As we see from this insightful segment of Richard Baxter’s The Saints’ Everlasting Rest, every single state we may find ourselves in here on earth places us in the danger of one temptation or another, due to our own wicked hearts:
“Oh the hourly dangers that we here walk in! Every sense and member is a snare; every creature, every mercy, and every duty, is a snare to us:
We can scarcely open our eyes, but we are in danger of envying those above us; or despising those below us; of coveting the honours and riches of some, or beholding the rags and beggary of others with pride and unmercifulness.
If we see beauty, it is a bait to lust; if deformity, to loathing and disdain.
How soon do slanderous reports, vain jests, wanton speeches, creep into the heart!
How constant and stirring a watch does our appetite require! Have we comeliness and beauty? What fuel for pride! Are we deformed? What an occasion of repining!
Have we strength of reason, and gifts of learning? O how prone to be puffed up, to hunt after applause, and despise our brethren!
Are we unlearned? How apt then to despise what we have not!
Are we in places of authority? How strong is the temptation to abuse our trust, make our will our law, and cut out all the enjoyments of others, but rules and model of our own interest and policy!
Are we inferiors? How prone to grudge at others pre-eminence, and bring their actions to the bar of our judgment?
Are we rich, and not too much exalted? Are we poor, and not discontented?
Are we not lazy in our duties, or make a Christ of them?
Not that God hath made all these things our snares, but through our own corruption they become so to us. Ourselves are the greatest snare to ourselves.”
For a spur to deeper self-evaluation, or a tool to use in confession during your daily prayer time — or perhaps in preparation for the Lord’s Supper — Baxter’s words may be just what you need. Read prayerfully through these sentences; let the Lord convict you of what you see of yourself in them — and let them remind you of your need for a Savior. Let them drive you to Him anew for daily forgiveness and cleansing, until that eternal day when we will be free from all these “dangers, toils, and snares” in our “Everlasting Rest”!