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A Christian Directory, Part 4: Christian Politics
Description: - A Christian Directory (Volume 4) by Richard Baxter OR, A SUM OF PRACTICAL THEOLOGY AND CASES OF CONSCIENCE. DIRECTING CHRISTIANS, HOW TO USE THEIR KNOWLEDGE AND FAITH; HOW TO IMPROVE ALL HELPS AND MEANS, AND TO PERFORM ALL DUTIES; HOW TO OVERCOME TEMPTATIONS, AND TO ESCAPE OR MORTIFY EVERY SIN. IN FOUR PARTS: I. CHRISTIAN ETHICS, (OR PRIVATE DUTIES.) II. CHRISTIAN ECONOMICS, (OR FAMILY DUTIES.) III. CHRISTIAN ECCLESIASTICS, (OR CHURCH DUTIES.) IV. CHRISTIAN POLITICS, (OR DUTIES TO OUR RULERS AND NEIGHBOURS.) THE PRACTICAL WORKS OF RICHARD BAXTER with a preface, giving some account of the author, and of this edition of his practical works. AN ESSAY ON HIS GENIUS, WORKS, AND TIMES;AND A PORTRAIT. Readers, The book is so big that I must make no longer preface, than to give you this necessary, short account, I. Of the quality; II. And the reasons of this work. 1. The matter you will see in the contents: As Amesius's "Cases of Conscience" are to his "Medulla," the second and practical part of theology, so is this to a "Methodus Theologiæ" which I have not yet published. And, 1. As to the method of this, it is partly natural, but principally moral; that is, partly suitable to the real order of the matter, but chiefly of usefulness, secundum ordinem intentionis, where our reasons of each location are fetched from the end. Therefore unless I might be tedious in opening my reasons à fine for the order of every particular, I know not how to give you full satisfaction. But in this practical part I am the less solicitous about the accurateness of method, because it more belongeth to the former part, (the theory,) where I do it as well as I am able. 2. This book was written in 1664 and 1665 (except the Ecclesiastic Cases of Conscience, and a few sheets since added). And since the writing of it, some invitations drew me to publish my "Reasons of the Christian Religion," my "Life of Faith," and "Directions for Weak Christians;" by which the work of the two first chapters here is more fully done; and therefore I was inclined here to leave them out; but for the use of such families as may have this without the other, I forbore to dismember it. 3. But there is a great disproportion between the several parts of the book. 1. The First Part is largest, because I thought that the heart must be kept with greatest diligence, and that if the tree be good the fruit will be good; and I remember Paul's counsel, "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee," 1 Tim. iv. 16. Nothing is well done by him that beginneth not at home: as the man is, so is his strength, and work. 2. The two first chapters are too coarse and tedious for those of the higher form, who may pass them over. But the rest must be spoken to; to whom that is unprofitable which is most suitable and pleasant to more exercised and accurate wits. The grand directions are but the explications of the essentials of christianity, or of the baptismal covenant, even of our relation-duties to God the Father, Son, (in several parts of his relation,) and of the Holy Ghost. The doctrine of Temptations is handled with brevity, because they are so numerous; lest a due amplification should have swelled the book too much; when a small part of their number maketh up so much of Mr. John Downame's great and excellent treatise, called, "The Christian Warfare." The great radical sins are handled more largely than seemeth proportionable to the rest, because all die when they are dead. And I am large about Redeeming Time, because therein the sum of a holy, obedient life is included.
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