Baxter on the Nature and Motive of Personal Oversight for Pastors

Puritan pastor Richard Baxter gives pastors five keys to personal oversight and eight keys as to why personal oversight should be given in his classic text The Reformed Pastor:

The Nature of Oversight

  1. Take heed to see that the work of saving grace be thoroughly wrought in your own souls.
  2. Take heed to keep your graces active, and that you preach to yourself the sermons you study, before you preach them to others.
  3. Take heed so you don’t unsay with your life what you say with your mouth.
  4. Take heed so you don’t commit the sins you preach against.
  5. Take heed so you don’t lack biblical qualifications of an elder.

The Motives of Oversight

  1. Take heed to yourselves, for heaven is there to win or lose, and souls will be happy or miserable for eternity.
  2. Take heed to yourselves, for you have a depraved nature, and sinful inclinations just as others do.
  3. Take heed to yourselves, because the tempter will supply more temptations than he does to others.
  4. Take heed to yourselves, because many eyes will fall upon you, and there will be many to observe your falls.
  5. Take heed to yourselves, because your sins are more severe than other men’s.
  6. Take heed to yourselves, because such a calling as ours require greater grace than other men’s.
  7. Take heed to yourselves, for the honor of your Lord and Master, and of his holy truth and ways, lies more on you than on other men.
  8. Take heed to yourselves, for the success of all your work depends on it.
– Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor, (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 2001), pp. 53-86.