Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v1

LIFE OF RICHARD BAXTER. 89 But there were many honest, pious men among them. And when God chooseth the executioner ofjustice as he pleaseth, I am oft in doubt whether I should not have been more passive and silent than I was ; though not as Jeremiah to Nebuchadnezzar, to persuade men to submit, yet to have forborne some sharp public preaching and writing against them,when they set themselves too late to promote piety to ingratiate their usurpation. To disturb possess- ors needeth a clear call, when for what end soever they do that good, which men of better title will destroy."* But it is more pleasant to turn, from the confusion of these pub- lic changes, to the calm, laborious life of the diligent pastor among the people of his charge. In what circumstances Baxter first foundthe people of Kidderminster ; what hatred and opposition he encountered ; and how the violence of the infuriated rabble com- pelled him to flee for safety, after a two years' residence among them; need not be here repeated. The recollection of these things, however, imparts additional interest to the record of his la- bors and successes among the same people in more favorable cir- cumstances. The story of his life as a pastor, cannot be better told than in his own words. " I shall next record, to the praise of my Redeemer, the com- fortable employment and successes which he vouchsafed me during my abode at Kidderminster, under all these weaknesses. And, 1st. I will mention my employment. 2. My successes. And, 3. Those advantages by which, under God, they were procured. "Before the wars, I preached twice each Lord's day; but after the war, but once, and once every Thursday, besides occasional sermons. Every Thursday evening, my neighbors, who were most desirous, and had opportunity, met at my house, and there one of them repeated the sermon ; afterwards they proposed what doubts any of them had about the sermon, or any other case of conscience ; and I resolved their doubts : last of all, I caused some- times one and sometimes another of them to pray, to exercise them; and sometimes I prayed with themmyself: which, beside singing apsalm, was all they did. And once a week, also, some ofthe younger sort, who were not fit to pray in so great an assem- bly, met among a few more privately, where they spent three hours in prayer together. Every Saturday night, they met at some of their houses, to repeat the sermon of the last Lord's day, and to pray and prepare themselves forthe following day. Once in a few weeks, we had a day of humiliation on one occasion or other. Every religious woman that was safely delivered, instead of the old feastings and gossipings, if they were able, did keep a day of *Penitent Confessions, pp. 24, 25, quoted by Orme. VOL. I. 12