Thursday, October 28, 2010

Richard Baxter - The Reformed Pastor

I recently finished reading the classic book The Reformed Pastor by the great Puritan Richard Baxter. It's basically a book length plea for clergy to work hard rather than slacking off, and to devote their time especially to visiting for the purposes of evangelism and discipleship, specifically by teaching the catechism (and Baxter didn't really mind which catechism...)

It's the kind of book that ought to be a must-read for clergy, and I can well see why it was so heavily recommended at college. But last time I mentioned it in a gathering of clergy, no-one there had read it. Here's a sample quote:

For my part, I study to speak as plainly and movingly as I can, (and next to my study to speak truly, these are my chief studies,) and yet I frequently meet with those who have been my hearers eight or ten years, who know not whether Christ be God or man, and wonder when I tell them the history of his birth and life and death, as if they had never heard it before... I have found by experience, that some ignorant persons, who have been so long unprofitable hearers, have got more knowledge and remorse of conscience in half an hour's close discourse than they did from ten years' public preaching.
p.196

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