Baxter - BX5207 B3 A2 1696

PART I. Reverend Mr. Richard Baxter. dically placed in their juif Advantages before my Eyes, I am fo clear in my Be- lief of the Chriftian.Verities, that Satan hath tittle room for a Temptation. But fometimes when he bath on a fudden fer fome Temptation before me, when the forefaid Evidences have been outof the Way, or leß upon my Thoughts, he bath by fuck Surprizes amazed me, and weakened my Faith in the prefent Act : So nib as to the Love ofGod,and truffin& inhim,(ometimes when the Motives are clear- ly apprehended, the Duty is more eafy and delightful: And at other times, I am meetly paflive and dull, if not guilty of a6tual Defpondency andDifruít. 40. 1 am much more cautelous in my Belief of Hiftory than heretofore : Not that I run into their Extream that will believe nothing becaufe they cannot believe all things. But I am abundantly fatisfyed by the Experience of this Age, that there is nobelieving two forts ofMen, Ungodly Men and Partial Men ( though an honett Heathen ofno Religion may be believed, where Enmity againft Religi- on byaffeth him not ; yet a debauchedCbriflian, betides his Enmity to the Power and Practice of his own Religion, is feldom without fome farther Byali of Inter- eft or Fa&ion ; e(pecially when there contort, and a Man is both ungodly and am. bitious, efpoufing an Inrererejt contrary to a holy heavenly Life, and alfo Faeliou, embodying himfelf with a Seet or Party ruited to his Spirit and De/lgn, there is no believing his Word or Oath. If you read any Man partially bitter againft others as differing from him in Opinion, or as crofs to his Greatnefi, Interef. or Dfens, take heed how you believe any more, than the t-liflorical Evidence diRinét horn his Word compelleth you to believe. The prodigious Lies whichhave been publifhed in this Age in matters of Fas, with unblufhing Confidence, even where thou- rands or Multitudes of Eye and Ear- Witneffes knew all to be falte, doth call Men to takèheed what Hiftory they believe, efpecially where Power and Violence af- fordeth that Priviledge to the Reporter, that no Man dare anfwer him or deter his Fraud, or if they do their Writings are all fuppreft. As long as Men have Liberty to examine and contradict one another, one may partly conjesure by comparing their Words, on which fide theTruth is like to lie. But when great Menwrite Hiltory, or Flatteries by their Appointment, which no Man dare con- tradis, believe it but as you are contlrained. Yet in there Cafes I can freely be- lieve Hiftory: r. If the Perron thew that he is acquainted with what he faith. x. And if he Thew you the Evidences of Honetby and Confcience, and the Fear of God ( which may be much perceived in the Spirit of a Writing ). ;. And if he appear to be Impartial and Charitable, and a Lover of Goodnefs and of Mankind; and not poffeft with Malignity, or perfonal if Will and Malice, nor carried away by Faction or perfonal lntereff : Confcionable Men dare not lye; but Faction and Incerelt abate MensTendernefs of Confcience. And a charita- ble impartial Heathen may fpeakTruth in a love toTruth, and hatred of a Lye : But ambitious Malice and falfe Religion, will not flick to ferve themfelves on any thing. It's eat' to trace the Footfleps ofVeracity in the Intelligence, Impartiality, and Ingenuityof a Thuanus, a Guiceiardine, aPaulus Vener. though Papilts, andof Socrates and Sozomen, though accufèd by the Fasious of favouring the Novations- and manyProteftants in a Melantlbon, a Bucholrzer, and many more; and among Phyficians infuch as Craro, Pleuras, be. But it's as eafy to fee the FootfteepsOf Partiality and Faítion and Defign, in a Genebrard, a Baroniu, anda Multitude of their Companions ; and to fee reafon of Sufpicion in many more. Therefore I confefi I give but haltingCredit to moil Hiftoriesthat are written, not only againft the Albigenfes and Waldenfes, but againft moll: ofthe Ancient Hereticks, who have left us none of their own Writings, in which they rpeak for themfelves, and I har- dly lamentthat the Hiftorical Writings of the Ancient Schifmaticks and Heriticks (as they were called ) perithed, and that partiality fuffered them not to furvive, that we might have had more Light in the Church -Affairsof thofe times, and been better able to judge between the Fathers and them. And as I am prone to think that few of them were fo bad as their Adverfaries made them ;fo I amapt to think that fuch as the Novations, andLuciferians, and Indians, be. whom their Adverfa- ries commend, were very good Men, and more Godly than molt Catholicks, however miltaken in fome one Point. Sure I am, that as the Lies of the Papilla, of Luther, Zwinglius, Calvin, and Beza, are vifibly malicious and impudent, by the common plenary contradictingEvidence ; and yet the Multitudeof their Se- duced ones believe them all in defpight of Truth and Charity ; fo in this Age there havebeen fuck thingswrittenagainft Parties and Perlons whom theWritersde- fign to make odious ; fo notorioufly falte as you would think that the Senfe oftheir Honour at lealt, fhould have made it impoffible for thch Men to write : My own Eyes 135