Baxter - BX5207 B3 A2 1696

P A Ii r J. Revere*dMr. Richard Baxter: 2 r Parliament's Forces came to take the Town, they call fuch effe&ual Fire-works from the Cattle as burnt down the Town to the Ground, and burnt alto the great Church where I preached that Sermon , and where Mr. Madtlard was interred So that the Inhabitants were undone, and fain to lye under Hedges, till the Com- paflion of others afforded them Entertainment and Habitation. And as for their Church, it was a great while before it was rebuilt , and that after two general Colle5lions for it. The firft time that I came among them when the Wars were paft, I chofe the fameText again to preach on, to call their fins againft their faith- ful Paftor to remembrance : But they and I were fo much interrupted with Tears, that ( with fome Pawfes ) I had much adoto proceed on to the end. § 3 r. Whiltt I continued at KederminJier, it pleafed God to give me muchEn- couragement by the Succefs of my weak but hearty Labours: As when I was young, I ulèd ro keep a daily Catalogue of my daily Mercies and Sins, but when I grew elder I found that Conde had its Inconveniences, and took up too much time, and therefore I only recorded thofe which were extraordinary ; even fo when I loft entered upon my Labours in the Miniftry , I took fpecial notice of everyone that was humbled, reformed or converted ; but when I had laboured long, it pleafed God that the Converts were fo many, that I could not afford time for fuch particular Obfervations about every one of them, left I lhould omit fomegreaterWork; but was fain to leave that to theircompaffaonatefamiliarNeigh- bours,and take notice my felf ofFamilies and confiderable Numbers at once, that came in and grew up I fcarce knew how. § ;z. All this forementioned time of my Miniftry was paff under my fore- defcribed Weakneffes, which were fo great as made me live and preach in force continual expeâationof Death, fuppofing 11111 that I had not long to live. And this I found through all my Life to be an unvaluable mercy to me : For, a. It greatly weakned Temptations. 2. It kept me in a great Contempt ofthe World. 3 It taught me highly to efteemof time : fothat ifany of it paft away in idle- neti or unprofitablenefs, it was fo long a pain and burden to my mind ! So that I mull fay to thePraife of my moil wife Conduâor, that time hath 1tí11 feemed to me much more precious than Gold or any Earthly Gain, and its Minutes have not been defpifed, nor have I been much tempted to any ofthe Sins, which go under the nameof PaJtime , fineI underftoodmy Work. 4. It made me Body and preach things neceffary, and a little furred up my (lug= gifh heart, to fpeak to Sinners with force Compaffion, as a dying Man to dying Men. Thefe, with the ref}which I mentioned before when I fpake of my Infirmities, were the Benefits whichGod afforded me by Af lietion ! I humbly biefs his graci- ous Providence, who gave me his Treafure inan Earthen Veffel, and trained me up in theSchool ofAfiliâion, and taught me the Croft' of Cbrifl fo foon ; that I might be rather Theology's Crur,s, as Luther fpeaketh, than Theology's Gloria; and a Cropbearer, than a Croßmake,. or Impofer. 4 3;. At one time above all the ref}, being under a new and unufual Diften per, which put me upon the prefent Expeâationsof my Change, and going for Com- fort to the Promifesas I wasufed, the Tempter flrongly affaulted my Faith, and would have drawn me towards Infidelity it felf. Till I was ready to enter into the Minilry, allmy Troubleshad been raifed, by the hardnefs of myheart, and the doubtings of my ownSincerity ; but now all thefe began to vanish, and never much returned to this day : And initcad of thefe, I was now affaulted with more pernicious Temptations ; efpecially to queftion the certain Truth of the Sacred Scriptures; and alfo the Life tocome, and Immortality of the Soul. And thefe Temptationsaffaulted me not as they do the Melancholy, with horridvexing Im- portunity ; but by pretenceof fober Reafon, they would have drawn me to a fet- led doubting of Chriftianity. And here I found my own Mifcarriage, and the greatMercyofGod. My Mif- carriage, in that I had fo long negleâed thewell fettling ofmy Foundations, while I had beftowedfo much time in the Superftruâures andthe Applicatorypart ! For having taken it for anintolerable Evil, once to queftion the Truth of Scriptures and the Life to come, I had either taken it for a Certainty uponTrull , or taken up with Common Reafons of it, which I had never well confidered, digefted, or made mine own. Infomuchas when thisTemptation came, it feemed at firlt to antwer and enervate all the former Reafons of my feeble Faith, which made me take theScriptures for the Wordof God; and it fa before me fuch Mountains of Difficulty