Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BT70 .B397 1675

The Preface. thoughts of the Caufes of all there Calamities and the Cure. I. I was born and bred of Parents pioufly affe&ed but of no fuch knowledge or acquaintance as might engage them in anyControverfies, or difaffet them to the prefent Government of the Church, or caule them to fcrupleCon- formity to its Docîrine, Worfhip or Difcipline : In this way I was bred my fell, but taught by my Parents and God himfelf, to make confcience of fin, and to fear God, and to difcern between the Godly and the notorioufly wicked : For whichmy Parentsand I were commonly derided asPuri- tans,the Spirit ofthe Vulgar being commonly then fired with hatred and fcorn of ferious godlinefs , and ufing that name as their inflrument of reproach which was firfl forged againfl the Nonconformifts only ; And the Clergie where I lived, being moflly only Readers of the Liturgic and force others that rather countenanced than reproved this courte, I loon confined myReverence to a very few among them that were Learned and Godly ( but Conformify) and for going out of myParifh to hear them, my reproach in- created : About eighteen or nineteenyears of age I fell ac- quainted with come perlons half Conformits and half Non-conformifls, who for fear of feverities againa private Meetings, met with great fecrefie only to repeat the publick Sermons, and Pray, and by Pious Conference edifie each other. Their Spirits and Pra&ice was fo favoury to me, that it kindled in me a diflafle of the Prelates as Perfecu- tors, who troubled and ruined fuch perlons, while igno- rant Drunkards and Worldlings were tolerated in fo many Churches, yea, and countenanced for crying down fuch perfons, and crying upBifhops, Liturgieand Conformity : Before I was aware, my affetions began to folicite my un- derflanding, to judge of theThings and Cafes by the Perfone (where the difference was very great). But yet my firfl Teachers kept my judgement for Conformity as Lawful, though not Definable had we Liberty , till I was ordained. But loon after anew acquaintance provoked me toa deeper fludyof the whole Controverfie than I had undertaken before ; which left me perfwaded that the ufe of Liturgie and Ceremonies was lawful in that cafe of necefity, except the rl3apt final ufe of the Crofs, and the fubfcription to all things, &c. But in 1640. the Oath called ['Et Cetera] being offered the Miniflry, forced me to a yet more JearchingStudy of the cafe of our Diocefane