Baxter - BV4831 84 F3 1830

EXTRACTS FROM AN INTRODUCTORY E S SAY, By THOMAS ERSKINE, Esa. Deos WE do not arrogate to ourselves so much, as to suppose that our commendation can add any thing to the authorityof such a name as that of RICHARD BAXTER. He belonged to a class of men, whose characters and genius, now universally venerated, seem to have been most peculiarly adapted, by Divine Providence, to the circumstances of their age and country. We do not speak only of those who partook in Baxter's views of ecclesiastical polity ; but of those who, under any name, maintained the cause of truth and liberty, during the eventful period of the seventeenth century. Theywere made of the same firm stuff with the Wickliffs, and the Luthers, and the Knoxes, and the Cranmers, and the Latimers, of a former age. They formed a dis- tinguished division of the same glorious army of reformation ; they encountered similar obstacles, and they were directed, and supported, and animated, by the same spirit. They were the true and enlightened crusaders, who, with all the zeal and courage which conducted their chivalrous ancestors to the earthly Jerusalem, fought their way to the heavenly city; and rescuing, by their sufferings and by their labors, the key of knowledge from the unworthy hands in which it had long lain rusted and misused, generously left it as a rich inheritance to all coming generations. They speak with the solemn dignity of martyrs. They seem to feel the importance of their theme, and the perpetual presence of Himwho is the great subject of it. There are only two things which they seem to consider as realities the favor of God and the enmity of God; and only two parties in the universe to choose between the party of God and the party of his adversaries. Hence that heroic and noble tone which marks their lives and their writings. They had chosen their side, and they knew that it was worthy of all they could do or suffer for it. The agitated state of surrounding circumstancesgave them continual proof of the instability of all things temporal, and inculcated on them the necessity of seeking a happiness which might be independent of