Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

THE LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. PART FIRST. FROM HIS BIRTH TO THE BEGINNING OF THE CIVIL WAR IN 1641. THE life of Richard Baxter extends over a little more than threg quarters of a century. And perhaps in all the history of England, no period of the same length can be selected more abundant in memorable events, or more critical in its bearings on the cause of true liberty and of pure Christianity, than the seventy- six years between the birth of Baxter, and his death. The Reformation of the English Church had been begun about the middle of the preceding century, by a wayward and arbitrary monarch, to gratifyhis own passions. Henry VIII. renounced the supremacyof the pape, only that he might be pope himself within the limits of his own dominions. He dissolved the monasteries, because their immense possessions made them worth plundering. He made the hierarchy independent of Rome, and dependent on himself, because he would admit no power có-ordinate with that of the crown. And though, in effecting these changes, he was under the necessity of employing the agency of some true reform- ers, who shared in the spirit of Wickliffe, and Luther, and Calvin, nothing was farther from his design than the intellectual or moral renovation of the people. On his death, in 1547, an amiable prince, a boy in his tenth year, became nominally king of England and head of the English church. During the short reign of Edward VI. the reformation was carried on with a hearty good will, by Cranmer and his asso- VOL. I. 2