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You will find the previous chapter here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/paul-baynes-brief-directions-unto-a-godly-life-chapter-six/

CHAPTER SEVEN: HEART ATTITUDES AND OBEDIENCE

      Having shown what we must avoid, let us now consider what we must seek[1].

      Obedience must not be merely a matter of behavior. Those who obey without the right attitude of the heart will find themselves unsettled and discouraged, their zeal cool; their heart straying; their obedience a toil and burden.

      Duty and Delight

      First, right obedience requires both knowledge of the duty – what we are to do – and delight in the duty[2].

Secondly, practice of that which we know; which is that living by faith, are laboring to keep a good conscience, so often commended on to us in Scripture.

For the first, we must understand by “knowledge.”  It is an enlightening of the mind to understand the will of God about good and evil. It also entails a spirit wisdom, to apply and referr the same to the well ordering of our particular action. We must not rest seeing the truth only, but approve and follow it; knowing what is fit to counsel and guide us. The best must see the need to grow in obedience; the least must not be discouraged. This knowledge must not be weighed and esteemed of us as a common thing and of no value, but loved – otherwise no fruit will follow.

      Inward and Outward Obedience

We must seek to walk worthy of the Lord and please in all things. Colossians 1:10. Our walk must conform both inward and outward.

Inward, when as in resolution of our minds and desires and purpose of our hearts, we are prepared and ready to work, and are employed in any good service to God or our brothers. Psalm 119:10; Acts 11:12.  We stir our resolution often, or it will be lost through forgetfulness, sloth, careless negligence; or else overwhelmed by sorrow, fear or some similar passion. We will be dulled and made blunt in us through lightness and vanity. Then we are unfit to honor God in any service.

Outward, when in our lives we express and declare the same, by endeavoring at least to please God in one commandment as well as in another. Acts 9:3.[3]

      How We Must Obey

First, uprightness:  We must obey with a single and true heart. We must love, desire, and do all things because God commands us, and that for God’s glory Deuteronomy 18:13, Ephesians 6:14, John 1:47; 1 Corinthians 10:31. Many actions otherwise fervent enough, for lack of sincerity, are but froth (as were the hot enterprises of Jehu against idolaters).

Such insincere actions – even if approved by others – prove one to be a hypocrite. For many are the holes and the dens of our hearts, and many ways we can deceive ourselves and others also by false pretenses and good actions.

Yet we must labor, knowing that our best actions are mixed with corruption. Yet even then we must seek the joy of unmixed devotion and obedience.

Second diligence. We must be ready to take all occasions and opportunities to the doing of some good, and to shun idleness and being unprofitable. 2 Peter 1:5.

Third, constancy: We must nourish all good desires and holy endeavors, so that our latter years be better than the former. Thus, we will finish our course with joy.

By diligence and constancy, great matters are brought to pass. Where is sloth and inconstancy, not even the most godly will find sweet fruit in their lives.

Fourth, humility and meekness: All our duties must be practiced, if we will follow Christ. Matthew 11:29. These two are not particular virtues, which sometimes all they may have use, but such fruits of the Spirit necessarily required in all actions, so that at no time humbleness of mind and meekness of spirit may be wanting. And therefore they are ofttimes in the Scriptures sat down together, as Ephesians 4:2, Colossians 3:2.

It is evident that the life of the believer is a continual proceeding and departing from evil; endeavoring after duties; a settled course in repentance; and a constant walking with God. Not an idle, uncertain stumbling upon some good actions, while a large part of one’s life is neglected and not looked after. But some may say here, we have a desire to do these things, but we want power and ability. Whereunto I answer that the best desire is vain except we have with that assurance of God’s favor and help to faith; for faith overcomes all lets [hindrances]. 1 John 5:4. Here we see that  God who has saved us from the greater danger of hell, will also save us from the lesser danger of being overcome by our corrupt lusts.

We are not Yet Perfect, So That God Will Receive All the Glory

Objection: And if any say that, St. Paul himself did not find power to overcome the body of sin?

Answer:

The holy apostle did not overcome all rebellion of the old man, to the NT might always have the mark of his unworthiness and sin remaining in him. Thereby remember, that it was only of mercy that he was pardoned, and the grace of God that kept him from falling away. And that for both these causes he might be abased and  humble under so great grace as he had received. And last of all, that he might from time to time find sweetness still in the forgiveness of his sins.

But although he was not perfect as an angel, yet was not he carried out his lusts into gross iniquities, for God’s grace is sufficient for him; and so shall it be for us, if we do as often earnestly desire it. For every Christian in his measure may look for the same grace that Paul had, and the strength to follow in duties which seem so difficult and impossible to us.

Which is not so to be understood, as if every godly Christian does feel or obtain this (or that might discourage many), but to show what God’s children may confidently look for, and how their estate may be bettered, and their spiritual liberty increased. For many good people do not know what their heavenly father has provided for them, but only receive so much light as whereby they see the way to his kingdom according to the knowledge they have of his will. Thereafter they declare and show it forth in their lives; but nothing as they might, or some others do.

 


[1] The original of this work in many places shows poor editing. The introductory paragraphs to this section have been among the most confused. While keeping the substance, I have rewritten the text in places.

[2] Note: By delight in obedience we must not read constant cheerfulness, or else we accuse the Lord. Going to the cross was not cheerful in itself. Rather it was a delight in doing Father’s will, however painful and cheerless the task.

[3][3] Obedience must be universal – we cannot pick and choose what we will obey.