Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

94 LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER., have forborne running away, like Jonah; but should have thought that God called not to that place. Yea, the mercy was yet greater, in that it was of farther public benefit. For some Inde- pendents and Anabaptists, that had before conceited that parish churches were the great obstruction of all true church order and discipline, and that it was impossible to bring them to any good consistency, did quite change their minds when they saw what was done at Kidderminster." "And the zeal and knowledge of this poor people provoked many in other parts of the land. And though I have been now absent from them about six years, and they have been assaulted with pulpit calumnies and slanders, with threatenings and impris- onments, with enticing words and seducing reasonings, they yet stand fast, and keep their integrity. Manyof them are gone to God, and some are removed, and some now in prison, and most still at home, but none, that I hear of, that are fallen off, or forsake their uprightness. "Having related my comfortable successes in this place, I shall next tell you by what and how many advantages this was effected, under that grace which worketh by means, though with a free diversity; which I. do chiefly for their sakes who would know the means of other men's experiments in managing ignorant and sinful parishes. " 1. One advantage was, that I came to apeople who never had any awakening ministry before, but a few formal, cold sermons of the curate ; for, if they had been hardened under a powerful ministry, and had been sermon-proof, I should have expected less. " 2. Another advantage was, that at first I was in the vigor of any spirits, and had,naturally a familiar moving voice, (which is a greatmatter with the common hearers,) and doing all in bodily -weakness as a dying man, my soul was the more easily brought to seriousness, and to preach as a dying man to dying men. For drowsy formality and customariness doth but stupefy the hearers, and rock them asleep. It must be serious preaching, which will make men serious in hearing and obeying it. "3. Another advantage was, that most of the bitter enemies of godliness in the town, who rose in tumults against me before, in their very hatred of Puritans, had gone out into wars, into the king's armies, and were quickly killed, and few of them ever returned again ; and so there were few to make any great opposi- Aion to godliness. "4. Another and the greatest advantage was, the change that was made in the public affairs, by the success of the wars, which, however it was done, and though much corrupted by the usurpers, yet was ;.uch as removed many and great impediments to men's