« הקודםהמשך »
M R . Richard Baxter, the Author of the Saints
IV Ref, so well known to the World by this, and many other excellent and useful Writings, was a learned, laborious, and eminently holy Divine of the lalt Age. He was born near Shrewsbury in 16159 and died at London in 1691.
His Ministry, in an unsettled State, was for many Years employed with great and extensive Success, both in London, and in several Parts of the Country; but he was no where fixed so long, or with such entire Satisfaction to himself, and apparent Advantage to others, as at Kidderminster. His Abode there was indeed interrupted, partly by his bad Health, but chiefly by the Calamities of a civil War, yet in the whole it'amounted to fixteen Years; nor was it by any · Means the Result of his own Choice, or that of the
Inhabitants of Kidderminster, that he never settled there again, after his going from thence in 1660. Before his coming thither, the Place was overrun 8.4
with Ignorance and Profaneness; but, by a divine Blessing on his wife and faithful Cultivation, the Fruits of Righteousness sprung up in a rich Abundance. He at first found but a single Instance or two of daily Fa.. mrily Prayer in a whole Street, and at his going away, but one Family or two could be found in Tome Streets that continued to neglect it. And on Lord's Days, inftead of the open Profanation to which they had been fo long accuftoned, a Person, in passing thro the Town, in the Intervals 'of publick Worshiper might overhear hundreds of Families engaged in fing ing Pfalms, reading the Scriptures, and other good Books, or such Sermons as they had wrote down, while they heard them from the Pulpit. His Care of the Souls committed to his Charge, and the Success of his I.abours among them, were truly remarkable ; for the Number of his flated Communicants rose to fix hundred, of whom, he himself declared, there were not twelve concerning whore sincere Piety he: . had not Reason to entertain good Hopes. Blefied be God, the religious Spirit which was thus happily introduced, is yet to be traced in the Town and Neighbourhood in some Degrees (Oiht it were in a greater !) and in Proportion as tbát Spirit remains, the Name of Mr. Baxter continues in the most ho-, nourable and affe&tionate Remembrance."
As a Writer, he has the Approbation of some of his greatest Colemporaries, who best knew him, and were under no Temptations to be partial in his Favour.
m Dr. Barrow said, " His practical Writings “ were never mended, and his controversial ones fel. “ dom confuled." With a View to his cafuifticali Writings, the Honourable Robert Boyle, Esq; declared, ... “ He was the fittelt Man of the Age for a Casuist, 's because he feared no Man's Displeasure, nor hoped « for any Mari's Prcferinent." -Bishop Wilkins ob
66 Treasure of controversial, casuistical, and practicala 66 Divinity. His Books of practical Divinity have “ been effectual for more numerous Conversions of “ Sinners to God, than any printed in our Time; « and, while the Church reinains on Earth, will be “ of continual Efficacy to recover loft Souls. There " is a vigorous Pulse in them, that keeps the Reader “ awake and attentive, " To thele Testimonies may not improperly be added that of the Editors of his practical Works in four Folio Volumes ; in the Preface to which they say, “ Perhaps there are no “ Writings among us that have more of a true * Christian Spirit, a greater. Mixture of Judgment " and Affection, or a greater Tendency to revive “ pure and undefiled Religion; that have been more " esteemed abroad, or more blessed at home, for the ~ awakening the Secure, instructing the Ignorant, 6 confirming the Wavering, comforting the De" jested, recovering the Prophane, or improving such uas. are truly ferious, than the practical Works of At this Author: Such were the Apprehensions of eminent Persons, who were well acquainted with Mr. Baxter and his Writings. It is therefore the less re: markable that Mr. Addison, from an accidental and very imperfect Acquaintance, but with his usual Plea. fantness and Candour, should mention the following Incident;: " I once met with a Page of Mr. Baxter 6 Upon the Perufal of it, i'conceived fo good an « Idea of the Author's Piety, that I bought the whole « Book.” .;
nn · WHATEVER Other Causes might concur, it must chiefly be ascribed to Mr. Baxter's distinguishing Re: putation as a Preacher, and a Writer, that presently after the Restoration he was appointed one of the Chaplains in Ordinary to King Charles ll, and preached