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It would have been his joy to have been transfigured in the mount.
Not long after his last sermon, be felt the approaches of death, and was confined to his sick bed. Death reveals the secrets of the heart ; then words are spoken with most feeling and least affectation. This excellent Saint was the same in his life and death: His last hours were spent in preparing others and himself to appear before God. He said to his friends that visited him, “ You 6 come hither to learn to die: I am not the only person “ that must go this way; I can assure you that your whole “ life, be it never so long, is little enough to prepare for « death
Have a care of this vain deceitful world, and “ the lusts of the flesh: Be sure you choose God for your “ portion, heaven for your home, God's glory for your “ end, his word for your rule, and then you need never “ fear but we shall meet with comfort."
Never was penitent sinner more humble and debasing himself, never was a sincére believer more calm and comfortable. He acknowledged himself to be the vilest dunghill worm (it was his usual expression) that ever went to heaven. He admired the divine condescension to us, often saying, “ Lord, what is man? What am “ I, vile worm, to the great God?" Many times he prayed, God be merciful to me a sinner! and blessed God, that that was left upon record in the gospel, as an effectual prayer. He said, “ God may justly condemn “me for the best duty I ever did: And all my hopes are “ from the free mercy of God in Christ, which he often “ prayed for."
After a slumber he waked and said, “ I shall rest from
my labour.” A minister then present said, “And your • works follow you:' To whom he replied, “ No works, “ I will leave out works, if God will grant me the other.” When a friend was comforting him with the remembrance of the good, which many had received by his preaching and writings, he said, “ I was but a pen in God's hand ; " and what praise is due to a pen ?”
His resigned submission to the will of God in his sharp sickness, was eminent. When extremity of pain constrained him earnestly to pray to God for his reJease by death, he would check himself; “ It is not fit " for me to prescribe;" and said, “ When thou wilt, $ what thou wilt, how thou wilt."
Being in great anguish, he said, “O how unsearchable are his ways, and his paths past finding out! the reaches “ of his providence we cannot fathom :" And to his friends: " Do not think the worse of religion for what “ you see me suffer."
Being often asked by his friends, how it was with his inward man? he replied, " I bless God I have a well“ grounded assurance of my eternal happiness, and great " peace and comfort within ;" but it was his trouble he could not triumphantly express it, by reason of his extreme pains. He said, “ Flesh must perish, and we must “ feel the perishing of it: And that though his judgment
submitted, yet sense would still make him groan.
Being asked by a person of quality, · Whether he had 'not great joy from his believing apprehensions of the ' invisible state?' He replied, "What else think you “ Christianity serves for?" He said, “ The consideration “ of the Deity in his glory and greatness was too high for “ our thoughts; but the consideration of the Son of God “ in our nature, and of the saints in heaven whom he “ knew and loved, did much sweeten and familiarize hea“ ven to him." The description of heaven in the xiith chapter to the Hebrews and the 22d verse, was most comfortable to him: That he was going to the innumerable company of angels, and to the general assembly and church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven; and io God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect; and to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than the blood of Abel
. " That Scripture, he said, deserved a thou66 sand thousand thoughts. He said, “ O how comfort“ able is that promise, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, “ neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive the “ things God has laid up for those who love him.”
At another time he said, “That he found great comfort “ and sweetness in repeating the words of the Lord's “ Prayer, and was sorry that some good people were “ prejudiced against the use of it; for there were all ne“ cessary petitions for soul and body contained in it.”
At other times he gave excellent counsel to young ministers that visited him, and earnestly prayed to God to bless their labours, and make them very successful in converting many souls to Christ. And he expressed great joy in the hopes that God would do a great deal of good by them, and that they were of moderate peaceful spirits.
He did often pray that God would be merciful to this miserable distracted world: And that he would preserve his church and interest in it.
He advised his friends to beware of self-conceitedness, as a sin that was likely to ruin this nation: And said, “ I have written a book against it, which I am afraid “ has done little good."
Being asked whether he had altered his mind in controversial points, he said, “ Those that please, may know “ my mind in my writings: And what he had done was “ not for his own reputation, but the glory of God.”
I went to him with a very worthy friend, Mr. Mather of New England, the day before he died; and speaking some comforting words to him, he replied, “I have
pain, there is no arguing against sense, but I have “ peace, I have peace. I told him, “You are now ap* proaching to your long-desired home.' Ile answered, “ I believe, I believe.” He said to Mr. Mather, “I “ bless God that you have accomplished your business ; 66 the Lord prolong your life.”
He expressed a great willingness to die; and during bis sickness, when the question was asked, how he did, his answer was,
“ Almost well.” His joy was remarkable, when in his own apprehensions death was nearest : And his spiritual joy at length was consummated in eternal joy.
Thus lived and died that blessed saint. I have, with out any artificial fiction of words, given a sincere short account of him. All our tears are below the just grief for such an invaluable loss. It is the comfort of his friends, that he enjoys a blessed reward in heaven, and has left a precious remembrance on the earth.'
Thus far Dr. Bates. To this may be added from Mr. Sylvester a short account of his person. He was tall and slender, and stooped much: llis countenance composed and grave, somewhat inclining to smile. He had a piercing eye, a very articulate speech, and his deportment rather plain than complimental. He had a great command over his thoughts. He had that happy faculty, so as to answer the character that was given of him by a learned man, dissenting from him, after a discourse with him; which was, “ That he could say what he would, and he could prove what he said.'
It is impossible to read the account he gives of himself in his Reliquia without emotion. The sickness and languors lie underwent almost from his childhood, and which he has so pathetically described, render it matter of admiration, that such a frame should hold out for seventy-six years, when, before twenty, he complained of a pramatura senectus, and all the symptoms of fourscore.
The stone which was generated in his kidneys, and which he sustained there above fifty years, is preserved in the British Museum. It is a large blue pebble, very much resembling the shape of a kidney itself.
We cannot dismiss this memoir of so extraordinary a person, without affixing that memorial of gratitude which Dr. Bates renders for Mr. Baxter to Sir Henry Ashurst, Bart. his pious patron and frend.
• To the right worshipful, and his much honoured friend, Sir Henry Ashurst, Baronet.
Sir, - Your noble and constant kindness to Mr. Baxter living, and your honourable respect to him dead, have induced me to inscribe the following memorial of him to your name. He was most worthy of your highest esteem and love: for the first impressions of heaven upon your soul, were in reading his unvalued book of the saint's Everlasting Rest. This kindied a mutual affection in your breasts: His love was directing, counselling, and exciting you to secure your future happiness: Your love was observant, grateful, and beneficent to him. The sincerity and generosity of your friendship was very evident, in your appearing and standing by bim, when he was so roughly and unrighteously handled, by one who was the dishonour of this age's law, Chief Justice Jefferies, whose deportment in a high place of judicature was so contrary to wisdom, and humanity, and justice, that there need no foul words to make his name odious. Of this and your other favours Mr. Baxter retained a dear and lasting sense; and in his dying hours declared, that you had been the best friend he ever had. He has finished his course, and received his crown: His name will shine longer than his enemies shall bark.
. I cannot omit the mentioning, that Mr. Boyle and Mr. Baxter, those incomparable persons in their several studies, and dear friends, died within a short space of one another. Mr. Boyle was engaged in the contemplation of the design and architecture of the visible world, and made rare discoveries in the system of nature: Not for curiosity and barren speculation, but to admire and adore the perfections of the Deity in the variety, order, beauty, and marvellous artifice of the creatures that compose this great universe. Mr. Baxter was conversant in the invisible world: His mind was constantly applied to understand the harmonious agreement of the divine attributes, in the economy of our salvation, and to restore men to the image and favour of God. They are now admitted into the enlightened and purified society above, where the immense volumes of the divine wisdom are laid open, and, by one glance of an eye, they discover more perfectly the glorious and wonderful works of God in heaven and earth, than the most diligent inquirers can do here, in a thousand years' study, though they had the sagacity of Solomon. By the light of glory, they see the face of God, and are satisfied with his likeness for ever.
" It is a high honour to you, that Mr. Boyle and Mr. Baxter should by their last will nominate you amongst their executors. It was the saying of a wise Roman, • Malo divi Augusti judicium, quam beneficium: I had ra
ther have the esteem of the Emperor Augustus than his gifts:' For he was an understanding prince, and his esteem was very honourable to a person. That two, who so excelled in wisdom and goodness, should commit to your trust the disposal of their estates, for the uses of piety and charity, is a more noble testimony of their esteem of your prudence and inviolable integrity, than if they had bequeathed to you rich legacies.
It is a satisfaction to me, that I have complied with Mr. Baxter's desire in preaching his funeral sermon, and with your's in publishing. I shall unfeignedly recommend yourself, your excellent lady and virtuous children, to the divine mercies; and remain, with great respect,
«Your humble and faithful servant,
JOHN FLAVEL. MR. JOHN FLAVEL was born in Worcestershire. He was religiously educated by his father, and, having profited well at the grammar schools, was sent early to Oxford, and settled a commoner in University College. He plied his studies hard, and exceeded many of his contemporaries in university learning.