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PART

I. Reverend

Mr.

Richard

Baxter.

i

§

17.Til1 this

time

I

was fatisfied

in theMatter

of

Conformity:Whilft I

was

young

I

had

never been acquainted

with any that were againft

it, or that

queftioned it.

I

had

joyned with the

Common

-

Prayer with

as

hearty fervency

as

afterward

I

did

with other Prayers!

As

long

as

I

had

no Prejudice againft it,

I

had

no

flop

in my

Devotions from any

of

its

Imperfebtions.

At

lait

at about

20 years

of

Age, I became acquainted with Mr.

Simmonds,

Mr.

Cradock,

and

other very

zealous godly Nonconformifts

in

Shrewsbury,

and the

-ad-

joyning

pares,

whofe fervent Prayers

and

favoury

Conference and

holy Lives

did

profit me much. And when I underftood that they were People profecuted by

the

Bifhops,

I

found much prejudice

arife

inmy

heart againft thofe

that

perfecuted

them, and thought thofe

that

filenced and

troubled fuch Men could not be the ge-

nuine Followers

of

the Lord

of

Love.

But

yet

I

refolved

that

I

would Rudy the Point,

as

well

as

I

was

able

, before

I

would be confident

on

either

fide

:

And

it

prejudiced me againft the Nonconfor-

mitts, becaufè we had

but

one

of

them near us,

(

one Mr.

Barnet

of

Uppingron

)

who, though

he was a

very

honelt

blamelefs

Man, yet

was

reputed

to

be but

a

mean

Scholar

;

when Mr. Garber, and fome

other Conformifts, were more Learn-

edMen_

And

withal,

the

Books

of

the

.Nonconformills were then

fo

fcarce,

and

hard

to

be

got

(

becaufe

of

the danger ) that I could

not

come to know their rea-

fons.

Whereas

òt

the contrary

fide,

Mr.

Garbet

and Mr.

Samuel Smith,

did fend

me

Downbam, Sprint,

Dr.

Burge',

and others

of the ltrongeft that had wroteagainft

the Nonconformifts

;

upon the

reading of which

I

could not

fee

but

the

Caufe

of

the Conformifts

was

very jultifiable,

and the reafoning

of

the Nonconformifts

weak.

Hereupon when

I

thought

of Ordination,

I

had no Scruple

at

all

againft

Sub-

fcription

:

And

yet

fo

precipitant and

rafh was

I, that I had never once

read over

the Book

of

Ordination, which

was

one to which

I

was

toSubfcribe

;nor

halfread

over

the

Book

of

Homilies,

nor

exactly weighed the Book

of

Common

-

Prayer,nor

was

I

of

fufficieat

Underltanding to determine

confidently in fome

Controverted

Pointsin

the

;9

Articles. But my Teachers and my

Books

having

cafed

me

in

general to

think the Conformifts had the better

Caufe

,

I

kept out

all

particular

Scruples

by that

Opinion.

1

18.

At that time

old Mr.

Richard

Foley

of

Stourbridge

in

Worceflerfhire,

had

re-

covered

fome

alienated Lands at

Dudley,

which had been

left

to Charitable Ufes,

and added

fomethingof

his

own,

and

built

a

convenient new

School

-

Houfe,

and

was

to choofe his

firft School

-Mager

and

Ulher

:

By

the means

of

fames

Berry

(who

lived

in the Houfe with me, and had

lived

with him) he defired me to ac-

cept

it.

I

thought

it

not an inconvenient Condition

for my

Entrance,

becaufe

I

might

alto Preach

up and down in

Places

that

were

molt

ignorant,

before

I

pre

-

fumed

to take

a

Paftoral

Charge (to

which

I

had no inclination).

So

to

Dudley

I

went, and

Mr.

Foley

and fames

Berry

going

with

me to

Wordelter

,

at

the Time

of

Ordination, I

was

Ordained

by

the Bithop, and had

a

Licence to teach

School

;

for which (being

Examined) I

Subfcribed.

4'

t9.

Being fettled

(with an

Whet)

in the

new

School

at

Dudley,

and living in

the

Houfe

of

Mr.

Ricbard

Foley

Junior,

I

there preached my

firft Publick Sermon

in

the upper Parifh

Church

;

and

afterwards Preached

in the

Villages

about;

and

there

had occafion

to

fall

afrelh

upon the Rudy

of

Conformity

:

For

there were

many

private Chriftians thereabouts

that

were

Nonconformifts,

and one in

the

Houfe with

me.

And that excellentMan, Mr.

William

Fenner,

had lately lived

two

miles

off at

Sedgeley,

who

by

defending Conformity,

and

honouring it

by

a

wonderfully,

powerful and

fùccefsful

way

of

Preaching, Conference, and holy

Li-

ving, had flirted up the Nonconformilts the more to a vehement pleading

of

their

Caufe: And though they were there generally godly

honei

People, yet fmartly

cenforious, and made

Conformity no

Snail fault

:

And

They

lent

me Manufcripts

and

Books

which

I

never raw

before;

whereupon I thought

it

my

Duty to

let

up-

on a

ferious

impartial

Trial of

the whole Caufe.

The

Caufe

of

Epifcopacy Bithop

Downbam

had much fatisfied me

in

before ;

and

I

had

not then

a fufficient

Underftanding

of

the

difference

betwixt the

Argu-

ments for an Epifcopacy in general, and for our

Englifh

Diocefans

in particular.

The

Caufe

of

Kneeling at the Sacrament I ftùdied

next

:

and

Mr.

Paybody

fully

fatisfied

me

for Conformity in

that. I

turned

over Cartwrightand

Wbirgifr ,

and

others

;

but

having lately

procured Dr.

Ames

fief!' fuit,

I

thought it my belt

way

to

flatly throughly

Dr.

Burgas

(his

Father-in-law) and him,

as

the likelieft means

to

avoid diltrathion among

a

multitude

of

Writers,

and

not

ro

lofe

the

Truth-in

crowds

3