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The previous post in this series may be found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/paul-baynes-brief-directions-unto-a-godly-life-chapter-twenty-one/

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO: CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH HINDER GODLINESS
There is a third kind of difficulty, whereby many believers are hindered from going on in a godly course: all kinds of outward things which themselves are not evil but are made by Satan occasions to hurt to hurt and wound our souls.

Afflictions: though sent of God for our great good, as it is to be seen in Hebrews 12:7 & 11, Psalm 119:71, 1 Corinthians 11:13, James 1:2. Yet afflictions when used by Satan and joined to own corruption make occasions for impatience, fretting, pensiveness, and many other evils. Again which we must arm ourselves before they come, that then our unruly passions may not break out so impatiently[fn.1].


Prosperity: So in prosperity he subtly makes drunk our hearts with love of our good, puffs them up with pride and high mindedness.

To these dangerous evils shall the godly be drawn, except they carefully prevent [fn 2] them. It is therefore a special point of wisdom in time of peace that we lean not upon outward things, for then we shall easily be cast down with every blast of adversity.

Daily Responsibilities: Another occasion of unsettling our hearts are household affairs, and things that concern our maintenance, by the unwary use whereof, men become unquiet, wayward, distracted, and unlike Christians.

A wise man will therefore unburden himself of these multitude of worldly dealings which will not suffer the mind to be freed and will so subdue his affections that he may have them in order as well in one thing as in another.

Moving: By change of company, dwelling and acquaintance men receive much hurt. Genesis 19:30.

The ungodliness of the world around: The sight of godliness to be contemned and licentious courses to be maintained is a great scandal. Psalm 73.

Bad company: Familiarity with the wicked is of great force.

Many other occasions there are by our sense conveyed onto us, against which we must daily strive by keeping on our armor, standing on our watch, following that direction which God has given and depending on that grace which he has promised; ever remembering that we do not cast off fear or danger, for occasions of sin shall never be wanting, no, not in things lawful and good; nor Satan waiting upon them, with secret extenuation of sin and hiding of punishment.

 

Fn. 1: We will never be able to respond rightly to any trial or temptation unless we prepare ourselves to respond beforehand. No one takes an examination before studying and does well. No one sends a soldier in battle before he is trained. Even children practice before they play team sports. It is a strange kind of ignorance and arrogance that one should think he would be able to respond in a godly manner to a temptation unless he is prepared beforehand.

Fn 2:“Prevent” does not mean prohibit, but rather means “go ahead of”; hence, prepare for them.