Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

LIFE OF RICHARD BAX`rER. 127 interruption to mybetter labors, and as they were of small worth, so also of small cost. The same ministers of our country, that are now silenced, are they that . the Quakers most vehemently opposed, meddling little with the rest. ' The marvelous concur- rence of instruments telleth us, that one principal agent doth act them all. I have oft'asked the Quakers lately, Why they chose the same ministers to revile, whom all the drunkards and swearers rail against? . And tvhy they cried out in our assemblies, Come down, . thou deceiver, thou hireling, thou dog ; and now never meddle with the pastors or. congregations? They answer, that these men sin in the open light, and need none to discover them; and that the Spirit hath his times of severity and of lenity. But the truth is, they knew then they might be bold without any fear of suffering by it ; and now it is time for them to save their skins, they suffer enough for their own assemblies. "C It is hardly necessary to add, that the Quakers of that day were exceedinglyunlike the sober, peaceable And exemplary moralists who now bear that name. All accounts unite in testifying that the conduct of the enthusiasts against whom Baxter wrote this pamphlet, was such as outraged all decency, no less distinctly than their principles contradicted both scripture .and commonsense. 16. " The Unreasonableness of Infidelity, manifested in four Discourses." 8vo. published in 1655. This is a work of about 450 pages. The author, from the time of his connectionwith the army, had watched' with much interest the tendency of certain fanatical sects towards sheer infidelity. The Papists, who were every where at work in those stórmy times, were at much pains secretly to promote these tendencies, hoping that men would by andbybe persuaded that infidelity was the necessary result of every scheme which deniéd the infallibility of their church. A certain class of republican politicians, whomCromwell called the ' heathen,' were diffusing a sort of philosophie unbelief in the sphere of their influence. Hobbes, and Lord Herbert, the fathers of English Deism, were directly assailing Christianity by their writings. Bax- ter was the first who encountered these tendencies by argument. His are,said tobe the earliest original works in the English lan- guage on the evidences of Christianity. The following account of his views and motives in undertaking this work, is from thepreface. " Having the unhappy opportunity, many years ago, of discours- mg with some of those, [fanatic infidels,] and perceiving them to, increase, I preached the sermons on Gal. iii., which are here first printed. Long after this, having again' and again too'frequent oc- x Narrative, Part L. p. 116.