Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

J 190 LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. all that I took to be the truth, and to assault those books by name, which I thought did tend to deceive them, and did contain unsound and dangerous doctrine ; and the reason of all this was, that I was then in the vigor of myyouthful apprehensions; and at the new appearance of any sacred truth, it was more apt to affect me and be highlier valued than afterwards, when commonness had dulled my delight; and I did not sufficiently discern then how much, in most of our controversies, is verbal, and upon mutual mistakes. And, withal, I knew not how impatient divines were of being con- tradicted, nor how it would stir up all their powers to defend what theyhave once said, and to rise up against the truth, which is thus thrust upon them, as the mortal enemy oftheir honor; and I knew not how hardly men's minds are changed from their former appre- hensions, be the evidence never so plain." "3. In my youth, I was quickly past my fundamentals, andwas running up into a multitude of controversies, and greatly delighted with metaphysical and scholastic writings, (though I must `needs say, my preachingwas still on the necessary points ;) but the elder I grew, the smaller stress I laid upon these controversies andcuri- osities, though still my intellect abhorreth confusion. And now it is the fundamental doctrines of the catechism, which I highliest value, and daily think of, and findmost useful to myselfandothers: The creed, the Lord's prayer, and the ten commandments, do find me now the most acceptable and plentiful matter for all my medi- tations. They are to me as my daily bread and drink. And as I can speak and write of them over and over again, so I had rather read or hear ofthem than of any of the school niceties which once so much pleased me. And thus I observed it waswith old Bishop Usher, and with many other men." "As the stock of the tree affordeth timber to build houses and cities, when the small though higher multifarious branches are but to make a crow's nest or a blaze, so the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, of heaven anff holiness, doth build up the soul to endless blessedness, and affordethit solid peace and comfort; when a multitude of school nicetiesserve but for vain janglings 'and hurt- ful diversions and contentions. And yet I would not dissuade my reader from the perusal of Aquinas, Scotus, Ockham, Armiuiensis, Durandus, or any such writer; for much good may gotten from them ; but I would perseade him to study and live upon the essen- tial doctrines of Christianity and godliness, incomparably above them all. And that he may know that my testimony is somewhat regardable, I presume to say that in this, I as much gainsay my natural inclination to subtilty and accurateness in knowing, as he is like to do by his if he obey my counsel." 4. This is another thing which I am changed in, that whereas,