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ing, so entering into the soul, so engaging the affections, that those were as deaf as adders, who were not charmed by 80 wise a Charmer. He was animated with the Holy Spirit, and breathed celestial fire, to inspire heart and life into dead sinners, and to melt the obdurate in their frozen tombs. Methinks I still hear him speak those powerful words: “ A wretch that is condemned to die to-morrow, “ cannot forget it: And yet, poor sinners, that continu.
ally are uncertain to live an hour, and certain speedily " to see the majesty of the Lord, to their inconceivable
joy or terror, as sure as they now live upon earth ; can « forget these things for which they have their memory; “ and which, one would think, should drown the mat“ ters of the world, as the report of a cannon does a “ whisper, or as the sun obscures the poorest glow-worm. “ O wonderful stupidity of an unregenerate soul ! Owon“ derful folly and distractedness of the ungodly! That “ ever men can forget, I say again, that they can forget, “ eternal joy, eternal woe, and the eternal God, and the “ place of their eternal unchangeable abode, when they “ stand even at the door, and there is but the thin veil “ of flesh between them and that amazing sight, that “ eternal gulph, and they are daily dying and stepping “ in.” Serm. before the H. Commons, 1660, V. iv. p. 729.
Besides, his wonderful diligence, in catechizing the particular families under his charge, was exceeding useful to plant religion in them. Personal instruction and application of divine truths have an excellent advantage and efficacy to insinuate, and infuse religion into the minds and hearts of men, and, by the conversion of parents and masters, to reform whole families that are under their immediate direction and government. While he was at Kidderminster, he wrote and published that accomplished model of an evangelical minister, styled “ Gildas Salvianus, or the Reformed Pastor.” In that book, he clears beyond all cavil, that the duty of ministers is not confined to their study and the pulpit, but that they should make use of opportunities to instruct families within their cure, as it is said by the apostle, that he had kept back nothing from his hearers that was profitable, but had taught them publicly, and from house to house
. Acts XX. 20, 21. The idea of a faithful minister, delineated in that book, was a copy taken from the life, from his own zealous example. His unwearied industry to do good to his flock, was answered by correspondent love and thankfulness. He was an angel in their esteem. He would often speak with great complacence of their dear afVOL. IV.
fections: And a little before his death, said, “He believed “ they were more expressive of kindness to him, than the “ Christian converts were to the apostle Paul, by what “ appears in his writings."
While he remained at Kidderminster, his illustrious worth was not shaded in a cornet, but dispersed its beams and influence round the country. By his counsel and excitation, the ministers in Worcestershire, episcopal, presbyterian, and congregational, were united, that, by their studies, labours, and advice, the doctrine and practice of religion, the truth and holiness of the gospel, might be preserved in all the churches committed to their charge. This association was of excellent use, the ends of church government were obtained by it, and it was a leading example to the ministers of other counties. Mr. Baxter was not above his brethren-ministers, by a superior title, or any secular advantage, but by his divine endowments and separate excellencies, his extraordinary wisdom, zeal, and fidelity: He was the soul of that happy society.
He continued among his beloved people, till the year 1660, when he came to London. A while after the king's restoration, there were many endeavours used in order to an agreement between the episcopal and presbyterian ministers. For this end several of the bishops elect, and of the ministers, were called to attend the king at Worcester House: There was read to them a declaration drawn up with great wisdom and moderation by the Lord Chancellor the Earl of Clarendon. I shall only observe, that in reading the several parts of the declaration, Dr. Morley was the principal manager of the eonference among the bishops, and Mr. Baxter among the ministers : And one particular I cannot forget : it was desired by the ministers, that the bishops should exercise their church power with the counsel and consent of presbyters. This limiting of authority was so displeasing, that Dr. Cosins, then elect of Durham, said, If your Majesty grant this you will unbishop your bishops. Dr. Reynolds upon this produced the book, entitled, “The Portraiture of his sa. cred Majesty in his Solitude and Sufferings,' and read the following passage : Not that I am against the
managing of this presidency and authority of one man • by the joint counsel and consent of many presbyters : • I have offered to restore that, as a fit means to avoid · those errors, corruptions, and partialities, which are
incident to any one man: Also to avoid tyranny, which becomes no Christians, least of all church-men.
. Besides, Besides, it will be a means to take away that burden and odium of affairs, which may lie too heavy on one man's shoulders, as indeed I think it did formerly on the bisbop's here. The good doctor thought, that the judgment of the king's afflicted and enquiring father, would have been of great moment to incline him to that temperament: But the king presently replied, “ All that is in
that book is not gospel.' My Lord Chancellor prudently moderated in that matter, that the bishops, in weighty causes, should have the assistance of the presbyters.
Mr. Baxter considering the state of our affairs in that time, was well pleased with that declaration. He was of Calvin's mind, who judiciously observes, upon our Saviour's words, That the Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that of fend: Qui ad extirpandum quicquid displicet præposterè fese tinant, antevertant Christi judicium, et ereptum angelis officium sibi temerè usurpant.* Besides, that declaration granted such a freedom to conscientious ministers, that were unsatisfied as to the old conformity, that if it had been observed, it had prevented the doleful division that succeeded after. But when there was a motion made in the House of Commons, that the declaration might pass into an act, it was opposed by one of the Secretaries of State, which was a sufficient indication of the king's averseness to it.
After the declaration, there were many conferences at the Savoy between the bishops and some doctors of their party, with Mr. Baxter and some other ministers for an agreement, wherein his zeal for peace was most conspicuous; but all was in vain. Of the particulars that were debated, he has given an account in print.
Mr. Baxter after his coming to London, during the time of liberty, did not neglect that which was the principal exercise of his life, the preaching the gospel, being always sensible of his duty of saving souls. He preached at St. Dunstan's on the Lord's Days in the afternoon. I remember one instance of his firm faith in the divine providence, and his fortitude when he was engaged in his ministry there. The church was old, and the people were apprehensive of some danger in meeting in it: And while Mr. Baxter was preaching, something in the steeple fell down, and the noise struck such a terror into the people, that they presently, in a wild disorder, ran out of the church; their eagerness to haste away, put all into a tumult: Mr. Baxter, without visible disturbance, sat down in the pulpit: After the hurry was over, he resumed his discourse, and said to compose their minds, “ We are in the service of God to prepare our“ selves, that we may be fearless at the great noise of “ the dissolving world, when the heavens shall pass away, c. and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, " and the works that are therein, shall be burnt up," 2 Pet. üi. 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.
* They that make too much haste to redress at once all things that are amiss, anticipate the judgwent of Christ, and rashly usurp the office of the angels.
After St. Dunstan's church was pulled down in order to its rebuilding, he removed to Black-Friars, and continued his preaching there to a vast concourse of hearers till the memorable Bartholomew.
In the year 1661, a parliament was called, wherein was passed the act of uniformity, that expelled from their public places about two thousand ministers. I will only take notice concerning the causes of that proceeding, that the old clergy from wrath and revenge, and the young gentry from their servile compliance with the court, and their distaste of serious religion, were very' active to carry on and complete that act. That this is no rash imputation upon the ruling clergy then is evident, not only from their concurrence in passing that law, for actions have a language as convincing as that of words, but from Dr. Sheldon then Bishop of London, their great leader; who when the Lord Chamberlain, Manchester, told the king, while the act of uniformity was under debate, That he was afraid the terms of it were • so rigid, that many of the ministers would not comply ' with it ;' he replied, • I am afraid they will.' This act was passed, after the king had engaged his faith and honour, in his declaration from Breda, to preserve the liberty of conscience inviolate, which promise opened the way for his restoration; and after the royalists here had given public assurance, that all former animosities should be buried, as rubbish under the foundation of an universal concord. Mr. Baxter, who was involved with so many ministers in this calamity, and was their brightest ornament, and the best defence of their righteous, though oppressed cause, made two observations upon that act and our ejection.
The one was, that the ministers were turned and kept out from the public exercise of their office in that time of their lives that was most fit to be dedicated and em
ployed for the service and glory of God, that is between thirty and sixty years, when their intellectual and instrumental faculties were in their rigour. The other was in a letter to me after the death of several bishops, who were concurrent in passing that act, and expressed no sorrow for it: His words were, “ For ought I see, the 4 bishops will own the turning of us out, at the tribunal « of Christ, and thither we appeal."
After the act of uniformity had taken its effect, in the ejection of so many ministers, there was sometimes a connivance at the private exercise of their ministry, sometimes public indulgences granted, and often a severe prosecution of them, as the popish and politic interest of the court varied. When there was liberty, Mr. Bax ter applied himself to his delightful work, to the great advantage of those who enjoyed his ministry. But the church party opposed vehemently the liberty that was granted. Indeed such was their fierceness, that if the dissenting ministers had been as wise as serpents, and as innocent as doves, they could not escape their censures. The pulpit represented them as seditiously disaffected to the state, as obstinate schismatics ; and often the name of God was not only taken in vain, but in violence, to authorize their hard speeches, and harder actions, against them. Some drops of that storm fell upon Mr. Baxter, who calmly submitted to their injurious dealings. I shall speak of that afterward.
In the interval, between his deprivation and his death, he wrote and published most of his books, of which I will give some account.
His books, for their number and variety of matter in them, make a library. They contain a treasure of controversial, casuistical, positive, and practical divinity. Of them I shall relate the words of one, whose exact judgment, joined with his moderation, will give a great value to his testimony; they are of the very reverend Dr. Wilkins, afterward Bishop of Chester : He said, That • Mr. Baxter had cultivated every subject he handled; and - if he had lived in the primitive times he had been one of
the fathers of the church.' I shall add what he said with admiration of him at another time, " That it was
enough for one age to produce such a person as Mr.
Baxter. Indeed he had such an amplitude in his thoughts, such vivacity of imagination, and solidity and depth of judgment, as rarely meet together. His inquiring mind was freed from the servile dejection and