Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

120 LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. opinion. But, who can say that the immediate result was all? Who can say how many, in succeeding ages, having read the record of what he did, have been moved in their several spheres to do like- wise ? And if, bythis brief exhibition of his spirit and example, any, in these days, should be awakened to the more lively exercise of a kindred spirit, and encouraged in similar efforts,itwill afford an additional illustration ofthe truth that, under the providence of the Godof peace, no such endeavor will utterly fail ofits success here, any more than it can fail of its reward hereafter. But, while Baxter was so intent on peace; he was not willing to sit still, and see either error, or sectarian and dividing principles, propagated in his own parish to,lhe perversion of his people. When contention was inevitable, he showed himself ready to con- teal effectually. Respecting a controversy which he had with a zealous and able Baptist brother, he gives the following statement. "Mr. Tombes, who was my neighbor, within two miles, deny- ing infant baptism, and having written a book or two against it, was not a little desirous of the propagation of his opinion, and the suc- cess of his writings. He thought that I was' the chief hinderer, though I never meddled with the point. 'Whereupon he came constantly to my weekly lectures, waiting for an opportunity to fall upon that controversy in his conference' with me; but I studi- ously avoided it, so that he knew not how to begin. He had so high a conceit of his writings, that he thought them unanswerable, and that none could deal with him in that way.. At last; somehow, he urged give myjudgment of them ; when I let him know that they did not satisfy me to be of his mind, but went no further with him. Upon this he forebore coming any more to our lecture; but he unavoidably contrived to bring, me into the controversy which I shunned. For there came unto me five or six of his chief proselytes, as if they were yet unresolved, and desired me to give them in writing the arguments which satisfied me for infant baptism. I asked them whether they came not by Mr. Tombes' directions ; and they confessed that they did. I asked , them whether they had read the books of Mr. Gobbet, Mr. Marshall, Mr. Church, Mr. Blake, for infant baptism; and they told me, no. I desired them to read that which is written already, before they called for moré, and tell me what they had to say against them. But this theywould by no means do;. they. must have my writings. I told them, that now they plainlyconfessed that ,they. came upon a design to promote their party by 'contentious writings, and not in sincere desire to be informed, as they pretended. But, to be short, they had no more modesty than to insist on their demands, and to tell me, that, if they turned against infant baptism, and I denied to give them my arguments in writing, theymust lay it upon me. I