Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Richard Baxter

English Divine, Puritan Church Leader, Poet, Theologian, Hymn-Writer and Controversialist

"I must confess, as the experience of my own soul, that the expectation of loving my friends in heaven principally kindles my love to them while on earth."

"Idleness is the hot-bed of temptation, the cradle of disease, the waster of time, the canker-worm of felicity. To him that has no employment, life in a little while will have no novelty; and when novelty is laid in the grave, the funeral of comfort will soon follow."

"In necessary things, unity; in doubtful things, liberty; in all things, charity."

"Paganism attributes the creation of the world to blind chance."

"Use sin as it will use you; spare it not, for it will not spare you; it is your murderer, and the murderer of the whole world. Use it, therefore, as a murderer should be used; kill it before it kills you; and though it brings you to the grave, as it did your head, it shall not be able to keep you there. You love not death; love not the cause of death."

"You will cast away your cards and dice when you find the sweetness of youthful learning."

"Spend your time in nothing which you know must be repented of; in nothing on which you might not pray for the blessing of God; in nothing which you could not review with a quiet conscience on your dying bed; in nothing which you might not safely and properly be found doing if death should surprise you in the act."

"Soldiers that carry their lives in their hands, should carry the grace of God in their hearts."

"Though selfishness hath defiled the whole man, yet sensual pleasure is the chief part of its interest, and therefore by the senses it commonly works, and these are the doors and the windows by which iniquity entereth the soul."

"An aching tooth is better out than in, to lose a rotten member is a gain."

"An ounce of mirth is worth a pound of sorrow."

"As the enjoyment of God is the heaven of the Saints, so the loss of God is the hell of the ungodly. And, as the enjoying of God is the enjoying of all, so the loss of God is the loss of all."

"Be careful how you spend your time: Spend your time in nothing which you know must be repented of."

"Dangers bring fears, and fears more dangers bring."

"Despair of ever being saved, "except thou be born again," or of seeing God "without holiness," or of having part in Christ except thou "love him above father, mother, or thy own life." This kind of despair is one of the first steps to heaven."

"God takes men's hearty desires and will, instead of the deed, where they have not power to fulfill it; but he never took the bare deed instead of the will."

"Hell is paved with infants' skulls."

"I preached as never sure to preach again, And as a dying man to dying men."

"Idleness is a constant sin, and labor is a duty. Idleness is the devil's home for temptation, and for unprofitable, distracting musings; while labor profiteth others and ourselves."

"If family religion were duly attended to and properly discharged, I think the preaching of the Word would not be the common instrument of conversion."

"If I were but sure that I should live to see the coming of the Lord, it would be the joyfulest tidings in the world. O that I might see His kingdom come! It is the characteristic of His saints to love His appearing, and to look for that blessed hope. "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come.' "Even so, come, Lord Jesus.""

"If they can see you love them, you can say anything to them."

"It is as hard a thing to maintain a sound understanding, a tender conscience, a lively, gracious, heavenly spirit, and an upright life in the midst of contention, as to keep your candle lighted in the greatest storms."

"It is not the reading of many books which is necessary to make a man wise or good, but the well-reading of a few, could he be sure to have the best. And it is not possible to read over many on the same subject without a great deal of loss of precious time."

"Keep up you conjugal love in constant heat and vigor."

"Make careful choice of the books which you read: let the holy Scriptures ever have the preeminence. Let Scripture be first and most in your hearts and hands and other books be used as subservient to it. While reading ask yourself: 1. Could I spend this time no better? 2. Are there better books that would edify me more? 3. Are the lovers of such a book as this the greatest lovers of the Book of God and of a holy life? 4. Does this book increase my love to the Word of God, kill my sin, and prepare me for the life to come?"

"Nothing can be rightly known, if God be not known; nor is any study well managed, nor to any great purpose, if God is not studied. We know little of the creature, till we know it as it stands related to the Creator: single letters, and syllables uncomposed, are no better than nonsense. He who overlooketh him who is the 'Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending,' and seeth not him in all who is the All of all, doth see nothing at all. All creatures, as such, are broken syllables; they signify nothing as separated from God. Were they separated actually, they would cease to be, and the separation would be annhiliation; and when we separate them in our fancies, we make nothing of them to ourselves. It is one thing to know the creatures as Aristotle, and another thing to know them as a Christian. None but a Christian can read one line of his Physics so as to understand it rightly. It is a high and excellent study, and of greater use than many apprehend; but it is the smallest part of it that Aristotle can teach us."

"O what a blessed day that will be when I shall . . . stand on the shore and look back on the raging seas I have safely passed; when I shall review my pains and sorrows, my fears and tears, and possess the glory which was the end of all!"

"Overvalue not therefore the manner of your own worship, and overvilify not other men's of a different mode."

"Remember the perfections of that God whom you worship, that he is a Spirit, and therefore to be worshipped in spirit and truth; and that he is most great and terrible, and therefore to be worshipped with seriousness and reverence, and not to be dallied with, or served with toys or lifeless lip-service; and that he is most holy, pure, and jealous, and therefore to be purely worshipped; and that he is still present with you, and all things are naked and open to him with whom we have to do. The knowledge of God, and the remembrance of his all-seeing presence, are the most powerful means against hypocrisy."

"Sinners, hear and consider; if you wilfully condemn your souls to bestiality, God will condemn them to perpetual misery."

"Study hard, for the well is deep, and our brains are shallow."

"The churchyard is the market place where all things are rated at their true value, and those who are approaching it talk of the world and its vanities with a wisdom unknown before."

"The soul that lives, ascends frequently, and runs familiarly through the streets of the heavenly Jerusalem, visiting the patriarchs and prophets, saluting the apostles, and admiring the army of martyrs. So do thou lead on thy heart and bring it to the palace of the Great King."

"To live among such excellent helps as our libraries afford, to have so many silent wise companions whenever we please."

"Unity in things Necessary, Liberty in things Unnecessary, and Charity in all."

"Ye holy angels bright, Who wait at God's right hand, Or through the realms of light Fly at your Lord's command, Assist our song; For else the theme Too high doth seem For mortal tongue. Ye blessed souls at rest, Who ran this earthly race, And now, from sin released, Behold the Saviour's face, God's praises sound, As in his sight, With sweet delight, Ye do abound. Ye saints, who toil below, Adore your heavenly King. And onward as ye go Some joyful anthem sing; Take what he gives And praise him still, Through good or ill, Who ever lives! My soul, bear thou thy part, Triumph in God above: And with a well-tuned heart Sing thou the songs of love! Let all thy days Till life shall end, Whate'er he send, Be filled with praise."

"You little know what you have done, when you have first broke the bounds of modesty; you have set open the door of your fancy to the devil, so that he can, almost at his pleasure ever after, represent the same sinful pleasure to you anew."

"You may know God, but not comprehend Him."