Baxter on the Fear of Man - Part 1

One of the most common, yet destructive, issues facing people today is the "fear of man." What we mean by "fear of man" is when one desires to please other people more than they desire to please God. Proverbs 29:25 sums it up well by saying:

The fear of man lays a snare,
but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.

So over the next three weeks we're going to be sharing with you all some writings about the fear of man from Richard Baxter. Baxter was a prolific British puritan pastor of the 17th century. The language may be archaic, but it's worth your time to consider and digest what he has to say! These selections were compiled CoaH member Tyler Flatt.


The Advantages of Pleasing God Rather than Men
by Richard Baxter

1. If you seek first to please God and are satisfied therein, you have but one to please instead of multitudes; and a multitude of masters are hardlier pleased than one. 

2. And one who putteth upon you nothing that is unreasonable, for quantity or quality. 

3. And one that is perfectly wise and good, not liable to misunderstand your case and actions.

4. And one that is most holy, and is not pleased in iniquity or dishonesty. 

5. And he is one that is impartial and most just, and is no respecter of persons, Acts x. 34. 

6. And he is one that is a competent judge, that hath fitness and authority, and is acquainted with your heart, and every circumstance and reason of your actions. 

7. And he is one that perfectly agreeth with himself, and putteth you not upon contradictions or impossibilities. 

8. And he is one that is constant and unchangeable; and is not pleased with one thing to-day, and another contrary to-morrow; nor with one person this year, whom he will be weary of the next.

9. And he is one that is merciful, and requireth you not to hurt yourselves to please him: nay, he is pleased with nothing of thine but that which tendeth to thy happiness, and displeased with nothing but that which hurts thyself or others, as a father that is displeased with his children when they defile or hurt themselves. 

10. He is gentle, though just, in his censures of thee; judging truly, but not with unjust rigour, nor making your actions worse than they are. 

11. He is one that is not subject to the passions of men, which blind their minds, and carry them to injustice. 

12. He is one that will not be moved by tale-bearers, whisperers, or false accusers, nor can be perverted by any misinformation.

Fletcher Lang