Baxter - BX5207 B3 A2 1696

20 The L I FE of the L t B. I, laughter, and perfwaded them that he underftood not the very Subitantial Articles, of Chriftianity ; that he frequented Alehoufes, and had fometimes been drunk; that he tamed the Table Alter-wife, &c. with more filchas this. TheVicar had a Curate under him in the Town whom they alto accufed ; and a Curate at a Chap- pel in the Parifh, a common Tippler and aDrunkard, a railing Quarreller; an ig- norant infufficient Man, who (as I foundby Examining him) underftood not the common Points of the Childrens Catechifm, but laid Come good words to them fometimes out ofMufcules's CommonPlaces in Englifh , which was almoll the only Book he had; and his Trade in theWeek-days was unlawful Marriages. The Peo- ple put their Petition into the Hands of Sir Henry Herbert Burgefs for Bewdley, a Town two miles dillant. The Vicar knowing his infufftciency , and hearing how two others in his Cafe had fped, defired tocompound the Bufsnefs with them ; and by the mediation of Sir Henry Herbert, and others, it was broughtto this, That he fhould infleadof his prefent Curate in the Town, allow 6o I. per Annum to a Prea- t:her whom fourteenof them nominated, fhouldchoofe ; and that he fhouldnet hinder this Preacher from preaching whenever he pleafed,andthat he himfelf fhould read Common Prayer, anddo all elfe that was tobe done : and fo they preferred not their Petition againft him, nor againft his Curates, but hekept hisPlace, which was worth to him near zoo I. per Ann. allowingthat 6o 1. out of it totheir Lecturer. To perform this he gave a Bond of soo 1. Thefe things being thus finifhed, fòme of themdefired old Mr. Lapthorn (a fa- mous Man, tuned from Nonconformity by King gamer ) to come and preach with them on trial to be their Lecturer : Mr. Laptborn's roughnefs and great imme- thodicalnefs, and digrefltons, fo offended the intelligentleading Parry, that they rejeóted him fomewhatuncivilly, tohis great difpleafure. Hereupon they invited me to them from Bridgnortb : The Bailiff of the Town, and all theFeoffees defired me to preachwith them, in order to a full determinati- on. My mind was much to the place as foon as it was defcribed to me; becaufe it was a full Congregation, and molt convenient Temple ; an ignorant, rude and revelling People for the greater part, who had needofpreaching ; and yet had a- mong them a (Mall Company of Converts, who were humble, godly, and of good Converfations, and not muchhated by the reft , and therefore the fitter to aft their Teacher; but above all, becaufe they had hardly ever had any lively, ferious preaching among them : For Bridgnortb had made me refolve that I would never more go among a People that had been hardened in unprofitablenefs under an a- wakening Mind-try ; but either to filch as never had any convincing Preacher, or to filch as had profited by him. As foon as I came toKiderminfter, andhad preach- ed there oneday, I was chofen Nemine eentradicente, ( for though fourteen only had the power of choofing, they defired to pleafe the refs). And thus I was brought by the gracions Providence of God, to that place which had the chiefeft of my Labours, and yielded me the greateft Fruits of Comfort. And I noted the mercy of God in this, that I never went to anyplace in my Life , among all my Changes, which I had beforedefired, deigned or thought of ( much lets looght) ; but only to thole that I never thought of, till the fudden Invitation did furprize me. 4 3o. When I had been here a while, in the beginning of yary, the two Fami- lies which I had lati lived in, at Dudleyand Bridgnortb, were at once vifited with Sicknefs, and they both fent for me ( upon aconceit of my skill in Phyfick ) , but being from home I went to neither of them ; and it proved a molt contagious ma- lignantFever next the Plague ; Mrs. Foley and fome of her Family died: and Mr. Madéitard, his Wife, and a Gentlewoman that livedwith them, diedwithin a day or two each of other. Being with my old Friend Mr. William Rowley, the fad Meffage came to us (Mr. Maclellan' being his Kinfman) and I went with him to the Funeral, and preachedhis Funeral Sermon in fo deep a fenfe of the mifery of that unprofitable People, and the deep groans which Ihave heard from their faith- ful Pallor, for their obduratenefs, that I could not forbear to tell them my fears of tome heavy Judgment to come upon that place, which they were more capa- bleof laying to heart than their Paftor's death. Ihad never before (nor ever did I lince) pretume upon fuch kind of Predictions, (nor did I' fpeak that with any pretence of Prophefe) . but the expreffionof that fear I could not then fúpprefs : My Text was Ezek. 33. 33. And when thee cometb to pa/ (loe it well come) then flask they bow that a Prophet barb been among them. And when the War was begun , the Town (being againft the Parliament) was a Garrifon for the King, kept by the Neighbour Gentlemenof the Country ; who fortified the Caille, and when the Par-