Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

96 LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. thority for Christ, as well as for the civil peace; yet, in compari- son of the rest of the world, I shall think that land happy which hath but bare liberty to be as good as the people are willing to be.. And if countenance and maintenance be but added to liberty, and tolerated errors and sects be but,forced to keep the peace, and not to oppose the substantials of Christianity, I shall not hereafter much fear such toleration, nor despair that truth will bear down adversaries. "5. Another advantage which I found, was the acceptation of my person amongthe people. Though to win estimation and love to ourselves only, be an end that none but proud men and hypo- crites intend, yet it is .most certain that the gratefulness of the person doth ingratiate the message, andgreatly prepareth the people to receive the truth. Had they taken me to be ignorant, errone- ous, scandalous, worldly, self-seeking, or such like, I could have expected small success among them. "6. Another advantage which I had, was by the zeal and dili- gence of the godly people of the place ; who thirsted after the salvation of their neighbors, and were in private my assistants, and, being dispersed through the town, were ready in almost all companies to repress seducing words, and to justify godliness, and convince, reprove, exhort men according to their deeds; as also to teach them how to pray ; and to help them to sanctify the Lord's day. For those people that had none in their families who could pray, or repeat the sermons, went to their next neighbor's house who could do it, and joined with them; so that some of the houses of the ablest men in each street were filled with them that could do nothing, or little, in their own. "7. And the holy, humble, blameless lives of the religious sort were also a great advantage to me. The malicious people could not say, ' Your professors here are as proud and covetous as any;' but the blameless lives of godly people did shame opposers, and put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, and many were won by their good conversation. "8..Our unity and concord were a great advantage to us; and our freedom from those sects and heresies, with which many other places were infected. We had no private church, and though we had private meetings, we had . not pastor against pastor, or church against church, or sect against sect, or Christian against Christian. There was none that had any odd opinions ofhis own, or censured his teacher as erroneous, or questioned his call. At Bewdley, there was a church of Anabaptists; at Worcester, the Indepen- dents gathered theirs. But we were all of one mind, and mouth, and way; not a Separatist, Anabaptist, or Antinomian in the town. One journeyman shoemaker turned Anabaptist, but he left the