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Tue, Oct 24 2006 - 10:11 AM

Avoiding The Sinfulness of Flesh-Pleasing

Be acquainted with the range of sensual desires, and pay attention to them, and watch them in all their extravagances. Otherwise, while you are stopping one gap, they will be running out at many more. I have given you many instances in my "Treatise of Self-denial." I will here briefly set some before your eyes.

l. Watch your appetites as to meat and drink, both quantity and quality. Gluttony is a common, unobserved sin: the flesh no way enslaves men more than by the appetite; as we see in drunkards and gluttons, that can no more forbear than one that thirsteth in a burning fever.

2. Take heed of the lust of uncleanness, and all degrees of it, and approaches to it; especially immodest embraces and behaviour.

3. Take heed of ribald, filthy talk, and love songs, and of such incensing snares.

4. Take heed of too much sleep and idleness.

5. Take heed of taking too much delight in your riches, and lands, your buildings, and delectable conveniences.

6. Take heed lest honours, or worldly greatness, or men's applause, become your too great pleasure.

7. And lest you grow to make it your delight, to think on such things when you are alone, or talk idly of them in company with others.

8. And take heed lest the success and prosperity of your affairs do too much please you, as him, Luke xii. 20.

9. Take not up any inordinate pleasure in your children, relations, or nearest friends.

10. Take heed of a delight in vain, unprofitable, sinful company.

11. Or in fineness of apparel, to set you out to the eyes of others.

12. Take heed of a delight in romances, playbooks, feigned stories, useless news, which corrupt the mind, and waste your time.

13. Take heed of a delight in any recreations which are excessive, needless, devouring time, discomposing the mind, enticing to further sin, hindering any duty, especially our delight in God. They are miserable souls that can delight themselves in no more safe or profitable things, than cards, and dice, and stage plays, and immodest dancings.

Richard Baxter (1615-1691)

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