“Mark, now, I beseech you, what a state of sin, and what a state of holiness is.
He that is in a state of sin, hath habitually and predominantly a greater love to some pleasures, or profits, or honours of this world, than he hath to God, and to the glory he hath promised; he preferreth, and seeketh, and holdeth (if he can) his fleshly prosperity in this world, before the favor of God and the happiness of the world to come. His heart is turned from God unto the creature, and is principally set on things on earth. Thus his sin is the blindness, and madness, and perfidiousness, and idolatry of his soul, and his forsaking of God, and his salvation for nought. It is that to his soul, which poison, and death, and sickness, and lameness, and blindness are to his body: it is such dealing with God, as that man is guilty of to his dearest friend or father, who should hate him and his company, and love the company of a dog or toad much better than his; and obey his enemy against him: and it is like a madman’s dealing with his physician, who seeks to kill him as his enemy, because he crosseth his appetite or will, to cure him. Think of this well, and then tell me, whether this be a state to be continued in. This state of sin is something worse than a mere inconsiderate act of sin, in one that otherwise liveth an obedient, holy life.
On the other hand, a state of holiness is nothing else but the habitual and predominant devotion and dedication of soul, and body, and life, and all that we have, to God; and esteeming, and loving, and serving, and seeking him, before all the pleasures and prosperity of the flesh; making his favour, and everlasting happiness in heaven, our end, and Jesus Christ our way, and referring all things in the world unto that end, and making this the scope, design, and business of our lives. It is a turning from a deceitful world to God; and preferring the Creator before the creature, and heaven before earth, and eternity before an inch of time, and our souls before our corruptible bodies, and the authority and laws of God, the universal Governor of the world, before the word or will of any man, how great soever; and a subjecting our sensitive faculties to our reason, and advancing this reason by Divine revelation; and living by faith, and not by sight: in a word, it is laying up our treasure in heaven, and setting our hearts there, and living in a heavenly conversation, setting our affections on the things above, and not on the things that are on the earth; and a rejoicing in hope of the glory to come, when sensualists have nothing but transitory, brutish pleasures to rejoice in.
This is a state and life of holiness: when we persuade you to be holy, we persuade you to no worse than this; when we commend a life of godliness to your choice, this is the life that we mean, and that we commend to you. And can you understand this well, and yet be unwilling of it? It cannot be. Do but know well what godliness and ungodliness, what grace and sin are, and the work is almost done.”
-From The Practical Works of Richard Baxter, Vol. 1, page 14, Soli Deo Gloria Publications; Baxter lived from 1615-1691; he was an English Puritan Church Leader