Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. 53 'dons on the Lord's, days; and those that made not so great a mat- ter of everysin, but went to church and heard common prayer, and were glad to hear a sermon which lashed the Puritans ; and who ordinarily spoké against this strictness and preciseness in religion, and this strict observation of the Lord's day, and following ser- mons,, and praying extempore, and talking so much of Scripture and the matters of salvation; and those that hated and derided them that take these courses ; the main body of thesewere against the parliament. Not but that somesuch, for money, or a landlord's pleasure, served them ; as some few of the stricter sort were against them, or not, for them ; but I speak of the notable division through the land. " If you ask how this came to pass, it requireth a longer answer than I think fit here to give. But briefly ; actions spring from natural dispositions and. interest. 'There is somewhat in the na- ture of all worldly men which makes them earnestly desirous of riches and honors in theworld, They that value these thingsmost will seek them ; and they that seek them are more likely to find them than those that despise them. He who takes the world and preferment for his interest, will estimate and choose all means ac- cordingly ; and, where the world predominates, gain goes for god- liness, and serious religion, whioh would mortify their sin, is their greatest enemy. Yet conscience must be quieted, and reputation preserved ; which cannot be done without some religion. There- fore, such a religion is necessary to them, as is consistent with a worldly mind ; which outside formality, lip-service, and hypocrisy, are ; but seriousness, sincerity, and spirituality, are not. On the other side, there is that in the new nature of a believer, which in- clineth"him to things above, and causeth him to look at worldly grandeur and riches as things more dangerous than desirable. He is dead to the world, and the world to him, by the cross of Christ. No wonder, therefore, iffew such attain great matters in the world, or ever come to preferment or greatness on earth. And there is James I. in the year 1618, and afterwards, at the instigation of Archbishop Laud,republished by Charles I. in the year 1633. The design of this procla- mation was to express his majesty's pleasure " that, after the end of divine ser- vice, his good people should not be disturbed, lotted or discouraged from any lawful recreations, such as dancing, either of men orwomen, archery for men, leaping, vaulting,or anysuch harmless recreations, nor from having may-games, iohitson-ales, or morrice- dances, or setting up of may-poles, or other sports there- with used, so as the same may be had in due and convenient time without im- pediment or let of divine service." When this proclamation was renewed by King Charles, it was ordered to be read in, all the churches. Many of the ministers refused to comply with this order, some of whom were suspended for their disobedience. Others, after publishing the king's decree, immediately read the fourth commandment, adding, This is the lato of God, tie other the in- junction of man.