Baxter - BX5207 B3 A2 1696

PAR T I. ReverendMr. Richard Baxter. sß. Another thing that helpedme was, my not medlingwith Tythes or Worldly Bufinefs; whereby I had my whole time ( except what Sicknefs deprived me of ) for my Duty, and my Mind more free from Entanglements than elfe it would have been ; and alfo I efcaped the offending of the People, and contending by any Law Suits with them. And I found alfo that Nature it felf being Confcious of theBafenefs of its EarthlyDifpofition,doth think bafelyof thofe whom it difcern -- eth to be Earthly ; and is forced to Reverence thole whofe Converfe is fuppofed to be molt with God and Heaven. Three or Four of my Neighbours managed all thofe kind of Bufineffes, of whom Inever took Account ; and if any one deni- ed topay their Tythes, if they were poor I ordered them to forgive it them i After that I was conftráined to let the Tythes be gathered, as by my Title, to fave the Gatherers from Law -Snits. But if they were able, I ordered then: tofeek it by the Magiftrare, with the Damage, and give both my Part and the Damages to the Poor ( for I refolved to have none of it my felf that was recovered by Law, and yet I could not tollerate the Sacriledge and Fraud of covetous Men ). But when theyknew that this wasthe Rule I went by, none of them would do the Poor fo great a Kindnefs as to deny the Payment of their Tythes, that were able. And in my Family I had the Helpof my Father and Mother in Law, and the Be- nefit of a godly, understanding, faithful Servant ( an ancient Womannear Sixty Years old ) who eafed me of all Care, and laid out all my Money for Houfe- keeping, fo that I never had one Hour's trouble about ir, nor ever took one Day's Account of herfor Fourteen Years together, as being certain of her Fidelity, Pro- videnceand Skill. 29. And it much furthered my Succefi, that I flayed fill in this one Place, (near Two Years before the Wars, and above Fourteen Years after ) ; for he that re- movethoft fromPlace to Place, mayCow good Seed in many Places ; but is not like to feemuch Fruit in any, unlefs fome otherskilful Hand (hall follow him to water it: It wasa great Advantage to me, to have almoll all the Religious Peo- ple of thePlace, of my own Inflru&ing andInforming; and that they werenot formed into erroneous and factious Principles before; and that Ì flayed to fee them grown up to force Confirmednefs and Maturity. 3o. Lalily, Our Succeffes wereenlarged beyond our own Congregations, by the Le&ures kept upround about : To divers of them I went as oft as f was able; and the Neighbour Minifters otter thanI ; efpecially Mr. Oafland of Bewdley, who ha- ving a ftrongBody, a zealous Spirit, and an earneft Utterance, went up and down Preaching fromPlace to Place, withgreat Acceptance and Succefs. But this Bufi- nefs alfo we contrived tobe univerfally and orderly managed : For betides the Le&ures fet upon Week-days fixedly in feveral Places, we fiudied how to have it extend to every Place in the County that had need. For you mull underfiandthat when the Parliament purged theMinittry, they call out the groffer fort of infuffi- cien and fcandalous ones, as groß Drunkards, and fuck like ; and alto fume few Civil Men that hadalfified in the Wars againit the Parliament, or fer up bowing to Altars, and fuck Innovations : But they had left in near one half the Mini- fters, that were not good enough to do much Service, nor bad enough to be raft out as utterly intolerable : TLele were a companyof Poor weak Preachers, that had no great Skill in Divinity, nor Zeal for Godlinefs; but preachedweaklythat which is True, and lived in no großnotorious Sin : TheeMen were not call out, but yet their People greatly needed help ; for their dark fleepy Preaching did but little Good : Thereforewe refolved that force ofthe abler Minifters fhould often vo- luntarily help them ; but all the Care was how to do it withoutoffending them: And it fell out feafonably, that the Londoners of that County at their yearly Feaft, did colle& about 301. and fend it me (by that worthyMan, Mr. Thomas Stanley of Bread-flreer) to fet upa Le&ure for that Year: Whereupon, we covered all our Defigns under the Name ofthe Londoners Le&ure, which took off the Offence : Andwe chofe four worthy Men, Mr. And. Triflram, Mr. Hen. Oafland, Mr. Tbo. Baldwin, and Mr. yof. Treble (whoonly now conformeth) who undertook to go each Man his Day, once a Month, which was every Lord's Day between thefour, and to preach at thole Places which had molt need, twice on a Lord'sDay; but to avoid all ill Confequents and Offence, they were fometimes to go to abler Mens Congregations, and wherever they came to fay fomewhat always to draw the People to the Honour and fpecial Regardof their own Pafiors ; that howweak foever they were, they might fee that we came not to draw away the Peoples Hearts from them, but to firengthen their Hands, and help them in their Work. This Le&ure did a great deal of Good ; and though the Londoners gave their Mo. ney