Baxter - BX5207 B3 A2 1696

PART I. Reverend, Mr, RichardBaxter. 3 2g '. Heretofore I placedmuch of my Religion in tenderngfs of heart, and grie- ving for fin, and penitential tears; and Iefs of ir, in the loveof God, and ttudying his love and goodnefs, and in his joyful'praifes, than now I do. Then I was little fenfible ofthegreatnets and excellencyof love and Praife ; though I coldly fpake the fame words in its commendations, as now I do : And now 1 am lets troubled for want ofgrief and tears (though I morevalue humility, and refufe not needful Humiliation): But my looketh at Love and Delight in God, and praifing him, as the top of all my Religious Duties, for which it is that I Value and ufe the refl. 8. My Judgment is much more for frequent and ferioirs Meditation on the hea- venlyBlefi-ednefs, than it was heretofore in my younger- days. I then thought that a Sermon of the Attributes of God, and the Joys of Heaven were not the moftexcellent ; and was wont to fay, Everybodyknowetb Ma, that God is great and good, and that Heaven is a bljedplace ; Ì had rather bear how I mayattain it. Andno- thingpleafed me fo well as the Doctrine of Regeneration, and the Marks of Since- rity ¡ whichwas becaufe it was fuitable to me in that ftate : but now I had rather read, hear or meditate, on God and Heaven, than on any other Subject: for Ì perceive that it is the Objehi that altereth and elevateththe Mind; which will he fuch as that is, which it molt frequently feedeth on : And that it is not only ufe- ful to our cemfart, to bemuch in Heaven in our believing thoughts ; but that it malt animate all our other Duties, and fortifie us againft every Temptation and Sin; and that theLOWof the end is it that is the poife or fisting , which fetteth every Wheel a going, and mutt put us on to all themeans.: And that a Man is no more a Chriftian indeed than he is Heavenly. 9. I was once wont to meditate molt on my own heart, and to dwell all at borne, and look little higher : I was Rill poring either on my Sins or Wants, or examining my Sincerity ; but now, though I am greatly convinced of the need ofHeart-acquaintance and imployment, yet I fee moreneed ofa higher work ; and that I fhould look often upon Chritt, and God, and Heaven,, than upon my own Heart. At borne I can find Diftempersto trouble me, and fome Evidences of my Peace: but it is above that I mull find matter of Delight and- 'oy, and Love and Peace it fell Therefore I. would haveone thought at home upon myfelf andfins, and many thoughts above upon the high and amiable and beatifying Ob;eets. so. Heretofore I knew much leftthan now ; and yet wasnot half fo much ac- quaintedwith myIgnorance: I had a great delight in the daily new Difcoveries which I made, and of the Light which fhined in upon me ( like a Man that cometh into a Country where he never was before ): But I little knew either how imperfeElly I understood thofe very Points, whofe difcovery fo much delighted me, nor how much might be faid againli them; nor how many things I was yet a !hanger to: But now I find far greater Darknefs uponall things, and perceive haw verylittle it is that we know in comparifonof thatwhichwe are ignorant of; and and havefir meaner thoughts of my own1Jnderftanding, though I mat needs know that it is better furnilhed than it was then. se. Accordingly I had then a far higher opinion of Learned Pertons and Books, thanI have now; for what I wanted my fell, I thought every Reverend Divine had attained, andwas familiarly acquainted with : And what Books I understood not by reafonof the ftrangenefsof the Terms or Matter, I the more admired and thought that others undersood their worth. But now Experience hath con- Brained meagainit mywill toknow, that Reverend Learned Men are impeded , and know but little as well as I ; efpecially thofe that think themfelves the wifeft t And the better I am acquainted with them, the more I perceive that we areall yet in the dark : And the more I am acquainted with holy Men, that are all for Heaven, and pretend not much to Subeilties, the more I value and honour them. Andwhen I have Budied hard to underhand fome abBrufe admired Book , (as De ScientiaDei, De Providentid circa malum, de Decretesy de Predetermination, de Liberta- te Creatures, &c.) I have but attained the Knowledge of Humane Imperfe&ion, and to fee that the Author is but a Man as well as I. tz. And at firft I took more upon my Author's Credit, than now I can do : And when an Author was highlycommended to me by others, or pleafed me in fome parr, I was ready to entertain the whole; whereas now I take and leave in the fame Author, and'diífent in fome things from him that I like belt,- as well as from others.