Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

FIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. 45 To this placeBaxter was invited on the 9th of March, 1641. "My mind," he says, "was much to the place as soon as it wasde- scribed to me ; because it was a full congregation, and most con- venient temple ; an ignorant, rude and reveling people for the greater part, who had need of preaching, and yet had among them a small company of converts, who were humble, godly, and of good conversation, andnot much hated by the rest, and therefore the fitter to assist their teacher; but above all, because they had hardly ever had any lively, serious preaching among them. For Bridgenorth had made me resolve that I would never more go among a people that had been hardened in unprofitableness under an awakening ministry ; but either to such as had never had any convincing preacher, or to such as had profited by him. As soon as I came to Kidderminster, and had preached there one day, I was chosen, nemine.contradicente; for though fourteen only had the power ofchoosing, they desired to please the rest. And thus I was brought, by the gracious providence of God, to that place which, had the chiefest of my labors, and yielded the greatest fruits of comfort. And I noted the mercy of God in this, that 1 never went to any place in mÿ life, among all my changes,which I had before desired, or thought of, much less sought ; but only to those that I never thought of till the sudden invitation did sur- prise me." The sequel of his life will show in what manner, and with what success, he labored in this place. At the beginning of his labors here, he foundhimself the object of much jealousy and hatred on the part of the ignorant rabble of the town. Some instances of their malice he records ; the same idle ridicule, the same perverse misrepresentations, the same lying reports, with which drunkards and scorners are wont to assail serious and faithful ministers in these days, were employed against him. He lived, however, to see the party of the tippling and profane very much diminishedunder his influence. In connection with the commencement of his labors at Kidder- minster, he adverts again to those bodily infirmities under which he had all along been suffering. These, he says, "were so great as made me live and preach in some continual expectation of death, supposing still that I had not long to live ; and this I found through all my life to be an invaluable mercy to me : For, "1. It greatly weakened. temptations: "2. It kept me in a great contempt of the world. "3. It taught me highly to esteem of time ; so that if any of it passed away in idleness or unprofitableness, it was so long a pain and burden tomy mind. So that I must say, to the praise of my most wise conductor, that time hath still seemed to me much more