Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v2

BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 85 for communicating in the sacrament, and the common prayer%of the church; and others in the mid-way, persuading me equally to bear my testimony against unjust separation and persecution and to endeavor still, if possible, to save a self-destroying people from the tearing fury of these two extremes. And how should I an- swer these contrary expectations, or escape the censures of such expectants ? - And it hath pleased God, who, thirty years and more, had tried ne by human applause, of late in this city (where multitudes of persons of contrary minds are, like passengers in crowded streets, still jostling and offending one another,) toexercise me With men's daily backbitings and cavils : and so many have chosen me for the subject of their discourse, that Imay say as Paul, (1 Cor. iv. 9, 10, &c.) "We are made a spectacle, or theatre, to the world, and to angels, and to men : we'are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ," &c. Did I not live out of the noise in retirement, tak- en up with pain, and expectations of my change, what an annoy- ance to me would it be to hear religious persons, that have aGod, a Christss a heaven, to talk of, to abuse. their time and tongues in so much talking of one so inconsiderable, and that bath so little to do with them, or they with him ; while with some overvaluing me and others still quarreling, I am the matter of their idle, sinful talk. The persecutors, for divers pears after, first silencing, (ifnot still,) and the separatists, for two or three years last past, have been pos- sessed with so strange a jealousy and quarrelsome a disposition against me, that they seem to take it for their interest to promote my defamation, and for muchof their work to search what may of ford them any matter of accusation in every sermon that I preach, and every book that I write. And though the fury of the perse- cutors be such as maketh them much incapable ofsuch converse and sober consideration as is needful to their true information and satisfaction,, yet mpst of the more religious cavilers are satisfied as soon as I have spoken with them, and all endeth in a putarem or nonputarem: for want of accurateness and patience, they judge rashly before they understand, and, when they understand, confess their error; and yet many go on and take no warning after many times conviction of their mistake. Even in books that are still be- fore their eyes.(aswell as in transient words and sermons) they heed- lessly leave out, or put in, or alter and misreport plain words, and, with confidence, affirm those things to have been said that never were said, but, perhaps,-the contrary. And when all people will judge of the good or evil of our,words, as they think we have reason to use therdor forbear them, how can we satisfy mere that are out of' our hearing, and to whom we cannot tell our reasons ? Most men are of private, narrowobservation, and judge of the good