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VOL. I. 









Birth of Baxtei>-Cbaracter of bis Father— Low State of Religion- 
Baxter's first reli^ous Impressions— His early Education — Progress 
of his Religious Feelings — Residence at Ludlow Castle — Escapes ac- 
quiring a Taste for Gaming — ^Returns Home — Illness and its Effects — 
Nature and Progress of his Education — Its Defects — ^Troubled with 
Doubts— Distress of Mind— Diseased Habit of Body— Goes to Court- 
Remarkable Preservation — Death of bis Mother — His Attachment 
to the Ministry — His Conformity — Becomes acquainted with the 
NonconformistS'-^rdained to the Ministry I 



Baxter preaches his First Sermon — Examines the Nonconformist Con- 
troversy — Adopts so^e of the principles of Nonconformity — Progress 
of his Mind — Residence in Bridgnorth — The Et-csetera Oath — Exa- 
mines the subject of Episcopacy — In danger from not Conforming— 
The Long Parliament — Petition from Kidderminster — Application to 
Baxter — His Compliance — Commences bis Labours — General View 
of the State of Religion in the Country at this time — Causes of the 
Civil War — Character of the Parties engaged in it — Baxter blames 
both — A decided Friend to the Parliament — Retires for a time from 
Kidderminitcr • • • . • 19 





Baxter goes to Gloucester— Returns to Kiddemiiiister— Viaits Alcester 
—Battle of Edghill— Residence in Coventry— Battle of Naseby— 
State of the Parliamentary Army — Consults the Ministers about 
going into it — Becomes Chaplain to Colonel Whalley's reg;iment — 
Opinions of the Soldiers — Disputes with them-7-Battle of Langport — 
Wicked Report of an Occurrence at this place — The Army retires to 
Bridgwater and Bristol — Becomes ill — ^Various Occurrences in the 
Army — Chief Impediments to his Success in it— Cromwell — Harri- 
son — Berry — Advised by the Ministers to continue in it — Goes to 
London on account of his Health — Joins the Army in Worcestershire 
Attacked with violent Bleeding — Leaves the Army — Entertained by 
Lady Rous—- Remarks on his Views of the Army, and conduct in it • 39 



The Reli{rious Parties of the Period— The Westminster Assembly- 
Character of the Erastians — Episcopalians — Presbyterians — Inde- 
pendents* — Baptists — State of Religion in these Parties— Minor Sects 
— Vauists — Seekers — Ranters —Quakers — Behmenists — Review of 
this period 68 


Baxter resumes his Labours at Kidderminster — His Account of Public 
Aflfairatill the Death of Charles I. — Conduct while in Kidderminster 
towards Parliameut — ^I'owards the Royal Party — His Ministry at 
Kidderminster — His Employments—His Success— His Advantages — 
Remarks on the Style of his Preaching— His Public and Private 
Exertiom—Tbeir lasting Bffects 99 

• « 





The CommoDweaUb — CromweH'a Trettment of hl)i Pftrliainent— The 
Trien — Committee of FundameotaU^PriDciplet ou which Baxter 
acted towards Cromwell— Preaches before him— Interviews with him 
—Admission of the Benefits of Cromwell's Govemmeot — Character 
of Cromwell — Remarks on that Character— Richard's Succession and 
Retirement — ^The Restoration— Baiter goes to London— Preachen 
before Parliament— Preaches before the Lord Mayor— The Kinfi^'s 
Arrival in London — Reception by the London Ministers — Notices of 
various Labours of Baxter during his second residence in Kidder* 
miuster — Numerous Works written during this period— Extensive 
Correspondence — Concluding Observations 136 



The Restoration — Views of the Nonconformists— Conduct of the Court 
towards them — Baxter's desire of Agreement — Interview with the 
King — Baxter's Speech — The Ministers requested to draw up their 
Proposals — Meet at Sion College for this purpose — Present their 
Paper to the King — Many Ministers ejected already — The King's De- 
claration — Baxter's Objections Ut it— Presented to the Chancellor in 
the form of a Petition — Meeting with his Majesty to hear the De- 
claration — Declaration altered— Baxter, Calamy, and Reynolds, of- 
fered Bishopricks — Baxter declines — Private Interview with the King 
— The Savoy Conference — Debates about the Mode of Proceeding — 
Baxter draws up the Reformed Liturgy — Petition to the Bishops — 
No Disposition to Agreement <»n their part— Answer to their former 
Papers — Personal Debate — Character of the lending Parties on both 
bides — Issue of the Conference 171 



Baxter endeavours to p^ain Possession of Kidderminster— The King and 
Claremlon favourable to it— Defeated by Sir Ralph Clare and Bishop 
Morlej^-^^nduct of Sir Ralph Clare to the People of Kidderminster 



—Baxter's spirited ReinoDstraDce— Insurrection of the Fifth Mo- 
narchy Men — Baxter's Preaching in London — Obtains a License from 
the Archbishop of Canterbury — Attempts to negociate with the Vicar 
of KidJerrbin&ter — ^Treatment of the People by the Bishop and Clergy 
—Baxter entirely separated from Kidderminster — ^Takes leave of Uie 
Church — Act of Uniformity — Its Injustice, Impolicy, and Cruelty- 
Its injurious Effects — Baxter's Marriage — Declaration of Indulgence 
—Death and Character of Ash — Nelson — Hardships of the Noncon- 
formists — Death of Archbishop Juxon — Succeeded by Sheldon — ^Act 
against Private Meetings— Sufferings of the People — Baxter retires to 
Acton — Works written or published by him during this period — Cor- 
respondence — Occasional Communion — Consulted by Ashley— >Con- 
dudiog Memorials of the year 1665 215 



k The Plague of London — Preaching of some of the Nonconformists— 
The Five-Mile Act— The Fire of London— Benevolence of Ashurst 
and Gouge — The Fire advantageous to the Preaching of the Silenced 
Ministers — Conformist Clergy — More Talk about Liberty of Con- 
science — The Latitudinarians — Fall of Clarendon — ^The Duke of 
Buckingham — Sir Orlando Bridgman— Preaching of the Noncon- 
formists connived at — Fresh Discussions about a Comprehension- 
Dr. Creighton — Ministers imprisoned — Address to the King — Non- 
conformists attacked from the Press— -Baxter's Character of Judge 
Hale— Dr. Ryves — Baxter sent to Prison— Advised to apply for a 
Habeas Corpus — Demands it from the Court of Common Pleas— Be- 
haviour of the Judges— Discharged— Removes to Totteridge — His 
Works during this period — Correspondence with Owen 254 



Conventicle Act renewed^-Lord Lauderdale— Fears of the Bishops about 
the increase of Popery — ^Bishop Ward — Groves-Serjeant Fountain 
—Judge Vaughan— The King connives at the Toleration of the Non- 
conformists — Shuts up the Exchequer — ^The Dispensing Declaration 
•—License applied for on Baxter's behalf— >Finner's Hall Lecture— 


Baxter fictachei at different places— The Kind's Declaration voted 
ille|ral bj Pteliameut— The Test Act— Baxter desired by the Earl of 
Orrery to draw up new Terms of Agreement — Healings Measure pro- 
posed in the House of Comnons, which fails — Conduct of some of the 
Conformists — Baxter's Afflictions — Preaches at St. James's Market- 
House — Licenses recalled — Baxter employs an Assistant-* Appre- 
hended by a Warrant— Escapes beings imprisoned — Another Scheme 
of Comprehension— Informers— City Ma^strates— Parliament falls 
on Lauderdale and others— The Bishops' Test Act— Baxter's Goods 
distrained — Various Ministerial Labours and Sufferiogs— Controversy 
with Penn — Baxter's Danger— His Writings during this period . • 285 



Baxter resumes Preaching in the Parish of St. Martin — Nonconformists 
again persecuted — ^Dr. Jane— >Dr. Mason— Baxter preaches in Swallow- 
street — Compton, Bishop of London — Lamplugh, Bishop of Exeter- 
Lloyd, Bishop of Worcester — Various Slanders against Baxter — Death 
of Dr. Manton — Pinner's Hall Lecture— Popish Plot — Earl of Dan by 
— Baxter's Interference on behalf of banished Scotsmen — Hungarians 
—The Long Parliament of Charles If. dissolved— Transactions of the 
New Parliament — Bill of Exclusion — Meal-Tub Plot— Baxter's Re- 
flections on the Times — Writings — Death of Friends — Judge Hale — 
Stubbs — Corbet — Gouge — Ashurst — Baxter's Step-mother— Mrs. 
Baxter 322 



The continued Sufferings of Baxter— Apprehended and his Goods dis- 
trained— Could obtain no Redress— General Sufferings of the Dis- 
senters— Mayofs Legacy— Baxter again apprehended and bound to 
his good behaviour— Trial of Rosewell for High Treason— Baxter 
brought before the Justices, and again bound over— His concluding 
Reflections on the State of his own Times— Death of Charles II.— 
Fox's notice of the Treatment of the Dissenters, and of the Trial of 
Baxter-Apprehended on a Charge of Sedition— Brought to Trial*. 



lodictment— £iLtrflu>rdinai7 Behaviour of Jefferies to Baxter and his 
CouDsel — Found Guilty— -Endeavours to procure a New Trial, or a 
mitigated Sentence— His Letter to the Bishop of London— Pined and 
imprisoned— Remarks on the Trial — Conduct of L'Estrange — Sher- 
lock—Behaviour While in Prison— The Fine remitted— Released 
from Prison— Assists Sylvester in the Ministi^ ••••••.• .146 



Baxter's Review of his own Life and Opinions, and Account of his ma- 
tured Sentiments and Feelings — Remarks on that Review — ^The 
Public Events of his last Years— The Revolntion— -The Act of Tolera- 
tion — Baxter's sense of the Articles required to be subscribed by this 
Act — Agreement of the Presbyterian and Independent Ministers of 
London — Last Years of Baxter — Preaches for Sylvester — His Writings 
— Visited by Dr. Calamy— 'Account of his last Sickness and Death, by 
Bates and Sylvester— Calumnious Report respecting the State of his 
Mind— Vindicated by Sylvestei^Buried in Chris^church— His Will 
—William Baxter— Funeral Sermons by Sylvester and Bates — Sketch 
of his Character by the latter— Concluding Observations on the Cha- 
racteristic Piety of Baxter • 378 





latroductory Observations on the Theologicftl Literature of the period 
— Arran^ment of this Pftrt of the Worit — Importance of the Evi- 
dences of ReligionF— * Unreatonablelietf of Infidelity '-^Dedication to 
Brai^lttil— Intended as a Replj to Clement Writef-^Nature and Plan 
of tke Work— >* Reasons of the Christian Relisrion '—View of the 
Work—* More Reasons for the Christian Religion '—Intended as a 
Reply to Lord Herbert-^ On the Immortality of the Soul '—Notice of 
First Attack in English on this Doctrine— Glanvil— Dr. Henry More • 
—Baxter's Notions of the Soul's Immateriality — ' Certainty of the 
World of Spirits ' — Singular Nature of this Book — Remarks on Witch- 
craft and Apparitions — Baxter, the First Original Writer iu Eug^lisli 
00 th^ Evidences of Revelation — Momay — Grotius — Bishop Fotherby 
—Stillin^fleet— Concluding^ Observations 415 



Introductory Observations—' Aphorisms of Justification ' — Animadver- 
sions on the Aphorisms by Burgess, Warreu, Wallis, Cartwright, and 
Lawson— Other Antagonists — ' Apology ' — Molineus, Crandon, Eyres 
— ' Confession of Faith ' — * Perse?erance ' — Kendal — Barlow — Shep- 
herd — * Saving Faith' — * Dissertations on Justification * — ' On Justify- 
ing Righteousness ' — Controversy with Tully — * Original Sin ' — * Uni- 
versal Redemption' — * Catholic Theology ' — * Methodus Theologie ' 

' End of Doctrinal Controversies ' — Geoeral View of Baxter's doc- 
trinal Seiitimeuts — Strictures ou his Manner of conducting Contro- 
refgy — CoacIusJaa ^ , ^ ^ w^ 





Introductory Remarks— < Treatise of Conversion '— ' Call to the Un* 
converted ' — < Now or Never ' — * Directions for a Sound Conversion ' 
«— 'Directions to the Converted '— < Character of a Sound Christian ' 
— * Mischiefs of Self-i^orance ' — ^The Countess of Balcarras — Con- 
troversy with Bishop Morley— >< A Saint or a Brute'— > Various smaller 
Treatises— Concluding Observations •.••••••••• 485 



Introductory Remarks—' Right Method for settled Peace of Con- 
science '—Colonel Bridges—' The Crucifyinf^ of the World '—Thomas 
Foley, Esq.— < Treatise on Self-Denial '— < Obedient Patience'— < Life 
of Fdth* — * Knowledge and Love compared '«— Sir Henry and Lady 
Diana Ashurs^-* God's Goodness indicated ' — Various Discourses — 
* Cure of Melancholy ' — Baxter's Experience among Persons thus 
afflicted— Conclusion 511 



Introductory Observations — Systematic Theoloi^ — The Fathers — 
Schoolmen— Casuists— Reformers— Calvin's Institutions— Works of 
Perldns— Archbishop Usher's System— Leigh's Body of Divinity- 
Baxter's < Christian Directory '—Intended as the Second Part of his 
* Methodtts '—-His own Account of it — Remarks on the Arrangement 
— 'Opposed to the Politics of Hooker — Progress of the Doctrine of 
Passive Obedience'in England — Character of the * Directory ' — Com- 
pared with the * Diictor Dubitantium ' of Taylor— < The Reformed 
Pastor'—' Reasons for Ministerial Plainness ' — * Poor Man's Family 
Book'— < The Catechising of Families '— < The Mother's Catechism ' 
— * Sheets for the Poor and Afflicted '— ' Directions to Justices of the 
Peace'—* How to do Good to Many ' — * Counsels to Young Men '— ^ 
The Divine Appointment of the Lord's Day — Concluding Remarks • 538 






Unity of the Early Christians — Causes of Separatioo— Meant of Re- 
union — Sentinaents of Hall on this Subject— Baxter, the Orig^ina^ 
tor, in Modem Hmes, of the true Principle of Catholic Comma- 
Dion — His various Labours to [>romote it— ' Christian Concord'— 
Baiter's Church Communion at Kidderminster — ' Ag^reement of 
Ministers in Worcestershire' — * Disputations of Right to the Sacra- 
ments '—Sir William Morice — * Confirmation and Restauration '— 
* Disputations on Church Government '-^Dedicated to Richard Crom- 
well — * Judgment concerning Mr. Dury '—Some Account of Dury 
— < Universal Concord '—Baxter's Efforts in promoting Union re- 
tarded by the Restoration—' Catholic Unity '—'True Catholic and 
Catholic Church' — ' Cure of Church Divisions '—Controversy with 
Bagshaw — ' Defence of the Principles of Love ' — ' Second Admonition 
to Bagshaw ' — * Church told of Bagshaw's Scandal ' — Further Ac- 
count of Bagshaw — ' True and Only Way of Concord ' — * Catholic 
Communion Defended,' in Five Parts — ' Judgment of Sir Matthew 
Hale ' — * Baxter's Sense of the Subscribed Articles ' — ' Church Con- 
cord ' — ^^ Of National Churches ' — ^* Moral Prognostication ' — Summary 
View of Baxter's Sentiments on Catholic Communion and Church 
Government • 573 



Introductory Observations on the History of Notaconformity — 'The 
Nonconformist Papers'— Never answered — ' Sacrilegious Desertion of 
the Ministry — • The Judgment of. Nonconformists of the Office of 
Reason in Matters of Religion '— * Of the Difference between Grace 
and Morality '— * About Things Indifferent '— * About things Sinful '— 
* What Mere Nonconformity is not '- ' Nonconformists' Plea for 
Peace' — Second Part of Ditto— Defence of Ditto— Correspondence 
with Tillotson— ' Answer to Dr. Stillingfleet '— ' Second Defence of 
the Mere Nonconformist ' — * Search for the English Schismatic ' — 
'Treatise of Episcopacy ' — ' Third Defence of the Cause of Peace' 
— * Apology for the Nonconformists' Ministry ' — * English Noncon- 
formity '-HCondosiou • • • 614 





Introductory Observations— < The Safe Religion'—* Winding-Sbeet for 
Popery '—* GroMan Religion '—Controversy vrith Peirce, Wom^ck, 
Heylittj and Bramball— ' Key for Catholics '— * Successive Visibility 
of the Cburch * — Controversy with Johnson — * Fair Warning ' — ' Dif- 
ference between the Power of Church Pastors and the Roman 
Kingdom' — 'Certainty of Christianity without Popery' — ' Full and 
Easy Satisfaction, which is the True Religion' — Dedicated to Lau- 
derdale — * Christ, not the Pope, the Head of the Church '— < Roman 
Tradition Examined ' — < Naked Popery '—Controversy with Hutchin- 
son — * Which is the True Church ' — ' Answer to Dodwell '— ' Dissent 
from Sherlock ' — * Answer to Do4weirs Letter calling for more An- 
swers ' — * Against Revolt to a Foreign Jurisdiction ' — ' Protestant 
Religioatruly stated'— Conclusion •••••• 641 



The Nature of Antioomianism — Its Appearance at the Reformation — 
Originated in Popery — Origin in England — ^The Sentiments of Crisp — 
Baxter's early Hostility to it— The chief Subject of bis < Confession of 
Faith'— Dr. Fowlei^-Baxter's * Holiness, the Design of Christianity' 
— < Appeal to the Light '— < Treatise of Justifying Rigbteousness '— 
Publication of Ci-isp's Works— Controversy wbich ensued— Baxter's 
* Scripture Gospel Defended '—The lofiueuce of his Writings and 
. Preacbipg on Antioomianisni^— Leading Errors of the System . . • 650 



Introductory B.emarkfi— Controversy with Tombes— * Plain Proof of 
Infant Baptisvi ' — Answered by Tombes— < More Proofs of Infant 
ChorcU<^eiiibership '— Contravefsy with DaAvers-^* Rtivieii of the 
$4^ vf Chfisiiau Ipfviti'-rControYer^ with the. guftkfrtooSMl^ 

gWTINTS TO FAirt u« ^ 

Behaviour of the Quakers—* Worcestershire Petition to Parliament *— 
« PetitioQ Defended*—* Qaaker's Catechism ^— • Single Sheets ' re- 
bsiog to thelQuakers— Controversy with Beverley on the Millenium— 
Account of Beverley—* The Glorloue Kingdom of Christ described ' 
—Answered by Bevcrlcy^Baxter's * Reply '- Conclusion .... 




Introductory Oheenrations — * Humble Advice '— * Holy Commonwealth ' 
•-Origia and Design of the Work-*-lnvolved the Author in much 
Trouble— The Political Principles which it avows— Recalled by Bax- 
ter^Motives for doing so— 'Church History of Bishops '—Attacked by 
Morice— < True History of Bishops and Councils Defended '— < Bre- 
viat of tlie Life of Mrs. Baxter'— < Penitent Confession '-Conduct 
of Long towards Baxter — ' Reliquiie Baxterians ' — Character of this 
Work— Imperfectly Edited by Sylvester— CaliMny'f Account of it, and 
its Reception — His Abridgment of it — Controversy to which it led • 702 



Introductory Observations—* The Saint's Everlasting: Rest '-Written 
for his own use iu the time of Sickness — Composed in Six Months 
—Notices of Brook, Pym, and Hampden, whose names are omitted 
in the later Editions— Description, Character, and Usefulness, of 
the Work — Attacked by Firmin— Baxter's ' Answer to his Exceptions' 
— * The Divine Life ' — Occasioned by a request of the Countess of 
Balcarras — Its Object and Excellence — * Funeral Sermons ' for vari- 
ous Persons—' Treatise of Death '— * Dying Tbougiits' — * Reformed 
Liturgy ' — * Paraplirase on the New 1 cstament ' — * Monthly Pre- 
parations for the Communion ' — * Poetical Fragments ' — * Additions ' 
to the Fragments—* Paraphrase of the Psalms '—General Review of 
his Poetry— Conclusion ....••••• 7J4 





Baxter, the author of Prefaces to many Books by others— Leaves vari- 
ous Treatises in MauuKcript-^His extensive Correspoudeuce still pre- 
served—Letter to Increase Mather— Account of Transactions with 
his Bookselleni — Concurrence of Opinions respecting him as a Wri- 
ter — Barrow — Boyle — Wilkins — Usher — Manton —Bates — ^Dod- 
drid|^ — Kippis — Orton —Addison — Johnson — Granger— Wilber- 
force — His own Review of his Writings— Its characteristic candour 
and fidelity — ^The magnitude of his Labours as a Writer — ^The num- 
ber and variety of his Works — His Readiness — His Style — Sometimes 
injudicious, both in his Writings and his Conduct— Deficient in the 
full statement of Evangelical Doctrine — Causes of this Deficiency- 
Conclusion •••«.••• 763 

ChroDologicalListofthe Works of Baxter 793 



OP • 




Birth of BuLter«>Cliaracter of bis Fatker— I^w State of Religion— Qaxter'^ 
first relif^us Impressions — His early Education — Profess of his religious 
Feelings — Residence at Ludlow Castle— Escapes acquiring a Taste for Gam- 
iog— Returns Home— Illness and its Effects— Nature and Progress of his 
Education— lU Defects— Troubled with DoubU— Distress of Mind— Dis- 
eased Habit of Body— Goes to Court— Remarkable Preservation— Death of 
his Mother- His Attachment to the Ministry— His Conformity— Becomes 
acquainted with the Nonconformists — Ordained to the Ministry. 

The excellent person whose life and writings constitute the 
subject of the following memoirs, was the son of Richard Bax- 
ter, of Eaton-Constantine, in Shropshire. His mother's name 
was Beatrice, a daughter of Richard Adeney, of Rowton, near 
High-Ercall, the seat of Lord Newport, in the same county. 
At this place Richard Baxter was born, on the 1 2th • of No- 
vember, 1615 ; and here he spent, with his grandfather, the 
first ten years of his life. 

His father .was a freeholder, and possessed of a moderate 
estate ; but having been addicted to gaming in his youth, hia 

* It seems rather singular that Baxter should be guilty of a mistake re« 
tpectiug the day of his own birih. There is, however, a discrepaucy between 
the date here given by himself, and that iu the parish register. The 
following extract from it, made by my frieud Mr. Williams, of Shrewsbury, 
shows that either Mr. Haxter or the parish clerk must have made a mistake. 
"Richard Sonne and heyr of Richard Baxter of Eatou Constantyne and 
Beatrice his wife, baptized the sixth of November, 1615." If he was baptised 
on the sixth, he coukl not be boru on the twelfth! But perhaps sixth is a 
mistake in the register for tixieenth, 

V0L« U B 


property became so deeply involved, that much care and frugality 
were required to disencumber it at a future period of his life. 
Before, or about the time that Richard was born, an important 
change took place in his father. This was effected chiefly by the 
reading of the Scriptures, as he had, not the benefit of christian 
association, or of the public preaching of the Gospel. Indeed, the 
latter privilege could scarcely then be enjoyed in that county. 
There was little preaching of any kind, and that little was cal- 
culated to ipjure, rather thi^ to benefit. ' In High ^all, there 
were four readers in the course of six years ; all of them igno- 
rant, and two of them immoral men. At Eaton-Constantine, 
there was a reader of eighty years of age. Sir William Rogers, 
who never preached; yet he had two livings, twenty miles apart 
from each other. His sight failingy he repeated the prayers 
without book, but to read the lessons, he employed a com- 
mon labourer one year, a tailor another ; and, at last, his own 
Qonj the best stage-player and gamester in all the country, got 
ord^rdt and supplied one of his places* Within a few miles 
round were nearly a dozen more ministers of the mne descrip- 
tion : poor, ignorant readers, and most of them of dissolute 
lives. ^ Three or four, who were of a different obaracter, though 
all conformists, were the objects of popular derision and hatred, 
as Puritans. When such was the character of the priests, we 
need not Wonder that the people were profligate, and despisers 
of them that were good. The greater part of the Lord's-day 
was spent by the inhabitants of the village in dancing round a 
may*pole, near Mr. Baxter's door, to the no small distress and 
disturbance of the family. 

To his father's instructions and example, young Richard was 
indebted for his first religious convictions* At a very early pe • 
riod, his mind was impressed by his serious conversation about 
God and the life to come. His conduct in the family also, and 
th^ manneir in which he was reproached by the people as a 
iPuritan and hypocrite, g^ve additional effect to his conversa- 
tion. Parents should be careful what they say in the pre- 

^ In bis Third Defence of the Cause of Peace, Baxter g:ive8 the names of aU 
the incltirlduals above referred to, with adtJitl«»nal drcuroatances of a disgrace- 
M nature in the history of each. The stateneut is a v«rj shocking oue, even 
In the moAt nilti|;ated form in which I could present it; but justice to Baxter 
'and toblf nccount of the times, required tliat the facu should not be withheld. 
They ^ve a deplorable view of the state of the period, and show, very power- 
fully, the necessity of some of the measures which were pursued at a future 
period for the purification of the church. 


aeiice of children, as well aa what they say to them ; for if 
occasional addresses are not supported by a regular train of 
holy and consistent conduct, they are not likely to produce sa* 
httary effect. There must have been some striking indications of 
religions feeling in Baxter, when a child ; for bis father remark- 
ed to Dr. Bates, that he would even then reprove the improper 
conduct of other children, to the astonishment of those who 
heard him. ^ The account, too, which he gives of the early 
visitings of bis conscience, sliows that something was operating 
in him, the nature and design of which he did not then fully 
understand* He was addicted, during his boyhood, to vari- 
ous evils — such as lying, stealing ^fruit, levity, pride, disobe-*' 
dience to parents. These sins made him occasionally very un^ 
easy, even in his youth, and cost him considerable trouble to 
overcome. It would be improper, however, to attach mucb 
importance to these uneasy feelings, as such emotions have fre^ 
qaendy been experienced in early life, yet never followed by 
any evidence of decided change of character. It is only when 
they continue, or are afterwards accompanied by an entire 
change of life, that they ought to be considered as of heavenly 
origin. This was happily the case in the present instance. 
Baxter's early impressions and convictions, though often like 
the morning cloud and early dew, were never entirely dissipated; 
but at last fully established themselves in a permanent influence 
on his character. 

His early education was very imperfectly conducted. From 
six to ten years of age, he was under the four successive curates 
of the parish, two of whom never preached, and the two who 
had the most learning of the four drank themselves to beggary, 
and then left the place. At the age of ten he was removed to 
his father's house, where Sir William Rogers, the old blind man 
of whom we have already spoken, was parson. One of his 
curates who succeeded a person who was driven away on being 
discovered to have officiated under forged orders, was Baxter's 
principal schoolmaster. This man had been a lawyer's clerk, 
but hard drinking drove him from that profession, and he turned 
curate for a piece of bread. He only preached once in Baxter's 
timev and then was drunk ! From such men what instruction 
could be expected ? How dismal must. the state of the country 
have been, when they could be tolerated either as ministers or 

' Funeral Serinoo foe Baiter* 


teachers ! His next instructor, who loved him much, he tells 
us, was a grave and eminent man, and expected to be made a 
bishop* He also, however, disappointed him ; for during no 
less than two years, he never instructed him one hour; but spent 
his time, for the most part, in talking against the factious Puri- 
tans. In his study, he remembered to have seen no Greek book 
but the New Testament ; the only father was Augustine de Ci- 
vitate Dei ; there were a few common modern English works, 
and for the most of the year, the parson studied Bishop 
Andrews' Sermons.*^ 

Of Mr. John Owen, master of the free-school at Wroxeter, 
he speaks more respectfully. To him he was chiefly indebted 
for his classical instruction. He seems to have been a re- 
spectable man, and under him Baxter had for his schoolfel- 
lows the two sons of Sir Richard Newport, one of whom be- 
came Xiord Newport; and Dr. Richard Allestree, afterwards a 
distinguished loyalist^ for which he was made Regius Professor 
of Divinity, at Oxford, and Provost of Eton College.* When 
fitted for the University by Owen, his master recommended that 
instead of being sent to it, he should be put under the tuition of 
Mr. Richard Wickstead, chaplain to the Council at Ludlow, who 
was allowed by the king to have a single pupil. From him, as 
he had but one scholar, to whom he engaged to pay par- 
ticular attention, much was naturally expected. But he also 
neglected his trust. He made it his chief business to please the 
great and seek preferment ; which he tried to do by speaking 
against the religion and learning of the Puritans, though he had 
no great portion of either himself. The only advantage young 
Baxter had with him, was the enjoyment of time and books. 

Considering the great neglect of suitable and regular instruc- 
tion, both secular and religious, which Baxter experienced in 
his youth, it is wonderful that he ever rose to eminence. Such 
disadvantages are very rarely altogether conquered. But the 
strength of his genius, the ardour of his mind, and the power of 
his religious principles, compensated for minor defects, subdued 
every difficulty, and bore down with irresistible energy every 
obstacle that had been placed in his way. As the progress of 
his religious character is of more importance than that of his 
learning, it is gratifying that we are able to trace it very minutely. 

^ Apolo^ for the Nooconformist Ministry^ p. 58. 
* Athen. Oxon. vol. u. p. 505. 


The oonyictions of his childhood were powerfully revived 
when about fifteen years of age, by reading an old torn book^ 
knt by a poor man to his father. This little work was called 
^ Bunny's Resolution/ being written by a Jesuit of the name of 
Parsons, but comeeted by Edmund Bunny/ Previously to this 
be had never experienced any real change of heart, though he 
had a sort of general love for religion. But it pleased Qod to 
awaken his soul, to show him the folly of sinning, the misery of the 
wicked, and the inexpressible importance of eternal things. His 
convictions were now attended with illumination of mind, and 
deep seriousness of heart. His conscience distressed him, led 
him to much prayer, and to form many resolutions; but 
whether the good work was then begun, or only revived, he 
never could satisfactorily ascertain. Hiis is a circumstance of 
little importance. R^neration can take place but once, but 
more conversions than one are required in many an individual's 
life.' If we are assured that the great change has really been 
effected, the time and circumstances in which it occurs are of 
small moment. 

Another work which was very useful to him at this time, is 
better known ; ^ The Bruised Reedj' by Dr. Richard Sibbs ; a 
book which has passed through many editions, and has been ho- 
noured to do good to many. Here he discovered more clearly the 
nature of the love of God, and of the redemption of Christ; and 
was led to perceive how much he was indebted to the Redeemer. 
1111 these things are understood, and their influence felt, no 
man can be considered as converted. The works of Perkins 
* On Repentance,' on ' Living and Dying well,' and ^ On the 
Government of the Tongue,' also contributed to instruct and im- 
prove him. Thus, by means of books rather than of living 

' This work was ori^'nally written on the principleg of Popery ; but Bun- 
ny expunf^ and altered whatever was unsuitable to the Protestant belief, 
and published it in an improved form. The Jesuit was naturally enoug^h dis- 
pleased at the freedom used with his work, which led Mr. Bunny to write a 
pamphlet in defence of his conduct. Bunny was a Puritan of the oldest class. 
He was rector of Bolton Percy, and enjoyed some other preferments in the 
church ; but he was a man of apostolic zeal, and travelled much throu^ the 
country for the purpose of preaching the gospel. He died in 1617. ^' Athen. • 
Oson.' vol. 1. p. 364.) The work edited by Bunny was useful to others as 
weU as to Baxter. Two other Nonconformist ministers, Mr. Fowler and Mr. 
Michael Old, were first seriously impressed by it; and Baxter tells us that he 
had beafd of iU success with others also. (Baxter against Revolt to a Foreign 
IttrisdictioD, p. 540.) 

t Luke xxii. 32. 


instruments, Odd was pleased to lead him to himself. Hid con- 
nexions with men tended to injure and to stumble him rather 
than to do him good. Among the things he mentions which 
had no tendency to promote his spiritual profit, was his confirm- 
ation by Bishop Morton, to whom he went when about four- 
teen, with the rest of the boys. He asked no questions, re- 
quired no certificate, and hastily said, as he passed on, three or 
four words of a prayer, which Baxter did not understand.^ The 
careless observance of the forms of religion, whether these forms 
be of human or divine ordination, is never defensible: and must 
always have a hardening effect on the mind. 

While residing at Ludlow Castle with Mr. W^ckstead, he 
was exposed to great temptation. When there, he formed 
an acquaintance with a young man, who afterwards unhappily 
apostatised, though he then appeared to be decidedly religious. 
They walked together, read together, prayed together, and 
were little separate by night or by day. He was the first person 
Baxter ever heard pray extempore, out of the pulpit ; and who 
taught him to do the same. He appeared full of zeal and dili- 
gence, of liberality and love; so that, from his example and con- 
versation he derived great benefit. This young man was first 
drawn from his attachment to the Puritans by a superior, then 
led to revile them, and finally to dishonour his profession by 
shameful debauchery. Such frequently is the progress of reli- 
gious declension. 

During his short residence at Ludlow Castle, Baxter made a 
narrow escape from acquiring a taste for gaming, of which he 
gives a curious account. The best gamester in the house under- 
took to teach him to play. The first or second' game was sw 
nearly lost by Baxter, that his opponent betted a hundred to one 
against him, laying down ten shillings to his sixpence. He told 
him there was no possibility of his winning, but by getting one 
cast of the dice very often. No sooner was the money down, than 
Baxter had every cast that he wished ; so that before a person 
could go three or fou^ times round the room the game was won. 
This so astonished him that he believed the devil had the com- 
mand of the dice, and did it to entice him to play ; in conse- 
quence of which he returned the ten shillings, and resolved never 
to play more. Whatever maiy be thought of the fact or of 
Baxter's reasoning on it, the result was to him important and 

^ Third Defence of Noncon. p. 40. 


On retdrmng from Ludlow Castle to his fiather's, he found 
his old sehoolmaster,' Owen, dying of a consumption. At the 
request of Lord Newport, he took charge of the school till it 
should appear whether the master would die or recover. In about 
a cpiarter of a year his death relieved Baxter from this office, 
and as he had determined to enter the ministry, he placed him* 
self under Mr. Francis Qarbet, then minister of Wroxeter, for 
further instmction in theology. With him he read logic about 
a month, but was seriously and long interrupted, by symptoms 
of that complaint which attended him to his grare. He was at- 
tacked by a violent cough, with spitting of blood, and other indi- ' 
cadons of consumption. These symptoms continued to distress 
him for two years, and powerfully tended to deepen his religious 
feelings. A common attendant on such a state of body, depreft* 
Am of spirits, Baxter also experienced. He became more anxious 
about his eternal welfare, entjsrtained doubts of his own sincerity, 
and questioned whether he had any spiritual life whatever. He 
complafaied grievously of his insensibility: *^I was not then," he 
says, ^'sensible of the incomparable excellence of holy love, and 
delight in God ; nor much employed in thanksgiving and praise ; 
but all my groans were for more contrition, and a broken heart } 
I prayed most for tears and tenderness.'' 

Ezekid Culverweirs ^Treatise on Faith,' and some other good 
books, together ^MHth the assistance of Mr. Garbet, and other 
excellent men, were the means of comforting and still further 
ins tructin g him. The apparent approaches of death on the one 
hand,, however, and the smitings of conscience on the other, 
were the discipline which, under gracious influence, produced 
the most valuable results. They made him appear vile and 
loathsome to himself, and destroyed the root of pride in his 
800L They restrained that levity and folly to which he was, Iry 
age and constitution, inclined. They made this world appear 
to him 88 a carcass without life or loveliness, and undermined 
the love of literary fame, of which he had before been ambi-* 
iious. They produced a higher value for the redemption of 
Christ, and greater ardour of devotedness to the Redeemer him^ 
self. They led him to seek first the kingdom of heaven, and to 
r^rd all other things as of subordinate and trifling import- 
snee. The man who experienced such benefits from the divine 
treatment, had reason to rejoice, rather than to complain of 
k ; and so did Baxter. 

In consequence of these thii^s, divinity was not merely«anaed oa 

r> : ' 


with the rest of his studies^— -it had always the first and chief p.aee. 
He was led to stndy practical theology in the first place^ in the 
'TOost practical books, and in a practical order. He did this for the 
purpose of instructing and reforming hb own soul. He read a 
multitude of the best English theological works, before he read 
' any foreign systems of divinity. Thus his afiections were exdted» 
while his judgment was informed ; and having his own benefit 
\4!hiefly in view, he pursued all his studies with the greater ardour 
{ I and profit. It is matter of regret that theology is often studied 
ly more with a view to the benefit of others than of the student 
]^\ himself. It is pursued as aprofesaon, rather than as belonging 
to personal character and enjoyment. Hence it firequently 
^t produces a pernicious instead of a salutary effect on the mind, 
and debases rather than elevates' the character. Familiarity 
with divine things, which does not arise from personal interest 
in them, is to be dreaded more than most eWls to which man is 

The broken state of his health, the irregularity of his teachers, 
and his never being at any university, materially injured his learn- 
ing and occasioned lasting regrets. He never acquired any great 
knowledge of the learned languages. Of Hebrew he scarcely 
knew any thing ; his acqumntance with Greek was not profound ; 
and even in Latin, as his works show, he must be regarded by a 
sdiolar as little better than a barbarian. Of mathematics he 
knew nothing, and never had a taste for them. Of logic and 
metaphysics he was a devoted admirer, and to them he dedi* 
cated his labour and his delight. Definitions and distuietioni 
were in a manner his occupation ; the quodmiy the qmd $ii^ and 
quotuplex — modes, eonseguenees, and a^juneU, were his vooditt- 
lary. He never thought he understood any thing till he could 
anatomize it, and see the parts distinctly ; and, certainly, very 
few have handled the knife more dexterously, or to so great 
an extent. His love of the niceties of metaphysical disquisition 
plunged him very early into the study of controversial divinity. 
The schoolmen were the objects of his admiration ; Aquinas, 
Scotus, Durandus, Ockham, and their disciples, were the teachers 
from whom he acquired no small portion of that acuteness for 
which he became so distinguished as a dispute^, and of that 
logomachy by which most of his writings are more or less 

Early education exerts a prodigious power over the foture pur- 
suits and habits of t)^e individuiflt )ts imperfections or 


ties win generally appear^ if he ^attempt to make any figure in 
the scieiitific or literary world. The advantages of a university or 
academical education will never be despi^d except by him who 
never enjoyed them, or who affects to be superior to their 
necewty. It cannot be denied, however, that some of our most 
eminent men in the walks of theology, as well as in other 
departments, never enjoyed these early advantages. The cele- 
brated Erasmus,— -'' diat great honoured name,'' and Julius 
Cksbt Scaliger, had neither of them the benefit of a regular early 
education. As theological writers, few men, among our own 
countrymen, have been more useful or respected than Andrew 
Fuller, Abraham Booth, and Archibald Maclean, yet none of 
Aem received much education in his youth. Dr. Carey is a pro- 
digy, as an oriental scholar, and yet never was twelvemonths at 
sebool in hb life. Among these, and many other men of emi- 
nence, who never walked an academic porch, Richard B^ter 
holds a prominent place. In answer to a letter of Anthony 
Wood, inquiring whether he was an Oxonian, he replied, with 
beautiful and dignified simplicity — ^^ As to myself, my faults are 
no disgrace to any university, for I was of none ; I have little but 
what I had out of books, and inconsiderable helps of country 
tutors. Weakness and pain helped me to study how to die ; 
that set me on studying how to live ; and that on studying the 
doctrine from which I must fetch my motives and comforts : 
b^inning with necessities, I proceeded by degrees, and now 
am going to see that for which I have lived and studied.''^ 

Academical education is valuable, when it excites a taste for 
learning, sharpens the natural powers, and smoothes the path of 
knowledge ; but when it is substituted in after life for diligent 
q>plication, and is supposed to supply the lack of genius or 
industry, it renders comparatively little service to its possessor. 
Hiose who have not enjoyed it, firequently make up the defi- 
ciency by the greater ardour of their application, and the power- 
fill energy of natural talent. This was eminently the case with 
Baxter. Conscious of the imperfections of his early education, 
he applied himself with indefatigable diligence ; and though he 
never attained to the elegant refinements of classical literature, 
in all the substantial attainments of sound learning he excelled 
most of his contemporaries. The regrets which he felt at an 
early period, that his scholarship was not more eminent, he has 
expressed with a great degree of feeling, if not with the highest 
poetical elegance. 

* Athen. Ox. vol. ii. 1125. 



** Thy methods cmt'd m j ways : my yfMmg desiM 
To academic f^lory did aspire. 
Fain I'd have sat in such a nurse's lap. 
Where I mi|^t Iod^ hare had a slu^g^rd't nap ; 
Or have been dandled on her reverend kncet» 
And known by honoured titles and defies ; 
And there have spent the flower of my days 
In soaring^ in the air of hnman praise. 
Yea,, and 1 thouf^ht it needfoi to H^ ends. 
To make the prejudiced world my friends ; 
That so my praise might go before thy grace , 
Preparing men thy message to embrace ; 
Also my work and ofl&ce to adorn. 
And to avoid profane contempt and scorn. 
But these were not thy thoughts ; thou didst foresee 
That such a course would not be best for me. 
Thou mad'st me know that men's contempt and scorn 
Is such a cross as must be daily borne." 

Referring to what had once been his feelings^ he expresses 
himself with great indignation^ and then gives utterance to the 
hig^ satisfaction he felt in the enjoyments God had bestowed 
on him-^better far than titles and learning. 

** My youthful pride and folly now I see. 

That grudged for want of titles and degree ; ' 

That blushed with shame when this defect was known ; 

And an inglorious name could hardly own. 

Forgive this pride, and break the serpent's brain ; 

Pluck up the poisonous root till none remain. 

Honours are shadows, which from seekers fly. 

But fbtlow after those who them deny. 

I brought none with me to thy work ; but there 

1 found more than I easily could bear : 

Although thou would'st not give me what I would, 

Thon gavest me the promised hondred*fold» 

O my dear God ! bow precious is thy love! 

Thy waysy not ours, lead to the Joys above." ^ 

Dming many of his early years, Baxter was greatly troubled 
with doubts about his own salvation. These were promoted 
in a considerable degree, perhaps^ by the particular cast of his 
mind, and the state of his body. They respected various things 
which discover the imperfection of his knowledge at the time } 
but which, aa they may be useful to others, are worthy of somd 

He was distressed because he could not trace, so distinctly, 
the nirorkings of the Spirit on his hearty as they are described 
by some divines ; because^he could not ascertain the time of bis 
conversion ; because he felt great hardness of heart, and a want 
of lively apprehension of spiritual things ; because he had felf 

k Poetical Pntgfbeiits, pp. dl^-^. 


XDimctions from his childhood^ and more of the influence of 
fear than of love in the regulation of his conduct; and because 
his grief and humiliation^ on account of sin, were not greater* 
He was afterwards satisfied that these were not sufficient or 
scriptural grounds for doubting his personal interest in the sal- 
vadon of Christ. He found that the mind is, in general, too 
dark and confused, at the commencement of the divine work^ 
to be able to attend to the nature or order of its own operations; 
and that the first communications of gracious influence, in most 
cases, it is impossible to trace. He perceived that, while in 
the body, the influence of spiritual and eternal things is greatly . 
impeded, or counteracted, in all. He saw that education and 
early convictions were the way in which Ood communicates his 
salvation to many; and that the soul of a believer is but gradually 
delivered from the safe, though troublesome, operations of fear^ 
till it arrives at the high and excellent enjoyments of love. 

Persons who are agitated with perplexities similar to those of 
Baxter, are frequently directed to means little calculated to 
afford relief. Refined disquisitions on the nature of spiritual ope- | f 
ration, on the AtnJ or degree of conviction which must be possess- 
ed at the time of conversion, or afterwards ; on the evidences of 
faith and repentance, are not much fitted to remove the fears and 
anxieties of conscience. It is very questionable, indeed, whether 
any individual will ever obtain comfort by making himself, or the 
eridences of personal religion, the object of chief attention. All 
hope to the guilty creature is exterior to himself. In the human 
character, even under christian influence, sufficient reason for 
condemnation, and therefore for fear, will always be found. It 
is not thinking of the disease, or of the mode in which the remedy 
operates, or of the description given of these things by others, but 
using the remedy itself, that will effect a cure. The Gospel is the / 
heavenly appointed balsam for all the wounds of sin, and Jesus is ^ 
the great Physician : it is to him, and to his testimony, therefore \ 
as the revelation of pardon and healing, that the soul must be ^ 
directed in all the stages of its spiritual career. When the glory •* 
of his character and work is seen, darkness of mind will be 
dissipated, the power of sin will be broken, genuine contrition 
will be felt, and joy and hope will fill the mind. It is from the. 
Saviour and his sacrifice that all proper excitement in religion 
must proceed ; and the attempt to produce that excitement by 
the workings of the mind on itself, must inevitably fail. Self- 
examination to discover the power of truth and the progress of 



principle in us, U highly important; but when employed with a 
view to obtain comfort under a sense of guilt, it never can suc- 
ceed : nothing but renewed application to the cross can produce 
the latter effect. 

Baxter himself, long before his death, arrived at these very 
vieiWs. ** I was once,'' he says, ** wont to meditate most on my 
own heart, and to dwell all at home. • I was still poring over 
either my sins or wants, or examining my sincerity. But now,. 
^ { though I am greatly convinced of the need of heart-acqu^ntance 
aild employment, I see more the need of higher work ; and that 
] I should look oftener on God, and Christ, and heaven, than upon 
' my own heart. At home, I can find distempers to trouble me, 
and some evidences of my peace ; but it is above that I must 
I .find matter of delight, and joy, and love, and peace itself. I 
i would therefore have one thought at home, on myself and 
I sins, and many thoughts above, on the amiable and beatifying 
'^ objects.*' > 

But the thing which distressed him most, and from which he 
found it most difficult to obtain deliverance, was the conviction 
that, after his change, he had sinned knowingly and deliberately. 
Every wilful transgression into which he fell, renewed and per- 
petuated his distress on this account. He was led, however, to 
understand that though divine grace implants in the soul enmity 
to every known sin, which appears in general in the supe- 
riority which it maintains over evil, yet it is not always in such 
a degree as to resist strong temptation. That will sometimes 
prevail against the Spirit and the love of God ; not, however, to 
the extinction of love, or the destruction of the habit of holi- 
ness. There is but a temporary victory : the bent and ardour o{ 
the soul are still most towards God ; the return to him after 
transgression, when the mind has been humbled and renewed to 
repentance, shows more evidently than ever the fixed character 
of the Christian : as the needle in the compass always returns to 
the pn^er point, when the force that turned it aside is withdrawn; 
and as the running stream appears to flow clearer than before, 
when that which polluted it is removed. The' continual enjoy- 
ment of divine^ strength, and the actud presence of spiritual 
motives in the mind, can alone preserve it from the evil to which 
it is here exposed. Sin will always generate fears, which will 
increase in proportion as it has been wilful or persevered in; 
80 that the best way to keep off doubts and alarms, and to main- 

1 I«ife, part i. 129. 


tain comfort, is to keep up obedience and dependence on God, 
or qiuckly and penitently to return when we have sinned. But 
^ Who can understand his errors ? Cleanse thou us from .secret 
faults : keep back thy servants from presumptuous sins, that they 
may not have dominion over them/' 

Other perplexities, and the means of their removal, are stated 
at great length, and with great minuteness, by him, in his own life 
A specimen of them has been given above ; and if these are un- 
derstood^ all the rest, which are only varieties of the same disease 
and subject to the application of the same remedy, vrill be suifi- 
dently comprehended. As it is dangerous for persons afflicted 
with nervous disorders to read medical books, so those who are 
much troubled with perlexity about their spiritual state, are 
liable to be injured, rather than benefited, by descriptions of 
mental disease. The disquisitions of such a spiritual metaphy- 
sician as Baxter are more likely, if deeply pondered, to perplex 
the generality of Christians, than to enlighten and comfort them. 

Notice has already been taken of Baxter's consumptive com- 
plaints : it may be proper, once for all, to give some particulars 
respecting his state of health, which will save the trouble of 
subsequent repetitions, throw light on his state of mind and pecu« 
liarities of teiSper, and enable us more correctly to appreciate, 
and more strongly to admire, the unconquerable ardour and de- 
votedness of soul which could accomplish such peculiar labours 
with so feeble and diseased a body. 

His constitution was naturally sound, but he was always very 
thin and weak, and early affected with nervous debility. At 
fourteen years of age, he was seized with the small-pox, and 
soon after, by improper exposure to the cold, he was affected 
with a violent catarrh and cough. This continued for about 
two years, and was followed by spitting of blood, and other 
phthisical symptoms. He became, from that time, the sport of 
medical treatment and experiment. One physician prescribed 
one mode of cure, and another a different one; till, from 
first to last, he had the advice of no less than thirty-six profes- 
sors of the healing art. By their orders he took drugs without 
number, till, from experiencirlg how little they could do for him, 
he forsook them entirely, except some particular symptom 
urged him to seek present relief* He was diseased literally from 
head to foot; his stomach flatulent and acidulous; violent 
rheumatic headachs; prodigious bleedings at the nose; his 
blood so thin and acrid that it oozed out from the points of his 


fingersy and kept them often raw and bloody; bis legs swelled and 
dropsical, &c« His physicians called it hypochondria, he himself 
considered \tpr4Bmatura senectui — premature old age; so tbat^ 
at twenty he had the symptoms^ in addition to disease, of 
fourscore ! To be more particular would be disagreeable i and 
to detail the innumerable remedies to which he was directed, or 
which he employed himself, would add little to the stock of 
medical knowledge* He was certainly one of the most diseased 
and afflicted men that ever reached the full ordinary limits of 
human life. How, in such circumstances, he was capable of the 
exertions he almost incessantly made, appears not a little myste- 
rious. His behaviour under them is a poignant reproof to many, 
who either sink entirely under common afflictions, or give way 
to indolence and trifling. For the acerbity of his temper we are 
now prepared with an ample apology. That he should have 
been occasionally fretful, and impatient of contradiction, is not 
surprising, considering the state of the earthen vessel in which 
his noble and active spirit was deposited. No man was more 
sensible of his obliquities of disposition than himself ; and no 
man, perhaps, ever did more to maintain the ascendancy of 
Christian principle over the strength and waywardness of 

We return to the regular narrative of his life. In 1633, 
when he was in his eighteenth year, he was persuaded by 
Mr. Wickstead, to give up his design and preparation for the 
ministry, and to go to London and try his fortune at court. 
His parents, having no great desire that he should be a minister, 
advised him to follow the recommendation of his former tutor ; 
who, in consequence, introduced him to Sir Henry Newport, 
then master of the revels. With him he lived about a month 
at Whitehall, but soon got enough of a court life, being enter- 
tained with a play instead of a sermon, on the Lord's Day after- 
noon, and hearing little preaching, except what was against 
the Puritans, These were the religious practices of the court, 
in the sober times of king Charles the martyr, apd furnish us 
with a practical commentary on the book of sports, Tired 
and disgusted with the situation in which he was now placed, 
and his mother being il], and desiring his return, he left court, 
and bade farewell to all its employments and promises. 

While in London at this time, he foriped an acquaintance 
with Humphrey Blunden, afterwards noted as a chemist, and for 
procuring to be translated and published the writings of Jacob 


Befameiu Blondeii was then apprentice to a bookseller^ and 
powfaaed of connderaUe knowledge and piety; to hia letters, con- 
icnation respecting books, and christian consolation, Baxter was 
mnch indebted. On his way home, about Christmas, he met with ^ 
a remarkable deliverance. There was a violent storm of snow \ 
sDcceeding a severe frost ; on the road he met a loaded waggon, 
which he could pass only by riding on the side of n bank | his 
horae slipped, the girths broke, and he was tlirown immediately 
before the wheel* Without any discernible cause, the horses 
stopped when he was on the verge of destruction, and thus hia 
life was marvellously preserved 1 How inexplicable to us are 
the ways and arrangements of Providence ! In some cases, the 
snapping of a hair occasions death ; in other, life b preserved x 
by an almost miraculous interference. 

On reaching home, he found his mother in the greatest extre- 
mity of pun, and after uttering heart-piercing groans the 
whole winter and spring, she took her departure on the 10th of 
May, 1634. Of her religious character he says nothing, except 
whan noticing the religion of the family ; from which we have 
reason to believe that there was hope in her end. His father, 
sbout a year afterwards, married Mary, the daughter of Sir 
Thomas Hunks, a woman who proved an eminent blessing to the 
{Eunily. She reached the advanced age of ninety-six; and 
her holiness, mortification, contempt of the world, and fer* 
vency of prayer, rendered her an honour to religion, and a 
pattern to all who knew her. 

Baxter's mind was now more than ever impressed with the 
importance of the christian ministry. He did not expect to 
live long, and having the eternal world, as it were, immediately 
before him, he was exceedingly desirous of communicating to 
the careless and ignorant the things which so deeply impressed 
himself. He was very conscious of his own insufficiency for 
the work, arising from defective learning and experience ; and 
he knew that his want of academical hououra and degrees 
would affect his estimation and usefulness with many. Be- 
lieving, however, tiiat he would soon be in another world ; that 
he possessed a measure of aptness to teach and persuade men ; 
and satisfied that, if only a few souls should be converted 
by his instrumentality, he would be abundantly rewarded ; he 
got the better of all his fears and discouragements, and resolved 
to devote himself to the work of Christ. So powerful, indeed| 
were his own convictions of the madness and wretchedness of 
presuniptuous biniiera, and of the clearness and force of those 


reasons which ought to persuade •men to embrace a godly life, 
that he thought the man who was properly dealt with^ and yet 
capable of resisting them^ and persevering in wickedness, fitter 
for Bedlam than entitled to the character of sober rationality* 
He was simple enough to think, he had so much to say 
on these subjects, that men would not be able to withstand 
him ; forgetting the experience of the celebrated reformer, who 
found, '^ that o M A dam was too strong for young Melancthon/' 

mi this time, he^as a Conformist in principle and practice. 
His family, though serious, had always conformed. His ac- 
quaintances were almost all of the same description ; and, as 
Nonconformist books were not easily procured, his reading 
was mostly on the other side, Mr, Garbet, his chief tutor^ of 
whose learning and piety he had a high opinion, was a strict 
churchman ; he supplied him with the works of Downham, 
Sprint, Burgess, Hooker, and others, who had written strongly 
against {he Nonconformists. ™ One of that party also, Mr, 
Bamel, of Uppington, though a worthy, blameless man, was but 
an inferior scholar, while the Conformists around him were 
men of learning. These things increased his prejudices at 
the cause, which he afterwards embraced. By such means he 
was led to think the principles of churchmen strong, and the 
reasonings of the Nonconformists weak. 

With the exception of Hooker, the other episcopal writers 
here mentioned are now little known or attended to. The 
' Ecclesiastical Polity ' of that distinguished man both super- 
seded and anticipated all other defences of the church of Eng- 
land. In it the strength of the episcopal cause is to be found, 
and, from the almost superstitious veneration with which his 
name is invariably mentioned, by the highest, as well as the 
more ordinary, members of the church, it is evident how much 
importance they attach to his labours. Of the man whom 
popes have praised, and kings commended, and bishops, 
without number, extolled, it may appear presumptuous in me to 
express a qualified opinion. But truth ought to be spoken. 
The praise of profound erudition, laborious research, and 
gigantic powers of eloquence, no man will deny to be due to 
Hooker. But, had his celebrated work been written in defence 
of the Popish hierarchy, and Popish ceremonies, the greater 
part of it would have required little alteration. Hence we 
need not wonder at the praise bestowed on it by Clement VIIL| 

■ Apology for Nonconformisti, p« §9. 


or that James II. should have referred to it as one of two books 1 1 
which promoted his conversion to the church of Rome. His 
views of the authority of the church, and the insufficiency of 
Scripture, are much more Popish than Protestant; and the 
greatest trial to which the judiciousness of Hooker could have 
been subjected, would have been to attempt a defence of the Re- 
formation on his own principles. His work abounds with 
sophisms, with assumptions, and with a show of proof when 
the true state of the case has not been given, and the strength 
of the argument never met. The quantity of learned and in- 
genious reasoning which it contains, and the seeming candour 
and mildness which it displays, have imposed upon many, and 
procured for Hooker the name of ^^judiciouSy' to which the 
solidity of his reasonings, and the services he has rendered to 
Christianity, by no means entitle him." 

About his twentieth year, he became acquainted with Mr. 
Symonds/ Mr. Cradock,^ and some other zealous Nonconformist 

^ A very important 'and curious note respecting^ the Ecclesiastical Polity 
the reader wiU find in M'Crie's * Life of Melville/ vol. ii. p. 461. The edition 
of Hooker's Works, which has lately issued from the press of Holdsworth and 
Ball, is the only correct edition which' has appeared fur many years ; while 
the cmrious notes of the editor furnish much important illustration of 
Hooker's meaning, as well as supply some of the arguments of his adver- 
saries, to which he often replies very unfairly. 

" There were several Nonconformist ministers of the name of S^'mouds; 
so that it is difficult to determine to which uf them Baxter refers. One 
of them was originally beneficed at Sandwich, in Kent, and went to London 
during the civil wars, where he became an Independent, and a Baptist, if we 
may believe Edwards. According tu that abusive writer, he preached strange 
things « for toleration and liberty for all men to worship God according to 
their conscience"* !" He appears, also, to have been one of Sir Thomas Fair- 
fax's chaplains; and was afterwards appointed one of the itinerant ministers 
ofWaleJi, by the House of Commons. — Edwards's Gangrena, part iii. passim. 
Another Mr. Joseph Symonds was sometime assistant to Mr. Thomas Gata- 
ker, at Rutherhithe, near London, and Rector of St. Martin's, Ironmonger- 
lane. He afterwards became an Independent, and went to Holland, where he 
was chosen pastor of the church at Rotterdam, in the place of Mr. Sydrach 
Sympsou. He preached before Parliament in 1641. — Brook* t Puritans, 
vol. iii. pp. 39, 40. it is probable that one of these two respectable men 
was Baxter's acquaintance at Shrewsbury. 

** Mr. Walter Cradock, a Welsh mau, on account of his Puritanical sen- 
timents, was driven from the church in 1634, shortly before Baxter became 
acquainted with him. He formed an Independent church at Llanfaches, 
in Wales, in the year 1639. He was one of the most active labourers iu the 
principality during the Commonwealth, and procured the New Testament to 
be printed in Welsh, for the use of the common people. He died about 1660, 
leaving some sermons and expositions, wbicli were collected and printed in 
two vols. 8vo, in ISOO.^ Brook's lAves, vol. iii. pp.382— 386. 

VOL. I, C 


mmbtera, in Shrewsbury and the neighbourhood. Their fervent 
piety ftnd exoellent conversation profited him exceedingly; and 
discovering that these were the people persecuted by the bishops^ 
he began to imbibe a prejudice against the hierarchy on that ac- 
count ; and felt persuaded that those who silenced and troubled 
such men could not be followers of the Liord of love« Stilly when 
he thought of ordination he had no scruple about subscription. 
And why should he ? for he tells us himself ^' that he never 
once read over the book of ordination ; nor the half of the book 
of homilies ; nor weighed carefully the liturgy ; nor sufficiently 
understood some of the controverted points in the thirty*niae 
articles. His teachers and his books made him think, in 
general^ that the Conformists had tlie better cause ; so that he 
kept out all particular scruples by that opinion/' It is very 
easy to keep free from doubts on any subject, by restraining the 
freedom of inquiry, and giving full credit to the statements and 
reasonings of one side. 

About this time, 1638, Mr. Thomas Foley, of Stourbridge, in 
Ayorcestershire, recovered some lands at Dudley, which had 
been left for charitable purposes ; and adding something of his 
own, built and endowed a new school-house. The situation of 
head master he offered to Baxter. This he was willing to ac- 
cept, as it would also aflbrd him the opportunity of preaching in 
some destitute places, without being himself in any pastoral rela- 
tion, which office he was then indisposed to occupy. Accordingly, 
accompanied by Mr. Foley, and his friend Mr. James Berry, he 
repaired to Worcester, where he was ordained by Bishop ll)orn- 
borough ;P and received a licence to teach the school at Dud- 
ley. Thus was he introduced to that ministry, the duties of 
which he discharged with so much diligence and success for 
many years ; which proved to him a source of incessant solici- 
tude, and of many trials ; but its blessedness he richly expe- 
nenced on eaKh, and now reaps the reward in heaven. 

* Of Thorntiorfitf^h, 1 have not observed that Baxter has said any (hin<^. 
He Kvetl to a ffeat nge, dyin^ in the year 19'! 1, io his uiuety fniirth year. He 
wan the author of a few pamphlets of a philosophiral and political nature. 
H'bat h« was, as a reli|^oiis Dian, I cannot UfW,— ^ootTs AtKen. Oxon. (Kdit. 
mist,) vol. Hi. p. 3. 




Buter preaches bli First Sermpn—Examinei the Nonconformist Controversy 
—Adopts some of the principles of Noncoufonnity— >Progres8 of his &iin4 
—Residence in Bridgnorth— The Et-csetera Oath— Examines the subject 
*of Episcopacy — In danger from not conforming— The Long Parliament-^ 
Petition from Kidderminster*-Application to Baxter— His Compliance—* 
Commences his Labours-r-General View of the State of Religion in the 
Country at this time — Causes of the Civil War— Character of the t'arties 
engaged in it— Baxter blames both — A decided Friend to the Parliament 
— Re4res for a tiine from Kidderminster. 

Baxter preached his first public sermon in the upper church 
of Dudley, and while in that parish began to study with greater 
attention than he had formerly done the subject of Noncon- 
formity. From some of the Nonconformists in the place, he 
received books and manuscripts which he had not before seen; 
and though all his predilections were in favour of the church as 
it was, he determined to examine impartially the whole contro- 

On the subject of episcopacy, Bishop Downham had satisfied 
him before ; but he did not then understand the dbtinction 
between the primitive episcopacy, and that of the church of 
England. He next studied the debate about kneeling at the 
Bacraikient, and was satisfied, by Mr. Paybody, of the lawfulness 
of conformity to that mode. He turned over Cartwright and 
Whitgift; but, having procured Dr. Ames' * Fresh Suit against 
Human Ceremonies in God's Worship,'** and the work of Dr. 

4 Ames' * Fresh Suit,' 4to, 1633, is one of the most able works of the period, 
on the subject on which it treats. Its author was a man of profound learuinj?, 
I^reat acuteness, and eminent piety. This work enters very fully into all the 
^reat points relating to the exercise of human authority in the tfainf^ of God, 
aud the introduction of human customs and ceremonies Into divine worship ; 
tnd though not professedly an answer to Hooker's EU:clesiaslical Polity, 
embraces every thing of importance in that noted work. It has also the ad- 
vantage of the Polity, in the higher respect it everywhere discovers for the 
Word of God, and the decided appeal it uniformly makes to it. In a sentence or 
two of the Preface, he gives the turning point of the whole controversy c— " The 
state of this war is this : we, as it becometb Christians, stand upon the suM- 
ciency of Christ's institutions for all kind of worship, ne word^ say we, and 

c 2 


Burgess/ on the other side, he devoted himself chiefly to the 
examination of these two works as containing the strength of 
the cause on both sides. The result of his studies at this time^ 
according to his own account, was as follows : 

Kneeling at the sacrament he thought lawfuh The propriety 
of wearing the surplice he doubted; but was, on the whole, 
inclined to submit to it, though he never wore one in his life. 
The ring in marriage he did not scruple ; but the cross in baptism 
he deemed unlawful. A form of prayer and liturgy he thought 
might be used, and, in some cases, might be lawfully imposed ; 
but the church liturgy he thought had much confusion, and 
many defects in it. Discipline he saw to be much wanted; but 
he did not then understand that the very frame of diocesan 
episcopacy precluded it ; and thought its omission arose chiefly 
from the personal neglect of the bishops. Subscription he 
began to judge unlawful, and thought that he had sinned by his 
former rashness ; for, though he yet approved of a liturgy and 
bishops, to subscribe, ex animOy that there is nothing in the 
articles, homilies, and liturgy, contrary to the word of God, was 
what he could not do again. So that subscription, the cross 
in baptism, and the promiscuous giving of the Lord's supper to 
drunkards, swearers, -and all who had not been excommunicated 
by a bishop, or his chancellor, were the three things to which 
at this time he became a nonconformist. Although he came to 
these conclusions, he kept them, in a great measure, to himself; 
and still argued against the Nonconformists, whose censorious* 
ness and inclination to separation he often reproved. With 
some of them he maintained a dispute in writing, on kneeling 
at the sacrament, and pursued it, till they were glad to let it 
drop« He laboured much to repress their boldness, and bitter* 

nothlni^ but the word, in matters of religious worship. The prelates rise up 
on the other side, and win ntcdfi have us allow i^ud use certain human cere- 
monies in our Christian worship. W6 desire to be excused, as holding them 
unlawful. Christ we know, and aU that cometh from him we arc ready to 
embrace : but these human ceremonies we know not, nor can have anything 
to do with them. Upon this they make fierce' war upon us ; and yet lay aU 
the fault of this war, and the mischiefs of it, on our backs." 

' The work of Dr. John Burgess, to which the * Fresh Suit' was a reply, ii 
his * Answer to the Reply to Dr. Morton's Defence.' 4to. 1631. Bishop Mor*' 
ton had written ' A Defence of the Innocence of the three Ceremonies of the 
Church of England^the Surplice^ the Cross aiVer Baptism, and Kneeling at 
the Sacrament.' 4to. 1618. To this Dr. Ames published a reply. Morton did 
not think proper to meet Ames himself, but devolved the task on Burgess, who 
gave hard and abusive words in abundance, but great poverty of argument| 
as the work of.Ames very successfully shows. 


ness of language against the bishops, and to reduce them to 
greater patience and charity. But he found that what they suf- 
fered from the bishops was the great impediment to his success ; 
that he who will blow the coals must not wonder if some of the 
sparks fly in his face; and that to persecute men and then 
invite them to charity, is like whipping children to make them 
give over crying. He who will have children, must act as a 
father ; but he who will be a tyrant, must be content with 

It is gratifying and instructive to be furnished with such an 
account of the progress of Baxter's mind. It strikingly dis« 
plays his candour, and his fidelity to his convictions. Whether 
he employed the best means of arriving at the truth, may be 
questioned; the shorter process, of directly appealing to tlie 
Bible, might have saved him a great deal of labour and perplex- 
ity; but this was not the mode of settling controversies then 
generally adopted. The conclusions to which he came, were 
fewer than might have been expected, or than afterwards satis- 
fied his own mind ; but they probably prepared him for further 
discoveries, and greater satisfaction. He who is faithful to that 
which he receives, and who studies to know the mind of God^ 
will not only be made more and more acquainted with it, but 
will derive increasing enjoyment from following it. 

Baxter continued in the town of Dudley about a year. The 
people were poor but tractable ; formerly they were much ad- 
dicted to drunkenness, but they became ready to hear and obey 
the word of God. On receiving an invitation to Bridgnorth, 
the second town in Shropshire, however, he saw it his duty to 
leave Dudley, and to remove thither. Here he acted as assist- 
ant to Mr. William Madstard, whom he describes as '^ a grave 
and severe divine, very honest and conscientious ; an excellent 
preacher, but somewhat afflicted with want of maintenance, but 
more with a dead-hearted, unprofitable people." In this place 
Baxter had a very full congregation to preach to; and was 
fireed from all those things which he scrupled or deemed unlaw- 
fiil. He often read the Common Prayer before he preached ; 
but he never administered the Lord's Supper, never baptised a 
child with the sign of the cross, never wore a surplice, and never . 
appeared at any bishop's court. The inhabitants were very 
ignorant. The town had no general trade, and was full of inns 
and alehouses ; yet his labours were blessed to some of the 
people, though not to the extent in which they were successful 



m some other places. He mentions that he was then in th^ 
ftrvour of his affections, and never preached with more vehement 
desires of men's conversion ; but the applause of the preacher^ 
was the only success he met with from most of the people. 

The first thing which tried him, while here, and, indeed, 
threatened his expulsion, was the Et-CfBtera oath. This oath 
formed part of certain canons or constitutions enacted by a con- 
vocation held at London and York, in 1640. The main thing 
objected to in it, was the following absurd clause : '^ Nor will I 
ever give my consent to alter the government of this church by 
archbishops, bishops, deans, and archdeacons, &c., a^ it stands 
now established and ought to stand.''' This oath was ordered to 
be taken by all ecclesiastical persons on pain of suspension and 
deprivation. Alarmed at this imposition, the ministers of Shrop* 
shire, though all friends to episcopacy, appointed a meeting at 
Bridgnorth, to take it into consideration. Here the subject was 
argued fro and C(m by Mr. Christopher Cartwright, a man of 
profound learning, on the one side, and by Baxter on the other. 
Baxter's objections to the oath appeared to the ministers more 
formidable than the answers were satisfactory, so that the meet- 
ing broke up in a state of great consternation. An oath binding 
fallible men never to change themselves, or give their consent to 
alterations however necessary, and including in an ^^ et ce^tera** 
nobody knows what, is among the greatest instances of eccle- 
staatical despotism and folly on record. A measure more ruinous 
to the ohufoh could scarcely have been devised. 

Its eflfect on Baxter was, not only a resolution never to sub- 
scribe to it, but a determination to examine mpre thoroughly the 
nature of that episeopacy , the yoke of which he began to feel so in- 
supportable. For this purpose he procured all the books he could 
get on both sides, and examined them with great care. Bucer 
de Gubernatione Ecdesiae, Didoclavii Altare Damascenum,^ 

• Neal, ii. ^03. 

,* Tbe * Altare DamasceDum/ is the woric of David Calderwood, author of 
the 'True History of the Church of Scotland,' and otie of the objects of Janes 
ttie Fiftl'f iinpiacable dislike. It was published in HoUaod, io 1623, wheiv 
th« author wa« in »xile, qp account of his opposition to the court and 
episcopacy. It is intended as a refutation of < Lin wood's Description of the 
Pbliey of the Church of Enj^Und ;' but it embraces all the leading questions 
at istne between EpUcopallans and Presbyterians. It attracted forest «tien* 
tioa at ttie line ; so that King James himself is said to have read it» and r»» 
plied to one of the bishops, who affirmed it would be answered— « What the 
devil will you aaswef, man ? There is nothiD|°^ here bu\ Scripture, reason, and 
the ftitliert.'* 


Jacob," nirker,' and Baynes/ on the one side ; and Down- 
ham, Hooker, Saravia,' Andrews, &c. on the other. Tlie 
consequence of these researches, was his full conviction that the 
English episcopacy is a totally different thing jFrom the primitive, 
that it had corrupted the churches and the ministry, and de- 
stroyed all christian discipline.* Thus this Et-eatera oath, which 
was framed to produce unalterable subjection to prelacy, was a 
chief means of alienating Baxter and many others from it. 
Their former indifference was shaken off by violence, and those 
who had been disposed to let the bishops alone, were roused by 
Ae terrors of an oath, to look about th^m and resist. Many 
also, who were formerly against the Nonconformists, were led by 
the absurdity of this oath, to think more favourably of them : so 
that on the whole it proved advantageous rather than injurious 
to their cause. 

The imposition of the service book on Scotland, at this time^ 
produced great disturbances there also, and led the Scots first to 
enter into a solemn covenant against Popery and superstition^ 
and afterwards to march an army into England. The imposi- 
tioii of ship-money, which occasioned the celebrated resistance 
of Hampden, excited great and general discontent in Englandf 
and hastened on those civil commotions which so long agitated 
the country, and from which the most important effects arose. 

The King met the Scots at Newcastle, and after a time form- 
ed an agreement with them. The Earl of Bridgewater, lord 
president of the Marches of Wales, passing through Bridgnorth 

* Jacob wafi a BrownUt, and one of the earliest Indepeudents in England. 
The work referred to by Baxter, was probably hit * Reaioos taken out of the 
Word of God and the b<»it human Testtmonies, proving a Necessity for reform- 
iBi; our churches in England/' 1604. It is written with very considerable 
abnity ; and, pmoogst pther things, endeavours to prove " that for two hun- 
dred y^ars after Christ, the churches were not diocesan, but congregational.** 

*■ The work of Parker, < De Politeia Ecdesiastica Christi, et Hierarchica 
oi>posita, Libri Tres,' 4to, 1621, was posthumous, the author having died in 
Holland, 1614. He was a learned and pious man : his work against ' Sym- 
bolising with Antichrist in Ceremonies/ produced a great effect, and occa- 
iioned much trouble to the writer. Parker was, in sentiment, partly Presby- 
terian, and partly Independent. 

^ Paul Baynes was the author of ' The Diocesan*s Trial,' in answer to Dr. 
Bownham's Defence. 

* Adrian Sararia wat a celebrated scholar, a native of Hedln in Artois, but 
who lived many years in England, and was one Of the warmest supporters of 
episcopacy.^ He publii^hed, among other things, a treatise on 'The divers 
Degrees of Ministers of the Gospel," and a reply to Beza's tract * DeTriplic! 
EpiscopaUi.' He was one of the translators of the Bible appointed by King 
James, and died shortly after the finishing of that work| io his eigtity-second 
year.r — Mhen, Oxon, vol. L p. 765. 

* Baxter's 'Treatise of Episcopacy ;*«-Preface. 


to join his majesty, was informed on Saturday evening, that 
neither Mr. Madstard nor Baxter used the sign of the cross ; 
that they neither wore a surplice^ nor prayed against the Scots. 
These were crimes of no ordinary magnitude in those days of 
terror. His lordship told them that he would come to church 
on the morrow, and see what was done. Mr. Madstard went 
away, and left* the reader and Baxter to face the danger. On 
the sabbath, however, his lordship suddenly changed his purpose, 
and went to Litchfield, so that nothing came out of the affair. 
"Thus I continued," says Baxter, " in my liberty of preaching 
the Gospel at Bridgnorth, about a year and three quarters, which 
I took to be a very great mercy in those troublesome times." 

The Long Parliament now began to engage attention, and its 
proceedings produced the most powerful effects on the country. 
The members soon discovered their hostility both to ship-money, 
and the Et-ccetera oath ; while their impeachment of Strafford and 
Laud, showed their determination to resist the civil and ecclesias- 
tical domination, under which the country had so long groaned. 
The speeches of Faulkland, Digby, Grimstone, Pym, Fiennes, 
and others, were printed and greedily bought. These excited a 
strong sense of danger among the people, and roused their in- 
dignation against the king and the bishops. 

The unanimity of this celebrated assembly in its opposition to 
prerogative and high-church claims, did not arise from the mem- 
bers being all of one mind on religious subjects. One party cared 
little for the alterations which had been made in the church ; 
but said, if parliaments be once put down, and arbitrary govern- 
ment set up, every thing dear to Englishmen will be lost. 
Another party were better men, who were sensible of the value 
of civil liberty, but were most concerned for the interests of 
religion. Hence they inveighed chiefly against the innovations 
in the church, bowing to altars, Sunday sports, casting out 
ministers, high-commission courts, and other things of a similar 
nature. And because they agreed with the former party in assert- 
ing the people's rights and liberties, that party concurred with 
them in opposing the bishops and their ecclesiastical proceed- 

When the spirit of the Parliament came to be understood, the 
people of the different counties poured in petitions full of com- 
plaints. The number of ministers who had been silenced by the 
bishops, and of individuals and families who had been banished on 
account of religion, was attempted to be ascertained. Some 
who bad been condemned to perpetual imprisonment, after 


suffering the basest indignities, were released and brought home 
in triumph. Among these were Mr. Peter Smart,^ Dr. Leighton,^ 
Mr. Henry Burton/ Dr. Bastwick/ and Mr. Prynne ;' all of whom 

^ Mr. Smart, for preaching^ a sermoD, in wbich be spoke Tery freely ai^aiost 
the ceremonies of the church* was fined* excommunicated* degraded* de- 
prived* and imprisoned nearly twelve years. The damage be sustained 
amounted to several thousand pounds* for which be afterwards received some 
compensation by order of Parliament. Laud and Cosins were his chief per- 
secutors. — FuUer's Chereh Hist, b. xi. p. 173. 

* " Leigbton , (says Heylin) was a Scot by birth, a doctor of physic by 
profession, a fiery Puritan in faction." — lA/e of Laud^ p. 126. His crime 
consisted in the publication of ' An Appeal to Parliament* or Sion*s Plea 
against Prelacy.' For this offence he was condemned to suffer the loss of 
both ears* to have his nostrils slit* his fo^head branded, to be publicly whip« 
pcd, fined ten thousand pounds, and perpetually imprisoned ! When this sen- 
tence was pronounced, Laud* it is said, took off his hat, and g^ve thanks to 
God. The sentence* in all its parts, was executed with shocking barbarity. 
At the end of his twelve years imprisonment, when set at liberty by the Par- 
liament, be could neither see, bear, nor walk. ' Sion's Plea* is certainly 
written with much acerbity, and some parts of it are liable to misconstruction. 
When Heylin alleges that be incites Parliament « to kill all the bishops^ 
and smite them under the fifth rib," he lies and defames. The last expres- 
sion* indeed, occurs ; but that it does not refer to the persons of the bishops, 
the following sentence from the conclusion of the appeal clearly shows— 
*^ We fear they (the bishops) are like pleuritic patients, that cannot spit* 
whom nothing but incision will cure, we mean of their callings, not of their 
perams, to whom we have no quarrel, but wish them better than they either 
wish to us or to themselves." (p. 179.) Some of his language is certainly un- 
guarded, but in moderate times would have been liable to no misinterpretation. 
The physician had, no doubt, more of asperity and vindictiveness in bis tem- 
per than bis son, the amiable, enlightened, and heavenly- minded Bishop of 

^ Henry Burton was an Independent, and originally engaged about court* 
when Charles I. was Prince of Wales. To the loss of his place, Heylin* 
with his usual charity, ascribes bis hostility to the hierarchy. — Life of Laud^ 
p. 98. His own account is more deserving of credit. By several publica- 
tions* he provoked the wrath of the High Commission Court ; but for one* 
' For God and the King,' he was sentenced to be punished in a similar man- 
ner to Leighton* and suffered accordingly. A narrative of himself* which he 
published, and the substance of wbich was reprinted in the * Cong. Mag.' for 
1820* is uncommonly interesting. If I may judge from this memoir, and his 
' Vindication of the Churches commonly called Independeut*' he was a man 
of piety, talents, and moderation. 

« Dr. Bastwick, a physician at Colchester, for pulilishiog a Latin book which 
reflected on the bishops, and denying their superiority to presbyters, was excom- 
municated, debarred the exercise of bis prufessiou, lined one thousand pounds, 
and imprisoned till be should recant For another hook, supposed to be writ- 
ten by him while in prison, the same sentence was pai^sed and executed on 
him as on Burton and Prynne. Dr. Bastwick, I doubt not, was a good man; 
but his spirit was very violent. His book, < The Utter Routing of all the In- 
dependent Army,' in which his fellow- sufferer Burton Is the chief object of 
attack, is shameful for a Christian to have written. 
' William Prynne, <* a bencher, late of Lincoln's Inn," was the most extra- 


had been treated with the most wanton and unmerited eraelty. 
Acts were passed against the High-commission court, and the 
secular power of churchmen ; and for the continuance of the par- 
liament till it should dissolve itself. A committee was appointed 
to receive petitions and complaints against the clergy, which pro- 
duced multitudes of petitions from all parts of the country. As 
a specimen of what was brought in, White, the chairman, pub- 
lished ^ One Century of Scandalous Ministers,' in which a most 
dreadful exposure is made of the ignorance, immoralityt and in- 
competency of many of the established teachers. 

The town of Kidderminster, amongst other places, prepared 
9 petition against their minister, whose name was Dance. They 
represented him as an ignorant and weak man, who preached 
but once a quarter, was a frequenter of alehouses, and sometimes 
drunk. His curate was a common tippler and drunkard, a 
railler, and trader in unlawful marriages. The vicar knowing his 
incompetency, offered to compound the business with the town. 
'Instead of his present curate, he offered to allow sixty pounds 
per annum to a preacher whom a committee of fourteen of them 
shodd choose. This person he would permit to preach when' 
he pleased ; and he himself would read prayers, and do any 
other part of the parish routine. The town having agreed to 
this, withdrew their petition. 

After trying a Mr, Lapthorn, the committee of Kidderminstei; 
applied to Baxter to become their lecturer on the above terms. 
This invitation is dated the 9th of March, 1640. The legal 
instrument appointing him to the situation, bears the date of 
April Sth^ 1641, and is signed by about thirty individuals. He 
also received a very affectionate letter from a number of persons 

ordioaiy man of all the sufTerere. His first crime consisted in writing^ the " His- 
triomastixyor a treatise against plays, masquerades," &c.; for this his ears were 
cropped, &c. His second crime was a libel a^inst the bishops ; for which he 
received sentence along with the other two. As his ears had formerly been 
cut off, the stumps were now literally sawed off, or in the words of a coarse, 
humorous epitaph composed for him, "they fanged the remnant of his 
lugs." He wrote more books, and quoted more authorities, than any man of 
his time ; and did much to expose the unconstitutional and lawless mea- 
sures which had been long pursued by the bishops and the court. He seems 
to have been an Erastian respecting church government. It is wonderfoli 
that after having suffered so much from government Interference in religion, be 
should have written a book to prove ** that Christian Kings and Magistrates 
have authority, under the Gospel, to puoish idolatry, apoatasy, heresy, blas- 
phemy, and obstinate schism, with pecuniary, corporal, and in some casesi with 
capital punishments."— ^M^. Ox, ii.pp. 311 — 327, 

of irttfARD BAXTBR. 27 

beloqgiiig to the congregation.* With this invitation he waa very 
wflling to comply, as, on Tarious accounts, he felt disposed to 
labour in that place* The congregation was large, and the 
church very convenient. The people were ignorant, rude, and 
loose in their manners; but had scarcely ever enjoyed any 
fiuthfiil, evangelical preaching. There was, at the same time, 
a small number of pious people among them, who were humble 
and holy, and fit to assist a minister in instructing the rest. The 
state of Bridgnorth had made him resolve never to settle among 
people who had been hardened under an awakening ministry; but 
that he would go either to those who never had enjoyed such a 
blessing, or to those who had profited by it. He accordingly re- 
paired to the place, and, after preaching only one day, was chosen 
by the electors nemine caniradieenie, ** Thus,'' says he, *^ I was 
brought^ by the gracious providence of Ood, to that place which 
hsd the chiefest of my labours, and yielded me the greatest fruits 
of eomibrt ; and I noted the mercy of God in this, that I never 
vent to any place in my life which I had before desired, or 
diought of, much less sought, till the sudden invitation did sur- 
prise me.'* 

His attachment to Kidderminster remained through all the 
duuigea of his future life. Speaking of it many years after he 
had left it^ he says, with much feeling and beauty, 

" Bat among all, dodc did to much abound 
With fruitful mercies , as that barren g^roundy 
Where I did make my best and lonj^t stay. 
And bore the heat and burden of the day. 
Merciea grew thicker there than summer flowers. 
They over-numbered my days and hours. 
There was my dearest flock and special charge, 
Our hearts with mutual love Thou didst enlarge : 
'Twas there thy mercy did my labours bless. 
With the most great and wonderful success."^ 

His removal to Kidderminster took place in 1640. His pre- 
vious ministry had been »pent, he tells us, under the infirmities 
already noticed, which made him live and preach in the constant 
prospect of death. This was attended with incalculable benefit 
to himself and others ; it gave much of that earnestness and unc- 
tion to his preaching for which it was so eminently distinguished, 
and without which no one will ever preach with much success. 

s All these documents are still preserved among the Baxter MSS. in the 
library at Red Cross-street. 
^ Poetical Fragments, p. 34. 

28 t THB. LIFE AND T1M88 

His iiffiictions greatly weakened his temptations, excited great 
contempt of the world, taught him the inestimable value of time, 
and ^^ stirred up his sluggish heart to speak to sinners with some 
compassion, as a dying man to dying men." 

With these feelings he began his labours in the place which 
his name has immortalised. He continued in it about two years 
at first, till the civil wars drove him away ; and after his return, 
at the distance of several years, he remained about fourteen 
more. During all this time he never occupied the vicarage house, 
though authorised to do so by an order of parliament ; but al- 
lowed the old vicar to live in it without molestation. He found 
the place like a piece of dry and barren earth, overrun with ig- 
norance and vice ; but by the blessing of God on his labours, 
it ultimately became rich in all the fruits of righteousness. Op- 
position and ill-usage, to a considerable extent, he had to en- 
counter at the beginning ; but, by patient continuance in well- 
doing, he overcame all their prejudices, and produced universal 
love and veneration. At one time the ignorant rabble raged 
against him for preaching, as they supposed, that God hated all 
infants; because he had taught the doctrine of original sin. At 
another time they actually sought his life, and probably would 
have taken it, had they found him at the moment of their rage ; 
because, by order of parliament, the churchwardens attempted to 
take down a crucifix which was in the church-yard. His cha- 
racter was slandered by a false report of a drunken beggar, which 
all who disliked him and his fidelity chose to believe and to 
propagate ; but none of these things moved him, or diminished 
the ardour of his zeal to do good to the unthankful and the 

The nature and success of Baxter's ministry at Kidderminster 
will be noticed with more propriety when we come to the period 
of his second residence. In the mean time, we must advert to 
the civil commotions in which the country was involved, and 
which, more or less, implicated all who were placed in public 
situations. To understand the nature of those commotions, and 
the part which Baxter took in them, it will be necessary to ad- 
vert to the. state of religion in the country at large ; without a 
knowledge of which, it is impossible to form a correct opinion 
of the disastrous circumstances which produced so much tnisery, 
and have occasioned so much misrepresentation. 

It has often been alleged, that the civil convulsions of the coun- 
try were chiefly promoted by the Puritanical sticklers for presby- 


terianism and independency ; who, instigated by hatred of the 
episcopal hierarchy , were determined to accomplish its overthrow. 
Nothing can be more erroneous, as the following account, drawn 
tip by Baxter many years afterwards, with great candour and 
clearness, fully shows. It gives a most melancholy view of the 
wre&hed condition of religion in England, before and at the 
commencement of the wars, and very naturally accounts for the 
turn which affairs took during their progress, by which the whole 
ecclesiastical system was finally reduced to ruin. It shows that 
the number of Nonconformists at the commencement of the civil 
troubles was so very small, that they could have excited no dis- 
turbance, had they even wished to do it ; and that the chief cause 
of their increase was the injurious treatment they experienced 
from the bishops and their officers. 

^^ Where I was bred, before 1640, which was in divers 
places, I knew not one presbyterian clergyman or layman, and 
but three or four nonconforming ministers. Till Mr. Ball wrote 
in favour of the liturgy, and against Canne, Allen, &c., and 
till Mr. Burton published his ' Protestation Protested,' I never 
thought what presbytery or independency was, nor ever spake 
with a man who seemed to know it. In the place where 1 first 
lived, and the country about, the people were of two sorts. The 
generality seemed to mind nothing seriously, but the body and 
the world : they went to church, and could answer the parson 
in responses, and thence to dinner, and then to play. They 
never prayed in their families ; but some of them, on going to 
bed, would say over the creed and the Lord's prayer, and some 
of them the Hail Mary. They read not the Scriptures, nor any 
good book or catechism : few of them indeed could read, or 
had, a Bible. They were of two ranks ; the greater part were 
good husbands, as they called them, and minded nothing but 
thejr business or interest in the world : the rest were drunkards. 
Most were swearers, though they were not all equally gross ; 
both sorts seemed utter strangers to any more of religion than I 
have named, though some hated it more than others. 

" The other sort were such as had their consciences awakened 
to some regard for God and their everlasting state, and, accord- 
ing to the various measures of their understanding, did speak 
and live as serious in the christian faith, and would inquire 
what was duty, and what was sin, and how to please God and 
make sure of salvation ; and make this their business and inte- 
rest, as the rest did the world. They read the Scriptures, and 


such bdoks ds <The Practice of Piety/ < Dent's Plain Man's 
Pathway/ and ^ Dod on the Commandments/ &c. They used 
to pray in their families, and alone ; some with the book, and 
some without. They would not swear, nor curse, nor take Ckxl's 
name lightly. They would go to the next parish church to hear 
a sermon when they had none at their own ; and would read the 
Scriptures on the Lord's day, when others were playing. There 
were, where I lived, about the number of two or three families 
in twenty, which, by the rest, were called Puritans, and derided as 
hypocrites and precisians, that would take on them to be holy | 
yet hardly one, if any, of them ever scrupled conformity $ and 
they.were godly, conformable ministers whom they went from 
^ home to hear. These ministers being the ablest preachers, and 
\ ^ men of serious piety, were also the objects of vulgar oUoqny^ 
' \as Puritans and precisians. 

^^ This being the condition of the vulgar where I was, when I 
came into the acquaintance of many persons of honour, and 
power, and reputed learning, I found the same seriousness iii 
religion as in some few before described, and the same daily 
scorn of that sort of men in others, but differently clothed } (or 
these would talk more bitterly, but yet with a greater show of 
reason, against the other, than the ignorant country people did* 
They would, also, sometimes talk of certain opinions in religion, 
and some of them would use part of the common prayer in their 
houses ; others of them would swear, though seldom, and these 
small oaths, and lived soberly and civilly. But serious talk of 
God or godliness, or that which tended to search and reform the 
heart and life, and prepare for the life to come, they would at 
least be very averse to hear, if not deride as puritanicaL 

'^ lliis being the fundamental division, some of those who 
were called Puritans and hypocrites, for not being hypocriteS| 
but serious in the religion they professed, would some* 
times get together ; and, as drunkards and sporters would 
meet to drink and play, they would, in some very few places 
where there were many of them, meet after sermon on the Lord's 
days, to repeat the sermon, and sing a psalm, and pray. For 
this, and for going from their own parish churches, tl)ey were 
first envied by the readers and dry teachers, whom they soroe« 
times went from, and next prosecuted by apparitors, officials^ 
archdeacons, commissaries, chancellors, and other episcopal in- 
\ struments. In former times there had been divers presbyte* 
rJau Nonconformists, who earnestly fkVeaded (ot ^mv^K discipline i 


to sabdiie wboi% divers canons were made^ which served the 
torn against these meetings of the conformable Puritans, and 
i^gainst going from their own parish churches^ though the old 
Presbyterians were dead, and very few succeeded them. About 
as many Nonconformists as counties were left ; and tliose few 
stock most at subscription awd ceremonies, which were the hin- 
derance of their ministry, and but few of them studied, or un- 
derstood^ the Presbyterian or Independent, disciplinary causes. 

^ But when these conformable Puritans were thus prosecuted, 
it bred in them hard thoughts of bishops and their courts, as 
oiemies to serious piety, and persecutors of that which they 
should pcomote. Suffering induced this opinion and aversiou ; 
and the ungodly rabble rejoiced at their troubles, and applauded 
the bishops for it, and were everywhere ready to set the appa- 
ritors on them, or to ask them, ' Are you holier and wiser than 
the bishops ?' So that by this time the Puritans took the bishops 
to be captains ; and the chancellors, archdeacons, commissaries, 
officials, and apparitors, their officers, and the enemies of 
serious godliness ; and the vicious rabble to be as their army to 
suppress true conscientious obedience to God, and care of men's 
salvation. The censured clergy and officers, on the other hand, 
took the censurers to be schismatics, and enemies to the church, 
unfit to be endured, and fit to be prosecuted with reproach and 
punishment; so that the said Puritans took it to be but die 
common enmity that, since Cain's days, hath been in tlie world, 
between the serpent's and the woman's seed. When the 
persons of bishops, chancellors, officials, apparitors, &c., were 
come under such repute, it is easy to believe what would be 
said against their office. And the more the bishops thought to 
cure this by punishment, the more they increased the opinion 
that they were persecuting enemies of godliness, and the ca|>* 
tains of the profane. 

^^ VV^hen such sinful beginnings had prepared men, the civil 
contentions arising, those called Puritans, were mostly against 
that side to which they saw the bishops and their neighbours 
enemies. And they were for their punishment the more, because 
it seemed desirable to reform the bishops, and restore the liberty 
of those whom they prosecuted for the manner of their serving 
God. Yet they desired, wherever I was, to have lived peaceably 
at home ; but the drunkards and rabble that formerly hated 
them, when they saw the war beginning, grew enraged : for if a 
man did but;>rav' mid swg a psalm in his house, tliey wouM ctv^ 


^Down with the Roundheads !' (a word then new made for them,) 
and put them in fear of sudden violence. Afterwards they brought 
the King's soldiers to plunder them of their goods, which made 
them fain to run into holes to hide their persons: and when 
their goods were gone, and their lives in continual danger, they 
were forced to fly for food and shelter. To go among those that 
1 hated them, they durst not, when they could not dwell among 
\ such at home. And thus thousands ran into the parliament's gar- 
i risons, and, having nothing there to live upon, became soldiers.*'^ 

The circumstances which led to an open rupture between the 
king and his parliament, Baxter regarded as attaching blame to 
both parties. The people who adhered to the Parliament, he 
alleges, were indiscreet and clamorous, and, in some instances, pro- 
ceeded to open acts of violence. Some members of the Hciuse 
themselves were imprudent, and carried things too high. Am9ng 
these he reckoned Lord. Brook and Sir Henry Vane as leaders. 
To these causes must be added the want of confidence in the 
King which was generally felt ; and which arose partly from the 
offence they had given him, which they feared he rather dissem- 
bled than forgave ; and partly from indications of His Majesty's 
insincerity, which they early began to discover. 

On the part of the King the war was hastened by the calling 
up of the northern army ; by the imposing of a guard upon the 
House of Commons ; by his entering it in a passion to seize the 
five members ; by the conduct of Lord Digby, and other cavaliers; 
and, above all, by the Irish massacre and rebellion, the blame o. 
which was charged on, the King and his advisers. 

In a state of great exasperation, Charles left London, and 
erected his standard at Nottingham. The parliament assembled 
an army under the Earl of Essex, and thus both sides prepared 
to settle, by force of arms, what they could not determine in 
council. It is no part of the design of this work to describe 
the progress of this fearful contest ; but a view of the rank and 
character of the parties which were engaged in it, may enable 
the reader to understand its bearings on religion. 

A great part of the nobility forsook the Parliament and join- 
ed the King, particularly after the battle of Edge-Hill. Many 
members of the House of Commons, and a great number of the 
knights and men of family in the several counties, had been with 
him from the beginning. The tenantry of the aristocracy, also^ 

^ Baxter's True History of Councils Eolarged, pp. 91—93. 



and a great body of the common people^ who may be said to be 
constitutionally loyal, were for the monarch. He had thus the 
two ends of the chain, but wanted the middle and connecting 
links. The parliament was supported by the inferior gentlemen 
in the country, and by the body of merchants, freeholders, and 
tradesmen, in all the principal towns and manufacturing districts* 
Among these persons, religion had much greater influence than 
it had either on the highest or the lowest ranks. Whatever 
power the love of political liberty exercised, it was the appre- 
hension of danger to religion, which chiefly roused them and 
filled the army of the parliament. The body of the persons 
who were called Puritans, and precisians ; and who discovered 
by their conduct that they were in earnest on the subject of reli- 
gbn, adhered to the cause of the parliament. On the other 
hand, the gentry, who were not. so precise— who scrupled not 
atauoath^ who. loved gaming, plays, and drinking; and the 
ministers and people, who were for the King's book, and for 
dancing and recreations on the Lord's day ; who went to church 
to bear common prayer, and relished a sermon which lashed the 
Puritans— these for the most part opposed the parliament. 

The difference between the two parties was very strongly 
marked, it arose from the opposite characters which they sus- 
tained, and accounts for many of the events which occurred. 
*^ There is somewhat,*' says Baxter, " in the nature of all world- 
ly men which makes them earnestly desirous of riches and ho- 
nours in the world. They that value these things most will seek 
them ; and they that seek them are more likely to find them 
than those that despise them. He who takes the world and 
preferment for his interest, will estimate and choose all means 
accordingly ; and, where the world predominates, gain goes for 
godliness, and serious religion, which would mortify their sin, 
is their greatest enemy. Yet, conscience must be quieted, and 
reputation preserved ; which cannot be done without some reli- 
gion. Therefore, such a religion is necessary to them, as is 
consistent with a worldly mind : which outside formality, lip 
service, and hypocrisy, are ; but seriousness, sincerity, and spi- 
rituality, are not. 

" On the other side, there is that in the new nature of a be- 
liever, which inclineth him to things above, and causeth him to 
look at worldly grandeur and riches as things more dangerous 
than desirable. He is dead to the world, and the world to him^ 
by the cross of Christ. No wonder, thereforey if few such at- 





tain to greatness, or ever arrive at much preferment on earth, 
lliey are more fearful of displeasing God than all the world, 
and cannot stretch their consciences, or turn aside when the inte- 
rest or will of man requireth. As before, he that was born after 
the flesh persecuted him that was bom after the Spirit | so it 
was here, llie rabble of the great and little vulgar did every 
where hate those that reproved their sin, and condemned them 
by a holy life. This ignorant rabble, hearing also that the 
bishops were against the Puritans, were the more emboldened 
against them. They cried up the bishops on this account, and 
because thoy loved that mode of worship which they found 
most consistent with their ignorance and carelessness. Thus, 
the interests of the bishops, and of the profane people of Eng- 
land, seemed to be twisted together.'* 

The majority of the Nonconformists and serious people were 
opposed to the prelates, and those who espoused their «de ; be- 
cause the high-church party derided and abused them ; because 
■D many scandalous and incompetent men were among the con- 
forming clergy | because the piety and talents of the Noncon- 
formist ministers, many of whom had been silenced, were mdre 
distinguished than those of the other party ; because they liked 
a scriptural mode of worship better than the liturgy, though 
they did not deem it unlawful; because the bishops' courts 
made fasting and prayer more perilous than swearing and 
drunkenness ; because they regarded the bishops as supporters 
of the book of sports, and discouraged afternoon lectures even 
by conforming ministers; because when they saw bowing 
at the altar and other innovations introduced, they knew not 
where they would end ; and, because they saw that the bishops 
approved of ship money and other encroachments on their civil 

These were the true and principal reasons why so great a num^ 
ber of those persons who were counted most religious fell iu with 
the parliament ; and why the generality of the serious, diligent 
preachers joined it ; not taking arms themselves, but support- 
ing it by their influence and their presence. The King's party, 
indeed, alleged that the preachers stirred up the war ; but this 
is far from correct, it is true, they discovered their dislike to 
many corruptions in church and state ; and were glad that the 
parliament attempted a reformation of them. But it was con- 
forming ministers who did even this ; for the bishops had 
ejeoied mesl of the nonconforming ministers long before. 
Those who made up the Westminster assembly, and who were 



the honour of the parliamentary party throagh the land^ were \ ! 
almost all such as had till then conformed. » 

Names of contempt and reproach, as might be expected, 
were plentifully used on both sides at the beginning and during 
the continuance of this unnatural war. Rebels and roundheads 
were the common appellations bestowed on the parliamentary 
party, in addition to Puritan and formalist.^ Malignants, cava- 
liers, dam-mes, were the designations used or retaliated by the 

Reasons, many and VRrious, were assigned for the lawfulness 
ot the war by both parties ; and men generally adopted that 
side to which their interests or their feelings chiefly inclined^ 
Those who opposed the war on the part of the Commons^ 
were of different sentiments. Some thought no king might be 
resisted ; others that our king might not be resisted, because 
we had sworn allegiance and submission to him ; and a third 
party, which granted that he might be resisted in some cases, 
contended that a sufficient case had not been made out. They 
maintained that the law g^ve the king the power of the militia, 
which the parliament sought to wrest from him; that the 
oommons began the war by permitting tumults to deprive the 
members of their liberty, and to insult the king ; that the mem* 
bers of parliament are themselves subjects, and bound by their 
oath of allegiance ; that it Is not lawful for subjects to defend 
religion or reformation against their sovereign by force ; that 
it is contrary to the doctrine of Protestants, the practice of the * 
ancient Christians, and the injunctions of Scripture, to resist 
the higher powers ; that the King was falsely accused as if he 
were about to destroy liberty, religion, and parliaments ; that the 
allegations of Papists respecting the rebellious tendency of Pro* 
testantism were supported by this war ; that it proceeded from 
impatience and distrust of God ; and that religion is best pro^ 
moted by patient sufferings. 

^ The term Rmmdiiead was bestowed either because the Puritaos uMuiIly wore 
short haify and the royal paity lon^; or because soiua say, the Queen, atStraf- 
furd's trial, asked, in reference to Prynne, who \.\i2it round'headed man was, who 
spoke so strongly. The device on the standard of Colonel Cook, a fmrUaiaent- 
iry officer, was a raao in armour cutting off the corner of a square cap with 
a sword. His motto was JihUo quadrata rotuttdis. 

^ Fuller's derivation of Malignant is in his usual witty style; "The deduc- 
tion thereof being disputable ; whether from bad fire, or bad fuel, maim igniMy 
or wuUum lignum t but this is surf > betwiat both* the name roadv a great com- 



Some of these reasons are plausible, and others have consider* 
able force ; they Are partly derived from the constitution of 
England, and partly from the nature and obligations of religion* 
To all of them the writers on the side of the parliament replied 
at great length ; and justified the resistance of the people to the 
arbitrary measures of government^ on other and unanswerable 
grounds. Instead of stating these at length, I shall here give* 
the reflections of Baxter^ which embrace the strength of them^ 
in his own words. 

^* For my own part, I freely confess that I was not judicious 
enough in politics and law to decide this controversy.. Being 
astonished at the Irish massacre, and persuaded fully tx)th of the 
parliament's good endeavours for reformation, and of their real 
danger, my judgment of the main cause, much swayed my 
judgment in the matter of the wars ; and the arguments h fine, 
et a naiura, et necessitate, which common wits are capable of 
discerning, did too far incline my judgment in the cause of the 
war, before I well understood the arguments from our particular 
l^ws. The consideration of the quality of the persons also, that 
sided for each cause, did greatly work with me, and more than 
it should have done. I verily thought that if that which a judge 
in court saith is law, must go for law to the subject, as to the 
decision of that cause, though the king send his broad seal 
against it ; then that which the parliament saith is law, is law 
to the subject about the dangers of the commonwealth, what- 
ever it be in itself. ' 

^^ I make no doubt that both parties were to blame, as it 
commonly falleth out in most wars and contentions ; and I will 
not be he that will justify either of them. 1 doubt not but the 
headiness and rashness of the younger inexperienced sort of 
religious people, made many parliament men and ministers 
overgo themselves to keep pace with those Hotspurs. No doubt 
but much indiscretion appeared, and worse than indiscretion in 
the tumultuous petitioners ; and much sin was committed in the 
dishonouring of the king, and in the uncivil language against 
the bishops and liturgy of the church. But these things came 
chiefly from the sectarian, separating spirit, which blew the coak 
among foolish apprentices. And as the sectaries increased, so 
the insolence increased. One or two in the House, and five or 
six ministers that came from Holland, and a few relicts of the 
Brownists that were scattered in the city, did drive on others^ 


and sowed the seeds which aftenvard spread over all the 

^ But I then thought, whoever was faulty, the people's liberties 
and safety should not be forfeited. I thought that all the sub- 
jects were not guilty of all the faults of king or parliament when 
they defended them : yea, that if both their causes had been bad 
as against each other ; yet that the subjects should adhere to 
that party which most secured the welfare of the nation, and might 
defend the land under their conduct without owning all their 
caose. And herein I was then so zealous, that I thought it was 
a great sin for men that were able to defend their country, to be 
neuters. And I have been tempted since to think that I was a 
more competent judge upon the place, when all things were be« 
fore our eyes, than I am in the review of those days and actions 
so many years after, when distance disadvantageth the appre- 
hension/' ° 

It is evident from these statements, that Baxter was a de- 
cided friend to the parliamentary cause. The reasons which 
influenced his judgment were those which probably guided the de« 
termination of the great body of persons who espoused that side, 
in the momentous controversy which then divided the country. 
Many of those who were incapable of judging in the nume« 
rous political questions and altercations, which the grand 
subject involved, were well enough qualified to form an opinion 
respecting the substantial merits of the difference between the 
king and the people. The love of religion, and the desire of 
liberty, were the great inspiring principles. The resistance 
which they met with only increased their vigour, and thus in- 

■ It is very singular that Baxter should attribute so much evil to the dis- 
scntiD^ brethren of the Westminster assembly, and the sectaries of whom 
tbey were the reputed leaders, especially after his own account of the former 
state of thin^ which we have given. The civil wars produced or occasioned 
the sects, not the sects the wars. The lung parliament had taken some of its 
stroogett measures before the five Independent ministers returned to England 
from Holland. A good while must have elapsed after their return before their 
influence could extend far ; and without violent and unreasonable opposition 
to their fair and moderate request for a toleration, their influence at no time 
would have been great. Compared with many of their opponents, both their 
Uogoage and their temper were moderate ; and it might be easy to show that 
the exaggerated lamentations and insulting abuse of their adversaries were 
calculated to produce, and actually did produce, a worse effect on the country 
than anything done by the Independents either in or out of parliament. On 
Ibis subject farther particulars will be furnished in a subsequent part of tbit 

* life, part i. p. 39. 


Bured their success* Though they were guilty of occasional evil^ 
and produced temporary confusion, the great objects which they 
contemplated were never lost sight of« and the result of the 
struggle was in a high degree glorious* 

We have already glanced at the trouble Baxter experienced 
at Kidderminster, from the ignorant rabble, which disliked 
his preaching and his strictness. Towards the end of 1642, 
the heat of the parties became so great that he was ex-» 
posed to considerable danger. The king's declarations were read 
in the market-place, and a country gentleman, who officiated on 
the occasion, stopped at sight of Baxter, and called out ^^ There 
goes a traitor/' The commission of array was set on foot^ 
which increased the rage of the rioters. ^^ Down with the round- 
heads," became the watch-word; and knocking down every person 
whose hair was short and his dress respectable immediately 
followed. In consequence of these things, Baxter was advised to 
withdraw for a short time from the scene of his labours. The 
county of Worcester was devoted to the king ; so that no one 
who was known to be for the parliament could then be of service* 




Batter fOM to Glouoe^r— Returns to KiddenniD8ter-.Vi8it8 Alceatei^Btttla 
of EdghiU— RtsSdeiiee in Coventry— Battle of Naseby— State of the Par- 
liamtptary Army— Consults the Ministers about goiB|^ into it — Becomes 
Chaplain to Colonel Whalley's re^ment — Opinions of the Soldiers — ^Disputes ^ 
with them — ^Battle of Laa^port— Wicked Report of an Occurrence at this 
place — ^The Army retires to Bridgewater and Bristol — ^Becomes ill — Various 
Occurrences in the Army — Chief Impediments to his Success in it — Crom- 
well — Harrlson-^Berry — ^Advised by the Ministers to continue in it— Ones 
to London on account of his Health— Joins the Army in Worcestershire— 
Attacked with violent Bleedings— Leaves the Army— Entertained by Lady 
Roue— Ramarka on his Views of the Anny» and conduct in it» 

Thb immediate cause of Baxter's withdrawment from Kidder- 
minster was a violent attack on his life^ and on that of the church- 
warden, by a mob, excited by a parliamentary order for defacing 
images of the Trinity in churches, and removing crucifixes ; to 
which they considered Baxter a party, though the execution of 
the order had not been attempted. This brutal outrage shows 
the ignorant and degraded state of the people. On leaving 
Kidderminster, he went to Gloucester, where he found the people 
civil and religious, as different from those of the former place as 
if they had lived under another government. Here he remained 
for a month, during which many political pamphlets were pub- 
lished on both sides. Here, also, he first witnessed the conten- 
tions between the ministers and the Baptists, and other sects, 
which then frequently took place in the country. A public arena 
was chosen ; judges, or moderators, were appointed ; champions 
on each side bade defiance : while the public were called to 
witness the religious tournament, and to applaud the victor. 
Truth was generally claimed by both parties j but if the justice 
of the cause depended on the spirit and weapons of the cham- 
pions, in most instances she would have disclaimed both. About 
a dosen young men, in Gloucester, of considerable parts, had 
been re-baptised, and laboured, as was very natural, to draw 


Others after them. The minister of the place, Mr* Winnd, 
being hot and impatient, excited rather than calmed them. He 
wrote a book against them, which produced little effect on the 
Baptists, and led the people of the country to blame him for his 
violence and asperity. This was the commencement^ Baxter 
says, of much evil at Gloucester. 

\Vhen he had remained in it about a month, his friends at 
Kidderminster wished him to return, which he accordingly did $ 
but, after continuing a short time, he found the state of matters 
so little improved, the fury of the rabble and of the king's 
Soldiers being still great, that he was under the necessity of 
withdrawing agun. The war was now in active operation in 
that part of the country ; the main army of the king, com- 
manded by Prince Rupert, and that of the parliament, under 
the Earl of Essex, occupying the county of Worcester. After 
noticing some petty skirmishes, he gives the following account 
of the battle of Edghill, and his subsequent proceedings : 

^^ Upon the Lord's day, October 23, 1642, 1 preached at Al* 
cester for my reverend friend, IVlr. Samuel Clark. As I was 
preaching, the people heard the cannon play, and perceived that 
the armies were engaged. When the sermon was done, in the 
afternoon, the report was more audible, which made us all long 
to hear of the success. About sun-setting, many troops fled 
through the town, and told us that all was lost on the parlia- 
ment's side ; and that the carriages were taken, and' the wag* 
gons plundered, before they came away. The townsmen sent a 
messenger to Stratford-on-Avon, to know the truth. About four 
o'clock in the morning he returned, and told us that Prince 
Rupert wholly routed the left wing of the Earl of Essex's army j 
but while his men were plundering the waggons, the nuun body 
and the right wing routed the rest of the king's army; took his 
standard, but lost it again ; killed General, the Earl of lindsay^ 
and took his son prisoner : that few persons of quality, on the 
side of the parliament, were lost, and no nobleman but Lord, 
St. John, eldest son to the Earl of Bolingbroke : that the loss 
of the left wing happened through the treachery of Sir Faithful 
Fortescue, major to Lord Fielding's regiment of horse, idio 
turned to the king when he should have charged : and that the 
victory was obtained principally by Colonel Hollis's regiment of 
London red-coats, and the Earl of Essex's own regiment and 
life guard, where Sir Philip Stapleton, Sir Arthur Haselrigge^ 
and Colonel Urrey, did much. 


^ Nest monung, bdng desirous to see the fields I went to 
SdgUlI, and finmd the Earl of Essex^ with tlie remaining part 
of his army, keeping the ground^ and the king's army facing 
them upon the hUl about a mile off. There were about a thou- 
•and dead bodies in the field between them; and many I suppose 
were buried before* Neither of the armies moving towards each 
otiier^ the king's army presently drew off towards Banbury, and 
then to QxfenL The Earl of Essex's went back to provide for 
the wmmded, and refiresh themselves at Warwick Castle, be- 
longing to Lord Brook.*^ 

^ For myself, I knew not what course to take. To live at 
home^ I was uneasy 3 but especially now, when soldiers on one 
side or other would be frequently among us, and we must still 
be at the mercy of every furious beast that would make a prey 
of na. I had neither money nor firiends : I knew not who would 
receive me in any place of safety ; nor had I any thing to satisfy 
them for my diet and entertainment* Hereupon 1 was per- 
suaded, by one that was with me, to go to Coventry, where an old 
acqnaintuce, Bilr. Simon King, was minister ; so diither I went, 
widi s purpose to stay there till one side or other had got the 
irictory, and the war was ended: for so wise in matters of war 
was I, and all the country beside, that we commonly supposed 
that a very few days or weeks, by one other battle, would end 
the wars. Here I stayed at Mr. King's a month ; but the war 
was then as far from being likely to end as before. 

^ While I was thinking what course^ to take in this necessity, 
the committee and governor of the city desired me to stay vrith 
diem, and lodge in the governor's house, and preach to the 
soldiers. The offer suited well with my necessities ; but I re- 
solved that I would not be chaplain to a regiment, nor take 
a commission : yet, if the mere preaching of a sermon once or 
twice a vreek to the garrison would saUsfy them, I would accept 
of the offer, till I could go home again. Here, accordingly, I 
fived in the governor's house, followed my studies as quietly as 
in a time of peace, for about a year ; preaching once a week to 
the soldiers, and once, on the Lord's day, to the people ; taking 
nothing from either but my diet." ^ 

* Baztei's accouut of this battle is substantimlly the same with Ciarendon'sy 
tiioaffa the latter eodeavoiin to show that the victory was rather on the side 
of the king than of the parliament. The coosequenoes which followed, how. 
ever, aflbrd convindni^ proof that the advantages were on the side of the par« 

• Life, port i. pp. 43, 44* 


Ac the end of this period, the war, so far from being termi- 
nated, had spread almost over the whole cowitryt In moet of 
the counties there were garrisons and troops belonging to both 
parties, which caused conflicts in every quarter. There were few 
paC^ishes in which blood, at some time or other, was not shed | 
so general and determined was the hostility of the parties 
to each other. Baxter removed from Coventry to Shropsbiie 
for about two months; during which time, he was near some of 
the skirmishes which then almost daily took place. Having^t 
his father relieved from prison at LillshuU, he returned to Co- 
ventry, and spent another year in his old employment, studying 
the Scriptures and preaching to the army. 

In his audience in this place, he mentions that there were many 
godly and judicious persons. Among these were, Sir Rtcbard 
Skeffington, Colonel Godfrey Bosville, Mr. Mackworth, and Mr# 
George Abbot, known by his Paraphrase on the Book of Job« 
There were also about thirty worthy ministers, who bad fled to 
Coventry for safiety, from the soldiers and popular fury, thotigb 
they never meddled in the wars : Mr. Richard VineSy Mrt 
Anthony Burgess, Mr. Burdall, Mr. Brumskill, Dr* Bryan, Dr« 
Grew, Mr. Stephens, Mr. Cradock, Mr. Morton of Bewdley^ 
Mr. Diamond, old Mr. Overton, and many more. 

At Coventry, Baxter took the covenant himself, and gave it 
to another, of which he afterwards bitterly repented. He also 
publicly defended it against a production of Sir Francis Nether*- 
sole's. He then supposed that it was only intended as a test 
for garrisons and soldiers, and did not anticipate that it would 
afterwards be made a test for the magistracy and miniatiy 
throughout the land $ though he acknowledges be might have 
foreseen this, had he attended to its tenor» Here, also» be 
openly declared himself for the parliament ; for which, in his 
^Penitent Confessions,' p he assigns thirty- two reasons; with 
which it is unnecessary here to trouble the reader. 

^^ The garrison of Coventry," he says, '^ consisted bulf of 
citizens, and half of countrymen. The latter were such as had 
been forced from their own dwellings, and were the most reli- 
gious men of the parts round about. One or two persons who 
came among us from New England, of Sir Henry Vane's party, 
and one Anabaptist tailor, had almost troubled all the garrison^ 
by infecting the honest soldiers with their opinions. But they^ 

p Penitent Confessions, p. 23. 


faand not the success in Coventry which they had done in 
Cromwell's army* In public I was fain to preach over all the 
controversies against the Anabaptists first, and then against the 
separatists. In private, some of my Worcester neighbours^ and 
many ol the foot soldiers, were able to baffle both separatistSi 
Anabaptists, and Antinomians, and so kept all the garrison sound* 
Ob thtt, the Anabaptists sent to Bedford, for one Benjamin Cox^ 
an old minister of their persuasion, and no contemptible scholar^ 
the son of a bishop ; and he and I had first a dispute by word of 
mouthy and afterwards in writing. In conclusion, about a dozen 
poor townsmen were carried away ; but the soldiers, and the rest 
of the city, were kept sound from all infection of sectaries and 
dividers."^ Mr. Cox was desired to depart the first timej 
but coming down again and refusing to leave the city, the com- 
mittee imprisoned him. Some ascribed this to Baxter} but he 
declares that instead of using his influence to put him in^ he 
employed it to get him out/ Be this as it may, a Baptist church 
was then planted in Coventry, which has subsisted ever since. 
Imprisotung heretics will never check or destroy heresy ; and 
preaching controversies, is not the most useful method either of 
converting unbelievers or establishing saints. 

The detail which Baxter gives in his own life of the subsequent 
pK^ress of the civil war, which so long fearfully distracted the 
country, is too extended and minute to admit of being fully in- 
serted in this place. Many of the scenes which he notices, are 
better described by others who witnessed them, and with whose 
description the generality of readers are now well acquainted. 
More dependence also can be placed on his statements than on 
his reasonings ; on his record of what he saw, than on his hear- 
say reports. But as he himself acted with the parliamentary 
army for a considerable time, the account which he gives of 
what fell under his own observation, and of his personal conduct, 
is frequently important and interesting, and may always be re- 
ceived with the greatest confidence. To these things, I shall, 
therefore, confine my narrative. He thus describes the circum- 
stances which led to his joining the army, his employment whilst 
in it, and some of the events which happened during his con- 
nexion with it. 

" Naseby being not far from Coventry, where I was, and the 
noise of the victory being loud in our ears, and I having two or 

1 Life, part i. p. 46. 

' Baxter on * Infant Baptism/ Preface. 


three h4io had been my intimate friends in CromwelKs army^ 
whom I had not seen for above two years, I was desirous of see-* 
ing whether they were dead or alive ; so to Naseby Field I went 
two days after the fight, and thence by the army's quarters be- 
fore Leicester, to seek my acquaintance.* When I found them^ 
I staid with them a night; and understood from them thet 
state of the army much better than ever I had done before* 
We that lived quietly in Coventry kept to our old principles, and 
thought all others had done so too* Except a very few inconside- 
rable persons, we were unfeignedly for king and parliament $ 
we believed that the war was only to save the parliament and 
kingdom from papists and delinquents, and to remove the divi- 
ders, that the king might again return to his parliament; and that 
tio changes might be made in religion, but by the laws which - 
had his free consent. We took the true happiness of king and 
people, church and state, to be our end, and so we understood 
the covenant, engaging both agfunst Papists and schismatics; 
and when the Court News-book told the world of the swarms of 
Anabaptists in our armies, we thought it had been a mere lie^ 
because it was not so with us, nor in any of the garrisons or 
county forces about us. But when I came to the army, among 
Cromwell's soldiers, I found a new face of things which I never 
dreamt of; I heard the plotting heads very hot upon that which 
intimated their intention to subvert both church and state. In- 
dependency and Anabaptistery were more prevalent; Antino- 
mianism and Arminianism were equally distributed ; and Thomas 
Moor's followers (a weaver of Wisbitch and Lynn, of excellent 

* The best account which I have met with of the battle of Naseby, is ia 
Spric^'s 'Ansiia Red! viva; Ea^land's Recovery; or, the History of the 
Army under the conduct of Sir Thomas Fairfax/ &c. 1647. Sprigf^ was 
General Fairfax's chaplain, and personally acquainted with the scenes and 
transactions which he describes. The booic is now very scarce ; but those 
who think the ministers of the army were mere fanatics, would do well to 
consult this work* As it comprehends the very period during^ which Baxter 
was in the army, it deserves to be compared with his account of th<« trans- 
actions which then took place. Springe's means of informatvon mus^ have 
been superior to Baxter's, as he was immediately connected with the g^eral 
himself; yet I am not aware of any important diflference between then in 
the statements of facts ; though they do not entirely ag^ree, as is noticed w a 
subsequent page, in their views of the character of the army. 1 should s^Mp- 
pose that Baxter did not occupy any veiy conspicuous place in the army, «■ 
hb name is never mentioned by Sprigge. Clement Walker calls SprlggJ^t 
< Anglia,' the ' Legeud, or Romance, uf this Army/ and insinuates that it mAu 
the production of Nath. Fieunes, second son to Lord Say : but this is probabl^ 
one of ^ legends of that mendacious writer. T 


parts) had made some shifts to join these two extremes to* 

^Abundance of the common troopers and many of theofficers^ 
I found to be honest, sober, orthodox men ; others were tract- 
able, ready to hear the truth, and of upright intentions. But a 
few proud, self-conceited, hot-headed sectaries had got into the 
highest places, and were Cromwell's chief favourites ; and by 
dieirvery heat and activity, bore down the rest, or carried them 
alcMig with them. These were the soul of the army, though 
much fewer in number than the rest, being indeed not one to 
twenty in It; their strength being in the General's, in Whalley's 
and in Rich's regiments of horse, and among the new-placed 
oflicers in many of the rest. 

^ I perceived that they took the king for a tyrant and an enemy, 

and really intended absolutely to master him, or to ruin him, 

Iliey thought if they might fight against him, they might also 

killer conquer him; and if they might conquer, they were never 

more to trust him further than he was in their power. They 

dMMight it folly to irritate him either by war or contradiction 

in parliament, if so be they must needs take him for their king, 

and trust him with their lives when they 'had thus displeased 

him. * What, were the lords of England,' said they, ^ but 

William the Conqueror's cologels ; or the barons, but his majors; 

or the knights, but his captains ! ' They plainly showed that 

they thought God's providence would cast the trust of religion 

and the kingdom upon them as conquerers ; they made nothing 

of all the most wise and godly in the armies and garrisons, that 

were not of their way- Per fas aut nefasj By law or without 

it, they were resolved to take down, not only bishops, and liturgy, 

and ceremonies, but all who did withstand them. They 

were far from thinking of a moderate episcopacy, or of any 

healing method between the episcopalians and the presbyteri- 

aos ; they most honoured the separatists, anabaptists, and anti- 

nomians ; but Cromwell and his council took on them to join 

themselves to no party, but to be for the liberty of all. Two 

sorts, I perceived, they did so commonly and bitterly speak 

against, that it was done in mere design, to make them odious to 

the soldiers, and to all the land ; and these were the Scots, and 

with them all presbyterians, but especially the ministers ; whom 

they called priests, and priestbyters, dryvines, and the dissembly- 

meo, and such like. The committees of the several counties, 

ttid all the soldiers that were under them, that were not of their 


mind and way, were the other objects of their ditpleasnre. Some 
orthodox captains of the •army partly acquainted me with all 
this, and I heard much of it from the mouths of the leaduig 
sectaries themselves. This struck me to the very heart, and 
made me fear that England was lost by those that it had taken 
for its chief friends. 

'^ Upon this I began to blame other ministers and myself* I 
saw that it was the ministers that had lost all, by forsaking the 
army, and betaking themselves to an easier and quieter way of 
life. When the Earl of Essex went out first, each regiment bad 
an able preacher ; but at Edghill fight, almost all of them went 
home] and as the sectaries increased, they were the more averse 
to go into the army. It is true, I believe now, that they had 
little invitation ; and it is true, that they could look for little wel- 
come, and great contempt and opposition, beside all other diffi«f 
culties and dangers ; but it is as true, that their worth and 
labour, in a patient, self-denying way, would probably have pre* 
served most of the army, and have defeated the contrivances of 
the sectaries, saved the king, the parliament, and the land* 
And if it had brought reproach upon themselves from the mali* 
cious, who called them Military Levites, the good which they 
had done would have wiped off that blot, much better than the 
contrary course would have done. 

*^ I reprehended myself also, who had before rejected an invi-r 
tation from Cromwell, when he lay at Cambridge with that 
famous troop with which he began his army. His officers pur- 
posed to m^e their troop a gathered church, and they all suIh 
scribed an invitation to me to be their pastor, and sent it me to 
Coventry. I sent them a denial, reproving their attempt, and 
told them wherein my judgment was against the lawfulness and 
convenience of their way, and so I heard no more from them ; 
but afterwards meeting Cromwell at Leicester, he expostulated 
with me for denying them. These very men that then invited 
me to be their pastor, were the men that afterwards headed 
much of the army, and* some of them were the forwardest in all 
our changes } which made me wish that I had gone among 
them, however it had been inteipreied; for then all the fire 
was in one spark. 

^' When I had informed myself, to my sorrow, of the state of 
the army. Captain Evanson (one of my orthodox informers) 
desired me yet to come to their regiment, which was the 
most religious, most valiant, and most successful of all the 



army ; but in as much danger as any one whatsoever. I was 
unwilling to leave my studies, and friends, and quietness, at 
Coventry, to go into an army so contrary to my judgment ; 
but I thought the public good commanded me, and so 1 gave 
Mm some encouragement. Whereupofi he told his colonel 
(Whall^), who also was orthodox in religion, but engaged by 
kindred and interest to Cromwell 5 who invited me to be chaplain 
to his regiment. I told him I would take but a day's time to 
deliberate, and would send him an answer or else come to him. 

^ Am soon as I came home to Coventry, I called together an 
anembly of ministers ; Dr. Bryan, Dr. Grew, and many others. 
I told them the sad news of the corruption of the army, and 
that I thought all we had valued was likely to be endangered by 
them I seeing this army having first conquered at York, and 
now at Naseby, and having left the king no visible army but 
Qoring'si the fate of the whole kingdom was likely to follow the 
dtsposition and interest of the conquerors. We had sworn to be 
troe to the king and his heirs in the oath of allegiance. All our 
soidiera here think that the parliament is faithful to the king, and 
have no other purpose themselves* If the king and parliament, 
church and state, be ruined by those men, and we look on and 
do nothing to hinder it, how are we true to our allegiance and 
to the covenant, which bindeth us to defend the king, and to be 
against schism, as well as against Popery and profaneness ? 
For my part, said I, I know that my body is so weak, that it is 
likely to hazard my life to be among them ; I expect their 
fury should do little less than rid me out of the way ; and I 
know one man cannot do much among them : but yet, if your 
judgment take it to be my duty, I will venture my life ; perhaps 
some other minister may be drawn in, and then some more of 
the evil may be prevented. 

"The ministers finding my own judgment for it, and being 
moved with the cause, did unanimously give their judgment for 
my going. Hereupon, I went straight to the committee, and told 
tliem that I had an invitation to the armv, and desired their con- 
sent to go. They consulted awhile, and then left it wholly to 
the governor, saying, that if he consented they should not hin- 
der me. It fell out that Colonel Barker, the governor, was 
just then to be turned out, as a member of. parliament, by the 
self-denying vote. And one of his companions (Colonel WiU 
loughby) was to l>e colonel and governor in his place. Here- 
upon Colonel Barker was content, in his discontent, that I 


should go out with him, that he might be missed the moie ; 
and so gave me his consent. 

*^ I then sent word to Colonel Whalley that^ to-morroW 
God willing, I would come to him. As soon as this was done, * 
the elected governor was much displeased; and the soldiers were 
so much offended with the committee for consenting to my 
going, that the committee all met again in the nighty and sent 
for me, and told me I must not go. I told them that, by their 
consent, I had promised, and therefore must go* They told 
me that the soldiers were ready to mutiny against them, and 
they could not satisfy them, and therefore I must stay. 1 tdid 
them that I would not have promised, if they had not consented^ 
though, being no soldier or chaplain to the garrison, but only 
preaching to them, I took myself to be a free man, and I could 
not break my word, when I had promised by their consent. 
They seemed to deny their consent, and said they only referred 
me to the governor. In a word, they were so angry with me, 
that I was fain to tell them all the truth of my motives and 
design, what a case I perceived the army to be in, and that I 
was resolved to do my best against it. I knew not, till after- 
wards,, that Colonel William Purefoy, a parliament-man, one of 
the chief of them, was a confident of Cromwell's; and as 
soon as I had spoken what I did of the army, magisterially he 
answereth me, ' Let me hear no more of that : if Nol Crom* 
well 'should hear any soldier but speak such a word, he would 
cleave his crown : you do them wrong. It is not so.' I told 
him what he would not hear, he should not hear from me : 
but I would perform my word though he seemed to deny his. 
And so I parted with those that had been my very great friendsj 
in some displeasure. The soldiers, however, threatened to stop 
the gates and keep me in ; but, being honest, understanding 
men, I quickly satisfied the leaders of them by a private inti- 
mation of my reasons and resolutions, and some of them ac- 
companied me on my way. 

*^ As soon as I came to the army, Oliver Cromwell coolly bade 
me welcome, and never spake one word to me more while I was 
there; nor once, all that time, vouchsafed me an opportunity to 
come to the head-quarters, where the councils and meetings 
of the officers were ; so that most of my design was thereby 
frustrated. His secretary gave out that there was a reformer 
come to the army to undeceive them, and to save church and 
statCj with some such other jeers; by which I perceived that 


all I had said the night before to the committee^ had come to 
Cromwell before me, I believe by Colonel Purefoy's means : 
but Colonel Whalley welcomed me, and was the worse thought 
of for it by the rest of the cabal* 

^ Here I set myself, from day to day, to find out the corrup- 
tions of the soldiers, and to discourse and dispute them out of 
their mistakes, both religious and political. My life among 
them was a daily contending agiunst seducers, and gently argu- 
ing with the more tractable ; but another kind of warfare I had 
than theirs. 

^l found that many honest men, of weak judgments and 
little acquaintance with such matters, had been seduced into a 
disputing vein, and made it too much of their religion to talk 
for this opinion and for that; sometimes for state democra- 
cy, and sometimes for church democracy ; sometimes against 
forms of prayer, and sometimes against infant baptism^ 
which yet some of them did maintain; sometimes against 
set times of prayer, and against the tying of ourselves to 
any duty before the Spirit move us; and sometimes about 
free-grace and free-will, and all the points of Antinomian- 
ism and Arminianism. So that I was almost always, when 
I h^ opportunity, disputing with one or other of them ; 
sometimes for our civil government, and sometimes for church 
order and government; sometimes for infant baptism, and oft 
against Antinomianism, and the contrary extreme. But their 
most frequent and vehement disputes were for liberty of con- 
science, as they called it ; that is, that the civil magistrate had 
nothing to do to determine any thing in matters of religion, 
by constraint or restraint ; but every man might not only hold, 
but preach and do, in matters of religion, what he pleased : 
that the civil magistrate hath nothing to do but with civil 
things, to keep the peace, protect the church's liberties, &c.^ 

^ It is very interestiag^ to find that, amidst all the heresies which infected 
the army, of which Baxter speaks su strangely, the heresy, as it was then 
deemed, of reli^ous liberty, so extensively prevailed. It is a pleasing feature 
Iq the character of the army, that it contended more vehemently for this thaa 
for any other point of doctrine or form of relig^ion. The fanatical Baptists 
and Independents of the parliamentary forces, maintained, two hundred years 
1^, the doctrine to which the enlightened parliament of Georg^e the Fourth, 
in the years 1828 and 1829, was brouf^ht to submit; not by practised politi- 
cians, or spiritual lonls, but by a man accustomed from his earliest youth to 
the use of arms, and the arbitrary command of an army. Among soldiers, 
religious freedom was first fiercely contended for; and by a soldier iti 


50 THs itFB ksb fiuks 

'' I fduite that dne-hftif dmdst^ of the M^tiuB pHit^ iami^ 
th^ncl, were such ui were either drthodbx, bi bdt tery tSil^tlf 
touched iHth heterodoxy ; aiid almost andthe^ hklf were hodMt 
men, that stepped further into the contending Way than ,iney 
ctitild Well get otit Of again; hut wh6, with coni^etent help, 
inight be recbtei^ed. There Wete a ftw fierjr,- self-fcdnciited 
ttieti atnoilg th^m, iirhd kihdled the ^est, arid made kU thfc hdtse 
and btlstle, and carried about the artny as they pieced : fiif 
the greatest pdrt bf thfe eomthon sdldieni, especially df t}Hi fddt^ 
were ignorant men, of little religion ; abundance of theiri iirere 
buch Its had been taken prisdriers,5r ttitned dilt of garmdns tinder 
the king, arid had beeh sbldiei^ hi his kfmf. The^ wddd 
db any thing to please Iheir officers; arid were I'cady liiStHi- 
ments for the seducers, especially ih thei^ grfeat #brkj #>iieh 
was to cry ddwti the cbtetiarit, to villify illl parish (rilriist^^^ but 
especially the Scots ahd Presbyterians ; tbt the mbst ot the sol- 
diers that i sfioke withj riever tdbk the cdvertarit, becdHiie ii tttfd 
them to deferid the king's persdtij arid to extirpatb h^t^y atfd 

*^ When I perceived that it was a feW; then, Who bbfe tN^ 
bell, and did all the hurt ambng ihem^ I aequairited thyself wItH 
those men, and would be oft dlsputlhg with them> iri the hekr- 
ihg of the rest. I forind that they were riien whb had been iri 
London, hatched up among the old separatists, and had madfe it 
all the matter of their study and religion to rail against minis- 
ters, parish churches, and Presbyterians ; and who had llttte 
other knoivledge, or discourse of any thing about the heart, or 
heaven. They were fierce with pride and self-concdtedriess^ 
and had gotten a very great conquest over their charity, both 
to the Episcopalians and Presbyterians : where&s many of those 
honest soldiers who Were tainted but with sbme doubts about 
liberty of conscience or Independency, were meii whb wduld dis- 
course of the points of sanctification and christian experience 
v^ry seriously, t so far prevailed ih opening the lolly of 
these revilers and self- conceited men, as that some of thetn lie- 
carile the laughing-stock of the soldiers before I left therii; fthd 
wheh they pi-eacKed, for great prieachers they were, their weafe^ 
ness exposed them to contempt. A great part of the mischief 
was ddne atnbng the soldiers by pamphlets, which Were abttri- 

trtuiiipbt have bee n rompletM. I re|^ret that 1 cAnioot place Baxter Itt tMl 
frunt rauks of its friends. 


dantiy dispersed^ such as Overton^ Martin Mar-Priest, and 
more of his ;■ and some of J. Lilburn's, who was one of the 
preaching officers ; and divers against the king, and against the 
ministry, and for liberty of conscience, &c. llie soldiers being 
usually dispersed in quarters, they had such books to read, when 
they had Hone to contradict them. 

*^ But there was yet a more dangerous party than thes^ 
among the soldiers, who took the direct Jesuitical way. They first 
most vehemehtly declaimed against the doctrine of election, and 
for the power of free-will, and all other points which are con- 
troverted between the Jesuits and Dominicans, the Arminians 
atid Calvinists. They then as fiercely cried down our present 
translation of the Scriptures, and debased their authority, i 
though they did not deny them to be divine. They cried \ 
down ali bur ministry, episcopal, presbyterian, and independent, ) 
and all our churches. They vilified almost all our ordltiary 
worship ; they allowed of no argument from Scripture, but what 
was brought in its express words ; they were vehement against 
both king and all government, except popular: and against 
magistrates meddling in matters of religion. All their disputing 
was with as much fierceness as if they had been ready to draw 
their swords upon those against whom they disputed. They 
trusted more to policy, scorn, and power, than to argument. 
They would bitterly scorn me among their hearers, to preju- 
dice them before they entered into dispute. They avoided me 
as much as possible ; but when we did come to it, they drowned 
all reason in fierceness, and vehemency, and multitude of words. 
Tliey greatly strove for places of command 5 and when any 
place was due by order to another that was not of their mind, 
they would be sure to work him out, and be ready to mutiny if 
they had not their will. I thought they were principled by thfe 
Jesuits, and act^d all for their interest, and in their way. But 
the secret spring was out of sight. These were the same tnefi 
that afterwards were called Levellers, who rote up against Crbitl^ 

* These pamphlets were imitations of the Martin Mar- Prelate attacks 
upou the bishops and clergy in the reif^n of Elizabeth. They partake of the 
severity, and, indeed, scurrility, of their prototypes, and were (Calculated to 
prodttcte very considerable effect. They were Itiostly anonymous, but hatfe 
been commonly ascribed to Overton, Lilburn, and persons of that class. Aa 
admirable account of Lilburn, with a very correct view of his character, is 
given in Godwin's History of the Commonwealth.' 0%'erton, I suspect, was 
an infidel — a character then rather uncommon. He wrote a pamphlet to prove 
inau's iiiaterialitv, which made considerable noise at the time. 



well, and were surprised at Burford, having then deceived and . 
drawn to them many more. Thompson, the general of the 
levellers, who was slain then, was no greater a man than one of 
the corporals of Bethel's troop; the cornet and others being 
much worse than, he.' 

"Thus," concludes Baxter^ "have I given you a taste of my 
employment in the army." For such employment he was of 
all men singularly qualified. Nothing but an extraordinary 
taste for disputation, could have disposed him to enter on, or 
have enabled him to continue in, such a service. Making 
allowance for the colouring, which the state of his mind, and 
the extraordinary nature of his circumstances, must have pro* 
duoed, it will be granted, that such another army as that of 
the Parliament, at this period, the world never saw before, or 
since. Baxter endeavours to account for its peculiar character, 
from the influence of a few individuals. But, whatever may 
be ascribed to them as the proximate causes of particular events, 
it is certain tliat other and more powerful causes formed the 
characters of these soldiers, and are necessary to account for the 
appearance which they presented. Civil and ecclesiastical n 
oppression had goaded many to desperation; the hope and 
love of liberty inspired that heroic ardour, wiiich nothing could \ 
subdue ; the detection of many a false pretence, and the discovery 
of many important errors, by which they had long been abused 
and deluded, induced suspicions and doubts, and instigated to a 
licentious freedom of inquiry. Authority had lost all its weight; 
and truth, stripped of all adventitious ornament and recommend* 
ation, seemed clothed with irresistible charms. The period of 
darkness and the reign of terror were regarded to have passed 
away ; and the dawn of peace, liberty, and religion, all over the | 
the world, was supposed to have commenced. Baxter's exertions 
to stem the progress of these men, however well-meant, were like i 
attempts to check a volcano, by throwing stones into the crater; 1 
or to resist the mountain torrent by a wicker embankment. The V 
tempest which bad been long collecting at length burst with 
tremdidous fury; but, though, for a time, it scattered dismay and 
desolation all around, it finally cleared the political and reli* 
gious atmosphere, and rendered it capable of being breathed by 
free men and Christians. 

As Baxter's account of the army is drawn up under the influ* 

' Life> part i. pp« dO^S-l. 


ence of strong feeling, arising probably from the disappointment 
he experienced in his attempts to cool down their ardour, and 
reconcile their theological quarrels, it may be proper to present 
to the reader the character of these soldiers, as drawn by another 
who was very intimate with them, and whose testimony is en- 
titled to much respect. 

" The officers of this army," says Sprigge, " werc^uch as knew 
little more of war than our own unhappy wars had taught them, 
except some few. Indeed, I may say this, they were better 
Christians than soldiers ; wiser in faith than in fighting; and could 
believe a victory sooner than contrive it ; yet were they as wise in 
soldiery as the little time and experience they had could make 
them. Many of the officers, with their men, were much engaged 
in prayer and reading the Scriptures ; an exercise that soldiers, 
till of late, have used but little; and thus they went on* and pros- 
pered. Men conquer better as they are saints than soldiers ; \ 
and in the counties where they came, they left something of 
God as well as of Caesar behind them ; something of piety aa 
well as pay. 

^'The army was, what by example and justice, kept in good 
order, both in respect of itself and of the country ; nor was it 
their pay that pacified them ; for, had they not had more civility 
than money, things had not been so fairly managed. There 
were many of them differing in opinion, yet not in action or 
business ; they all agreed to preserve the kingdom ; they pros- 
pered more in their amity than uniformity. Whatever their 
opinions were, they plundered none with them, they betrayed 
none with them, nor disobeyed the state with them ; and they 
were more visibly pious and peaceable in their opinions than 
those we call more orthodox.''^ 

This is the testimony of one whom Baxter would perhaps 
have called a sectary ; but he was chaplain to the good ortho- 
dox Presbyterian, General Fairfax, and could not, therefore, have 
been very wild. Besides, his whole account is characterised by 
sobriety, and accounts better for the conduct and success of the 
army, than some parts of Baxter's description. It is a duty, 
while recording events, and describing characters as they really 
existed, to embrace every fair opportunity of vindicating the brave 
and, I must call them, enlightened men, who fought the battle of 
England's liberties, and to whose memories a large debt of 
gratitude still remains undischarged. 

y Sprigge's • Anglia Rccliviva,' pp. 324, 325. 



^^As soon as I came to the army/' Baxter proceeds, ^'it 
marched speedily down into the west, because the king had no 
army left there but the Lord Goring's, and it would not suffer the 
fugitives of Naseby-fight to come thither to strengthen them. We 
Came quickly down to Somerton, when Goring was at Langport ^ 
which lying upon the river, Massey was sent to keep him in on 
the further side, while Fairfax attended him on this side, with 
his army* One day they faced each other, and did nothing ; the 
next day they came to their ground again. Betwixt the two 
armies was a narrow lane, which went between some meadows in 
a bottom, and a small brook crossed the lane with a narrow 
bridge. Goring planted two or three small pieces at the head of 
the lane to keep the passage, and there placed his best horse ; so 
that none could come to them, but over that .narrow bridge, and 
up that steep lane, upon the mouth of those pieces. After many 
hours facing each other, Fairfax's great ordnance affrighting, 
Viore than hurting, Goring's men, and some musqueteers being 
sent to drive them from under the hedges, at last Cromwell bi4 
Whalley send three of his troops to charge the enemy, and bo 
sent three of the General's own regiment to second them } all 
being of Cromwell's own regiment. Whalley sent Major Bethel, 
Captain E\canson, and Captain Grove, to charge ; M lyor Des* 
borough, with another troop or two, came after ; as they could go 
but one or two abreast over the bridge. By the time Bethel 
an4 Evanson, with their troops were got up to the top of the 
l^j^, thjsy m^t with a select party of Goring's best horse, and 
ch^ged thepi at sword's point, whilst you would count three or 
(our hundred, and then put them to retreat. In the flight they 
pursued them too far to the main body ; for the dust was so 
great, being in the very hottest time of summer, that they who 
were in it could scarce see each other; but I, who stood 
oyer them upon the brow of the hill, saw all. When they «saw 
themselves upon the face of Goring's army, they fled back ip 
baste, and by the time they came to the lane again. Captain 
Grove's troop was ready to relieve them, and Pesborough be- 
hind him. They then rallied again, and the five or six troops 
togetlier marched towards all Goring's army ; but before they 
G^me to the front, I could discern the rear begin to run, and so 
bjeginning in the rear, they all fled before they endured any 
charge ; nor was there a blow struck that day, but by Bethel's 
and Evanson's troops, on that side, and a few musqueteers in the 
hedges. Goring's army fled to Bridgewater ; and very few of 


them were either killed or taken in the fight or the purspit. I 
hi^pened to be next to Major Harrison as soon as the flight 
began^ and hieard him with a loud voice break forth into the 
praises of God with fluent expressions^ as if he had been in 4 

It was while at Langport, that a remarkable circumstance 
took place, which continued fpr a long time to be privately cir- 
culated to the great prejudice of Baxter's character. WiU 
the reader believe tliat he was actually charged with killing a 
man in cold blood with his own hand 1 At last it was publicly 
laid to his charge by Major Jennings himself, in the form of an 
affidavit, and published by Vernon, in the preface to his life of 
Dr. Heylin. The following is a copy of this extraordinary 
document, with Baxter's answer to it : 

'' Mr. Baxter may be pleased to call to mind," says that in« 
veterate enemy of the Nonconformists, '^ what was done to one 
&Iajor Jennings the last war, in that fight that was between 
Lyndsel and Langford, in the county of Salop } where the king's 
party having unfortunately the worst of the day, the poor mail 
was stripped almost naked, and left for dead in the field, 
Mr. Baxter, and one Lieutenant Hurdman, taking their walk 
among the wounjded and dead bodies, perceived some life left 
in the Major, and Hurdman run him through the body in cold 
blood. Mr. Baxter all the while looking on, and taking off, with 
his own hand, the king's picture from about his neck, told 
him, psbe was swimming in his gore, that he was a popish rogue, 
and that wa^ his crucifix. This picture was kept by Mr. 
Baxter for many years, till it was got from him, but not without 
much difficulty, by one Mr. 3omerfield, who then lived with Sir 
lliomas Rous. He generously restored it to the poor man, now 
aliye at Wick, near Pershore, in Worcestershire, although, at the 
fight, supposed to be dead ; being, after the wounds given him, 
dragged up and down the field by the merciless soldiers. Mr. 

* Major- General Harrison was the son of a g^razier at Nantwicb, in Che- 
shire* and bred an attorney, but quitted that prufessiuu in the bi'g;iuinng of 
the civil war. He was a man of courajje and of great volubility, and was of 
siu^uiar use to Cromwell in subduing the Presbyterians. He was one of those 
who pleaded for a legal trial of Charles I., whom he undertook to bring from 
Hurst Ca.^tle, for that purpose, lie is said to have amused Fairfax with long 
prayers, for which he had an admirable talcut, at the time of the king's exe- 
cution. He was one of the ten regicides, as they were called, who were exe- 
cuted in October, 16(i0, and died exulting in the cause for which he suflered. 
—Granger's Biog, Hist, vol. iii. p. fi5. 


Baxter approved of the inhumanity by feeding his eyes with 
80 bloody and so barbarous a spectacle. 

*^ ], Thomas Jennings, subscribe to the truth of this narrative, 
and have hereunto put my hand and seal, this second day of 
March, 1682/'» 

In reply to this extraordinary charge, Baxter says : 

^' I do not think Major Jennings knowingly made this lie ; 
but was directed by somebody's report, and my sending him the 
medal* I do solemnly protest, that to my knowledge, I never 
saw Major Jennings ; that I never saw a man wound, hurt, 
atrip or touch him ; that I never spake a word to him, much less 
any word here affirmed ; that I neither took the picture from 
about his neck, nor saw who did it ; that I was not in the field 
when it was done; that I walked not among any wounded or dead, 
nor heard of any killed, but of one man; and that the picture 
was never got from me with difficulty; but that this is the truth,— 
The parliament had a few men in Langford House, and the king 
at Lyndsel, about a mile and a half asunder, who used oft to 
skirmish and dare each other in the fields between* Mv innocent 
father being prisoner at Lyndsel ; and I, being at Langford, re- 
solved not to go thence till he was delivered; I saw the soldiers 
go out, as they oft did, and in another field discerned them to meet 
and fight. I knew not that they had seen Jennings ; but, being 
in the house, a soldier showed a small medal of gilt silver, 
bigger than a shilling, and told us that he wounded Jennings, and 
took his coat, and took that medal from about his neck; I bought 
it of him for eighteen-pence, no one offering more. Some 
years after, the first time that I heard where he was, I finely 
desired Mr. Somerfield to give it him from me, who had never 
seen him ; supposing it was a mark of honour which might be 
^usefiil to him. And now these lies are all the thanks that ever 
I had."** 

Such is Baxter's fiill and satisfactory explanation of one of 
the most improbable and wicked calumnies that ever was pro- 
pagated against a man of God. It is a curious illustration of the 
state of the times, that such a base story could find reporters and 
believers, not only among the ignorant and the profligate, but 
even among the respectable part of the clerg)'. It was believed 
and circulated not merely by such persons as Vernon, and Long, 
and Lestrange; but by Dr.Boreman, of Trinity College, Cam- 

* Baxter's True Hist, of Councils, pp. 1—6, 
^ Ibid. 


bridge ; and Dr. Allestry, of Oxford. The latter, however, 
much to his credit, wrote him a letter of apology. But we must 
now retam to the account of the army. 

^Goring immediately fled with his army further westward, 
to Exeter ; but Fairfax stayed to besiege Bridgewater ; and after 
two days it was taken by storm, in which Colonel Hammond's 
service was much magnified. Mr. Peters, having come to the army 
from London but a day before, went presendy back with the 
news of Goring's rout : when an hundred pounds reward was 
voted to himself for bringing the news, and to Major Bethel for 
hb service ; but no reward was given to Captain Evanson, be- 
cause he was no sectary. Bethel alone had all the glory and 
applause from Cromwell and that party. 

^ From Bridgewater the army went back towards Bristol ; 
where Prince Rupert was taking Nunny Castle and Bath in 
the way. At Bristol they continued the siege about a month. 
After the first three days, I fell sick of a fever, the plague being 
roond about my quarters. As soon as I felt my disease, I rode 
six or seven miles back into the country, and the next morn- 
ing, vndi much ado, I got to Bath. Here Dr. Venner was my 
careful physician : and when I was near death, far from all my 
acquaintance, it pleased God to restore me ; and on the «four- 
teentb day the fever ended in a crisis. But it left me so emaci- 
ated and weak, that it was long ere I recovered the little 
strength I had before. I came back to Bristol siege three or 
four days before the city was taken. The foot, which were to 
storm the works, would not go on unless the horse, who had no 
service to do, went with them. So Whalley*s regiment was 
fain to go on to encourage the foot, and to stand to be shot at 
before the ordnance, while the foot stormed the forts. Here M^or 
Bethel, who in the last fight had his thumb shot, had a shot 
in his thigh, of which he died, and was much lamented. The 
outworks being taken. Prince Rupert yielded up the city, upon 
terms that he might march away with his soldiers, leaving their 
ordnance and arms. 

"After this, the army marched to Sherborne Castle, the Earl 
of Bristol's house ; which, after a fortnight's siege, they took by 
storm ; and that on a side which one would think could never 
have been that way taken. While they were there, the country- 
men, called clubmen, rose near Shaftsbury, and got upon the 
top of a hill. A party was sent out against them, who marched 


up the hill, and routed them ; though some qf th.e yaUwtett 
men were slain in the front. 

" When Sherborne Castle was taken, part of the army werjt 
back and took in a small garrison by Salisbury, called Lang- 
ford house, and so marched to Winchester Castle, and took that 
after a week's siege, or little more. From thence Cromwell 
went, with a good party, to besiege Basing-housey the Marquis 
of Winchester's, which had frustrated great sieges hpifjto* 
fore. Here Colonel Hammond was taken prisoner into the 
house, afterwards the house was taken by stprm, and he aayed 
the Marquis and others; and much riches were taken by the 

*^ In the mean time the rest of the army marched down agsip 
towards the Lord Goriug, and Cromwell came after them* 
When we followed Lord Goring westward, we foun^ tbat, 
above all other armies of the king, his soldiers were most bat^ 
by the people, for their incredible profi^neneis?, and their (m- 
merciful plundering, many of them being foreigners. A sober 
gentleman, whom I quartered with at South Pederton, in $Qine^* 
I setshi^e, averred to me, that, when with him, a company of them 
pricked their fingers, and let the blopd run into the cuoy and 
i drank a health to the devil in it : and no place cQuLd I come 
') into, but their horrid impiety and outrages made them odious. 
"The army marched d^own by Hynnington to Exeter 5 where 
I continued near three weeks among them at the siege^ and 
then Whalley's regiment, with the General's, Fleetwood's, and 
others, being sent back, 1 returned with them and left the ^ege: 
which continued till the city was taken. The army follpyrisfg 
Goring info Cornwall, th.ere forced him to l^y down a^ms^ his 
men j^oing away beyond $.ea, or .elsewhere, without their a^^ : 
and at last, Pendennis Castle, and all the garrisons there, were 

" In the mean time, Whalley was to command the return of 
the party of horse, to keep in the garrison of Oxford till the ar^y 
could come to besiege it : and so in the extreme winter^ he 
quartered about six weeks in Buckinghamshire : and then was 
sent to lay siege to Banbury Castle, where Sir William Comptou 
was governor, who had wearied out one long siege before. 
There I was with them abpve two months, till the castle was 
taken ; and then he wjvs sent to lay siege to Worcester, with the 

« Life, purt 1. pp. jM, 55. 


help of the Northampton, and Warwick, and Newport Pagnel 
soldiers, who had assisted him at Banbury, At Worcester, be 
lay in siege eleven weeks : and at the same time, th^ army 
being come up from the west, lay in siege at Oxford. 

*^ By this time. Colonel Whalley, though Cromweirs kinsman, 
and commander of the trusted regiment, grew odious among the 
sectarian commanders at the head quarters. For my sake he 
was called a Presbyterian, though neither he nor I were of that 
judgment in several points ; Major Salloway not omitting to 
use his industry in the matter to that end. When he had brought 
the city to a necessity of present yielding, two or three days 
before it yielded. Colonel Rainsborough was sent from Oxford, 
which had yielded, with some regiments of foot to command in 
chief; partly that he might be governor there, and not Whal- 
ley, when the city was surrendered. So when it was yielded, 
Rainsborough was governor, to head and gratify the sectaries, 
and settle city and coupty in their way : but the committee of 
the county were for Whalley, and lived in distaste with Rains* 
borough^ and the sectaries prospered there no further than 
Worcester city itself, a place which deserved such a judgment ; 
but all the country was free from their infection. 

^^All this while, as I had friendly converse with the sober 
part, so I was still employed with the rest as before, in preach* 
ing, conference, and disputing against their confounding 
errors ; and in all places where we went, the sectarian soldiers 
much infected the counties, by their pamphlets and converse. 
The people admiring the conquering army, were ready to re- 
ceive whatsoever they commended to them; and it was the way of 
the faction to represent what they said, as the sense of the army, 
and to make the people believe that whatever opinion they vent- 
ed, which one in forty of the army owned not, was the army's 
opinion. When we quartered at Agmondesham, in Bucking- 
hamshire, some sectaries of Chesham had set up a public meet- 
ing for conference, to propagate their opinions through all the 
country 5 and this in the church, by the encouragement of ^n 
ignorant sectarian lecturer, one Bramble, whom they had got in, 
while Dr. Cook, the pastor, and Mr. Richardson, his curate, durst 
not contradict them. When this public talking-day came. 
Bethel's troopers, with other sectarian soldiers, must be there to 
confirm the Chesham men, and make men believe that the armv 
was for them. I thought it my duty to be there also, and 
took divers sober officers with me, to let them see that more of 


the army were against them than for them. T took the reading 
pew, and Pitchford's comet and troopers took the gallery. And 
there I found a crowded congregation of poor well-meaning 
people, who came in the simplicity of their hearts to be deceived. 
Then did the leader of the Chesham men begin, and afterwards 
Pitchford's soldiers set in, and I alone disputed against them 
from morning until almost night ; for I knew their trick, that if 
I had but gone out first, they would have prated what boasting 
words they listed when I was gone, and made the people believe 
that they had baffled me, or got the best ; therefore, I stayed it 
out till they first rose and went away. The abundance of non- 
sense which they uttered that day, may partly be seen in Mr* 
Edward's ^ Gangraena ;' for I had wrote a letter of it to a friend in 
London, so that and another were put into Mr. Edward's book| 
without my name.^ But some of the sober people of Agmondes- 
ham, gave me abundance of thanks for that day's work, which 
they said would never be there forgotten ; I heard also that this 
sectaries were so discouraged that they never met there any 
more. I am sure I had much thanks from Dr. Cook, and Mr. 
Richardson, who, being obnoxious to their displeasure for being 
for the king, durst not open their mouths themselves. After the 
conference, I talked with the lecturer, Mr. Bramble, and found 
him little wiser than the rest. 

^' The chief impediments to the success of my endeavours, I 
found, were only two : the discountenance of Cromwell, and the 
chief officers of his mind, which kept me a stranger from their 
meetings and councils ; and my incapacity of speaking to mimy, 
as soldiers' quarters are scattered far from one another, and 
I could be but in one place at once. So that one troop at a 
time, ordinarily, and some few more extraordinary, was all that 
I could speak to. ^The most of the service I did beyond 
Whalley's regiment was, by the help of Capt. Lawrence, with 
some of the General's regiment, and sometimes I had converse with 
Major Harrison and a few others ; but! found that if the army 
had only had ministers enough, who would have done fiuch littie 
as I did, all their plot might have been broken, and king, parlia- 
ment, and religion, might have been preserved. I, therefore, sent 
abroad to get some more ministers among them, but I could get 
none. Saltmarsh and Dell were the two great preachers at the 

* This letter appears io the third part of that precious collection of ab« 
surdity, calumuj, and lyiu^. It is to be regretted that Baxter should have 
otfutribttted any thiog; to such a farrago of nonsense and wickedness. 


held qnarten ; but honest and judicious Mr. Edward Bowles, 
kept still with the General.® At last 1 got Mr. Cook, of Foxhull^ 
to come to assist me ; and the soberer part of the officers and 
soldiers of Whalley's regiment were willing to remunerate him 
o«it of their own pay. A month or two he stayed and assisted 
me ; but was quickly weary, and left them again. He was a 
fery worthy, humble, laborious man, unwearied in preaching, 
bat weary when he had not opportunity to preach, and weary of 
tbe spirits he had to deal with. 

^ All this while, though I came not near Cromwell, his designs 
were visible, and I saw him continually acting his part, ^fhe 
Lord General suffered him to govern and do all, and to choose 
almost all the officers of the army. He first nuLde Ireton com- 
missary-general ; and when any troop or company was to be 
disposed of, or any considerable officer's place was void, he was 
sure to put a sectary in the place : and when the brunt of the 
war was over, he looked not so much at their valour as their 
opinions ; so that, by degrees, he had headed the greatest part 
of the army with anabaptists, antinomians, seekers, or separatists, 
at best. All these he led together by the point of liberty of 
conscience, which was the common interest in which they did 
unite. . Yet all the sober party were carried on by his profession, 
that he only ])romoted the universal interest of the godly, with- 
out any distinction or partiality at all ; but still, when a place 
fell void, it was twenty to one a sectary had it ; and if a godly 
man, of any other mind or temper, had a mind to leave the 
army, he would, secretly or openly, further it. Yet did he not 
openly profess what opinion he was of himself: but the most 
that he said for any was for Anabaptism and Antinomianism, 
which he usually seemed to own. Harrison, who was then great 
with him, was for the same opinions. He would not dispute 
with me at all ; but he would, in good discourse, very fluently 
pour out himself in the extolling of free grace, which was 
savoury to those that had right principles, though he had some 
misunderstandings of free grace himself. He was a man of ex- 
cellent natural parts for affection and oratory, but not well seen 
in the principles of his religion ; of a sanguine complexion, 

* Mr. Bowles left tlie army in January, 1645, for his charg^e at York, and 
was succeeded by Dell, as chaplain to the General. He and SaJtmarsh were 
both inclined to Antinumianism. The latter was a complete mystic ; though 
perhaps both went further afterwards, than when they were about Fairfax, 
who seems to have been a moderate, sober-minded mnu^^Sprig^ge's Jnglia, 
p. 166. 


natuhdl J of stidh vivacity^ hilarity, and alaciity, as tiMoth^r man 
hath when hd hath drunken a cup too much; but naturally, alsoi 
80 far from humble thoughts of himself, that pride was his ruin. 
*^ All the two years that I was in the army, even my old bosom 
ftiehd, wh6 had liyed in my house and been dearest to me, James 
Betty, then captain, after colonel and inajdr-general, then 
lord of the Upper House, who had formerly inrited me to Crbm- 
weirs old troOp, did never oncfe invite me to the krmj at first, 
nor invite me to his quarters after, nor ev^r once came to visit 
me, or even saW tne, save twice or thrice that Hve met accident- 
ally. So potent is the interest of ourselves and our opiniotis 
with us, against all other bonds whatever. He that fdrsalceth 
himself in forsaking his own opinions, may well be expected to 
forsake his friend, who adhereth to the tvay which he forsaketh; 
dud that chitiige which maketh hitti think he was hiinself ah 
Ignorant, misguided man before, must needs riiake him thifak 
his friend to be still ignorant and misguided, and value him ac- 
cdrditigly. He was a man, I verily think, befdre the wart, 
of great sincerity; of very good natural parts, especially 
mathematical and mechanical; affectionate in religion, and 
while conversant with humblihg providences, dbctrihes, and 
company, he carried himself as a Very great enemy to pride : 
but when Cromwell made him his favourite, and his extraordi- 
nary valour was crowned with extraordinary success, and when 
he had been awhile most conversant with those, who, in religion, 
thought the old Puritan ministers were dull, self-conceited men, 
of a lower form, and that new light had declared I know ndt 
what to be a higher attainment, his mind, his aim, his talk akid 
pM were altered accordingly. And as ministers of the old way 
\ikrefe IbWer, and seetaries tntich higher, in his esteem than for- 
fanerly ; s6 he iVilS hibch higher in his owii esteem wheli he 
thbtight h^ had attained tnuch higher, than he was befor^j iVheh 
he sat With his Kllotvs in th^ comhidn form. i3eillg neter well 
Hiidied in tlie bddy of divinity, but taking his light attidhg the 
sectaries, befdre the light which Idnger and patient studies df 
divinity should hate possessed him iVitht he lived after as ho^ 
iiestly as edtild be expeeted in one that taketh errbr for tHith| 
and evil to be good. 

" After this, he was president of the agitators, a major-gene^ 
ral and lord, a jpriiicipal person in the changes, and the cfaie^ 
executioner in pulling down Hichard Cromwell ; and then one 
of the governing council of state. All this was promoted by 


th^ misithdetstattditig bf Profidehce; for He Tftrily thought 
thit Gd^ by thdf rietories^ hM so called thehi id look after thb 
gtftatiment bf the iand^ laid sd entrusted them iHth the welfare 
of all hte pMple bere^ thkt ihjty Hrere responsible for it, ithd 
itti^t lioff iti cbhscience stand Itill while any thing was done 
which they thbiight was ifcgaihst that interest which th^ judged 
to be the interest of the people of Odd. 

''As he itits the chief in jiiilling down, hfe was one of the first 
that fell t {of Sir Arthur Hoselrigge taking Pottshiduth, his 
regiment of hor^to^ sent to block it up, went most of theih 
to Sir Arthur. And irhen the ariny was inelted to nothing, 
ibd the king ready to cdihe iii, the council of state imprisoned 
biiH, becadUte he would not promisief td live p^aceiibly; and after- 
wards he (being ohb df the four whohi Oienehd Moiik had the 
Worst thoughts df) was closelj^ cdhflned in Scarboh>ugh Castle ; 
baty being released, hb Mlbadici a gardener, and li? ed in a safer 
state than in all his greatness/ 

^ Wheti Worcester si«fge wils ov^r^ hating fteen, with joy, Kid- 
denninstery abd my frietlds there once again, the country being' 
now dleHred^ ihy old flock expected that I should return to 
them, and settle in peace amdhg them. I accordingly went 
to Coventry, and called the ministers again together^ i^hd 
voted me into the army. I told them, that the forsaking of 
the army, by the old ministers, and the neglect of supplying 
their places by others, had undone us ; that I had laboured 
among them with as much success as could be expected in the 
narrow sphere of my capacity: but that was little to all the 
army ; that the active sectaries were the smallest part of the 
army among the common soldiers, but that Cromwell had lately 
put so many of them into superior, command, and their indus- 
try was so much greater than othet-s, they were like to have 
ttoir will ; that whatever bbedience they pret^ndbd, I doubted 
not but they would pull dot^ all that stood in th^ir Wily; in 
btate and church, bdth king^ parliaments tmd mihi&U^H, and 

' I am iHclibed to think thitt BiixUtT has ekpresled s morh utifblroiirAhl^ 
opiuiuD of Uerry than he deserved. He probably found it iiieX|»edieiit ur even 
daD^eruiis, to cuiintenance Baxter's zeal in endeavuuriuf^ to reform the ai'my 
aiJd tlbftruct tiib dfesi^ii iif its ifeadere ; (o avoid qiiarreiiin^ with aii inofTeiislve 
»Dd well-iiieaiiiu^ but, as he i*oUlil rfrguM him, a n roil «^- headed thatt, he 
i(rpt out of bis way. Berry wbs a man of talents And eoerg;y ; one of the med 
who %va< formed by the times ; who lived in the tempest and the eartbciuaice. 
fciiil <lifik \UU> i}bS(-UHl5' lb the caliii. 1 have uutic'ed him in ibe Memoirs uf 
Owen, p. 27y, 2d edit. 


set up themselves. I told them that for the little that I had 
done, I had ventured my life, and weakened my body (weak 
before), but that the day, which I expected, was yet to come ; 
and that the greatest service with the greatest hazard was yet 
before. The wars being now ended, I was confident the leaders 
would shortly show their purpose, and set up for themselves : and 
when the day came, all that were true to king, parliament, and 
religion, ought to appear, if there were any hope, by contradict- 
ing them, or drawing off the soldiers from them, as it was all the 
service that was yet possible to be done. I was likely to do no 
great matter in such an attempt ; but there being so many in 
the army of my mind, I knew not what might be till the day 
should discover it : and though I knew it was the greatest hazard 
of my life, my judgment was for staying among them till the 
crisis, if their judgment did concur. Whereupon they all voted 
me to go and leave Kidderminster yet longer, which accord- 
ingly 1 did. 

^^ From Worcester I went to London to Sir Theodore Mayem, 
about my health : he sent me to Tunbridge Wells, and after 
some stay there to my benefit, I went back to London, and so 
to my quarters in Worcestershire, where the regiment was. 
My quarters fell out to-be at Sir Thomas Rous's, at Rous- 
Lench, where I had never been before. The Lady Rous was a 
godly, grave, understanding woman, and entertained me not as 
a soldier, but a friend. From thence I went into Leicestershire, 
Staffordshire, and at last into Derbyshire. One advantage of 
this moving life was, that I had opportunity to preach in many 
counties and parishes ; and whatever came of it afterward, I 
know not ; but at the time, they commonly seemed to be much 

^^I came to Major, Swallow's quarters, at Sir John Cook's 
house, at Melbourn, on the edge of Derbyshire, beyond Ashby- 
de-Ia-Zouch, in a cold and snowy season : and the cold, toge- 
ther with other things coincident, set my nose on bleeding. 
When I had bled about a quart or two, 1 opened four veins, 
but that did no good. I used divers other remedies, for several 
days, to little purpose ; at last 1 gave myself a purge, which 
stopped it. This so much weakened me, and altered my com- 
plexion, that my acquaintances who came to visit me, scarcely 
knew me. Coming after so long weakness, and frequent loss 
of blood before, it made the physicians conclude me deplorate^ 
supposing I could never escape a dropsy. 


^ Thus God unavoidably prevented all the efiiect of my pur- 
poses in my last and chiefest opposition of the army; and took 
me off the very time when my attempt should have begun. My 
purpose was to have done my best^ fir^t to take off that regi* 
ment which I was with, and then, with Captain Lawrence, to 
have tried upon the General's, in which two were Cromwell's 
chief confidents; and then to have joined with others of the same 
mind ; for the other regiments were much less corrupted. But the 
determination of God against it was most observable: for the 
very time that I was bleeding, the council of war sat at Notting- 
ham, where, as I have credibly heard, they first began to open 
their purpose and act their part; and, presently after, they en- 
tered into their engagement at Triploe Heath. As I perceived 
it was the will of God to permit them to go on, so I afterwards 
found that this great affliction was a mercy to myself; for they 
were so strong, and active, that I had been likely to have had 
small success in the attempt, and to have lost my life among 
them in their fury. And thus I was finally separated from the 

^' When I had staid at Melboum, in my chamber, three weeks, 
being among strangers, and not knowing how to get home, I 
went to Mr. Nowell's house, at Kirby-Mallory, in Leicester- 
shire, where, with great kindness, I was entertained three weeks. 
By that time, the tidings of my weakness came to the Lady 
Rous, in Worcestershire, who sent her servant to seek me out ; 
and when he returned, and told her I was afar off, and he 
could not find me, she sent him again to find me, and bring me 
thither, if I were able to travel. So, in great weakness, thither 
I made shift to get, where I was entertained with the greatest 
care and tenderness, while I continued the use of means for my 
recovery : and when I had been there a quarter of a year, I re- 
turned to Kidderminster."^ 

Thus terminated Baxter's connexion with the army. In review- 
ing his account of it,'we cannot help admiring the disinterested- 
ness of the motives by which he appears to have been influenced, 
and the self-denial which he exercised. He entered the army 
by the advice of his friends, and with the sincere intention of 
doing good ; but with greater confidence in the effects to be pro- 
duced by his labours than the circumstances warranted. These 
high-minded soldiers, accustomed to dispute as well as to fight, 

V Life, part l.pp. 55—59. 
VOL. !• F 


and who were no less confident of victory in. the pol^nic lurena 
than of triumph in the field of battle^ were not to be put down 
by the controveVsial powers of Baxter, great as those powers 
were. To his metaphysical distinctions, they opposed their 
personal feelings and convictions, which were produced by a 
very different process, and not to be altered by any refinements 
of disquisition. When he contended against the justice of 
their cause, to his arguments they opposed their success ; and 
often must he have lost in their estimation as a politician^ what 
he had gained by his talents and piety as a divine. Mover 
ment^ and dispersion, which were death to him^ were life 
to them. It kept up their spirits and their excitement, by 
giving them fresh opportunities of exercising their gifts, both 
of the sword and of the tongue. Much as the leaders of the 
army respected religion, they had too much discernment to 
encourage the influx of many such ministers as Baxter. Crom- 
well and his officers had no objection to an occasional theolo- 
gical contest among the soldiers, or, even to engage in one 
themselves. It relieved the tug of war: it operated as a diver- 
tisement from other subjects on which their minds would have 
been less profitably employed ; while it often excited that very 
ardour of soul, on which the success of the army of the Com* 
monwealth mainly depended. 

I am not sure that even the ministers themselves were not 
pleased, in this manner to be rid of Baxter. It is remarkable^ 
that while they warmly approved of his going into the army and 
remaining with it, few of them were disposed to follow his 
example. This could not arise from the apprehension of per* 
sonal danger, for they could have little to fear of this nature. Iq ' 
fact, they must generally have been safer with the army than in 
the towns to which they sometimes resorted for protection. While 
associating with Baxter, they must have remarked the fearless 
character of his mind, his recklessness of danger, and his regard- 
lessness of consequences. His love of disputation, his qualifica- 
tions as a debater, and his devotedness to what he regarded as 
the cause of his Master, all fitted him for such a field as the army 
presented. The very qualities, however, which fitted him for 
the camp, rendered him less desirable as a companion in the 
retired and secluded walks of life. A company of ministers, 
shut up in a provincial town with Baxter for twelve months, 
probably found him a troublesome friend. The restless activity 
of his mind could not, in such circumstancesj find scope or em- 


ploymenL By advising lum^ then, to follow his own convictions, 
and join the army, they at once did homage to his talents, and 
gratified his love of employment ; while, by remaining in retire-^ 
ment and safety themselves, they showed either their love of 
ease, or that thev had Kttie Confidence in the wisdom or success 
of Baxter's attempt to save his qpuntry, and deliver his king, , 
by ministerial influence over the soldiers. 

Whatever weight may be due to these reasonings, it is evident 
that, in the army, Baxter was neither an idle nor an unconcerned 
spectator. He laboured indefatigably, and persevered amidst all 
diseovragements. He failed in his main object ; but he suc- 
ceeded in repressing evil, and in eneduraging tnuch that was 
good. He acquired considerable additions to his stock of ex- 
perience, and his knowledge of men, and has left us some im- 
portant information respecting the characters and events of this 

During the latter part of the time which he spent in the 
army, and chiefly when lud aside by severe illness, he wrote, 
though they were not then published, his ' Aphorisms of Justi- 
fication,' and his ' Saint's Rest.' The last work chiefly occu- 
pied his thoughts and his pen, though the other appeared first. 
His disputes with the antinomian soldiers led to his ^Aphorisms, 
while his labours and aiHictions produced his meditations oh . 
'The Saint's Everlasting Rest.' A work begun and finished in 
these circumstances might be supposed to betray traces of haste 
and crudeness ; but of this, such is far from being the case. It 
discovers the maturity and elevation of mind to which he had 
efen then risen ; and had he never written more, it would have 
stamped his character as one of the most devotional, and most 
eloquent men of his own, or of any other age. 





The Relij^iouf Parties of the Period— The Westminster Assembly--ChaTacter 
of the Erastians^EpiscopaiiaDS — Presbyterians— IndepeDdents — Baptists- 
State of Relipon in these Parties — Minor Sects— Vanists— Seekers— Ranters 
— Quaicers — ^Behmenists — ^Review of this period. 

Having, in the preceding chapter, given a view of the civil 
and military affairs with which Baxter was^ connected, from the 
commencement of his ministry till the time of his leaving the 
army, we must now attend to the religious state of the nation, 
which was no less full of distraction, and of which he has left 
a very particular account. If this part of our narrative should 
carry us into the period of the commonwealth, it will save future 
repetition, as most of the sects which then swarmed, had either 
commenced their existence during the civil wars, or naturally 
sprung out of the excitement and turbulence which those wars 

While Baxter lived in Coventry, the celebrated Westminster 
Assembly was convened by order of parliament. He was not 
himself a member of that body; but he was well acquainted 
with its chief transactions, and with the leading men of the 
several parties which composed it: and, as he has given his 
opinion of them at considerable length, it may be proper here 
to introduce it. 

^^ lliis Synod was not a convocation, according to the diocesan 
way of government ; nor was it called by the votes of the minis- 
ters, according to the presbyterian way : for the parliament, not 
intending to call an assembly which should pretend to a divine 
right to make obligatory laws or canons, but an ecclesiastical 
council, to be advisers to itself, thought it best knew who were 
fittest to give advice, and therefore chose them all itself. Two 
were to be chosen from each county, though some counties had 
but one, that it might seem impartial, and give each party 
liberty to speak. Over and above this number, it chose many 
of the most learned, episcopal divines ; as. Archbishop Usher, 
Dr. Holdswortb, Dr. Hammond^ Dr. Wincop, Bishops Westfield 


and Prideaux, and many more ; but they would not come, be- 
cause the king declared himself against it. Dr. Featley, and a . 
few more of that party, however, came ; but at last he was 
charged with sending intelligence to the king, for which he was 
imprisoned. The divines there congregated, were men of emi- 
nent learning, godliness, ministerial abilities, and fidelity : and 
being not worthy to be one of them myself, I may the more 
freely speak the truth, even in the face of malice and envy; 
that, as far as I am able to juc)ge by the information of all 
history of that kind, and by any other evidences left us, the 
Christian world, since the days of the apostles, had never a synod 
of more excellent divines than this and the synod of Dort. 

*^ Yet, highly as I honour the men, I am not of their mind 
in every part of the government which they would have set up. 
Some words in their Catechism, I wish had been more clear : 
and, above all, I wish that the parliament, and their niore skil-, 
fill hand, had done more than was done to heal our breaches, 
and had hit upon the right way, either to unite with the Episco- 
palians and Independents, or, at least, had pitched on the terms 
that are fit for universal concord, and left all to come in upon 
those terms that would." • 

This account of the Westminster Assembly is, doubtless, more 
impartial than the character which has been given of it, either 
by Clarendon or Milton. Both these writers were under the 
influence, though in different ways, of strong prejudices against 
it. The formerj by his monarchical and episcopal predilections ; 
the latter, by his republicanism. . Clarendon hated presbyterian- 
ism, with all the cordiality of a cavalier, who regarded it as a 
religion unfit for a gentleman, and as synonymous with all that 
is vulgar, hypocritical, and base. Milton abhorred it on account 
of its intolerant spirit, and the narrow-minded bigotry of many 
of its adherents ; as well as for private reasons. The Assembly 
was, in the estimation of both, the personification of all that 
should be detested by enlightened and high-bom men } they 
hated and reviled it accordingly. Baxter knew the members 
better than Clarendon or Milton did, and was better qualified to 
judge their motives and appreciate their doings. As he was not 
one of them, he had no temptation to speak in their favour ; and 
from his well-known love of truth, had he known any thing to 
their prejudice, he would not have concealed it. The persons 
who composed the Assembly, were generally men of approved 

' Life, part i. p. 93. 


christian character and abilities, and several of them distinguished 
for learning. But both the men and their doings have been too 
highly extolled by some, and too much undervalued by others.** 

^ Itord Ciarepdon's account of tbe Assenibly U as follows :—*' And oow t|if 
pfirliaineot sjiuvred what cuqsultation they meant to have with |^ly and 
lirarued divines, and what reformation they intended, by appointing the 
knights and burgesseA to bring in the names of such divines fur the several 
cpunties, as they thought fit to constitute an assembly for the framing a new 
model for the government of the churchy which was done acrorUi4gly ; those 
whp were true sons of the church, not so much as endeavouring the nomina- 
tion of sober and learned men, abhorring such a reformation as began with 
the invasion and suppression of the church's rights, in a synod as well knowu 
as Ma^^a Chartfi : and if any well-affected member, not ^ miugh con- 
sidering the; scandal and the consequence of that violation, did name an 
orthodox and well- reputed divine to assist in that assembly, it was argument 
eooogh against him, that he was nominated by a person in whom tliey bad no 
coQ^dence ; and they only bad reputation enough to coromeqd to this cousulta^ 
tion those who were known to desire the u^ter demolishing of the whole fabric of 
the church : so that of about one hundred and twenty of which that asseipbly 
ijfas to consist, though by the recommendation of two or three members of the 
Comm^ps, whom they yv^re not %villing tp displease, apd by the authori^ of 
the Lpirds, who adfled a small numiber to those named by the Houte of Com- 
mons, a few very reverend and worthy men were inserted ; yet, of the whole 
number there were not above twenty who were not declared and avowed enemies 
to the doctrine or discipline of the church of England ; some of them infamous 
in their lives and conversations, and most of thf;m of very mean parts in learn- 
ing, if not of scandalous ignorance ; and of no other reputation than of malice 
to the church of England. So that that convention hath not since produced 
any thing that n^ight not then reasonably have been expected from it." — Hiti, 
9f (ike RthtU/t^m^ vol. i. pp. 530, 531. Edit. 1720. 

The charges contained in the latter part of this paragraph, are utterly un- 
founded. The members of the Assembly were, in general, respectable for their 
talents and learning ; and aU of them were highly respectable in point of cha- 
ract^. It is equally untrue that all, or ewn any considerable number of 
theqs, ifere enemies to the church of England. 

The passage in which Milton attacks the Assembly, Is written with his usual 
force, or, as I ought rather to say, acrimony, when he was excited by opposition. 

f' And if the state were in this plight, religion was not in much better; ta re- 
form which, a certain number of divines were called, neither chosen l^ any 
rule or custom ecclesiastical, nor eminent for either piety or knowledge 
above others left out ; only as each member of parliament, in his private fanc}', 
thought fit, so electee) one by one. The most part of them were such aa bad 
preached and cried down, with great ^how of zeal, th? avarice and pluralities 
of bishops and prelates ; that, one cure of souls was a full employment for one! 
spiritual pastor, how able soever, if not a charge rather above human strength. 
Yet th^a^ copsci^ntiqus men (ere any part of the work was done for which they 
came together^ and that on the public salary) wanted not boldness, to thet 
Ignominy and scandal of their pastor-like profession, and especially pf their 
boasted reformation, to seize into their hands, or not unwillingly to accept, 
(besides oue, sometimes two or more, of the best livings) collegiate masterships 
in U^e ynive^sity, rich lectures in the city ; setting sail to all winds that migbl 
blow gain mto thieir covetous bosoms : by which means these great rebukers 
of non-residence^ among so many distant cures, were not ashamed to be seen so 

OF ftlCHAtU) BAXTBR. 71 

It seems very doubtful whether the parliament wished that 
the Assembly should unite in a form of church government to be 
imposed on the country. It was called, to engage the attention 
of the Puritans^ and to please the s^ots which were invited to send 
members to it. The leading politicians of the period, were too 
wise to suppose that men, so widely different in sentiment as 

quickly pluralltts aod Don-residento themselves, to a fearful eondemuatioiiy 
duobtleMy by their own mouths. And yet the main doctrine for which they 
look su^ pay, and insisted upon with more vehemence than Gospel, was bu^ 
to teU ua, in eflfiect, that their doctrine was worth nothing, and the spiritual 
power of their ministry less available than bodily compulsion ; persuading the 
nagittimte to use it as a stronger means to subdue and bring in conscicnce» 
thaa evanf elical persuasion : distrusting the virtue of their own spiritual 
weapons which were given them, if they might be rightly called, with full 
warrant of sufficiency to pull down all thoughts and imaginations that exalt 
themselves against God. But while they taught compulsion without convince* 
peat, which, long before, they complained of as executed unchristianly against 
themselves, their contents are clear to have been no better than antichristian j 
setting up a spiritual tyranny by a secular power, to the advancing of their 
own authority above the msgistrate, whom they would have made their execu- 
tioner to punish church delinquencies, whereof civil laws have no cognisance. 

"And well did their disciples manifest themselves to be no better principled 
then their teachers ; trusted with committeeships and other gainful offices, 
upon their commendations for zealous and (as they hesitated not to term them) 
gudly men, but executing their places like children of the devil, nnfaithfuUy, 
unjustly, unmercifully, and, where not corruptly, stupidly. So that between 
them, the teachers, and tliese, the disciples, there hath not been a more igno- 
minious and mortal wound to faith, to piety, to the worlc of reformation, nor 
mure caus^ of blaspheming given to the euemies of God and truth, since the 
first preaching of the reformation.** 

This passage belongs to Milton's * Fragment of a History of England,* first 
published in 1670 ; but from which the quotation was expunged. It was first 
printed by itself, in 1681 ; and afterwards appeared in the edition of his works 
published in 1738. It should be remembered, that Milton did not assail the As- 
umbly till after some of them had denounced his work on the 'Doctrine and 
Discipline of Divorce ; ' which led to his being brought before the House of 
Lords for that publication. Nothing arose from this occurrence injurious to 
Milton ; but he never forgave the Presbyterian clergy the offence, and re- 
Tenges himself on the Assembly in the above tirade. It deserves to be noticed, 
that his work on * Divorce * is dedicated to this very Assembly, as well as to the 
Long Parliament ; both of which he afterwards so severely denounces. In that 
dedication, he speaks of them as a <* select assembly" — *' of so much piety and 
wisdom*' — *' a learned and memorable synod," in which ** piety, learning, 
and prudence, were housed." This dedication was written two years after the 
Assembly had met, and when its character must have been well known. When 
be published his < Tetrachordon,' in defence of the former work, he leaves out 
the Assembly in the dedication, and addresses it to the parliament only. In 
the * Colasterion,' he attacks the anonymous member of the Assembly, who 
had assailed bira, with the utmost scurrility ; and, from that time, never failed 
to abuse the Presbyterians and the Assembly. It is painful to detract from 
the fair fame of Milton; but even he is not entitled to vilify the character 
of a large and respectable body of men, to avenge his private quarrel. 


those who were chosen to sit in this convocation, would ever 
agree in the divine right and universal obligation of any eccle- 
siastical system ; and, that they did not wish them to agree, 
seems probable, from the fact, that in general, when there ap- 
peared an approach towards the completion of their ecclesiastical 
code, new difficulties or questions were always proposed to them, 
which occasioned protracted debates and increasing differences. 
The Assembly at last broke up without finishing its work.^ 

A short account of the several leading parties in the country, 
or which were represented in the Assembly, will justify these re- 
marks, and throw light on the life of Baxter, as well as on the 
state of the period. Baxter himself shall furnish the chief part of 
the information ; because he tells us what he liked and disliked 
in the Erastian, the Episcopal, the Presbyterian, and the Inde- 
pendent parties. 

The Erastian party, in the Assembly, was composed chiefly of 
lawyers, and other secular persons ; who understood the nature 
of civil government better than the nature, forms, and ends of 
the church of Christ; and of those offices appointed by him for 
purposes purely spiritual. The leading laymen among them) 
were Selden and Whitelocke, both lawyers, and men of pro- 
found learning and talents. Lightfoot and Coleman were 
distinguished as much among the divines for rabbinical know- 
ledge, as the two former were among the men of their own 

"The Erastians," says Baxter, "I thought, were in the right, 
• in .asserting more fully than others, the magistrates' power in 
matters of religion ; that all coercion, by mulcts or force, should 
only be in their hands ; that no such power belongs to the pas- 
tors or people of the church ; and that the pastoral power is 
only persuasive, or exercised on volunteers." But he disliked in 
them, " that they made too light of the power of the ministry, 
churchy and excommunication ; that they made church com- 
munion more common to the impenitent, than Christ would 
have it ; that they made the church too like the world, by break, 
ing down the hedge of spiritual discipline, and laying it almost 
common with the wilderness ; and that they misunderstood and 
injured their brethren, affirming that they claimed as from God 
a coercive power over the bodies and consciences of men."** The 

« Bailie's Letter, and Journals passim ; Memoirs of Owen, pp. 53, 54, 400, 
2d edition. 
^ Life, part ii. p. 139. The following amusing account of the origin and pro- 


tendency and design of the system would oertAinly convert the 
church Into the world, and the world into the church. 

** The Episcopal party," he says, " seemed to have reason on 
their side in this, that in the primitive church there were apostles, 
evangelists, and others, who weYe general unfixed officers, not 
tied to any particular charge ; but who had some superiority 
over fixed bishops or pastors. And as to fixed bishops of par- 
ticular churches, that were superior in degree to presbyters, 
though I saw nothing at all in Scripture for them ; yet I saw 
that the reception of them was so very early, and so very gene- 
ral, I thought it most improbable that it was contrary to the 
mind of the apostles. 

'^ I utterly disliked their extirpation of the true discipline of 
Christ, not only as they omitted or corrupted it, but as their 
principles and church state had made it impracticable. They 
thus altered the nature of churches, and the ancient nature of 
bishops and presbyters. They set up secular courts, vexed 
honest Christians, countenanced ungodly teachers, opposed faith- 
ful ministers, and promoted the increase of ignorance and pro* 

No supporters of such views were in the Assembly ; but not a 

few of the members were partial to a limited episcopacy, such as 

that for which Baxter himself pleaded. Indeed, a number of 

them would not take the covenant when it came from Scotland, 

till it was explained that the episcopacy which they were called . j 

to disown, was only the hierarchy of England.*^ Among these 

were, Gataker, Burgess, Arrowsmith, and several other persons 

of some note. In the parliament there was a large proportion 

of persons of this description, who were much more disposed to 

^ressof Erastianisro, is from the pen of Mr. George Gillespie, one of the Scots 
commissioners to the Westminster Assembly, who wrote a volume against itun- 
der the title of * Aaron's Rod Blossoming.' — ** The father of it is the old serpent ; 
its mother is the enmity of our nature against the kingdom of oyir Lord Jesus 
Christ; and the midwife who brought this unhappy brood into the light of the 
^orld, was Thomas Erastus, doct(»rof mediciue, at Heidelberg. The Erastian 
(rror being born, the breast<( which gave it suck, were profaueucss and self; its 
^tron^food when advanced in growth, was arbitrary government ; and its careful 
tutor was Arminianism." — Book i. chap. 2. The book from which this curious 
<^>^tract is taken, is written with considerable ability, and contains unanswerable 
^r^uments in proof that the New Testament furnishes a form of churctf 
government, which Christians are bound to adopt. It deser>'es to be read as an 
iiDtidote to the plausible but fallacious reasonings of the ' Jrenicum/ of Bishop 
* Life, part ii. p. 140. ' Neal, iii., p. 56. 


acknowledge a limited episcopacy than to tiibinlt to the divini 
right of Presbytery, 

The great body of the Assembly, and of the Nonconformists, 
were Presbyterians, attached from principle to the platform of 
Geneva, and exceedingly desirous, in alliance with Scotland, of 
establishing Presbyterian uniformity throughout the kingdom. 
The leaders of this party in the Assembly were, Calamy, Twias, 
Whyte, Palmer, Marshall, and the Scottish commissioners. 
And in the House of Commons, Hoilis, Glyn, Maynard, Clement 
Walker, and William Prynne. They were supported by EsseXi 
Manchester, and Northumberland, among the peers } and by 
the body of the clergy of London, the mass of the religious 
professors in the metropolis, and some distinguished persons in 
the army. . To this class of professors Baxter was more attached 
than to any other, though it is evident, that while he eulogiaed its 
virtues, he was not blind to its faults. 

" As for the Presbyterians," he says, ^^ I found that the office 
of preaching presbyters, was allowed by all who deserved the 
name of Christians ; that this office did participate, sub-* 
serviently to Christ, in the propheticaly or teaching; the /PfJet^Ajf, 
or worshipping ; and the governing power | and that Scripture, 
antiquity, and the nature of church government, clearly show 
that all presbyters were church governors, as well as church 
teachers. To deny this, were to destroy the office and to en- 
deavour to destroy the churches. I saw, also, in Scripture, 
antiquity, and reason, that the association of pastors and churches 
for agreement, and their synods in cases of necessity, are a plain 
duty : and that their ordinary stated synods are usually very, 
convenient. I saw, too, that in England the persons who were 
called Presbyterians were eminent for learning, sobriety, and piety: 
and the pastors so called were those who went through the work 
of the ministry, in diligent, serious preaching to the people, and 
edifying men's souls and keeping up religion in the land."^ 

The following are the things in this body to which he objected: 
^^ I disliked their order of lay- elders, who had no ordination, or 
power to preach, or to administer sacraments : for though I grant 
that lay-elders, or the chief of the people, were often employed 
to express the people's consent, and preserve their libertiea; yet 
these were no church officers at all, nor had any charge of 
private oversight of the flocks. 

^* I disliked, also, the course of some of the more rigid of them^ 

K Life, part ii., p. 140. 


who drew too near the way of prelacy^ by grasping at a kind of 
secular power 5 not using it themselves, but binding the magi- 
strates to confiscate or imprison men, merely because they were 
excommunicated ; and so corrupting the true discipline of the 
church, and turning the communion of saints into the com- 
munion of the^ multitude, who must keep in the church against 
their wills for fear of being imdone in the world. Whereas, a 
man whose conscience cannot fee) a just excommunication unless 
it be backed with confiscation or imprisonment, is no fitter to be 
a member of a Christian church, than a corpse is to be a member 
of a corporation. It is true they claim not this power as jure 
amo; but no mor^ do the prelates, though the writ de excom- 
munieaio capiendo is the life of all their censures. Both parties 
too much debase the magistrate, by making him their mere exe- 
cutioner ; whereas he ought to be the judge wherever he is the 
executioner, and ought to try the case at his own bar, before he 
be obliged to punish any delinquent. They also corrupt the 
discipline of Christ, by mixing it with secular force. They re- 
proach the keys, or ministerial power, as if it were a leaden 
iword, and not worth a straw, unless the magistrate's sword en- 
force it. What, then, did the primitive church for three hundred 
years ? Worst of all, they corrupt the church, by forcing in the 
rabble of the unfit and unwilling ; and thereby tempt many 
godly Christians to schisms and dangerous separations. Till 
magistrates keep the sword themselves, and learn to deny it to 
every angry clergyman who would do his own work by it, and 
leavethem to their own weapons — the word and spiritual keys— 
and, valeant quantum valere possunty the church will never have 
unity and peace. 

" I disliked, also, some of the Presbyterians, that they were 
not tender enough to dissenting brethren ; but too much against 
liberty, as others were too much for it ; and thought by votes 
and numbers to do that which love and reason should have 

While the reader must admire the candour of these remarks, 
as they bear on the party, with which Baxter was more identified 
than any other, he will no less cordially approve his enlightened 
>iews of the distinction between civil and ecclesiastical power. 
Had they been always thus viewed and distinguished, how many 
evils would have been prevented both in the church and in the 
world ! The governments of the earth would have been saved 

^ Life, part i!., pp. 143, 143. 


a vast portion of the perplexity and trouble which they have 
experienced in the management of their affairs ; and the church 
would have been preserved from much of that secularity which 
has attached to it, as well as from infinite suffering and sorrow. 
Unfortunately, Baxter was not always consistent with himself on 
these important points. The concluding sentence of this very 
extract shows, that while he was a friend of liberty, he was 
afraid of too much of it. He never would have been himself 
a persecutor ; but he would not have objected to the exercibe 
of a certain measure of coercion or restraint by others, in sup« 
port of what he might have considered the good of the indi- 
viduals themselves, or of what the interests of the community 

Baxter was less friendly to the Independents than to any 
other of the leading parties of his times. For this, various rea* 
sons may be assigned. His principles and dispositions induced 
in him a greater attachment to ministerial or priestly power, than 
accorded with the principles of that body. The influence of 
some of its more active and learned ministers, and the support 
which they derived from some of the public characters whose 
exertions were directed to the overthrow of civil and religious 
despotism, and the establishment of general liberty, were greater 
than Baxter was disposed to approve. Above all, as he consider-^ 
ed the great master-spirits of that agitating period, to be either 
really, or, for political reasons, professedly, attached to the polity 
of the Independents, he regarded the whole body with jealousy and 
dislike. I will not deny that he had some ground for part of the 
feeling which he entertained ; though 1 think he was mistaken 
in various particulars. The following account of the Indepen« 
dents, considering Baxter's opinions, is honourable both to the 
writer and to the body to which it refers. 

" Most of them were zealous, and very many learned, dis- 
creet, and godly men ; fit to be very serviceable in the church* 
In the search of Scripture and antiquity, I found, that, in the 
beginning, a governed church, and a stated worshipping church, 
were all one, and not two several things; and that, though there 
might be other by-meetings in places like our chapels or private 
houses, for such as age or persecution hindered to come to the 
more solemn meetings, yet churches then were no bigger, in 
respect of number, than our parishes now. These, were societies 
of Christians united for personal communion, and not only for 
communion by meetings of officers and delegates in synods, as 


many churches in association be. I saw, if once we go beyond 
the bounds of personal communion, as the end of particular 
churches^ in the definition, we may make a church of a nation, 
or of ten nations, or what we please, which shall have none of the 
natore and ends of the primitive, particular churches. I saw 
also a commendable care of serious holiness and discipline in 
most of the Independent churches; and I found that some epis- 
copal men, as Bishop Usher himself, did hold that every bishop 
was independent, as to synods, and that synods were not proper 
governors of the particular bishops, but only for their concord/'^ 

fn this passage, Baxter grants almost every thing for which the 
Independents have contended. It is rather surprising, consider- 
ing his acuteness, that he did not perceive the inferences which 
ought CO be drawn from the premises. If primitive churches 
were possessed of separate and independent authority, and con- 
listed only of those who appeared to be Christians 5 and if going 
beyond personal communion, as the great object of Christian 
association leaves every thing vague and indefinite, it seems very 
dear on which side the strength of the argument respecting 
church government and fellowship lies. In fact, Baxter was more 
ao Independent or congregationali8t,both in theory and practice, 
than he was generally disposed to admit. 

We have given the bright side of the picture of this party; we 
must now look at the dark. *^ In the Independent way," he 
says, '' I disliked many things. They made too light of ordina- 
tion. They also had their office of lay-eldership. They were 
commonly stricter about the qualification of church members, 
than Scripture, reason, or the practice of the universal church 
would allow ; not taking a man's bare profession as credible, and 
as sufficient evidence of his title to church communion ; unless 
either by a holy life, or the particular narration of the passages 
of the work of grace, he satisfied the pastors, and all the church, 
that he was truly holy ; whereas every man's profession is the 
valid evidence of the thing professed in his heart, unless it be 
disproved by him that qucstioneth it, by proving him guilty of 
heresies or impiety, or sins inconsistent with it. If once you go 
beyond the evidence of a serious, sober confession, as a credible 
and sufficient sign of title to church membership, you will never 
know where to rest. The church's opinion will be both rule 
and judge ; and men will be let in, or kept out, according to the 
various latitude of opinions or charity in the several officers or 

^ JJfe, part L, p, U0» 


churches ; so that he will h6 passable in one chdrcb^ who is in-* 
tolerable in another; and thus the churches will be hetero-* 
geneous and confused.^ There is in all this a little, if not more 
than a little, spiritual pride of the weaker sort of profestors^ 
affecting to be Ti.siblr set at a greater distance from the colder 
professors of Christianity, than God would have them, that no 
thejr may be more observable and conspicuous for their hoIine« 
in the world ; and there is too much uncharitableness in it^ when 
God hath given sincere professors the kernel of his mercies^ even 
grace and glory, and yet they will grudge the cold, hypocritical 
professors, so small a thing as the outward shell, and visible 
communion and external ordinances ; yea, though such are k^ 
in the church for the sake and service of the sincere. 

'' I disliked, also, the lamentable tendency of this their ymy to 
divisions and subdivisions, and the nourishing of heresies and 
sects. But above all I disliked, that most of them made the people 
by majoiity of votes, to be church governors, in excommunica* 
tions, absolutions, &c., which Christ hath made an act of office^ 
and so they governed their governors and themselves, lliey also 
too much exploded synods ; refusing them as stated, and admit- 
ting tliem but upon some extraordinary occasions. 1 disliked^ 
also, their over-rigidness against the admission of Christians cff 
other churches to their communion. And their making a 
minister to be as no minister to any but his own flock, and to 
act to others but as a private man; with divers others such 
irregularities and dividing opinions ; many of which the mode« 
ration of the New England synod hath of late corrected and dift* 
owned ; and so done very much to heal these breaches."^ 

Such is Baxter's account of the Independents of his timearf 
The number of their ministers who were members of the West- 
minster Assembly, did not exceed ten or t\telve. Of these^ 
Goodwin, Nye, Burroughs, Simpson, and Bridge, were reckoned 

^ I am not aware that Independents, either hi early or in latter times, rfe* 
quired more as the tvrm of religious fellowship than a credible prufession ; ihmt 
U, a profession entitled to belief, under all the circumstances in which it it 
made. As the tendency of humao nature is to be lax, rather than rigid, 
Baiter^s acc6nnt of the rigidity of the body is greatly to its honour. The coA* 
elodingr reflections in the shove paragraph, on the motives of the parties^ mod 
the defence of impure communion, are uu worthy of Baxter. Some of the other 
things to which he objects, if they existed in the infancy of the body, exist 
no longer; aod, therefore, do not reqnire any comment. The author most 
refer the reader to the * Memoirs of Dr.Owen,' for a fuller, and, as he coniidBrty 
« more correct view of Independency, than what is given by Baxteri or thaa 
it would be proper to introduce here. 

^Ufe, p»rt a., pp. 143, 14i« 


as the leaden^ and by the admission of all parties were among the 
most distinguUhed in that body for learning, talents, and address. 
Baxter, Baillie, Lightfoot, and others, unite in bearing this testi- 
mony to them, lliey threw every possible obstacle in the way 
of establishing Presbyterian uniformity ) and though outvoted 
by numbers, their resistance and perseverance, aided by the en- 
lightened friends of religious liberty in parliament, among whom 
must be reckoned Vane, Cromwell, Pym, and Harrison, suc- 
ceeded in preventing the ascendancy of a party, which, as it was 
then constituted, had it obtained sufficient power, would havd 
mercilessly persecuted all who opposed its progress or were ini- 
mical to its interests. 

These were the chief parties in England, when the West- 
minster Assembly was called, and which may be considered as 
represented in that 1>ody« Little difference existed among them 
on the leading principles of the Gospel ; which, as appears from 
the confession and catechisms published by the Assembly, they 
held decidedly in the Calvinistic view of those principles. There 
were, doubtless, many persons whose religion could not be called 
in question, who would not have gone so far as some of the ex- 
pressions in those documents ; but considering the Assembly as 
a tolerably fair representative of the religious community of 
England at that time, no doubt can be enteriained, that Calvin- 
ism was then the prevailing doctrinal system, both in the church 
and out of it. 

On other points, especially those of church government and 
discipline, it is equally clear that they differed widely from each 
other, and never would agree in any common system. Jure 
^xcmo prelatists, solemn- league-and -covenant presbyterians, 
latitudinarian Erastians, and tolerating independents, could 
not possibly coalesce as the friends and supporters of any scheme 
to which all should be required to submit. On leading points of 
ecclesiastical polity they were the antipodes of each other. 
Compromise was out of the question; submission to one another, 
where conscience was concerned, would have been regarded as 
sin against God ; and even liberty to others, to act according to 
their own convictions, was considered by some of them too im- 
portant a right to be admitted, or boon to be conferred. Mean 
tin^ the cause of civil and religious freedom steadily advanced, 
and finally gained ascendancy. While the parties differed 
among themselves, nothing could be enforced by authority ; and 
when the majority decided in favour of the divine right of prea- 



byterianism^ the civil powers had* fallen into hands which took 
effectual care that it should not be established, llie friends of 
that system, grasping at too much, frustrated their own aim; and 
lost in the struggle for exclusive authority, their influence in re- 
ligion, and their importance in. politics. In the righteous retri- 
bution of Providence, those who had refused to grant political 
existence to others, finally lost their own. 

The account of the leading parties in the nation at this period, 
would be incomplete without noticing another^ — the Baptists. 
This body also attracted the attention of Baxter, and as he dis- 
tinguished himself in several controversies with its ministers, it is 
gratifying to find him record the following opinion of its chsi- 
racter : ^^ For the Anabaptists themselves, though I have written 
and said so much against them, as I found that most of them 
were persons of zeal in religion, so many of them were sober, 
godly people, who differed from others but in the point of infant 
baptism, or, at most, in the points of predestination, free-will, 
and perseverance. And .1 found in all antiquity, that though 
infant baptism was held lawful by the church, yet some, with 
Tertullian and Nazianzen, thought it most convenient to make 
no haste; and the rest left the time of baptism to every one's 
liberty, and forced none to be baptized : insomuch as not only 
Constantine, Theodosius, and such others as were converted at 
the years of discretion, but Augustine, and many such as were 
the children of Christian parents (one or both), did defer their 
baptism much longer than I think they should have done. So 
that, in the primitive church, some were baptized in infancy, 
and some in ripe age, and some a little before their death ; and 
none were forced, but all left free ; and the only penalty of their 
delay was, that so long, they were without the privileges of the 
church, and were numbered but with the catechumens or ex- 
pectants.*' "* I believe there were no Baptists in the Assembly, 
though they had existed long before^ were then in considerable 
number in the country, and could rank among themselves many 
excellent, and a few learned persons. 

Having thus exhibited Baxter's particular views of the great 
leading parties which then constituted the religious world, the fol- 
lowing summing up, by himself, is particularly worthy of atten* 
tion: — "Among all these parties,! found that some were natural- 
ly of mild, calm, and gentle dispositions ; and some of sour, ho^ 
ward, passionate^ peevish, or furious natures. Some were young, 

n Life, part U. pp. 140, Ul. 


raw, and inexperienced, and these were like young fruit, sour 
and harsh ; addicted to pride of their own opinions, to self- 
conceitedness, turbulency, censoriousness, and temerity ; and to 
engage themselves for a cause and party before they understood 
the matter. They were led by those teachers and books that 
had once won their highest esteem, judging of sermons and per- 
sons by their fervency more than by the soundness of the matter 
and the cause. Some I found, on the other side, to be ancient 
and experienced Christians, that had tried the spirits, and seen 
what was of God, and what of man, and noted the events of both 
in the world. These were like ripe fruit, mellow and sweet; 
' first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of 
mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy; 
^ho, beuig makers of peace, did sow the fruits of righteousness 
in peace/ 

^^ But I found not all these alike in all the disagreeing parties, 
though some of both sorts were in every party. The Erastian 
party was mostly composed of lawyers, and other secular persons. 
The Diocesan party consisted of some grave, learned, godly 
bishops, and some sober, godly people of their mind ; and^ 
withal, of almost all the carnal politicians, temporizers, pro- 
fane,^ and haters of godliness, in the land, and all the rabble of 
the ignorant, ungodly vulgar. Whether this came to pass from 
any thing in the nature of their diocesan government, or from 
their accommodating the ungodly sort by the formal way of 
their public worship, or from their heading and pleasing them by 
running down the stricter sort of people whom they hated ; or 
all these together ; and also because the worst and most do 
always fall in with the party that is uppermost, I leave to the 
judgment of the considerate reader. The Presbyterian party 
consisted of grave, orthodox, godly ministers, together with 
the hopefulest of the students and young ministers, and the so- 
berest, godly, ancient Christians, who were equally averse to 
persecution and to schism ; and of those young ones who were 
educated and ruled by these ; as, also, of the soberest sort of 
the well-meaning vulgar who liked a godly life, though they 
had no great knowledge of it. This party was most desirous of 

*' The Independent party had many very godly ministers and 
people, but with them many young, injudicious persons 5 inclined 
much to novelties and separations, and abounding more in zeal 
tlian knowledge; vsuaUy doing more for subd\v\s\ou^ iVv^w \\\^ 
yoL, I, G 


few sober persons among them could do for unity and peace ; 
too much mistaking the terms of church communion, and the 
difference between the regenerate (invisible), and the congregate 
(or visible) church. 

** The Anabaptist party consisted of some (but fewer) sober, 
peaceable persons, and orthodox in other points ; but, withal, 
of abundance of young,, transported zealots, and a medley of 
opinionists, who all hasted directly to enthusiasm and subdivi- 
sions, and by the temptation of prosperity and success in arms, 
and the policy of some commanders, were led into rebellions and 
hot endeavours against the ministry, and other scandalous crimes; 
and brought forth the horrid sects of Ranters, Seekers, and 
Quakers, in the land." ° 

In this description of parties we observe some of the marked 
peculiarities of Baxter. He was obviously disposed to do justice 
to all, and ready to acknowledge true religion wherever he found 
it; but a little more zeal in some particulars, than was suited to his 
* taste, was enough to induce him to speak more strongly of the 
parties than the case justified : besides, he was influenced not 
only by what he witnessed himself, but by what he heard from 
others. While he was acute and candid, he was credulous; 
more disposed to listen to vague and injurious reports than a 
tnan of his piety and experience ought to have been : but, after 
all, the picture that he draws of the parties which left the 
church is, on the whole, advantageous to them. It is evident 
that he considered there was a large preponderance of genuine 
religion among each ; which far more than outweighed all the 
dross and alloy belonging to them. They who imagine there 
was nothing but sectarian zeal, guided and excited by po- 
litical frenzy, entirely mistake the true state of things. There 
was much real religion in the parties which professed it, though 
mixed up with a great deal of what tended to injure it, or occa- 
sion misconception of its nature. 

Baxter was so fully convinced of the prevalence of true reli- 
gion among the persons composing the leading parties, that 
he made it much of the business of his life to convince 
them, that they differed less from each other than they them- 
selves supposed, and to induce them to act together in Christian 
fellowship. " I thought it my duty,'* he says, " to labour to 
bring them all to a concordant practice of so much as they were 
agreed in; to set all that together which was true and good 

» Life, part Uu pp. U4— U^. 


among them ail, and to reject the reet; and especially to labour to 
revive Christian charity, which faction and disputes had lamenta- 
bly extidguished.''® This object he prosecuted in the most inde^ 
fatigable manner, by conversation, preaching, writing,aiid disputp- 
ing; and though he often compldns of disappointment, and 
deplores the divisions of the period, his success in uniting all 
parties in the town of Kidderminster, was complete ; and his 
influence over the serious people of the county at large, very 

Having given, chiefly in Baxter's words, an account of the 
leading religious parties of the period, I consider this the best 
place to introduce his remarks on the minor sects; some of which 
had but an ephemeral existence, while others have increased, 
extended, and still remain. I feel it to be my duty to record his 
statements, many of which are very curious, though I fear they 
are not always sufficiently free from the influence of that preju- 
dice and credulity to which I have just adverted. 

The variety of religious sects which sprung up during the 
period of which we are now treating, has been a fruitful topic of 
teproach and exultation to infidels and worldly ecclesiastics* 
The former of these classes glory in the fanaticism of the sects, 
as a proof of the absurdity of all religion whatever; the others 
refer to it as a beacon to warn men of the danger of departing 
from established faith and forms. Infidels forget, however, that 
sects, and enthusiastic ones too, are not confined to Christians. 
The elegant mythology of Greece and Rome presented, in the 
deities of a thousand groves and streams, any thing but a unity of 
opinion or worship ; while the conduct of the worthies of those 
elegant superstitions, so far from indicating the influence of a 
sober rationality, exhibited '^all monstrous, all prodigious things/' 
Nor were the haunts of philosophy in ancient, or the schools of 
philosophy in modern times, more free from sects and schisms, 
and from fierce and angry contentions. Ecclesiastics should re- 
member that unity is the boast of the Romish church, and divi- 
sion her reproach of Protestantism. Not that she is entitled to 
the claim of unity, or to fling the reproach of discord at others. 
She has her sects and her quarrels too. It is not to the dis- 
credit of the reformation that it gave rise to a diversity of opinion 
and practice among the reformers themselves, and afforded an 
opportunity for the manifestation of errors and improprieties 
which they all deplored. The excitement produced b^ XVvaX 

''Life, parti, p. Hi. 




glorious event was not likely to spend all its force on the minds 
which were capable of bearing it without injury ; it was neces- 
sarily extended to others, whose passions or imaginations were 
more powerful than their understandings. On such men, the 
pure fire which burned on the Protestant altar became wild fire ; 
not warming by its genial heat, or consuming evil by its steady 
flame, but scorching, and vagrant ; destroying in its ftiry both 
friends and fo^s. 

It cannot be matter of surprise that the civil commotions of 
England, which were but the bursting forth of a volcano, that 
had long been burning in secret, should be attended with similar 
effects. The convulsion which overturned the throne, over- 
whelmed the church, and nearly destroyed the constitution, was a 
shock which even the most powerful minds could scarcely sustain. 
It was natural to regard it as the crisis of religion as well as of 
politics, and to contemplate in it the approach or commence- 
ment of a new and splendid era. Politicians, astrologers, lawyers, 
physicians, and philosophers, as well as theologians, felt its 
po>Yer. Few comparatively of any class, could '^ sit on a hill 
apart,'' and contemplate, with calm serenity, the whirlwind and 
the storm which were then raging ; still fewer were capable of 
directing them, or of reducing the conflicting elements to order 
and harmony; and of those who made the attempt, not a few 
perished in it, or only exposed themselves to the insult and 
mockery which their imbecile temerity justly deserved. 

Religion, firom its infinitely greater importance than all other 
things,necessarily wrought most powerfiilly in these circumstances 
on those who were concerned for its interests. The zeal of such 
persons, was not always in proportion to the strength or the cor- 
rectness of their judgment. It was not too fervent, had it been 
sufficiently enlightened ; but being, in many instances, in the in- 
verse ratio of knowledge and prudence, it produced all sorts of 
wild and eccentric movements. We deplore that this should 
have been the case; but it U foolish to be surprised, or to sneer, 
at it. Circumstances produced sects in religion as they pro- 
duced parties in politics : they formed heresies in the church as 
thev created false theories in the state. If fanatics and heresi- 
archs abounded, so did quack doctors, and political empyrics. 
Spiritual nostrums were not more numerous or discordant than 
astrological conundrums, and philosophical dreams and visions. 
Let Baxter's account of the following sects be read under the 
inHuence of these remarks, and uotVuwg vj\\\ «l^)j^^x ^vlher unac* 
countable or extraordinary. 


^* In these times/' referring particularly to the period of the 
Rump Parliament, *' sprang up five sects, at least, whose doctrines 
were almost the same,but they fell into seVeral shapes and names: 
the Vanists ; the Seekers; the Ranters; the Quakers; the 
Behmenists/' Of each of these^ we are furnished with a short 

"The Vanists, for I know not by what other name to make 
them known, were Sir Harry Vane's disciples ; and first sprang up 
under him in New England, when he was governor there. Their 
notions were then raw and undigested, and their party quickly 
confounded by God's providence ; as you may see in a little 
book of Mr. Thomas Weld's, of the rise and fall of Antinomian- 
ism and Familism in New England, p Sir Harry Vane being 
governor, and found to be the secret promoter and life of the 
cause, was fain fo steal away by night, and take shipping for 
England, before his year of government was at an end. 

" When he came over into England, he proved an instrument of 
greater calamity to a people more sinful and more prepared for 
God's judgments. Being chosen a parliament man, he was very 
active at first for the bringing of delinquents to punishment. He 
was the principal person who drove on the parliament to go too 
high, and act too vehemently against the king : and being of very 
ready parts, and very great subtilty, and unwearied industry, he 
laboured, not without success, to win others in parliament, 
citv, and countrv* to his wav. W'hen the Earl of Strafford was 
accused, he got a paper out of his father's cabinet (who was 
secretary of state) which was the chief means of his condemna- 
tion. To most of our changes, he was that within the House, 
which Cromwell was without. His great zeal to drive all into 
war, and to cherish the sectaries, especially in the army, made 
him, above all men, to be valued by that party. 

" His unhappiness lay in this, that his doctrines were so 
cloudily formed and expressed, that few could understand them, 
and therefore he had but few true disciples. The Lord Brook was 
slain before he had brought him to maturity : Mr. Sterry was 
thought to be of his mind, as he was his intimate friend ; but 
was so famous for obscurity in preaching, being, said Sir 
Benjamin Rudiard, too high for this world, and too low for the 

P I have not inserted aU that Baxter says about New England. The foolish. 
story about Mrs. Dyer is a proof only of the malevolence or folly of the inven- 
tors. Weld's book is the production of a weak, prejudiced ip^o, and eulitlecl 
to little respect as authority. 


88 TRX UIB AND TfifBa 

Other, that he thereby proved almost barren also; and ponity 
and sterUUy were never more happily conjoined* ^ Mr. Sprigge 
is the chief of his more open dbcipies ; and too well known by a 
book of his sermons/ 

^^ This obscurity was imputed by some, to his not understand- 
ing himself; but, by others, to design, because he could speak 
plainly when he listed. The two courses, in which he had most 
success, and spake most plainly, Were his ^ Earnest Plea for Uni- 
versal Liberty of Conscience, and against the Magistrates inter- 
meddling with Religion ; * and his teaching his followers to revile 
the ministry, calling them, ordinarily, blackcoats, priests, and 
other names which then savoured of reproach ; and those gen- 
tlemen that adhered to the ministry, they said, were priest* 

^' When Cromwell had served himself by him, as his surest 
friend, as long as he could, and gone as far with him as their 

« Baxter's q)iDioii of Sterry underwent a great chan^ after this pminijif 
pftsaage was written. He thus speaks of bim in his ' Catholic Theology : ' 
'< It is long since I beard of the name and fame of Mr. Peter Sterry. His com- 
mon fame was, that his preaching was such as few, or none, could understand, 
which increased my desire to hare heard him, of which I still missed, tboofli 
I often attempted it. But now since his death, while my book is in the prets^ 
a posthumous tract of his cometh forth, of Free WiU : upon perusal of which, 
1 found in bim the same notions as in Sir Harry Vane ; but all handled with 
much more strength of parts, and rapture of highest derotion, and greater can- 
dour toward all others, than I expected. His preface is a most excellent per- 
suasive to universal charity. Love was never more extolled than throughout 
this book. Doubtless, bis bead was strong, bis wit admirably pregnant, his 
searching studies hard and sublime, and, 1 think, his heart replenished w^th 
holy love to God, and great charity, moderation, and peaceableness towardi 
men : insomuch, that I heartily repent that I so far believed fame as to think 
somewhat bardlier of bim and his few adherents, than I now think they deserve." 
— CSorM. TheoL part iii. p. 107. 

While this' passage does great credit to the candour and honesty of Baxter* 
it shows us with what caution we ought to receive his opinions of the sec- 
taries of the Commonwealth. Sterry has, like many of the men of that period, 
been most unrighteously abused. He was mystical ; but so were Feneloa, 
Madam Guion, Henry More, and many others, whose talents and piety bava 
never been questioned. His works prove that be was no fool, and bis conduct 
shows that he was not a knave. He was a man of a highly poetical mind, 
which soared far above the turbulent atmosphere by which he was surrounded, 
and most of the creatures who floated in it. His work on the Will, to which 
Baxter refers, is written with ability, though some parts of it are not very 

' The book of Sermons by Sprigge, to which Baxter refers, is, I suppose, his 
* Testimony to an approaching Glory ; being an Account of certain Discourses 
lately delivered iu Pancras, Soperlane, London.' 12mo. 1649. The worst 
which can be said of these discourses is, that they are somewhat mystical \ 
otherwise they are creditable both to the piety aud talents of their author. 


my lay tacethar (Vane being fox a fanatie demoenMrf ^ and Crom- 
well for monarchy), at last, there was no remedy but they "taust 
put ; and when Cromwell east out the Rump, be called Vane a 
joggl^rjand Martin a whoremonger, to excuse his usage of the rest* 
Wboi Vane was thus Mi by, he wrote his book, called ^ Tho 
Retired Man's. Meditations,' wherein the best part of his opi« 
nions are so expressed as will make but few men bis disciplefl« 
His ^ Healing Question ' is more plainly written, . 

*^ When Cromwell was dead, he got Sir Arthur Haselrigge to 

be his close adherent on civil accounts, procured the Rump to 

be set up agmn, with a council of state, and got the power much 

into bis own hands. When be was in the height of this power, he 

set upon the forming of a new commonwealth, and, with some of 

his adherents, drew up the model, which was for popular go-* 

vemmeut ; but so that men of his confidence must be the people* 

'' Of my own displeasing him, this is the true account. It 

grieved me to see i^ poor kingdom tossed up and down in 

unquietness, the ministers made odious, and ready to be cast 

out, a reformation trodden underfoot, and parliament an4 

piety made a scorn, while scarce any doubted but he was the prin^ 

dpal spring of all. Therefore, being writing against the PapistSj 

and coming to vindicate our religion against them, when they im^ 

pnte to US the blood of the king, I fully proved that the Pro-> 

testants, and particularly the Presbyterians, abhorred it, and 

suffered greatly for opposing it; and that it was the act of 

CromwelFs army, and the sectaries, among which I named the' 

Vanists as one sort. I showed that the Friars and Jesuits were 

the deceivers, and, under several vizors, were dispersed among 

the people. Mr. Nye having told me that Vane was long in 

Italy, I said it was considerable how much of his doctrine he 

had brought from Italy ; whereas it appeared that he was only 

in Prance, and Helvetia, upon the.borders of Italy. By mistake, 

it was printed /rom Italy. I had ordered the printer to correct 

it ' towards Italy; ' but, though the copy was corrected, the im«« 

pression was not. Hereupon Sir Henry Vane, being exceedingly 

provoked, threatened me to many, and spake against me in the 

House ; and one Stubbs (that had been whipped in the Convo* 

cation House at Oxford) wrote for him a bitter book against 

me. He from a Vanist, afterwards turned a Conformist : since 

that, he turned physician ; and was drowned in a small puddle, 

or brook, as he was riding, near Bath.* 

* Henry Stubbs, accordio^ to Antiiony Wood, was '< tbe mgilnoVftd ^iwsQ. 


^' I confess my writing was a means to lessen his reputation, and 
make men take him for what Cromwell, who better knew him, 
called him, a juggler. I only wish I had done so much in time ; 
but the whole land rang of his anger and my danger ; and all 
expected my present ruin by him ; but to show him that I was 
not about recanting, as his agents would have persuaded me, I 
wrote also against his * Healing Question,' in a preface before 
my 'Holy Commonwealth ;' and the speedy turn of affairs did 
tie his hands from executing his wrath upon me. 

^^ Upon the king's coming iii, he was questioned, along with 
others, by the Parliament, But seemed to have his life secured ; 
but being brought to the bar, he spake so boldly in justifying 
the Parliament's cause, and what he had done, that it exasperated 
the king, and made him resolve upon his death. When he 
came to Tower Hill to die, and would have spoken to the peo- 
ple, he began so resolutely as caused the officers to sound the 
trumpets and beat the drums, and hinder him from speaking. 
No man could die with greater appearance of gallant resolution 
and fearlessness than he did, though before supposed a timorous 
man ; insomuch that the manner of his death procured him 
more applause than all the actions of his life. And when he 
was dead, his intended speech was printed, and afterwards 
his opinions more plainly expressed by his friend than him- 

of hia age." He was the sod of a 'minister, and a prot^g^ of Sir Henry Vane*!t, 
by whose aid he was educated at Oxford ; where, through the influence of 
Owen, he was made one of the Keepers of the Bodleian Library. He possessed 
very considerable parts and learning. After passing through various changes, 
he became a physician, and finally settled down into regular connexion with 
the church. He wrote maoy pamphlets on all subjects. The book to which 
Baxter refers is, <A Vindication of that Prudent and Honourable Knight, Sir 
Henry Vane, from the Lies and Calumnies of Mr. Richard Baxter, Minister 
of Kidderminster^ in a Letter to the said Mr. Richard Baxter.' 1659. It 
was honourable to Stubbs to defend his friend and patron ; hut he ought to 
have treated Baxter with more courtesy. The story of bis being whipped in the 
convocation, is probably entitled to little more attention than the whipping of 
Milton. The manner of his death proves nothing respecting bis former life or 
character, and was perhaps owing to no fault of his, though Wood's account 
is written with his characteristic spleen, and evidently intended to insinuate 
that he was intoxicated. ** He being at Bath attending several of his patients 
living in and near Warwick, then there, was sent for to come to another at 
Bristol in very hot weather : to which place, therefore, going a by-way, at 
ten of the cluck in the night, on the twelfth day of July, in sixteen hundred and 
teventy-six (bis bead being then intoxicated with bibbing, but more with 
talking and snuffing of powder), was drowned passing through a shallow river, 
wherein, as 'tis supposed, his horse stumbled j two miles distant from Bath/'— 
j//Aen, Ojton» voh iiLp, 1082. 


~ '^ Wben he. was cmidfinnedy some of his friends derired me to 
come to him, that I might see how iar he was from Popery, and 
in how excellent a temper (thinking I would hare asked him 
forgiveness for doing him wrong) ; 1 told them that if he had 
derired it, I would have gone to him ; but seeing he did not, I 
supposed he would take it for an injury ; as my conference was 
not likely to be such as would be pleasing to a dying man : for 
though I never called him 'a Papist, yet I still supposed he had 
done the Papists so much service, and this poor nation and re- 
ligion so much wrong, tliat we and our posterity are likely to 
have cause and time enough to lament it. So much of Sir 
Henry Vane and his adherents.^ 

*' The second sect which then rose up was that called Seekers. 
These taught that our Scripture was uncertain ; that present 
miracles are necessary to faith ; that our ministry is null and 
without authority, and our worship and ordinances unnecessary 
or vain ; the true church, ministry. Scripture, and ordinances, 
being lost, for which they are now seeking. I quickly found 
that the Papists principally hatched and actuated this sect, and 
that a considerable number that were of this profession, were 
some Papists and some infidels. However, they closed with the 
Vanists, and sheltered themselves under them, as if they had 
been the very same. 

** The third sect were the Ranters. These also made it their 
business, as the former, to set up the light of nature, in men, 
under the name of Christ, and to dishonour and cry down the 
church, the Scripture, the present ministry, and our worship and 
ordinances, lliey called men to hearken to Christ within them; 
but withal, they enjoined a cursed doctrine of libertinism, which 
brought them all to abominable filthiness of life. They taught, as 
the Familists, that God regardeth not the actions of the outward 
roan, but of the heart ; and that to the pure, all things are pure 
(even things forbidden) : and so, as allowed by God, they spake 
most hideous words of blasphemy, and many of them committed 
whoredoms commonly. 

* WhUe I hare extracted the i^reater part of Baxter's character of Sir Henry 
Vane, I cannot help expressing; my decided opinion that it is, iu various par- 
ticularsy incorrect. Baxter did not understand him, and, tlierefure, couhl not 
do him justice. He was brave, saj^cious, and disinterested ; the ardent and 
enUf^teoed friend of civil and reli«pous liberty ; distinguished in life by the 
deciiiion of his piety, and in death (thouf^h basely murdered in violation of all 
faith and justice) by his calm yet heroic behaviour. The man who was feared 
by Cromwell, bated by Charles, and praised by Miltou, could not have been a 
silly fanatic, or an unprincipled kDave. 

90 TUB un ANn timbs 

^^ There could never a sect arise in the world that waa a louder 
warning to professors of religion to be humble, fearful, and 
watchful ; never could the world be told more loudly, whither 
the spiritual pride of ungrounded novices in religion tendeth ) 
and whither professors of strictness in religion, may be carried 
in the stream of sects and- factions. I have seen myself, letters 
written from Abingdon, where, among both soldiers and people^ 
this contagion did then prevail, full of horrid oaths, curses, 
and blasphemy, not iit to be repeated by the tongue or pen of 
man ; and these all uttered as the effect of knowledge, and a part 
of their religion, in a fanatic strain, and fathered on the Spirit 
of God. But the horrid villanies of this sect, did not only 
speedily extinguish it, but also as much as ever any thing 
did, to disgrace all sectaries, and to restore the credit of the 
ministry, and of the sober, unanimous Christians; so that the devil 
and the Jesuits quickly found that this way served not their turn, 
and therefore they suddenly took another. 

^' And that was the fourth sect, the Quakers, who were but the 
Ranters, turned from horrid profaneness and blasphemy, to a 
life of extreme austerity, on the other side. Their doctrines were 
mostly the same with the Ranters ; they made the light which- 
every man hath within him to be his sufficient rule, and, conse^ 
quenlly, the Scripture and ministry were set light by. They spake 
much for the dwelling and working of the Spirit in us, but little 
of justification, and the pardon of sin, and our recouciliatioB 
with God through Jesus Christ. They pretend their depen^ 
dence on the Spirit's conduct, against set times of prayer, and 
against sacraments, and against their due esteem of Scripture 
and ministry. They will not have the Scripture called the 
Word of God ; their principal zeal lieth in railing at the minit-i 
ters as hirelings, deceivers, false prophets, &c. ; and in refusing 
to swear before a magistrate, or to put off their hat to any, or 
to say you instead of thou or iheCj which are their words to ail« 
At first they did use to fall into tremblings, and sometimes vomits 
ings, in their meetings, and pretended to be violently acted on by 
the Spirit ; but now that is ceased. They only meet, and he that 
pretendeth to be moved by the Spirit speaketh; and sometimes 
they say nothing, but sit an hour or more in silence, and then 
depart. One while divers of them went naked through several 
chief towns and cities of the land, as a prophetical act : some oi 
them have famished and drowned themselves in melancholy; and 
others^ undertaken^ by the power of the Spirit, to raise the dead. 


Thrif dmf leader^ James Nayler, acted the part of Christy at 
Bristol, according to much of the history of the Gospel ; and 
was long laid in Bridewell for it, and his tongue bored, as a blas- 
phemer^ by the Parliament.^ Many Franciscan friars, and other 
Papists, have been proved to be disguised speakers in their 
assemblies, and to be among them ; and it is like are the very 
sou) of all theee horrible delusions. But of late one William 
Penn is become their leader, and would reform the sect, and set 
up a kind of ministry among them/ 

^' The fifth sect are the Behmenists, whose opinions go much 
towards the way of the former, for the sufficiency of the light 
of nature, the salvation of heathens, &s well as Christians, and 
a dependence on revelations, &c. But they are fewer in 
number, and seem to have attained to greater meekness, and 
conquest of passion, than any of the rest. Their doctrine is to 
be seen in Jacob Behmen*s books, by those that have nothing else 
to do than to bestow a great deal of time to understand him that 
was not willing to be easily understood, and to know that his 
bombastic words signify nothing more than before was easily 
known by common familiar terms. ^ 

* Ib iht tot volume of ' Burton's Diary/ lately edited by Mr. Towill Rutt, 
there is a curious account of the debate in parliament respecting Nayler. It 
lasted ten or eleTen days. A horrible sentence was pronounced and inflicted | 
but he made a very narrow escape for his life, as several of the members 
were for passing sentence of death upon him. Burton was a witness of the 
execution of the sentence, and bears testimony to the fortitude with which 
Nayler bore it. The Protector, g^reatly to bis honour, interested himself on 
Nayler's behalf. The conduct of the House of Commons was as unconstitu- 
tional as its sentence was brutal and unmerited. 

* Baxter*^s account of the Quakers, like his representations of the other sects 
to which be was opposed, must be received with some abatement, and with 
due allowance for the exaggerations to which various parts of the conduct of 
some of the early Friends naturally pave rise. They wished to carry refor- 
matioo further than most uf the parties of the period approved ; they were 
powerfully influenced by the doctrine of impressions, for which they so 
strenuously contended ; their zeal was roused to tlie very utmost by the oppo- 
sition which they experienced; and which, operating on some peculiarly-ex- 
cited minds, produced, at least, temporary insanity. This was probably the case 
with James Nayler, and a few others, whose conduct the Friends would now he 
far from approving ; and whose severe and unmerited sufferings reflect indelible 
disgrace on the parties who inflicted them. The heroic and persevering con- 
duct of the Quakers in withstanding the interferences of government with the 
rights of conscience, by which they flnaily secured those peculiar privi- 
leges they so richly deserve to enjoy, entitles them to the veneration of all 
the friends of civil and religious freedom ; and more than compensates for those 
irregularities and extravagancies which marked the early period of their 

f The writings of Jacob Behmen are probably better known now »nd mot« 


'^ The chief of the Behmenists^ in England, are Dr .Pordage and 
his family, who live together in community, and pretend to hold 
visible and sensible communion with angels, whom they sometimes 
see, and sometimes smell. Mr. Fowler, of Reading, accosed 
him, before the committee, for preaching against imputed 
righteousness, and various other things, especially for famili- 
arity with devils, and conjuration. The doctor wrote a 
book to vindicate himself, in which he professeth to have 
/ 1 sensible communion with angels, and to know, by sights and 
smells, good spirits from bad. He saith, that indeed one 
month' his house was molested with evil spirits, which was 
occasioned by one Everard, whom he taketh to be a conjurer, 
who staid so long with him, as desiring to be of their communion. 
In this time, a fiery dragon, so big as to fill a very great 
room, conflicted with him, visibly, many hours; one ap- 
peared to him in his chamber, in the likeness of Everard, with 
boots, spurs, &c. ; and an im))ression was made on the brick 
wall of his chimney, of a coach drawn with tigers and lions, 
which could not be got out till it was hewed out with pickaxes : 
and another on his glass window, which yet remaineth^ &c. 
Whether these things be true or false, I know not.* 

'^ Among these, fall in many other sect-makers, as Dr. Gell^ of 
London, known partly by a printed volume, in folio ; * and one 

admired than they were in the days of Baxter. William Law and John Wes- 
ley both contributed, especially the first, to ^in gome credit for them iu Eng- 
land. Jacob was a very harmless enthusiast, or rather madman, whose dreams 
and visions bewildered himself, and the revelation of them bewildered others. 
That he should have found admirers in such a period of excitement as that 
which Eng^land experienced during the Commonwealth, cannot be matter of 
surprise, when we find that he obtained followers in the quiet reign of the 
Georges. Those who do not choose to misspend their time in the eKaminatioa 
of his mystical conundrums, will find enough of the same in the works of Law; 
or may amuse themselves by looking at a small life of Behmen, by his devoted 
admirer, Francis Okely; formerly of St. John's College, Cambridge. 1790. 

* It is surprising Baxter should not have perceived that Dr. Pordage 
was fitter for occupying a place in Bedlam, than to rank as the bead or 
leader of a sect. If madmen are to be reckoned sect-makers, we might 
reckon sect^ without number, in all ages aod places. Granger says of 
him, very justly, '<He was far gone in one of the most incurable kinds of 
madness, the frenzy of enthusiasm ; *' yet was be a doctor in philosophy, 
medicine, and theology*. 

*■ Dr. Gell, of whom Baxter speaks, appears to have been a very singular 
roan. He published two folio volumes on the Scriptures : the one in 1659; 
the other appeared after his death, in 1676. He was rector of St. Mary, Alder- 
maubury. His works are a curious mass of learning, occasional original, 
interpretation of the Scriptures, and mystical speculation, often of a very pecu* 
JJar nature. But men of a similar cast of mind have appeared in every 4igeu 


Mr. Pufcer, who got in with the Earl of Pembroke, and 
wrote a book against the ^Assembly's Confession/ in which 
he taketh up roost of the Popish doctrines, and riseth up against 
them with papal pride and contempt, but owneth not the pope 
himself. Yet he headeih his body of doctrine with tlie Spirit, as 
die Papists do with the pope.^ To these also must be added 
Dr. Gibbon, who goeth about with his scheme to proselyte men, 
whom I have more cause to know than some of the rest.^ 

^ All these, with subtile diligence, promote most of the papal 
cause, and get in with the religious sort, either upon pretence of 
austerity, mortification, angelical communion, or clearer light ; 
but none of them yet owneth the name of a Papist ; but what 
they are, indeed, and who sendeth them, and what is their work, 
though I strongly conjecture, I will not assert, because I am not 
fully irertain : let time discover them/' ^ 

^ Purkcr's book on the Assembly's Catechism, I once had in my possession. 
He appeart to have been a concealed Papist; and, partly on Popish, and partly 
on Anninian |»rinciples» attacks the doctrmes of the Westminster Confession. 
But it is quite a mail of confusion. 

* The person to whom Baxter here refers, was Dr. Nicholas Gibbon, who, 
after the Restoration, became rector of Corfe Castle. He was a busy, forward 
royalist. The foUowin|f curious account of his intercourse with Baxter, which 
is given in another part of his life, explains the alluiion here made to him. It 
is probable that Baxter knew enough of him ; but he was more a man of in- 
trigue than the maker of a sect. 

** While I lodged at Lord Broghill's, a certain person was importunate to 
speak wiib me. Dr. Nic. Gibbon,'^ who, shutting the doors on us, that there 
might be no witnesses, drew forth a scbeine of theology, and told me how \o\\^ 
a journey he had once taken towards me, and engaged me patiently to hear him 
open to me bis scheme, which he said was the very thing that I had been long 
groping after; and contained the only terms and method to resolve all doubts 
whatever in divinity, and unite all Christians through the world : and there 
was none of them printed but what he kept himself, and he communicated 
tbem only to such as were prepared, which he thought 1 was. 1. Searching; 
3. Impartial ; and, 3. A lover, of method. I thanked him, and heard him 
above au hour in silence ; and, after two or three days' talk with him, I found 
all his frame, the contrivance of a very strong head-piece, was secretly and 
cunningly fitted to usher in a Socinian Popery, or a mixture of Popery and 
balf-Sociuianism. Bishop Usher had before occasionally spoken of him in my 
bearing as a Socinian, which caused mc to hear him with suspicion ; but I 
beard none suspect him of Popery, though I found that it was that which was 
the end of his design. This juggler hath this twenty years, and more, 
gone up and down thus secretly, and also thrust himself into places of pub- 
lic debate (as when the bishops and divines disputed before the king at 
the Isle of Wight, &c.) ; and when we were lately offering our proposals fur 
concord to the king, he thrust in among us ; till I was fain, plainly, to detect 
him before some of the Lords, which enraged him ; and he denied the words 
which, in secret, he had spoken to me. Many men of parts and learning are 
perverted by him," — Z»«/(P, part ii. pp. 205, 206. 
^ laJe, part L p. 74-^70. 


After this account oJP the several sects and their leaders^ it will 
be proper to quote a portion of the general refiections which 
Baxter makes upon them. " These are they/' he says, " who 
have been most addicted to church divisions, and separations, 
and sidings, and parties, and have refused all terms of concord 
and unity : who, though many of them weak and raw, were yet 
prone to be puffed up with high tlioughts of themselves, and to 
overvalue their little degrees of knowledge and parts, which set 
them not above the pity of understanding men. They have been 
set upon those courses which tend to advance them above 
the common people in the observation of the world, and to 
set them at a further distance from others than God alloweth, 
and all this under the pretence of the purity of the church. In 
prosecution of their ends, there are few of the Anabaptists that 
have not been the opposers and troublers of the faithful ministers 
of God in the land, and the troublers of their people, and 
hinderers of their success ; strengthening the hands of the pnn 
fane. The sectaries, especially the Anabaptists, Seekers, and 
Quakers, chose out the most able, zealous ministers, to be the 
marks of their reproach and obloquy, and all because they stood 
in the way of their designs, and hindered them in the propaga^ 
ting their opinions. They set against the same men as the 
drunkards and swearers set against, and much after the same 
manner, reviling them, and raising up false reports of them, 
and doing all that they could to make them odious, and at 
last attempting to pull them all down; only they did it 
more profanely than the profane, in that they said. Let the 
Lord be glorified, let the Gospel be propagated; and abused and 
profaned Scripture, and the name of God, by prefixing him to 
their faction and miscarriages. Yea, though they thought them- 
selves the most understanding and conscientious people of the 
land, yet did the gang of them seldom stick at any thing which 
seemed to promote their cause; but whatever their faction in the 
army did, they pleaded for and approved it. If they pulled 
down the parliament, imprisoned the godly, faithfql members, 
and killed the king ; if they cast out the Rump, if they chose a 
little parliament of their own ; if they set up Cromwell ; if they 
raised up his son, and pulled him down again ; if they sought 
to obtrude agreements on the people ; if they one week set 
up a council of state, and if another week the Rump were re* 
stored ; if they sought to take down tithes and parish ministers, 
to the utter confusion of religion lu tU^ laxvd; in all these 


the AnRbaptifttoy Rnd many of the Independents in the three 
kbgdomty followed them, and even their pastors were ready to 
lead them to consent. 

^ I know the same accusations are laid by some in ignorance 
and malice^ against many that are guilty of no such things, and^ 
therefore, some will be offended with me, and say I imitate such 
repioBches ; but shall none be reproved because some are slan* 
dered ? Shall hypocrites be free from conviction and condemn 
nation^ because wicked men call the godly hypocrites ? Wo to 
the man that hath not a faithful reprover ! but a thousand woes 
will be to him that hateth reproof 1 Wo to them that had 
rather sin were credited and kept in honour, than their party 
dishonoured ; and wo to the land where the reputation of men 
doth keep sin in reputation I The Scripture itself will not 
spare a Noah, a Lot, a David, an Hezekiah, a Josiah, a P^ter | 
hot will open and shame their sin to all generations. Yet| 
alas I the hearts of many, who it is to be hoped are truly religious, 
will rise against him that shall tell them of the misdoings of 
diose ct their opinion, and call them to repentance. The poor 
church of Christ, the sober, sound religious part, are like Christ, 
that was crucified between two thieves. The profane and for** 
mal persecutors, oh one hand, and the fanatic, dividing sec- 
taries on the other, have in all ages been grinding the spiritual 
seed, as the com is ground between the millstones. And though 
their sins have ruined themselves and us, and silenced so many 
hundred ministers, and scattered the flocks, and made us the 
hatred and scorn of the ungodly world, and a by- word, and 
desolation in the earth, yet there are few of them who lament 
their sin, but justify themselves and their misdoings; and the 
penitent malefactor is unknown to us. And seeing poste- 
rity must know what they have done, to the shame of our laud 
and of our sacred profession, let them know thus much more, 
also, to their own shame, that all the calamities which have be* 
fallen us by our divisions were long foreseen by many : and they 
were told and warned of them year after year. They were told 
that a house divided against itself could not stand; and that the 
course they took would bring them to shame, and turn a hope- 
ful reformation into a scorn, and make the land of their nativity 
a place of calamity and wo : but the warning signified nothing 
to them ; these ductile professors blindly followed a few self- 
conceited teachers to this misery, and no warning or means could 
ever stop tbews'** 

• Ufe, part L pp. 102, 103. 


96 THB life' AND TIMBS 

Such is the curious account which Baxter gives of the extra- 
ordinary state of religion, and of religious parties^ during this sin- 
gular period of England's history. His opportunities to become 
acquainted with the state of things, were very considerable, and 
his veracity unquestionable. Yet 1 cannot help thinking that a 
worse opinion may be formed of the state of religion from what he 
has said, than the real circumstances will justify, ^he language 
of many would lead us to suppose that during what Milton calls 
ironically ^' the year of sects and schisms/* those sects and 
schisms were almost innumerable. The uncouth designations 
employed to describe them, by such persons as Edwards, Vicars, 
Pagitt, and Featley, have furnished many a joke, and led to 
many an exaggerated description. But when the matter comes 
to be examined, a great deal of this mist, in which the period is 
enveloped, is cleared away. Baxter's own account, which dis- 
covers no disposition to conceal or, extenuate, shows, that beside 
the leading religious parties, which were composed mostly of 
respectable persons, there were only five other sects tliat he could 
describe. Even these so ran into one another that he could not 
accurately discriminate them. With the exception of the 
Quakers, none of the rest is entitled to be spoken of as a distinct 
or separate sect. All the others appear to have consisted of a 
small number of floating individuals, who had no defined religi- 
ous system, and who enjoyed an existence and influence of the 
most ephemeral nature. Most of the leaders were harmless and 
inoffensive in their lives ; men whose hearts were better than 
their understandings ; and who were, in some cases, rendered 
mischievous, chiefly by the treatment which they experienced.' 

These sects and heresies are often represented as hatched 
and spawned during the Commonwealth, and constituting its 
disgrace ; they are also alleged to stamp the character of that 
much -misrepresented period of our history. It should be re- 
membered, however, that when liberty runs riot, it is generally 
when it has been preceded by oppression and tyranny* Persecu- 
tion and restraint have often been the real parents of those 
opinions, which are sometimes truly extravagant, and at other 

' ** Old Epiiraim Pa^itt/' as he calls himself, describes, in his ' Heresio^ra- 
phy/ between furty and fifty different sects ; but the whole of these may be 
reduced to a very few, as he makes mauy foolish distinctions. For instance, 
he has jinabaptisis, and Plunged Anabaptists s Separatists, and Semi'SeparaHsti, 
He has Jirownists, BarrowistSyAinsworihianSj llobinsonians, who were all men 
of one party. He has Famitists, Casta lian Falnilists, Familists of the Mnm- 

iains, and Fantititts of the Falliei I SucVv \« a s^c\mt\i oC the wisdom and the 

tnultiplyiog powev o£ Old Ephraim PagvU. 


times only regarded as such by the dominant party ; which liberty 
has not created but only brought to light. That the sudden 
bursting of the bonds of civil and ecclesiastical slavery should 
be attended with some temporary evils, is only what might be 
expected. Who thinks of blaming the emancipated captive, for a 
few freaks and a little wildness, when first breathing the air of hea- 
ven ? These are but indications of powerful emotion, which, when 
familiar with his new circumstances, will subside into a delight- 
fid calm* The strong representations of gross immoralities 
allied to be practised by some of the members of the sects 
referred to, will go but a little way with those who know how 
the primitive believers were misrepresented, and what treatment 
the reformers experienced^ Charges of this kind have been 
commonly preferred against the followers of new sects, they 
therefore always require to be very fiilly authenticated before 
they are believed. 

Baxter's notion that most of these sects were either projected 
or instigated by Papists, seems not sustained by any satisfactory 
evidence. He was full of alarms on this subject ; and from what 
he knew of the deceitful nature of Popery, he was prepared to 
give it credit for any mystery of iniquity. That the priests and 
Jesuits were disponed to aggravate rather than mitigate the evils 
which then existed, cannot be doubted. But the leaders of the 
religious parties of the Commonwealth, were not the tools with 
which they could safely work. 

If we look around on the state of parties tit present, we shall 
perhaps be convinced that sects and schisms are more numerous 
than even in the time of the Commonwealth, and not a few of 
them quite as extravagant. What, then ! Is this a proof that 
we have no religion, or of the evil and danger of religious free- 
dom ? No, certainly. But, let an attempt be made to hinder 
exertion, and put down sects, and we should find all the alleged 
evils of fanaticism and schism, aggravated and multiplied a 

The divisions of the Christian church are undoubtedly much 
to be deplored. They present a most unseemly appearance to 
the world, of that religion which may be said to be '^ o:.e and 
indivisible.'' They imply much imperfection on the pan of its 
professors, occasion great stumbling to unbelievers, and impair 
the energy and resources which might be advantageously em- 
ployed in assailing the common enemy. The causes of these 
divisions are to be sought in the ignorance^ tV\« vi^u^*^«xAk 

"08 .TAB Lira AKP TIMBS 

ilie prejudices of Christians ; ia indolent submissimi to authority 
lon one part, and the love of influence on another ; in the power 
of early habits and associations ; and^ above all, in the in&ieqce 
of a worldly spirit, which warps and governs the mind in a 
thousand ways. 

While the evil of this state of things is freely admitted, it is 
fx)ssible to exaggerate both the extent of the divisions which 
exist, and the injuries which result from them* There is more 
oneness of mind among real Christians than a superficial obser- 
ver might suppose. Baxter was quite correct in maintainiiig 
that they differ more about words than dungs. In thmr views 
I lof leading doctrines, in the experience of their influence^ in the 
I practical effects of Christianity, and in thdr expectation* of its 
I future glory, there is a substantial agreement amoi^ them* 
V In the wise and gracious administration of God, even these 
imperfections are overruled, and rendered productive df important 
good. They afford opportunity for the exercise of the Christian 
virtues of forbearance, patience, and love ; they put the tempers 
and profession of men to the test; and they often excite a ^irit 
of emulation, which, though not unmixed with evil^ is the 
means of extensive benefit to others* It is worthy of observn^ 
tion that all attempts to produce uniformity, have either becm de- 
feated ; or have occasioned fresh divisions. Under the appearance 
of outward unity, the greatest diversity of opinion generally pre- 
vails. And genuine religion flourishes most amidst what is 
i commonly denounced as the contentions of rival sects* The 
^ soil whose rankness sends forth an abundant crop of veeds^ 
will produce, if cultivated, a still more luxuriant harvest of c<mi. 
If the times of Baxter were fruitfiil of sects, and some of them 
wild and monstrous, they were still more fruitftil in the number 
of genuine, holy, and devoted Christians. It was not an age of 
fanaticism only, but of pure and undefiied religioq* 




Baxter regumes hit Labonn at Kidderminster-^Hig account of Public Aflllt#s 
mi the Death of Charles I. — His eonduct while in Riddefininster towards 
FarKaBieiit'^Towards the Royal Party — Hit Ministry at Kidderminster— >Hi8 
EmpfeyitieiiU^-Uit Sncceie^His Advaniages— Remarks on tbe style of his 
preachiBf — His fmhlic and private exertions— Their lasting effects. 

In the fourth chapter, a full account is given of the views and 
conduct of Baxter while he was connected with the victorious 
army of the Commonwealth. His exertions to promote its 
spiritual interests, were indefatigable and disinterested. With 
the most patriotic principles and aims, he devoted himself to 
counteract, what he considered the factious and sectarian dis- 
positions of the soldiers and their leaders ; while he experienced 
nothing but sorrow and disappointment as the fruit of his 
labours. His bodily health, always feeble and broken, at length 
sunk under the pressure of his circumstances, and he was com- 
pelled reluctantly to retire from the stormy atmosphere of a 
camp to the calmer region of a pastoral cure. 

The preceding chapter details the origin, character, and 
influence, of the principal and the minor religious parties 
which made a figure during the civil wars, or enjoyed an ephe- 
meral notoriety during the Commonwealth. To all that concern- 
ed both the civil and religious interests of his country, Baxter 
was powerfully alive. He had the soul of a patriot as well as of 
a Christian ; and often was he ready to weep tears of blood over 
the civil confusion and the religious distractions of his country. 
Yet were these halcyon days, in regard to the enjoyment of re- 
ligious privileges, compared with those which preceded and 
followed them. 

After various digressions he thus resumes his personal narative: 
" I have related how after my bleeding a gallon of blood by the 
nose, that I was left weak at Sir Thomas Rous's house, at Rous- 
Lench, where I was taken up with daily medicines to prevent a 
dropsy : and hew£^ conscious that my time had UOlb^^uVm^tov^ 



to the service of God as I desired it had been, I put up many an 
earnest prayer, that God would restore me, and use me more suc- 
cessfully in his work. Blessed be that mercy which heard my 
groans in the day of my distress; which wrought my deliverance 
when men and means failed, and gave me opportunity to cele- 
brate his praise. 

^' Whilst 1 continued there, weak and unable to preach, the 
people of Kidderminster had again renewed their articles agunst 
their old vicar and his curate. Upon trial of the cause, the 
committee sequestered the place, but put no one into it; and 
' placed fhe profits in the hands of divers of the inhabitants, to pay 
a preacher till it were disposed of. These persons sent to me and 
desired me to take it, in case I were again enabled to preach ; 
which I flatly refused, and told them I would take only the lec- 
ture which, by the vicar's own consent and bond,4 held before. 
Hereupon they sought Mr. Brumskill and others to accept the 
place, but could not meet with any one to their minds : they, 
therefore, chose Mr. Richard Serjeant to officiate, reserving 
the vicarage for some ohe that was fitter. 

^^ When I was able, after about five months' confinement, to go 
abroad, I went to Kidderminster, where I found only Mr. Ser- 
jeant in possession ; and the people again vehemently urged me 
to take the vicarage. This 1 declined ; but got the magistrates 
and burgesses together into the townhall, and told them, that 
though I had been offered many hundred pounds per annum 
elsewhere, I was willing to continue with them in my old lec- 
turer's place, which I had before the wars, expecting they would 
make the maintenance a hundred pounds a year, and a house ; 
and if they would promise to submit to that doctrine of Christ, 
which as his minister I should deliver to them, I would not leave 
them. That this maintenance should neither come out of their 
own purses, nor any more of it out of the tithes, save the sixty 
pounds which the vicar had before bound himself to pay, 1 
midertook to procure an augmentation for Milton (a chapel in 
the parish) of forty pounds per annum. This I afterwards did; 
and so the sixty pounds and that forty pounds were to be my part, 
and the rest I should have nothing to do with. The covenant 
was drawn up between us in articles, and subscribed ; in which I 
disclaimed the vicarage and pastoral charge of the parish, and 
only undertook the lecture. 

** Thus the sequestration continued in the hands of the towns- 
fiaea, ae ii/bresaid| who gath^^ tVk^ V^tX\^^ «sA ^^^ \Sk^ (^^t «. 


hnndred as they promised) but eighty pounds per annum, or 
ninety at most, and house-rent for a few rooms at the top of 
another man's house, which was all I had at Kidderminster. 
The rest they gave to Mr. Serjeant, and about forty pounds per 
annum to the old vicar ; six pounds per annum to the king and 
lord for rents, and a few other charges. 

^^Beaide this ignorant vicar, there was a chapel in the parish, 
where was an old curate as ignorant as he, that had long lived 
upon ten pounds a year and the fees of celebrating unlawful 
marriages. He was also a drunkard and a railer, and the scorn of 
the country, i knew not how to keep him from reading, though 
t judged it a sin to tolerate him in any sacred office. I got 
an augmentation for the place, and an honest preacher to 
instruct them, and let this scandalous fellow keep his former 
sdpend of ten pounds for nothing ; yet could never keep him 
from forcing himself upon the people to read, nor from cele- 
brating unlawful marriages, till a little before death did call him 
to hia account. I have examined him about the familiar points 
of religion^ and he could not say half so much to me as I have 
heard a child say. 

^ These two in this parish were not all : in one of the 
next parishes called ^ The Rock/ there were two chapels, 
where the poor ignorant curate of one got his living by cut- 
ting £Eiggots, and the other by making ropes. Their abilities 
being answerable to their studies and employ ments.''^ 

Such were the circumstances in which Baxter resumed his 
labours in Kidderminster. He was the man of the people's 
choice^ and enjoyed his right to the vicarage of the parish, had 
he been disposed to avail himself of it by the sequestration of 
the parliamentary commissioners. It is true he had no legal 
episcopal title ; and of this his enemies took advantage an- 
other day ; but it is very certain he had no hand in ejecting the 
former incompetent incumbent, or in forcing himself upon the 
people as his successor. The appointment of the existing Go- 
vernment therefore, or of a body acting under its sanction, was 
sufficient authority to justify his taking possession of the cure, 
and to support his complaint of unjust treatment when subse- 
quently refused liberty to preach in the parish by Bishop Mor- 
ley. That money was not Baxter's object, is evident from the 
nature of his engagement ; and from his afterwards offering to 
continue his labours firaHs, if he might only be peivavXX^^ \a 

f Life, pan u pp. 79, 90. 


preach and live among the people, no doubt can he entertained 
of his disinterested love to the work of Christ. 

Before proceeding to state the nature and results of his minis* 
try in the place where he was honoured by God to effect so 
much good, it will be proper, for the sake of connecting the pub- 
lic events of the times, to advert to some important occurrences 
which took place immediately after he left the army, and dur- 
ing the earlier period of his second residence in Kidderminster. 
Leaving, for a little, the narrative of his personal affiairs, he thus 
proceeds : 

*^ I must now look back to the course and affairs of the king; 
who, after the siege of Oxford, having no army left, and know- 
ing that the Scots had more loyalty and stability in their prinr 
ciples than the sectaries, resolved to cast himself upon them, and 
so escaped to their army in the North. The Scots were very 
much troubled at this honour that was cast upon them, for they 
knew not what to do with the king. To send him back to the 
English parliament, seemed unfaithfulness, when he had cast 
himself upon them ; to keep him, they knew would divide the 
kingdoms, and draw a war upon themselves from England, 
which they knew they were now unable to sustain. They kept 
him, therefore, awhile among them with honourable entertain- 
ment, till the parliament sent for him ; and they saw that the 
sectaries and the army were glad of it, as an occasion to make 
them odious, and to invade their land. Thus the terror of the 
conquering army made them deliver him to the parliament's 
commissioners upon two conditions : I . That they should pro- 
mise to preserve his person in safety and honour, according to 
the duty which they owed him by their allegiance. 2. That 
they should presently pay the Scots army one half what was 
due to them for their service, which had been long unpaid.^ 
*^ Hereupon the king being delivered to the parliament, they 

^ The treaty for the payment of the Scottish arrears, and that fur the deliver- 
ing up of the king^i were quite distinct in themselves, though they proceeded 
together. Baxter is also mistaken when he says, the king was g^ven up on 
the two conditions, which he specifies. He was delivered up without any odd* 
ditiont. The ohjecU of the English Parliament, and of the Scottish Pariian 
ment« were the same ; the covenant and the propositions. The king's life could 
not be supposed to be in danger, but from such a concussion of party, and sach 
an ascendancy of persons totally different from those with whom the negotftp 
tion was going on, as would have rendered all conditions nugatory. la fact, 
the life of the king, at this time, was safer among the English than among 
the Scots ; some of whom had conceived the Idea of bringing him to the tcaf- 
M for his obstinate refusal to agree to t\iete^m&ol\\AcoN«\i«QXw--Br«dAftv^'«« 

Godwin, U. 257. 


appointed Colond Richard Greaves^ Major-Qeneral Richard 
Brown^ with others, to he bh attendants, and desired him to 
abide awhile at Hdmby House, in Nordiamptonshhre. While 
he was here, the army was hatching their conspiracy ; and, od 
the sudden, one Comet Joyce, with a party of soldiers, fetched 
away the king, notwithstanding the parliament's order for his 
security. This was done as if it had been against Cromwell^ 
will, and without any order or consent of tlieirs ; but ao far 
was Joyce from losing his head for such a treason, that it proved 
the means of his preferment ;^ and so far was Cromwell and his 
soldiers from returning the king in safety, that they detained 
him among them and kept him with them, till they came to 
Hampton Court, and there they lodged him under the guard of 
Colonel Whalley, the army quartering all about him. While' 
he was here, the mutable hypocrites^ pretended an extra-* 
ordinary care of the king's honour, liberty, safety, and con-' 
science. They blamed the austerity of the parliament, who 
had denied him the attendance of his own chaplains ; and of 
his friends in whom he took most pleasure. They gave liberty 
to his friends and chaplains to come to him ; and pretended 
that they would save him from tlie incivilities of the parliament 
and the Presbyterians. 

^ Whether this was while they tried what terms they could 
make with him for themselves, or while they acted any other 
part, it is certain that the king's old adherents began to extot 
the army, and to speak against the Presbyterians more distaste- 
fully than before. When the parliament offered the king pro- 
positions for concord, which Vane's faction made as high and 
unreasonable as they could, that they might come to nothing,* 
the army, forsooth, offered him proposals of their own, which the 
king liked better : but which of them to treat with he did not 

' Charles was weU pleased to accompany Joyce, and afterwards refused 
to return at tbe command of Fairfax. He was, in fact, g^lad to be out of tht 
hands of the Presbyterians. — Godwin, li. p. 320. Tbe g^reat object of seizing 
tbe kin^, was to prevent a coalition between him and tbe Presbyterian party. 

^ It was the mutable hypocrisy of Charles, rather than of Cromwell, that 
frustrated every amicable arrangement. Had he been but steady to any on^ 
scheme of moderate policy, he would have lost neither his throne nor his life. 
His scheme, on all occasions, was to make the best bargain he could, till he got 
Mi enesBdea into his hands, when it was his determination to destroy them. 
Unfortunately for him they discovered this, and acted accordingly. 

^ The defeat of an adjustment between Charles and his Parliament, at thi^ 
time. w«9 Qwipf to Holii^ and uot to Vane and his piUTty. ^^^ l^t^\je^% 
'History of tbe British Empire/ va)« iff ppt 96^ )P€|. 


know. At last, on the sudden, the judgment of the anny 
changed, and they began to cry for justice against the king; 
and, with vile hypocrisy, to publish their repentance, and cry 
God's mercy for their kindness to the king, and confess that they 
were under a temptation : but in all this, Cromwell and Ireton, 
and the rest of the council of war, appeared not. The instru- 
ments of all this work, must be the common soldiers. Two of 
the most violent sectaries in each regiment are chosen by them, 
by the name of agitators,'^ to represent the rest in these great 
affairs. All these together made a council, of which Colonel 
James Berry was the president, tliat they might be used, ruled, 
and dissolved, at pleasure. No man that knew them, will doubt 
whether this was done by Cromwell's and Ireton's direction. 
This council of agitators take not only the parliament's work 
upon themselves, but much more ; they draw up a paper called 
^ The Agreement of the People,' as the model or form of a new 
commonwealth. They have their own printer, and publish 
abundance of wild pamphlets, as changeable as the moon. The 
thing contrived, was an heretical democracy. When Cromwell 
had awhile permitted them thus to play themselves, partly to 
please them, and confirm them to him, and chiefly to use them 
in his demo lishing work ; at last he seemed to be so much for 
order and g ovemment, as to blame them for their disorder, pre- 
sumption, and headiness, as if they had done it without his con* 
sent. This emboldened the parliament not to censure them as 
rebels, but to rebuke them, and prohibit them, and claim their 
own superiority ; and while the parliament and the agitators 
were contending, a letter was secretly sent to Colonel Whalley 
to intimate that the agitators had a design suddenly to surprise 
and murder the king. Some thought that this was sent from 
a real friend; but most thought it was contrived by Cromwell 
to frighten the king out of the land, or into some desperate 
course which might give them advantage against him. Colonel 
Whalley showed the letter to the king, which put him into 
much fear of such ill-governed hands ; so that he secretly got 
horses, and slipped away towards the sea with twox)f his confi- 
dents only. On coming to the sea, near Southampton, they 
were disappointed of the vessel which they expected to trans- 

* Tbeorin^al name of these persons was o^^'icf o/ort, a branch of the tame w«nl 

fvlth adjuiant tttnd altogether different from agitator, to which it was afterwards 

converted. Brodie ascribes the conduct of the soldiers, on this occasion,* to 

tbe iairigafu ofHoUis, and the Presbytevian paxtj^ rather than to tiie Tpotkj 

ofCtomweil, aceordmg to Baxter^-^Hitft. W. ^,^7. 


port them ; and so were fain to pass over into the Isle of Wight, 
and his majesty was commited to the trust of Colonel Robert 
Hanunond^ who was governor of a castle there. For a day 
or two all were amazed to think what had become of the king ; 
and then a letter from the king to the house, acquainted them 
that he was fmn to flee thither from the cruelty of the agitators, 
who, as he was informed, thought to murder him ; and urging 
them to treat about ending all these troubles. But here Crom- 
well had the king in a pinfold, and was more secure of him 
than before.'^ 

^^ When at the Isle of ^^ght, the parliament sent him some 
propositions, to be consented to in order to his restoration. The 
king granted many of them ; and some he granted not. The 
Scottish commissioners thought the conditions more dishonour- 
able to the king than was consistent with their covenant and 
duQr, and protested against them; for which the parliament 
blamed them as hinderers of the desired peace. The chief thing 
which the king stuck at, was the utter abolishing of episcopacy 
and the alienating of the bishops' and the dean and chapter 
lands. Hereupon, with the commissioners, certain divines 
were sent down, to satisfy the king, viz. : Mr. Stephen Mar- 
8haU, Mr. Richard Vines, Dr. Lazarus Seaman, &c., who were 
met by many of the King's divines. Archbishop Usher, Dr. Ham- 
mond, Dr. Sheldon, &c. The debates here being in writing, 
were published, and each party thought they had the better. 
The parliamentary divines came off with great honour. 

**They seem to me, however, not to have taken the course 
which should have settled these distracted churches. Instead 
of disputing against all episcopacy, they should have changed 
diocesan prelacy into such an episcopacy as the conscience of 
the king might have admitted, and as was agreeable to that 
which the church had in the two or three first ages. I confess 
Mr. Vines wrote to me, as their excuse in this and other matters 
of the Assembly, that the parliament tied them up from treating 
or disputing of any thing at all, but what they appointed or 

* There is no evidence whatever that the king's flight from HaoiptoD Court 
**^ owing to any secret plot of Cromwell's, or to any fear of being murdered^ 
^otcrtaiued by hU majesty. He was probably advised in it by Cromwell, who 
*u tben afraid of the proceedings of the army ; but it was a plan of the king's 
^Q» iutended to create increased confusion and distraction among his oppu- 
^ts, which be expected to be able to turn to his own advantage. Milton, 
^ kii « Second Defence of the People of England,' vindicates Cromwell from 
^ cbirge of advising the Eight of Charlei, or being a party to it. 1 have not 
^^^^tnred the stoiy of the secret letter adverted to by any other writer than 


proposed to ihem : but I think plain dealing with snch leaden 
had been best ; and to have told ititm, this is our judgment, and, 
in the matters of God and his churchy i¥e will serve yoa aoeord- 
ing to our judgment, or not at all. Though, indeed, as tliey 
were not of one mind among themselves, this could not be 

'^ Archbishop Usher there took the right course, who offered 
the king his reduction of episcopacy to the form of presbytery. 
He told me himself, that, formerly, the king had refused it^ 
but, at the Isle of Wight, he accepted it ; and as he would not 
when others would, so others would not when he would. So also, 
when Charles 11. came in, we tendered Usher's scheme of tmion 
to him $ but then he would not. Thus the true, moderate^ 
healing terms are always rejected by those that stand on the 
higher ground, though accepted by them that are lower and 
cannot have what they will : from whence it is easy to perceive 
whether prosperity or adversity, the highest or the lowest, be 
ordinarily the greater hinderer of the church's unity and peace. 
I know, that if the divines and parliament had agreed for a mo- 
derate episcopacy with the king, some Presbyterians of Sc6tland 
would have been against it, and many Independents of Eng- 
land; and the army would have made it the matter of odious 
accusations and clamours : but all this ought not to have deterred 
foreseeing, judicious men, from those healing counsels wUch 
must close our wounds whenever they are closed.? 

^^ The king, sending his final answers, the parliament had a 
k>ng debate upon them, whether to acquiesce in them as a suffi- 
cient ground for peace. Many members spake for resting in 
them, and, among others, Mr. Prynne went over all the king's 
concessiops in a speech of divers hours long, with marvellous 

^ A full and impartial account of the nef^otiatioDs held at the Isle ttf Wight, 
it given by Neal, iii. pp. 422, 443, edit. 1S22. The treaty failed from theobsti* 
nacy of the king, acting by the advice of his episcopal counseUors, who were 
either incapable of giviog suitable advice in difficult circamstances, or not 
aware of the peril to which they were exposing their royal master* who Ibolithlf 
imagined he could save himself at any time by closing either with the Parlia- 
ment or the army. It would probably have been better had there been no 
divines on either side. 

p if any thing is calculated to expose the Tolly and danger of state inter- 
ference with religion, it is the fact, that the peace of three kingdoms and the 
fate of the king were made to depend, in a great measure, on the establish* 
ment of au exclusive form of church government. There were, donbtlesti 
other things at the root of the misunderstanding, but the nudn o^nsible re4- 
MOB of the failure of the treaty, was the demand on the one ^art, and the rt^t^i 
oa the other, to abolish episcopacy^ voA t&ta\>t\iVi vtt%V>^ti Vo^ Vv% ^%nt« 


memory^ and showed the satisfactoriness of them all. So that 
the houae voted that the king's concessions were a sufficient 
ground for a personal treaty with him; and suddenly gave 
a concluding answer^ and sent for him up. But at such a crisis 
it was time for the army to bestir themselves. Without any more 
ado, Cromwell and his confidents sent Colonel Pride with a party 
of soldiers to the house, and set a guard upon the door : one part 
of the house, who were for them, they let In ; another part they 
tamed away, and told them that they must not come there; and 
the third part they imprisoned. To so much rebellion, perfidious- 
ness, perjury, and impudence, can error, selfishness, and pride of 
great successes, transport men of the highest pretences toreligion.4 
^For the true understanding of all this, it must be remem- 
bered^ that though in the beginning of the parliament there was 
scarce a noted, gross sectary known, but Lord Brook, in the 
House of Peers, and young Sir Harry Vaiie, in the House of 
Commons ; yet, by degrees, the number increased in the lower 
house* Major Salloway and some few others. Sir Henry Vane 
had made his own adherents : many more were carried part of 
the way to Independency and liberty of religions ; and many 
that minded not any side in religion, did think that it was not 
policy'ever to trust a conquered king, and therefore were wholly 
for a parliamentary government. Of these, some would have 
lords and commons, or a mixture of aristocracy and demo- 
cracy ; others would have commons and democracy alone ; and 
some thought that they ought to judge the king for all the 
blood that had been shed. Thus, when the two parts of the 
house were ejected and imprisoned, the third part, composed 
of the Vanists, the Independents, and other sects, with the de- 
mocratical party, was left by Cromwell to do his business under 
the name of the Parliament of England ; which, by the people 
in scorn, was commonly called the Rump of the Parliament. 
The secluded and imprisoned members published a writing, 
called their Vindication ; and some of them would afterwards 
have thrust into the House, but the guard of soldiers kept them 

1 The account which Mrs. Hutchinson gives of this affair, is Tcry different 
from Baxter's. She imputes the whole blame of acceding to the terms pro- 
posed by the king, the array's interference with Parliament, and the conse- 
quent ruin of the icing, to the conduct of the Presbyterian leaders, who, insti- 
gated by hatred of the Independents and other sects, consented to measures 
which would have reinstated Charles without any adequate security to his sub- 
jects ; hy wbicb tbejr would all eventually have been destroyedir— Memoir* of 
Q>i.I^chms(m. 297^300. WTiite/ock and Ludlow agree If lthMw,HviUi\au¥». 


out^ and the Rump were called the honest men. And these are 
' the men that henceforward we have to do with in the progrest 
of our history as called The Parliament/ 

'^ As the Lords were disaffected to these proceedings^ so were 
the Rump and soldiers to the Lords ; so that they paraed a Tote^ 
supposing that the army would stand hy them, to establish the 
government without a king and House of Lords ; and thus the 
Lords were dissolved, and these Commons sat and did all alone. 
Being deluded by Cromwell, and verily thinking that he would 
be for democracy, which they called a commonwealth, they 
gratified him in his designs, and themselves in their disloyal 
distrusts and fears. They accordingly called a high court of 
justice to be erected, and sent for the king from the Isle of 
Wight. Colonel Hammond delivered him, and to Westmin- 
ster Hall he came, and refusing to own the court and their 
power to try him. Cook, as attorney, having pleaded against 
him, Bradshaw, as president and judge, recited the charge, and 
condenmed him.' Before his own gate at Whitehall, they 
erected a scaffold ; and, in the presence of a full assembly of 
people, beheaded him. In all this appeared the severity of God, 
the mutability and uncertainty of worldly things, the fruits of a 
sinful nation's provocations, the infamous effects of error, pride, 
and selfishness, prepared by Satan, to be charged hereafter upon 
reformation and godliness, to the unspeakable injury of the 
Christian name and Protestant cause, the rejoicing and advan- 
tage of the Papists, the hardening of thousands against the 
means of their own salvation, and the confiision of the actors 
when their day should come. 

' Thnnig^ Uie whole of these statements, Baxter ascribes a {^eat deal too 
much to the craft of Cromwell, aod the intrif^es of the sectaries. AUowin^ 
that they often compensated their lack of power by superior address and m- 
pidity of moyement, it should not be forgotten that self-preservation la the 
first law of man ; and that, as the sectaries were in dangler of beiugp crashed 
between two powerful parties, the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians, they 
naturally exerted themselves to prevent the ascendancy of either. Had there 
been more integ^ty in the one class, and mure moderation in the other, Cron* 
WeU and his party would have had a less difficult part to play : as things 
were, they probably accomplished much less by previous intrig^ and plottinf, 
than by taking advanta^ of unforeseen occurrences. 

* The reader who thinks of Bradshaw only as a reg^icide and a ruffian, would 
do well to consult the character ^ven 6f him by Milton, in bis 'Defence of the 
People of England.' An admirable translation of the passag^e wiU be found in 
* Symmons' Life of MUton,' pp. 220—222. Bradshaw escapied to America, and 
th«re ended his days in peace. Cook expiated his political offence on the scaf- 
fold, and died with aU that lofty heroism which distin^ished men who feh that 
Ihey loffered not for personal gfuUt, but for the crime of the people of Snglaiid. 


^ The Lord General Fairfax all this while stood by^ and, 
with high resentment, saw his lieutenant do all this by tumal- 
tuous soldiers, tricked and overpowered by him ; neither being 
soflBciently upon his guard to defeat the intrigues of such an 
actor ; nor having resolution enough to lay down the glory of 
all his conquests, and forsake him. At the King's death, he was 
in wonderful perplexities, and when Mr. Calamy and some mi* 
nisters were sent for to resolve him, and would have further 
peiauaded him to rescue the King, his troubles so confounded 
him^ that his servants durst let no man speak to him : and 
Cromwell kept him^ as it was said, in praying and consulting 
till the stroke was given, and it was too late to make resistance. 
But not long after, when war was determined against Scotland, 
he laid down his commission, and never had to do with the 
army more ; and Cromwell become General in his stead.^ 

^ If y<m ask. What did the ministers all this while ? I answer, 
they preached and prayed against disloyalty ; they drew up a 
writing to the Lord General, declaring their abhorrence of all 
violence agmnst the person of the King, and urging him and 
his army to take heed of such an unlawful act. They presented 
it to the General when they saw the King in danger ; but pride 
prevailed against their counsels."^ 

Some difference of opinion may exist in regard to the cor* 
rectness of all the statements and reasonings of the preceding 
extracts. One thing, however, is very apparent, — the devoted 
royalty of Baxter. While he acted with the army of the 
Parliament, and advocated the cause which he considered it 
had undertaken, he was indignant at its conduct, when it as- 
sumed the sovereign power, and threatened the life of the king. 
In the treatment which Charles experienced, Baxter seems to 
forget every thing, but the sufferings which he endured and the 
unconstitutional conduct of his adversaries. The death of that 
ill-fated monarch, he regarded less as the result of his own 
obstinacy and duplicity, of which all parties were furnished with 
indubitable proofs, or as the just retribution of Heaven for these 
^d many other evils of himself and his family, than as illustra- 
tions of the bad principles and wicked conduct of sectaries and 

^ There seems something very absurd in th« idea that Fairfax was igpaorant 
^what all the country knew, that the death of the king^ was determin^; and 
^t he was hoaxed by CromweU and Harrison tiU it was accomplished, 
^fodie examines the story with his usual diligence and acuteness.— JEM. of 
^ Brii. Emp. iv. p. 213— 21 6. 

* life, part it pp« 60'-64« 


agitaton. He denounces the hypocrisy and perfidy of Crom« 
well and his party, and represents them as systematically puna- 
ing the destruction of the king. They are justly liable to the 
charge of dissimulation. But it should not be forgotten that it 
attaches to the royal party and to its head, in a far greater 
degree. The struggle which was at first for freedom on die one 
side, and for absolute power on the other, became^ at last, a 
struggle for life, on both sides. The final catastrophe, therefore^ 
deeply as it is to be lamented, became inevitable. The Presby- 
terians would have restored the king, at different periods of the 
contest, if he would have abolished episcopacy, and established 
presbyterian uniformity in its stead. They were prevented from 
doing so, partly by the scheming of Charles, and partly by the 
opposition of the army. The Independents would have restored 
him, could they have obtained any security for themselves, and 
the freedom of their religion. They could not trust the king 
for the one, or the Presbyterians for the other. Charles played 
with and deceived all parties, till at length be fell a sacrifice to 
his own obstinacy and insincerity. 

The full discussion of the difficult and complicated sulyect te 
which the preceding paragraphs relate would be foreign, fitNa 
the nature and design of this work; which is intended rather as 
a record of the opinions and testimony of Baxter, than of my 
own sentiments. On many points, we are now capable of forming 
more correct views than any individual could, in the times of 
Baxter. We are less under the influence of prejudice ; we have 
more accurate information ; and are, therefore, capable of look- 
ing at all the transactions with more impartiality. I beg to 
refer the reader, who wishes for full and enlightened views on 
all the events of the civil wars and the Commonwealth, to the 
work of Brodie, which I have often referred to in the notes. It 
is distinguished by laborious research, great acuteness, and moat 
praiseworthy impartiality. If that work is not at hand, the 
^ History of the Commonwealth,' by Godwin, will amply supply 
its place. It also is entitled to the praise of discrimination and 
impartiality. Equity requires I should state, thai both these 
writers differ considerably from Baxter in their views of the 
principles and conduct of the several parties who figured in the 
distracted period of which they treat. 

Baxter himself, while these tremendous scenes were transact* 
mg, Kved remote from the parties principally engaged in them. 
He could only speak and reason according to the reports which 


reached hirn^ the probability or improbability of which he usually 
determined by the personal knowledge which he had of those 
to whom they related. Though deeply concerned in all that 
affected his country's weal^ he was now better employed than in 
contending with the turmoils of a camp^ or in sounding and ex- 
poung the policy of courts. 

During the early part of his second residence at Kidderminster, 
several other circumstances are recorded by Baxter worthy of 
being mentioned, both as illustrating his own character and the 
slate of the period. He opposed the solemn league and covenant, 
though he bad formerly taken it at Coventry, and^ therefore, did 
not please the Presbyterians : he opposed the engagement, and 
thus incurred the displeasure of the Independents. Careful only 
to stand well with bis own conscience, it was matter of indif- 
ference to him who were his friends or who were his foes« 

^ Vqic my own part,'' he says, ^' though I kept the town and 
parish of Kidderminster from taking the covenant, seeing how 
it might become a snare to their consciences \ yea, and most 
of Worcestershire beside, by keeping the ministers from offering 
it in any of the congregations to the people, except in Wor- 
cester city, where I had no great interest, and knew not what 
they did ; yet I could not judge it seemly for him that believed 
there is a God, to play fast and loose with a dreadful oath, as 
if the bonds of national and personal vows were as easily shaken 
off as Sampson's cords. 

'^ I therefore spake and preached against the engagement, and 
dissuaded men from taking it. The first hour that I heard of 
it, being in company with some gentlemen of Worcestershire, I 
presently wrote down above twenty queries against it, intending 
as many more almost against the obligation, as those were about 
the sense and circumstances. One that was present got the 
copy of them, and, shortly after, I met with them verbatim, as 
his own, in a book of Mr. Henry Hall's, who was long impri- 
soned for writing against Cromwell." " 

That Baxter was the friend of the parliamentary cause not- 
withstanding, cannot be doubted ; and that he was grateful for 
the protection which he enjoyed under the existing government, 
is equally unquestionable ^ yet he was adverse to the measures 
pursued in opposition to Charles II., whose right to the throne 
he fully believed, and carried his conscientious opposition to the 
commonwealth-government so far, that it might have been at« 

<" Life, psri L p. 64. 


• • • 

tended with serious consequences to himself. He was^ in fact, a 
royalist in principles and constitution ; and a friend to the par- 
ties who opposed the king, from necessity, and not from choice. 

''When the soldiers were going against the king and the Scots, 
I wrote letters to some of them, to tell them of their sin ; and 
desired them at last to begin to know themselves. They were 
the same men who had boasted so much of love to all the godly, 
and pleaded for tender dealing with them, and condemned those 
that persecuted them or restrained their liberty, who were now 
ready to imbrue their swords in the blood of such as they ac- 
knowledged to be godly ; and all because they dared not be as 
perjured or disloyal as they were. Some of them were startled 
at these letters, and thought me an uncharitable censurer^ who 
would say that they could kill the godly, even when they were 
on the march to do it : for how bad soever they spake of the 
cavaliers (and not without too much desert as to their morals), 
they confessed, that abundance of the Scots were godly men. 
Afterwards, however, those that I wrote to better understood me. 

'' At the same time, the Rump, or Commonwealth, which so 
much abhorred persecution, and were for liberty of conscience, 
made an order that all ministers should keep certain days of 
humiliation, to fast and pray for their success in Scotland : and 
that we should keep days of thanksgiving for their victories ; and 
this upon pain of sequestration ! So that we all expected to be 
turned out ; but they did not execute it upon any, save one, 
in our parts. For myself, instead of praying and preaching 
for them, when any of the committee or soldiers were my 
hearers, I laboured to help them to understand, what a crime 
it was to force men to pray for the success of those who were 
violating their covenant and loyalty, and going, in such a cause, 
to kill their brethren : — what it was to force men to give 
God thanks fpr all their bloodshed, and to make God's minis- 
ters and ordinances vile, and serviceable to such crimes, by 
forcing men to run to God on such errands of blood and ruin : 
—and what it is to be such hypocrites as to persecute and cast 
out those that preach the Gospel, while they pretend the ad- 
vancement of the Gospel, and the liberty of tender consciences^ 
and leave neither tenderness nor honesty in the world, when 
the guides of the flocks and preachers of the Gospel shall be 
noted to swallow down such heinous sins.' 

' Only one opiDion can be entertained respecting^ the fearless honesty of 
BtxttTi but thft wisdom as well as tho prudenco of bis behaHoor nay b« 


^ My own hearers were all satisfied with my doctrine^ but 
the committee-inen, looked sour, yet let me alone. The sol- 
diers said, I was so like Love/ that I would not be right till 
I was shorter by the head. Yet none of them ever meddled 
with me, farther than by the tongue ; nor was I ever by any 
of them in those times forbidden or hindered to preach one 
sermon, except only one assize sermon, which the high sheriff 
had desired me to preach, and afterwards sent me word to for- 
bear, as from the committee ; which told Mr. Moor^ the Inde- 
pendent preacher at the college, that they desired me to forbear, 
and not to preach before the judges, because I preached against 
the state. But afterwurds they excused it, as done merely in 
kindness to me^ to keep me from running myself into danger 
and trouble." * 

Notwithstanding his conduct towards the leaders and soldiers 
of the Commonwealth, various circumstances show that Baxter 
was by no means disposed to promote the interests of the royal 
cause. After detailing the affairs of Cromwell and the army in 
Scotland, and the march of Charles with the royal army into 
England, he says :— 

*' The greater part of the army passed close by Kiddermin- 
ster, and the rest through it. Colonel Graves sent two or three 
messages to me, as from the king, to come to him ; and after, 
when he was at Worcester, some others were sent : but I was 
at that time under so gre&t an affliction of sore eyes, that I was 
scarcely able to see the light, and unfit to stir out of doors. 
Being not much doubtful of the issue which followed, I thought, 
if I had been able, it would have been no service at all to the 
king, it being so little, on such a sudden, that I could add to 
his assistance. 

" When the king had stayed a few days at Worcester, Crom- 
well came with his army to the east side of the city, and after 

Tery justly questioned. To take the side of the Parliameot as be bad done, and- 
now to oppose tbe existing: Government so publicly, wbile prosecuting tbe ob- 
ject of tbe ori^nal contest, was ratber extraordinary. It is a great proof of 
the moderation of tbat Government, that it let bim pass witbout molestation. 

f The Presbyterian minister wbo was executed by Cromwell, for correspond- 
ing with tbe King. It is probable be was put to death ratber as an example 
and a warning to others, than on account of any great criminality in bis own 
conduct. Much influence was used to obtain his life, but all in vain. He 
was certainly a martyr to Presbyteriau loyalty. ** He died," says Baxter, 
" neither timorously nor proudly in any desperate bravado ; but with as great 
aliu:rity and fearless quietness and freedom ^of speech, as if be bad but gone 
to bed, and badbsen as little concerned as the slanders by." Life, part i. p. 67. 

■ Life, part i. pp. 66, 67. 

VOL. I. I 


that, made a bridge of boats over the Severn, to biiider them 
from foraging on the other Bide ; but because so great an army 
pould not long endure to be pent up, the king resolved to charge 
Cromwell's men. At first, the Scottish foot charged very gal- 
lantly, some chief persons among the horse, the Marquis of 
Hamilton, late Earl of Limerick, being slain : but> at last^ the 
hope of security so near their backs, encouraged the king's army 
to retreat into the city, and Cromwell's soldiers followed them 
so close at the heels, that Major Swallow, of Whalley's regi- 
ment, first, and others after him, entered Sidbury gate with 
them ; and so the whole army fled through the city, quite away, 
many being trodden down and slain in the streets ; so that the 
king was fain to fly with them northward. The Lord Wilmo^ 
the Earl of Lauderdale, and many others of his lords and com- 
manders^ fled with him. Kidderminster being but eleven miles 
from Worcester^ the flying army passed some of them through 
the town, and some by it. I had nearly gone to bed when the 
noise pf the flying horses acquainted us with the overthrow ; and 
a piece of one of Cromwell's troops, that guarded Bewdley 
bridge, having tidings of it, came into our streets, and stood in 
the open market-place, before my door, to surprise those that 
passed by. So, when many hundreds of the flying army came 
together, and the thirty troopers cried aiandy and fired at them, 
they either hastened away, or cried quarter, not knowing in the 
dark what number it was that charged them. Thus as many 
were taken there, as so few men could lay hold on : and, till 
midnight, the bullets flying towards my door and windows, and 
the sorrowful fugitives hastening by for their lives, did tell me 
the calamitousness of war. 

"The king, parted at last from most of ^ his lords, went 
to Boscobel, by the White Ladies, where he was hid in an oak, 
in a manner sufficiently declared to the world \ and thence to 
Mosely, and so, with Mrs. Lane, away as a traveller, and es- 
caped all the searchers' hands, till he came safe beyond sea, as is 
published at large by divers."* 

This brief notice of public affairs, and of Baxter's conduct 
in relation to them, to the period when the Commonwealth and 
Cromwell reigned triumphant, sufficiently prepares us for the 
interesting account given by him of his labours and success jn 
Kidderminster. Perhaps no part of these memoirs is so im- 
portant as this. It presents an admirable view of the man of 

« Life, parti, pp. 110, Ul« 


God, abundant io labours, patient in tribulatiop» perseveriog in 
the exercise of faithfulness, benevolencei and long-suffering, and 
crowned with . extraordinary success. Without ascribing too 
much to the agent, or expressing unqualified approbation of all 
the ni^ans employed, it is impossible not to perceive the adap- 
tation of the instrument to the worky or to doubt that the divine 
blessing rested upon the measures pursued. The sovereignty of 
God operates not independently of human means and insfru- 
mentality, but in connexion with them ; and it will rarely \f 
ever be found, that suitably qualified agents pursue, in a right 
spirit and with Christian zeal, the good of men, without being 
rewarded by a corresponding measure of success. The circum- 
stances in which Baxter found Kidderminster when he first went 
to i^ as well as the difficulties and troubles which he bad to 
encounter during the two years he then resided in it^ have 
been already stated. Ignorance, immorality, and opposition 
to the Gospel, prevailed among all classes. His doctrine was 
unpalatable^ his maimer of life and hostility to vice and irreli- 
gion, in every form, still more so. His politics, favouring as they 
did the cause of the Parliament, and of church reform, increased 
the dislike, and prpduced personal violence. The conduct of 
the common people, influenced by all these things, was sp 
outrageous, that he was finally compelled to leave them. This 
state of things must be connected with his account of the won- 
derful change in the character of the place, which he was ho-^ 
noured to effect. 

After a long account of some remarkable deliverances, and 
of his bodily weakness, with which it is marvellous that he 
should have been able to struggle, he thus proceeds : — 

^^ I shall next record to the praise of my Redeemer, the 
comfortable employment and success which he vouchsafed me 
during my abode at Kidderminster, under all these weaknesses. 
And, 1st. I will mention my employment. 2. My successes. 
And, 3. Those advantages by which, under God, they were 

^^ Before the wars, I preached twice each Lord's day ; but 
after the war, but once, and once every Thursday, beside occa- 
sional sermons. Every Thursday evening, my neighbours who 
were most desirous,.and had opportunity, met at my house, and 
there one of them repeated the sermon ; afterwards they pro- 
posed what doubts any of them had about the sermon, or any 
other case of conscience 5 and I resolved their doubts. Last of 

I 2 


all^ I caused sometimes one and sometimes another of them to 
pray, to exercise them ; and sometimes I prayed with them 
myself: which, beside singing a psalm, was all they did. Once 
a week, also, some of the younger sort, who were not fit to pray 
in so great an assembly, met among a few more privately, 
where they spent three hours in prayer togethe;-. Every Satur- 
day night, they met at some of their houses, to repeat the ser- 
mon of the former Lord's day, and to pray and prepare them- 
selves for the following day. Once in a few weeks, we had a 
day of humiliation on one occasion or other. Every religious 
woman that was safely delivered, instead of the old feastings 
and gossipings, if she was able, did keep a day of thanks- 
giving with some of her neighbours, with them praising God, 
and singing psalms, and soberly feasting together. Two days 
every week, my assistant and myself took fourteen families be- 
tween us, for private catechising and conference ; he going 
through the parish, and the town coming to me. I first heard 
them recite the words of the catechism, and then examined 
them about the sense ; and, lastly, urged them, with all possible 
engaging reason and vehemency, to answerable affection and 
practice. If any of them were stalled through ignorance or 
bashfulness, I forbore to press them any further to answers, but 
made them hearers, and either examined others, or turned all 
into instruction and exhortation. I sppnt about an hour with 
each family, and admitted no others to be present ; lest bashful- 
ness should make it burthensome, or any should talk of the 
weaknesses of others : so that all the afternoons on Mondays 
and Tuesdays I spent in this way, after I had begun it, (for it 
was many years before I did attempt it,) and my assistant spent 
the morning of the same day in the same employment. Before 
that, I only catechised them in the church, and conferred oc- 
casionally with an individual. 

** Beside all this, I was forced, five or six years, by the peo- 
ple's necessity, to practise physic. A common pleurisy happen- 
ing one year, and no physician being near, I was forced to ad- 
vise them to save their lives ; and I could not afterwards avoid 
the importunity of the town and country round about. Be- 
cause I never once took a penny of any one, I was crowded with 
patients ; so that almost twenty would be at my door at once : 
and though God, by more success than I expected, so long en- 
couraged me, yet, at last, I could endure it no Ipnger ; partly 
becaase it hindered my other studies, and partly because the 


very fear of miscoring and doing any one harm, did make it an 
intolerable burden to me. So that, after some years' practice, I 
procured a godly diligent physician to come and live in the 
town, and bound myself, by promise, to practise no more, unless 
in consultation with him, in case of any seeming necessity ; and 
80 with that answer I turned them all off, and never meddled 
with it again. 

*' But all these my labours (except my private conference with 
the families), even preaching and preparing for it, were but my 
recreation, and, as it were, the work of my spare hours ; for 
my writings were my chief daily labour ; which yet went the 
more slowly on, that I never one hour had an amanuensis to 
dictate to, and especially because my weakness took up so much 
of my time. All the pains that my infirmities ever brought 
upon me, were never half so grievous an affliction as the 
unavoidable loss of time which they occasioned. I could not 
bear, through the weakness of my stomach, to rise before seven 
o'clock in the morning, and afterwards not till much later ; and 
some infirmities I laboured under, made it above an hour before 
I could be dressed. An hour, I must of necessity have to walk 
before dinner, and another before supper; and after supper I 
could seldom study : all which, beside times of family duties, 
and prayer, and eating, &c., left me but little time to study.: 
which hath been the greatest external personal affliction of all 
my life. 

**Every first Wednesday in the month was our monthly-meet- 
ing for parish discipline ; and every first Thursday of the month, 
was the ministers' meeting for discipline and disputation. In 
those disputations it fell to my lot to be almost constant moderator; 
and for every such day, I usually prepared a written determina- 
tion ; all which I mention as my mercies and delights, and not 
as my burdens. Every Thursday, besides, I had the company of 
divers godly ministers at my house, after the lecture, with whom 
I spent that afternoon in the truest recreation, till my neigh- 
bours came to meet for their exercise of repetition and prayer. 

" For ever blessed be the God of my mercies, who brought me 
from the grave, and gave me, after wars and sickness, fourteen 
years' liberty in such sweet employment ! How strange that, in 
times of usurpation, I had all this mercy and happy freedom ; 
when under our rightful king and governor, I, and many hun- 
dreds more, are silenced and laid by as broken vessels, and sus- 
pected and vilified as scarce to be tolerated to live privately and 

118 THB L1f6 and tiMBS 

quietly in the land ! How mysteriotis, thiit God sliolild ittlifcfe 
days of licentioushess and disorder under iin usurper so great k 
mercy to me, and many a thousand more, who under the lawful 
gdvetnors which they desired, and in the days when order is 
said to be restored, do sit in obscurity and unprofitable silence, 
br lie in prisons ; while all of us are accounted Ab the scufn atid 
sweepings, or offscourings of the earth. ^ 

" I have mehtioned my secret and acceptable employment ; 
let me, to the praise of my gracious Lord, acquaint you with 
some of my sutcess ; and I will not suppress it, though I frirc- 
knoW that the malignant will impute the mention of it to pride 
and ostentation. For it is the sacrifice of thanksgiving which 
1 owe to my most gracious God, which I will not deny him, for 
fear of being censured as proud ; lest I prove myself proudfin- 
deed, while I cartnot undergo the imputation of .pride itt the 
performance of my thanks for such undeserved mercies; 

" My public preaching met with an attentive, diligent audi- 
tory. Having broke over the brunt of the opposition of the 
tabble before the wars, I found them afterwards tractable atid 
unprejudiced. Before I entered into the ministry, God blessed my 
private conference to the conversion of some, who remain firta 
and eminent in holiness to this day : but then, and in the begin- 
ning of my ministry, I was wont to number them as jewels ; but 
since then I could not keep ahy number of them. The con- 
gregation was usually full, so that we were fain to build fiv^ 
galleries afler my coming thither ; the church itself being very 
capacious, and the most commodious and convenient that etfer 
I was in. Dur private meetings, also, were full. On the Lord's 
days there was no disorder to be seen in the streets ; but yoU 
might hear a hundred families singing psalms and repeating 
sermons as you passed through them. In a word, when I camb 
thither first, there was about one family in a street that wor- 
shipped God and called on his name, and when I came aWay, 
there were some streets where there was not one poor family ib 

*> Baxter's < Reformed Pastor' may be considered as a full illustratioti of the 
practice wbicli be here describes as his owu, connected ivitb the principles fay 
Mfbich it is recommended and enforced. Of that vtork I shall have occasion 
to speali in another place ; it is only necessary to remark, at present, the con- 
sistency between the views which Baxter maintained with so much ardoufy 
and the conduct which he himself pursued. Those who regard his views of 
the ministry as impracticable, have only to remember that Baxter, diseased, 
emaciated, and in deaths oft, exemplified the conduct which he so admirably 


the aide that did not no ; and that did not^ by professing serious 
godliness, give us hopes of their sincerity. And in those families 
which were the worst, being inns and alehouses, usually some 
persons in each house did seem to be religious. 

" Though our administration of the Lord's Supper was so or- 
dered as displeased many, and the far greater part kept away, 
we had six hundred that were communicants; of whom there 
were not twelve that I had not good hopes of as to their since- 
rity ; those few who consented to our communion, and yet lived 
scandalously, were excommunicated aftenvards. I hope there 
we^e also many who had the fear of God, that came not to our 
communion in the sacrament, some of them being kept off by hus- 
bands, by parents, by masters, and some dissuaded by men that 
diffiered from us. Those many that kept away, yet took it pa- 
tiently, and did not revile us as doing them wrong : and those 
rniraly young men who were excommunicated, bore it patiently 
as to their outward behaviour, though their hearts were full of 

" When I set upon personal conference with each family, and 
catechising them, there were very few families in all the town 
that refused to come; and those few were beggars at the town's 
ends, who virere so ignorant, that they were ashamed it should 
be manifest. Few families went from me without some tears, 
or seemingly serious promises for a godly life. Yet many ig- 
norant and ungodly persons there were still among us : but 
most of them were in the parish, and not in the town, and in 
those parts of the parish which were farthest from the town. 
And whereas one part of the parish was impropriate, and paid 
tithes to laymen, and the other part maintained the church, a 
brook dividing them, it fell out that almost all that side of the 
parish which paid tithes to the church, were godly, honest peo- 
ple, and did it willingly, without contestation, and most of the 
bad people of the parish lived on the other side. Some of the 
poor men did competently understand the body of divinity, and 
were able to judge in difficult controversies. Some of them were 
so able in prayer, that very few ministers did match them in 
order and fulness, and apt expressions, and holy oratory, with 
fervency. Abundance of them were able to pray very laudably 
with their families, or with others. The temper of their minds, 
and the innocency of their lives, were much more laudable than 
their parts. The professors of serious godliness were generally 
of very humble minds and carriage ; of meek and quiet behaviour 


unto others ; and of blamelessness and innocency in their con- 

'^ God was pleased also to give me abundant encouragement 
in the lectures I preached about in other places; as at Worces- 
ter, Cleobury, &c., but especially at Dudley and Sheflnal. At 
the former of which, being the first place that ever I preached in, 
the poor nailers^ and other labourers, would not only crowd the 
church as full as ever I saw any in London, but also hang upon 
the windows and the leads without. 

*^ In my poor endeavours with my brethren in the ministry, my 
labours were not lost ; our disputatious proved not unprofitable. 
Our meetings were never contentious, but always comfortable ; 
we took great delight in the company of each other ; so that I 
know that the remembrance of those days is pleasant both to 
them and me. When discouragements had long kept me from 
motioning a way of church order and discipline, which all might 
agree in, that we might neither have churches ungoverned, nor 
fall into divisions among ourselves, at the first mentioning of it, 
I found a readier consent than I could have expected, and all 
went on without any great obstructing difiiculties. When I 
attempted also to bring them all conjointly to the work of cate- 
chising and instructing every family by itself, I found a ready 
consent in most, and performance in many. 

*' I must here, then, to the praise of my dear Redeemer, set 
up this pillar of remembrance, even to his praise who hath em- 
ployed me so many years in so comfortable a work, with such 
encouraging success. O what am I, a worthless worm, not 
only wanting academical honours, but much of that furniture 
which is needful to so high a work, that God should thus abun- 
dantly encourage me, when the reverend instructors of my youth 
did labour fifty years together in one place, and could scarcely 
say they had converted one or two in their parishes ! And the 
greater was the mercy, because I was naturally of a discouraged 
spirit ; so that if I had preached one year, and seen no fruits of 
it, I should hardly have forborne running away, like Jonah ; but 
should have thought that God called me not to that place. 

" Having related my comfortable success in this place, I shall 
next tell you by what and how many advantages this was ef- 
fected, under that grace which worketh by means, though with 
a free diversity. I do it chiefly for their sakes who would know 
the means of other men's experiments in managing ignorant 
and sinful parishes. 


^' One advantage was^ that I came to a people who never had 
any awakening ministry before^ but a few formal cold sermons 
from the curate ; for if they had been hardened under a powerful 
ministry, and been sermon proof, I should have expected less. 

^ I was then, also, in the vigour of my spirats, and had na- 
turally a familiar moving voice, (which is a great matter with the 
common hearers), and doing all in bodily weakness as a dying 
man, my soul was the more easily brought to seriousness, and 
to preach as a dying man to dying men. For drowsy formality 
and custom ariness doth but stupify the hearers, and rock them 
asleep. It must be serious preaching, which will make men 
serious in hearing and obeying it. 

. ^^ Another advantage was, that most of the bitter enemies of 
godliness in the town, who rose in tumults against me before, 
in their hatred of Puritans, had gone out into the wars, into the 
king's armies, and were quickly killed, and few of them ever 
returned again ; and so there were few to make any great op- 
position to godliness. 

'^ The change that was made in the public affairs also by the 
success of the wars, which, however it was done, and though 
much corrupted by the usurpers, was such as removed many and 
great impediments to men's salvation. Before, the rabble had 
boldness enough to make serious godliness a common scorn, and 
call them all Puritans and Precisians who cared not little for 
God, and heaven, and their souls, as they did ; especially if a 
man was not fully satisfied with their undisciplined, disordered 
churches, or lay-chancellor's excommunications, &c. Then, no 
name was bad enough for him ; and the bishops' articles in- 
quiring after such, and their courts, and the high-commission 
grievously afflicting those who did but fast and pray together, or 
go from an ignorant, drunken reader, to hear a godly, able preacher 
at the next parish, kept religion among the vulgar under 
either continual reproach or terror ; encouraging the rabble to 
despise and revile it, and discotiraging those that else would own 
it. Experience telleth us that it is a lamentable impediment 
to men's conversion when it is a * way everywhere spoken 
against,' and persecuted by superiors, which they must embrace; 
and when at their first approaches, they must go through such 
clangers and obloquy as is fitter for confirmed Christians to be 
exercised with, than unconverted sinners or young beginners. 
Though Cromwell gave liberty to all sects among us, and did 
not set up any party alone by force, yet this much gave abundant 

182 Tfih LIFB ANt> riMiS 

sldvatitage to the GD!t))eI, reifiotitig the prejtldic^ and the teitors 
^hich hihdered it ; * especially considering; that godliness htA 
caunteiititice, and reputatidn also, as well as liberty* Wh^reM 
before, if it did not appear in all the fetters and formalities tt thd 
times, it was the common Way to shame and ruin. Hearing 
sermons abroad, when there were none or worse at hdme ) fast* 
ing and praying together ; the strict observation of the Lord's 
day, and suchl-ike, went under the dangerous natne of Puri- 
tanism, as much as opposing bishops and ceremonies. 

" I know you may now meet with men who confidently 
affirm that all religion was then trodden down, and heresy 
and schism were the only piety; but I give watning to all 
ages by the experience of this incredible age, that they take 
heed how they believe any, whoever they be, while they ar# 
speaking for the interest of their factions and opinions^ against 
those that were their real or supposed adversaries.* 

'* For my part I bless God, who gave me even under an tisurpef 
whom I opposed, such liberty and advantage to preach his 
Gospel with success, as I cannot have under a king to whom 
I have sWorn and performed true subjection and obedience ^ 
yea, such as no age, since the Gospel came into this laiid, did 
before possess, as far as I can learn from history. I shall add 
this much more for the sake of posterity, that as much as I 
have said and written against licentiousness in religion, and (of 
the magistrates' power in it ; and though I think that land most 
happy whose rulers use their authority for Christ, as well as tbt 
the civil peace ; yet, in comparison of the rest of the world, I 
shall think that land happy which hath but bare liberty to be as 
good as the people are willing to be. And if countenance and 
maintenance be but added to liberty, and tolerated errors and 
sects be but forced to keep the peace, and not to oppose the 
substantial of Christianity, I shall not hereafter much fear such 
toleration, nor despair that truth will bear down its adversaries.* 
'^ Another advantage which I found, was the acceptation of 

* Could the reader wish for a atrooger testimony in favour of uni?ersal 
liberty than this ? Reli^on prospered more under the Usurper tbati under 
the legitimate soTereign. 

^ it is important to connect this statement fvith Baxter's account pven ia 
the preceding chapter of the sects and heresies of the period. They are net 
at variance with each other. But to answer certain purposes, it is not un- 
common to quote the worst representation of the case and to omit the other. 

* Here the good sense and Christian feelings of Baxter, evidently f et the 
better of aU his theoretical notions of civil government and the magistrates' 
power in rt ligion* 

oir MchArd baxtbr. 128 

AT ptt9M ainofig the people. Though, to win eatlmfltibn and 
love to ourselves only, be an end that none but proud men and 
hvtk>critea intend, yet it is most certain that the gratefulness of 
the person doth ingratiate the message^ and greatly prepareth 
\ht people to receive the truth. Had they taken me to be ig- 
norant, erroneous, scandalous, worldly, self-seeking, or such-like, 
I coold have expected small success among them. 

** Another advantage which I had, was the zeal and diligence 
of the godly people of the place. They thirsted after the sal- 
vation of their neighbours, and were in private my assistants, 
abd being dispersed through the town, were ready in almost all 
companies to repress seducing words, and to justify godliness, 
convince, reprove, and exhort men According to their needs ; 
as also to teach them how to pray i and to help them to sanc- 
tify the Lord's day. For those people who had none in their 
families who could pray, or repeat the sermons, went to their 
next neighbour's house who could do it, and joined with them ; 
80 that some of the houses of the ablest men in each street, were 
filled with them that could do nothing, or little, in their own. 

^ Their holy, humble, blameless lives were also a great advan- 
tage to me. The malicious people could not say. Your pro- 
fessors here are as proud and covetous as any ; but the blame- 
less lives of godly people did shame opposers, and put to silence 
the ignorance of foolish men, and many were won by their 
good conversation. 

' ^ Our unity and concord were a great advantage to us ; and 
our freedom from those sects and heresies, with which many 
other places were infected We had no private church, and 
though we had private meetings we had not pastor against pastor, 
or church against church, or sect against sect, or Christian 
against Christian. 

"Our private meetings were a marvellous help to the propa- 
gating of godliness, for thereby, truths that slipped away, were 
recalled, and the seriousness of the people's minds renewed, 
and good desires cherished. Their knowledge, also, was much 
increased by them, and the younger sort learned to pray by fre- 
quently hearing others. I had also the opportunity of knowing 
tlieir case ; for if any were touched and awakened in public, 
I should frequently see them drop into our private meetings. 
Idle meetings and loss of time were greatly prevented ; and so 
far were we from being by this in danger of schism, or divi- 
sions, that it was the principal means to prevent them; for 


here I was usually present wi(h them, answering their doubts^ 
silencing objections, and moderating them in all. 

'^ Another thing which advantaged us, was some public dis* 
putations which we had with gainsayers, which very much con- 
firmed the people. The Quakers would fain have got enter- 
tainment, and set up a meeting in the town, and frequently 
railed at me in the congregation ; but when I had once given 
them leave to meet in the church for a dispute, and, before the 
people, had opened their deceits and shame, none would enter- 
tain them more, nor did they get one proselyte among us. 

^^ Another advantage, was the great honesty and diligence of 
my assistants. Another was the presence and countenance 
of honest justices of peace, who ordinarily were godly men, 
and always such as would be thought so, and were ready to use 
their authority to suppress sin and promote goodness. 

^'Another help to my success, was the small relief which my 
low estate enabled me to afford the poor; though the place was 
req^oned at near two hundred pounds per annum, there came but 
ninety pounds, and sometimes onlyeighty pounds to me. Beside 
which, some years I had sixty, or eighty pounds a year of the 
booksellers for my books : which little dispersed among them, 
much reconciled them to the doctrine that I taught. I took 
the aptest of their children from the school, and sent divers of 
them to the universities ; where for eight pounds a year, or 
ten, at most, by the help of my friends, I maintained them. 
Some of these are honest, able ministers, now cast out with 
their brethren ; but, two or three, having no other way to live, 
turned great Conformists, and are preachers now. In giving 
the little I had, I did not inquire whether they were good or 
bad, if they asked relief; for the bad had souls and bodies that 
needed charity most. And this truth I will speak to the en- 
couragement of the charitable, that what little money I have 
now by me, I got it almost all, I scarce know how, at that time 
when I gave most, and since I have had less opportunity of 
giving, I have had less increase. 

" Another furtherance of my work, was the books which I 
wrote, and gave away among them. Of some small books I gave 
each family one, which came to about eight hundred ; and of 
the bigger, I gave fewer: and every family that was poor, 
and had not a Bible, I gave a Bible to. I had found myself 
the benefit of reading to be so great, that I could not but 
think it would be profitable to others. 


^ It was a great advantage to me, that my neighbours were 
of such a trade, as allowed them time enough to read or talk of 
holy things. For the town liveth upon the weaving of Kidder- 
minster stuffs ; and, as they stand in their looms, the men can set 
a book before them, or edify one another; whereas, ploughmen, 
and many others, are so wearied, or continually employed, 
either in the labours, or the cares of their callings, that it is a 
great impediment to their salvation. Freeholders and trades- 
men are the strength of religion and civility in the land ; and 
gentlemen, and beggars, and servile tenants, are the strength of 
iniquity. Though among these sorts, there are some also that 
are good and just, as among the other there are many bad. 
And their constant converse and traffic with London, doth 
much promote civility and piety among tradesmen. 

'^ I found also that my single life afforded me much advan- 
tage : for I could the easier take my people for my children, 
and think all that I had too little for them, in that I had no 
children of my own to tempt me to another way of using it. 
Being discharged from most of family cares, and keeping but 
one servant, I had the greater vacancy and liberty for the la- 
bours of my calling. 

'^ God made use of my practice of physic among them also 
as a very great advantage to my ministry ; for they that cared 
not for their souls, did love their lives, and care for their bodies; 
andyby this, they were made almost as obsen'ant, as a tenant 
is of his landlord. Sometimes I could see before me in the 
church, a very considerable part of the congregation, whose 
lives God had made me a means to save, or to recover their 
health ; and doing it for nothing so obliged them, that they 
would readily hear me. 

" It was a great advantage to me, that there were at last few 
that were bad, but some of their own relations were converted : 
many children did God work upon, at fourteen, fifteen, or six- 
teen years of age ; and this did marvellously reconcile the 
minds of the parents and elder sort to godliness. They that 
would not hear me, would hear their own children. Thev that 
before could have talked against godliness, would not hear it 
spoken against, when it was their children's case. Many who 
would not be brought to it themselves, were proud that they 
had understanding, religious children ; and we had some old 
persons of eighty years of age, who are, I hope, in heaven, and 

}36 TliB hlFR 4NP TlU^B 

the cpnveraion of their own children, was the chief meani to 
overcome their prejudice^ and old customs, and conceits, 

^' Another great help to my success at last, was the foraierlj 
described work of personal conference with every family ap^ 
with catechising and instructing them. That which waa spoken 
to them personally, and which put them sometimes upon answersi 
awakened their attention, and was easier applied than public 
preaching, and seemed to do much more upon them, 

*^ llie exercise of church discipline was no small ftirtherance 
of the people's good : for I found plainly, that without it, I 
could not have kept the religious sort from separation and divi- 
sions/ There is something generally in their dispositioni, 
which inclineth them to dissociate from open ungodly sinnen, 
as men of another nature and society; and if they had not seen 
me do something reasonable for a regular separation of the no- 
torious, obstinate sinners from the rest, they would irregu- 
larly have withdrawn themselves. It had not been in my 
power with bare words to satisfy them, when they saw we had 
liberty to do what we would. And so, for fear of disciplinei 
all the parish kept oiF except about six hundred, when there were 
in all above sixteen hundred at an age to be communicants. Yet 

' The entire want of discipline which has always characterised the Esta- 
hlbhed Church, is one of its greatest blots. There is no separatinii wbatevtr 
between the precious and the vile. The purity of Christian fellowship, or the 
distinction betwec!t] the church and the world, can neither, therefore, be un- 
derstood nor practised. On this subject, Baxter says, referring to the ri»e of 
the Puritans : — « There was scarcely any such a thing as church govcrmpcvt 
or discipline known in the land, but only the harassing of those who dissftoficd 
from them. In all my life, I never lived in the parish where one person wai 
publicly admonished, or brought to public penitence, or excommunicated^ 
though there were never so many obstinate drunkards, wfaoremongfen, or 
vilest offenders. Only ] have known now and then one for getting a bastayd* 
that went to the bishop's court and paid bis fees ; and f heard of two or three 
in all the country, in all my life, that stood in a white sheet an hour in the 
church ; but the ancient discipline of the church was unknown. And, indeed, 
it was made by them impossible, when one man that lived at a distance fioin 
them, and knew not one of many hundreds of the flock, did take upon him the 
sole jurisdiction, and executed it not by himself, but by a lay chancellor, ex- 
cluding the pastors of the several congregations, who were but to Join with 
the churchwardens and the apparitors in presenting men, and bringiof 
them into their courts ; and an impossible task roust needs be unperformed. 
And so the controversy, as to the letter and outside, was, fflio shall be the 
govemort of all the particular churches? But to the sense and inside of it, it 
was, f^hether there should be any effectual church government, or nttt 
IVhereupon, those that pleaded for discipline, were called by the new name of 
the disciplinarians ; as if it had been a kind of heresy to desire discipline to 
the c\msc\i.**'-'ReformedPast9ry ffbrks, vol. xiv. p. 145. 


because it Wju their own doing, wd they knew they might come 
in when they would, they were quiet in their separation ; for we 
look them for the Separatists. Those that scrupled our ges- 
ture at the sacrament, I openly told that they should have 
it in their own. Yet did I baptise all their children, but made 
them first, as I would have done by strangers, give me privately, 
or publicly if they had rather, an account of their faith ; and if 
any father was a scandalous sinner, I made him confess his sin 
^ openly, mth seeming penitence, before I would baptise his 
child. If be refused it, I forbore till the mother came to pre- 
sent it ; for I rarely, if ever, found both father and mother so 
d^titute of knowledge and faith, as in a church sense to be in- 
capable hereof.' 

^Another advantage which I found to my success, was, by 
ordering my doctrine to them in a suitableness to the main end, 
and yet so as might suit their dispositions and diseases. The 
things which I daily opened to them, and with greatest impor- 
tunity laboured to imprint upon their minds, were the great 

r Baxter appean to liave maintained a most vigilant and effective discipline 
ii hU coDgregatioQ. Of bis fidelity to individuals, many proofs remain in the 
pointed letters which be wrote to them. The following is a specimen, from 
the Baxter MSS.in Redcross Street Library, which I select chiefly on account 
of its brevity. It shows how much of Congregationalism was in Baxter's system 
of church polity. 

" George Nichols^ 
" Because you shall have no pretence to say that we deal hardly with you, I 
ibaU not meddle with that which is commonly called excommunication against 
yoia. But because you have disclaimed your membership, and denied to ex- 
press repentance of it, even in private, which you should have done in public, 
1 shall this day acquaint the church of your sin and separation, (in which you. 
bave broken your covenant to God and us,) and that you are no more a mem- 
ber of this church or of my pastoral charge. 1 shall do no more, but 
ihall leave the rest to God, who will do more, only I shall desire the 
church to pray for your repentance and forgiveness ; and, therefore, desire 
you this day to be there and join with us in those prayers. And then, 
except you openly lament your sin, you shall be troubled with my admo- 
nitions no more. From this time forward 1 have doue with you, till either 
God correct you, or I and my warnings and labours be brought in aa a wit- 
ness against you to your confusion. 

'* Your compassionate Friend, 

" Jan. 28, 1658." 
The answer to this, is on the same sheet in another hand. 

«♦ Sir, 
" Except Pearshall, your Constable, will come to church, and there ac- 
knowledge that he has done me wrong in saying I was drunk^ 1 shall not ap- 
pear there. So I rest, 

** Your Servant, 



fundamental principles of Christianity contained in their bap^ 
tismal covenant, even a right knowledge and belief of, and sub- 
jection and love to, God the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Ghost ; love to all men, and concord with the church and one 
another. I did so daily inculcate the knowledge of God our 
Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, love and obedience to 
God, unity with the church catholic, and love to men and the 
hope of life eternal, that these were the matter of their daily 
cogitations and discourses, and, indeed, their religion. 

" Yet, I did usually put in something in my sermon, which was . 
above their own discovery, and which they had not known before ; 
and this I did that they might be kept humble, and still perceive 
their ignorance, and be willing to keep in a learning state. For 
when preachers tell their people of no more than they know, 
and do not show that they excel them in knowledge, and scarcely 
overtop them in abilities, the people will be tempted to turn • 
preachers themselves, and think that they have learned all that 
the ministers can teach them, and are as wise as they. Hiey 
will be apt to contemn their teachers, and wrangle with all their , 
doctrines, and set their wits against them, and hear them as 
censurers, and not as disciples, to their own undoing, and to the 
disturbance of the church ; and thus they will easily draw dis- 
ciples after them. The bare authority of the clergy will not 
serve the turn, without overtopping ministerial abilities. I did 
this, also, to increase their knowledge, and to make religion plea- 
sant to them, by a daily addition to their former light, and to 
draw them on with desire and delight. But these things which 
they did not know before, were not unprofitable controversies 
which tended not to edification, or novelties in doctrine contrary 
to the universal church; but either such points as tended to illus- 
trate the great doctrines before mentioned, or usually about the 
right methodizing of them. The opening of the true and pro- 
fitable method of the creed, or doctrine of faith ; the Lord's 
Prayer, or matter of our desires ; and the ten commandments^ ^ 
or the law of practice. 

*^ Another thing that helped me, was, my not meddling with 
tithes or worldly business, whereby I had my whole time, except 
what sickness deprived me of, for my duty, and my mind more 
free from entanglements than else it would have been ; and^ 
also, I escaped the offending of the people, and contending by 
any law-suits with them. Three or four of my neighbours 
managed all those kind of businesses, of whom I never took ac- 



eouiit $ and if any one refused to pay his tithes, if he was poor^ 
I ordered them to forgive it him. After that, I was constrained 
to' let the tithes be gathered, as by my title, to save the gatherers 
from lawsuits. But if the parties were able, I ordered them 
to seek it by the magistrate, with the damage, and give both 
my part and the damages to the poor ; for I resolved to have 
none of it myself that was recovered by law, and yet I could 
not tolerate the sacrilege and fraud of covetous men. Wheu 
they knew that thb was the rule I went by, none of them that 
Here able would do the poor so great a kindness as to deny the 
payment of their tithes. In my own family, I had the help of 
ny father and stepmother^ and the benefit of a godly, under- 
standings faithful servant, an ancient woman, near sixty years' 
oM, who eased me of all care, and laid out all my money for 
hooaekeeping ; so that I never had one hour's trouble about it^ 
Qor ever took one day's account of her for fourteen years to- 
gether, as being certain of her fidelity, providence, and skill. 

^ Finally, it much furthered my success, that I staid still in 
this one place, near two years before the wars, and above four- 
teen years after ; for he that removeth oft from place to place, 
nay sow good seed in many places, but is not likely to see 
mnch fruit in any, unless some other skilful hand shall follow 
him to water it. ' It was a great advantage to me to have almost 
all the religious people of the place, of my own instructing and 
informing; and that they were not formed into erroneous and 
factious principles before ; and that I staid to see them grow 
up to some confirmedness and maturity. 

*^ Our successes were enlarged beyond our own congregations, 
by the lectures kept up round about. To divers of them I went 
as oft as I was able; and the neighbouring ministers, oftener than 
I; especially Mr. Oasland, of Bewdley, who, having a strong 
body, a zealous spirit, and an earnest utterance, went up and 
down preaching from place to place, with great acceptance and 
success. But this business, also, we contrived to be universally 
and orderly managed. For, beside the fixed lectures set up 
on week days, in several places, we studied how to have them 
extend to every place in the county that had need. For when 
the parliament purged the ministry, they cast out the grosser 
sort of insufficient and scandalous ones, such as gross drunkards 
and the like ; and also some few civil men that had assisted in 
the wars against the parliament, or set up bowing to altstrs, or 
such innovations; but they had left in nearly one half the minis- 

vou I. K 


tersy that were not good enough to do much service, or bad 
enough to be cast out as utterly intolerable. There were many 
poor, weak preachers who had no great skill in divinity, or zeal 
for godliness ; but preached weakly that which is true, and lived 
in no gross, notorious sin. These men were not cast out, but 
yet their people greatly needed help ; for their dark, sleepy 
preaching did but little good. We, therefore, resolved that some 
of the abler ministers should often voluntarily help them ; but. 
all the care was how to do it without offending them. 

'^ It fell out seasonably that the Londoners of that county, at 
their yearly feast, collected about thirty pounds, and sent it me 
by that worthy man, Mr. Thomas Stanley, of Bread-«treet, to 
set up a lecture for that year. We, therefore, covered all our 
designs under the name of the Londoners' Lecture, which took 
off the offence. We chose four worthy men, Mr. Andrew 
Tristram, Mr. Henry Oasland, Mr. Thomas Baldwin, and Mr. 
Joseph Treble, who undertook to go, each man his day, once a 
month, which was every Lord's day among the four, and to 
preach at those places which had most need twice on the Lord's 
day. To avoid all ill consequences and offence, they were 
sometimes to go to abler men's congregations ; and wherever 
they came, to say something always to draw the people to the 
honour and special regard of their own pastors, that, how weak 
soever they were, they might see that we came not to draw 
away the people's hearts from them, but to strengthen their 
hands, and help them in their work. 

^^This lecture did a great deal of good; and though the Lon- 
doners gave their money but that one year, when it was once 
set on foot, we continued it voluntarily, till the ministers were 
turned out and all these works went dou'n together. 

^* So much of the way and helps of those successes, which I 
mention, because many have inquired after them, as willing, with 
their own flocks, to take that course which other men have by 
experience found to be effectual." ^ 

I have thus given an abridged but faithful statement of Bax- 
ter's labours and success, during the most important period of 
his public ministry, and of the principal means which promoted 
that success. In few instances have the ministers of Christ 
been honoured to be so extensively useful to the souls of their 
hearers ; and where eminent success has occurred we have not 

^ Life^ part i., pp. 63—96. 

tlmgrs beeo •uffieietitl/ infonned of the meani by which it hu * 
kwD promoted. The secret of hit success, Baxter has disclosed 
Is us in the most faithful and interesting manner. While we 
sdmire the grace of God which so abmidantijr rested npon his 
idKmrs^ we cannot but notice at the same time, the extraordi-* 
nary suitableness and adaptation, both of the instrument him-^ 
ad^ and of the means which he employed in the work he 
was honoured to accomplish. To a few points in the preced- 
ing statement, I hope I shall be forgiven for turning the atten- 
tion of the Christian mmister. 

Abstracting all the temporary and local circumstances to 
which Baxter adverts as fiivourable to his success, the sim- 
^irity and intense ardour of his preaching demand oxxe notice. 
It waa Admirably adapted to instruct the ignorant, to rouse the 
eardesa, and to build up the faithful. He sought out acceptable 
words, but he had neither time nor taste for making what are 
called fine sermons; he studied point, not brilliancy. His object 
was not to dazzle, but to convince; not to excite admiration 
of faimaelf, but to procure the reception of his message. He never 
aimed at drawing attention to the preacher, but always at fixing 
it at home, or guiding it to Christ. He never '^ courted a grin,'^ 
when he might have '' wooed a soul ;'' or played with the hncff 
wlien he should have been dissecting the heart. His subjects 
were always the most important which can engage the attention 
of man, — the creed, the commandments, and the Lord's prayer} 
or, according to his own simple definition of them— -the things 
to be believed, the things to be done, and the things to be desired. 
These were the leading, indeed, the only topics of his ministry^ 
Into these he-entered with all the intense ardour of his acute and 
deeply impressible mind. He never spoke like a man who was 
indifferent whether his audience felt what he said, or considered 
him in earnest on the subject. His eye, his action, his every 
wwd, were expressive of deep and impassioned earnestness, 
that his hearers might be saved. His was eloquence of the 
highest order ; not the eloquence of nicely-selected words-* 
or the felicitous combination of terms and phrases-— or the 
music of exquisitely-balanced periods, (though these proper- 
ties are frequentiy to be found in Baxter's discourses) : but the 
eloquence of the most important truths, vividly apprehended, 
and energetically delivered. It was the eloquence of a soul 
burning with ardent devotion to God, and inspired with the deep- 
est cc^passion for men ; on whom the powers of the worlds 



of darkness, and of light, exercised their mighty influence^ 
and spoke through his utterances, all that was tremendous in 
warning, and all that was delightful in invitation and love. He 
was condescending to the ignorant, faithful to the self-righteous 
and careless, tender to the timid and afflicted ; in a word, as a 
preacher, he became all things to all men, if by any means he 
might save some. It was impossible that such a man shpuld 
labour in vain. 

Another thing which strikes us in the ministerial conduct of 
Baxter, was his careful avoidance of everything which might pre- 
judice his hearers against him, and his diligent cultivation of 
whatever was likely to gain their favour, or secure their impartial 
attention. No one could be less of a man-pleaser than he was; 
for, apart from promoting the object of his ministry, he was re- 
gardless of human frown or favour. But he considered nothing 
unimportant, which either stood in the way of his success, 
or was likely to promote it. His conduct, in regard to his 
tithes; his remaining unmarried; his practising physic; his 
, liberality to the poor ; his distribution of books, &c., were aU 
intended to be subservient to liis great work. The gaining of 
souls to Christ was the only object for which he lived. Hence, 
amidst the seeming variety of his pursuits and engagements, 
there was a perfect harmony of design. His ruling and 
controlling principle, was the love of his Master, producing 
the desire of a full and faithful discharge of his duty as his 
approved minister. This was the centre around which every 
thing moved, and by which every thing in his circumstances and 
character was attracted or repelled. This gave unity to all his 
plans, and constituted the moral force of all his actions. It 
gave enlightened energy to his zeal, exquisite tenderness to his 
persuasions, warmth and fervency to his admonitions. It poured 
over all his public and private ministrations that holy unction, 
which diffused its fragrance, spreading its bland and refreshing 
influences all around. 

A third point worthy of observation in his ministry, is, that 
it was not limited to the pulpit, or considered as discharged in 
the parlour. The blow which he aimed at the mass in public, 
was followed by successive strokes addressed to the individuals, 
in private. The congregation was not permitted to forget, during 
the week, what they had been taught on the sabbath. The man 
who would have been lost in the crowd, or who might have 
sheltered Jiimself under the exceptions which belong to a geoeinl 

* row ftlCHAAD BAXm« IS3 

jiddresfly was ringled oat, cdnvicted, and shut up to the fiuth, or 
left to bear the stings of an instructed and alarmed conscience. 
The young were interested, and led on ; the wavering were ad- 
monished, and established ; the strong were taught to minister 
to the weak ; and the prayers of many a holy band, at once, 
strengthened the hands of their minister, and '^girded each other 
for the race divine.'" lliis was truly making full proof of his 
ministry, and promoting in hi^ congregation the grand objects 
and aims of the fellowship of Christianity. 

When we thus connect the public talents, and private eh»- 
lacter of Baxter; the energy and point of his pulpit addresses 
with the assiduousness, the perseverance, and the variety, of his 
• other labours ; his devotion to God, his disinterested love to 
men; what he was as a/Mt^or, with all that he was as tBipreacher; 
we cease to wonder at the effects which he produced. No place 
eould loog resist such a train and style of aggression. All peo* 
pie must feel the force of such a moral warfiire as that which 
he waged. There are few individuals, who could escape with- 
out being wounded, or conquered, by such an assailant. In 
eomparisoii with him, how few are there even among the fiiith- 
M ministers of Christ, who can think of themselves, or their 
labours with satisfaction I Yet, was there nothing in Baxter, 
but what the grace and power of God can do for others, lliere 
was something in his exertions, almost super-human; yet he 
teemed to accomplish all with a considerable degree of ease and 
eomfort to himself. He never seems to have been bustled, 
bat he was always busy ; and thus he found time for all he had 
to do, while he employed that time in the most profitable man- 
ner. We have only to find an increase of such ministers in the 
church of Christ, and who will employ the same kind of means, 
in order to the accomplishment, in any place, of effects that will 
not shrink from a comparison with Kidderminster itself in all 
its glory. 

The effecto of Baxter's labours, in Kidderminster, were last- 
ing, as well as extensive. He frequently refers to his beloved 
flock, long after he had left them, in terms of the warmest af- 
fection. Many of them continued to adorn the doctrine of God, 
their Saviour, till they finished their mortal course ; and, doubt- 
less, now constitute their pastor*s crown of rejoicing in the 
presence of their Redeemer. Nor did the effects of his exer- 
tions expire with that generation. Mr. Fawcett, who abridged 
the ' Saints Rest,' in 1759, says^ ^ that the religious spirit thus 


happily introduced by Baxter^ is yet to be traced, in the town, 
and neighbourhood in some degree."^ He represents the pro- 
fessors of that place, as ^^ possessing an unusual degree of can- 
dour, and friendship, for each other.'^ Thus evincing, ^^that 
Kidderminster had not totally lost the amiable spirit it had 
imbibed more than a century before/' j 

When the Gospel was removed from the Church, it was carried 
to the Meeting; though at what time a separate congregation 
was regularly established, cannot now be satisfactorily ascer- 
tained. Baxter was not friendly to an entire separation from 
the church, and carried his opposition to it so far, as seriously 
to offend some of his old congregation, who could not endare the 
teaching of his successors. A separation accordingly took place, 
which laid the foundation of a large dissenting congregation. 

On Baxter's removal from Kidderminster, he recommended 
to the people to be guided by Mr. Serjeant, then minister of 
Stone, who had formerly assisted him ; and Mr. Thomas Bald- 
win, who had acted as schoolmaster in Kidderminster, and was 
both a good scholar and possessed of respectable ministerial 
qualifications. Mr. Baldwin was minister of the parish of 
Chaddesly till the Bartholomew ejectment : he then removed 
to Kidderminster, and settled with the Nonconformists who left 
the church. His ministry was repeatedly interrupted ; but he 
died in Kidderminster, in 1693. After his death, Mr. White, 
the vicar of the parish, preached and published his funeral ser- 
mon ; in which he speaks in the highest terms of his piety, his 
talents, and his moderation. He was, in all respects, worthy to 
be the successor of Baxter. The sermon is honourable alike 
to the preacher and to the deceased.^ 

He was succeeded by Mr. Francis Spilsbury, son of the 
Rev. John Spilsbury, the ejected minister of Bromsgrove, and 
nephew to Dr. Hall, Bishop of Bristol. He was ordained in 
the year 1693, and after a useful ministry of thirty-four years, 
died in 1727. His uncle, the Bishop, who was also Master 
of Pembroke College, Oxford^ and Margaret Professor, used to 
visit him, and reside in his family, where he was attended by his 
clergy, while his nephew preached in the meeting. He was suc- 
ceeded by the Rev. Matthew Bradshaw, who married his daugh- 
ter. He was a man of similar sentiments and spirit, and la- 
boured in the congregation till the year 1745, when he was sue- 

^ Preface. J Dedication. 

^ life, part iii. p. 92 ; Nonoon. Mam, iii. pp. 389, 390 ; White's Sermon. 

ov micHAiB luornnu 139 

ceeded liy Beigamin Fawcett, a favourite pupil of Dr. Doddridge^ 
and who abridged several of Baxter's works. His death took 
place in 1780.^ ' After that event a division occurred^ which 
led to the erection of another meeting, of which the Rev. Robert 
Gentleman^ who edited Orton's Exposition of the Old TesU- 
ment, became the first minister. 

In the original congregation, Mr. Barrett became the sue- 
eessor of Fawcett ; he was a man of respectable talents. He 
was followed by Mr. Steill, now of Wigan, in Lancashire ; on 
whose removal, Mr. Thomas Helmore, educated at Gosport, 
was ordained to the pastoral office in 1810. He was foUowed 
by Mr. Joseph John Freeman, now a missionary in Madagascar ; 
iHiose place has been supplied by Dr. James Roesj formerly a 
missionary at Karass, in Russian Tartary."^ 

' Manjr psrticulan respectini^ these parties may be seen in Mr. Hanbuiy's 
** Enlarged Diary, Ac., of Mr. Joseph WiUiams, of Kidderminster/' See 
ahe, ** Orton's Letters to Dissenting Ministers $" in the second ▼oloma of 
vUcli there is a short memoir of Mr. Fawcett. 

* The polpit in which Baxter preached is stili ^reserred. Aboat forty years 

ago it was sold, together with the pewiug of the parish church> for a trifling 

Mm. A pentleman. anxious to jMreserve it from destruction, bought it from 

the first purchaser for Ayt pounds, and placed it in the vestry of the new 

meeting. It is ratlier a handsome production of its icind. It is 6f an octagon 

fcrm. The pannels have iong carved flowers on them^ which are painted 

different colours, and some of the gilding still remains. There is a large 

loanding-board surmounted by a crown upon a cushion. Around the top is 

inscril>edy " And call upon his oame, declare his works among the people." 

(Psalm cv.) It was not built for Baxter, but appears to have been the gift of 

Alice Dawkx, in the year 1621. 




The Cominonwealth— Crorowcirs treatment of his Parliaments— The Trien 
— Committee of Fundamentals — Principles on which Baxter acted towards 
Cromwell— Preaches before him — Interviews with him — Admission of the 
Benefits of Cromwell's Government— Character of Cromwell— Remarkf on 
that character — Richard's Succession and Retirement — ^The Restoratioii-^ 
Baxter goes to London — Preaches before Parliament — Preaches before the 
JLiord Mayor — ^The King's Arrival in London — Reception by the Londoa 
Ministers— Notices of various labours of Baxter during his second residcnoe 
in Kidderminster — Numerous Works written during this period-— Extensive 
Correspondence — Concluding Observations, 

Having, in the preceding chapter, given a full view of th^ 
manner in which Baxter acted in his ministerial capacity, dur- 
ing the period of his second residence in Kidderminster, com- 
prehending fourteen years of the most active and interesting 
period of his life, we shall now collect some of his views re- 
specting the political events and characters of the Common- 
wealth, and notice certain parts of his conduct in relation to 
the parties in power. 

To give a full detail of the rapidly- shifting scenes which then 
passed along the stage, or of the principles and conduct of all 
the actors, is impracticable ; but a view of the times of Baxter 
would be imperfect, without some notice of them ; 1 can only 
make a selection, and that selection shall be chiefly in Baxter's 
own words. 

His former connexion with the army of the Commonwealth, 
had furnished him with opportunities of knowing the characters 
of not a few of the leading men, in many respects favourable to 
his forming a correct judgment of their characters, and of the 
principles by which they were actuated; while his conscientious 
fidelity led him to speak, both to them and of them, so plainly 
as to leave no ambiguity whatever as to the estimate which he 

Every thing relative to Oliver Cromwell still possesses consi- 


derabl6 interest ; and as Baxter has said a good deal respecting 
him, it woidd be unjustifiable in these memoirs, to omit the 
substance of the information which he has furnished. The 
following account quite harmonises with other documents 
which record the transactions of the times* Having given a 
uarradve of the final defeat of the royal army, of the flight of 
Charles II. to France, and of the policy pursued toward Scot* 
land, he thus describes the measures of the crafty Protector, in 
the treatment of his parliaments. 

^ Cromwell having thus far seemed to be a servant to the par- 
liament, and to work for his masters, the Rump, or Commons- 
wealth, did next begin to show whom he served, and take that 
impediment also out of the way. To this end, he first did by them 
18 he did by the Presbyterians, make them odious by hard speeches 
against them throughout his army ; as if they intended to perpe- 
tuate themselves, and would not be accountable for the money of 
the Commonwealth, &c. He also treated privately with many of 
them, to appoint a time when they would dissolve themselves, so 
that another free parliament might be chosen. But they per- 
ceived the danger, and were rather for filling up their number 
by new elections, which he was utterly against. 

^^ His greatest advantage to strengthen himself against them 
by the sectaries, was their owning the public ministry and its 
maintenance ; for though Vane and his party set themselves 
to make the ministers odious, and to take them down by re- 
proachful titles, still the greater part of the House did carry it 
for a sober ministry and competent maintenance. When the 
Quakers and others openly reproached the ministry, and the 
soldiers favoured them, I drew up a petition for the ministry, 
got many thousand hands to it in Worcestershire, and Mr. 
Thomas Foley and Colonel John Bridges presented it. The 
House gave it a kind and promising answer, which increased 
the sectaries' displeasure against the House. When a certain 
Quaker wrote a reviling censure of this petition, I wrote a de- 
fence of it, and caused one of them to be given to each parlia- 
ment-man at the door ; but within one day after this, they were 
dissolved.^ For Cromwell, impatient of any more delay, suddenly 
took Harrison and some soldiers with him, as if God had im- 
pelled him, and, as in a rapture, went into the House and re- 
proved the members for their faults. Pointing to Vane, he 

* These were published under the title of * The Worcestershire Petition/ 
and the * Defence of it ;' an account of which will be found in another placet 


called him a juggler ; and to Henry Martin, caHed him whore* 
master ;°^ and having two such to instance in, took it for 
granted that they were all unfit to continue in the government 
of the Commonwealth, and out he turned them. So ended. the 
government of the Rump. No sort of people expressed any 
great offence that they were cast out, though almost all, save 
the sectaries and the army, did take him to be a traitor who 
did it. 

"The young Commonwealth being already headless, you 
might think that nothing was left to stand between Cromwell 
and the crown. For a governor there nmst be, and who should 
be thought fitter ? But yet there was another pageant to be 
played, which had a double end : first, to make the necessity 
of his government undeniable : and, secondly, to put his own 
soldiers, at last, out of love with democracy ; or, at least, to 
make those hateful who adhered to itl A parliament must be 
called, but the ungodly people are not to be trusted with the 
choice ; therefore the soldiers, as more religious, must be the 
choosers ; and two out of a county are chosen by the officers, 
upon the advice of their sectarian friends in the country. This 
was called in contempt, the Little ParUamentJ^ 

^^ Harrison became the head of the sectaries, and Cromwell 
now began to design the heading of a soberer party, who were 
for learning and a ministry ; but yet to be the equal protector 
of all. Hereupon, in the little sectarian parliament, it was put 
to the vote, whether all the parish ministers in England should 

■°> A very curious account of this facetious, but, I fear, profli^te commoiiery 
is given in ^ Aubrey's MisceUanies,* vol. ii. pp. 434— -437. A sarcatm of 
Charles the First, upon Martin, is there alleged tu have cost the king the loMi 
of the county of Berks. He was one of the king's judges, and is said to 
have owed his life to the wit of Lord Faulkland, and his own profligacy* 
** Gentlemen," said his Lordship, '' you talk of making a sacrifice. By the 
old law, all sacrifices were required to be without spot or blemish ; and aow 
you are going to make this old rotten rascal a sacrifice l" The Joke took, and 
saved Henry's life. 

" One of the best and fullest views which we have of CromweU's pailia- 
ments has been recently furnished in * Burton's Diary,' edited by Mr. TowiU 
Rutt. It shows us more of the working of the Protector's system than any 
former publication had done. Certainly, some of the members were not the 
best qualified of all men to be legislators, if we may judge from many of 
their opinions and expressions, as they here appear. They meddled with 
various matters, which they had much better have let alone ; though it is 
clear that even Old Noll, with all his power and sternness, could not make 
them do what he pleased. Scobell's acU of these parliaments shows, however, 
that some of their enactments were both wise and salutary. 


itooee be put down; and it was but accidentally carried in the 
negative by two voices.® It was taken for granted, that the 
tithes and universities would, at the next opportunity, be voted 
down ; and so Cromwell must be their saviour, or they must 
perish ; when he had purposely cast them into the pit, that 
they might be beholden to him to pull them out. But his game 
was so grossly played, that it made him the more loathed by 
men of understanding and sincerity. 80 Sir Charles Wolsley, 
and some others, took their tim^, and put it to the vote, whether 
the House, as incapable of serving the Commonwealth, should 
go and deliver up their power to Cromwell, from whom they 
had received it ; which was carried in the affirmative. So away 
they went, and solemnly resigned their power to him ; and now, 
who but Cromwell and his armv ? ^ 

f ^ The intelligent sort, by this time, did fully see that Crom- 

* This itatement is iDcorrect : no such question a» the aholition of the mi- 
nistry baviDg^ been discussed iu that parliament. ** On the 15th of July, 1653, 
the qucttion was proposed whether the fnaitUenance of ministers by tithes 
should be continued after the third day of November next : and the question 
being pot, that that question be now put, it passed in the negative. The 
noes is, yeas 43.*' — Journals of the House of Commons. This, I have no 
doubt, is the affair to which Baxter refers. The reader will easily distinguish 
between the abolition of tithes, and the abolition of the ministry. The fol- 
lowing extract from a report of the committee on tithes, appointed by this 
parliament, will show what were the real sentiments entertained by them on 
that subject. 1 am much deceived if they will nut be thought enlightened 
even at Uie present time. ** Resolved, that it be presented to the Parliament 
that all such as are or shall be approved for public preachers of the Gospel in 
the public meeting places, shall have and enjoy the maintenance already set- 
Ued by law ; and such other encuura^-ement as the Parliament hath already 
appointed, or hereafter shall appoint : and that where any scruple payment 
of tithes, the three next justices of the peace, or two of them, shall upon com- 
plaint call the parties before them ; and, by the oaths of lawful witnesses, 
shall duly apportion the value of the said tithes, to be paid either in money 
or land by them, to be set out according to the said value, to be held and en- 
joyed by him that was to have had the said tithes : and in case such appor- 
tiooed value be not duly paid, or enjoyed according to the order of the said 
justices, the tithes shall be paid in kind, and shall be recovered in any court 
of record. Upon hearing and considering what hath been offered to this 
committee touching propriety in tithes of incumbents, rectors, possessors of 
donatives, or propriate tithes, it is the opinion of this committee, and resolved 
to be reported so to the Parliament, the said persons have a legal propriety 
in tithes." — Joumai, Dec. 2, 1653. There is no evidence that the parlia- 
ment ever intended to put down the universities, or to alienate the lauds which 
belonged to them, from the purpose to which they were originally destined* 

» Cromwell, in his opening speech at the meeting of the ensuing parlia- 
ment, solemnly declared that he knew nothing of this act of dissolution, tiU 
the speaker and the members came and put it into his hands. It is strange 
if he was ignorant of it, and equally strange, if he. had a hand in it, that he 

should in public declare his ignorance.—* J^arrtf*f lAfe of Cronwell, p. 334. 


well's d^ign was, by causing and permitting destruction id 
hang over us, to necessitate the nation, whether it would or 
not, to take him for its governor, that he might be its pro* 
tector. Being resolved that we should be saved by him or 
perish, he made more use of the wild-headed sectaries than 
barely to fight for him. They now served him as much by their 
heresies, their enmity to learning and the ministry, and their per- 
nicious demands which tended to confusion, as they had done 
before by their valour in the field. He could now conjure up at 
pleasure some terrible apparition of agitators, levellers, or sudw 
like, who, as they affrighted the king, from Hampton Court, af« 
frighted the people to fly to him for refuge ; that the hand that 
wounded them, might heal them. Now he exclaimed against 
the giddiness of these unruly men, and earnestly pleaded for 
order, and government, and must needs become the patron of 
the ministry ; yet, so as to secure all others their liberty."* So 
much for the address and policy of this extraordinary man. 

One great object of Cromwell's government was the purifica* 
lion of the ministry. For this purpose, after the Westminster 
Assembly was dissolved, he appointed a body of Triers, consist^ 
ing, partly of ministers, partly of laymen, who examined 
all who were able to come to London ; but other cases 
they referred to a committee of ministers in the counties 
in which they lived. As strange accounts have been given of 
this body, and as Baxter himself disapproved of their constitu- 
tion and proceedings, it may be well to hear his account of 

^* Because this assembly of Triers is most heartily accused,, 
and reproached by some men, I shall speak the truth of them, 
and, I suppose, my word will be rather taken, because most of 
them took me for one of their boldest adversaries, as to their 
opinions, and because I was known to disown their power; in-^ 
somuch, that I refused to try any under them upon their refer- 
ence, except very few, whose importunity and necessity moved 
me, they being such, as for their episcopal judgment, or some 
such cause, the Triers were likely to have rejected. The truth 
is, that though their authority was mild, and though some few 
who were over^busy, and over-rigid Independents among them^ 
were too severe against all that were Arminians, and too parti- 
cular in inquiring after evidences of sanctification in those whom 

< Life, fart i. pp. 69— -71. 

09 HtCHARD BAXTER. 14 1 

they examined^ and Bomewhat too lax in their admission of 
onieamed and erroneous men, who favoured Antinomianism 
or Anabaptism ; yet to give them their due, they did abundance 
of good to the church. They saved many a congregation from 
ignorant, ungodly, drunken teachers; that sort of men, who 
intended no more in the ministry, than to say a sermon, as 
readers say their common prayers, and to patch up a few good 
words together, to talk the people asleep on Sunday, and all 
the rest of the week go with them to the alehouse, and harden 
them in their sin : imd that sort of ministers, who either preached 
against a holy life, or preached as men that never were 
acquainted with it. All those who used the ministry but as a 
coBimon trade to live by, and were never likely to convert a 
sou), they usually rejected, and in their stead they admitted 
persons of any denomination who were able, serious, preach- 
ers, and lived a godly life. So that though many of them 
were somewhat partial to the Independents, Separatists, Fifth- 
Monarchy men, and Anabaptists, and against the Prelatists and 
Arminians, so great was the benefit above the hurt which they 
brought to the church, that many thousands of souls blessed 
God for the faithful ministers whom they let in, and grieved 
when the Prelatists afterward cast them out again."' 

Whatever objections of a technical nature might be brought 
against Cromwell's Triers, after this impartial testimony to the 
general character of their proceedings, no person acquainted 
with the principles of the Gospel, and with what ought to con- 
stitute the character of its ministers, will object to the ejection 
of openly ignorant and ungodly teachers, and the substitution 
in their place of those who feared God, and were likely to care 
for the souls of men. It is evident, the Triers were not mere 
partisans, as they neither ejected men on account of their sen- 
timents respecting church government, nor supplied their places 
by persons of one profession. They may Iii^ve caused occasional 
kirdship and suffering, but it seems very clear from Baxter, 
that they were guided by sound principles, and prosecuted 
through good report and through bad report, the best interests 
of religion. 

Reference to the Triers leads me to notice Baxter's connex- 
ion with the committee appointed to digest and report respect- 
ing the fundamentals of religion, as the basis of a system of 

' lafe, parti, p. 72. 


toleration, or religious liberty, to be adopted by theP^tment 
of the Commonwealth. He has given a long and carious 
account of the proceedings of this committee, and of his own 
conduct in it, the substance of which I have given in another 
place.' Baxter was appointed one of them by Lord Broghill, at 
the suggestion of Archbishop Usher. He came late, and after 
certain points had been determined, which they refused to alter* 
His interference, however, probably checked their proceeds 
ings, and contributed to defeat the object which some of them 
had in jiew. Not that he understood religious liberty better 
than the others, but he excelled them all in finding out objee* 
tions to whatever was proposed; though his own scheme would 
not have greatly improved what was determined by the miyo* 
rity. The most important result of this meeting to Baxter^ 
was its being the means of introducing him to Archbishop 
Usher, with whom he appears to have had much friendly 
intercourse, and with whose views of church government he 
nearly agreed. Usher was one of the most amiable of meOy 
and the most moderate of bishops ; whose enlightened senti* 
ments and suggestions, had they been attended to, would hav« 
preserved the country from many of the evils which befell it« 

The peculiar circumstances of the country, and the political 
management of Cromwell, naturally induced a great diversity of 
opinion among religious people, as to the nature and extent of 
the submission which they were called to render to the existing 
government. Some, regarding it as a usurpation, and influenced 
considerably by the doctrine of divine right, opposed and reviled 
it. Others regarded what appeared to be the arrangements 
of Providence, as the will of God that they should submit to^ 
asking no questions for conscience' sake. A third and numeroui 
body, in theory disputed the claims of Cromwell and his party^ 
but in practice quietly submitted to the laws which they enacted. 
Baxter in this, as in many other matters, pursued a course of 
his own. 

^^ I did seasonably and moderately, by preaching and printings 
condemn the usurpation, and the deceit which was the means to 
bring it to pass. I did in open conference declare Cromwell 
and his adherents to be guilty of treason and rebellion, aggra- 
vated by perfidiousness and hypocrisy.^ But yet I did not think 

■ Life, part ii. pp. 197—206. Owen's Memoirs, pp. 113—116. 
* Baxter changed his mind respecting his conduct to Cromwell at a sub- 
sequent period. In his * Penitent Confsssious/ written in 1691^ he says : *< I 


it my duty to rave against him in the pulpit, or to do this so un- 
seasonably and imprudently as might irritate him to mischief. 
And the rather because, as he kept up his approbation of a godly 
life in general, and of all that was good, except that which the 
interest of his sinful cause engaged him to be against ; so I per** 
cetved that it was his design to do good in the main, and to 
promote the Gospel and the interests of godliness, more than 
any bad done before him ; except in those particulars which 
were against his own interest. The principal means that hence- 
forward he trusted to for his establishment, was doing good^ 
that the people might love him, or at least be willing to have 
his government for that good, who were against it as it was 
usurpation.^ I made no question but that when the rightfill 
governor should be restored, the people who had adhered to 
him, being so extremely irritated, would cast out multitudes of 
the ministers, and undo the good which the usurper had doncj 
because he did it, and would bring abundance of calamity upon 
the land. Some men thought it a very hard question, whether 
they should rather wish the continuance of a usurper who did 
g0€>d, or the restitution of a rightful governor whose followers 
would do hurt. For my part I thought my duty was clear, to 
disown the usurper's sin what good soever he would do j and to 
perform all my engagement^ to a rightful governor, leaving the 
issue of all to God ; but yet to commend the good which a 

am in great doubt how far I did well or ill in my oppositjou to Cromwell and hit 
army at last. I am satisfied that it was my duty to disown, and as I said, to op- 
pose their rebellion and other sins. But there were many honest, pious men 
among them. And when God chooseth the e&ecutioner of justice as he pleas* 
etby I am oft in doubt whether I should not have been more passive and silent 
than I was ; though not as Jeremiah to Nebuchadnezzar, to persuade men to 
submit, yet to have forborne some sharp public preaching and writing against 
them, — when they set themselves too late to promote piety to ingratiate their 
usurpation. To disturb possessors needeth a clear call, when for what end 
soever they do that good, which men of better title will destroy." pp. 24, 25. 
From a letter of his to one of the judges among his MSS, it appears he 
brought bimhelf into difficulty by preaching against Cromwell. How he got 
out of it, or what was the extent of his danger, does not clearly appear. Crom- 
well's usual moderation probably induced him to drop proceedings. 

I think it by no meaus evident that Cromwell's sole motives in repressing 
evil and doing good, were the establishment *and consolidation of his own 
power ; or that he stuck at uothiug, when it was necessary to accomplish his 
own interest. That he was ambitious in the latter part of bis life, is certain ; 
and that he had also learnt the royal art of dissimulation, is undoubted : but 
that there was a great preponderance of good in his character, and of just and 
liberal views of policy, can no longer be matter of doubt to those who bars 
studied bis history. 


usurper doth, and to do every lawful thing which might provoke 
him to do more ; and to approve of no evil which is done by 
any, whether a usurper or a lawful governor." * 

With Baxter, to hold certain sentiments, and to act upon 
them in the face of every danger to which they might expose 
him, were the same thing. The following anecdote of his 
personal intercourse with Cromwell, illustrates the preced- 
ing statement and the character of Cromwell, and shows how 
faithfully he acted according to his sentiments and convic- 

'^ At this time Lord Broghill and the Earl of Warwick ' 
brought me to preach before Cromwell, the protector ; which 
was the only time that ever I preached to him, save once long 
before, when he was an inferior man, amongst other auditors. I 
knew not which way to provoke him better to his duty than by 
preaching on 1 Cor. i. 10, against the divisions and distractions 
of the church, and showing how mischievous a thing it was for 
politicians to maintain such divisions for their own ends, that 
they might fish in troubled waters, and keep the church by its 
divisions in a state of weakness lest it should be able to oSend 
them ; and showing the necessity and means of union. My 

* Life, parti, p. 71. 

r Robert Rich, the second Earl of Warwick, was at an early period of bit life 
the patron and friend of the persecuted Puritans. He took an active part in 
the prosecution of Strafford and Laud ; and was made by the Long^ Parlia* 
ment, in opposition to the will of Charles, admiral of the fleet, and afterwards 
lord hi^h admiral of England. He enjoyed a large portion of the confidence 
of Cromwell, and was one of the few old nobility who sat in his upper house. 
Clarendon praises his " pleasant and companionable wit and conversatioo ;** 
and speaks of " his fpreat authority'andcred it with the Puritans," which he 
represents as acquired "by makings his house the rendezvous of all the 
silenced ministers, and spending a <;ood part of his estate upon them, and by 
being present at their devotions, and making himself merry with them and at 
them, which they dispensed with." He intimates that *< thus he became the 
head of that party, and got the style of a godly man ;*' though '* he was of 
universal jollity, and used great license in his words and actions." — HiiU 
vol. ii. p. 210. This I believe tu be one of those cases in which Garendon't 
politics completely corrupted his historical integrity. Dr. Owen's opinion of 
Warwick's piety, may be seen in his dedication to him of his < Salus Elec- 
torum,' Owen's Works, v. p. 207. Godwin's view of his character Is highl/ 
advantageous to his talents anil respectability as a man, and conveys no im- 
pression of his immorality, which is strongly implied in Clarendon's account* 
Commonwealth, i. p. 192. It is not at all likely that a profligate man should 
have enjoyed the full confidence of the Puritans. His grandson married the 
Protector's favourite daughter. Lady Frances. He died before Cromwell, in 
1658, and his funeral sermon was preached by Calamy, who makes honour^ 
able mention of his religious dispositioos and habits. 


fSabtiett I beard was displeasing (o him and his conrd^ ; bu( 
they put it np. 

^ A little while after, Cromwell sent to speak with me, and 
when 1 came, in the presence of only three of his chief men/ he 
bc^^ a long and tedious speech to me of God's providence in 
the change of the government, and how God had owned it, and 
what great things had been done at home and abroad, in the 
peace with Spain and Holland, &c. When he had wearied us 
all with speaking thus slowly about an hour, 1 told him it was 
too great condescension to acquaint me so fully with all these 
matters, which were above me ; but I told him that we took our 
ancient monarchy to be a blessing, and not an evil to the land ; 
and humbly craved his patience that I might ask him how 
England had ever forfeited that blessing, and unto whom that 
forfeitore was made ? I was fain to speak of the form of govern- 
ment only, for it had lately been made treason, by law, to speak 
for the person of the king* 

^ Upon that question, he was awakened into some passion, 
and then told me it was no forfeiture, but God had changed it 
as pleased him 3 and then he let fly at the parliament, which 
thwarted him ; and especially by name at four or Ave of those 
members who were my chief acquaintances, whom I presumed 
to defend against his passion : and thus four or five hours were 

^ A few days after he sent for me again, to hear my judgment 
about liberty of conscience, which he pretended to be most 
zealous for, before almost all his privy council 3 where, after 
anotlier slow tedious speech of his, I told him a little of my 
judgment. And when two of his company had spun out a great 
deal more of the time in such-like tedious, but more ignorant 
speeches, some four or five hours being spent, I told him, that 
if he would be at the labour to read it, 1 could tell him more of 
my mind in writing in two sheets, than in that way of speaking 
in many days ; and that I had a paper on the subject by me, 
written for a friend, which, if he would peruse, and allow for the 
change of the person, he would know my sense. He received the 
paper afterwards, but I scarcely believe that he ever read it ; for 
I saw that what he learned must be from himself 3 being more 

* Lord Broghill, Lamberty and Thurlow, were the individuals present on 
this occasion. Lambert fell asleep during; CroroweH's %peech,^Baxtrr*s 
Penitent Conftitums^ p. 25. 

SOU i. L 


disposed to tpeak many botm^ thah to hear one ; and Bttle heed^ 

ing what another said, when he had spoken himself."* 

This characteristic account of Cromwell's conversation and 
speeches, very much corresponds with the accounts given by 
other contemporaries, both friends and enemies. It was natural 
for such a man to attach quite as much importance to hia ^iwa 
opinions as to those of his friends ; and, comparing him with the 
generality of the persons by whom he was surrounded, there 
were certainly very few more capable of forming an enlightened 
opinion than himself. It is probable that he sent for Baxter ott 
the present occasion, to sound him about his ovm views and 
those of the party with which he acted* It is very certain he 
understood the doctrine of religious liberty much better than 
Baxter did ; and acted upon it both towards Episcopalians and 
Presbyterians in a different way from what those bodies did wheil 
in possession of power. 

Whatever personal displeasure Cromwell might have felt at 
the conduct and plain dealing of Baxter, on this and other oc- 
casions, it is much to his honour that he had greatness of mind 
enough not to resent it. Had Baxter used the same freedom 
with the royal successors of Cromwell which he used With him, 
he would most probably have lost his head. He narrowly 
enough escaped as it was, though most conscientious in respect*^ 
ing their authority, and rendering obedience to their laws. Bax* 
ter had the candour to acknowledge how much the country was 
obliged to Oliver. 

** When Cromwell was made lord protector, he had the policy 
not to detect and exasperate the ministers and others who con- 
sented not to his government. Having seen what a stir the 
engagement had before made^ he let men live quietly MrithoUt 
putting any oaths of fidelity upon them, except members of his 
parliaments ; these he would not allow to enter the House till 
they had sworn fidelity to him. The sectarian party, in his army 
and elsewhere, he chiefly trusted to and pleased, till, by the peo- 
)»Ie's submission and quietness, he thought himself well settled; 
and then he began to undermine them, and, by degrees, to 
Work them out. Though he had so often spoken for the Ana* 
baptists before, he now found them so heady, and so much 
against any settled government, and so set upon the promoting 
of their way and party, that )ie not only began to blame their 

* Life, part i. p. 205. . 


vmlinefls, but also to design to settle himself lA the people's 
hvour by soppresaizig them* In Ireland they were grown so 
high, that the soldiers were many of them re-baptised as the 
imy to preferment ; and those who opposed them, they crushed 
NFith nrnch uncharitable fierceness. To suppress these, he sent 
thither his son Henry Cromwell, who so discountenanced the 
A nabap t ists, as yet to deal civilly with them ; repressing their 
bsoIeocMs, but not abusing them ; promoting the work of the 
Gkispel, and setting up good and sober ministers ; and dealing 
nvilly with the Royalists, and obliging all, so that he was gene- 
raUy bebved and well spoken of: and Major-Geueral Ludlow, 
who beaded the Anabaptists in Ireland,^ was fain to draw in his 

This statement reflects great honour on the sagacity and dex- 
tRNts management of Cromwell* He was surrounded by a very 
strange sort of people, most of whom thought themselves well 
qualified to govern the country, and, indeed, to rule the world. 
He knew that great mischief would result from pursuing violent 
neasurea against such persons ; and, therefore, like a skilful 
tactirian, he gradually deprived them of power, or placed them 
in such circumstances that they could do little harm to them- 
sdvea or to others. The greatest injury that could have been 
done to the country, would have been to place his own power in 
the hands of any of the dominant factions. Confusion worse 
confounded must have resulted from it. This appeared as soon 
as the Protector was removed. Yet, the discrimination and 
wise policy of Cromwell in presiding over the turbulent elements 
of the Commonwealth, are thought by many to deserve no better 
names than cant, dissimulation, and l^ypocrisy. 

To narrate the various transactions of a civil and religious 
nature which belong to the administration of Cromwell, is no 
part of the design of this work. Enough has been said to 
afford an idea of the state of things, and of the part which 

^ Lndlow was not a Baptist, so far as I can ascertain, though the form of ex- 
pradon employed by Baxter mif;bt lead us to suppose it. He was a hif^h-minded 
republicaD soldier. A man of Roman rather than Christian virtue ; stem, un- 
HHBpromisini^, and courageous ; who hated Cromwell as heartily as Charles ; 
and would as readily have sat in Judgment on the one as a traitor, as he passed 
lentence on the other as a tyrant. He died, after an exile of thirty years, in 
IwlfeEtrlaiid, to which he retirad at the Restoration* His Memoirs of himself 
possess very considerable interest ; but their accuracy cannot alwa}'s be de- 
pended CD, as they were written long after many of the eveaU which they 

< Life, part L pt 74. 


iik ftHZ LIFB AND TIBfBft 

Baxter acted under it. The following character of Cromwdi 
is well drawn^ though it may not be correct in every par- 

*^ I come now to the end of CromweU's reign, who died of a 
fever before he was aware. He escaped the attempts of many, 
ivho thought to have dispatched him sooner, but could not es^ 
cape the stroke of God when his appointed time was come. 
» '' Never man was highlier extolled, and never man was base- 
lier reported of, and reviled, than this man. No mere man was 
better and worse spoken of than he, according as men's inte* 
rests led their judgments. The soldiers and sectaries moat 
highly magnified him, till he began to seek the crown and the 
establishment of his family ; and then there were so many who 
MTQuld be half-kings themselves, that a king did seem intolera- 
ble to them. The Royalists abhorred him as a most perfidious 
hypocrite ; and the Presbyterians thought him little better, in 
•his management of public matters. 

^^ If, after so many others, I may speak my opinion of him, 
I think that having been a prodigal in his youth, and afterwards 
changed to a zealous religionist, he meant honestly in the main, 
and was pious and conscientious in the chief course of his life, 
till prosperity and success corrupted him. ^ At his first en* 
trance into the wars, being but a captain of horse, he took spe- 
t^ial care to get religious men into his troop. These were of 
greater understanding than common soldiers, and therefore 
were more apprehensive of the importance and consequence of 
the war ; and, making not money, but that which th«y took for 
the public felicity, to be their end, they were the more engaged 
to be valiant ; for he that maketh money his end, doth esteem 
his life above his pay, and therefore is likely enough to save it 
by flight when danger comes, if possibly he can. But he that 
maketh the felicity of church and state his end, esteemeth it 
«bove his life, and therefore will the sooner lay down his life 
for it. Men of parts and understanding know how to mani^ 
their business. They know that flying is the surest way to 
death, and that standing to it is the likeliest way to escape ; 
there being many that usually fall in flight, for one that falls in 
valiant fighting/ 

'* These things, it is probable, Cromwell understood; and that 

* There it no evidence that Cromwell was a profli^te man in early lifc| 
and to the last he maintained the greatest regvd for justice, morality, aad 
the public interests of religion. 


none obuld lie ^gaged, such valiant men as the religious. Yet^ . 
I eonjeptnre, that, at his first choosing such men inta his troop, 
it was the v«y esteem and love of religious men that principally 
moved him ; and the avoiding of those disorders, mutinies, 
plunderings, and grievances of the country, which debauched 
men in armies are commonly guilty of. By this means he in- 
deed sped better than he expected. Aires, Desborough, Berry, 
Evaiison, and the rest of that troOp, did prove so valiant, that, 
as far as I coiild learn, they fiever once ran away before an 
enemy. Hereupon he got a commission to take some care of 
the associated counties, where he formed this troop into a' 
doable r^ment of fourteen troops ; and all these as full of 
religious men as he could get. These having more than ordi- 
nary wit and resolution, had more than ordinary success ; first 
in Lincolnshire, and afterward in the Eari of Manchester's army^ 
at York fight. With their successes, the hearts both of cap- 
tains and soldiers secretly rose both in pride and expectation : 
and tbe familiarity of many honest, erroneous men, as Anabap- 
tbts, Antinomiaus, &c. withal, began quickly to corrupt their 
judgments. Hereupon Cromwell's general religious zeal gave 
way to the power of that ambition which increased as his 
successes increased. Both piety and ambition concurred in 
countenancing all whom he thought godly, of what sect so- 
ever ; piety pleaded for them as godly, and charity as men ; and 
ambition secretly told him what use he might make of them. 
He meant well in ail this at the beginning, and thought he did 
all for the safety of the godly, and the public good ; but not 
without an eye to himself. 

^ When success had broken down all considerable opposition, 
he was then in the face of his strongest temptations, which 
conquered him when he had conquered others. He thought 
that he had hitherto done well, both as to the eiid and means ; 
that God, by the wonderful blessing of his providence, had 
owned his endeavours, a.id that it was none but God who had 
made him great. He thought, that if the war was lawful, the 
victory was lawful ; and that if it were lawful to fight against 
the king, and conquer him, it was lawful to use him as a con- 
quered enemy, and a foolish thing to trust him when they had 
so provoked him. He thought that the heart of the king was 
deep, that he had resolved ijpon revenge, and that if he were 
once king, he would easily, at one time or other, accomplish it ; 
that it was a dishonest thing of the parliament tQ set men to 


fight for than against the king, and then to lay Aorlieadi iqxm' 
the block, and be at his mercy ; and that if this must be their 
case, it was better to flatter or please him than to fight against 

^^ He saw that the Scots and the Presbyterians in the parlia- 
ment, did, by the covenant and the oath of allegiance, find 
themselves bound to the person and family of the king ; and 
that there was no hope of changing their minds in this. Here- 
upon he joined with that party in the parliament who were for 
the cutting off the king and trusting him no more ; and eonse* 
quently he joined with them in raising the Independents to „ 
make a faction in the Synod at Westminster, and in the city ; 
in strengthening the sectaries in the army, city, and country; 
and in rendering the Scots and ministers as odious as he could, 
to disable them from hindering the change of government.' 

^^ In the doing of all this, which distrust and ambition per- 
suaded him was well done, he thought it lawful to use his wits, to 
choose each instrument and suit each means, unto its end ^ and 
accordingly he modelled the army, and disbanded all other 
garrisons, forces, and committees, which were likely to have 
hindered his design. As he went on, though he had not re- 
solved into what form the new Commonwealth should be 
moulded, he thought it but reasonable that he should be the 
chief person who had been chief in their deliverance ; for the 
Lord Fairfax, he knew, had but the name. At last, as he (bought 
it lawful to cut off the king, because he thought he was lawfully 
conquered, so he thought it lawful to fight against the Scots that 
would set him up, and to pull down the Presbyterian majority 
in the parliament, which would else, by restoring the king, undo 
all which had cost them so much blood and treasure. He ae* 
cordingiy conquered Scotland, and nulled down the parliament: 
being the easier persuaded that all this was lawful, because he 
had a secret bias and eye towards his own exaltation. For be 
and his officers thought, that when the king was gone, a govern** 
ment there must be, and that no man was so fit for it as he 
himself^ yea, they thought that God had called them by m^ 

* The conduct of Charles fully Justified this view of his character; and 
much more than the ambition of Cromwell contributed to his unhappy fate. 

' What is here, and afterwards, ascribed entirely to CromweH'i ambltioD, 
more properly belong^ to the desire of personal preservation, and regard for 
the safety of the country. The rulinj; passion of CromweU was leal for what 
he regarded as the cause of God and his country. The circumstances made 
the mao, much more tiiaa the maa the circamstaaccff 


to fjomn and take care of the Commonwealthf and of 
the interest of all his people in the laud ; and that if they stood 
by and suffered the parliament to do that which they thought 
was dangerous, it would be required at their hands, whom they 
thought God bad made the guardians of the land. 

^ Having thus forced his conscience to justify all his cause, 
cutting off the king, setting up himself and his adherents, 
putting down the parliament, and the Scots; he thought 
that the end being good and necessary, the necessary means 
could not be bad. He accordingly gave his interest and 
cause leave to tell him, how far. sects should be tolerated and 
commended, and how far not; how far the ministry should 
be owned and supported, and how far not ; yea, and how far 
professions, promises, and vows, should be kept or broken ; and 
therefore the covenant he could not away with, nor the minis- 
ters, further than they yielded to his ends, or did not openly 
resist them. 

^ He seemed exceedingly open«»heartedf by a familiar, rustic,' 
sffscted carriage, especially to his soldiers, in sporting with 
them ; but he thought secrecy a virtue, and dissimulation no 
▼ice ; and simulation, that is, in plain English, a lie, or perfidi- 
ousness, to be a tolerable fault in a case of necessity : being of 
the same opinion with the Lord Bacon, who was not so precise 
ss learned'*-* that the best composition and temperature is to 
have openness in fame and opinion, secrecy in habit, dissimu- 
lation in seasonable use, and a power to feign if there be no 
remedy/ He therefore kept fair with all, saving his open or 
irreconcilable enemies. He carried it with such dissimulation, 
that Anabaptists, Independents, and Antinomians, did all think 
he was one of them ; but he never endeavoured to persuade 
the Presbyterians that he was one of them; but only that 
he would do them justice, and preserve them, and that he ho* 
noured their worth and piety : for he knew that they were not 
so easily deceived. ' In a word, he did as our prelates have 
done, begin low, and rise higher in his resolutions as his condi- 
tion rose. The promises which he made in his lower condition, 
he used as the interest of his higher following condition did 

f Cromwell could not profess to be a Presbyterian, without renouncing the 
leadings principle of his life and government — religious liberty. It was not 
the difficulty of deceiving them, therefore (for they had often been outwitted bj 
him) , which kept him aloof from them, but his opposition to their narrow and 
exclusive spirit. 


require, and kept up as much honesty'and godliness in the main 
as his cause and interest would allow. But there they left him, 
and his name standeth as a monitory pillar to posterity, to tdl 
tliem the instability of man in strong temptations if God leave 
him to himself; what great success and victories can do to lift 
up a mind that once seemed humble : what pride can do to 
make men selfish, corrupt the judgment, justify the greatest 
errors and sins, and set against the clearest truth and duty ; 
what bloodshed and enormities of life, an erring, deluded judg* 
ment may execute. An erroneous sectary, or a proud self-seeker, 
is oftener God's instrument than an humble, lamb-Uke, inno-^ 
cent saint." ^ 

In this lengthened description of Cromwell, and of the 
principles which chiefly directed his various movements, it is im- 
possible not to recognise the broad features of the Protector's 
character. They were too strongly marked to be mistaken by 
such a man as Baxter, however cautiously Cromwell endea-* 
voured to conceal them. The process, too, which Baxter de- 
scribes as that by which Oliver finally arrived, not only at the 
pinnacle of earthly power and glory, but by which he justified 
to his own mind the measures that conducted him to it, is very 
probably that which actually took place. Yet, I cannot help 
thinking that Baxter ascribes too much to Cromwell's selfitb- 
ness and love of personal aggrandisement ; and that he uses too 
strong language about the violence done to his conscience, to 
reconcile him to the means which he employed. Many things. 
Vhich he did, it is impossible to justify ; but even these, though 
they cannot be defended, admit of some apology, when his cir- 
cumstances are considered ; and when due allowance is made 
for human infirmity, and for the influence of those mistaken 
principles, by which it is evident both he and many of the 
men of his party were influenced. Baxter seems. not to do 
suflicient justice to the real influence of religion on the charac* 
ter of Cromwell ; without which, it is not possible to account 
for many parts of his conduct. His opposition to Presbyterian- 
ism, his friendship for the sectaries, and his antimonarcbical 
principles and actions, were unpardonable offences in the esti* 
mation of Baxter. Scarcely any degree of personal excellence 
or public virtue could compensate, in his opinion, for these enor- 
mous evils. It should be remembered, however, that if Crom- 

k Life, part i. pp. 98—100. 


irdl had great UaAtj^ he had also splendid virtues ; which, in 
any other eharacter than a usurper's, would have been embla- 
loned by friends, and eulogised by enemies. ^ 

Whatever may be said or thought of the personal religion of 
Cromwell, the influence of his measures and government on the 
state of religion in the country, was highly favourable. I have 
quoted the strong language of Baxter, respecting the sects and 
die divisions of the period, and the pointed censures which he 
pronounces on many of the leading men. It is right I should 
quote what he says about the improved state of religion during 
the Commonwealth. What a contrast does the following pic- 
ture present, to the dismal representation of the condition of reli- 
gion during the early days of Baxter, which have been given in 
the first part of this work ! 

^ I do not believe that ever England had so able and faithful 
a ministry since it was a nation, as it hath at this day ; and I 
£ear that few nations on earth, if any, have the like. Sure I 
am the change is so great within these twelve years, that it is 
one of the greatest joys that ever I had in the world to behold 
it. O, how many congregations are now plainly and frequently 
taught, that lived then in great obscurity ! How many able, 
faithful men are there now in a county in comparison of what were 
then ! How graciously hath God prospered the studies of many 
young men that were little children in the beginning of the late 
troubles ; so that they now cloud the most of their 'seniors ! 
How many miles would I have gone twenty years ago, and less, 
to have heard one of those ancient reverend divines, whose con- 

> AmoD^ the Baxter MSS^is a letter from Juhn Howe to Richard Vines, in 
which his circumstances, as chaplain in the Protector's family, are described 
ts so oncomfortable, that he was determined to leave it. This letter conveys 
a stronger reflection on the character of Cromwell than any thing I have met 
with. " My call hither was to a wurk I thought very considerable ; the setting- 
up the worship and discipline of Christ in this family, wherein I was to he 
joined with another, called in upon the same account. But I now see the 
designed work here hopelessly laid aside. We affect here to live in so loose a 
way, that a man cannot fix upon any certain charge, to carry towards them as 
a minister of Christ should : so that it were as hopeful a course to preach in 
a market, or any other assembly met by chance, as here. The affected dis- 
orderliness of this family, as to the matters of God's worship, whence arises my 
despair of doing good in it, I desire as much as possible to conceal ; and there- 
fore resolve to others to insist upon the low condition of the place I left, as the 
reason of my removal, if I do remove. To you I state the case more fully, 
hut desire you to be very sparing in making it known, as it is here re- 
presented." — Baxter MSS. There are several letters from Howe to Bax- 
ter among these MSS. It is curious to find Howe speaking of himself as a 
** raw youth, bashful, pttsUanimous, and solicitous about the flesh.*' 

154 THK UWB Asn TIMm 

gregations $fe now grown thin^ and their parta asteaiDMl maaw 
by reason of the notable improvements of Uieir juniors 4 

^^ I hope I shall rejoice in Ood while I have a b«og, for thft 
Qommon change in other parts that I liave lived to see | that 
so many hundred fmthful men are so hard at work for the savii^ 
of souls, ^ frementibus licet et frendentibus inimicia ; ' and that 
more are springing up apace. I know there are some men' 
whose parts I reverence, who, being in point of government 
of another mind from them, will be offended at my very 
mention of this happy alteration ; but I must profess if I were 
absolutely prelatical, if I knew my heart, I could not choose for 
all that but rejoice. What, not rejoice at the prosperity <tf 
the church, because men differ in opinion about its order i. 
Should I shut my eyes against the mercies of the Lord ? The 
souls of men are not so contemptible to me, that I should envy 
them the bread of life, because it is broken to them by a hand- 
that had not the prelatical approbation* O that every congre- 
gation were thus supplied ! but all cannot be done at onea^ 
They had a long time to settle a corrupted ministry $ and when- 
the ignorant and scandalous are cast out, we cannot create 
abilities in others for their supply ; we must stay the time of 
their preparation and growth ; and then if England drive not 
away the Gospel by their abuse, even by their wilful unreform- 
edness and hatred of the light, they are likely to be the happiest 
nation under heaven. For, as for all the sects and heresies that 
are creeping in daily and troubling us, I doubt not but the free 
Gospel, managed by an able, self-denying ministry, will effsetu* 
ally disperse and shame them ail."^ 

Cromwell being dead, his son Richard, by his will and testa- 
ment, and by the army, was quietly settled in his place. ^^ He 
interred his father with great pomp and solemnity. He called 
a parliament, and that without any such restraints as his father 
had used. The members took the oath of fidelity or allegiance 
to him at the door of the house, before they entered. And all 
men wondered to see every thing so quiet in so dangerous a time. 
Many sober men that called his father no better than a traitorous 
hypocrite, did begin to think that they owed him subjection ; 
which I confess was the case with myself, 

^^ The army set up Richard Cromwell, it seemed, upon trial, 
resolving to use him as he behaved himself: for though they 

" ^ lUfonqcd FMlorj publjihsd in l6Mr^Workftf ToL auvf pp. I{k9»153« . 

Cr ftlCHASB BiXTBB« 15S. 

flvore fiddity to him, tliey meant to keep it no longer than he 
pleased them. When they saw that he began to favour the 
sober people of the land, to honour parliaments, and to respect 
the jnimsterBy whom they called Presbyterians, they presently 
resolved to make him know his masters, and that it was they^ 
and not he, who were called by God to be the chief protectors 
of the interest of the nation. He was not so formidable to them: 
as his father had been, and therefore every one boldly spurned 
at him. The fifth monarchy-men followed Sir Henry Vane, and' 
raised a great, violent, and clamorous party agains]t him, among 
the sectaries in the city : Rogers, Feake, and such-like fire- 
brands, preached them into fury, and blew the coals ; but Dr. 
Owen and his assistants did the mdn work.^ 

^ The Wallingford-house party, consisting of the active 
officers of the army, determined that Richard's parliament must 
be dissolved ; and then he quickly fell himself. Though he 
never abated their liberUes, or their greatness, he did not suffi« 
dendy befriend them. Though Colonel Ingolsby, and some 
others, would have stuck to the protector, and have ventured to 
surprise the leaders of the 'faction, and the parliament would 
have been true to him ; Berry's regiment of horse, and some 
others, were ready to begin the fray against him* As he sought, 
not the government, he was resolved it should cost no blood to 
keep him in it ; but if they would venture for their parts to 
new confusions, he would venture his part by retiring to privacy* 
And so to satisfy these proud, distracted tyrants, who thought 
they did but pull down tyranny, he resigned the government, by 
a writing under his hand, and left them to govern as they 

*^ His good brother-in-law, Fleetwood, and his uncle, Des- 
borough, were so intoxicated as to be the leaders of the conspi- 
racy ; and when they had pulled him down, they set up a few 
of themselves under the name of a Council of State. So mad 
were they with pride, as to think the nation would stand by a^d 
reverence them, and obediently wait upon them in their drunken 
giddiness ; and that their faction in the army was made by God 
an invincible terror to all that did but hear their names. The 
eore of the business also was, that Oliver had once made Fleet- 
wood believe, that he should be his successor, and had drawn 

^ For an account of Owen's conduct in this afl^O see * Memoirs of Owen,' 
l»p. 213—215, second edition. 


tn instrument to that purpose; but his h»t'#iU disappomted. 
him. And then the sectaries flattered him, saying, thai a tniljr 
godly man, who had commanded them in the wars, was to be 
preferred before such a one as they censured to have no true 

Richard Cromwell rose to the Protectorate without efftnt, 
and fell from it without much regret on his own part^ and with 
none on the part of the country. The formidable difficulties, 
which had tried the genius and courage of the father, and 
had greatly accumulated before his death, soon overwhelmed 
the son. His talents, though not despicable, were not of the 
first order ; and never having been bred a soldier, he was Ettle 
qualified for managing the daring spirits by which he was sur- 
rounded. He was a lover of peace and a friend of religion, 
and had he quietly succeeded to a well-edtablished throne,. 
would have filled it with honour to himself, and advantage to 
his country. But it was a difficult affair to occupy the aeat oC 
a protector, and to maintain claims which were still regarded as 
those of a usurper. Surrounded by cabals of enemies, misled 
by the advice of injudicious friends, and terrified by the prospect 
of new civil convulsions, he had the wisdom to descend from the 
seat of power, without a struggle, which would only have been 
attended with a useless efi^usion of blood, and followed with cer- 
tain defeat. ^^ I have no doubt,'' says Baxter, ** that God per* 
mitted all this for good ; and that, as it was the treason of a mili- 
tary faction to set up Oliver, and destroy the king, so it was their 
duty to have set up the present king instead of Richard. Tlius 
God made them the means, to their own destruction, contrary 
to their intentions, to restore the monarchy and family which 
they had ruined. But all this is no thanks to them ; but that 
which, with a good intention, had been a duty, as done by 
them, was as barbarous perfidiousness as most history ever did 
declare. That they should so suddenly, so scornfully, and 
proudly pull down him whom they had so lately set up them- 
selves, and sworn allegiance to ; that they should do this with- 
out being able to tell themselves why they did it ; that they 
should do it, while a parliament was sitting which had so many 
wise and religious members, and accomplish it, not only without 

"> Life, part i. pp. 100, 101. There are letters from Baxter to Sir Janet 
Netbersole, and Colonel Harley, about the affairs of the country durio; 
*^ Richard's usurpatloD, when nien were raised to some vaio hopes/'^ 
Baxter MSS. 

or mcHARD BAXTBK* 15? 

the parliament's advice, but in spite of it, and force him to dis- 
solve it first; that they should so proudly despise, not merely the 
fMurliament, but all the ministers of London and of the land ; 
yea, and act against the judgments of most of their own party 
(the Independents), is altogether very wonderful."'^ 

While the praise or blame of pulling down Richard is thus 
studiously aacribed, by Baxter, to a faction, consisting neither 
of the Presbyterians nor of the Independents, it is very evident, 
from his own statements afterwards, that the Presbyteriaos were 
more deeply concerned, both in the overthrow of the Common- 
wealth, and in the restoration of the monarchy, and in all the 
plotting, or, as he would have called it in others, the periidi- 
ousness which these things involved, than he was disposed to 
admit* That party threw every possible difficulty in the way 
of tlie Commonwealth administration, because they were not of 
sufficient importance under it ; and did all they could to bring 
back the king, whom they could not doubt would reward their 
fidelity, and comprehend them in the new establishment. They 
Were taken effectually in their own snare, and were more se- 
verely punished and disappointed than any other. 

Shortly after this, when Sir George Booth's rising failed, 
^ Major •General Monk, in Scotland, with his army, grew so 
sensible of the insolence of Vane and Lambert, and the fana- 
tics in England and Ireland, who set up and pulled down go- 
vernments as boldly as if they were making a lord of a May 
game, and were grasping all the power into their own hands ; 
tliat he presently secured the Anabaptists of his army, and 
agreed with the rest to resist those usurpers, who would have 
made England the scorn of all the world. At first, when he 
drew near to England, he declared for a free Commonwealth. 
When he came in, Lambert marched against him, but his sol- 
diers forsaking him, and Sir Arthur Haselrigge getting Ports- 
mouth, and Colonel Morley strengthening him, and Major- 
General Berry's regiment which went to block it up, revolting 
to them, the clouds rose everywhere at once, and Lambert 
could make no resistance ; so that instead of fighting, they 
were fain to treat. While Monk held them treating, his repu- 
tation increased, and theirs abated ; their hearts failed them, 
their soldiers fell off; and General Monk consulted with his 
friends what to do. Many counties sent letters of thanks and 

« Lifei part if p. lOK 


lenecmiragement to him« Mr. Thomms Batnpfield was"Miit*Iqf 
the gentlemen of the West, and other counties did the like ; ao 
that Monk came on, but still declared for a Commonwealth^ 
against monarchy 5 till at last, when he saw all ripened there* 
to, he declared for thie king. The chief men, as far as I ca^ 
learn, who turned his resolution to bring in the king, were Mr. 
Clarges,® and Sir William Morris, his kinsman; the peti- 
tions and affections of the city of London, principally mored 
by Mr. Calamy and Mr. Ash, two ancient leading able minis* 
ters; with Dr. Bates, Dr. Manton, Dr. Jacomb, and other 
ministers of London who concurred. These were encon* 
raged by the Earl of Manchester, the Lord Hollis, the late Bad 
of Anglesey, and many of the then council of state. The 
members of the old parliament, who had formerly been ejected) 
being recalled, dissolved themselves, and appointed the convening 
of a parliament which might recall the king* When General 
Monk first came into England, most men rejoiced, in hope t6 
foe delivered from the usifrpation of the fanatics, Anabaptist8| 
Seekers, &c. I was myself so much affected with the strange 
providence of God, tiiat I procured the ministers to agree 
upon a public thanksgiving to God. I think all the victories 
which that army obtained, were not more wonderful dian 
their fall was, when pride and error had prepared them for iU 
It seemed wonderful to me, that an army which had got so many 
great and marvellous victories, vi^hich thought themselves un* 
conquerable, and talked of nothing but dominion at homei 
and marching up to the walls of Rome, should all be broken^ 
brought into subjection, and finally disbanded, without one 
blow stricken, or one drop of blood shed ! And that by ao 
email a power as Monk's army in the beginning was. So emi* 
nent was the hand of God in all this change.''^ 
* Among all the dissemblers and hypocrites of a period abound* 
ing in the display of these qualities, Monk occupies a distin« 
guished place. He is eulogised by Clarendon, and commended 
by Hume ; and for his successful management in duping the 
army and the parliament, and restoring the exiled monarch on 

* Claris wms ori^ally ao apothecary, but acting as physician to Moak'i 
anny* became M.D. He was afterwards created Sir Thomas Clarget, hj 
Charles, for his senrices at the restoration. He was the son of a blacksmith, and 
brother to Nan Clargts, better known by that appellation than by her fiitwt 
title, the Duchess of Albemarle, a situation which she neither deserved, nor 
was qualified to fill. 

f Life, parti, p. 214. 


hSh aim titnA^ht Iraa iTewarded With a dukedom.^ Baxtelr llad 
an interview with Monk after he came to London ) which Iiud 
the foundation of a charge preferred against him by L'Estrange, 
in the ninety-sixth numbeir of ^TheObservator,' that he had en- 
deavoured to influence Monk not to bring back the king* In 
reply to which^ Baxter says : 

^^ Dr. Mantou (and whether any other, I remember not) went 
once with me toGeneral Monk, to congratulate him ; but with the 
request, that he would take care that debauchery and contempt 
of religion might not be let loose, upon any men's pretence of 
hAug for the king, as it already began with some to be. But 
there was not one word by me spoken (or by any one, to my 
remembrance) against his calling back the king ; but as to me, 
it is a mere ficUon. And the king was so sensible of the same 
that I said, that he sent over a proclamation against such men, 
as while they called themselves the king's party, did live in de- 
bauchery and profaneness; which proclamation so rejoiced them 
that were after Nonconformists, that they read it publicly in 
the churches."' Baxter's denial is entitled to the greatest con- 
lidence, as his conduct at the time of the restoration shows how 
heartily be rejoiced in it. But it is impossible not to marvel at 
the simplicity which gave Charles credit for wishing to put down 
debauchery and profaneness. 

"As for myself," he says, *^ I came to London April the 13th, 
1660, where I was no sooner arrived, but I was accosted by the 
Earl of Lauderdale, who wa^ just then released from his tedious 
confinement in Windsor Castle, by the restored parliament, 
who having heard from some of the sectarian party, that my 
judgment was, that our obligations to Richard Cromwell were 
not dissolved, nor could be, till another parliament, or a fuller 
renunciation of the government, took a great deal of pains with 
me, to satisfy me in that point.* And for quieting people's 

4 '* MoDk DO more intended or designed the king's restoration when he came 
iDto Eag^Uod, or first came to London, than his horse did ; but shortly after 
findini^ himself at a loss, that he was purposely made odious to the city, and 
that be was a lost man, by the parliament, and that the generality of the city 
and country were for the restoring the king, he had no way to save himself 
but to close with the city." — Aubrty^ ii. p. 455. The grand object and aim of 
Monk in all he did was his own aggrandisement. 

' Calamy's Continuation, vol. iv. p. 911. 

■ It is evident from what Baxter himself says, that he was apprised at an 

early period of the attempt which was likely to be made to bring back the 

. king. The unnatural union of the Cavaliers and the Presbyterians to effect 

Ihb ol))ect, appears to have met with his spprobfOioiu A letter of his to Major 


minds, which were in no small commotion througli cTaiidiBrt&ii 
rumours, he, by means of Sir Robert Murray, and the Cocntesi 
of Balcarras, then in France, procured several letters to bewii^* 
ten from thence, full of high eulogiums on the king, and M' 
surances of his firmness in the Protestant religion, wMch he got 
translated and published. Among others, one was sent to ne 
from Monsieur Caches, a famous, pious preacher at Charentoo; 
wherein, after a high strain of compliment to myself, he gave A 
pompous character of the king, and assured me, that dnrkf 
his exile, he never forebore the public profession of the Voh 
testant religion, no, not even in those places where it seemed 
prejudicial to his affairs. That he was present at divine wonhip 
in the French churches, at Rouen and Rochelle, though not it 
Charenton, during his stay at Paris; and earnestly pressed ae 
to use my utmost interest, that the king might be restored hf 
means of the Presbyterians. 

'^ When I was in London, the new parliament beidg called, 
they presently appointed a day of fasting and prayer for them- 
selves. The House of Commons chose Mr. Calamy, Dr. Chm- 
den, and myself, to preach and pray with them, at St. Maiga- 
ret's, Westminster. In that sermon, I uttered some paatagm 
which were afterwards matter of some discourse. Speaking d 
our differences, and the way to heal them, I told them that, whe- 
ther we should be loyal to our king was none of our differences* 
In that, we were all agreed ; it being as impossible that a man 
should be true to the Protestant principles and not be loyal; m 
it was impossible to be true to the Papist principles, and to bf 
loyal. And for the concord now wished in matters of chnrdi 
government, I told them it was easy for moderate men to tsomc 
to a fair agreement, and that the late reverend Primate of Ire- 
land and myself had agreed in half an hour. I remember nol 
the very words, but you may read them in the sermon, wfaid) 
was printed by order of the House of Commons.^ The neit 

Beake was intercepted, but beings written with caution, nothing could be 
of it. He assigns no reason for leaving Kidderminster, and comio^ to 
at this time ; but I have no doubt it was to be present to aid and assUl U 
Presbyterian brethren as circumstances might require. Sir Ralph Clara ia* 
formed him uf some things that were going on, and that if the restoratkNi tool 
place, a very moderate episcopacy would satisfy that party. This led BaxlB 
to propose terms of uniou to Dr. Hammond, in consequence of which a cor 
respondence took place, but which, like ail such schemes, came to notbio^^^ 
lAfif part ii. pp. 207 — 214. 

* This sermon was preached on the 30th of April, 1660, and is printed in val 
xyH* of his Works. . The subject is Kepeotaace, the text £zek» xxxvi. 3U Bt 


morning after this day of fasting* the i)arliament unanimously 
voted home the king ; doing that which former actions had but 
prepared for. 

**The city of London, about that time, was to keep a day of 
solemn thanksgiving for General Monk's success 5 and the lord- 
mayor and alderman desired me to preach before them at St. 
Paul's church ; wherein I so endeavoured to show the value of 
that mercy, as to show also, how sin and men's abuse might 
turn it into matter of calamity, and what should be right bounds 
and qualifications of that joy. The moderate were pleased with 
it; the fanatics were offended with me for keeping such a 
tlianksgiving ; and the diocesan party thought I did suppress 
their joy. The words may be seen in the sermon ordered to 
be printed.^ 

"When the king was sent for by the parliament, certain 
divines, with others, were also sent by the parliament and city 
to him into Holland: viz. Mr. Calamy, Dr. Manton, Mr. Bowles^ 
and divers others ; and some went voluntarily ; to whom his 
majesty gave such encouraging promises of peace, as raised 
some of them to high expectations.* And when he came in, 
as he passed through the city towards Westminster, the Lon- 
don ministers in their places attended him with acclamations,'' 

dedicates it to the House of Commous, and speaks of the honour which he con- 
sidered it^to conclude by preaching and prayer, the service which immediately 
preceded the vote of the House to recaU his majesty. It is distinguished by 
his usual plainness and fidelity, and contains some eloquent passages. Few 
such sermons, 1 fear, have been preached in that house since then. His ad- 
vice and requests to them as legislators were both sound and moderate. 

* This sermon was preached on the 10th of May, KiGO, and appears io vol. 
xvii. uf his Works, under the title of <* Right Kejoiciug," founded on Luke x. 20. 
There is much admirable personal address in this diacourse, and the allusions 
to political matters are brief and moderate. 

' Charles duped the Presbyterian ministers by cavising them to be placed 
witliin hearing of his secret devotions. The base hypocrisy of this man is a 
thousand times more revolting than any thing of the kind which belonged to 
Cromwell, and yet in Charles it is passed over with little reprobation. 

7 A very amusing account, if it were not for the melancholy issue, is given 
by Aubrey, of the intoxication of the people in the prospect of the king's re- 
turn. On its being intimated by Monk, that there should be a free parlia- 
ment, ** Immediately a loud holla and shout was given, all the bells in the 
city ringing, and the whole city looked as if it had been in a flame by the bon- 
ftrtfi, which were prodigiously great and frequent, and ran like a train over 
the city. They made little gibbets and roasted rum pes of mutton, naye I 
sawe some very good runipes of beef. Health to King Charles II. was 
dranke in the streets, by the bonfires, even ou their knees. This humour 
ran by the next night to Salisbury, where was the like joy ; so to Chuike, 
where they made a great bonfire on the top of the hill; from thence to 
Blandford and Shaftesbury, and so to the Laud*8 End. Well ! a free parlia- 

VOL, I. M 


and by the hands of old Mr. Arthur Jackson, presented him 
ivith a richly-adorned Bible, which he received^ and told them. 
It should be the rule of his actions."* 

Thus terminated the rule of the Commonwealth and the dy- 
nasty of the Cromwclis, and recommenced the reign of the le- 
gitimate Stuarts. Baxter's narrative notices some of the causes 
and instruments of the extraordinary revolution which now 
took place, with a rapidity and unexpectedness that appear like 
magical rather than real events. But the true causes were more 
deeply seated than his account would lead us to suppose. Nei- 
ther the conduct of the fanatical sectaries, nor the weakness of 
Richard, at all explains the downfall of the Commonwealth, and 
the restoration of the royal family. That family had always a 
powerful and influential party in the country, consisting of the 
old nobility and their retainers ; the church had never entirely 
lost its hold of a considerable body of the population ; Pres- 
byterianism was too rigid a system to suit the temper and genius 
of the multitude ; the ambition of Cromwell had lost him the 
affection of his republican associates, and destroyed the confi- 
dence and respect of the Independents and minor sects. Tired 
of the versatility and duplicity of a man, who was great, but 
never dignified ; feared, but not loved or respected ; and pos- 
sessed by a blind attachment to the exiled monarchy, it required 
only the favourable opportunity of the old Protector's death, 
and the concurrence of a few other circumstances, to produce 
the marvellous change which occurred. 

Charles began by playing the hypocrite with those who had been 
deceived with their eyes open ; but he soon threw off the vizor, to 
their terrible dismay. Nothing more strikingly illustrates the 
strength of attachment to monarchy, which seems to be inherent 

ment was chosen, and Sir Harbottle Grimston was chosen Speaker. The 
first tiling he put to the question was, Whether Charles Stuart should be sent 
fur, or no? Vea, yea, nem, con. Sir Thomas Greenhill was then in towoey 
and posted away to Brussells, found the kin^ at dinner, little dreamiuf of so 
good news, rises presently from dinner, had his coach immediately made 
ready, and that night got out of the King of Spain's dominions, into the 
Prince of Orange's country. Now, as the morn grows lighter and lighter»aiMl 
more glorious till it is perfect day, so it was with the joy of the people. Maj- 

poles, which in the hypocritical times 'twas to set up, now were let up 

in every cross way ; and at the Strand near Dniry Lane, was set up the mott 
prodigious one for height, that, perhaps, ever was seen ; they were fain, I re- 
member, to have the seaman's art to elevate it. Tlie juvenile and rustic folks 
at that time had so much of desire of this kind, that I think there have been 
very few set up since."— -/^/lArty'* MUceU vol. ii. pp. 454, 456. 
> Life, part L pp. 214—218. 


b the English character, than the facts H'hich have been brie 
glanced at. All that the people, the religious and well-infomii 
People, had suffered from the cruel oppressions of the Stua 
amily was forgotten; not because Cromwell had used thei 
rorse (for they had enjoyed great quietness and security unde 
is administration), but because there was no royal blood in hii 
tins, and the absence of the port and high bearing of a mo- 
^rch by divine right. The impatience to recall the exiled 
imily, the readiness to be duped by the oaths and promises of a 
^ofligate prince, who had learned nothing from his banishment 
It the vices of the people among whom he sojourned, are evi- 
bices of infatuation of the most extraordinary kind; which show 
tat the people of England had not yet been sufficiently disci- 
ined and prepared for the enjoyment of freedom. 
The leading instruments in effecting the restoration, may be 
ktitled to respect for their royalty, but deserve little credit for 
ieir patriotism, their disinterestedness, or their wisdom. The 
jrpocrisy and dissimulation of Monk, the murmuring of the 
byalists, and the infatuation of the Presbyterian ministers, were 
k part of the machinery by which Providence accomplished 
I purposes. While we mark the hand of God, and adore the 
stice of his Providence in punishing a nation's sins, the parties 
10 were instrumental in this punishment, and the principles 
lich actuated them, have no claim to our gratitude or respect. 
Baxter's conduct during the several changes which have been 
iced, does credit to his conscientiousness rather than to his 
lorn. He acted with the Parliament, but maintained the 
ts of the King; he enjoyed the benefits of the Protectorate, 
spoke and reasoned against the Protector ; he hailed the 
•n of Charles, but doubted whether he was freed from alle- 
ge to Richard. The craft and duplicity of Cromwell, he 
ted and exposed ; but the gross dissimulation and heartless 
»rence of Charles to every thing except his own gratifica- 
t was long before he could be persuaded to believe. Ab- 
principles and refined distinctions, in these as in some 
natters, influenced his judgment more than plain matters 
. Speculations, de jure and de /actOy often occupied 
stracted his mind, and fettered his conduct, while 
man would have formed his opinions on a few obvious 
» and facts, and have done both as a subject and a 
\ all that circumstances and the Scriptures required, 
taking our leave of Kidderminster, to which place 

M 2 


Baxter never returned with a view to fixed residence or minis- 
terial labour after the restoration, a few facts remain to be 
stated, to complete the view of ius life and exertions during this 
important and active period. 

The statement of his labours contained in the preceding chap- 
ter, by no means includes all that he did during this busy 
interval of his life. In fact, he tells us that the labours of the 
pulpit and the congregation were but his recreation ; and that 
his chief labour was bestowed on his writings. A bare enume- 
ration of these, of which a full account will be given in a subse- 
quent part of this work, would justify this declaration, strong as it 
may appear to be. It is, indeed, marvellous, that a man who 
would seem to have been wholly engaged with preaching in 
public and in private ; and who was no less marked for the num- 
ber and variety of his bodily infirmities, than for the multiplicity 
of his ministerial avocations, and who seemed to have lived only 
in the atmosphere of a printing-office ; should, under all these 
disadvantages, have produced volumes with the ease that other 
men issue tracts. 

During the fourteen years of his second residence at Kid- 
derminster, he found time partly to write and publish hifl 
Aphorisms, and Saint's Rest. He wrote and published, beside 
other things, his works on Infant Baptism — On Peace of Con- 
science — On Perseverance — On Christian Concord — His Apology 
— His Confession of Faith — His Unreasonableness of Infidelity 
— His Reformed Pastor — His Disputations on right to the Sacra- 
ments — Those on Church Government — ^And on Justification— 
His Safe Religion — His Call to the Unconverted — On the Cru- 
cifying of the World — On Saving Faith — On Confirmation— 
On Sound Conversion — On Universal Concord— His Key for 
Catholics — His Christian Religion — His Holy Commonwealth 
—His Treatise on Death — And, On Self-denial, &c., &c. 

When it is reflected on that many of these books are conside- 
rable quarto volumes, and that they make a large proportion of 
his practical works now republished, beside including several of 
his controversial pieces, I must leave the reader to form his own 
opinion of the indefatigable application and untiring zeal of this 
extraordinary man. The reading displayed in them, the corre- 
spondence to which they frequently led, and the diversity of sub- 
jects which they embrace, illustrate at once the indefatigable 
diligence of Baxter, and the extraordinary versatility of his mind* 

He also found time, during this period, to propose and to 


prosecute several schemes of union and concord among various 
classes of Christians^ which led to an extensive correspondence, 
and to long personal conferences, which must have consumed 
no small portion of his strength and leisure. Beside other 
plans that occupied much of his attention, and which produced 
discussion and correspondence, he gives an account of three 
several schemes of union with the Independents; all of which 
failed, owing to the difficulties encumbering tlic subject, but 
ivliich he laboured to remove. One of these schemes had 
brought on a long correspondence and several interviews with 
Dr. Owen. But the Diocesans, as lie calls them, the Presby- 
lerians, and the Baptists, also engaged his attention with a 
"view to union, as well as the Independents, and with the same 

One of his most useful employments, about the period of the 
Icing's return, was a negociation respecting the propcigation of 
^he Gospel among the American Indians. During the Com" 
monwealth, a collection by order of Government, had been 
made in every parish in England, to assist Mr. Elliot (celebrated 
«s the apostle of the Indians) and some others in this most 
lieiievolent undertaking. The contributions were laid out partly 
in stock, and partly in land, to the amount of seven or eight 
hundred pounds per aimum, and were vested in a corporate body, 
to be employed on behalf of the Indians. After the king's re- 
turn. Colonel Beddingfield, from whom the land had been pur- 
chased at its proper value, seized it again ; on the unjust pre- 
text, that all that was done in CromweH's time, was null and 
void in law, and that the corporation formed, had no longer any 
legal existence. The corporation, of wliich Mr. Ashurst was 
treasurer, consisted of excellent persons. They were exceed- 
ingly grieved that the object for which the money had been 
raised, should thus be entirely and iniqnitously defeated. Baxter 
being requested to meet them, and to assist by his counsel and 
influence, which he readily did, was employed to procure if pos- 
biblc a new charter of corporation from the king. This, chiefly 
through the influence of the Lord Chancellor, he happily ob- 
tained. His lordship also, in a suit in chancery, respecting the 
property, decided against the claims of Beddingfield. Mr. As- 
hurst and Baxter had the nomination of the new members; 
the Hon. Roliert Boyle, at their recommendation, was made 
president or governor; Mr.Ashurst was reappointed as treasurer; 


and the whole matter put into a state of excellent and efficient 

This aflfair brought Baxter into intimate correspondence 
with Elliot,' Norton, Governor Endicott of Massachusetts, and 
some other excellent men who were engaged in the good work, 
or otherwise interested in the religious affairs of New England. 
The correspondence with Elliot continued during a considerable 
portion of the remainder of both their lives. That distinguished 
man was honoured to lead many poor savages of the Ame- 
rican woods to the knowledge of God ; and, to accomplish a 
translation of the entire Scriptures into their language, one of 
the most dilHcult for a foreigner to acquire. It is highly grati- 
fying to observe how fully Baxter entered into these missionary 
labours ; and that at a ])eriod when the subject of missions was 
little understood, lie not only regarded it as a great work, in which 
Christians arc rc(|uircd to engage, but co-operated with those 
who were engaged in it to the utmost of his power. I cannot resist 
introducing an extract from one of his letters to Elliot, though 
written after the period to which this chapter properly belongs. 

^' Though our sins have separated us from the people of our 
love and care, and deprived us of all public liberty of preaching 
the Gospel of our Lord, I greatly rejoice in the liberty, help, 
and success, which Christ hath so long vouchsafed you in his 
work. There is no man on earth, whose work I think more 
honourable and comfortable than yours : to propagate the Gos- 
pel and kingdom of Christ into those dark paits of the world, 
is a better work than our devouring and hating one another. 
There arc many here, who would be ambitious of being your 
fellow labourers, but that they are informed you have access 
to no greater number of the Indians than you yourself, and your 
present assistants, are able to instruct. An honourable gentle- 
man, Mr. Robert Boyle, the governor of the corporation for 
your work, a man of great learning and worth, and of a very 
public, universal mind, did mention to me a public collection in 
all our churches^ for the maintaining of such ministers as are 
willing to go hence to you, partly while they are learning the 
Indian language, and partly while they labour in the work, 
as also to transport them. But I find those backward 
that I have spoken to about it, partly suspecting it a design 
of such as would be rid of them ; partly fearing that when 
the money is gathered, the work may be frustrated by the alia- 


nation of it ; partly because they think there will be nothing 
considerable gathered^ because the people that are unwillingly 
divorced from their teachers, will give nothing to send them 
fiirther from them^ and those that are willingly separated from 
them, will give nothing to those they no more respect ; but 
specially, because they think, on the aforesaid grounds, that 
there is no work for them to do if they were with you. There are 
many here, I conjecture, who would be glad to go anj'wherc, to 
the Persians, Tartarians, Indians, or any unbelieving nation, to 
propagate the Gospel, if they thought they would be serviceable ; 
bat the difficulty of their languages is their greatest discourage- 
ment. The universal character that you speak of, many have 
talked of, and one hath printed his essay ; and his way is only 
by numerical figures, making such and such figures tc^stand for 
the words of the same signification in all tongues, but nobody 
regards it. I shall communicate your motion here about the 
Hebrew, but we are not of such large and public minds as you 
imagine; every one looks to his own concernment, and some to 
the things of Christ that are near them at their own doors. 
But if there be one Timothy that naturally careth for the state 
of the churches, we have no man, of a multitude more, like- 
mmded ; but all seek their own things. We had one Dury herc^ 
that hath above thirty years laboured for the reconciling of the 
churches, but few have regarded him, and now he is glad to es- 
cape from us into other countries. Good men who are wholly 
devoted to God, and by long experience are accjuainted witii the 
interest of Christ, are ready to think all others should be like 
them, but there is no hope of bringing any more than here and 
there an experienced, holy, self-denying person, to get so far 
above their personal concernments, and narrowness of mind, 
*nd 80 wholly to devote themselves to God. The industry of 
tfle Jesuits and friars, and their successes in Congo, Japan, 
China, &c., shame us all save you ; but yet, for their personal 
'^bours in the work of the Gospel, here are many that would 
"^ grilling to lay out, where they have liberty and a call, though 
"^^fce any that will do more in furthering great and public 
*^^ks• I should be glad to learn from you how far your Indian 
^^^gue extendeth : how large or populous the country is that 
^^^th it, if it be known ; and whether it reach only to a few 
J^^ttered neighbours, who cannot themselves convey their 
, ^'^owledge far, because of other languages. We very much rc- 
J^ice in your happy work, the translation of the Bible, and bless 


God that strengthened you to finish it. If any thing of mine 
may be honoured to contriljiite, in the least measure, to your 
biciised work, I shall have fj^rcat cause to be thankful to God, 
and wholly submit the alteration and use of it to your wisdom. 
Mcthinks the Assemblies' Catechism should be, next the holy 
Scriptures, most worthy of your labours." ^ 

This admirable letter shows how deeply liaxtcr entered into 
the philanthropic views which were then so rare, but which have 
since been so generally adopted by ('hristians. How would his 
noble spirit have exulted had he lived to witness, even with all 
their imperfections, the oxtendcd exertions of modern times. 
How ardently would he have supported every scheme of sending 
the Scriptures, or the knowledge of salvation, to the destitute 
j)arts of tl^e world ! If there is joy in heaven, over the plans of 
earth which tend to the furtherance of the Gospel, Baxter, 
though removed from the scene of labour and of trial, is no 
doubt exulting in much that is now going forward. 

His correspondence during his residence in Kidderminster, 
must have been exceedingly extensive and laborious ; the 
existing remains of it affording decisive j)roof of its multi- 
farious character, and of the aj)})lication which it must have 
required. He wjis employed on all occasions of a public nature 
where the interests of his brethren in the ministry, or the cause 
of religion among them, required the co-operation or coun- 
sel of others. As the agent of the ministers of Worcestershire, 
he addressed the Provincial Assembly of I^ondon in 1654, calling 
their attention to the state of the Psalmody, and recpiesting them 
to adopt measures for its improvement.'' On the other hand, he 
M'as requested by Calamy, Whitfield, Jcnkyns, Ash, Cooper, 
Wickens, and Poole, to assist them in an answer which they 
were preparing to the Independents.^ AVhat aid he afforded 
does not appear. We cannot doubt his disposition to assist his 
brethren, though it is not probable he and they would have 
agreed, either in their mode of defending Presbyterianism or of 
attacking Independency. 

He was consulted by Manton, in IHSS, about a scheme for 
calling^a general assembly of the ministers of I*]ngland, to de* 
tcrmine certain matters, and arrange their ecclesiastical affairs* 

* Life, part ii. p. 295. There are many letters wliicli passed between 
Baxter atid KUiut, siiU preserved amoog the Baxter MSS. in the Redrross 
Street Library. 

^ Baxter MSS. c ibid. 


To this he returned an answer expressive of doubts of its 
practicability and expediency. He was friendly to such as- 
sociations ; but, from the state of the country at the time^ he 
probably felt that nothing of importance could be effected. 
Indeed there is no reason to think that Cromwell would have 
permitted any such general assembly of the Presbyterian clergy 
to take place in England, when he would not allow them to hold 
such meetings in Scotland. 

Both Lord Lauderdale and Major Robert Beake introduced 

to Baxter, in 1657, the Rev. James Sharpe, a minister of the 

church of Scotland, who came to London on the public business 

of that church, which he afterwards vilely betrayed. He was 

rewarded for his treachery at a future period, with the arch- 

Wahoprick of St. Andrews, where at last lie lost his life by the 

'^aiids of a few individuals, who thus chose to avenge their 

Country's wrongs. Of his piety, Lauderdale and Beake speak 

^tfoDgly ; and he probably was at this time a very different man 

***<Mn what he had become when he fell before the wiles of a 

^Ourt, and the lure of an archbishop's mitre.'* 

Beside all this, Baxter was consulted by great numbers of his 
brethren in the ministry in various parts of the country, re- 
^jjecting matters in which they were concerned ; and by a mul- 
titude of private individuals, on cases of conscience, which he 
^•as requested to solve. To all those he returned, often, long 
^nd minute letters, the manual labour of which must have been 
>^ery considerable, especially as he kept copies of many of them.* 

' Baxter MSS. Sharpe was sent to London a^aiu immediately before the 
Restoration, with a view to ncgociate the interests of the church of Scotland. 
%e returned after the King^ was re-established, with a plausible letter signed 
1>y Lauderdale, in the name of the King, lie was afterwards rewarded for his 
treachery and apostacy by the Primacy of Scotland. It is impossible to justify 
liU murder; but the poor people of Scotland had beeudriven to desperation by 
looff-coutinued oppression. 

* There are some hundreds of these letters amon«; the Redcross Street MSS. ; 
many of them curious, though relating; to individuals and subjects which would 
Dot DOW interest the public. Baxter had a Ions; correspondence with Cutaker, 
chiefly ou the subjects of infant baptism and original sin. Gataker exceedingly 
bewails the differences that then subsisted among Christians, and says ** ihty 
may well be lamented with an ocean of tears." He had a laborious corrtspon- 
deoce with Dr. Hill, about predestination, a subject on which Baxter wrote 
a great deal. Besides what he published on it, there is enough remaining 
among bis unpublished manuscripts to make a volume or two. Many letters 
also passed between him and Tombes, Pnole, Dury, VVadsworth, Bates, and 
Howe. There are, also, many letters to and from correspondents, both male and 
female, uf the names of Allan and Lamb?, who seem to have enjoyed no small 
purtion of bis attCDtion. Some of these are printed in hU Life by Sylvester. 


In these active and multifarious labours^ Baxter spent four- 
teen of the happiest and most useful years of his life. Un« 
ceasingly engaged in some useful pursuit^ his mind found 
sufficient scope and employment for that energy by which it 
was eminently distinguished. There were many evils then, in- 
deed, as well as at other times, which he greatly deplored 3 but 
there was so great a preponderance of good when compared 
with the period which preceded, and with that which followed 
it, that often he lamented the prosperous days he had enjoyed 
during the usurpation, when they had passed away. Instead, 
therefore, of having to record his various plans of benevolence^ 
and rejoicing over the success attending them, we must hence- 
forth hear chiefly of his fruitless struggles for peace, and for 
liberty to preach the Gospel ; of the disappointment which 
followed negociations ; of the anguish experienced from the 
restriction of his ministry ; of confiscations, imprisonment, and 
being unceasingly harassed for conscience' sake. 





The BcBtoration — Views of the Nuuconformiflts — Conduct of the Court to- 
wtrds them — Baxter's desire of Agreement — Interview with the Kin^«- 
Buter^f Speech — ^The Ministers requested to draw up their Proposals — 
MeetatSion Collef^e for this purpose— Present their paper to the Kiu» — 
Uaoy Miniitcrs ejected already— The King's Declaration— Baxter's objec- 
tioM to it— Pfvseuted to the Chancellor in the form of a Petition — Meeting 
«ith his Majesty to bear the Declaration— Declaration altered — Baxter, 
Cilimy,auJ Re>'nolds9 offered Bishopricks — Baxter declines— Private inter- 
view with the King — The Savoy Conference— Debates about the mode of 
pnceeduig — ^Baxter draws up the Reformed Liturgy — Petition to the Bishops 
-*No disposition to agreement on their part— Answer to their former papers 
—PenoDal debate— Character of the leading parties on both sides — Issue 
of the Conference. 

Cbarlbs II. was received with general acclamation ; which 

cin only l)e accounted for from that love of change which is 

characteristic of nations as well as of individuals; from the 

^ening influence of Cromwell's ambition, and the imbecility of 

his son ; from the disgust felt by many at the fanaticism of tlie 

times; together with that love of monarchy — its pomp and 

(ircamstance— -which constitutes a distinguishing feature in the 

character of Englishmen, l^hat Charles deceived the people 

^y his professions, is clear ; but they might easily have obtained 

^ch a knowledge of his principles, habits, and sentiments, had 

^ they been disposed to make what inquiry the nature of the 

c^se seemed to demand, as might have prevented the deception 

from taking effect. They imagined tliat the sufferings endured 

l>y the royal family would cure, or at least moderate, that here- 

'Jitary love of arbitrary power, and attachment to Popery, which 

had caused most of those sufferings ; that Charles was perhaps 

^oo much a man of the world, to make the costlv sacrifices for a 

Religious party which his father had made ; and tliat they might 

^aaly form such an agreement with him as should efTcctually 

tiinit lus power, and secure their rights. In all this they dis- 


covered their own weakness and simplicity. In fact, Chailes 
returned on his own terms, and was left as unfettered aa if 
he had come in hy conquest; saving a few oaths, which he 
swallowed without scruple, and broke without remorse/ The 
bitter effects of this misguided zeal and imprudence, none had 
greater reason to feel and to deplore than the Presbyterian por- 
tion of the Puritans, who were greatly instrumental in promoUng^ 
the Restoration. 

The views of the leading men of their party were, on some 
points, discordant ; but they all agreed in welcoming the exiled 
monarch, and in anticipating, from the re-establishment of 
monarchy and the constitution, the enjoyment not only of pro- 
tection and liberty, (for these they had fully enjoyed under the 
usurpation,) but of a system of church government modified to 
meet their views, and by which they should be comprehended in 
the ecclesiastical establishment of the countrv. 


It was necessary, in the circumstances in which Charles found 
himself, not to offend these men ; the episcopal party also being 
still weak, found it expedient to treat them with apparent respect. 
Several of the ministers were accordingly chosen to be king's chap- 
lains.^ Calamy, Reynolds, Ash, and several others, among whom 
was Baxter, had this honour ; and Reynolds, Calamy, Spurstow, 
and Baxter, each preached once before his majesty. Manchester^ 

' Charles took the coveuant three several times ; once at the completion of 
the treaty abroad, asrain at his landing in Scotland, and a third time when he 
was crowned at Scone ; while it is impossible to believe that he ever bad ths 
least serious intention to observe it. Though it is considered that Cliarlet «M 
a Papist, or an infidel, nothing can excuse his want of principle io taking 
this oath ; and a^ the profligacy of his character could scarcely be unknuwa 
to the party which required the oath, it is difticuU to excuse their conduct in 
imposing it, or in being satisfied to be deceived by Oharles submitting bimiclf 
to it. 

ff Baxter says, « When I was invited by Lord BroghUl, afterwards Earl of 
Orrery, to meet him at the Lonl Chaml>erlain*i>, they l>otb persuaded me to 
accept the place. 1 desired to know whether it were his majesty's deiirei or 
only the effect of their favourable request to him. They told me that it WM 
bis majesty's own desire, and that he would take it as an acceptable /m'tkeratu* 
•/ his service. Thereupon I took the oath from the Lord Chamberlain." The 
date of his certificate is June 2fi, IfitiO. — /yi/rs part ii. p. 229. Dr. Pcircey the 
decided adversary of Baxter, thought proper to dispute whether be wai 
king's chaplain, when he published the sermon preached before bis majeftty» 
and annexed that title to his name. 'J'hecertiiicate, however, (tpeaks for itself. 

^ Edward, Harl of Manchester, was a nobleman of many great and amia- 
ble qualities. He was a zealous and able friend of liberty. During the civil 
commotions he was one of the avowed patriots in the House of Peers, and the 
only member of that house who was accused, by Charles, of high treason^ 
along with the five members of the House of Comniuus, He took an active 


ind Brogliill were the noblemen who chiefly managed these af- 
finnatthe time. In conversation with them, Baxter mentioned 
^ the importance, and what he regarded as the facility, of an 
;. agreement between the Episcopalians and the moderate Presby- 
^ terians ; and the happy consequences to the civil and religious 
: interests of the country which would result from such a union. 
The eifect of this conversation he has recorded. 
^ Lord Broghill ^ was pleased to come to me, and told me, 
\ that he had proposed to the king a conference for an agree- 
^ Bent, and that the king took it very well, and was resolved to 
I hrther it. About the same time, the Earl of Manchester sig- 
l mfied as much to Mr. Calamy ; so that Mr. Calamy, Dr. Rey- 
nolds, Mr. Ash, and myself, went to the Earl of Manchester, 
then lord chamberlain; and after consulting about the business 
with him, he determined on a day to bring us to the king. Mr. 
Calamy advised that all of us who were the kiug's chaplains 
aught be called to the consultation ; so that we four might 
not seem to take too much upon us without others. So, Dr. 
Wallis, Dr. Manton, and Dr. Spurstow, &c., went with us to 
the king ; who, with the Lord Chancellor, and the Earl of St. 
Aiban's, came to us in the Lord Chamberlain's lodgings. 

"We exercised more boldness, at first, than afterwards would 
have been borne. When some of the rest had congratulated his 
majesty's happy Restoration, and declared the large hope which 

firtiB the wars on the side of the Parliament, and was one of the leaders of 

the Prcibytcriao party. After the buttle of Newbury, he was suspected of 

bvouring the kins:*ft interest. He was a decided friend of the Restoration, 

Uhlwts immediately after it appointed chamberlain of the household. It is 

cvideat, from rarious circumstances, that he was a real friend of the Non* 

Mafiirmiktt, and bore to Baxter, in (larticular, a very cordial attachment. An 

occttrreuce once happened at his table, when Baxter was diniuj; with him, 

vfaicb ^ave the good man great concern, and in which his lordship, as soon as 

ipprised of it, acted with great propriety and kindness. — IJ/fy part ii. p. 289. 

* Roger Boyle, Baron of Broghill, was a native of Ireland, third son of the 

int Earl of Cork, and brother to the Honourable Robert Boyle. He tiM)k an 

•ctive part iu the civil wars, on the parliamentary side. He was regarded, by 

ill parties, a.< a man of very considerable ability and address. He enjoyed a 

lar:;e share of the Protector's favour and confidence ; was president of his 

council for Scotland, and one of the lords of his up|H;r house. He favoured 

the Restoration, ho%vever, and was created Earl of Orrery on the 5th of ScptCHi- 

ber, 1660. He was also nominated , the ^anic year, Lord President of Munster, 

to life. Uis lordship died in the year 167!/. There seems to have been a 

cooftlderable iotimary between him and Baxter. It was in his lordship's 

liotise Baiter became acquainted with Archbishon llsher. He dedicates one 

of liis works to him, and often refers to him iu his life, generally calling him 

by bii first title. Lord Broghill. 


they had of a cordial union among all dissenters by his mci 
I presumed to speak to him of the concernments of religi 
and how far we were from desiring the continuance of any f 
tions or parties in tlie church, and how much a happy un 
would conduce to the good of the land, and to his imyssl 
satisfaction. I assured him that though there were turbttll 
fanatic persons in his dominions, those whose peace we hum 
craved of him were no such persons ; but such as longed ai 
concord, and were truly loyal to him, and desired no more thad 
live under him a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness i 
honesty. But that as there were differences between them I 
their brethren, about some ceremonies or discipline of 1 
church, we humbly craved his majesty's favour for the ending 
those differences; it being easy for him to interpose, that so 1 
people might not be deprived of their faithful pastors, and igl 
rant, scandalous, unworthy ones obtruded on them. 

^^ I presumed to tell him, that the people we spoke for were si 
as were contented with an interest in heaven, and the liberty i 
advantages of the Gospel to promote it ; and that if these # 
taken from them, and they were deprived of their faithful paste 
and liberty of worshipping God, they would take themselves 
undone in this world, whatever else they should enjoy : that tl 
the hearts of his most faithful subjects, who hoped for his he 
would even be broken; and that we doubted not but 
majesty desired to govern a people made happy by him, and i 
a broken-hearted people. 1 presumed to tell him, that the I 
usurpers so well understood their own interest, that to promt 
it, they had found the way of doing good to be the most eff 
tual means ; and had placed and encouraged many thousi 
faithful ministers in the church, even such as detested their us 
pation ; and that so far had they attained their ends here 
that it was the principal means of their interest in the peop 
wherefore, I humbly craved his majesty, that as he was our la 
ful king, in whom all his people were prepared to centrCj so 
would be pleased to undertake this blessed work of promoti 
their holiness and concord; and that he would never suffer hi; 
self to be tempted to undo the good which Cromwell, or s 
other, had done, because they were usurpers that did it ; or d 
countenance a faithful ministry, because his enemies had i 
them up ; but that he would rather outgo them in doing gox 
and opposing and rejecting the ignorant and ungodly^ of wl 
opinion or party soever ; that the people whose cause we recoi 


flwoded to him, had their eyes on Iiim as the officer of God, to 
deCend them in the possession of the helps of their salvation ; 
which if he were pleased to vouchsafe them, their estates and 
fires would cheerfully be offered to his service. 

^ I Jiumbly besought him that he would never suffer his sub- 
jects to be tempted to have favourable thoughts of the late 
BNirpers, by seeing the vice indulged which they suppressed ; 
or the godly ministers or people discountenanced whom they en- 
eoaraged; and that all his enemies' conduct could not teach him a 
more effectual way to restore the reputation and honour of the 
unrpers than to do worse than they, and destroy the good which 
the? had done. And, again, I humbly craved that no miKrepre- 
lentfktions might cause him to believe, that because some fanatics 
have been factious and disloyal, therefore the religious people 
ID his dominions, who are most careful of their souls, are 
Mich, though some of them may be dissatisfied about some forms 
tod ceremonies in God's worship, which others use : and that 
oone of them might go under so ill a character with him, by 
I misreports behind their backs, till it were proved of them per- 
Mmally, or they had answered for themselves : for we, that bet- 
ter knew them than those that were likely to be their accusers, 
did confidently testify to his majesty, on their behalf, that they 
ire resolved enemies of sedition, rebellion, disobedience, and 
difisions, which the world should see, and their adversaries be 
convinced of, if his majesty's wisdom and clemency did but re- 
move those occasions of scruple in some points of discipline 
lod worship. 

'* I, further, humbly craved, that the freedom and plainness of 
these expressions to his majesty might be pardoned, as being 
eitorted by the present necessity, and encouraged by our re- 
vived hopes. I told him also, that it was not for Presbyterians, 
or any party, as such, that we were speaking, but for the religious 
part of his subjects in general, than whom no prince on earth 
W better. I also represented to him how considerable a part 
of that kingdom he would find them to be ; and of what great 
advantage their union would be to his majesty, to the people, 
and to the bishops themselves, and how easily it might be pro- 
cured—by making only things necessary to be the terms of 
union — by the true exercise of church discipline against sin, — and 
^y not casting out the faithful ministers that must exercise it, 
^d obtruding unworthy men upon the people : and how easy it 
Was to avoid the violating of men's solemn vows and covenants, 


without hurt to any others. And finaliy, I requested that we 
might be heard speak for ourselves, when any accusations were 
brought against us." ^ 

In this long address, we cannot but admire the good sense 
and honesty of Baxter, who could thus fully and delicately 
instruct his majesty in his duty, and in the true interests of 
his government and the country. Happy would it have been 
for Charles, had he listened to such counsels ; but from hii 
well-known character, we can have little doubt that he was at 
this time laughing at the simplicity of the venerable men who 
were pleading before him the rights of God and their fellow 
subjects. A better illustration of casting pearls before swine, 
could not easily be found than what this address presents. It 
was quite appropriate to plead with Charles, his solemn pro- 
mises, to remind him of his engagements, to place before bim 
the circumstances and expectations of his subjects, and to urge 
upon him the encouragement of some, and the protection of all 
religious people. Rut to talk to such a man of discounte- 
nancing sin, and promoting godliness, or to entertain any ex* 
pectation that he would pay the least attention to such things, 
shoe's that the parties thus addressing him were better Christians 
than politicians. Policy required, however, that he should treat 
them decently for a time ; and hence he deceived them by an 
appearance of candour and kindness, and by promises never in- 
tended to be fulfilled. 

" The king," says Baxter^ " gave us not only a free audience, 
but as gracious an answer as we could expect ; professing his 
gladness to hear our inclinations to agreement, and his resolu- 
tion to do his part to bring us together ; and that it must not 
be by bringing one party over to the other, but by abating some- 
what on both sides, and meeting in the midway; and that if it 
were not accomplished, it should be owing to ourselves and not 
to him. Nay, that he was resolved to sec it brought to pass, 
and that he would draw us together himself, with some more to 
that purpose. Insomuch that old Mr. Ash burst out into tears 
of joy, and could not forbear expressing what gladness this pro- 
mise of his majesty had put into his heart." ^ 

Whether Charles himself really wished, at this time, to etkci 
some kind of union between the parties, but was diverted from 
it by the high-church men who were about him, it is difficult to 

^ Life, part it. pp. 230, 231. > Ibid. p. 231. 


Miy* The probability is, he would have cared nothing about it 
if he could have quieted both classes, at least for a time, and thus 
got himself firmly established on the throne. He, no doubt, bore 
the Puritans a deadly grudge, for having, as he conceived, de- 
stroyed his father, and driven himself into exile. But there were 
those around him who hated them quite as heartily, and who 
were determined, if possible, to make their yoke heavier than be- 
fore. To these men there is full evidence that all the obnoxious 
measures which led to the act of uniformity, and to the unmerited 
rafferings which arose from it, properly belong. 

Had there been a disposition to promote peace and union, 
one of two courses might have been pursued ; either of which 
would have accomplished the objects, or at least, have pre- 
vented an open rupture. The adoption of such a liturgy and 
form of church government as the moderate men of both parties 
might approve : this was most ardently desired by Baxter and 
many of those with whom he acted ; and was not by any means 
impracticable. Or failing that, to waive enforcing uniformity of 
worship and ecclesiastical order upon the then-incumbents of 
different sentiments on these points, while they lived, and which 
they were entitled to expect from tlie king's declaration at Breda. 
The court had this measure entirely in its own power. On 
this plan a prospective act of uniformity might have been pass- 
ed, which would have gradually .effected the favourite object, 
without inflicting tremendous suffering on conscientious men, 
and an incurable wound on the church itself. Every principle 
of integrity and good policy ought to have secured the interests 
of the Nonconformists; though I doubt whether the interests of 
religion in the nation would ultimately have been so effectually 
promoted, as by the course pursued. The iiardest, the most 
unjust, the most oppressive measure that could be adopted, was 
the rigorous enforcement of episcopacy and the liturgy, with all 
their concomitants, on pious and conscientious men. For this, 
whoever was the party chiefly concerned in it, no apology can 
be found. It was an unnecessary and a cruel act of despotism. 

^'Either at this time or shortly after, the king required us to 
draw up and offer him such proposals as we thought meet, in 
order to agreement about church government, for that was the 
main difference ; if that were agreed upon, there would be little 
danger of differing in the rest : and he desired us to set down 
the most that we could yield to. 

<< We told him, that we were but few men, and had no com« 

VOL, I, N 

178 tllS ttM AND nUMB 

mission firoM «iy of our brelhf en to express Amir tbitl^M ; tad 
therefore desired that his majesty woiild give lie Ieli?e to ac- 
quaint our brethren in the country with it, and take them with 
us. The king answered^ this would be too tedious, and make' 
too much noise : and therefore we should do what we eouM 
ourseWes only> with those of the city we could take with w. 
And when we then professed that we presumed not to give the 
sense of others, or oblige them ; and that what we did must 
signify but the minds of so many as were present ; he answered, 
that it should signify no more, and that he did not intend to elA 
an assembly of the other party, but would bring a few, such as he 
thought meet j ^nd that if he thought good to advise with a 
few of each side, for his own satisfaction, none had cause to be 
oflsnded at k. 

*' We also craved that, at the same time^ when wd offefed on^ 
coftceseliofis to the king, the brethren on the other side mig^ 
bring in theirs, contaimng also the itttermost that they coirid 
abate and yield to U9 for concord, that seeing both togeth^, wie 
might see what probabiKty of success we had. And the king 
promised that it should be so. 

*^ We hereupon depturted> and appointed to mett from day to 
day at Sion College, and to consult there openly with any of 
our brethren that would please to join us, that none might say 
they were excluded. Some city ministers came among us, aad 
some camre not ; and divers country ministers, who were in the 
city, camfe also to us ; as I>r. Worth, since a bishop in Iretand, 
Mt. Fnlwood, sinc^e archdeacon of Totness; but Mr. MattfaevT 
Newcomen was most constant in assisting us. 

** In these debates, we found the great inconvenience of too 
many actors, though there cannot be too mfany consenters to 
what is well done : for that which seemed the most convenient 
expression to one, seemed inconvenient to another; and tve trho 
aU agreed in matter, had much ado to agree in words. Bat 
after about two or three Peeks' time, we drew up a paper ot 
proposals, which, with Archbishop Usher's form of government, 
called his reduction, we should offer to the king. Mr. Caiaroy 
and Dr. Reynolds drew up the most of them ; Dr. Worth And 
Dr. Reynolds drew up what was against the ceremonies ; the 
abstract which was laid before the king I drew up.** "* 

It is evident that both caution and good sense mark all these 

-life, part ii.pp, 231, 833; 

(Mr AieSARB HAXntR. 179 

proMAigs. Nothing cooM be h\rer, if something was to be 
«Meedecl by both parties, than that each should state what it 
was tsadj to gire up or to modify ; it would then have been 
aeeii at once, whether the parties were lihely to agree on 
any common basis. The NQnconformists, it is clear, were not 
hekward to offer concessions ; and had they been met with a 
eoqeiliatory spirit by the church party, matters would not hate 
proceeded to the extremity which they did. As some of their 
pqpers, even those against ceremonies, were drawn up by 
RejneMs and Worth, who both afterwards conformed, and were 
Bade bishops, their proposals must have been very reasonable. 

The paper referred to by Baxter, drawn up in the most 
respectful manner, and containing very moderate propositions, 
wn laid before his majesty. It embraced the leading points 
of difference relating to choreh government, the liturgy, and 
c^OHonies, on which such extended cohtroversies had been 
iBtintiified. Usher's scheme of a reduced episcopacy (a kind 
^ presbyterian episcopate^ in which the bishop n regarded 
nther as the permanent moderator in the synods or coun- 
cils of his brethren, the primus inter pares, than as clothed 
^ independent authority, and exclusive rights and privi- 
kges) was the basis of their proposition on this head. They 
agreed on the lawfulness of a liturgy, but objected to its r^oroiis 
enforcement, and to several parts of the Book of Commoii 
Prayer which required amendment. They also pointed out the 
various ceremonies in divine service at which they were offend- 
ed; such as the use of the surplice, the sign of the cross at 
baptism, bowing at the name of Jesus, and kneeling at the altar. 
AU these particulars and requests they humbly laid at his ma- 
jnt/s feet. They also presented Usher's own model as drawn 
«p in 1641. 

^When we went," says Baxter, ^^with these foresaid papers 
^0 the king, and expected there to meet the divines of the eftber 
pwty, aceording to promise, with their proposals also, contain- 
^"8 the lowest terms which they would yield to for peace, we 
^^ not a man of them, nor any papers from them of that 
'^•tttre, no, not to this day ; but it was not fit for us to expos- 
^^ate or complain. His majesty very graciously renewed his 
Professions, I must not call them promises, that he would bring 
^ t<^tber, and see that the bishops should come down and 
yield on their part; and when he heard our papers read, he 
^med well pleaaad with them, and told us, he waa glad that 



we were for a liturgy and yielded to the essence of episcopacy^ 
and^ therefore, he doubted not of our agreement ; with mach 
more, which we thought meet to recite in our following ad- 
dresses, by way of gratitude, and for other reasons easy to be 

'^ Yet was not Bishop Usher's model the same in all points 
that we could wish ; but it was the best that we could have the 
least hope, I say not to obtain, but acceptably to make them 
any offers of; for had we proposed ainy thing below arch- 
bishops and bishops, we should but have suddenly furnished 
them with plausible reasons for the rejecting of all further at- 
tempts of concord, or any other favour from them. 

^' Before this time, by the king's return, many hundred wor- 
thy ministers were displaced, and cast out of their charges; 
because they were in sequestrations where others had by the 
parliament been cast out. Our earnest desires had been, that all 
such should be cast out as were in any benefice belonging for- 
merly to a man that was not grossly insufficient or debauched; 
but that all who succeeded such as these scandalous ones^ 
should hold their places. 

^^ These wishes being vain, and all the old ones restored, the 
king promised that the places where any of the old ones were dead, 
should be confirmed to the possessors : but many others got the 
broad seal for them, and the matter was not^reat ; for we were 
all of us to be endured but a little longer. However, we 
agreed to offer five requests to the king, which he received/' * 

These requests related to a speedy answer from himself to 
their proposals about agreement, to a suspension of ptoeeed* 
ings upon the act of conformity till such agreement were come 
to or refused, and some other matters arising out of the un- 
settled state of affairs in the church. While they waited^for the 
promised condescension of the episcopal divines, they received 
nothing but a paper expressive of bitter opposition to th^ir pro- 
posals. They felt that they were treated unworthily, and there- 
fore the brethren requested Baxter to answer it. He did so; 
but it was never used, as there seemed no probability of its 
having any good effect. In his life, however, we are furnished 
with both documents at large. ^ 

A short time after this, the ministers were informed that 
the king would communicate his intentions in thfe form of a 

» Life, part ii. p. 241. • IbM. pp. l^fL-SdS. 


declaration^ to which they would be at liberty to furnish their 
exceptions. This was accordingly done on the 4th of Septem-> 
ber, 1660. This paper, which is very long, is full of preten- 
sions to zeal for righteousness, peace, and union ; unfair in 
its assumptions, and unkind in its insinuations ; and expresses 
nothing explicitly but the determination of the court to uphold 
things as they were. Tt however intimated his majesty's ap- 
probation of the principles and conduct of the Presbyterian mi- 
nisters who waited upon him at Breda ; renews the declaration 
made there in favour of liberty of conscience ; promises that none 
should be molested for differing from the forms of episcopacy; 
waives enforcing the sign of the cross at baptism, kneeling at 
the sacrament, the use of the surplice, the subscription of cano- 
nical obedience and re-ordination, where these were conscien- 
tiously objected to. It renews the promise to appoint^a meeting 
to review the Liturgy ; engages to make some alterations re- 
specting the extent of some of the dioceses, if necessary, and. 
to modify the authority of the bishops, if requisite ; and that 
some other matters of reformation should be attended to. p As 
far aa the feelings and wishes of the Presbyterian party on the 
great leading points of church government and discipline were 
concerned, it was vox etpreterea nihil,^ 

** When we received this copy of the declaration,'' says Bax- 
ter, " we saw that it would not serve to heal our differences ; 
we therefore told the Lord Chancellor, with whom we were to 
do all our business, that our endeavours, as to concord, would 
all be frustrated, if much were not altered in the declaration. I 
pass over all our conferences with him, both now and at other 
times. In conclusion, we were requested to draw up our 
thoughts of it in writing, which the brethren imposed on me to 
do. My judgment was, that all the fruit of this our treaty, be- 
side a little reprival from intended ejection, would be but the 
satisfying our consciences and posterity that we had done our 
duty, and that it was not our fault that we came not to the de- 
sired concord or coalition; and therefore, seeing we had no 
considerable higher hopes, we should speak as plainly as honesty 
and conscience did require us. But when Mr. Calamy and Dr. 

f This declaration was drawn up by Lford Clarendon ; but the evasive claims 
which rende^ it, in a g^reat measure, nugatory, were inserted by the secret 
advisers of the Icing. Sheldon, Hinchman, and Morley, were deeply engaged 
in the whole affair.— 5fcref History of Charles 11., vol. i. p. 93. 

^ Life, parAL p. 259, 265. 

IS9 THi MR A.fm viias 

Reynoldt bad read my paper, they were troubled at tha friiua- 
nenB of it, and thought it never would be endured, and tbtre- 
fore desired some alteration ; especially that I might leave put 
the prediction of the evils which would follow our pon-pigveo- 
laent, wtucfa the court would interpret as a threatening : and 
the mentioning the aggravations of covenant-breaking and per- 
jury. I gave them my reasons for letting it stand as it was. 
To bring me more effectually to their mind, they told t)ie Earl 
of Manchester, with whom, as our sure friend, we still con- 
sulted, and through whom the court used to communicate to us 
what it desired. He called the Earl of Anglesey ' and the Lord 
Hollis' to the consultations as our friends. And thesa three 
lords, with Mr* (^alamy and Dr. Reynolds, perused all tha 
writing ; and ali^ with earnestness, persuaded me to the ^^ al- 
terations, I oonfess, I thought those two points material which 
they excepted against, and would not have had them left out^ 
and thereby made them think me too plain and unpleasingi a^ 
naver used to the language or converse of a court. Bot it W9f^ 
not my unslolfulness in a more pleasing language, but my r^aeoji^ 
and oonscience upon foresight of the issue which ivere tl)a c^^e* 
Whan they tM mfi, however, it lyould not sp muc^ as fat 

'The Esri of Anfletcy was one of the most respectable of t^ofe Bdblemeii 
^bo were amier^tooil to be attached to tbe ^onconlur mists. He was a naUve 
of Ireland, and son of Lord Mount Norris. He was at firyt supposed to faTour 
the royal cause, but afterwards joined tbat of tbe parUameot, and went to 
Ireland in its service. Thougb he had taken no part in the events which lid 
iinmediately to the death of the kin^, his lordship did no.t increase hif 
reputation by sitting as one of the commissioners on tbe trial of the regi- 
cides. He was made an earl for his important services in promoting Uie 
BBstoration, and roee to some of ihe {highest offi.ces in the state dur^ Ibe 
reign of Charles 1 J. He was a man of very considerable learning, aqwl ind||B- 
fatigable in business; but beseems to have been more attentive to his interests 
than to his consistency, or to what was due to the religious party by wbich he 
was held in estimation.— JK^. Brii. vol. i. pp. I9)t— 200; Jtken. Or. ToLif. 
pp. 181—186. 

* Denzil, Lord Hollis, second son of the first Earl of Clare, was one of the 
most distinguished of the popular leaders in the reign of Charles I. He was 
courageous, patriotic, honourable, and disinterested in aU his condi»ct. IKf 
iippears to have taken a decided part against Charles 1. (with whom l«e had 
lived upon terms of intimate friendship) purely from the love of his country. 
He was the principal leader of the Presbyterian party, which placed the great- 
est confidence in him ; he was consequently disliked by Cromwell and the In- 
dependents, both of whom he opposed. Even Clarendon acknowledges that 
he deserved the high reputation wbich he enjoyed, '' being of more mpcfo^' 
pUshed parts than any of the Presbyterian leaders." It does not appear, 
however, that he espoused the Presbyteri^tn interest to wsra^y af^ the re- 
storation as he had done before. ^ * 

eemdf mi that I^muat go mtb it myKslf, far nobody tlao 
woiild^ I yielded to the alteradons/' ^ 

^ A litde before this petition wafi agreed on, Uie bishope' party 

ippoiotedi mt our request, a meeting with tooie of ua, to try 

bow Dear we could come, in preparation for what was to be 

reselved on. Dr. Morley, Dr. Hiachman, and Dr. Cosies, met 

Dr. Reynolds, Mr. Calamy, and myself; and after a few roving 

diacourses we parted, without bringing them to any particular 

^eoQccaaions or abatement, only their general talk was, from the 

beginning, aa if they would do any thing for peace ui\ich was 

^ to be done. They being tbien newly elected, but not conse- 

prated to their several bisbopricks, we called them. My Lords, 

vrhich Dr. Bflorley once returned, sayiqg, ' We may call you 

alao, I suppose, by the same name/ By which I perceived Uiey 

had aome purpose to try that way with us/'^ 

The petition, as altered, was fioally agreed to. It expresses 
the disappointment which the ministers experienced, both from 
the contents and the omissions of the declaration; the pain 
which was caused by some of the insinuations contained in it 5 
the diatinetiQn which they had always contended for between thu 
e|Hscopal fona of church government, and the episcopacy 
established in England ; and presents a very plain view of that 
modified system of government and discipline which would 
satisfy themselves, and, they believed, the great body of serious 
persons of their persuasion throughout the country. ^^ But on 
being delivered to the Lord Chancellory it was so ungrateful, 
that we were never called to present it to the king; but, instead 
of that, it was offered us, that we should make such alterations 
in the declaration as were necessary to attain its ends ; with 
these cautions, that we put in nothing but what we judged of 
flat necessity; and that we alter not the preface or language 
of it : for it was to ba the king's declaration, and what he 
spake as expressing his own sense was nothing to us. If we 
thought ha imposed any thing intolerable upon us, we had leave 
to express our desires for the altering of it. Whereupon we 
agreed to offer another paper of alterations, letting all the rest 
of the declaration alone ; but withal, by word, to tell those we 
offered it to, which was the Lord Chancellor, that this was not 
the model of church government which we at first offered, nor 
which we thought most expedient for the healing of the church; 

«^Life, part iL p. 265. « Ibid. 274. 


but seeing that cannot be obtained, we shall humbly subiuti 
and thankfully acknowledge his majesty's condescensioUi if we 
may obtain what now we offer, and shall faithfully endeavour to 
improve it to the church's peace, to the utmost of our power/'* 
Another paper of alterations was accordingly made out and 
sent in. ^^ After all this, a day was appointed for his majesty to 
peruse the declaration, as it was drawn up by the Lord Chancel* 
]or,y and to allow what he liked, and alter the rest, upon the 
hearing of what both sides should say. He accordingly came to 
the Lord Chancellor's house, and with him the Dukes of Albe- 
marle and Ormond,* as I remember ; the Earl of Manchester, 
the Earl of Anglesey, the Lord HoUis, &c. ; and Dr. Sheldon, 
then bishop of London, Dr. Morley, then bishop of Worcester, 
Dr. Hinchman, then bishop of Salisbury, Dr. Cosins, bishop of 
Durham, Dr. Gauden, afterwards bishop of Exeter and Worcester, 
Dr. Darwick, afterwards dean of St. Paul's, Dr. Hacket, bishop 
of Coventry and Litchfield, with divers others, among whom Dr. 
Gunning was most notable. On the other part stood Dr. Rey* 
nolds, Mr. Calamy, Mr. Ash, Dr. Wallis, Dr. Manton, Dr. 
Spurstow, myself, and who else I remember not. The business 
of the day was not to dispute, but as the Lord Chancellor read 
over the declaration, each party was to speak to what it dis- 
liked, and the king to determine how it should be, as he liked 
himself. While the Lord Chancellor read over the preface, th^re 
was no interruption, only he thought it best himself to blot out 
those words about the declaration in Scotland for the covenant,— 

> Life, part ii. pp. 274— 27f;. 

f Hyde, earl of Clureodon, now lord chancellor, wag in various respects a 
considerable man. He possessed a larg^e portion of that kind of loyalty which 
made him regard the ^lory of his country chiefly as it contributed to the fflorj 
of the king. He was narrow-minded, and the subject uf prejudices'of the most 
iriolent ktnd^ especially against the friends of liberty and the Nonconform* 
ists. It does not appear that his lordship particularly disliked Baxter ; on the 
contrary, be seems to have done him, occasionally, some little kindness; but 
to Clarendon, and one or two of the bishops, a large portion of the sufferings 
and disappointment of the Nonconformists, after the Restoration, ia mainly to 
be attributed. He could be merry with them, however, sometimes. He told 
Baxter, after the Savoy conference, that had he been but as fat as Dr. Man- 
ton, they had done very well. Baxter readily replied, that if his lordship 
would teach him the art of growing fat, he should fiud him quite ready to 
learn.— Z^7/r, part ii. p. 3. • 

* The Duke of Ormond was lord steward of the household, and was a 
man of great integrity and benevolence. He had always been a royalist, but 
was miich respected by all parties. I am not aware that he took much part in 
the affairs which related to the Nonconformisis. 


thitiie did, from the moment it passed our hand, ask God forgive- 
oess for our fMut in it. The great matter which we stopped at, was 
the word eomemi, where the bishop is to confirm by tiie consent 
of the pastor of that church ; and jthe king would by no means 
pass the word consent, either there or in the point of ordination 
or oensnres, because it gave the ministers a negative voice. We 
uged him hard with a passage in his father's book of medita- 
tioiu, where he expressly granteth this consent of the presby- 
ters;* but it would not prevail. The most that I insisted on 
was from the end of our endeavours, that we came not hither 
for a personal agreement only with our brethren of the other 
wajr, but to procure such gracious concessions from his majesty 
as would unite all the soberest people of the land ; and we 
knew that on lower terms it could not be done. Though con- 
9aU be but a little word, it was necessary to a very desirable 
end ; if it were purposed that the parties and divisions should 
rather continue unhealed, then we had no more to say, there 
being no remedy ; but we were sure that union would not be 
attained, if no consent were allowed ministers in any part of 
the government of their flocks ; and so they would be only 
teachers, without any participation in the ruling of the peo- 
ple, whose rectors they were called. When I perceived some 
offence at what I said, I told them that we had not the judg- 
ments of men at our command. We could not, in reason, 
suppose that our concessions, or any thing we could do, would 
change the judgments of any great numbers; and therefore, 
we must consider what will unite us, in case their judgments be 
not changed, else our labour would be to no purpose. 

'The passage in the * EikoD Basiiike/ to which Baxter refers, as that in 

vMch Charles concedes that the bishops should rule with the consent of the 

preibjfterSy is, I apprehend, the following : « Not that I am ag^aiost the ma- 

Bsfin^ of this precedency and authority in one man, by the joint counsel and 

f9iuemi of many fresbyiet'S .* 1 have offered to restore that, as a fit means to 

avoid diose errors, corruptions, and partialities, which are incident to anyone 

Sian : also to avoid tyranny, which becomes no Christian, least of all church- 

inen. Besides, it will be a means to take away that burden and odium of 

affiirs which may lie too heavy on one roan's shoulders, as indeed 1 think it 

formerly did on the bishops' here." (Pp. 153, 154.} This was the opinion of 

Charles I. in solitude and sufferiog, and therefore no reason why it should bind 

Charles II., in fUll possession of royal power and authority. He, indeed, muse 

have been amused at the quotation of his father's opinions from this book ; 

and Dr. Gaoden, the real author of the < Eikon,' who was now present, must 

have been not a little mortified by the reference to such a passage. The kiu^, 

it is ftaid, when the reference was made, said quietly, ** All that is in that book 

is not Gospel ;" a remark which iLeant more than met the ear.— fio^f'f Fune- 

rtU Sermwn/or Baxter, 

iS9 fwi un Mfp nwm 

^Biikop UrnUf told than "hoiv peU mu 9mm m% Md 
firfaiijt^iniilM^diBif^n^WjBMwUluig. He told (the kjng gho tkil 
po map ImuI wrkCen better of these loattees liuui ( faad dMtf 
md t^ne ia|r five Dbputoticme lof Ciwrcb GENrenuMpI laft 
|[]ieady tp be firoduMd. All lht$ wee to intimele m if I mmt 
fiootredicted «bat I bed there written. J told hua that I iied 
tkp heat. reaeoB to l^Kwir wbut I bad written, end thpt ( nmefitt 
of tlie eaip^ nind. A greet many worde thept wew^ nkmaf piyn 
\acy aud re-ordipatipti ; Dr^Ouoiwg i^id BUhop MpHef epea fc i 
mg alnxMt all on one aicje, aad Dr. Hincbpiaa and Dr« ffnuwn 
eon^etipies ; and Mr. Calaipy and myself qapet op tM ptber 
aide ; but I think neitber party value the raa^Uipg diacfnfffaaa 
of that day ao much as to think them worth reeordingi Mr. 
Calamy apawered Dr. Guboi ng from Seriptum very well, agaiMt 
the divine right of prelacy aa a diatinet order* When Di; 
Chmning told them that Dr. Hammond had said enough agpuiat 
the Pr^abyteriap cause aad ordination, and was yet nouawMadf 
I thought it meet to tell him, that I had answered tbt subataMa 
of Ma argnmenU, and said enough, monepver, against the £0? 
ceaan Arapl^ of goyeramept ; and tp prove the validi^ of ihi 
Bliglish pneabytera' ordiQation, which^ indeed, wfeia imaMWCSMl, 
though I was very d^eairpus to have seen au answer to it. I said 
this, because they had got the book by them, and faecanse I 
thought the unreasonableness of their dealing might be tviooadf 
who force ao many hundreds to be re-ordained ; and will pot 
any of them answer one book, which is written to prpyp the 
validity of that ordination which they would have miUifiad, 
though I provoked them purposely in such a presence. 

'^ The most of the time being spent thu^ in speaking to par- 
ticulars of the declaration, as it was read, when we came la 
the end, the Lord Chancellor drew out another paper, and told 
us that the king had been petitioned also by the Independents 
and Anabaptists 9 and though he knew not what to think of it 
himself, and did not very well like it, yet something he bad 
drawn up which he would read to us, and desire us also tP give 
our advice about it« Thereupon he read, a$ an addition to the 
declaration, ' that others also be permitted to meet for religi- 
ous worship, 80 be it they do it not to the disturbance of the 
peace ; and that no justice of peaqs or officer disturb them.' 
When he had read it, he again desired them ail to think on it, 
and give their advice ; but all were silent. The Presbyterians 
all perceived, as soon as they heard it, that ^ wnilld ^s^PUr^ tba 

liberty of tkt l^isto $ and Dn Wallis wbitperied me io tfie ear, 

aii4 entn^tad mie to aay notbiog, for it waa ao odious lnuimes^ 

ki4 to jbt tfa(K bislpops apeal^ to it. ^ut the bishops would iiot 

9paak a «sord| nor my one of the Presbyteriaos^ and so we werie 

IiIms to hayse ended in silence. I knew, if we consented to it» i( 

wnolfd be charged on us, thai we spake (or a toleration of Papists 

|ub4 acctaries: ye|t it might have lengthened out our own« 

And if we spake against it, all sects and parties would be set 

apioat ss as the causers of their sufferings, and as a partiiS} 

people that would have liberty ourselves, but would have no 

odwra epjoy it with us. At last, seeing the silence continue, 

I tbooghc our very silence would be changed on us as consent, 

if it w^eot on, and therefore I only said this : * Hat this reve- 

rpo4 bi^ather. Dr. Gunning, even now q>eaking against th^s sects, 

had iiaoie4 the Papists and the Socinians : for our parts, we 

dtairfri not favour to ourselves alone, and rigorous severity we 

deaimd against none. As we humbly thanked his majesty for 

)us indirigepce to ourselves, 9o we distinguished the tolerable 

pavfi^ ffom the intolerable. For the former, we humbly craved 

jaat Icttp^ and favour, but for the latter, such as the two sorts 

apuncd before by that reverend brother, for our parts, we could 

mi fBfii» their toleration our request.' ^ To which his majesty 

said, there were laws enough against the Papbts ; to which I 

replied, that we understood the question to be, whether those 

lawa abould be executed on them or not. And so his majesty 

hnoke up the meeting of that day. 

^ Before the meeting was dissolved, his majesty had all along 
told what he would have stand in the declaration ; and he named 
(our divines, to determine of any words in the alteration, if there 
wer^ any difference ; that is, Bishop Morley, Bishop Hinciiman, 
Dr. jfteynolds, and Mr. Calamy ; and if they disagreed, that 
the Earl of Anglesey and the Lord HolHs should decide it. As 
they went out of the room, I told the Earl of Anglesey, that 
we had no other business there but th^ church's peace and 
welfare, and I would not have been the man that should have 
done so much against it as he had done that day, for far 

^ Baxter's honesty is always evident in every things be did ; but here bis pre- 
)iiAicet aod imperfect views of reii^ous liberty made bim appear in a very 
ditsdvanta^^eous lif ht. There is no doubt that the conduct of the court on thif 
occa»ioD was desired to entrap the Nonconfurinists. If they said yea to the 
proposition, they would be regarded as the friends of Popery ; if they said nay, 
they would be considered enemies to the liberties of others, while they were 
strof l^iof for their own. 


more than he was like to get by it. Though called a Preabjr- 
terian, he had' spoken more for prelacy than we expected ; and 
I think by the consequent that this saying did some good ; for 
when I afterwards found the declaration amended^ and. aaked 
how it came to pass, he intimated to me that it was his doing. 

** When I went out from the meeting, I went dejected^ beii^ 
fully satisfied that the form of government in that dedaratMm 
would not be satisfactory, nor attain that concord which was 
our end, because the pastors had no government of the flocks; 
and I was resolved to meddle no more in the business, bat pa^ 
tiently suffer with other dissenters. But two or three days after^ 
meeting the king's declaration cried about the streets, I pre- 
sently stepped into a house to read it ; and seeing the word 
consent put in about confirmation and sacrament, though npt as 
to jurisdiction, and seeing the pastoral persuasive power of 
governing left to all the ministers with the rural dean, and 
more amendments, I wondered how it came to pass, but 
exceeding glad of it; perceiving that now the terms were^ 
though not such as we desired, such as any sober^ honest 
minister might submit to. 1 presently resolved to do mj best 
to persuade all, according to my interest and opportanity, to 
conform according to the terms of this declaration, and cheer- 
fully to promote the concord of the church, and brotherly love, 
which this concord doth bespeak. 

^^ Having frequent business with the Lord Chancellor about 
other matters, I was going to him when I met the king's decla- 
ration in the street ; and I was so much pleased with it^ that 
having told fiim why 1 was so earnest to have had it suited to the 
desired end, I gave him hearty thanks for the addition, and told 
him that if the liturgy were but altered as the declaration pro- 
mised, and this settled and continued to us by law, and not 
reversed, I should take it to be my duty to do my best to pro- 
cure the full consent of others, and promote our happy con- 
cord on these terms ; and should rejoice to see the day when 
factions and parties may all be swallowed up in unity, and 
contentions turned to brotherly love. At that time he began to 
offer me a bishoprick, of which more anon."^ 

The account which Clarendon gives us of the transactions 
relating to the declaration, are very different from Baxter's ; and 
as he refers to the conduct of the ministers on this occasion for 

« Life, part ii, pp. 276, 279. 


proof of the necessity of a rigorous enforcement of the laws, 
I shall gire his version of it in his own words. This I should 
not have thought necessary, had not Bishop Heber, in his Life 
of Jeremy Taylor, introduced it as a proof of the ^^ disingenu- 
outness of some of the Presbyterian leaders, and the absurd 
bigotry of others/'^ 

*' Here/' says Clarendon, ** I cannot but instance two acts of 
the Pkesbyterians, by which, if their humour and spirit were not 
enough discovered and known, their want of ingenuity and in- 
t^rity would be manifest ; and bow impossible it is for men 
who would not be deceived, to depend on either. When' the 
declaration had been delivered to the ministers, there was a 
clause in it, in which the king declared ^ his own constant 
practice of the common prayer,' and that he would take it well 
from those who used it in their churches, that the common people 
might be again acquainted with the piety, gravity, and devotion 
of ity and which he thought would facilitate their living in 
good neighbourhood together, or words to that effect. When 
they had considered the whole some days, Mr. Calamy^ and 
some other ministers deputed by the rest, came to the Chancellor 
to le^deliver it into his hands. They acknowjiedged the king 
had been very gracious to them in his concessions ; though he 
had not granted all that some of their brethren wished,' yet they 
vere contented, only desiring him that he would prevail with 
the king, that the clause mentioned before might be left out, 
which, they protested, was moved by them for the king's own 
end, and that they might show their obedience to him, and 
resolution to do him service. For they were resolved them- 
selves to do what the king wished ; first to reconcile the 
people, who for near twenty years had not been acquainted 
ynth that form,- by informing them that it contained much 
piety and devotion, and might be lawfully used ; and then that 
they would begin to use it themselves, and by degrees accustom 
the people to it, which they said would have a better effect than 
if the clause were in the declaration. For they should be thought 
in their persuasions to comply only with the king's declaration, 
and to merit from his majesty, and not to be moved from the 
conscience of the duty, and so they should take that occasion to 
manifest their zeal to please the king. And they feared there 
would be other ill consequences from it by the waywardness of 

^ H«ber*i Life of Tsylor, pp. 101, 341. 

IM) tM UFB A1IJ> TflfUS 

the ccnntnon people, who were to be treated #ith Bkili, tt4 
would not be prevailed upon all at once. The khig was to be 
present the next morning, to helir the declaration redd the last 
time before both parties, and then the Chancellor told him, hi the 
presence of all the rest, what the ministers had desired, which 
they again enlarged upon, with the same protestations of their 
resolutions, in such a manner that his majesty believed they 
meant honestly, and the clause was left out. But the declara-, 
tion was no sooner published, than, observing that the people 
were generally satisfied with it, they sent their emiaeeties 
abroad, and many of their letters were intercepted, and parti- 
eularly a letter from Mr. Calamy, to a leading minister hi 
Somersetshire, whereby he advised and intreated him that he 
and his friends would continue and persist in the Me of thi 
Directory^ and by no means admit the Common Prayer in Oid# 
churches ; for thife he made no question biit that thej ahorid 
prevail further with the king than he had yet consented fa ia 
his declaration ! 

'' The other instance was, that as soon as the deelsiratioii 
was printed, the king received a petition in the name of file 
ministers of London, and many others of the same opmkm with 
them, who had subscribed that petition, amongst whom none , 
of those who had attended the king in those conferences had 
their names. They gave his majesty humble thanks for the 
grace he had vouchsafed to show in his declaration, which tlMj 
received fM an earnest of his future goodness and condescen- 
sion, in granting all those other concessions, which were 
absolutely necessary for the liberty of their conscience, and 
desired, with importunity and ill manners, that the wearing the 
surplice, and the using the cross in baptism, might be abaolutdy 
abolished out of the church, as being scandaloas to all men of 
tender consciences ! From these two instances, all men may 
conclude that nothing but a severe execution bf the Iftw can 
prevail upon that class of men to conform to government."* 

On this account of Clarendon's much might be said to show 
its inaccuracy and unfairness. It might be inferred from what 
he says, that the only matter of difference about the declahi- 
tion, respected the king's use of the Liturgy in his privatte 
chapel, and his wish that those who used it might recommend 
il to others. Whereas I cannot perceive that the minisfeft 

• Udt of Lord aarendoB, pp. 7.5, 7a 

«f BICIIABD MXTn« 191 

olgcctedl to <!»• at all, or preterfei may request that the claaae 
OD thia asfaject shoidd be omitted. Baxter^ it is ceiti^, coiiki 
have been so party to such a demand, llie petition drawn vp 
bj him for hia brethren, at first sight of the deelaration, bnt 
wUeh was not adopted^ eontains no reference to any such thing i 
it most have done had it been insisted on, as Clatefndon 
And in &ct the declaration, as published, eontains the 
king's request that the ministers would recommend the Prayer-* 

Instead of their being dissatisfied with the king's declaration, 
as altered in conformity witH some of their wishes; it is appa^ 
rent from Baxter's narrative^ how mtich he and most of his 
brethren rejoiced in it, and that they considered Kttle more neees^' 
sary tot their satisfaction than the fulfilment of the pToanlses 
eentained in it, and passing it into a law. 

The dnpiieity cfaiurged on Calamy is founded on the evi-^ 
dtoce of letters pretended to be intercepted j the most conve* 
Dimt sort of proof for a prime minister, bat the most villanoaa 
of all kinds of evidence. The conciuct charged is not consist- 
ent with the general character of Calamy, with the motives by 
which it is conceivable he should have- been actuated at the time; 
or with the fact, that subsequent to this discovery of his trea- 
chery, a bishoprick was urged upon him, by Clarendon himself. 
The reason why the thanks presented by the London minis- 
ters for his majesty's declaration, (which abounds with expres- 
sions of loyalty and gratitude for his gracious concessions^) were 
not subscribed by those who had waited upon the king, was not, 
ai Clarendon insinuates, disaffection to hint, and disappointment 
that the declaration was generally acceptable. The ministers 
of London, it appears, differed among themselves as to the pro- 
priety of thanking his majesty for the declaration, on the gromid 
that it implied their approbation of bishops and archbishops^ 
&c. ; and old Arthur Jackson, who had presented the Bible to 
Charles on his entry into London, decidedly opposed their 
doing so, contrary to the wishes of Baxter and others. 

As conclusive evidence how little the authority of Clarendon 
is worth in this affair, the importunity and ill manners of which 
he acenscs the ministers has no foundation in fact, for the Isttt- 
guage which he ascribes to them does not occur in the paper to 
wUeb be refers. He grossly misrepresents the petition which 
they presented.' 

* See Baxter's Life, part iL pp. 284, 285, where the petition ii firen at 


This attempt of Clarendon to throw the blame of the treat- 
ment which the Nonconformists experienced upon their unrea^ 
sonableness and duplicity, is the pitiful shift of a man who must 
have been haunted by a consciousness of the undeserved inju- 
ries which he had been the chief means of inflicting upon 
others ; and who makes an impotent attempt to get rid . of the 
guilt and the odium which attach to his conduct. It is more 
surprising, however, that such a man as Heber could allege^ 
that the only differences between the parties respected ^ the 
form and colour of an ecclesiastical garment, the wording of a 
prayer, or the injunction of kneeling at the sacrament.*'' He 
does not, indeed, justify the conduct of the ruling powers ; but 
be entirely forgets, that the question at issue really was, vrhe- 
ther conscience^ be it well or ill informed, must submit to the 
authority of men, or be subject to the authority of God only. 
The Nonconformists believed certain things to be unlawful in 
the worship of God ; the leaders of the church said, ^ We admit 
that they are not of divine authority, but they are enacted by us, 
we believe them to be good, you must therefore submit to them, 
or be thrown out/' Holding the views which the Nonconform- 
ists did, they must have ceased to be Christians, had they not 
chosen to obey God rather than men. For this conduct, instead 
of being reproached as narrow-minded and bigoted sectari- 
ans who involved the nation in blood and mischief for trifles, 
they deserve to be held in everlasting remembrance, as suiFerers 
for pure and undefiled religion. 

The gratification of Baxter, from the apparent adoption in 
the declaration of some of the phrases contended for by tbt 
ministers, was not destined to be of long continuance. Nothing 
more was intended by the court than the amusement of the 
parties, till every thing was sufficiently ripe for the accomplish- 
ment of its real intentions. To carry on the same scheme of 
political deception, it was thought desirable to make some of 
the leadmg ministers bishops. Not that they wanted such 
bishops ; but because it was the most effectual method of silen- 
cing such men, and destroying their infhience with their own 
party. It succeeded with some, but not with Baxter. He gives 
the following account of the offers which were made to himself, 
and of the grounds on which he rejected them. 

''A little before the meeting about the king's declaration, 
Colonel Birch came to me, as from the Lord Chancellor, to per- 

K Heber's Life of Taylor, p. 100. 


suade me to take the bishoprick of Hereford, for he had bought 
the bishop's house at Whitburne, and thought to make a better 
baigain with me than with another^ and, therefore, finding that 
the lord chancellor intended me the offer of one, he desired it 
might be that. I thought it best to give them no positive denial 
till I saw the utmost of their intents : and I perceived that 
Colonel Birch came privately, that a bishoprick might not be 
publicly refused, and to try whether I would accept it, that else 
it might not be offered me; for he told me that they would 
not bear such a repulse. I told him tliat I was resolved never 
to be bishop of Hereford, and that I did not think I should ever 
see canse to take any bishoprick ; but I could give no positive 
answer till I saw the king's resolutions about the way of church 
government : for if the old diocesan frame continued, he knew 
we could never accept or own it. After this, not having a flat 
denial^ he came again and again to Dr. Reynolds, Mr. Calamy, 
and myself together, to importune us all to accept the offer, for 
the bishoprick of Norwich was offered to Dr. Reynolds, and 
Coventry and Litchfield to Mr. Calamy ; but he had no positive 
answer, but the same from me as before. At last, the day that the 
king's dtelaration came out, when I was with the lord chancellor, 
who did all, he asked me whether I would acceptof a bishoprick ; 
I told him that if he had asked me that question the day before, 
I could easily have answered him that in conscience I could 
not do it ; for though I could live peaceably under whatever 
government the king should set up, I could not have a hand in 
executing it. But having, as I was coming to him, seen the 
king's declaration, and seeing that by it the government is so 
far altered as it is, I took myself for the church's sake exceed- 
ingly beholden to his lordship for those moderations; and my 
desire to promote the happiness of the church, which that 
moderation tendeth to, did make me resolve to take that course 
which tendeth most thereto. Whether to take a bishoprick 
be the way, I was in doubt, and desired some further time for 
consideration. But if his lordship would procure us the settle- 
ment of the matter of that declaration, by passing it into a law, 
I promised him to take that way in which I might most serve 
the public peace. 

" Dr. Reynolds, Mr. Calamy, and myself, had some speeches 
together about it ; and we ail thought that a bishoprick might be 
accepted according to the description of the declaration, without 

VOL. I. o 


any violation of the covenant, or owning the ancient prelacy :^ 
but all the doubt was whether this declaration would be made a 
law as was then expected, or whether it were but a temporary 
means to draw us on till we came up to all the diocesans desired. 
Mr. Calamy desired that we might all go together, and all 
refuse or all accept it. 

^' By this time the rumour of it fled abroad, and the voice of 
the city made a difference. For though they wished that none 
4){ us should be bishops, the said Dr. Reynolds and Mr. Bax- 
ter, being known to be for moderate episcopacy, their acceptance 
would be less scandalous ; but if Mr. Calamy should accept it^ 
who had preached, and written, and done so much against it 
(which were then at large recited), never Presbyterian would be 
trusted for his sake. So that the clamour was very loud against 
his acceptance of it : and Mr. Matthew Newcomen, his brother^ 
in-law, and many more, wrote to me earnestly to, dissuade him. 

*' For my own part, 1 resolved against it at the first, but not ai 
a thing which I judged unlawful in itself as described in the 
king's declaration : but I knew that it would take me off my 
writing. I looked to have most of the godly ministers cast 
out ; and what good could be done by ignorant, vile, inca- 
pable men ? I feared that this declaration was but for present 
use, and that shortly it would be revoked or nullified ; and if so, 
I doubted not but the laws would prescribe such work for 
bishops, in silencing ministers, and troubling honest Christians 
for their conscience, and ruling the vicious with greater lenity^ 
as that I had rather have the meanest employment among men. 
My judgment was also fully resolved against the lawfulness of 
the old diocesan frame. 

** But when Dr. Reynolds and Mr. Calamy asked my thoughts, 
I told them that, distinguishing between what is simply, and 
what is by accident, evil, I thought that as episcppacy is described 
in the king's declaration, it is lawful when better cannot be 
had ; but yet scandal might make it unfit for some men more 
than others. To Mr. Calamy therefore I would give no counsel) 
but for Dr. Reynolds, I persuaded him to accept it, so be it be 
would publicly declare that he took it on the terms of the 
king's declaration, and would lay it down when he could no 

^ It requires a considerable portion of the distinguishing; powers of Baxter to 
understand how the acceptance of a^bishoprick, on any such footiofp as it was 
likf ly to bf placed, was consistent with the principles of the coreoant. 


bagnr exeieiaa it on those terms. Only I left it to his consideni^ 
JOD whether it would be better to suy till he saw what they 
rdold do with the declaration ; and for myself, I was confident 
•hoQld see cause to refuse it. 

^ When I came to the lord chancellor the next day sa^e one, 
m aaked me of my resolution, and put me to it so suddenly, that 
waa forced to delay no longer, but told him that I could not 
fiC!€pt it for scTeral reasons. And it was not the least that I 
hoiight I could better serve the church without it, if he would 
mt prosecute the establishment of the terms granted; and 
lecause I thought it would be ill taken if I refused it upon 
uiy but acceptable reasons. But as writing would serve best 
igainst misreports hereafter, I the next day put a letter into the 
lord chancellor's hand, which he took in good part; in which 
I eoncealed most of my reasons, but gave the best, and used 
note freedom in my forther requests than I expected should 
Inve any good success."^ 

As this letter contains some of Baxter's views of the state of 
things which then existed, and suggests to the lord chancellor 
mearares which, if adopted, he supposed would both advance 
the interests of the church, and gratify the Nonconformists, I 
ihall present it entire. Whether he had any reasons for believ^ 
ing that the persons whom he mentions would accept of bi<* 
ihoprics, cannot now be ascertained. It has rarely happened 
that such a situation has been so completely in the power of an 
individual to accept, whose principles did not stand in the way 
of bis acceding to it, but who honourably declined it for him- 
self, and so uigenuously recommended others. 
^ My Lord, 

'* Your great favour and condescension encourage me to 
give you more of my sense of the business which your lordship 
was pleased to propound. I was, till I saw the declaration, much 
dejectfKi, and resolved against a bishoprick as unlawful ; but, 
finding there more than on October 22d., that his majesty 
grants us the pastor's consent, that the rural dean with the 
whole ministry may exercise as much persuasive pastoral power 
as I could desire, and that subscription is abated in the univer- 
sities, &c. Finding such happy concessions in the great point 
of parochial power and discipline, and in the liturgy and cere- 
monies, my soul rejoiced in thankfulness to God and his 
mstruments, and my conscience presently told me it was my 

> Lifei part 11. pp. 281, SSa. 



duty to do my best with myself and others, as far as I had in- 
terest and opportunity, to suppress all sinful discontents ; and 
haying competent materials now put into my hands, without 
which I could have done nothing, to persuade all my brethren 
to thankfulness and obedient submission to the government. 
Being raised to some joyful hopes of seeing the beginning 
of a happy union, I shall crave your lordship's pardon for pre* 
suming what further endeavours will be necessary to accomplish 
it 1 . If your lordship will endeavour to get the declaration 
passed into an act. 2. If you will speedily procure a commis- 
sion to the persons that are equally to be deputed to that work, 
to review the Common Prayer-book, according to the declara^ 
tion. 3. If you will further effectually the restoration of able^ 
faithful ministers, who are lately removed, who have, and will 
have, great interest in the sober part of the people, to a settled 
station of service in the church. 4. If you will open some way 
for the ejection of the insufficient, scandalous, and unable. 5. 
If you will put as many of our persuasion as you can into 
bishopricks, if it may be, more than three. 6. If you will desire 
the bishops to place some of them in inferior places of trust, 
especially rural deaneries, which is a station suitable to lis, in 
that it hath no salary or maintenance, nor coercive power, but 
that simple, pastoral, persuasive power which we desire. This 
much will set us all in joint. 

** And, for my own part, I hope, by letters this very week, to 
disperse the seeds of satisfaction into many counties of England.*^ 
My conscience commanding me to make this my very work and 
busings, unless the things granted should be reversed^ which 
God forbid. I must profess to your lordship that I am utterly 
against accepting of a bishoprick, because I am conscious that it 
will overmatch my sufficiency, and affright me with the thought 
of my account for so great an undertaking. Especially, because 
it will very much disable me from an effectual promoting of 
the church's peace. As men will question all my argumentations 
and persuasions, when they see me in the dignity which I plead 
for, but will take me to speak my conscience impartially, when I 
am but as one of themselves ; so I must profess to your lord- 
ship that it will stop my own mouth that I cannot for shame speak 
half so freely as now I can and will, if God enable me, for obe- 

^ How different is this from Clarendon's representation of the behaviour of 
Ae ministers ia Irondon towards their brethren in the country ! 


dience and peace; while I know that the hearers will be thinking 
I am pleading for myself. I therefore humbly crave 

^ That your lordship will put some able man of our persua- 
sion into the place which you intend for ihe, though I now think 
that Dr. Reynolds and Mr. Calamy may better accept of a 
bishoprick than I, which I hope your lordship will promote. I 
shall presume to offer some choice to your consideration : Dr. 
Francis Roberts^ of Wrington, in Somersetshire, known by his 
works ; Mr. Froyzall, of Clun^ in Shrops»hire and Hereford dio- 
cese, a man of great worth and good interest; Mr. Daniel 
Cawdrey,' of Billing, in Northamptonshire ; Mr. Anthony Bur- 
gessy of' Sutton Coldfield, in Warwickshire — all known by their 
printed works; Mr. John Trap, of Gloucestershire; Mr. Fordy 
of Bxeter ; Mr. Hughes, of Plymouth ; Mr. Bampiield, of Sher- 
borne; Mr. Woodbridge, of Newbury; Dr. Chambers, Dr. 
Bryan, and Dr. Grrew, all of Coventry ; Mr. Brinsley, of Yar- 
mouth ; Mr. Porter, of Whitchurch in Shropshire ; Mr. Gilpin, 
of Cumberhind ; Mr. Bowles, of York ; Dr. Temple, of Bramp- 
ton, in Warwickshire : I need name no more. 

'^ Secondly: That you will believe I as thankfully ac- 
knowledge your lordship's favour as if I were by it possessed 
of a bishoprick : and if your lordship continue in those inten- 
tions, I shall thankfully accept it in any other state or relation 
that may further my service to the church and to his ma- 
jesty. But I desire, for the fore-mentioned reasons, that it 
may be no cathedral relation. And whereas the vicar of the 
parish where I have lived will not resign, but accept me only as 
his curate, if your lordship would procure him some prebendary, 
or other place of competent profit, for I dare not mention him 
to any pastoral charge, or place that reqiiireth preaching, that 
so he might resign that vicarage to me, without his loss, accord- 
ing to the late act before December ; for the sake of that town 
of Kidderminster, I should take it as a very great favour. But 
if there be any great inconvenience or difficulties in the way, I 
can well be content to be his curate. I crave your lordship's 
pardon for this trouble, which your own condescension has 
drawn upon you, and remain," &c.™ 

This letter, which is dated the 1st of November 1660, states 
clearly Baxter's approbation of the king's declaration, and his 

1 It is singular that Baxter should have proposed Cawdrey for a bishoprick; 
He was one of the most decided, indeed violent, Presbyterians of the times. 
» Life, part ii. pp. 283, 284. 


anxious desire that it might be put on the fooling of hm, wmi 
feirly and fully acted upon. The requests which the letter makes, 
were not unreasonable in themselves, or in reference to the state 
of parties at the time, though not likely to be all complied with. 
The letter as a whole, is an admiralile specimen of die simpiH 
eity, integrity, and disinterestedness of Baxter. 

*^ Mr. Calamy/' he says, ^^ blamed me for giving in my dental 
alone, before we had resolved together what to do. But I told 
him the truth, that being upon other necessary business with the 
lord chancellor, he put me to it on the sudden, so that I codd 
not conveniently delay my answer. 

''Dr. Reynolds almost as suddenly aoeepted, saying, that 
some friend had taken out the cong£ d'elire for him withoat hii 
knowledge. He read to me a profession directed to the king, 
which he had written, where he professed that he took a bishop 
and a presbyter to differ not ardine but gradu ; that a bishop 
¥ms but the chief presbyter, and that he was not to ordain 
or govern but with his presbyters' assistance and eonsent; 
that he accepted of the place as described in the king's de- 
claration, and not as it stood before in England ; and that he 
would no longer hold or exercise it than he could do it on theM 
terms. To this sense it was, and he told me that he would 
offer it the king when he accepted of the place | but whether 
he did or not I cannot tell. He died in the bishoprick of Nor* 
wich, an. 1676.** 

'' Mr. Calamy long suspended his answer, so that that bishop* 
rick was long undisposed of; till he saw the issue of all of our 
treaty, which easily resolved him.^ Dr. Manton was c^fered the 
deanery of Rochester, and Dr. Bates, the deanery of Coventry 

* Dr. Reynolds was a person of good learning;, respectable talents, and 
decided piety. It appears that Baxter tbouglit he might, ooDsistentlj widi his 
principles, accept a bishoprick. Reynolds does not appear to have beliefcd 
la the jua di»muim of any form of church government, and theveliara ha 
could have no conscienti9Us objections to a bishoprick, and probably thoagfal 
he might be able to serve the Nonconformists more in that capac^, 
than had he remained one of themselves. He appears to have managed tlia 
see of Norwich with great moderation, though, even there, much suffisfiiig 
was endured ; many of the Nonconformists being prosecuted by the bishop's 
chancellor, though, it is said, greatly against the bishop's will. See Chalmers' 
* Life of Reynolds ,' prefixed to his works, and the < Conformist's Plea for the 
Nonconformist,' part iv. p. ^7* 

^ It would have been honourable to the character of Dr. Calamy had he 
refused the bishoprick in a more prompt and decided manner. It is evident 
that he cast a longing, lingering look towards it, and said nolo ofmopari with 
some reluctance. Nothing seems to have prevented his f^xepisOlOe b9t Ibt 

OV ftlCHARD BAXtmU 199 

and Litdifield, whieh diey both after some time refused. And, as 
Iheirdy Mr. Edward Bowles was offered the deanery of York, at 
leasly which he refused." 

Tlius ended the affair of the Presbyterian bishopricks, which 
(fid the rejecters more honour than the accepter. Calamy 
•ecma to have hesitated ; perplexed, it would appear, by opposite 
views of duty, but little wishing to decline, provided he could 
ba:ve complied without compromising his character and consist- 
ency. Baxter's promptitude and decision reflect the greatest 
eredit on his disinterested and upright character. The king's 
declaration was issued ; and the London ministers, glad to 
veeeive any thing which seemed to promise protection and en- 
eoaragement to their labours, met and thanked his majesty for 
his moderation and goodness, and entreated him still to attend 
to their requests. It was presented on the 16th of November, 
1660, by a number of the ministers, not including Baxter. 

^ Whether this came to the king's ears, he says (or what else 
it was that caused it I know not, but presently after the Earl 
of Lauderdale came to tell me), that I must come the next day 
to the king, who was pleased to tell me that he sent for me 
only to signify his favour to me. I told him I feared my plain 
speeches, October 22d, which I thought the case in hand com- 
manded me to employ, might have been displeasing to him; but 
he told me that he was not offended at the plainness, free- 
dom, or earnestness of them, but only when he thought I was 
not in the right ; and that for my free speech he took me to be 
the honester man. I suppose this favour came from the bishops, 
who having notice of what last passed, did think that now I 
might serve their interests." p 

In his majesty's declaration it was intimated that the liturgy 
should be reviewed and reformed, and certain alterations adopt- 
ed, to meet the feelings of the Nonconformists. Baxter frequently 
importuned the chancellor to carry this engagement into effect. 
At last Dr. Reynolds and Mr. Calamy were authorised to name 
the persons on their side to manage the conference ; and (hat 

•atciy which it would have raised ag^nst his coDsistency, and the rfmon- 
strances of his friends. This fact throws a greater shade orer his character for 
decision than any thing else that 1 know. He possessed highly respectable 
talents, was the leader of the ministers of Loudon for many years ; and must 
have been a very moderate Presbyterian when he could deliberate so long 
whether to accept or to reject the proferred bishoprick. Even Baxter seems to 
think, however, he might have acceded consistently with his sentiments. 
»UI«, part H. p. 8S4. 


being done, a commission under the great seal was issued' em- 
powering the persons nominated on both sides to meet for this 
purpose. The individuals chosen, comprehended the archbishop 
of York with twelve bishops on the one side, and eleven Non« 
conformist ministers on the other ; with a provision of other 
individuals, to supply the places of any who might not be able 
to attend. 

*^ A meeting was accordingly appointed, and the Savoy, the 
bishop of London's lodgings, named by them for the plaee. 
There met us. Dr. Frewen, archbishop of York ; Dr.* Sheldon^ 
bishop of London; Dr. Morley, bishop of Worcester; Dr. 
Saunderson, bishop of Lincoln ; Dr. Cosins, bishop of Durham; 
Dr. Hinchman, bishop of Salisbury; Dr. Walton, bishop of 
Chester ; Dr. Lany, bishop of Peterborough ; Dr. King, bishop 
of Rochester; Dr. Stem, bishop of Carlisle; and the constantest 
man in attendance of them all. Dr. Gauden, bishop of Exeter. On 
the other side there met. Dr. Reynolds, bishop of Norwich ; Mr. 
Clark, Dr. Spurstow, Dr. Lightfoot, Dr. Wallis, Dr. Mantoo^ 
Dr. Bates, Dr. Jacomb, Mr. Cooper, Mr. Rawliuson, Mr. Case, 
and myself. The commission being read, the archbishop oi 
York, a peaceable man, spake first, and told us that he knew 
nothing of the business, but perhaps the bishop of London knew 
more of the king's mind in it, and therefore was fitter to speak 
on it than he. The bishop of London told us, that it was not 
they, but we that had been the seekers of this conference, and 
who desired alterations in the liturgy ; and therefore they had 
nothing to say or do, till we brought in all that we had to say 
against it in writing, and all the additional forms and alterations 
which we desired. Our brethren were very much against this 
motion, and urged the king's commission, which required us to 
meet together, advise, and consult. They told him that by con- 
ference we might perceive, as we went on, what each would yield 
to, and might more speedily dispatch, and probably obtain, our 
end ; whereas, writing would be a tedious, endless business, and 
we should not have that familiarity and acquaintance with each 
other's minds, which might facilitate our concord. But the 
bishop of London resolutely insisted on not doing any thing till 
we brought in all our exceptions, alterations, and additions, at 
once. In this I confess, above all thin^ else, I was wholly of 
his mind, and prevailed with my brethren to consent ; but, I con- 
jecture, for contrary reasons. For, I suppose, he thought that 
we should either be altogether by the ears, and be of several 


nmids among ounelvefl, at least in our new forniB ; or that when 
oor proposals and forms came to be scanned by them, they 
AoM find as much matter of exception against ours as we did 
igainst theirs ; or that the people of our persuasion would be dis- 
sadafied or divided about it. And indeed our brethren them- 
lebesi thought either all, or much of this would come to pass, 
and our disadvantage would be exceedingly great. But I told 
them the reasons of my opinion ; that we should quickly agree 
on our exceptions, and that we should offer none but what we 
were agreed on among ourselves. I reminded them, that we 
were engaged to otkr new forms, which was the expedient that 
bom die beginning I had aimed at and .brought in, as the only 
vay of accommodation, considering that they should be in 
Scripture words, and that ministers should choose which forms 
tbey would. I stated, that verbal disputes would be managed 
trith moch more contention; but, above all, that in no other way 
could our cause be well understood by our people, or foreigners, 
or posterity ; but our conference and cause would be misreported, 
and published, as the conference at Hampton Court was, to our 
prejudice, while none durst contradict it. On this plan what 
we said for our cause, would come fiilly and truly to the know- 
ledge of England, and of other nations ; and that if we refused 
this opportunity of leaving upon record our testimony against 
corruptions, for a just and moderate reformation, we might 
never have the like again. So for these reasons, I told the 
bishops that we accepted of the task which they imposed on 
us ; yet so as to bring all our exceptions at one time, and all 
our additions at another time, which they granted.''^ 

There is doubtless considerable force in these reasons of 
Baxter's for managing the conference in writing rather than by 
personal discussion. But it is also evident that the Presby« 
terians were completely taken in the trap prepared for them. 
The other party were thus left to assume that right was on their 
side ; the onus of objecting in every case was thrown on the 
Nonconformists, and the less difficult part of defending long- 
established usages left to the bishops. As they required to 
be furnished at once with every thing objected to and re- 
quired, the probability was, either that the Nonconformists 
would disagree among themselves, some perhaps going too 
fiur, and others stopping short, and thus a satisfactory reason 

« Ufe, part iL pp. 305, 306, 

THB un Atm Ttms 

for nikmkig cfNnpUance would be furnialied. Or, p i te w rtlug 
a eontiderable mass of objection and alteration at onee^ a saA- 
dent pretence would be afforded for holding tham up ae «► 
reasonable and captious^ and determined to be satislied wkh 
nothing less than an entire revolution of the church. Tha kit 
probable result was that which took place^ and Am use wn 
made of it accordingly. 

The Nonconformists, after withdrawing from this coofeMMS^ 
in which they had only a choice of difficulties to eneounter, agresd 
to divide among themselves the task devolved on them. The ss» 
lection of exceptions to the Common Prayer-book they distribdCsi 
among them, and the additions, or new forms, they devolved oa 
Baxter alone. He immediately set himself to the task, and cobh 
pleted, in a fortnight, an entire liturgy ; correcting the diaordsfly 
arrangement, removing the repetitions, and supplying the defieets 
of the Prayer-book; which he considered its principal CmAs. 
He found, at the end of the fortnight, that his brethren bad net 
completed, their part of the business; so, to assist tbeas, bs 
also drew up a paper containing the exceptions which oeeumd 
to him. This paper and his liturgy were both afkerwardi 
printed by himself.' The exceptions and alterations, as pte» 
sented, are also printed in his life.* Few persons who eonridei 
these exceptions, with the proposed amendments, if any toleia* 
ble degree of candour be exercised, will be ready to maintaia 
that the former were uncalled for, or that the latter would not 
be improvements. But where undistinguishing admiration k 
directed to works of merely human composition, it cannot be 
expected that any alterations will be regarded, except in the 
light of captious and unnecessary innovations. 

^* When the exceptions against the liturgy were finished, die 
brethren oft read over the reformed liturgy which I offered tbttm* 
At first they would have had no rubric or directory, but bare 
prayers, because they thought our commission allowed it not ; at 
last however they yielded to the reasons which I gave them, and 
resolved to take them in; but first to offer the bishops their 

''At this time the convocation was chosen; for till now if 
was deferred. Had it been called when the king came in, the 
inferior clergy would have been against the diocesan and impos* 
ing way : but afterwards many hundreds were turned out, that all 

' Life, part U. p. 308. • Ibid. 316. 


the oM • atpw e lcrgd minialers might come in. And the opfaiion of 
le^vdinfttioii beinf aet afoot, all those ministers that, for twenty 
jPsaiB together^ while bishops were laid aaide^ had been ordained 
vithoot dioeeaansy were, in many counties, denied any voicet in 
the deelion of derka for the convocation. By all which means, 
and by the acrnplei of abundance of ministers, who thought it 
vnlawfiii to have any thing to do in the choosing of such a kind 
cf aseemUy, the diocejsn party wholly carried it in the choice. 

^la London the election was appointed to be in Christ's 
Cbwcb, on the second day of May, 1661. The London minis- 
tsfa that were not ejected, proved the majority against the 
dioecaaii party; and when I went to have joined with them, 
they sent to me not to come, as they did also to Mr. Calamy ; 
90^ without my kn<»wledge, they chose Mr. Calamy and me 
for London. But they carried it against the other party but by 
three voicee : and the bishop of London having the po¥rer of 
diooaiBg two out of four, or four out of six, that are chosen by 
the mwistera in a certain circuit, did give us the great benefit 
ef hdng both left out. So we were excused, and the city of 
London had no derfc in the convocation.^ How should I have 
been thed baited, and what a vexatious place should I have had 
in avch a convocation I 

^' On the fourth day of May, we had a meeting with 
the bishops, where Mre gave in our paper of exceptions to 
them, which they received. The seventh was a meeting at 
^on College, of all the London ministers, for the choice of a 
president and assistants for the next year ; where some of the 
Presbyterians, upon a petty scruple, absenting themselves, the 
diocesan party carried it, and so got the possession and rule of 
the college. The eighth, the new parliament and convocation 
sat down, being constituted of those fitted and devoted to the 
diocesan interest. On the two-and-twentieth of the month, 
by order of parliament, the national vow and covenant was burnt 
in the s^et, by the hands of the common hangman. 

^ When the brethren came to examine the reformed liturgy, 
and bad fi'cquently read it over, they passed it at last in the 
same words that I had written it, save only that they put out a 
few linee in the administration of the Lord's Supper, where the 

* Tkds k only one of rouy proofs of the enmity of Sheldon to the whols 
NoDconformist party, and of hii determination to thwart them every way in 
his power. Rather than have Calamy and Baxter, he deprived Loudon of its 
proper representatives in Iht convocation. 


word '^ offering '* was used ; and they put out a page of reaaom 
for infant baptism, which I had annexed to that office, thtnkiiq[ 
it unnecessary. They also put the larger litany into an iq)peii^ 
dix, as thinicing it too long ; and Dr. Wallis was denied to 
draw up the prayer for the king, which is his work, being after- 
wards somewhat altered by us. We agreed to put before it a 
short address to the bishops, professing our readiness in debate 
to yield to the shortening of any thing which should be too kng, 
and to the altering of any thing that should be found amiss. 

^^ As I foresaw what was likely to be the end of our confar* 
ence, 1 desired the brethren that we might draw up a plain and 
earnest petition to the bishops, to yield to such terms of peace 
and concord as they themselves did confess to be lawful to be 
yielded to : for though we were equals in the king's commissioi^ 
yet we are commanded by the Holy Ghost, if it be possibly 
and as much as in us lieth, to live peaceably vrith all men. If 
we were denied, it would satisfy our consciences, and justify as 
before all the world, much more than if we only disputed for it 
However, we might this way have an opportunity to produce 
our reasons for peace, which else we were not likely to have. 

** This motion was accepted, and I was desired to draw vf 
the petition, which I did, and being examined, was, with a word 
or two of alteration, consented to. When we met with the bi- 
shops, to deliver in these papers, I was required to deliver them : 
and, if it were possible, to get audience for the petition before aD 
the company. I told them, that though we were equals in the 
present work, and our appointed business was to treat, yet we 
were conscious of our place and duty, and. had drawn up a peti- 
tion to them, which, though somewhat long, 1 humbly craved 
their consent that I might read. Some were against it, and so 
they would have been generally if they had known what was 
in it ; but at last they yielded to it ; but their patience was never 
so put to it by us as in hearing so long and ungrateful a petition. 
When I had read it. Dr. Gunning began a long and vehement 
speech against it : to which, when he came to the end, I replied; 
but I was interrupted in the midst of my reply, and was fain to 
bear it, because they had been patient with so much ado so long 
before. 1 delivered them the petition when 1 had read it, and 
with it, a fair copy of our reformed liturgy, called additional 
forms and alterations of theirs. They received both, and so we 

• Life, part li. pp. 333, 334. 


Tluit there was no disposition on the part of the bishops to 
yield any thing, is very evident from the whole of their conduct. 
The comniission onlv extended for three months, a considerable 
part of which had already expired, either in debating how the 
business should be managed, or in preparing papers, instead of 
conferring together in an amicable manner. What follows in 
Baxter's account of the affair, will show that agreement had 
neither been contemplated nor intended, from the beginning. . 

^ After all this, when the bishops were to have sent us two 
papers, one of their concessions, how much they would alter of 
the* liturgy as excepted against, and the other of their accept* 
aoce of our offered forms or reasons against them ; instead of 
both these, a good while after, they sent us such a paper as they 
£d before, .of their reasonings against all our exceptions, with- 
out any abatements or alterations at all that are worth the 
naming. Our brethren, seeing what they were resolved to bring 
it to, and how unpeaceably they managed the business, did 
think best to write them a plain answer to their paper, and not 
to suppress it, as we had done by the first. This task also 
diey imposed on me. 1 went out of town, to Dr. Spurstow's 
hoose^ in Hackney, for retirement ; where, in eight days' time, I 
drew up a reply to their answer to our exceptions. This the 
brethren read and consented to, only wishing that it had been 
larger in the latter end, where I had purposely been brief, be- 
cause I had been too large in the beginning; and because jvor/i- 
eutars may be answered satisfactorily in a few words when the 
general differences are fully cleared. 

'^ By this time, our commission was almost expired ; and 
therefore our brethren were earnestly desirous of personal de- 
bates with them upon the papers put in, to try how much altera- 
tion they would yield to. We therefore sent to the bishops to 
desire it of them ; and, at last, they yielded to it, when we had 
but ten days more to treat. 

. ** When we met them, 1 delivered the answer to their former 
papers, the largeness of which I saw displeased them ; but they 
received it. We earnestly pressed them to spend the little 
time remaining in such pacifying conference as tended to the 
ends which are mentioned in the king's declaration and com- 
mission; and told them, that such disputes which they had 
called us to by their manner of writing, were not the things 
which we desired, or thought most conducing to those ends. 

^^ I have reason to think that the generality of the bishops 


and doctors present, nerer knew what we offered them in the 
reformed litargy, nor in this reply, nor in any of our pmpeni 
save those few which we read openly to them ; for they were 
put up, and carried away; and, 1 conjecture, scarce any but the 
writers of their confutations would be at the labour of reading 
them over. I remember, in the midst of our last disputatiooi 
when I drew out the short preface to the last reply, which Mn 
Calamy wrote, to enumerate, in the beginning, before their eyes, 
many of the grossest corruptions, which they stiffly defended, and 
refused to reform, the company were more ashamed and silent 
than at any thing else that 1 had said. By which 1 perceived 
that they had never read or heard that very prefiu:e which was 
an epistle to themselves : yea, the chief of them confessed^ when 
they bade me read it, that they knew no such thing. So that|it 
seems, before they knew what was in them, they, resolved t9 
reject our papers, right or wrong, and to deliver them up to 
their contradictors. 

^' When we came to our debates, I first craved of them their 
animadversions on our additions and alterations of the Utmgf$ 
which we had put in long before ; and that they would tell « 
what they allowed or disallowed in them, that we might have 
the use of them, according to the words in the king's declara- 
tion and commission. But they would not, by any importunityj 
be intreated at all to debate that, or to give their opinions about 
those papers. There were no papers that ever we offered them 
that had the fate of these: though it was there some of 
them thought to have found recriminating matter of exceptions, 
we could never prevail with them to say any thing about 
them, in word or writing. Once, Bishop Morley told us of 
their length, to which I answered, that we had told them in oar 
preface, that we were ready to abbreviate any thing which on 
debate should appear too long ; but that the paucity of the 
prayers made the ordinary Lord's-day prayers far shorter than 
theirs. And since we had given our exceptions against theirs, 
if they would neither by word nor writing except against ours, , 
nor give their consent to them, they would not honour their 
cause or conference. But all would not extort either debates 
on that subject, or any reprehensions of what we had offered them. 

^* When they had cast out that part of our desired eon* 
ference, our next business was, to desire them, by friendly 
conference, to go over the particulars which we excepted 
against, and to tell us how much they would abate, and what 

09 miCHARD BAXTJB. 307 

altenidooi diey wieold yield to. ThU, Bisbop Reynolds oft 
prened them to, and so did all the rest of us that spake. 
Bat they resolutely insisted on it, that they had nothing to 
do till we had proved that there was a necessity for altera- 
tion, which we had not yet done ; and that they were there, 
ready to answer our proofs. We urged them again and agun 
with the very words of the king's declaration and commission : 
*That the ends expressed are for the removal of all exceptions, 
snd occasions of exceptions and differences, from among our 
good subjects, and for giving satisfaction to tender consciences, 
snd the restoring and continuance of peace and amity in the 
churches. And the means are, to make such reasonable and 
necessary alterations, corrections, and amendments therein, as 
shall be agreed upon to be needful and expedient, for the giving 
astisfaction to tender consciences, and restoring and continuing 
peaee^* &c. We plainly showed hence, that the king supposeth 
that 9om€ alieraiioHi must be made ; but the bishops insisted 
on two words neceuanf alterations, and 9uch a$ should be 
agreed om. We answered them, that the word neceuary hath 
reference to the ends expressed ; viz., the satisfying tender con« 
sdences, and is joined with expedient : and that it was strange if, 
when the king had so long and publicly determined of the end, 
sod called us to consult of the means, we should presume now, 
at last, to contradict him, and to determine that the end itself is 
unnecessary; and, consequently, no means necessary thereto. 
What, then, have we all this while been doing ? When they 
are called to agree on such necessary means, if they will take 
advantage of that word, to agree on nothing, that so all endea- 
vours may be frustrated for want of their agreement, God and 
the world would judge between us, who it is that frustrateth the 
king's commission, and the hopes of a divided, bleeding church. 
^ Thus we continued a long time contending about this point, 
whether some alterations be supposed by the king*s declaration 
and commission to be made by us ; or, whether we were anew 
to dispute that point ? But the bishops would have that to be 
bur task, or none, to prove by disputation, that any alteration 
was necessary to be made ; while they confuted our proofs. We 
told them, that the end being to satisfy tender consciences, and 
procure unity, those tender consciences did themselves profess, 
that without some alterations, and these considerable too, they 
could not be satisfied ; and experience told them, that peace 
and unity could not without them be attained. But still they said 


that none was necessary, and they' would '^eld to all tbit we 
proved necessary. • Here we were left in a very great strait; 
if we should enter upon a dispute with them, we gave up the 
end and hope of our endeavours ; if we refused it, we knew that 
they would boast, that when it came to the setting-to, we would 
not so much as attempt to prove any thing unlawful in the 
liturgy, nor dare dispute it with them. Mr. Calamy^ with some 
others of our brethren, would have had us refuse the motion of 
disputing as not tending to fulfil the king's commands. We told 
the bishops, over and over, that they could not choose but knoir 
that before we could end one argument in a dispute, our time 
would be expired 3 that it could not possibly tend to any 
accommodation ; and that to keep off from personal conference, 
till within a few days of the expiration of the commission, and 
then to resolve to do nothing but wrangle out the time in a dis- 
pute, as if we were between jest and earnest in the schools, was 
too visibly in the sight of all the world, to defeat the king's 
commission, and the expectation of many thousands, who longed 
for our unity and peace. But we spoke to the deaf ; . they had 
other . ends, and were other men, and had the art to suit the 
means unto their ends. For my part, when 1 saw that they 
would do nothing else, I persuaded our brethren to yield. to a 
disputation with them, and let them understand that we were 
far from fearing it, seeing they would give us no hopes of con- 
cord. But, withal, first to profess to them, that the guilt of 
disappointing his majesty and the kingdom, lay not upon us, 
who desired to obey the king's commission, but on them. Thus 
we yielded to spend the little time remaining, in disputing 
with them, rather than go home and do nothing, and leave them 
to tell the court when they had so provoked us, that we durst 
not dispute with them, nor were able to prove our accusations 
of the liturgy."* 

It was finally agreed that three on each side should be 
chosen to debate the unlawfulness of the impositions in the 
Episcopal system. Drs. Pearson, Gunning, and Sparrow, being 
on the one side ; and Baxter, Bates, and Jacomb, on the other, 
llicy met accordingly, in the'presence of many of the Episcopal 
party, who attended in considerable numbers ; but the Non- 
conformists, except the three advocates, all absented themselves. 
The debate itself, which Baxter has recorded at lengthy was, as 

> Life, part ii. pp. 233*236. 


'might havd been anticipated, exceedingly unsatisfactory; 
partaking more of the nature of personal altercation than of 
grave religious argument. The discussion was carried on by 
ex-tempore writing as well as by occasional speaking; which 
must have been as wearisome to aH parties, as the history 
of it would now be tedious and unprofitable. As Baxter 
chiefly mainUuned the discussion on the side of the Noncon- 
formists, his numerous writings contain a full ex^sition and 
defence of his own views and those of his brethren ; while the 
Uturgy remains unaltered, and the defences of its correctness 
and propriety to this day are very numerous. Baxter's account 
of the principal disputants, and of the part which they respec- 
tively took in the discussion, may appropriately close the review 
of the Savoy conference. 

^ Hie bishop of Liondon, Dr. Sheldon, since archbishop of 
Ginterbury, only speared the first day of each conference^ 
which, beside that before the king, was but twice in all, as I 
remember, and meddled not at all in any disputations : y but all 
men supposed that he and Bishop Morley, and next Bishop 
Hinchman, were the doers and disposers of all such affairs. 
The archbishop of York (Frewen) spake very little ; and came 
bat once or twice in all. Bishop Morley was often there, but 
not constantly, and with free and fluent words with much ear- 
nestness, was the chief speaker of all the bishops, and the great- 
est interrupter of us : vehemently going on with what he 
thought serviceable to his end, and bearing down our answers 
by the said fervour and interruptions. Bishop Cosins was there 
constantly, and had a great deal of talk with so little logic, na- 
tural or artificial, that I perceived no one much moved by any 
thing he said. But two virtues he showed, though none took 
him for a magician ; one was, that he was excellently well 
versed in canons, councils, and fathers, which he remembered, 
when by citing of any passages we tried him. The other was, 
that as he was of a rustic wit and carriage, so he would endure 

7 The Tiews of ShelJon in the affair of the Savoy coDference, are apparent from 
one circumstance. When Lord Manchester remarked to the kin^, that he was 
afraid the terms of the act of uniformity were too rigid for the ministers 
to comply with, Sheldon replied, ** 1 am afraid they will." — Bate's Funeral 
Sermon for Baxter, It is only necessary to look at some passages of Pepys's 
* Memoirs,' to be satisfied that Sheldon was a profane, as well as an un- 
principled man ; totally unfit for the office which he held. — See particularly 
vol. ii. p. 342. Burnet says, <' He seemed not to have a clear sense of religion, 
if any at all ; and spoke of it most commonly as of an eugiae of govetorocct^ 
and a matter of policy."— Oic» Times y i. p. 257. 

SOU !• F 

210 7H8 Un 4KD TIICB6 

more freedom of diseoitne with him, and was Inote lAdde 
and familiar than the rett. Bishop Htnchinan, since Insbop 
of London, was of the most gmve, comely, reverend aspect d* 
any of them ; and of a good insight in the fathers and 
Cosins and he, and Dr. Gunning, being all that showed any 
sjderable skill in them among us ; in which they were all three 
of very laudable understandings, and better than any other of 
either of the parties that I met with. Bishop Hinchman spake 
calmly and slowly, and not very often ; but was as high in lus 
principles and resolutions as any of them. 

^^ Bishop Sanderson, of Lincoln, was sometimes there, bat 
never spake, that I know of, except a very little; but his great 
learning and worth are known by his labours, aUKi his aged 
peevishness not unknown.* 

^^ Bishop Gauden was our most constant helper : he and 
Bishop Cosins seldom were absent. And how bitter soever his 
pen might be, he was the only moderator of all the bishops, 
except our Bishop Reynolds* He showed no logic, nor med- 
dled in any dispute or point of learning } but he had a cahn, 
fluent, rhetorical tongue ; and if all had been of his mind we 
had been reconciled. But when by many days' conference in 
the beginning, we had got some moderating concessions from 
him, and from Bishop Cosins by his means, the rest came in the 
endf and brake them all.* 

*^ Bishop Lucy, of St. David's, spake once or twice a few 
words, calmly ; and so did Bishop Nicholson, of Gloucester, and 
Bishop Griffiths, of St. Asaph's, though not commissioners. 
King, bishop of Chichester, 1 never saw there. Bishop Warner, 
of Rochester, was once or twice. Lany, of Peterborough, was 
twice or thrice there | and Walton, bishop of Chester, but nei- 
ther of them spake much, ^ 

^^ Among all the bishops, there was none who had so pro- 
mising a face as Dr. Sterne, bishop of Carlisle. He lookedi so 
honestly, gravely, and soberly, that I scarce thought such a 
face could have deceived me. When I was entreating them not 

■ It ii said that Bishop Sanderton requested, on his death-l>ed» that tbt 
ejected luiuisters should be employed aj^aiii i but of course that was not oum« 
plied vf\th,'-' Baxter's Ltfe, pnrt ii. p. 363. 

• It Is somewhat singular tltat the autlior of the < Eikon lUsilike/ tbosM 
have been so moderate a man in the debates with the Nonconformists. Baa* 
ter'i dp%criotion of his calm and fluent tongue, agrees very well with the style 
of that celebratea book ; the controversy about which is now set at res^ and 
tbs claims of Gsudan fuUy ssccrlaiiMd. 

k Life, part ii. p. 364. 

oy klCllARD BAXtSit. ittl 

td cast ottt 96 many of thi^ir brethren thrbugh the noHoH^ te 
turned to the rest of the reverend bishops, and said^ ' He will 
not say in the kinffdom, lest he own a king.* This was all I 
ever heard that Worthy prelate say. I told hint with grief, that 
half the charity which became so grave a bishop, might have 
helped him to a better exposition of the Word nation. <^ 

''Bishop Reynolds spake tnuch the first day, for bringing 
them to abatements and moderation ; and afterwards he sat 
irith thfem, and spake now and then a word foir inoderation. 
He was a solid, honest man, but through mildness and excess 
of timorous reverence for great ihen^ altogether unfit to contend 
with thetti. 

'' Mr. Thomdike spake once a few tihpei^Unent^ passioh&t^ 
wofdS) eonfiiting the opinion which Wte hktd received of him 
from his first Writings^ and eonfihning that which his seeond 
and last writings had given Us of him« Dh Barle^ Dr. HeyliM, 
and Dn Barwick^ never camfe. Dr. Hacket, since bishop of 
Cotentry and Litchfield^ said nothing to make us kttow ahy 
thing of him. Dn Sparrow said but little, but that little wtos 
with a spirit enough for the imposing dividing cause. 

''Dr. Peirce and Dr. Gunning did all their work, beside 
Bishop Morley's discourses, but with great diflferenee in the 
madnei'4 Dr. Peirce was their true logician and disputant, 
without whom^ as far as I could discern, we should have had no- 
thing frdm them, but Dr. Gutming's passionate invectives, mixed 
With some argumentations. He disputed acburately^ soberly, and 
calmiyi being but otide in any passion ; breeding in us great 
respect for him, and a persuasion that if he had been independ- 
ent, he would have been for peace, and that if all had been in his 
power, it Would have gone Well. He was the strength and 
honour of that cause, which we doubted whether he heartily 
maintained. He was their forwardest and greatest speaker; 
understanding well what belonged to a disputant ; a man of 
greater study and industry than any of them ; well read in fa- 
thers, and councils, and of a ready tongue ; I hear, and believe, 
of very temperate life also, as to all carnal excesses whatso- 
ever; but so vehement for his high, imposing principles, and so 
over zealous for Arminianisni, and formality, and church pomp ; 
and so very eager and fervent in his discourse, that I conceive 
his prejudice and passion much perverted his judgment. I 
am sure^ they made him lamentably overrun himself in his dis- 

« Lift, part ii. p. 281. 



courses. Of Dr. Peirce 1 will say no more, because he hath said 
so much of me.** 

" On our part, Dr. Bates spake very solidly, judiciously, and 
pertinently, when he spake. As for myself, the reason why I 
spake so much was, because it was the desire of my brethren, 
and I was loath to expose them to the hatred of the bishops ; but 
was willing to take it all upon myself, they themselves having 
60 much wit as to be therein more sparing and cautious than I. 
I thought also that the day and cause commanded me those two 
things, which then were objected to me as my crimes^ viz., 
speaking too boldly and too long. I thought it a cause that 
I could comfortaby suffer for, and should as willingly be a mar- 
tyr for charity as for faith.* '^ 

Thus ended the Savoy conference, the last of those attempts 
to reconcile churchmen and dissenters, in which the court and 
the authorities in the church took any active part. The issue 
might have been foreseen at the beginning, from the disposition 
of the leading Episcopal commissioners, and from the condikt 
of Sheldon at the very first meeting ; beside what was known 
of the prevailing feelings of the court and the whole royal party. 
Burnet says, with considerable justice, '^ The two men that had 
the chief management of the debate, were the roost unfit to 
heal matters, and the fittest to widen them that could have 
been found out. Baxter was the opponent, and Gunning vras 
the respondent, who was afterwards advanced, first to Chiches- 
ter, and then to Ely. He was a man of great reading, and 
noted for a special subtlety of arguing. All the arts of sophistry 
were made use oF by him on all occasions, in as confident a 
manner as if they had been sound reasoning. Baxter and he 
spent some days in much logical arguing, to the diversion of 
the town, who thought here w^te a couple of fencers engaged 
in disputes, that could never be brought to an end, or have any 
good eflfect.*' ' 

The affair having thus ended in a kind of farce, and the mi' 
nisters having totally failed, as they conceived, in the great object 
of the conference, they drew up a correct account of the whole 
affair, and presented it to the king in the form of a petition. 

^ Jeremy Taylor says io one of hi« letters, <Mt is no wonder that Baxter 
undervalues the gentry of England. Vou know what spirit be is of, but I 
suppose be has nrct with his match : for Mr. Peris (Peirce) Ifath attacked him; 
and they are joined iu the lists." — Heber** Lift of Taylor y p. 88. 
' * Life, part ii. pp. 3(j3, 364. 

' Burnet's 'Own Times/ vol, i. pp. 283, 284. 


It was written by Baxter^ and with a few alterations and amend- 
ments, was at last laid before his majesty, with a fair copy of 
ail the papers, by Dr. Manton, Dr. Reynolds, Dr. Bates, and 
Mr. Baxter. It gives a short history of the conference, and its 
unsuccessful issue, and concludes by praying that the benefits ' 
of the king's declaration might be continued to the people, and 
that the additions promised in it might be bestowed.^ It 
does not appear that Charles said any thing particular at 
the winding up of the affair. He parted with the ministers 
civilly, but with a full determination to pursue such measures^ 
as, to adopt the expression of his grandfather respecting the 
Puritans, would " drive them out of the kingdom, or do worse/' 
The failure offers one of many illustrations of the folly of at- 
tempting to reconcile the principles of this world, with the laws 
and government of the kingdom of Christ. It is true, in regard 
to such transactions as the Savoy conference, as well as of other 
things, '^ that no man can serve two masters." 

After the failure of the negociation, the great object of the 
ministers was, if possible, to get parliament to pass the king's 
declaration into a l^w, without which it would be of no perma- 
nent force or obligation ; and for a time, their expectations were 
encouraged by the lord chancellor. But when it came to the 
trial, their hopes all failed them ; and the conformity imposed, 
was made ten times more burdensome than it was before. For 
beside that the convocation had made the Common Prayer-book 
more grievous than ever, the parliament made a new act of con- 
formity, with a new form of subscription, and a new declaration 
to be made against the obligation of the covenant. So that 
the king's declaration not only died before it came into exe- 
cution, and all hopes, treaties, and petitions, were not only 
disappointed, but a weight more grievous than a thousand 
ceremonies was added to the old conformity, with a heavy 

» Life, part ii. pp. 3()6— ;5G8. 

* Although tiie Episcupal commissioners would coucede nothing; to the 
NuDCOD Tor mists fur the sake uf peace, they soou after held a meetiu^ by 
themselves, for the purpose of preparing certain alterations in the ^ Book of 
Common Prayer,* which they agreed to lay before the next convocation. It 
assembled on the 8th of May« 166 1 , and agreed to some alterations and addi- 
tions. They beg^an with the ofTice for the king's birth and return, which was 
brought in on the IGth of May, being their second session. On the 18th of 
May, their third session, they proceeded to the office of baptism for those of 
riper years. By December 20lh, the book was completed and subscribed by 
the members of both houses. 

214 THE UWM ANO Tiim 

)aiiiii||[« Sev^^ l^Honi in the caleo^ar were cbaD|ed for pthen inm 
iof the days. The prayers upoi^ particular occasioas, were disjoined fi 
liturgy. The prayecs for the parliament, that (or aU conditiom of m 
tk^g^lWfal tb%9H*iiv¥>y?t ^fcf »(ided> *!svf^al of tUt collects w^ i 
th^ ip^^los af^ f 99P!^H ^er^ tak^u out of the last traDslatiuio of tlM 
thjey having been read before, according to the old. The office of bapil 
those of riper years, the forms of prayer to be used at sea, the i^tifiD, 
nmKtjnkmk «f l^ivg Cbftrl^ ai^ that fyr the king'^ r^t^np, or«^ U 
caUed,^hf i^tof^tioj^, of the royal family, wf re a^d^tt The book di^ n 
press till some time after it was subscribal, the Act of Uniform!^ f«ir ei 
it into a law taking up a considerable time." — Nickofs Prg/acei to iJU. 
Cfmmim Brayet^ p. ip. Ii^ ^^U theae alteri^ns^ it ^ very ^lear t^ 
topK spec^l cac^ th^^ no ai^^otiyn should bf shown to the feeUnn 
judices of tl^e Noncoi^om^^ts. This writer has forgotten to tint 
among the other improvements made by this convocation on the * 
Book, • Ihf story of '*-. Qell tod (he Dragpn' was added to the les^oni 
frpfp the ApoP^ri^ha I 




Biiter eodtMourt to pUa pouwsiuii of Kiddemiioftter— The King; and 
Qinndoa favourable to it^Dnfeated by Sir Ralph Clare aad Biibop 
Morley— Conduct of Sir Ralph Clare to the People of Kidderminster— Ba&- 
tec*s spirited RemoDftnuice— Insurrection of the Fifth Monarchy Men-^ 
Baiter's Preachings in London — Obtains a License from the Archhishop^ 
of Canterbury— Attempts to negociate with the Vicar of Kidderminster-^ 
Treatment of the P^le by the Bishop and Oer^ — Baxter entirely separated 
from ICdderminster— Takes leave oftheChurch — ^Act of Uniformity — Rs In- 
justice, Impolicy, and Cruelty — lis injurious Effects— Baater*8 Miarriage— -^ 
IdeclanUiim: of Indnlgence— Death and Charactsr o£ Ash— Nelson*— Hnrd-- 
shipsof the Nonconformists^— Death of Arohbithop Juxon— Succeeded by 
Sheldon — Acta^inst Private Meetiog^s — Sufferings* of the People — Banker 
retires to Acton — Works written or published by him during thiapedod-^ 
Correspondence — Occasional Communion— Consulted by Ashley— Conclud*- 
ing Memorials of the year 1565. 

In the preeeding" chapter, an account has been given of all 
the public tramactions in which Baxter was engaged from the 
period of the restoration to the termination of the Savoy con- 
ference. His more private or personal affiairs now require our 
attention. In his letter to Lord Clarendon, declining the bi- 
shoprick of Herefbrd, the reader will have observed that he 
prefers a request of a very humble nature respecting Kidder- 
minster ; that if hi» lordship would bestow some prebendal 
place on Mr. Dance, the vicar, it would enable him to return 
to his old and favourite sphere of employment. The following 
narrative brings before us the failure of this application, and, in 
consequence, his entire separation from Kidderminster. 

" When I had refused a bishoprick, I did it from such reasons 
OS offended not the lord chancellor; and, therefore, instead of 
it, I presumed to crave his favour to restore me to preach to my 
people at Kidderminster again, from whence I had been cast 
out, when many hundreds of others were ejected, upon the re- 


storatiou of all those who had been sequestered. It was bot a 
vicarage^ and the vicar was a poor, unlearned, ignorant, silly 
reader, who little understood what Christiai^ity, and the articles 
of his creed, did signify. Once a quarter he said something 
which he called a sermon, which made him the pity or the 
laughter of the people. This man, being unable to preach 
himself, kept always a curate under him for that purpose. 
Before the wars, I had preached there only as a lecturer, and he 
was bound to pay me sixty pounds per annum; my people were 
so dear to me, and I to them, that I would have been with them 
upon the lowest lawful terms. Some laughed at me for refusing 
a bishoprick, and petitioning to be a reading vicar's curate ; but. 
I had little hopes of so good a condition, at least for any consi- 
derable time. 

" The ruler of the vicar and all the business, was Sir Ralph 
Clare ; an old man, and an old courtier, who carried it towards 
me, all the time I was there, with great civility and respect, and 
sent me a purse of money when I went away, which I refused.^ 
But his zeal against all who scrupled ceremonies, or who would 
not preach for prelacy and conformity, was so much greater than 
his respect for me, that he was the principal cause of my re* 
moval. I suppose he thought that when I was far enough off, 
he could so far rule the town, as to reduce the people to his way. 
But he and others of that temper little knew, how firm conscien- 
tious men are to the matters of their everlasting interest, and how 
little men's authority can do against the authority of God, with 
those that are unfeignedly subject to him. Opejily, he seemed 
to be for my return at first, that he might not offend the people; 
and the lord chancellor seemed very forward in it, and all the 
difficulty was, how to provide some other place for the old vicar, 
Mr. Dance, that he might be no loser by the change. It was so 
contrived, that all must seem forward in it except the vicar. 
The king himself must be engaged in it; the lord chancellor 
earnestly presseth it ; Sir Ralph is willing and very desirous of 
it; and the vicar is willing, if he may but be recompensed with 

' Sir Ralph Clare, of Caldwell, of whom Baxter gives tins curious account, 
vas an emioeut royalist. He spent a ^reat part of his fortune in the cause of 
Charles II. Beiuf; taken prisoner at the battle of Worcester, he remained a 
lon^ time in confinement; till released, probably, by Baxter*s influence, by 
Major-General Berry coming into command in the county, it appears, from 
various parts of Baxter's narrative, that the old knight was a great thorn in 
his side. In Nash's < History of Worcestershire,' portraits of Baxter iiod Sir 
}U)pb are i^vea in one page.— Vol. ii, p. 44* 

or MCHARD BAXm. 217; 

ida place, from which I had received but ninety ponnds 
mnn. ESther all desire it, or none derire it. But the 
nee was, that among all the livings and prebendaries of 
id, there was none fit for the poor vicar. A prebend he 
M»t havi^ because he was incompetent, and yet he is still 
It ennpetent to be the pastor of near 4,000 souls 1 The 
baneellor, to make the business certain, engages him* 
* m valuable stipend to the vicar, and his oMm steward 
le commanded to pay it for him. What could he desire 
But the poor vicar was to answer him that this was no 
J to him ; his lordship might withhold that stipend at his 
K, and then where was his maintenance ? Give him but 
i tide to any thing of eqdal value, and he would resign, 
■lion also was my sure and intimate friend. But no such 
ivas to be had, and so Mr. Dance must keep his place, 
hough I requested not any preferment but this, yet even 
1 1 resolved I would never be importunate. I only nomi- 
h as the favour which I desired, when their offers in 
1 invited me to ask more ; and then I told them, that if 
e any way inconvenient to them, I would not request it. 
It the very first I desired, that if they thought it best for 
car to keep his place, I was willing to take the lecture, 
» by his bond, was secured to me, and was still my right; 
lat were denied me, I would be his curate while the king's 
ation stood in force. But none of these could be accepted 
sen that were so exceedingly willing. In the end, it ap- 
1 that two knights of the county, Sir Ralph Clare and Sir 
Httkington,j who were very great with Dr. Morley, newly- 
bishop of Worcester, had made him believe that my 
It was so great, and I could do so much with ministers 
»ple in that county, that unless I would bind myself to 
Ce their cause and party, I was not fit to be there. And 
flhop, being greatest of any man with the lord chancellor, 
obstruct my return to my ancient flock. At last. Sir 
Qare did freely tell me, that if I would conform to the 
and ceremonies of the church, preach conformity to the 
!, and labour to set them right, there was no man in 

Fobn Packington, of Westwood, was another warm royalist baronet, 
oaotj of Worcester. He was husband to Lady Packin^oo, to whom 
n-kDOwn work, * The Whole Duty of Mao/ has been ascribed. Sir 
KMse was the resort of many of the Episcopal cleric durin|^ the wars 
t Commonwealth ; and Dr. Hammpnd died iQ i%*-^Jthen, (hen, iii. 
r, T. 377. 

218 xn un jlkd Tuns 

Bagkoid an fift to kQ therc^ for no mut cimM 

do it ; but if I wmild not, tfaore was no mMi to unfit 

pbec^ for oo nao could more hinder lU 

^ I demed it aa dM greoteal favour of thes^ tkol if diqr a^ 
teoded not aay baiog thoro thay wouM pkioly tdi aae ao^ 
I anight troiAlo thorn and nqraelf no moro aboot it| bal 
waa a fiafoor too great to bo expected. I bad cootiaaol a»» 
coon^famenit by proaisea till I waa abaoat tiitd iai waitiBf a» 
then« At 1bM> meeting Sir Ralph Claie in the biatMp'a^ chombai^ 
I deMjred hun^ before tbe bishop, to tell noe to my fiicoy if hehod 
any thing agwoat me which aught cadtaie ^ this adob Ho taU 
no thai I would gtre the socvaaaent to none kneelnigv and tint 
of eighteea hundred coauamiieanta^ thoro were not paat ais 
huntbed who were for me, and the rest were latfiof fee tho- vicar* 
I answered, I was very glad that these words Mk o«C to bo 
spoken in the bishop's hearing. To the first aecuaatMiy I tdd 
him, that be himself knew I invited him to the sacvamon^ and 
otfered it hkn kneeUng^ and that under my kand^ io wrilhiig^ 
that openly in his hearing in the pulptC, i had promhed aod 
told both himi and all' the rest, I never had nor ever wouM pol 
any man from the saerament on the aecount of kneeling, bai 
leave every one to the posture lie should choose. I fiuthap 
stated, that the reason why I never gave it to any kneeling^ 
because all who came would sit or staisd, and thoae who 
for kneeling only followed him, who would not come unlaaat 
would administer it to him and his party on a day by themaelvts^ 
when the rest were not present; and 1 had no<mind to< belte: 
author of such a schism, and make, as it were, two churcbaa 
of one. But especially the consciousness of notorious soandri^ 
which they knew they must be accountable for, did mdco m a n y 
kneelers stay away ; and all this he could not deny. 

^ As to the second chaise, I stated, there was a witness ready 
to say as he did. I knew but one man in- the town against mc^ 
which was a stranger newly come, one Ganderton, an attoroaj^ 
steward to the Lord of Abergavenny, a Papist, who was lord of 
the manor. This one man was tlie prosecutor, and witnessed how 
many were against my return. 1 craved of the bishop diat I 
might send by the next post to know their minds, and if that 
were so I would take it for a favour to be kept from thenee. 
When the people heard this at Kidderminster, in a day's tine 
they gi^thered the hands of sixteen hundred of the eighteen 
hundred coran^unicants, and the rest were suqh as were frooi 

bcM. Wiilun four or five ciajn «fter» I Imppf nf4 ta fiad Sir 
Ralph Glare with iha bishop aisaiq, and showed him the hands 
of ikteeii hundred eoipmuuic^t^ with an offer of nMye if th«y 
ought have time, all vevy earoeal for my r^^u^n. Sif Ralph was 
al^ieed as to that poiut ; but he and the bishop appeared m> 
mk the looro Insist VAy ret«ra. 

^The leltof^ which the lord chancellof upon hia owix offer 
wroli i(Mr sae to Sif Ralph Ciare,^ he gave at my request uur 
aeikd ; and ao i took aL copy of it bMore I sent it away, think* 
\^ the chief use would be to keep it aud compare i^ with their 
distmg% It waa as foUoweth : 

^ M a^m a little out of cowtenaace^ that after the dii^avery 

oi tuoh a desire in his majesty, that Mr. Baxter shc^ld be settUd 

in Kidderminster, as he was heretofore^ and my promise to you 

i^the king's direction, thait Mr. Dance should very pmictually 

reeiive a reooflapenae by way of a rent upon, his or your bills 

charged here upon my steward, Mr. Baxter hath yet no fruit of 

tUi hia m^iiasty'a gopd inteiKtion t9wards him ; so that he hath 

tooBUieh leasoa to believe that h# is, not so frankly dealt with 

is this particular aa he deserves to be. I da again tell you, that 

it wiU be very acceptable to the king if you can persuade Mr.. 

Dance to surrender that charge to Mr. Baxter; and iuth^ mean 

tim^ and till he is preferred to. as profitable an employm.ent, 

whatever agreement you shall majic with him for an annual rent, 

it ahaU be pmd quarterly upon a bill from you charged upon my 

steward, Mr. Clutterbucke ; and for the exact performance of 

this, you may securely pawn your full credit. I do most 

earnestly entreat you^ that you will with all speed inform 

me what we may depend upon in this particular, that we n^ay 

not keep Mr. Baxter in suspense, who hath deserved very well 

from his majesty, and of whom his majesty hath a very good 

opmion ; and I hope you will not be the less desirous to comply 

with him for the particular recommendation of, 

" ' Sir, 
" * Your very affectionate servant, 

"* Edward Hyde." 
^' Can any thing be more serious, cordial, and obliging, 
than all this? For a lord chancellor, that hath the business of 
the kingdom upon his hand, and lords attending him, to take 
up his time so much and often about so low a vicarage or a 
curat eship, when it is. npt in the power of the king and the 


lord chancellor to procure it for him^ though they §o vehe- 
mently desire it ? But, oh 1 thought I, how much better life 
do poor men live, who speak as they think, and do as they 
profess, and are never put upon such shifts as these for thdr 
present conveniences ! Wonderful! thought I, that men who 
do so much overvalue worldly honour and esteem, can possiUy 
so much forget futurity, and think only of the present day, as if 
they regarded not how their actions be judged of by postmty. 
Notwithstanding all his extraordinary favour, since the day the 
king came in, I never received, as his chaplain, or as a preacher, 
or on any account, the value of one farthing of public mainte- 
nance. So that I, and many a hundred more, had not had a 
piece of bread but for the voluntary contribution, whilst we 
preached, of another sort of people : yea, while I had all this 
excess of favour, I would have taken it indeed for an exceu, 
as being far beyond my expectations, if they would but hate 
given me liberty to preach the Gospel, without any maintenance, 
and leave me to beg my bread/'^ 

There is something very singular in this part of Baxter^s 
history. Giving Clarendon, and Charles, who also appears to 
have been a party, credit for sincerity in their professed friend- 
ship for Baxter, it is extraordinary that they should have been 
defeated by the management of the '^old civil courtier,'' Sir 
Ralph, or the wilely bishop of Worcester, Or. Morley. Yet, 
if the whole was only designed to amuse and disappoint Baxter, 
what a view does it give of the craft and duplicity of the new 
government, and the high honour of the cavaliers ! It is evi- 
dent, from the humour with which Baxter tells the story, that 
he was convinced the whole was a piece of artifice. It seems 
probable that Charles and Clarendon would have been willing 
that he should get back to Kidderminster, but the bishop was 
determined he should not, and therefore the aifair was so 
managed that the old vicar was made the scape goat. So little 
dependence can be placed on the promises of courts, where their 
own interests are not likely to be served by the parties ! 

" A little after this, Sir Ralph Clare and otJiers caused the 
houses of the people of the town of Kidderminster to be 
searched for arms, and if any had a sword it was taken firom 
them. Meeting him with the bishop, I desired hini to tell us 
why his neighbours were so used, as if he would have made the 
world believe they were seditious, or rebels, or dangerous per- 

^ Life, part ii. pp. 298-300, 

' OF RICHARD fiAXtBR. ^21 

oSy that should be treated as enemies to the king. He answered 
e, that it was because they would not bring out their arms 
hen they were commknded^ but said they had none ; whereas 
ley had arms on every occasion to appear on the behalf of 
romwell. This great disingenuity of so ancient a gentleman 
awards his neighbours, whom he pretended kindness to, made 
e break forth into some more than ordinary freedom of re- 
!iMif ; so that I answered him, we had thought our condition 
ird, that by strangers, who knew us not, we should be ordi- 
nily traduced and misrepresented : but this was. most sad and 
anrellous, that a gentleman so civil, should, before the bishop, 
leak such words against a corporation, which he knew I was 
>le to confute, and were so contrary to truth. I asked him 
hether he did not know that I publicly and privately spake 
^nat the usurpers, and declared them to be rebels ; and 
hether he took not the people to be of my mind ; and whether 
and they had not hazarded our liberty by refusing the engage- 
tent against the king, and House of Lords, when he and others 
' his mind had taken it. He confessed that 1 had been against 
romwell ; but the people had always, on every occasion, ap- 
sared in arms for him. I told him that he struck me with ad- 
iration, that it should be possible for him to live in the town, 
id yet believe what he said to be true, or yet to speak it in our 
saring if he knew it to be untrue. I professed also that having 
red there sixteen years since the wars, I never knew that they 
ace appeared in arms for Cromwell, or any usurper ; and chal* 
nged him, upon his word, to name one. I could not get him 
» name any time, till I had urged him to the utmost ; and 
len he instanced in the time when the Scots army fled from 
Worcester. I challenged him to name one man of them that 
as at Worcester fight, or bare arms there, or at any time for 
le usurpers : and when he could name none, I told him that 
1 that was done to my knowledge in sixteen years of that time 
as but this, that when the Scots fled from Worcester, as all the 
)untry sought in covetousness to catch some of them for the 
ike of their horses, so two idle rogues of Kidderminster, that 
ever communicated with me any more than he did, had drawn 
?o or three neighbours with them in the night, as the Scots 
sd, to catch their horses. But I never heard of three that they 
inght; and 1 appealed to the bishop and his conscience, whe- 
ler he — that being urged, couFd name no more but this — did 
genuously accuse the corporation, magistrates, and people, to 


have appeared on all occasions in arms for Cromwell ? WlMb 
they had no more to say, I told them by this we saw what mea- 
sures to expect from strangers of his mind, when he titat is ottr 
neighbour, and noted for eminent civility, never sticketh to speak 
such things even of a people among whom he hath still lifed, 

' '^ At the same time, about twenty, or two- and- twenty furi- 
ous fanatics, called fifth-monarchy men, consisting of one Yenner, 
a wine-cooper, and his church that he preached unto, being trans- 
ported with enthusiastic pride, did rise up in arms, and fought in 
the streets like madmen, against all that stood in their wmy, till 
there were some killed, and the rest taken, judged, and exeeatcd.' 
Iwrotea letter at this time to my mother-in-law, containing no- 
thing but our usual matter, even encouragements to her In hnr 
age and weakness, fetched from the nearness of her rest, togtthar 
with the report of this news, and some sharp and vehement words 
against the rebels. By means of Sir John Packington, or his 
soldiers, the post was searched, and my letter intercepted, opened 
and revised, and by Sir John sent up to London to the bishops, 
and the lord chancellor. It was a wonder, that liaving r^ 
it they were not ashamed to send it up ; but joyful would they 
have been, could thev have found but a word in it which cotild 
possibly have been distorted to an evil sense, that malice might 
have had its prey. I went to the lord chancellor and com- 
plained of this usage, and that I had not the common liberty d 
a subject to converse by letters with my own family* He dis* 
owned it, and blamed men's rashness, but excused it from the 
distempers of the times ; yet he and the bishops confessed they 
had seen the letter, and that there was nothing in it but what 
was good and pious. Two days after, came the Lord Windsor, 
lord lieutenant of the county, and governor of Jamaica, with 
Sir Charles Littleton, the king's cup-bearer, to bring roe my 
letter again to my lodgings. Lord Windsor told me the lord 
chancellor appointed him to do it; so after some expressioa 

^ Vennrr'fl mad iosMrrectiun may be considered as the lait of they^ftb* 
monarchy system for many years. It illustrates the leii|ctb to whieh mm 
may be carried by adoptiui; mikttikcn views of Scriptare, and uf tb€ principles 
urthe kingdom of Christ. It is quite of a piece, though on a smaller scale, 
with the conduct of the Mun^ter fanatics ; and ««as a most unfortunate occnr- 
rence, not merely for the poor deluded individuals themselves, but for the 
country. The court greedily laid hold of it to justify the adoptiou of measures 
to crush the dissenters, and establish a standing army, by which the arbitrary 
desif^ns of Charles and bis new g^overnmeot might be effectually accumplislied. 
- Iftal, It. 278-»280. . 

of Ibe alMBe, I thanked him for his great civility and favottr. 
B«i I taw how far that sort of men were to be trusted.''* 

Being remored from his beloyed flock in Worcestershire, and 
ncertain whether he might ever return to them or not, he.re^ 
hted tp take any other charge, but preached gratuitously in 
London, where he happened to be invited. When he had done 
thb above a year, he thought a fixed place was better^ which 
led him to join Dr. Bates, at St Dunstan's in the West, where 
he preached once a week, for which the people allowed him some 
maintenance. Before this time he scarcely ever preached a 
tcrmon in the city, but he had accounts from Westminster that 
he had preached seditiously or against the government ; when 
he bad neither a thouj^ht nor a word of any such tendency* 
SomeUmes he preached purposely against faction, schism, sedi* 
tioOf and rebellion, and those sermons also were reported to be 
fietioua and seditious. Some sermons at Covent Garden were 
•D much accused, that he thought it necessary to print them in 
Us own defence. Tliey are entitled the * Formal Hypocrite Dt* 
tceted/ &c. When they appeared, he heard not a word more 
againat them. The accusations against him, were, in general, of 
ledition and faction, and speaking against the church j but not 
one syllable charged of a particular nature. 

^The congregation being crowded," he says, ^was that 
wUch provoked envy to accuse me : and one day the crowd did 
drive me from my place. It fell out that at St. Dunstan's churchy 
in the midst of sermon, a little lime and dust, and perhaps a 
piece of a brick or two, fell down in the steeple or belfrey near 
the boys ; so that they thought the steeple and church were fall- 
ing ; which put them all into so confused a haste to get away, 
that the noise of their feet in the galleries sounded like the 
falling of the stones. The people crowded out of doors ; the 
women left some of them a scarf, and some a shoe l>ehind them, 
tad some in the galleries cast themselves down upon those below, 
because they could not get down the stairs. I sat down in the 
polpit, seeing and pitying their vain distemper, and as soon as 
1 coMd be heard, I entreated their silence, and went on. The 
people were no sooner quieted and got in again, and the audi- 
tory composed, but some who stood upon a wainscot-bench, 
near the communion-table, brake the bench with' their weight, 
so that the noise renewed the fear again, and they were worse 
disordared than before. One old woman was heard at the 

■ Life, part ii. pp. 300, 301. 

2i4 THB LIFB AND TllifiS 

church-door asking forgiveness of God for not taking the first warn- 
ing, and promising, if God would deliver her this once, she would 
take heed of coming hither again. When they were again 
quieted I went on;** but the church having before an ill name as 
very old, rotten, and dangerous, it put the parish upon a rescH 
lutTon to 'pull down all the roof, and build it better, which 
they have done with so great reparation of the walls and stee- * 
pie, that it is now like a new church and much more commo- 
dious for the hearers.^* 

^ While the church was repairing, I preached out my quarter 
at St. Bride's, at the other end of Fleet Street ; where the com- 
mon prayer being used by the curate before sermon, I occa- 
sioned abundance to be at common prayer, who before avoided 
it : and yet my accusations still continued. On the week days, 
Mr. Ashurst, with about twenty citizens, desired me to preach a 
lecture in Milk Street ; for which they allowed me forty pounds 
per annum, which I continued near a year, till we were all n- 
lenced. At the same time I preached once every Lord's day at 
Biackfriars, where Mr. Gibbons, a judicious man, was minister. 
In Milk Street, I took money, because it came not from the parish- 
ioners, but from strangers, and so was no wrong to the minister, 
Mr. Vincent, a very holy, blameless man. But at Biackfriars I 
never took a penny, because it was the parishioners who called 
me, who would else be less able and ready to help their worthy 
pastor, who went to God by a consumption, a little after he was 
silenced and put out. At these two churches I ended the course 
of my public ministry, unless God cause an undeserved re8in<- 

^' Before this, I resolved to go to the archbishop of Canter* 
bury, then bishop of London, to ask him for his license to preach 
in his diocese. Some brethren blamed me for it, as being an 
owning, of prelatical usurpation. I told them, that the king 
had given him a power to suffer or hinder me in my duty, be- 

* This is a remarkable instance of the composure of Baxter in very alani- 
ing circumstances ; and not the only occasion on which he displayed sremt for- 
titude and self-postession. Dr. Bates tells us, when the confusion was oTcr» 
Baxter rose and said, ** We are in the service of God, to prepare ourselves 
that we may be fearless at the ^reat noise of the dissolving world ; when the 
heavens shall pass away, and the elements melt with fervent heat." — M\mertil 
Sermon for Baiter, Another instance of alarm occurred when he wsi 
preachiog at the place over the market-house, in St. James's ; where his wife 
displayed a courage and presence of mind equal to his own, — lAft ofhiiff^ft, 
pp.60, 61. edit.i826. 

"* IMt, part ii pp. 301, 302. 


Iiaving power as the church magistrate or officer of the 
king; and though I was under no necessity, I would not refuse 
a lawful thing, when authority required it. The archbishop 
received me with very great expression of respect, offered me 
his license, and would let his secretary take no money of me. 
Bat when he offered me the book to subscribe in, I told him that 
he knew the king's declaration exempted us from subscription. 
He bade me write wh^t I would : I told him what I resolved^ 
and what I thought meet of him to expect, I would do of 
choice, though I might forbear. And so, in Latin, I subscribed 
my promise not to preach against the doctrine of the church, or 
the ceremonies established by law in his diocese, while I used 
his license. I told him also how grievous it was to me to be 
daily taunted with such general accusations behind my back, 
and asked him why I was never accused of any particulars. 
He confessed to me, that if they had got any particulars that 
would have deserved notice, I should have heard particularly 
from him. I scarce think that ever I preached a sermon without 
tspy to give them his report of it.P 

*^ Shortly after our disputation at the Savoy, I went to Rick- 
nansworth, in-Hertfordshire, and preached there but once, from 
Matt xxii. 1 2, ^ And he was speechless.' I spake not a word that 
was any nearer kin to sedition, or that had any greater tendency 
to provoke them, than by showing that wicked men, and the 
refusers of grace, however they may now have many things to 
uy to excuse their sin, will, at last, be speechless, and not dare 
stand to their wickedness before God. Yet did the bishop of 
Worcester tell me, when he silenced me, that the bishop of 
London had showed him letters from one of the hearers, assur- 
ing him that I preached seditiously. So little security was any 
man's innocency, who displeased the bishops, to his reputation 
with that party, if he had but one auditor that desired to get 
favoar by accusing him. A multitude of such experiences 
made me perceive, when I was silenced, that there was some 
mercy in it, in the midst of judgment; for I should scarcely 
bave preached a sermon, or put up a prayer to God, which one 
or other, through malice or hope of favour, would not have 
l)een tempted to accuse as guilty of some heinous crime.*i 

** Soon after my return to London, I went into Worcester- 
Aire, to try whether it were possible to have any honest terms 

' Life, part i. p. 302. « Ibid. p. 374. 

VOL. I. Q 


from the redding vicair there, that I might preach td tiiy fonUte 
flock ; but when I had preached twice or thrice^ he detiid me 
liberty to preach any more. I offered then to take my lecturCi 
which he was bound to allow 'me, under a bond of £500; but he 
refused it. I next offered to be his curate^ and he tofused 
it. I then offered to preach for nothing, and he refused itt 
and, lastly, I desired leave but once to administer the sacrament 
to the people, and preach my farewell sermon to them ; biit he 
would not consent. At last, I understood that he was directed 
by his superiors to do what he did : but Mr. Biddwin^ an able 
preacher, whom I left there, was yet permitted. 

'^ At that time, my aged father lying in great pain of the 
stone and strangury, I went to visit him, twenty miles further : 
and while I was there, Mr. Baldwin came to me, and told IM 
that he also was forbidden to preach. We returned both to Kid- 
derminster, and having a lecture at Shiffnal in the ^kyf I 
preached there, and staid not to bear the evening sermon, be- 
cause I would make haste to the bishop. It fell out that my 
turn at another lecture was on the same day with thftt at Shiff- 
tial, viz., at Cleobury, in Shropshire; and many were met 
in expectation to hear me. But a company of soldier^ went 
there, as the country thought, to have apprehended me ; who 
shut the doors against the ministers that would have preached 
in my stead, bringing a command to the churchwarden to hin- 
der any one who had not got a license from the bishop ; so that 
the poor people who had come from far, were fain to go hoBM 
with grieved hearts. 

" The next day it was confidently reported, that a certain 
knight offered the bishop his troop to apprehend me, if I offered 
to preach : and the people dissuaded me from going to the 
bishop, supposing my liberty in danger. I went that morn- 
ing, with Mr. Baldwin, and in the hearing of him ^ and Dr. 
Warmestry, then dean of Worcester, I reminded the bishop of 
his promise to grant me his license, &c., but he refused me 
liberty to preach in his diocese ; though I offered to preach only 
oil the Creed, the Lord's-prayer, and the Ten Commandments^ 
catechistical principles, and only to such as had no preaching. 

" Bishop Morley told me when he silenced me, that he woold 
take care that the people should be no losers, but should be 
taught as well as they were by me. When I was gone, he gM 
awhile a few scandalous men, with some that were more civil to 
keep up the lecture, till the paucity of their auditors gave them 

W ttfciaAAD ^Axtfi^ ^2f 

i pAtetiee to put it down. He came hitiidelf one d&y and 
preached a long invective against them and me as Presbyte- 
rians, and I know not what; so that the people wondered 
that a man would venture to come up into a pulpit and speak 
8o confidently to those he knew not, the things which they 
commonly knew to be untrue. But this sermon was no far froni 
winning any of them to the estimation of their new bishop, ot 
caring what he called the admiration of my person, which wad 
his great endeavour, that they were mUch confirmed in thei^ 
former judgments. But still the bishop looked at Kiddermin* 
ster as a factious, schismatical, Presbyterian people, that must be 
cured of their overvaluing of me, and then they would be cured 
of all the rest. Whereas if he had lived vrith them the twenti- 
eth part so long as I had done, he would have known that they 
were neither Presbyterians, nor factious, nor schismatical, nof 
seditions; but a people that quietly followed their hard labour; 
learned the holy Scriptures, lived a holy, blameless life, in 
humility and peace with all men, and never had any sect or 
separated party among them, but abhorred all faction and sidings 
in religion, and lived in love and Christian unity. 

^ When the bishop was gone, the dean came and preached 
about three hours to cure them of the admiration of my person; 
and a month after came again and preached over the same, per- 
suading the people that they were Presbyterians, and schismati-^ 
cal, and were led to it by their overvaluing of me. The people 
admired the temerity of these men, and really thought that they 
were scarce well in their wits, who would go on to speak things 
so far from truth, of men whom they never knew, and that td 
their own faces. Many have gone about by backbiting to makd 
people believe a false report of others, but few will think to 
persuade men to believe it of themselves, who know the matter 
much better than the reprover doth. Yet beside all this, their 
lectnrers went on in the same strain ; and one Mr. Pitt, who 
lived in Sir John Packington's house with Dr. Hammond, was 
often at this work, being of the judgmerit and spirit of Dr. 
Gunnings and Dr. Peirce, calling them Presbyterians, rebellious^ 
serpents, and generation of vipers, unlikely to escape the damna- 
tion of hell, yet not knowing his accusation to be true of one 
man of them. For there was but one, if one Presbyterian in the 
town; the plain honest people minding nothing but piety, 
unity, charity, and their callings. This dealing, instead of win- 
ning them to the preacher, drove them from the JectUre, and 

^ o 


then^ as I siud^ they accused the people'of deserting it, and put 
it down. 

^^ In place of this ordinary preacher, they set tip one, of the 
best parts they could get, who was far from what his patrons 
spake him to be ; he was quickly weary and went away. They 
next set up a poor dry man, who had been a schoolmaster near 
ns, and ajfter a little time he died. They then took another 
course, and set up a young man, the best they could get, who 
took the contrary way to the first, over applauded me in the 
pulpit, spoke well of themselves, and used them kindly. They 
were naturally glad of one that had some charity. Thus the 
bishop used that flock, who say that till then they never knew 
so well what a bishop was, or were before so guilty of. that 
dislike of Episcopacy of which they were so frequently and 
vehemently accused. I heard not of one person among them, 
who was won to the love of prelacy or formality after my 

'^ Having parted with my dear flock, I need not say with 
mutual sense and tears, I left Mr. Baldwin to live privately among 
them and oversee them in my stead, and visit them from house 
to house ; advising them, notwithstanding all the injuries they 
had received, and all the failings of the ministers that preached 
to them, and the defects of the present way of worship, that thejr 
should keep to the public assemblies and make use of such helps 
as might be had in public, together with their private helps. 
Only in three cases they ought to absent themselves. When 
the minister was one that was utterly insufficient, as not being 
able to teach them the articles of the faith and esseiftials of true 
religion ; such as, alas ! they had known to their sorrow. When 
the minister preached any heresy, or doctrine which was directly 
contrary to some article of the faith, or necessary part of godli** 
ness. When in the application he set himself against the ends 
of his office, to make a holy life seem odious, to keep men 
from it, and to promote the interests of Satan ; yet not to take 
every bitter reflection upon themselves or others, occasioned hj 
difference of opinion or interest, to be a sufficient cause to say 
that the minister preacheth against godliness, or to withdraw 
themselves." ■ 

** When the Act of Uniformity was passed, it gave the ministers 
who could not conform, no longer time than till Bartholomew's 

» Life, part i« pp, 374^376. • Ibid. p. 376. 


flay^ August 24, 1662, and then they must be all cast out. This^ 
fatal day called to remembrance the French massacre, when on 
the same day thirty or forty thousand Protestants perished by 
Roman religious zeal and charity. I had no place of my own ; 
but I preached twice a week, by request, in other men's congre- 
gations, at Milk Street and Blackfriars. The last sermon that 
I preached in public was on May 25, The reasons why I gave 
over sooner than most others were, because lawyers did interpret 
a doubtful clause in the act, as ending the liberty of lecturers at 
tliat time ;• because I would let authority soon know that I in- 
tended to obey in all that was lawful ; because I would let all 
ministers in England understand in time^ whether I intended to 
conform or not : for, had I staid to the last day, some would 
have conformed the sooner, from a supposition that 1 intended 
it. These, with other reasons, moved me to cease three months 
before Bartholomew day, which many ensured for awhile^ but^ 
afterwards, better saw the reasons of it/* * 

Thus ended Baxter's ministry in the church of England. 
Most persons will probably think that he carried his conscien- 
tious scruples too far ; and that he might, at least, have con- 
tinued his labours till he was obliged to desist. The reasons 
assigned for his conduct, however, possess considerable force ; 
but, whether they are approved or npt, all must respect the man 
who was capable of acting in so noble and disinterested a man- 
ner. He carried his deference for authority in this case farther 
than he might have done ; but his example probably led others 
to act in the same decided manner when the fatal day arrived, 
who might have hesitated had there been a doubt how such a 
man as Baxter whs likely to act. 

The Act of Uniformity, for which the country was indebted 
chiefly to Hyde and Sheldon, by which two thousand of the most 
excellent ministers of the church of England were ejected from 
their livings, took effect, as stated by Baxter, on Bartholomew's 
day, August 24, 1662. Every thing practicable, and consistent 
with what they regarded as the will of God and the rights of con- 
science, had been done by the leaders of the Nonconformists, to 
prevent the passing of this act, or to procure some modification 
of its provisions; but all was in vain. Hatred of the noncon- 
forming clergy^ a desire to be revenged for the wrongs which it 

^ Itife^ part ii. p. 384. 

999 TB^ tIFB Al^p TIMB4 

|va8 "conceived they had done to the church, and the tupppetd 
necessity of the times, urged forward the royal and episcopal 
party, flushed with recent success, and eager to secure the ad- 
vantage which they had acquired. 

To many, it may seem as if the Nonconformists brought their 
ejection on themselves by their needless scruples. This was 
the charge made against them at the time, and in which many 
churchmen, and all who value ease, honour, or emolument, more 
than conscience, continue to join. Tliose, however,^ who con- 
sider themselves bound to follow the revealed law of Heaven in 
all matters of religion, and to submit to their fellow-creatures 
only in things accordant with that law, or which are left unde- 
termined by it, will judge very diiferently the conduct of these 
sincere . confessors. 

It is not to be supposed that all the ejected ministers were 
of the same mind on every point in which their separation from 
the church was involved ; on the contrary, they differed consi- 
derably from each other, though they agreed generally in the 
unlawfulness of submitting on the terms which were proposed 
to them. Some laid the chief stress on one point, others on | 
different one ; some would have gone a considerable length iQ 
submitting to authority ; others objected more decidedly to its 
exercise. Some were, perhaps, influenced by public opinion, 
and regard to consistency ; while the great majority appear to 
have acted from a conscientious regard to duty on the one hand, 
and fear of evil on the other. 

The things imposed on them, if they would keep their liv- 
ings or lectureships, or any post of service in the esti^blished 
church, were the following : — ^They must submit to be re-or- 
dained^ if not episcopally ordained before. They must dedars 
their unfeigned assent and consent to all and every thing con- 
tained and prescribed in and by the Book of Common Prayer, 
and administration of the sacraments, and othef rites aqd cere- 
monies of the church of England ; together with the Psalt^ 
and the form or manner of making, ordaining, and consecratii^ 
bishops, priests, and deacons, &c.; to which was attached an 
equivalent subscription. They must take the oath of canonical 
obedience, and promise subjection to their ordinary, according to 
the canons of the church. They must abjure the solemn league 
and covenant ; and they must also abjure the taking of arms, 
upon any pretence whatsoever, against the king, or any one 
commissioned by him, . These things were all strictly enjoined 

iriduNit my thing to qualify or soften thcnii or room left for a 
d|9peiiaatioo. So that if a man scrupled but at one pointj 
though he could have complied with all the rest, he was as cer- 
taiply ejected as if he had disputed the whole." 

Those who wish to examine the full weight of these five 
points, must consult the Tenth Chapter of Dr. Calamy's ' Abridg- 
m^nty' in which that learned divine illustrates, at great length, 
their bearing on many important matters, and supports, by rea- 
sonings which have never been fairly met, the justifiable secession 
of the Nonconformists from the church of England, on those 
grounds. The conditions were so framed, that, independently 
of religious considerations, it was impossible men of principle, 
vhp had taken an active part in the former changes, or who 
hud approved of those changes, could submit to them. They 
•xtei^ded to son^e things by an almost wanton stretch of au- 
thority, and involved a total departure from all just views of 
civil liberty, the cause of wjiich must be regarded as virtually 
flbaodoned by those who submitted to them. AH the temporal 
ipterests of the ejected party were on the side of compliance 
with the requirements of authority ; whatever, therefore, may 
he thought of their judgment, every candid individual will give 
them full credit for sincerity. 

But it is not necessary to rest the defence of the Noncon- 
formist Confessors on this ground. They were not a body of 
weak, well-meaning men, for whose conscientiousness we may 
entertiun a very high respect, while we have little reverence for 
their understanding. The leading individuals who influenced their 
brethren, were not only a match, but an over- match for their 
i^ponents. Among the churchmen of the day, there were none 
superior, i^s scholars and divines, to Calamy, Bates, Owen, Howe, 
Paxter, and many others who could be mentioned. They were as 
capable of forming enlarged and comprehensive views of truth 
l^ld duty, as Pearson, Gunning, Morley, or any other of their 
episcopal adversaries; while, as it regards the evidences of 
Christian character and devotedness, there are few of the class 
6om which they seceded, who will admit of being compared 
with them. 

It is alleged, that the points on which they differed were, in 
themselves, of very inferior importance, and therefore to create 
so much altercation, and cause so extensive a division about 

■ Calamy, vol. i. p. 196. 


them, are proofs of narrow-mindedness and illiberality* It is 
demanded often in a tone of triumph, whether the things te* 
quired were in themselves sinful ; if not sinful, it is inferred they 
must be innocent; and hence the folly and impropriety of dis* 
puting about them is ascertained. 

To all this it has been replied, that if the things referred to 
are so unimportant in themselves, why were they not viewed 
so by the imposers, as well as by the refusers ? It must have 
been worse, on this principle, to impose such things, than to re- 
sist their imposition. In fact, this was the grand matter of dis* 
pute between the parties. Importance and magnitude were 
given to /the points in debate, by the very circumstance of their 
being enforced by human authority, and that implicit obedience 
to them was required from all. It was not so much a question, 
whether a prescribed form of prayer might be used in public, at 
whether no prayer should ever be employed but that form ; and 
that without deviation in all circumstances. It was not whether 
the cross in baptism might be used by those who approved of 
it ; but whether any child should he baptised, unless the minis* 
ter and the parents both agreed to employ it. It was not, 
whether men might observe the Lord's-supper kneeling; but 
whether the Lord's-supper should be refused to all who would 
not kneel. The same kind of remark will apply to all the other 
matters under discussion between the church and the Noncon- 
formists, at this time. 

Now, will any man who has the least regard for conscience, 
or for common sense, aver, that these were questions of a trifling 
or unimportant nature ? It is obvious, on the contrary, that thef 
embrace the very first principles of religious obligation, and lie 
at the root of all enlightened views of our duty to God, and of 
what constitutes acceptable obedience in his sight. In answer 
to the inquiry, how far the things required were themselves 
sinful ; it may be said, many of the Nonconformists believed 
them to be so: and if this was their belief, though they had been 
mistaken, they were not only justified in refiising compliance, 
but bound to do so, at all hazards. They regarded them as 
human additions to the laws and ordinances of Christ; as 
imposed without authority from him ; as calculated to inter- 
fere with the obedience which they owed to him alone in 
all matters of religion ; as popish in their origin and tendency; 
and as destructive of that liberty with which Christ has made 
his people free. The controversy, therefore, was not about a 


km trifling dreamstances or adjuncts ; it was a grand, struggle 
tor principle, liberty, and the honour of Christ. 

I am aware it may be said, that all the Nonconformists did 
not clearly understand these principles themselves, and would not 
have been averse to impose in their turn. What then ? does it 
bUow that they had not truth or right on their side, when they 
were obliged to contend for principles in reference to them- 
idves, the full extent of whose operation they did not clearly 
nnderstand ? Certainly not. The principles which they endea-* 
roored to maintain, and for which many of them suffered the 
loss' of all things, are those of eternal and immutable truth ; and 
the men who contributed to clear off even a part of the rubbish 
in which they had long been buried, however imperfect they 
may have been in some respects, are entitled to our deepest 
reverence. . 

To do justice to those men, we ought to place ourselves in^ 
their circumstances. Suppose that the rulers of the church of 
England were now to determine, ^ That, on or before the 24th 
of August, 1830, the present occupants of livings, curacies, &c., 
diall subscribe a declaration, engaging themselves to baptise 
M> child without the employment of salt, oil, and spittle, as a 
part of the ordinance of baptism ; to administer the Lord's- 
wpper to those only who should previously bow to the sacred 
chalice, and submit to a bread wafer being put upon their 
tongues/ What would the serious clergy of the church think of 
sach a demand ? Would they submit to it, as a just exercise of 
ecclesiastical authority ? Would they^not, to a man, abandon 
their livings, rather than allow their consciences thus to be 
kirded over and defiled ? Or, if they submitted to such exactions, 
would they not be justly regarded by their flocks and countrymen, 
as traitors and time-servers ? Would not any one who should 
speak of such a controversy as unimportant, or as relating merely 
to a few innocent circumstances, in no respect affecting the na- 
ture of the ordinances of Christ, be considered as an imperti- 
nent trifler ? Yet this supposed case is not stronger than that 
of the Nonconformists. They were placed in this very situation, 
and viewed the condition to which they were obliged to sub- 
mit, as a similar interference would now be regarded. 

The injustice and cruelty of the Bartholomew act, are 
strikingly apparent in two circumstances. It was designed to 
operate as SLpost-facio law. Had it been merely prospective in 
its operation, something more might have been alleged in its 


favour than can nov be c^one* A gr«at multitude of the miiusf 
ters of the church, had obtained possession of their livings while 
no such conformity was either required or considered necetsary. 
Many of them, indeed, would not have entered the church at 
all, if such conditions had been prescribed at their entrance, or 
their enactment afterwards anticipated. To pass a law, theo, 
which should compel all those persons, either to violate their 
consciences, or to abandon stations of usefulness, and the 
honourable means of living, was roost flagrant injustice. 

But even this is not all the hardship of the case. ^80 
great," says Locke, *^ was the zeal in carrying on this church 
affair, and so blind was the obedience required, that if you conn 
pute the time of passing this act, with the time allowed for tbfi 
clergy to subscribe the Book of Common Prayer, thereby esta- 
blished ; you shall plainly find, it could not be printed and dis- 
tributed, so as one man in forty could have seen and read the 
book they did so perfectly assent and consent to/*^ 
. When these facta are considered, instead of being smrprised 
that two thousand ministers preferred leaving the church 
rather than submit to such conditions, it is more surprising thai 
the many thousands who remained, should have found means of 
reconciling their consciences to the terms. It is not so much 
to the honour of the Nonconformists, that they left the church) 
as i( is to the disgrace of the Conformists, that they continued 
in it. Had they, as a body, resisted the iniquitous measure, it 
must have been abandoned. But their tame submission in this 
instance, prepared the court to make further encroachments, and 
to expect implicit obedience from the clergy, to whatever should 
be enacted. Such tergiversation and inconsistency on the part 
of ministers of religion, must have had a most injurious in* 
fluence on the minds of worldly men ; who could not have any 
respect for those who so decidedly discovered that they looked 
^^ more to the things which were seen and temporal, than to the 
things which are unseen and eternal." Not a few of theip weie 
JH9 divinum Prelatists in the time of Charles I ; took the Pres- 
byterian covenant under the Long Parliament; submitted tpthe 

> Locke's Works, x. 203, 204. The Act of Untfonnity was passed on the 13lh 
of May, 1662. AU the ministers of the church were required to subscribe and 
conform before the 24th of August following. It is certain the Commoo 
Prayer-book, with the alterations and amendments made by the Convocatioo, 
did not leave the prest till a few days before the 24 th of Au^st; it was tbero- 
fpre UDposf ible the great bodjf of the ministers could possess the bqok. 

py tfCBA8J> SAKTlBj 888 

I tt dcpt u jhot €iigag«Dient ; and once more M^ent^ vid cont 
aoitMi to an altered prayer-book, which they had never seisn.Y 

The effects resulting both to the Nonconformists and tq the 
aatim from their ejection, were of a melancholy descriptipnf 
lllfiiltitudes of ministers and their families were involved in great 
distress and poverty. Few qf them had any independent prp« 
per^; and those to whom they afterwards ministered, when 
they had, an opportunity, were generally poor, and therefore 
little able to assist them. They were not only driven ont of the 
cbnrch, but persecuted after they were out. Their usefulness 
was curtailed; and, in many instances, entirely destroyed • 
The churches they vacated were generally supplied by men of 
very different principles and spirit from themselves. The estab- 
lished church was converted into a mass of frigid, outward uni- 
formity, destitute of the vitality of genuine religion ; and more 
than a century elapsed before it recovered from the effects of 
this almost fatal blow. 

Out of evil, however, the Most High joften educes good, 
without removing the blame from its authqra. This was the 
case in regard to the Bartholomew Section. If they who, 
imitating the vicar of Bray, change with every change of the 
times, harden men in wickedness and infidelity, the contrary 
practice must, by the divine blessing, produce an opposite 
effect. The testimony to the value of truth and the rights of 
conscience, borne by two thousand men voluntarily suffering the 
loss of their livings, their worldly respectability, and all hope of 
preferment, could not have been altogether in vain. Their 
patience and fortitude under suffering, with their blameless lives, 
^ded powerfully to the weight of their preaching; so that many 
of them were probably as useful without, as ever they had been 
within, the pale of the church. Besides, what they endured 
contributed greatly to the ultimate triumph of civil and religious 
freedom. ^Fhey were the instruments of forming an extensive 
body of dissenters in all parts of the kingdom, by whose means 
chiefly the power of religion was preserved from destruction for 
many years, and to whom the country has been indebted for 

7 This conduct of the clerg^y led Locke to say of them, " The clergy rea- 
dily complied with the Bartbulomew act; for you know that sort of men are 
taught ntber to obey than understand ; and to use that learning they have, to 
]astify» not to examine what their superiors command." — Letter to a Person 
of QuaUtjff WorU^ z. 2U2. Could a greater reproach be uttered against the 
abuiiterf of rdigion ? 


more blessings than will ever be known or acknowledged inihit 

Shortly after the Bartholomew ejection, an event of great 
importance occurred in the history of Baxter, and which appears 
to have made considerable noise ; I refer to his marriage. Some 
time before it took place, he tells us it was reported, and ^^ rung 
about every where, partly as a wonder, and partly as a crime; 
and that the king's marriage was scarcely more talked of than 
his/' For this, he had no doubt furnished some occasion by the 
manner in which he had expressed himself respecting ministers 
marrying ; which he considered barely lawful, and had for many 
years, while engaged in the most laborious part of his ministry, 
dispensed with it himself. He was now considerably advanced 
in life, being in his forty-seventh year. His habits were formed, 

* It is deplorable to find such a man as Mr. Southey, attempting to defend 
or paUiate the ioiquity and impolicy of this wicked act. " The measare,** he 
says, " was complained of as ao act of enormous cruelty and persecution ; and 
the circumstance of its being fixed for St. Bartholomew's day, ghrt the 
complainants occasion to compare it with the atrocious deed committed upon 
that day ag^ainst the Huguenots in France. They were careful not to remem* 
ber, that the same day, and for the same reason (because the tithes wert 
commonly due at Michaelmas), had been appointed for the former ejectiiieBl» 
when four times as many of the loyal clergy were deprived for fidelity to their 
sovereign. No small proportion of the present sufferers had obtained their 
preferments by means of that tyrannical deprivation ; they did but now drink 
of the cup which they had administered to others." — Bo^k of the Ok«rdl» 
ii. 467. 

Seldom has a larger portion of misstatement been compi^essed into so Imail 
a space as in the above passage. It would have been obliging, if the learned 
author had produced his authorities for his assertions. But these are care- 
fully suppressed throughout the work. Hallam remarks on the passage 
respecting Bartholomew's day : <' That the day was chosen in order to deprive 
the incumbent of a whole year's tithes, Mr. Southey has learned from Burnet; 
and it aggravates the cruelty of the proceeding. But where has he found his 
precedent ? The Anglican clergy were ejected for refusing the covenant at no 
one definite period, as, on reflection, Mr. Southey would be aware ; nor can I 
find any one parliamentary ordinance in Husband's collection, that mentiooi 
St. Bartholomew's day. ' There was a precedent, indeed, in that case, which 
the government of Charles did not choose to follow. One-fifth of the incone. 
had been reserved for the dispossessed incumbents."— Constitutional UitUrf 
of England, ii. 460, note. 

But this is not the only misrepresentation in the above passage. Sontbcjr 
asserts that /our times the number of the ministers had been ejected of " the 
loyal clergy," as he is pleased to denominate them. Eight thousand minis- 
ters of the church formerly dispossessed of their livings! And for whatf 
For their loyalty to their sovereign ! And by whom ? By the Nonooo- 
formist ministers, who were only now drinking the cup which they bad given 
to others ! The historian of the church is really unbounded in his demandc 
on the confidence of his readers, when he expects them to receive such mon- 
strous things on bis bare authority. 


his inlirmities of body manyi and the peculiarities of his views and 
dispositions such, as not to afford great encouragement to hope 
that an individual would easily be found with whom an alliance 
could be formed likely to be productive of lasting comfort to both 
parties. Such a person, however, was found, who appears to 
have been eminently fitted to promote the happiness and aid the 
usefulness of this excellent man. From what he calls ^^ a Bre- 
mte of her life/' which will be noticed in another place, I 
extract at present a few particulars. 

'' We were bom in the same county, within three miles and 
B half of each other, but she of one of the chief families in the 
county, and I but of a mean freeholder, called a gentleman, for 
his ancestors* sake. Her father, Francis Charlton, esq., was one 
of the best justices of the peace in that county, a grave and 
worthy man, who did not marry till he was aged and gray, and 
died while his children were very young. There were three of 
them, of which the eldest daughter and the only son are yet 
alive. He had one surviving brother, who, after the father's 
death, maintain^ a long and costly suit about the guardianship 
of the heir. This uncle, Robert, was a comely, sober, gentle- 
man ; but the wise and good mother, Mary, durst not trust her 
only son in the hands of one that was his next heir ; and she 
thouglit that nature gave her a greater interest in him than an 
uncle had. This was in the heat of the late civil war, and Robert, 
being for the parliament, had the advantage of strength, which 
put her to seek relief at Oxford from the king, and afterwards 
to marry one Mr. Hanmer, who was for the king, to make her 
interest that way. Her house, being a sort of small castle, was 
then garrisoned for the king. At last Robert procured it to 
be besieged by the parliament's soldiers, stormed and taken \ 
where the mother and the children saw part of the buildings 
burnt, and some lie dead before their eyes j and so Robert got 
possession of the children. 

*' Afterwards^ however, she, by great wisdom and diligence, 
surprised them, secretly conveyed them to Mr. Bernard's, in 
Essex, and secured them against all his endeavours. The wars 
being ended, and she, as guardian, possessing her son*s estate, 
took him to herself, and used his estate as carefully as for herself; 
but out of it conscientiously paid the debts of her husband, re- 
paired some of the ruined houses, and managed things faith- 
fully, according to her best discretion^ until her son marrying^ 
took his estate into his own hands. 

S6S 4i»^ tiift And fiiillte 

^ She, being before unknown to vA^, came to KiddMhimter^ 
desiring me to take a house for her alone. I told her that I 
Would not be guilty of doing any thing which should separate 
a mother from an ohly son, who in hi^ youth had so much tteM 
of her counsel, conduct, and comfort ; and that if passion in her, 
or any fault in him, had caused a diflference, the love which 
brought her through so iiiuch trouble for him, should teaeh h^ 
patience. She went home, but shortly came again, and Ukk i 
house without my knowledge. 

^' When she had been there alone awhile, her unmarned 
daughter, Margaret^ then about seventeen or eighteen years at 
age, came after her from her brother's, resolving liot to forsake 
the mother who deserved her dearest love ; though soroetimel 
she went to Oxford to her eldest sister, wife to Mr. Ambrose Up- 
ton, then canon of Christ-church. At this time, the good old 
motlier lived as a blessing among the honest poor weavers d 
Kidderminster, strangers to her, whose company for their piety 
she chose before all the vanities of the world. In which time, my 
acquaintance with her made me know, that notwithstanding she 
had been formerly somewhat passionate, she was a woman of 
tnanly patience in her great trials ; of prudence, piety, justice^ 
impartiality, and other virtues," • 

The preaching of Baxter appears to have been useful to 
Miss Charlton. It produced very powerful impressions, and the 
deepest distress of mind, which he was called to assist in re- 
lieving. She became, in due time, an eminent Christian, and 
in all respects worthy to be the wife of Richard Baxter. But 
We must give his own account of the marriage, and a few par- 
ticulars respecting his wife. 

^^The unsuitableness of our age, and my former known pur- 
poses against marriage and against the conveniency of minis- 
ters marrying, who have no sort of necessity, made ours the 
matter of much public talk and wonder. But the true opening 
of her case and mine, and the many strange occurrences which 
brought it to pass, would take away the wonder of her friends and 
mine that knew us ; and the notice of it would much conduce to 
the understanding of some other passages of our lives ; yet frise 

• Life of Mrs. Baxter, p. 1 — 3. 

^ As nearly as I can calcolate from incidental circumstanctfi, the afe of 
Mrs. Baxter, at the time of her marriage, must have been about twenty-two or 
twenty-three. Her husband, as has already been stated, was in bis forty- 
Itventh yea'r. There was some room^ therefore^ for remark on the dispari^ 
of their ages. 

Irieiias^ by wliom I am advised, think it bettet to bin it flueh peN 
sdiial particularities^ at least at this time. Both in her case 
and mine there was much extraordinary, which it doth not 
concern the iilrorld to be acquainted with. From the iir^t 
thoughts of it, many changes and stoppages intervened, and 
long delays, till I was silenced and ejected ; and so being sepa*^ 
rated from my old pastoral charge, which was enough to take 
ap all my time and labour, some of my dissuading reasons wer^ 
then over. At last, on September 10, 1662, we were mar- 
ried in Bennet-Fink church, by Mr. Samuel Clark, having been 
before contracted by Mr. Simeon Ash, both in the presence of 
Mr. Henry Asharst and Mrs. Ash. 

^ She consented to these conditions of oUr marriage : first, 
that I should have nothing that before our marriage was hers } 
that I who wanted no earthly supplies, might not seem to marry 
her for covetousness. Secondly, that she would so alter her 
affaita, that I might be entangled in no lawsuits, l^irdly, that 
she would expect none of my time which my ministerial work 
should require. 

^When we were married, her sadness and melancholy va- 
nished; counsel did something to it, and contentment some* 
thirig ; and^ being taken up with our household affairs did 
somewhat. We lived in inviolated love, and mutual compla-^ 
cency, sensible of the benefit of mutual help, nearly nine- 
teen years. I know not that ever we had any breach in point 
of love, or point of interest, save only that she somewhat 
grudged that I had persuaded her for my quietness to surrender 
so much of her estate, to the disabling her from helping others 
so much as she earnestly desired. 

'^ But that even this was not from a covetous mind, is evident 
by these instances. Though her portion, which was two thou- 
sand pounds beside what she gave up, was by ill debtors two 
hundred pounds lost in her mother's time, and two hundred 
pounds after, before her marriage ; and all she had, reduced to 
about one thousand six hundred and fifty pounds, yet she never 
grudged at any thing that the poverty of debtors deprived her 
of." ^ 

The married life of Baxter, owing to the state of the times, 
was a very unsettled one. During a great part of it, he might 
literally be said ^^ to have had no certain dwelling-place." They 

< Life of Mrs. Baxter^ pp. 49—53. 


fint took a house in Moorfields, then they removed to Acton} 
after that to another there; and after that, he says, ^^ we were 
put to remove to one of the former again ; and after that to 
divers others in another place and county/* ^^The women/' 
he quietly remarks, ^' have most of that sort of trouble^ but my 
wife easily bore it all." 

We shall have occasion to speak of Mrs. Baxter again ; in 
the mean time, we must return to the more public events of hi^ 
husband's life and times. Referring to the statement already 
given of the causes and immediate consequences of the act of 
uniformity, he thus proceeds in his personal narrative. 

^^ Having got past Bartholomew's day, I proceed in the his- 
tory of the consequent calamities. When I was absent, resolv- 
ing to meddle in such businesses no more, Mr. Calamy and the 
other ministers of London who had acquaintances at court, 
were put in hope the king would grant that by way of indul- 
gence, which was formerly denied them ; and that before the 
act was passed, it might be provided that the king should have 
power to dispense with such as deserved well of him in his re- 
storation, or whom he pleased : but all was frustrated. After 
this, they were told that the king had power himself to dispenie 
in such cases, as he did with the Dutch and French churches, 
and some kind of petition they drew up to offer the king : but 
when they had done it, they were so far from procuring their 
desires, that there fled abroad grievous threatenings against 
them, that they should incur a premunire for such a bold 
attempt. When they were drawn to it at first, they did it wiA ' 
much hesitancy, and they worded it so cautiously, that it ex- 
tended not to the Papists. Some of the Independents presumed 
to say, that the reason why all our addresses for liberty had not 
succeeded, was because we did not extend it to the Papists; 
that for their parts, they saw no reason why the Papists should 
not have liberty of worship as well as others 3 and that it was 
better for them to have it, than for all of us to go without it^ 
But the Presbyterians still answered, that the king might him- 
self do what he pleased ; and if his wisdom thought meet to 
give liberty to the Papists, let the Papists petition for it as we 
did for ours 3 but if it were expected that we should be forced to 

' It 18 gratifying^ to find that such were the opinions of some of the Inde- 
pendenU of this time. It shows, that correct views of religious liberty were 
stUl to be found in that body, though much can be said in vindication of the 
conduct of the Presbyterianf* 


become petitioners for liberty to Popery, we should never do it, 
whatever be the issue ; nor should it be said to be our work. 

"On the 26th December, 1662, the king sent forth a de- 
daration, expressing his purpose to grant some indulgence or 
liberty in religion, with other matters, not excluding the Papists, 
many of whom had deserved so well of him. When this came 
out, the ejected ministers began to think more confidently of 
some indulgence to themselves. Mr. Nye, also, and some 
other of the Independents, were encouraged to go to the king, 
and, when they came back, told us, that he was now resolved to 
^ve them liberty. On the second of January, Mr. Nye came to 
me, to treat about our owning the king's declaration, by re- 
toming him thanks for it ; when I perceived that it was design- 
ed that we must be the desirers or procurers of it ; but I told 
him my resolution to meddle no more in such matters, having 
incurred already so much hatred and displeasure by endeavouring 
imity. The rest of the ministers also had enough of it, and re- 
solved that they would not meddle ; so that Mr. Nye and his 
brethren thought it partly owing to us that they missed their 
intended liberty. But all were averse to have any thing to do 
with the indulgence or toleration of the Papists, thinking it at 
least unfit for them.'' ^ 

However we may be disposed to blame the conduct of the 
Nonconformists towards the Roman Catholics on this occasion, 
great allowance must be made for them, considering the circum- 
stances in which they were placed. No favour shown by the 
court to the Catholics was intended to operate beneficially on 
the Nonconformists. It was not love for liberty, but the de- 
sire to promote arbitrary power, that dictated all the measures 
which then seemed to confer common privileges on Catholics and 
Protestant dissenters. All the leanings of the court were in 
favour of a system which was not less inimical to constitutional 
freedom than it was opposed to the interests of true religion. 
On- these accounts, the Nonconformists were willing to endure 
temporary privations and persecutions rather than, through 
impatience to get rid of them, perpetuate the civil and reli- 
gious degradation of the country ; which would certainly follow 
on the establishment of Popery. 

The personal narrative of Baxter abounds with notices, 
more or less in extent and interest, of numerous Confessors 
among the ejected ministers. To introduce them all, would 

• Life, part ii.pp. 429, 430. 
VOL. I. R 

i49 TBk' ttPB AND TIMSS 

be impiiicticable within the limits of this work. But Wi*fe they 
entireljr omitted, injustice would he done to th^ memoty of those 
holy men^ who suffered for conscience' sake ; and an imperfect 
impression would be left of the state of the period. I have already 
introduced statesmen and politicians ; soldiers and churchmen. 
I must now make room for Baxter's sketch of two Noncon^ 
formists^ who died shortly after the enforcement of the aet. 

*^ Good old Simeon Ash was buried on the eve of Barthob^ 
mew day, and went seasonably to heaven at the very time Wheii 
he was to be cast out of the church. He was one of our old- 
est Nonconformists ; a Christian of primitive simplicity ; not 
made for controversy, nor inclined to disputes, but of a holy life) 
a cheerful mind, and of a fluent elegancy in prayer; foil of 
matter and excellent words. His ordinary speech was holf 
and edifying. Being much confined by the gout, aiid hkmj^ 
a good estate and a very good wife^ inclined to entertah- 
ments and liberality, his house was very much freqtiented by 
ministers. He was always cheerful, without profose laughter or 
levity : never troubled with doubtings of his interest in Christ, 
but tasting the continual love of God, was much disposed to 
the communicating of it to others, and the comforting of de^ 
jected souls. His eminent sincerity made him exceedingly loved 
and honoured; insomuch that Mr. Gataker, Mf. Whittaker, 
and others, the most excellent divines of London, when they 
went to God> desired him to preach their funeral sermons. He 
was Eealous for bringing in the king. Having been chaplain to 
the Earl of Manchester in the wars, he fell under the obloquy 
of the Cromwellians, for crossing their designs. He wrote to 
Colonel Sanders, Colonel Barton, and others in the army. When 
Monk came in to engage them for the king. 

^^ Having preached his* lecture in Comhill, being heated, he 
caught cold in the vestry, and thinking it would prove but one 
of his old fits of the gout, he went toHighgate, where it tamed to 
a fever. He died as he lived, in great consolation, and cheer- 
ful exercise of faith, molested with no fears or doubts dtsoemi- 
ble; exceedingly glad of the company of his friends, and 
greatly encouraging all about him with his joyfiil expressions in 
respect of death and his approaching change ; so that no man 
could seem to be more fearless of it. When he had, towards 
the last, lain speechless for some time, as soon as I came to Mm, 
gladness so excited his spirits, that he spake joyfully and freely 
of his going to God, to those about him. I staid with him h^ 


iit evenifig^ till we had long expected his change^ being speech-^ 
less all that day) and in the night he departed/ 

'^ On the first of January following was buried good Mr. 
James Nalton, another minister of primitive sincerity : a good 
linguist, a zealous, excellent preacher, commonly called the 
fSHfimg prcphetj because his seriousness oft expressed itself by 
tears; of a most holy, blameless life; and Uiough learned, 
greatly averse to controversy and dispute. In almost all things 
he was like Mr. Asli, except his natural temper, and the influ- 
ence it had upon his soul ; both of them so composed of humi^ 
lity, piety, and innocence, that no enemy of godliness that 
knew them had a word to say agfunst them. They were scorned 
as Puritans, like their brethren, but escaped all the particular 
exceptions and obloquy which many others uuderwenU Dut as 
one was cheerful, so the other was from his youth surprised 
with violent fits of melancholy once in every few years \ which, 
though it distracted him not, yet kept him, till it was over, in 
a most despondent state. In his health he was over humble, 
and had too mean thoughts of himself and all that was his own, 
and never put out himself among his brethren into any employ- 
ment which had the least show of ostentation. Less than a 
year before his deaths he fell into a grievous fit of melancholy, 
in which he was so confident of his gracelessness, that he Usually 
cried out ^ O, not one spark of grace, not one good desire or 
thought 1 I can no more pray than a post. If an angel from 
heaven would tell me that I have true grace, I would not believe 
him.' And yet at that time did he pray very well; and I could 
demonstrate his sincerity so much to him in his desires and life, 
that he had not a word to say against it, but yet was harping 
still on the same string, and would hardly be persuaded that 
he was melancholy. It pleased God to recover him from this 
fir, and shortly after he confessed that what I said was true, 
that his despair Mras all the effect of melancholy ; and rejoiced 
much in God's deliverance. Shortly after this came out 
the Bartholomew Act, which cast him out of his place and 
ministry, and his heart being troubled with the sad case 
of the church, and the multitude of ministers cast out and 
sileneed, and at his own unserviceableness, it roused his melan-* 
choly, which began also to work with some fears of want and 
his family's distress ; all which cast him so low, that the violence 

' Mr, Alb was one of the nuDisters engaged at the Savoy conference, but 
penonally took little part in tht dlfcnttiod. 



of it wore him away like a true marasmus. So that without any 
other disease, but mere melancholy, he consumed to death, 
continuing still his sad despondency and self-condemning views. 
By which it appeareth how little judgment is to be made of a 
man's condition by his melancholy apprehensions, or the sad- 
ness of his mind at death ; and in what a different manner men 
of the same eminency in holiness and sincerity may go to God, 
Which I have the rather showed by the instance of those two 
saints,. than whom this age hath scarce produced and setup a 
pair more pious, humble, just, sincere, laborious in their well- 
performed work, unblamable in their lives, not meddling with 
state matters, nor secular affairs, and therefore well spoken of 
by all." « 

Such is a specimen of the men, whom the leaders of the church 
of England thought it needful to eject from the office of the mi- 
nistry, because they could not submit to the exercise of an un- 
righteous authority. Such were some of the fathers of Non- 
conformity. ITie church and the world were not worthy of 
them, but they were counted worthy not only to believe, but 
also to suffer for the sake of Christ } and their names will be 
held in everlasting remembrance. 

The intolerable hardships which many excellent men were 
called to endure, it is not possible fully to exhibit. They were 
harassed and tormented by all sorts of interferences, even when 
they could escape fines and imprisonment. The following may 
be regarded as a specimen. 

" As we were forbidden to preach, so we were vigilantly 
watched in private, that we might not exhort one another, of 
pray together ; and, as I foretold them oft, how they would use us 
when they had silenced us, every meeting for prayer was called 
a dangerous meeting for sedition, or a conventicle at least. I 
will now give but one instance of their kindness to myself. One 
Mr. Beale, in Hatton Garden, having.a son, his only child, who 
being long sick of a dangerous fever was brought so low that 
the physicians thought he would die, desired a few friends, 
of whom I was one, to meet at his house to pray for him. Be- 
cause it pleased God to hear our prayers, and that very night to 
restore him ; his mother shortly after falling sick of a fever, we 
were desired to meet to pray for her recovery, the last day when 
she was near to death. Among those who were to be there, it 

i Life, part ii. p. 430, 431. 


fell oat that Dr. Bates and I did fail them, and could not come; 
bat it was known at Westminster^ that we were appointed to be 
tbere^ whereupon two justices of the peace were procured from 
the distant parts of the towu^ one from Westminster and one 
from Clerkenwell, to come with the parliament's serjeant at 
arms to apprehend us. They came in the evenings when part 
of the company were gone. There were then only a few of 
their kindred, beside two or three ministers to pray. They 
came upon them into the room where the gentlewoman lay 
ready to die, drew the curtains, and took some of their 
names ; but, missing their prey, returned disappointed. What 
a joy would it have been to them that reproached us as Presby- 
terian, seditious schismatics, to have found but such an occa- 
sion as praying with a dying woman, to have laid us up in 
prison ! Yet, that same week, there was published, a witty, ma- 
licious invective against the silenced ministers ; in which it was 
affirmed, that Dr. Bates and 1 were at Mr. Beale's house, such a 
day, keeping a conventicle. The liar had so much extraor- 
dinary modesty as, within a day or two, to print a second edi- 
tion, in which those words, so easy to be disproved, were left 
out. Such eyes were every where then lifted upon us." ^ 

In the beginning of June, 1663, the old, peaceable archbishop 
of Canterbury, Dr. Juxon, died; and was succeeded by Dr. 
Gilbert Sheldon, bishop of London. Juxon was a very respect- 
able prelate, and worthy of the character which is given him 
by Baxter. His conduct during the trying period of the civil 
wars, exhibited great moderation. Jie attended Charles I. on 
the scaffold, and received his last commands in the emphatical 
word, ^^ Rembmbbr/' At the Restoration, he was made arch- 
bishop of Canterbury; and crowned Charles II.; by whom he 
appears to have been not greatly respected. He seems to have 
been an amiable man, but had no great energy of mind. Sheldon 
was his superior for learning and talents ; dexterous in business, 
and a thorough courtier ; but more of a politician than is con- 
sistent with integrity of character and religious principle. He 
was an implacable enemy of the Nonconformists. 

^^ About these times, the talk of liberty to the silenced 
ministers, for what end, I know not, was revived again, and 
we were. blamed by many that we had never once petitioned the 
parliament ; for which we had sufficient reasons. It was said, 
that they were resolved to grant us either an indulgence by way 

^ Uie, )>art u. p. 431, 432. 


of dispeniation, or a comprehension by itome additional apt} 
taking in all that could conform in some particular pointSt 
Hereupon there was great talk about the question* whether the 
way of indulgence or the way of comprehension was the more 
desirable. It was debated as seriously, as if, indeed, such 
a thing as one of them had been expected. And parUameot 
men themselves persuaded us that it would be done. 

^' For my own part, I meddled but little with any such busier 
ness, since the failing of that which incurred so much displea^ 
sure : and the rather, because though the brethren commis- 
feionad with me stuck to me as to the cause, yet they wertt 
not forward enough to bear their part of the ungrateful ma- 
nagement, nor of the consequent displeasure. But yet, when 
an honourable person was earnest with me, to give him my 
judgment, whether the way of indulgence or comprehension 
was the more desirable, that he might discern which way to go 
in parliament himself, 1 gave him my mind, though I thought it 
was to little purpose.^ 

*^ Instead of indulgence and comprehension, on the last day 
of June, 1668, the bill against private meetings for rdigiooi 
exercises passed the House of Commons, and shortly after was 
made a law. The sum of it was, ^ that every person above 
sixteen years old, who should be present at any meeting under 
colour or pretence of any exercise of religion, in other manner 
than is allowed by the liturgy or practice of the church of 
England, where there are five persons more than the household, 
shall, for the first offence, by a justice of peace be recorded^and 
sent to jail three months, till he pay five pounds ; and, for the 
second offence, six months, till he pay ten pounds ; and the 
third time, being convicted by a jury, shall be banished to some 
of the American plantations, excepting New England or Vif* 
ginia.' The calamity of the act, beside the main matter, waS| 
that it was made so ambiguous, that no man that ever I net 
with could tell what was a violation of it, and what not ; not 
knowing what was allowed by the liturgy or practice of the 
church of England in families, because the liturgy meddleth not 
with families ; and among the diversity of family practice, no 
man knoweth what to call the practice of the church. Too 
much power was given to the justices of the peace to re* 
cord a man an offender without a jury, and if he did it care- 
lessly, we were without any remedy, seeing he was noade a 

^ Life, pari iL p. 435. 


jvdge* Aceording to the plain words of the act, if a man did 
but preach and pray, or read some licensed book, and sing 
psalms, he might have more than four present, because these 
are allowed by the practice of the church in the church ; and 
the act seemeth to grant an indulgence for place and numberi 
so be it the quality of the exercise be allowed by the church ; 
wbioh must be meant publicly, because it meddleth with no 
private exercise. But when it came to the trial, these pleas 
with the justices were vain : for if men did but pray, it was 
taken fior granted, that it was an exercise not allowed by the 
church of England, and to jail they went. 

'^ And now came the 'people's trial, as well as the ministers'* 
Wbile the dangers and sufferings lay on the ministers alone, the 
people were very courageous, and exhorted them to stand it out 
and preach till they went to prison. But when it came to be their 
own case, they were venturous till they were once surprised 
and imprisoned ; but then their judgments were much altered, 
and they that censured ministers before as cowardly, because 
they preached not publicly, whatever followed, did now think 
tfwt it was better to preach often in secret to a few, than but 
once or twice in public to many; and that secrecy was no sio, 
when it tended to the furtherance of the work of the Gospel, 
and to the church's good. The rich especially were as cautious 
as the ministers. But yet their meetings were so ordinary, 
and so well known, that it greatly tended to the jailers' com- 

** The people were in a great strait, those especially who 
dwelt near any busy officer, or malicious enemy. Many durst 
not pray in their families, if above four persons came in to dine 
with them. In a gentleman's house, where it was ordinary (&9 
more than four visitors, neighbours, messengers, or one sort 
or other, to be most ro many days at dinner with them, many 
dnrst not then go to prayer, and some scarcely durst crave a 
blessing on their meat, or give God thanks for it. Some thought 
they might venture if they withdrew into another room, and 
left the strangers by themselves : but others said, it is all one if 
they be in the same house, though out of hearing, when it 
cometh to the judgment of the jui^tices. In London, where the 
houses are contiguous, some thought if they were in several 
houses and heard one another through the wall or a window, it 
would avoid the law : but others said, it is all in vain whilst the 
justice is judge whether it was a meeting or no. Great lawyers 


said/ if you come on a visit or business, though you be preaent 
at prayer or sermon, it is no breach of the law, because you met 
not on pretence of a religious exercise : but those that tried 
them said, such words are but wind, when the justices come to 
judge you. 

*^ And here the Quakers did greatly relieve the sober people 
for a time 3 for they were so resolute, and so gloried in their . 
constancy and sufferings, that they assembled openly at the 
Bull and Mouth, near Aldersgate, and were dragged away 
daily to the common jail ; and yet desisted not, but the rest 
came the next day, nevertheless : so that the jail at Newgate 
was filled with them. Abundance of them died in prison, and 
yet they continued their assemblies still. They would sometimes 
meet only to sit still in silence, when, as they sud, the Spirit 
did not move them : and it was a great question, whether this 
silence was a religious exercise not allowed by the liturgy, &c. 
Once, upon some such reasons as these, when they were 
tried at the sessions, in order to a banishment, the jury acquit- 
ted them ; but were grievously threatened for it. After that, 
another jury did acquit them, and some of them were fined and 
imprisoned for it. But thus the Quakers so employed Sir 
K. B., and the other searchers and prosecutors, that they had 
the less leisure to look after the meetings of soberer men;^ 
which was much to their present ease.^ 

'^ The divisions, or rather the censures of the nonconform- 
ing people, against their ministers and one another, began now 
to increase ; which was long foreseen, but could not be avoided. 
I that had incurred so much the displeasure of the prelates, 
and all their party, by pleading for the peace of the Non- 
conformists, did fall under more of their displeasure than any 
one man l)eside, as far as I could learn. With me they joined 
Dr. Bates, because we went to the public assemblies, and also 
to the common-prayer, even at the beginning of it. Not that 
they thought worse of us than of others, but that they thought 
our example would do more harm ; for 1 must bear them wit- 
ness, that in the midst of all their censures of my judgment and 
actions, they never censured my affections and intentions, nor 

^ Had there been more of the same determined spirit among olhers, whidi 
the Friends displayed, the suffering^ of all parties would sooner have come to 
an end. The government must have given way, as the spirit of the country 
would have been effectually roused. Tbe conduct of the Quakers was infi- 
nitely to their honour. 


absted their charitable estimation of me in the main. Of the 
leading prelates, I had so much favour in their hottest indigna- 
tion^ that they thought what I did was only in obedience to my 
conscience. So that I see by experience, that he who is impar- 
tially and sincerely for truth, and peace, and piety, against all ' 
&u;ti<Hi8, shall have his honesty acknowledged by the several 
fiicdons, whilst his actions, as cross to their interest, are detest- 
ed : whereas, he that joineth with one of the factions, shall 
have both his person and actions condemned by the other, 
though his party may applaud both." ^ 

That Baxter acted conscientiously, no doubt can be enter- 
tained ; and it must have been a comfort to him, to enjoy the 
testimony of a good conscience amidst the conflict through 
iwfaich he was called to pass. But we cannot be surprised that 
liis conduct troubled and offended both churchmen and dis- 
senters, even while they gave him credit for integrity. Few 
could enter into his numerous, and often wire-drawn dis- 
tiDcdons ; sometimes, even with all his acuteness, they were 
founded on a mistaken view of the case. The attempt to 
meet all parties, and to reconcile them, was the vainest in 
which this most worthy and devoted individual ever engaged. 
Hi8 catholic spirit grasped and hoped for that which is reserved 
far happier times than his own, or than has yet blessed the 
church of God. 

^ Having lived three years and more in London, and finding 
itneither agree with my health nor studies, the one being brought 
very low and the other interrupted, and all public service being 
9i an end, I betook myself to live in the country, at Acton, that 
I might set myself to writing, and do what service I could for 
posterity, and live as much as possibly I could out of the world. 
Thither I went on the 14th of July, 1G63, where I followed my 
•todies privately, in quietness, and went every Lord's-day to the 
public assembly, when there was any preaching or catechising, 
^i spent the rest of the day with my family, and a few poor 
neighbours that came in ; spending now and then a day in London. 
The next year, 1664, I had the company of divers godly, faith- 
ful friends that tabled with me in summer, with whom I solaced 
Myself with much content. Having almost finished a large 
treatise, called * A Christian Directory, or Sum of Practical 
J^Wnity,' that I might know whether it would be licensed for the 
I P^ I tried the licensers with a small treatise, the ' Character 

f 1 Life, part ii. pp. 435, 436. 


of a Sound Christiao, aa differenced from the weiik Cbriadmi and 
the Hypocrite/ I offered it Mr. Grigi the Bishop of liondfm'l 
chaplain, who had been a Noncoi|fpF]|iist, and profeased an f%n 
traordinary respect for me ; but he durst not Ucen^iB it» Yd 
after« when the plague began, I sent three «ipgle sheets to the 
Archbishop of Canterbury's chaplain, without any name, that 
they might have passed unknown ; but^ accidentally, they knew 
them to be mine, and they were licensed. The oqe waa Diree* 
tions for the sick ; the second was Directions for the conyenioa 
of the ungodly ; and the third was Instructions for a holy lib i 
for the use of poor families that cannot buy greater bodUy or 
will not read them." * 

Beside these works, he wrote or published, between tha tiiBS 
of- his leaving Kidderminster and the year 1665, several eonr 
siderable works, both practical and controversial. Among these 
were, bis ^Life of Faith/ ^The Successive Visibility of the 
Church,' * The Vain Religion of the Formal Hypocrite/ * The 
Last Work of a Believer,' ^ The Mischiefs of Self-ignoraoc^' 
his Controversy with the Bishop of Worcester about the Causes 
of his leaving Kidderminster, his ^ Saint, or Brute,' ^ Now or 
Never,' and ^The Divine Life.' These works, considering the 
public business in which he was engaged, and his various trials 
and changes, must have found him very full employment ; aad 
only a mind of unceasing activity, and a pen of more than ordi? 
nary dispatch, could have accomplished so much. 

^^ March 26, 1665, being the Lord's-day, as I was preafih- 
ing in a private house, where we received the Lord*s suppevy a 
bullet came in at the window among us, passed by me, aud 
narrowly missed the head of a sister-in-law of mine that was 
there, but hurt none of us. We could never discover whfioca it 

^^ In June following, an ancient gentlewoman, with her son 
and daughter, came four miles in her coach to hear me pre^ell 
in my family, as out of special respect to me. It fell out, contrary 
to our custom, that we let her knock long at the door, and did 
not open it : and so a second time, when she had gone away and 
come again ; and the third time she came when we had ended* 
She was so earnest to know when she might come again to bear 
me, that I appointed her a time ; but before she came I bad 
secret intelligence from one that was nigh her, that she came 
with a heart exceeding full of malice, resolving, if possible, to da 

"^ IMe, part ii. pp. 440, 441. 

or BiClfABD 9AXT«|U 9tl 

me wli9t mwbifff olm cpald by ai^usation, and ao tjiat danger 

WM ttfmded."" 

During this period^ some foreign ministers of eminencei who 

bad heard of Baj(ter's character and talents, and were desirous 

of cultivating hit acquaintance and friendship, wished u> engage 
him in correspondence. Among these were Amyrald, or 
Amyraut, a French Protestant minister, and professor of the^^ 
obgy ftt Saumur, whose sentiments on some doctrinal points 
were nearly allied, to those of Baxter, and ZoUicoffer of Switz- 
criaad, who seems, from his letter, to have visited England, and 
to have been well acquainted with his writings. He was afraid, 
however, to answer their letters. 

^ The vigilant eye of malice that some had upon me, made 
OS understand that, though no law of the land was against 
h'tenu'y persons' correspondencies beyond the seas, nor had 
lay divines been hindered from it, yet, it was likely to have 
prored my ruin, if I had but been known to answer one of their 
btters, though the matter had been ever so mUch beyond ex- 
ciption. So that I neither answered this nor any other, save 

. aaly by word of mouth to the messenger, and that but in small 
part Our silencing and ejection, they would quickly know 
kjrpther means, and how much the judgment of the English 
biihopQ did diffipr from theirs about the labours and persons of 
loeh as we. 

^ About this time, I thought meet to debate the case with 
lome learned and moderate ejected ministers of London, about 
communicating sometimes at the parish churches in the sacra- 
ment; for they that came to common prayer, came not yet to 
the saerament. They desired me to bring in my judgment and 
reasons in writing, which being debated, they were all of my 
Rund in the main, that it is lawful and a duty where greater 
accidents preponderate not. But they all concurred unani- 
mously in this, that if we did communicate at all in the parish 
churches, the sufferings of the Independents, and those Presby- 
terians that could not communicate there, would certainly be 
^ much increased ; which now were somewhat moderated by 
aur concurrence with them. I thought the case very hard on both 
'ides; that we, who were so* much censured by them for going 
^mewhat further than they, must yet omit that which else 
aiust be our duty, merely to abate their sufferings who censure 
^: but I resolved to forbear with them awhile, rather than any 

* Idfe, ptrt ii. p. 444. 


Christian should suffer by occasion of an action of minei aeeing 
God will have mercy^ and not sacrifice ; and no duty is a duty at 
all times." 

He thus concludes his memorials of the year 1665. The 
reader will be struck, as the writer of the present work is, that 
the year, in which he writes this page, 1828, the prayer of 
Baxter has been answered respecting the Corporation Act; and 
that for the first time during one hundred and sixty-three yean, 
it can be said that the Protestant Dissenters of England are in 
possession of common rights and privileges with their feUow 
subjects of the established church. After such a delay in the 
discharge of justice, let no man be sanguine in his expectadons 
of speedy change. After the repeal of the Corporation and Test 
Acts, under all the circumstances in which it has been accom- 
plished, let no man despair. 

^^ And now, after the breaches on the churches, the ejec- 
tion of the ministers, and impenitency under all, wars and 
plague and danger of famine began ^t 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 con- 
sumed the inhabitants ; multitudes being dead and fled. 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 neighbour and himself : and God, for our sins, is 
a terror to us all. O ! how is London, the place which God 
hath honoured with his Gospel above all places of the earth, 
laid low in horrors, and wasted almost to desolation by the 
wrath of that God, whom England hath contemned ! A God- 
hating 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 thou- 
sands 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, espe- 
cially corporations, are free : which makes me oft groan^ and 
wi$h that London^ and aU the corporations of England^ would 
review the Corporation Acty and their otvn acts, and speedily 

^ Leaving most of my family at Acton, compassed about with 

the pfaigue, at the writing of this, through the mercy of my dear 

God, and Father in Christ, 1 am hitherto in safety and comfort 

in the house of my dearly beloved and honoured friend, Mr. 

Richard Hampden, of Hampden, in Buckinghamshire, the true 

hdr of his fSunous father's sincerity, piety, and devotedness to 

God; whose person' and family the Lord preserve; honour 

them that honour him, and be their everlasting rest and por* 

I tioa/'* 

• Life, part ii. p. 448. 

2S4 TfiB LtFB AVD tlkM 



IliePlafrue of Londoih— Preftchiop of some of tbe Nonconfomilstl-^'riie tfm 
Mito Act— The Fire of LoDdon^Beneroleooe of Athurrt aid Goteft— TIm 
Fire advantaf out to the Preaching of the Silenced MiDittcr*— CotttaiiM 
Clergy— More Talk about Liberty of Conseience— The LatitadlDariaoi^ 
Fall of Clareodou— The Duke of Buckingham— Sir Orlando Bridgnlia-* 
Preaching of tbe Nonconformists connived at — Fresh Diftcuisionf aboot t 
Comprehension — Dr. Creighton — Ministers imprisoned — Address lo tk 
King— Nonconformists attacked from the Press— Baxter's Character of 
Judge Hale— Dr. Rives — Baxter sent to Prison— Advised to apply for s 
Habeas Corpus — Demands it from the Court of Common Pleas— Bebavkwr 
of the Judges — Discharged — Removes to Totteridge — His Works doring 
this period — Correspondence with Owen. 

In the end of the preceding chapter, we left Baxter at Hamp- 
den, moralising on the desolation of London, during the raging 
of the plague. Of that fearful calamity, and also of the fire, 
which followed soon after, he has left some additional notices, 
as well as of the influence of these events on the trials or en- 
largement of the Nonconformists. 

'^ The number that died in London, he informs us^ beside all 
the rest of the land, was about a hundred thousand, reckoning 
the Quakers, and others, that were never put in the bilk of 

^^ The richer sort removing out of the city, the greatest blow 
fell on the poor. At first so few of the more religious sort were 
taken away that, according to the mode of too many such, they 
began to be puffed up, and boast of the great difference which 
Ood did make ; but quickly after they all fell alike. Yet not 
many pious ministers were taken away. I remember only three, 
who were all of my acquaintance. 

^^ It is scarcely possible for people who live in a time of health 
and security, to apprehend the dreadful nature of that pestilenoe. 
How fearful people were thirty or forty, if not a hundred miles 


from London, of atir thing they bought from mercers* or drapei^* 
shops, or of goods that were brought to them ; or of any person 
who came to their houses ! How they would shut their doors 
against their fi-iends ; and if a man passed orer the fields, how 
one would avoid another as we did in the time of the wars; 
how every man was a terror to another ! ? Oh, how sinfully un- 
thankful are we for our quiet societies, habitations, and h^th ! 

^^ Not far from the place where I sojourned, at Mrs. Fleet- 
wood's, three ministers of extraordinary worth were together in 
one house, Mr. Clarkson, Mr. Samuel Cradock, and Mr. Terry, 
nen of singular judgment, piety, and moderation. The plague 
ttune into the house where they were, and one person dying of 
it, caused many, that they knew not of, earnestly to pray for 
their deliverance ; and it pleased Ood that no other person died. 

**One great benefit the plague brought to the city, it oc- 
casioned the silenced ministers more openly and laboriously 
to preach the Gospel, to the exceeding comfort and profit of the 
people ; insomuch, that to this day the freedom of preaching, 
which this occasioned, can not by the daily guards of soldiers 
nor l)y the imprisonment of multitudes be restrained. The 
ministers that were silenced for Nonconformity, had ever since 
1662 done their Work very privately and to a few; not so much 
through their titnorousness, as their loathness to offend the khig, 
and in hope that their forbearance might procure them some 
liberty, and through some timorousness of the people that 
would hear them. When the plague grew hot, most of the 
conformable ministers fled, and left their flocks in the time of 
their extremity ; whereupon divers Nonconformists, pitying the 
d}ring and distressed people, who had none to call the impeni- 
tent to repentance, or to help men to prepare for another world, 

' Amonff the places which the plague visited at a distaoce, was the Tillage 
of Loagbborough, in the county of Leicester ; it there entered the honse of 
tbc Rev. Samuel Shaw, the ejected minister of Long Whatton. He burled 
two of his children, two friends, and a servant, who bad died of the distemper. 
Both his wife and himself were aUacked, but mercifully escaped. His house 
was shut up for three months, none being permitted to enter it ; so that he 
luid to attend the sick himself, and afterwards to bury them in his own garden. 
It was in those circumstances he produced that beautiful and impressive little 
▼alume, < The Welcome to the Plague.' It was originally a sermon, preached 
fa his own family, and affords an admirable illustration of the power and 
Ucttednest of true religion. If the reader has not seen this little work,, or 
another of Shaw's, < Imroauuel ; or, a Discovery of True Religion/ I beg to 
rtcomaneiid them to his attention, as among the finest specimens of the Non- 
eoDformist school of theology. The author died in 1696.— See the Aftaiatr ^rv- 
JU§i U ImaumueL 


or to comfort them in their terrors, when about ten thousand 
died in a week, resolved that no obedience to the laws of mor- 
tal men whatsoever, could justify them in neglecting men*a souls 
and bodies in such extremities. They, therefore, resolved to 
stay with the people, and to go into the forsaken pulpits, though 
prohibited, and to preach to the poor people before they died; 
also to visit the sick and get what relief they could for the poor, 
especially those that were shut up. 

" Those who set upon this work were, Mr. Thomas Vincent, 
late minister in Milk-street,^ with some strangers that came 
thither after they were silenced j as Mr. Chester, Mr. Janeway, 
Mr. Turner, Mr. Grimes, Mr. Franklin, and some others. Often 
those heard them one day, who were sick the next, and quickly 
dead. The face of death did so awaken both the preachers and 
the hearers, that preachers exceeded themselves in lively, fervent 
preaching, and the people crowded constantly to hear them. 
AI) was done with great seriousness, so that through the 
blessing of God, abundance were converted from their careless- 
ness, impenitency, and youthful lusts and vanities; and religion 
took such a hold on many hearts, as could never afterwards be 

" Whilst God was consuming the people by these judgments, 
and the Nonconformists were labouring to save men's souls, the 
parliament, which sat at Oxford, whither the king removed 
from the danger of the plague, was busy with an act of con- 

<i Vincent published, in 1G67, a work, entitled * God's Terrible Voice in tlit 
City by Pla^e and Fire/ founded on these two awful calamities, both of 
which he had witnessed. He remained in the city, preachings with great fervour 
and effect during^ the whole time of the plaji^e. It came into the house in 
which he resided, and took off three persons, but he escaped alive. The name 
of such a man, and of those who acted with him, deserve to be preserved in 
an imperishable record. He died at Hoxton, in 1671. — CSotomy, ii. 32. 

' < De Foe's Journal of the Plague Year,' though written as a Bctiou, but yet 
no fiction, gives the best account of this tremendous calamity which we have. 
It is only to be regretted that what is fact and what is fiction, are so ^mingled 
together that it is impossible to separate them. While the description is not 
more terrible than the reality, and many of the narratives are probably de- 
scriptive of real occurrences, the book cannot be used as authority. Tbcfe 
are some affecting notices of it in the * Diary of Pepys ;' and several letters 
are given by Ellis, in the fourth volume of his second series of * Original 
Letters, illustrative of English History,* relative to it. They are by the Rev. 
Stephen Bing and Dr. Tillotson, aud addressed to Dr. Sancroft, then dean of 
St. Paul's. It appears from them that the Bishop of London threatened those 
of his clergy who had deserted their flocks, in consequence of the plague, 
that if they did not return to their charges speedily, he would put others in 
their places. 


to make the silenced ministers'case incomparably harder 
dum it was before^ by patting upon them a certain oath, which 
if Cbey refiised, they must not come, except on the road, within 
five miles of any city^ or of any corporation, or any place that 
seodeth burgesses to the parliament; or of any place where* 
ever they had been ministers, or had preached since the Act of 
Oblivion. So little did the 5ense of God's terrible judgments, or 
of the necessities of many hundred thousand ignorant souls, or 
the groans of the poor people for the teaching which they had 
loet, or the fear of the great and final reckoning, affect the 
hearta of the prelatists, or stop them in their way. The 
cUef promoters of this among the clergy were said to be the 
Ardibbhop of Canterbury, and Dr. Seth Ward, the bishop 
of Salisbiuy. One of the great^t adversaries of it in the 
Lords' House, was the Earl of Southampton, lord treasurer of 
BDgland, a man who had ever adhered to the king, but under- 
stood the interest of his country, and of humanity. It is, with* 
oat contradiction, reported that he said no honest man would 
take that oath." The Lord Chancellor Hyde, also, and the rest 
of the leaders of that mind and way, promoted it, and easily 
procured it to pass the houses, notwithstanding all that was 
said against it. 

'* By this act,' the case of the ministers was made so hard, 
that many thought themselves obliged to break it, not only by 
the necessity of their office, but by a natural impossibility of 
keeping it, unless they should murder themselves and their 
famUies.'' ' 

The oath imposed on them by the act was as follows : 

^ I, A. B., do swear that it is not lawful, upon any pretence 
whatsoever, to take arms against the king; and that I do abhor 
that traitorous position of taking arms by his authority against 
his person, or against those that are commissioned by him, in 
pursuance of such commission : and that I will not, at any 
time, endeavour any alteration of the government, either in 
church or state/' ^ 

We are at a loss which most to be astonished at— -the impiety, 

• Bamet tells us, Soutbamptou spoke vehemently against the bill, and said 
** be could take no such oath hiniselt' ; for how firm soever he had always 
been to the church, as thio^^s were managed, he did not kuow but he himself 
mlf^t see cause to endeavour au alteration." — Own Times, vol. i. p. 329. 
Soathampton was a very able man, exemplary in private life^ and uf invinci* 
ble intepity in bis public conduct. He died in 1667. 

* Ufe» part Hi. pp. 1—8. "" Ibid, p; 4. 

VOL. !• S 

SM m Li»fi Aim ttictt 

dit follyi or tfift cruelty, of the men who oould ItnpoM lUi Mlh* 
They could not suppose that rellgioue men would geuerilly tilM 
It I they must therefore have contemplated the inflielioll of the 
meet gritvoui wrongs on some of the best fHends of tte 
country. It was carried through the House of Lords ehlafly by 
the influence of the archbishop and the lord chancellor, h 
die House of Commons, an unsuoeessAil atMnpt was made Si 
insert the word ^ legally" before '' commissioned |" bat the bitt 
passed without a division, the lawyers declaring that the ward 
^ legally" must be understood. Some Nonconformist toiato* 
ters took the oath on this construction s but the far giaaM 
number refused. Bven if they could hate borne the sohttiis m* 
seriion of the principles of passive^obedienoe in ail p oss lM s 
eases, their Consciences revolted from a pledge to endaavMf no 
kind of alteration in church or state i an engagement^ la hi 
extended sense, irreconcilable with their religious principlos^ and 
with the civil duties of Bnglishmem Yet, to quit Uia tOWM 
Where they had long been connected, and where akmo thoy had 
friends and disciples, for a residence in country Villages, was Stt 
exclusion from the ordinary means of subsistence^ TbnOfaurdl 
of England had, doubtless, her provocations ; but she asads 
retaliation much more than commensurate to the iigury* No 
severity comparable to this cold-blooded persecution had been 
inflicted by the late powers, even in the ferment and fury of i 
civil war.* 

Baxter submitted the consideration of the oath to his kind 
friend, Serjeant Fountain, with a series of queries, to which thst 
learned person replied at considerable leiigth* The anawtis, 
however, could by no means satisfy Baxter that it WaS lawfiil 
to take the oath the reasons for which he assigns with his osud 

" Hie act which imposed this oath," he says, ^^ openly aacusil 
the nonconformable ministers, or some of them, of seditMMM 
doctrine, and such heinouf crimes, wherefore when it first ceHS 
out, I thought that at such an accusation no innocent .persem 
should be silent ; especially when Papists, strangers, and poste- 
rity, may think that a recorded statute is a sufficient history to 
prove us guilty ; and the concernments of the Qospel, and Otar 
callings, and men's souls, are herein touched. I therefore drew 
up a profession of our judgment about the case of loyalty, and 
obedience to kings and governors 3 and the reasons why we rs- 

« HalUm'i ConiUCutiooal History, vol. ii. py 474f 

OF ftlCHAltD lAXTBIU 250 

fttol tin oilb. But reading it to Dr. Seaman, and some others 
wiser than myself, they advised me to cast it by, and to bear all 
io aUeiit patience; because it was not possible to do it so fully 
and tittoerdy but that the malice of our adversaries would 
make an iU use of it, and turn it all against ourselves : and the 
wise statesmen laughed at me for thinking that reason would be 
tiqiardcd by such men as we liad to do with, and would not 
esasparate them the more/'^ 

Sheldon determined to execute the act as strictly as possi- 
bly and therefore, on the 7th of July, 1665, orders were issued 
to the several bishops in the province of Canterbury, requiring 
among other things, a return of the names of all the ejected mi- 
nbtera, with their place of abode, and manner of life. The 
retatM of the several bishops are said to be still preserved in 
Ae Lambeth library.' 

^ Afker this, the ministers finding the pressure of this act so 
hea:vy, and the loss likely to be so great to cities and corpora^ 
tions, some of them studied how to take the oath lawfully. Dr« 
Batea being much in favour with the Lord Keeper Bridgman,' 
eonanked with him, who promised to be at the next sessions, 
and there, on the bench, to declare openly that, by endeavauTf to 
change the church government, was meant unlawful endeavour 
which satisfying him, he thereby satisfied others, who, to avoid 
the imputation of seditious doctrine, were willing to go as far 
as they durst ; and so twenty ministers came in at the sessions, 
and took the oath.'' ^ 

Dr. Bates' reasons for taking the oath may be seen in the 
letter which he addressed to Baxter on the occaaion ; ^ but the 
reaaoning of Baxter seems fully to justify his declining to do so^ 
The oath was a wicked device, to ensnare and injure the minis- 
ten ; and those of them who took it, even with the Lord Keeper 
Bridgman's explanation, that only seditious endeavours were 

y life, part iii. p. 13. * Calamy, vol. i. p. 313. 

* Sir Orlando Bridg^man was a son of the Bishop of Chester. Soon after tlii 
Ktstofrntion, he was made lord chief baroo of the Exchequer, and, a few 
moothf .after, was removed to the Common Pleas, in which he presided with 
l^reat dig^Qr.* He possessed sufRcient integrity for the hi|^h office of lord 
keeper, but not sufficient firmness for the difficulties which belonged to it. He 
IS said, however, to have lost the office for refusing to affi» the seal to tlie 
kisf's uDCooatitutional declaratiou for liberty of conscience. He wished, as will 
afterwards be seen, the comprchensioo of the Dissenters io the church, but 
was opposed to the toleration of Popery. 

k life, pan iii. P* 13. « Ibid. p. U. 

S 2 


meant, seem not to have added to their reputation among tbe 

'^ The plague which began at Acton, July 29, 1665, having 
ceased on the first of the following March, I returned homCi 
and found the church-yard lilce a ploughed field, with, grare^ 
and many of my neighbours dead ; but my house, near the church- 
yard, uninfected, and that part of my family which I left diere 
all safe, through the great mercy of God, my merciful protector. 
*' On the second of September, 1666, after midnight, London 
was set on fire ; next day the Exchange was burnt, and, in three 
days, almost all the city within the walls, and much withoutdiefli. 
The season had been exceeding dry before, and the wind ia 
the east when the fire began. The people having, none to 
conduct them aright, could do nothing to resist it, but stand 
and see their houses bum without remedy, the engines being 
presently out of order, and useless. The streets were crowded 
with people and carts, to carry away what goods they could get 
out; they that were most active, and befiriended by thor 
wealth, got carts and saved much, and the rest lost abnoet aH 
The loss in houses and goods is scarcely to be valued^ and amoqg 
the rest, the loss of books was an exceeding great deuimentio 
the interests of piety and learning. Mostly all the bookseilen 
in St. Paul's Church-yard brought their books into vaults under 
St. Paul's church, where it was thought almost impossible that 
fire should come. But the church itself taking fire, the ex- 
ceeding weight of the stones falling down, did break into the 
vault, and let in the fire, and they could not come near to save 
the books. The library of Sion college was burned, and most 
of the libraries of ministers, conformable and nonconfonnable, 
in the city ; with the libraries of many Nonconformists of the 
country, which had lately been brought up to the city. 1 saw 
the half- burnt leaves of books near my dwelling at Acton, six 
miles from London; but others found them near Windsor, 
twenty miles distant. 

'^ At last the seamen taught them to blow up some of the 
houses with gunpowder, which stopped the fire, though in some 
places it stopped as wonderfully as it had proceeded, without 
any known cause. It stopped at Holbom-bridge, and near St. 
Dunstan's church, in Fleet-street ; at St. Sepulchre's church, 
when the church was burnt; at Christ*s church, when it 
was burnt; and near Aldersgate and Cripplegate, and other 

OF ftlCHAU) BAXnR. 261 

places at the city wall. In Austin-Friars, the Dutch church 
•topped It, and escaped ; in Bishopsgate-street, and Leadenhall- 
ttreet, and Fenchurch-street, in the midst of the streets it stop- 
ped short of the Tower : and all beyond the river, escaped. 

^ Thus was the best, aitd one of the fairest cities in the world 
tnraed into ashes and ruins in three days' space, with many 
scores of churches, and the wealth and necessaries of the inhabi- 
tants. It was a sight which might have given any man a lively 
sense of the vanity of this world, and of all its wealth and glory, 
and of the ftiture conflagration, to see the flames mount towards 
heaven, and proceed so furiously without restraint ; to see the 
streets filled with people so astonished that many had scarcely 
'sense left them to lament their own calamity ; to see the fields 
^filled with heaps of goods, costly furniture, and household stuiF, 
wliile sumptuous buildings, warehouses, and furnished shops and 
libraries, &c., were all on flames, and none durist come near to 
seeure any thing ; to see the king and nobles ride about the 
streets, beholding all thes6 desolations, and none could afiford 
the least relief; to see the air, as far as could be beheld, so filled 
>Bith the smoke, that the sun shined through it with a colour 
like blood; yea, even when it was setting in the west, it so 
appeared to them that dwelt on the west side of the city. 
But the dolefullest sight of all was afterwards, to see what a 
ruinous, confused place the city was, by chimneys and steeples 
cmly standing in the midst of cellars and heaps of rubbish ; so 
that it was hard to know where the streets had been; and dan- 
gerous, for a long time, to pass through the ruins, because of 
vaults, and fire in them. No man that seeth not such a thing 
can have a right apprehension of the dreadfulness of it."^ 

Baxter seems to have been fully convinced that the fire was 
caused by the emissaries of Popery. In this belief he was not 
alone ; and many circumstances afforded some ground at the 
time for entertaining it.* It is highly probable, however, not- 
withstanding the testimony of '^ London's tall pillar," that it 
was a groundless prejudice, excited by hatred of the Catho- 
lics, and the apprehensions of danger from them with which 

* Life, parti, pp. 98 — 100. Pepys has preserved some interesting roenio- 
rials of this second dire calamity which befell the city of London within two 
years. Calamy, then drooping, was driven through the ruins, after the fire 
bad been extinguished, and it is said was so affected by the sight, that he 
went home and never left his house again till he died, which was shortly after. 
mmmCalamy, vol. ii. p. 7. 

• See * State TriaU/ vol. vi.; Burnet, i pp. 336--341 ; Hallam, vol. ii. 512. 


multitudes were then haunted. Among the indifidiials who 
difttuiguished themselves by their exertions to relieve the dis- 
tresses occasioned by this frightful calamity^ were Mr. Henry 
Ashurst and Mr. Gouge. Baxter bears the following honoiniUa 
testimony to their benevolent exertions. 

'^ The most famous person in the city, who purposely addict- 
ed himself to works of mercy, was my very dear friend lib* 
Henry Ashurst, a draper, a man of the primitive sort of Chris- 
tians for humility, love, blamelessness, meekness, doing good to 
all as he was able, especially needy, silenced ministers^ to whonii 
in Lancashire alone, he allowed one hundred pounds per annum; 
and in London was most famous for their succour and for doing 
hurt to none. His care was now to solicit the rich abroad^ tof 
the relief of the poor, honest Londoners. Mr. Thomas Gm^ 
the silenced minister of Sepulchre's parish, son to Dr. M^Uiaa 
Gouge, was such another man, who made works of charity a great 
part of the business of his life : he was made the treasurer of a 
fund collected for this purpose. Once a fortnight they called a 
great number of the needy together to receive their alms. I 
went once with Mr. Ashurst to his meeting to give them an ex» 
hortation and counsel, as he gave them alms, and saw more 
^ause than I was sensible of before, to be thankful to God^ that 
I never much needed relief from others. 

^ It was not the least observable thing in the time of the fire, 
and after it, considering the late wars, the multitude of dis- 
banded soldiers, and the great grief and discontent of the Lon- 
doners for the silencing and banishing of their pastorsii that 
there were heard no passionate words of di&content, or dis- 
honour against their governors ; even when their enemies luu) 
so often accused them of seditious inclinations, and when ex- 
tremity might possibly have made them desperate. 

'^ Some good, however, rose out of all these evils : the churches 
being burnt, and the parish ministers gone, for want of placet 
and maintenance, the Nonconformists were now more resohed 
than ever to preach till they were imprisoned. Dr. Manton 
had his rooms full in Covent Garden ; 'Mr. Thomas Vincen^ 
Mr. Thomas Doolittle, Dr. Samuel Annesly, Mr. Wadsworth, 
Mr. Janeway at Rotherhithe, Mr. Chester, Mr. Franklin, Mr. 
Turner, Mr. Grimes, Mr. Nathaniel Vincent, Dr. Jacomb in the 
Countess of Exeter's house, and Mr. Thomas Watson, &c., all 
kept their meetings very openly, and prepared large roomi, 
and some of them plain chapels, wilh pulpits^ seats^ and 

Of BicHAftD baxtir; .1MB 

fiUmeit fiilp tht reception of bb many as eoald oome* .'The 
peoide'a ncceauty was now unquestionable. They had none 
other to hear, save in a few churches that would hold no con^ 
siderable part of them ; so that to forbid them to hear the Nonp 
conformists, was all one as to forbid them all public worship; 
to forbid them to seek heaven when they had lost almost all thut 
they had on earth ; to lake from them their spiritual comforts, 
after all their outward comforts were gone. They thought xhk 
a species of cruelty so barbarous, as to be unbeseeming any man 
who vrould not own himself to be a devil. But all this little 
moved the ruling prelates, saving that shame restrained them 
horn imprisoning the preachers so hotly and forwardly as befomi 
The Independents also set up their meetings more openly than 
.fornserly* Mn GriiRths, Mr. Brooks, Mr. Caryl, Mr* Barkei^ 
Dr. Owen, Mr. Philip Nye, and Dr. Thomas Goodwin, who were 
their leaders, came to the city. So that many of the eitiiens 
went to those meetings callMl private, more than went to th« 
pubUe parish churches. 

^ At the same time it also happily fell out that the parisii 
churches which were left standing had the best and ablest of 
the Conformists in them ; especially Dr. StiUingfleet, Dr. Tdlotp 
son, Mr* White, Dr. Outram, Dr. Patrick, Mr. Oi0brd, Drw 
Whitcbcot, Dr. Horton, Mr. Nest, &c. So that the moderate 
«lasa of the citizens heard either sort in public and private in^ 
differently ; whilst those on the one extreme reproached all men's 
preaching save their own, as being seditious conventicles; and 
those on the other extreme would hear none that did conform ; 
or if any heard them, they would not join in the common prayr 
era or the sacraments.'^' 

Baxter's account of these Conformists is creditable to hit 
candour, and shows his willingness to do justice to men of all 
descriptions. The individuals whom he mentions were doubti* 
less men highly respectable both for character and talents; hut 
they were the principal means of introducing into the pulpits 
of the established church, that cold, inaccurate, and imperfoet 
mode of preadhing the Gospel which characterised even the 
respectable part of the clergy for more than a century. In tlie 
writings of Tillotson, StiUingfleet, and men like them, the leading 
doctrines, such as the Trinity, the atonement of Christ, the woriL 
of the Holy Spirit, &c., are clearly stated ; with much important ' 
argument on the truth of Christianity, and the duty of all to 

' Ufe, part W. pp. 17—19. * 



teoeive and obey it* But in vain do wel ook to thdr discomes, 
mth those of their successors, ^for correct and striking mm of 
the grace of the Gospel, or of justification by futh alone ; and 
much less do we find warm and pungent appeals to the con- 
science and the heart. They were afraid of being thoiif;fat 
puritanical, and enthusiastic. They studied to reconcile the 
world to the Gospel, by modifying its statements, and endeavour* 
ing to meet, by cautious approaches, the enmity of the human 
heart to Christ and godliness. The effect of this style of 
preaching has been exceedingly injurious. 

^' About this time, the talk of liberty of conscience was re- 
newed : whereupon many wrote for it, especially Mr. John 
Humfries, and Sir Charles Wolsley ; and many wrote against it, 
as^r. Perinchef, and others, mostly without names. The Con- 
formists were now grown so hardened, as not only to do all 
themselves that was required of them, but also to think them- 
selves sufficient for the whole ministerial work through the land; 
and not only to consent to the silencing of their brethren, but 
also to oppose their restitution, and write most vehemently 
against it, and against any toleration of them. So little ds 
men know, when they once enter into an evil way, where they 
shall stop. Not that it was so with all, but with too many, 
especially with most of the young men, that were of pregnant 
wits, and ambitious minds, and set themselves to seek prefer^ 

^' On this account, a great number of those who were called 
Latitudinarians began to change their temper, and to contract 
some malignity against those that were much more rdigiooB 
than themselves. At first they were only Cambridge Armimani^ 
and some of them not so much ; and were much fornew and 
free philosophy, lUid especially for De Cartes, and not at all for 
any thing ceremonious. Being not so strict in their theology 
or way of piety as some others, they thought that confor* 
mity was too small a matter to keep them out of the. minis- 
try. But afterwards, many of them grew into such a distaste 
of the weakness of many serious Christians, who would have 
some harsh phrases in prayer, preaching, and discourse, that 
thence they seemed to be out of love with their very doctrine, 
and their manner of worshipping God."^ 

V Life, part lit pp. 19, 20. The Latitudinariaos spoken of by Baiter, wen 
such men as More.WortbingtoD^Whitcbcot^ Cudwortb.Wilkins, mMtly of Cam- 


After noticing the burning of London^ the loss and disgrace 
aattahied by the country from the Dutch^ who sailed dp the 
TlHuneB in triumph, Baxter says :— 

^ The parliament at last laid all upon the Lord Chancellor 
Hyde ; and the king was content it should be so. Whereupon 
nany speeches were made against ^him, and an impeachment or 
diaige brought in against him, and vehemently urged. Among 
other things, it was alleged that he counselled the king to rule 
by an army, which many thought, bad as he was, he was the 
chief means of hindering. To be short, when they had first 
iCNigfat his life, at last it waft concluded that his banishment 
dMMild satisfy for all ; and so he was, by an act of parliament, 
baniahed during his life. The sale of Dunkirk to the French, 
and a great comely house which he had newly built, increased 
idle dupleasure that was against him : but there were greater 
canMB which I must not name. 

^ It was a notable providence that this man, who had been 
tlie great instrument of state, and had dealt so cruelly with the 
Nonconformists, should thus, by his own friends, be cast out and 
banished, while those that he had persecuted were the roost 
moderate in his cause, and many of them for him. It was a great 
case that befell good people throughout the land by his dejec- 
tion. For his way had been to decoy men into conspiracies, or 
to pretend plots, upon the rumour of which the innocent people 
of many counties were laid in prison ; so that no man knew 
when he was safe. Since then the laws have been made more 
and more severe, yet a man knoweth a little better what to ex- 
pect, when it is by a law that he is to be tried. It is also 
notable that he, who did so much to make the Oxford law for 
banishing ministers from corporations who took not that oath. 

brid^ey who joined with the others of whom we have already spoken, in intro* 
docing a very inefficient mode of preaching^ into the established church. They 
cndcavoored to examine all the principles of morality and religion on philoso* 
pbical principles, and to maintain them by the reason of things. They declared 
against superstition on the one hand, and enthusiasm on the other. They 
were attached to the constitution and forms of the church ; but moderate in 
their opposition to those who dissented from it. They were mostly Arminiant 
of the Dutch school, but admitted of a considerable latitude of sentiment, 
both in philosophy and theology. On this account, they obtained the name 
which Baxter assigns to them. They were, in fact, low churchmen of Armi* 
Blan principles; moderate in piety, in sentiment, and in zeal. Some of them, it 
appears, gradually became (to use a phrase well understood in the northern part 
of the island) ** fierce for moderation." See * Burnet's Own limes/ voL i. 


dotb^ in hia letter from France^ since his baniahment, aay, ttiat 
he never waa in favour aince the parliament sat at Oxford> 

^^ Before this, the Duke of Buckingham being at the head of 
Clarendon's adversaries, had been overtopped by him, and waa 
fain to hide himself, till the Dutch put ua in fear. He then 
aurrendered himself, and went prisoner to- the Tower ; but irith 
auch acclamations of the people, as waa a great diaoonragement 
to the chancellor ; the duke accordingly was quickly set it 
liberty* Whereupon, as the chancellor had made hiinaelf the 
bead of the prelatical party, who were for aetting up them* 
aelvea by force, and suffering none that were against them ) 
ao Buckingham would now be the head of all those parties that 
were for liberty of conscience. The man waa of no religion^ bat 
notoriously and professedly lustful ; and yet of greater wit and 
parts, and sounder principles, as to the interests of humanity and 
the common good, than most lords in the court. WherefiBre ha 
countenanced fanatics and sectaries, among others, mthont any 
great suspicion, because he was known to be so far from theal 
himself. He married the daughter and only child of Lord 
Fairfax, late general of the parliament's army, and became Us 
heir hereby, yet was he far enough from his mind ; though still 
defender of the privileges of humanity.^ 

^ ** Tbe ettrangement of the king^'s favour is snfflcieDt to account Ibr 
Clarendon's loss of power ; but bis entire ruin was rather accomptlabea hf a 
strange coalition of enemies, which his virtues, or his errors and infirmitisii 
had brought into union. The Cavaliers hated him on account of the act of 
indemnity, and the Presbyterians for that of uniformity. Yet the latter were 
not in general so eager in bis prosecution as the others. A distingaishad 
characteristic of Clarendon, had been his firmness, called, indeed^ 1^ ■Kist» 
pride and obstiuacy, which no circumbtances, no perils, seemed likely to bend. 
But bis spirit sunk all at once with his fortune. Clinging too long to ofllce^ 
and cheatiiag himself, against all probability, with a hope of his mastar't kind* 
iiess, when he had lost his confidence, he abandoned that dignified philoaopby 
which enncbles a voluntary retirement, that stern courage which innocence ought 
to inspire ; and hearkening to th^ king's treacherous counsels, fled beJbfi 
bis anemias into a foreign country." — Hailam, vol. ii. pp. 494 — 503. EUls hn 
given a letter from Charles to the Duke of Ormond,in which he assigns as the 
reasou fur depriving Clarendon of the seals, '* that his behaviour and hnnoor 
had grown so unsupportable to himself, and to all the world else, that be 
could not longer endure it^— Ort^'no/ Letters, second series, vol. iv.pp. 
3S— 40. Clarendon deserved all that befell him ; but the conduct of his fnyal 
inaster to him was base and ungrateful. 

' All who are conversaut with the times of Charles II., are familiar wiUi the 
character of Villiers, duke of Buckingham. Gay, witty, and profligate, ha 
was a fit servant of such a master. He was the alchemist and the philosopher, 
the fiddler and the poet, the mimic and the statesman. In the last capad^^ 
9axtrr seeim to have had a better opinion of his principles than he waa en- 
titled to. 


^ When the chancellor was banished. Sir Orlando firidgman 
was made lord keeper : a man who, by his becoming modenir 
tioQ to the Nonconformists, though a zealous patron of prelacy, 
got himself a good name for a time. At first, whilst the Duke of 
Buckingham kept up the cry for liberty of conscience, he seemed 
to comply with that design, to the great displeasure of the ruling 
jiielatea. But when he saw that the game would not go on, he 
turned as zealous the other way, and wholly served the prelati* 
eal interest; yet was he not much valued by either side, but 
taken for an uncertain, timorous man* High places, great busi- 
neaa and difficulties, do so try men's abilities and their morals^ 
duit many, who in a low or middle station acquired and kept 
.«p R grefU name, do quickly lose it, and grow despised and le* 
piORohed persons, when exaltation and trial have made then 
known ; besides that, as in prosperous times the chief state 
ministers are pnused, so in evil and suffering times they bear 
the Mame of what is amiss* 

^ When the Duke of Buckingham came first into this high 
Ivroar, he was looked on as the chief minister of state, instead 
nf the chancellor, and showed himself openly for toleration, or 
liberty for all parties, in matters of God's worship* Others also 
then seemed to look that vray, thinking that the kiqg was 
for it* Whereupon those who were most against it grew into 
seeming discontent* The bishop of Winchester, Morley, was 
put out of his place, as dean of the chapel royal, and Bishop 
Crofts, of Hereford, who seemed then to be for moderatioUi 
was put into it. But it was not long till Crofts was either 
discouraged, or, as some said, upon the death of a daughter, 
for grief left both it and the court ; ^ the Bishop of Oxford 
was brought into his place, and Dr. Crew, the son of that 
wise and pious man the Lord Crew, was made clerk of the 

''At the same time, the ministers of London, who had ven* 

^ Boroet says, " Crofts was a warm, devout man, but of no discretion in bis 
eonduct ; so be lost i^uod quickly. He used much freedom with the kin^; 
but it was in the wroug place, not in private, but in the pulpit."— Omth Ttmu, 
vol. i. pp. 379. 

^ Crew, who was afterwards raised to the Mshoprick of Durham, was vain, 
MBbitSout, unsteady, and insincere; more compliant with all the measures 
of court, than any of his brethren. He was re^^rded, Granger says, as tbt 
grand inquisitor in the reign of James II. ; in whose fate he very nearly 
ftbared, as, at the revolution, he was excepted from the act of indemnity ; but 
be afterwards obtained a pardon through the influence chiefly of Dr. Balet.-^ 
jBirdkV Z4^« •/ TV/lotfan, pp. 137, 138. 


tured to keep open meetings in their houses^ and preached to 
great numbers contrary to the law, were, by the king's (avouTi 
connived at : so that the people went openly to hear them 
without fear. Some imputed this to the king's own inclination 
to liberty of conscience ; some to the Duke of Buckingham's 
prevalency ; and some to the Papists' influence, who were for 
liberty of conscience for their own interest. But others thougiit 
that the Papists were really against liberty of conscience^ and 
did rather desire that the utmost severiUes might riiin the 
Puritans, and cause discontents and divisions among ourselves, 
till we had broken one another all into pieces, and turned all 
into such confusion as might advantage them to play a nuMre 
successful game than ever toleration was likely to be. What- 
ever was the secret cause, it is evident that the great visible 
cause, was the burning of London, and the want of churdiM 
for the people to meet : it being, at the first, a thing too 
gross, to forbid an undone people all public worship, with too 
great rigour ; and if they had been so forbidden, poverty had 
left so little to lose as would have made them desperately go 
on. Therefore some thought all this was to make necessity 
seem ^favour. 

'' Whatever was the cause of the connivance, it is certain that 
the country ministers were so much encouraged by the boldness 
and liberty of those in London, that they did the like in most 
parts of England, and crowds of the most religiously^inclined 
people were their hearers. iSome few got, in the way of travel- 
ling, into pulpits where they were not known, and the next day 
went away to another place. This, especially with the great 
discontents of the people, for their manifold payments, and of 
cities and corporations for the great decay of trade, and break- 
ing and impoverishing of many thousands, by the burning of the 
city ; together with the lamentable weakness and badness of 
great numbers of the ministers, that were put into the Noncon- 
formists' places, did turn the hearts of most of the common 
people in all parts against the bishops and their ways, and in- 
clined them to the Nonconformists, though fear restrained men 
from speaking what they thought, especially the richer sort, 

"In January, 1668, I received a letter from Dr. Manton, 
that Sir John Dabor told him it was the lord keeper's desire to 
speak with him and me, about a comprehension and toleration. 
On coming to London, Sir John Babor told me, that the lord 
keeper spake to him to bring us to him for the aforesaid end^ 


as lie had enrtain proposals to offer us ; that many great eour* 
tiers were our friends in the business, but that, to speak plainly^ 
if we would carry it, we must make use of such as were for a 
toleration of the Papists also. He demanded how we would 
answer the common question, What will satisfy you ? I an^ 
swered him that other men's judgments and actions, about the 
toleration of the Papists, we had nothing to do with at this 
time ; for it was no work for us to meddle in. But to this 
question, we were not so ignorant whom we had to do with, as 
to expect full satisfaction of our desires as to church affairs. 
The answer must.be suited to the sense of his question : and 
if we knew their ends, what degree of satisfaction they were 
minded to grant, we would tell them what means are necessary 
to attain them. There are d^rees of satisfaction, as to the 
number of persons to be satisfied ; and there are divers degrees 
of satisfying the same persons. If they will take in all orthodox, 
peaceable, worthy ministers, the terms must be larger. If they 
win take in but the greater part, somewhat less and harder 
terms may do it. If but a few, yet less may serve : for we 
are not so vain as to pretend that all Nonconformists are, in 
every particular, of one mind. 

^ When we came to the lord keeper^ we resolved to tell him 
that Sir John Babor told us his lordship desired to speak 
with us, lest it should be after said, that we intended, or were 
the movers of it ; or lest it had been Sir John Babor's forward- 
ness that had been the cause. He told us why he sent for us : 
that it was to think of a way of our restoration ; to which end 
he had some proposals to offer us, which were for a comprehen- 
sion for the Presbyterians, and an indulgence for the Indepen- 
dents and the rest. We asked him whether it was his lordship's 
pleasure that we should offer him our opinion of the means, or 
only receive what he offered to us. He told us, that he had 
somewhat to offer us, but we might also offer our own to him. 
I told him, that I did think we could offer such terms, which,, 
wliile no way injurious to the welfare of any, might take 
in both Presbyterians and Independents, and alt sound Chris- 
tians, into the established ministry. He answered, that was a 
thing he would not have ; but only a toleration for the rest \ 
which being none of our business to debate, we desired him to 
consult such persons about it as were concerned in it ; and so it 
was agreed that we should meddle with the comprehension only. 
A few days after he accordingly sent us his proposals* 

1170 TfiS tin ANl> TtlfBS 


*^ When we saw the proposals, we perceived that the bnsiness of 
the lord keeper, and his way, would make it* unfit for us to de- 
bate such cases with himself; and therefore we wrote to him, 
requesting that he would nominate two learned, peaceable dhrioei 
to treat with us, till we had agreed on the fittest terms; and 
that Dr* Bates might be added to us. He nominated Dr. 
Wilkins, who, we then found, was the author of the propotab, 
and of the whole business,*" and his chaplain, Mr. Burton.* 
When we met, we tendered them some proposals of our owOi 
and some alterations which we desired in their propoeala } for 
they presently rejected ours, and would hear no more of them } 
so that we were fain to treat upon theirs alone.''® 

According to the heads of agreement which had been entered 
into between the parties in private, a bill was prepared for par- 
liament by Lord Chief Justice Hale ; but Bishop Wilkins, an 
honest and open-hearted man, having disclosed the affair to 
Bishop Ward, in hope of his assistance, he alarmed the bishops; 
who, instead of promoting the design, concerted measures to 
defeat it. As soon as parliament met, it was mentioned that 
there were rumours out of doors that a bill was to be prop o se d ' 
for comprehension and indulgence; on which a rescdutjon was 
passed, that no man should bring such a bill into the House.' 
To crush the Nonconformists more effectually, Archbishc^ Shel- 

"> Bishop Wilkins was one oflhe best members of the episcopacy during hif 
time. His character as a philosopher is well known ; his moderation as a 
churchman appears from his conduct in theafBairof the comprehensioiiywliicli 
failed from no want of firmness and principle in bim, but from the ▼ioklica of 
the hi{ph-church party. 

» Dr. Hezekiah Burton was chaplain to the lord keeper, and a person af 
^reat respectability. Beside the persons eo^ged in this affair mendoncd bj 
Baatcfi it appears that Tillotson and Stillingflect were also conoeraed In itr- 
JBirch*s Uft of TiUotson, p. 42. 

* Life, part iii. pp. 20 - 24. Ilallam says, *' The design was to act on the 
principle of the declaration of 1660, so that Presbyterian ordination tbonld 
pass mi nmb, Tillotson and Stillingfieet were concerned in it. The kia; vat 
at this time exasperated a^inst the bishops for their support of Clarendoiu" 
^ ConttUutionai Hist. vol. ii. p. 506. 

V ** Sir Thomas Littleton spoke in favour of the comprehension, as did 
Seymour and Waller; all of them enemies of Clarendon, and probably con- 
nected with the Buckingham faction : but the church party was much loo 
strong^ for them. Pepys says the Commons were furious a^inst the project: 
it was said, that whoever pniposed new laws about relipon, must do it witl| a 
rope about bis neck.— January 1 0, 1668. This is the first instance of a triumph 
obuined by the church over the crown, in the House of Commons. Ralph 
observes upon it, ' it is not for nought that the words Church and Sute are 
so often coupled toother, and that the first has so insolently usurped the pre- 
cedency of Xhfi last.' ^''-^JJallem, vol. ii. p, 506* 

OF fticBAiiy baxtir: S7t 

iM WMM ft rfretilar letter to the bishops of his provitiee to send 
him a,pinieul«r accDunt of the conventicles in their several 
dioceseti and of the numbers that frequented them ; and whether 
they thought they might be easily suppressed by the magistrate.^ 
When he obtained this information, he went to the king and got 
a proefaunation to put the laws in execution against the Noncon-^ 
fcrmisti, and particularly against the preachers^ according to the 
statttte whkh fiM'bade their living in corporate towns/ 

Thk treaty not only shared the fate of all former treaties of 
the same kind, but eventually increased the sufferings of the Non-> 
eoofbrmisti* It amused and occupied attention for a time, and 
then oame to nothing. The papers given in showed how much 
the Nonconformists were disposed to yield for the sake of peace | 
but they were perpetually doomed to be first tantalized and then 
disappointed. The bishops, who ought to have been minister^ 
of peace and reconciliation, were generally the means of retard- 
ix^ or preventing them. ' 

• ^ How joyfully,'' says Baxter, ^' would 1400, at least, of the 
nonconfbrmable ministers of England have yielded to these 
termi if they could have got them 1 JBut, alas ! all this labour 
was in vain; for the active prelates and prelatists so far prevailed, 
that as soon as ever the parliament met, they prevented all talk 
or motion of such a thing ; and the lord keeper, that had called 
OS, and set us on work, himself turned that way, and talked after 
as if he understood us not. 

^ Jn April, 1668, Dr. Creighton, dean of Wells, the most fa** 
motts loquacious^ ready-tongued preacher of the court, who was 
used to preach Calrin to hell, and the Calvinists to the gallows, 
and by his scornful revilings and jests to set the court on a laugh* 
ter, was suddenly, in the pulpit, without any sickness, surprised 
with astonishment, worse than Dr. South, the Oxford orator, had 
been before him. When he had repeated a sentence over and 
over, he was so confounded that he could go no further at all, 
and was fain, to all men's wonder, to come down. His case was 
more wonderful than almost any other man's, being not only a 

« It is said tbere were private iDstructions given to some of the clergy, *' to 
make the conventicles as few and inconsiderable as might be ; " with which 
they were requested to answer the question, ** Whether they thought they 
might be easily suppressed by the assistance of the civil magistrate ? "-"The 
C&mfmrmuVs Plea for NoncortformisU, part i. p. 40. 

' Neal, vol. iv. pp. 385, 386. Keal gives a full detail of the nature of the 
terms proposed in this treaty, to which the reader may easily refer, if be wishes 
to enter more minutely into the subjecti 


fluent extempore speaker, but one that was never known to want 
words, especially to express his satirical or bloody thoughts* 

^ lo July, Mr. Tavemer, late minister of Uxbridge, was 
sentenced to Newgate, for teaching a few children at Brentfindi 
but paying his fine prevented it. Mr. Button, of Brentford, 
a most humble, worthy, godly man, who never had been in 
orders, or a preacher, but had been canon of Christ's chorehi 
in Oxford, and orator to the University, was sent to gaol finr 
teaching two knight's sons in his house, not having taken the 
Oxford oath. Many of his neighbours, of Brentford, were sent 
to the same prison for worshipping Ood in private together, 
where they all lay many months. I name these because thcj 
were my neighbours, but many counties had the like nsage : 
yea. Bishop Crofts, that had pretended great moderation^ sent 
Mr. Woodward, a worthy, silenced minister, of Herefordshire^ 
to gaol for six months. Some were imprisoned upon the OxSati 
Act, and some on the Act against Conventicles. 

** In September, Colonel Phillips, a courtier of the bed* 
chamber, and my next neighbour, who spake to me fiur, eom- 
plained to the king of me, for preaching to great numbers ; bot 
the king put it by, and nothing was done at that time. 

" About this time. Dr. Manton, being nearest the court, and 
of great name among the Presbyterians, and being heard hf 
many of great quality,* was told by Sir John Babor that the 
king was much inclined to favour the Nonconformists, that an 
address now would be acceptable, and that the address most be 
a thankful acknowledgment of the clemency of his majestjr's 
government, and the liberty which we thereby enjoy, &c. Ac- 
cordingly, they drew up an address of thanksgiring, and I wss 
invited to join in the presenting of it, but not in the peniung^ 
for I had marred their matter oft enough : but I was both wk 

■ Dr. Mftnton was a person of very excellent character and talents at a od* 
sister ; and seems to have enjoyed a considerable portion of popularity. Hi 
had a good deal of intercourse with the icings, anti could numbier amon^ Ui 
hearers many of the nobility. If we nbay attach any importance to Clam* 
don's joke, and a good plump portrait, we should reji^ard Manton as a remark* 
ably pleasant, good-tempered, easy man. Such probably he was ; but be was 
far from being a timid, or a time-serving, courtier. On the contraiy, he was 
a man of invincible integrity and principle, combined with great prudence^ 
which were put to the test ou various occasions in his life. He was a veiy vo« 
luminous preacher, as some of his published works prove. Lord Bolingbroke 
appears to have been, in early life, one of his hearers, who says, " He taught 
my youth to yawn, and prepared roe to be a high churchman, that 1 might 
never bear him read or read him more.'* See his life, prefixed to his lermoiii 
on the 119th Psalm ; Granger's Biog, Hist, i and Palmer's Noncoo. Men. 


and unwiUhig, hawig been often enough employed in vain. I 
tokT'tbem, howiever, only of ray sickness ; so Dr. Manton^ Dr. 
Bates, Dr. Jacomb, and Mr. Ennis, presented it."^ 

The address of the ministers was most graciously received; 
and Charles on this, as on many other occasions, played the 
hypocrite very successfully.^ 

' ^ But after all this,'' says Baxter, ^ we were as before. The 
trik of liber^ did but occasion the writing many bitter pamphlets 
against toleration. Among others, they gathered out of mine 
and other men's books all that we had there said against liberty 
Imt Popery,- and for Quakers railing against the ministers in 
open congregations, which they applied as against a toleration 
of ooraehes ; for the bare name of toleration did seem in the 
people's ears to serve their turn by signifying the same thing. 
Became' we had said that men should not be tolerated to preach 
against Jesus Christ and the Scriptures, they would thence justify 
themselves for not tolerating us to preach for Jesus Christ, 
uless we would be deliberate liars, and use all their inventions. 
Thoaesame men, who, when commissioned with us to make such 
alterations in- the liturgy as were necessary to satisfy tender 
consciences, did maintain that no alteration was necessary to 
ntbfy them, and did moreover, contrary to all our importunity, 
make so many new burdens of their own to be anew imposed 
on us^ had now little to say but that they must be obeyed^ 
because they were imposed."' 

We cannot but sympathise with the Nonconformists in the 
treatment they experienced; and yet those of them who had con- 
tended for a limited toleration, were scarcely entitled to complain 
when they found their own weapons turned against themselves. 
The parties who did so, however, had no great ground for 
boasting, for the doctrine of toleration they neither understood 
nor acted on, except while they were themselves tolerated. 
Among those who distinguished themselves in writing against 
the ministers, were. Dr. Patrick in his ^ Friendly Debate between 
a Conformist and a Nonconformist,' which was answered by 
several writers ; and Samuel Parker, whose ' Ecclesiastical 

* Life, part iiL p. 36. 

* Dr. MaDton^ in a letter to Baxter, pves bim an account of the reception 
which they experienced from his majesty, and of the reference which Cbarles 
■uule to his preaching at Acton ; the popularity of which seems not to have 
bsen acceptable to the higher powers.— >Zr(/V| part iiL p. 37. 

s Uh, part iii. pp. 38^ 39. 


874 tM LifB AVI) Tlllll 

Polity* tAlled fbrth A% Might of Owen's dbpIeanM^ and tlift 
pttngttidy of Manreri wtt« But the controvenial affiun of ibft 
period, we must defer to a ^ubtequent part of thii w6fk| iiid 
fituiii to Baxter's narrative. 

^' Wbil# I li^^ at Acton, as long as the act against ^oaMOm 
cles was in force, though I preached to my fiunily, Aw of Ilia 
town eame to hear me) partly because ibey thought h wmdd 
imdanger me, and partly for fear of sufiering themitfMi^ IM 
twpecially because they were an ignorant poor peopb^ and had 
no appetite for such things. When the act exptredi thaea ciBM 
so many, that I wanted room ) and when once they had ^MSi 
and heaird^ they afterwards came constantly ) insomnh^ that ia 
a little time, there was a great number of them, wh6. aaemW 
.Tery seriously affected with the things they heardy and almest 
all the town and parish, besides abundance from Brentford atti 
the neighbouring parishes, eame ; and I know not of three in thi 
parish that were adversaries to us or our endeavours^ or wish^ 
us ill.*' r 

It was while residing at Aoton^ that Baxter first baeame ao« 
quainted With Sir Matthew Hale, then lord chief baron of ills 
fixchequeri and one of the most eminent men for integrity and 
worth in his profession, as well as for pure and enlightoned viowi 
as a Christian, whom this country has been honoured to prodiier. 
As Baxter has drawn his character at large With considerable 
power, the reader, I am sure, uill be glad to have it placed befait 

^* He was a man of no quick utterance, but spake with great 
reason^ He was most precisely just | insomuch that, I bdiofCj^ 
•he would have lost all he had in the world rather than do IM 
unjust act. Patient in hearing the most tedious speech whifih 
any man )iad to make for himself. The pillar of justiGe» ti^ 
refuge of the subject who feared oppression, and otie of the 
greatest honours of his majesty's government } for, with eoaie 
other upright judges, he upheld the honour of the English Ba» 
tion, that it fell not into the reproach of arbitrarinessi crudtyi 
and utter confosion. £rery man that had a just oause^ was 
almost past fear, if he could but bring it to the court or assiie 
where he was judge; for the other judges seldom contradicted 
him. He was the great instrument for rebuilding London s for 
when an act was made for deciding all controversies that 

1 Lift, part iii. p. 4& 

W AtCHAU) flAtniu 275 

Hndcrad ic, he wm the erniatant judge, who, for nothings fol* 
iMred the worit, and, by his prudence and justice, removed a 
Uhdtitmii of great impediments. 

• ^ Hit great advantage for innocency was, that he was no 
lever of riches or of grandeur. His garb was too plain } he 
studiously avoided all unnecessary familiarity with great persons, 
nd an that manner of living which signiiieth wealth and great* 
Dtab He kept no greater a family than myself. I lived in a 
OMll houie^ which, for a pleasant back opening, he had a mind 
fiOf^bM eaused a stranger, that he might not be suspected to 
hestMe mm^ to know of me whether I were willing to part with 
il^'betee he would meddle urith it. In that house he lived 
cUn t ea t e dly , without any pomp, aod without oostly or trouble • 
some retinue or visitors ; but not without charity to the poor* 
BotHUlindcd the study of physics ahd madiematics still, as his 
||Mat ddight, - He hath himself written four volumes in folio, 
tfaito of which I have read, against atheism, Sadduceism, and 
infidelity, to prove first the Deity, and then the immortality 
of aaan'a soul, and then the truth of Christianity, and the Holy 
Scripture, answering the infidel's objections against Scripture* 
It ia strong and masculine, only too tedious for . impatient 
mdort* He sdd, he wrote it only at vacant hours in his cir^ 
cuits, to regulate his meditations, finding that while he wrote 
down what he thought on, his thoughts were the easier kept 
dote to Work, and kept In a method. But I could not persuade 
him to publish them. 

^Tbe conference which I had frequently with him, mostly 
sbout the immortality of the soul, and other philosophical and 
foondation points, was so edifying, that his very questions and 
objections did help me to more light than other men's solutions. 
Ilioee who take none for religious, who frequent not private 
nMtings, 8iQ^ took him for an excellently righteous, moral 
man : but I, who heard and read his serious expressions of the 
concernments* of eternity, and saw his love to all good men, 
and the blamelessness of his life, thought better of his piety than 
my own. When the people crowded in and out of my house to 
hear, he openly showed me so great respect before them at the 
door, and never spake a word against it, as was no small en- 
eooragement to the comm6n people to go on; though the other 
•ort muttered, that a judge should seem so far to countenance 
that which they took to be against the law. He was a great 
lamenter of the extremities of the times, and of the violence 



and foolishness of the predominant clergy; and a great denrer of 
such abatements as might restore us all to.serviceableness and 
unity. He had got but a very small estate, though he had long 
the greatest practice, because he would take but little money, 
and undertake no more business than he could well dispatch. 
'. He often offered to the lord chancellor to resign his plae^ 
when he was blamed for doing that which he supposed was 
justice. He had been the learned Selden's intimate friend^ and 
one of his executors; and because the Hobbians,and other 
infidels would have persuaded the world that Selden was of tbdr 
mind,' I desired him to tell me the truth therein. He assured me 
that Selden was an earnest professor of the Christian fiuth, and 
so angry an adversary to Hobbes, that he hath rated him out of 
the room." • 

Such is Baxter's account of this distinguished man, whose moral 
worth threw a glory over his high professional attiunmenti, and 
rendered him an eminent blessing to his country.. Unfortn* 
nately, few of the clergy were like this ornament of the law, 
either in religious character, or in peaceable disposition. Veiy 
different, for example, was the clergyman of the parish ia 
which Judge Hale and Baxter resided. The conduct of thb 
individual brought Baxter into such trouble, that I must leavs 
him to describe both his character and his behaviour. 

■ I am at a loss to understand on what grounds the class of persons to wbon 
Baxter refers^ could claim Selden as one of them. I suspect the iosiooatioa 
roust have originated with the high-church party, to whose claims Selden WM 
. certainly no friend. His attack on the divine right of tithes^ the jniMMoltes 
not the <foc<rtne of which he retracted, gave great offence to the church. His 
Erastianism, in regard to church government, made him unacceptable to the 
Presbyterians; while his jokes, at the expense of the Westminster Aaiemfalyi 
of which he was a lay roember,'probably rendered his serious piety a Utile 
doubtful. Nothing in his writings, however, can induce any one to tnppase 
that Selden was either infidel or sceptical in his notions of religion ; but moie 
firmness uf character than he appears to have possessed, would have gfcatly 
increased the lustre of his eminent talents and profound learning. 

• Life, part iii. pp. 47} 48. Bishop Burnet published an interestiag little 
Tolume, *The Life and Death of Sir Matthew Hjile,' which confirms all tlMl 
Baxter has said of his illustrious friend. Burnet was not himself acqnaioied 
with Hale, but does great justice to his character. He mentions, that "-ht 
held great conversation with Mr. Baxter, who was his neighbour at Acton ; on 
whom he looked as a person of great devotion and piety, and of a very subtile 
and quick apprehension. Their conversation lay most in mataphysical and 
Abstracted ideas and schemes."— p. 45. Burnet concludes his memuira of the 
judge by saying, '* He was One of the greatest patterns this age haa aliMid» 
whether in his private deportment as a Christian, or in his public employQCttH 
either at the bar, or on the bench."— p. 128. A lecond edition of this life WM 
nocompamed with notes by Baxter. 


^ Th6 parson of this parish was Dr. Ryves, dean of Windsor 
ad of Wolverhampton, parson of Hasely and of Acton, chap- 
hm in ordinary to the king, &c. His curate was a weak young 
vmn, who spent most of his time in the ale-houses, and read a 
few dry sentences to the people once a day. Yet, because he 
preached true doctrine, and I had no better to hear, I constantly 
beard htm when he preached, and went to the beginning of the 
eominon prayer. As my house faced the church door, and 
was within hearing of it, those that heard me before, went with 
me to the church ; scarcely three, that I know of, in the parish 
fefiising. When I preached, after the public exercise, they went 
out of the church into my house. It pleased the doctor and 
parato, that I came to church and brought others with me, but 
he was not able to bear the sight of people crowding into my 
house, though they heard him also; so that though he spake me 
fidr, and we K?ed in seeming love and peace while he was there, 
jet he could not long endure it. When I had brought the people 
to church to hear him, he would fall upon them with ground* 
ksa reproaches; as if he had done it purposely to drive them 
amy, and yet he thought that my preaching to them, because it 
was in a house, did all the mischief; though he never accused 
W of any thing that I spake, for I preached nothing but Chris- 
tianity and submission to our superiors, faith, repentance, hope. 
We, humility, self-denial, meekness, patience, and obedience. 

^He was the more offended, because I came not to the sacra- 
Bent with him ; though I communicated in the other parish 
dnrches in London and elsewhere. I was loth to offend him, 
\fj giving him the reason ; which was, that he was commonly 
iqmted a swearer, a curser, a railer, &c. In those tender times, 
k would have been so great an offence to the Congregational 
Ivethren, if I had communicated with him, and perhaps have 
kutened their sufferings who durst not do the same, that I 
thought it would do more harm than good."*' 

It is a pity Baxter did not put his refusal to communicate 
tiih 8uch a man, on a better footing than merely that of giving 
ofrnce to his brethren.^ An individual acting in a manner 

^ Life, pArt iii. pp. 46, 47. 

' tlie account which Ba3(ter gives of the conduct of Dean Ryves corresponds 
accamely with the opinion which we should have formed of him from some 
of kic writiof^. He was a violent royalist ; and as he had suflfered for his 
pteiplca during the civil wars, he prohahly thought himself justified in re- 
f riHrt«g on the Nonconformists. His < Mercorius Rusticus, or the Coun- 
try% Complaint of the barbarous outrages committed by the Sectaries of 


BO openly profane, ought not to have been countenanced as a re- 

ligious teacher by any Christian. It is, indeed, diffieolt to 
ceive how Baxter could reconcile himself even to hear soch a 
man, and, by his example, to influence others to do the aame | 
when we reflect on his strong views of the mischief and ainfid* 
ness of countenancing ungodly ministers. His love of pcaoCi 
and desire to prevent schism in the established churchy wen the 
impelling motives, which, in this instance, certainly carried Ui 
too far. 

^^At Wolverhampton, in Staffordshire, Vhere Rjnrea 
dean, were abundance of Papists and violent formaliilii 
Amongst whom was one Brasgirdle, an apothecary^ who^ia 
conference with Mr. Reynolds (an able preacher therQ aBeneai 
and turned out), by his bitter words tempted him into ao nmek 
indiscretion as to say, that the Nonconformists were not ao eoDr 
temptible for number and quality as he made themi that moit 
of the people were of their mind ; that Cromwell, though an 
usurper, had kept up England against the Dutch ; and 'that 
he marvelled he would be so hot against private meetings^ whoi 
at Acton the dean suffered them at the next door. Having 
this advantage, Brasgirdle writeth all this, greatly aggravated, 
to the dean. The dean hastens away with it to the king, as if 
it were the discovery of treason. Mr. Reynolds is questioned, 
but the justices of the county to whom it was referredf upon 
hearing of the business, found mere imprudence heightened to a 
crime, and so released him. But before this could be done, the 
king, exasperated by the name of Cromwell, and other unad* 
vised words, as the dean told me, bid him go to the Bishop of 
London from him, and bid him see to the suppression of my 
meeting, which was represented to him as much greater than il 
was. Whereupon, two justices were chosen for their turn to do 
it. One Ross, of Brentford, a Scotsman, and one Phillips, a 
steward to the Archbishop of Canterbury." <^ 

In consequence of this complaint, a warrant was grapted to 

this late flourishing^ KiDf^dom,' contains some curious accounts of the bittlii| 
sieges, and combats, between the king's and the parliament's forces, to ffcs 
year 164G. He represents the treatment of the royal party to bare bcea, in 
many instances, intolerably severe, which was probably the case. His so- 
coiint of the treatment of the sectaries, is, I apprehend, a good deal aggraTat- 
ed. The 'Querela Cantabrigieusis/ which is commonly ascribed tohiiB,U 
also ascribed to Dr. John Barwick. — See * Life of Barwick^ ' pp, 32, 33. Dr. 
Ryves died in 1677, in the Slstyear of his age. 
« life, part iU. p. 48. 


Mag BuHer before the juttioes at Bmitferd. After maiittain^ 
l^g a eoDBideraUe conflict with them, in which they treated him 
very mdecoroiiBly, he was, by their mittimus, sent to Clerkenwal| 
priiony for holding a conventicle, not having taken the Oxford 
oath, and refosiog it when tendered to him. 

^ Tliey woidd have given me leave to stay till Monday^ be* 
fare I went to gaol, if I would have promised them not to 
preach the next Lord's day, which I refiised. This was made a 
hdnous crime against me at the court, and it was also said that 
h eoold not be out of conscience that I preached, else why did 
Bol my conscience put me on it so long before ? Whereas I had 
wmm preaehed to my own family, and never once invited any 
one to bear me, or forbade any; so that the di&rence was 
made by the people, and not by me« If they came more at 
last than at first, before they had heard me, thai signifie4 
BO change in me. But thus must we be judged of, where wa 
en absent, and our adversaries present j and there ^re many to 
speak against us what they please, and we are banished frpm 
eitiee and corporations, and cannot speak for ourselves* 

^ Hie whole town of Acton were greatly exasperated agalnel 
te dean, when I was going to prison } so much so, that ever 
after they abhorred him as a selfish persecutor. Nor could be 
have devised to do more to hinder the success of his seldom 
preaching there ; but it was his own choicey*-' Let them bate 
BI0, ao they fear me.' 

• . ^^ Thus I finally left that place, being grieved most that Batan 
had prevailed to stop the poor people in such hopefiil begin* 
ninge of a common reformation, and that I was to be deprived 
of the exceeding gratefiil neighbourhood of the Lord Chief 
Baron Hale, who could scarce refrain tears when he heard of 
the first warrant for my appearance. 

^ As I went to prison, I called on Serjeant Fountain, my 
special friend, to take his advice ; for I would not be so itguf 
rioiis to Judge Hale. He perused my mittimus, and, in short, 
advised me to seek for a habeas corpus, but not in the usual 
eomt (the King's Bench), for reasons kndwn to all that knew 
the judges | nor yet in the Exchequer, lest his kindness to me 
should he an injury to Judge Hale, and so to the kingdom | but 
at the Common Pleas, which he said might grant it, though it 
is not usual. 

^^ My greatest doubt was, whether the king would not take it 
111, that I mther sought to the law than unto him ] or if I sought 


any release rather than continue in prison. My impriMnment 
was at present no great suffering to me, for I had an honest, 
jailor, who showed me all the kindness he could. I had a 
large room, and the liberty of walking in a fair garden. Mj 
wife was never so cheerful a companion to me as in prison, and 
was very much against my seeking to be released. She had 
brought so many necessaries, that we kept house as contentedly 
and comfortably as at home, though in a narrower room^.and 
had the sight of more of my friends in a day, than I bad at 
home in half a year. I knew also that if I got out against 
their will, my sufferings would be never the nearer to. an end 
But yet, on the other side, it was in the extreme heat of simi- 
mer, when London was wont to have epidemical diseases. The 
hope of my dying in prison, I have reason to think was one 
great inducement to some of the instruments to move to what 
they did. My chamber being over the gate, which was knocked 
and opened with noise of prisoners, just under me almost eveiy 
night, I had little hope of sleeping but by day, which, would 
have been likely to have quickly broken my strength, which was 
lo" little that I did but live. The number of visitors daily, pirt 
me out of hope of studying, or of doing any thing bnt enter* 
tain them. I had neither leave at any time to go out of dooiiy 
much less to church on the Lord's days, nor on that day to have 
any come to me, or to preach to any but my family. . 

^' Upon all these considerations the advice of some was, that I 
should petition the king. To this I was averse ; .and my coun- 
sellor, Serjeant Fountain, advised me not to seek to it^ nor yet 
to refuse their favour if they offered it, but to be wholly .passive 
as to the court, and to seek my freedom by law, because of my 
great weakness and the probzibility of future peril to my life: 
and this counsel I followed. ■ 

^^ The Earl of Orrery, I heard, did earnestly and specially speak 
to the king, how much my imprisonment was to his disservice. 
The Earl of Manchester could do little but by Lord Arlingtoni 
who, with the Duke of Buckingham, seemed much concerned ni 
it ; but the Earl of Lauderdale, who would have been most fot* 
ward, had he known the king's mind to be otherwise, said no- 
thing. So all my great friends did me not the least service, but 
made a talk of it, with no fruit at all. The moderate, honest 
part of the episcopal clergy were much offended, and said I was 
chosen out designedly to make them all odious to the people. 
But Sir John Babor, often visiting me, assured me that he had 


ipoken to the king about it, but that, after all had done their 
Iwi^ he was not willing to be seen to relax the law and dis« 
sourage justices in executing it, &c. ; but that his majesty woidd 
not be offended if I sought my remedy at law, which most 
thoi^ht would come to nothing, 

^ While I was' thus unresolved which way to take> Sir John 
Babor desiring a narrative of my case, I gave him one, which 
he showed to Lord Arlington. The lord chief baron, about the 
nme time, at the table at Serjeant's Inn, before the rest of the 
judges, gave such a character of me, without fear of any man's 
displeasure, as is not fit for me to own or recite. He was so 
omidi reverenced by the rest, who were every one strangers to 
me, aave by hearsay, that I believe it much settled these resolo- 
tiona. The Lord Chief Jusdce Vaughan was no friend to Non- 
Donformity, or Puritans ; but he had been one of Selden's 
nwcntors, and so Judge Hale's old acquaintance. Judge Tyrell 
ITM a well-afiiected, sober man, and Serjeant Fountain's brother- 
iih-law by marriage, and sometime his fellow-commissioner for 
keeping the great seal and chancery. Judge Archer was one 
that jprivately favoured religious people : and Judge Wild, though 
greatly for the prelates' way, was noted for a righteous man. 
Ilieee vrere the four judges of the court. 

^ My habeas corpus being demanded at the Common Pleas^ 
aras granted, and a day appointed for my appearance. When I 
came, the judges, I believe, having not before studied the Oxford 
set, when Judge Wild had first said I hope you will not trouble 
this court with such causes, asiked whether the king's counsel 
had been acquainted with the case, and seen the order of the 
court ; which being denied, I was remanded back to prison, and 
a new day set. They suffiered me not to stand at the bar, but 
called me up to the table, which was an unusual respect ; and 
they sent me not to the Fleet, as is usual, but to the same prison, 
which was a greater favour. 

^' When I appeared next, the lord chief justice, coming towards 
Westminster Hall, went into Whitehall by the way, which 
caused much talk among the people. When he came. Judge 
Vinid began, and having showed that he was no friend to con* 
vcnticles, opened the act, and then opened many defaults in the 
mittimus, for which he pronounced it invalid ; but, in civility to 
the justices, said, that the act was so penned, that it was a 
very hard thing to draw up a mittimus by it ; which was no com- 
pliment to the parliament. Judge Archer next spake largely 


«gmintt tbe mittimus, without any word of dispta^^eineiit to'Am 
main cause, and so did Judge Tyrell after him. Judg« Vaiighatt 
concluded in the same manner, but with these two siniivbuicics 
above the resf . He made it an error in the mittimus, that the 
witnesses were not named, seeing that the Oxford act fpnof llii 
justices so great a power if the witnesses be unknownf any Inno- 
cent person may be laid in prison, and shall never knoiw w biWj i 
or against whom, to seek remedy, which was a matter of gnat 

^ When he had done with the cause, he made a speech to the 
people, aiid told them that by their appearance, he pe feei f ad 
ihat this was an affair of as great expectation as had been birfbie 
4hem. It being usual with the people to carry away things bf 
halves, and as their misreports might mislead othere, he them 
fore acquainted them, that though he understood that Mr* 
Baxter was a man of great learning and of a good lifi% yet be 
having this singularity, that he was a conventicler, and aa tha 
law was against conventicles, it was only upon the error of dtf 
warrant that he was released* That the judgee wire eeoea* 
tomed, in their charges at assises, to inquire after .eonveBtiela% 
which are against the law ; so that, if they that made the nto* 
timus, had but known how to make it, they CQuld not hasr 
delivered him, nor can do it for him, or any that shall so trans- 
gress the law. 

^ This was supposed to be that which was resolved en at 
Whitehall, by the way. But he had never heard what I had to 
aay in the main cause, to prove myself no transgressor of tbe 
law; nor did he at all tell them how to know what a omwh 
tide is, which the common law is so much against* 

^' Being discharged from my imprisonment, my sufferings be^ 
gan ; for I had there better health than I had for a long tnna 
before or after. I had now more exasperated tbe authors of asy 
imprisonment. I was not at all acquitted as to the main censer 
They might amend their mittimus, and lay me up again. I 
knew no way how to bring my main cause, whether they had 
power to put the Oxford oath on me to a legal trial, and my 
counsellors advised me not to do it, much less to question the 
judges for false imprisonment, lest I were borne down by power. 
I had now a house of great rent on my hands, which I must not 
come to, and had no other house to dwell in. I knew not 
what to do with all my goods and family. I must go out of 
Middlesex { I must not come within five miles of a city, eorpo* 

.pf 1ICBAR0 BAXniU M 

mtfoPy Ami. Where to find 9iich a place, ^d therein A honae, apd 
how to remove my goods thither, and what to do with my house 
till my time expired, were more trouble than my quiet prison by 
hr, and the consequents yet worse. 

^ Gratitude commandeth me to tell the world who were my 
beoefiMstors in my imprisonment, and calumny as much obligelh 
ae^ because it is said among some that I was enriched Iqr ib 
Serjeant Fountain's general counsel ruled me. Mr. Wallop and 
Mr. Offley lent me their counsel, and would take nothing. Of 
four seijeanta that pleaded my cause, two of them, Serjeant 
WuuUuun, afterwaids baron of the Exchequer, and Se^eant 
Sisa» would take nothing. Sir John Bernard, a person I never 
saw but once, sent me no less than twenty pieces | the Comi» 
tesa of Bxeter, ten pounds ; and Alderman ^fiard, five« I re* 
ceived no more, but I confess more was offered me, vrtiiel| 
I reftisedi and more would have been given, but that tlwyknew 
I needod it not ; and this much defrayed my law and prisoa 
, ^ When the same justices saw that I was thus discharged, 
they were not satisfied to have driven me from Acton, but they 
made r new mittimus by counsel, as for the same supposed faulty 
naming the fourth of June as the day on which I preached;, and 
yet not naming any witness, though the act against comrentielee 
was expired long before. This mittimus they put into an officer's 
handsy in London, to bring me, not to Clerkenwell, but among 
the thieves and murderers, to the common jail at Newgate, which 
wai> since the fire which burnt down all the better rooms, the 
most noisome place that I have heard of, of any prison in the 
land, except the Tower dungeon. 

^ The next habitation which God's providence chose for me, 
was atTotteridge, near Barnet* where, for a year, I was fain with 
part of my family separated from the rest, to take a few mean 
rooms, which were so extremely smoky, and tlie place withal so 
cold, that I spent the winter in great pain ; one quarter of a 
year by a sore sciatica, and seldom free from much anguish."* 

Between the years 1665 and 1670, Baxter laboured diligently 
on some of his most important works. It was during this 
period he produced his ^ Reasons of the Christian Religion,' and 
his ' Directions to weak Christians how to grow in Grace.' He 
finished, though he did not then print, his ^ Christian Directory.' 
He enlarged his sermon before the king into a quarto volume^ 

• Ldfe^ part Uh pp. 50*^. 


on the ^ life of Faith ;' beside some minor pieces^ stieh as his 
^ Cufe of Church Divisions/ He wrote also ' his Apology for 
the Nonconformists/ and a great part of his ^MethoduSy' 
though it was not published till some time afterwards. 

During this period also, he had a long discussion in person^ 
and in writing, with Dr. Owen, about the terms of agreem«it 
among Christians of all parties. It was not productive of any 
practical effect at the time ; and the blame of its failure Bax- 
ter lays upon Owen. The correspondence he has pablished^ 
from which it is not difficult to account for the failure, without 
Attaching blame to either party. The views of these two diatin- 
guished individuals differed, not, indeed, in any essential pointy 
bot on various subordinate matters affecting systematic union and 
co-operation. They differed also in their dispositions and antici- 
pations. Owen was calm, dignified, and firm, but respectlbl and 
courteous. Baxter was sharp and cutting in his reprooft, san- 
guine in his expectations of success ; and, confident of his own 
guileless simplicity, disposed to push matters further than the 
circumstances of the times admitted. Though not superior in 
the substantial attainments of the Christian character^ the de- 
portment of Owen was bland and conciliating, compared with 
that of Baxter. Hence, Owen frequently made friends of ene- 
mies, while Baxter often made enemies of friends. The one ex- 
pected to unite all hearts, by attacking all understandings ; the 
other trusted more to the gradual operation of Christian feeling^ 
by which alone he believed that extended unity would finally br 
effected. The issue has proved that, in this case, Owen had 
made the wiser calculation. 



CoBvcotiick Act renewed— Lord Lauderdale— Fears of tbe Bishopt about the 
foereaia of Popery— Bishop Ward— Grove— Serjeant FouuUdn— Jud|^ 
VmglMUi— Tbe King connives at the Toleration of the Nonoonfbrmists— > 
Sbttti up tlie Exchequer— The Dispensing Declaration— License applied 
for OB Bttxtar^s behalf- Pinner's Hall Lecture— Baxter Preaches at dlf- 
. IvBBlplaeei— Tbe King's Declaration voted illef^ai by Pteiiamenfr— The 
Test Act— Baxter desired by the Earl of Orrery to draw up new Terms of 
Agreement— Healing Measure proposed in the House of Commons, which 
&i]a— Conduct of some of the Conformists— Baxter's Afflictions — Preaches 
at St. James's Market*House— Licenses recalled — Baxter employs an As« 
sistant— Apprehended by a Warrant— Escapes being Imprisoned— Another 
Scheme of Comprehension— Informers— City Magistrates— Parliament faUt 
en Lauderdale and others— The Bishops' Test Act— Baxter's Goods dis- 
trained—Various Ministerial Labours and Suiferings— Controversy with 
Penn— Baxter's Danger— His Writings during this period. 

In the year 1670^ the act against conventicles was renewed, 
and made more severe than ever, several new clauses being 
inserted, which Baxter believed to have a particular reference 
to his own case* It was declared, for instance, contrary to all 
justice, that the faults of the mittimus should not vitiate it, and 
that all doubtful clauses should be interpreted in the sense most 
unfavourable to conventicles. It seemed as if the intention of 
the court had been to extirpate the Nonconformists root and 
branch ; for the act was enforced with the utmost rigour against 
the most respectable persons among them.' The meetings in 
London were continually disturbed by bands of soldiers. Dr. 

' Sheldon again addressed tbe bishops of the pronnoe of Canterbury^ 
urging them to promote, by every means in their power, '* so blessed a work 
as tbe preventing and suppressing of conventicles," which tbe king and par- 
liament, ** out of their pious care for the welfisre of tbe church and king* 
dom/' had endeavoured to accomplish in the late act.— Qi/amy*i Abtidg* 
memt, i. 328—331. Harris also, in his < Life of Charles II.,' has given 
tbe letter entire, vol, ii. pp. 106, 107. Bishop Wilkins opposed the above act 
in the House of Loids, notwithstanding tbe king's request that be would at 
kut be f iteflU 

mr rm ufB Aim tnoi 

Manton^ though his friends were numerous and powerful, was 
sent six months to the Gate-house prison for preaching in his 
own house, in the parish of which he had formerly been minister. 

While Baxter remained quiet at Totteridge^ he was sent for 
to Barnet^ by the Earl of Lauderdale^who was then proceeding 
to Scotland with a project of making some alterations in the 
state of ecclesiastical affairs in that country. By the lung's 
permission, he consulted Baxter, and offered him, if he would 
go to Scotland, a church, or a bishoprick, or the management 
of some of the colleges. Baxter was not to be taken in auch K 
trap, for such in all probability it was ; as Lauderdale no aoonfr 
went into Scotland, than he became one of the greatest pens- 
Gutors of the Presbyterian church. In answer to his feqnesU 
and offers, Baxter, on the 24th of June, 1670, wrote hin Uie 
following admirable letter, which illustrates his eharaotet as a 
minister, his courtesy as a gentleman, and supplies some parti- 
eulars respecting his family. 

^ My Lord, 

'' Being deeply sensible of your lordship's favours, and ei- 
pecially for your liberal offers for my eutertainment in Scotland, 
I humbly return you my very hearty thanks ; but the foUomag 
considerations forbid me to entertain any hopes, or furthtf 
thoughts of such a removal ; 

^^ ^rhe experience of my great weakness and decay of streAgtIly 
and particularly of this last winter's pain, and how much wwse 
I am in winter than in summer, fully persuade me that I 
should live but a little while in Scotland, and that in a dissbled^ 
useless condition, rather keeping my bed than the pulpit* 

*' I am engaged in writing a book, which, if I could hope tO 
live to finish, is almost all the service I expect to do Ooa and 
his church more in the world — a Latin Methodus Theologis. 
Indeed I can hardly hope to live so long, as it requires yet 
nearly a year's labour more. Now, if I should spend that half 
year, or year, which should finish this work, in travel, and the 
trouble of such a removal, and then leave it undone, it would 
disappoint me of the ends of my life. I live only for work, and 
therefore should remove only for work, and not for wealth and 
honours, if ever I remove. 

^^ If I were there, all that I could hope for, were liberty to 
preach the Gospel of salvation, and especially in some univerdty 
among young scholars. But I hear that you have enough 
already for this work, who are likely to do it better thaa I .can* 

Of BICttAftD BAXTM. S8f 

' ^ I havo a familyi-and in it a mother-in-law of eighty yeani 
df age, of honourable extract and great worth, whom I miut 
Dot n^i^ti and who cannot travel. To such an one at I5 it 
ie 10 great a busineas to remove a family, with all our goods 
luid booka §0 far, that it deterreth me from thinking of it, 
Mpadially having paid to dear for removals these eight years as 
I hava done 1 and being but yesterday settled in a house which 
I have newly taken, and that with great trouble and loss of 
lime* Ami if I should find Scotland disagree with me, which I 
fiiUy conclude it would, I must remove all back again. 

^ All these things concur to deprive me of the benefit of your 
lofdship's favour. But, my lord, there are other parts of it, 
wbioh I am not altogether hopeless of receiving. When I am 
eoQunanded ^ to pray for kings and all in authority,' I am al- 
lowad the ambition of this preferment, which is all that ever I 
RSpirad after, * to live a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness 
aild honesty/ Dm ntmif fMbitavii anima mea uUer osores padi^ 

^ I am weary of the noise of contentious revilers, and have 
oft had thoughts to go into a foreign land, if I could find where 
I mighl huve healthful air and quietness, but to live and die in 
peace* When I sit in a corner, and meddle with nobody, and 
hope the world will forget that I am alive, court, city, and 
coBQtry, are still filled with clamours against me. When a 
preacher wanteth preferment, his way is to preach or write a 
book agunst the Nonconformists, and me by name ; so that 
the meHitrua of the press, and the pulpits of some, are 
bloody invectives against myself, as if my peace were inconsis- 
tent with the kingdom's happiness. Never did my eyes read 
Sttflb impudent untruths, ia matter of fact, as such writings 
eontainf They cry out for answers and reasons of my non-* 
cooibnnity, while they know the law forbiddeth me to answer 
them unlicensed. I expect not that any favour or justice of 
my superiors should cure this, but if I might but be heard speak 
for myself before I be judged by them, and such things believed 
(for, to contemn the judgment of my rulers, is to dishonour them), 
I would request that 1 might be allowed to live quietly to follow 
my private studies, and might once again have the use of my 
books, which 1 have not seen these ten years. I pay for a 
room for their standing in at Kidderminster, where they are 
eaten by worms and rats ; having no sufficient security for 
my quiet abode in any place to encourage me to send for them. 
I would also ask that I might have the liberty every beggar 


hath, to travel from town to town. I mean but to Londoiiy to 
oversee the press, when any thing of mine is licensed for it. If 
I be sent to Newgate for preaching Christ's Gospel (for I dare 
not sacrilegiously renounce my calling, to which I mm cons^ 
crated j»er sacramentum oriSnis), I would request the faioiir of 
a better prison, where I may but walk and write. Tlieae IshooU 
take as very great favours, and acknowledge your lordship my 
benefactor if you procure them : for I will not so much injure 
you as to desire, or my reason as to expect, any greater matten; 
no, not the benefit of the law. 

^' I think I broke no law, in any of the preachings of wfaidi 
I am accused. I most confidently think, that no law imposeth 
on me the Oxford oath, any more than on any conformabk 
minister ; and I am past doubting the present mittimus for my 
imprisonment is quite i^thout law. But if the justices thnik 
otherwise now, or at any time, I know no remedy. I hate a 
license to preach publicly in London diocese, under the arch- 
bishop's own hand and seal, which is yet valid for oocanODil 
sermons, though not for lectures or cures ; but I dare sot nie 
it, because it is in the bishop's power to recall it. Would but 
the bishop, who, one should think, would not be against tfce 
preaching of the Gospel, not recall my license, I could preadi 
occasional sermons, which would absolve my conscience firom 
all obligation to private preaching. For it is not maintenance that 
I expect. I never received a farthing for my preaching, to my 
knowledge, since May Ist, 1662. I thank God that I have food 
and raiment, without being chargeable to any man, which is all 
that I desire, had I but leave to preach for nothing ; and that 
only where there is a notorious necessity. I humbly crave your 
lordship's pardon for the tediousness of this letter ; and again 
return you my very great thanks for your great favours, add re- 
main," &c.» 

This touching letter was followed by another to the same 
nobleman, in which Baxter offers some observations on the di- 
vided state of the country, and makes a proposal, that mode- 
rate divines should be appointed to meet and debate matters, 
in order to some plan of concord, which might afterwards 
receive his majesty's approbation. It is surprising, after all that 
had occurred, he should have had any faith in the utility or 
success of such a scheme. - It does not appear, however, that 
any attention vtras paid to it ; but after Lauderdale had gone to 

( Lifei put iU. pp. 7b, 76. 


Seodandj Sir Robert Murray, a confidential friend of his lord- 
ships sent Baxter a frame or body of discipline for the church 
of Scotland, on which he desired his animadversions. It ap- 
pears to have been a modified system of episcopacy, which it 
was the great object of the court then to force upon the people 
of Scotland. Resistance to it brought on that country the 
most horrible persecution a Protestant people was ever exposed 
to from its own Protestant government ; and has made the 
ABine and form of episcopacy an execration in Scotland to the 
present time. Baxter's remarks extended not to the principles 
of the system^ but to details, into which it is quite unnecessary 
to enter. 

The Earl of Lauderdale, with whom this correspondence was 
held, was a very extraordinary character. He had originally 
been a decided Covenanter ; and, indeed, remuned a professed 
F^byterian to the last. He was actuated by mean and arbi- 
trary principles, fawning to those above him, but imperious 
and laolent to all below. A man of learning, being well ac- 
qmdnted with Latin, Greek, and Hebrew ; and possessed of a 
strong but blundering mind. Devoted to the interests of Charles 
II., though he continued to hate even the memory of his royal 
fadier. In Scotland he acted like a demon ; and by the fury of 
hb behaviour, increased the severity of his administration, which 
had more of the cruelty of the inquisition, than the legality of 
justice.' Yet this man would talk about religion, and was 
spoken to and of as a religious character, by Bishop Burnet, 
Baxter, and other religious men of the day. 1 shall have occa- 
uon to refer to the intimacy between Lauderdale and Baxter, in 
another part of this work. 

^ In the latter end of this year, the bishops and their agents 
gave out their fears of Popery, and greatly lamented that the 
Duchess of York was turned Papist.' They thereupon professed 
a strong desire that some of the Presbyterians, as they called 
even the episcopal Nonconformists, might, by some abatement 

' Burnet's < Own Times/ vol. i. pp. 142—144. 

f The Duchess of York, daughter of Clarendon, embraced the same creed 
IS her husband, and, as be tells us, without knowledge of bis sentiments, but 
cme year before her death, in 1670. She left a paper at her decease, containing; 
tbs reasons for her change. See it in Keooet, p. 320. It is plain that she, as 
well as the duke, had been influenced by the Romanizing tendency of some 
Anglican divines.— 'f/a/tom, vol. ii. p. 515. So much for the effects of the 
writings of Hooker and Ueylin, and of the conduct of Morley and Sheldon. 



of the new oaths and subscriptions, have better invitatkm to 
conform in other things. Bishop Morley, Bishop Ward, and 
Bishop Dolben,^ spake ordinarily their desires of it ; but after 
long talk, nothing was done, which made men variously inter- 
pret their pretensions. Some thought that they were real in 
their desires, and that the hinderance was from the court; while 
others said they would never have been the grand causes of our 
present situation, if it had been against their wills ; that if 
they had been truly willing for any healing, they would hsTe 
shown it by more than their discourses ; and that all this wai 
but that the odium might be diverted from themselves. I hope 
they are not so bad as this censure doth suppose. But it ii 
strange that those same men, who so easily led the parliament 
to what was done, when they had given the king thanks for lus 
declaration about ecclesiastical affairs, could do nothing to bring 
it to moderate abatements, and the healing of our breadikes, \t 
they had been truly willing. 

^^ In the year 1671 5 the diocese of Salisbury was more fiercely 
driven on to conformity, by Dr. Seth Ward, than any place els^ 
or than all the bishops in England did in theini.^ Many hundreds 

^ Afterwards archbishop of York. 

> Dr. Seth Ward, who acted in this Tiolent manner, was one of those eccle- 
siastical turn-coati who, during a succession of changes, always appear to 
consult their worldly interests. Jn the time of the Commonwealth he took 
the eof^f^ement to He true to the gOTemment as then established. He 
wrote against the oovenant, and took the place of -GreaTes, as professoir of as- 
tronomy in the University of Oxford, who was ejected for refusing it. At the 
Restoration he paid court to the royal party, by supporting all its measures. 
Fven Anthony Wood calls him a *' politician," and speaks of him at ** wfaid* 
ing himself into favour by his- smooth language and behaviour."— jtfC&as. 0tr. 
Bliss, vol. iv. p. 248. Yet Ward was, in other respects, a respectable man. He 
was a profound mathematician, and an able speaker ; but he was a peneen- 
tor. Dr. Pope, the author of his life, endeavours to apologise for his conduct, 
hot Tery unsatisfactorily : he admits that he endeavoured to snpppess eoa* 
voiticles ; that his measures produced a petition against him from the prin* 
cipal manufacturers in the towns of his diocese, alleging that their trade bad 
been ruined by him. In answer to all which he says, " he was no Tiolent 
roan as these petitioners represented him ; but if at any time he was more 
active than ordinary against the dissenters, it was by express command from 
the court — sometimes by letters, and sometimes given in charges faj the 
judges of the assizes ; which councils altered frequently — now in favour of the 
dissenters, and then again in opposition. It is true he was for the act 
against conventicles, and laboured much to get it to pass, not without the 
order and direction of the greatest authority, both civil and ecdeaiaitical; 
not out of enmity to the dissenters' persons, as they unjustly suggested, bnl 
of love to the repose and the welfare of the government. For he believed, if 
tlie growth of them were not timely suppressed, it would ckhcr cause a ae- 


were prosecuted by him with great industry ; and among others, 
that learned, humble, holy gentleman, Mr. lliomas Grove, an 
ancient parliament man, of as great sincerity and integrity as 
almost any man 1 ever knew. He stood it out awhile in a law- 
suit, but was overthrown, and fain to forsafie his country, as 
many hundreds more are likely to do. His name remindeth 
me to record my benefactor. A brother's son of his, Mr. Ro- 
bert Grove, was one of the Bishop of London's chaplains, and 
the only man that licensed my writings for the press, supposing 
them not to be against law ; in which case I could not expect 
it Beside him, 1 could get no licenser to do it.^ And as 
being silenced, writing was the far greatest part of my service to 
God for his church, and without the press my writings would 
have been in vain, I acknowledge that I owe much to this 
man, and one Mr. Cook^ the archbishop's chaplain, that I lived 
not ttiore in vain. 

*' While I am acknowledging my benefactors, I add that this 
year died Serjeant John Fountain, the only person from whom 
I received an annual sum of money; which though through God's 
mercy I needed not^ yet I could not in civility refuse : he gave me 
ten pounds per annum, from the time of my being silenced till 
his death. 1 was a stranger to him before, the king's return ; save 
that when he was judge, before he was one of the keepers of the 
great seal, he did our country great service against vice. He 
was a man of quick and sound understanding, and upright, im- 
partial life; of too much testiness in his weakness, but of a most 
believing, serious fervency towards God, and open, zealous own- 
ing of true piety and holiness, without regarding the little parti- 
alities of sects, as most men that ever I came near in sickness. 
When he lay sick, which was almost a year, he delivered to the 
judges and lawyers that sent to visit him such answers as these, 
' I thank your lord or master for his kindness ; present nay ser- 
vice to him, and tell him, it is a great work to die well ; hb 
time is near, all worldly glory must come down ; intreat him to 
keep his integrity, overcome temptations, and please God, and 

ceuity for a staDdiun^ army to preserve the peace, or a general toleratioD, 
wfiich would end in Popery." — p. 68. Pope further informs us, that so effec- 
toally did the bishop play his part, that there was scarcely a conventicle left in 
tlie diocese of Salisbury, except on the skirts of Wilts, where thece was not a 
settled militia. Yet Ward was uo persecutor I 

^ Mr. Grove, who acted this friendly part to Baxter, was afterwards raised 
to the episcopal bench as bishop of Chichester. Thb took place in 169], and 
his death iu l6%,'-'Mhen» Ox, vol. iv. p. 33/* 



prepare to die/ He deeply bewailed the great sins 6f the times^ 
and the prognostics of dreadful things wtiich he thought we 
were iu danger of; and though in the wars he suffered im- 
prisonment for the king's cause, towards the end he abandoned 
that party, and greatly feared an inundation of poverty^ enemies, 
Popery, and infidelity.^ 

"During the mayoralty of Sir Samuel Stirling, many jury- 
men in London were fine4 and imprisoned by the recorder, for 
not finding certain Quakers guilty of violating the act against 
conventicles. They appealed, and sought remedy.'^ The judges 
remained about a year in suspense ; and then, by the Lord Chief 
Justice Vaughan, delivered their resolution against the recorder, 
for the subject's freedom from such sort of fines. When he 
had, in a speech of two or three hours long, spoke vehemendy 
to that purpose, never thing, since the king's return, was re- 
ceived with greater joy and applause by the people ; so that 
the judges were still taken for the pillars of law and liberty.' 

^^ The parliament having made the laws against NoDconfonn- 
ists' preaching, and private religious meetings, so grinding and 
terrible, the king, who consented to those laws, became the sole 
patron of the Nonconformists' liberties ; not by any abatements 
of law, but by his own connivance as to the execution; the 
magistrates, for the most part, doing what they perceived to be 
his will. So that Sir Richard Ford, all the time of his mayoralty, 
though supposed one of their greatest and most knowing adver- 
saries, never disturbed them. The ministers, in several parties, 
were oft encouraged to make their addresses to the king, only 
to acknowledge his clemency, by which they held their liberties, 

1 Fountain, of whom Baxter makes snch honourable mention, was son of 
William Fountain, of Seabroke, in Bucks ; and educated at Christ-chnrcb, 
Oxford. He adopted the cause of the parliament, in whose army he had the 
command of a regiment. He was made a serjeant-at-law by Cromwell, and 
in 1659 one of the commissioners of the ^reat seal. At the Restoration be 
was made a serjeant by the king^—i^ood's Fasti, vol. i. p. 497. Edit. Bliss. 

" Baxter refers here to the celebrated trial of Penn and Mead, before the 
recorder of London, who has thus, with the lord mayor, Stirling, obtained 
an infamous notoriety. The trial rendered immense service to the cause of 

" Sir John Vaughan, lord chief justice of the Common Pleas, ivho acquitted 
himself so nobly on this occasion, was a man of excellent parts and good 
learning. He was the intimate friend of Selden, and a man of the same prin* 
ciples and independence. His son published his Reports, among which is the 
case above referred to. Baxter has noticed his treatment of his own case in 
the preceding chapter, iu which he appears to have acted with a good deal 
of tact. 


and to profSess their loyalty. Sir John Bahor introdacd Dn 
Manton, Mr. Ennis, a Scots Nonconformist, Mr« Whittaker, 
Dr. Annesly, Mr. Watson, and Mr. Vincent, &c. The king 
told them, that though such acts were made, he was agdust 
persecution, and hoped ere long to stand on his own legs, and 
then they should see how much he was against it. By this 
means, many scores of nonconformable ministers in London 
kept up preaching in private houses. Some fifty, some a 
hundred, many three hundred, and many one thousand or two 
thousand at a meeting; by which, for the present, the city's 
necesmties were much supplied, for very few of the burnt 
churches were yet built up again. Yet this never moved the 
bishops to relent, or give any favour to the preaching of Non- 
conformists ; and though the best of the Conformists, for the 
most, were got up to London, alas ! they were but few : and 
the most of the religious people were more and more alienated 
from the prelates and their churches.® 

^ Those who from the beginning saw plainly what was doing, 
lamented all this. They thought it was not without great cun- 
ning, that seeing only a parliament was formerly trusted 
with the people's liberties, and could raise a war against him 
(interest ruling the world), it was contrived that this parliament 
should make the severest laws agdnst the Nonconformists, to 
grind them to dust, and that the king should allay the execu- 
tion at his pleasure, and become their protector against parlia- 
ments; and that they who would not consent to this should suffer. 
Indeed, the ministers themselves seemed to make little doubt of 
this ; but they thought, that if Papists must have liberty, it was 
as good for them also to take theirs as to be shut out ; that it 
was not lawful for them to refuse their present freedom, though 
they were sure that evil was designed in granting it ; and that 
before men's designs could come to ripeness, God might, in 
many ways, frustrate them. All attempts, however, to get any 
comprehension, as it was then called, any abatement of the 

• The conduct of the court towards the dissenters at this time, can only be 
explained by a knowledf^e of the secret treaty with France ; the object of 
which, on Charles's part, was to be rendered independent of parUament ; the 
object of France was the re- establishment of Popery in England. Though 
the relaxation of the persecution of the dissenters is said to have proceeded 
from the advice of Shaftesbury, who had no concern in the original secret 
treaty with France, it was completely in the spirit of that compact, and roust 
have been acceptable to the king.— ^a/tom, ii. 525. 

294 TU£ UF£ AND TIMB8 


rigour of the laws, or legal libe rty and union, were most effee- 
tually made void, p 

** In the beginning of the year 1671-2| the king caused hit 
Exchequer to be shut ; so that whereas a multitude of merchants 
and others had put their money into the bankers* hands, and 
the bankers lent it to the king, and the king gave orders to pay 
out no more of it for a year, the murmur and complunt in the 
city were very great, that their estates should be, as they called 
it, so surprised. This was the more complained of, because it 
it was supposed to be in order to assist the French iu a war 
against the Dutch ; they therefore took a year to be equal to 
perpetuity, and the stop to be a loss of all, seeing wars com- 
monly increase necessities, but do not supply them. Amopg 
pthersi all the money and estate that I had in the world, of my 
own, was there, except ten pounds per annum, which I enjoyed 
for eleven or twelve years. Indeed, it was not my own, which 
I will mention to counsel those that would do good, to do it 
speedily, and with all their might. 1 had got in all niy life, the 
net sum of one thousand pounds. Having no child, I devoted 
almost all of it to a charitable use, a free-school ; I used my 
best and ablest friends for seven years, with all the skill and 
industry I could, to help me to some purchase of house or land 
to lay it out on, that it might be accordingly settled. But 
though there were never more sellers, I could never, by all these 
friends, hear of any that reason could encourage a man to lay 
it out on, as secure, and a tolerable bargain ; so that I told them, 
I did perceive the devil's resistance of it, and did verily suspect 
that he would prevail, and i should never settle, but it would be 
lost* So hard is it to do any good, when a man is fully resolved. 
Divers such observations, verily confirm me, that there are 
devils that keep up a war against goodness in the world/* ^ 

The shutting up of the Exchequer, by which many were to- 
tally ruined, was one of the most infamous transactions of an 
infamous reign. The Earl of Shaftesbury was considered at 
the time the principal adviser of the measure ; but he. took care 
previously to withdraw his own money from the hands of his 
banker, and to advise some of his friends to do the same. The 
real author of the measure, it is now known, was Lord CliiFord.' 

P LifCj part iii. pp. 86—88. « Ibid, part iii. p. 89. 

' Shaftesbury defends himself against the charg^e of having advised the meft- 
sure, or approvlDg of it, in a letter to Locke> which Lord King has publisbed^ 


The fttoppage, as Baxter says, was intended to last only for a 
year ; but it does not appear that he ever recovered the money. 
He bore the loss, however, very patiently, and records the 
disaster rather to instruct others how to use their property, 
than to mourn over it himself. The difficulty he experi- 
enced in disposing of his thousand pounds, which he ascribes 
to the devirs resistance, is a curious illustration of the pecu- 
liarity of his own mind. He appears always to have found 
great difficulty in satisfying himself, where there was the least 
room for doubt or objection. Doubts presented themselves to 
him, which would scarcely have occurred to any other man. 
He possessed great decision of character, yet often strangely 
manifested a want of decision of mind. It is to be regretted, if 
this was owing to satanic influence, that he should have allowed 
the devil to have such advantage over him. 

We come now to a very important event in the history of 
these times ; the king's declaration, dispensing with the penal 
laws against the Nonconformists, lliis document was issued 
on the 15th of March, 1672, and declares ^* that his majesty, 
by virtue of his supreme power in matters eeelesiasHcal^ sus- 
pends all penal laws thereabout, and that he will grant a con- 
fenient number of public meeting-places to men of all sorts 
tbat conform not. Provided the persons are approved by him; 
that they only meet in places sanctioned by him, with open 
doors, and do not preach seditiously, nor against the church of 
England." • 

The evident design of this transaction, projected by Shaftes- 
bury, was to secure liberty, not to the Nonconformists, but to 
the Roman Catholics; consequently, the views of the Lon- 
don ministers, as might be expected, were not harmonious as 
to the use which should be itiade of this just, but illegal pri- 

It k plain enoagliy from that letter, however, that be bad taken eare tbat 
bis oim interests should not be affected by the mei^are. It was yrcfttiy the 
conmenoeinent of the national debt, and prodooed at the time oniTersal 

• The Lord Keeper Bridgmao resided the ^eat seal because be would 
not attach it to this act, and Shaftesbury, the author of the measure, suceeed- 
ed to his place. Locke was at this time appointed secretary to Shaftesbury, 
far tiie presentation of benefices. It is probable, therefore, that Shaftesbury's 
^^■i^B were not intended in hostility to the dissenters. — Lard Kint(^8 lA/e of 
IjKkef p. 33. Locke's letter to a person of quality states very clearly the 
pait wbicb Shaftesbury took in this Beatvre, and the reasons whlc^ hi» 
flaeoced him* 


'* When it came out," says Baxter, ** the London noneoiiforBi- 
able ministers were invited to return his majesty their. thanks* 
At their meeting, Dr. Seaman and Mr. Jenkins, who had beea 
till then most distant from the court, were for a thanksgiTing, 
in such high applauding terms as Dr. Manton, and almoat all the 
rest, dissented from. Some were for avoiding terms of appro* 
"bation, lest the parliament should fall upon them ; and aomCy 
because they would far rather have had any tolerable state of 
unity with the public ministry than a toleration ; supposing, 
that the toleration was not chiefly for their sakes, but for the 
Papists, and that they should hold it no longer than that inte« 
rest required it ; which is inconsistent with the interest of the 
Protestant religion, and the church of England : and that they 
had no security for it, but it might be taken from them at any 

^^ They thought that it tended to continue our divisions, and to 
weaken the Protestant ministry and church ; and that while the 
body of the Protestant people were in all places divided, one 
part was still ready to be used against the other, and many sins 
and calamities kept up. They thought the present generatioa 
of Nonconformists was likely to be soon worn out, and the pub- 
lic assemblies to be lamentably disadvantaged by young, raw, 
unqualified ministers, that were likely to be introduced ; they 
concluded, therefore, on a cautious and moderate thanksgiving 
for the king's clemency, and their own liberty ; and when they 
could not come to agreement about the form of it. Lord Arling- 
ton introduced them to a verbal, extemporate thanksgiving ; and 
so their difference was ended as to that. ^ 

^^The question, whether toleration of us in our different assem- 
blies, or such an abatement of impositions as would restore 
some ministers to the public assemblies by law, were more 

^ I apprehend Baxter has here fallen into some mistake. It is not lUceljr 
the ministers would have been received to deliver an extempore addrttt. 
Besides, if they could not a^ee among themselves what to say in writiii^» 
who would have undertaken to speak for them ? An address drawn up by 
Owen, though he seldom appears in Baxter's accounts of the London minis* 
ters, was adopted on this occasion. — JIfemoirs of Owen^ pp. 272, 273. 2d Edit. 
It was at this time, if we may believe Burnet, that the court ordered fifty 
pounds a year to be paid to most of the Nonconformist ministers in London, 
and a hundred to the chief of them. Baxter, he says, sent back his pension, 
and would not touch it ; but most of the others took it. Burnet gives this oa 
StUUngfleet's authority, and represenU it as hush money. It is very strange^ 
if this was done> that Baxter should not have mentioned lU'^Bumeft Own 
TUtsiy Tol. ii. p, 16. Calamy remarks on this passage, io * His Owa Lif(^' 
irol. ii. p. 468. 


desiraUei wai a great controversy then among the Noncon- 
kanntBj and greater it had been, but that the hopes of abate- 
ment^ called then a comprehension, were so low as made them 
the IcM concerned in the agitation of it. But whenever there 
was a new session ai parliament, which put them in some little 
hope of abatement, the controversy began to revive according 
to the measure of those hopes. The Independents and all the 
lectaries, and some few Presbyterians, especially in London, who 
liad large congregations, and liberty and encouragement, were 
rather for a toleration. The rest of the Presbyterians, and the 
episcopal Nonconformists, were for abatement and comprehen-* 
non/' * 

The several parties were influenced by their respective prin« 
dples of church government and civil establishments. All par- 
ties, however, were glad to obtain what they could, and to use 
the temporary freedom which was allowed, though in a very 
wicoDstitutional manner, for the promotion of the interests of 
religion* The attachment to Popery on the part of the reign- 
ing powers, threatened great danger to the country ; but I very 
moch doubt, whether if this had not created much anxiety to 
the church party, the Nonconformists would not have been en- 
tirely crushed. From the conflicting interests of party, the 
cause of the dissenters in this country has often been permitted 
to gain ground, till their body has arrived at such a measure of 
strength as even now constitutes its best security. 

In the month of October of this year, Baxter fell into a dan- 
gerous fit of sickness, which, he says, God, in his wonted 
mercy, did, in time, so far remove as to restore him to some ca- 
pacity of service*—*^ I had till now forborne, for several reasons, 
to seek a license for preaching from the king, upon the tolera- 
tion ; but when all others had taken theirs, and were settled in 
London and other places, as they could get opportunity, I de- 
layed no longer, but sent to seek one, on condition 1 might have 
it without the title of Independent, Presbyterian, or any other 
party, but only as a Nonconformist. Before 1 sent. Sir Thomas 
Player, chamberlain of London, had procured it me so, without 
my knowledge or endeavour. I had sought none so long, because 
I was unwilling to be, or seem, any cause of that way of liberty, 
if a better might have been had, and therefore would not med- 
dle in it. I lived ten miles from London, and thought it not just 
to come and set up a congregation there till the ministers had 

• Life, part iii. pp. 99, 100. 

998 trm tin anb ttiifet 

fully settled thein^ who had borne the burden in the times of 
the raging plague, and Are, and other calamitiet, leet I ahottld 
draw away any of their auditors^ and hinder their maintenanee. 
No one that erer I heard of till mine could get a lioense^ mdeat 
he would be entitled in it^ a Presbyterian^ Independent Aoa* 
baptist, or of some sect. 

^ The 19th of November,'^ my baptism day, was the first day, 
after ten years' silence, that I preached in a tolerated, puUic 
assembly, though not yet tolerated in any consecrated church, 
but only against law, in my own house. Some merchants set 
up a 'Fuesday's lecture in London, to be kept by six minis- 
ters, at Pinner's Hall, allowing them twenty shillings a piece 
each sermon, of whom they chose me to be one. But when 1 
bad preached there only four sermons, I found the Independents 
so quarrelsome with what I said, that ail the city did ring of 
their backbitings and false ac<!Usations ; r eo that^ had I but 
preached for unity, and against division, or unnecessary with* 
drawing from each other, or against unwarrantable narrowing of 
Christ's church, it was said, abroad, that I preached against the 
Independents. Especially if I did but say that man's will had a 
natural liberty, though a moral thraldom to vice ; that men 
might have Christ and life, if they were truly willing; and tfiat 
men have power to do better than they do ; it was cried abroad, 
among all the party, that I preached up Arminianism, and 
free will, and man's power ; and, O ! what an odious crime was 
this ! » 

'^ On January the 24th, 1672-3, I began a Tuesday leetura 
at Mn Turner's church, in New Street, near Fetter Luie, with 
great convenience, aud God's encouraging blessing ; but 1 

' Here is another discrepanqr of date from what is given in tbe * BmpiktmA 
Register/ and reCerred to in the first page of this volume. According to tfais, 
he was uot baptised either on the sLtth or the sixteenth ; hut it is pretty erf* 
dent be was born on the twelfth of November, according to hit own- 

y For some reason or other, Baxter and the Independents steoL never Sft 
agreed. There were probably faults on both sides ; though, 1 apprehend, the 
principal causes were, the rashness and imprudence with which he carrifld 
things to the pulpit, aud allowing himself to be influenced by miscfaievou and 
often trifling reports. 

* The Tuesday rooming lecture now set up, continues to the present time, 
and is regularly preached at New Broad-street Meeting-house. It is not to the 
credit of the dissenters, that somts of their most respectable ministers were long 
left to deliver that lecture to almost empty benches. The lectareiv, amchto 
their honour, though I believe they derive no pecuniary benefit from their !•• 
hours, continue them, as there is some property for the good of others entrusted 
to their distribution. 


took a peuny of money for it from any one.* On the Lord's 
days I had no congregation to preach to, but occasionally to any 
that desired me, being unwilling to set up a church and become 
the pastor of any, or take maintenance in this distracted and 
unsettled way^ unless further changes should manifest it to be 
my duty ; nor did I ever give the sacrament to any one person^ 
but to my flock at Kidderminster. I saw it oifended the Con- 
formists, and had many other present inconveniences, while we 
had any hope of restoration and concord from the parliament. 

^^ The parliament met again in February, and voted down the 
king's declaration as illegal. The king promised them that 
it should not be brought into precedent ; and thereupon they 
consulted of a bill for the ease of Nonconformists, or dissenters, 
&Iany of them highly professed their resolution to carry it on ; 
but when they had granted the tax, they turned it off, and left 
it undone^ destroj-ing our shelter of the king's declaration ; and 
so leaving us to the storm of all their severe laws, which some 
country justices rigorously executed, though the most forbore.^ 

^ On February the 20th, I took a house in Bloomsbury, in 
London, and removed thither after Easter, with my family ; God 
having mercifully given me three years of great peace, among 
quiet neighbours, at Totteridge, and much more health or ease 
than 1 expected, and some opportunity to serve him. 

^^ The parliament grew into great jealousies of the preva« 
lency of Popery. There was an army raised which lay upon 
Blackheath, encamped, as for service against the Dutch : in 
which so many of the commanders were Papists, as made men 
fear the design was worse. They feared not to talk openly, that 

* Tht place ia which BajLter officiated io Fetter Lane, is that betweeo 
Neril's Court and New Street, oow occupied by the Moravians. It appears to 
have evistedy tbou^ perhaps in a different form, before the fire of Loudon. 
Turner, who was the first minister, wsis a very active man during^ the plag^ue. 
He wat ejected from Sunbury, in Middlesex, aud continued to preach in Fet- 
ter Lane till towards the end of the reign of Charles II., when he removed to 
Leather Lane. Baxter carried ou the Friday morniug lecture till the 24th of 
Aoj^st, 1682. The church which then met in it was under the care of Mr. 
Lobby whose predecessors had been Dr. Thomas Goodwin and Thankful Owen. 
It has been preserved by an unbroken line of Evaogelical pastors to the present 
time, in which it enjoys the ministry of my venerable friend the Rev. 
George Burder, and his worthy co-pastor the Rev. Caleb Morris.— See 
< Wilton's Disftentiog Churches,' vol. iii. p. 420. * 

^ It was suspected that the women about the king interposed, and induced 
him to withdraw his declaration. Upon this, Shaftesbury turned short round, 
provoked at the king's want of steadiness, and, especially, at his giving up the 
point about issuing writs iu the recess of parliameut.«/fa//am| vol. ii. p. 530. 



the Papists, having no hope of getting the parliament to set up 
their religion by law, did design to take down parliaments, and 
reduce the government to the French model, and religion to thor 
state, by a standing army. These thoughts put them into dismal 
expectations, and many wished that the army, at any rate, might 
be disbanded. The Duke of York being general, the parliament 
made an act that no man should be in any office of trust who 
would not take the oaths of supremacy and allegiance ; recehre 
the sacrament according to the order of the church of England; 
and renounce transubstantiation. Some that were known, sold 
or laid down their places : the Duke of York and the new lord 
treasurer, Clifford, laid down all. It was said that they did it 
on supposition that the act left the king empowered to renew 
their commissions when they had laid them down : but the lord 
chancellor told the king that it was not so ; and so they were 
put out by themselves. This settled men in the fiill belief 
that the Duke of York and Lord Clifford were Papists, The 
Londoners had special hatred against the duke, ever sinee the 
burning of London, commonly saying, that divers were takea 
casting fire-balls, and brought to his guards of soldiers to be se- 
cured, whom he let go, and both secured and concealed them."* 

It was in these circumstances that the celebrated Test Act 
was passed. The church party, according to Burnet, showed a 
noble zeal for their religion ; and the dissenters got great repu* 
tation for their silent deportment. Tlie design of the measure 
is very obvious; but the impropriety of doing evil that good might 
come, is strikingly illustrated by it. To get rid of the Duke of 
York, and a Popish party, who might have been thrown out by 
other means, the prostitution of a sacred ordinance of religion was 
resorted to, by which a gross enormity came to be perpetuated in 
the country for more than a century and a half. 'Die disinte- 
restedness of the dissenters in submitting to let this bill pass 
quietly, is more worthy of commendation than is their wisdom ; 
while theinjustice and ingratitude of the party which then praised 
them, do it infinite discredit It is highly satisfactory to the en« 
lightened men of all parties that this abomination is now no more. 

lliough the preamble of the act, and the whole history of 
the transaction, show that the main object was a safeguard 
against Popery, it is probable that a majority of botli houses 
liked it the better for this secondary effect of shutting out the 
Presbyterians still more than had been done by previous statutes 

« Life, part ili. p. 106. 


of this reign-. There took place, however, a remarlcable coalition 
between the two parties; for many who had always acted as high 
churchmen and cavaliers, sensible, at last, of the policy of their 
common adversaries, renounced a good deal of the intolerance 
and bigotry that had characterised the present parliament. The 
dissenters, with much disinterestedness, gave their support to 
the Test act : in return, a bill was brought in, and, after some 
debate, passed to the Lords, repealing, in a considerable degree, 
the persecuting laws against their worship. The Upper House, 
perhaps insidiously, returned it with amendments more favour- 
able to the dissenters, and insisted upon them, after a conference. 
A sudden prorogation put an end to this bill, which was as 
unacceptable to the court as it was to the zealots of the church 
of England.^ 

^ On* the 20th of October, the parliament met again, and 
suddenly voted an address to the king, about the Duke of York's 
marriage with the Duke of Modena's daughter, an Italian Papist, 
akin to the pope, and to desire that it might be stopped, she 
being not yet come over. As soon as they had done that, the 
lung, by the chancellor, prorogued them till Monday following, 
because it was not usual for a parliament to grant money twice 
in a session. On Monday, when they met, the king desired 
q>eedy aid of money against the Dutch ; and the lord chan- 
cellor set forth the reasons and the unreasonableness of the 
Dutch. But the parliament still stuck to their former resent- 
ment of the Duke of York's marriage, and renewed their mes- 
sage to the king against it, who answered them that it was de- 
bated at the open council, and resolved that it was too late to 
stop it. On Friday, October 31, the parliament went so high 
as to pass a vote that no more money should be given till the 
eighteen months of the last tax were expired, unless the Dutch 
proved obstinate, and unless we were secured against the dan- 
ger of Popery, and Popish counsellors, and their grievances 
were redressed. It voted also to ask of his majesty a day of 
humiliation, because of the growth of Popery. It intended 
solemnly to keep the Gunpowder Plot, and appointed Dr. Stil-r 
lingfleet to preach before it, who was then mostly engaged in 

* HaUaiii, vol. ii. pp. 532, 533. Some of the ablest discussions respecting 
the Test act, and the circumstances in which it was passed, took place in the 
debates on the passings of the Repeal bill, in the year 1828. Lord Holland's 
speech, on introducing the bill in the House of Lords, is a masterly specimen of 
historical accuracy and parliamentary eloquence. In the 'Test Act Reporter,' 
all the debates are accurately recorded. 


writing againut Popery : but on the day before, being Novem^ 
ber 4th, the king, to their great discontent, prorogued the par* 
liament to the 7th of January. 

^ On that day, the parliament met again, and voted that their 
first work should be to prevent Popery, redress grievances, and 
be secured against the instruments or counsellors of these 
evils. They shortly after voted the Dukes of Buckingham and 
Lauderdale unfit for trust about the king, and desired their 
removal. When they came to the Lord Arlington, and would 
have treated him in the same manner, without an impeachment 
it was carried against that attempt; and because the members 
who iavoured the Nonconformists were against the rest, and 
helped oflf Lord Arlington, the rest were greatly exasperated 
against them, and reported that they did it because he had fur^ 
thered the Nonconformists' licenses for tolerated preaching. 

** The 3d of February was a public fast against Popery, the 
first which I remember, beside the anniversary fasts, whidi had 
ever been since this parliament was called, which had now sat 
longer than that called the Long Parliament. The preacher^ 
Dr. Cradock and Dr. Whitchcot, meddled but little with that 
business, and did not please them as Dr. Stillingfleet had done; 
who greatly animated them and all the nation against Popery, 
by his open and diligent endeavours for the Protestant cause. 

*' During this session, the Earl of Orrery** desired me to draw 
him up, in brief, the terms and means which I thought would 
satisfy the Nonconformists, so far as to unite us all against 
Popery ; professing that he met with many great men that were 
much for it, and particularly the new lord treasurer, Sirlliomas 
Osborn, afterwards created Lord Danby,* and Dr. Morley, bishop 
of Winchester, who vehemently professed his desires of it. Dr. 
Fulwood, and also divers others, had been with me to the like 
purpose, testifying the said bishop's resolution herein. I wished 
them all to tell him from me, that he had done so much to the 

' Formerly Lord Brogbill, UDder which title he is generally spoken of bf 
Baxter, aud other writers of that period. He was a very distinguished mao, 
and probably sincerely desirous on this occasion to promote the good of the 
couutryi and the benefit of the Nonconformists, to whom he was a stcydj 

* Danby succeeded Cliflford^ on the fall of the cabal ministry. He was not 
a Papist like bis predecessor; but was a corrupt man, capable of resorting to 
measures, to please the court, which were most injurious to the constltutba 
and interests of hiscouutry. It was through his instrumentality, boweveft that 
the marriage of the Princess Mary with the Prince of Orange was effected| to 
which circumstance we ultimately owe thfi Revolution. 


ooQtrwy, and never any thing this way, since his professions of 

that sort, thattill his real endeavours convinced men, it would 

not be believed that he was serious. But when 1 had given the 

Bmrl ci Orrery my papers, he returned them me with Bishop 

IMorlejr's strictures, or animadversions, as by his words and the 

Hsmd-writing I had reasons to be confident; by which he made 

nie aee fully that all his professions for abatement and concord 

iwere deceitiul snares, and that he intended no such thing.'* ' 

Again, our worthy and indefatigable friend of peace took up hie 
pen, and detoted no small attention to this new scheme of union* 
S-Iis proposals. Bishop Morley's strictures, and his reply, are 
Si^'^^o R^ 1*1^9 ^^ his own narrative ; ' but it would be useless 
%4» tronble the reader with any part of the documents, sinco 
trbe whole ended, as all other schemes of the same kind had 
^one, in disappointment. 

^ A little after, some great men of the House of Commons 
dfcw np a bill, as tending to our healing, to take off our oaths, 
sobscrf ptions, and declarations, except the oath of supremacy, 
and allegiance, and subscriptions to the doctrine of the church 
of England, according to the 13th of Elizabeth. But showing 
it to the sud Bishop of Winchester, he caused them to forbear, 
and broke it ; and instead of it he furthered an act, to take off 
(miy 0$ieni and eomentf and the renunciation of the govern- 
ment; which would have been but a cunning snare to make 
us more remediless, and do no good; seeing that the same 
things, with the repeated clauses, would be still, by other 
continued obligations required, as may be seen in the canon for 
subscription, art. ii., and in the Oxford act, for the oath and for 
confining refusers. It is credibly averred, that when most of 
the other bishops were against this ensnaring show of abate- 
ment, he told them in the house that had it been but to abate us 
a eenemony, he would not have spoken in it : but he knew that 
we were bound to the same things still, by other clauses or 
obligations, if these were repealed. 

^ On February 24th, all these things were suddenly ended, 
the king early and unexpectedly proroguing the parliament 
till November : whereby the minds of both houses were much 
troubled, and multitudes greatly exasperated and alienated 
from the court: of whom many now saw that the leading 
bishops had been the great causes of our distractions; but 

' Life> psrt iU. pp. 102-109. s lliitl. pp. 113—140. 


otheiB hating the Nonconformists more, were ttill as liot for 
prelacy and violence as ever* 

^^ All this while, the aspiring sort of Conformists, who looked 
for preferment, and the chaplains who lived in fuluessi and 
other malignant factious clergymen, did write and preach to 
stir up king, parliament, and others, to violence and crodty 
against the liberty and blood of the Nonconformists, who lived 
quietly by them in labour and poverty, and meddled not with 
them* Some railed at them as the most intolerable villauis in 
4he world, especially Sam. Parker, who was jocularly confuted and 
detected by Mr. Marvel, a parliament man. On6 Hickering-' 
hill, and others, came near him in their malignity ; and Pkipists 
taking the advantage, set in and did the like. One wrote a 
* Sober Inquiry' of the reasons why the nonconfonnable minis* 
ters were still so valued by the people, which was their grievous 
vexation, and pretended many causes ; I know not whether 
more malignantly or foolishly, which none could believe bvt 
strangers, and those that were blinded by faction, malignity^ or 
false reports.^ 

** The Lord's-day before the parliament was dissolved, one of 
these prelatists preached to them, to persuade them that we are 
obstinate, and not to be tolerated or eased by any means bat 
vengeance, urging them to set fire to the faggot, and teach us 
by scourges or scorpions, and open our eyes with gall. Yet 
none of these will procure us leave to publish, or offer to autho- 
rity the reasons of our nonconformity. But this is not the 
first proof that a carnal, worldly, proud, ungodly clergy, who 
never were serious in their own professed belief, nor felt the 
power of what they preach, have been, in most ages of the 
church, its greatest plague, and the greatest hinderers of holi- 
ness and concord, by making their formalities and cere.monies 
the test of holiness, and their worldly interest and domina- 
tion the only cement of concord. Oh how much hath Satan 
done against Christ's kingdom in the world, by setting up pas- 
tors and rulers over the churches, to fight against Christ in his 
own name and livery, and to destroy piety and peace, by a pre- 
tence of promoting them ! 

^^ At this time, April, 1674, God so much increased my 
languishing, and laid me so low, by an incessant inflation of my 

k See an accouDt of the controversy here referred to, and of the bebanour 
of Parker and Marvel, iii * Memoirs of Owen/ pp. 268-273« 


beady and translation of my great flatulency tbither to the nenrea 
anfl members, increasing for ten or twelve weeks to greater 
punsi that I had reason to think that my time on earth 
would not be long. And, oh ! how good hath the will of Grod 
profed hitherto to me : and will it not be best at last ? Expe- 
rience cauaeth me say to his praise, ' Great peace have they 
that love his law, and nothing shall offend them ; and though 
my flesh and heart do fail, God is the rock of my heart, and my 
portion for ever/ 

^ Taking it to be my duty to preach while toleration conU-^ 
naed, I removed the last spring to London, where my diseases 
incieaaing fimr about half a year, constrained me to cease my 
Friday's lecture,^ and an afternoon's sermon on the Lord's day 
io my own house, to my grief; and to preach only one sermon 
a week at St. James's market-house, where some had hired an 
inoonvenienc place. But I had great encouragement to labour 
there, because of the notorious necessity of the people : for it was 
noted as the habitation of the most ignorant, atheistical, and 
popish, about London ; while the greatness of the parish of St. 
Martin, made it^ impossible for the tenth, perhaps the twen-^ 
tieth person in the parish, to hear in the parish church ; and 
the next parishes, St. Giles and Clement Danes, were almost in 
(be like case. 

** On July 5, 1674, at our meeting over St. James's market-* 
house, God vouchsafed us a great deliverance. A main beam, 
weakened before by the weight of the people, so cracked, that 
three times they ran in terror out of the room, thinking it was 
fidling, but remembering the like at St. Dunstan's in the West, 
1 reproved their fear as causeless. But the next day, taking up 
the bo^ds, we found that two rends were so great, that it was a 
wonder of Providence that the floor had not fallen, and the roof 
with it, to the destruction of multitudes. The Lord make us 
thankful ! ^ 

^' It pleased God to give me marvellous encouragement in my 

^ I suppose he renewed it a^io, and continued it, though perhaps with fre« 
queot interruptions, till 1682, when he finally gave it up. 

J On this occasion Mrs. Eiaxter discovered grtat presence of mind. After 
tiic first crack was heard, she went immediately down suirs, and accosting; 
the first person she met, asked what was his profession. He said, a carpenter. 
^ Can you suddenly put a prop under the middle of this beam ?" said she. 
The man dwelt close by, had a great prop ready, suddenly put it under, while 
the congregation above knew nothing of it, but had its fears increased by the 
man's knocking. — Memoirs o/JUrs^ BaxUr^ p. 61. 



preaching at St. James's. The crack having frig^iteiaed tmf 
most of the richer sort, especially the women ; most of die. coih 
gregation were yomig men of the most capable age, who heard 
with very great attention, and many that bad not ooaie tp 
chmrch for years, received so much, and manifested so great a 
change (some Papists, and divers others, returning public thaoles 
to God fi>r their conversion), as made ^1 my charge and tronbie 
easy to me* Among all the popish, rude, and ignorant oailtH 
tude who were inhabitants of those parts, we had scarce any thajf 
opened their mouths against us, and that did not speak well of 
the preaching of the word among them ; though, when I fiiat 
went thither, the most knowing inhabitants assured om thai 
some of the same persons wished my death. Among the nder 
sort, a common reformation was notified in the place^ in their 
conversation as well as in their judgments. 

'^ But Satan, the enemy of God and souls, did quickly vse 
divers means to hinder me : by persecution, by the chairgct of 
the work, and by the troublesome clamours of some that were 
too much inclined to separation. First, a fellow, that ttade 
a trade of being an informer, accused me to Sir William PMt 
teney, a justice near, upon the act against conventiclea. Sir 
William dealt so wisely and fairly in the business, as frustrated 
the informer's first attempts, who offered his oath against roe ; 
and before he could make a second attempt, Mr. David Lloyd, 
the Earl of St. Alban's bailiff, and other inhabitants, so searched 
after the quality of the informer, and prosecuted him to aecute 
the parish from the charge of his children, as made him flee^ md 
appear no more. I, who had been tlie first silenced, and the fint 
sent to gaol upon the Oxford act of confinement, was the first 
prosecuted upon the act of conventicles, after the parliament's 
condemning the king's declaration, and licenses to preach* 

^^ Shortly after this, the storm grew much greater. The mi* 
nisters of state had new consultations. The Duke of Lander^ 
dale, the Lord Treasurer, the Earl of Danby, the Lord Keeper, 
Sir Heneage Finch ,^ Bishop Morley, and Bishop Ward, &c., were 

^ Sir Heneage Ftoch was one of Uie leading^ ncmbers of tho parilsMiBl 
which restored Charles II., by whom he was made solicitor-feoefal Imow- 
diately after. He became attorney*fl^neral in 1670, and lord-ke^er o# Iks 
grttit seal in 1673 ; was raised to the chancellorship in 1675, and cwstsd 
Eari of Nottinipham in 1681. His lordship was properly the founder of the 
noble family of Winchilsea. He possessed good learning, considerable elo* 
qnence, and was, on the whole, a respectable public cbaracter« He himfilf 
refused to put the great seal to I^ni Paaby'i pardon* 

or ftlCRARD BAxmu S07 

lie men whom the world talked of as the dden of die business. 
[lie first thing that appeared, was, his majesty calling the bishops 
ip to London to give him advice what was to be done for the 
ecoriog of reli^on. The bishops, after divers meetings and 
telajRi, the said duke and lord treasurer being appointed 
D meet with them, at last advised the king to recall his li- 
duei, and put the laws in execution, which was done by a pro- 
lemation, declaring the licenses long since void, and requiring 
lie cxecation of the laws against Papists (who were most largely 
Mntioned) and conventicles. No sooner was this proclamation 
Mriilithed, but special informers were set at work, to ascertain 
lie execution, and I must here also be the first to be- accused.''^ 

It appears that Baxter, partly to avoid the penalties for not 
aomplying with the act of uniformity, and partly for his own 
!die^ employed an assistant, who read a portion of the church 
lervice for turn on the Lord's day. This partial conformity occa» 
noned many fidse reports respecting his sentiments, which gave 
Imn great trouble, while it failed to commend him to the staunch 
mpporters of ecclesiastical order. 

^ The Separatists gave out presently that I had conformed, and 
upenly declared my assent and consent, &c.; and so confidently 
lid they affirm it, that almost all the city believed it. The 
pielatiBts again took the report from them, with their own will« 
ingness that so it should be, and reported the same thing. In 
me q>iBcopal city, they gave thanks in public that I had conr* 
formed; in many counties their news was, that I most certainly 
wnformed, and was, thereupon, to have a bishoprick; which if I 
ihonld, I had done foolishly in losing thirteen years lordship 
ind profit, and then taken it when I was dying. This was di-> 
relged by the C<mformists, to fortify their party in the conceits 
jf their innocency, and by the Separatists, in spleen and quarrel- 
lome aeal ; but confident lying was too common with both. And 
feitf the next day, or the next day save one, letters fled abroad^ 
Ml the contrary, that I was sent to gaol for not conforming. 

^ While 1 was thus murmured at by backbiters, sectaries and 
prelatists, when tlie king's licenses were recalled, I was the first 
that was apprehended by warrant, and brought before the justices 
la a conventicler. One Keeling,"' an ignorant fellow, had got^ 
I warrant, as bailiff and informer, to search after conventiclers^ 

Life, part Hi. pp. 140—153. 
■ Burnet ^ves a luDg^ account of Keeling, with his conduct as a contriver 
if pkti, and an informer.— Vol. ii. pp. 369-»390. 



Papists and Protestants, which he prosecuted with gre«t 
mosity and violence. Having then left St. James's, the kise 
of the house being out, 1 preached only on Thursdays, at Mr« 
Turner's. By the act, it was required I should be judged by 
a justice of the city or division where I preach ; but be lEs- 
trained on by warrant from a justice of the division or etiaatj 
where I live. So that the preaching place being in tbe dtf, 
only a city justice might judge me. Keeling went to many of 
the city justices, but none of them would grant him a wamBt 
against me ; he therefore went to the justices of tiie ooonty, 
who lived near me, and one. Sir John Medlicot, and Mr. Be»- 
net, brother to Lord Arlington, ignorant of the law herrio, give 
their warrant to apprehend ipe, and bring me before them, or 
some other of his majesty's justices. The constable, or is* 
former, gave me leave to choose what justices I would go to. 
I accordingly went with them to seek divers of the best jnstieei^ 
but could find none of them at home, and so spent that day, 
in a state of pain and great weakness, being carried up and 
down in vain. But I used the informer kindly, and spake thit 
to him which his conscience, though a very ignorant fellow, did 
not well digest. The next day, I went with the constable and 
him, to Sir William Pulteney, who made him show his warranty 
which was signed by Henry Montague, son to the late worthy 
Earl of Manchester, as bailiff of Westminster, enabling him to 
search, after mass-priests and conventiclers. Sir William show- 
ed him and all the company, from the act, that none but a citf 
justice had power to judge me for a sermon preached in the 
city, and so the informer was defeated. As I went out of 
the house, I met the Countess of Warwick and Lady Lacy 
Montague, sister to the said Mr. Henry Montague, and told 
them of the case and warrant, who assured me, that he whose 
hand was at it, knew nothing of it ; and some of them sent to 
him, and Keeling's warrant was called in within two or three daysi 
It proved that one Mr. Barwell, sub-bailiff of Westminster, was 
he that set Keeling on work, gave him his warrant ; and told him 
how good a service it was to the church, and what he might 
gain by [it. Barwell sharply chid Keeling for not doing hit 
work with me more skilfully. Lord Arlington most sharply 
chid his brother for granting his warrant ; and within a few 
days, Mr. Barwell, riding the circuit, was cast by his horse, and 
died in the very fall. Sir John Medlicot and his brother, a few 
weeks after, lay both dead in bis house together. Shortly after 


Keeling eame several times to have spoken with me^ to ask my 
forgiveness ; and not meeting with me, went to my friends in 
the dty^ with the same words : though a little before, he had 
boaited, how many hundred pounds he should have of the city 
justiees for refusing him justice. At last he found me within^ 
woold have fallen down on his knees to me, and asked me 
eunestly to forgive him. I asked him what had changed his 
mind j he told me that his conscience had no peace from the 
hour that he troubled me, and that it increased his disquiet, 
that no justice would hear, nor one constable of forty execute 
Ae vranrant, and all the people cried out against him ; but that 
which aet it home, was Mr. Barwell's death, for of Sir John Med- 
licoC's he knew not. I exhorted the man to universal repent- 
anee, and reformation of life. He told me he would never meddle 
in toch businesses, or trouble any man more, and promised to live 
better Umself than he had done. 

^Ae the next session of parliament approached. Bishop 
Morlejr set upon the same course again, and Bishop Ward, as 
hit aeeond and chief co-agent, joined with him ; so that they were 
fiuned to be the two bishops that were for comprehension and 
ooneord : none so forward as they. At last, Dr. Bates brought 
me a message from Dr. Tillotson, dean of Canterbury, that he 
and Dr. Stillingfleet desired a meeting with Dr. Manton, Dr. 
Bates, Mr. Pool, and me, to treat of an act of comprehension 
and union ; and that they were encouraged to it by some lords, 
both spiritual and temporal. We met to consider whether such 
an attempt was safe and prudent, or whether it was offered by 
some bishops as a snare to us. I told them my opinion, that 
experience could not suffer my charity to believe better of some 
of them ; but as they knew Dr. Stillingfleet and Dr. Tillotson 
to be the likeliest men to have a hand in an agreement, if such 
a thing should be attempted ; they would therefore make them- 
selves masters of it to defeat it, and no better issue could be 
expected from them. Yet these two doctors were men of so 
much learning, honesty, and interest, that I took it as our duty 
to accept the offer, and to try with them how far we could 
agree, and. whether they would promise us secrecy, unless it 
eame to maturity, when it might be further notified by consent. 
I thought that we might hope for success with these two men ; 
and, in time, it might be some advantage to our desired unity, 
that our t^rms were such as they consented to.'' ^ 

» Life, part Ui. pp. 154*157. 

It IS Irksome to record these constantly recmring mkanm of 
comprehension and union, from which nothing whatefcr 
suited, milotson suid Stillingfleet appear to have he&k 
while neither Morley nor Ward was so ; and thus, after 
meetings and discussions, Baxter, who had taken the tRmbfaof 
drawing up a ** Healing Act,'^ and sereral petitions or 
to the king, which were never used, was left only with tin 
fort of reflecting that he had conscientiously sought that 
which others either wanted the will or the power to prcMnota. 

*' While the said two bishops were fraudulently seenung to Mt 
us in this treaty, their cause required them outwardly to pietaid 
that they would not have me troubled ; but I was still die fint 
that was hunted after and persecuted. For even while I waa in 
this treaty, the informers of the city, set on work by the Inabopa^ 
were watching my preaching, and contriving to load me with- 
divers convictions and fines at once, lliey found an aldeman- 
justice, even in the ward where I preached, fit for their dengn, 
one Sir Thomas Davis, who understood not the law, but was 
ready to serve the prelates in their own way. To him, cmth was 
made against me, and the place where I preached, for two aer^ 
mons, which came to threescore pounds fine to me, and fbw- 
score to the owner of the place where we assembled ; but I only 
was sought after and prosecuted. 

^ The execution of these laws, which were to ruin us for 
preaching, was so much against the hearts of the citizens, that 
scarcely any could be found to execute them. Though the cor- 
poration oath and declaration had new moulded the city, and all 
the corporations of the land, except a few, such aa Taunton, 
which were entirely dissolved by it, the aldermen were;, £or 
the most part, utterly averse to such employment; ao that, 
whenever an informer came to them, though they forfeited a 
hundred pounds every time they refused to execute their office, 
some shifted out of the way, and some plainly denied and re- 
pulsed the accusers, and one was sued for it. Alderman Forth 
got an informer bound to his behaviour, for breaking in upon 
him in his chamber, against his will. Two fellows, called Stroud 
and Marshall, became the general informers in the city. In ail 
London, notwithstanding that the third parts of those great 
fines might be given the informers, very few could be found to 
do it : and those two were presently fallen upon by their credi- 
tors on purpose. Marshall was laid in the Compter for debl^ 
where he remained for a considerable time ; but Stroud, keeping 


% eifiMkhcme, was not so deep in debt, and was baiied. Had 
)a ttnuiger of anothei; land come into London, and seen five or 
six poor, ignorant, sorry fellows, unworthy to have been inferior 
aervwits to an ordinary gentleman, hunting and insulting even 
the ancient aldermen, and the lord mayor himself, and all tha 
icfeiend, faithful ministers that were ejected ; while eigbty*mne 
chmnehea were destroyed by the fire ; and, in many parishes, the 
diurches yet standing, could not hold a sixth or tenth part of 
die people, yet those that preached for nothing were prosecuted 
to utter ruin, with such unwearied eagerness, sure he would 
ha«e wondered what these prelates and prosecutors were« It may 
' eoimnce us that the designation Sm^jSaXm (false accusers), given in 
S c ri ptur e to some, is not unmeet, when men pretending to be the 
iiltiers of the church, dare turn loose half-a-dozen paltry, silly 
fdlows, that know not what they do, to be to so many thousand 
•ober men, as wolves among the sheep, to the distraction of 
ioeh a city, and the disturbance of so many thousands for wot « 
shipping God. How lively doth this tell us, that Satan, the 
prince of the aerial powers, worketh in the children of disobe* 
dience ; and that his kingdom on earth is kin to hell, as Christ's 
kingdom is to heaven 1 

^ When I understood that the design was to ruin me, by heap«« 
ing up convictions, before I was heard to speak for myself, E 
went to Sir Thomas Davis, and told him, that I undertook to 
prove I broke not the law, and desired him that he would pass 
no judgment till I had spoken for myself before my accusers; 
Bat I found him so ignorant of the law, as to be fully persuaded 
that if the informers did but swear in general that I kept an un-J 
lavrftil meeting on pretence of a religious exercise in other 
manner than according to the liturgy and practice of the church 
of England, he was bound to take this general oath for proof, 
and to record a judgment ; so that the accusers were indeed the 
judges, and not he, I told him that any lawyer would soon tell 
him the contrary, and that lie was judge whether by particular 
proof they made good their general accusation, as in case a 
man be accused of felony or treason, it is not enough that men 
swear that he is a felon or traitor, they roust name what the 
act was, and prove him guilty. Though I was at charge in 
feeing counsellors to convince him and others, yet I could not 
persuade him out of his mistake. I told him that if this were 
so, any two such fellows might defame and bring to fines and 
punishment himself and all the magistrates and parliament men 


themselves^ and all that meet in the parish churches, and they 
iKOuld have no remedy. At last, he told me that he would cooMilt 
vrith other aldermen at the sessions, and they would go one way. 
When the sessions came, I went to (xuildhall, and again denied 
that I might be heard before I was judged; but though the other 
aldermen, save two or three, were against such doingSf I could 
not prevail with him ; but professing great kindness, he thai bid 
all on Sir John Howell, the recorder, saying that it waa hb 
judgment, and he must follow his advice. I requested him, and 
Sir Thomas Allan, to desire the recorder that I might be heaid 
before I was judged, and as it must pass by his judgment, 
that he would hear me speak ; but I could not procure it^ as the 
Mcorder would not speak with me. When I saw their tcsobh 
tion, I told Sir Thomas Davis, if I might not be heard, I would 
record to posterity the injustice of his judgment. But I per* 
ceived that he bad already made the record, though he had not 
yet given it in to the sessions. At last, upon consultation with 
his leaders, he granted me a hearing, and three of the infonneit 
that had sworn against me met me at his house." ® 

At this meeting, Baxter was charged by the informers with 
preaching in an unconsecrated place, with being a NonconfiMr- 
mist, and with not using the common prayer. These accusations 
he met in such a way as confounded the informers andperplesced 
the alderman, who accordingly suspended his warrant to distrain. 

^^ In the mean time, the parliament met on the 13th of April, 
1675, and fell first on the Duke of Lauderdale, renewing their 
desire to the king, to remove him from all public employment and 
trust. His chief accusing witness was Burnet, late public professor 
of theology at Glasgow, who said that he asked him whether the 
Scotish army would come into England, when Lauderdale replied, 
that if the dissenting Scots should rise, an Irish army should 
cut their throats, &c. But because Burnet had lately magnified 
the said duke, in an epistle before a published book» many 
thought his testimony how to be more unsavoury and revenge- 
fiil ; every one judging as he was affected, p But the king sent 

* lAftf part iii. pp. 165, 166. 

V Baxter refers here to Bishop Burnet's * Vindication of the Autboritj and 
Constitution of the Church of Scotland/ 12mo, 1673, which is dedicated ta 
the duke, who was then the kinj^'s commissioner for Scotland. Burnet liiai- 
self, was at the time professor of theolojpy in the Unirersity of Glas|^w« The 
dedication is abundantly fulsome and adulatory. The duke's ** paCrocinj/' 
the author very earnestly implores. The style of this document It not much 
hi harmony with the character which Burnet afterwards gave of Iht Mofy 

OF BICHAIU9 BAmnt. 313 

tfiem mMwer, that the words were spoken before his late act of 
pfdoD, which, if he should violate, it might cause jealousies in 
hia subjects, that he might do so also by the act of indemnity* 

^Tbeir next assault was against the lord, treasurer, the Earl 
of Dnby, who found more friends in the House of Commons, 
vUdi at last acquitted him. But the great work was in the 
Hoose of Lords, where an act was brought in to impose such an 
oath on lords, commons, and magistrates, as was imposed by 
the Oxford act of confinement on ministers, and like the corpo- 
lation oath 3 of which more anon. It was now supposed that 
the bringing of the parliament under this oath and test, was 
the great w6rk which the house had 'to perform. The sum of 
it was, that none commissioned by the king may be by arms 
tesisted, and that none must endeavour any alteration of 
tiie government of church or state. Many lords spake vehe* 
itly against it, as destructive to the privileges of their house, 
should vote freely, and not be pre-obliged by an oath 
to the prelates. The Lord Treasurer, the Lord Ke^r, with 
Bishop Morley, and Bishop Ward, were the great speakers for 
it; and the Earl of Shaftesbury, Lord HoUis, Lord Halifax, 
the Duke of Buckingham, the Earl of Salisbury, the chidT 
qieakers against it ; they that were for it being the major part, 
many of the rest entered their protestation against it. 

^The protesting lords having many days striven against the 
test, and being outvoted, attempted to join to it an oath for 
honesty and conscience, in these words : ^ I do swear, that I 
will never by threats, injunctions, promises, or invitations, by or 
from any person whatsoever, nor from the hopes or prospects of 
any gift, place, office, or trust whatever, give my vote, other 
dian according to my opinion and conscience, as I shall be truly 
and really persuaded upon the debate of any business in parlia- 
ment.* But the bishops on their side did cry it down, and cast 
it out. 

*^ The debating of this test, did more weaken the interest 

ftc^-Htf/. vol. i. pp. 142 — 144. I suspect the bishop himself did not rej^rd 
this publication as among^ the wisest things he ever did. In his * Own Timet/ 
however, he explains the circumstances in which he' appeared against the 
ifaike, and defends himself a^inst the char^ of Ingratitude or revenge.— 
vol. i* pp. 123— 12*^. Bishop Burnet acknowledged to Calamy that ** if he had 
any acquaintance with serious, vital religion, it was owing to bis reading^ 
Baatitr's practical works in his younger days. These works he greatly ex* 
toUedy saying many handsome things of Baxter and his writings ; but ex« 
pwi s c d his dislike of the Biultitude of his di8tinctioii8.*'««Cafoiiijf'# Own Ltft, 

914 THX Wn AND TlliXS 

and reputation of the bishops with the nobles, thaft any Haag 
that ever befell them after the king came in : so mueh dolh wh 
quiet orer-doing tend to undoing. The Lords, that would not 
have heard a Nonconformist say half so much, when it came 
to be their own case, did long and vehemently plead against 
that oath and declaration being imposed upon them, wUeh 
they, with the Commons, had before imposed upon otbent 
They exercised so much liberty, for many days together, in op* 
posing the bishops, and by free and bold speeches against thdr 
test, as greatly turned to the bishops' disparagement. The 
JBarl of Shaftesbury, the Duke of Buckingham, the £vl «f 
Bristol,^ the Marquis of Winchester, the Earl of SaHabnry, 
Lord HoUis, Lord Halifax, and the Lord of Aylesbnry, die- 
tinguished themselves in the debate; wbicb set the tonguea of 
men at so much liberty, that the common talk was against the 
bishops. It was said there were so few among the bishopa, ahle 
to speak to purpose. Bishop Morley, of Winchester, and Bishop 
Ward, of Salisbury, being their chief speakers, that they greir 
very low, even as to the reputation of their parts. 

'* At last, though the test was carried by the majority, those 
who were against it, prevailed to make so great an alteration of 
it as made it quite another thing, and turned it to the greatest 
disadvantage of the bishops, and the greatest accommodaticHi of 
the cause of the Nonconformists, of any thing that this parKa- 
ment ever did, for they reduced it to these words of a declare* 
tion and an oath. 

'^ ^ I, A. B., do declare that it is not lawful, on any pretenoe 
whatsoever, to take arms against the king ; and that I do abhor 
that traitorous position of taking arms by his authority against 
his person, or against those that are commissioned by him ao^ 
cording to law, in time of rebellion and war, in acting in pur<« 
suance of such commission.' 

4 Bristol was a Roman Catholic, but appears to have opposed this bHI 
much the same grounds with the Protestant dissenters. He >considertd that 
it endangered the constitution and interests of the country. — JRapm, vol. ii. 
p. 670. 

' The declaration ori^nally proposed, was as follows: — ** I, A. B., dodiw 
clare, that it is not lawful, upon any pretence whatever, to take up anus 
against the king ; and that I do abhor that traitorous fiosition of taking amt 
by bis authority, against his person, or against those who are eomralstioiitd 
1^ bim, in pursuance of such commission ; and 1 do swear that i will not, al 
any time, endeavour the alteration of the government, either in church off 
state— So help me God,' *^Loeke"s fVorks^ vol. x. p. 213. The modifying 
clauses finally introduced, did not alter the spirit or principle of the mtmswe, 
but rendered the oath ambiguous^ and thus so far extracted its poison. 


^ ' I^ A« B^ do swear that I will not endeavour an akcratioit 
ef the Ph^testant religion now established by law in the chureh 
of England ; nor will I endeavour any alteration in the gopcm- 
nent of this kingdom in church or state, as it is by law esta- 
Wished.' ''> 

Baxter mentions that the Nonconformists would hasve takes 
this declaration and oath, had they been offered them, instead 
af the Oxford oath, the subscription for conformity, and the 
oorpoiation and vestry declarations. Bat the argumeats, bjr 
which he endeavoured to prove the lawfulness of taking then, 
thoqgfa they were doubtless satisfisiptory to his own' aund, savour 
more of the subtlety of the schoolmen, than of Christian sim- 
plicity.. By the same mode of reasoning, it would be easy to 
show the lawfiibiess of the most unjust and absurd proceedings, 
or at submission to the grossest outrages on the rights and 
liberties of men*^ 

** While this discussion was carrying on in the House oC 
Lords, and five hundred pounds voted to be the penalty of the 
refiosers of the test, before it could come to the Commons, a dif- 
ference lock place between the Lords and Commons about theb 
privilege This was occasioned by two suits that were brought 
before the Lords, in which two members of the Commona 
were parties, which led the Commons to send to the Tower Sir 
John Fagg, one of their members, for appearing at the Lords* 
bar without their consent, and four counsellors. Sir John 
Churchill, Serjeant Pemberton, Serjeant Pecke, and another, for 
pleading there. This the Lords voted illegal, and that they 
diould be released. Sir John Robinson, lieutenant of the Tower, 
obeyed the Commons ; for which the Lords voted him to be a 
delinquent ; and so far went they in daily voting at each other, 
that the king was fun to prorogue the parliament, from June 

• Life, pftrt Hi pp. 167, 168. 

aiieldon ftt this time discovered bis wonted actirity in buntini; out tepe* 
rmtists from the church of Eng^laud. Calamy has preserved another circular 
letter from him, addressed to the bishops of the province of Canterbury, en- 
joining them to make returns of the number of persons in their dioceses, of 
aU Popish recosants, and ** what number of other dissenters wera in aadi 
parish, of what sect soever, which either obstinately refuse, or wboliy absent 
themselves from the commuDion of the church of Eog^land, at such times as 
they are by law required." — Calamy^s Ahridgment^ vol. i. p. 345. 

* A full and admirable account of the memorable debate on this bill in tlie 
House of Lords, is g^vea by Locke> in his letter to a person of quality; in 
whichf availing himself of the iutimacy he enjoyed with Lord Shaftesbury, ha 
opens the sacret spriaf^s of several of the measures then proposed^— X«0cAe't 
mrhi^ YoL X. pp. 240—246, edit. 1812. 

Sid TBS XJR AND Tllin 

fhe 9th fill October the 13th; there appearing no hope of reoofi- 
eiKng them, v^ich rejoiced many that they roee withoat ckring 
iiirther •harm/' ^ 

The debate on this celebrated bill, commonly called ^ the 
Bishops' Test/' on account of their united zeal for its aeeom- 
idishment, lasted five days, before it was committed to a com- 
mittee of the whole house. It was afterwards debated rixteen 
or seventeen whole days ; the house sometimes sitting from 
morning till midnight. After it passed the committee in the 
manner described by Baxter, the grand contest arose betiveeii 
the two houses about their privileges, in consequence of wfaieh 
the king was obliged to prorogue the parliament, so that the 
bill was never reported to the house by the committee. Its 
defeat was generally ascribed chiefly to Lord Shaftesbury^ who 
was at the head of the country party, and who was, in private, 
greatly assisted by John Locke.^ In this manner did Phm- 
dence defeat that unjust attempt to injure the rights and liber* 
ties of the people of England. 

^^ Keeling, the informer, being commonly detested fbr 
prosecuting me, was cast into gaol for debt, and wrote 
to me to endeavour his deliverance, which I did. A while 
before, another of the chief informers of the city and my 
accuser, Marshall, died in the Compter, where his creditors 
laid him, to keep him from doing more harm; yet did 
not the bishops change or cease. Two more informers 
were set on work, who first assaulted Mr. Case's meeting, 
and next got in as hearers into Mr. Read's meeting, where 
I was preaching. When they would have gone out to fetch 
justices, for they were known, the doors were locked to 
keep them in till I had done ; and one of them, supposed to 
be sent from Fulham, stayed weeping. Yet went they straight 
to the justices, and the week following heard me agun, as 
informers, at my lectures ; but I heard nothing more of their 

*^ Sir Thomas Davis, notwithstanding all his warnings and 
confessions, sent his warrants to a justice of the division where 
I dwelt, to distrain on me, upon two judgments, for fifty pounds, 
for preaching my lecture in New-street.^ Some Conformists are 

« Life» part Hi. p. 171. * Lord King's < Life of Locke/ p. 37. 

r When the warranti were issued by Sir Thomas Davis, Baxter says, " My 
wife did, without anj repining^, eucourag^e me to undergo the loss, and did 
herself take the trouble of removing and hiding my library awhile (many 
soorss of books being so loit), and after, to give it away, bondjlie^ some to 

or RICBABJ> BAxniu S17 

paid to the Value of twenty pounds a sermon for their preaehiog, 
and I inost pay twenty pounds, and forty pounds, a sermon, for 
preaching for nothing, O, what pastors hath the church of 
England, who tlunk it worth their unwearied hbonrs, and all 
the odium wluch they contract from the people, to keep such as 
I am from preaching the Gospel of Christ, and to undo us for it 
as fur as they are able ; though these many years they do notf 
for they cannot accuse me for one word Uiat ever I preached, 
nor one action else that I have done ; while the greatest of tho 
Inihops preach not three a year themselves ! 

^ The dangerous crack over the market-house, at St. James's, 
pm many upon desiring that I had a larger and safer place for 
meeting; and though my own dulness, andgreat backwardness to 
tnmblesome business, made me very averse to so great an under^^ 
taking, judging that it being in the face of the court, it would 
never be endured, yet the great and incessant importunity of 
many, out of a fervent desire of the good of souls, did constrain 
me to undertake it. When it was almost finished, in Oxenden* 
street, Mr. Henry Coventry, one of his majesty's principal secre* 
taries, who had a house joining to it, and viras a member of 
parfiament, spake twice against it in the parliament, but no one 
seconded him/' * 

For the building of this place he received considerable sub* 
scriptions from a number of respectable and wealthy persons. 
Among the most distinguished of these were, Lady Armine, Sir 
John Maynard, Sir James Langham ; the Countesses of Clare, 
Tyrconnel, and Warwick, the Ladies Clinton, Hollis, Richards^ 
and Fitzjames ; Mr. Hambden ; Alderman Ashurst, &c. 

By the zeal and influence of his wife, another place was built 
in Bloomsbury for Mr. Read, in which Baxter engaged to help 
him occasionally : but he was still doomed to be harassed and 
hunted by his persecutors. The following is a painful statement 
of what he endured ; while it supplies an interesting illustration 
of the kindness of Providence which he experienced, as well as 
of the happy state of his mind ; 

'* I was so long wearied with keeping my doors shut against 
them that came to distrain on my goods for preaching, that I 
was fain to go from my house, and to sell all my goods, and to 

New England, and the most at home, to avoid distrainiof on tbem/'-^^r* 
mmn •/Mrs. Baxter^ p. 70. It appears that he lent valuable prcieiitt of books 
to Harvard College. 
• LifCj part lit. pp. 171 


Ude my Ubrary fint, and afterwards to tell it$ ao that tf boob 
had been my treasure (and I valued little more on earth), I had 
now been without a treasure. For about twelve years, 1 was 
driven a hundred miles from them ; and when I had paid dear ftr 
the carriage, after two or three years, I was forced to aell theoL 
The prelates, to hinder me from preaching, deprived me also of 
these private comforts ; but God saw that they vrere my snare. 
We brought nothing into this vrorld, and we must carry nothing 
out. The loss is very tolerable. 

^^ I was the more willing to part with goods, books, and aD, 
that I might have nothing to be distrained, and so go on to 
preach ; and accordingly removing my dwelling to the new 
chi^l which I had built, I purposed to venture to preach in it, 
there being forty thousand persons in the parish, as b rappoaed, 
more than can hear in the parish church, who have no place to 
go to for Ood's public worship; so that I set not up church 
against church, Init preached to those that must else have had 
none. When I had preached there but once, a resolution waa 
taken to surprise me the next day, and send me for six months 
to the common gaol, upon the act for the Oxford oath. Nol 
knowing this, it being the hottest part of the year, I agreed to 
go for a few weeks into the country, twenty miles off; but the 
night before I should go, I felt so ill, that I was fain to send to 
disappoint both the coach and my intended companion, Mr« 
Sylvester, When I was thus fully resolved to stay, it pleased 
God, after the ordinary coach hour, that three men, from three 
parts of the city, met at my house, accidentally, just at the same 
time, ahnost to a minute ; of whom, if any one had not been 
there, I had not gone ; viz., the coachman again to urge me, 
Mr. Sylvester, whom 1 had put off, and Dr. Cox, who oompdled 
me, and told me he would, else, carry me into the eoach. It 
proved a special, merciful providence of God; for, after one 
of languishing and pain, 1 had nine weeks' greater ease than 
I expected in this world, and greater comfort in my woiic. For 
my good friend, Richard Beresford, esq., clerk of the Exeheqaer, 
whose importunity drew me to his house, spared no cost^ labour, 
or kindness, for my health or service.'' * 

The extraordinary variety of Baxter's diseases, the ename- 
ration of which follows this passage, would be any thing but 
entertainment to the reader: suflSce it to say, that he was, for 
many years, a living wonder to himself, and to those who were 

* Llfei part iii. p. 17^* 


aoqounfeed with his condition. It is amazing how he eould 
exist, and atiU more wonderful how he was capable of the un- 
cettiq; labour in public or in writing, in which he was engaged. 
ThoQgh " in deaths oft/' he prosecuted, with unremitting and 
growing ardour, the service of his Master, and the salration of 
hii fellow-creatures. 

^ B^ng driven from home, and having an old license yet iu 
fora^ by the countenance of that, and the great industry of Mr* 
Beresibrd, I had leave and invitation for ten Lord's days, to 
preach in the parish churches round about. The first parish that 
I preached in, after thirteen years' ejection and prohibition, was 
Rickmersworth, after that at Sarrat, at King's Langley, at 
Cbeibam, at Chalford, at Amersham, and that often twice a 
day. Tliose heard, who had not come to church for seven years ; 
ladtfro or three thousand heard, where scarcely an hundred were 
woDt to come, and with so much attention and willingness as 
gave me very great hopes that I never spake to them in vain | 
thot soul and body had these special mercies, * 

" But the censures of men pursued me as before : the envious 
•ort of the prelatists accused me, as if I had intruded into the 
parish churches too boldly, and without authority. The quar* 
relsome Sectaries, or Separatists, did, in London, speak against 
me, for drawing people to the parish churches and the liturgy^ 
and many gave out that I did conform. All my days, no* 
^iug hath been charged on me as crimes, so much as my cost- 
liest and greatest duties. But the pleasing of God, and saving 
^uls, will pay for all. 

^^The country about Rickmersworth, abounding with Quakers, 
because W. Penn, their captain, dwelleth there, I was desirous 
^hat the poor people should once hear what was to be said for 
^heir recovery, which coming to Mr. Penn's ears, he was for* 
^ard to a meeting, where we continued speaking to two rooms 
'ull of people, fasting, from ten o'clock till five.** One lord, 
^Wo knights, and four conformable ministers, beside others, being 
present; some all the time, some part. The success gave me 

^ No account of this meeting has been printed, as far as is known to me ; but 
Part oi the oorrespoodeuce between Penn and Baxter remains. From the let* 
^rs oi Penn it appears that Baxter proposed the meetinjf, to which Penn ae» 
Ceded. A second meetiug appears to have been demandedi but does not seem 
to have taken place. Peon's language to Baxter, in two of his letters, i« vciy 
abusive. He tells him, " I perceive the scurvy of the mind is thy distemperj 
and I fear it is incurable. 1 had rather be Socrates at the day of judgment, 
than Richard Baxter/'. la the lait Itttsr, however, he speaks in a much mora 


cmiise to believe that it was not labour lost : an acoomit of Ae 
conference may be published ere long, if there be cause.* 

^ While this was my employment in the country^ my frioidi 
at home had got one Mr. Seddon^ a Nonconformist, of Deilijfi- 
shire, lately come to the city as a traveller, to preach the seeool 
sermon in my j(ew-built chapel ; he was told, and overtoUy dl 
the danger, and desired not to come if he feared it. I had kit 
word, that if he would but step into my house through a door, 
he was in no danger, they not having power to break open sBf 
but the meeting house. While he was preaching, three juitieeii 
supposed of Secretary Coventry's sending, came to the door to 
seize the preacher. They thought it had been I, and had 
prepared a warrant upon the Oxford act, to send me (or as 
months to the common gaol. The good man, and two wok, 
honest persons, entrusted to have directed him, left the hove 
where they were safe, and thinking to pass away, came to the 
justices and soldiers at the door, and there stood by them till 
some one said, * This is the preacher ;' and so they took tisit 
blotted my name out of the warrant and put in his ; thoogh 
admost every word fitted to my case was folse of his. To the 
Gate-house he was carried, where be continued almost three 
months of the six : and being earnestly desirous of deliveranoei 
I was put to charges to accomplish it, and at last, having 
righteous judges, and the warrant being found faulty, he had 
an habeas corpuSy and was freed upon bonds to appear again 
the next term." ^ 

Baxter was now placed in great jeopardy. His prosecutors 
were exasperated against him, and determined, if possible, to 
succeed in the next warrant, which they only waited an oppor- 
tunity to get against him. Several of the justices, however, 
who had been his greatest enemies, died. At the same time, be 
lost his kind and excellent friend, Judge Hale, to whom he had 
often been indebted, and of whose death he speaks in a very 
affecting manner. Before proceeding to notice his next trialSf 
I shall just mention the books which he wrote during the period 
which this chapter embraces. 

courteous style ; aod acknowledg^es the great civility he had experienced froia 
Baxter at the roeetiug. The correspondence is curious, as showing, ia one 
nvay^ that Penn was both a man of talents and a gentleman ; and, in another, 
that, when excited by his religious views, he was rabid and vulgar. Baxter 
could be severe, but it was the severity of ao ardent and ingenuous miodi 
Ibe severity of Penn is sheer ribaldry.— ^axffr's MSS, 
« Ufe, partiii. 174. ^ Ibid. p. 174^ 175^ 


He paUbhed, in 1671> his Defence of the Principles of Love 
—His Answer to Exceptions against it— The Divine Appoint- 
meat of the Lord's Day — ^The Duty of Heavenly Meditation— 
Hidiness the Design of Christianity — ^The Difference between 
die Power of Magistrates and Church Pastors — ^Vindication of 
God's Goodness — Second Admonition to Mr. Bagshayv. In 
1672} appeared More Reasons for the Christian Religion — 
Dteertion of the Ministry Rebuked — Certainty of Christianity 
irithout Popery — A Third Answer to Bagshaw. In 1673 
nd I674j he published his Christian Directory, on which he 
had .been employed for some years. In these two years, he 
•bo published his Full and Easy Satisfaction, and his Poor 
Man's Family Book, tn 1675, he produced his Catholic The- 
oliigy^^a folio volume, which was followed by several other 
pieees in the course of that and the following year, which 
I need not now enumerate. Looking at the number and 
variety of these works, this must have been one of the busiest 
periods in his life as a writer. He preached less ; but during 
Ui affictive retirement, he laboured incessantly with his pen. 
Hie mere oversight of the press of so many works, would have 
been employment enough for an ordinary man. But Baxter 
■mat not -be measured by this standard. He lived but to labour; 
«id labour was his life. 

VOL. I. 


1676— 168U 

Baxter retumes preacbing: in the parish of St. Martin-— Koncoiif^malMft 
ag;ain persecuted— Dr. Jane — ^Dr. Mason— Baxter preacbei in SfralkNK 
itreet— Compton, Bishop of London— Lamplui^h, Bishop of £telar-44loyil> 
Bishop of Worcester— Various slanders af^inst Bajcter— Death of Dr.MwlW 
— Pinner's*HaU Lecture-^Popiih Plot— Earl of Danby— Baater'a intcrfih^ 
reace on behalf of banished Scotsmen — H unitarians— the haag Parilameni 
of Charles 11. dlssolfed- Transactions of the New Pariianent— Bill of Ba«» 
elusion— Meal-Tub Plot— BaateVs ReEections on the Timee— Writinci- 
Death of Friends^^udge Hale— Stubbs— Corbet— Gouge— Ashnnt-^Bas* 
ter*s Step-mother-^Mrs. Baxter. 

In the latter years of Baxter's life, the information whtch he hii 
furnished respecting himself, is much less particular, than whai^ 
he has supplied respecting the earlier and more bustling perioA. 
of it. As he advanced in age, he appears to have lived more 
retired ; and either from choice, or from necessity, took a le8» 
active part in public affairs. His ill state of health rendered 
retirement absolutely necessary, and his experience of ths 
uselessness of contending against the disposition of the govern—' 
ment, and the bigotry of the church, probably reconciled 
to wait and pray for better times, which happily he lived to 
The gleanings of his last days, however, we must endeavour* 
carefully to gather up. He thus resumes his narrative : 

" Wheu I had been kept a whole year from preaching in the 
chapel which I built, I began in another, in a tempestuous time^ 
on account of the necessity of the parish of St. Martin ; where 
about 60,000 souls had no church to go to, nor any public 
worship of God ! How long. Lord ! 

'< About February and March, 1676, it pleased the king im- 
portunately to command and urge the judges, and London jus* 
tice8,to put the laws against Nonconformists in .execution ; but 
the nation was backward to it. In London they were often and 
long commanded to it 3 till, at last^ Sir Joseph SbeldoUj the 


AfdilMiop of Canterbury's near relation^ being lord mayor, on 
April 80th, the execution began. They were required especially 
to send all the ministers to the common jails for six months, on 
the Oxford act, for not taking the oath, and dwelling within 
five miles. This day, Mr. Joseph Read was sent to jail, being 
taken out of the pulpit, preaching in a chapel in Bloomsbury, 
in the parish of St. Giles. He did so much good to the poor 
^orant people who had no other teacher, that Satan owed him 
a MaliciouB disturbance. He had built the chapel in his own 
house (with the help of friends), in compassion to those people^ 
wiio^ as they crowded to hear him, so did they follow him to 
the justiees, and to the jail, to ^ow their affection. It being 
the plaee where I had been used often to preach, I suppose was 
iomewhat the more maliced. The very day before, I had new 
sctret hints of men's desires of reconciliation and peace, and 
motions to offer some proposals towards them, as if the bishops 
were at last grown peaceable. To which, as ever before, I 
yielded^ and did my part, though long experience made me sus- 
pect that some mischief was near, and some suffering presently 
to be expected from them. 

^ Mr. Jane, the Bishop of London's chaplain,* preaching to 
Ibe lord mayor and aldermen, in the month of June, turned his 
<Mioii against Calvin- and me. My charge was, that I had 
sent as bad men to heaven as some that be in hell ; because, in 
ny book called the ' Saint's Rest,' I had said, that I thought of 

* Dr. Janey of whom Baxter givt% this account, was one of the highest of 
the bifb charchnen of his day. His father was a member of the Long Par- 
liaaeot ; oae of the most decided frieods of the kiojc ; aud author of the 
CnctvaxXorsf, the * Ima^ unhroken/ in answer to Milton's EtKotwox^nity 
Ui€ * Image Broken.' The sou was educated at Westminster and Oxford, and 
Bo doobC expected to rise high in the church, for his father's services. He does 
Bot appear, however, to have advanced beyond the deanery of Gloucester, 
vhich he held with the precentorship of the church of Exeter. He had 
^^ principal ahave in drawiof: up the famous decree passed by the University 
^ CbLford, on the 21st of July, 1683, condemning the |X)litical princi- 
ples and writings of Locke, Baxter, Owen, and others of their description. 
^^ the !Mth of that month, it was presented to Charles II., in the presence of 
^he Duke of Yoik, by Dr. Jane and Dr. Huntingdon, but had the honour to 
^ harnt by the common hangman, by order of the House of Lords, in 1710. 
Notwithstanding the principles avowed in this document, Dr. Jane was one of 
'^^Hir sent to the Prince of Orange, when on his march to London, with an 
^^erof the University plate, to his highness, who declined it; but Jane 
bought his services then so important, that he took the opportunity of soli- 
^^tiog for himself the see of Exeter. This could not be obtained : in conse- 
HUence of which he remained secretly disaffected to King William, during 
^U reign. Jane died in MIG.—Birch^s Life of TiUoUon, pp. 173, 174. 

y 2 


heaven with the more pleasure, because I should there meet 
with Peter, Paul, Austin, Chrysostom, Jerome, Wicliff, I^ither, 
Zuinglius, Calvin, Beza, fiullinger, Zanchy, Parseus, Piscator, 
Hooper, Bradford, Latimer, Glover, Sanders, Philpot, RejmoMi,. 
Whittaker, Cartwright, Brightman, Bayne, Bradshaw, BoltoOy 
Ball, Hildersham, Pemble, Twisse, Ames, Preston, Sibbsi 
Brooke, Pym, Hampden. Wliich of. these the man knew to be 
in hell, I cannot conjecture : it is likely those who differed firom 
him in judgment; but till he prove his revelation, I shall not. 
believe him. 

^^ This makes me remember how, this last year, one Dr. 
Mason, a great preacher against Puritans,' preached against me 
publicly in London ; saying, that when a justice was aendiQg 
me to prison, and offered to let me stay till Monday, if I 
would promise not to preach on Sunday, I answered, ^ 1 ,9Ml 
nof,' equivocating; meaning, I shall not jpromwe, when he thought 
I meant, I shall not preach, O, these, say the malignants, are 

your holy men ! and was such a falsehood fit for a . 

pulpit ? Yet such men never spake one word to my face in their . 
lives ! The whole truth is this ; Ross and Phillips, being ap- 
pointed to send me to prison, for preaching at Brentford, shot 
the chamber doors, and would neither show nor tell me who 
was my accuser or witness, or let any one living be present bat 
themselves. It being Saturday, I requested to stay at home to set 
my house in order till Monday. Ross asked me, whether I would 
promise not to preach on Sunday ? I answered, ^ No ; I shall 
not :' the man not understanding me, said, ' Well, you promise 
not to preach.' I replied, * No, Sir, I tell you ; I will not pro- 
mise any such thing : if you hinder me, I cannot help it, bat I 
will not otherwise forbear.' Never did I think of equivocatimi. 
This waB my present answer, and I went straight to prison upon 
it ; yet did this Ross send this false story behind my back, and 
among courtiers and prelatists it passed for current, and was 
worthy Dr. Mason's pulpit impudency. Such were the men 
that we were persecuted by, and had to do with. Dr. Mason . 
died quickly after. 

" Being denied forcibly the use of the chapel which I had 
built, I was obliged to let it stand empty, and pay thirty pounds 

' The person of whom Baxter ^ives this account was, I apprebeod). 
Charles Mason, who was made rector of St. Mary Woolchurcb, in 160l» * 
prebendary of St. J'aul's in 1663, and collated to the rectory of St ?fX^ 
Le Poor, in 1669. He was author of two or three serraoni, of which 1 knuV - 
Bothio|^. He died ia 1677. 



annom for the ground-rent myself, and glad to preach for 

'Nothing, near it, at a chapel bfiilt by another for gain, in Swallow- 

•^•■^tt^f It was among the same poor people who had no preach- 

^^Sf ^® parish having sixty thousand souls in it more than the 

^l^nrch could hold. When 1 had preached there awhile, the 

•^•■esaid Justice Parry, with one Sabbes, signed a warrant to 

•^l^prehend me, and on the 9th of November, six constables, four 

*^^adle8, and many messengers, were set at the chapel doors to 

^"^ccute it. I forbore that day, and afterwards told the Duke of 

■-•auderdale of it, and asked him what it was that occasioned 

^^icir wrath against me. He desired me to go and speak 

'^th the Bishop of London.^ I did so, and he spake fairly, 

^d with peaceable words ; but presently, he having spoken 

bIso with some others, it was contrived that a noise was 

raised, against the bishop at court, that he was treating 

of a peace with the Presbyterians. But after awhile, I went to 

him again, and told him it was supposed that Justice Parry was 

either set at work by him, or at least a word from him would 

take him oiF; I desired the bishop, therefore, to speak to him, or 

provide that the constables might be removed from my. chapel 

doors, and their warrant called in. I offered also to resign 

my chapel in Oxendon-street to a Conformist, if so be he would 

procure my continued liberty in Swallow-street, for the sake of 

the poor multitudes that had no church to go to. He did as 

good as promise me, telling me that he did not doubt to do it, 

and so I departed, expecting quietness the next Lord's day ; 

but instead of that, the constable's warrant was continued, 

though some of them begged to be excused ; and against their 

will they continued guarding the door for above four-and -twenty 

f There has been a Scots church in Swallow-street for a g^'eat manj 
yean: bat 1 believe neither the present building^, nor the congregation, 
arose from the labours of Baxter. The Enj^lish Presbyterian cong^rec^atiou 
formed by Baxter's preaching, was dissolved about the beginning of last 
century,— ff^lson* 8 Diss. Churches, vol. iv. pp. 44 — 46. 

^ Compton was raised to the see of Loudon, on the death of Hiuch- 
man. He bad formerly been a soldier, and did not take orders till he wa<% 
past thirty. He was not a man of learning, or of much talent. According 
to Buroet, he was humble and modest; but weak, wilful, and strangely wed- 
ded to a party. Yet he applied himself diligently to the business of the dio- 
cese, and was considered decidedly opposed to Popery. — Own Times, vol. ii. 
p. 144. He did not entirely forget his martial character after he wore lawn 
sleeves; for, on the landing of the Prince of Orange, he carried off the Priu* 
cess Anne to Nottingham, and marched into that town at the head of a fine 
troop of gentlemen and their attendants, as a guard for her highness. 


Lord^s days after. So I came near the bishop no more when I 
had tried what their kindnesses and promises signify. 

^^ It pleased God about this time to take away that excellent^ 
fiuthful minister^ Mr. Thomas Wadsworth, of Southwark. Just 
when I was thus kept out at Swallow-street, his flock invited 
me to fill his place, where, though I refused to be their pastor, I 
preached many mopths in peace, there being no juatice willing 
to disturb us. This was in 1677* When Dr. William Lbyd 
became pastor of St. Martin's in the Fields, upon Lamplugh's 
preferment,* I was encouraged by Dr. Tillotson, to offer m; 
chapel in Oxendon-street^ for public worship^ which he ac 
cepted, to my great satisfaction; and now there is ccHiatan' 
preaching there; be it by Conformists or Nonconfonnists, 
rejoice that Christ is preached to the people in that pariihiK 
whom ten or twenty such chapels cannot hold."^ 

This account of the transaction was some time afterwards pul 
licly and shamelessly contradicted. Baxter, in the memoir of hi 
wife, had stated that ^^ Dr. Lloyd and his parishioners had ac 
cepted the chapel for public worship on the offer of himself an< 
his wife.""^ The author of ^ The Complete History of England,' 
after Calamy's ^ Abridgment of Baxter * was published, states 
'^ that this part of the relation, as to the offer of a chapel, i 
known to be false ;" thus giving the lie direct to Baxter's 
declaration. Lloyd, however, then bishop of Worcester, bein 
applied to for an explanation of the circumstance, stated ^^ 
Mr. Baxter being disturbed in his meeting in Oxendon-street b; 
the king's drums, which Mr. Secretary Coventry caused to 

* Dr. Lampluffh, formerly rector of St. Martin's, was raised to the liiiho| 
rick of Exeter, in 1<676; aud after the ReTolution, was made archbishop 
York. Judging from an anecdote of him told by Baxter, ' Life,' part ii' 
pp. 178, 179, he must have been both a high and a fierce roan. While 
of St. Martin's, he met old Mr. Sanger, a Nonconformist, at the bouse oi oi 
of his parishioners, who was sick, aud accosted him, '< Sir, what busing 
have you here ?" ** To visit and pray with my sick friend, who tent for me.^ ^s^" 
was the answer. The doctor then fiercely laid hold of his breast, and thm^^^sst 
him to the door, saying, '< Get out of the room, Sir ;" to the great dismay of 

the sick woman, who had shortly before buried her husband. 

>* After the cliapel in Oxendon-street, built by Baxter, had been a cbapd 
ease to the parish of St. Martin for more than a century, it fell again ii 
the hands of the dissenters. The lease of it was taken, in 1807, by 
Scots secession clmrch, ttien under the ministry of the late Rev. Dr. Jerme ^ ^l, 
who has been succeeded by my respected friend, the Rev. William Broadfc 
its present minister. — ff^U$on*s Diss. Churches, vol. iv. p. 56. 

» Life, part iii. pp. 176—179. 

" Breviate of the Life of Mrs. Baxter, 4to, p. 57. 


Qod^r the windows, made an offer of letting it to the 
^^riih of St. Martin for a tabernacle, at the rent of forty pounds 
^ jear; and that hiB lordship hearing itj said be liked it well. That 
••"aerefore Mr. Baxter came to him, and proposed the same 
^ing. He then acquainted the vestry with it, which took it 
%pon those terms/' ° Thus the veracity and disinterestedness of 
3axter were satisfactorily vindicated. Lloyd, who became sue- 
^caaively bishop of St. Asaph and Worcester, was one of the 
M^ informed men of his profession, and, on the whole, more 
noderate in his principles than most of them. 

'* About March, 1677; fell out a trifling business^ which I will 
nention, lest the fable pass for truth when I am dead. At a 
soffee-house, in Fuller's Rents, where many Papists and Pro- 
:eatants used to meet together, one Mr.Dyet,son to old Sir Richard 
Dyety chief justice in the north, and brother to a deceased, dear 
Mend of mine, the wife of my old, dear friend. Colonel Silvanua 
Fiiylor,^ one that professed himself no Papist, but was their fa- 
nailiar, said openly that I had killed a man with my own hand ; 
dial it was a tinker, at my door, who, because he beat his kettle 
ind disturbed me in my studies, I went down and pistoled him. 
One Mr. Peters occasioned this wrath, by oft challenging, in 
w^in, the Papists to dispute with me; or answer my books 
•gainst them. Mr. Peters told Mr. Dyet that this was so 
ahameless a slander, that he should answer for it. Mr. Dyet 
told him that a hundred witnesses would testify it was true, and 
that I was tried for my life at Worcester for it. To be short, 
lllr. Peters ceased not till he brought Dyet to my chamber to 
confess his fault, and ask my forgiveness. With him, came one 
Mr. Tasbrook, an eminent, sober, prudent Papist ; I told him 
that these usages to such as I, and far worse, were so ordinary^ 
and I had long suffered so much more than words, that it must 
be no difficulty to me to forgive them to any man ; but espe- 
cially to one whose relations had been my dearest friends ; and 
that he was one of the first gentlemen who ever showed so much 
ingenuity as to confess and ask forgiveness. He told me, he 

« Cslaniy't Abridgment, vol. i. p. 348. 

* Colonel Taylor was an officer in the parliamentary army» and served some 
years under Colonel Massey. He was an active man in the county of Here- 
IbrL He appears, however^ to have obtained favour after the Kestoration, 
and was appointed keeper of the king's stores at Harwich , where he died iu 
1678. He was a great antiquary ; a distiuguisbed amateur in music, having 
poblisbcd ' Court Ayres or Pavios,' * Almaine's Corants and Sarabands ;' and 
a good mathematician and linguist. — Jthen, Oxoiu vol. iii. p. 1175} Aukreff^ 
voL ill. p. 555« 


'\ivould hereafter confess and unsay it, and vindicate me u openly 
as he had wronged me : I told him, to excuse him, that perhaps 
he had that story from his late pastor at St. Giles', Dr. Boreman, 
who had printed that such a thing was reported ; but I never 
heard before the particulars of the fable. Shortly after, at the 
same coflfee-house, Mr. Dyet openly confessed his fault.'' p 

'^ In November, 1 677> died Dr. Thomas Manton, to the great 
loss of London, being an able, judicious, faithful man, and one 
that lamented the intemperance of many self-conceited ministers 
and people, who, on pretence of vindicating free«grace and 
Providence, and of opposing Arminianism, greatly corrupted 'the 
Christian doctrine, and schismatically impugned Christian kife 
and concord, hereticating and making odious all who spake not 
as erroneously as themselves. Many of the Independents, in- 
dining to half Antinomianism, suggested suspicions against Dr, 
Manton, Dr. Bates, Mr. Howe, myself, and such others, as 
if we were half Arminians. On which occasion, I preached tivo 
sermons on the words of Jude, ' They speak evil of what they 
understand not.' " ^ 

These discourses, which were preached at the merchants' 
Tuesday morning lecture, at Pinner's Hall, were never, I believe, 
printed. Baxter had rashly carried some idle reports into the 
pulpit, and thus occasioned a considerable flame l^oth among the 
lecturers and the people. The preachers consisted of four Pres- 
byterians and two Independents. I believe the whole matter 
was, the Independents were more thorough systematic Calvinists 
than the Presbyterians, though there was no difference of im- 
portance between them. They finally separated in 1695, in 
consequence of the mischievous dispute about Dr. Crisp's sen- 

" About October, 1678, fell out the murder of Sir Edmund 
Burry Godfrey, which made a very great change in Englaiid. 
One Dr. Titus Oates had discovered a plot of the Papists, of 
which he wrote out the particulars very largely, telling how they 
fired the city, and were contriving to bring the kingdom to Po- 
pery, and in order thereto to kill the king. He named the lords, 

'Life, part iii. p. 179. I have not quoted the tail- piece of this fooUih 
ttory. It is very odd to find such a man as Baxter accused twice of killiof 
persons. Dr. Boreman's story, to which he aUudes, is the affair of Major 
Jennings, of which we have ^ven an account, with its refutation, in pp. 69 
—71. They must hav^ been greatly at n loss for scandal, when it wm foanS 
necessary to accuse Baxter of niurdeft 

4 Life, part iii. p. 182. ' Neal's Purit. vol. v. p. 414. 


SemiS^f pritttSy and others, who were the chief contrivers, and 
said that he himself had delivered to several of the lords their 
Gominissions z that Lord Bellasis was to be general. Lord Petre 
lieutenant-general. Lord Stafford major-general, Lord Powis lord 
chancellor, and Lord Arundel, of Warder, (the chief,) to be lord' 
treasuren He told who were to be the archbishops, bishops, 
&C., and at what meetings, and by whom, and when all was con* 
trived, and who were designed to kill the king. He first opened 
all this to Dr. Tongue," and both of them opened it to the king 
and oouncih He mentioned a multitude of letters, which he 
liiinself had canied or seen, or heard read, that contained all 
these contrivances. But because his father and he had once been 
Anabaptists, and when the bishops prevailed, had turned to be 
conformable ministers, and, afterward, the son turned Papist^ 
and confessed that he long had gone on with them under many 
oaths of secrecy,^ many thought that a man of so little conscience 
was not to be believed. His confessions however were received 
by some justices of the peace. None was more fonVard in the 
search than Sir Edmund Burry Godfrey, an able, honest, and 
diligent justice. While he was following this work, he was 
suddenly missing, and could not be heard of. Three or four 
days after, he was found killed near Mary-le-bonne Park. It 
was plainly found that he was murdered.^ The parliament 
took the alarm upon it, Oates was now believed ; and, indeed, 
all his large confessions, in every part, agreed to admiration. 
Hereupon the king proclaimed pardon and reward to any one 
that Would confess, or discover the murder. One Mr. Bedlow, 
that had fled to Bristol, began, and confessed that he knew of it, 

* Dr. Israel Tongue was one of the city divines, whose head was full of all 
sorts of fancies about Romish plots and conspiracies. According to Wood, 
** be understood chronology well, and spent much time and money in the art 
of alchemy. He was a person cynical and hirsute, shiftless in the world, yet 
absolutely free from covetousness.^ — Jthen. Oxon, vol. iii. p. 1260. Jt seems 
more probable that he was imposed on by Oates, than that he was a party to 
a scheme of deception. — Burnet j vol. i. pp. 424, 425. 

* From Crosby's < History of the Baptists,' it appears that this account of 
Oatet is substantially correct. He was a Baptist in his youth, and, after 
mulling the round of religious professions, was, in the latter part of his 
life, received among them again, after a separation of thirty years. In a 
aliort time, however, the church with which he connected himself was obliged 
to exclude him. He seems to have been a consummate hypocrite and villain. 
— 'DnM^, vol. iii. pp. IfiG, 182. 

"The death of Sir Edmund Burry Godfrey is a subject involved in great 
obscurity. Burnet gives a very minute account of his disappearance, and of 
the state in which his body was found, but throws no light on the manner 
ill which be came by his death. 


and who did it, and named some of the mdnj the plaott wi^ 
time ; it was at the queen's house, called Soroeraet Hmuc^ hf^ 
Fitzgerald and Kelly, two Papist priests, and four otberm fierr]^ 
the porter. Green, Pranse, and Hill, llie priests fled ; Fhmie^ 
Berry, Green, and Hill, were taken. Pranse Brst confessed alji^ 
luid discovered the rest aforesaid, more than Bedlow knew of^ 
and all the circumstances^ and how he was carried away, and by"- 
whom ; and also how the plot was laid to kill the king. ThuMi 
Oates' testimony, seconded by Sir Edmund's murder, and Bed-^ 
low's and Pranse's testimonies, came to be generally believed^ 
Ireland, a Jesuit, and two more, were condemnedj as designing 
kill the king. Hill, Berry, and Green, were condemned for 
murder of Godfrey, and executed ; but Pranse was, by a Papist 
first terrified into a denial again of the plot to kill the king^ and. 
took on him to be distracted, but quickly recanted of this, aiicl 
had no quiet till he told how he was afflicted, and renewed all 
his testimony and confession.' 

^^ Coleman, the Duchess of York's secretary, and one of the 
Prists' great plotters and disputers, being surprised, though 
he made away all his later papers, was hanged by the former 
ones that were remaining, and by Oates's testimony j^ but the 
parliament kept off all aspersions from the duke : the hopes of 
some, and the fears of others of his succession prevailed with 

^^ At last, the lord treasurer. Sir Thomas Osborne, made Bad 
of Danby, came upon the stage, having been before the object 
of the parliament's and people's jealousy and hard thoughts. 
He being afraid that somewhat would be done against bin, 
knowing that Mr. Montague, his kinsman, late ambassador in 
France, had some letters of his in his keeping, which he thought 
might endanger him, got an order from the king to seise on all 
Mr. Montague's letters 5 who suspecting some such usage, had 

. * The character of Oates was such that no dependence could be pUead 
upon his testimony. He appears to have been a finished scoundrely who vat 
afterwards sent to the piUory for perjury in this affair, thouf^h he scent to 
have risen a little in credit after the Revolution. There is reason to beUere 
niuch of this plot was contrived entirely by him, thou|^h some circumttsaott 
l^ave a colour of truth to his statements. Baxter's account shows the degree 
of credit which it then generally obtained. They who would examine the 
subject fully must examine the histories of the period. 

y There is little doubt but that Oates perjured himself, though it it equaUjr 
certain that Coleman was a great knave, and had acted often in the most un- 
principled manner. He served masters who made no scruple of sacrififiiig 
their servants, after they had accomplished their own ends by them^p— Any 
net, vol. ii. pp. 214—216. 


Wmfid away the chief letters ; and telling the parliament 

ivfceie they were, they sent and fetched them. On the reading 

^f them they were so irritated against the lord treasurer, thaC 

^hejr impeached him in the Lords' House of high (reason. But 

Aot long after, the king dissolved the long parliament, which he 

*^^^ kept up about seventeen or eighteen years.' 

^ About thirty Scotchmen, of which three were preachers, 

^^^re by their council sentenced to be not only banished, but 

^C]^]d as slaves, to the American plantations. They were 

brought by ship to London, where divers citizens offered to pay 

^lleir ransom. The king was petitioned for them; and I went 

^te the Duke of Lauderdale, but none of us could prevail for one 

^an. At last the ship-master was told, that by a statute it was 

H capital crime to transport any of the king's subjects out of 

Biogland, where they now were, without their consent, and so 

lie set them on shore, and they all escaped for nothing.* A great 

number of Hungarian ministers had before been sold for galley 

slaves, by the emperor's agents, but were released by the Dutch 

admiral's request, and some of them largely relieved by collec- 

tiona in London.*' 

" The belt account which I have met with of the Earl of Daohy't adminis- 
tratioOy aDd of the circumBtances relating to his fall, is Hallam'B. That able 
writer^ thoogfa he does not approve of Danby's principles and conduct, neverthe- 
less idndicates bim from charges, which much more belong to his royal master 
than to him. Danby escaped from the charge of impeachment, and took out 
a pardon from the king. To. this the two Houses would not submit. After 
a great deal of altercation between the king and parliament, he was com- 
mitted to the Tower, where be remained till 1684, when be was released on 
bail. He was created Duke of Leeds in 1694. 

* The persons here referred to by Baxter were banished from Scotland, for 
the high crime of attending conventicles contrary to law. Severe as the suf- 
feriogt of the Nonconformists in England were at this period, they were no- 
thing compared with what was endured by the poor Presbyterians of Scotland. 
The Highland Watch, as it was called, was let loose upon the country : its 
inbabitants were spoiled of their goods, cast into prisons, banished, and sold 
as slaves ; and multitudes of them shot in cold blood, and otherwise but- 
cberedy aometimes with, and sometimes without, form of law. Woodrow't 
' Hiitory of the Sufferings of the Church of Scoland,' contains recitals of the 
most horrible deeds ever perpetrated in a civilized country. 

^ The Hungarian ministers referred to by Baxter, were driven out of their 
oountiy, or sold for slaves, by the Emperor of Austria. The contest which 
produccud this result was rather for civil than for religious privileges, though 
the Protestants of Hungary were treated with the utmost barbarity, chiefly on 
account of their religion. Their churches were seized, their estates and 
booses sequestered, their persons imprisoned, and dragged to public execu- 
tion. Two hundred of their ministers were, at one time, in the Spanish gal« 
leys, coupled with Turks, Moors, and malefactors. It was for the relief 
of such sufferers that British benevolence was excited.— Z>ff Foe's Life and 
TleMfyTol. !• p. 9U 


** The long and grievous parliament, which silenced about two 
thousand ministers, and did many works of such nature^ being 
dissolved on the 25th day of January, 16/8, a new one was 
chosen^ and met on the (ith day of March, following. The 
king refusing their chosen speaker, Mr. Seymore, raised in them 
a great displeasure against the lord treasurer, thinking him the 
cause ; but after some days they chose Serjeant Gregory. The 
Duke of York removed, a little before, out of England by the 
king's command ; who yet stands to maintain his succestton. 
The parliament first impeached the aforesaid Papist lords for 
the plot or conspiracy, the Lord Bellasis, Lord Arundel^ Lord 
Powis, Lord Stafford, and Lord Petre, and after them the 
Lord Treasurer. 

^* Upon Easter day the king dissolved his privy council^ and 
settled it anew, consisting of thirty men^ most of the old ooesi 
the Earl of Shaftesbury being president, to the great joy of the 
people then, though after all was changed. On the 27th day of 
April, 1679) though it was the Lord's day, the parliament sa^ 
excited by the confession of Stubbs, that the firing plot went oo, 
and the French were to invade us, and the Protestants to be 
murdered by the 28th day of June. They voted, that the 
Duke of York's declaring himself a Papist, was the cause of all 
our dangers by these plots, and sent to the Lords to concur in 
the same vote. But the king, that week, by himself and the 
chancellor, acquainted them that he should consent to any thing 
reasonable to secure the Protestant religion, not alienating the 
crown from the line of succession ; and particularly that he would 
consent, that till the successor should take the test, he should 
exercise no acts of government, but the parliament in being 
should continue, or if none then were, that which last was should 
be in power, and exercise all the government in the name of the 
king. This offer took much with many, but most said that it 
signified nothing. For Papists easily obtain dispensations to 
take any tests or oaths; and Queen Mary's case showed how 
parliament will serve the prince's will. 

" On the Lord's day, May 1 Ith, 1679, the Commons sat ex- 
traordinarily, and agreed in two votes, first, that the Duke of 
York was incapable of succeeding to the imperial crown of Eng- 
land; secondly, that they would stand by the king and the 
Protestant religion with their lives and fortunes ; and if the king 
came to a violent death, which God forbid, tliey would be 
revenged on the Papists. The parliament was shortly after- 


wards duaolved while it insisted on the trial of the lord 

Tlie bill of exclusion afterwards passed the House of Com- ' 
iBcms, and was carried to the House of Lords, where it was lost 
on the second reading, by a majority of thirty, of whom four- 
teen were bishops. This fact clearly shows the leaning of many 
of the dignitaries of the church to the arbitrary and Popish 
principles which were well known to characterise the Duke of 
York. In the same session of parliament, which passed the ex- 
dnaion bill, another business occupied their attention, which 
also brought to light the unprincipled conduct to which the 
court could resort. By an act of the 25 th of Elizabeth, it was 
provided that those who did not conform to the church, should 
abjure the kingdom upon pain of death ; and for some de- 
grees of nonconformity, they were adjudged to die, without the 
favour of banishment. Both Houses passed a bill to repeal this 
aet. It went heavily indeed in the Lords, for many of the 
Mshops, though they were not for putting the law in execution, 
thought the terror of it was of some use, and that the repeal of 
it would make the party more insolent. On the day of the pro- 
rogation, when the bill should have been presented to the king^ 
the clerk of the crown, by the king's own particular order, with- 
drew it. He could not publicly refuse it, but he would not 
pass it; and therefore resorted to this infamous method to de- 
stroy it. On the morning of the prorogation, however, as if the 
Commons anticipated something, they passed two resolutions : — 
That the laws made against recusants, ought not to be executed 
against any but those of the church of Rome ; and that in 
the cqpinion of the House, the laws against dissenters ought not 
to be executed. This was thought a great invasion of the rights 
of the other branches of the legislature ; and as it was under- 
stood to be the wish of the House that courts and juries should 
regulate their proceedings by this resolution, it gave great 
offence ; so that instead of operating as kindness to the Non- 
conformists, it raised a fresh storm against them all over the 

" There came from among the Papists more and more converts, 
that detected the plot against religion and the king. After 
Gates, Bedlow, Everard, Dugdale, and Pranse, came Jervison, a 
gentleman of Gray's Inn, Smith, a priest, and others; but 
nothing stopped them more than a* plot designed to have 

• Ufe, psrt ui. pp.183— 186. « Burnet, vol. ii. pp. 300, 301. 


turned all the odium on the Presbyterians and the nrotettaut 
adversaries of Popery. They hired one Dangerfield, to mmarngt 
the matter; but by the industry of Colonel Mansel^ iHio ww to 
have been first accused, and Sir William Waller, the plot tMH 
fiilly detected ; and Dangerfield confessed all, and eontinueth a 
steadfast convert and Protestant to this day.* 

^But my unfitness, and the torrent of late matter here, 
stop me from proceeding to insert the history of this age. It ii 
done, and likely to be done so copiously by others, that these 
shreds will be of small signification. Every year of late hadi 
afforded matter for a volume of lamentations. But that poi^ 
terity may not be deluded by credulity, I shall truly tell then^ 
that lying most impudently in print against the most notorioai 
evidence of truth, in the vending of cruel malice against men ef 
conscience, and the fear of God, is become so ordinary a trade^ 
that it is likely with men of experience, to pass ere long far t 
good conclusion, dictum vel scriptum est h maUgfdif ergo /UU 
nan est. Many of the malignant clergy and taity, cspeeiMtf 
L'Estrange, *The Observator,'' and such others, do with io grett 
confidence publbh the most notorious falsehoods, that I nrait 
confess it hath greatly depressed my esteem of moat histocfi 
and of human nature. If other historians be like some of these 
times, their assertions, whenever they speak of such as they dis* 
taste, ought to be read like Hebrew, backward ; and are so tu 
from signifying truth, that many for one are downright lies« It 

• The above paragraph rerers to the iofamous Meal -tab plot, u it was taJM^ 
from the pretended scheme beiiif^ fouud In a small book concealed ia a mtthttiL 
The object of this »ham plot, which caused ^reat trouble to tome of tba Nna- 
couformists, was to throw the whole blame of the Popish plot on the ditscntin. 
It was by the good providence of God completely defeated. Pan gerfl e W , il 
whom Baxter, by a Strang mistake, ipeaks as a food Protestant, was aa ia^ 
famous liar. He was tried for his conduct, in King James's rei^, seBteacadli 
be whipped at the cart's tail, from New^te to Tyburn i and while undaqpolaf 
the punishment, was struck on the head by a student, which canted kll 
death, and for which the fellow wa^ justly hanged.— ihirfi«r'« Oma f\mm, 
vol. iii. p. 29. 

' * The Observator,' was a political pamphlet of three or four sheets, which 
L*Estraujre published weekly. Having lived during all the troabiee of tM 
country, and possessing an exhaustless copia verbarum, which he poured teth 
without any restraint, he was one of the most efficient instruments ot a coi^ 
rupt court which then existed. His great object was to defame the bmb of 
principle, whether out of, or in, the church ; and especially to prodnce a be^ 
lief among the clergy, that their ruin was intended. He never fUled to caa* 
suit his own interests, and obtained considerable sums for the service whidi 
he did. Henry Care was one of the ablest of L'£strange's opponents, and 
his 'Weekly Packet from Rome,' was intended as a set- off against *Thc Ob* 
strvatofy' and other productions of the same stamp* 


in no wonder perjury hath grown so common^ when the most 
impadent lying hath so prepared the way/' « 

Sneh were the sombre reflections with which Baxter con- 
eludei his brief notices of this period of his history. It is not 
nirprising that he was deeply pained^ or that he cherished the 
moat gloomy forebodings respecting his country. Religion was 
in a very perilous and oppressed condition. Tlie best men had 
been driven out of the church, and their places too generally 
inpplied by persons who cared little for the terms on which they 
enteredy provided they could secure the emoluments. The doc- 
trines of the Gospel were no longer heard in the vast majority 
of the pulpits ; and even the more respectable clergy preached 
in a cold and inefficient manner. The Nonconformists were 
continually harassed and persecuted ; many of them had died, 
or left the country, while few were rising up to fill their 
placet, or share in their tribulations, llie immoralities and 
profligacy of the court, were shocking to every sober and well- 
eonsdtuted mind. Its principles and policy were every day 
more apparently at variance with the constitution, freedom^ and 
proeperity of the country. Under the influence of France, to 
which Charles had basely sold his country to support his mis* 
tresses, the dissenters were oppressed or eased, persecuted or 
protected, as the interests of Popery, and the caprices of despot- 
ism or licentiousness, might dictate. When they suffered se- 
verely, they had not the consolation to think, that it was for 
their own attachment to truth and principle they suffered. 
They were afiSicted, oppressed, or deprived of their privileges, 
by parliament, chiefly that Roman Catholics might be punished. 
When they were relieved by the king, it was not that he cared 
for them, or had become concerned for their wrongs, but that 
he might promote the interests of a party, which, while it pre- 
tended to kiss them as fellow sufferers, was preparing to stab 
them as soon as it had the power. In such circumstances, vaiki 
was the help of man ; appeals to justice or to mercy were alike 
unavailing. Prayer and patience were the only refuge ; and to 
these the Nonconformists betook themselves, not without hope 
in Him, ^' who has engaged to hear the prayer of the destitute, 
and not to despise their prayer." 

That Baxter, *^ though cast down, was not destroyed " in 
spirit, appears from the number of books which he published 
during Uiis period, and which seem to have chiefly occupied his 

f Life, part iii. p. 187. 


time. These related mostly, though not exclusivelyy to tibe 
Popish and Nonconformist controversies. He publbhed Sdcefe 
Arguments against Popery ; His Sermon in the Morning Es— > 
ercises, on the same subject; his Roman Tradition Examined ^ 
his Naked Popery; Which is the True Head of the Church i^ 
— ^and, On Universal Roman Church Supremacy. All thes^ 
works were on that subject which then so deeply engaged tb^ 
minds of men. 

On the other topic, he brought out in 1676, The Judgment of 
the Nonconformists ; a thick quarto volume, containing several 
tracts ; The Nonconformist's Plea for Peace ; the Second and 
Third Parts of the Plea; the Defence of it; the True and only 
way of Concord; his Church History of Bishops; his Answerco 
Dr. Stillingfleet; his Treatise of Episcopacy; his Apology for the 
Nonconformists' Ministry ; his Dissent from Dr. Sherlock ; hit . 
Search for the English Schismatic ; and, his Second True Defence 
of the Mere Nonconformists. All these, beside his Latin Metho- 
dus, and various other pieces of a miscellaneous nature^ were the 
production of four or five years only; and those, years of sorroifi 
affliction, and persecution. They evince the unsubdued ardour 
of Baxter's mind, and what importance he attached to the prin- 
ciples for which he and his brethren were called to contend and 
to suffer. When it is considered that he had only to affix his 
name to a document containing little that in itself he objected 
to, but implying his sanction of some wrong principles, with his 
approbation of unchristian exactions; by doing which he would 
not merely have escaped from reproach and suffering, but 
have risen to worldly honour and distinction ; his conduct and 
consistency entitle him to an honourable place among those, 
who have counted it a privilege, not only to believe, but also to 
suffer for the sake of Christ. Compared with this honour^ how 
poor are all the distinctions, which wealth and rank can bestowl 
None of the lords, spiritual and temporal, of his day, will be 
known over so great a portion of the world, or remembered so 
long, as Richard Baxter. 

During this period, he lost many of his most valued friendS| 
for several of whom he preached and published funeral sermons. 
Of some of these excellent individuals, it may be proper to give 
a short account. 

His excellent and attached friend. Sir Matthew Hale, whose 
character has already been given at length, took his departure, 
after a long and severe illness, on Christmas day^ 167(>« H^ 


went into the churchyard, and chose his grave, a few days 
before his death. As a token of his love for Baxter, he left him 
forty shillings in his will ; with which, says Baxter, *^l purchased 
the largest Cambridge Bible, and put his picture before it, 
u a monument to my house. But waiting for my own death, 
I gave it Sir William Ellis, who laid out about ten pounds 
to put it into a more curious cover, and keep it for a monu- 
loeot in hb honour.'' ^ 

The Rev. Henry Stubbs was bom at Upton, on an estate 
that was ^ven to his grandfather by King James I., with whom 
he came from Scotland. After a private education in country 
schools, he was sent to Wadham College, Oxford, where he staid 
till be took his degrees. He first was minister of St. Philip's, 
Bristol, and afterward of Chew-Magna. In 1654, he was of the 
dty of Wells, and assistant to the commissioners, appointed by 
the parliament to* eject ignorant and scandalous ministers. The 
Act of Uniformity found him in Dursley ; though he was not in- 
ciimbent there, but assistant to Mr. Joseph Woodward, who 
died of a consumption before Bartholomew day. After he was 
silenced, he preached from place to place, with unwearied dili- 
gence and great success. 

On his arrival ^n London, he preached nearly every day; 
and some days twice. More than once he fell down in the pulpit 
in a fit ; but recovering, went on again ; till at last he was quite 
disabled by fever and dysentery. What much emboldened 
him was, that he had often gone into the pulpit ill, and come 
out of it better. This holy and peaceable man, who lived, 
Baxter says, " like an incarnate angel," was a minister of the 
Gospel about fifty years ; and dying in London, July 7th, 1678, 
aged 73, was interred in the new burying- place, Bunhill- 
fields. Being of a charitable disposition, he devoted the tenth 
part of his income to pious uses, with which was purchased 
four pounds per annum for Dursley and Horsley, for teaching 
poor children, and buying them books. He also gave 200/. to 
Bristol, and a like sum to London, to be annually laid out for 
the good of the poor, to buy them Bibles, and to assist poor 
ministers' widows in their necessities.' 

^Lif^IMirtii.p. 181. 

* Calamy, vol. ii. p. 318—320. It would ^e very frratifyinj: to know what 
has become of these lea^ocies ; whether they are applied for the henefit of the 
|K>or, either in Uristul ur London. 

VOL« !• Z 


Baxter preached his funeral sermoiiy from Acts xx. !24; ii 
the course of which he speaks very strongly of the emineBt 
spirituality and devotedness of this excellent man. ^ He wti 
the freest/' he says, ^* of most that ever I knew, from that deceit 
of the serpent, mentioned in 2 Cor. xi. 3, who corruptedi men 
by drawing them from the simplicity which is in Christ. Ks 
breath, his life, his preaching, his prayers, his conference^ hii 
conversation, were Christian simplicity and sincerity* Not si 
the world calleth simplicity, folly ; but as it is contrary to hy- 
pocrisy, to a counterfeit zeal, to mere affectation, to a dividU 
heart. He knew not how to dissemble or wear a mwk ; Ui 
face, his mouth, his whole conversation, laid bare his hesit 
While he passed by all quarrels, few quarrelled with him ; sod 
he had the happiness to take up head, heart, and time, with 
only great, sure, and necessary things.'^ ^ 

The Rev. John Corbet was bom and brought itp fai the eitj 
of Gloucester, and a student in Magdalen Hall, Qxon. He 
began his ministry in his native city of Gloucester, and fivsd 
for some years, under Dr. Godfrey Goodman, a Popish bishop 
of the Protestant church. Here he continued in the time of 
the civil wars, of which he was an observant but moomfiil 
spectator. His account of the siege of Gloucester, gives a good 
view of the rise and springs of the war, in a narrow compass.' 
He afterward removed to Chichester, and thence to Branisbot, 

k Workfi vol. xviii., p. 71. 

1 The little iwork referred to is, < An Historical Relation of the Milituj Go- 
vernment of Gloucester, from the Beginning of the Civil War to the Removd 
of Colonel Massie, 1645.' He wrote alto a ' Vindication of the Maf^lstralrs 
of Gloucester, from the Calumnies of Robert Bacon ; 1647,' ClanodoB ku 
given a long account of the siege of Gloucester, which is honourable to tbe 
courage and perseverance of the besieged. His representation of the ambti- 
sadors of the people, and their reply to the king's summonses, is verj gnpliic, 
bat veiy ludicrous. " Within less than tbe time prescribed, together witli tbt 
trumpeter, returned two citizens from the town, with lean, pale, sharp, tad 
bad visages ; indeed, faces so strange and unusual, and in such a garb and 
posture, that at once made the most severe countenances merry, and tbs 
moot cheerful hearts sad ; for it was impossible such ambaMadors could briif 
less than a defiance. The men, without any circumstances of dittiy or good 
manners, in a pert, shrill, undismayed accent, said, ' They bad brought ss 
answer from the godly city of Gloucester to the king ;' and were so mdf 
to give insolent and seditious answers to any question, as if their businen 
were chiefly to provoke the king to violate his own safe conduct."— iSKif* #/ 
ike ReheL vol. ii. p. 315. Their answer, notwithstanding this caricature, «bs 
hrm and respectful ; and CharleS| after exerting his utmost streiig4i vai 
at last obliged to raise the siege. 


ifin; of inor6 (han 200/. a year, from which he was ejected 
1662. He lived privately in and about London, till the 
ig't indulgence, in 1671^ when a part of his old flock invited 
1 to Chichester, where he continued his labours with great 
idnity and success. 

jbd a£Bicted him many years with the stone, but while the pidti 
t tolerable to nature, he endured it, and continued to preach,tili 
hia a fortnight of his being brought up to London to be cut | 
before that could be done, he left this for a better life, De« 
iber 26th, 1680."^ His funeral sermon was preached by Bax- 
who represents him, as a man of great clearness and sound- 
I in religion, and blamelessness of conversation. '^ He was of 
preat moderation and love of peace, that he hated all that was 
inst it, and would have done any thing for concord in the 
rch, except sinning against Qod, and hasarding his salva*^ 
u He was for catholic union and communion of saints, 
1 for going no further from any church or Christians than 
f force us, or than they go from Christ. He was for loving 
1 doing good to all, and living peaceably with all, as far as waa 
lit power. Something in Episcopacy, Presbytery, and Inde- 
kdeney, he liked, and some things he disliked in all. He Was 
B to his conscience, and valued not the interest of a party or 
tion. If all the Nonconformists in England had refused, he 
tdd have conformed alone, if the terms had been reduced to 
at he thought lawful. He managed his ministry with faith- 
oess and prudence. He had no worldly designs to carry on^ 
; Was eminent in self-denial. He was not apt to speak 
unst those by whom he suffered, nor was he ever pleased 
Ji ripping up their faults. He was very careful to preserve 
I reputation of his brethren, and rejoiced in the success of 
At labours^ as well as of his own ; and a most careful avoider 
all divisions, contentions, or offences. He was very free in 
cnowledging by whom he profited ; and preferring others be- 
« himself. He was much employed in the study of his own 
art ; as is evident from the little thing of his that is published, 
lied, ' Notes of Himself,' &c. He had good assurance of his 
m sincerity j and yet was not altogether without his mixture 
fears. He had the comfort of sensible growth in grace : 
easily perceived a notable increase in his faith and holiness, 
avenliness, humility, and contempt of the world, especially 
his latter years, and under his affliction, as the fruit of 


Calamy, vol. ii. pp. 332—336. 



God's correcting rod ; and died at last in great aeranty and 

Of another roan of the same school and character^ Baxter 
has left the following memorial : — " The Rev. Thomas Goyge 
was a wonder of industry in works of benevolence. It wonW 
make a volume to recite at large the charity he used to lu> . 
poor parishioners at St, Sepulchre's, before he was ejected 
and silenced for nonconformity. His conjunction with Alde^ 
man Ashurst and some others, in a weekly meeting, to take 
account of the honest, poor families in the city that were in 
great want, he being the treasurer and visitor ; his volontarj 
catechising the Christchurch boys when he might not preach; 
the many thousand Bibles printed in Welsh, that he dispersed ia 
Wales ; * The Practice of Piety ;' * The Whole Duty of Man;' 
^ My Call,' and many thousand of his own writings given fredy 
all over the principality ; his setting up about three or four 
hundred schools in it, to teach children to read, and the cate- 
chism ; his industry, to beg money for all this, besides most of 
his own estate laid out on it ; ' his travels over Wales once or 
twice a year, to visit his schools, and oversee the execution. This 
was true Episcopacy in a silenced minister, who went con* 
stantly to the parish churches, and was authorised by an old 
university license to preach occasionally; yet for so doing 
he was excommunicated even in Wales, white doing all this 
good. He served God thus to a healthful age, seventy-four or 
seventy-six. I never saw him sad, but always cheerful. About 
a fortnight before he died, he told me that sometimes in the 
night, some small trouble came to his heart, he knew not what: 
and without sickness, or pain, or fear of death, they heard him 
in his sleep give a groan, and he was dead. Oh, how holy and 
blessed a life, and how easy a death !"® 

Henry Ashurst, esq., was one of the most valued friends of 

" Funeral Sermon. Workr, voL xviii. pp. 185—192. The sermon ift 
founded on 2 Cor. xii. 1—9, and is oneof the most beautiful of Baxter*! dis- 
courses. It is full of striking thoughts and pathos. Corbet was a maa alto- 
gether to Baxter's taste, and of his own mode of thinkinfi^. 

^ Life, part iii. pp. 190, 191. A full account of this exceUent many who 
seems to have been quite an apostle of benevolence, is g^ven in Clark's 
< Lives.' Archbishop Tillotson, then dean of Canterbury, preached his fu- 
neral sermon, in which he speaks in the highest terms of his jftety, philaa- 
thropy, and moderation. 


Bnter^ as well as one of the most distinguished lay Nonconform- 
ists of that period. He was the third son of Henry Ashurst, 
of Ashurst, in Lancashire^ by Casandra, daughter of John 
Bndshaw, of Bradshaw, in tfie same county. His father was a 
man of great wisdom and piety, and very zealous for the re- 
fenned religion in a county where Popery greatly abounded. 
Henry came to town when he was only fifteen years of age, 
where he was bound apprentice to a man void of religion, by 
vhom' he was rather severely treated. During his apprentice- 
sh*p^ however, he became decidedly religious, spent most of his 
spare time in devotion, and of his spare money in procuring 
religious books. He commenced business as a draper, with 5002., 
in partnership with a Mr. Row, who left him the whole business 
ID about three years. By his wife, he had a fortune of about 
iSOOL From this commencement, with diligence and economy, 
le acquired a very ample fortune. His generosity and zeal 
)D relieve distress during the plague and fire of London, and to 
lie distressed Nonconformist ministers, were very great, as 
MS been already noticed ; but they were not limited to this 

So great was his desire of doing good, that not only England, 
Scotland, and Ireland, experienced the benefit of it, but America 
ibo. His active services for the interests of New England, both 
luring the Commonwealth, and after the Restoration, have been 
elsewhere narrated. For nineteen years after the settlement of 
he affairs of the New England Society, when he was made trea- 
lurer, he had, along with the Honourable Robert Boyle, the chief 
nanagement of the whole business. Through their instrumen-* 
ality, Elliot was enabled to carry on his evangelical labours 
imong the poor Indians^ and to translate the Scriptures into 
heir language. Mr. Ashurst left in his will a hundred pounds 
x> Harvard College, and fifty to the society. He was univer- 
Ally beloved and respected for active benevolence, and un- 
vearied zeal in doing good. Among the Nonconformists, 
le acted as a father and a counsellor, while his purse was ever 
ipen to relieve their wants, ahd his house for a refuge to them 
vhen persecuted and oppressed. He paid the fine, rather than 
lerve the office of alderman, avoiding as much as possible 
ill connexion with public affairs. " He was," says Baxter, 
^ my most entire friend, and commonly taken for the most 
!xemplary saint of public notice in the city. So sound in 
udgment, of such admirable meekness, patience^ and universal 


charity, that we knew not where to find hit equal. After much 
•ufFering and patience, he died with great quietness of mind, and 
hath left behind him the perfume of a most honoured name, 
and the memorials of a most exemplary life, to be imitated by 
all his deseendants/'P 

Baxter preached his funeral sermon, in which he expatiates 
largely on his character and many virtues, from a very appro- 
priate passage, John xii. 26. He entitles it ^Faithful Souls shall 
be with Christ,' and dedicates it in a most affectionate addren to 
his widow ; to his son Henry, who, as well as his father, was the 
devoted friend of Baxter, and a lover pf all good men ] and to 
all his brothers and sisters. ^ 

** Near the same time," he says, ^' died my bther's second 
wife, Mary, the daughter of Sir Thomas Hunks, and sister to 
Sir Fulke Hunks, the king's governor of Shrewsbury, in the wan. 
Her mother, the old Lady Hunks, died at my father's house, be- 
tween eighty and one hundred years old ; and my mother-in- 
law died of a cancer, at ninety ^six, in perfect understanding; 
having lived, from her yduth, in the greatest mortification, an- 
^terity to her body, and constancy of prayer and all devotion, of 
any one that ever I knew. She lived in the hatred of aO sin, 
strictness of imiversal obedience, and, for thirty years, longing 
to be with Christ ; in constant, acquired infirmity of body, got by 
avoiding all exercise, and long, secret prayer, in the coldest sea- 
sons, and such-like. Being of a constitution naturally strong, 
she was afraid of recovering whenever she was ill. For some days 
before her death she was so taken with the ninety-first P^m, 
that she would get those who came near her to read it to her 
over and over ; which Psalm, also, was a great means of com- 
fort to old Beza, even against his death."' ' 

But the greatest loss which Baxter sustained was that of his 
wife, which took place, after a short but painful illness, on the 
14th of June, 1681. She was buried on the 17th of the same 
month, in Christchurch, then still in ruins, in her own mo- 
ther's tomb. " The grave," he says, " was the highest, next 
the old altar, or table, in the chancel, on which her daughter had 
caused a very fair, rich, large marble-stone to be laid, about 
twenty years ago, on which I caused to be written her titles, and 
some Latin verses, and these English ones : 

» Life, part Ui. p. 189. % Works, xviii. p. 12U > USt, part Ui« p. 189. 


* Tlios mmt My flesh to silent dust descend. 
Thy mirth and worldly pleasure thus will end ; 
Then, happy, holy souls ! — but wo to those 
Who heaven forgot, and earthly pleasures chose. 
Hear, now, this preaching grave :— without delayi 
Believe, repent, and work while it is day.' 

But Christ's church on earth is liable to those changes of which 
the Jerusalem above is in no danger. In the doleful flames 
of London, 1666, the fall of the church broke the marble all to 
pieces ; so that it proved no lasting n\pnument. I hope this 
paper monument, erected by one who is following even at the 
door, in some passion indeed of love and grief, but in sincerity of 
truth, will be more publicly useful and durable than that marblo 
stone was.'' * 

Howe preached the funeral sermon, and dedicated it to her 
husband. The text is, 2 Cor. v. 8 ; and the discourse is worthy 
of the talents and piety of the author ; but it contains little 
about Mrs. Baxter. He appears to have known something of 
her before her marriage, when she displayed ^' a strangely-vivid 
and great wit, with very sober conversation.'' ^ He commends 
the greatness of her mind, and her disinterestedness in choosing 
Baxter for a husband, as well as her amiable conduct after she 
became his wife. 

Of this excellent woman, so remarkably fitted to be the wife 
of such a man as Richard Baxter, we have already spoken at 
some length. The attachment, as may be guessed at from allu* 
sions occurring in certain parts of his Breviate of her Life, com« 
menced on her part, and had almost killed her in consequence 
of her effort to conceal it. Throughout, it seems to have been 
exceedingly ardent; and her husband often hints that she 
had expected more from him than she found. He also tells 
us, however, that she confessed she expected more sourness 
and bitterness than she experienced. She was active, benevo« 
lent, and intelligent ; devoted to the service of Christ ; and dis« 
posed, in every possible way, to aid her husband in his unwearied 
labours. He has said little about her in the account of his own 
life, owing to having given a full account of her in a separate 
biography. In that little work he has drawn her portrait at full 
length, detailing, with his usual minuteness and fidelity, both her 

• Mrs. Baxter's Life, p. 9^. Mrs. Baxter's mother died in 1661. He 
preached a funeral sermon for her at St. Mary Mai^alene, Milk-street, where 
he then occasionally officiated. She appears to have been an excellent^ de- 
voted Christian. — fVorkSi xviii. 1 — 56. 

^ Howe's Funeral Sermon for Mrs. Baxter, pp*40j 41. 


faults and virtues. ' A few ])assages from this work; will illus-' 
trate her personal character and piety. 

'^ As to religion, we were so perfectly of one mind, that I 
know not that she differed from me in any one point, or cir* 
cumstance, except in the prudential management of what we^ 
were agreed in. She was for universal love of all true Chm^ 
tians, and against appropriating the church to a party; and. 
against censoriousness and partiality in religion. She was firar 
acknowledging ail that was of God in Conformists and Noncoo^^ 
formists ; but she had much more reverence for the elder Con—- 
ibrmists tlian for most of the young ones, who ventured upon. 
things which dissenters had so much to say against, witholit 
weighing or understanding the reasons on both sides ; merely 
following others for worldly ends, without a tender fear of sin- 
ning. If any young men of her own friends were inclined merely 
to swim with the stream, without due trial of the case, it greatly 
displeased her, and she thought hardly of them. 

'^ The nature of true religion, holiness, obedience, and all duty 
to God and man, was printed, in her conceptions, in so distinct 
and clear a character, as made her endeavours and expectations 
still look at greater exactness than I, and such as I, could reach. 
She was very desirous that we should all have lived in a con- 
stancy of devotion and a blameless innocency ; and in this re- 
spect she was the meetest helper that I could have had- in the 
world, that ever I was acquainted with. For I was apt to be over 
careless in my speech and too backward to my duty, and she 
was still endeavouring to bring me to greater readiness and 
strictness in both. If I spake rashly or sharply, it offended her. 
If I carried it (as I was apt) with too much neglect of ceremony 
or humble compliment to any, she would modestly tell me of it. 
If my very looks seemed not pleasant, she would have me amend 
them (which my weak, pained state of body indisposed me to 
do). If I forgot any week to catechise my servants, and famili- 
arly instruct them personally, beside my ordinary family duties, 
she viras troubled at my remissness. And whereas of late years 
my decay of spirits, and diseased heaviness and pain, made me 
much more seldom and cold in profitable conference and dis- 
course in my house than I had been when I was younger, and 
had more ease, and spirits, and natural vigour, she much blamed 
me, and was troubled at it, as a wrong to herself and others. 
Yet her judgment agreed with mine, that too much and 
often table talk of the best things, doth but tend to dull the 


anmoD hearers, and harden them under it, as a customary thing; 
nd that too much good talk may bring it into contempt, or make 

ineffectual/' "" 

Hie death of such a woman, in the prime of life (for she was 
ttle n^ore than forty when she died), was an irreparable loss to 
iaxten She had tenderly nursed him for many years, and now, 
ith increased age and infirmity, he was left to sorrow over her 
jmb, though not without hope. The decision of her character, 
be fenrency of her piety, the activity and disinterestedness 
f her Christian benevolence, left no doubt remaining that her 
pirit rested with God, where it has long since been joined by 
bat of her much-loved companion and husband* 

* Life of Mrs, Baxter, pp. 76—80. 




The continued Suffering's of Baxter— Apprehended and bit Goods dittraioed 
— Could obtain no Redress— General Sufferin|rs of %hp Dissenters — ^Mayofi 
Legacy — Baxter again apprehended and bound to his good bebaTiour— 
Trial of Rosewell fur High Treason — Baxter brought before the Justices, 
and again bound over — His concluding Reflections on the State of his own 
Times — Death of Charles II. — Fox*s notice of the Treatment of the Dissen- 
ters, and of the Trial of Baxter — Apprehended on a Charge of Sedition- 
Brought to Trial — Indictment — Extraordinary Behaviour of Jefferies to 
Baxter and his Counsel — Found Guilty — Endeavours to procure a Neir 
Trial, or a mitigated Sentence — His Letter to the Bishop of London- 
Fined and imprisoned — Remarks on the Trial — Conduct of L'Estrang^- 
Sherlock — Behaviour while in Prison— The Fine remitted — Released from 
Prison— Assists Sylvester in the Ministiy. 

While friend after friend was consigned to the tomb^ and 
Baxter was left alone to endure what he justly describes as a 
living death, in the constant and increasing sufferings of his dis- 
eased and emaciated body, his enemies would allow him no 
rest. Bonds and imprisonment still awaited him. With an 
account of a series of these vexations and trials, this chapter 
is chiefly occupied. The reader will probably find it diffi- 
cult to determine whether he ought more to feel indignant at 
the treatment which an aged, infirm, and most respectable mi- 
nister of Christ endured, from a professedly Christian govern- 
ment, or admiration of the principles and temper by which it 
was sustained. The first of the iniquitous proceedings is thus 
described by himself. The latter part of the statement must 
touch the heart of every feeling individual. 

He had retired into the country, from July, 1682, to the 14th 
of August following, when he returned in grea,t weakness. *^ I 
was able," he says, " to preach only twice ; of which the last 
was my usual lecture^ in New-street^ and which fell out to be 


the 84th of Aognst, just that day twenty years that I^ and near 
€wo thousandj more, had been by law forbidden to preach. I 
^wras sensible of God's wonderful mercy that had kept so many 
€)f us twenty years, in so much liberty and peace, while so many 
severe laws were in force against us, and so great a number 
i¥ere round about us, who wanted neither malice nor power to 
afflict us. I took, that day, my leave of the pulpit and publio 
ivork in a thankful congregation : and it was like, indeed, to bo 
my last. 

^ But after this, when I had ceased preaching, and was 
newly risen from extremity of pain, 1 was suddenly surprised 
hy a poor, violent informer, and many constables and officers, 
who rushed in, apprehended me, and served on me one warrant 
to seize my person for coming within five miles of a corpora- 
tion, and five more warrants to distrain for a hundred and 
ninety pounds for five sermons. They cast my servants into fears, 
and were about to take all my books and goods, when I con- 
tentedly went with them towards the justice to be sent to jail, 
and left my house to their will. But Dr. Thomas Cox meeting 
me, forced me in again to my couch and bed, and went to five 
josUoes, and took his oath, without my knowledge, that I could 
not go to prison without danger of death. On that the jus^ 
tices delayed a day, till they could speak vrith the king, and 
told him what the doctor had sworn : so the king consented 
that, for the present, imprisonment should be forborne, that I 
might die at home.^ But they executed all their warrants on 
my books and goods, even the bed that I lay sick on, and sold 
them all. Some friends paid them as much money as they 
were prized at, which I repaid, and was fain to send them 
away. The warrant against my person was signed by Mr« 
Ptirry and Mr. Phillips; the five warrants against my goods, by 
Sir James Smith and Sir James Butler. I had never the least 
notice of any accusation, or who were the accusers or witnesses, 
much less did I receive any summons to appear or answer for 
myself, or ever saw the justices or accusers. The justice that 
signed the warrants for execution, said, that the two Hiltons 
solicited him for them, and one Buck led the constables who 

" But though I sent the justice the written deeds, which 
proved that the goods were none of mine, nor ever were ; and 

* The ViBg saidj " Zei him die in his bed,** — jBaxter*s PcnUcul Confe«svmS) 
p. 39, 


sent two witnesses whose hands were to those comreyanoeSi and 
offered their oaths of it ; and also proved that the books I had 
many years ago alienated to my kinsman, this signified nothii^ 
to them, they seized and sold all nevertheless ; and both pa* 
tience and prudence forbade us to try the title at law, when 
we knew what charges had lately been given to justices and 
juries, and how others had been used. If they had taken only 
my cloak, they should have had my coat also ; and if theyhad 
smitten me on one cheek, I would have turned the other : for I 
knew the case was such, that he that will not put up with one 
blow, one wrong, or slander, shall suffer two ; yea, many more. 
*' But when they had taken and sold all, and I had borrowed 
some bedding and necessaries of the buyer, I was never the 
quieter ; for they threatened to come upon me again, and take 
all as mine, whosesoever it was, which' they found in my posses- 
sion. So that I had no remedy, but utterly to forsake my house 
and goods and all, and take secret lodgings at a distance, in a 
stranger's house ; but having a long lease of my own houses 
which binds me to pay a greater rent than now it is worth, 
wherever I go, I must pay that rent. 

^^ The separation from my books would have been a greater part 
of my small affliction, but that I found I was near the end both 
of that work and that life which needetfa books, and so I easily 
let go all. Naked came I into the world, and naked must I go 
out; but I never wanted less what man can give, than when men 
had taken all away. My old friends, and strangers, were so 
liberal, that I was fain to restrain their bounty. Their kindness 
was a surer and larger revenue to me than my own. But God 
was pleased quickly to put me past all fear of men, and all 
desire of avoiding suffering from them by concealment; by 
laying on me more himself than man can do. Then imprison- 
menti with tolerable health, would have seemed a palace to me; 
and had they put me to death for such a duty as they persecute 
me for, it would have been a joyful end of my calamity : but day 
and night I groan and languish under God's just afflicting hand. 
The pain which before only tried my reins, and tore my bowels, 
now also fell upon my bladder, and scarce any part, or hour, 
is free. As waves follow waves in the tempestuous seas, so one 
pain followeth another in this sinful, miserable flesh. I die 
daily, and yet remain alive. God,- in his great mercy, knowing 
my dulness in health and ease, doth make it much easier to re- 
pent and hate my sin, loat\\e m^'^eX?, co\vXfcm\\\!cv^Nt^\\^^«sA«3iw 


nit to the sentence of death with willingness, than otherwise it 
IVM ever likely to have been. O, how little is it that wrathful 
enemies can do against us, in comparison of what our sin and 
Kbe justice of God can do ! and, O, how little is it that the best 
md kindest of friends can do for a pained body, or a guilty, sin- 
Eld soul, in comparison of one gracious look or word from Ood 1 
Wo be CO him that hath no better help than man : and blessed 
is he whose help and hope are in the Lord ! '' ^r 

While we execrate the tyranny which doomed this righteous 
nuui to so much undeserved suffering, every Christian must un- 
Engnedly bless God for the illustration of the principles and 
power of religion, which Baxter was enabled to afford in such 
trpng circumstances. Those who think of him only as a 
sectarian, or a wrangling controversialist, must now regard 
him with admiration, exercising the faith and patience of the 
saints ; braving danger, enduring pain, despising life, and re- 
joicing in the hope of the glory of God. In his case, tribulation, 
indeed, wrought patience, and patience experience, and experi- 
ence hope, which made him not ashamed. 

Notwithstanding the resolutions of the House of Commons, 
mentioned in the former chapter, the dissenters continued to be 
exceedingly molested in every part of the country. Orders and 
directions were issued from the king and the Council Board, to 
suppress all conventicles ; which were zealously obeyed by the 
justices of Hicks' Hall, in Southwark, and by some of the city 
justices. The dissenters were tried by mercenary judges, before 
packed juries, on Irish evidence. Their meetings were o^ten inter- 
rapted and broken up, and their ministers imprisoned and fined.' 
Distress and dismay were every where experienced, and no end 
seemed approaching of the sufferings which they were doomed to 
endure. The employment of informers^ the invention of plots, and 
the variety of schemes adopted to entrap and ensnare men, pro- 
duced almost universal mistrust and suspicion. It was dangerous 
to give utterance to the expression of fear, or hope, and far more, 
to indulge in the language of complaint or censure. Every advan- 
tage was taken, and every dishonourable method resorted to, to 
ensnare the innocent, and to crush the influential. God, alone, 
could deliver his people and the country from the woes which 
already distressed, and the greater woes which promised to 

With the statement of Baxter's case, in reference to his late 

rJJfe, part W. pp. 191, 192. ■ Calamy, vo\.\. v?* ^^>^Vi . 

350 THE LXFB AND TllfXt 

treatment, had he been allowed to present it in eonrt, it ii iiH 
necessary to occupy these pages. It is a satisfactory defence of 
himself, even as the law then stood ; and his own view of it wai 
supported by the opinion of eminent counsel. But what signi* 
iies law, when they who occupy the seat of judgment^ are de* 
termined to oppress, and act unjustly. As an evidence of tbii) 
take the following example : ^' About this time, one Mr. Robert 
Mayot,* of Oxford, a very godly man, that devoted all his ettata 
to charitable uses, a Conformist, whom I never saw, died^ and, 
beside many greater gifts to Abingdon, &e., gave, by his last w31| 
600/., to be by me distributed to sixty poor, ejected minitteni 
adding, that he did it not because they were NonconfonnittSi 
but because many such were, poor and pious. But the liing^s 
attorney, Sir Robert Sawyer,^ sued for it in Chancery^ and the 
Lord Keeper North ^ gave it all to the king ; which made many 
resolve to leave nothing to charitable uses after their death, bat 
do what they did while they lived." ^ 

Providence mercifully interposed to defeat this unrigfateooi 
measure. The money was paid into Chancery by order of tbt 
court, to be applied to the maintenance of a chaplain for Chelsea 
College. It was there kept safely till after the Revolution, 
when the commissioners of the great seal restored it to Baxter, 
to be applied according to the will of the testator ; which was 
done accordingly.* It is remarkable in how many instances God 

* Mr. Mayot was a beneficed clergyman of the Church of Eng^Iand. Hit 
will was made in 1676. He died in 1683. His leg^acy is a striking^ proof of the 
estimation in which Baxter was held, not only among the Nonconformistti 
but among the respectable part of the Church. 

^ Sawyer, the attorney-general, was a dull, hot man ; and forwanl to serre 
all the designs of the court. — Burnet, ii. 353. 

<: Roger North, the biogmpher of this noble family, has given a paiticokr 
account of the Lord Keeper Guildford; from which it would seem that he was 
a man of parts and learning, though he did not appear to great advantage in tbt 
court of Chancery. He was considered to be too much inclined to faronr the 
court, though he seems to have been often sick of its measures. Bomtt 
speaks of him as a crafty and designing man ; guilty of great mal-adminis« 
tration of justice ; and who died despised and ill-thought of by the whole na- 
tion. — Oum Times, vol. ili. pp. 67, 68. 

* Life, part iii. p. 198. 

« Calamy, vol. ii. p. 361. Some account of this affair is given in Vernon's 
' Reports ;' in which Baxter is unjustly represented as swearing that he was a 
Conformist. Whereas he only swears to his answer given in tu the attorney- 
general's bill of complaint. That answer merely alleges Baxter's moderation 
in the matters of controversy with the Church, and his joining, from lime to 
time, in the worship of the Church, which it is well known he often did. Bax- 
ter's answer, with some appropriate TemtuWs ock Vernon, by Calamy, Is given in 
the coDtiaimtUiii of his * Account of l\x« E\tc\«^lA.m\«^ftt%; x^Vxu Y^«^^nar->^(!a« 



tliwarts the designs of the wicked, and accomplishes the object 
which his seirants have contemplated with a view to his glory* 
A wicked and unjust policy may succeed for a time ; but it gene« 
rally defeats its own purpose, and furnishes the means by which 
its designs are entirely frustrated. We are thus supplied with 
continued marks of the footsteps of a Divine Providence in the 
ivorld ; so that, long before the final consummation, men may 
idraw the conclusion, that there is an essential difference between 
the righteous and the wicked, and ^' that verily there is a Ood 
who judgeth in the earth/' ' 

^ In 16S4, while I lay in pain and languishing, the justices of 
rthe sessions sent warrants to apprehend me, about a thousand 
more being in catalogue to be all bound to their good behaviour. 
I thought they would send me six months to prison for not taking 
tiie Oxford oath, and dwelling in London, and so I refused to 
open my chamber door to them, their warrant not being to 
break it open : but they set six officers at my study door, who 
watched all night, and kept me from my be4 and food, so that 
the next day I yielded to them, who carried me, scarce able to 
stand, to the sessions, and bound me in four hundred pounds 
bond to my good behaviour. I desired to know what my crime 
was, and who were my accusers ; but they told me it was for no 
fault, but to secure the government in evil times, and that they 
had a list of many suspected persons that they must do the like 
with, as well as me. I desired to know for what I was num« 
bered with the suspected, and by whose accusation ; but they 
gave me good words, and would not tell me. 1 told them 1 
had rather they would send me to jail than put fne to wrong 
others, by being bound with me in bonds that I was likely to 
break to-morrow; for if there did but five persons come in 
when I was praying, they would take it for a breach of good 
behaviour. They told me not if they came on other business 
unexpectedly, and not to a set meeting, nor yet if we did no-> 

' Tbere is another curious case of a will, which is connected with Baxter. 
Sir John Gayer, who died a good while after him, left 5000/., *' to poor mi* 
Blsten, who were of the pious and charitable principles of the late Rer. 
Bichaid Baxter." His peculiar manner of deyisiug the legacy gave rise to 
doabu, as to whether the money should be distributed among Churchmen or 
IHtsetiters. The executrix and the trustees differed between themselves. But 
•fler a considerable delay the question was brought into the court of Chan* 
eery, when the master of the rolls, Sir Joseph JekyI, in a very handsome 
manner, decided in favour of the Dissenters. — Calamy*$ Own lAfe^ vol. ii. 
pp. 476—478. 


thing contrary to law and the practice of the church* I told 
them our innocency was not now any aecurity to us. , If two 
beggar women did but stand in the street, and swear that I 
spake contrary to the law, though they heard me not, my bonds 
and liberty were at their will ; for I myself^ lying on my bed, 
heard Mr. J. R. preach in a chapel, on the other side of. my 
chamber, and yet one Sibil Dash, and Elizabeth Cappell, two 
miserable, poor women who made a trade of it, swore to the 
justices that it was another that preached, and they had thus 
sworn against very many worthy persons, in Hackney, and else- 
where, on which their goods were seized for great mulcts* or 
fines. To all this I had no answer, but that I must give bond, 
when they kn^w that I was not likely to break the behaviour, 
unless by lying in bed in pain/* ^ ' 

. The trial of the Rev. Thomas Rosewell, at this time, created 
a great sensation in the country. He was minister of Rothcr- 
hithe, and was imprisoned in the Gate-house, in Westmin^er, 
by a warrant from Sir George Jefferies, for high treason. A 
bill was found against him at the quarter sessions at Kingston, 
in Surrey ; upon which he was arraigned on October the 23th, 
and tried November the 18th following, at the King*s Bench 
by a Surrey jury, before Chief Justice Jefferies and three 
other judges of that court, Withins, Holloway, and Walcot. 
The high treason, as laid in the indictment and sworn to by the 
witnesses, was, that in a sermon which he preached on Septem- 
ber the I4th, he said these words: — *That the people,' mean- 
ing the subjects of our sovereign lord the king, ^ made a flock- 
ing to the said' sovereign lord the king, ^ upon pretence of 
healing the king's evil, which he,' meaning our said sovereign 
lord (he king, ^ could not do; but that we,' meaning himself 
and other traitorous persons, subjects of our said lord the king, 
' are they to whom they,' meaning the subjects of our said 
lord the king, ^ ought to flock, because we,' meaning himself 
and the said other traitorous persons, 'are priests and pro- 
phets, that, by our prayers, can heal the dolors and griefii of 
the people. We,' meaning the subjects of our said sovereign 
lord the king, ' have had two wicked kings,' meaning the 
most serene Charles the First, late king of England, and our 
said sovereign lord the king that now is, ' whom we can resem- 
ble to no other person but to the most wicked Jeroboam/ 

t Life, part iii. p. 198, 199. 


And ' that if they/ meaning the wd evil-dUposed persons » 
then and there^ sO) as aforesaid^ with him^ unlawfully assembled 
and gathered together, would stand to their principles, ^ he/ 
meaning himself, ^ did not fear but they/ meaning himself- and 
the said evil-disposed persons, ^ would overcome their ene- 
miesy' meaning our said sovereign lord the king and his sub- 
jeetSy ^ as in former times, with rams' horns, broken platters, 
and a stone in a sling/ The witnesses were three women, 
who swore to the words as they stand, without the inuendos* 
The trial lasted about seven hours. Roswell made a full and 
Inminous defence of himself, very modestly, and yet stre- 
nuously^ vindicating his innocence, to the satisfaction of 
those who were present, and so as to gain the applause of 
many gentlemen of the long robe. The jury, however, after 
they had been out about half an hour, brought him in guilty. 
The women who were the witnesses were infamous persons, 
laden with the guilt of many perjuries, which might easily have 
been proved against them before the trial, could justice have been 
obtained ; but they were screened by the recorder, who was the 
person that laid the whole scheme, and patched up the indict- 
ment, in terms suited to his known abilities. But such of them 
as could be met with were afterwards convicted of perjury ; 
and Smith, the chief witness, was pilloried before the Exchange. 
Sir John Talbot, who was present^ represented to the King 
the state of the case as it appeared on the trial, who ordered 
Jefferies to find some evasion. Whereupon he assigned him 
counsel afterwards (o plead to the insufficiency of the indict- 
ment, in arrest of judgment, and the king gave him his pardon, 
' after which he was discharged. ^ 

The issue of Roswell's trial, though a kind of triumph, led to 
no mitigation of the treatment of others. Baxter still continued 
to lie under bond, and even that did not satisfy his persecutors. 
"On the 11th of December, 1684/' he says, " I was forced, in 
all my pain and weakness, to be carried to the sessions- house, 
or else my bonds of four hundred pounds would have been 
judged forfeit. The more moderate justices, who promised my 
discharge, would none of them be there, but left the work to 
Sir William Smith and the rest ; who openly declared that they 
had nothing against me, and took me for innocent; but that I must 
continue bound lest others should expect to be discharged also; 
which I openly refused. My sureties, however, would be bound) 

r Calamy. vol. i. pp. 363—365. 
VOL. 1. A A 


against .my declared will, lest I should die in jail, and lo I vami 
continue. Yet they discharged others as soon as I was gone, 
I was told that they did all by instructions from — — — and 
that the main end was to restrain me froih writing ; wliich now 
should I do with the greatest caution, they will pick out aonie* 
thing that a jury may take for a breach of my bonds. 

^^ January 17th, I was forced again to be carried to the ses- 
sions, and after divers good words, which put me in expectation 
of freedom, when I was gone, one Justice Deerbam said, that 
it was likely these persons solicited for my freedom that they 
might hear me in conventicles^ On that they bound me again 
in a four hundred pound bond for above a quarter of a year$ 
and so it is like it will be till I die, or worse ; though no one 
ever accused me for any conventicle or preaching since they 
took all my books and goods about two years ago, and I for the 
most part keep my bed. 

^' Mr. Jenkins died in Newgate this week, January 19thy 
1684-5, as Mr. Bampfield, Mr. Raphson, and others, died lately 
before him. The prison where so many are, suffocateth the 
spirits of aged ministers ; but blessed be God, that gave them so 
long time to preach before, at cheaper rates. One Richard 
Baxter, a Sabbatarian Anabaptist, was sent to jail for refusing 
the oath of allegiance, and it went current that it was I. As 
to the present state of England, — the plots ; the execution of men 
high and low ; the public counsels and designs ; the qualities and 
practice of judges and bishops ; the sessions and justices ; the 
quality of the clergy, and the universities and patrons; the church 
government by lay civilians ; the usage of ministers and private 
meetings for preaching or prayer ; the expectations of what is 
next to be done, &c. : — the reader must expect none of this sort 
of history from me. No doubt there will be many volumes of 
it transmitted by others to posterity ; who may do it more &lly 
than I can now do."^ 

Thus Baxter concludes the interesting memorials which lie 
has left of his own age and life. The darkness was now in- 
creased till it had spread universal gloom and despondency. 
Private meetings were occasionally held to consider whether any 
hope remained, or what could be done to prevent the entire ruin 
of the religion and liberties of the country. But though these 
were managed with the greatest possible caution^ and the parties 

>» Life, part iii. pp. m, 200. 

OP RICHARD baxtbr. 35S 

genctally proceeded no farther than to mourn over the pastj 
and dwell in gloomy forebodings over the prospect of the future, 
the consequences to some of them were most disastrous. Plots 
mnd conspiracies were hatched to ensnare the innocent and ter- 
rify the timid* The death, or rather murder, of Lord William 
Russell^ the Earl of Essex, and Algernon Sydney, to which 
Baxter probably alludes, seemed like putting the extinguisher on 
the last hopes ' of freedom, and preparing the country for the 
most abiolute despotism. The corporation of London was de* 
prhred of its charter, and other towns shared in its fate. Enor- 
mous and ruinous fines were levied. The judges prostituted 
dieir authority and influence to promote the corrupt designs of 
the court* Juries were browbeaten, and frightened into verdicts 
which ¥rere neither according to law nor justice* The clergy in 
general^ were either timid and truckling, or destitute of sufficient 
influence to resist the rapid advances which were making towards 
Rome. The Nonconformists, oppressed and dispirited, finding 
complaint unavailing, and redress hopeless, surrendered them- 
selves to suffering, till, if it were the will of God, deliverance 
should be afforded them. The reign of Charles, as it approached 
its termination, only increased in gloom and oppression, while 
the prospect of his successor filled all men's hearts with dismay 
and terror. It was indeed a period of ^^ trouble and darkness, 
and dimness of anguish." 

In these circumstances, Charles II. was called, unexpectedly, to 
give in his account, on the 6th of February, 1684-5. His charac- 
ter is familiar to every reader of English history ; most of whom 
will agree, that he was one of the greatest curses to the nation 
that ever occupied the throne. His father and brother had some 
redeeming qualities in their character, while their fate will 
always render them objects of pity. The former was a good 
husband and father ; the latter sacrificed his throne to his su- 
perstition. But Charles the Second had neither the personal 
virtues of the one, nor the superstitious regard to religion of the 
other* He was as worthless as a man as he was unprincipled 
as a sovereign. He was gay, affable, and witty ; but he was 
heartless, profane, and licentious : equally regardless of his own 
honour, as of his country*^ good. What had happened to his 
fifither, and all he had suffered during his own exile, seem to 
have produced no salutary influence on his principles or dispo- 
sitions* Every thing was made subservient to the love and en- 
joyment of pleasure. His ambition was directed solely against 

A a2 


his own subjects ; and his desire of power was unmixed with 
the love of glory. His court was little better than a brothel. 
He sacrificed the morals, the honour, and the happiness, of his 
country, to his mistresses and his licentious courtiers. Sach a 
man's pretension to religion, in any form, is offensive to de- 
cency and common sense. He was an infidel while he lived in 
pleasure ; and only the fear of death drove him to that sptem 
of iniquity which pretends to provide a healing balsam, but which 
is only a poisonous opiate to the soul of a dying profligate. The 
mind turns away with sickness and horror from such a death* 
bed scene as that of Charles II. * 

The prospects of the poor Nonconformists on the ascensioa 
of James to the vacant throne, were far from flattering. His 
well-known attachment and devotedness to Popery, promised 
nothing but ruin to what remained of the religion and libertyof 
the country ; while the decided part which the NoneonformistB 
had taken in every measure which tended to limit his power, or 
to exclude him from the throne, marked them out to be the ob- 
jects of his implacable hatred and revenge. Pretexts would 
not be wanting, and he was already furnished with instruments 
prepared to carry forward and execute any oppressive and cruel 
measure. Here I cannot deny myself the pleasure of introducing 
the account given by Mr. Fox, of the conduct of the court 
towards the dissenters ; his character of Jefferie^, and his re- 
marks on the character and trial of Baxtei*. It does great credit 
to the discernment a,nd candour of that eminent man. 

" Partly from similar motives, and partly to gratify the na- 
tural vindictiveness of his temper, James persevered in a most 
cruel persecution of the Protestant dissenters, upon the roost 
frivolous pretences. The courts of justice, as in Charles's days, 

* There are two accounts of the death-bed of Charles ; the one by Protea- 
tants, the other by Roman Catholics. The former may be caUed bit Protet* 
tant death, when be was attended by the bishops, who spoke to. him as the 
JLrord's anointed, and requested his blessing. Bishop Ken absolved him from 
his sins in the presence of his uiistreits and his illeg^itimate ofTspring. The 
Catholic death is described by Father Hudleston, who attended and officiated 
in the last ceremonies of the church. From this it is very certain that Cbarlct 
died a Roman Catholic ; which in fact he had been before the restoratioOy 
whatever he had pretended to be to the Nuuconfurmists and the Church of 
England. Both the Popish and the Protestant death of Charles are recorded 
by Burnet, ii. pp. 456^460. £Uis, in the first series of his letters on English 
history, has given an account of the Protestant death of the i(.iug, by the 
chaplain to the Bishop of Ely, who was then in the room. Vol. ill. p. ;S33. la 
the second series he has givea Hudlestoo's accouat of the Popish death t Vol* 
iT. pp. 76| 80. 


were instruments equally ready, either for seconding the policy, 
or for gratifying the bad passions, of the monarch ; and Jef- 
ferieSy whom the late king had appointed chief justice of Eng- 
land a little before Sidney's trial, was a man entirely agreeable 
to the temper, and suitable to the purposes, of the present go* 
vemment. He was thought not to be very learned in his pro- 
fession $ but what might be wanting in knowledge, he made up 
in positiveness; and, indeed, whatever might be the difficulties 
in questions between one subject and another, the fashionable 
doctrine which prevailed at that time, of supporting the king's 
prerogative in its full extent, and without restriction or limita- 
tion, rendered, to such as espoused it, all that branch of law 
ivhich is called constitutional, extremely easy and simple. He 
was as submissive and mean to those above him, as he was 
liaughty and insolent to those who were in any degree in his 
power ; and if, in his own conduct, he did not exhibit a very 
nice r^;ard for morality, or even for decency, he never failed to 
animadvert upon, and to punbh, the most slight deviation in 
iiChers, with the utmost severity, especially if they were persons 
whom he suspected to be no favourites of the court. 

^ Before this magistrate was brought for trial, by a jury suffi- 
.ciently prepossessed in favour of tory politics, the Reverend 
Richard Baxter, a dissenting minister, a pious and learned man, 
of exemplary character, always remarkable for his attachment 
to monarchy, and for leaning to moderate measures in the dif- 
ferences between the church and those of his persuasion. The 
pretence of this prosecution was a supposed reference of some 
oassages in one of his works to the bishops of the church of 
England ; a reference which was certainly not intended by him, 
and which could not have been made out to any jury that had 
be^n less prejudiced or under any other direction than that of 
Jefferies. The real motive was the desire of punishing an eminent 
dissenting teacher, whose reputation was high among his sect, 
iind who was supposed to favour the political opinions of the 

Thus far Mr. Fox. That Baxter was not a whig was well 
known at court; and that his sentiments as a dissenter were 
considered to be very moderate, can as little be doubted. The 
design unquestionably was to strike terror into all the Noncon- 
formists, by severely punishing one of their leading ministers, 
who might be regarded, in point of sentiment, as less obnoxious 
than most of his brethren. If Baxter must be thus treated, who 

^ Fox'i *• History of the Reiga of James 11.^ pp. 101— lOa. 


can be safe ; if a harmless, uncontroversial paraphrase on the 
Scriptures be construed into a libel, it must be impoesible 
either to state our sentiments or defend them, without bringing 
down upon us the heavy arm of the law. These mnal have 
been the views of the court, and the reasonings of the disaenten 
respecting this affair. The malignant designs of the one, how- 
ever, and the fears of the other, were finally disappointed* 

As the trial of Baxter, for the sentiments expressed in his 
' Paraphrase on the New Testament,' * is among the most oxtnip- 
ordinary circumstances of his life, and one of the moat cariooB 
specimens of the style in which justice was administered by the 
monster who then presided over the justice of his eoantry, ll 
is much to be regretted that we have not an account of it, etthtt 
by Baxter himself, or more correctly reported by those who 
were present. No printed report of the trial exists, except 
what is contained in Calamy's abridgment of Baxter's life. The 
report in the ^ State Trials' is merely a copy of that. Among the 
Baxter MSS. in Redcross Street Library, however, there is a 
letter from a person who was present at the trial, which was sent 
to Sylvester, with a view to its being used by hhn. FVom tfan 
document, and Calamy together, I have endeavoured to give a 
fuller account, though it is still imperfect, than has hitherto been 
laid before the public, of this remarkable affair. 

That he was designed for jail before the death of Charles, 
was intimated by the Duke of York ; so, to secure him till they 
could find matter of accusation against him, he was bonnd to 
his good behaviour. They declared, at the same time, that they 
considered him innocent, but did this for security, and till they 
were prepared."* 

On the 28th of February, Baxter was committed to tiie 
King's-Bench prison, by warrant of Lord Chief Justice Jefieries, 
for his * Paraphrase on the New Testament,' which had been 
printed a little before; and which was described as a scandaloes 
and seditious book against the government. On his commit* 
ment by the chief justice's warrant, he applied for a AoleM 
corpus^ and having obtained it, he absconded into the country to 
avoid imprisonment,- till the term approached. He was indnced 
to do this from the constant pain he endured, and an apprehen* 
sion that he could not bear the confinement of a prison. 

On the 6th of May, which was the first day of the term, 

' A particular accouot of the ' Paraphrase oa the New Testament^* will k^ 
found in the second part of this woric* * 

" Penitent CQDfeMions> p^ 4(^ . . - 

•or RICHAUD BAXT£R. 359 

Jw appeared in Westminster Hall, and an information was then 
ardened to he drawn up against him. On the 14th of May, he 
pleaded not guilty, to the information. On the 18th of the 
same month, being much indisposed, it was moved that he might 
have further time given him before his trial, but this was denied 
hioL He moved for it by his counsel ; but JefFeries cried out, in a 
passion, ^ I will not give him a minute's time more, to save hit 
life. We have had to do,' said he, ' with other sorts of persona^ 
bnt now we have a saint to deal with ;_ and I know how to deal 
with aunts as well as sinners. Yonder,' said he, ^ stands Oates 
in the pillory ' (as he actually did at that very time in the New 
Rdace Yard), ' and he says he suffers for the truth, and so says 
Baxter ; bnt if Baxter did but stand on the other side of the 
piUoiy with him, I would say, two of the greatest rogues and 
rascals in the kingdom stood there.' ® 

The foiloi^nng is a copy of the indictment, which, from its 
singular nature, I have preferred giving in its original state to 
a translation. Even the mere English reader will have little 
di£Bcu]ty in understanding its scope, and the substance of its 
meaning, as it is so much interlarded with quotations from the 
Paraphrase :— • 

^ Quod Richardus Baxter, nuper de, &c., Clericus existena 
person* seditiosa et factiosa, pravae mentis, impiae, inquietse^ 
turbulent' disposition' et conversation', ac machinans, practi-* 
eana et intendens, quantum in ipso fuit, non solem pacem et 
oomomnem tranquillitat'dict' Dom' Regis infra, hoc regnum 
Angl' inquietare, molestare et perturbare, ac seditionem, dis« 
eord' et malevolent' int' ligeos et fideles subdit' diet' Dom' Regis 
movere, p'curare et excitare, verum etiam sinceram, piam, 
heatam, et pacificam Protestan' Religion' infra hoc regn' Angl* 
usital:', ac Prelat', Episcopos, aliosq ; Clericos in Ecclesia An* 
glicana legibus hujus regni Angl' stabilit', ac Novum Testamentu' 
Dom' Salvator' nostri Jesu Christ! in contempt' et vilipend' in- 
ducere et inutile reddere; quodq; p'd',R. B. ad nequissimas, 
nefandissimas et diabolicas intention' suas, pred' perimplend' 
perficiend' et ad effect' redigend' 14 die Febr', anno regni diet 
Dom' Jacobi Secundi, &c. primo, vi et armis, &c. apud, &e. 
fidso illlcite, injuste, nequit', factiose, seditiose et irreligiose fecit, 
eoroposuit, scripsit, impressit et publicavit, et fieri, componi^ 

^ Colonel Dang^erfiekl bad been tried before JefTeries, ami condemned to be 
Y^iipped tbat mornings at Westminster Hall, for tbe Meal-Tub plot; so tbat 
JeflMes was quite in a whipping humour. 


Bcribi^ imprimi et publican causavit, qaendam falraoi^ teAtiotiiliii 
libellosum, factiosum et irreligiosum libnim^ intitulat* A Panh 
phrase on the Testament, with Notes doctrinal and fradied: 
In quo quidem, falso, seditioso, libellosoj factioso et imligioto 
libro int' al' content' fuer' has falsae, factiosae nialitio6« aeanda- 
losae, et seditiosse sententiae de eisdem Prelat' Epiacopity aliisq; 
Clericis Ecclesiae hujus regn' in his Anglican' verbis sequen', 
videl't, Note, Are not these Preachers and PrehdeB* (Epte 
aliosq ; Clericos, prsed' Ecclesise hujus regn' Angl' innuend') then 
the least and basest that preach and tread down Christian km 
of all that dissent from any of their presuwptionSy andsopreaek 
down not the least, but the great commands £c ult' idem At- 
torn' diet Dom' Regis nunc general' pro eodem Dom' Rege dat 
Cur' hie intelligi et informari, quod in al' loco in p'd* fidad^ 
acandaloso, seditioso et irreligioso libroj int' al' content* fiwf^ 
hae al' falsse, libellosae, scandalosae, seditioaae et irreligiosae aententf 
sequent' de Clericis Ecclesiae hujus regn', videl't. Note, // ti 
folhf to doubt whether there be Devils, while Devils tueonwlf 
tivehere amongst us (Clericos pred' hujus regni Angl' innuendo); 
What else but Devils, sure, could make ceremonious kgpocrUes 
(Clericos pred' innuendo) consult with Politic Royalists Qigeoi 
et fidel' subdit' diet' Dom' Regis hujus regni Angl' innuendo) to 
destroy the Son of God for saving men's health and Hives by 
miracle ? Quaere, Whether, if this withered hand had been 
their own, they tvould have plotted to kill him, that would have 
cured them by a miracle, as a Sabbath-Breaker ? And whether 
their successors (Prelat', Episcopos, Aliosq; Clericos Ecclesis 
hujus regni Angl' qui deineeps fuerint innuendo) would silence 
and imprison godly ministers (seipsum R. B. et al' factiosaa et 
seditias as p'son' infra hoc regn' Angl' contra leges hujus regni 
ac Liturg' Ecclesiae infra hoc reg' stabilit' p'dican' innuendo) 
if they could cure tliem of all their sicknesses, and help them to 
preferment, and give them money to feed their lusts ? Et alt' 
idem Attorn' diet Dom* Regis nunc general' pro eodem Dom' 
rege dat Cur' hie intelligi et inform ari, quod in al' loco in pred' 
falso, libelloso, scandaloso et irreligioso libro inter al' content' 
filer' hae al falsae, libellosae, scandalosffi, seditiosae et irreli^ostt 
Anglican' sentent' sequen' de et concernen' Ep'is p'd' et 
Ministris Justitiae hujus regn' Angl', videft, Note, Men that 
preach in Christ's name (seipsum R. B. et al' factiosas et sedi- 
tiosas p'son' infra hoc regn' Angl' contra leges hujus regn' 
Angl' et Liturg' Ecclesiae hujus regn' per legem stabilit' pred' 


Bumen^) thefrfmre osre not to be sUeneedy though faulty j \f theif 
(prcd maJae dispo' it factiosas et sediUosas person' pred' iterum 
imnendo) do more good than harm; dreadful, then, is the case 
^them (Bpiacopos et Ministros Justidas infra hoc regn' Angl' 
mmieadD) that silence Christ's faithful ministers (seipsuin R.B* 
el al' seditioBas et factiosas person' pred' innuendo). Et ulteriua 
idem Attorn' diet' Dom' Regis nunc general' pro eodem Dom' 
Rage dat Cur' hie intelligi et informari^ quod ad excitand' popul' 
Imjiii regn' Angl' in illicit' Conventicul convenire et defamand' 
Jwtit* hujus regn' impuniendo illicit' Conventicul'^ in al' loco in 
fnd* falso, scandaloso, seditioso, et irreligioso libro, nit' al' 
eontent' fuer' has al' falsae, scandalosse, libellosae, seditiosae et 
irrdigioafle Anglican' sentent' sequen', videl't, (I) Note, It was 
weB that they considered what might be stdd against them, 
wkiek now mast Christians do not in their disputes. (2) These 
Persecutors J and the Romans , had some charity and considera* 
Hm^ in that they were restrained by the fear of thepeople, and 
dU fiat accuse and fine them as for Routs, Riots, and Seditions, 
(S) They that deny necessary premises are not to be disputed 
witk. Etulterius idem Attorn' diet' Dom' Regis nunc general' 
pro eodem Dom' Rege' dat Cur' hie intelligi et informari quod 
in al' loco in pred' falso, scandaloso, seditioso et irreligioso libro, 
intal' content' fiier' hae al' falsae, libellosae, scandalosae, seditiosae 
et irreligiosae Anglican' Sententiae sequent' de et concemen' Epis- 
eopis et al' Clericis hujus regn' Angl', videl't, (3) Let not those 
proud hypocrites (Episcopos et al' Clericos Ecclesiae hujus regn' 
Angl' innuendo) deceive you (subdit' dicti Dom' Regis hujus 
regn' Angl innuendo) who by their long Liturgies and Cere^ 
monies, (Liturg' et Ceremon' Ecclesiae hujus regn' Angl' innu- 
endo^) and claim of Superiority, do but cloak their WorldH- 
nssSj Pride, and Oppression, and are religious to their greater 
Damnation. Et ulterius idem Attorn' dicti Dom Regis nunc 
general' pro eodem Dom' Rege dat Cur' hie intelligi et informari, 
qood in al' loco in pred' falso, scandaloso, seditioso et irreligi- 
oso libro iht'al' content' fuer' hap al' falsae, libellosae, scandalosae^ 
seditiosae, et religiosse, Sentent' Anglican' sequent' de et con* 
eemen' Clericis hujus regn' Angl', (2) Note, Priests now 
are many (Clericos Ecclesiae hujus regn' Angl' innuendo) but 
Labourers few; what men are they that have and do silence the 
fait^uUest labourers (seipsum R. B. et al' facti' as et sedit' as 
p' son' pred' innuendo) suspecting that they are not for their 
Interest ? (interesse Clericor' Ecclesiae hujus regn' Angl' innu- 
endo). Et ulterius idem Attorn' dicti' Dom* Regis nunc geue« 


ral' pro eodem Dom' Rege dat Cur' hie intelligi et infiBnaaii^ 

quod in al' ioco in pred' falso acandaloeo^ seditioso et irreligioio 

libro, inter al' content' Aienint hee al' falss, libelloas tcaiidak— , 

seditiosK et irreligiosse sentent' sequen' de et concemen' Cidieii 

Jiujps regn' Angl', videl't, (3) Note, Ckrisfs MuMen mti 

CM'8 ordinancea to save Men, tmd the DevU's Ctergjf (Clerion 

Ecclesiee hujus regn' Angl' innuendo) U8e them for Smarm, Mm^ 

tUef, and Murder. (2) 7A€y(Clerico8Eecle8iashiyiit regit' Ao^ 

innuendo) wiU not let tt^e people be Neuters between God mni Of 

Deviifbutforce them (subdit hujus regn' Angl' innuendo) ioteimr 

forming Persecutors. Et ulterius idem Attorn' dicti' Dom' Begm 

nunc general' pro eodem Dom' Rege dat Car' hie intelligi et infiBr* 

mari, quod in al' loco in praed' falso, scandaloso, seditioso et 

irreligioso libro, int' al' content' fuerunt hm alise falsce, libclli—^ 

scandalosae, seditiosae et irreligiosae sententis Anglicanae aequen' 

de et concernen' legibus hujus regn' Angl' contra illidt' Coa» 

venticul', et ad excitand' popul' convenire in illicit' Conventieal'i 

videl't, (2) Note, To be Dissenters and DiqnUmUa, 

errors and tyrannical impositions, tg^on conscience (leges et 

tut' hujus regn' Angl' contra person' factios' et Lituig' Bed* 

hujus regn' Angl' adversar' Anglice), against Dissentere (edit* 

et provis' innuendo) , is no Fault, but a great Duty. In magnani 

Dei omnipotent' displicent' in contempt' leg' hujus regn' Angl* 

manifest' in malum et pernitiosissim exemplum omniu' al' in tali 

casu delinquen' ac contra pacem dicti Dom' Regis nunc, coron' 

et dignitat' suas, &c. Unde idem Attorn' dicti Dom' Regis mmq 

general pro eodem Dom' Rege pet' advisament' Cur' hie in pro* 

miss' ct debit' legis process' versus ipsum prefat R« B» in hao 

parte fieri ad respond' dicto Dom' Regi de et in premi88,&c»" . 

On May the 30th, in the aftemoon,*^ Baxter was brought to 
trial, before the lord chief justice, at Guildhall. Sir Henry 
Ashurst, who would not forsake his own and his father's friend^ 
stood by him all the while. Baxter came first into court, and^ 
with all the marks of sincerity and composure, waited for tba 
coming of the lord chief justice, who appeared quickly afteri 
with great indignation in his face. 

^' When I saw," says an eye-witness, '^ the meek man stand 
before the flaming eyes and fierce looks of this bigot, I thought 
of Paul standing before Nero. The barbarous usage which hi 


« Hargreaves' State Trials, vol. x. App. p. (37). The Editor eaprcMSS his 
regret that no account of this trial exists, except what is given hy Cstainj. 
He snys, " It shovia the temper of the chief juitice, and the cruel usage of the 
JniSDner.** • ' 


feceived drew plenty of tears from my eyes, as well as from 
.otben of the auditors and spectators : yet I couh 1 not but 
^nile aometimes, when I saw my lord imitate our modern pulpit 
drollery^ which some one saith any man engaged in such a de- 
lugn would not lose for a world. He drove on furiously, like 
Haanibal over the Alps, with fire and vinegar, pouring all the 
contempt and scorn upon Baxter, as if he had been a link-boy 
or knave ; which made the people who could not come near 
enough to hear the indictment or Mr. Baxter's plea, cry out^ 
* Surely, this Baxter had burned the city or the temple of Del^ 
phos/ But others said, it was not the custom, now-a-days, to 
TOeeive ill, except for doing well ; and therefore this must 
needs be some good man that my lord so rails at.'' p 

Jefferies no sooner sat down than a short cause was called 
and tried ; after which the clerk began to read the title of an** 
other cause. ' You blockhead, you,' said Jefferies, ' the next 
cause is between Richard Baxter and the king :' upon which 
Baxter's cause was called. 

On the jury being sworn, Baxter objected to them, as incom- 
petent to his trial, owing to its peculiar nature. The jurymen 
being tradesmen, and not scholars, he alleged they were inca« 
pable of pronouncing whether his ^Paraphrase' was, or was 
not, according to the original text. He therefore prayed that 
he might have a jury of learned men, though the one-half of 
them should be Papists. This objection, as might have been 
expected, was overruled by the eourt.*i 

The passages contained in the indictment, were, it is under- 
stood, picked out by Sir Roger L'Estrange and some of his 
associates: and a certain noted clergyman, who is supposed 
to have been Dr. Sherlock, put into the hands of his enemies 
some accusations out of Rom. xiii., &c. as against the king, 
which might have affected his life ; but no use was made of 
them. The great charge was, that, in these several passages, 
he reflecteid on the prelates of the church of England, and so 
was guilty of sedition.' 

9 Baxter MSS. i Ibid. 

• * As the 'Ptraphrase* Ss not in every body's bands, I have extracted the pas« 
sages and notes referred to in the indictment, and placed them together, that 
the readers may have fairly and fully before them the grounds on which the 
cbarne of sedition was preferred. Some of the phraseology is pointed and 
severe, characteristic of Baxter's style, but all josUy called for by the treat- 
laent which be and others had experienced. i 

' Matt. V. 19. '* if any shall presume to break the least of these commands^ 
Wcaon it is a little one, and teach men so to do, ne shaU be TUified as he tiH* 
fied God's law, and not thought fit for a place in the kingdom of the MeMM { 


Tke king'i counsel opened the information at large, with iU 
aggravations. Mr. Pollexfen, Mr. Wallop, Mr. Williams, Blr. 
Rotherhani, Mr. Atwood, and Mr. Phipps, were Baxter** ooQa- 
•el, and had been fee'd by Sir Henry Ashurst. 

Pollexfen then rose and addressed the court and the jury. 
He stated that he was counsel for the prisoner, and felt that he 

bat be ftball be tbere neatest that it most exact in Mmg and t§me k mg aU tht 
law of God." 

NHe,-^" Are not those preachers and prelates, then, the ieiui and baiwt , 
that preach and tread down Chriitian love of all that dissent from aoy of thdr 
presumptions, and so preach down, not the least, but the greai eonmaad." 

Mark iii. 6. << It is folly to doubt whether there be deviU, while detib 
Incarnate dwell among^ us. What else but devils, sure, could eaimaeaiNf 
hypocrites consult with politic royalists to destroy the Son of God» for savlaf 
men's health and lives by miracle ? Query: Whether this wither^ lumdbai 
been their own, they would have plotted to kill him that would bare caiti 
them by miracle, as a sabbath-breaker ? And whether their succ«ason wodd 
silence and imprison goodly ministers, if they could cure them of all thdr 
sicknesses, help them to preferment, and ipve them money to feed their loili?* 

Mark ix, 39. Noie.—^' Men that preach in'Christ's name, therefbrey an aol 
to be silenced, thouf^h faulty : if they do more pood than hana» dreadftdi 
then, is the case of them that silence Christ's faithful ministers.'* 

Mark xi. 31. Note,--** It was well that they considered what migbt be said 
•gainst them, which now most Christians do not in their disputee. Tbcii 
persecutors, and the Romans, had some charity and consideratiooy in tfatf 
they were restrained by the fear of ' the people, and did not accuse and fini 
them, as for routs, riots, and seditions.' " 

Mark xii. 38—40. Note, — ** Let not these proud hypocrites deceive you, who, 
by their long liturgies and ceremonies, and claim of superiority, do but doak 
their worldliness, pride, and oppression, and are religious to their greater 

Luke X. 2. iVo^tf.— "Priests now are many, but labourers are few. Whit 
men are they that hate and silence the faithfuUest labourers, suspecting thi< 
they are not for their interest ?" 

John xi. 57. Note."'" I.Christ's ministers are God's ordinances to save nca, 
and the devil's clergy use them for snares, mischief, and murder. 2. They 
will not let the people be neuters between God and the devil, but force then 
to be informing persecutors.'- 

Acts XV. 2. Note. — " 1. To be dissenters and disputants against errors and 
tyrannical impositions upon conscience is no fault, but a great duty. 2. Itii 
but a groundless fiction of some that tell us that this was an appeal to Jem* 
talem, because it was the metropolis of Syria and Antioch, as if the metropo- 
litan church power had been then settled ; when, long after, when it wasd^ 
vised, indeed, Antioch was above Jerusalem ; and it is as vain a fictioii thai 
this was an appeal to a general council, as if the apostles and elders at Jeru- 
salem had beeu a general council, when none of the bishops of the gta* 
tile churches were there, or called thither. It is notorious that it was an ap- 
peal to the apostles, taking in the elders, as those that had the most ccrtaia 
notice of Christ's mind, having conversed with him, and being intrusted te 
teach all nations whatever he commanded them, and had the greatest men* 
sure of the Spirit ; and also, being Jews themselves, were such as the Juda- 
iaiog Christians had no reason to suspect or reject"— jBiixfer'f New TetUmed 


had a veiy unusual plea to manage. He had been obliged, he 
aaid^ by the nature of the cause, to consult all our learned com- 
mentators, many of whom, learned, pious, and belonging to 
the church of England, too, concurred with Mr. Baxter in his 
paraphrase of those passages of Scripture which were objected 
to in the indictment, and by whose help he would be enabled 
to nianage his client's cause. '^ I shall begin,'' said he, ** with 
Dr. Hammond ; and, gentlemen, though Mr. Baxter made an 
objection against you, as not fit judges of Greek, which has 
been overruled,* I hope you understand English, common sense, 
and can read." To which the foreman of the jury made a pro* 
fonnd bow, and said, ^^ Yes, sir." 

On. this his lordship burst upon Pollexfen, like a fury, and 
told hfan he should not sit there to hear him preach. ^' No, 
my lord," said Pollexfen, '^ I am counsel for Mr. Baxter, and 
rfudl ofler nothing but what is ad rem." ^^ Why, this is not," 
said Jefferies, '^ that you cant to the jury beforehand." ^' I beg 
your lordship's pardon," said the counsel, ^^ and shall then .pro- 
ceed to business." ** Come, then," said Jefferies, ^^ what do 
yon say to this count: read it, clerk :" referring to the paraphrase 
on Mark xii. 38—40. '^ Is he not, now, an old knave, to inter- . 
pret thb as belonging to liturgies ?" ^' So do others," replied 
Pollexfen, '^ of the church of England, who would be loth so to 
wrong the cause of liturgies as to make them a novel invention, 
or not to t>e able to date them as early as the Scribes and Phari- 
sees." " No, no, Mr. Pollexfen," said the judge : " they were 
long-winded, extempore prayers, such as they used to say when 
they appropriated God to themselves : ^ Lord, we are thy peo- 
ple, thy peculiar people, thy dear people.' " And then he snorted^ 
and squeaked through his nose, and clenched his hands, and 
lifted up his eyes, mimicking their manner, and running on 
furiously, as he said they used to pray. But old Pollexfen gave 
him a bite now and then, though he could hardly get in a word* 
** Why, my lord/' said he, ^^ some will think it is hard measure 
to stop these men's mouths, and not let them speak through their 
noses." " Pollexfen," said Jefferies, " 1 know you well ; I will 
set a mark upon you : you are the patron of the faction. This 
is an old rogue, who has poisoned the world with his Kidder- 
minster doctrine. Don't we know how he preached formerly, 
' Curse ye Meroz ; curse them bitterly that come not to the 
help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.' 
He encouraged all the women aud maids to bring their bodkins 


and thimblei to carry on their war agunst the Idng of mr 
blessed memory. An old schismatical knave, a hypocriticil 
villain 1" 

'^ I beseech your lordship/' said Pollexfien, ^ suffer me a 
word, for my client. It is well known to all intelligent mea of 
age in this nation, that these things do not apply to the ebane- 
ter of Mr. Baxter, who wished as well to the king and roytl 
family as Mr. Love, who lost his head for endeavouring to hnng 
in the son long before he was restored. And, my lord, l^lr« 
Baxter's lojral and peaceable spirit. King Charles wonld have 
rewarded with a bishoprick^ when he came in^ if he wonld 
have conformed." 

^f Aye, aye," said the judge, ^^ we know that; but what ailed 
the old blockhead, the unthankful villain, that he would nH 
conform ? Was he wiser or better than other men ? He baA 
been, ever since, the spring of the faction. I am sure he hath 
poisoned the world witli his linsey-woolsey doctrine." Here lui 
rage increased to an amazing degree. He called Baxter a eon* 
ceited, stubborn, fanatical dog. ^^ Hang him," said he; ^^thb 
one old fellow hath cast more reproach upon the constitutioo 
and discipline of our church than will be wiped off this hun- 
dred years ; but I'll handle him for it : for, by G , he de- 
serves to be whipped through the city." 

" My lord," said Pollexfen, ^' I am sure these things are not 
ad rem. Some persons think, my lord, it is very hard these 
men should be forced against their consciences from the churcli* 
But that is not my business, my lord. I am not to justify their 
nonconformity, or give here the reasons of their scruples to ac« 
cept beneficial places, but rather to suffer any thing. I know 
not, my lord, what reasons sway other men's consciences ; ny 
business is to plead for my client, and to answer the charge of 
dangerous sedition, which is alleged to be contained in hii 
* Paraphrase of the New Testament.' ' 

■ Baxter MSS. Pullexfeo, who acted as first counsel in the trial of BaxtcTi 
is not mentioned at aU in Calamy's account of the trial. The whole that I 
have ^ven ahuve is contaiocd in ihe manuscript account furnished by a p«^ 
sou who was present. As far as it proceeds in the remainder of the narrative 
it agprees with Calamy. Pollexfen was descended from a |^ood family la 
DeTonshire, and rose to the highest ranlc in his profession. He was coudmI 
for the Earl of Danby, in 1679, was employed by the Corpoimtion of Las* 
doD, in the affair of their charter, and was oDe of the counsel retained for the 
bishops. He was knighted after the Revolution, and made chief justice of the 
Common Pleas. He died in i692r^Nobi9*9 Continuatwn of Granger^ voL L 


Mr. Wallop said, that he conceived, the matter depending 
beug a point of doctrine, it ought to be referred to the bishop 
hit ordinary ; but if not, he humbly conceived the doctrine was 
innocent and justifiable, setting aside the inuendos, for which 
there was no colour, there being no antecedent to refer them to 
fu e. BO hishop or clergy of the church of England named) ; 
ht aaid Ae book accused, i. e. the * Comment on the New Tes- 
tunent,' contained many eternal truths : but they who drew the 
iafermation were the libellers, in applying to the prelates of the 
church of England, those severe things which were written 
canceming some prelates who deserved the characters which he 
gave. ^* My lord," said he, ^^ I humbly conceive the bishops Mr. 
Baxter speaks of, as your lordship, if you have read church his- 
tory, must confess, were the plagues of the church and of the 

^ Mr. Wallop,'^ said the lord chief justice, *' I observe you 
are in all these dirty causes : and were it not for you gentlemen 
of the long robe, who should have more wit and honesty than 
to support and hold up these factious knaves by the chin, we 
should not be at the pass we are." '^My lord," replied Wallop, 
^I humbly conceive that the passages accused are natural de- 
ductions from the text." '^ You humbly conceive," said Jeffieries, 
^and I humbly conceive. Swear him, swear him." **My lord," 
said he, "under favour, I am counsel for the defendant, and if I 
understand either Latin or English, the information now brought 
against Mr. Baxter upon such a slight ground, is a greater re- 
flecUon upon the church of England, than any thing contained 
in the book he is accused for." " Sometimes you humbly con- 
ceive, and sometimes you are very positive," said Jefferies } " you 
talk of your skill in church history, and of your understanding 
Latin and English; I think I understand something of them as 
well as you ; but, in short, must tell you, that if you do not un- 
derstand your duty better, I shall teach it you." Upon which 
Mr. Wallop sat down. 

Mr. Rotherham urged, ^^ that if Mr. Baxter's book had sharp 
reflections upon the church of Rome by name, but spake well of 
the prelates of the church of England, it was to be presumed, 
that tlie sharp reflections were intended only against the pre- 
lates of the church of Rome." The lord chief justice said, 
** Baxter was an enemy to the name and thing, the office and 
persons, of bishops." Rotherham added^ ^^ that Baxter frequently 


attended divine service, went to the sacrament, and persuaded 
others to do so too, as was certainly and publicly known ; and 
had, in the very book so charged, spoken very moderately and 
honourably of the bishops of the church of fingland." 

Baxter added, " My lord, I have been so moderate with 
respect to the church of England, that I have incurred the ccn« 
sure of mapy of the dissenters upon that account.'^ ^ Baiter 
for bishops !" exclaimed Jeiferies, *^ that is a merry conceit in- 
deed : turn to it, turn to it.'' Upon this, Rotherham turned to 
a place where it is said, ^^ that great respect is due to thoK 
truly called to be bishops among us;" or to that purpose: 
'^ Aye,'' said Jefferies, '^ this is your Presbyterian eant ; tnly 
called to be bishops : that is himself, and such rascals, caDed 
to be bishops of Kidderminster, and other such places. Bishop 
set apart by such factious, snivelling Presbyterians as himadf: 
a Kidderminster bishop he means. According to the saying of 
a late learned author^— And every parish shall maintain a tithe 
pig metropolitan." 

Baxter beginning to speak again, Jefferies reviled him; 
'^ Richard, Richard, dost thou think we'll hear thee pcinoa the 
court ? Richard, thou art an old fellow, an old knave ; thofl 
hast written books enough to load a cart, every one as full of 
sedition, I might say treason, as an egg is full of meat. Hadst 
thou been whipped out of thy writing trade forty years ago, it 
had been happy. Thou p'retendest to be a preacher of the 
Gospel of peace, and thou hast one foot in the grave : it is time 
for thee to begin to think what account thou intendest to give. 
But leave thee to thyself, and 1 see thou'lt go on as thou hast 
begun ; but, by the grace of God, I'll look after thee. I kuow 
thou hast a mighty party, and I see a great many of the bro- 
therhood in corners, waiting to see what will become of their 
mighty Don, and a Doctor of the party (looking to Dr. Bates) 
at your elbow ; but, by the grace of Almighty God, I'll crush 
you all. Come, what do you say for yourself, you old knave | 
come,;»peak up. What doth he say ? I am not afraid of yoOi 
for all the snivelling calves you have got about you i" alluding 
to some persons who were in tears about Mr. Baxter. ** Your 
lordship need not,'' said the holy man ; ^^ for I'll not hurt yoa. 
But these things will surely be understood one day ; what foob 
one sort of Protestants are made, to persecute the other." And 
lifting up his eyes to heaven, said, ^^ I am not concerned to an« 


•uch Btaff J but am ready to produce my writings for the 
mfiitatioti of all this; and my life and conversation are known 
» mny in this nation.'' ^ 

Mr. Rotherham sitting down, Mr. Atwood began to show, 
ml not one of the passages mentioned in the information 
i^t to be strained to the sense which was put upon them by 
le inuendos; they being more natural when taken in a milder 
nae : nor could any one of them be applied to the prelates of 
le church of England, without a very forced construction. To 
ram this, he would have read some of the text : but Jef- 
aries cried out, '^ You shan't draw me into a conventicle with 
por amiotations, nor your snivelling parson, neither." *^ My 
ffdy" said Mr. Atwood, ^^ that I may use the best authority, 
emiit me to repeat your lordship's own words in that case." 
No^ you shan't," said he : ^^you need not speak, for you are an 
Bthor already ; though you speak and write impertinently." 
twood replied, '^ I can't help that, my lord, if my talent be no 
Btter, but it is my duty 'to do my best for my client." 

Jefleries then went on inveighing against what Atwood 
id published ; and Atwood justified it as in defence of the 
iiglish constitution, declaring that he never disowned any 
ling diat he had written. Jefferies, several time;s, ordered him 
I rit down; but he still went on. '^ My lord," said he, ^' I have 
tatter of law to urge for my client." He then proceeded to cite 
sveral cases wherein it had been adjudged that words ought to 
e taken in the milder sense, and not to be strained by inuendos. 
iVell,' sud Jefferies, when he had done, * you have had your 

Mr. Williams and Mr. Phipps said nothing, for they saw 
was to no purpose. At last, Baxter himself said, '^My 
ird, I think I can clearly answer all that is laid to my charge, 
id I shall do it briefly. The sum is contained in these few 
^lers, to which I shall add a little by testimony." But he 
onld not hear a word. At length, the chief justice summed up 
le matter in a long and fulsome harangue. '^ It was notoriously 
^^ywn,'' he said, ^^ there had been a design to ruin the king and 
le nation. The old game had been renewed ; and this person 
id been the main incendiary. He is as modest now as can be ; 
Dt time was, when no man was so ready at, ^ Bind your kings 
I chains, and your nobles in fetters of iron ; ' and ' To your tents, 
^ Israel.' Gentlemen, for God's sake, don't let us be gulled 

* Baxter's MSS. 
VOL. I« B B 

$70 THfi Lt»B ATib ftMltf 

twice \n lUi Age." And when he concluded, h« teld the jtlry^ 
** that if .they in their consciences believed he meant the bMiopi 
and clergy of the church of England, in the passages whitlh the 
information referred to, and he could mean nothing eke ; they 
must find him guilty. If not, they must find him not gtlilty*** 
When he had done, Baxter said to him, ** Does your lont- 
ship think any jury will pretend to pass a Terdict upon me upon 
such a trial?" *' I'll warrant you, Mr. Baxter,'' said he } ^don'C 
you trouble yourself about that." 

The jury immediately laid their heads together at the bar, 
and found him guilty. As he was going frotn the . bar^ 
Baxter told the lord chief justice, who had so loaded him with 
reproaches, and still continued them, that a predecessor of hllf 
had had other thoughts of him ; upon which he replied, ^thal 
there was not an honest man in England but what took him for 
a great ktiave." Baxter had subpoenaed sereral clergymen, who 
appeared in court, but were of no use to him, .throng the 
violence of the chief justice. The trial being over, Sir Henry 
Ashurst led him through the crowd, and conveyed him away in 
his coach«^ 

Between the time of his trial, and of his being brought up fbr 
sentence, Baxter employed what influence he possessed, td pro- 
cure a more favourable result than he had reason to expect fit>n 
the temper of Jefferies. He addressed himself to a nobleman of 
influence at court, whose name does not appear, and also to the 
Bishop of London, entreating them to interpose on his behalf* 
His letter to the bishop, is Worthy of being inserted entire. It 
gives a calm and correct view of his case, shows his attachment 
to the church, the labour he had bestowed to promote its 
interests ; and entreats that he might yet be heard before a more 
impartial and competent tribunal. 

^ Sir Henry Ashurst, who acted in this trnljr Christian aiid aoble naaMr to 
Baxter, feeing his couAsel» standings hy him at bis trial, and coDYcgriBf bi« 
home in his uwn carria^, was the son of one of his oldest and best friend 
and la all respects worthy of the ikiiiily Whos« btHioura he suslatticd and it* 
creased. He married Lady Diana> lh« Afth daughter of WiUiam I»td Pugali 
by whom he had several children. She died in August, 170/^ when a funenl 
sermon was preached. on the occasion by the Rev. Richard Mayo. Sir Ileiiiy 
was the intimate frirad and correspondent i}f the Rev. Philip tfcnry. tk 
ipublished a short life of the Rev. Nathaniel H«ywood, tire ejected mialfter if 
Ormslciric, which shows that he was not ashamed of his connexion with tiMt 
despised race of confessors. Sir Henry died at his seat at Wateratoke, Dcir 
Coventry, on the ISth t>f Apriij 17iO-Il.^$ee the Lives t»f MRp aad MlAbeir 
Henry, by Mr. Williams. 


^ Being by q)i8Copa] ordination vowed to the sacred min** 
rjy and bound not to desert it, when by painful diseases and de- 
ify I wuted for my change, I durst not spend my last days in 
tsMaa, and knew not how better to serve the church than by 
Icing a ^ Ptoiphrase on the New Testament/ purposely fitted 
the use of the most ignorant, and the reconciling of doctrinal 
Incnces about texts' variously expounded. Far was it from 
f design to reproach the church, or draw men from it, having 
eiein pleaded for diocesans as successors of the apostles over 
iny churches; though I confute the overthrowing opinion 
liich setteth them over but one church, denying the parishes 
be churches. But some persons offended, it is like, at some 
her passages in the book, have thought fit to say that I scan- 
dised the church of England ; and an information being ex- 
faited in the. King's Bench, at a trial before a common jury, 
I my owning the book, they forthwith found me guilty with- 
it hearing my defence, and I have cause to expect a severe 
dgment, the beginning of the next term. All this is on a 
large that my unquestionable words were meant by me to scan- 
dise the church, which I utterly deny. If God will have me 
id a painful, weary life, by such a suffering, I hope I shall 
liah my course with joy ; but my conscience commandeth mc 
» value the churches strength and honour before my life, and I 
ight not to be silent under the scandal of suffering as an enemy 
• it« Nor would I have my sufferings increase men's prejudice 
punst it« I have lived in its communion, and conformed to as 
uch as the Act of Uniformity obliged one in my condition ; I 
ive drawn multitudes into the church, and written to justify the 
lurch and ministry against separation, when the Paraphrase 
aa in the press : and my displeasing writings (whose eagerness 
id faults I justify not) have been my earnest pleadings for the 
ealiog of a divided people, and the strengthening of the church 
f love and concord on possible terms. 1 owe satisfaction to you 
lat are my diocesan, and therefore presume to send you a copy 
r the infonnadon against me, and my answer to the particular 
misations; humbly entreating you to spare so much time from 
Nir weighty business as to peruse them, or to refer them to be 
emsed for your satisfaction. I would fain send with them one 
leety (in vindication of my accused life and loyalty, and of posi- 
ve proofs that I meant not to accuse the church of England, 
dd of the danger of exposing the clergy to charges of thouglits 

fi b2 


and meanings as prejudice shall conjecture,) but for fear of db* 
pleasing you by length. For expositions of Scripture to be that 
tried by such juries, as often as they are but called seditiousi b 
not the old way of managing church differences; and of what 
consequence you will easily judge. If your lordship be satisfied 
that I am no enemy to the church, and that my punishment «nll 
not l}e for its interest, I hope you will vouchsafe to present mj 
petition to his majesty, that my appeal to the chnrch may.siMh 
pend the sentence till my diocesan, or whom his majesty shall 
appoint, may hear me, and report their sense of the cause. Bf 
which your lordship will, I doubt not, many ways serve the wdlr 
fare of the church, as well as 

*^ Oblige' your languishing 

*« Humble Servant."* 

It does not appear that these applications, or any other 
influence employed, was of much avail. It will not be thought 
that he received a mitigated sentence, though perhaps this was 
the case. 

On the 29th of June, he had judgment given against hini« 
He was fined five hundred marks, condemned to lie in prisoa 
till he paid it, and bound to his good behaviour for seven yeaiSt 
It is said that Jefferies proposed a corporal punishment, namely, 
whipping through the city ; but his brethren would not accede 
to it. In consequence of which, the fine and imprisonment were 
agreed to.^ 

Thus ended this strange, comic tragedy; for such it moit 
have appeared to be, even to the parties most deeply interested 
in the result. Had Jefferies intended to bring all law and justice 
into contempt, or to render judicial proceedings the object ofdis* 
gust throughout the kingdom, he could not have adopted a more 
effectual method than the conduct he pursued at Baxter's trial, 
llie apology which has sometimes been offered for this uojuit 
judge, that his cruelties were perpetrated to please his royal 
master, will not, I am afraid, stand the test of a rigid examioa- 
tion. That James was cold, and cruel too, cannot be doubted; 
but the conduct of Jefferies on this and similar occasions, seem 
evidently to have arisen from his own nature, which was savage^ 
vulgar, and unrelenting. He was a fit instrument for doing the 
work of a despotic government; but he was also admirably 
qualified for rendering that government an object of universal 
s Baxter*! MSS. r Ibid. 


Mticd and loathing. Nothing, probably, contributed more ef- 
ectnaUy to the downfall of James's authority, and the utter ex- 
inetion of his influence in the country, than the brutal outrages 
f this man. lliey may be sud to have commenced with his 
mtment of Baxter^ and to have terminated with his western 
anpaign* His track was marked with blood and murder, which 
t last brought down the vengeance of Heaven on his infatuated 
nqployers, and led to the final deliverance of his oppressed and 
ngnred country. 

On the legal merits of Baxter's trial, there can now be but 
ne opinion. It is highly probable, as has been already re- 
oaiked, that he was singled out to be the first victim, and with 
k view of striking terror into all his brethren. His services to the 
tench, by his writings in her defence, and by the division which 
le mainly contributed to keep up among the dissenters, were 
my considerable. If such a man, therefore, must be severely 
nmished, and that for one of the least offensive of his publica- 
aonsy what might others expect? The notes fastened on, cer- 
minly contain no sedition. They do not even name the bishops, 
ht constitution, or the services of the church of England. It was 
iKTcfore entirely by inuendOy or insinuation, as the counsel all- 
eged, that his words were construed to be an attack on the pre- 
Itfcsand liturgy of the church. As he was a believer in bishops, 
md no enemy to a liturgy, he could only refer to unsuitable 
lersons holding the office, or to the abuse of the forms of the 
sfaurch. To constitute allusions to such things in a commen- 
ary on the Scriptures, high legal offences, endangering the 
iberty or lives of the subjects, shows either that the court was at 
I Ums for grounds of prosecution, or that even at this early period 
if James's reign, a deep-laid plot had been formed to ruin the 
iiasenters, and, with them, the liberties of England. 

At the end of the second edition of the Paraphrase, he left 
ihe following note to be inserted : " Reader, — It's like you have 
heard how I was, for this book, by the instigation of Sir Roger 
L'Sstrange and some of the clergy, imprisoned nearly two years, 
by Sir George Jefferies, Sir Francis Wilkins, and the rest of the 
judges of the King's Bench, after their preparatory restraints, 
md attendance under the most reproachful words, as if I had 
been the most odious person living, and not suffered at all to 
qieak for myself. Had not the king taken off my fine, I had 
continued in prison till death. Because many desire to know 
what all this was for, I have here written the eight accusations 


wKich (after the great clergy search of my book) were brought 
in as seditious. I have altered never a word accined^ that joa 
may know the worst. What I said of the murderers of Chriat^ and 
the hypocrite Pharisees and their sins, the judge sud I meant 
of the ^hurch of England, though I have written for it^ nnd 
still communicate with it." Then follow the patoagea of SeiifH 
ture, which have been given in a preceding note. ^Thcac^" ha 
adds, '^were all, by one that knoweth his own name; put into 
their hands, with some accusations out of Rom. xiii.^ aa tgainiC 
my life ; but their discretion forbade them to use or name them." 

The conduct of L'Estrange, in promoting the proteeotioD of 
Baxter, is only in harmony with other parts of his ehamcter/ 
He was one of the most unprincipled, mercenary scribbleta of te. 
age to which he belonged ; a man who stuck at nothing wUek 
the interests of arbitrary power and high-church politica xequired. 
To such a man, Richard Baxter afforded delicious food : he 
often before attacked him by his pen; he now employed a 
formidable and dangerous weapon, the attorney-general anA 
Lord Chief Justice Jefferies. 

The conduct of the clergyman referred to, understood to be 
Dr. Sherlock, who suggested a charge of treason, founded oa 
the annotations on tlie 13th chapter of the Romans, h more 
difficult to be accounted for. There was not sufficient grooad 
for the charge, otherwise it would doubtless have been adopted. 
But what could instigate Sherlock to such a proceeding, affect- 
ing the life of a venerable servant of Christ, must be left to the 
disclosures of another day. We would hope Baxter may haie 

* Echard relates a curious anecdote of Baxter and L'Estran^e. '* When Dr. 
Sharp, afterwards archbishop of York, was rector of St. Giles-lii-the-FMdt, 
L'Estranf^e, Baxter, and the notorious Miles Pranse, who was oonvicicd tf 
perjury in the affair of Sir Edmund Godfrey, all approached the conmooioa 
table, on a sacrament day ; L'Estrange at one end, Pranse at the othery anl 
Baxter in the middle. Baxter and Prance, from their situation, rectlTed be- 
fore L'Estrange, who, when it came to bis turn, taking the bread in hit haadi 
asked the doctor if he knew who that man was, pointings to Pranse. To which 
the doctor answering in the negative, L'Estran^ replied, < That is MUci 
Pranse ; and I here challenge him, and solemnly declare, before €kid and Ifaif 
congregation, that what that roan hath sworn or published coacemiiig meit 
totally and absolutely false ; and may this sacrament be ny damnatioo if all 
this declaration be not true/ Pranse was silent; Mr. Baxter took sjiecisl 
notice of it; and Dr. Sharp declared he would have refused Pnune the 
aacrament, had the challenge been made In time." — Eckarft Omttk AC 
What a scene this was for a communion table ! 1 am surprised it did not 
forever disgust Baxter at occasional couformity, and teach him the importance 
of knowing something about the persons with whom he held reilgiottt ftiknr- 
ship in this sacred ordiaance* 

htfm undfr lome mistake^ au4 that Sherlook was not guilty of 
#ueh bise and atrocious conduct. 

Baxter baing unable to pay the fine, and aware that, though 
ba didf he might soon be prosecuted again, on some equally 
mjoat pretencai went to prison. Here he was visited by his 
friands^ and even by some of the respectable clergy of the 
fburcb, who sympathised with his sufferings, and deplored the 
]i|jaatiee be received. He continued in this imprismiment 
paariy two years ; during which he enjoyed more quietness than 
ha had done for many years before. 

Aa imprisonment of two years would have been found very 
tffiog and irksome to most men. To Baxter, however, it does 
npt appear to have proved so painful, though he had now lost 
bia beloved wife, who had frequently before been his companion 
in solitude and suffering. His friends do not appear to have 
Qlflected or forgotten him. The following extract of a letter 
ftiQ^i the well-known Matthew Henry, presents a pleasing view 
of tlie manner in which he endured bonds and afSictions for 
Christ's sake. It is addressed to his father, and dated tha 
17tb of November, 1685, when Baxter had been several months 
qmfiffad* Mr* Williams justly remarks, *^ It is one of those 
pictures of days which are past, which, if rightly viewed, may 
produce lasting and beneficial effects ; emotions of sacred sor- 
fOW (or the iniquity of persecution ; and animating praise, that 
tha demon in these happy days of tranquillity, is restrained 
though npt destroyed.'^ 

^' I went into Sputhwark, to Mr. Baxter. I was to wait upon 
him once before, and then he was busy. I found him in pretty 
comfortable circumstances, though a prisoner, in a private 
bouse near the prison, attended on by his own man and maid* 
My good friend, Mr. S[amuel] L[awrence], went with me. He 
is in as good health as one can expect ; and, methinks, looks 
blotter, and speaks heartier, than when I saw him last. The 
toktn you aent, he would by no means be persuaded to accept^ 
aad was almost angry when I pressed it, from one outed as 
well as himself. He said he did not use to receive ; and I un« 
derstand since, his need is not great. 

.^ We sat with him about an hour. I was very glad to find 
fbat he so much approved of my present circumstances. He 
said be knew not why young men might not improve as well, as- 
by travelling abroad. He inquired for his Shropshire friends, 
and observed, that of those gentlemen who were with hiq; at 


Wem, he hears of none whose sons tread in their h&itnf stqps 
but Colonel Hunt's. He inquired about Mr. Macworth's, tad 
Mr. LIoyd*s (of Aston) children. He gave us some good coansd 
to prepare for trials ; and said the best preparation for them wi% 
a life of faith, and a constant course of self-denial. He iban(^ 
it harder constantly to deny temptations to sensual lusts and 
pleasures^ than to resist one single temptation to deny Chrkt 
for fear of suffering : the former requiring such constant watdw 
fulness; however, after the former, the latter will be the eamr. 
He said, we who are young are apt to count upon great 
things, but we must not look for them ; and much more to this 
purpose. He said he thought dying by sickness usually much 
more painful and dreadful, than dying a violent death ; espeei- 
ally considering the extraordinary supports which those have 
who suffer for righteousness' sake."* 

When it was seen that Baxter would neither pay the fine, 
nor petition for his release, a private offer appears to have been 
made through Lord Powis, that the king would grant it as mat- 
ter of favour.^ A person of the name of Williams, at the end 
of 1686, offered to assist him, through that nobleman, in pro- 
curing his liberty. Baxter appears to have had some suspicion, 
either of the man, or of his design ; whose object at last Bf- 
peared to be to get money, as he afterwards made a demand of 
38/. for his trouble. Baxter resisted this demand, and applied 
to Lord Powis to know what influence he had in procuring his 
release. His lordship declared solemnly, as in the presence of 
God, he had had no influence whatever, and deserved no reward.* 
Lord Powis, however, appears to have been the person who 
managed this affair, and obtained Baxter's deliverance from 
prison, though not his release from the bond of his good be- 
haviour. It is probable that Baxter owed the favour he expe- 
rienced to the change in the disposition of the court towards the 
dissenters generally at this time, owing to the difficulties expe- 
rienced from the opposition to Popery on the part of the church, 
and the hope that by courting the dissenters^ their fears might 
be quieted, and the object more easily secured. 

* For this letter I am inrlebted to the 'Memoirs of the Rev. Matthew Henry/ 
p. 22, by my respected friend Mr. Williams, of Shrewsbury. Both in this, and 
in his enlar^ < Life of Philip Henry/ he has conferred ^reat oblif^tions on 
all the lovers of truly Christian and evangelical biography. Both works art 
replete with matter calculated to produce the most salutary iufluence on all 
classes of our reli^ous community. 

^ Penitent Confession, p. 40. • Baiter's MSS, 

OF RlCRAftD BArrsB. 877 

Ob tht 84di of November, 1686, Sir Samuel Astrey sent 
kb warrBDt to the keeper of the Kmg's Bench prison, to dis« 
ehttge lum« He gave sureties, however, for his good behaviour. 
Us auyesty dechmng for his satisfaction, that it should not 
bo interpreted a breach of good behaviour for him to reside in 
Lottdon, which was not consistent with the Oxford act. After 
this release, he continued to live some time within the rules of the 
Beodi; till, on the 28th of February, 1687, he removed to his 
boBse in the Charter-house-yard; and again, as far as his health 
Bnonld permit, assisted Mr. Sylvester in his public labours.*^ 

' Calamy^ toK i« p. 375* 



1687— 1691. 

Baxter's Reriew of his own Life and Opinions, and Account of hU iuk'^ 
tured Sentiments and Feelings— Remarks on that Review— The Public' 
Events of his last Years->The Revolution— The Act of Toleration— Baxter^^ 
sense of the Articles required to be subscribed by this Act — Agmmmktof 
the Presbyterian and Independent Ministers of London— Last Years oi 
Baxter— Preaches for Sylvester— His Writinf^s— Visited by Dr. Calamy^ 
Account of his last Sickness and Death, by Bates and Sylvester— Galnmni- 
ous Report respecting the State of his Miud— Vindicated by Sylvesto^^ 
Buried in Christ-church— His Will— William Baxtei^Funeral SenDonsbj 
Sylvester and Bates — Sketch of his Character by the latter — Condndin^ 
Observations on the Characteristic Piety of Baxter. 


Having brought down the narrative of this venerable man'i 
life and times nearly to the close of his active career, I appre- 
hend this is the proper place to introduce his own review of the 
progpress of his mind and character. He who was so attentive 
to others, and who drew the character of many, was not indif- 
ferent about himself, and exercised a much more rigid scrutiny 
into his own principles and conduct than he ever employed on 
those of his fellow men. He strongly recommended self-es- 
amination and self- judgment; it will now appear how consci- 
entiously he practised them. The virtue of candour he ever 
enforced, with all the energy and eloquence of which he was 
master ; and in the development, which he furnishes of the 
state of his own mind, and of his most secret thoughts, he 
shows how he was trained to practise it. 

In his case, we have an advantage which is not frequently 
enjoyed in writing the lives of distinguished individuals. We 
are furnished with his own views at length, not merely of his 
life and labours, but of the gradual and successive changes of 
his mind. Had this been the production of a weak, self-con- 


^eited man, or of one little accustomed to trace the workingaof 
ia intellectual and moral principles, it would have been worth' 
cry little ; but being the work of a man of deep pietyi mi- 
jgned humility, and of the most discriminating powers of 
And ; of one who studied himself, as well as others, with the 
rofeundest attention, and who was more ready to disclose his 
i^n fiulures and imperfections, than to speak of his own virtues, 

is exceedingly valuable. As he has left it with the ezpiCM 
kwof enabling posterity to form a correct idea of himsdf } of 

nan who was warmly applauded by one party, and not lesa 
isKgned by another, it would be altogether wrong to withhold 
t^ or to give it in any other words than his own. It was writ* 
a towards the latter part of his life, and comprises an extent 
m review of his experience, opinions, and writings. I omit 
oly what I conceive to be extraneous or now unnecessary, and 
serve his opinion of his writings, with a few other passages, 
w the second part of this work. If the reader make a little 
Uowance for a slight appearance of egotism and garrulity, he 
ill probably find this among the most instructive parts of the 
fe of Baxter. It is the summary of his matured views, after 

long and busy career, in which he had seen much both of the 
virid and of the church. 

^ Because it is soul experience which those who urge me to 
us kind of writing expect, that I should, especially, oommu** 
icate to others ; and I have said little of God's dealings with 
ly soul since the time of my younger years, I shall only give 
lie reader so much satisfaction as to acquaint him truly what 
hange God hath made upon my mind and heart since those 
nriper times, and wherein I now differ in judgment and dispo* 
icion from myself. For any more particular account of heart 
ccnrrences, and God's operations on me, I think it somewhat 
nssvoury to recite them, seeing God's dealings are much the 
sme with all his servants in the main, and points wherein he 
arieth, are usually so small, that I think such not fit to be re- 
eated. Nor have I any thing extraordinary to glory in, which 
I not common to the rest of my brethren, who have the same 
pirit, and are servants of the same Lord. The true reasons 
fbj I do adventure so far upon the censure of the world as to 
ell them wherein the case is altered with me, is, that I may take 
ff young inexperienced Christians from over confidence in their 
nt apprehensions, or overvaluing their first degrees of grace, 
r too much applauding and following uniumished, inesperi- 


enced men; and that they may be directed what nund and 
ooune of life to prefer, by the judgment of one that hath tried 
both before them. 

^ The temper of my mind hath somewhat altered with tte 
temper of my body. When I was young I was more Tigoroa^ 
affectionate, and fervent, in preaching, conference, and prayer, 
than, ordinarily, I can be now. My style was more extempo- 
rate and lax, but, by the advantage of warmth, and a ruj 
familiar moving voice and utterance, my preaching then did 
more affect the auditory, than it did many of the last years be- 
fore I gave over preaching. But what I delivered then wai 
much more raw, and had more passages that would not bear the 
trial of accurate judgments; and my discourses had both lev