Baxter - BX5207 B3 A2 1696

PART I. Reverend Mr. Richards Baxter. they take heed how they believe any, whoever they be, while they are fpeaking for the Intereft of their Fa&ions and Opinions, againft chofe that were their real or fuppofedAdverfaries. For my part, I blefsGod who gave me even under an Ufurper whom I oppo- fed, fuch Liberty and Advantage to preach his Gofpelwith Succefs, which I can= not have tinder a King to whom I have fworn and performed true Subje&ion and Obedience ; yea, whichno Age fine the Gofpel came into this Land, did before poffefs, as far as I can learn from Hiftory. Sure I am, that when it became a matterof Reputation and Honour to be Godly, it abundantly furthered the Succef-' fes ofthe Miniftry. Yea, and I (hall add thismuch more for the fake of Pofterity, that as much as I have faid and written again([ Licentioufnefs in Religion, and for the Magiftrates Power in it, and though I think that Land molthappy, whofe Rulersefe their Authorityfor Chrifl, as well as for the Civil Peace ; ,yet in Cons- parifonof the refi of the World, I (hallthink that Land happy that path but bare Liberty to be as good as they are willing to be ; and if Countenance and Mainte- nance be but added toLiberty, and tollerated Errors and Se&s be but forced to keep the Peace, and not to oppofe the Subflantials of Chriflianity, I (hall not hereafter much fear Each Toleration , nor defpair that Truth will bear down Adver- facies. S. Another Advantage which I found was, that Acceptation of my Perfon, which Bilhop Morley and Dean Warmffry fovehemently diffuaded them from (in vain) : Though to win Eftimation and Love to our felves only, be an end that nonebut proud Men and Hypocrites intend, yet it is molt certain that the Grate fulnefs of the Perfon doth ingratiate the Meffage, and greatly prepareth the Peo- ple to receive theTruth : Had they taken me tobe Ignorant, Erroneous, Scanda- lous, Worldly, Selffeeking; or fuch like, I could have expe&ed fmall Succefs among them. 6. Another Advantagewhich I had was, by the ZealandDiligence of the Godly People of the Place; who thirfted after the Salvationof their Neighbours, and were in private thy Ali(tants, and being-difperfed through the Town, were rea- dy in almoft all Companies to reprefs (educing Words, and to jullify Godlinefs, and convince, reprove, exhort Men according to their needs ; as alfo to teach them how to pray ; and to help them tofaneifie the Lord's Day : For thofePeo- ple that had none in their Families who could pray, or repeat the Sermons, went to their next Neighbour's Houfe who could do it, and joinedwith them ; fo that fore Hoffes (of the able([ Men) in each Street were filled with-them thatcould do nothing, or little in their own. 7. And the holy, humble, blamelefs Lives of the Religious fort was a great Advantageto me : The malicious People could not fay, your Profeffors here are as proud and covetous as any : But the blamelefs Lives of godly People did Ihame Oppofers, and put to Silence the Ignorance of foolilh Men, and many were -won by their good Converfation. 8. And our Unity and Concord was a great Advantage to us, and our freedom from thofe Se&s land Heretics which many other Places were infe&ed with. We had no private Church, though we had private Meetings; we had not Pallor again« Pallor, nor Church again([ Church, nor Se& againft Se&, nor Chriftian againft Chriftian. Therewas none that had any odd Opinions of his own, or cenfured hisTeacher as erronious, nor queftioned his Call : At Bewdley there was a Church of Anabaptills ; at Worcef1er the Independents gatheredtheirs : But we wereall of one Mind, and Mouth, and Way : Not a Separatift, Anabaptift, An- tinomian, &e. in the Town ! One Journeyman Shoemaker turned Anabaptift, but he left the Townupon it, and went among them. When People faw diver- fity of Sees and Churches in anyPlace, it greatly hindred their Converfion ; and they were at a lofs, and knew not what Party to be of, or what Way to go ; and therefore would be of no Religion at all; and perhaps derided them all whom they faw thus difagreed : But they had no fuch Offence or Obje&ion there; they could not ask, which Church or Party (hall I be of; for we were all but as one : Nay, fo Modeft were the ablelt of the People, that they never were inclined toa preaching way, nor to make Oftentation of their Parts ; but took warning by the Pride of others, and thought they had teaching enough by their Paftors, and that it was betterfor them tobelow their Labour in digelting that, than in Preaching themfelve. 9. Agil