Baxter - BX5207 B3 A2 1696

4g The LIÉE of the L rs. I. § 27. Somethingalfo I wrote to Reverend and Learned Mr. 7d. Gataker, whore JudgmentI had teen before in his own Writings : And.having the encouragement of finch Content, I motioned the Bufinets tofome London Minters to have it feton foot among themfelves, becaufe if it came from them, it would be much more ta- king than from us : But they thought it unfit to be managed there, for feveral Rea- fons, and fowe muff try it, or only fit !till and with well as we had done. § 28. Next this, the fiate of my own Congregation,and the neceflty of my Duty, conftrained me to makeCome Attempt. For I mutt adminifter the Sacra- ments tothe Church, and the ordinary way of Examining every Man before they come, I was not able to prove neceffary, and the People were avert to it: So that I was forced to thinkOf the matter more ferioufly ; and having determined of that way whichwas, I thought, molt agreeable totl,}e Word of God, I thought, if all the Minifers did accord together in one way, the Peoplewould much more ea- lily fubmir, than to the way ofany Minifter that was fingulat. To attempt their Content t had two very great Encouragements : Theone was anhonett , humble, tractable People at home, engaged in no Party, Prelatical, Presbyterian, or Inde- pendant ; but loving Godlinefs and Peace, and hating Schifm as thatwhich they perceived to tend tothe ruine ofReligion. The other was a Company of hone-, godly, ferious, humble Minters in the Country where I lived, who were not one of them (that Affociated ) Presbyterian or Independan , and not pall four or five of' them Epifcopal; but ditengaged faithfulMen. At a Lecture at Warcefer I firft procured a Meeting, and told them of the Defign, which they all approved : They impofed it upon me, to draw up a Form of Agreement. The Matter of it was to confift [So much of the Church Order and Difcipline , a, the Epifcopal, Presbyterian, and Independant are agreed in, as belonging to the Pa/foro ofeach particular Church]. The Reafons of this were, r. Becaufe we all believed that the practiceof fo much as all are agreed in, would do very much to the Order and Reformation of the Chur- ches; and that the controverted Parts are thofe of lean neeellìty or weight. a.Be- caufe we would notneceffitate any Party to refuteour Affociation , by putting ina word whichhe dif 'wneth : for we intended not to difpute one another into near- er Agreement in Opinions, but firft to;agree in the practice of all that which was owned by us all. According to their delire I drew up fome Articles for our Content which might engage us to the molt effe&ual pradlice of fo much Difcipline as might reduce the Churches to order, and fatisfie Ministers in adminiftring the Sacraments, and flop the morereligious People from Separation, to which the unreformednefs of the Churches through want of Difcipline inclined them, and yet might not at all con- tradict the Judgments ofany of the three Parties : And I brought in the Reafons of the feveral Points: which after futficient Deliberation and Examination (with the alterationof fome few words) were contented to by all the Minters that were prelènt ; and after feveral Meetings we fubfcribed them, and foaffociated for our mutual help and concord in our Work. The Minigers that thus affociated were for Number, Partsand Piety, the moltconfiderable part of all that County, and fome out of Iòme neighbouring Counties that were near us. There was not, that I know of, one through Presbyterian amongthem, becaufe there was but one fuck that I knew of in all the County, and he lived fomewhat remote : Nor did any Independant fubfcribe, fave one; for there were, (that I knew of) but five or fix in the County, and twoof the weightielt cf them approved it inwords, and the left withdrew from our Debates, and gave us no reafon againff any thing pro- pofed. Thofe that did not comenear us, nor concur, were all the weaker (bet of . Minigers, whofe Sufficiency or Converfation was queffioned by others, and knew they were of little ehteemamong them, and were neither able or willing to exercife any Difcipline on their Flocks : As allo fome fewof better parts of the Epifèopal way, who never came near us, and knew not of our Propofals, or refol- ved to do nothing, tillthey had Epifcopacy rellored ; or finch whofe Judgments elteemed fuch Difcipline ofno great neceffity : And one or two very worthy Mi- nifters, who approved of our Agreement, fubfcribed it not, becaufe they had a People fo very Refraetory, that they knew they werenot able to bring them to tub- mittoit. Having all agreed inthis Affóciation, we propofed publickly to our People fo muchas required their Content and Pra&ice, and gave every Family a Copy in 'Print, and a fufficient time to Confider and underhand ir, and then put it in Execu- tion .; and I publifhed it with the Reafons of it, and an Explication of what Teem- ed doubtfúlin it, in a Book which I called [Cbriflian Concord] which pleated me, and difpleafed others. 4 29.