The Practical Works of Richard Baxter (1615-1691)

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I love a Puritan Geneology, spiritually speaking. From the life of Paul Bayne (1573-1617):
It is a common platform platitude, in our day, to hear the soul-life of men of our own time traced back to Richard Baxter, and through him to Richard Sibbes. We can trace it one step farther back, to Paul Baynes.
So Baxter was converted from the influence and writing of Sibbes, and Richard Sibbes under the teaching of Paul Bayne. We don't know who Baynes was influenced by, but since he succeeded William Perkins at St. Andrews, certainly he was the better for that. -- Tom M. Sullivan

*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). A Christian classic.

*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), ISBN: 1877611131 9781877611131. 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. The original 1673 edition and the 1678 edition, both printed by Robert White for Nevill Simmons. Bibliographic and scriptural footnotes. A Christian classic. Considered to be among the ten greatest books in the English language. Available (less the J.I. Packer's Foreword, but searchable with an OCR-based index), on the Puritan Hard Drive.
This work is available in many editions, and in many formats.
Reformation Heritage Books has new copies of the Soli Deo Gloria edition (including the J.I. Packer Introduction), as of March 2008, even though it is generally thought to be out of print. They acquired Soli Deo Gloria from Ligonier Ministries in late 2007.
The best digital format of the reprint by George Virtue is included on the Puritan Hard Drive. It has an OCR scan in the background, meaning one can search the entire volume and copy text into another document. It also has a computer generated indexed from the OCR scan which is, of course, in Baxter's vocabulary.
A PDF image scan only of the same edition is available on the Reformation Bookshelf CD #21.
The reprint by George Virtue is available online and may be downloaded in PDF format at Christian Classics Ethereal Library
The reprint by George Virtue appears in full preview in Google Books but may not be downloaded. So it is useful if the reader wants to become acquainted with the book. Text can be searched, but can not be copied into another document. This particular Google Books scan includes the contents in detail on pages iii-xix which is not included in the Christian Classics Ethereal Library PDF files. About five other editions from libraries are available in Google Books, and may be downloaded (August 2008).
Notice that the e-text in Google Books has the advantage of being searchable. Searching an image-based PDF file (without an OCR scan in the background), 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.
One of the older, multi-volume editions of THE WORKS OF RICHARD BAXTER is available at in the "Puritan Library," "Richard Baxter." A CHRISTIAN DIRECTORY, volume 23. It can be 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 complete practical works of Richard Baxter are in print in four volumes entitled BAXTER'S PRACTICAL WORKS. 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) and THE CATECHIZING OF FAMILIES (1683), are less detailed works and are found in THE REFORMED PASTOR: BAXTER'S PRACTICAL WORKS, VOL. 4. 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 (pp. 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." -- Publisher
The following three excerpts are included as bonus free books on Reformation Bookshelf CD #28.
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).
A summary of currently (2012) available publications.
Richard Baxter, from Wikipedia

*Baxter, Richard (1615-1691), A Call to the Unconverted: Baxter's Practical Works, Vol. 2, ISBN: 1877611158 9781877611155. A Christian classic.
"This is the second of four volumes constituting the complete works of this giant of the faith. This huge volume, over 1000 pages, gathers together such penetrating topics as THE UNPARDONABLE SIN, THE SPIRIT'S WITNESS TO THE TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY, THE ARROGANCY OF REASON AGAINST DIVINE REVELATION, A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED, NOW OR NEVER, A SAINT OR A BRUTE, GOD'S GOODNESS VINDICATED, THE CHARACTER OF A SOUND, CONFIRMED CHRISTIAN, and others." -- GCB
Translations: A Call to the Unconverted (singly), Dutch; French; Danish; Polish.

*Baxter, Richard (1615-1691), The Saint's Everlasting Rest: Baxter's Practical Works, Vol. 3, ISBN: 187761128X 9781877611285. A Christian classic.
"Third in the four-volume set. Includes The Saint's Everlasting Rest; Treatise of Self-Denial; The Life of Faith; Obedient Patience, and many more. Over 1000 pages." -- GCB
"This is the greatest treatment on Heaven ever to appear! . . ." -- Wilbur M. Smith.
The Saints' Everlasting Rest, (singly) Richard Baxter, edited by Benjamin Fawcett
"Discusses the nature, excellencies, design, rejection, necessity, of the Saints' rest. Calls us to live the heavenly life now." -- GCB

*Baxter, Richard, The Reformed Pastor: Baxter's Practical Works, Vol. 4, ISBN: 1877611360. A Christian classic.
"This is the fourth and final volume in this great set. Includes, 'Compassionate Counsel to all Young men,' 'The Reformed Pastor,' 'Poor Man's Family Book,' 'The Catechizing of Families,' and 'The Mother's Catechism,' in all 25 sermons, treatises, and catechisms. Dr. J.I. Packer says, 'For me, the great joy of this year is that it see the completion of Soli Deo Gloria's reprint of Baxter's incomparable PRACTICAL WORKS'." -- GCB
Richard Baxter, from Wikipedia
Compassionate Counsel to all Young men (1681), by Richard Baxter

Related Weblinks

Combined Interactive Contents for Biblical Counsel: Resources for Renewal

The Digital Puritan: Richard Baxter

The Practical Works of Richard Baxter

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