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The previous post in this series may be found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/paul-baynes-brief-directions-unto-a-godly-life-chapter-twenty/

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE: UNMORTIFIED AFFECTIONS HINDER GODLINESS

The second kind of general hinderances are the unmortified affections wherewith believers are oppressed. Concerning which in general, it will be profitable for everyone to mark what he is most encumbered and most easily overcome by, and by what occasions he is readiest  drawn to them; that he may the more diligently and wisely labor to prevail against them.

Harmful Affections

Fear and Its Remedy

In particular, one kind is fear and doubt of preserving by means of affliction. This does easily take all the weak ones; therefore the Scripture forewarns of it.  Matthew 10:28, Philippians 1:28, Job 16:33. This, if it does prevail, cannot but enfeeble utterly the powers of their minds; and so withhold the instruments of the body practicing well any kind of duty.

The remedy of it must be sought for in Scripture. Psalm 30:5, 2 Corinthians 4:17, Hebrews 12:1, 2 Corinthians 9:10, James 1:3.

Pride and Its Remedy

Another unfortified affection is pride and overweening of themselves. Examples can be found in Romans 3:17, 1 Corinthians 4:8.

This makes men wax weary in their learning and remiss in their diligence and care for good, to account meanly those which are loose and irreligious; or else fall into sects, schisms, and heresies, or at least bring themselves in an accursed melancholy and solitary life.

Remedy is laid down in Revelation 3:17, 1 Corinthians 3:18 and 4:1, Psalm 119:12. We must diligently examine and consider our ways till we have found out our sins unto true humiliation.[1]  We must compare ourselves not with worst but with the best Christians and holiest examples.

Sloth and Its Remedy

Another unfortified affection is sloth. The remedy is to find out sound of this is and. Proverbs 18:12. Encouragements we have from God. Joshua 1:9, Ephesians 3:19.

Flashing Anger and Its Remedy

Among other unstaid [flightly, erratic] affections which are inward hindrances of godliness, peevish frowardness[2] is not the least, when men are fretting against persons or things that do cross us, though it be but trifles.  Thus many are caught upon the sudden, hich at other times easily could easily withstand greater provocations, as we may see of David, if we compare 1 Samuel 24:7 & 24:13.

This is a high offense to God, a needless trouble ourselves, a bereaving of godly wisdom, yea, of common wisdom also. Therefore we must make diligent search and inquire whether we be prone to these servile passions or no, and so labor to prevent them. But if we be at any time overtaken with it, then we must (as soon as may be) set ourselves apart, seriously to consider of[3] the unseemliness of the matter, until we can shake it off. And after take care that return not again upon us.

Ignorance

Another troublesome affection is that men through ignorance or unbelief growing weary of proceeding in a Christian life, or at  least duties needs thereof. The danger of this may appear by the contrary warnings. Galatians 6:9, 1 Corinthians 16:3. This Satan labors to effect by reproach. We must therefore get assurance that God’s grace shall be sufficient for us. Matthew 11:31.

Many other affections there are of the like nature to be shunned, such as unjust anger, heart burnings, looseness and lightness of heart, rashness, haughtiness, lumpishness [dull, stupid] and melancholy, with various similar things. The beginnings and first rising whereof, although our own hearts do breed, yet the strength of them is from Satan.

Harmful Desires and Passions

Besides the fore-named evil affections, there are other worldly lusts which many Christians are much disguised, as carnal pleasure and inordinate desire of riches.

For the first, many are drowned in sensuality, and with sottish [intoxicating, drunken] pleasures of the body, so that they become even blind and impotent: for when a man gives his heart liberty to desire stolen waters, and to count them sweet, not casting them up [vomiting], and arming himself against them as he ought; and gives his eye leave to feed itself with vanity, by little and little his prayers become weak and unable to drive out such sottishness, but it lodges in him, and so is made a slave unto it.

An example we have Sampson in Judges 15. Nay some go so far that they are senseless at the sight of it, when as they should tremble to behold in what state they are. For their prayers are dead, their burden of conscience importable[4], their loss of grace unspeakable, the griefs of the godly unutterable, and themselves as fools in Israel and spectacles to the profane world to move past.

First, for the avoiding of these mischiefs, we must make it our greatest care to abide in the favor of God, and hold fast the assurance of it from day to day.

Secondly, we must be willing to submit ourselves to the yoke of Christ.

Thirdly, we must hold in our lusts and imaginations as it were with bit and bridle, that they range not after hurtful and poisoned baits.

Fourthyly, we must shun and avoid all the occasions and objects of such mischief. And especially, we must be suspicious and fearful of those sins to which we know ourselves to be most prone and inclined.

Worldliness

The other worldly lust is noisome care[5] about the things of this life, which is a common evil under the sun, for it creeps upon men so secretly and subtly, that hardly shall one perceive the danger of it until we have taken hurt by it: yet the danger is deadly, for where worldliness fastens upon a man, it devours godliness; it suffers no good thing to grow by it, but chokes it and overshadows any gift of God whatsoever, and so changes even good men, that they are not aware of it, that they become most unlike themselves. 1 Timothy 6:10.

Worldliness in the Rich

By this, men in worldly dealings become greedy of profit, rash in making and careless in performing of covenants [contracts]; too much looseness, earthly rejoicing and fretting when we thrive not; overlaying ourselves with worldly dealings, so that no time is for better use.

For the redressing of this, four things are required:

First, let every man look carefully that no man be hurt or sustain any loss or danger by him. 1 Thessalonians 4:6. By this he shall be freed from all the sins against his neighbor (as required by the 8th Commandment).

Secondly, his care must be not only to do no hurt, but also to do good to those whom we have to do with. Romans 13:8. As to the minister in maintenance[6], to our family in provision, to the poor in relief, etc.

Thirdly, heed must be taken that riches hurt us not, that they be not means to draw us unto sin. Ecclesiastes 5:12.

Fourthly, we must provide that we be bettered by our wealth toward God’s service. Deuteronomy 28:47.

Worldliness in the Poor

As for the poor, they shall best testify that they are not tainted with this sin if they hold fast in innocence, contentment, and thanksgiving.

Reasons to move us to avoid covetousness are

First, because we cannot enjoy them [any item of physical possession] long, but either they shall be taken from us, or we from them; and yet this short time is also uncertain. Luke 16:2.

Secondly, because they are not our own but borrowed. Luke 16:2.

Thirdly, if we be not faithful in smaller, it is an argument that we shall be much less in greater.

Fourthly, because we shall give an account as of all other things so especially of our getting, using, and foregoing of our goods and commodities.

 

 

[1] Since pride will mask our true heart to our-selves, we must examine our heart until we our sin revealed and respond with true humiliation.

[2] The text here appears corrupt. Just prior to “peevish” is the word “tuchie” “suchie, which makes no sense. Froward means willfully contrary.

[3] “Consider of”: it is idiomatic at this time to mark the matter thought of with the word “of” – a genitive of direct object.  Read, “consider the unseemliness,” etc.

[4] “Importable” seems to be a mistake of some sort. He must means that they lack any proper sense of conscience; that is, their conscience has become seared.

[5] An obnoxious, excessive care.

[6] He refers to the duty to care for the physical needs of their pastors.