Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

182 LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. practice in the church of England in families, because the liturgy meddleth not with families ; and among the diversity of family prac- tice, no man knoweth what to call the practice of the church. 2. Because so much power was given to the justices of the peace to record a man an offender without a jury, and if he did it cause- lessly, we were without any remedy, seeing he was made a judge." " And now came in the people's trial, as well as the ministers'. While the danger and sufferings lay on the ministers alone, the people were very courageous, and exhorted them to stand it out and preach till theywent to prison. But when it came to be their own case, theywere as venturous till theywere once surprised and imprisoned; but then their judgments were much altered, and they that censured ministers before as cowardly, because they preached not publicly, whatever followed, did now think that it was better to preach often in secret to a few, than but once or twice in public to many ; and that secrecy was no sin, when it tended to the fur- therance of the workof the gospel, and to the church's good. Es-' pecially the rich were as cautious as the ministers. But yet their meetings were soordinary, and so well known, that it greatly tended to the jailers' commodity. " It was a great strait that the people were in, especially who dwelt near any busy officer, or malicious enemy. Many durst not pray in their families, if above four persons came in to dine with them." " Some thought theymight venture if theywithdrew into another room, and left the strangers by themselves ; but others said, It is all one if they be in the same house, though out of hearing, when it cometh to the judgment ofthe justices. In London, where the houses are contiguous, some thought if they were in several houses, and -heard one another through the wall or a window, it would avoid the law; but others said, it is all in vain whilst the justice is judge whether it was a meeting or no. Great lawyers said, If you come on a visit or business, though you be present at prayer or sermon, it is no breach of the law, because you met not on pretence of a religious exercise; but those that tried them said, Such words are but wind, when- the justices come to judge you. " And here the Quakers did greatly relieve the sober people for a time ; for they were so resolute, and so gloried in their constan- cy and sufferings, that they assembled openly at the Bull and Mouth, near Aldersgate, and were dragged away daily to the com- mon jail; and yet desisted not, but -the rest came the next day, nevertheless; so that the jail at Newgate was filled with them. Abundance of them diedan prison, and yet theycontinued their assemblies still. They would sometimes meet only to sit still in silence, when, as they said, the Spirit did not speak; and it was a