Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

LIFE OF RICISARD BAXTER. Ól their persuasion, who was no contemptible scholar; and with him Baxter held a disputation, first by word of mouth, and afterwards in writing. The result was thata few of the townsmen became Baptists, and a Baptist church was then planted in that city, which continues to this day.* The garrison, however; and the restof the city, "were keptsound." The two years which Baxter spent at Gloucester, were years of convulsion and blood throughout England. The detail of battles, and sieges, and occasional attempts at pacification, is no part of our design. Every part of the kingdom being in arms, the war was carried on with various success, and with little progress towards a conclusion ; and at the close of the first year, there was more pros- pect of a long-continued conflict than at the beginning. At this time, the parliament, somewhat disheartened, perhaps, by the recent successes of the royal forces, invited aid from Scotland. The Scots, inflamed with zeal for the divine right of their Presbyterian church government, insisted on a uniformity of doctrine, worship, and discipline, in the two kingdoms, as the condition on which their assistance was to be afforded. A solemn league and covenant for the extirpation of Popery, prelacy, superstition, heresy, schism, and profaneness, was framed in Scotland, and, after having undergone some amendments designed to make it somewhat less strict in its construction, was with great solemnity adopted and subscribed by both houses of parliament, and by the assembly of divines then sitting at Westminster. This covenant wasordered to be sworn to and subscribed by all persons over the age of eighteen years, throughout the kingdom. From about this time, parties began to be distinctly formed both in the parliament and among its adherents. Heretofore all had been united in the common cause of reforming the existing hierar- chy. What ecclesiastical system should take the place of that which- they proposed to overturn, had not been discussed, much less determined. Many, perhaps the majority of sober men, were for a moderate, or, as they styled it, a primitive episcopacy. Oth- ers preferred the platform of Geneva and of the churches of Hol- land, which had been adopted, with only slight modifications, in Scotland. Others, disapproving of all national and provincial churches, favored the scheme on which the Churches of New Eng- land had been formed; and these, deeming no act of parliament necessary to give them authority, gathered separate churches, as they had opportunity, on the Congregational plan. But now the zeal of the Scots for their Presbyterianism, and their intrigues to in- troduce their uniformity into the sister kingdom, divided those who * Orme.