Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

100 LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. powerful and sober; their fruits peaceable and meek, disowning the treasons and iniquities of the times as well as we. They were wholly addicted to the winning ofsouls ;. self -denying, and of most blameless lives ; evil spoken of by no sober men, but greatly be- loved by their own people and all that knew them adhering tono faction; neither Episcopal, Presbyterial, nor Independent, as to parties ; but desiring union, and loving that which is good in all. These, meeting weekly at our lecture, and monthly at our disputa- tion, constrained a reverence in the people to their worth and unity, and consequently furthered my work." 22. Another advantage to me was the quality of the sinners of the place. There were two drunkards almost at the next doors to me, who, one by night, and the other by day, did constantly, every week, if not twice or thrice a week, roar and rave in the streets like stark mad men. These were so beastly and ridiculous, that they made that sin, of which we were in most danger, the more ab- horred. "23. Another advantage to me was the quality of the apostates of the place. If we had been troubled withmere Separatists, Ana- baptists, or others that erred plausibly and tolerably, they might perhaps have divided us, and drawn away disciples after them. But we had only two professors that fell off in the wars; and one or two that made no profession ofgodliness were drawls in to them. Those that fell off, were such as before, by their want of grounded understanding, humility, and mortification, gave us the greatest suspicion of their stability ; and they fell to no less than familism and infidelity, makinga jest of the scripture andof the essentials ofChristianity. . And as they fell from the faith, so they fell to drinking, gaming, furious passions, (horribly abusing their wives, and thereby saving them from their errors,) and to a vicious life. So that they stood up as pillars and monuments of God's justice, to warn all others to take heed ofself-conceitedness, and heresies, and of departing from truth and Christian unity. And so they were a principal means tokeep out all sects and errors from the town. "24. Another great help to my success at last, was the fore- described work of personal conference with every family'apart, and catechising and instructing them. That whichwasspoken to them personally, and which put them sometimes upon answers, awaken- ed their attention, andwas easier applied than public preaching, and seemed to do much more upon them. "25. And the exercise of church discipline was no small fur- therance of the people's good : for I found plainly, that, without it, I could not havekept the religioussort from separations anddivisions. There is something generally in their dispositions, which inclineth them to dissociate from open ungodly sinners, as men of another