Baxter - BX5207 B3 A2 1696

130 Che L I EE of the LIB. I. i;. At fiti} I was greatly inclined to gó with the bigñeff in Controverfies, on onefide or other; as with Dr. Twee, and Mr. Rutherford, and Spanbemiva de Provi- dentia, &gratia, &c. But now Iean fo easily feewhat tofay againft both extreams thatI am much more inclinable to reconciling Principles. And whereas then :I thought that Conciliators werebut ignorant men, that were willing to pleafe all, andwould pretend to reconciletheWorld by Principleswhich they did not under- t}and themfelves; I have fine perceived that if theamiablenefs ofPeace andCon- cord had no hand in the bulinels, yet greater Light and ïtronger Judgment ufually is with the Reconcilers, than with either of the contending Parties ( as withDave. nant, Hall, Ufherr, Lud. Crociva, Bergiva, Strangiva, Camero, &c.) But on both ac- counts their Writings are molt acceptable, ( though I know that Moderation may be a pretextof Errors). 14. At firít the Stileof Authors took as much with me as the Argument, and made the Arguments seem more forcible : But now I judge not of Truth at all by any fuch Ornamentsor Accidents, but by its naked Evidence. Is-. I now feemore Good and more Evil in all Men than heretofore Idid I fee that Goodmen are not fo good, as I once thought they were, but have more Imperfections : And that nearer approachand fuller trial, doth make the bet} ap- pear moreweak and faulty, than theirAdmirers at a diftance think. And I find that few are fobad, as either their malicious Enemies, or cenforious feparating Prof& fors do imagine. In tome indeed I find that Humane Nature is corrupted into a greater likenefs to Devils, than I once thought any on Earth had been. But even in the wicked ufually there is more for grace to make advantage of, and more to teftifie for God and Holinefs, than I once believed there had been. 16, I lefs admire Gifts of Utterance and bare Proteges) of Religion than I once did ; and have much more Charity for many, whoby the wantof Gifts,do make an obscurer Profefí -ron than they. I once thought that almo11 all that could pray movingly and fluently, and talk well of Religion, had been Saints. But Experi- encehath opened to me, what odious Crimes may confift with high Profellìon ; and I have met withdivers obscure Persons, not noted for any extraordinary Pro - fe[üon, or forwardnefs in Religion, but only to live a quiet blamelefs Life, whom I have afterfound to have long lived, as far as I could difcern , a truly godly and fan&ified Life ; only their Prayers and Duties were by accident kept fecret from o- ther mens observation. Yet he that upon this pretence would confound the Godly and the Ungodly , may as well go about to lay Heaven and Hell toge- ther. r7. I am not fo narrow in myffiecial Love as heretofore : Being lefs cenforious, and talking more than I did for Saints, it mull needs follow that I love more as Saints than I did before. I think it not lawful to pat that Man off with bare Church Communion, and fach common Love which I mutt allow the Wicked, who profeffeth himself a true Chriftian, by Loch a Pro£effion as I cannot dii prove. 18. I im not too narrow in my Principlesof Church Communion as onceI was : I more plainly perceive the difference between the Church as Congregateor visible, andas Regenerate or Myftical : and between Sincerity and Profeflwn; and that a Cre- dible Profefoz is proof fufficient of a Man's Title to Church Admifliion: and that the Profeffton is Credible infora Ecclefiæ, which is not difproved. I am not for nar- rowing the Church more than Chriftt himfelfalioweth us ; nor for robbing him of any of his Flock. I ammore fenfiblehow much it is the Will of Chrift that every Man be the cbeofer or refuter ofhisown felicity, and that it lieth molt on his own hands, whether he will have Communion with the Church or not; and that if he be an Hypocrite it is himfelf that will bear the lofs. 19. Yet am I more apprehenfive than ever of the great ufe and need of Ecclefi- aftical Difcipline, and what a fin it is in the Pallors of the Church, to make no diftinçtion, but by bare Names and Sacraments, and toforce all the unmeet againft their own wills, to Church Communion andSacraments ( though the ignorant and erroneous may fometime be forced to hear initrudion ): And what a great djsfhononr to Chrift it is, whentheChurch !hall be as vicious as Pagan and Ma- hometan Affemblies , and lhall differ from them only in Ceremony and Name. zo. I am.' much more fenfible of the Evil ofSchifm, and ofthe Separating Hu- mour, and of gathering Parties, and making feveral Seeks in the Church than I was heretofore. For the Effets have chewed us more of the mischiefs. zr.1