Baxter - BX5207 B3 A2 1696

PART I. ReverendMr. Richard Barter. § s. From Ludlow Caftle, after a yearand half,I returned fo my Father's 1lóufe, and by that time my old School-matter, Mr. John Owen, was lick of a Confump- tion ( which washis Death :) and theLord Newport delired me to teach that School till he either recovered or died, (refolving to take his Brother after him if he died): which I did about a quarter of a year, or more. After that old Mr. Francis Garbert ( the faithful, learned Miniffer at Wroxeter) for about a Month read Logick to me, and provoked me toa clofer Courfe ofStudy ; which yet was greatly interrupted by my bodily weaknefs, and the troubled Con- dition of my Soul. For being in expe&ationof Death, by a violent Cough, with Spittingof Blood, &c. of twoyears continuance, fuppofed to be a deep degree of a Confumption, I was yet more awakened to beferious, and folicitous about my Soul's everlaBing State: And I came fo Ibort of that fenfe and ferioufnefs, which a Matter of filch infinite weight required, that I wasin many years doubt ofmy Sin- cerity, and thought I had no Spiritual Life at all. I wondred at thefenllefs hard. nefsofmyheart, that could think and talk of Sin and Hell, and Chrift and Grace, ofGod and Heaven, with no morefeeling : I cried out from day to day to God for Grace againtt this fenflefs DeadneS: I called my felf the molt bard hearted Sinner, that couldfeel nothing of all that I knew and talksof : I was not then fen- fible of the incomparable Excellency ofHoly Love, and Delight in God, nor much imployed inThankfgiving and Praife : But all my Groans werefor more Contrition, and a broken Heart, and I prayed molt for Tear,. andTenderneß... And thus I complainedfor many Yearsto God and Man , and between the Ex- pe&ationsof Death, and the Doubts of my ownSincerity in Grace, I was kept in fome more care of my Salvation, thanmy Nature (too ftupid and too far from Me- lancholy) was eafily brought to. At this time I remember, the reading of Mr. Exek. Culverwell's Treatife ofFaith did me much good, and many other excellent Books,were made myTeachers and Comforters: And the ufe that Godmade of Books, above Minifters, to the benefit ofmy Soul, made me fomewhat exceffrvely in love with good Books ; fo that I thought I had never enow, but fcrap'd up as great a Treafureof them as I could. Thus was I long keptwith the Calls of approaching Deathat one Ear, and the Quellionings of a doubtful Confcience at the other ! and finch then I have found that thismethod ofGod's was very wife, and no other was fo like to have tended to my good. Theft Benefits ofit I fenfibly perceived. r. It made mevile and loathfome to my felf, and made Pride one of the hate- fuller/ Sins in theWorld to me ! I thought of my"felf as I now thinkof a deiefta- ble Sinner, andmyEnemy, that is, with a Love of Benevolence, willing themwell, but with little Loveof Complacency at all : And the long continuance of it, tend- ed the more effe&ually to a habit. 2. It much reltrained me from that fportful Levity and Vanity which my Na- ture and Youthfulnefs did much incline me to, and caufed me to meet Temptations to Senfpality with the greateft fear, and made them lefs effe&ual againf me. ;. It made the Do&rine of Redemption the more favoury to me, and my thoughtsofChrift to be more ferious and regardful, than before they were. I re- memberin the beginning how favoury to my readingwas Mr. Perkins's lion Trea, tire ofthe Right Knowledge ofChrill crucified, and his Expofrion of the Creed; because they taught me how to live by FaithonChriff. 4. It made the World feemlip me as a Carkafs that had neither Life nor Loveli- nefs : And it defiroyed rhofe tSmbitious delires after Literate Fame, which was the Sin of my Childhood ! I had a defire before to have attained the higher Academi- cal DegreesandReputation of Learning, and tohave cholenout my Studies accord- ingly ; but SickneßandSolicitoufneßfor my doubtingSoul did flame away all thefe Thoughts as Fooleries and Childrens Plays. s. It fet me upon that Methodof my Studies, which fine then I have found the benefit of, though at the time 1 was not fatisfied with my felf. It caufed me frrß to Peek God's Kingdom and his Righteoufnefs, andmoll to mind the One thing needful ; and to determine firlt of my Ultimate End ; by which I was engaged to choofe outand profecuteall other Studies, but as meant to that end : There- fore Divinity was not only carried on with the reit of my Studies with an equal hand, but always had the flrli and chiefeft place ! And it caufed me to ffudy Pra5lical- Divinity firff, in the moli Prallical Books, in a Praétical Order; doing all purpofely for the informing and reformingof my ownSoul. So that I hadread a multitude of ourEnglifh Pra &icalTreatifes, before Ihad ever readany other Bodies of Divinity, than Urine andAmegus, or two or three more. By