Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. 151 house at Whitburne, and thought to make a betterbargain with me thanwith another, and, therefore, finding that the lord chancellor intended me the offer of one, .he desired it might be that. I thought it best to give them no positive denial till I saw the utmost of their intents : and I perceived that Colonel Birch came privately, that a bishopric might not be publicly refused, and to try whether I wouldaccept it, that else it might not be offered me; for he told me that theywould not bear such a repulse. I told him that I was resolved never to be bishop of Hereford, and that I did not think I should ever see cause to take any bishopric ; but I could give no positive answer till I saw the king's resolutions about the way of church government; for if the old diocesan frame continued, he knew we could never accept or own it. After this, not having a flat denial, he came again and 'again to Dr. Reynolds, Mr. Calamy, and myself together, to importune us all to accept the offer, for the bishopric of Norwichwas offered to Dr. Reynolds, and Coventry and Litchfield to Mr. Calamy ; but he had no positive answer, but the same from me as before. At last, the day that the king's dec- laration came out, when I was with the lord chancellor, who did all, he asked me whether I would accept of abishopric. I told him that if he had asked me that question the day before, I could easily have answered him that in conscience I could not do it ; for, though I would live peaceably under whatever government the king should set up, I could not have 'a. hand in executing it. But having, as coming to him; seen the king's declaration, and seeing that by it the government is so far altered as it is, I took myself for the church's sake exceedingly beholden to his lordship for those mode- rations ; and my desire to promote the happiness of the church, which that moderation tendeth to, did make me resolve to take that . course which tendeth most thereto. Whether to take a bishopric be the way, I was in doubt, and desired some further time for con- sideration. But if his lordship would procure us the settlement of the matter of that declaration, by passing it into a law, I promised him to take that way in which I might most serve thepublic peace. "Dr. Reynolds, Mr. Calamy, and myself, had some speeches oft together about it ; and we all thought'that a bishopric might be accepted according to thedescription of thedeclaration, without any violation of the covenant; or owningthe ancient prelacy ; but all the doubt was whether this declaration would be made a law, as was then expected, or whether it were but a temporary means to draw us on till we came up to all the diocesans desired. Mr. Calamy desired that we might all go together, and all refuse or all accept it. "But by this time the rumor of it fled abroad, and the voice of the city made a difference. For though they wished that none of