Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

166 LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. " I desired it as the greatest favor of them, that, ifthey intended not my being there, they would plainly tell me so, that I might trouble them and myself no more about it; but that was a favor too great to be expected. I had continual encouragement by promises, till I was almost tire{ in waiting on them. At last, meeting Sir Ralph Clare in the bishop's chamber, I desired him, before the bishop, to tell me to my face, ifhe had any thing against me which might cause all this ado. He told me that I would give the sacramew to none kneeling, and that of eighteen hundred communicants, there were not past six hundred that were for me, and the rest were rather for the vicar. I answered, I was very glad that these words fell out to be spoken in the bishop's hearing. To the first accusation, I told him, that he himself knew I invited him to the sacrament; and offered it him kneeling, and undermy hand in writing; and openly in his hearing in the pulpit I had' promised and told both him andall the rest, I never had, nor ever would, put any man from the lacrament on the account of kneel- ing, but leave every one to the posture which they should choose ; and that the reason why I never gave it to any kneeling, was because all that came would sit or stand, and those that were for kneeling only, followed him, who would not come unlessI would administer it to him and his party on a day by themselves, when the rest were not present; and I had no mind to be the author of such a schism, and make, as it were, two churches of one. But especially the consciousness ofnotorious scandal, which they kñew they must be atountable for, did make many kneelers stay away. And all this he could not deny. "As to the second charge, I stated, there was a witness ready to say as he did ; for the truth is,among good and bad, I knew but one man in the town against me, whichwas a stranger newlycome, one Ganderton, an attorney, steward to the lord of Abergavenny, a Papist, who was lord of the manor, and this one man was the prosecutor, and witnessed how manywere, against my return. i craved of the bishop that I might send by the next post to know their minds, and if that were so, I would take it for a favor to be kept from thence. When the people heard this at Kidderminster, in a day's time they gathered the hands of sixteen hundred of the eighteen hundred communicants, and the rest were such as were from home. And within four or five days, I happened to find Sir Ralph Clare -with thebishop again, and showed him the hands of sixteen hundred communicants, with an offer of more if they might have time, all very earnest for my return. Sir Ralph was sileneed as to that point ; but he and the bishop appeared so much the more against my return. "The letter which the lord chancellor, upon hi§ own óffer, wrote