Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

18 LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. speak scornfully of others as Puritans, whom I never knew, I was at first apt tobelieve all the lies and slanders wherewith they load- ed them. But when I heard my own father so reproached, and perceived the drunkards were the forwardest in the reproach, I perceived that it was mere malice. For my father neverscrupled common prayer or ceremonies, nor spake against bishops, nor even so much as prayed but by a book or form, being not even acquainted with any that did otherwise. But only for reading scripture when the rest were dancing on the Lord's day, and for praying (by a form out of the end of the common prayer book) in his house, and for reproving drunkards and swearers, and for talk- ing sometimes a few words of scripture and the life to come, he was reviled commonly by the name of Puritan, Precisian, and Hypocrite ; and so were the godly conformable ministers that lived any where near us, not only by our neighbors, but by the common talk of all the vulgar rabble of all about us. By this experience I was fully convinced that godly people were the best, and those that despised them, and lived in sin and pleasure, were a malignant, unhappy sort of people ; and this kept me out of their company, except now and then, when the love of sports and play enticed me. "* About the age of fifteen, the mind of Baxter was more deeply and permanentlyaffected with the things that pertain to salvation. That tenderness of conscience, which has already been described as characteristic of his early childhood, made him feel with much sensibility the guilt of some boyish crimes into which he had been led by his ruder companions. In this distress, he met with an old torn book, which hadbeen lent to his father by a poor dap-laborer. The book, though now obsolete, seems to have been blessed in its day to the conversion of many. It was written originally by a Jesuit, on Roman Catholic principles, but had been carefully cor- rected by Edmund Bunny, a Puritan of Queen Elizabeth's time, after whom it was entitled "Bunny's Resolution." The reading of this book was attended with the happiest effects on his mind. " I had before heard, " he says, " some sermons, and read a good book or two, which made me more love and honor godliness in the general ; but I had never felt any other change by them on my heart. Whether it were that till now I came not to that maturity of nature, which made me capable of discerning ; or ' whether it were that this was God's appointed time, or both together, I had no lively sight or sense of what I read till now. And in the reading of this book, it pleased God to awaken my soul, and show me the folly of sinning, and the misery of the wicked, and the Narrative, Part I, pp.2, 3.