Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. 117 " 7. Also they were over-rigid against the admission of Chris- tians of other churches to their cdmmunion. "8. And I disliked their making a minister to be asno minister to any but his own flock, and to act toothers but as a private man ; with divers other such irregularities, and dividing opinions ; many of which, the moderation ofthe New England synod hath of late corrected, and disowned; and §o done very much to heal these breaches. "And for the Anabaptists, I knew that they injudiciously ex- cluded the infants of the faithful from solemn entrance into the 'covenant and church of God, and as sinfullymade their opinion a ground of their separation from the churches and communioñ of their brethren ; and that among them grew up the weeds of many errors ; and divisions, subdivisions, reproach of ministers, faction and pride, and scandalous practices were fomented in their Way."* With these views of the principles and characters of the several evangelical denominations of his day, he thought himself called to some special efforts for the promotion of peace and catholic com- munion. He made it a great object to bring all these parties of Christians to see distinctly that the points onwhich they all agreed were not only more numerous and more important than the points on which they differed, but were 'also such as to afford ample ground for mutual fellowship and co-operation. He soon found, however that, besides the diversity of men's opinions and principles, there were other and snore serious obsta- cles in the way of his success. One hindrance he found " in men's company, and another in their seeming interest, and the chiefest of all in the disposition and quality of their minds." Respecting these three great hindrances, he says, " Some, that were most conversant with sober, peaceable, experienced men, and were under the care ofpeaceable ministers, I found very much inclined to charity and peace. But multitudes of them conversed most with ignorant, proud] unexperienced, passionate, uncharitable persons, who made it a part of their zeal and ingenuity to break a jest in reproach and scorn of them that differed from them ; and who were ordinarily backbiters, and bold, unrighteous censurers of others, before they well understood them, or ever heard them give a reason of their judgments. And the hearingand conversing with such persons as these dòth powerfullydispose men to the same disease, and to sin impenitently after their example. Especially, when men are incorporated into a sect or uncharitable party, and have captivated themselves to a human servitude' in religion, and *Narrative, l'art II. Pp, 139-144.