Richard Baxter, the famous Puritan writer, wrote:

In a word, that in all your neglects of duty, your sticking at the supposed labor or cost of a godly life, yea, in all your cold and lazy prayers and performances, conscience might tell you how unsuitable such endeavors are to the reward; and that Christ and salvation should not be so slighted. (Source)

What does he mean by this?

  • your source is quite long and it would help if you would give me which Scripture he was referring to; please keep in mind that I am legally blind and require some time to research things, even on my computer. Thanks.
    – BYE
    Commented Feb 25, 2014 at 13:55

1 Answer 1


"your sticking at the supposed labor or cost of a godly life"

I think sticking at here is meant in the sense "To scruple at; to hesitate to accept or believe, to demur to, take exception to, be deterred by" (OED, stick v.1, PV2.1 to stick at) or "To be impeded or brought to a stand at (a difficulty)" (ibid., PV2.2). This sermon was written by Richard Baxter, a non-conformist; one of the OED's citations is to his fellow non-conformist John Bunyan, who wrote in The heavenly foot-man (1688):

They who will have heaven must not stick at any difficulties they meet with, but press, crowd, and thrust through all that may stand between heaven and their souls.

Likewise here, the people being addressed in the sermon are said to be deterred or hindered by the supposed labor or cost of a godly life. That is, they are reluctant to lead a godly life because they perceive it as being too difficult or costly. They have "cold and lazy prayers and performances" and continually give in to their temptations. Baxter calls on his audience:

The next time you go prayerless to bed, or about your business, conscience might cry out, Dost thou set no more by Christ and thy salvation?

He believes the labor and cost to be worthwhile, in view of the reward.

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