BY RICHARD BAXTER
All who know me realize I love the Puritans. The original British ones, and their heirs such as Spurgeon, Lloyd-Jones, and some other modern preachers and writers. The Puritans studied the scriptures, preached the scriptures, and wrote books on the scriptures. The objective of most of them was to purify the church, including the ministry. Some of the Puritans I like better than others, but almost all had something to contribute to Bible study. In this case we want to look at a short clip of Richard Baxter. The Puritans were mostly very wordy, but little nuggets stand out in all their writings. Here, Baxter hits the nail on the head regarding sins of the ministry in the 1600s. He even hits the mark on the sins of the ministry in the 2000s. Read and ponder.
"Too many who have undertaken the work of the ministry do so obstinately proceed in self-seeking, negligence, pride, and other sins, that it is become our necessary duty to admonish them. If we saw that such would reform without reproof, we would gladly forbear the publishing of their faults. But when reproofs themselves prove so ineffectual, that they are more offended at the reproof than at the sin, and had rather that we should cease reproving than that themselves should cease sinning, I think it is time to sharpen the remedy. For what else should we do? To give up our brethren as incurable were cruelty, as long as there are further means to be used. We must not hate them, but plainly rebuke them, and not suffer sin upon them. To bear with the vices of the ministry is to promote the ruin of the Church; for what speedier way is there for the depraving and undoing of the people, than the depravity of their guides?"
From The Reformed Pastor-- Richard Baxter