Baxter - BX5207 B3 A2 1696

PART I. Reverend Mr. Richard Baxter. 57 proportionable increafe of truly godly People, not counting Hereticksor perfidious Rebels or Church- difturbers as fuch: But this increafe of Godlinefs was not in all places alike : For in fome places wherethe Minifters were formal, or ignorant, or weak and imprudent, contentious or negligent, the Parifhes were as bad as here- tofore. And infome places, where the Miniflers had excellent parts, and holy lives, and thir(ted after the goodof Souls, and wholly devoted themfelves , their time and ftrength andeftates thereunto, and thought no pains or colt too much, there abundance were converted to ferions Godlinefs. And with thofe of a mid- dle flare, ufually they had a middle ineafure of Succefs. And I mutt add this to the true Informationof Pofterity, ThatGod did fo wonderfully biefs the Labours ofhis unanimousfaithful Minifters, that had it not been for the Factionof the Pre- latiffs on one fide that drewmen off, and the Factions of the giddy and turbulent Se&aries on the other fide, ( who pull'd down all Government, cried down the Minifters, and broke all into Confufion, and made the People at their wits end, not knowing what Religion to be of); together with fome lazieee and f lfhneß in . many of the Miniftry, I fay, had it not been for there Impediments, Englandhad beenlike in a quarter of an Age to have becomea Land of Saints, and a Pattern of Holinef to all the World, andthe unmatchable Paradife of the Earth. Never were fuch fair opportunities to fan&ifie a Nation, loft and trodden under foot, as have been in this Land of late ! Woe be to them that were the Caufes of it. § 140. Inour Affociation in this County , though we made our Terms large enough for all, Epifcopal , Presbyterians and Independants, there was not one Presbyterian joyned with us that I know of, ( for I knew but of one in all the County, Mr. Tho. Hall) nor one Independant, (though two or three honeft ones laid nothing againftus) norone of the New Prelatical way (Dr. Hammonds) but three or four moderate Conformifts that were for the old Epifcopacy ; and all the reft were meer Catholicks ; Men ofnoFa&ion, nor tiding with any Party, but owning that which was good in all, as far as they could difcern it ; and upon a Concord in fo much, laying out themfelves for the great Ends of their Miniftry, thePeoples Edification. 4 14r. And the increafe of Se&aries among us was much through the weaknefs or the faultinefs of Minifters : And it made me remember that Se&s have mofl abounded when the Gofpel bath molt profpered, and God bath been doing thegreateft works in the World : As fish in the Apoftles and the Primitive Times, and then whenChriflian Emperours were a(fifting the Church ; and then when Reformationprofpered in Germany ; and lately in New-England where Godlinefs molt flourilhed; and lait of all here,when fo pleafant a Springhad railed all our hopes: And our Impatience of weak Peoples Errours and Dint, did make the Buli- nefs worfe ; whiff} every weak Minifter that could not or would not do that for his People which belonged to his place, was prefently crying out againft the Ma- giftrates forfuffering thefèErtours ; and thinking the Sword muff do that which the Word Ihould do : And it is a wicked thing in Men , to delire with the Papilla, that the People were rather blind thanpurblind, and that they might rather know nothing, than miltakein fome few Points and to be more troubled that a man contradilletb win the Point of Infant Baptifm or ChurchGovernment, than that many of the People are fottifhly carelefs of their own Salvation, He that never regard - eth the Word of God, is not like to Err much about it : Men will fooner fall out about Goldor Pearls, than Swine or Afs will. 4 r4a. All this while that I abode at Ridderminfter, ( though the Rulers that thenwere made an Order that no Sequeftred Minifter fhould have his fifth part, untels he removed out of the Pari(h where he had b^en Minifter, yet) did I never remove the old Sequeftred Vicar fo much as out of his Vicaridge Houle, no nor once came within the Doors of it ; fo far was I from Seizing on it as myown, or removing him out of the Town: But he lived in peace and quietnefs with us, and reformed his Life, and lived without any Scandal or Offenfivene(s, and I never heard that he fpake an ill word of me. And yet as foon as the times werechang- ed, the infligation of others made him as malapart again, as ifhe had been awa- kened out ofa fleepy Innocence. 4 43. About this time Cromwell fet uphis Major Generals , and the Decimation of the Effaces of the Royalifts, called Delinquents, to maintain them : And Tames Berry was madeMajor General of Worcefterfhire, Sbropfhire, Herefordfhire, and North- Wales ; the Countreys in which he had formerly lived as a Servant ( a Clark of Iron-works). His reign was model} and (port ; but hated and fcorned by the Gen- try