Baxter - BX5207 B3 A2 1696

P A R. T I. Reverend Mr. Richard Baxter. 137 r. But having mentioned the Changes which I think were for the better, I mutt add, that as Iconfeffed manyof mySins before, fo fine I have been guilty of many, which becaufe materially they Teemed fmall , have had the lefs refiftance, and yet on the review to troublemore than if they had been greater done in igno- rance : It can be no fmall fin formally which iscommitted againft Knowledge and Confcienceand Deliberation, whatever excufe it have. To have finned while I preachtand wrote againft Sin, and had filch abundant and great obligations from God, and made fo many promifesagainft it, doth lay me very low t not fo much in fear of Hell, as in great difpleafureagainft my felf, and fach felt-abhorrence as would caufe revenge upon my felt, were it not forbidden. When God forgiveda me I cannot forgive my felf ; efpecially for any rafts words or deeds , by which I have teemed injurious, and lets tender and kind than I fhould have been to my near and dear Relations , whofe Love abundantly obliged me ; when filch are dead, though we never differed in point of Intereft or any great Matter, every, fòwr or crofs provoking word whichI gave them, makethme almolt unreconcile- able to my felf: and tellsme how Repentance brought fomeof old to pray to the Dead whom they had wronged , to forgive them, in the hurry of their Pal: lion. a. And though I before told the Change of my Judgment againft provoking Writings, I have had more will than skill lince to avqid fach. I muff mention it by way of penitentCon£effion, that Iam toomuch inclined to filch words in Con- troverfal Writings which are too keen, and apt to provoke the -Perfbn whom I write againft. Sometimes I fufpe& that Age fowreth my Spirits , and fometimes I am apt to think that it is long thinking and fpeaking of filch things that makethme weary, and lefs patient with others that underftand them not: And fometimes I am ready to think that it is out ofa hatred of the flattering humour" which now prevaileth fo in theWorld, that few Perfons are ableto bear theTruth : And I ant fare that I cannot only bear myfelf filch Language as I ufe to others, but that I expect it. I think all thufe are partlyCaufes ; but I am lure the principal Caufe is a long Cuftomof Itudying how to fpeak and write in the keenelf manner to the common, ignorant, and ungodly People (without which keenefs to them, no Sermon nor Book does much good) ; which bath fo habituated me to ir, that I am fill falling into the fame with others ; forgetting that many Minifters andPro- feffors ofStrittnefs do delire the greateft £harpnefs to the Vulgar, and to their Ad- verfaries, and the greatelt lenity and fmoothnefs and comfort , if not honour to themfelves. And I have a Itrong natural inclination to fpeak of every Subje& juft as it h, and to call a Spade a Spade, es. verba rebus aptare ; fo as that the thing fpoken of may be fullieft known by the words ; which methinks is part of our ,(peaking truly. But I unfeignedly confefs that it is faulty, becaufe imprudent; (for that is not a goodmeans which doth harm, becaufe it is not fitted to theend ) ; and becaufe whilft the Readers think meangry, ( though I feel no Paflion at fuck times in my felf) it is fcandalous and a hinderance to the ufefulnefs of what I write : And efpecially becaufe (thoughI feel no Anger , yet which is work ) I know that there is fome want of Honour and Love or 7enderneß to others ; or elfe I Mould not be apt to ufe filchwords as open their weaknefsand offend them : And therefore I repent of it,and withall over-£harp paffageswereexpunged from myWri- rings, and delire forgivenefi of God and Man. And yet I mutt fay that I am oft afraid of the contrary Extream, left when I fpeak againft great and dangerous Er- rours and Sins, ( thoughof Perfons otherwife honelt ) I thould encourage men to them, by(peaking too eafily of them (as Eli did to his Sons) , and left I Ihould fo favour the Perlonas may befriend theSin, and wrong the Church. And I muff fay as the New-England Synodifts in their Defence againft Mr. Davenport, lag. z. Pref. [We. heartily delire that ea much as may be, a&Expreßions andReßexions may befor- born 'chat tend to break the Bond ofLove. Indeed filch u our Infirmity, that the naked dif- covery of thefallacy or invalidityof another, Allegations or Argnings is apt to provoke. This in D1utes is unavoidable.] And therefore Iam lefs for a difputing way than ever ; believing that it tempt- eth Men to bend their Wits, todefend their Errours and oppofe the Truth and hindereth ufually their information : And the Servant of the Lord mutt not ftrive, 'but be gentle to all Men, etc. Therefore I am molt in Judgment for a Learningor a Teaching way of Converfe: In all Companies, I will be glad either to hear thole fpeak that can teach me, or to be heard ofchofe that have need to learn. T And