Baxter - BX5207 B3 A2 1696

a26 The LIFE of the 1. I B. I, and they defend their Errors as themfelves, and fair up all their Wit and Ability to oppofe you : In controverfies it is fierce Oppofition which is the Bellows to kindle a refifting Zeal ; when if they be negle ted, and their Opinions lie a while defpifed, they ufually cool and come again to themfelves ( though I know that this holdeth not when the Greedinefs and Increafe of his Followers, doth animate a Se kary, even though he have noOppoftion). Men are fo loth to be drenched with the Truth, that I am no more for going that way to work ; and to confefs the Truth, I am lately much prone to the contrary Extream, to be too indifferent what Men hold, and to keep my Judgment to my kW, and never to mention any thing wherein I differ from another, or any thing which I think I know more than he; or at leaf, if he receive it not prefently to hlence it, and leave him to his own Opinion : And I find thisEffe& is mixed according to its Calks, which are tome good, and force be, The bad Caafes are r. An Impatience of Mensweaknefs and miftaking frowarddefi and Self-conceitednefs. s. An Abatement of my Jenfible E(teem of Truth, t rough the long abode of them on my Mind: Though my judgment value them, yet it is hard to be equally afebted with old and common things, as with new and rare ones. Thebetter Caufes are r. That 1 am much more fenfible than ever of thenecellìty ofliving upon the Principles of Religion, which we are all agreed in, and uniting thefe ; and how much Mifchief Men that over- value their own Opinions have done by their Controverfies in the Church ; how Tome have deftroyed Charity, and force miffed Schifms by them, and moft have hindered Godl nets in themfelvesand others, and ufed them to divert Men from the furious profecuting of a holy Life ; and as Sir Francis Bacon faith, ( in his EJT, of Peace ) that it's one great Benefit of Church -Peace and Concord, that writing Controverfies is turned into Books of pradtical Devotion forincreafe of Piety and Virtue. 2. And I find that it's much more for molt Mens Goodand Edification,to converfe with them only in that wayof Godlinefs which all are agreed in, and not by touchingupon Differences to fir up their Corruptions; and to tell them of lit - tle more ofyour Knowledge, than what you find them willing to receive from youas meer Learners ; and therefore to fay till they crave Information ofyou ( as Mafculur didwith the Anabaptifs ; when he vifited them in Prifon; and converfed kindly and lovingly with them, and (hewed them all the Love he could, and ne- ver talkt to them of their Opinions, till at laut they who were wont tocall him a Deceiver and falfe Prophet, did intreat him to infra& them, and received his Infru&ions). We mifake Mens,Difeafes when we think there needethnothing to cue their Errors ; but only to bring them the Evidence ofTruth : Alas ! there are many Diftempers ofMind to be removed,before Men areapt to receive that Evidence. And therefore that Church is happy where Order is kept up, and the Abilities of the Miniferscommand a -reverend Submiflion from the Hearers; and where all are in Chrif's School in the difin& Ranks of Teachers and Learners : For in a learning way Men are ready to receive the Truth, but in a Difputing way they come armed again( it with Prejudice, and Animofity. 3. And I muli fay farther, that what I.lafmentioned on theby, is one of the notable( Changes of my Mind : Inmy youth I was quickly pall my Fundamen- tals, and was running up into a multitude of Controverfies, and greatly delighted with metaphifical and fcholafick Writings ( though I muff needs fay, my Preach- ing was fill on the neceffary Points ): But the elder I grew the fmalier frets I layd upon thefe .ontroverfres and Curiofities (though fill my intellect abhorreth Confufion ), as finding far greater Uncertainties in them, than I at firft difcerned, and finding lefs Ufefalnefi comparatively, even where there is the greateft Certainty. And nowiris the fundamental Doctrines ofthe Catechifm, which I highlieft values and daily think of, and find moli ufeful to my felf and others : The Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and theTen Commandments, do find me now the moli acceptable and plentiful matter, for all my Medications : They are to me as my daily Bread and Drink : And as I can fpeak and write of them over and over again ; fo I had rather read or hear of them, than of any of the School Niceties, which once fo much pleafed me. And thus I obferved it was withold BifhopUfher, and with ma- ny ocher Men : And I conjecture that this Effe& alto is mixt of good and bad, according to its Cedes. The bad Ca /e may perhapsbe fome natural Infirmity and Decay : And as Trees in the SpringIhoot up into Branches, Leaves and Bloffoms ; but in theAutumn the Life draws down into the Root; fo pofibiy, my Nature confcious of its Infirmi- ty and Decay, may find it felfinfutfrcient for numerous. Particles, and Affurgency to the altemptiog of difficult things ; - and fo my Mind may retire to the Root of Chrilitan