Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

92 LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. " Before I entered into the ministry, God blessed my private conference to the conversion of some, who remain firm and eminent in holiness to this day : but then, and in thebeginning of myminis- try, I was wont to number them as jewels; but since then I could not keep any number ofthem. " The congregationwas usually full, so that we were fain to build five galleries after my coming thither; the church itself being very capacious, and the most commodious and convenient that ever I was in. Our private meetings, also; were full. On the Lord's days, therewas no disorder to be seen in the streets ; but you'might hear a hundred families singing psalms and repeating sermons as you passed through the streets. In a word, when I came thither first, there was about one family in a street that worshiped God and called on his name ; and when I came away, there were some streets where there was not past one family in the side that did not do so ; and did not, by professing serious godliness, give us hopes of their sincerity. And in those families which were the worst, being inns and alehouses, usually some persons in each house did seem to be religious. "Though our administration of the Lord's supper was so order- ed as displeased many, and the far greater part kept away them- selves, yet we had six hundred that were communicants ; of whom there were not twelve that I had not good hopes of, as to their sin- cerity ; and those few that did consent to ourcommunion, and yet lived scandalously, were excommunicated afterwards. And I hope there were many who had the fear of God, that came not to our communion in the sacrament, some of them being kept off by hus- bands, by parents, by masters, and some dissuaded by men that differed from us. Those many that kept away, yet tookit patient- ly, and did not revile us as doing them wrong; and those unruly young men who were excommunicated, bore it patiently as to their outward behavior, though their hearts were full ofbitterness. " When I set upon personal conference with each family, and catechising them, there were very few families in all the town that refused to come ; and those few were beggars at the town's ends, who were so ignorant, that theywere ashamed it shouldbe mani- fest. Few families went fromme without some tears, or seeming- ly serious promises of a godly life. Yet many ignorant and un- godly persons there were still among us; but most of them were in the parish, and not in the town, and in those parts of the parish which were farthest from the town. And whereas one part of the parish was impropriate, and paid tithes to laymen, and the other part maintained the church, a brook dividing them, it fell out that almost all that side of the parish which paid tithes to the church, were godly, honest people, and did it willingly, with-