Baxter - BX5207 B3 A2 1696

PAR T I. ReverendMr. RichardBaxter. 91 (and thereby Paving them from their Errours ) and to a vicious Life. So that they flood up as Pillars and Monuments of God's Juftice, to warn all others, to take heed of Self-conceitednefs and Herehes, andof departing from Truth and Chri- flian Unity : And fo theywere a-principal means to keep but all Seâsand Errours from the Town. 24. Another great helptomy Succefs at lafl, was the fore-defcríbed Work of Perfonal Conference with every Family apart , and Catechifing and Inftru&ing them. That which was fpoken to them perfonally , and put them fometimeupon Anfwers, awakened their Attention, and was eafilier applyed thanpublick Preach- ing, and feemed to do much more upon them. as.And the Exercife ofChurch-Difcipline was no fmall furtherance ofthe Peoples Good : For I found plainly that without it I couldnot have kept the Religiousfort from Separations andDivifions. There is fomething generally in their Difpofitions, which inclineth them to diffociate fromopenungodly Sinners, as Men of another Nature andSociety ; and if they had not feen me do fomething reafonable for a Regular Separation of the notorious obffinate Sinners from the reff, they would irregularly have withdrawn themfelves ; and it had not been in my power , with bare words, to fatisfie them, when they law we had liberty to do what we would. It was my greateft Care and Contrivancefo to order this Work, that we might neither makeameet Mock-thew of Difcipline, nor with Independauts, un-church theParith-Church, and gather a Church out of them anew. Therefore all the Mini- ftersAffociate agreed together, to praé ice fo much Difcipline, as the Epifcopal, Presbyterians and Independentswere agreed on, that Presbytersmight and mutt do. And we told the People that we went not aboutto gather a new Church,but taking the Parifh forthe Church,unlefs they were unwilling to owntheirownMefnberfhíp, we refolved toexercife that Difcipline with all : Only becaufe there are fome Pa- pills andFamilifis or Infidelsamong us, and becaufe in thefe times of Liberty we cannot ( nor delire to) compel any againft their Wills, we delvedall that didown their Memberfhip in this Parith Church, and take us for their Paltors, to give in their Names, or any other way lignifie that they do fo: and thofe that are not willing to be Members, and rather choofe to withdraw themfelves than live under Difcipline, to be filent And fo, for very fear of Difcipline, all the Parifh kept off except about Six hundred, when there were in all above Sixteen hundred at Age to be Communicants. Yet becaufe it was their own doing, and they knew they might come in when they would, they were quiet in their Separation ; for we took them forthe Separatifts : For thofe that templed our Gefture at the Sa- crament, Iopenly toldthem that they fhould have it in their own. Yet did I Bap- tize all their Children ; but made them firlt (as I would have done by Strangers) give me privately, (or publickly ifthey had rather) an account of their Faith ; and ifany Father were a fcandalous Sinner, I made him confefi hisSin openly with teeming Penitence , beforeI would Baptize his Child : If he refuted it, I forbore till the Mother came to prefent it, ( for I rarely, if ever, found both Father and Mother fo deftitute ofKnowledge and Faith, as in a Church Senfe to be uncapa- ble hereof.) Of thofe that refufed to come under Difcipline, tome were honeft Perfons,who by their Husbands, Parents orMatters, were forbidden : Many were grofly igno- rant ; many were prophane and fcandalous; and many were kept off by theEx- ample and Perfwafions of force leading Perlons, whowere guided by the higher fort of the Prelatical Divines ; who though they couldfay little or nothing againft what we did, yet their Religion being too much madeup ofFa&ionand Perfonal Intereft, they difowned our Courfeas unfuitable to the Intereft of their Civil and Ecclelaulical Sidings and Defigns. About fix or fevenyoung Men didjoyn with uswho were addi&ed to Tipling, and one of them was aweak-headed Fellow, whowas a common notorious Drun- kard. We could not refufe them, becaufe our bufinefs was not to gather a New Church, but only to know who owned their own Memberfhip, and who would difown itand withdraw themfelves. But we told him that he was a notorious Drunkard, that we muff prefently admonilh him, and expo&his humble, penitent Confeflior , and promife of Amendment, or elfe we muff declare him unfit for Church -Communion. He lamented his Sin with great aggravation , and promi- fed Amendment ; but quickly returned to it again : We admonifhed him again and again, and laboured tobring him to Contrition and Refolution; and he would Bill confefi it, and (till go on : I warned him publickly, andprayed for feveral N z days