Baxter - BV4831 84 F3 1830

INTRODUCTORY ESSAY. 5 These were the great men of England ; and to them, under God, is England indebted for much of that which is valuable in her public institutions, and in the character of her people. They were, indeed, a noble army ; they were born from above to be the combatants for truth ; they were placed in the gap, and they held their ground, or fell at their posts. In this army Richard Baxter was a standard -bearer. He labored much, as well in preaching as in writing, and with an abundant bless- ing on both. He had all the high mental qualities of his class in perfection. His mind is inexhaustible, and vigorous, and vivacious, to an extraordinary degree. He seizes irresistibly on the attention, and carries it alongwith him ; and we assuredly do not know any author who can be compared with him, for the power with which he brings his reader directly face to face with death, and judgment, and eternity ; and compels him to look upon them, and converse with them. He is himself most deeply serious, and the holy solemnity of his own soul seems to envelope the reader, as with the air of a temple. The Saints' Everlasting Rest was written on a bed of sickness. It contains those thoughts and feelings which occupied, and fortified, and animated the author, as he stood on the brink of eternity. The examples of heavenly meditation which he gives, really breathe of heaven; and the importance of such meditation, as a duty, and as a means of spiritual growth, is admirably set forth, and most powerfully enforced. And is it not a most pernicious madness and stupidity to neglect this duty ? Is it not strange that such prospects should excite so little interest ? Is it not strange that the uncertainty of the duration of life, and the certainty of its sorrows, do not compel men to seek refuge in that inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and which fadeth not away? Is it not strange that the offers of friendship, and intimate relationship, which God is continually holding out to us, should be slighted, even in competition with the society of those whom we cannot but despise and reprobate ? Is it not strange that we should, day after day, allow ourselves to be duped by the same false promises of happiness, which have disappointed us just as often as they have been trusted ? O let us be persuaded, that there is no rest in created things. No ; there is no rest, except in Him who made us. Who is the man that can say he has found rest elsewhere ? No man says it. May God open our hearts, as well as our understandings, to see the truth ; that we may practically know the insufficiency, and hollowness, and insecurity of all earthly hopes; and that we may be led, in sim- plicity and earnestness, to seek, and se to find, our rest in Himself. T. E Edinburgh, February. 1824