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William Bates Quotes (1625-1699)

"Spiritual Perfection Unfolded and Enforced"
by William Bates

Originally published 1699, 1848 Edition, The Religious Tract Society, The Writings of the Doctrinal Puritans and Divines of the Seventeenth Century

Hail & Fire REPRINTS 2009

Spiritual Perfection Unfolded and Enforced (Originally published 1699, 1848 Edition, The Religious Tract Society, The Writings of the Doctrinal Puritans and Divines of the Seventeenth Century)

"The great design of God in his saving mercies, is to transform us into the image of his upspotted holiness. We are elected to be holy; redeemed to be holy; called to be holy; and at last, we shall be received into heaven, and made glorious in holiness, without spot or blemish."

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William Bates, D.D., 1625-1699, was an English Presbyterian Minister and ejected Nonconformist under the Act of Uniformity in 1662. He was later a Chaplain to Charles II of England, and known as "The Queen's Puritan" under William and Mary. He preached the funeral sermons of Richard Baxter, Thomas Manton, and David Clarkson. The following quotations are selected from the writings of William Bates.

On the Fear of God

William Bates quote on the fear of God leading to repentance, sanctification, and holiness:

"The fear of God also is a grace of excellent efficacy to perfect holiness in us. It is the apostle's direction, 'Perfecting holiness in the fear of God.' ... Fear introduces serious religion, preserves and improves it. It is the principle of conversion to God, and knocks at the door of the soul that Divine love may have admission into it. It arises from the conviction of guilt, and the apprehension of judgment that follows. ... Till there is felt something more tormenting than carnal sweets are pleasing, men will not mortify their lusts. One will not suffer a part of his body to be cut off, unless an incurable gangrene threatens speedy death. The world is present and sensible, and continually diverts men from the consideration of their souls, unless eternal things are by a strong application impressed on their minds." – William Bates

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On Evidences of Grace

William Bates quote on evidences of Christian grace and their resemblance to God:

"According to the degrees of our holiness, the more exact is our resemblance to God, and the more clear and comfortable is the evidence of our filial relation to him. Fire is more clearly discovered by flame than by a little heat; so grace is most conspicuous in the view of the conscience by its radiant operations." – William Bates

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On Pride & Self-Exaltation

William Bates quote on the sins that accompany pride and self-exaltation:

"A proud man is an enemy to the more excellent and worthy: he is pleased with the vices and infelicities of others, as they afford an advantage to exalt himself above them, and he is grieved at their virtues and happinesses which render them more valuable than himself." – William Bates

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On the Role of a Good Husband

William Bates quote on Christian marriage and the biblical role of a husband:

"The love of the husband is counseling and comforting, providing and protecting." – William Bates

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On the Roles of Husbands & Wives

William Bates quote on the Christian marriage, and the roles of husbands and wives towards one another:

"The principal duty of husbands and wives is, a tender care for the good of each other's souls. The husband should lead her in the way to eternal life, by his counsel and example; and the wife by her humble and holy conversation, recommend religion to his mind and affections." – William Bates

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On Sinful Anger

William Bates quote on sinful anger:

"Anger is another lust of the flesh. Of all the passions none is less capable of reason. It darkens the mind, and causes such a fierce agitation of the spirits, as when a storm fills the air with black clouds, and terrible flashes of lightening. It often breaks forth so suddenly .. (and) it is astonishing what enormous excesses and mischiefs are caused by it! .. To prevent its rise and reign, the most necessary counsel is, if possible, to quench the first sparks that appear, which are seeds pregnant with fire." – William Bates

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On the Promises of Salvation

William Bates quote on the promises of salvation:

"Wherever salvation is promised to a particular duty, it must be understood in a collective sense. We read, 'Whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved,' Acts 2:21. But a prevailing prayer must proceed from a holy person, who keeps the commands of God, and does those things that are pleasing in his sight, 1 John 3:22. The prayer must be mixed with faith and fervency: 'The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much,' James 5:16. The connexion of saving graces cannot be broken." – William Bates

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On the Exercise of Grace

William Bates quote on the improvement and exercise of Christian graces:

"[Add] 'to godliness, brotherly-kindness, .. and to brotherly-kindness, charity.' .. Our Saviour tells the young man who had lived so regularly, that he was lovely in his eyes; 'If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell all, and give to the poor, and come and follow me,' Matthew 19:21. He wanted charity and self-denial to make his obedience entire." – William Bates

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On Progress in Holiness

William Bates quote on a Christian's progress in holiness—sanctification:

"The discovery of our progress in holiness, is made by the habitual frame of the heart, and the fixed regularity of the life. There cannot be a true judgment of a Christian, either when he is best disposed, or when he is worst disposed. One that has less grace, may sometimes in the use of the ordinances, feel high and holy affections in an unusual manner: an excellent saint, in time of temptation, may feel the power of corruption strangely great. A strong man in a fainting fit is weaker than another; a weak man in a fever is stronger than two. But we may judge of the degrees of grace by the spiritual frame of the heart, and the actions flowing from it. The character and denomination of men in scripture is from two principles, the flesh and Spirit. .. Those who are not distinguished from the carnal in the resurrection of grace, shall not be separated from them in the resurrection of glory." – William Bates

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On Revenge

William Bates quote on abstaining from revenge (Romans 12:19; Deuteronomy 32:35; Hebrews 10:30):

"ln imitation of God and Christ, we must abstain from all revenge of the greatest evils suffered by us: we must extinguish any inclination to revenge. Sin begins in the desire, and ends in the action. We must not take the least pleasure, that evil befalls one that has been injurious to us; for the root of it is devilish." – William Bates

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On Faith, the Substance of things Hoped for

William Bates quote on Christian faith as the substance of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1):

"According to the degrees of our assent to future eternal things, such is their victorious power in our souls. The objective efficacy of things is not from their existence, but from their evidence to our minds. Now according as our apprehensions are more clear, and our belief more steadfast of things future, such impressions are made either of terror or desire in our breasts. The Apostle defines faith to be 'the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,' Hebrews 11:1." – William Bates

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On Exhorting One Another Daily

William Bates quote on each Christian's duty to exhort one another daily:

"We are commanded to exhort one another, while it is called to-day, and to provoke one another to love and good works, Hebrews 3:13 and 10:24. Exhortation includes instruction and admonition; the giving counsel how to preserve the purity, and secure the salvation of the soul; how to prevent sin, or to cure it by the conviction of conscience when ignorant of its duty, by the excitation of the affections when cold and sluggish, and direction to order the conversation aright." – William Bates

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On the Praise of Men vs the Praise of God

William Bates quote on seeking and receiving praise from men vs praise from God:

"To prefer the testimony of an unreproaching conscience in the sight of God, before the esteem and praise of men, is an argument of excellent grace. There are many whose virtue had never appeared so bright in public view, and gone so far, had not vanity attended it: for the relish of praise they will do praise-worthy things. Their goodness is defective in the principle; and when the spring is down, their religion is at an end. Their works appear in their true colors to the enlightened conscience; for no man can deliberately deceive himself. Now in many instances it is evident that the judgement of God, and of the world, are opposite: 'That which is highly esteemed among men, is abomination in God's sight,' Luke 16:15 and what is pleasing to God, is despised by men." – William Bates

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On Uneffected Sinners

William Bates quote on the hardness of the heart and uneffected sinners:

"How instructive and exemplary was insensible nature, as if capable of knowledge and affection in the time of his sufferings! It was disordered in the heavens, and sympathized in the elements. The sun was obscured against all possibility of nature; for the moon was opposite, and in the full, and in the twinkling of an eye passed half the circle of the heavens; and being empty of light towards the earth, by its interposition, hid the body of the sun behind it. The air was as dark at midday as at midnight. The earth trembled; the rocks rent. Have the rocks softer bowles than obdurate sinners? It is a greater prodigy that those whose sins made his death necessary are unaffected with it, than that nature seemed to have changed its principles and properties to signity his resentment of it. God's anger darkens the sun, and shakes the earth; and shall sinful men be unrelenting?" – William Bates

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On the Deceitfulness of the Heart

William Bates quote on the deceitfulness of the heart:

"The deceitfulness of the heart is discovered in this, men are very apt to please themselves in the comparison with those who are notoriously worse, but averse from considering those who are eminently better. But this will be of no avail in the day of judgment; for the Iaw of God is the rule to which we must conform, not the examples of others. Besides, how can any expect, that the wickedness of others should excuse them in judgment, and not fear that the holiness of others shall excuse and condemn them?" – William Bates

Read more: "Spiritual Perfection Unfolded and Enforced" by William Bates.