Baxter - BX5207 B3 A2 1696

p A &T I. ReverendMr.. Richard Baxter. i27 Chriffian Principles ; and alfo I have often been afraid, left ill-rooting at first, and many Temptations afterwards, have made itmore neceffary for me than many others to retire to the Root, and fecure my Fundamentals. But upon much Obfervation I amafraid left molt others are in nobetter aCafe ; and that at the firft they take it for a granted thing, thatChrift is the Saviour of the World, and that the Soul is Immortal, and that there is a Heaven and a Hell, &c. while they are studying abundance of Scholaffick Superftru &ures, and at laft will find causeto Andy more foundly their Religion it fell, as well as I have done. The better Caufes are thefe : r. I value all things according to their Ufe and Ends ; and I find in the daily Pra&ice and Experienceof my Soul, that the Know ledge ofGod and Chrift, and the HolySpirit, and the Truthof Scripture, and the Life to come,and of a Holy Life, is ofmore sift tome,than all the moft curious Specu- lations. z. I know- that every Man muff grow ( as Trees do ) downwards and upwards both at once ; and that the Roots increafe as the Bulk ands Branches do. 3. Being nearer Death and another World, I am the more regardful of thofe things which my Everlafting Life or Death depend on. 4. Having moft rb do with ignorant miserable People, I am commandedby my Charity and Reafon, to treat with them of that which their Salvation lyeth on ; and not to difpute with them of Formalities and Niceties, when the Queftion rs prefetfttly to be deter- mined whether they (halt dwell for ever in Heaven or in Hell. In a Word, my Meditations muff be moll upon the matters of my Pra&ice and my Interest r And as the Love of God, and the feeking -of Everlafting Life is the Matter of my Prallsce and mÿ Interest, fo must it be of my Meditation. That is the beft Do- Brine and Study which maketh Men better, and tendeth to make them happy. I abhor the Folly of thofe unlearned Perfons, who revile or defpife Learning be- cause they knownot what it is: And I takenot any piece of true Learning to be ufelefs: And yet my Soul approveth of the Refolution of Holy Paul, who de- termined to know nothing among his Hearers, ( that is, comparatively to value and make Orientation of no other Wifdom) but ( the Knowledgeof ) a Cruci- fied Chrift ; to know God in Chrift is Life Eternal. As the Stock of the Tree affordeth Timber to build Houfes and Cities, when the fmall though higher multi- farious Branches are but to make a Crows Neff, or aBlaze : So the Knowledge of God and of Jesus Chrift, of Heaven and Holynefs, deth build up the Soul to endlefs Bleffednef, and affordeth it f-slid Peace and Comfort; when a multitude of School Niceties ferve but for vain Janglings and hurtful Diverfions and Contenti- ons : And yet I would not diffuademy Reader from theperufal of Aquinas, Scotus, Ockam, Arminienfs, Durandue, or any fuch Writer ; for much Good may begotten from them : But I would perfuade him to fudy and live upon the effential Do- &rines of Chriffianity andGodlinefi, incomparably above them all. And that he may know that my Teffimony is somewhat regardable, I prefume to fay, that in this I as much gainfay my natural Inclination to Subtilty and Accurateness in Knowing, as he is like to do by his, if he obey my Counfel. And I think if he lived among Infidels and Enemies of Christ, he would find that to make good the Doltrine of Faith and of Life Eternal, were not only his nobleft and molt ufeful Study; but alfo that which would require the height of all his Parts, and the ut- moft of his Diligence, to manage it skilfully to the Satisfa&ion of himfelf and others. 4. I add therefore that this is Another thing whichI am changed in ; that where- as in my younger Days I never was tempted to doubt of the Truth of Scripture or Chriftianity, but all my Doubts and Fears were exercifed at home, about my ownSincerity and Inrereft in Chrift, and thiswas it which I called Unbelief; since then my fore(} Affaults have been on the other fide, and fach they were, that had I been voidof internal Experience, and the Adhesion of Love, and the fpeci- al help of God, and had not difcerned more Reafon for my Religion than I did when I was younger, I had certainly Apoftatized to Infidelity (though forAtbei(ns or Ungadlinefa, my Reafon feethnoftronger Arguments,thanmaybe brought to prove that there is no Earth or Air,or Sun). I amnow therefore much more Apprehenfive than heretofore, ofthe Necefiìtyof well groundingMen in their Religion, andefpe= cially ofthe Witnefs of the indwelling Spirit: For I more fenfibly perceive that the Spirit is the great Witnefs of Chrift and Chriffianity to the World i And though the Folly of Fanaticks tempted me long to over-look the Strength of this Teffi- mony of the Spirit, while they placed it in a certain internal Affertion, or enthufi- aftick Infpiration; yet now I fee that the Holy Ghoft in anothermanner is the Witnefs of Chrift and his Agent in the World ; The Spirit in the Prophets was his a.