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The previous post in this series may be found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2013/08/26/paul-baynes-brief-directions-unto-a-godly-life-chapter-eight/

CHAPTER NINE: THE GOOD WHICH COMES FROM A GODLY LIFE

     Having after resort declared what the Christian’s are believer’s life is; it follows to show some reasons, why the believer should lead his life thus.

The Glory of God

     First, there is great cause why this should be sought for; because by this God is highly glorified: for if he be honored by the conversion of a sinner, then much more by his life afterwards. It was a great part of Solomon’s honor, that he gave silver as stones, and goodly cedars as the wild fig trees: This must needs be a great honor to God, when he gives gracious and possessions, which neither silver nor gold can purchase, and a habitation that neither cedar nor almond tree can make resemblance.  This honor the Lord has in all ages from the outward conversation of his servants; and yet their best things are within, it cannot be seen of men.1 Peter 2:12.

     The Good of Our Life

     Another reason why men should with the full resolution address themselves to pass the time of their dwelling here with reverence and fear is the good that comes onto themselves by it and the danger which they are in without it. Proverbs 2:10. For he that has set himself to seek the Lord and is willingly weaned from unlawful liberties, and has made his past time to be well occupied, he is always safe: Whereas for want of this, many fall where they little feared; for it is not enough that we purpose no wickedness toward evil, but we must be strongly armed always with full purpose against it, especially that whereto we are most prone, and wherein we have had by woful trials, experience of our weakness; for while we do commit none, yet we make a way for it to enter into us afresh, while we become secure and improvident.

     This manifestly to be seen in the example of Peter, of the prophet of Bethel, of Judah, who did all purpose well in general, yet not fearing their frailty, were arming themselves against the same, they were soon overtaken.

     The Harm of Hearing and not Living

     This also may move us, that no exercise of religion or godly means of the best sort can’t do them any good, who will not resolve themselves to come to this faithful practice of a godly life? This is exemplified sufficiently of the Jews practice[1] and proved the prophets’ complaints.[2] Experience also does witness the same: for we see many frequent the exercises of religion, who because they propound not with themselves to be cast into the mold of holy doctrine and to be fashioned after it in their lives, do get rather harm than good. Whereas others at the same time, using the same means, to receive much blessing from God thereby, such woe it is that profaneness of life brings with it.

     This is not spoken for the discouragement of any that they should give over the use of any good means, but to stir us up all for to seek the true fruit of them; for God’s dear children when they grow careless, loose the fruit of good exercise, and when they wax weary of reverent attending upon God (as all good things the flesh does soon turned to weariness) and begin after the matter of men (with whom they live) to seek their unlawful liberty some way, not being circumspect enough about the keeping of the best things in price and estimation; the Lord seeing this, takes from them the privileges which they enjoyed before, he dims the light of their minds, that they see not so clearly, shuts up their hearts that they delight not in the matters which were wont [their custom] to be of greatest account  and reckoning with them. By all which it may appear, that much more than they that worship him with unclean hearts, never washed purged, do not receive it to them the sweet and wholesome liquor of his grace, by which outward exercises soever they present themselves before him: and if this be the state of many who draw near onto God outwardly, how fearful than is their condition, who neither here his word, nor are acquainted with his ways at all?

     Answering Some Objection

     Now because this straight course is not easily yield onto, therefore some things are objected against it, which must be answered.

     What About Joy?

     Objection: This life cannot be led or at least not with any joy.

     Answer: it may seem so indeed, because after they have this course many have kept at a stay or else being driven back, some complain of much tediousness and strong discouragements, fearful doubting, and small comfort in it. Divers others accounted a popish life. But for the answer of all this, we are to know that this Christian life, consisting not in some good actions but in the keeping of our hearts sincere and uprightly bent to walk with the Lord in all his commandments throughout our whole course, according to our knowledge, is not only possible but required. As the prophet shows in Psalm 1:2 & 119:9, 97, 98, where  he teaches that he who is happy ungodly indeed and endeavors to this, that his mind may delight in and be possessed of good matters, or rightfully using lawful or careful resisting those which are sinful. Philippians 3:20.

     The example also of Enoch, Abraham, Job, Moses, David, with other godly men, who are not without their infirmities no more than we do show the possibility of this life; neither is it is state unpleasant to the spiritual man, whom the Holy Ghost directs, but easy, sweet, and comfortable, though it be a yoke to corrupt lust not yet subdued. For as everyone excels  another in the graces of the spirit, thereafter as his measure greater in the privileges of a Christian than others, and with more sound continual comfort does he pass his days, and free his life from reproachful evils. And the more that any godly man increases in goodness, and goes beyond that estate wherein he has sometimes been in knowledge and high estimation of it, and the right use of the same, the more shall his life be filled with matter of sound and pure rejoicing.

     Well, No One Can Live Like That Now

     Objection:  Howsoever there were some in the time of those forefathers, yet now we see none live after that same manner.

     Answer: Although the life of most be indeed very loathsome, yet there are so many godly lights amongst us (the Lord multiplying the number of them, the graces which he has given them a thousandfold  and be highly praised for them) with whom to live, is next to heaven itself. They do not only not faint or give over, but grow from untowardness to God’s service, to a holy cheerfulness and delight in the same, which growth is seen also the duties to men as well is to God. These howsoever they be but few, in respect of them who set themselves to uphold the corrupt estate that the world has ever lived in; yet some such, God has set among us, to far more great and singular purposes than many carnal eyes can see or discern. We must therefore be wise to discern them, ready to love their persons, and reverence those precious things that are in them, and by frequenting their companies, learned to imitate their virtues.

     Who are You to Call for Such Obedience?

     Objection: You that urged this strict kind of life, do go too far and brag of that which is notin you, not remembering how many have fallen which were more like to have stood that you; as David, Peter. It is good for all to profess no worse than others do, and so their fall shall not be so much wondered at.

     Answer: By the grace of God, bragging is far from us, neither do we go too far, the Word being our warrant. We are not afraid to utter that which we know, nay we not do otherwise, though it be against ourselves as much as others, if we shall set light[take it lightly] by it at any time. Neither are we anything the nigher [closer], but much further from falling, by speaking the truth boldly. If anytime we fall, we look to feel the bitter fruit of the same being assured also that we shall rise again. In the meantime, God will have this holy life practiced of others whatsoever become of us[3]. His truth remains forever: the true worshipers of God must depart from iniquity. 2 Timothy 2:19. As for the fall of David, Peter, etc., they arise from security and the of want this watchful course which is urged[4], and therefore should be motives onto us, the more carefully to look to ourselves, lest we also be overtaken.

     Men cannot now live otherwise than they have done, especially after this matter. So that neither husband nor wife, nor one neighbor with another, can be made merry together.

     As for the changes of estate, there is no cause why we should fear or be unwilling to change for the better. As for delights, there is none more sweet than those which have ground in religion.  But those that cannot stand with a godly life, let them, in the name of God, be broken off, for they may as well be spared as the paring of our nails, and therefore not sufficient to justle [jostle?] out a godly life from the practice of any true Christian and believer.

 

 


[1] He refers to the history of the people of the Old Covenant (Old Testament) who had been given the law and yet had a history of rebellion against God.

[2] Their conduct proved that the prophets’ accusations were true.

[3] Even if we fail in upholding the standard, God will continue to expect this standard to be met.

[4] David and Peter fell because they were too self-assured and had failed to watch against sin.