Baxter: “Preacher, Mind Your Frame!”

Baxter: “Preacher, Mind Your Frame!” February 23, 2024

I have been enjoying finding references to our frame of mind or heart from older writers and I will share a few with you here I think.  Today’s one shows us that whilst we must not trust our frame it is important to pursue as much as we can a true emotional and psychological grasp on the gospel.  If we do not we ourselves suffer but so will those we share Jesus with, whether that is informally or via preaching:

“Content not yourselves with being in a state of grace, but be also careful that your graces are kept in vigorous and lively exercise, and that you preach to yourselves the sermons which you study, before you preach them to others. If you did this for your own sakes, it would not be lost labor; but I am speaking to you upon the public account, that you would do it for the sake of the Church, When your minds are in a holy, heavenly frame, your people are likely to partake of the fruits of it. Your prayers, and praises, and doctrine will be sweet and heavenly to them. They will likely feel when you have been much with God: that which is most on your hearts, is like to be most in their ears.

I confess I must speak it by lamentable experience, that I publish to my flock the distempers of my own soul. When I let my heart grow cold, my preaching is cold; and when it is confused, my preaching is confused . . .

O brethren, watch therefore over your own hearts: keep out lusts and passions, and worldly inclinations; keep up the life of faith, and love, and zeal: be much at home, and be much with God. If it be not your daily business to study your own hearts, and to subdue corruption, and to walk with God—if you make not this a work to which you constancy attend, all will go wrong, and you will starve your hearers; or, if you have an affected fervency, you cannot expect a blessing to attend it from on high. Above all, be much in secret prayer and meditation. Thence you must fetch the heavenly fire that must kindle your sacrifices: remember, you cannot decline and neglect your duty, to your own hurt alone; many will be losers by it as well as you. For your people’s sakes, therefore, look to your hearts

Baxter, R. (1996). The Reformed Pastor (electronic ed. taken from the 1974 Banner of Truth ed. edited by William Brown., pp. 61–62). Christian Classics Foundation. (Emphasis added)


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