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Richard Baxter

Richard Baxter

Seriousness is the very thing wherein consists our sincerity. If thou art not serious, thou art not a Christian.

It is not only a high degree in Christianity, but the very life and essence of it.

As fencers upon a stage differ from soldiers fighting for their lives, so hypocrites differ from serious Christians.

The Saints Everlasting Rest, VII.5


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Thomas Watson

Thomas Watson

Read the Bible with reverence. Think in every line you read that God is speaking to you.

The ark wherein the law was put was overlaid with pure gold, and was carried on bars, that the Levites might not touch it (Exod 25:14). Why was this, but to give reverence to the law?

Read with seriousness. It is matter of life and death; by this Word you must be tried; conscience and Scripture are the jury God will proceed by, in judging you.

A Body of Divinity, II.2

Meditation doth ballast the heart and makes it serious, while Satan labors to keep the heart from being serious.

Heaven Taken by Storm, pg. 18


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John Wesley

John Wesley

With regard to my own behavior, I now renewed and wrote down my former resolutions.

1. To use absolute openness and unreserve with all I should converse with.

2. To labor after continual seriousness, not willingly indulging myself in any the least levity of behavior, or in laughter; no, not for a moment.

3. To speak no word which does not tend to the glory of God; in particular, not to talk of worldly things. Others may, nay, must. But what is that to thee?

4. To take no pleasure which does not tend to the glory of God; thanking God every moment for all I do take, and therefore rejecting every sort and degree of it which I feel I cannot so thank him in and for.

Personal Journal, II.11


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John Calvin

John Calvin

Grant, Almighty God, since you daily exercise thy judgments in all parts of the world, and since many regions are harassed by pestilence and war, that so long as you spare us we may profit by the evils and slaughters of others:

Grant, also, if thy scourges reach also unto us, that we may not be obstinate, but may submit ourselves to thy judgment, and being truly humble, may we seek pardon by the serious pursuit of piety, so that we may truly acknowledge thee; and may feel thee to be a propitious Father to us, until at length we enjoy thy love in thy heavenly kingdom, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer, Lecture 40, Commentary on Ezekiel


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Thomas Manton

Thomas Manton

Because though the name of Christ be had in honour, yet the stricter profession and practice of godliness is under reproach, and the nominal hateth the serious Christian, though both own the same Bible, believe the same creed, and are baptized with one and the same baptism into the same profession.

Those that are false to their religion will malign and scorn those that are true to it, and live up to the power of it. As there is no commerce between the living and the dead, so no true friendship between the carnal and the heavenly.

Among the outside Christians, it will be matter of reproach to be serious and diligent; and they that are so, will be accounted more precise and nice than wise. No wonder if they slight you, who first slight God, and Christ, and their own salvation.

Complete Works, Vol. II, Discourses


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Charles Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon

I love to see, especially in young Christians, with regard to the things of God, deep seriousness of purpose and spirit, showing that they feel it to be a weighty thing to be a Christian, and that they cannot afford to have their Christianity put under the shadow of suspicion, nor dare they even appear to be mere players upon a stage, for they fear and tremble at his word.

Sermon on Proverbs 4:13


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Ambrose of Milan

Ambrose of Milan

She was a virgin not in body only, but also in mind; not mingling the purity of her affection with any dross of hypocrisy; serious in speech; prudent in disposition; sparing of words; delighting in study; not placing her confidence in uncertain riches, but in the prayer of the poor; diligent in labor; reverent in word; accustomed to look to God, not man, as the guide of her conscience; injuring no one, wishing well to all; dutiful to her elders, not envious of her equals; avoiding boastfulness, following reason, loving virtue.

When did she wound her parents even by a look?  When did she quarrel with her neighbors?  When did she spurn the humble, laugh at the weak, or shun the indigent?  She is accustomed to visit only those haunts of men that pity would not blush for, nor modesty pass by.

There is nothing haughty in her eyes, nothing bold in her words, nothing wanton in her gestures:  her bearing is not voluptuous, nor her gait too free, nor her voice petulant; so that her outward appearance is an image of her mind, and a picture of purity.

De Virginibus, Lib. II, Chap. 1


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John Chrysostom

John Chrysostom

Only let us take serious thought sometime; let us be anxious about the matter, beloved.

Let us grieve here in reflection, that we may not grieve yonder in punishment, but may enjoy the everlasting blessings, where “pain and sorrow and sighing are fled away” (Isa. xxxv. 10), that we may attain to the good things which surpass man’s understanding, in Christ Jesus our Lord, for to him is glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.

Homily XXIII from the Book of Hebrews


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Tertullian

Tertullian

Where God is, there exists “the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom (Ps. cxi. 10; Prov. i. 7).

Where the fear of God is, there is seriousness, an honourable and yet thoughtful diligence, as well as an anxious carefulness and a well-considered admission (to the sacred ministry) and a safely-guarded communion, and promotion after good service, and a scrupulous submission (to authority), and a devout attendance, and a modest gait, and a united church, and God in all things.

Against Marcion, Chap. XLIII


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Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry

It will do more good to go to a funeral than to a feast. We may lawfully go to both, as there is occasion; our Saviour both feasted at the wedding of his friend in Cana, and wept at the grave of his friend in Bethany.

But, considering how apt we are to be vain and indulge the flesh, it is best to go to the house of mourning, to learn the end of man as to this world.

Seriousness is better than mirth and jollity. That is best for us which is best for our souls, though it be unpleasing to sense.

It is better to have our corruptions mortified by the rebuke of the wise, than to have them gratified by the song of fools. The laughter of a fool is soon gone, the end of his mirth is heaviness.

Concise Commentary on Ecclesiastes 7:1-6


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J.C. Ryle

J.C. Ryle

Now to set men thinking is one great object which every teacher of religion should always keep before him. Serious thought, in short, is one of the first steps toward heaven. “I thought on my ways,” says the Psalmist, “and turned my feet unto Thy testimonies” (Ps. 119:59)…

Surely, when this is the case, we have no need to be ashamed of the “old paths,” and of walking therein…

Give the direction of Jeremiah the attention it deserves. If you once begin to think seriously about your soul, never be ashamed of asking for “the old paths,” and walking in them.

Yes! do not merely look at them and talk of them, but actually walk in them. Let no scorn of the world, let no ridicule of smart writers, let no sneer of liberal critics, shake your confidence in those paths. Only try them, and you will find they are the good way, “a way of pleasantness and peace.”

The Upper Room, Chap. V


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Alexander Maclaren

Alexander Maclaren

As to practice—a righteous life will not make a man ‘popular.’ And as for ‘opinions’—earnest religious opinions of any sort are distasteful.

Not the profession of them, but the reality of them—especially those which seem in any way new or strange—make the average man angrily intolerant of an earnest Christianity which takes its creed seriously and insists on testing conventional life by it.

Indolence, self-complacency, and inborn conservatism join forces in resenting the presence of such inconvenient enthusiasts, who upset everything and want to ‘turn the world upside down.’

Sermon on the Eighth Beatitude


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Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards

A man therefore cannot be said to be universally obedient, and of a christian conversation, only because he is no thief, oppressor, fraudulent person, drunkard, tavern-haunter, whore-master, rioter, night-walker, nor unclean, profane in his language, slanderer, liar, furious, malicious, nor reviler.

He is falsely said to be of a conversation becoming the gospel, who goes thus far, and no farther; but, in order to this it is necessary that he should also be of a serious, religious, devout, humble, meek, forgiving, peaceful, respectful, condescending, benevolent, merciful, charitable, and beneficent walk and conversation.

Without such things as these, he does not obey the laws of Christ, laws that he and his apostles abundantly insist on, as of greatest importance and necessity.

Religious Affections, Part III, Sect. 12


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Samuel Hopkins

Samuel Hopkins

On the whole, let all professing Christians seriously and with great care examine themselves, and inquire whether they be really walking in the narrow way to heaven…

… whether they have skill to discern and distinguish it from all others which have been devised by men, or that can be imagined; whether they know there are the strongest motives and greatest encouragements to work out their own salvation, while they are certain that they are wholly dependent on God for this, and shall do nothing unless he work in them to will and to do; and that by all they do they do not deserve the least favour, but remain as ill-deserving as ever; and find themselves as zealous and as much engaged to do.

Sermon on Philippians 2:12-13


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William Gurnall

William Gurnall

Policies of Satan which must be withstood if we would escape from his rule:

First – Satan doth his utmost, that sinners may not have any serious thoughts of the miserable state they are in, while under his rule; or hear anything from others which might the least unsettle their minds from his service.

Consideration, he knows, is the first step to repentance. He that doth not consider his ways what they are, and whither they lead him, is not like to change them in haste.

The Christian in Complete Armour, pg. 113


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George Whitefield

George Whitefield

Let each of us therefore seriously put this question to our hearts: Have we received the Holy Ghost since we believed? Are we new creatures in Christ, or no?

At least, if we are not so yet, is it our daily endeavor to become such? Do we constantly and conscientiously use all the means of grace required thereto? Do we fast, watch and pray? Do we, not lazily seek, but laboriously strive to enter in at the strait gate? In short, do we renounce our own righteousness, take up our crosses and follow Christ?

If so, we are in that narrow way which leads to life; the good seed is sown in our hearts, and will, if duly watered and nourished by a regular persevering use of all the means of grace, grow up to eternal life.

But on the contrary, if we have only heard, and know not experimentally, whether there be any Holy Ghost; if we are strangers to fasting, watching and prayer, and all the other spiritual exercises of devotion; if we are content to go in the broad way, merely because we see most other people do so, without once reflecting whether it be the right one or not; in short, if we are strangers, nay enemies to the cross of Christ, by lives of worldly-mindedness, and sensual pleasure, and thereby make others think, that Christianity is but an empty name, a bare formal profession; if this be the case, I say, Christ is as yet dead in vain, to us; we are under the guilt of our sins; and are unacquainted with a true and thorough conversion.

Sermon on Regeneration


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John Flavel

John Flavel

The souls of men are, as it were, asleep now in their bodies; at death they awake, and find themselves in the world of realities…

Be serious, be plain, be faithful with others that are stepping into eternity; be so with your own souls every day.

O remember what a long word, what an amazing thing eternity is!

The Fountain of Life, Sermon 32


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Cotton Mather

Cotton Mather

That great man, Hugo Grotius, near his end, professed that he would gladly give all his learning and honor for the integrity of a poor man in his neighbourhood who spent eight hours of his time in prayer, eight in labour, and eight in sleep and other necessities…

And unto some that applauded his marvelous industry, he said, “Alas! I have lost my life in laboriously doing nothing.”

But unto some that asked the best counsel which a man of his attainment could give he said, “Be serious.

Magnalia Christi Americana, Book IV, Introduction


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