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Joined: 2010/11/7
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 Directions for Hating Sin by Richard Baxter

Directions for Hating Sin
by Richard Baxter

Direct. I. Labour to know God, and to be affected with his attributes, and always to live as in his sight.—No man can know sin perfectly, because
no man can know God perfectly. You can no further know what sin is than you know what God is, whom you sin against; for the formal malignity of sin
is relative, as it is against the will and attributes of God. The godly have some
knowledge of the malignity of sin, because they have some knowledge of God that
is wronged by it. The wicked have no practical, prevalent knowledge of the
malignity of sin, because they have no such knowledge of God. They that fear
God will fear sinning; they that in their hearts are bold irreverently with God, will,
in heart and life, be bold with sin: the atheist, who thinks there is no God thinks
there is no sin against him. Nothing in world will tell us so plainly and powerfully
of the evil of sin, as the knowledge of the greatness, wisdom goodness, holiness,
authority, justice, truth, &c. of God. The sense of his presence, therefore, will
revive our sense of sin’s malignity.

Direct. II. Consider well of the office, the bloodshed, and the holy life of
Christ.—His office is to expiate sin, and to destroy it. His blood was shed for it:
his life condemned it. Love Christ, and you will hate that which caused his death.
Love him, and you will love to be made like him, and hate that which is so
contrary to Christ. These two great lights will show the odiousness of darkness.

Direct. III. Think well both how holy the office and work of the Holy
Ghost is, and how great a mercy it is to us.—Shall God himself, the heavenly
light, come down into a sinful heart, to illuminate and purify it? And yet shall I
keep my darkness and defilement, in opposition to such wonderful mercy?
Though all sin against the Holy Ghost be not the unpardonable blasphemy, yet all
is aggravated hereby.

Direct. IV. Know and consider the wonderful love and mercy of God, and
think what he has done for you; and you will hate sin, and be ashamed of it. It is
an aggravation which makes sin odious even to common reason and ingenuity,
that we should offend a God of infinite goodness, who has filled up our lives with
mercy. It will grieve you if you have wronged an extraordinary friend: his love
and kindness will come into your thoughts, and make you angry with your own
unkindness. Here look over the catalogue of God’s mercies to you, for soul and
body. And here observe that Satan, in hiding the love of God from you, and
tempting you under the pretence of humility to deny his greatest, special mercy,
seeks to destroy your repentance and humiliation, also, by hiding the greatest
aggravation of your sin.

Direct. V. Think what the soul of man is made for, and should be used to,
even to love, obey, and glorify our Maker; and then you will see what sin is,
which disables and perverts it.—How excellent, and high, and holy a work are we
created for and called to! And should we defile the temple of God? And serve the
devil in filthiness and folly, when we should receive, and serve, and magnify our

Direct. VI. Think well what pure and sweet delights a holy soul may enjoy
from God, in his holy service; and then you will see what sin is, which robs him of
these delights, and prefers fleshly lusts before them.—O how happily might we
perform every duty, and how fruitfully might we serve our Lord, and what delight
should we find in his love and acceptation, and the foresight of everlasting
blessedness, if it were not for sin; which brings down the soul from the doors of
heaven, to wallow with swine in a beloved dunghill!

Direct. VII. Bethink you what a life it is which you must live for ever, if
you live in heaven; and what a life the holy ones there now live; and then think
whether sin, which is so contrary to it, be not a vile and hateful thing.—Either you
would live in heaven, or not. If not, you are not those I speak to. If you would, you
know that there is no sinning; no worldly mind, no pride, no passion, no fleshly
lust or pleasures there. Oh, did you but see and hear one hour, how those blessed
spirits are taken up in loving and magnifying the glorious God in purity and
holiness, and how far they are from sin, it would make you loathe sin ever after,
and look on sinners as on men in bedlam wallowing naked in their dung.
Especially, to think that you hope yourselves to live for ever like those holy
spirits; and therefore sin does ill beseem you.

Direct. VIII. Look but to the state and torment of the damned, and think
well of the difference betwixt angels and devils, and you may know what sin is.—
Angels are pure; devils are polluted: holiness and sin do make the difference. Sin
dwells in hell, and holiness in heaven. Remember that every temptation is from
the devil, to make you like himself; as every holy motion is from Christ, to mike
you like himself. Remember when you sin, that you are learning and imitating of
the devil, and are so far like him, John 8:44. And the end of all is, that you may
feel his pains. If hell-fire be not good, then sin is not good.

Direct. IX. Look always on sin as one that is ready to die, and consider
how all men judge of it at the last.—What do men in heaven say of it? And what
do men in hell say of it? And what do men at death say of it? And what do
converted souls, or awakened consciences, say of it? Is it then followed with
delight and fearlessness as it is now? Is it then applauded? Will any of them speak
well of it? Nay, all the world speaks evil of sin in the general now, even when
they love and commit the several acts. Will you sin when you are dying?

Direct. X. Look always on sin and judgment together.—Remember that
you must answer for it before God, and angels, and all the world; and you will the
better know it.

Direct. XI. Look now but upon sickness, poverty, shame, despair, death,
and rottenness in the grave, and it may a little help you to know what sin is. These
are things within your sight or feeling; you need not faith to tell you of them. And
by such effects you might have some little knowledge of the cause.

Direct. XII. Look but upon some eminent, holy persons upon earth, and
upon the mad, profane, malignant world; and the difference may tell you in part
what sin is.—Is there not an amiableness in a holy, blameless person, that lives in
love to God and man, and in the joyful hopes of life eternal? Is not a beastly
drunkard or whoremonger, and a raging swearer, and a malicious persecutor, a
very deformed, loathsome creature? Is not the mad, confused, ignorant, ungodly
state of the world a very pitiful sight? What then is the sin that all this consists in?
Though the principal part of the cure is in turning the will to the hatred of
sin, and is done by this discovery of its malignity; yet I shall add a few more
directions for the executive part, supposing that what is said already has had its

Direct. I. When you have found out your disease and danger, give up
yourselves to Christ as the Saviour and Physician of souls, and to the Holy Ghost
as your Sanctifier, remembering that he is sufficient and willing to do the work
which he has undertaken.—It is not you that are to be saviours and sanctifiers of
yourselves (unless as you work under Christ). But he that has undertaken it, takes
it for his glory to perform it.

Direct. II. Yet must you be willing and obedient in applying the remedies
prescribed you by Christ, and observing his directions in order to your cure. And
you must not be tender, and coy, and fine, and say his is too bitter, and that is too
sharp; but trust his love, and skill, and care, and take it as he prescribes it, or gives
it you, without any more ado. Say not, It is grievous, and I cannot take it: for he
commands you nothing but what is safe, and wholesome, and necessary, and if
you cannot take it, must try whether you can bear your sickness, and death, and
the fire of hell! Are humiliation, confession, restitution, mortification, and holy
diligence worse than hell?

Direct. III. See that you take not part with sin, and wrangle not, or strive
not against your Physician, or any that would do you good.—Excusing sin, and
heading for and extenuating it, and striving against the Spirit and conscience, and
wrangling against ministers and godly friends, and hating reproof, are not the
means to be cured and sanctified.

Direct. IV. See that malignity in every one of your particular sins, which
you can see and say is in sin in general.—It is a gross deceit of yourselves, if you
will speak a great deal of the evil of sin, and see none of this malignity in your
pride, and your worldliness, and your passion and peevishness, and our malice and
uncharitableness, and your lying, backbiting, slandering, or sinning against
conscience for worldly commodity or safety. What self-contradiction is it for a
man in prayer to aggravate sin, and when he is reproved for it, to justify or excuse
it! This is like him that will speak against treason, and the enemies of the king, but
because the traitors are his friends and kindred, will protect or hide them, and take
their parts.

Direct. V. Keep as far as you can from those temptations which feed and
strengthen the, sins which you would overcome.—Lay siege to your sins, and
starve them out, by keeping away the food and fuel which is their maintenance
and life.

Direct. VI. Live in the exercise of those graces and duties which are
contrary to the sins which you are most in danger of.—For grace and duty are
contrary to sin, and kill it, and cure us of it, as the fire cures us of cold, or health
of sickness.

Direct. VII. Hearken not to weakening unbelief and distrust, and cast not
away the comforts of God, which are your cordials and strength.—It is not a
frightful, dejected, despairing frame of mind, that is fittest to resist sin; but it is
the encouraging sense of the love of God, and thankful sense of grace received
(with a cautious fear).

Direct. VIII. Be always suspicious of carnal self-love, and watch against
it.—For that is the burrow or fortress of sin, and the common patron of it; ready to
draw you to it, and ready to justify it. We are very prone to be partial in our own
cause; as the case of Judah with Tamar, and David when Nathan reproved him in
a parable, show. our own passions, our own pride, our own censures, or
backbitings, or injurious dealings, our own neglects of duty, seem small,
excusable, if not justifiable things to us; whereas we could easily see the faultiness
of all these in another, especially in an enemy: when yet we should be best
acquainted with ourselves, and we should most love ourselves, and therefore hate
our own sins most.

Direct. IX. Bestow your first and chiefest labour to kill sin at the root; to
cleanse the heart, which is the fountain; for out of the heart come the evils of the
life.—Know which are the master-roots; and bend your greatest care and industry
to mortify those: and they are especially these that follow; 1. Ignorance. 2.
Unbelief. 3. Inconsiderateness. 4. Selfishness and pride. 5. Fleshliness, in pleasing
a brutish appetite, lust, or fantasy. 6. Senseless hard-heartedness and sleepiness in

Direct. X. Account the world and all its pleasures, wealth, and honours, no
better than indeed they are, and then Satan will find no bait to catch you. Esteem
all as dung with Paul, Phil. 3:8; and no man will sin and sell his soul, for that
which he accounts but as dung.

Direct. XI. Keep up above in a heavenly conversation, and then your souls
will be always in the light, and as in the sight of God, and taken up with those
businesses and delights which put them out of relish with the baits of sin.

Direct. XII. Let christian watchfulness be your daily work; and cherish a
preserving, though not a distracting and discouraging fear.

Direct. XIII. Take heed of the first approaches and beginnings of sin. Oh
how great a matter does a little of this fire kindle! And if you fall, rise quickly by
sound repentance, whatever it may cost you.

Direct. XIV. Make God’s word your only rule and labour diligently to
understand it.

Direct. XV. And in doubtful cases, do not easily depart from the
unanimous judgment of the generality of the most wise and godly of all ages.
Direct. XVI. In doubtful cases be not passionate or rash, but proceed
deliberately, and prove things well, before you fasten on them.

Direct. XVII. Be acquainted with your bodily temperature, and what sin it
most inclines you to, and what sin also your calling or living situation leave you
most open to, that there your watch may be the stricter.
Direct. 18:Keep in a life of holy order, such as God has appointed you to
walk in. For there is no preservation for stragglers that keep not rank and file, but
forsake the order which God commands them.—And this order lies principally in
these points: 1. That you keep in union with the universal church. Separate not
from Christ’s body upon any pretence whatever. With the church as regenerate,
hold spiritual communion, in faith, love, and holiness with the church as
congregate and visible, hold outward communion, in profession and worship. 2.
If you are not teachers, live under your particular, faithful pastors, as obedient
disciples of Christ. 3. Let the most godly, if possible, be your familiars. 4. Be
laborious in an outward calling.
Direct. XIX. Turn all God’s providences, whether of prosperity or
adversity, against your sins.—If he gives you health and wealth, remember he
thereby obliges you to obedience, and calls for special service from you. If he
afflict you, remember that it is sin that he is offended at, and searches after; and
therefore take it as his medicine, and see that you hinder not, but help on its work,
that it may purge away your sin.
Direct. XIX. Wait patiently on Christ till he has finished the cure, which
will not be till this trying life be finished.—Persevere in attendance on his Spirit
and means; for he will come in season, and will not tarry. “Then shall we know, if
we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning, and he
shall come unto us as the rain: as the latter and former rain upon the earth,” Hos.
6:3. Though you have oft said, “There is no healing,” Jer. 14:19; “He will heal
your backslidings, and love you freely,” Hos. 14:4. “Unto you that fear his name,
shall the Sun of righteousness arise, with healing in his wings,” Mal. 4:2: “ and
blessed are all they that wait for him,” Isa. 30:18.
Thus I have given such directions as may help for humiliation under sin, or
hatred of it, and deliverance from it.

Mike Wright

 2010/11/15 13:02Profile

Joined: 2010/8/30
Posts: 449
Paradise, California

 Re: Directions for Hating Sin by Richard Baxter

"If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it." Genesis 4:7


 2010/11/15 14:08Profile

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