Baxter - BX5207 B3 A2 1696

PART I. ReverendMr. Richard Baxter. fèornfully of others as Puritans whom I never knew, I was at firft apt to be- lieve all the Lies and Slanders wherewith they loaded them : But when I heard my own Father fo reproached, and perceived the Drunkards were the forwardelt in the reproach, I perceived that it was mere Malice : For myFa- thee never Coupled Common-Prayer or Ceremonies, nor fpake againit Bllhops, nor ever fo 'much as prayed but by a Book or Form, being not ever acquainted then with any that did otherwife: But only for reading Scripture when the refit were Dancing on the Lords Day, and forpraying ( by a Formout. of the end òf the CommomPrayer Book) in his Houfe, and for reprovingDiunkardsandSwear- ers, and for talkingfometimes a few words of Scripture and the Life to come, he was reviled commonly by the Name ofPuritan, Precifian and Hypocrite: and fo were the Godly Conformable Miniltersthat lived anywhere in the Country near us, not only by our Neighbours, but by the common talk of the Vulgar Rabble of all a- bout us. By this Experience I was fully convinc'd that Godly People were.the beP, and thofe that defpifed them and lived in Sinand Pleafure , were a malignant un- happy fort of People :, and thiskept me out of their Company, except now and then when the Love of Sports and Play enticed me. i 2. The chiefeft help that I had for all my Learning in the Country Schools, was with Mr. Cohn Owen School-mafter at the Free-School at Wroxercr, to whom I went next, who lived in Sir Richard Newport's Houfe ( afterward Lord Newport) at Evan, and taught School at that ancient Uriconivm, (where the Ruinsand old Coin confirm thofe Hiltories, which make it an ancient City in the Romans Timer). Theprefent Lord Newport and his Brother were then my School. fellows, in a lower Form, and Dr. Richardelllef/ree now Dr. of the Chair in Oxford, Canon of Cbre's.Cburcb, and Provolt of Eaton-Colledge : of whom I remember that when my Malter fet him up intothe lower end of the higheftForm, where I had long been Chief, I took it fo ill, that I talkt of leaving the School: whereupon my Mailer gravely, but very tenderly, rebuked my pride, and gave me for my Theme, Ne furor ultra crepidam. 4 ;. About that time it pleafed God of his wonderful Mercy to open my Eyes with a clearer infight into the Concerns andCafe of my own Soul, and to touch my heart wich a livelier feeling of things Spiritual than ever I had found before : And it was by the means and in the orderfollowing; ftirring up my Confcience more againft me, by robbingan Orchardor two with rude Boys, than it was be- fore : And being under Come more Convi&ion for my Sin , a poor Day-Labourer in the Town (he that I before -mentioned that was wont to read in the Church for the old Parfon) had an old torn Book which he lent my Father , whichwas cal- led Bunny'sReflation, (being written by Parfon's the Jefuir, and correrBed by Edm, Bunny). I had before heard fumeSermons, and read a good Book or two, which made use more loveand honour Godlinefs in the General; butI had never felt a- ny otherchange by them onmyheart. Whether it were that till now I came not to that maturityof Nature, which made me capable of difcerning ; or whether it were that this was God's appointed time, or both together,I had no lively fight and fenfe ofwhat I read till now. And in the reading of this Book (whenI was about Fifteen years ofAge) it pleated God to awaken my Soul, and fhew me the folly of Sinning, and the mifery of the Wicked, and the unexpreffible weight of things Eternal, and the necef city of refolving on a HolyLife, more than I was ever ac- quainted withbefore. The fame things which I knew before came now in another manner, with Light, and Senf, andSerioufnefs to my Heart. This caft me firft into fears of myCondition ; and chore drove me to Sorrow and Confefiion and Prayer, and fo to fome refolution for-another kind of Life t And many a-clay I went with a throbbing Confcience, and Caw that I had other Matters to mind, and another Work to do in the World, than ever I had minded well before. Yet whether Gncere Converfion began now, or before, or after, I was never able to thisday to know : for I had before had fome Love to the Things and People which were good, and a reftraine from other Sins except thofe forementioned; and fo much from thofe that I feldom committed moll of them, and when I did, it was with great relultancy. Andboth now and formerly I knew that Chrift was the only Mediator by whom we muff have Pardon, Jultification, and Life : But even at that time, I had little lively fenfeof the Love of God in Chrifb to the World or me, nor of myfpecial needof him ! for Parfons and all Papifts almoft are too lhort- upon this Subject. And aboutthat time it pleafed God that a poor Pedlar came to the Door that B 2 had