Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. 13 the most able disputants of the age. Thomas Cartwright, Marga- ret professor of divinity in the university of Cambridge, of whom Beza said that " there was not a more learnedman under the sun," led the van in the dispute against prelacy. The venerable Miles Coverdale, who, having assisted Tindal in the translation of the Bible, had been bishop of Exeter under King Edward, and had hardly escaped from death under Queen Mary, was a Puritan, and as such died poor and neglected. John Box, whose historyof the martyrs was held in such veneration that it was ordered to be set up in the churches, was aPuritan, and shared the lot of Cover- dale. Many church dignitaries, including some of the bishops, were known to despise the habits and ceremonies, and to desire earnestly a more complete reformation. Yet nothing was yielded ; the terms of uniformity were so defined as to be easier for Papists than for those who doubted the completeness of the established reformation. Ministers convicted of non-conformity, though it were but the omission of a sentence or a ceremony in the liturgy, or a neglect to put on the Popish surplice, were suspended, or deprived of their livings, then forbidden to preach, thenin many instancesimprisoned. When such men were thus turned out of their employments, and prohibited the exercise of their gifts, they found refuge and employment in the houses of many of the nobil- ity and gentry, as private chaplains and instructors. In this way their principles were diffused among the highest classes of society. Meanwhile few preachers could be found to.odcupy the places of the ejected and silenced Puritans. Men without learning and without character were 'made clergymen ; but neither the orders of the queen in council, nor the imposition of episcopal hands, could qualify them to be pastors. The people, especially the thinking and the sober people of the middling classes, when they saw the difference between the pious and zealous preachers who were deprived fornon -conformity, and the ignorant and sometimes profligate readers who were put in their places, called the latter "dumb dogs," (in allusion to the language ofscripture,) and were themore ready to follow their persecuted teachers. And those, of every rank, who had begun to experience any thing of the power of Christian truth, and to love the doctrines and duties of the gospel, and who desired to see sinners converted by the preaching of God's word, sympathized deeply with these suffering ministers, and, out of respect to their evangelical' character, were strongly disposed to favor and to adopt the principles for which they suffered. Thus, while Puritanismwas making constant prog- ress in the community, it was associated, almost from its origin, with serious and practical piety ; and it soon came to pass that every man, who cared more 'for godliness than his neighbors, or