Richard Baxter Discusses Lent

Writing in his book “A Christian Directory”, (something every pastor should consult) Richard Baxter talks extensively about Lent, he says in part:

It is not unlawful for those that cannot totally fast, yet to use more abstinence and a more mortifying sort of diet than ordinary, for the exercises of repentance and mortification, in due time.
[…]
As for the commanding such an abstinence, as in Lent, not in imitation, but bare commemoration of Christ’s forty day’s fast, I would not command it if it were in my power; but being peremptorily commanded, I cannot prove it unlawful to obey; with the aforementioned exceptions.
It was anciently held a crime to fast on the Lord’s day, even in Lent; and I take that day to be separated by Christ and the Holy Ghost for a church-festival or day of thanksgiving; therefore I will not keep it as a fast, though I were commanded, unless in such an extraordinary necessity, as aforesaid.

Richard Baxter on Visiting Parishioners

Richard Baxter wrote a book that ought to be read by every minister in our own day. It was called The Reformed Pastor. Baxter’s own ministry involved teaching families in their homes for his entire life. He taught them the basics of the faith and questioned where they were at with God at the time. I think this ministry must be recovered, despite our geographical separation. Baxter, in recommending the method of in-home catechizing, says:

We spend Monday and Tuesday, from morning almost to night, in the work, taking about fifteen or sixteen families in a week, that we go through the parish, in which there are upwards of eight hundred families, in a year;