Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

24 LIFE of RICHARD BAXTER. read what he records on this subject, without finding much that coincides with their own experience, and much, in the way of anal- ysis and explanation, that is adapted to their own necessities. "As for those doubts of my own salvation, which exercised me for many years, the chiefest causes of them were these : " 1. Because I could not distinctly trace the workings of the Spirit upon my heart, in that method which Mr. Bolton,: Mr. Hooker, Mr. Rogers and other divines describe ; nor knew the time of my conversion, being wrought on by the forementioned degrees. Butsince then, I understood that the soul is in too dark and passion- ate aplight, at first, to be keep an account of the orderof its own operations ; and that preparatory grace being sometimes longer and sometimes shorter, and the first degree of special grace being usually very small, it is not possible that one of verymany should be able to give any true account of the just time when special grace began, and advanced him above the state of prep- aration. "2. My second doubt was as aforesaid,because ofthe hardness ofmy heart, or want of sucha lively apprehension of things spirit- ual, which I had about things corporeal. And-though I still groan under this as my sin and want, yet I now perceive that a soul in flesh doth work so much after the mannerof the flesh, that it much desireth sensible apprehensions; but things spiritual and distant are not so apt to work upon them, and to stir the passions, as things present and sensible are ; especially being known so darkly as the state and operations of separated souls are known tous who are in the body; and that the rational operations of the higher faculties (the intellect and will) may, without so much passion, set God and things spiritual highest within us, and give them the pre-eminence, and subject all carnal interest to them, and give them the govern- ment of the heart and life ; and that this is the ordinary state of a believer. "3. My next doubt was lest education and fear had done all that was ever done upon my soul, and regeneration and love were yet to seek ; because I had found convictions from my child- hood, and had found more fear than love in all my duties and restraints. "But I afterwards perceived that education is God's ordinary way for the conveyance of his grace, and ought no more to be set in opposition to the Spirit than the preaching of the word; and that it was the great mercy of God to begin with me so soon, and to prevent such sins as might else have been my shame andsorrow while I lived ; and that repentance is good, but prevention and in- nocence is better, which though we cannot obtain in perfection, yet the more the better. And I understood that though fear without