Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

130 LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. it was their duty. If God would but reform the ministr4, and set them on their duty zealously and faithfully, the people would cer- tainly be reformed : all churches either rise or fall, as the ministry doth rise or fall, not in riches or worldly grandeur, but in knowledge, zeal, and ability for the work. But since bishops were restored, this book is useless, and that work not meddled with.. " 19. " Certain Disputations of Rights to Sacraments, and the True Nature of.Visible Christianity." Published in 1656. Of this work it is unnecessary to saymore than that it is a controversial examination of the question,What is the proper conditionof church communion? and that the doctrine which it maintains is, that the only condition of membership which any church has a right to require, and the great condition which no church has a right to dispense with, is simply " a credible profession of true faith and repentance." 20. " The Safe Religion, or Three Disputations for the Re- formedCatholic Religion against Popery." 8vo. published in 1657. Ofthis workhe says, " Thegreat advancement ofthe, Popish interest by their secret agency among the Sectaries, Seekers, Quakers, Behmenists, etc., did make me think it necessary to do something directly against Popery. So I published three dissertations against them, one to prove our religion safe, and another to prove their re- ligion unsafe, and a third to show that they overthrew the faithby the ill resolution of their faith. "t 21. " A Treatise of Conversion ; preached and now published for the Use of those that are Strangers to a true Conversion, espe- cially the grossly ignorant and ungodly." 4to. published in 1657. It was, as he says, z' some plain sermons on that subject, which Mr. Baldwin, an honest young minister, that had lived in my house and learned my short hand in which I wrote my sermon notes, had transcribed out of my notes. And thoughI had no leisure, for this or other writings, to add any ornaments, or citations of authors, I thought it might better pass as it was than not at all ; and that if the author missed of the, applause of the learned, yet the book might be profitable to the ignorant, as it proved, through the great Inercy of God." This work, it may besupposed, is a fair specimen of the author's ordinary preaching. In this point of view, it is a book of no small value, not only for " the grossly ignorant and ungodly," but also for divines however "learned.' He who reads it carefully will hardly wonder at Baxter's success as a preacher; and may learn from it more of the manner in which truth should be presented to the minds of men, than frommany 'a learned work on rhetoric and Narrative, Part 1. p. 11:1 t Ibid.'p. 116.