Placeholder ImageAbout the Author

Richard Baxter (1615-91) was one of the greatest of the English Puritan pastors and authors, most associated with the church at Kidderminster which he pastored for twenty years until he and other “nonconformists” were forced from their official ministry by an act of Parliament.  Of his ministry there, it is said that “He found the place a desert and left it a garden,” and when George Whitefield came to Kidderminster 100 years later, he said to a friend, “I was greatly refreshed to find what a sweet savor of good Mr. Baxter's doctrine works and discipline remain to this day.”  Baxter was a passionate preacher, who “preached as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.”  A man of extraordinary diligence despite his lifelong ill health, he was a prolific author, even more so than his contemporary John Owen, often writing while imprisoned for the faith.  He was especially concerned not with theory but with practical divinity.  In addition to his A Call to the Unconverted, which had a profound effect on both Spurgeon and Whitefield, he is most noted for his devotional work, The Saints’ Everlasting Rest, and for his passionate call for the spiritual and moral reformation of ministers, The Reformed Pastor, which has remained a classic for over 300 years.

A Call to the Unconverted to Turn and Live,

And accept of MERCY, while MERCY may be had;
as ever they will find MERCY, in the Day of their EXTREMITY
from the Living God.

Part 1

by Richard Baxter (1615-1691)

"Say to them, 'As I live,' says the Lord God, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way, and live.  Turn, Turn from your evil ways!  For why should you die, O house of Israel ."  Ezekiel 33:11


Table of Contents

Preface by the Author

Sermon 3:  God’s Condescension in His Offer of Forgiveness

Sermon 4:  Man’s Willfulness in His Own Damnation


A Short Account About the Author

and the Great Success Which Attended the Book
When First Published.


Preface by the Author

to all unsanctified persons who shall read this book


 "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance.   Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—the sure mercies of David (Isaiah 55:1-3).

2. Though you cannot be converted without the special grace of God, you must know that God gives you the means which He has appointed to that end, and the responsibility to respond to the light that He gives.  Can you truly say that you do as much as you are able to do? Are you not able to go by an alehouse door, or to avoid the company that hardens you in sin? Are you not able to hear the Word of God, and think about what you heard, and to consider within yourselves of your own condition and of everlasting things? Are you not able to read good books from day to day, at least on the Lord’s-day, and to converse with those who fear the Lord?  Most of you cannot say that you have done what you are able!

3. Therefore, though you cannot, without grace, turn to God, you must know that you can forfeit His grace and help by your willful sinning or negligence.  If you will not do what you can, it is just with God to deny you that grace by which you might do more.

4. As for God’s decrees, He never decreed to save any but the sanctified, nor to damn any but the unsanctified. God as certainly decrees whether your land this year will be barren or fruitful, and just how long you shall live in the world, as well as whether you will be saved or not.  Yet you would think one to be a fool who would neglect plowing and sowing, and say, “If God has decreed that my ground shall bear corn, it will bear, whether I plough and sow or not. If God has decreed that I shall live, I shall live, whether I eat or not; but if he has not, it is not eating that will keep me alive.” Do you know how to even answer such a man?  If you do, then you know how to answer yourselves; for the case is alike.  God’s decree is as irrefutable about your bodies as your souls.  If you doubt this, then take your risks first on your bodies, before you venture to try them on your soul  See first whether God will keep you alive without food or clothing, and whether He will give you corn without plowing and labor, and whether He will bring you to your journey’s end without a travail or carriage; and, if you speed well in this, then try whether He will bring you to heaven without your diligent use of the means He has provided for your soul.

Well, my friends, I have only three requests, and I am done.

Second, when you have read over this book, I would ask you to get alone, and ponder a little what you have read, and think, as in the sight of God, whether it be not true; and also, that you will upon your knees beg of the Lord that He will open your eyes to understand the truth, and turn your hearts to the love of God, and beg of Him for that saving grace which you have so long neglected, and seek it afterwards from day to day, until your hearts be changed. 


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