Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. 179 making collections for some plot or insurrection. 4. Thehearts of the people were much grieved for the loss of their pastors. 5. Many places had such set over them in their steads, as they could not with conscience or comfort commit the conduct of their souls to; and they were forced to own all these', &c. by receiving the sacrament in the several parishes, whether they would or not. 6. Those that did not this were to be excommunicated, and then to have a writ sued out against them de excommunicato capiendo, to lay them in the jail, and seize on their estates." He lengthens.out this catalogue of evils by enumerating the many divisions among min- isters and among Christians which the great controversy of the time occasioned, the murmuring and complaining of the people against the government ; and he concludes with the remark that, " by all these sins, these murmurings, and these violations of the interest of the church and the cause of Christ, the landwas prepar- ed for that further inundationof calamities, by war and plague, and scarcity, which bath since brought it near to desolation." Till this time Baxter had lived unmarried. But soon after the Bartholomew ejection, when in his forty-seventh year, he married a lady of good family, much younger than himself, whose affection and assiduity did much to alleviate the distresses that were now to follow him. Her name was Margaret Charlton. She had been one of his flock during some part of his ministry at Kidderminster, and under his preaching became eminently pious. The attach- ment between them seems to have commenced some time before, though when they were married she was not more than twenty- three years ofage. Nearly a year before the event actually took place, he says, " About this time, it was famed at the court that I was married, which went as the matter of a most hainous crime, which I never heard charged by them on any man but me. Bishop Morleydivulged it with all the odium he could possibly put upon it ; " " and it every where rung about, partly as a wonder and partly as a crime." " And I think the king's marriage was scarce more talked ofthan mine. "* He was at last married, Sept. 10, 1662. " She consented," he says, " to these conditions of our marriage : First, that I should have nothing that before our marriage was hers; that I, who want- ed no earthly supplies, might not seem to marry her for covetous- ness. Secondly, that she would so alter heraffairs that I might be entangled in no lawsuits. Thirdly, that she would expect none of my time which my ministerial work should require."1- The Act of Uniformity had hardly taken effect, when the idea was thrown out by the court that some indulgence might yet bo Narrative, Part II. p. 384. Breviate of the life of Mn. s Margaret Baxter, quoted by Orme.