Baxter - BX5207 B3 A2 1696

PAR T l. ReverendMr. Richard Baxter. i 5 much more raw, and had more Paffages that would not beartheTryal of accurate Judgments ; and my Difcourfeshad both lets Subftance and lets Iudgment than of late. z. My underftandingwasthen picker, and could eailyer manage any thing that was newly prefented to it upon a fudden ; but it h fine better furnifhed, and acquainted with the ways of Truth and Error, and with a Multitude ofparticular Miftakes of the World, which then I was the more in Danger of, becaufe I had only the Faculty of Knowing them, but did not adualy know them. I was then like a Man of a quick Underftanding that was to travail a way which he never went before, or to calf up an Account which he never laboured in before, or to play on an Inftrument of Mufick which henever fawbefore : And I am now like one offomewhat a flowerUnderftanding (by that yræmarura fencing which weak- nefs and excelfrve bleedings brought me to) who is travelling a Way which he bath often gone, and is calling up an Account which he bath often cart up, and bath ready at hand, and that is playing on an Inftrument which he had, often playd on : So that I canvery confidently fay, that my Judgment is much founder and firmer now than it was then ; forthough I am nowas competent Judge of the Aiding, of my ownUnderftanding then, yet I can judgeof the Ef)1"eélr : And when I perufe the Writings which I wrote in my younger Years, I can find the Footfteps of my unfurnilhed Mind, and ofmy Emptynels and Infufficiency: So that the Man that followed my Judgment then, was liker to have been milled by me, than he that Ihould follow it now. And yet, that I may not fay worfe than it deferveth ofmy former meafure of Underftanding, I thall truly tell you what change I find now, in the perufal of my own Writings. Thofe Points which then I throughly fruited, my Judgment is the fame ofstow, as it was tben ; and therefore in theSubftance of my Religion, and in thofe Controverfies which I then fearcht into, with tome etxraordinary Dili- gence, I find not my mind difpofed to a Change: But in divers Points that 1 ftudi- ed (lightly and by the halves, and in many things which I took upon trail from others, I have found line that my Apprehenfions were either erroneous, or very lame. And thofe thingswhich I was Orthodox in, Ihadeither infufficientReafons for, or a mixture of fome found and fome inEfficient ones, or elle an infufficient Apprehenfion of thofe Reafons fo that Ifcarcely knew what I teemed to know : Andthough in my Writings I foundlittle in fubilance which my prefentJudgment differeth from , yet in my Ayberifms and Saint, Raft ( which were my firft Writings) I find fome raw unmeet Expreffions; and one common Infirmity I perceive, that I put off Matters with fome kind of Confidence, as if I had done fomething new or more than ordinary in them, when upon my more mature Re- views, I find that I faid not half that which the Subject did require : As E. g. in the Doârine of the Covenants, and of Juftification, but efpecially about the Di- vine Authority of the Scripture in the fecund part of the Saint, Reft ; where I have not Paid half that fhould have been laid ; and the Reafòn was, becaufe that I had not read any of the fuller fort of Books that are written on thole Subjeâs, nor converfed with thofe that knew more than my felf, and fo all thofe things were either new or great to me, which were common and fmall perhaps to others; and becaufe theyall came in by the way of my ownStudy of the naked matter, and not from Books, they were apt to affeâ my mind the more, and to feem greater than theywere. And thisToken of myWeaknefs accompanied thofe my younger Studies, that I was very apt to !tart up Controverfies in the way of my Praâical Writings, and alto more defirous to acquaint the World with all that I took to be the Truth, and to affault thole Books by Name which I thought did tend todeceive them, and did contain unfound anddangerous Dottrine : And the Reafonof allthis was, that I was then in the vigour of my youthful Apprehenfi- ons, and the new Appearance of any facred Truth, it was more apt to affeâ me, and be highlyer valued, than afterward, when ¢ommonnefs had dulled my De- light ; and I did notfufficiently difcern then how much in molt of our Controver- fies isverbal, and upon mutual Miftakes. Andwithal I know not how impatient Divines were of being contradieted, nor how it would Itir up all their Powers to defend what they have once faid, and to rife up againft the Truthwhich is thus thruft upon them, as the mortal Enemy of their Honours And I knew not how hardly Mens Minds are charged from their former Apprehenfions be the Evidence never fo plain. And I have perceived, that nothing fo much hindreth the 'Recep- tionof theTruth, as urging it on Men with too harih Importunity, and falling tooheavily on their Errors : For hereby you engage their Honour in the bufinefs, and