More than three centuries ago, Puritan church leader Baxter compiled a 1,143-page tome entitled Christian Directory, which included a section on family life. The Godly Home is the only stand-alone version of that section of Christian Directory. Editor Randall Pederson has updated the language and syntax to make this seventeenth-century collection of words one that will continue on for generations to come.
Richard Baxter was a bright and shining light in the golden age of theology, the seventeenth century. Not only was he the most voluminous author of his day (72 volumes), but also his shepherding of his flock at Kidderminster was so phenomenal that it stands as a marker for all other pastors and evangelists. He practiced what he teaches in this book. The host of conversions under his preaching testifies to the power of the message in A Call.
Baxter was always plain spoken to sinners: "Whoever loves earth above Heaven, and fleshly prosperity more than God, is a wicked, unconverted man "
"We are commanded to beseech and entreat you to accept the offer and turn; to tell you what preparation is made by Christ; what mercy stays for you; what patience waits on you . . .how certainly and unspeakable happy you may be if you will. We have indeed a message of wrath and death; yea, of a twofold wrath and death; but neither of them is our principal message. We must tell you of the wrath that is on you already, and the death that you are born under for the breach of the law of works. But this is only to show you the need of mercy, and to provoke you to esteem the grace of the Redeemer. . . . Our telling you of your misery is not to make you miserable, but to drive you out to seek for mercy. It is you who have brought this death on yourselves. We tell you also of another death, one even remediless, and much greater torment that will fall on those who will not be converted. . . This is the last and saddest part of our message. We arefirst to offer you mercy, if you will turn." (Pp. 21, 22).
The introduction establishes the historical and theological context in which the tracts were written and published. The text of the tracts and letters is that of the original 17th-century publications, including interlinear English/Algonquian translations. Functional variations in relative font size and spacing have been retained to reproduce the visual organization of the original documents, though simplified and regularized across all the tracts to give the volume a visual conformity and coherence. An index allows readers to trace the record of particular towns and individual proselytes and missionaries across the 30 years covered by the tracts, and to follow the contributions of the different authors as they recount their experiences over that period.
The following articles appear in this spring 2014 edition:
Why Read the Puritans Today? - Dr. Don Kistler gives ten reasons why time spent reading the Puritans is always profitable.Private Prayer: A Christian Duty - in which Oliver Heywood expounds upon the necessity of personal prayer time. How to Avoid Cherishing a Pet Sin - a treatise by Thomas Brooks that teaches the believer to expose and expunge every rebel lust. What Can and Must Persons Do Toward Their Own Conversion? - in which William Greenhill sheds light on a mystery of salvation: it is not of works, yet requires us to act. Haman's Vanity - the sermon that Obadiah Sedgwick preached before the House of Commons just days after the discovery of Edmund Waller's dastardly plot to bring down Parliament. First re-printing since 1643.The Puritans in Verse: A Dialogue of Self-Denial by Richard Baxter.
The following articles appear in this autumn 2014 edition:
1. There Is An Answerableness Between the Greatness of the Misery of Hell and the Happiness of Heaven – by Jonathan Edwards. Edited by Don Kistler, who remarked that this was the best Edwards he has ever read, next to "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God".
2. How to Bear Afflictions – in which William Bates teaches from Hebrews 12:5 how to avoid the extremes of despising the chastening of the Lord, or fainting beneath it.
3. Let Not Sin Have Dominion Over You – Thomas Manton explores what is meant by allowing sin to "have dominion" over oneself, and why this state must be avoided. Edited by Peter Overduin.
4. The Great Usefulness of the Law – in which John Flavel illustrates the proper role of the law in bringing the sinner to salvation, then participating in his sanctification.
5. How We May Read the Scriptures with Most Spiritual Profit – Thomas Watson. Twenty-four eminently practical instructions for making time spent in the Word more meaningful.