. Now that’s a long meditation on one verse! Baxter originally published it in 1650.

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  3. Thanks Richard – I’ll check the date given in the book when i go home tonight – thought it said 1649 but it could be a mistake. It never occurred to me but it’s possible that my copy is an abridged version – it seems a bit tiny to be that long :)

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