Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. 19 inexpressible weight of things eternal, and the necessity of resolv- ing on a holy life, more than I was ever acquainted with before. The same things which I knew before, came now in another manner, with light, and sense, and seriousness, to my heart. This cast me at first into fears of my condition ; and those drove me to sorrow, and confession, and prayer, and so to some resolution for another kind of life. And many a day I went with a throbbing conscience, and saw that I had other matters to mind, and another work to do in the world, than Ihad minded well before. "Yet whether sincere conversion began now, or before, or after, I was never able to this day* to know; for I had before had some love to the things and people which were good, and a restraint from other sins except those forementioned ; and so much from those, that I seldom committed most of them, and when I did, it was with great reluctance. And both now and formerly, I knew that Christ was the only Mediator bywhom we must have pardon, justification and life. But even at that time, I had little lively sense of the love of God in Christ to the world in me, nor of my special need of him; for all Papists almost are too short upon this subject."I- At this time his father bought of a pedler at the door, another book, " The Bruised Reed," by Dr. Richard Sibbs. This he found adapted to the state of his mind in those circumstances. It disclosed to him more clearly the love of God towards him, and gave him livelier apprehensions of the mystery of Redemption, and of his obligations to the Savior. Afterwards a servant came into the family with a volume of the works of William Perkins, another ancient and eminentPuritan divine ; the reading of which instructed him further, andgave new strength to his determination. " Thus," he says, "without anymeans but books, was God pleased to resolve me for himself." During all this period of his educa- tion and of his Christian experience, neither his father nor himself had any acquaintance with a single individual better instructed than themselves on the subject of religion. It is also worthy of notice that they had never heard an extemporaneous prayer. " My prayers," says Baxter, " were theconfession in thecommon prayer book, and sometimes one of Mr. Bradford's prayers in a book called his ' Prayers and Meditations,' and sometimesa prayer out of another prayer book which we had." The ignorant and tippling schoolmasters, under whom he ac- quired the earliest rudiments of education, have already been described. Of a Mr. John Owen, master of a considerable free school at Wroxeter, near his father's residence, he speaks with a Written in 1664, thirty-four years afterwards. t Narrative, Part I. p. 3.