Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v2

S4 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. what various reception we must expect. We cast out our doctrine almost as a foot-ball is turned out among boys in the street, in some congregations: few understand it, but every one censureth it. Few come as learners, or teachable disciples, but most come to sit as judges on their teacher's words; and yet have not either the skill, or the patience, or the diligence, which is necessary, in a just trial, to a righteous judgment. But as our words agree or dis- agree with the former conceptions of every hearer, so are they judged to be wise or foolish, sound or unsound, true or false, fit or Unfit. Few sermons that I preach, but one extolleth them, and wisheth they were printed, and another accuseth them of some heinous fault : some men are pleasedwith clearness and accurate- ness of doctrine ; and others account it too high, and sty we shoot over the hearers' heads, and like nothing but the fervent applica- tion of what they knew before. Most hearers are displeased with that which they most treed : if they err, they reproach that doc- trine as erroneous that would cure them : if they are,guilty of any prevailing distemper and sin, they, take that application to be in- jurious to them, which would convince them, and save them from that guilt. Most are much pleased with- plain and zealous reproof of sin; but it must be other men's sins, and not their own. The poor love to hear of the evil of oppression and unmercifulness, of pride, fullness, and idleness, and all the sins of the rich! subjects love to hear of their ruler's faults, and say, O, this man is no flat- terer; he dares tell the greatest of their sins; but if they hear of their own, they take it for an injury. Rulers like a sermon for submission and obedience; but how few love to hear ofthe evil of injustice and oppression, or pride and sensuality, or to read Luke xvi. or xii. or James v..; to hear of the necessity of holiness, justice, and temperance, and of death, and judgment, and the life to come! Every sectary and dogmatist delighteth to have his own Opinion cried up, and his party praised as the chiefest saints but all that tendeth to the praise of those he dissenteth from, and accounteth adversaries to the truth, is distasteful to him, as a complying with iniquity,, and a strengthening of the enemies'of Christ : and all that uncharitablenesswhich he expecteth from us against others, is as much expected by others against him, and such as he. This day, while I am writing these words, my pockets are full of letters sent to me, on one side importunately charging it on me as my duty to conform to the oaths; declarations, covenants, and practices; now imposed, or else to give over preaching, (which would please them ;) and on the other side vehemently eensuring me as guilty of grievous sin, for declaring my judgment for so much of conformity as I have done ; and charging' me by predic- tions as guilty of the sufferings of all that are otherwise minded,