Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. 17 ofhis places. After himanother younger kinsman, that could write and read, got orders. And at the same time another neighbor's son, that had been a while at school, turned minister, and, who wouldneeds go further than the rest, ventured topreach, (and after got a living in Staffordshire,) and when he had been a preacher about twelve or sixteen years, he was fain to give over, it being discovered that his orders were forged by the first ingenious stage- player. After him another neighbor's son took orders, when he hadbeen a while an attorney's clerk, and a common drunkard, and tippled himself into so great poverty that he had no other way to live. It was feared that he and more of them came by their orders the same way with the forementioned person. These were the schoolmasters of my youth, (except two of them) . who read 'common prayer on Sundays and holy-days, and taught school and tippled on the week days, and whipped the boys when they were drunk, so that we changed them very oft. Within a few miles aboutus were near a dozen more ministers that were near eighty years old apiece, and never preached ; poor ignorant readers, and most of them of scandalous lives. Only three or four constant, competent preachers lived near us, and those (though conformable all save one) were the common marks of the people's obloquy and reproach, and any that had but gone to hear themwhen he had no preaching at home, was made the derision, ofthe vulgar rabble, under the odious name of a Puritane." The state of society in which . his early years were spent, he describes in the same style. The character of the people corre- sponded with the character of their religious privileges. " In the village where I lived," he says, "the reader read the common prayer briefly, and the rest of the day, even till dark night almost, except eating time, was spent in dancing under a maypole and a great tree, not far from my father's door; where all the town did meet together. And though one of my father's own tenants was the piper, he could not restrain him nor break the sport; so that we could not read the scripture in our family without the great disturbance of the taber and pipe and noise in the street. Many times my mind was inclined to be among them, and sometimes I broke loose from conscience and joined with them ; and the more I did it, the more I was inclined to it. But when I heard them call my father, Puritan, it did much to cure me and alienate me from them; for I considered that my father's exercise of reading the scripture, was better than their's, and would surely be better thought onby oilmen at the last ; and I considered what it was for which he and others were thus derided. When I heard them VOL. I. *Narrativeof his life and times. Part I. p. 2. 3