Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

8b LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. could not judge it seemly for him that believed there is a God, to play fast and loose with a dreadful oath, as if the bonds ofnational and personal vows were as easily shaken off as Sampson's cords.- Therefore I spake and preached, against the engagement, and dis- suaded men from taking it."* The principles by which he regulated his conduct in regard to the government of Cromwell, while it continued, he thus describes: "I did seasonably and moderately, by preaching and printing, con- demn the usurpation, and the deceit which was the means to bring it to pass. I did in open conferencedeclare Cromwell and his ad- herents to be guilty of treason and rebellion, aggravated by perfid- iousness and hypocrisy to be abho d of all good and sober men. But yet I did not think it my dutylb rave against him in the pul- pit, nor to do this so unseasonably and imprudently as might irri- tate him to mischief. And the rather because, as he kept up his approbation of a godly life in general, and of all that was good,-ex- cept that which the interest of his`sinful cause engaged him to be against; so I perceived that it was his design to do good in the main, and to promote the gospel and the interest of godliness, more than any had done before him ; except in those particulars which his own interest was against. The principal means that hencefor- ward he trusted to for his own establishment, was doing good, that the peoplemightlove him, or at least be willing to have his govern- ment for that good, who were against it as it was usurpation. And I made no question but that, when the rightful governor was re- stored, the people who had adhered to him, being so extremely irritated, would cast out multitudes of the ministers, and undo the good which the usurper had done, because he did it, and would bring abundance ofcalamity upon the land. Some men thought it a very hard question, whether they should rather wish the con- tinuance of an usurper that will do good, or the restitution of a rightful governor whose followers will do hurt. For my own part, I thought my dutywas clear to disown the usurper's sin, what good soever hewould do; and to perform all myengagements to a right- ful governor leaving the issue of all to hod ; but yet to commend the good which an usurper cloth, and to do any lawful thingwhich may provoke him to do more ; and to approve of no, evil which is done by any, either usurper or lawful governor."-l. At a later period, he seems to have changed his mind, respect- ing the course of conduct here recorded. In 1691, he wrote,'" I am in great doubt how far I did well or ill in my opposition to Cromwell and his army at last. I am satisfied that itwas my duty to disown, and as I said, to oppose their rebellion and other sins. `Narrative, Part L p. 64. I Narrative, Part I. p. 71.