“LORD, it belongs not to my care, whether I die or live”
(Our favorite Richard Baxter poem …)
LORD, it belongs not to my care,
Whether I die or live;
To love and serve Thee is my share,
And this Thy grace must give.
If life be long I will be glad,
That I may long obey;
If short–yet why should I be sad
To soar to endless day?
Christ leads me through no darker rooms
Than He went through before;
He that unto God ‘s kingdom comes,
Must enter by this door.
Come, LORD , when grace has made me meet
Thy blesséd face to see;
For if Thy work on earth be sweet,
What will Thy glory be!
Then I shall end my sad complaints,
And weary, sinful days;
And join with the triumphant saints,
To sing JEHOVAH’s praise.
My knowledge of that life is small,
The eye of faith is dim;
But ’tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with Him.
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Richard Baxter (12 November 1615 – 8 December 1691) was an English Puritan church leader, poet, hymnodist, theologian, and controversialist. Dean Stanley called him “the chief of English Protestant Schoolmen”. After some false starts, he made his reputation by his ministry at Kidderminster, and at around the same time began a long and prolific career as theological writer. After the Restoration he refused preferment, while retaining a non-separatist Presbyterian approach, and became one of the most influential leaders of the Nonconformists, spending time in prison. His views on justification and sanctification are somewhat controversial and unconventional within the Calvinist tradition because his teachings seem, to some, to undermine salvation by faith, in that he emphasizes the necessity of repentance and faithfulness.
Updated August 2020 with bio and picture of Richard Baxter
C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com