Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

46 LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTEIM precious thangold or any earthly gain, and its minutes have not been despised, nor have I been much tempted to any of the sins which usually go by the name of pastime, since I understood my work. "4. It made, me study and preach things necessary, and a little stirred up my sluggish heart, to speak to sinners with some com- passion, as a dying man to dying men. "These, with the rest which I mentioned before when I spake ofmy infirmities, were the blessings which God afforded me by af- fliction. I humbly bless his gracious providence, who gave me his treasure in an earthen vessel, and trained me up in the school of affliction, and taught me the cross ofChrist so soon. "' Amid these distresses of the body, the blessed effects of which he acknowledged in his old age so gratefully, his mind was not always free fromeven severe and painful conflicts. The trials of such a believer, and the processes by which his faith advanced to- ward perfection, are always instructive. The following record will not be read without interest. It was by such inward struggles, probably, that he acquired those clear and discriminating views of Christian character, as well as Christian truth, by which his writings are distinguished. "At one time above all the rest, being under a new and unusual distemper, which put me upon the present expectations of my change, and going for comfort to the promises, as I was used, the tempter strongly assaulted my faith, andwould have drawn me to- wards infidelity itself. Till I was ready to enter into the ministry, all my troubles had been raised, by the hardness of my heart, and the doubtings of my own sincerity ; but now all these began to vanish, and never much returned to this day ; and instead of these, I was now assaulted by more pernicious temptations ; especially to question the truth ofthe Sacred Scriptures; and also the life to come, and immortality of the soul. And these temptations assaulted me, not as theydo the melancholy, with horrid, vexing importunity ; but, by pretence of sober reason, they would have drawn me to a set- tleddoubting of Christianity. "And here I found 'my own miscarriage and the great mercy of God. My miscarriage, in that I had so long neglected the well settling of my foundations, while I. had bestowed so much time in the superstructures and the applicatory part. For having taken it for an intolerable evil once to question the truth of the Scriptures and the life to come, I' had either taken it for a certainty upon trust, or taken up with common reasons of it, which I had never well considered, digested, or made mine own. Insomuch as when this Narrative, Part I. p. 21.