Baxter - BV4831 84 F3 1830

COMPILER'S PREFACE. 9 feet acquaintance, but with his usual pleasantness and candor, should mention the following incident : " 1 once met with a page of Mr. Baxter. Upon the perusal of it, I conceived so good an idea of the author's piety, that I bought the whole book." Whatever other causes might concur, it must chiefly be ascribed to Mr. Baxter's distinguished reputation as a preacher and a writer, that, presently after the restoration, he was appointed one of the chaplains in ordinary to King Charles II. and preached once before him in that capacity ; as also that he had an offer made him by the Lord Chan- cellor Clarendon, of the bishopric of Hereford, which, in a respectful . letter to his lordship, he saw proper to decline. The Saints' Rest is deservedly esteemed one of the most valuable parts of his practical works. He wrote it when he was far from home, without any book to consult but his Bible, and in such an ill state of health, as to be in continual expectation of death for many months ; and therefore, merely for his own use, he fixed his thoughts on this heavenly subject, " which," says he, "hath more benefited me than all the studies of my life." At this time he could be little more than thirty years old. He afterwards preached over the subject in his weekly lecture at Kidderminster, and in 1650 he published it; and indeed it appears tohave been the first that ever he published of all his practical writings. Of this book Dr. Bates says, "It was written uy himwhen languishing in the suspense of life and death, but has the signatures of his holy and vigorous mind. To allure our desires, he unveils the sanctuary above, and discovers the glories and joys of the blessed in the Divine Presence, by a light so strong and lively, that all the glittering vanities of this world vanish in that comparison, and a sincere believer will despise them, as one of mature age does the toys and baubles of children.. To excite our fear, he removes the screen, and makes theeverlasting fire of hell so visible, and represents the tormenting passions of the damned in those dreadful colors, that, if duly considered, would check and control the unbridled, licentious appetites of the most sensual wretches," Heavenly rest is a subject in its own nature so universally important and interesting, and at the same time so truly engaging and delightful, as sufficiently accounts for the great acceptance which this book has met with ; and partly, also, for the uncommon blessing which has attended Mr. Baxter's manner of treating the subject, both from the pulpit and the press, For where are the operations of divine grace more reasonably to be expected, or where have they, in fact, been more frequently discerned, than in concurrence with the best adapted means ? And should it appear, that persons of distinguishing judgment and piety have expressly ascribed their first religious impressions to 1*