A Christian Directory: Baxter's Practical Works, Vol. 1

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*BAXTER, RICHARD (1615-1691), A Christian Directory: Baxter's Practical Works, Vol. 1. Full title: A Christian Directory: or A Sum of Practical Theology, and Cases of Conscience. Directing Christians How to Use Their Knowledge and Faith; How to Improve all Helps and Means, and to Perform all Duties; How to Overcome Temptations, and to Escape or Mortify Every Sin. In Four Parts.
I. Christian Ethics (or Private Duties)
II. Christian Economics (or Family Duties)
III. Christian Ecclesiastics (or Church Duties)
IV. Christian Politics (or Duties to Our Rulers and Neighbours)
(Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1997, 1990, 1838, 1707, 1678, 1673). Foreword by J.I. Packer (Soli Deo Gloria edition only). The Soli Deo Gloria publication is a facsimile reprint of the 19th century reprint by George Virtue, London [1846 -- sk]. The original 1673 edition and the 1678 edition were both printed by Robert White for Nevill Simmons. Bibliographic and scriptural footnotes. A Christian classic.
"The complete practical works of Richard Baxter are in print in four volumes entitled BAXTER'S PRACTICAL WORKS. [A Christian Directory: Baxter's Practical Works, (Vol. 1), A Call to the Unconverted, (Vol. 2), The Saint's Everlasting Rest: Baxter's Practical Works, (Vol. 3), The Reformed Pastor: Baxter's Practical Works, (Vol. 4), -- sk] This volume (about 1 1/4 million words, 1028 pages) is volume one of the set. The editor's preface (1707), p. xiii, stated that the works of Richard Baxter are 'perhaps the best body of practical divinity that is extent in our own or any other tongue.' Richard Baxter lived from 1615-1691. The DIRECTORY was completed in 1665. Its scope was intended to cover all of practical theology, a summa of casuistry . . ." -- Don Kistler
"Baxter's series, which grew in range and scope as it proceeded . . . is a peak point in Puritan devotional writing, and remains a precious resource for all, in this or any age, who want to know what is involved in Biblical godliness. . . . A CHRISTIAN DIRECTORY may justly be described as a landmark. It is the fullest, most thorough, and in this writer's judgment, most profound treatment of Christian spirituality and standards that has ever been attempted by an English-speaking Evangelical author. The fact that it embraces both spirituality and standards (the principles of communion with God plus the specifics of obedience to God) merits approving comment in itself; nowadays spirituality and ethics have become two distinct disciplines in the schools, and books written on either say virtually nothing about the other . . ." -- J.I. Packer
Timothy Keller calls it the greatest manual on Biblical counseling ever produced.
"There are many Puritan classics on this subject. Thomas Brooks' PRECIOUS REMEDIES FOR SATAN'S DEVICES, Thomas Goodwin's A CHILD OF LIGHT WALKING IN DARKNESS, William Bridge's A LIFTING UP FOR THE DOWNCAST, and many other similar works give evidence that the Puritans were. . . . masters at applying Biblical answers and principles to problems that can only be solved by spiritual means. No Puritan work, however, has ever approached the popularity, the scope, or the depth of Baxter's classic treatise. With the widespread interest in counseling in today's church, this reprint of Baxter's work should be a welcome addition to every pastor's library, or to anyone else who wishes to give solid Biblical answers to man's questions." -- Don Kistler
"We have long waited for a purely Biblical treatment of the spiritual ills and cures of men which is untainted by the views of psychology. Since Baxter lived about 200 years before psychology arrived, his deep work is completely void of its encroachment -- thankfully!" -- John MacArthur
"The kings men sought to arrest Richard Baxter, but he traveled ceaselessly from place to place, writing his sermons and his books even on horseback (he had an inkwell in his saddle) and preached over a wide area." -- Brian H. Edwards
"Baxter was a wonder of his age. His writings total 72 large volumes, much of it written on horseback as he traveled in his widespread preaching efforts. He seldom, if ever, edited anything he wrote. Knowing this any reader will be amazed at how well he communicated his deep love for his Savior. For 26 years he was public enemy No. 1 to the king, yet he lived to see the flight of the king in 1688." -- Jay P. Green, Sr.
POOR MAN'S FAMILY BOOK (1674), [vol. 4 -- sk] and THE CATECHIZING OF FAMILIES (1683), [vol. 4 -- sk], found elsewhere in BAXTER'S PRACTICAL WORKS, are less detailed works. They are more suitable for family instruction than are the detailed presentation in A CHRISTIAN DIRECTORY.
Ptacek, in FAMILY WORSHIP[: BIBLICAL BASIS, HISTORICAL REALITY, CURRENT NEED -- sk] (p. 51-52), supplies the following information in regard to Baxter and this book. He notes that after the Episcopalians ejected numerous `nonconformists,' in what is know as the `great ejection,' in 1662, `Baxter pastored from house to house, visiting families of his parish in their homes. These visits contributed to Baxter's A CHRISTIAN DIRECTORY, a large and still very relevant manual of pastoral care.' Focusing on just one area of great importance, Ptacek demonstrates how this book's relevance is not limited by time or culture, though sometimes the use of specific words are. `Published in 1673, but written 1664-65, a large book-length part of Baxter's CHRISTIAN DIRECTORY is devoted to the family. It is entitled `Christian Economics' based on the archaic usage of the word, which reflects the proper sense of the Greek root oikonomos as the manager of a household, in the Christian case, the spiritual leader of the family. The family head is essential to Baxter's view of family worship and instruction. Baxter asserts that it is God's will that this instruction be carried out by the rulers of the families.' For a male head of the household to fail to do so, or to have another instruct in the family, is contrary to his position of authority.' This is the kind of book that can be passed on from generation to generation and still find much use in the service of the kingdom of God. . . . "Though relatively weak on corporate sanctification, corporate faithfulness and some important areas of doctrine (such as justification), Baxter's work on subjects related to personal piety can be of good practical use to the Christian -- if one is careful to separate out his aberrant doctrinal views and any practical errors they may lead to." -- SWRB
This work is available in many editions, and in many formats.
Reformation Heritage Books has republished the Soli Deo Gloria edition. They acquired Soli Deo Gloria from Ligonier Ministries in late 2007.
The reprint by George Virtue is available (with computer generated index) on the SWRB Puritan Hard Drive. It is available (without index) on Reformation Bookshelf CD #21, ISBN: 0921148992 9780921148999.
The reprint by George Virtue is available online and may be downloaded in PDF format at Christian Classics Ethereal Library.
One of the older, multi-volume editions of THE WORKS OF RICHARD BAXTER is available at Monergism.com in the "Puritan Library," "Richard Baxter." A CHRISTIAN DIRECTORY, volume 23. It can be downloaded.
The reprint by George Virtue appears in full preview in Google Books but may not be downloaded. About five other editions from libraries are available in Google Books, and may be downloaded (August 2008).
Notice that the etext in Google Books has the advantage of being searchable. Searching an image-based PDF file is not possible, unless the user owns software such as Abode Acrobat Pro or Kirtas BookScan Editor. They both have an OCR (optical character recognition) feature that will search an image-based PDFs (bit-map scans). Searches appear to be perfect in this work, although one must know Baxter's vocabulary. Text can be cut and pasted from image-based PDF format to OCR (character) format. This particular Google Books scan can not be cut and pasted or downloaded.
Another older edition is available on microfilm (Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms, 1970), 1 microfilm reel, 35 mm (Early English books, 1641-1700; 343:11).
The following three excerpts are included as bonus free books on Reformation Bookshelf CD #28, ISBN: 0921148267 9780921148265.
1. "The Duties of Parents for Their Children" from Baxter's Practical Works, Vol. 1, A Christian Directory, on Christian Economics, Chap. X., pp. 449-454.
2. "The Special Duties of Children Towards Their Parents" from Baxter's Practical Works, Vol. 1, A Christian Directory, on Christian Economics, Chap. XI., pp. 454-457.
3. "The Special Duties of Children and Youth Towards God" from Baxter's Practical Works, Vol. 1, A Christian Directory, on Christian Economics, Chap. XII., pp. 457-458).
Of course, the bonus free books also are available on the SWRB Puritan Hard Drive.

*Baxter, Richard (1615-1691), The Practical Works of Richard Baxter: With a Preface, Giving Some Account of the Author, and of This Edition of His Practical Works, 4 volumes (Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 2000), originally published: London: G. Virtue, 1846, ISBN: 1877611379 9781877611377 (4 vol. set), ISBN: 1877611131 9781877611131 (A CHRISTIAN DIRECTORY, vol. 1).
"THE PRACTICAL WORKS OF RICHARD BAXTER (4 large volumes) are a rare find indeed. This set includes the unabridged edition of A Christian Directory: Baxter's Practical Works, (Vol. 1), A Call to the Unconverted, (Vol. 2), The Saint's Everlasting Rest: Baxter's Practical Works, (Vol. 3), The Reformed Pastor: Baxter's Practical Works, (Vol. 4), Treatise of Self-Denial, and The One Thing Necessary, and much, much more." -- Book Description

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