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I AM much more sensible of the evil of Schism, and of the separating humour, and of gathering parties, and making several sects in the Church, than I was heretofore. For the effects have shewn us more of the mischiefs.
RICHARD BAXTER was born November 12, 1615, at High-Ercail, a village near Shrewsbury, in Shropshire; and died in London, December 8, 1691. When he was about the age of fourteen years, very deep religious impressions were mado upon his mind, in the perusal of a work of Parson's the Jesuite, translated and corrected by Edınund Bunny, and intitled Parson's Resolution. For several years afterwards, he sustained a long and severe conflict, partly with the maladies of a weak and sickly constitution of body, and partly froin the questionings of a trembling, perplexed and doubtful conscience; during which interval he carefully read over all the practical treatises in divinity which he could meet with, in search of quiet and satisfaction of mind. He did not receive the advantages of an academical education. About the usual age, he entered into the ministry, being ordained by Dr. Thornborough, Bishop of Worcester, and preached his first serinon at Dudley. After continuing in that town for nine months, he removed to Bridgnorth; and from thence, in the year 1640, to Kidderminster. There he spent two years, before the civil wars (in which he sided with the parliament,) and about fourteen years after, in a most laborious and zealous discharge of the duties of his calling. When Cromwell was made Protector, though much courted by him, he refused to comply with, and to countenance his measures :
and likewise, after the Restoration, he would not submit to the required terms of conformity to the church of England. Hence, during a great part of the reigns of Charles II. and James II. he suffered many hardships for non-conformity.
Among his voluminous and valuable writings he left behind him a very interesting Narrative of the most memorable Passages of his Life and Times (London, 1696, fol.) from the conclusion of the first part of which work, the following review and censure of his own character is taken.
Because it is soul-experiments which those that urge me to this kind of writing, do expect that I should especially communicate to others, and I have said little of God's dealing with my soul since the time of my younger years, I shall only give the reader so much satisfaction, as to acquaint him truly what change God hath made upon my mind and heart since those unriper times, and wherein I now differ in judgment and disposition from myself. And for any more particular account of occurrences, and God's operations on me, I think it somewhat unsavory to recite them; seeing God's dealings are muchwhat the same with all his servants in the main, and the points wherein he varieth are usually so small, that I think not such fit to be repeated : nor have I any thing extraordinary to glory in, which is not common to the rest of my brethren, who have the same spirit, and are servants of the same Lord. And the true reason why I do adventure so far upon the censure of the world, as to tell them wherein the case is altered with me, is that I may take off young unexperienced christians from being over confident in their first apprehensions, or over valuing their first degrees of grace, or too much applauding and following unfurnished, unexperienced men; but may somewhat be directed