Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. 225 reason and persuasion were 'open to his discerning eye. There was no resisting the force of his discourses without denying reason and divine revelation. He had a marvelous felicity and copiousness in speaking. There was a noble negligence in his style; for his great mind could not stoop to the affected eloquence ofwords : he de- spised flashy. oratory ; but 'his expressions were clear and powerful, so convincing the understanding, so entering into the soul, so en- gaging the affections; that those were as deaf as adders, who were not ' charmed by so wise a charmer.' He was animated with the Holy Spirit, and breathed celestial fire, to inspire heat and life into dead sinners, and to melt the. obdurate in the frozen tombs. Me- thinks I still hear him speak those powerful words : ' A wretch that is condemned to die to-morrow cannot forget it: and yet poor sin- ners, that continually.are uncertain to live an hour, and certain speedily to see the majestyof the Lordto their inconceivable joy or terror, as sure as they now live on earth, can forget these things for which theyhave their memory.; and which, one would think should drown the matters of this world, as the report of a cannon does a whisper, or as the sun obscures the poorest glow-worm. Oh, wonderful folly and distractedness of the ungodly ! That ever men can forget, I say again, that they, can forget, eternal joy, eternal wo, and the eternal God, and the place of their eternal, unchange- able abodes, when they stand even at the door; and there is but a thin veil of flesh between them and that amazing sight, that eter- nal gulf, and they are daily dying and stepping in." "Though all divine graces, 'the ' fruit of. the Spirit,' were visible inhis conversion, yet some were more eminent. Humility is to other graces as the morning-star is to the sun, that goes before it, and follows it in the evening: humility prepares us for the receiving' ofgrace : 'God gives grace to the humble;' and it follows the ex . ercise of grace ; ' Not I,' says the apostle, ' but the grace of God it, me.' InMr. Baxter, there was arare union ofsublime knowledge, and other spiritual excellences, with the lowest opinion of himself." "Self-denial and contempt of the world were shining graces in him. I never knewany person less indulgent to himself, and more indifferent to his temporal interest. The offer of a bishopric was no temptation to him; for his exalted soul despised the pleasures and profits which others so earnestly desire ; he valued not anempty title upon his tomb." "This saint was tried by many afflictions. We are very. tender . of our reputation : his name was obscured under a cloud of detrac- tion. Manyslanderous darts were thrown at him. He was charg- ed with schism and sedition. He was accused for his Paraphrase upon the New Testament, as guilty ofdisloyal aspersions upon the government, and condemned, unheard, to a prison, where he re- voL. I. 29