Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

before the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, and the several Companies of the city of London, on May 10th, 1660, appointed by both houses of Parliament to be a day of solemn thanksgiving, &c.” 4to. published in 1660. The occasions of these two sermons have already been described. *

41. “ The Life of Faith; as it is the evidence of things not seen ; a sermon preached before the king, July 22, 1660.” 4to. published in 1660.7

42. “ The successive visibility of the Church," 12mo. publishlished in 1660. This was one of his controversial works against the Roman Catholics.

43, “ The Vain Religion of the Formal Hypocrite, and the mischief of an unbridled tongue as against religion, rulers, or dissenters, described in several sermons preached at the abbey in Westminster, before many members of the Honorable House of Commons, 1660 : And the Fool's prosperity the occasion of his destruction ; a sermon preached at Covent Garden, Both published to heal the effects of some hearer's misunderstandings and misreports." 12mo. published in Nov. 1660.1

44. “ The Last Work of a Believer : His passing prayer, recommending his departing spirit to Christ to be received by him. Prepared for the funeral of Mary the widow, first of Francis Charlton, Esq., and after of Thomas Hanmer, Esq.” &c. 4to. published in January, 1661. This was the funeral sermon for the mother of his intended wife.

45. After the Savoy Conference," somebody,” he says, “printed our papers, most of them, given in to them in that treaty; of which the petition for peace and the Reformed Liturgy, (except a prayer for the king,) the large reply to their answer of our exceptions, and the two last addresses, were my writing.” This was in 1661.

46. “The Mischiefs of Self-ignorance and the Benefits of Selfacquaintance, opened in divers sermons at Dunstan's West, and published in answer to the accusations of some and the desires of others.” Svo. published in 1661. “It was fitted,” he says, “ to

See pp, 169, 170.

+ See pp. 171, 172.

See p. 207.

the disease of this furious age in which each man is ready to devour others because they do not know themselves.”

47. “ Baxter's Account to the inhabitants of Kidderminster of the reasons of his being forbid to preach among them.” 4to. pubjished in 1662.

48. “ A Saint or a Brute : The certain Necessity and Excellency of Holiness so plainly proved, and urgently applied, as by the blessing of God may convince and save the miserable, impenitent, ungodly sensualists, if they will not let the Devil hinder them from a sober and serious reading and considering. To be communicated by the charitable that desire the conversion and salvation of souls, while the patience of God, and the day of grace and hope continue." 4to. published in 1662. This is a work of several hundred pages.

49. “ Now or Never : The holy, serious, diligent believer, justified, encouraged, excited, and directed ; and the opposers and neglecters convinced, by the light of scripture and reason." Published in 1663.

50. “Fair Warning; or twenty-five reasons against the toleration of popery." 8vo. published in 1663. There seems to be some doubt whether this pamphlet ought to be numbered among the writings of Baxter.

51. “ The Divine Life, in three treatises ; the first of the knowledge of God; the second of walking with God; the third of conversing with God in solitude." 4to. published in 1664. This work was occasioned by a request of the Countess of Balcarras. She was about returning to Scotland after a residence of some time in England, and having been much profited by Baxter's writings and by his preaching, desired bim to preach the last sermon which she was to hear from him, on these words of Christ, · Behold the hour cometh, yea is now come, that ye shall be scattered every man to his own, and shall leave me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.' The sermon thus preached is the third part of the work; he says he prefixed the other two treatises to make it more considerable. He apologizes for the work, in his lise, by saying that it was, “but popular sermons preached in the midst of diverting business, accusations, and malicious clamors."

How much freedom of the press the non conformists enjoyed appears from an incident which he records respecting this book. " When I offered it to the

press, I was fain to leave out the quantity of one sermon in the end of the second treatise, (that God took Enoch,) wherein I showed what a mercy it is to one that walked with God, to be taken to him from this world, because it is a dark, wicked, malicious, incapable, treacherous, deceitful world, &c. All which, the bishop's chaplain must have expunged, because men would think it was all spoken of them.”

52. In 1665 he published only three single sheets ; two, designed "for the use of poor families that cannot buy greater books, or will not read them;" and the third, published at the time of the plague, entitled, “Directions for the sick."

Among his earliest employments at Acton must have been the preparation of his Narrative of his own life, the first part of which was written mostly in 1664, and the second part in 1665. At the conclusion of the second part of this narrative, he writes thus,

“ And now, after all the breaches on the churches, the ejection of the ministers, and impenitency under all, wars and plague and danger of famine began at once on us.

War with the Hollanders, which yet continueth ; and the dryest winter, spring, and summer, that ever man alive knew, or our forefathers mention of late ages : so that the grounds were burnt like the highways, where the cattle should have fed. The meadow grounds where I lived, bare but four loads of hay, which before bare forty ; the plague hath seized on the famousest and most excellent city of Christendom, and at this time nearly 8,300 die of all diseases in a week. It hath scattered and consumed the inhabitants; multitudes being dead and fed. The calamities and cries of the diseased and impoverished, are not to be conceived by those that are absent from them. Every man is a terror to his neighbor and himself: and God, for our sins, is a terror to us all. O! how is London, the place which God bath honored with his Gospel above all places of the earth, laid low in horr rs, and wasted almost to desolation by the wrath of that God, whom England hath contemned! A Godhating generation are consumed in their sins, and the righteous are also taken away as from greater evils yet to come.” “Yet, under

all these desolations, the wicked are hardened, and cast all on the fanatics; the true dividing fanatics and sectaries are not yet humbled for former miscarriages, but cast all on the prelates and imposers; and the ignorant vulgar, are stupid, and know not what use to make of any thing they feel. But thousands of the sober, prudent, faithful servants of the Lord are mourning in secret, and waiting for his salvation ; in humility and hope they are staying themselves on God, and expecting what he will do with them. From London the plague is spread through many counties, especially next London, where few places, especially corporations, are free : which makes me oft groan, and wish that London, and all the corporations of England, would review the Corporation Act, and their own acts, and speedily repent.

Leaving most of my family at Acton, compassed about with the plague, at the writing of this, through the mercy of my dear God, and Father in Christ, I am hitherto in safety and comfort in the house of my dearly beloved and honored friend, Mr. Richard Hampden, of Hampden, in Buckinghamshire, the true heir of his famous father's sincerity, piety, and devotedness to God; whose person and family the Lord preserve; honor them that honor him, and be their everlasting rest and portion."*

Hampden, September 28, 1665.

* Narrative, Part II. p. 448

PART FIFTH,

The reader has now traced the series of events in the life of Richard Baxter to the fiftieth year of his age. We have seen him approving himself the man of God in the camp and in the court, in the rural parish and in the great metropolis ; we are now to see him in the decline of life, like the illustrious poet his cotemporary, “ unchanged,"

* On evil days though fall'n and evil longues,

In darkness and with dangers compassed round." At this period in his history, it is a privilege to have before us his own deliberate review of the changes which had been wrought upon his mind and heart, in his progress from youth to the commencement of his declining years. This review is the conclusion of the first part of his personal narrative, and was written in 1664, the forty-ninth year of bis age. It is presented here, much abridged.

“Because it is soul-experiments which those who urge me to this kind of writing do expect that I should, especially, communicate to others; and I have said little of God's dealings 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 heart occurrences, and God's operations on me, I think it somewhat unsavory to recite them, seeing God's dealings are much the same with all bis servants in the main, and the points wherein he varieth, are usually so small, that I think such not fit to be repeated.” - 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 over confidence in their first apprehensions, or overvaluing their first degrees of grace, or too much applauding and following unfurnished, unexperienced men; and that they may be directed what mind and course of life to preser, by the judgment of one that hath tried both before them.

« ZurückWeiter »