Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER 119 him as he would be spoken of himself, and useth him as he would be used himself; and it is against his charitable inclination to disagree or separate from his brethren." "And it is easy to bring such persons to agreement, at leastto live incharitable communion. But, on the other side, the carnal, selfish, and uüsanctified, ofwhat party or opinion soever,.have a nature that is quite against holy concord and peace. They want that love which is the natural balsam for the churches' wounds. They are every one selfish, and ruled by self-interest, and have as many ends and centers of their desires and actidns as they are individual men." " These, and many more impediments, do rise up against all conciliatory endeavors."* To follow the peace-maker through all the detailsof his efforts inbehalf of union, would carry us beyond the prescribed limits of this narrative. Sectarians wete too numerous then, among Chris- tians of every name, to permit the consummationof such hopes as Baxter seems to have cherished. Selfish men, men of ecclesias- tical ambition, men of . defective piety, and men of narrow minds, have always had, and for some time to come will doubtless continue to have, in the visible church, influence enough to keep up, in spite of the prayers and endeavors of peace-makers, the spirit of jealousy and party strife, among those who, notwithstanding all their divisions, have stjll one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. But though he failed to accomplish all the good which he de- sired, his efforts in behalf of this great object were not lost; for indeed the God of peace will never permit any sincere endeavor in such a cause to be utterly, in vain. The Worcestershire asso- ciation of pastors, of which mention has already been made,t and the many similar associations which were formed cotemporaneously in other parts of England, owed their origin, in a great measure, to the pacificatory labors of Baxter. By these associations for mutual counsel and free fraternal discussion, the attention of hun- dreds of pastors was turned from strivings and questions ofJittle profit, to the great business of their rtiinistry, tq the conversioi and sanctification of their hearers. Thus, too, the progress of division was in some degree .hindered. The voice of God's truth, that had been, as it were, half-drowned in the clamor of ecclesiastical as well as civil factions, began to be heard in a louder and clearer tone ; and the churches, enjoying a brief season of something like rest, "were edified, and walking in the fear of God and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied." Such was, at that time, the success of that good man's labors to bring about a union among Christians on the ground of mutual toleration and freedom of Narrative, Part Il. pp; 144, 145. t See pp. 105, 106.