Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v2

BAXTER'S. DYING THOUGHTS. 83 difficulty, not only in catechising, but in all other writings and teaching, a short catechism, or a short style, the ignorant under- Stand not and a long one they remember not., And he that will accommodate one judicious reader or hearer with profound matter, or an accurate style, must incommodatè multitudes thát are incapa- ble of it.; and, therefore, such must be content withfew approvers, and leave the applause of the multitude to the more popular, unless he be one that can seasonably suit himself to bath: A man that resolveth not to be deceived by ambiguous words, and maketh it his first work, in all his readings and disputings, to difference between words, and sense, and things, and strictly to examine each disputed term, till the speaker's meaning be dis- tinctly known, will. see the lamentable case of the church, and all mankind, andwhatshadows of knowledge deceive the world, and in what useless dreams the greatest part of men, yea, of learned men, do spend their days ; much of that, which some men unwea- riedly study, and take 'to be the honor of their understandings and their lives; and much of that, which multitudes place their piety and hopes of salvation in; being a mere game at words, and useless notions ; and - as becalled vanity and vexation, as is the rest of the vain show, that most men walk in. My sad and bitter thoughts of the heathen, infidel, Mahometan world, and of the common corruptions of-rulers and teachers, cities and coun- tries, senates and councils, I will not here open to others, lest they offend; nor cry out as Seneca, Omnes mali .sumus, or, Stultorum plena aunt omnia, nor describe the furious spirits of the clergy, and their ignorance, and unrighteous calumnies and schisms, as. Greg- ory Nazianzen and others do, nor voluminously lament the seem- ing hopeless case of earth, by the boldness, blindness, and fury of men that make use of such sad considerations, to loosen my love from such aworld, and make me willing to be with Christ. 9. And if other men's words and writings are blemished with somuch imperfection, why should I think that my own are blame- less? I must forever be thankful for the holy instructions and writings of others, notwithstandinghuman frailty, and contentious men's ahuse of words; and so I mpst be thankful that God hath made any use of my own, for the good of souls, and his church's edification. But with how many allays are such comforts here mixed ! We are not the teachers of a well-rúled school, where learners are ranked into several forms, that every one may have the teaching which is agreeable to his capacity ; but we must set open the door to all that will crowd in, and publish our writings to all sorts of readers ; and there being as various degrees ofcapa- city as there are men and women, and, consequently, great variety and contrarietyof apprehensions, itis easy, ab antecedente, to know