This is a biblical counseling text from the 17th century.
Here’s what I’ve been working on. I’ll put this up as a pdf with formatting and such when it is completed (at present the bolds, italics, et cetera will not show up in the post). The original text from 1637 is 244 pages long. Below, you will find the first 76 pages. The formatting, chapter headings and such have been added. I have also slightly modernized the text (rather than “speaketh” I have “speaks”).
Brief Directions Onto a Godly Life:
Wherein every Christian is furnished with most necessary helps for the furthering of him in a godly course here upon earth, that he so may attain eternal happiness.
Written by Mr. Paul Bayne, minister of God’s Word,
to Mr. Nicholas Jordane, his brother.
Printed by A.G. for I.N. and are to be sold by Samuel Enderby
at the Starre in Pope’s Head Alley, 1637
The Epistle Dedicatory
To the right worshipful, Mr. Nicholas Jordane, Esquire, and one of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace and Quorum, in the County of Suffolk’s,
It has been an ancient custom to reserve some lively representation of worthy friends deceased, to thereby continue the remembrance of their virtues, persons, and love. This holy treatise ensuing has served you to that purpose, and that very fitly; for herein you have a true representation and remembrance of your most worthy and loving brother, especially of the most noble and worthy part of it, I mean of his excellent understanding of the mystery of godliness, his most zealous and earnest will and desire of all men’s practice of godliness; and a sincere love unto you in particular, unto whom he primarily directed these directions onto a godly life; which as they do lively express that he had put on the new man, created and renewed in knowledge, righteousness and true holiness. So it is most worthy of our reservation, both in the remembrance in imitation of him. Yea, I confidently affirm, that this faithful remembrance is most worthy and fit always to be carried about us, and daily to be looked upon by us: for it will help us well to put on that new man, and to be conformable to our head Jesus Christ, and to walk before the Lord in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life. For there is this difference between those former corporeal images of earthly bodies and this that men with too much love and use of them, easily fell into superstitious wickedness; but this the more it is loved and used of man, the more will all wickedness be rooted out of their hearts, and the more will they glorify God by a holy life and conversation [conversation means the sum total of on’s conduct] having received this holy treatise at your worship’s hands to publish unto to the world, I am bold to return it unto you for safeguard, both that the world may know unto whom it is obliged for so excellent a monument, as also for the great benefit that shall be reaped thereby. So, Sir, accounting it a wise part in him that cannot speak well, to say but little; I commend you and this treatise to God’s grace which is able to build us up further, even to do wondrously above all that we can ask or think.
Your Worship’s humbly at command,
PART ONE: The trouble of this world is sin; redemption by God in Jesus Christ is the only solution. Therefore, our chief goal must be to obtain that salvation by faith. We must distinguish true faith from false – and then lay hold upon the grace to be had in full assurance of God’s love for us. For such faith “is the root and ground of a godly life.”
CHAPTER ONE: OUR PROBLEM IS SIN
The trouble of humanity is sin. Redemption in Christ is the only answer. However, not all have true faith which lays hold on redemption. At times the trouble lies with poor pastors who do not do their job. Some trouble lies with the people who will not hear with faith.
Sure it is, that it was not thus with mankind in the beginning as now it is.