‘Take heed of mocking at a religious life; yea, or of breaking any jests or scorns at the weaknesses of any in religious exercises, which may possibly reflect upon the exercises themselves.’ Many a thousand souls have been kept from a holy life, by the scorns of the vulgar, that speak of it as a matter of derision or sport. Reading the Scriptures, and holy conference, and prayer, and instructing our families, and the holy observation of the Lord’s day, and church-discipline, are commonly the derision of ungodly persons, who can scorn that which they can neither confute nor learn: and weak people are greatly moved by such senseless means. A mock or jeer doth more with them than an argument; they cannot endure to be made a laughing-stock. Thus was the name of a crucified God, the derision of the heathens, and the scandal of the world, both Jews and Gentiles. And there is scarce a greater scandal or stumbling-block at this day, which keepeth multitudes from heaven, than when the devil can make it either a matter of danger or of shame to be a Christian, or to live a holy, mortified life.
Richard Baxter, William Orme, The Practical Works of the Rev. Richard Baxter, vol. 6 (London: James Duncan, 1830), 219.
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