Baxter - BX5207 B3 A2 1696

136 Ì he LIFE of the L I B. I. Eyes have read fuch Words and Anions afferted with Mott vehement iterated unblulh- ing Confidence, which abundance of Ear-Witneffes, even of their own Parties mull needs know to havebeen altogether falfe : and therefore having my fellnow written this Hiftory of my felt, notwithftanding my.Proteftarion that I have not in any thing wilfully gone againft the Truth, I expe& no more Credit from the Reader, than the felf-evidencing Light of the matter, with concurrent rationalAd- vantages, from Perlons, and. Things, and other Witneffes, (hall conftrain him to; if he be a Perfon that is unacquainted with the Author himfelf, and the other Evi- dences ofhis Veracity andCredibility. And, I have purpofelyomitted almoft all theDefcriptions of any Perlons that ever oppofed me, or that ever I or my Brethren fuffered by becaufe I know that the appearance of Inrerefl and partiality might give a fair excufe to theReaders incredulity : (Although indeed the trueDefcription of Perlons is much of the very Life of Hiftory, and efpecially of the Hiftory of the Age which I have lived in ; yet to avoid the fufpicionof Partiality I have left it out). Except only when I fpeakof the Cromwe/iani and Seetaries, where I ansthe more free, becaufenonelùfpe&eth my Interelt to have engaged me againft them ; but ( with the reft of my Brethren) I have oppofed them in the obedience ofmy Confcience, whenby pleating them I could have had almoft any thing that they could havegiven me, and when before-hand I expected that the prefent Governours Ihould tilenceme, and deprive meof Maintenance,Houleand Home, as they have done by me and many hundreds more. Therefore I fuppofed that my Defcripti- ons and Cenfures of thole Perfons which would have enriched and honoured me, and of their A&ions againft that Party which path tilenced, impoverifhed and ac- cured me, and whichbefore-hand I expeeted thould do fo, are beyond the Sufpi- coon of Envy, Seif-intereft or Partiality : If nor, I there alto ans content that the Reader exercifehis Liberty, and believe noworfe evenof thefe Men, than the E- videnceof Fad conftrainethhim. Thus much of the Alterations of mySoul, Bice my younger years, I thought bell to give the Reader, iniead of all thole Experiences and A&ual Motions and Affections, which I fuppofe him rather to have expe&ed an account of. And ha- ving trantèribed thus muchof aLife which God hath read, and Confcience bath read, andmuff further read, I humbly lament it, and beg pardon of it, as finful and too unequal and unprofitable : And I warn the Reader to amend that in his own, which he findeth to have been amifs in mine ; confefling alto that much bath been amif which I have not here particularly mentioned, and that I have not lived according to the abundant Mercies of the Lord. But what I have recorded, bath been efpeciallyto performmy Vows, and declare his Praife to all Generations, who bath filled up my days withhis unvaluable Favours, and bound me to biefs his Name for ever ; And alfo to prevent the defective performance of this Task, by fore overvaluing Brethren, who I know intended it, and were unfitter to do it than my felf. And for fuch Reafons as junior, Sealtetue, Thongs , and many o- thers have done the like before me. The principal of which are thefe three: r.As Travellers and Seamen ufe to do after great Adventures and Deliverances, I here- by fatisfie my Confcience, in praifing the Bleffeel Author ofall thofe undeferved Mercies which have filled up my Lite. z. Forefeeing by the Attempts of Bi- fhopMorley, what Prelatiffs and Papifts are like to fay of me, when they have none to contradi&them, and howpoflible it is that thole that never knew me may believe them, though they have loft their hopes with all the refs, I take it to be my Duty to be fo faithful to that flock of Reputation which God bath in- trufted me with, as to defend it at therate of openingthe Truth. Such as have made the World believe that Lather confalted with the Devil, that Calvinwas a ftig_ matized Sodomite, that Beza turned Papift, eye. to, blaft their Labours, I know are very like to fay anything by me, which their Intereft or Malice tell them will any way advantage their Caufe, to make my Writings unprofitable when I am dead. 3. That young Chriftians may be warned by the Miftakes and Failings of my unriperTimes, to learn in patience, and live in watchfulnefs, and not be fierce and proudly confident in their firft Conceptions; And to reverence ripe ex- perienced Age, and to take heed of taking fuch for their Chief Guides as have nothing but immature and unexperienced Judgments, with fervent Affe&ions, and free and confident Expreffîons ; but to learnof them that have (with holinefs) flu- dy, time and trial, looked about them as well on one fide as the other, and attain - ed to ciearnefsand impartiality in their Judgments. 1. But