Richard Baxter was a Puritan pastor during the mid-1600s in Kidderminster, England. He is a giant amidst the Christian landscape. And as such he has had a giant influence, he has giant insight, he has giant faults and made giant mistakes, particularly when it came to the gospel itself.
But even with all that The Reformed Pastor is a brilliant piece on pastoral work and Christian ministry. Baxter has profound insight into people and ministry, as well as a persuasive energy to his writing.
Here is his warning to those in Christian ministry to be on guard against the devil:
“Take heed to yourselves, because the tempter will make his first and sharpest onset upon you. If you will be the leaders against the prince of darkness, he will spare you no further than God restraineth him … As he hateth Christ more than any of us, because he is the General of the field, the Captain of our salvation … so doth he note the leaders under him, more than the common soldiers: he knows what a rout he may make among them, if the leaders fall before their eyes … Take heed, therefore, brethren, for the enemy hath a special eye upon you. You shall have his most subtle insinuations, and incessant solicitations, and violent assaults. As wise and learned as you are, take heed to yourselves lest he outwit you. The devil is a greater scholar than you, and a nimbler disputant: he can transform himself into an angel of light to deceive … he will cheat you of your faith or innocency, and you shall not know that you have lost it; nay, he will make you believe it is multiplied or increased when it is lost. You shall see neither hook nor line, much less the subtle angler himself, while he is offering you his bait. And his bait shall be so fitted to your temper and disposition, that he will be sure to find advantages within you, and make your own principles and inclinations betray you; and whenever he ruineth you, he will make you the instrument of your own ruin.”
Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, pp. 74-75