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CHAPTER I. 16151638. 

Birth of Baxter Character of his Father Low State of Re- 
ligion Baxter's first religious Impressions His early Edu- 
cation Progress of his Religious Feelings Residence at 
Ludlow Castle Escapes acquiring a Taste for Gaming 
Returns Home Illness and its Effects Nature and Prog- 
ress of his Education Its Defects Troubled with Doubts 
Distress of Mind Diseased 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 Min- 
istry, ...... 9 

CHAPTER II. 16381642. 

Baxter preaches his First Sermon Examine9>-tbJ Nonconform- 
ist Controversy Adopts some of the principl-es of-iSoncon- 
formity Progress of his Mind Residence in Bridgnorth 
The Et-caetera Oath Examines the subject of Episcopacy 
In dano^er from not Conformino- The Lons: Parliament 
Petition from Kidderminster Application to: Bajt.eVT'-HiS > .' 
Compliance Commences his Labors Genera! 'Vicwof -the 
State of Religion in the Country at this time Causes of 
the Civil War Character of the Parties enoao-ed in it 
Baxter blames both A decided Friend to the parliament 
Retires for a time from Kidderminster, . . 25 

CHAPTER III. 16421646. 

Baxter goes to Gloucester Returns to Kidderminster Visits 
Alcester Battle of Edghill Residence in Coventry Bat- 



tic of Naseby State of the Parliamentary Army Consults 
the Ministers about going into it Becomes Chaplain to Col- 
onel Whalley's regiment Opinions of the Soldiers Dis- 
putes with themBattle of Langport Wicked Report of 
an Occurrence at this place The Army retires to Bridgevva- 
ter and Bristol Becomes ill Various Occurrences in the 
Army Chief Impediments to his Success in it Cromwell 
Harrison Berry Advised by the Ministers to continue 
in it Goes to London on account of his Health Joins the 
Army in Worcesteshire Attacked w-ith violent Bleeding 
Leaves the Army Entertained by Lady Rous Remarks 
on his Views of the Army, and conduct in it, . 42 

CHAPTER IV. 16461656. 

The Religious Parties of the Period The Westminster xA.s- 
sembly Character of the Erastians Episcopalians Pres- 
byterians Independents Baptists State of Religion in 
these Parties Minor Sects Vanists Seekers Ranters 
Quakers Behmenists Review of this Period, . 67 

CHAPTER V. 16461660. 

Baxter resumes his Labors at Kidderminster His Account of 
Public Affairs till the Death of Charles I. Conduct while 
in Kidderminster towards Parliament Towards the Royal 
Party His Ministry at Kidderminster His Employments 
Ilis Success His Advantages Remarks on the Style of 
his Preaching His Public and Private Exertions Their 
lasting Effects, . . . . . .94 

i t 

CHAPTER VI. 16481660. 

.T}ic/C(Smh^5rfweafth Cromwell's Treatm.ent of his Parlia- 
'" mfcnX-^ l^t^i'i-rieVs Committee of Fundamentals Princi- 
pics on ''wlKch- BO-xter acted towards Cromwell Preaches 
before him Interviews with him Admission of the Bene- 
fits of Cromwell's Government Character of Cromwell 
Remarks on that Character Richard's Succession and 
Retirement The Restoration Baxter goes to London 
Preaches before Parliament Preaches before the Lord 
Mayor The King's Arrival in London Reception by the 
London Ministers Notices of various Labors of Baxter 
during his second residence in Kidderminster Numerous 
Works written during this period Extensive Correspond- 
ence Concluding Observations, . . ' . 126 



CHAPTER VII. 16601662. 

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 Declaration Bax- 
ter's Objections to it Presented to the Chancellor in the 
form of a Petition Meeting with his Majesty to hear the 
Declaration Declaration altered Baxter, Calamy, and 
Reynolds, offered Bishoprics Baxter declines Private In- 
terview with the King The Savoy Conference Debates 
about the Mode of Proceeding Baxter draws up the Re- 
formed Liturgy Petition to the Bishops No Disposition to 
Agreement on their part Answer to their former Papers 
Personal Debate Character of the leading Parties on both 
sides Issue of the Conference, . . . 156 

CHAPTER VIII. 16611665. 

Baxter endeavors to gain Possession of Kidderminster The 
King and Clarendon favorable to it Defeated by Sir Ralph 
Clare and Bishop Morley Conduct of Sir Ralph Clare to 
the People of Kidderminster Baxter's spirited Remonstrance 
Insurrection of the Fifth Monarchy Men Baxter's Preach- 
ing in London Obtains a License from the Archbishop of 
Canterbury Attempts to negociate with the Vicar of Kid- 
derminster Treatment of the People by the Bishop and 
Clergy Baxter entirely separated from Kidderminster 
Takes leave of the Church Act of Uniformity Its Injus- 
tice, Impolicy, and Cruelty- -Its injurious Effects Baxter's 
Marriage Declaration of Indulgence Death and Charac- 
ter of Ash Nelson Hardships of the Nonconformists 
Death of Archbishop Juxon Succeeded by Sheldon Act 
against Pvivate Meetings Sufferings of the People Bax- 
ter retires to Acton Works written or published by him 
during this period Correspondence Occasional Communion 
Consulted by Ashley Concluding Memorials of the year 
1665, ...... 194 

CHAPTER IX. 16651670. 

The Plague of London Preaching of some of the Noncon- 
formists The Five-Mile Act The Fire of London 
Benevolence of Ashurst and Gouoe The Fire advantage- 
ous to the Preaching of the Silenced Ministers Conformist 
Clergy More Talk about Liberty of Conscience The 




Latitiidinarians Fall of Clarendon The Duke of Buck- 
ingbam Sir Orlando Bridgman Preaching of the Noncon- 
formists connived at Fresh Discussions about a Compre- 
hension Dr. Creighton Ministers imprisoned Address 
to the King Nonconformists 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 Behavior of 
the Judges Discharged Removes to Totteridge His 
Works during this period Correspondence with Owen, 227 

CHAPTER X. 16701676. 

Conventicle Act renewed Lord Lauderdale Fears of the 
Bishops about the increase of Popery Bishop Ward 
Grove Serjeant Fountain Judge Vaughan The King 
connives at the Toleration of the Nonconformists Shuts up 
the Exchequer The Dispensing declaration License ap- 
plied for on Baxter's behalf Pinner's Hall Lecture Bax- 
ter preaches at different places The King's Declaration 
voted illegal by Parliament 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 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 being imprisoned Another 
Scheme of Comprehension Liformers City Magistrates 
Parliament falls on Lauderdale and others The Bishops' 
Test Act Baxter's Goods distrained Various Ministerial 
Labors and Sufferings Controversy with Penn Baxter's 
Danger His Writings during this period, . . 254 

CHAPTER XL 16761681. 

Baxter resumes Preaching in the Parish of St. Martin Non- 
conformists again persecuted Dr. Jane Dr. Mason 
Baxter preaches in Swallow-street Compton, Bishop of 
London Laniplugh, Bishop of Exeter Lloyd, Bishop of 
Worcester Various Slanders against Baxter Death of 
Dr. Manton Pinner's Hall Lecture Popish Plot Earl of 
Danby Baxter's Litcrference on behalf of banished Scots- 
men Hungarians The Long Parliament of Charles II. 
dissolved Transactions of the New Parliament Bill of 
Exclusion Meal-Tub Plot 'Baxter's Reflections on the 
Times Writin2;s Death of Friends Judae Hale Stubbs 
Corbet Gouge Ashurst Baxter's Step-mother Mrs. 
Baxter, ...... 286 


CHAPTER XII. 16811687. 

The continued Sufferings of Baxter Apprehended and his 
Goods distrained Could obtain no Redress General Suf- 
ferings of the Dissenters Mayot's Legacy Baxter again 
apprehended and bound to his good behavior Trial of 
Rosewell for High Treason Baxter brought before the Jus- 
tices, 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 Indictment Extraordinary Behavior of Jefferies 
to Baxter and his Counsel Found Guilty Endeavors to 
procure a New Trial, or a mitigated Sentence His Letter 
to the Bishop of London Fined and imprisoned Remarks 
on the Trial Conduct of L'Estrange Sherlock Behavior 
while in Prison The Fine remitted Released from Prison 
Assists Sylvester in the Ministry, , . 306 

CHAPTER XIII. 16871691. 

Baxter's Review of his own Life and Opinions, and Account of 
his matured Sentiments and Feelings Remarks on that 
Review The Public Events of his last Years The Revo- 
lution The Act of Toleration Baxter's sense of the Arti- 
cles 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 res- 
pecting the State of his Mind Vindicated by Sylvester 
Buried in Christ-church His Will William Baxter 
Funeral Sermons by Sylvester and Bates Sketch of his 
Character by the latter Concluding Observations on the 
Characteristic Piety of Baxter, . . . 343 


As the following Memoir of the Life of Richard Baxter, 
the last labor of its lamented Author, will come before the pub- 
lic as a posthumous work, some account of the state in which 
it was left by Mr. Orme will not be unacceptable to the reader. 
The PubUsher has a melancholy satisfaction in being able to 
state, that the whole of the Memoir had passed through the 
press, having undergone the final revision of the Writer, with 
the exception of the last sheet and a half, when his fatal illness 
rendered him incapable of any further literary exertion. The 
last proofs of the work had been sent to him; and he gladly ac- 
cepted the offer of his friend, the Rev. Mr. Russell, to read them 
for the press. Anticipating the probable result of his illness, he 
expressed more than once the satisfaction he felt at having been 
permitted to finish his task: "I am glad," he said, "that Baxter 
is done." The public at large will unite in a responsive feeling, 
and rejoice that he lived to execute a literary engagement m 
which he took so warm an interest, upon which he bestowed tlie 
latest energies of his mind and heart, and which will so wor- 
thily associate with the venerated name of Richard Baxter, that 
of his able, candid, and judicious Biographer. 

London, July, 1830. 





CHAPTER I. 16151638. 

Birth of Baxter Character of his Father Low State of Religion Baxter's first religious 
Impressions His early Education Progress of his religious Feelings Residence at Lud- 
low Castle Escapes acquiring a Taste for Gaming Returns Home Illness and its Ef- 
fects Nature and Progressofliis Education Its Defects Troubled w<th Doubts Distress 
of Mind Diseased Habit of Body Goes to Court Remarkable Preservation Death of 
his Mother His Attachment to the Alinistry His Conformity Becomes acquainted with 
the Nonconformists Ordained to the Minis"try. 

The excellent person whose life and writings constitute the sub- 
ject of the following memoirs, was the son of Richard Baxter, 
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 12th ^ 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, his 
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 chris- 
tian association, or of the public preaching of the Gospel. In- 

(a) It seems rather singular that Baxter should be guilty of a mistake respecting 
the day of his own birth. There is, however, a discrepancy between the date here 
given by himself, and that in the parish register. The following extract from it, 
made by my friend Mr. Williams, of Shrewsbury, shows that either Mr. Baxter or the 
parish clerk must have made a mistake. ''Richard sonne and heyr of Richard Bax- 
ter of Eaton-Constanlyue and Beatrice his wife, baptized the s-ixth of November, 
1615." If he was baptised on the sixth, he could not be born on the twelfth! But 
perhaps sixth is a mistake in the register for sixteenth. 

VOL. I. 2 


deed, the latter privilege could scarcely then be enjoyed In that 
county. There was little preaching of any kind, and that little 
was calculated to injure, rather than to benefit. In High Ercall, 
there were four readers in the course of six years; all of them 
ignorant, 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 failing, he repeated the prayers 
without book, but to read the lessons, he employed a common 
laborer one year, a tailor another; and, at last, his own son, the 
best stage-player and gamester in all the country, got orders and 
supplied one of his places. Within a few miles round were 
nearly a dozen more ministers of the same description: poor, 
ignorant readers, and most of them of dissolute lives.^ Three 
or four, who were of a different character, though all conform- 
ists, were the objects of popular derision and hatred, as Puritans. 
When such was the character of the priests, we need not won- 
der 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 
die manner in which he was reproached by the people as a Pu- 
ritan and hypocrite, gave additional effect to his conversation. 
Parents should be careful what they say in the presence of chil- 
dren, as well as what they say to them; for if occasional address- 
es are not supported by a regular train of holy and consistent con- 
duct, they are not likely to produce salutary effect. There must 
have been some striking indications of religious feeling in Baxter, 
when a child; for his fadier remarked 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 his conscience, shows that some- 
diing was operating in him, the nature and design of which he 
did not then fully understand. He was addicted, during his 
boyhood, to various evils such as lying, stealing fruit, levity, 

(h) In his Tliird Defence of the Cause of Peace, Baxter gives the names of all 
the individuals above referred to, with additional circumstances of a disgraceful na- 
ture in tlie history of each. The statement is a very shocking one, even in the most 
mitigated form in which I could present it; but justice to Baxter and to his account 
of the times, required that the facts should not be withheld. They give a deplorable 
view of llie stale of the period, and show, very powerfully, the necessity of some of 
the measures wliicli were pursued at a future period for the purification of the church. 

(c) Funeral tfermon for Ba.xter. 


pride, disobedience to parents. These sins made him occasion- 
ally very uneasy, even in his youth, and cost him considerable 
trouble to overcome. It would be improper, however, to attach 
much importance to these uneasy feelings, as such emotions have 
frequently 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 hfe, that they ought to be considered as of heavenly origen. 
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 

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 cu- 
rates 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 tarned 
curate for a piece of bread. He only preached once in Baxter's 
time, 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 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 Puritans. 
In his study, he remembered to have seen no Greek book but 
the New Testament; the only father was Augustine de Civitate 
Dei; there were a few common modern English works, and for 
the most of the year, the parson studied Bishop Andrew's Ser- 

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 respect- 
able man, and under him Baxter had for his schoolfellows the 
two sons of Sir Richard Newport, one of whom became Lord 
Newport; and Dr. Richard Allestree, afterwards a distinguished 
loyalist, for which he was made Regius Professor of Divinity, 

(d) Apology for the Nonconformist Ministry, p. 58. 


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. Rich- 
ard 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 particular atten- 
tion, much was naturally expected. But he also neglected his 
trust. He made it his chief business to please the great and 
seek pi'eferment; wdiich 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, w^hich 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 ardor 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 thcin that of his 
learning, it is gratifying that we are able to trace it very minutely. 
The convictions of his childhood were pow^erfully revived 
when about fifteen years of age, by reading an old torn book, 
lent by a poor man to his father. This little work was called 
^Bunny's Resolution,' being wTitten by a Jesuit of the name of 
Parson's, but corrected by Edmund Bunny.^ Previously to this 
he had never experienced any real change of heart, though he 
had a sort of general love for religion. But it pleased God 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. This is a cii'cumstance of 
little importance. Regeneration can take place but once, but 

(c) Allien. Oxon. vol. li. p. 505. 

(f) This work was origii)ally written on the principles of Poper}-; but Bunny ex- 
punged and altered whatever was unsuitable to the Protestant l)e)ief, and published 
It in an improved form. The Jesuit was naturall}' enough displeased at the freedom 
used with his work, which led Mr. Bunny to write a pamphlet in defence of his con- 
duct. Bunny was a Puritan of tlie oldest class. He was rector of Bolton Percy, 
and en)03'ed some other preferments in the church; but he was a man of apostolic 
zeal, and travelled much through the country for tlie purpose of preaching the g'os- 
pel. He died in 1G17. ('Atlien. Oxon.' vol. i. p. SCri.) The work edited by Bunny 
was useful to others as well 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 heard of its success with others also. (Baxter against Revolt to a 
Foreign Jurisdiction, p. 540.) 


more conversions than one ai'e required in many an individual's 
life.^ If we are assured tlrat the great change has really been 
effected, the time and circumstances in which it occurs are of 
small moment. 

Another work w^hlch was very useful to him at this time, is 
better known; 'The Bruised Reed,' by Dr. Richard Sibbs; a 
book which has passed through many editions, and has been 
honored to do good to many. Here he discovered more clearly 
the natuie of the love of God, and of the redemption of Chi'ist; 
and was led to perceive how much he was indebted to the Re- 
deemer. Till 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 
improve him. Thus by means of books rather than of living 
instruments, God was pleased to lead him to himself. His 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 confir- 
mation b}' Bishop Morton, to whom he went when about four- 
teen, with the rest of (he boys. He asked no questions, requir- 
ed no certificate, and hastily said, as he passed on, three or four 
w^ords of a prayer, which Baxter did not understand.^* The care- 
less observance of the foj-ms of religion, whether these forms be 
of human or divine ordination, is never defensible: and must al- 
ways have a hardening effect on the mind. 

While residing at Ludlow Castle with Mr. Wickstead, he was 
exposed to great temptation. When there, he formed an ac- 
quaintance with a young man, who afterwards unhappily apos- 
tatised, 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 b\'' a superior, then 
led to revile ihem, and finally to dishonor his profession by 
shameful debauchery. Such frequently is the progress of relig- 
ious declension. 

During his short residence at Ludlow Castle, Baxter made a 
narrow escape from acquiring a taste for gaming, of which he 
giv^es a curious account. The best gamester in the house under- 
took to teach him to play. The first or second game was so 
nearly lost by Baxter, that his opponent betted a hundred to one 

(g) Luke xxii. 32, (h) Third defence of Xoncon. p. 40. 


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 four times round the room the game 
was won. This so astonished him that he believed the devil 
had the command of the dice, and did it to entice him to play; 
in consequence of which he returned the ten shillings, and resolved 
never to play more. Whatever may be thought of the fact or 
of Baxter's reasoning on it, the result was to him important and 

On returning from Ludlow Castle to his father's, he found 
his old schoolmaster, 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 quarter of a year his death relieved Baxter from this 
office, and as he had determined to enter the ministry, he placed 
himself under Mr. Francis Garbet, then minister of Wroxeter, 
for further instruction 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 grave. He was 
attacked by a violent cough, with spitting of blood, and other 
indications of consumption. These symptoms continued to dis- 
tress him for two years, and powerfully tended to deepen his 
religious feelings. A common attendant on such a state of body, 
depression of spirits, Baxter also experienced. He became 
more anxious about his eternal welfare, entertained doubts of his 
own sincerity, and questioned whether he had any spiritual life 
w^hatever. He complained 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 thanksgiv- 
ing and praise; but all my groans were for more contrition, and 
a broken heart; I prayed most for tears and tenderness." 

Ezekiel Culverwell's 'Treatise on Faith,' and some other good 
books, together with the assistance of Mr. Garbet, and other 
excellent men, were the means of comforting and still further 
instructing 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 
soul. They restrained that levity and folly to which he was, by 
age and constitution, inclined. They made this world appear 
to him as a carcass without life or loveliness, and undermined 
the love of literary fame, of which he had before been ambi- 
tious. They produced a higher value for the redemption of 
Christ, and greater ardor of devotedness to the Redeemer him- 


self. They led him to seek first the kingdom of heaven, and to 
regard all other things as of subordinate and trifling importance. 
The man who experienced such benefits from the divine treat- 
ment, had reason to rejoice, rather than to complain of it; and 
so did Baxter. 

In consequence of these things, divinity was not merely carried 
on with the rest of his studies, it had always the first and chief 
place. He was led to study practical theology in the first place, 
in the most practical books, and in a practical order. He did 
this for the purpose of instructing and reforming his own soul. 
He read a multitude of the best English theological works, before 
he read any foreign systems of divinity. Thus his affections were 
excited, while his judgment w^as informed; and having his own 
benefit chiefly in view, he pursued all his studies with the greater 
ardor and profit. It is matter of regret that theology is often 
studied more with a view to the benefit of others than of the stu- 
dent himself. It is pursued as a profession, rather than as be- 
longing to personal character and enjoyment. Hence it fre- 
quently produces a pernicious instead of a salutary effect on the 
mind, and debases rather than elevates the character. Familiar- 
ity with divine things, which does not arise from personal mter- 
est in them, is to be dreaded more than most evils to which man 
is liable. 

The broken state of his health, the irregularity of his teachers, 
and his never being at any university, materially injured his 
learning and occasioned lasting regrets. He never acquired any 
great knowledge of the learned languages. Of Hebrew he 
scarcely knew any thing; his acquaintance with Greek was not 
profound; and even in Latin, as his works show, he must be re- 
garded by a scholar as little better than a barbarian. Of math- 
ematics he knew nothing, and never had a taste for them. Of 
Logic and metaphysics he was a devoted admirer, and to them 
he dedicated his labor and his delight. Definitions and distinc- 
tions were in a manner his occupation; the quod sit, the quid sit, 
and quotuplex modes, consequences, and adjuncts, were his 
vocabulary. 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 dis- 
quisition 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 disputer, 
and of that logomachy by which most of his writings are more or 
less deformed. 


Early education exerts a prodigious power over the future pur- 
suits and habits of the individual. Its imperfections or pecu- 
liarities will generally appear, if he attempt to make any figure 
in the scientific or literary world. The advantages of a univer- 
sity or academical education will never be despised except by 
him who never enjoyed them, or who affects to be superior to 
their necessity. 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 cel- 
ebrated Erasmus, "that great honored name," and Julius 
Csesar 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 
them received much education in his youth. Dr. Carey is a 
prodigy, as an oriental scholar, and yet never was twelvemonths 
at school in his life. Among these and many other men of emi- 
nence, who never walked an academic porch, Richard Baxter 
holds a prominent place. In answer to a letter of Anthony 
Wood, inquiring whether he was an Oxonian, he replied, with 
beautiful and dignified simj^licity "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: beginning 
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 
application, and is supposed to supply the lack of genius or 
industry, it renders comparatively little service to its possessor. 
Those who have not enjoyed it, frequently make up the defi- 
ciency by the greater ardor of their application, and the power- 
ful 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. 

(i) Atheii. Ox. vol. ii. 1125, 


*'Thy methods cross'd my ways: my young desire 
To academic glory did aspire. 
Fain I'd have sat in such a nurse's lap, 
Where I might long have had a sluggard's nap5 
Or have been dandled on her reverend knees, 
And known by honored tides and degrees; 
And there have spent the flower of my days 
In soaring in the air of human praise. 
Yea, and I thought it needful to tlnj ends, 
To make the prejudiced world my friendsj 
That so mij praise might go before tinj grace, 
Preparing men thy message to embrace; 
Also my work and office 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 exjoresses 
himself with great indignation, and then gives utterance to the 
high 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 tides 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. 

Honors are shadows, which from seekers fly, 

But follow after those who them deny. 

I brought none with me to thy work; but there 

I found more than I easily could bear: 

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

Thou gavest me the promis'd hundred-fold. 

O my dear God! how precious is thy lovel 

Thy ways, not ours, lead to the joys above." k 

During 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, as they may be useful to others, are worthy of some 

He was distressed because he could not trace, so distinctly, 
the w^orkings of the Spirit on his heart, as they are described 
by some divines; because he could not ascertain the time of his 
conversion; because he felt great hardness of heart, and a want 
of lively apprehension of spiritual things; because he had felt 
convictions 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- 
vation of Christ. He found that the mind is, in general, too 

(k) Poetical Fragments; pp. 3133. 
VOL. I. 3 


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 commujiications 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 counterticted, in all. He saw that education and 
early convictions were the way in which God communicates his 
salvation to many; and that the soul of a believer is but gradu- 
ally 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 
operation, on the hind or degree of conviction which must be 
possessed at the time of conversion, or afterwards; on the evi- 
dences of faith and repentance, are not much fitted to remove 
the fears and anxieties of conscience. It is very questionable, 
indeed, whedier any individual will ever obtain comfort by mak- 
ing himself, or the evidences of personal religion, the object of 
chief attention. All hope to the guihy creature is exterior to 
himself. In the human character, even under christian influ- 
ence, 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 bal- 
sam 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 sacri- 
fice 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 dis- 
cover the power of truth and the progress of principle in us, is 
highly important; but when employed with a view to obtain 
comfort under a sense of guilt, it never can succeed: nothing but 
renewed application to the cross can produce the latter effect. 

Baxter himself, long before his death, arrived at these very 
views. "I was once," he says, "wont to meditate most on my 
f o\vn 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-acquaint- 
ance and 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 find matter of delight, and joij, and love, and peace 
itself. I would therefore have one thought at home, on myself 
and sins, and many thoughts above, on the amiable and beatify- 
ing 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. 
Ever)^ 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 superiority 
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 ardor of 
the soul are still most towards God; the return to him after 
transgression, when the mind has been humbled and renevv^ed to 
repentance, shows more evidently than ever the fixed character 
of the Christian: as the needle in the compass always returns to 
the proper point, when the force that turned it aside is with- 
drawn; and as the running stream appears to flow clearer than 
before, when that which polluted it is removed. The continual 
enjoyment of divine strength, and the actual presence of spirit- 
ual 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; 
so that the best way to keep off doubts and alarms, and to main- 
tain comfort, is to keep up obedience and dependence on God, 
or quickly 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 dieir removal, are stated 
at great length, and with great miauteness, by him, in his own 
life. A specimen of them has been given above; and if these 
are understood, all the rest, which are only varieties of the same 
disease and subject to the application of the same remedy, will 
be sufficiently comprehended. As it is dangerous for persons 
afflicted with nervous disorders to read medical books, so those 
who are much troubled with perplexity about dieir spiritual state, 
are liable to be injured, rather than benefited, by descriptions of 
mental disease. The disquisitions of such a spu'itual metaphy- 

(1) Life, part i. 129. 


slcian as Baxter are more likely, if deeply pondered, to perplex 
the generality of Christians, than to enhghten and comfort 

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 pe- 
culiarities of temper, and enable us more correctly to appreciate, 
and more strongly to admire, the unconquerable ardor and de- 
votedness of soul wdiich could accomplish such peculiar labors 
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 
wuth a violent catarrh and cough. This continued for about 
two years, and was followed by spittmg 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 professors 
of the healing art. By their orders he took drugs without 
number, till, from experiencing how little they could do for him, 
he forsook them entirely, except some particular symptom urg- 
ed 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 fin- 
gers, and kept them often raw and bloody; his legs sw^elled and 
dropsical, he. His physicians called it hypocondria, he himself 
considered it prfEmatura senectus premature old age; so that, 
at twenty he had the symptoms, in addition to disease, of 
fourscore! To be more particular would be disagreeable; and 
to detail the innumerable remedies to which he was directed, or 
which he employed himself, would add litde 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 behavior 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 ascendency of Christian 
principle over the strength and waywardness of passion. 

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 Su* 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 litde preaching, except what was against the 
Puritans. These were the religious practices of the court, in 
the sober times of king Charles the martyr, and furnish us with 
a practical commentary on the book of sports. Tii-ed and dis- 
gusted with the situation in which he was now placed, and his 
mother being ill, and desiring his return, he left court and bade 
farewell to all its employments and promises. 

While in London at this time, he formed an acquaintance with 
Humphrey Blunden, afterwards noted as a chemist, and for 
procuring to be translated and published the writings of Jacob 
Behmen. Blunden was then apprentice to a bookseller, and 
possessed of considerable knowledge and piety; to his letters, 
conversation respecting books, and christian consolation, Baxter 
was much indebted. On his way home, about Christmas, he 
met with a remarkable deliverance. There was a violent storm 
of snow succeeding a severe frost; on the road he met a 
loaded waggon, which he could pass only by riding on the side 
of a bank; his horse slipped, the girths broke, and he was thrown 
immediately before the wheel. Without any discernible cause, 
the horses stopped when he was on the verge of destruction, and 
thus his life was marvellously preserved! How inexplicable to 
us are the ways and arrangements of Providence! In some 
cases, the snapping of a hair occasions death; in other, life is 
preserved by an almost miraculous interference. 

On reaching home, he found his mother in the greatest ex- 
tremity of pain, 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 nodiing, except 
when noticing the religion of the family; from which we have rea- 
son to believe that there was hope in her end. His father, about 
a year afterwards, married Mary, the daughter of Sir Thomas 
Hunks, a woman who proved an eminent blessing to the family. 
She reached the advanced age of ninety-six; and her holiness, 
mortification, contempt of the world, and fervency of prayer, ren- 
dered her an honor 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 ver}'^ conscious of his own insufficiency for 
the work, arising from defective learning and experience; and 
he knew that his want of academical honors and degrees would 
affect his estimation and usefulness with many. Believing, how- 
ever, that he would soon be in another world; that he possess- 
ed a measure of aptness to teach and persuade men; and 
satisfied that, if only a few souls should be converted by his in- 
strumentality, he would be abundantly rewarded; he got the 
better of all his fears and discouragements, and resolved to de- 
vote himself to the work of Christ. So powerful, indeed, were 
his own convictions of the madness and wretchedness of pre- 
sumptuous sinners, 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 tlian entitled to the character of sober rationality. 
He w^as simple enough to think, he had so much to sa)^ on these 
subjects, that men would not be able to withstand him; forgetting 
the experience of the celebrated reformer, who found "that old 
Adam was too strong for young Melancthon." 

Till this time, he was a Conformist in principle and practice. 
His family, though senous, had always conformed. His ac- 
quaintances were almost all of the same description; and, as 
Nonconformist books were not easil}^ 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, wlio had written strongly 
against the Nonconformists."^ One of that party also, Mr. Bar- 
nel, of Uppington, though a w^orthy, blameless man, w^as 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, 

(m) Apology for Nonconformists, p. 59. 


and, from the almost superstitious veneration witli which his 
name is invaij,iably mentioned, by the highest, as well as the more 
ordinary, members of the church, it is evident how much im- 
portajice they attach to his labors. Of the man whom popes 
have praised, and kings commended, and bishops, without num- 
ber, 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 wi'itten in defence of the Popish 
hierarchy, and Popish ceremonies, the greater part of it would 
have required httle alteration. Hence we need not wonder at 
the praise bestowed on it by Clement VIII, or that James II, 
should have referred to it as one of two books which promoted 
his conversion to the church of Rome. His views of the au- 
thority 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 Reformation on 
his own principles. His work abounds with sophisms, with as- 
sumptions, 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 iiigenious reasoning which 
it contains, and the seeming candor and mildness which it 
displays, have Im^Dosed upon many, and procured for Hooker 
the name of ^^judicious,^'' to w^hich 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 Nonconfor- 

(m) A very important and curious note respecting the Ecclesiastical Polity the 
reader will find in M'Crie's 'Life of Melville/ vol. ii. p. 4G1. 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 for many yearsj while the curious notes of 
the editor furnish much important illustration of Hooker's meaning, as well as 
supply some of the arguments of his adversaries, to which he often replies very 

(n) There were several Nonconformist ministers of the name of Symonds; so that 
it is diflicult to determine to which of 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 to 
that abusive writer, he preached strange things "for toleration and liberty for all 
men to worship God according to their consciences!" He appears, also, to have 
been one of Sir Thomas Fairfax's chaplains; and was afterwards appointed one of 
the itinerant ministers of Wales, by the House of Commons. Edward's Gangrena, 
part iii. passim. Another Mr. Joseph Symonds was some time assistant to Mr. 
Thomas Gataker, at Rotherhithe, near London, and Rector of St. Martyn's, Iron- 
monger-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 Symp- 
son. He preached before Parliament in 1G41. J3/-oo/c'5 Puritans, vol. iii. pp. 2>d, '10. 
It is probable that one of these two respectable men was Baxter's acquaintance at 

(o) Mr. Walter Cradock, a Wclchman, on account of his Puritanical sentiments, 
was driven from the church in 1G34, shortly before Baxter became acquainted with 


mist ministers, in Shrewsbury and the neighborhood. Their 
fervent piet}- and excellent conversation profited him exceed- 
mglv; and discovering that these were the people persecuted by 
the bishops, he began to imbibe a prejudice against the hierarchy 
on that account; and felt persuaded that those who silenced and 
troubled such men could not be followers of the Lord of love. 
Still, when he thought of ordination he had no scruple about sub- 
scription. And why should he? for he tells us himself 'nhat he 
never once read over the book of ordination; nor the half of the 
book of homilies; nor weighed carefully the liturgy; nor suffi- 
ciently understood some of the controverted points in the thirty- 
nine articles. His teachers and his books made him thhik, in 
seneral, that the Conformists had the 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 restraming the free- 
dom of inquiiy, and giving full credit to the statements and rea- 
sonin2:s of one side. 


About this tune, 163S, 3Ir. Thomas Foley, of Stourbridge, in 
Worcestershire, 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 afford him the opportunity of preaching in 
some destitute places, without being himself in any pastoral re- 
lation, which office he was then indisposed to occupy. Ac- 
cordinglv, accompanied by Mr. Foley, and his friend 3Ir. James 
Berrv, he repaii-ed to Worcester, where he was ordained by 
Bishop Thornborough; p and received a Ucense to teach the 
school at Dudley. Thus was he inti'oduced to that ministry, 
the duties of which he dischai*ged with so much diligence and 
success for many years: which proved to him a source of in- 
cessant solicitude, and of many trials; but its blessedness he 
richly experienced on earth, and now reaps the reward in 

him. He formed an Independent church at Llanfaches, in Wales, in the year 1639. 
He was one of the most active laborers in the principality during the Commonwealth, 
and procured the New Testament to be primed in Welsh, for the use of the common 
people. He died about 1660. leaving' some sermons and expositions, which were 
collected and printed in two vols. Svo. in 1800. Brock's Lives, vol. iii. pp. 382 

(p) Of Thornborousrh. I have not observed that Baxter has said any thing. He 
lived to a sreat asre. dvinsr in the year 1641, in his ninetv-fourth \-ear. He was the 
author of a few pamphlets of a philosophical and political nature. W hat he was, as 
a religious man, 1 cannot tell. Wood's Athen. Oxon. (Edit. Bliss.) vol. iii. p. 3. 


CHAPTER n. 16331642. 

Baxter preaches his First Sermon Examines the NoanrafarmkftfSDBtiovets; I 
oTtbe principles of Noncjjnformity Progress of his mind Bmiinirr m Borf 
t-ca^era Oath Examines the subject of E^MSCopacy fii iiBj.! i fiiwi < 
Hie Long ParliameDt Petition from KiddenaiiBCer Applicatioa to Baxter Hie CiMBpli- 
ance Commences his Labors General viewof the SfaCeof K^pes ia the Oentiy at this 
time Causes of the Civil War Character of the Parties eaf^agedja it ^Baxter " 
both A decided Friend to the Parliament Retires for a tnae fcam. 

Baxter preached his first pubHc 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 favor 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 distinction 
between the primitive episcopacy, and that of the church of 
Endand. He next studied the debate about kneeling at the 
sacrament, and was satisfied, by i\Ir. Paybody, of the lawfulness 
of conformitv to that mode. He mrned over Cartwright and 
Whitgift; but, having procured Dr. Ames' 'Fresh Suit against 
Human Ceremonies in (rod's Worship,' ^ and the work of Dr. 
Burgess, ^ on the odier side, he devoted himseh" chiefly to the 
examination of tliese two works as containing the strength of the 

(a) Ames' 'Fresh Sait,' 4lo. 1633. is one of the most able worlis of the period, 
on the subject on which it treats. lis author was a man of profound leaming^. gneat 
acuteness. and eminent piety. This work enters ren.^ ftilly into all the great 
points relating to the exercise of human authority in the things of God. and the in- 
troduction of human customs and ceremonies into divine worship; and though not 
professedly an answer to Hooker"? Ecclesiastical Polity, embraces everi* thing of 
importance in that noted work. It has also the advantage of the Polity, in the higher 
respect it everA-where discovers for the Word of God. and the decided ap>peal it uni- 
formly makes to it. In a sentence or two of the Preface, he gives the turning point 
of the whole controversy: "The state of this war is this: we. as it becomeih Chris- 
tians, stand upon the sufficiency of Christ's institutions for all kind of worship. Tht 
tcord. say we. and nothing but the word, in mailers of religions worship. The prelates 
rise up on the other side, and will needs Lave us dlow suid use certain human cere- 
monies in our Christian worship. We desire to be excused, as holding them unlaw- 
ful. Christ we know, and all that comeih from him we are ready to embrace; but 
these humaji ceremonies we know not. nor can have any thing to do with them. 
Up>on this they make fierce war upon us; and yet la>- all the fault of this war, and the 
mischiefs of it on our backs.' 

(b) The work of Dr. John Burgess, to which the "Fresh Suit,' was a reply, is his 
'Answer to the reply to Dr. Morton's Defence." 4to. 1631. Bishop Morton had writ- 
ten 'A Defence of the Inuocence ot the three Ceremonies of the Church of England 
the Surplice, tlie Cross alter Baptism, and Kneeling at ibe Sacrament." -ko. 1618. 
To this Dr. Ames published a replv. Morton did not think proper to meet Ames 
himself, but devolved llie task on Burg^ess. who gave hard and abusive words m 
abundance, but great poverty of arg-ument. as the work of Ames very successfully 

VOL. I. 4 


cause on both sides. The result of his studies at this time, ac- 
cording to his own account, was as follows: 

Kneeling at the sacrament he thought lawful. The propriety 
of wearing the surplice he doubtedj 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 bap- 
tism 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 confu- 
sion, 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 he had sinned by his 
former rashness; for, though he yet approved of a liturgy and 
bishops, to subscribe, ex animo, that there is nothing in the ar- 
ticles, 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 excommunicat- 
ed 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 labored much to repress their boldness, and bitter- 
ness of language against the bishops, and to reduce them 
to greater patience and charity. But he found that what they 
suffered 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 con- 
tent with slaves. 

It is gratifying and instructive to be furnished with such an 
account of the progress of Baxter's mind. It strikingly dis- 
plays his candor, 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 the 
Bible, might have saved him a great deal of labor 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 faithfid 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 w^ere 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 
freed from all those things which he scrupled or deemed unlaw- 
ful. He often read the Common Prayer before he preached; 
but he never administered the Lord's Supper, never baptized 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 labors were blessed to some of the peo- 
ple, though not to the extent in which they were successful 
in some other places. He mentions that he was then in the fer- 
vor of his affections, and never preached widi 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-ccetera 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., as 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 
Shropshire, though all friends to episcopacy, appointed a meet- 
ing at Bridgnorth, to take it into consideration. Here the sub- 
ject was argued pro and con 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 minis- 
ters more formidable than the answers were satisfactory, so that 
the meeting broke up in a state of great consternation. An oath 
binding fallible men never to change themselves, or give their 

(c) Neal, ii. 203. 


consent to alterations however necessary, and including in an "et 
ccetcra''^ no l)ody knows what, is among the greatest instances of 
ecclesiastical despotism and folly on record. A measure more 
ruinous to the church could scarcely have been devised. 

Its effect on Baxter was, not only a resolution never to sub- 
scribe to it, but a determination to examine more thoroughly the 
nature of that episcopacy, the yoke of which he began to feel so 
insupportable. For this purpose he procured all the books he 
could get on both sides, and examined them with great care. 
Bucer de Gubernatione Ecclesiae, Didoclavii Altare Damasce- 
num,*' Jacob,'' Parker,^ and Baynes,^ on the one side; and Down- 
ham, Hooker, Saravia,'' Andrews, &ic. on the other. The con- 
sequence of these researches, was his full conviction that the 
English episcopacy is a totally different thmg from the primitive, 
that it had corrupted the churches and the ministry, and destroy- 
ed all christian discipline.^ Thus this Et-ccztera 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 die bishops alone, were roused by 
the terrors of an oath, to look about them and resist. Many 
also, who were formerly against the Nonconformists, were led by 
the absurdity of this oath, to think more favorably of them; so 
that on the wdiole it proved advantageous rather than injurious to 
their cause. 

(d) The 'Altare Damascenum,' is the work of David Caldervvood, author of the 
'True History of the Church of Scotland/ and one of the objects of James the First's 
implacable dislike. It was published in Holland^ in 1623, where the Author was in 
exile, on account of his opposition to the court and episcopacy. It is intended as a 
refutation of 'Linwood's Description of the policy of the Church of England/ but it 
embraces all the leading- questions at issue between Episcopalians and Presbyterians. 
It attracted great attention at the time; so that king James himself is said to have 
read it, and replied to one of the bishops, who affirmed it would be answered ''What 
the devil will 3'ou answer, man? There is nothing here but Scripture, reason, and 
the fathers." 

(e) Jacob was a Brownist, and one of the earliest Independents in England. The 
work referred to by Baxter, was probably his 'Reasons taken out of the Word of God 
and the best human Testimonies, proving a Necessity for reforming our churches in 
England.' ]G04. It is written with very considerable ability; and, amongst other 
things, endeavors to prove "that for tv.o hundred years after Christ, the churches were 
not diocp-saii, but congregational." 

(f ) The work of Parker, 'De Politea Ecclesiastica Christi, et Hierarchica opposita, 
Libri Tres,' 4to. 1621, was posthumous, the author having died in Holland, 1614. 
He was a learned and pious man: his work against 'Symbolizing with Antichrist in 
Ceremonies,' produced a great effect, and occasioned much trouble to the writer. 
Parker was, in sentiment, partly Presbyterian, and yjartl}^ Independent. 

(g) Paul Baynes was the author of 'The Diocesan's Trial,' in answer to Dr. Down- 
ham's Defence. 

(h) Adrian Saravia, was a celebrated scholar, a native of Hedin in Artois, but who 
lived many years in England, and was one of the warmest supporters of episcopacy. 
He published, among other things, a treatise on 'The divers Degrees of Ministers of 
the Gospel,' and a reply to Beza's tract 'De Triplici Episcopatu.' He was one of 
the translators of the Bible appointed by king James, and died shortly after the fin- 
ishing of that work, in his eighty-second year. Athen. Oxon. vol. i. p. 765. 

(i) Baxter's 'Treatise of Episcopacy.' Preface. 


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- 
tion of ship-money, which occasioned the celebrated resistance 
of Hampden, excited great and general discontent in England, 
and hastened von 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 
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 sab- 
bath, however, his lordship suddenly changed his purpose, and 
went to Litchfield, so that nothing came out of the affair. "Thus 
I contmued," says Baxter, "in my liberty of preaching the Gos- 
pel at Bridgnorth, about a year and three quarters, w^hich 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 then* 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 ec- 
clesiastical domination, under which the country had so long 
groaned. The speeches of Faukland, Digby, Grimstone, Pym, 
Fiennes, and others, were priiited and greedily bought. These 
excited a strong sense of danger among the people, and roused 
their indignation 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 parHaments 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 
rehgion. 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 as- 
serting 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 
complaints. The number of ministers who nad 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 had been condemned to perpetual imprisonment, after 
suffering the basest indignities, were released and brought home 
in triumph. Among these were Mr. Peter Smart,J Dr. Leigh- 
ton,'^ Mr. Henry Burton,' Dr. Bastwick,'^ and Mr. Prynne; ^ all 

( j) Mr. Smart, for preaching a sermon, in which he spoke very freely against the 
ceremonies of the church, was fined, excommunicated, degraded, deprived, and im- 
prisoned nearly twelve years. The damage he sustained amounted to several thou- 
sand pounds, for which he afterwards received some compensation by order of Parlia- 
ment. Laud andCosins were his chief persecutors. Fuller^ s Chh. Hist. b. xi. p. 173. 
r, (k) ''Leighton (saysHeylin) was a Scott by birth, a doctor of physic by profession, 
a fiery Puritan in faction.'' Life of Laud, p. 126. His crime consisted in the pub- 
lication of 'An Appeal to Parliament, or Sion's Plea against Prelacy.' For this of- 
fence he was condemned to suffer the loss of both ears, to have his nostrils slit, his 
forehead branded, to be publicl}' whipped, fined ten thousand pounds, and perpetually 
imprisoned! When this sentence was pronounced. Laud, it is said, took off his hat, 
and gave 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 
Parliament, he could neither see, hear, nor walk. 'Sion's Plea,' is certainly written 
with much acerbity, and some parts of it are liable to misconstruction. When Heylin 
alleges that he incites Parliament ''to kill all the bishops, and smite them under the 
fifth rib," he lies and defames. The last expression, 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 persons, 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 unguarded, 
but in moderate times would have been liable to no misinterpretation. The physician 
had, no doubt, more of asperity and vindictiveness in his temper, than his son, the 
amiable, enlightened, and heavenly-minded Bishop of Dumblane. 

(1) Henry Burton was an Independent, and originally engaged about court, when 
Charles L was Prince of Wales. To the loss of his place, Heylin, with his usual 
charity, ascribes his hostility to the hierarchy. Life of Laud, p. 98. His own ac- 
count is more deserving of credit. By several publications, he provoked the wrath 
of the High Commission Court; but for one, 'For God and the King/ he was senten- 
ced to be punished in a similar manner to Leighton, and suffered accordingly. A 
narrative of himself, which he published, and the substance of which was i-eprintcd 
in the 'Cong. Mag.' for 1820, is uncommonly interesting. If I may judge from this me- 
moir, and iiis 'Vindication of the churches commonly called Independent,' he was a 
man of piety, talents, and moderation. 

(m) Dr. Bastwick, a physician at Colchester, for publishing a Latin book which re- 
flected on the bishops, and denying their superiority to presbyters, was excommu- 
nicated, debarred the exercise of his profession, fined one thousand pounds, and im- 
prisoned till he should recant. For another book, supposed to be written by him 
while in prison, the same sentence was passed 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 Independent Army,' in which his 
fellow-sufferer Burton is the chief object of attack, is shameful for a Christian to have 

(n) William Prynne, "a bencher, late of Lincoln's Inn," was the most extraordi- 
nary man of all the sufferers. His first crime consisted in writing the "Histriomastix, 
or a treatise against plays, masquerades," (fee; for this his ears were cropped, tfec. 
His second crime was a libel against the bishops; for which he received sentence 
along with the other two. As his ears had formerly i)cen cut ofl*', the stumps were 
now literally sawed off, or in the words of a coarse, humorous epitaph composed for 
him, "the}' 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 


of whom had been treated with the most wanton and unmerited 
cruelty. Acts were passed against the High-commission court, 
and the secular power of churchmen; and for the continuance 
of the parliament till it should dissolve itself. A committee was 
appointed to receive petitions and complaints against the clergy, 
which produced multitudes of petitions from all parts of the 
country. As a specimen of what was brought in, White, the 
chaii'man, published 'One Century of Scandalous Ministers,' in 
which a most dreadful exposure is made of the ignorance, im- 
morality, and incompetency of many of the established teachers. 

The town of Kidderminster, amongst other places, prepared 
a petition against their minister, w^hose 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 w^as 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 should choose. This person he w^ould 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 Kiddermins- 
ter 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 5th, 1641, and is signed by about thirty individuals. 
He also received a very affectionate letter from a number of 
persons belonging to the congregation. With this invitation he 
was very willing to comply, as, on various accounts, he felt dis- 
posed to labor 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 
faithful, 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 

and lawless measures which had been long pursued by the bishops and the court. He 
seems to have been an Erastian rcspectine: church g-overnment. It is wonderful, that 
after having suffered so much from goverinncnt interference in religion, he should 
have written a book to prove "that Christian Kings and Magistrates have authority, 
under the Gospel, to punish idolatry, apostacy, heresy, blasphemy, and obstinate 
schism, with pecuniary, corporal, and in some cases, widi capital punishments." 
Athcn. Ox. ii. pp. 311327. 

(o) All these documents are still preserved among the Baxter MSS. in the library 
at Red Cross-street. 


enjoyed such a blessing, or to those who had profited by it. He 
accordingly repaired to the place, and, after preaching only one 
day, was chosen by the electors nemine contradicente. "Thus," 
says he, "I was brought, by the gracious providence of God, 
to that place which had the chiefest of my labors, and yielded 
me the greatest fruits of comfort; and I noted the mercy of 
God in this, that I never went to any place in my life which I 
had before desired, or thought of, much less sought, till the sud- 
den invitation did surprise me." 

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

''But among^ all, none did so much abound 
Willi fruitful mercies, as that barren ground. 
Where I did make mj^ best and longest stay. 
And bore the heat and burden of the day. 
Mercies 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 labors bless, 
With the most great and wonderful success."p 

His removal to Kidderminster took place in 1640. His pre- 
vious ministry had been spent, he tells us, under the infirmities 
already noticed, which made him live and preach in the con- 
stant prospect of death. This was attended with incalculable 
benefit to himself and others; it gave much of that earnestness 
and unction to his preaching for which it was so eminently dis- 
tmguished, and without which no one will ever preach with 
much success. His afflictions greatly weakened his temptations, 
excited great contempt of the world, taught him the inestimable 
value of time, and "stuTcd up his sluggish heart to speak to sin- 
ners with some compassion, as a dying man to dying men." 

With these feelings he began his labors 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 
allowed the old vicar to live in it without molestation. He 
found the place like a piece of dry and barren earth, overrun 
with ignorance and vice; but by the blessing of God on his 
labors, it ultimately became rich in all the fruits of righteous- 
ness. Opposition and ill-usage, to a considerable extent, he had 
to encounter at the beginning; but, by patient continuance in 
well-doing, he overcame all their prejudices, and produced uni- 

(p) Poetical Fragments, p. 34. 


versal 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 character 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 ardor of his zeal to do good to 
the unthankful and the unholv. 

The nature and success of Baxter's ministry at Kiddermin- 
ster 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 pub- 
lic situations. To understand the nature of those commotions, 
and the part which Baxter took in them, it will be necessary to 
advert 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 mis- 
ery, and have occasioned so much misrepresentation. 

It has often been alleged, that the civil convulsions of the 
country w^ere chiefly promoted by the Puritanical sticklers for 
presbyterianism 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 up by Baxter many years afterwards, with great 
candor and clearness, fully shows. It gives a most melancholy 
view of the wretched condition of religion in England, beibre 
and at the commencement of the wars, and very naturally ac- 
counts for the turn which affairs took during their progress, by 
which the whole ecclesiastical system was finally reduced to 
ruin. It shows that die number of Nonconformists at the com- 
mencement of the civil troubles was so very small, that diey 
could have excited no disturbance, 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 favor 
of the liturgy, and against Canne, Allen, &c., and till Mr. Bur- 
ton 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 I first lived, and the 
country about, the people were of two sorts. The generality 

VOL. I. 5 


seemed to miiul 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 ]\Iary. 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 their 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 awak- 
ened to some regard for God and their everlasting state, and, 
according to the various measures of their understanding, did 
speak and live as serious in the christian faith, and would inquii*e 
what was duty, and what was sin, and how to please God and 
make sure of salvation; and make this their business and inter- 
est, as the rest did the world. They read the Scriptures, and 
such books as 'The Practice of Piety,' 'Dent's Plain Man's 
Pathway,' and 'Dod on the commandments,' he. They used 
to pray in their families, and alone; some with the book, and 
some without. They would not swear, nor curse, nor take 
God'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 play- 
ing. There were, where I lived, about the number of two or 
three families in twenty, which, by the rest were called Puri- 
tans, and derided as hypocrites and precisians, that would take 
on them to be holy; yet hardly one, if any, of them ever scru- 
pled 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 obloquy, as Puritans and prec^isians. 

"This being the condition of the vulgar where 1 was, when I 
came into the acquaintance of many persons of honor, and power, 
and reputed leaniing, I found the same seriousness in religion 
as in some few before described, and the same daily scorn of 
that sort of men in others, but differently clothed; for 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. 

"This 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 sometimes 
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, they w^ere 
first envied by the readers and dry teachers, whom they some- 
times w^ent from, and next prosecuted by apparitors, officials, 
archdeacons, commissaries, chancellors, and other episcopal 
instruments. In former times there had been divers presbyte- 
rian Nonconformists, who earnestly pleaded for parish disci- 
pline: to subdue w^hom, divers canons were made, which served 
the turn against these meetings of the conformable Puritans, 
and against 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 those 
few stuck most at subscription and ceremonies, which were the 
hindrance of their ministry, and but few of them studied, or 
understood, 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 
enemies to serious piety, and persecutors of that which they 
should promote. Suffering induced this opinion and aversion; 
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, *Ai'e 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 the com- 
mon enmity that, since Cain's days, hath been in the world, 
between the serpent's and the woman's seed. When the per- 
sons 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 move they increased the opinion 
that they were persecuting enemies of godliness, and the cap- 
tains of the profane. 


"When 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 neighbors 
enemies. And they were for their punishment the more, be- 
cause 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 pray and sing a psalm in his house, they would 
cry, '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 w^ere gone, and their lives in continual 
danger, they were forced to fly for food and shelter. To go 
among those that hated them, they durst not, when they could 
not dwell among such at home. And thus thousands ran into 
the parliament's garrisons, and, having nothing there to live upon, 
became soldiers."^' 

The circumstances which led to an open rupture between the 
king and his parUament, 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, 
proceeded to open acts of violence. Some members of the House 
themselves were imprudent, and carried things too high. Among 
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 cava- 
liers; and, above all, by the Irish massacre and rebellion, the 
blame of 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. 

(r) Baxter's True History of Councils Enlarged, pp. 91 93. 


A great part of the nobility forsook the Parhament 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, 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 con- 
necting links. The parliament was supported by the inferior 
gentlemen in the country, and by the body of merchants, free- 
holders, and tradesmen, in all the principal towns and manufac- 
turing 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 apprehension of danger to religion, which chiefly 
roused them and filled the army of the parliament. The body 
of the persons who w^ere called Puritans, and precisians; and 
who discovered by their conduct that they were in earnest on 
the subject of religion, adhered to the cause of the parliament. 
On the other hand, the gentry, w^ho were not so precise who 
scrupled not at an oath; who loved gaming, plays, and drinking; 
and the ministers and people, who were for the King's book, and 
jbr dancing and recreations on the Lord's day; who went to 
church to hear common prayer, and relished a sermon wdiich 
lashed the Puritans these for the most part opposed the parlia- 

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 worldly 
men which makes them earnestly desirous of riches and honors 
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 seri- 
ous religion, which would mortify their sin, is theii' greatest ene- 
my. Yet, conscience must be quieted, and reputation preserved; 
which cannot be done without some religion. 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 spirituality, 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, therefore, if few such at- 


tain to greatness, or ever arrive at much preferment on earth: 
-They are more fearful of displeasing God than all the world, and 
cannot stretch theii' consciences, or turn aside when the inter- 
est or will of man requireth. As before, he that was born after 
the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit; so it 
was here. The 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 they loved that mode of worship which they found 
most consistent with theii* 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 side; be- 
cause the high-church party derided and abused them; because 
so 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 more 
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 rights. 

These were the true and principal reasons why so great a 
number of those persons who were counted most religious fell in 
with the parliament; and why the generality of the serious, dili- 
gent preachers joined it; not taking arms themselves, but sup- 
porting 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 
parhament attempted a reformation of them. But it was con- 
forming ministers who did even this; for the bishops had ejected 
most of the nonconforming ministers long before. Those who 
made up the Westminster assembly, and who were the honor of 
the parliamentary party through 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 parliamentaiy 
party, in addition to Puritan and formalist.^ Malignants, cava- 
liers, dam-mes, were the designations used or retaliated by the 

Reasons, many and various, were assigned for the lawfulness 
of the war by both parties; and men generally adopted that side 
to w^hich then* interests or their feelings chiefly inclined. Those 
who opposed the war on the part of the Commons, WTre of 
different sentiments. Some thought no king might be resisted; 
others that owr 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 main- 
tained that the law gave the king the power of the militia, which 
the parliament sought to wrest from him; that the commons be- 
gan the war by permitting tumults to deprive the members of 
their liberty, and to insult the king; that the members of parlia- 
ment are themselves subjects, and bound by their oath of alle- 
giance; 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 Chris- 
tians, and the injunctions of Scripture, to resist the higher pow- 
ers; 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 Protestantism were 
supported by this war; that it proceeded from impatience and 
distrust of God; and that religion is best promoted by patient 

Some of these reasons are plausible, and others have consid- 
erable 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 ftdly bodi of 

(s) The [erm Rou7iclhead WAS hesiow'od either because the Puritans usually wore 
short hair, and the royal party long; or because some say, the Queen, at Straftbrd's 
trial, asked, in reference to Prynne, who that rcnind-headed man was, who spoke so 
strongly. The device on the standard of Colonel Cook, a parliamentary oflicer, whs 
a man in armor cutting off the corner of a square cap with a sword. His motto was 
Muto qiiadrata roUindis. 

(I) Fuller's derivation oi Malignant is in his usual wiltystyle; "The deduction 
thereof being disputable; whether from bad fire, or bad fuel, mains ignis, or malum 
lignum: but this is sure, betwi.xt both, the name made a great combustion." 


the parliament's good endeavors for reformation, and of their 
real danger, my judgment of the main cause, much swayed my 
judgment in the matter of the wai's; and the arguments a fine, 
et a natura, 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 
laws. 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, whatever 
it be in itself. 

"I make no doubt that both parties were to blame, as it com- 
monly falleth out m most wars and contentions; and I will not 
be he that will justify either of them. I 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 indiscre- 
tion in the tumultuous petitioners; and much sin was committed 
in the dishonoring 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 coals among foolish apprentices. And as the sectaries in- 
creased, so the insolence increased. One or tvvo in the House, 
and five or six ministers that came from Holland, and a few 
relicts of the Brovvnists that were scattered in the city, did 
drive on others, and sowed the seeds which afterwards spread 
over all the land." 

"But I then thought, whoever was faulty, the people's liber- 
ties 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 theii' 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, 

(u) It is very singular that Baxter should attribute so much evil to the dissenting 
brethren of the Westminster assembly; and the sectaries of whom the^- were the re- 
puted leaders, especially after his owji account of the former state of things which we 
have given. The civil wars produced or occasioned the sects, not the sects the wars. 
The long parliament had taken some of its strongest measures before the five Inde- 
pendent ministers returned to England from Holland. A good while must have 
elapsed after their return before their influence could extend farj and without violent 
and unreasonable opposition to their fair and moderate request for a toleration, their 
iiifluence at no time would have been great. Com})ared with many of their oppo- 
nents, l)oth tlieir language and their temper were moderate; and it might be easy to 
show that the exaggerated lamentations and insulting abuse of their atlversnries were 
calculated to produce, and actually did produce, a worse eflect on the country than 
anything done by the Independents either in or out of parliament. On this subject 
further particulars will be furnished in a subsequent part of this work. 


and might defend the land under theu' conduct without owning 
all their cause. And herein I was then so zealous, that I thought 
it w-as a great sin for men that were able to defend their coun- 
try, 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 before our eyes, than I am in the review of those 
days and actions so many years after, when distance disadvant- 
ageth the apprehension." ^' 

It is evident from these statements, that Baxter was a decided 
friend to the parliamentary cause. The reasons which influ- 
enced 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 numerous 
political questions and altercations, which the grand subject 
involved, were well enough qualified to form an opinion respect- 
ing 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 vigor, and thus insured their suc- 
cess. Though they were guilty of occasional evils, and pro- 
duced temporary confusion, the great objects which they con- 
templated were never lost sight ol^ 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 exposed to con- 
siderable danger. The king's declarations were read in the 
market-place, and a country gentleman, w4io ofliciated 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 w^atch-word; and knocking down 
every person whose hair w^as short and his dress respectable 
immediately followed. In consequence of these things, Baxter 
w^as advised to withdraw for a short time from the scene of his 
labors. The county of Worcester w^as devoted to the king; so 
that no one who was known to be for the parliament could then 
be of service. 

(v) Life^ part i. p. 39. 
VOL. I. 6 



CHAPTER III. 16421646, 

Baxter goes to Gloucester Returns to Kidderminster Visits Alcester Battle of Edgliiif 
llesidence in Coventry Battle of Naseby ytate of the Parliamentary Army Consults the 
Ministers about going into it Becomes Cliaplain to Colonel Whalley's regiment Opinions 
of the Soldiers Disputes with them Battle of Langport Wicked Report of an Occur- 
rence at this place The Army retires to Bridgewater and Bristol Becomes ill Various 
Occurrences in the Army Chief Impediments to his Success in it Cromwell Harrison 
Berry Advised by the Ministers to continue in it Cues to London on account of hia 
Health Joins the Army in Worcestershire Attacked with violent Bleeding Leaves the 
Army Entertained by Lady Rous Remarks on hia Views of the Army, and conduct 
in it. 

The immediate cause of Baxter's withdrawment from Kid- 
derminster 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 cru- 
cifixes; to which they considered Baxter a party, thougli the 
execution of the order had not been attempted. This brutai 
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 published on both sides. Here, also, he first 
witnessed the contentions between the ministers and the Bap- 
tists, and other sects, which then frequently took place in the 
country. A pubHc arena was chosen; judges, or moderators, 
w^ere 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; but if the justice of the cause depended on the spirit 
and weapons of the champions, in most instances she w^ould 
have disclaimed both. About a dozen young men, in Glouces- 
ter, of considerable parts, had been re-baptised, and labored, as 
was very natural, to draw others after them. The minister of 
the place, Mr. Winnel, being hot and impatient, excited rather 
than calmed them. He wrote a book against them, which pro- 
duced 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. 
When 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 litde improved, the fury of the rabble and of the king's sol- 
diers being still great, that he was under the necessity of with- 
drawing again. The war was now in active operation in that 
part of the country; the main army of die king, commanded 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, 1G42, I preached at Al- 
cester for my reverend friend, Mr. 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 w^as 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; 
but while his men were plundering the waggons, the main 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 Bol{no;broke: that the loss 
of the left wing happened through the treachery of Sir Faitliful 
Fortescue, major to Lord Fielding's regiment of horse, who 
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 L^rrey, did much. 

"Next morning, being desirous to see the field, I went to 
Edghill, and found the Earl of Essex, with the remaining part 
of his army, keeping the ground, and the kings army facing 
them upon the hill about a mile off. There w^ere about a thou- 
sand dead bodies in the field between them; and many I suppose 
were buried before. Neither of the armies movin"; towards 
each other, the king's army presently drew off towards Ban- 
bury, and then to Oxford. The Earl of Essex's w^ent back 
to provide for the wounded, and refresh themselves at War- 
wick Castle, belonging to Lord Brook.'*' 

"For myself, I knew not what course to take. To live at 
home, I was uneasy; but especially now, when soldiers on one 
side or other w^ould be frequently among us, and we must still 
be at the mercy of every furious beast that would make a prey 
of us. I had neither money nor friends: I knew not who would 

(\v) Baxter's account of this hattle is siilistnntiallv llic same with riarendnn's, 
tliough the latter endeavors to show that the victory was rather on ihe side of the 
king' than of the parhanient. The consequences which followed, however, atlorii 
convincing- proof that the advantages were on the side of the parliament. 


receive me in any place of safety; nor had I any thing to satisfy 
them for my diet and entertainment. Hereupon I was persuad- 
ed, by one that was with me, to go to Coventry, where an old 
acquaintance, Mr. Simon King, was minister; so thither I went, 
with a purpose to stay there till one side or other had got the vic- 
tory, and the war was ended: for so wise in matters of w^ar 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. 

"Wliile I was thinking w^hat course to take in this necessity, 
the committee and governor of the city desired me to stay with 
them, and lodge in the governor's house, and preach to the sol- 
diers. The offer suited well with my necessities; but I resolved 
that I would not be chaplain to a regiment, nor take a com- 
mission: yet, if the mere preaching of a sermon once or twice a 
week to the garrison would satisfy them, I would accept of 
the offer, till J could go home again. Here, accordingly, I 
lived 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; tak- 
ing nothing from cither but my diet." ^ 

At the end of this period, the war, so far from being termi- 
nated, had spread almost over the whole country. In most of 
the counties there were garrisons and troops belonging to both 
parties, which caused conflicts in every quarter. There were 
few parishes in which blood, at some time or other, was not 
shed; so general and determined was the hostility of the par- 
ties to each other. Baxter removed from Coventry to Shrop- 
shire for about tw^o months; during w^hich time, he was near 
some of the skirmishes which then almost dally took place. 
Having got his father relieved from prison at Lillshull, he re- 
turned to Coventry, and spent another year in his old employ- 
ment, 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 
Richard Skefhngton, Colonel Godfrey Bosville, Mr. Mack- 
worth, and J\lr. George Abbot, known by his Paraphrase on 
the Book of Job. There were also about thirty worthy minis- 
ters, who had fled to Coventry for safety, from the soldiers 
and popular fury, though they never meddled in the wars: 
Mr. Richard Vines, JMr. Anthony Burgess, Mr. Burdal, Mr. 
Brumskill, Dr. Bryan, Dr. Grew, Mr. Stephens, Mr. Crad- 
ock, Mr. Morton of Bewdley, Mr. Diamond, old Mr. Over- 
ton, and many more. 

(x) Life, part i. pp. 43, 44. 


At Coventry, Baxter, took the covenant himself, and gave it 
to another, of which he afterwards hitterly repented. He also 
publicly defended it against a production of Sir Francis Neth- 
ersole'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 ministry 
throughout the land; though he acknowledges he might have 
foreseen this, had he attended to its tenor. Here, also, he 
openly decared himself for the parliament; for w^hich, in his 
'Penitent Confessions,' ^' he assigns thirty-two reasons; with 
which it is unnecessary here to trouble the reader. 

"The garrison of Coventry," he says, "consisted half of 
citizens, and half of countrymen. The latter were such as had 
been forced from their own dwellings, and were the most relig- 
ious 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 found not the success in Coventry which they had done in 
Cromwell's army. In public I was fain to preach over all the 
controv^ersies against the Anabaptists first, and then against the 
separatists. In private, some of my Worcester neighbors, and 
many of the foot soldiers, were able to baffle both separatists, 
Anabaptists, and Antinomians, and so kept all the garrison 
sound. On this, the Anabaptists sent to Bedford, for one Ben- 
jamin Cox, an old minister of their persuasion, and no con- 
temptible scholar, the son of a bishop; and he and I had first a 
dispute by word of mouth, and afterwards in writing. In con- 
clusion, 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 time; but coming down again and refusing to 
leave the city, the committee imprisoned him. Some ascribed 
this to Baxter; but he declares that instead of using his influ- 
ence 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. Imprisoning heretics will never check 
or destroy heresy; and preaching controversies, is not the most 
useful method either of converting unbelievers or establishing 

The detail which Baxter gives in his own life of the subse- 
quent progress of the civil war, which so long fearfully dis- 
tracted the country, is too extended and minute to admit of 
being fully inserted in this place. Many of the scenes which 
he notices, are better described by others who witnessed them, 

(y) Penitent Confessions, p. 23. (z) Life, parti, p. 4B 

(a) Baxter on 'Infant Baptism,' Broface. 


and with whose description the generality of readers are now 
well acquainted. More dependance also can be placed on his 
statements than on his reasonings; on his record of what he 
saw, than on his hearsay 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 received with the greatest confidence. To 
these things, I shall, therefore, confine my narrative. He thus 
describes the circumstances which led to his joining the army, 
his employment whilst in it, and some of the events which hap- 
pened during his connection 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 
three who had been my intimate friends in Cromwell's army, 
whom I had not seen for above two years, I was desirous of 
seeing whether they were dead or alive; so to Naseby Field I 
went two days after the fight, and thence by the army's quar- 
ters before Leicester, to seek my acquaintance.^ When I found 
them, I staid with them a night; and understood from them the 
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 in- 
considerable persons, we were unfeignedly for king and parlia- 
ment; we believed that the war was only to save the parliament 
and kingdom from papists and delinquents, and to remove the 
dividers, that the king might again return to his parliament; 
and that no 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 against 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 

(b) The best account which I have met with of the battle of Naseby, is in 
Sprigge's 'Anglia Redivivaj England's Recovery; or, tlie History of the Army inider 
the conduct of Sir Thomas Fairfax,' &c. 1617. Sprig-ge was General Fairfax's 
chaplain, and personall}^ acquainted with the scenes and transactions which he de- 
scribes. The book is now very scarce; but tliose 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 v^as in tlie army, it deserves to be compared 
with his account of the transactions which then took place. Sprigge's means of in- 
formation must have been superior to Baxter's, as he was inmiediately connected with 
the general himself; yet I am not aware of any important difierence between them 
in the statements of facts; though they do not entirely agree, as is noticed in a sub- 
sequent page, in their views of the character of the army, I should suppose that 
Baxter did not occupy any very conspicuous place in the army, as his name is never 
mentioned by Sprigge. Clement Walker calls Sprigge's 'Anglia,' the Legend, or 
Romance, of this Army,' and insinuates that it was the production of Nath. Fien- 
res, second son to Lord Say: but this is probably one of the legends of that meii^ 
dacious writer. 


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. Independency and Anabaptistry were 
more prevalent; Antinomianism and Ai-minianism were equally 
distributed; and Thomas Moor's followers (a weaver of Wis- 
bitch and Lynn, of excellent parts) had made some shifts to 
join these two extremes together. 

"Abundance of the common troopers and many of the offi- 
cers, I found to be honest, sober, orthodox men; others were 
tractable, 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 w^ere Cromwell's chief favorites; 
and by their very heat and activity, bore down the rest, or car- 
ried them along 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 officers 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. They thought if they might fight against him, they might 
also kill or conquer him; and if they might conquer, they were 
never more to trust him further than he was in their power. 
They thought it folly to ii'ritate him either by war or contradic- 
tion in parliament, if so be they must needs take him for their 
king, and trust him with their lives when they had thus dis- 
pleased him. 'What, were the lords of England,' said they, 
*but William the Conqueror's colonels; 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 re- 
ligion and the kingdom upon them as conquerors; ihey made 
nothing of all the most wise and godly in the armies and gar- 
risons, that were not of their w-ay. Per fas aut nefas, By law 
or without it, they were resolved to take dowii, 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 presby- 
terians; they most honored 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 dis- 
semblymen, and such like. The committees of the several 


counties, and all the soldiers that were under them, that were 
not of their mind and way, were the other ohjects of their dis- 
pleasure. Some orthodox captains of the army partly acquaint- 
ed me with all this, and I heard much of it from the mouths of 
the leading 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 
had an able preacher; but at Edghill fight, almost all of them 
w^ent 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 lit- 
tle welcome, and great contempt and opposition, beside all 
other difficulties and dangers; but it is as true, that their worth 
and labor, in a patient, self-denying way, would probably have 
preserved 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- 
tation from Cromwell, when he lay at Cambridge with that fam- 
ous troop with which he began his army. His officers purposed 
to make their troop a gathered church, and they all subscribed 
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 conve- 
nience of their wav, 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; wdiich made me wish that I had gone among 
them, however it had been interpreted; 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 I gave him some encour- 


agement. Wheretipon he told his colonel (Whalley,) who also 
was orthodox in religion, but engaged by kindred and interest to 
Cromwell; 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. 

"As soon as I came home to Coventry, I called together an 
assembly 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; seeing this army having first conquered at York, and now 
at Naseby, and having left the king no visible army but Gor- 
ing's, the fate of the whole kingdom was likely to follow the dis- 
position and interest of the conquerors. We had sworn to be 
true to the king and his heirs in the oath of allegiance. All 
our soldiers here think that the parliament is faithful to the king, 
and have no other purpose themselves. If the king and par- 
liament, church and state, be ruined by those men, and vve look 
on and do nothing to hinder it, how are we true to our alle- 
giance and to the covenant, which bindeth us to defend the king, 
and to be against schism, as well as against Popery and pro- 
faneness? 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; 1 
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 mov- 
ed with the cause, did unanimously give their judgment for my 
going. Hereupon, I went straight to the committee, and told 
them that I had an invitation to the army, 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 hinder 
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 Willough- 
by) was to be colonel and governor in his place. Hereupon 
Colonel Barker was content, in his discontent, that I should go 
out with him, that he might be missed the more; 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 ofifended with the committee for consenting to my going, 
that the committee all met again hi the nigfit, 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 
VOL. I. 7 


soldiers were ready to mutiny against them, and they could not 
satisfy them, and therefore I must stay. I told 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 afterwards, 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 Cromwell 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 friends, 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 intimation of my reasons and 
resolutions, and some of them accompanied 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 oppor- 
tunity to come to the head-quarters, where the councils and meet- 
ings of the officers were; so that most of my design was there- 
by frustrated. His secretary gave out that there was a reformer 
come to the army to undeceive them, and to save church and 
state, with some such other jeers; by which I perceived that all I 
had said the night before to the committee, had come to Crom- 
well 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 against seducers, and gently argu- 
ing with the more tractable; but another kind of warfare I had 
than theirs. 

"I found that many honest men of weak judgments and little 
acquaintance with such matters, had been seduced into a dis- 
puting vein, and made it too much of their religion to talk for 
this opinion and for that; sometimes for state democracy, 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 Antinomianism and Arminianism. So that I was 
almost always, when I had opportunity, disputing with one or 
other of them; sometimes for our civil government, and some- 
times 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 conscience, 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.^ 

"I found that one-half almost, of the religious party among 
them, were such as were either orthodox, or but very slightly 
touched with heterodoxy; and almost another half were honest 
men, that stepped further into the contending way than they 
could well get out of again, but who, with competent help, might 
be recovered. There were a few fiery, self-conceited men 
among them, who kindled the rest, and made all the noise and 
bustle, and carried about the army as they pleased: for the 
greatest part of the common soldiers, especially of the foot, 
were ignorant men, of little religion; abundance of them were 
such as had been taken prisoners, or turned out of garrisons 
under the king, and had been soldiers in his army. These 
would do any thing to please their officers, and were ready in- 
struments for the seducers, especially in their great work, which 
was to cry down the covenant, to vilify all parish ministers, but 
especially the Scots and Presbyterians; for the most of the sol- 
diers that I spoke with, never took the covenant, because it tied 
them to defend the king's person, and to extirpate heresy and 

"When I perceived that it was a few, then, who bore the bell, 
and did all the hurt among them, I acquainted myself with those 
men, and would be oft disputing with them, in the hearing of 

(c) It is ver}' interesting- to find that, amidst all the heresies whirl? infected tl\e army, 
of which Baxter speaks so strongly, the heresy, as it was then deemed, of relif^ious lib- 
erty, so extensively prevailed. It is a pleasing feature in the character of the army, 
that it contended more vehemently for this than for any other point of doctrine or 
form of religion. The fanatical Baptists and independents of the parliamentary 
forces, maintained, two hundred years ago, the doctrine to which the enlightened par- 
liament of George the Fourth, in' the years 1828 and 1829, was brought to submil3 not 
by practiced politicians, or spiritual lords, but by a man accustomed from his earliest 
3'outh 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 its triumphs have 
been completed. I regret that I cannot place Baxter in the front ranks of its friends. 


the rest. I found that they were men who had been m London, 
hatched up among the old separatists, and had made it all the 
matter of their study and religion to rail against ministers, pr - 
ish churches, and Presbyterians; and who had little other knowl- 
edge or discourse of any thing about the heart, or heaven. They 
were fierce with pride and self-conceitedness, and had gotten a 
very great conquest over their charity, both to the Episcopalians 
and Presbyterians: whereas many of those honest soldiers who 
were tainted but with some doubts about liberty of conscience or 
Independency, were men who would discourse of the points of 
sanctification and christian experience very seriously. I so far 
prevailed in opening the folly of these revilers and self-conceited 
men, as that some of them became the laughing-stock of the 
soldiers before I left them; and when they preached, for great 
preachers they were, their weakness exposed them to contempt. 
A great part of the mischief was done among the soldiers by 
pamphlets, which were abundantly 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, &lc. 
The soldiers being usually dispersed in quarters, they had such 
books to read, when they had none to contradict them. 

"But there was yet a more dangerous party than these among 
the soldiers, who took the direct Jesuitical way. They first 
most vehemently declaimed against the doctrine of election, 
and for the power of free-will, and all other points which are 
controverted between the Jesuits and dominicans, the Arminians 
and Calvinists. They then as fiercely cried down our present 
translation of the Scriptures, and debased their authority, though 
they did not deny them to be divine. They cried down all our 
ministry, episcopal, presbyterian, and independent, and all our 
churches. They vilified almost all our ordinary 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 med- 
dling 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 prejudice them before 
they entered into dispute. They avoided me as much as pos- 

(k) These pamphlets were imitations of the Martin Mar-Prelate attacks upon the 
bishops and cler^^y in the reign of Elizabeth. They partake of the seventy, and, 
indeed, scurrility, of their prototypes, and were calculated to produce very considera- 
ble effect. They were mostly anonymous, but have been commonly ascribed to Over- 
ton, Lilburn, and persons of that class. An admirable account of Lilburn, with a very 
correct view of his character, is given in Godwin's History of the Commonwealth/ 
Overton, I suspect, was an infidel a character then rather uncommon. He wrote a 
pamphlet to prove man's materiality, which made considerable noise at the time. 


sible; but when we did come to it, they drowned all reason in 
fierceness, and vehemency, and multitude of words. They 
greatly strove for places of command; 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 the Jesu- 
its, and acted all for their interest, and in their way. But the 
secret spring was out of sight. These were the same men that 
afterwards were called Levellers, who rose up against Crom- 
w^ell, and were surprised at Burford, having then deceived and 
drawn to them many more. Thompson, the general of the lev- 
ellers, 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 coloring, which the state of his mind, and the 
extraordinary nature of his circumstances, must have produced, 
it will be granted, that such another army as that of the Parlia- 
ment, at this period, the world never saw before, or since. 
Baxter endeavors 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 cer- 
tain that other and more powerful causes formed the characters 
of these soldiers, and are necessary to account for the appear- 
ance which they presented. Civil and ecclesiastical oppression 
had goaded many to desperation; the hope and love of liberty 
inspired that heroic ardor, which nothing could subdue; the de- 
tection of many a false pretence, and the discovery of many 
important errors, by which they had long been abused and de- 
luded, induced suspicions and doubts, and instigated to a licen- 
tious freedom of inquiry. Authority had lost all its weight; and 
truth, stripped of all adventitious ornament and recommendation, 
seemed clothed with irresistible charms. The period of dark- 
ness and the reign of terror were regarded to have passed 
away; and the dawn of peace, liberty, and religion, all over the 
world, was supposed to have commenced. Baxter's exertions 
to stem the progress of these men, however well-meant, were 
like attempts to check a volcano, by throwing stones into the 
crater; or to resist the mountain torrent by a wicker embank- 
ment. The tempest which had been long collecting at length 
burst with tremendous fury; but, though, for a time, it scattered 
dismay and desolation all around, it finally cleared the political 

(e) Life, part i. pp. 5054. 


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

"The officers of this army," says Sprigge, "were such 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 prospered. 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; some- 
thing of piety as well as pay. 

"The army was, w^hat 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 fau'ly 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 w^ere, 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 character- 
ised by sobriety, and accounts better for the conduct and suc- 
cess 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 vindi- 
cating the brave and, I must call them, enlightened men, who 
fought the batde of England's liberties, and to whose memories 
a large debt of gratitude still remains undischarged. 

"As soon as I came to the army," Baxter proceeds, "it 
marched speedily down into the west, because the king had no 

(f) Sprigg-e's 'Anglia Rediviva/ pp, 3:24, 325. 


army left there but the Lord Goring's, and it would not suffer 
the fugitives of Naseby-fight to come thitherto 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 
paced 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, more than hurting, Goring's men, 
and some musqueteers being sent to drive them from under the 
hedges, at last Cromwell bid Whalley send three of his troops 
to charge the enemy, and he sent three of the General's own 
regiment to second them; all being of Cromwell's own regi- 
ment. Whalley sent Major Bethel, Captain Evanson, and Cap- 
tain Grove, to charge; Major Desborough, with another troop 
or two, came after; as they could go but one or two abreast 
over the bridge. By the time Bethel and Evanson, with their 
troops were got up to the top of the lane, they met with a select 
party of Goring's best horse, and charged them at sword's point, 
whilst you would count three or four 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 over them upon the brow of the hill, saw 
all. When they saw themselves upon the face of Goring's army, 
they fled back in haste, and by the time they came to the lane 
again. Captain Grove's troop was ready to relieve them, and 
Desborough behind him. They then rallied again, and the five 
or six troops together marched towards all Goring's army; but 
before they came to the front, I could discern the rear begin to 
run, and so beginning in the rear, they all fled before they en- 
dured any charge; nor was there a blow struck that day, but by 
Bethel's and Evanson's troops, on that side, and a few mus- 
queteers in the hedges. Goring's army fled to Bridgewater; 
and very few of them were either killed or taken in the fight or 
the pursuit. I happened to be next to Major Harrison as soon 
as the flight began, and heard him with a loud voice break forth 
into the praises of God with fluent expressions, as if he had 
been in a rapture." ^ 

(g) Major-General Harrison was the son of a grazier at Nantwich, in Cheshire, 
and bred an attorney, but quitted that profession in the beginning of the civil war. 


It was while at Langport, that a remarkable circumstance 
took place, which continued for a long time to be privately cir- 
culated to the great prejudice of Baxter's character. Will the 
reader believe that he was actually charged with killing a man 
in cold blood with his own hand! 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 
Major 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 
man was stripped almost naked, and left for dead in the field. 
Mr. Baxter, and one Lieutenant Hurdman, taking their walk 
am^ong the wounded 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, as he was swimming in his gore, that he was a popish 
rogue, and that was 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. Somerfield, who then lived 
with Sir Thomas Rous. He generously restored it to the poor 
man, now alive 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 mer- 
ciless soldiers. Mr. Baxter approved of the inhumanity by 
feeding his eyes with so bloody and so barbarous a spectacle. 

"I, 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. 1 do solemnly protest, that to my knowledge, I never 
saw Major Jennings; that I never saw a man wound, hurt, strip 
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 

He was a man of courage and of great volubility, and was of singular use to Crom- 
well 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 Castle, for that purpose. 
He is said to have amused Fairfax with long prayers, for which he had an admirable 
talent, at the time of the king's execution. He was one of the ten regicides, as they 
were called, who were executed in October, 1660, and died exulting in the cause for 
which he suffered Granger's Biog. Hist. vol. iii. p. Go. 

(h) Baxter's True Hist, of Councils, pp. 1 6. 


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 parhament 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. My in- 
nocent father being prisoner at Lyndsel; and I, being at Lang- 
ford, resolved 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 Jen- 
nings, 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 
freely desired Mr. Somerfield to give it him from me, who 
had never seen him; supposing it was a mark of honor which 
might be useful to him. And now these lies are all the thanks 
that ever I had." ' 

Such is Baxter's full and satisfactory explanation of one of 
the most improbable and wicked calumnies that ever was propa- 
gated 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 clergy. It was be- 
lieved and circulated not merely by such persons as Vernon, 
and Long, and Lestrange; but by Dr. Boreman, of Trinity 
College, Cambridge; and Dr. Allestry, of Oxford. The latter, 
however, much to his credit, wrote him a letter of apology. But 
we must now return 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 presently back 
with the news of Goring's rout: when an hundred pounds re- 
ward was voted to himself for bringing the news, and to Major 
Bethel for his service; but no reward was given to Captain 
Evanson, because 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 Casde 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 round 

(i) Baxter's True Hist, of Councils, pp. 1 6 
VOL. I. 8 


about my quarters. As soon as I felt my disease, I rode six 
or seven miles back into the country, and the next morning, with 
much ado, I got to Bath. Here Dr. Venner was my careful 
physician: and when I was near death, far from all my acquaint- 
ance it pleased God to restore me; and on the fourteenth day 
the fever ended in a crisis. But it left me so emaciated 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 ord- 
nance, while the foot stormed the forts. Here Major 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 ord- 
nance 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 of the vahantest 
men were slain in the front. 

"When Sherborne Castle was taken, part of the army went 
back and took in a small garrison by Salisbury, called Langford 
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-house, the Marquis 
of Winchester's, which had frustrated great sieges heretofore. 
Here Colonel Hammond was taken prisoner into the house, 
afterwards the house was taken by storm, and he saved the 
Marquis and others; and much viches were taken by the sol- 

"In the mean time the rest of the army marched down again 
towards the Lord Goring, and Cromw^ell came after them. 
When we followed Lord Goring westward, we found that, above 
all other armies of the king, his soldiers were most hated by 
the people, for their incredible profaneness, and their unmerci- 
ful plundering, many of them being foreigners. A sober gen- 
tleman, whom I quartered with at South Pederton, in Somer- 
setshire, averred to me, that, when with him, a company of 
them pricked their fingers, and let the blood run into the cup, 

(j) Life, parti, pp. 64,55. 


and drank a health to the devil in it: and no place could I come 
into, but their horrid impiety and outrages, made them odious. 
"The army marched down by Hunnington to Exeter; where 
I continued near three weeks among them at the siege, and 
then Whalley's regiment, w^ith the General's, Fleetwood's, and 
others, being sent back, I returned with them and left the siege; 
which continued till the city was taken. The army following 
Goring into Cornwall, there forced him to lay down arms, 
his men going away beyond sea, or elsewhere, without their 
arms: and at last, Pendennis Casde, and all the garrisons there, 
were taken. i'^ 

"In the mean time, Whalley was to command the return of 
the party of horse, to keep in the garrison of Oxford till the 
army 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 Comp- 
ton was governor, w^ho had wearied out one long siege before. 
There I was wdth them above two months, till the castle was 
taken; and then he was sent to lay siege to Worcester, with the 
help of the Northampton, and Warwick, and Newport Pagnel sol- 
diers, w^ho had assisted him at Banbury. At Worcester, he lay 
in siege eleven weeks: and at the same time, the army being 
come up from the w^est, lay in siege at Oxford. 

"By this time. Colonel Whalley, though Cromwell's 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, w^hich had yielded, with some regiments of foot to 
command in chief; partly that he might be governor there, and 
not Whalley, w^hen the city was surrendered. So when it was 
yielded, Rainsborough was governor, to head and gratify the 
sectaries, and setde city and county in their w^ay; but the com- 
mittee of the county were for Whalley, and lived in distaste 
with Rainsborough, and the sectaries prospered there no further 
than Worcester city itself, a place which deserved such a judg- 
ment; 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 receive 
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 vented, which one in forty of the army owned not, was 
the army's opinion. When we quartered at Agmondeshan, in 
Buckinghamshire, some sectaries of Chesham had set up a pub- 
lic meeting for conference, to propagate their opinions through 
all the country; and this in the church, by the encouragement 
of an 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 army 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. I took the read- 
ing pew, and Pitchford's cornet and troopers took the gallery. 
And there I found a crow^ded congregation of poor well-mean- 
ing people, who came in the simplicity of their hearts to be de- 
ceived. 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 w4ien I was gone, and made the 
people believe that they had baffled me, or got the best; there- 
fore, I stayed it out till they first rose and went away. The 
abundance of nonsense wdiich they uttered that day, may partly 
be seen in Mr. Edward's 'Gangrsena;' 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 Agmondesham, gave me abundance of thanks for that 
day's work, which they said would never be there forgotten; I 
heard also that the sectaries were so discouraged that they never 
met there any more. I am sure 1 had much thanks from Dr. 
Cook, and Mr. Richardson, who, being obnoxious to their dis- 
pleasure 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 endeavors, 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 
many, as soldiers' quarters are scattered far from one another, 
and I coLild be but in one place at once. So that one troop at 
a time, ordinarily, and some few more extraordinary, was all that 

(k) This letter appears in the third part of that precious collection of absurdity, 
calumny, and lying. It is to be regretted that Baxter should have contributed any 
thing to such a farrago of nonsense and wickedness. 


I could speak to. The most of the service I did beyond Whal- 
ley'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 I found that if the army 
had only had ministers enough, who would have done such little 
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 head quarters; but honest and judicious Mr. Edward 
Bowles kept still with the General.^ At last I 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 re- 
munerate him out of their own pay. A month or two he stayed 
and assisted me; but was quickly weary, and left them again. 
He was a very worthy, humble, laborious man, unwearied in 
preaching, but weary when he had not opportunity to preach, 
and weary of the 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. The 
Lord General suffered him to govern and do all, and to choose 
almost all the officers of the army. He first made 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 valor as their 
opinions; so that, by degrees, he had headed the greatest part 
of the army with anabaptists, antinomians, seekers, or separa- 
tists, 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 pro- 
fession, that he only promoted the universal interest of the godly, 
without 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 dis- 
pute with me at all; but he would, in good discourse, very flu- 
ently pour out himself in the extolling of free grace, which was 

(1) Mr. Bowles left the army in January, 1645, for his charge at York, and was 
succeeded by Dell, as chaplain, to the General. He and Saltmarsh were both in- 
clined to Antinomianism. The latter was a complete mystic; though perhaps both 
went further afterwards, than when they were about Fairfa.x,who seems to have been 
a moderate, sober-minded man. Spngge's Anglia, p. 1G6. 


savory to those that had right principles, though he had some 
misunderstandings of free grace himself. He was a man of 
excellent natural parts for affection and oratory, but not well 
seen in the principles of his religion; of a sanguine complexion, 
naturally of such vivacity, hilarity, and alacrity, as another man 
hath when he hath drunken a cup too much; but naturally, also, 
so 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 friend, who had lived in my house and been dearest to 
me, James Berry, then captain, after colonel and major-general, 
then lord of the Upper House, who had formerly invited me 
to Cromwell's old troop, did never once invite me to the army 
at first, nor invite me to his quarters after, nor ever once came 
to visit me, or even saw me, save twice or thrice that we met 
accidentally. So potent is the interest of ourselves and our 
opinions with us, against all other bonds whatever. He that for- 
saketh himself in forsaking his own opinions, may well be expect- 
ed to forsake his friend, who adhereth to the way which he for- 
saketh; and that change which maketh him think he was him- 
self an ignorant, misguided man before, must needs make him 
think his friend to be still ignorant and misguided, and value 
him accordingly. He was a man, I verily think, before the 
wars, of great sincerity; of very good natural parts, especially 
mathematical and mechanical; affectionate in religion, and while 
conversant with humbling providences, doctrines, and company, 
he carried himself as a very great enemy to pride: but when 
Cromwell made him his favorite, and his extraordinary valor 
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 tha't new light had declared I know not what to be a 
higher attainment, his mind, his aim, his talk and all were 
altered accordingly. And as ministers of the old way were 
lower, and sectaries much higher, in his esteem than formerly; 
so he was much higher in his own esteem when he thought he 
had attained much higher, than he was before, when he sat with 
his fellows in the common form. Being never well studied in 
the body of divinity, but taking his light among the sectaries, 
before the light which longer and patient studies of divinity 
should have possessed him with, he lived after as honestly as 
could be expected in one that taketh error for truth, and evil 
to be good. 

"After this, he was president of the agitators, a major-general 
and lord, a principal person in the changes, and the chief exe- 
cutioner in pulling down Richard Cromwell; and then one of 
the governing council of state. All this was promoted by the 
misunderstanding of Providence; for he verily thought that God 


by their victories, had so called them to look after the govern- 
ment of the land, and so entrusted them with the welfare of all 
his people here, that they were responsible for it, and might not 
in conscience stand still w^hile any thing was done which they 
thought was against that interest which they judged to be the 
interest of the people of God. 

"As he was the chief in pulling down, he was one of the first 
that fell: for Sir Arthur Haselrigge taking Portsmouth, his regi- 
'ment of horse, sent to block it up, went most of them to Sir 
Arthur. And when the army was melted to nothing, and the 
king ready to come in, the council of state imprisoned him, be- 
cause he would not promise to live peaceably; and afterwards 
he (being one of the four whom General Monk had the worst 
thoughts of) was closely confined in Scarborough Castle; but, 
being released, he became a gardener and lived in a safer state 
than in all his greatness.'^ 

"When Worcester siege was over, having seen, with joy, 
Kidderminster, and my friends there once again, the country 
being now cleared, my old flock expected that I should return 
to them, and settle in peace among them. I accordingly went 
to Coventry, and called the ministers again together, who 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 labored 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 industry was so much greater than 
others, they were like to have their will; that w^hatever obedi- 
ence they pretended, I doubted not but they would pull down 
all that stood in their w^ay, in state and church, both king, par- 
liament, and ministers, and set up themselves. I told them that 
for the little that I had done, I had ventured my life, and weak- 
ened my body (weak before,) but that the day, which I ex- 
pected, 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 

(m) I am inclined to think that Baxter has expressed a more unfavorable opinion 
of Berry than he deserved. He probably found it inexpedient or even dang-erous, to 
countenance Baxter's zeal in endeavoring to reform the army and obstruct the design 
of its leaders; to avoid quarrelling with an inoffensive and well-meaning- but, as he 
would regard him, a wrong-headed man, he kept out of his way. Berry was a man 
of talents and energy; one of the men who was formed by the times; who lived in 
the tempest and the earthquake, and sunk into obscurity in the calm. I have noticed 
him in the Memoirs of Owen, p. 279, 2d edit. 


were any hope, by contradicting them, or drawing off the sol- 
diers 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 judg- 
ment was for staying among them till the crisis, if their judg- 
ment did concur. Whereupon they all voted me to go and 
leave Kidderminster yet longer, which accordingly I did. 

"From Worcester I went to London to Sir Theodore May- 
em, 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 sol- 
dier, but a friend. From thence I went into Leicestershire, Staf- 
fordshire, and at last into Derbyshire. One advantage of this 
moving life was, that I had opportunity to preach in many coun- 
ties and parishes; and whatever came of it afterward, I know 
not; but at the time, they commonly seemed to be much affected. 

"I came to Major Swallow's quarters, at Sir John Cook's 
house, at Melbourn, on the edge of Derbyshire, beyond Ashby- 
de-la-Zouch, in a cold and snowy season: and the cold, together 
with other things coincident, set my nose on bleeding. When I 
had bled about a quart or two, I opened four veins, but that did 
no good. I used divers other remedies, for several days, to litde 
purpose: at last I gave myself a purge, which stopped it. This 
so much weakened me, and altered my complexion, that my 
acquaintances who came to visit me, scarcely knew me. Com- 
ing after so l6ng 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 effect 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, first 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, ihey first began to open 
their purpose and act their part; and, piesently after, they enter- 
ed into their engagement at Triploe Heath. As I perceived it 
was the will of God to permit then 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 hkely to have had 
smaU 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 Melbourn, 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 
Leicestershire, 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 weak- 
ness, 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 returned to Kidderminster." " 

Thus terminated Baxter's connection with the army. In 
reviewing his account of it, we cannot help admiring the disin- 
terestedness of the motives by which he appears to have been 
inflluenced, 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 produced by his labors than the circumstances war- 
ranted. These high-minded soldiers, accustomed to dispute as 
well as to fight, and who were no less confident of victory in the 
polemic arena than of triumph in the field of battle, were not 
to be put down by the controversial powers of Baxter, great as 
those powers were. To his metaphysical distinctions, they 
opposed their personal feelings and convictions, which were pro- 
duced by a very different process, and not to be altered by any 
refinements of disquisition. When he contended against the jus- 
tice of theii* 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. Move- 
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. Cromwell and 
his officers had no objection to an occasional theological contest 
among the soldiers, or, even to engage in one themselves. It 
reheved the tug of war: it operated as a divertisement from 

(n) Life; part 1. pp. 55 59. 
VOL. I. 9 


Other subjects on which their minds would have been less prof- 
itably employed; while it often excited that very ardor of soul, 
on w^hich the success of the army of the Commonwealth mainly 

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 exam- 
ple. This could not arise from the apprehension of personal 
danger, for they could have little to fear of this nature. In fact, 
they must generally have been safer wdth 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 re- 
gardlessness of consequences. His love of disputation, his 
qualifications as a debater, and his devotedness to what he re- 
garded 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 com- 
panion 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 circumstances, 
find scope or employment. By advising him, then, to follow 
his own convictions, and join the army, they at once did hom- 
age to his talents, and gratified his love of employment; while, 
by remaining in retirement and safety themselves, they showed 
either their love of ease, or that they had little confidence in 
the wisdom or success of Baxter's attempt to save his country, 
and deliver his king, by ministerial influence over the soldiers. 

Whatever weight may be due to these reasonings, it is evi- 
dent that, in the army, Baxter was neither an idle nor an uncon- 
cerned spectator. He labored indefatigably, and persevered 
amidst all discouragements. He failed in his main object; but 
he succeeded in repressing evil, and in encouraging much that 
was good. He acquired considerable additions to his stock of 
experience, and his knowledge of men, and has left us some 
important information respecting the characters and events of 
this period. 

During the latter part of the time which he spent in the army, 
and chiefly when laid aside by severe illness, he wrote, though 
tliey were not then pubhshed, his 'Aphorisms of Justification,' 
and his 'Saint's Rest.' The last work chiefly occupied his 
tiioughts and his pen, though the other appeared first. His dis- 
putes with the antinomian soldiers led to his 'Aphorisms,' while 
his labors and afflictions produced his meditations on '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 dis- 
covers the maturity and elevation of mind to which he had even 
then risen; and had he ne\er 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. 

CHAPTER IV. 16461656. 

The Religious Parties of the Period The Westminster Assembly Character of the Eras- 
tians Episcopalians Presbyterians Independents Baptists State of Religion in these 
Parties iMinor Sects Vanists Seekers Ranters Quakers Behminists Review of 
this Period. 

Having, in the preceding chapter, given a view of the civil 
and military affairs with which Baxter was connected, from tlie 
commencemenr 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 sev- 
eral parties which composed it: and, as he has given his opinion 
of them at considerable length, it may be proper here to intro- 
duce it. 

"This Synod was not a convocation, according to the dioce- 
san way of government; nor was it called by the votes of the 
ministers, 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 ecclesi- 
astical 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 coun- 
ties 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. Holdsworth, Dr. Hammond, Dr. Wincop, Bishops 
Westfield and Prideaux, and many more; but they would not 


come, because the king declared himself against it. Dr. Featly, 
and a few more of that party, however, came; but at last he 
was charged with sending intelligence to the king, for w^hich he 
was imprisoned. The divines there congregated, were men of 
eminent learning, godliness, ministerial abilities, and fidelity: and 
being not worthy to be one of them myself, I may the more 
freely speak tlie truth, even in the face of malice and envy; 
that, as far as I am able to judge by the information of all his- 
tory of that kind, and by any other evidences left us, the Chris- 
tian 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 honor 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 more skilful 
hand, had done more than was done to heal our breaches, and 
had hit upon the right w^ay, eidier to unite wdth the Episcopali- 
ans 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 waiters were under 
the influence, though in different w^ays, of strong prejudices 
against it. The former, by his monarchical and episcopal predi- 
lections; the latter, by his republicanism. Clarendon hated 
presbyterianism, with all the cordiality of a cavalier, who re- 
garded 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 big- 
otry of mary 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-born 
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 
favor; 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 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.^ 

(a) Life, part i. p. 93. 

(b) Lord Clarendon's account of the Assembly is as follows^ "And now the par- 
liament showed what consultation they meant to have witli godly and learned divines, 


It seems very doubtful whether the parliament wished that 
the Assembly should unite in a form of church government to 

and what reformation they intended, by appointing the knights and burgesses to 
bring in the names of such divines for the several counties, as they thought tit to con- 
stitute an assembly for the framing a new model for the government of the church, 
which w as done accordingiyj those who were true sons ol ihe church, not so much as 
endeavoring the nomination 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 
known as Magna Charta: and if any well-afiected member, not enough considering 
the scandal and the consequence of that violation, did name an orthodox and well-re- 
puted divine to assist in that assembly, it was argument enough against him, that he 
was nominated by a person in whom they had no confidence; and they only had rep- 
utation enough to commend to this consultation those who were known to desire the 
utter demolishing of the whole fabric of the church; so that of about one hundred 
and twenty of w hich that assemblj^ was to consist, though by the recommendation of 
two or three members of the Commons, whom they were not willing to displease, and 
by the authority of the Lords, who added a small number to those named by the 
House of Commons, a few very reverend and worthy men were inserted; yet, of the 
whole number there were not above twenty who w ere not declared and avowed ene- 
mies to the doctrine or discipline of the ciiurch of England; some of them infamous 
in their lives and conversations, and most of ihem of very mean parts in learning, 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 might 
not then reasonabi}' have been expected from it." Hist, of the Rebellion, vol. i. pp. 
630,531. Edit. 1720. 

The charges contained in the latter part of this paragraph, are utterly unfounded. 
The members of the Assembly were, in general, respectable for their talents and 
learning; and all of them were highly respectable in point of character. It is equally 
untrue that all, or even any considerable number of them, were enemies to the 
church of England. 

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

"And if the state were in this plight, religion was not in much better; to reform 
which, a certain number of divines were called, neither chosen by 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 fancy, thought fit, so elected one by one. 
The most part of them were such as had preached and criecl down, with great show 
of zeal, the 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 these conscientious men (ere any part of the work was 
done for which they came together, and that on the public salary) wanted not bold- 
ness, to the ignominy and scandal of their pastor-like profession, and especially of 
their boasted reformation, to seize into their hands or not unwillingly to accept, (be- 
sides one, sometimes two or more, of the best livings) collegiate masterships in the 
University, rich lectures in the city; setting sail to all winds that might blow gain into 
their covetous bosoms: by which means these great rebukers of non-residence, among 
so many distant cures, were not ashamed to be seen so quickly pluralists and non- 
residents themselves, to a fearful condemnation, doubtless, by their own mouths. 
And yet the main doctrine for which they took such pay, and insisted upon with more 
vehemence than Gospel, was but to tell us, in effect, that their doctrine was worth 
nothing, and the spiritual power of their ministry less available than bodily compul- 
sion; persuading the magistrate to use it as a stronger means to subdue and brij>g in 
conscience, than evangelical persuasion: distrusting the virtue of their own spiritual 
weapons which were given them, if they might be rightl3' called, %\ itii full warrant of 
sufficiency to pull down all thoughts and imaginations that exalt themselves against 
God. But while they taught compulsion without convincemenl, which, long before, 
they complained of as executed unchristianly against themselves, ihcir contents are 
clear to have been no better than antichristians; setting up a spiritual tyranny by a 
secular power, to the advancing of their own authority above the magistrate, whom 
they would have made their executioner to punish church delinquencies, whcreol' civil 
laws have no cognisance. 

"And well did their disciples manifest themselves to be no better principled than 
their teachers; trusted with committeeships and othergainful offices, upon their com- 
mendations for zealous and (as they hesitated not to term them) godly men, but exe- 
cuting their places like children of the devil, unfaithfully, unjustly, unmercifully, and, 
where not corruptly, stupidly. So that between them, the teachers, and these, the 
disciples, there hath not been a more ignominious and mortal wound to faith, to piety 


be imposed on the country. It was called, to engage the atten- 
tion of the Puritans, and to please the sects 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 senti- 
ment as those who were chosen to sit in this convocation, would 
ever agree in the divine right and universal obligation of any 
ecclesiastical 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 eclesiasti- 
cal code, new difficulties or questions were always proposed to 
them, w^hich occasioned protracted debates and increasing dif- 
ferences. The Assembly at last broke up without finishing its 

A short account of the several leading parties in the country, 
or which were represented in the Assembly, will justify these 
remarks, 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 Independent 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 lawy^ers, and men of pro- 
found learning and talents. Lightfoot and Coleman w^ere dis- 
tinguished as much among the divines for rabbinical knowledge, 
as the two former w^ere among the men of their own profession. 

to the work of reformation, nor more cause of blaspheming' given to the enemies of 
God and truth, since the first preaching" of the reformation." 

This passage belongs to Milton's -Fragment of a History of England/ first pub- 
lished in I67O5 but from which the quotation was expunged. It was first printefl by 
itself, in 1681; and afterwards appeared in the edition of his works published in 17.38. 
It should be remembered, that Milton did not assail the Assembly 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 Presbyte- 
rian clergy the offence, and revenges himself on the Assembly in the above tirade. 
It deserves to be noticed, that his work on 'Divorce' is dedicated to this very assem- 
bly, as well as to the Long Parliament; both of which he afterwards so severely' de- 
nounces, lu 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 ^u-o years after 
the Assembly had met, and when its character must have been well known. When 
he published his 'Tetrachordon,' in defence of the former work, he leaves out the As- 
sembly in the dedication, and addresses it to the parliament only. In the 'Colaste- 
rion.'he attacks the anonymous member of the Assembly, who had assailed him, 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. 

(c) Bailie's Letter, and Journals passim; Memoirs of Owen, pp. 53, 54, 400, 2d 


*'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, 
church, 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 tendency and design of the system would certainly con- 
vert 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 apos- 
tles, evangelists, and others, who were 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 gen- 
eral, 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 

(d) Life, part ii. p. 139. The following- amusing account of the origin and pro- 
<:^rpss of Erastianism, is from the pen of Mr. George Gilespie, one of the Scots com- 
missioners to the Westminster Assem!>iy, who wrote a volume against it under the 
title of 'Aaron's Rod Blossoming.' "The father of it is the old serpent; its mother 
is (he enmity of our nature against the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ; and the mid- 
wife who brought this unhappy brood into the liirht of the world, was Thomas Eras- 
tus. doctor of medicine, at Heidelberg'. The Erastian error being born, the breasts 
which gave it suck, were profaneness and self; its strong food when advanced in 
growth, was arbitrary government; and its careful tutor was Arminianism." Book i. 
chap. 2. The book from v/hich this curious extract is taken, is written with considera- 
ble ability, and contains unanswerable arguments in proof that the New Testament 
furnishes a form of church government, which Christians are bound to adopt. It de- 
serves to be read as an antidote to the plausible but fallacious reasonings of the 
'Irenicum,' of Bishop Stillingfleet. 

(e) Life, part ii. p. 140. 


as that for which Baxter himself pleaded. Indeed, a nnmher of 
them would not take the covenant when it came from Scotland, 
till it was explained that the episcopacy which they were called 
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 
acknowledge a limited episcopacy than to submit to the divine 
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, Twiss, 
Whyte, Palmer, Marshall, and the Scottish commissioners. 
And in the House of Commons, Hollis, Glyn, Maynard, Clement 
Walker, and William Prynne. They were supported by Essex, 
Manchester, and Northumberland, among the peers; and by the 
body of the clergy of London, the mass of the religious pro- 
fessors 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 eulogized 
its virtues, he was not blind to its faults. 

"As for the Presbyterians," he says, "I found that the office 
of preaching presbj^ers, was allowed by all who deserved the 
name of Christians; that this office did participate, subserviently 
to Christ, in the prophetical, or teaching; the priestly, or wor- 
shipping; and the governing power; and that Scripture, anti- 
quity, 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 endeavor to 
destroy the churches. I saw, also, in Scripture, antiquity, and 
reason, that the association of pastors and churches for agree- 
ment, and their synods in cases of necessity, are a plain duty: 
and that their ordinary stated synods are usually very conven- 
ient. 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 object- 
ed: "I disliked their order of lay-elders, who had no ordination, 
or power to preach, or to administer sacraments: for though 1 
grant that lay-elders, or the chief of the people, were often 
employed to express the people's consent, and preserve their 

(f ) Neal, iii., p. 56, (g) Life, part ii., p. 140. 


liberties; yet tiiese were no church officers at all, nor had any 
charge of private oversight of the flocks. 

"I dishked, also, the course of some of the more rigid of them, 
who drew too near the way of prelacy, by grasping at a kind of 
secular power; not using it themselves, but binding the magis- 
trates to confiscate or imprison men, merely because they were 
excommunicated; and so co'Tupting the true discipline of the 
church, and turning the communion of saints into the communion 
of the multitude, who must keep in the ctiurch against their wills 
for fear of being undone in the woi'id. Whereas, a man whose 
conscience cannot feel a just excommunication unless it be 
backed with confiscation or imprisonment, is no fitter to be a 
member of a Cj]risti?n church, than a corpse is to be a mem- 
ber of a corporation. It is true they claim not this power 
as jure divino; but no more do the prelates, though the writ de 
excommunicato capiendo is the life of all their censures. Both 
parties too much debase the magistrate, by making him their 
mere executionei-; 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 cor- 
rupt the discipline of Christ, by mixing it with secular force. 
They reproach the keys, or ministerial power, as if it were a 
leaden sword, and not worth a straw, unless the magistrate's 
sword enforce it. What, then, did the primitive church for three 
hundred years? Worst of all, they corrupt the church, by forc- 
ing in the rabble of the unfit and unwilling; and thereby tempt 
man}'' 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 
leave them to their own weapons the word and spiritual keys 
and, valeant quantum valere possunt, 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 done."^ 

While the reader must admire the candor of these remarks, 
as they bear on the party, w^ith which Baxter was more identi- 
fied than any other, he will no less cordially approve his enlight- 
ened views 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 a vast portion of the perplexity and trouble which 
they have experienced in the management of their affairs; and 

(h) Life, part ii., pp, 142, 143. 
VOL. I. 10 


the church would have been preserved from much of that secu- 
larity 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 sen- 
tence 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 exercise of a certain measure of coercion or restraint by 
others, in support of what he might have considered the good of 
the individuals themselves, or of what the interests of the com- 
munity required. 

Baxter was less friendly to the Independents than to any other 
of the leading parties of his times. For this, various reasons 
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 con- 
sidered 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 I think he 
was mistaken in various particulars. The following account of 
the Independents, considering Baxter's opinions, is honorable 
both to the writer and 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 begin- 
ning, 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 w^ere no bigger, in respect 
of number, than our parishes now. These Avere societies of 
Christians united for personal communion, and not only for com- 
munion by meetings of officers and delegates in synods, as many 
churches in association be. I saw, if once w^e 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 nature 
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 episcopal 


men, as Bishop Usher himself, did hold that every bishop was 
independent, as to synods, and that synods were not proper gov- 
ernors of the particular bishops, but only for their concord." ^ 

In this passage, Baxter grants almost every thing for which 
the Independents have contended. It is rather surprising, con- 
sidering his acuteness, that he did not perceive the inferences 
which ought to be drawn from the premises. If primitive church- 
es were possessed of separate and independent authority, and 
consisted only of those who appeared to be Christians; and if 
going beyond personal communion, as the great object of Chris- 
tian association leaves every thing vague and indefinite, it seems 
very clear on which side the strength of the argument respecting 
church government and fellow^ship lies. In fact, Baxter was 
more an Independent or congregationalist, both in theory and 
practice, than he w^as 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 dislike many things. They made too light of ordina- 
tion. They also had their office of lay-eldership. They were 
commonly stricter about the quahfication 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 questioneth 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 
churches; so that he will be passable in one church, who is in- 
tolerable in another; and thus the churches will be heteroge- 
neous and confused.'^ There is in all this a little, if not more 
than a little, spiritual pride of tlie w^eaker sort of professors, 

(I) Life, part i., p. 140. 

(k) I am not aware that Independents, either in earlj' or in latter times, required 
more as the term of religious fellowship than a credible profession; that is. a profession 
entitled to belief, under all the circumstances in which it is made. As the tendency 
of human nature is to be lax, rather than rigid, Baxter's account of the rigidity of 
the body is greatly to its honor. The concluding reflections in the above paragraph, 
on the motives of the parties, and the defence of impure communion, are unworthy of 
Baxter. Some of ihe other things to which he objects, if they existed in the infancy 
of the body, exist no longer; and, therefore, do not require any comment. The 
author must refer the reader to the 'Memoirs of Dr. Owen,' for a fuller, and, as he 
considers, a more correct view of Independency, than what is given by Baxter, or 
than it would be proper to introduce here. 


aiFecting to be visibly set at a greater distance from the colder 
professors of Christianity, than God would have them, that so 
they may be more observable and conspicuous for their holiness 
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 kept 
in the church for the sake and service of the sincere. 

*'I disliked, also, the lamentable tendency of this their way to 
divisions and subdivisions, and the nourishing of heresies and 
sects. But above all I disliked, that most of them made the peo- 
ple, by majority of votes, to be church governors, in excommuni- 
cations, absolutions, he, which Christ hath made an act of of- 
fice, and so they governed their governors and themselves. They 
also too much exploded synods; refusing them as stated, and ad- 
mitting them but upon some extraordinary occasions. I disliked, 
also, their over-rigidness against the admission of Christians of 
other churches to their communion. And their making a minis- 
ter to be as no minister to anv but his own flock, and to act to 
others but as a private man; with divers others such irregulari- 
ties and dividing opinions; many of which the moderation of the 
New England synod hath of late corrected and disowned; and 
so done very much to heal these breaches." ^ 

Such is Baxter's account of the Independents of his times. 
The number of their ministers who were members of die West- 
minster Assembly, did not exceed ten or twelve. Of these, 
Goodwin, Nye, Burroughs, Simpson, and Bridge were reckoned 
as the leaders, and by the admission of all parties were among the 
most distinguished in that body for learning, talents, and address. 
Baxter, Baillie, Lightfoot, and others, unite in bewaring this testi- 
mony to them. They threw every possible obstacle in the way 
of establishing Presbyterian uniformity; and though outvoted 
by numbers, their resistance and perseverance, aided by the en- 
hghtened friends of religious liberty in parliament, among whom 
must be reckoned Vane, Cromwell, Pym, and Harrison, suc- 
ceeded in preventing the ascendency of a party, which, as it was 
then constituted, had it obtained sufficient power, would have 
mercilessly persecuted all who opposed its progress or were in- 
imical to its interests. 

These were the chief parties in England when the West- 
minster assembly was called, and wdiich may be considered as 
represented in that body. 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 

(1) Life, part ii., pp. 143, 144. 


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 tbe religious community of 
England at that time, no doubt can be entertained, that Calvin- 
ism was then the prevailing doctrinal system, both in the church 
and out of it. 

Oa 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 
divino prelatists, solemn-league-and-covenant presbyterians, lat- 
itudinorian 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 
time the cause of civil and religious freedom steadily advanced, 
and finally gained ascendency. While the parties differed 
among themselves, nothing could be enforced by authority; and 
when the majority decided in favor of the divine right of pres- 
byterianism, the civil powers had fallen into hands which took ef- 
fectual care that it should not be established. The friends of that 
system, grasping at too much, frustrated their own aim; and lost 
in the struggle for exclusive authority, their influence in religion, 
and then* importance in politics. In the righteous retribution 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 it ministers, it is 
gratifying to find him record the following opinion of its char- 
acter: "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 die point of infant 
baptism, or, at most, in the points of predestination, free-will, 
and perseverance. And I 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 w^orld, the fol- 
lowing summing up, by himself, is particularly worthy of atten- 
tion: "Among all these parties, I found that some were natu- 
rally of mild, calm, and gentle dispositions; and some of sour, 
froward, passionate, peevish, or furious natures. Some were 
young, 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 widiout hypocrisy; 
who, being 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, profane, 
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 

(m) Life, part ii., pp. 140, lil. 


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 die considerate reader. The Presbyterian party 
consisted of grave, orthodox, godly ministers, together with 
the hopeftdest 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; inclined 
much to novelties and separations, and abounding more in zeal 
than knowledge; usually dohig more for subdivisions than the 
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 subdivis- 
ions, and by the temptation of prosperity and success in arms, 
and the policy of some commanders, were led into rebellions and 
hot endeavors 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 himelf, 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 
man 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 diat he 
considered there was a large preponderance of genuine religion 
among each; which far more than outweighed all the dross and 
alloy belonging to diem. They who imagine there was nothing 
but sectarian zeal, guided and excited by political frenzy, en- 

(n) Life, part ii. pp. 14-1 1 16. 


tirely mistake the true state of things. There was much real re- 
ligion in the parties which professed it, though mixed up with a 
great deal of what tended to injure it, or occasion misconception 
of its nature. 

Baxter was so fully convinced of the prevalence of true re- 
ligion among the persons composing the leading parties, that he 
made it much of the business of his hfe to convince them, that 
they differed less from each other than they themselves suppos- 
ed, and to induce them to act together in Christian fellowship. 
*'I thought it my duty," he says, "to labor 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 among them all, 
and to reject the rest; and especially to labor to revive Chris- 
tian charity, which faction and disputes had lamentably extin- 
guished."" This object he prosecuted in the most indefatiga- 
ble manner, by conversation, preaching, writing, and disputing; 
and though he often complains of disappointment, and deplores 
the divisions of the period, bis 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 considerable. 

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 in- 
creased, 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 prejudice 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 reproach 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 ii 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 haimts 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 remember that unity is the boast of the Romish church, 

(o) Life, part i. p. 144. 


and division 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 discredit 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 im- 
proprieties which they all deplored. The excitement produced 
by that glorious event was not likely to spend all its force on the 
minds which were capable of bearing it without injury; it was 
necessarily 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 fury 
both friends and foes. 

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 
efl:ects. 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 com- 
mencement of a new and splendid era. Politicians, astrologers, 
lawyers, physicians and philosophers, as well as theologians, felt 
its power. 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, from its infinitely greater importance than all otlier 
things, necessarily wrought most powerfully in these circum- 
stances on those who were concerned for its interests. The 
zeal of such persons, was not always in proportion to the 
strength or the correctness of their judgment. It was not too 
fervent, had it been sufliciently enlightened; but being, in many 
instances, in the inverse ratio of knowledge and prudence, it 
produced all sorts of wild and eccentric movements. We de- 
plore that this should have been the case; but it is foolish to be 
surprised, or to sneer, at it. Circumstances produced sects in 
religion as they produced parties in politics: they formed here- 
sies in the church as they created false theories in the state. If 
fanatics and heresiarchs abounded, so did quack doctors, and 
political empyrics. Spiritual nostrums were not more numer- 
ous or discordant than astrological conundrums, and philosophi- 

VOL. T. 11 


cal dreams and visions. Let Baxter's account of the following 
sects be read under the influence of these remarks, and nothing 
will appear either unaccountable or extraordinary. 

*'In these times," referring particularly to the period of the 
Rump Parhament, "sprang up five sects, at least, whose doc- 
trines were almost the same, but they fell into several shapes 
and names: the V'anists; the Seekers; the Ranters; the Quakers; 
the Behmenists." Of each of these, we are furnished with a 
short account. 

"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 Anti- 
nomianism 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 to 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 indus- 
try, he labored, not without success, to win others in parliament, 
city, and country, to his way. When 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 con- 
demnation. To most of our changes, he was that within the 
House, which Cromv/ell 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 cloud- 
ily 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 w^orld, and too low for the other, that 
he thereby proved almost barren also; and vanity and sterility 

(p) I have not inserted all that Baxter says about New England. The foolish story 
about Mrs. Dyer is a proof only of the malevolence or folly of the inventors. Weld's 
book is the production of a weak, prejudiced man, and entitled to little respect as 


were never more happily conjoined.^ Mr. Sprigge is the chief 
of his more open disciplesj 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 Universal Liberty of Conscience, and against the Magis- 
trates intermeddling with Religion;' and his teaching his follow- 
ers to revile the ministry, calling them, ordinarily, blackcoats, 
priests, and other names which then savored of reproach; 
and those gentlemen that adhered to the ministry, they said, 
were priest-ridden. 

"When Cromwell had served himself by him, as his surest 
friend, as long as he could, and gone as far with him as their 
way lay together (Vane being for a fanatic democracy, and 
Cromwell for monarchy,) at last, there was no remedy but they 
must part; and when Cromwell cast out the Rump, he called 
Vane a juggler, and Martin a whoremonger, to excuse his usage 
of the rest. 

When Vane was thus laid by, he wrote his book, called 'The 
Retired Man's Meditations,' wherein the best part of his opin- 
ions are so expressed as will make but few men his disciples. 
His 'Healing Question' is more plainly written. 

(q) Baxter's opinion of Sterry underwent a great change after this punning pas- 
sage was written. He thus speaks of him in his 'Catholic Theology/ "It is long 
since I heard of the name and fame of Mr. Peter Sterry. His common fame was, 
that his preaching was such as few, or none, could understand, which increased my 
desire to have heard him, of which I still missed, though I often attempted it. But 
now since his death, while my book is in the press, a posthumous tract of his cometh 
forth, of Free \V\\\: upon perusal of which, I found in him the same notions as in Sir 
Harry Vanej but all handled with much more strength of parts, and rapture of high- 
est devotion, and greater candor toward all others, than I expected. His preface is 
a most excellent persuasive to universal charity. Love was never more extolled 
than throughout this book. Doubtless, his head was strong, his wit admirably preg- 
nant, his searching studies hard and sublime, and, I think, his heart replenished with 
holy love to God, and great charity, moderation, and peaceableness towards men: 
insomuch, that I heartily repent that I so far believed fame as to think somewhat 
hardlier of him and his few adherents, than I now think they deserve." Cath. Theol. 
part iii. p. 107. 

While this passage does great credit to the candor and honesty of Baxter, it shows 
us with what caution we ought to receive his opinions of the sectaries of the Common- 
wealth. Sterry has, like many of the men of that period, been most unrighteously 
abused. He was mysticalj but so were Fenelon, Madam Guion, Henry More, and 
many others, whose talents and piety have never been questioned. His works prove 
that he was no fool, and Viis 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 intelligible. 

(r) 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 in Pancras, Soperlane, London.' 12mo. 164-9. The worst which can be 
said of these discourses is, that they are somewhat mystical; otherwise they are cred- 
itable both to the piety and talents of their author 


*'When Cromwell was dead, he got Sir Arthur Haselrigge to 
be his close adherent on civil accounts, procured the Rump to 
be set up again, with a council of state, and got the power much 
into his own hands. When he 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 gov- 
ernment; 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 a poor kingdom tossed up and down in un- 
quietness, the ministers made odious, and ready to be cast out, a 
reformation trodden underfoot, and parliament and piety made 
a scorn, w^iile scarce any doubted but he was the principal 
spring of all. Therefore, being writing against the Papists, and 
coming to vindicate our religion against them, when they impute 
to us the blood of the king, I fully proved that the Protestants, 
and particularly the Presbyterians, abhorred it, and suffered 
greatly for opposing it; and that it was the act of Cromwell's 
army, and the sectaries, among which J named the Vanists as 
one sort. I show^ed that the Friars and Jesuits were the de- 
ceivers, 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 
France, and Helvetia, upon the borders of Italy. By mistake, 
it was printed fi-om Italy. I had ordered the printer to correct 
it 'towards Italy;' but, though the copy was corrected, the im- 
pression w^as not. Hereupon Sir Henry Vane, being exceedingly 
]3rovoked, 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 tin*ned physician: and was drowned in a small puddle, or 
brook, as he was riding, near Bath.^ 

(s) Henry Stubbs, according to Anthony Wood, was "the most noted person of his 
age." He was the son of a minister, and a protege of Sir Henry Vane's, by whose 
aid he was educated at Oxford; where, through ihe 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 connection with the church. He wrote many pam- 
phlets on all subjects. The book to which Baxter refers is, 'A Vindication of that 
Prudent and Honorable 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 honorable to Stubbs to defend his friend and patron; hut he 
ought to have treated Baxter with more courtesy. The story of his 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 his former life or char- 
acter, 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 intoxi- 
cated. "He being at Bath attending several of his patients living in and near War- 
wick, 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 clock in the night, on the 
twelfth day of July, in sixteen hundred and seventy-six (his head being then intoxi- 


^'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 in, 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 opin- 
ions more plainly expressed by his friend than himself. 

"When he was condemned, some of his friends desired me to 
come to him, that I might see how far he was from Popery, and 
in how excellent a temper (thinking I would have asked him 
forgiveness for doing him wrong;) I told them that if he had 
desired 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, that 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 w^as uncertain; that present 
miracles are necessary to faith; that our ministry is null and 

cated with bibbing, but more with talking and snuffing- of powder,) was drowned pass- 
ing through a shallow river, wherein, as 'tis supposed, his horse stumbled; two miles 
distant from Bath." Aihcn. Oxon. vol. iii. j). 1082. 

(t) While I have extracted the greater part of Baxter's character of Sir Henry Vane 
I cannot help expressing my decided opinion that it is, in various particulars, incor- 
rect. Baxter did not understand him, and, therefore, could not do him justice. He, 
was brave, sagacious, and disinterested; the ardent and enlightened friend of civil 
and religious liberty; distinguished in life by the decision of his piety, and in death 
(though basely murdered in violation of all faith and justice) by his calm yet heroic 
behavior. The man who was feared by Cromwell, hated by Charles, and praised by 
Milton, could not have been a silly fanatic, or an unprincipled knave. 


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 dishonor and cry down the 
church, the Scripture, the present ministry, and our worship and 
ordinances. They 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 out- 
ward man, 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. 

There could never a sect arise in the world that was 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 fit 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 dis- 
grace 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, and 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, 
consequently, 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 reconcilia- 
tion with God through Jesus Christ. They pretend their de- 
pendence 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 ministers as 
hirelings, deceivers, false prophets, he, and in refusing to swear 
before a magistrate, or to put off their hat to any, or to say you 
instead of thou or thee, which are their words to all. At first 
they did use to fall into tremblings, and sometimes vomitings, 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 of 
them have famished and drowned themselves in melancholy; and 
others, undertaken, by the power of the Spirit, to raise the dead. 
Their chief leader, James Nayler, acted the part of Christ, 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 
soul of all these 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, as well as Christians, and a 
dependence on revelations, he. 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 

(u) In the first volume of 'Burton's Diary/ lately edited by 3fr. Towill Rutt, 
there is a curious account of the debate in parliament respecting INa3'ler. It lasted 
ten or eleven days. A horrible sentence was pronounced and inllictedj but he made 
a very narrow escape for his life, as several of the members were for passing- sen- 
tence 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. Tlie Protector, greatly to 
his honor, interested himself on Nayler's behalf. The conduct of the House ol' Com- 
mons was as unconstitutional as its sentence was brutal and unmerited. 

(x) Baxter's account of the Quakers, like his representations of the other sects to 
which he was opposed, must be received with some abatement, and with due allow- 
ance for the exaggerations to which various parts of the conduct of some of the 
early Friends naturally gave rise. They wished to carry reformation further than 
most of the parties of the period approvedj tlie}' were powerfully inlluenced by the 
doctrine of impressions, for which tliev so strenuously contended; their zeal was 
roused to the \ery utmost by the opposition which they experienced; and which, op- 
erating on some peculiarly-excited minds, produced, at least, temporary insanity. 
This was probably the case with James Nayler, and a few others, whose conduct the 
Friends would now be far from af)proving; and whose severe and unmerited sufi'er- 
ings reflect indelible disgrace on the parties who inflicted them. The heroic and 
persevering conduct of the Quakers in withstanding the interferences of government 
with the rights of conscience, by which they finally secured those peculiar privileges 
ihey 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 history. 


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 bom- 
bastic words signify nothing more than before was easily known 
by common familiar terms. ^ 

"The chief of the Behmenists, in England, are Dr. Pordage and 
his family ,who live together in community, and pretend to hold vis- 
ible and sensible communion with angels, whom they sometimes 
see, and sometimes smell. Mr. Fowler, of Reading, accused him, 
before the committee, for preaching against imputed righteousness, 
and various other things, especially for familiarity with devils, and 
conjuration. The doctor wrote a book to vindicate himself, in 
which he professeth to have 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 appeared to him in his chamber, in the hkeness of Everard, 
with boots, spurs, &z;c.; and an impression 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, &tc. 
Whether these things be true or false, I know not.^ 

"Among these, fall in many other sect-makers, as Dr. Gell, of 
London, know^n partly by a printed volume, in folio;"^ and one 
Mr. Parker, who got in with the Earl of Pembroke, and wrote 
a book against the 'Assembly's Confession,' in which he taketh 
up most of the Popish doctrines, and riseth up against them 

(y) The writings of Jacob Behmen are probably belter known now and more ad- 
mired than they were in the days of Baxter. Wilham Law and John Wesley both con- 
tributed, especially the first, to gain some credit for them in England. Jacob was a 
very harmless enthusiast, or rather madman, whose dreams and visions bewildered 
himself, and the revelation of them bewildered others. 'I'hat he should have found 
admirers in such a period of excitement as that which England experienced during the 
Commonwealth, cannot be matter of surprise, when we find that he obtained follow- 
ers in the quiet reign of the Georges. Those who do not choose to misspend their 
time in the examination of his mystical conundrums, will find enough of the same in 
the works of Lawj or may amuse themselves by looking at a small life of Behmen, 
by his devoted admirer, Francis Okely, formerly of St. Jolin's College, Cambridge. 

(z) It is surprising Baxter should not have perceived that Dr. Pordage was filler 
for occupying a place in Bedlam, than to rank as the head or leader of a sect. If 
madmen are to be reckoned sect-makers, we might reckon sects without number, 
in all ages and 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 he a 
doctor in philosoph}', medicine, and theology! 

(a) Dr. Gell, of whom Baxter speaks, appears to have been a very singular man. 
He published two folio volumes on the Scriptures: the one in 1669-, the other appeared 
after his death, in 1676. He was rector of St, Mary, Aldermanbury. His works 
are a curious mass of learning, occasional original, interpretation of the Scriptures, 
and mystical speculation, often of a very peculiar nature. But men of a similar cast 
of mind have appeared in every age. 


with papal pride and contempt, but owneth not the pope himself. 
Yet he headeth his body of doctrine with the Spirit, as the 
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 certain: let time discover them."'^ 

After this account of the several sects and their leaders, it will 
be proper to quote a portion of the general reflections 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: w^ho, though many of them weak and raw, were yet 
prone to be pufted up with high thoughts 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 

(b) Parker's book on the Assembly's Catechism, I once had in my possession. 
He appears to have been a concealed Papistj and, partly on Popish, and partly on 
Arminian principles, attacks the doctrines of the Westminster Confession. But it is 
quite a mass of confusion. 

(c) 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 following' curious account of his intercourse with Baxter, which is given in 
another part of his life, explains the allusion here made to him. It is probable that 
Baxter knew enough of him} but he was more a man of intrigue than the maker of 
a sect. 

''While I lodged at Lord Broghill's, a certain person was importunate to speak 
with me, Dr. Nic. Gibbon, who, shutting the doors on us, that there might be no 
witnesses, drew forth a scheme of theology, and told me how long a journey he had 
once taken towards me, and engaged me patiently to hear him open to me his 
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 them only to such as were prepared, which he 
thought I was. 1. Searching; 2. Impartial; and, 3. A lover of method. 1 thanked 
him, and heard him above an hour in silence; and, after two or three days' talk with 
him, I found all his frame, the contrivance uf a very strong head-piece was secretly 
and cunningly fitted to usher in a Socinian Popery, or a mixture of Popery and half- 
Socinianism. Bishop Usher had before occasionally spoken of him in my hearing as 
a Socinian, which caused me to hear him with suspicion; but I heard 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 public debate (as when the bishops and divines dis- 
puted before the king at the Isle of Wight, &c.;) and when we were lately ofiering our 
proposals for 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. Blany men of parts and learning are per- 
verted by him." Life, part ii. pp. 205, 206. 

(d) Life, part i. p." 74 78. 

VOL. I. 12 


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 profane. The sec- 
taries, 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 propagating their opin- 
ions. 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 pro- 
fane, 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 miscar- 
riages. Yea, though they thought themselves the most under- 
standing 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, im- 
prisoned the godly, faithful 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 restored; if they sought to take 
down tithes and parish ministers, to the utter confusion of relig- 
ion in the land: in all these the Anabaptists, and many of the 
Independents in the three kingdoms, 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 
reproaches; but shall none be reproved because some are slan- 
dered? Shall hypocrites be free from conviction and condem- 
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! Wo to them that had 
rather sin were credited and kept in honor, than their party 
dishonored; and wo to the land where the reputation of men 
doth keep sin in reputation! The Scripture itself will not spare 
a Noah, a Lot, a David, an Hezekiah, a Josiah, a Peter; 
but will open and shame their sin to all generations. Yet, alas! 
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 
those of 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, on the one hand, and the fanatic, dividing sec- 
taries on the other, have in all ages been grinding the spiritual 
seed, as the corn 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 posterity 
must know what they have done, to the shame of our land and 
of our sacred profession, let them know thus much more, also, 
to their own shame, that all the calamities which have befall- 
en 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-con- 
ceited teachers to this misery, and no warning or means could 
ever stop them." ^ 

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 I 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. The lan- 
guage 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 that he could 
describe. Even these so ran into one another that he could not 
accurately discriminate them. With the exception of the Qua- 

(e) Life, part i. pp. 102, 103. 


kers, 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 have no defined relig- 
ious system, and who enjoyed an existence and influence of the 
most ephemeral nature. Most of the leaders w^ere harmless and 
inoflensive in their lives; men whose hearts were better than their 
understandings; and w'ho were, in some cases, rendered mischiev- 
ous, chiefly by the treatment which they experienced/ 

These sects and heresies are often represented as hatched 
and spawned during the Commonw^ealth, 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, how^ever, that when liberty runs riot, it is generally 
w^hen it has been preceded by oppression and tyranny. Perse- 
cution and restraint have often been the real parents of those 
opinions, which are sometimes truly extravagant, and at other 
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 
b^ 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 
heaven? These are but indications of powerful emotion, which, 
when familiar with his new^ circumstances, will subside into a de- 
lightful calm. The strong representations of gross immoralities 
alleged to be practiced by some of the members of the sects 
referred to, will go but a httle w^ay 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 fully authenticated before 
thev are beheved. 

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 wxre disposed 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. 

(f) ''Old Ephraim Pag-itt," as he calls himself, describes, in his 'Heresiography,' 
between forty and fifty different sectsj but the whole of these may be reduced to a 
very few, as he makes many foolish distinctions. For instance, he has Anabaptists, 
and Plunged Anabaptists; Separatists, and Semi-separatists. He has Brownists, 
Barrowists, Ainsworthians, Robinsonians , who were all men of one part}'. He has 
Familists, Castalian Familists, Familists of the Mountains, and Familists of the Val- 
lies! Such is a specimen of the wisdom and the multiplying power of Old Ephraim 


If we look around on the state of parties at 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 thou- 

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 "one and 
indivisible." They imply much imperfection on the part 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, the weakness, and 
the prejudices of Christians; in indolent submission to authority 
on one part, and the love of influence on another; in the power 
of early habits and associations; and, above all, in the influence 
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 
possible 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 maintaining 
that they differ more about words than things. In their views of 
leading doctrines, in the experience of their influence, in the 
practical effects of Christianity, and in their expectations of its 
future glory, there is a substantial agreement among them. 

In the wise and gracious administration of God, even these 
imperfections are overruled, and rendered productive of impor- 
tant good. They afford opportunity for the exercise of the Chris- 
tian virtues of forbearance, patience, and love; they put the tem- 
pers and profession of men to the test; and they often excite a 
spirit of emulation, which, though not unmixed with evil, is the 
means of extensive benefit to others. It is worthy of observation 
that all attempts to produce uniformity, have either been defeat- 
ed; 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 com- 
monly denounced as the contentions of rival sects. The soil 
whose rankness sends forth an abundant crop of weeds, will pro- 
duce, if cultivated, a still more luxuriant harvest of corn. If the 
times of Baxter were fruitful of sects, and some of them wild 


and monstrous, they were still more fruitful in the number of 
genuine, holy, and devoted Christians. It was not an age of fa- 
naticism only, but of pure and undefiled religion. 

CHAPTER V. 16461660. 

Baxter resumes his Labors at Kidderminster His account of public affairs till the Death of 
Charles I. His conduct while in Kidderminster towards Parliament Towards the Royal 
Party His Ministry at Kidderminster His Employments His Success His Advanta- 
gesRemarks on the style of his preaching His public and private exertions Their last- 
ing 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 coun- 
teract, what he considered the factious and sectarian dispositions 
of the soldiers and their leaders; while he experienced nothing 
but sorrow and disappointment as the fruit of his labors. His 
bodily health, always feeble and broken, at length sunk under 
the pressure of his circumstances, and he was compelled reluc- 
tantly 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 in- 
fluence, of the principal and the minor religious parties which 
made a figure during the civil wars, or enjoyed and ephemeral 
notoriety during the commonwealth. To all that concerned 
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 fol- 
lowed them. 

After various digressions he thus resumes his personal narrative: 
"I have related how after my bleeding a gallon of blood by the 
nose, that I was left weak at Sir Thomas Rouse's house, at Rous- 
Lench, where I was taken up with daily medicines to prevent a 
dropsy: and being conscious that my time had not been improved 
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 I continued there, weak and unable to preach, the 
people of Kidderminster had again renewed their articles against 
their old vicar and his curate. Upon trial of the cause, the com- 
mittee sequestered the place, but put no one into it; and placed 
the 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, I 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 one 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 I 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 un- 
dertook 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- 
men, as aforesaid, who gathered the tithes and paid me (not a 
hundred as they promised) but eighty pounds per annum, or 
ninety at most, and house-rent for a (ew 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. 

"Beside 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 raller, and the scorn 
of the country. I knew not how to keep him from reading, 
though I 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 
stipend 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 his 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 cutting faggots, and 
the other by making ropes. Their abilities being answerable 
to their studies and employments." ^ 

Such were the circumstances in which Baxter resumed his 
labors 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 another 
day; but it is very certain he had no hand in ejecting the for- 
mer incompetent incumbent, or in forcing himself upon the 
people as his successor. The appointment of the existing Gov- 
ernment 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 labors gratis, if he might only be permitted to 
preach and live among the people; no doubt can be entertained 
of his disinterested love to the work of Christ. 

Before proceeding to state the nature and results of his min- 
istry in the place where he was honored by God to effect so 
much good, it will be proper, for the sake of connecting the 
public events of the times, to advert to some important occur- 
rences which took place immediately after he left the army, and 
during the earlier period of his second residence in Kiddermin- 
ster. Leaving, for a little, the narrative of his personal affairs, 
he thus proceeds: 

"I must now look back to the course and affairs of the kins;; 
who, after the siege of Oxford, having no army left, and know- 
ing that the Scots had more loyalty and stability in their princi- 

(g) Life, part i. pp. 79, 80. 


pies than the sectaries, resoked to cast himself upon them, and 
so escaped to their army in the North. The Scots were very- 
much troubled at this honor that was cast upon them, for they 
knew not what to do witli the king. To send him back to the 
English parhament, 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, 
w^iich they knew they were now unable to sustain. They kept 
him, therefore, awhile among them with honorable 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 deHver him to the parliament's 
commissioners upon two conditions: 1. That they should prom- 
ise to preserve his person in safety and honor, 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 
appointed Colonel Richard Greaves, Major-General Richard 
Brown, with others, to be his attendants, and desired him to 
abide awhile at Holmby House, in Northamptonshire. While 
he was here, the army was hatching their conspiracy; and, on 
the sudden, one Cornet 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's 
will, and witiiout any order or consent of theirs; but so 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 

(li) The treaty for the payment of the Scottish arrears, and that for the dehvering 
up of the king, were quite distinct in themselves, though they proceeded together. 
Baxter is also mistaken when he says, the king was ^iven up on the two conditions, 
which he specifies. He was delivered up without any conditions. The objects of 
the English Parliament, and of the Scottish Parliament, 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 such an ascendancy of persons totally different 
from those with whom the negotiation was going on, as would have rendered all con- 
ditions nugatory. In fact, the life of the king, at this lime, was safer among the Eng- 
lish than among the Scots; some of whom had conceived the idea of bringing him to 
the scaffold for his obstinate refusal to agree to the terms of the covenant. Brodie, 
iv. 74; Godwin ii. 257. 

(i) Charles was well pleased to accompany Joyce, and afterwards refused to return 
at the command of Fairfax. He was. in fact, glad to be out of the hands of the 
Presbyterians. Godwin, ii. p. 320. The great object of seizing the king was to 
prevent a coalition between him and the Presbyterian party. 

VOL. I. 13 


he was here, the mutable hypocrites J pretended an extraordi- 
nary care of the king's honor, hberty, safety, and conscience. 
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 the incivilities of the parliament and the Presby- 

^'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 extol the 
army, and to speak against the Presbyterians more distastefully 
than before. When the parliament offered the king propositions 
for concord, which Vane's faction made as high and unreasona- 
ble 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 
know. At last, on the sudden, the judgment of the army 
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 con- 
fess that they w^ere under a temptation: but in all this, 
Cromwell and Ireton, and the rest of the council of war, 
appeared not. The instruments 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 re- 
present the rest in these great affairs. All these together made 
a council, of w^hich Colonel James Berry was the president, 
that 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 pam- 
phlets, as changeable as the moon. The thing contrived, was 

(j) It was the mutable hypocrisy of Charles, rather than of Cromwell, that frus- 
trated every amicable arrangement. Had he been but steady to any one 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 his enemies into his 
hands, when it was his determination to destroy them. Unfortunately for him they 
discovered this, and acted accordingly. 

(k) The defeat of an adjustment between Charles and his Parliament, at this time, 
was owing to Hollis, and not to Vane and his party. See Brodie's 'History of the 
British Empire,' vol. iv. pp. 96, 100. 

(1) The original name of these persons was adjutators, a branch of the same word 
with adjutant, and altogether different from agitator, to which it was afterwards con- 
verted. Brodie ascribes the conduct of the soldiers, on this occasion, to the intrigues 
of Hollis, and the Presbyterian party, rather than to the policy of Cromwell, accord- 
ing to Baxter. Hist. iv. 86, 87. 


an heretical democracy. When Cromwell had awhile permitted 
them thus to play themselves, partly to please them, and con- 
firm them to him, and chiefly to use them in his demolishing 
work; at last he seemed to be so much for order and govern- 
ment, as to blame them for their disorder, presumption, and 
headiness, as if they had done it without his consent. This 
emboldened the parliament not to censure them as rebels, but to 
rebuke them, and prohibit them, and claim their own superior- 
ity; and while the parliament and the agitators were con- 
tending, a letter was secretly sent to Colonel Whalley to 
intimate that the agitators had a design suddenly to sur- 
prise and murder the king. Some thought that this was 
sent from a real friend; but most thought it was con- 
trived 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 two of his confidents only. On coming to the sea, near 
Southampton, they were disappointed of the vessel which they 
expected to transport them; and so were fain to pass over into 
the Isle of Wight, and his majesty was committed to the trust of 
Colonel Robert Hammond, who was governor of a castle there. 
For a day or two all were amazed to think w^hat had become of 
the king; and then a letter from the king to the house, acquainted 
them that he was fain 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 
Cromwell had the king in a pinfold, and was more secure of 
him than before." 

"When at the Isle of Wight, the parliament sent him some 
propositions, to be consented to in older to his restoration. The 
king granted many of them; and some he granted not. The 
Scottish commissioners thought the conditions more dishonorable 
to the king than was consistent with their covenant and duty, 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. Here- 
upon, with the commissioners, certain divines were sent down, 

(m) There is no evidence whatever that the king's flig'ht from Hampton Court was 
owinf to any secret plot of Cromwell's, or to any fear of being- murdered, entertained 
by his majesty. He was probably advised to it by Cromwell, who was then afraid of 
the proceeding's of the armv; but it was a plan of the king's own, intended to create 
increased confusion and distraction among his opponents, which he expected to be 
able to turn to his own advantage. Milton, in his 'Second Defence of ihe People of 
England,' vindicates Cromwell from the charge of advising the flight of Charles, or 
being a party to it. I have not observed the story of the secret letter adverted to by 
any other writer than Baxter. 



to satisfy the king, viz.: Mr. Stephen Marshall, Mr. Richard 
Vines, Dr. Lazarus Seaman, &,c., who were met by many of the 
king's divines. Archbishop Usher, Dr. Hammond, Dr. Sheldon, 
he. The debates here being in writing, were published, and 
each party thought they had the better. The parliamentary di- 
vines came off with great honor. 

"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 dio- 
cesan 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 pro- 
posed to them, but I think plain dealing with such leaders had 
been best; and to have told them, this is our judgment, and, in 
the matters of God and his church, we will serve you according 
to our judgment, or not at all. Though, indeed, as they were 
not of one mind among themselves, this could not be expected." 

"Archbishop Usher there took the right course, v/ho 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 II. came in, we tendered Usher's scheme of union 
to him; but then he would not. Thus the true, moderate, heal- 
ing 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 moderate 
episcopacy with the king; some Presbyterians of Scodand would 
have been against it, and many Independents of England; and 
the army would have made it the matter of odious accusations 
and clamors: but all this ought not to have deterred foreseeing, 
judicious men, from those healing counsels which must close 
our wounds whenever they are closed. p 

(o) A full and impartial account of the negotiations held at the Isle of Wight, is 
given by Neal, iii. pp. 422, 443, edit. 1822. The treaty failed from the obstinacy of 
the king, acting by the advice of his episcopal counsellors, who were either incapa- 
ble of giving suitable advice in difficult circumstances, or not aware of the peril to 
which they were exposing their royal master, who foolishly imagined he could save 
himself at any time by closing either with the Parliament 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 folly and danger of state interference 
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 establishment of an exclusive form 


^'The king, sending his final answers, the parHament had a 
long debate upon them, whether to acquiesce in them as a suffi- 
cient ground for ppace. Many members spake for resting in 
them, and, among others, Mr. Prynne went over all the king's 
concessions in a speech of divers hours long, with marvellous 
memory, and showed the satisfactoriness of them all. So that the 
house 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 
turned away, and told them that they must not come there; and 
the third part they imprisoned. To so much rebellion, perfidi- 
ousness, perjury, and impudence, can error, selfishness, and 
pride of great successes, transport men of the highest pretences 
to relio;ion.^ 

"For the true understanding of all this, it must be remember- 
ed, that though in the beginning of the parhament there was 
scarce a noted, gross sectary known, but Lord Brook, in the 
House of Peers, and young Sir Harry Vane, in the House of 
Commons; yet, by degrees, the number increased in the lower 
house. JNIajor 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 parUamentary government. Of these, some would have 
lords and commons, or a mixture of aristocracy and democracy; 
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 democratical party, 
was left by Cromwell to do his business under the name of the 
Parliament of England; which, by the people in scorn, was com- 
monly called the Rump of the Parliament. The secluded and 

of church government. There vere, doubtless, other thinc^s at the root of the misun- 
derstandina:, but the main ostensible reason of the failure of the treaty, was the de- 
mand on the one part, and the refusal on the other, to abolish episcopacy, and estab- 
lish presbytery in its place. 

(q) The account which Mrs. Hutchinson <^ives of this affair, is very different from 
Baxter's. She imputes the whole blame of acc&dins: to ihe terms proposed by the 
king', the army's interference with Parliament, and the consequent ruin of the king, 
to the conduct of the Presbyterian leaders, who, instigated by haired of the Inde- 
pendents and other sects, consented to measures which would have reinstated Charles 
without any adequate security to his subjects: by which they would all eventually 
have been desiroyed. Memoirs of Col. Hutchinson. 297-^300. VVhilelock and 
Ludlow agree with Mrs. Hutchinson. 


imprisoned members published a writing, called their Vindica- 
tion; and some of them would afterwards have thrust into the 
House, but the guard of soldiers kept them out, and the Rump 
were called the honest men. And these are the men that 
henceforward we have to do with in the progress 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 passed a vote, 
supposing that the army w^ould stand by 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 dis- 
trusts and fears. They accordingly called a high court of jus- 
tice to be erected, and sent for the king from the Isle of Wight. 
Colonel Hammond delivered him, and to Westminster 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 condemned 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 uncer- 
tainty of worldly things, the fruits of a sinful nation's provoca- 
tions, the infamous effects of error, pride, and selfishness, pre- 
pared by Satan, to be charged hereafter upon reformation and 
godliness, to the unspeakable injury of the Christian name and 
Protestant cause, the rejoicing and advantage of the Papists, 
the hardening of thousands against the means of their own sal- 
vation, and the confusion of the actors when their day should 

"The lord General Fairfax all this while stood by, and, with 
high resentment, saw his lieutenant do all this by tumultuous 
soldiers, tricked and overpowered by him; neither being suffi- 

(r) Through the wliole of these statements, Baxter ascribes a g-reat deal too much 
to the craft of Cromwell, and the intrigues of the sectaries. Allowing that they often 
compensated their lack of power by superior address and rapidity of movement, it 
should not be forgotten that self-preservation is the first law of manj and that, as the 
sectaries were in danger of being crushed between two powerful parties, the Episco- 
palians and the Presbyterians, they naturally exerted themselves to prevent the as- 
cendancy of either. Had there been more integrity in the one class, and more mod- 
eration in the other, Cromwell and his party would have had a less difficult part to 
play: as things were, they probably accomplished much less by previous intrigue and 
plotting, than by taking advantage of unforeseen occurrences. 

(s) The reader who thinks of Bradshaw only as a regicide and a ruffian, would 
do well to consult the character given of him b}' Milton, in his 'Defence of the People 
of England.' An admirable translation of the passage will be found in 'Symmoiis' 
Life of Milton,' pp. 220 222. Bradshaw escaped to America, and there ended his 
days in peace. Cook expiated his political offence on the scaffold, and died with 
all that lofty heroism which distinguished men who felt that they suffered not for per- 
sonal guilt, but for the crime of the people of England. 


ciently upon his guard to defeat the intrigues of such an ac- 
tor; nor having resolution enough to lay down the glory of all 
his conquests, and forsake him. At the king's death, he was 
in w^onderful perplexities, and when Mr. Calamy and some min- 
isters were sent for to resolve him, and would have further per- 
suaded 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, w^hen 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 you ask, What did the ministers all this w^hile? I answer, 
they preached and prayed against disloyalty; they drew up a 
writing to the lord General, declaring their abhorrence of all 
violence against 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 Par- 
liament, and advocated the cause which he considered it had 
undertaken, he was indignant at its conduct, when it assumed 
the sovereign power, and threatened the life of the king. In 
the treatment which Charles experienced, Baxter seems to for- 
get every thing, but the sufferings which he endured and the un- 
constitutional conduct of his adversaries. The death of that ill- 
fated monarch, he regarded less as the result of his own obsti- 
nacy and duplicity, of which all parties were furnished with 
indubitable proofs, or as the just retribution of Heaven for these 
and many other evils of himself and his family, than as illustra- 
tions of the bad principles and wicked conduct of sectaries and 
agitators. He denounces the hypocrisy and perfidy of Crom- 
well and his party, and represents them as systematically pursu- 
ing the destruction of the king. They are justly Hable 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 wiich was at first for freedom on the 
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- 

(t) There seems something- very absurd in the idea that Fairfax was ignorant of 
what all the country kne a^, that the death of the 'king was determined; and that he 
was hoaxed by Cromwell and Hanison till it was accomplished. Brodie examines 
the story with his usual diligence and acuteness. Hist, of the Brit. Emp. iv. 213 

(u) Life, part i., pp. 60 64. 


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 he fell a sacrifice to his 
own obstinacy and insincerity. 

The full discussion of the difficult and complicated subject to 
which the preceding paragraphs relate would be foreign, from 
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 form- 
ing 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 dis- 
tinguished by laborious research, great acuteness, and most 
praiseworthy impartiality. If that work is not at hand, the 'His- 
tory of the Commonwealth,' by Godwin, will amply supply its 
place. It also is entitled to the praise of discrimination and im- 
partiality. Equity requires I should state, that 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 Jiimself, while these tremendous scenes were transact- 
ing, lived remote from the parties principally engaged in them. 
He could only speak and reason according to the reports which 
reached him, 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- 
posing the policy of courts. 

During the early part of his second residence at Kiddermin- 
ster, several other circumstances are recorded by Baxter worthy 
of being mentioned, both as illustradng his own character and the 
state of the period. He opposed the solemn league and cove- 
nant, though he had formerly taken it at Coventry, and, there- 
fore, did not please the Presbyterians: he opposed the engage- 
ment, and thus incurred the displeasure of the Independents. 
Careful only to stand well with his own conscience, it was matter 
of indifference to him who were his friends or who were his foes. 


"For my own part," he says, "though I kept the town and 
parish of Kidderminster from taking the covenant, seeing how 
it might become a snar^ to their consciences; yea, and most of 
Worcestershire beside, by keeping the mmisters from offering it 
in any of the congregations to the people, except in Worcester 
city, where I had no great interest, and knew not what they did; 
yet I could not judge it seemly for him that beheved 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 Samp- 
son'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 wdth 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, sliortl}^ after, I met with them verbatim, as his own, 
in a book of Mr. Henry Hall's, who was long imprisoned 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 w^hich he enjoyed under the existing government, 
is equally unquestionable; yet he was adverse to the measures 
pursued in opposition to Charles 11., w^hose right to the throne 
he fully believed, and carried his conscientious opposition to the 
commonwealth-government so far, that it might have been at- 
tended with serious consequences to himself. He w^as, in fact, 
a royalist in principles and constitution; and a friend to the 
parties w^ho opposed the king, from necessity, and not from 

"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 acknowl- 
edged to be godly; and all because they dared not be as perjur- 
ed 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. 

(w) Life, part i. p. 64. 
VOL. I. 14 


"At the same time, the Rump, or Commonwealth, which so 
much abhorred persecution, and were for hberty of conscience, 
made an order that all ministers should keep certain days of 
humiliation, to fast and pray for their success in Scodand: 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 
labored 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 for all 
their bloodshed, and to make God's ministers and ordinances 
vile, and servicable 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 advancement of the Gospel, 
and the liberty of tender consciences, and leave neither tender- 
ness 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. ^ 

"My own hearers were all satisfied with my doctrine, but the 
committee-men looked sour, yet let me alone. The soldiers 
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 forbear, as firom the 
committee; which told Mr. Moor, the Independent preacher at 
the college, that they desired me to forbear, and not to preach 
before the judges, because I preached against the state. But 
afterwards they excused it, as done merely in kindness to me, to 
keep me from ruiming myself into danger and trouble." ^ 

(x) Only one opinion can be entertained respecting- the fearless honesty of Baxter, 
but the wisdom as well as tlie prudence of his behavior may be very justly question- 
ed. To take the side of the Parliament as he had done, and now to oppose the ex- 
isting Government so publicly, while prosecuting the object of the original contest, 
was rather extraordinary. It is a great proof of the moderation of that Government, 
that it let him pass without molestation. 

(y) The Presbyterian minister wlio was executed by Cromwell, for corresponding 
with the King. It is probable he was put to death rather as an example and a warn- 
ing to others, than on account of any great criminality in his own conduct. Much 
influence was used to obtain his life, but all in vain. He was certainly a martyr to 
Presbyterian loyally. "He died," says Baxter, "neither timorously nor proudly in 
v^ any desperate bravado5 but with as great alacrity and fearless quietness and freedom 

of speech, as if he had but gone to bed, and had been as little concerned as the 
slanders by." Life, pari i. p. G7. 
(z) Life, part i. pp. 66, 67. 


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 great 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 as- 

"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 
that, made a bridge of boats over the Severn, to hinder them 
from foraging on the other side; but because so great an army 
could 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 their 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 Wilmot, 
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 of 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 stand, 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 kitia;, parted at last from most of his lords, went to Bos- 
cobel, 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 escaped all 
the searchers' hands, till he came safe beyond sea, as is pub- 
lished 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 labors and success in 
Kidderminster. Perhaps no part of these memoirs is so im- 
portant as this. It presents an admirable view of the man of 
God, abundant in labors, patient in tribulation, persevering in 
the exercise of faithfulness, benevolence, and long-suffering, and 
crowned with extraordinary success. Without ascribing too 
much to the agent, or expressing unqualified approbation of all 
the means employed, it is impossible not to perceive the adapta- 
tion of the instrument to the work, or to doubt that the divine 
blessing rested upon the measures pursued. The sovereignty of 
God operates not independently of human means and instru- 
mentality, but in connection with them; and it will rarely if ever 
be found, that suitably qualified agents pursue, in a right spirit 
and with Christian zeal, the good of men, without being reward- 
ed by a corresponding measure of success. The circumstances 
in which Baxter found Kidderminster when he first went to it, 
as well as the difficulties and troubles which he had to encoun- 
ter 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 
manner of life and hostility to vice and irreligion, in every form, 
still more so. His politics, favoring as they did the cause of 
the Parliament, and of church reform, increased the dislike, and 
produced personal violence. The conduct of the common peo- 
ple, influenced by all these things, was so outrageous, that he 
was finally compelled to leave them. This state of things must 
be connected with his account of the wonderful change in the 
character of the place, which he was honored 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 com- 
fortable employment and success which he vouchsafed me during 
my abode at Kidderminster, under all these weaknesses. And, 
] St. I will mention my employment. 2. My successes. And, 
3. Those advantages by which, under God, they were procured. 

(a) Life, part i. pp. 110, 111. 


^'Before the wars, I preached twice each Lord's day; but 
after the war, but once, and once ev^ery Thursday, beside occa- 
sional sermons. Every Thursday evening, my neighbors 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; and I resolved their doubts. Last of 
all, I caused sometimes one and sometimes another of them to 
pray, to exercise them; and sometimes I prayed with them my- 
self: which, beside singing a psalm, w^as 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 together. Every Saturday 
night, they met at some of their houses, to repeat the sermon of 
the former Lord's day, and to pray and prepare themselves for the 
following day. Once in a few weeks, we had a day of humilia- 
tion on one occasion or other. Every religious woman that was 
safely delivered, instead of the old feastings and gossippings, if 
she was able, did keep a day of thanksgiving with some of her 
neighbors, with them praising God, and singing psalms, and 
soberly feasting together. Two days every week, my assistant 
and myself took fourteen families between us, for private cate- 
chising 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 exam- 
ined others, or turned all into instruction and exhortation. I 
spent about an hour with each family, and admitted no others to 
be present; lest bashfulness should make it burthensome, or any 
should talk of the weaknesses of others: so that all the after- 
noons 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 em- 
ployment. Before that, I only catechised them in the church, 
and conferred occasionally with an individual. 

"Beside all this, I w^as 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 advise 
them to save their lives; and I could not afterwards avoid the 
importunity of the town and country round about. Because 
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 longer; partly 


because it hindered my other studies, and partly because the 
very fear of miscuring 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 
so with that answer I turned them all off, and never meddled 
with it again. 

"But all these my labors (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 labor; 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 morn- 
ing, and afterwards not till much later; and some infirmities I 
labored 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 great- 
est external personal affliction of all my life. 

"Every first Wednesday in the month was our monthly- 
meeting 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 mod- 
erator; and for every such day, I usually prepared a written de- 
termination; 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 neighbors came to meet for their exercise of repetition and 

"For ever blessed be the God of my mercies, who brought 
me from the grave, and gave me, after wars and sickness, four- 
teen 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 
quietly in the land! How mysterious, that God should make 
days of licentiousness and disorder under an usurper so great a 
mercy to me, and many a thousand more, who under the lawful 
governors which they desired, and in the days when order is 


said to be restored, do sit in obscurity and unprofitable silence, 
or lie in prisons; while all of us are accounted as the scum and 
sweepings, or offscourings of the earth.'' 

"I have mentioned my secret and acceptable employment; 
let me, to the praise of my gracious Lord, acquaint you with 
some of my success; and I will not suppress it, though I fore- 
know that the malignant will impute the mention of it to pride 
and ostentation. For it is the sacrifice of thanksgiving which I 
owe to my most gracious God, which I will not deny him, for 
fear of being censured as proud; lest I prove myself proud, in- 
deed, while I cannot undergo the imputation of pride in the per- 
formance of my thanks for such undeserved mercies. 

'My public preaching met with an attentive, diligent auditory. 
Having broke over the brunt of the opposition of the rabble be- 
fore the w^ars, I found them afterwards tractable and unprejudic- 
ed. Before I entered into the ministry, God blessed my pri- 
vate conference to the conversion of some, who remain firm and 
eminent in holiness to this day: but then, and in the beginning 
of my ministry, I was wont to number them as jewels; but since 
then 1 could not keep any number of them. The congregation 
was usually full, so that w^e were fain to build five galleries after 
my coming thither; the church itself being very capacious, and 
the most commodious and convenient that ever I was in. Our 
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 hun- 
dred families singing psalms and repeating sermons as you passed 
through them. In a word, when I came thither first, there was 
about one family in a street that worshipped God and called on 
his name, and when I came away, there were some streets where 
there was not one poor family in the side that did not so; and 
that did not, by professing serious godliness, give us hopes of 
their sincerity. And in those families winch 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 sincer- 
ity; those few who consented to our communion, and yet lived 
scandalously, were excommunicated afterwards. I hope there 

(b) Baxter's 'Reformed Pastor' may be considered as a full illustration of the prac- 
tice wliich he here describes as his own, connected with the principles by which it is 
recommended and enforced. Of that work I shall have occasion to speak in another 
place; it is only necessary to remark, at present, the consistency between the views 
which Baxter maintained with so much ardor, and the conduct which he himself pur- 
s'led. Those who regard his views of the ministry' as impracticable, have only to re- 
member that Baxter, diseased, emaciated, and in deaths oft, exemplified the conduct 
which he so admirably describes. 


were also many who had the fear of God, that came not to our 
communion in the sacrament, some of them heing kept off by- 
husbands, by parents, by masters, and some dissuaded by men 
that differed from us. Those many that kept away, yet took it 
patiently, and did not revile us as doing them wrong: and those 
unruly young men who were excommunicated, bore it patiently 
as to their outward behavior, 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 were 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 hfe. Yet many ignorant 
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 people, and did it willingly, with- 
out contestation, and most of the bad people of the parish lived 
on the other side. Some of the poor men did competently un- 
derstand 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 ex- 
pressions, 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 profes- 
sors of serious godliness were generally of very humble minds 
and carriage; of meek and quiet behavior unto others; and of 
blamelessness and innocency in their conversation. 

"God was pleased also to give me abundant encouragement in 
the lectures I preached about in other places; as at Worcester, 
Cleobury, he, but especially at Dudley and ShefFnal. At the 
former of which, being the first place that ever I preached in, 
the poor nailers, and other laborers, 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 endeavors with my brethren in the ministry, my 
labors were not lost; our disputations 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 charches migoverned, 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 with- 
out any great obstructing difficulties. When I attempted also to 
bring them all conjointly to the work of catechising and instruct- 
ing 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, W'ith such 
encouraging success. O what am I, a worthless worm, not only 
wanting academical honors, but much of that furniture which is 
needful to so high a work, that God should thus abundantly en- 
courage me, when the reverend instructors of my youth did 
labor 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 effected, 
under that grace w^iich worketh by means, though w^ith a free 
diversity. I do it chiefly for their sakes who would know the 
means of other men's experiments in managing ignorant and sin- 
ful 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 power- 
ful ministry, and been sermon proof, I should have expected 

"I was then, also, in the vigor of my spirits, and had natur- 
ally 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 customariness 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 wei-e few to make any great oppo- 
sition 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 

VOL. I. 15 


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 inquir- 
ing after such, and their courts, and the high-commission griev- 
ously 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 discouraging 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 dan- 
gers and obloquy as is fitter for confirmed Christians to be ex- 
ercised with, than unconverted sinners or young beginners. 
Though Cromwel] gave liberty to all sects among us, and did not 
set up any party alone by force, yet this much gave abundant 
advantage to the Gospel, removing the prejudices and the ter- 
rors which hindered it; ^ especially considering that godliness had 
countenance, and reputation also, as well as liberty. Whereas 
before, if it did not appear in all the fetters and formalities 
of the times, it was the common way to shame and ruin. Hear- 
ing sermons abroad, when there were none or worse at home; 
fasting and praying together; the strict observation of the Lord's 
day, and such-like, w^ent under the dangerous name of Puritan- 
ism, 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 warning to all ages by the 
experience of this incredible age, that they take heed how they 
believe any, whoever they be, while they are 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 usur- 
per whom I opposed, such liberty and advantage to preach his 
Gospel with success, as I cannot have under a king to whom 

(c) Could the reader wish for a stron2:er testimony in favor of universal liberty 
than this? Relig-ion prospered more under the Usurper than under the legitimate 

(d) It is important to connect this statement with Baxter's account given in the pre- 
ceding chapter of the sects and heresies of the period. They are not at variance 
with each other. But to answer certain purposes, it is not uncommon to quote ihe 
worst represeiitatiou of the case and to omit the other. 


I have sworn and jDerformed true subjection and obedience; yea, 
such as no age, since the Gospel came into this land, 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 lor the 
magistrates' power in it; and though I think that land most hap- 
py whose rulers use their authority for Christ, as w^ell as for 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 main- 
tenance be but added to liberty, and tolerated errors and sects 
be but forced to keep the peace, and not to oppose the substan- 
tials of Christianity, I shall not hereafter much fear such tolera- 
tion, nor despair that truth will bear down its adversaries.^ 

"Another advantage which I found, was the acceptation of 
my person among the people. Though, to win estimation and 
love to ourselves only, be an end that none but proud men and 
hypocrites intend, yet it is most certain that the gratefulness of 
the person doth ingratiate the message, and greatly prepareth 
the people to receive the truth. Had they taken me to be ig- 
norant, erroneous, scandalous, w^orldly, self-seeking, or such- 
like, I could 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 neighbors, and were in j^rivate my assistants, and 
being dispersed through the town, were ready in almost all com- 
panies to repress seducing words, and to justify godliness, con- 
vince, reprove, and exhort men according to their needs; as 
also to teach them how to pray; and to help them to sanctify 
the Lord's day. For those people who had none in their fam- 
ilies who could pray, or repeat the sermons, went to their next 
neighbor's house who could do it, and joined with them; so 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 v/ere 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 

"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, 

(e) Here the good sense and Christian feelings of Baxter, evidently get the better 
of all his theoretical notions of civil government and the magistrates' power in reli- 


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 yoimger sort learned to pray by fre- 
quently hearing others. 1 had also the opportunity of knowing 
their case; for if any were touched and awakened in public, I 
should frequently see them drop into our private meetings. Idle 
mxeetings and loss of time were greatly prevented; and so far 
were we from being by this in danger of schism, or divisions, that 
it was the principal means to prevent them: for here I was usu- 
ally present with them, answering their doubts, silencing objec- 
tions, 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 peo- 
ple, had opened their deceits and shame, none would entertain 
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 
reckoned at near two hundred pounds per annum, there came but 
ninety pounds, and sometimes only eighty 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 breth- 
ren; but, two or three, having no other way to live, turned great 
Conformists, and are preachers now. In giving the little 1 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 encouragement 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 save most, 


and since I have had less opportunity of giving, I have had less 

"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 hnndred; 
and of the bigger, I gave fewer: and every family that was 
poor, and had not a Bible, I gav^e a Bible to. I had found my- 
self 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 neighbors 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, of edify one another; whereas, ploughmen, 
and many others, are so wearied, or continually employed, either 
in the labors, or the cares of their callings, that it is a great im- 
pediment to their salvation. Freeholders and tradesmen 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 ,2;ood 
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 dis- 
charged from most of family cares, and keeping but one servant, 
I had the greater vacancy and liberty for the labors of my call- 

"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; 
and, by this, they were made almost as observant, 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 theu' 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. They 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 un- 
derstanding, rehgious children; and we had some old persons ot 
eighty years of age, who are, I hope, in heaven, and the con- 
version of their own children, was the chief means to overcome 
their prejudice, and old customs, and conceits. 

"Another great help to my success at last, was the formerly 
described work of personal conference with every family apart, 
with catechising and instructing them. That which was spoken 
to them personally, and which put them sometimes upon an- 
swers, awakened their attention, and was easier applied than pub- 
lic preaching, and seemed to do much more upon them. 

"The exercise of church discipline was no small furtherance 
of the people's good: for I found plainly, that without it, I 
could not have kept the religious sort from separation and divis- 
ions.^ There is something generally in tlieir dispositions, which 
inclineth them to dissociate from open ungodly sinners, as men 
of another nature and society; and if they had not seen me do 
something reasonable for a regular separation of the notorious, 
obstinate sinners from the rest, they would irregularly have with- 
drawn 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 discipline, all the parish kept off 
except about six hundred, when there were in all above sixteen 
hundred at an age to be communicants. Yet because it was 
their own doing, and they knew they might come in when they 
would, they were quiet in their separation; for we took them for 
the Separatists. Those that scrupled our gesture at the sacrament, 
I openly told that they should have it in their own. Yet did I 
baptize all their children, but made them first, as I would have 
done by strangers, give me privately, or publicly if they had 

(f) The entire want of discipline which has always characterised the Established 
Church, is one of its greatest blots. There is no separation whatever between the 
precious and the vile. The purity of Christian fellowship, or the distinction be- 
tween the church and the world, can neither, therefore, be understood nor practised. 
On this subject, Baxter says, referring to the rise of the Puritans: "There was 
scarcely any such a thing as church government or discipline known in the land, but 
only the harassing of those who dissented from them. In all my life, I never lived 
in the parish where one person was publicly admonished, or brought to public pen- 
itence, or excommunicated, though theie were never so many obstinate drunkards, 
whoremongers, or vilest offenders. Onh^ I have known now and then one for getting- 
a bastard, that went to the bishop's court and paid his fees; and I 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 
ihem impossible, when one man that lived at a distance from 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, excluding the pastors of the several congre- 
gations, who were but to join with the churcliwardens and the apparitors in present- 
ing men, and bringing them into their courts; and an impossible task must needs 
be unperformed. And so the controversy, as to the letter and outside, was, Who 
shall be the governors of all the particular churches? But to the sense and inside of it, 
it was, Whether there should he any effectual church government, or noti Whereupon, 
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 in the church." Reformed PaS' 
ior, Works, vol. xiv. p. 145. 


rather, an account of their faith; and if any father was a scanda- 
lous sinner, I made him confess his sin openly, with seeming 
penitence, before I would baptise his child. If he refused it, I 
forbore till the mother came to present it; for I rarely, if ever, 
found both father and mother so destitute of knowledge and 
faith, as in a church sense to be incapable hereof. ^ 

"Another advantage w4iich 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 labored to imprint upon their minds, were the great fun- 
damental principles of Christianity contained in their baptismal 
covenant, even a right knowledge and belief of, and subjection 
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 a knowledge of God our Creator, Re- 
deemer, and Sanctifier, love and obedience to God, unity with 
the church catholic, and love to men and the hope of life eter- 
nal, that these were the matter of their daily cogitations and dis- 
courses, 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 tempt- 
ed to turn preachers themselves, and think that they have learned 
all that the ministers can teach tliem, and are as wise as they. 

(g) Baxter appears to have maintained a most vigilant and effective discipline in 
his congregation. Of his fidelity to individuals, many proofs remain in the pointed 
letters which he wrote to them. The following is a specimen from the Baxter 3ISS. 
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 pi-etence to say that we deal hardly with you, I shall 
not meddle with that which is commonly called excommunication against you. But 
because you have disclaimed your membership, and denied to express repentance of 
it, even in private, which you should have done in public, I shall this day acquaint the 
church of your sin and separation, (in which you have broken 3'our covenant to God 
and us,) and that you are no more a member of this church or of my pastoral charge. 
I shall do no more, but shall leave the rest to God, who will do more, only I shall de- 
sire the church to pray for your repentance and forgiveness3 and. thererore, desire 
you this day to be there and join with us in those prayers. And then, except you 
openly lament ^-our sin, 3 ou shall be troubled with my admonitions no more. From 
tliis lime forward I have done with you, till either God correct you, or I and my warn- 
ings and labors be brought in as a witness against you to your confusion. 

^Your compassionate friend, 

'Man. 28, 1G58." RICHARD BAXTER. 

The answer to this, is on the same sheet in another hand. 

"Except Pearshall, your Constable, will conAe to church, and there acknowledge 
that he has done me wrong in saying I was drunk. I shall not appear there So I 
rest. Your Servant. GKORGE NKJllOLS.' 


They 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 
disciples 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 
pleasant 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 contro- 
versies which tended not to edification, or novelties in doctrine 
contrary to the universal church: but either such points as tend- 
ed to illustrate the great doctrines before mentioned, or usually 
about the right methodizing of them. The opening of the true 
and profitable method of the creed or doctrine of faith; the 
Lord's Prayer, or matter of our desires; and the ten command- 
ments, 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 
iaw-suits with them. Three or four of my neighbors managed 
all those kind of businesses, of whom I never took account; 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 tide, to save the gatherers from 
law-suits. 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. When they knew 
that this was the rule I went by, none of them that were 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 my father 
and stepmother, and the benefit of a godly, understanding, faith- 
ful servant, an ancient woman, near sixty years' old, who eased 
me of all care, and laid out all my money for housekeeping; so 
that I never had one hour's trouble about it, nor ever took one 
day's account of her for fourteen years together, as being cer- 
tain 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, 
may sow good seed in many places, but is not likely to see 
much 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 InstrLicting 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 neighboring 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 altars, or 
such innovations; but they had left in nearly one half the minis- 
ters, that w^ere 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; bat 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-street, 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^ Tris- 
tram, 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 
honor 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 

VOL. I. 16 


set on foot, we continued it voluntarily, till the ministers were 
turned out and all these works went down together. 

"So much of the way and helps of those successes, which 1 
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 labors 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 
honored to be so extensively useful to the souls of their hearers; 
and where eminent success has occurred we have not always 
been sufficiently informed of the means by which it has been 
promoted. The secret of his success, Baxter has disclosed to 
us in the most faithful and interesting manner. While we admire 
the grace of God which so abundantly rested upon his labors, 
we cannot but notice at the same time, the extraordinary suita- 
bleness and adaptation, both of the instrument himself, and of 
the means which he employed in the work he was honored to 
accomplish. To a few points in the preceding statement, I 
hope I shall be forgiven for turning the attention of the Christian 

Abstracting all the temporary and local circumstances to 
which Baxter adverts as favorable to his success, the simplicity 
and intense ardor of his preaching demand our notice. It was 
admirably adapted to instruct the ignorant, to rouse the careless, 
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 him- 
self, 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 fancy, 
when he should hav^e 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 de- 
sired. These were the leading, indeed, the only topics of his 
ministry. Into these he entered with all the intense ardor 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 word, were expressive of deep and impassioned earn- 

(h) Life, part i., pp. 8396. 


estness, 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 properties 
are frequently to be found in Baxter's discourses:) but the elo- 
quence 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 w^ith the deepest 
compassion for men; on whom the powers of the worlds of dark- 
ness, 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 conde- 
scending to the ignorant, faithful to the self-righteous and care- 
less, 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 should labor in vain. 

Another thing which strikes us in the ministerial conduct of 
Baxter, was his careful avoidance of everything which might 
prejudice his hearers against him, and his diligent cultivation of 
whatever was likely to gain their favor, 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 favor. 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, he, were all intended to be 
subservient to his 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 princi- 
ple, 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 at- 
tracted or repelled. This gave unity to all his plans, and con- 
stituted 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 

A third point worthy of observation in his ministry, is, that it 
was not limited to the pulpit, or considered as discharged in the 
parlor. 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 himself under the exceptions which belong to a general 
address, was singled out, convicted, and shut up to the faith, 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." This was truly making full proof of his 
ministry, and promoting in his congregation the grand objects 
and aims of the fellowship of Christianity. 

When we thus connect the public talents, and private charac- 
ter of Baxter; the energy and point of his pulpit addresses with 
the assiduousness, the perseverance, and the variety, of his other 
labors; his devotion to God, his disinterested love to men; what 
he was as a pastor^ with all that he was as a preacher; we cease 
to wonder at the effects which he produced. No place could 
long resist such a train and style of aggression. All people 
must feel the force of such a moral warfare as that which he 
waged. There are few individuals, who could escape without 
being wounded, or conquered, by such an assailant. In compar- 
ison with him, how {e\\ are there even among the faithful minis- 
ters of Christ, who can think of themselves, or their labors with 
satisfaction! Yet, w^as there nothing in Baxter, but what the 
grace and power of God can do for others. There was some- 
thing in his exertions, almost super-human; yet he seemed to 
accomplish all w^ith a considerable degree of ease and comfort to 
him^self. He never seems to have been bustled, but he was al- 
ways busy; and thus he found time for all he had to do, while he 
employed that time in the most profitable manner. 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 effects of Baxter's labors, in Kidderminster, were lasting, 
as well as extensive. He frequently refers to his beloved flock, 
long after he had left them, in terms of the w^armest affection. 
Many of them continued to adorn the doctrine of God, their 
Saviour, till they finished their mortal course; and, doubtless, 
now constitute their pastor's crown of rejoicing in the presence 
of their Redeemer. Nor did the effects of his exertions expire 
with that generation. Mr. Fawcett, who abridged the 'Saint's 
Rest,' in 1759, says, "that the religious spirit thus happily intro- 
duced by Baxter, is yet to be traced, in the town and neighbor- 
hood in some degree." ^ He represents the professors of that 

(i) Preface. 


place, as "possessing an unusual degree of candor, and friend- 
ship, for each other." Thus evincing, "that Kidderminster had 
not totally lost the amiable spirit it had imbibed more than a 
century before."-' 

When the Gospel was removed from the Church, it was car- 
ried to the Meeting; though at what time a separate congrega- 
tion 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 endure 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 qual- 
ifications. Mr. Baldwin was minister of the parish of Chaddesly 
till the Bartholomew ejectment: he then removed to Kiddermin- 
ster, and settled with the Nonconformists who left the church. 
His ministry was repeatedly interrupted; but he died in Kidder- 
minster, in 1693. After his death, Mr. White, the vicar of the 
parish, preached and published his funeral sermon; in which he 
speaks in the highest terms of his piety, his talents, and his mod- 
eration. He was, in all respects, worthy to be the successor of 
Baxter. The sermon is honorable 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 Pem- 
broke 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 
succeeded bv the Rev. Matthew Bradshaw, who married his 
daughter. He was a man of similar sentiments and spirit, and 
labored in the congregation till the year 1745, when he was suc- 
ceeded by Benjamin Fawcett, a favorite 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 

(j) Dedication. 

(k) Life, part iii. p. 92; Noncon. Mem. iii. pp. 389, 390; White's Sermon. 

(!) Many particulars respecting these parties may be seen in Mr. Hanbury's "En- 
larged Diary, &c.. of Mr. Joseph Williams, of Kidderminster." See also, "Ortou's 
Letters to Dissenting Ministers;" in the second volume of which there is a short me- 
moir of Mr. Fawcett. 



Gentleman, who edited Orton's Exposition of the Old Testa- 
ment, became the first minister. 

In the original congregation, Mr. Barrett became the succes- 
sor 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 or- 
dained to the pastoral office in 1810. He was followed by Mr. 
Joseph John Freeman, now a missionary in Madagascar; whose 
place has been supplied by Dr. James Ross, formerly a mission- 
ary at Karass, in Russian Tartary."^ 

CHAPTER VI. 16481660. 

The Commonwealth Cromwell's treatment of his Parliaments The Triers 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 Remarks on that character Richard's Succession and Retire- 
ment The Restoration Baxter goes to London Preaches before Parliament Preaches 
before the Lord Mayor The King's Arrival in Limdon Reception by tiie London Min- 
isters Notices of various labors of Baxter during his second residence in Kidderminster 
Numerous works written during this period Extensive Correspondence Concluding 

Having, in the preceding chapter, given a full view of the man- 
ner in which Baxter acted in his ministerial capacity, during the 
period of his second residence in Kidderminster, comprehend- 
ing fourteen years of the most active and interesting period of his 
life, we shall now collect some of his views respecting the polit- 
ical events and characters of the Commonwealth, 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; I 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 favorable to 

(m) The pulpit in which Baxter preached is still preserved. About forty years 
ago it was sold, tog-ether with the pevving of the parish church, for a trifling sum. A 
gentleman, anxious to preserve it from destruction, bought it from the first purchaser 
for five pounds, and placed it in the vestry of the new meeting. It is rather a hand- 
some production of its kind. It is of an octagon form. The pannels have long 
carved flowers on them, which are painted difl'erent colors, and some of the gilding 
still remains. There is a large sounding-board surmounted b}' a crown upon a cush- 
ion. Around the top is inscribed, "And call upon his name, 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. 


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, bodi 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 con- 
siderable interest; and as Baxter has said a good deal respecting 
him, it would be unjustifiable in these memoirs, to omit the sub- 
stance of the information which he has furnished. The follow- 
ing account quite harmonises with other documents which re- 
cord the transactions of the times. Having given a narrative of 
the final defeat of the royal army, of the flight of Charles 11. to 
France, and of the policy pursued towards Scotland, he thus de- 
scribes 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 Common- 
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 as he did by the Presbyterians, make them odious by hard 
speeches against them throughout his army; as if they intended 
to perpetuate themselves, and would not be accountable for the 
money of the Commonwealth, &ic. 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 perceived 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 reproach- 
ful 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 
favored 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' dis- 
pleasure against the House. When a certain Quaker wrote a 
reviling censure of this petition, I wrote a defence of it, and 
caused one of them to be given to each parliament-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 impelled him, and, 

(1) These were published under the title of 'The Worcestershire Petition/ and the 
'Defence of it;' an account of which will be found in another place. 


as in a rapture, went into the House and reproved the members 
for their faults. Pointing to Vane, he called him a juggler; and 
to Henry Martin, called him a whoremaster; 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 must 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 sol- 
diers, at last, out of love with democracy; or, at least, to make 
those hateful who adhered to it. 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 Parliament."- 

"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 at 
once be put down; and it was but accidentally carried in the 
negative by two voices." It was taken for granted that the 

(m) A very curious account of this facetious, but, I fear, profligate commoner, is 
g'iven in 'Aubrey's Miscellanies;' vol. ii. pp. 434 437. A sarcasm of Charles the 
First, upon 3Iartin, is there alleged to have cost the king the loss 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 now you are going to make this old roilen rascal a 
sacrifice!" The joke took, and saved Henrv's life. 

(n) One of the best and fullest views which we have of Cromwell's parliaments 
has been recently published in 'Burton's Diary,' edited by Mr. Towill Rutt. It shows 
us more of the working of the Protector's system than an}' 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. The\' 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 acts of these parliaments 
shows, however, that some of their enactments were both wise and salutary. 

(o) This statement is incorrect: no such question as the abolition of the ministry 
having been discussed in that parliament. ''On the 15th of July, 1653, the question 
was proposed whether the maintenojice of ministers by tithes should be continued after 
the third day of November next: and the question being put, that that question be 
now put, it passed in the negative. The noes G8, 3'eas A^.'^ Journals of the House 
of Commons. This, I have no doubt, is the aflTair to which Baxter refers. The 
reader will easily distinguish between the abolition of tithes, and the abolition of the 


tithes and universities would, at the next opportunity, be voted 
down; and so Cromwell must be their savior, 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. So Sir Charles Wolsley, and 
some others, took their time, 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 army? p 

"The intelligent sort, by this time, did fully see that Crom- 
well's design was, by causing and permitting destruction to hang 
over us, to necessitate the nation, whether it would or not, to 
take him for its governor, that he might be its protector. 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 pernicious de- 
mands which tended to confusion, as they had done before by 
their valor in the field. He could now conjure up at pleasure 
some terrible apparition of agitators, levellers, or such-like, who, 
as they aftrighted the king from Hampton Court, affi-ighted the 
people to fly to him for refuge; that the hand that wounded 
them, might heal them. Now he exclaimed against the gid- 
diness of these unruly men, and earnestly pleaded for order and 
government, and must needs become the patron of the ministry; 

ministry. The following 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. I am much deceived if they will not be thought enlightened even at 
the 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 settled by law; and such other 
encouragement as the Parliament hath already appointed, or hereafter shall appoint: 
and that where any scruple payment of lithes, the three next justices of the peace, 
or two of them, shall upon complaint call the parlies 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 incase such apportioned 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 nd 
considering what hath been offered to this committee touching propriety in tithes of 
incumbents, rectors, possessors of donatives, or propriale 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." Journal, Dec 2, 1653. There is no evidence that 
the parliament ever intended to put down the universities, or to alienate the lands 
which belonged to them, from the purpose to which they were originally destined. 

(p) Cromwell, in his opening speech at the meeting of the ensuing parliament, 
solemnly declared that he knew nothing of this act of clissolution, till 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 ignor- 
ance. HaiTis's Life of Cromwell, p. 334. 

VOL. I. 17 


yet, SO as to secure all others their liberty." i So much for the 
address and policy of this extraordinary man. 

One great object of Cromwell's government was the purifica- 
tion 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 w'ho 
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 constitution and proceedings, it may 
be w^ell to hear his account of them. 

"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: inso- 
much, that I refused to try any under them upon their reference, 
except very few, whose importunity and necessity moved me, 
they being such, as for their episcopal judgment, or some such 
cause, the Triers w^ere 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 particular in 
inquiring after evidences of sanctification in those whom they 
examined, and somewhat too lax in their admission of unlearned 
and erroneous men, who favored Antinomianism or Anabaptism; 
yet to give them their due, they did abundance of good to the 
church. They saved many a congregation from ignorant, un- 
godly, 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: and 
that sort of ministers, w^ho 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 common trade to live by, and 
were never likely to convert a soul, they usually rejected, and, 
in their stead they admitted persons of any denomination who 
were able, serious, preachers, and lived a godly life. So that 
though many of them w^ere somew^hat partial to the Independ- 
ents, 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 afterwards cast them 
out again."'" 

(q) Life, part i. pp. 6071. (r) Life, part i. p. 72. 


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 have caused occa- 
sional hardship and suffering, but it seems very clear from Bax- 
ter, 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 connec- 
tion with the committee appointed to digest and report respect- 
ing the fundamentals of religion, as the basis of a system of 
toleration, or religious liberty, to be adopted by the Parliament 
of the Commonwealth. He has given a long and curious 
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 pro- 
ceedings, and contributed to defeat the object which some of 
them had in view. Not that he understood religious liberty bet- 
ter than the others, but he excelled them all in finding out ob- 
jections to whatever was proposed; though his own scheme 
would not have greatly improved what was determined by the 
majority. The most important result of this meeting to Bax- 
ter, was its being the means of introducing him to Archbishop 
Usher, with whom he appears to have had much friendly inter- 
course, and with whose views of church government he nearly 
agreed. Usher was one of the most amiable of men, and the 
most moderate of bishops; whose enlightened sentiments and 
suggestions, had they been attended to, would have preserved 
the country from many of the evils which befel 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 ex- 
isting government. Some, regarding it as a usurpation, and in- 
fluenced considerably by the doctrine of divine right, opposed 

(t) Life, pari ii. pp. 197200. Owen's Memoirs, pp. 113116, 


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 numerous 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 printing, 
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 it my duty to rave against him in the pulpit, or to do this 
so unseasonably and imprudently as might irritate him to mis- 
chief. 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 perceived that it was his design to do good in the main, and 
to promote the Gospel and the interests of godliness, more than 
any had done before him; except in those particulars which 
were against his own interest. The principal means that 
hence-forward he trusted to for his estabhshment, 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 rightful gov- 
ernor 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 v/hich the usurper had done, be- 
cause 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 

(u) Baxter changed his mind respecting' his conduct to Cromwell at a subsequent 
period. In his 'Penitent Confessions/ written in 1691, he says: ''I am in great doubt 
how far I did well or ill in my opposition to Cromwell and his army at last, I am 
satisfied thai it was my duty to disown, and as I said, to oppose their rebellion and 
other sins. But tliere were many honest, pious men among them. And when God 
chooseth the executioner of justice as he pleaseth, I am oft in doubt whether I should 
not have been more passive and silent than I was; though not as Jeremiah to Nebu- 
chadnezzar, 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 himself into difficulty by preaching against Cromwell. How he got out of it, 
or what was the extent of his danger, does not clearly appear. Cromwell's usual 
moderation probably induced him to drop proceedings. 

(v) I think it by no means 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 nothing, when it was necessary to accomplish his own interest. That he 
was ambitious in the latter part of his 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 mat- 
ter of doubt to those who have studied his history. 


good, 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; and to 
perform all my engagements to a rightful governor, leaving the 
issue of all to God; but yet to commend the good which a 
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 preceding 
statement and the character of Cromwell, and shows how 
faithfully he acted according to his sentiments and convictions. 

"At this time Lord Broghill and the Earl of Warwick J" 
brought me to preach before Cromwell, ihe 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 distrac- 
tions 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 offend 
them; and showing the necessity and means of union. My 
plainness I heard was displeasing to him and his courtiers; but 
they put it up. 

"A little while after, Cromwell sent to speak with me, and 
when I came, in the presence of only three of his chief men,^ 

(x) Life, part i. p. 71. 

(y) Robert Rich, the second Earl of Warwick, was at an early period of his life 
the patron and friend of the persecuted Puritans. He took an active part in the 
prosecution of Strafford and Laudj and was made by the Lonj^ Parliament, in oppo- 
sition to the will of Charles, admiral of the fleet, and afterwards lord high 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 conversation;" and speaks of ''his great authority and 
credit with the Puritans," which he represents as acquired ''by making his house the 
rendezvous of ail the silenced ministers, and spending a good 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." Hint. vol. ii. p. 210. 
This I believe to be one of those cases in which Clarendon's politics completely cor- 
rupted his historical integrity. Dr. Owen's opinion of Warwick's piety, ma}' be seen 
in his dedication to him of his 'Salus Electorum,' Owen's Works, v. p. 207. God- 
win's view of his character is highly advantageous to his talents and respectability 
as a man, and conveys no impression of Tiis immorality, which is strongly implied in 
Clarendon's account, Commonwealth, i. p. 192. It is not at all likely that a profli- 
gate man should have enjoyed the full confidence of the puritans. His grandson 
married the Protector's favorite daughter. Lady Frances. He died before Cromwell, 
in 16-58, and his funeral sermon was preached by Calamy, who makes honorable men- 
lion of his religious dispositions and habits. 

(z) Lord Broghill, Lambert, and Thurlow, were the individuals present on this oc- 
casion. Lambert fell asleep during Cromwell's speech. Baxter's Penitent Con- 
fessions, p. 25. 


he began 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, he. When he had wearied us 
all with speaking thus slowly about an hour, I 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 Eng- 
land had ever forfeited that blessing, and unto whom that forfeit- 
ure was made? I was fain to speak of the form of government 
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; and then he let fly at the parliament, which thwart- 
ed him; and especially by name at four or five of those mem- 
bers who were my chief acquaintances, whom I presumed to de- 
fend against his passion: and thus four or five hours were spent. 

"A few days after he sent for me again, to hear my judgment 
about liberty of conscience, which he pretended to be most zeal- 
j-ous for, before almost all his privy council; where, after another 
slow tedious speech of his, I told him a httle 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 labor to read it, I 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; being more disposed to speak 
many hours, than to hear one; and little heeding 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, bodi friends and enemies. It was natural 
for such a man to attach quite as much importance to his own 
opinions as to those of his friends; and, comparing him with the 
generality of the persons by w^hom 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 on 
the present occasion, to sound him about his own views and 
those of the party with which he acted. It is very certain he 

(a) Life, parti, p. 205 


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 
\vhen in possession of power. 

Whatever personal displeasure Cromwell might have felt at 
the conduct and plain dealing of Baxter, on this and other occa- 
sions, it is much to his honor 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 respecting 
their authority, and rendering obedience to their laws. Baxter 
had the candor to acknowledge how much the country was 
obliged to Oliver. 

"When Cromwell was made lord protector, he had the pol- 
icy not to detect and exasperate the ministers and others who 
consented not to his government. Having seen what a stir the 
engagement had before made, he let men live quietly without 
putting any oaths of fidelity upon them, except members of his 
parliaments; these he w^ould 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 
people's submission and quietness, he thought himself well set- 
tled; 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 he not only began to blame their unru- 
liness, but also to design to settle himself in the people's favor by 
suppressing them. In Ireland they w^ere grown so high, that 
the soldiers were many of them re-baptised as the way to 
preferment; and those who opposed them, they crushed with 
much uncharitable fierceness. To suppress these, he sent 
thither his son Henry Cromwell, who so discountenanced the 
Anabaptists, as yet to deal civilly with them; repressing their in- 
solencies, but not abusing them; promoting the work of the 
Gospel, and setting up good and sober ministers; and dealing 
civilly with the Royalists, and obliging all, so that he was gener- 
ally beloved and well-spoken of: and Major-General Ludlow, 
who headed the Anabaptists in Ireland,** was fain to draw in his 

(b) Ludlow was not a Baptist, so far as I can ascertain, thongli the form of ex- 
pression employed by Baxter might lead us to suppose it. He was a high-minded re- 
publican soldier. A man of Roman rather than Christian virtuej stern, uncompro- 
mising, and courageous; who lialed Cromwell as heartily as Ciiarles; and would as 
readily have sat in judgment on the one as a traitor, as he passed sentence on the 
other as a tyrant. He died, after an exile of thirty years, in Switzerland, to which he 
retired at the Restoration. His Memoirs of himself possess very considerable interest; 
but their accuracy cannot always be depended on, as the}' were written long after 
many of the events which they describe. 

(c) Life, part i.p. 74, 


This statement reflects ^reat honor on the sagacity and dex- 
trous 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 w^orld. 
He knew that great mischief would result from pursuing violent 
measures against such persons; and, therefore, like a skilful 
tactician, he gradually deprived them of power, or placed them 
in such circumstances that they could do little harm to them- 
selves 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 hypocrisy. 

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 Baxter act- 
ed under it. The following character of Cromwell is well drawn, 
though it may not be correct in every particular. 

"1 come now to the end of Cromwell's reign, who died of a 
fever before he was aware. He escaped the attempts of many, 
who thought to have despatched 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 interests 
led their judgments. The soldiers and sectaries most highly 
magnified him, till he began to seek the crown and the establish- 
ment of his family; and then there were so many who would be 
half-kings themselves, that a king did seem intolerable 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 entrance 
into the wars, being but a captain of horse, he took special care 
to get religious men into his troop. These were of greater un- 
derstanding than common soldiers, and therefore were more ap- 

(d) There is no evidence that Cromwell was a profligate man in early life; and to 
the last he maintained the greatest regard for justice, morality, and the public inter- 
ests of religion. 


prehensive of the importance and consequence of the war; and, 
making not money, but that which they took for the pubhc fe- 
licity, to be their end, they were the more engaged to be vahant; 
for he that maketh money his end, doth esteem his hfe above 
his pay, and therefore is Hkely enough to save it by flight when 
danger comes, if possibly he can. But he that maketh the fe- 
licity of church and state his end, esteemeth it above his life, 
and therefore will the sooner lay down his life for it. Men of 
parts and understanding know how to manage 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 
none could be engaged, such valiant men as the religious. Yet, 
I conjecture, that, at his first choosing such men into his troop, 
it was the very esteem and love of religious men that principally 
moved him; and the avoiding of those disorders, mutinies, plun- 
derings, and grievances of the country, w'hich debauched men 
in armies are commonly guilty of. By this means he indeed 
sped better than he expected. Aires, Desborough, Berry, 
Evanson, and the rest of that troop, did prove so valiant, that, as 
far as I could learn, they never once ran away before an enemy. 
Hereupon he got a commission to take some care of the associ- 
ated counties, where he formed this troop into a double regi- 
ment of fourteen troops; and all these as full of religious men as 
he could get. These having more than ordinary wit and reso- 
lution, had more than ordinary success; first in Lincolnshire, 
and afterwards in the Earl of Manchester's army at York fight. 
With their successes, the hearts both of captains and soldiers 
secretly rose both in pride and expectation: and the familiarity 
of many honest, erroneous men, as Anabaptists, Antinomians, 
&c. withal, began quickly to corrupt their judgments. Here- 
upon 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 soever; 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 all 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 end and means; 
that God, by the wonderful blessing of his providence, had 
owned his endeavors, and that it was none but God w^ho had 
made him great. He thought, that if the war was lawful, the 

VOL. I. 18 


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 upon revenge, and that if he w^ere 
once king, he would easily, at one time or other, accomplish it; 
that it was a dishonest thing of the parliament to set men to 
fight for them against the king, and then to lay their heads upon 
the block, and be at his mercy; and that if this must be their 
case, it w^as 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 them- 
selves bound to the person and family of the king; and that there 
was no hope of changing their minds in this. Hereupon he join- 
ed with that party in the parhament who w^ere for the cutting off 
the king and trusting him no more; and consequently he joined 
with them in raising the Independents to make a faction in the 
Synod at Westminster, and in the city; in strengthening the sec- 
taries in the army, city, and country; and in rendering the Scots 
and ministers as odious as he could, to disable them from hinder- 
ing the change of government.*" 

"In the doing of all this, which distrust and ambition per- 
suaded him was well done, he thought it law'ful 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 gar- 
risons, forces, and committees, which were likely to have hinder- 
ed his design. As he went on, though he had not resolved 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 Fair- 
fax, he knew, had but the name. At last, as he thought it 
lawful to cut off the king, because he thought he was lawfully 
conquered, so he thought it lawful to fight against die Scots that 
would set him up, and to pull down the Presbyterian major- 
ity in the parliament, which would else, by restoring the king, 
undo all which had cost them so much blood and treasure. He 
accordingly conquered Scodand, and pulled down the parlia- 
ment: being the easier persuaded that all this was lawful, because 
he had a secret bias and eye towards his own exaltation. For he 
and his officers thought, that when the king was ^one, a govern- 

(e) The conduct of Charles fully justified this view of his character5 and much more 
than the ambition of Cromv^ell contributed to his unhappy fate. 

(f ) What is here, and afterwards, ascribed entirely to Cromwell's ambition, more 
properly beloui^s to the desire of personal preservation, and regard for the safety of 
the country. I'he ruling passion of Cromwell was zeal for what he regarded as the 
cause of God and his country. The circumstances made the man, much more than 
the man the circumstances. 


ment there must be, and that no man was so fit for it as he him- 
self; yea, they thought that God had called them by successes 
to govern and take care of the Commonwealth, and of the inter- 
est of all his people in the land; and that if they stood by and 
suffered the parliament to do that which they thought was dan- 
gerous, it would be required at their hands, whom they thought 
God had 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 ministers, further than thev yielded to his ends, or 
did not openly resist them. 

"He seemed exceedingly open-hearted, by a familiar, rustic, 
affected carriage, especially to his soldiers, in sporting with 
them; but he thought secrecy a virtue, and dissimulation no 
vice; 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, w^ho was not so precise 
as 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 endeavored to persuade the 
Presbyterians that he was one of them; but only that he would 
do them justice, and preserve them, and that he honored their 
worth and piety: for he knew that they were not so easily de- 
ceived.^ In a word, he did as our prelates have done, begin 
low, and rise higher in his resolutions as his condition rose. 
The promises which he made in his lower condition, he used as 
the interest of his higher following condition did 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 tell them the 
instability of man in strong temptations, if God leave him to 
himself; what great success and victories can do to lift up a 

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


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 blood- 
shed and enormities of life, an erring, deluded judgment may- 
execute. An erroneous sectary, or a proud self-seeker, is 
oftener God's instrument than an humble, lamb-like, innocent 

In this lengthened description of Cromwell, and of the princi- 
ples which chiefly directed his various movements, it is impossible 
not to recognize 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 endeavored to conceal 
them. The process, too, which Baxter describes as that by 
which OHver 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 selfishness and love of personal 
aggrandizement; 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 which he did, it is impossi- 
ble to justify; but even these, though they cannot be defended, 
admit of some apology, when his circumstances 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 sufficient justice to the real influence of 
religion on the character of Cromwell; without which, it is not 
possible to account for many parts of his conduct. His opposi- 
tion to Presbyterianism, his friendship for the sectaries, and his 
antimonarchial principles and actions, were unpardonable offen- 
ces in the estimation of Baxter. Scarcely any degree of per- 
sonal excellence or pubhc virtue could compensate, in his opin- 
ion, for these enormous evils. It should be remembered, how- 
ever, that if Cromwell had great faults, he had also splendid vir- 
tues; which, in any other character than an usurper's, would have 
been emblazoned by friends, and eulogized by enemies.' 

(h) Life, part 5. pp. 98 100. 

(i) Among' the Baxter MSS. is a letter from John Howe to Richard Vines, in which 
his circumstances, as chaplain in the Protector's family, are described as so uncom- 
fortable, that, he was determined to leave it. This letter conveys a stronger reflec- 
tion on the character of Cromwell than any thing I have met with. "My call hither 
was to a work I thought very considerable; the setting up the worship and discipline 
of Christ in this family, wherein I was lo be joined with another, called in upon the 
same account. But t 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, 
lo 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 disorderliness 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 therefore 


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 favorable. I have quot- 
ed the strong language of Baxter, respecting the sects and the 
divisions of the period, and the pointed censures which he pro- 
nounces 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 picture 
present, to the dismal representation of the condition of religion 
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 fear 
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 w^ere then! 
How graciously hath God prospered the studies of many young 
men that were litde 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 congrega- 
tions are now grown thin, and their parts esteemed mean by 
reason of the notable improvements of their juniors! 

"I hope I shall rejoice in God while I have a being, for the 
common change in other parts that I have lived to see; that so 
many hundred faithful men are so hard at work for the sav^ing 
of souls, 'frementibus licet et fredentibus inimicis;' and that more 
are springing up apace. I know there are some men whose 
pans 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 prelat- 
ical, if I knew ray heart, I could not choose for all that but re- 
joice. What, not rejoice at the prosperity of the church, be- 
cause men differ in opinion about its order! 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 congregation Avere thus 
supplied! but all cannot be done at once. They had a long time 

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, but desire you to be 
very sparing- in making it known, as it is here represented." Baxter MSS. There 
are several letters from Howe to Baxter among- these MSS. It is curious to find 
Howe speaking of himself as a "raw youth, bashful, pusillanimous, and solicitous about 
the flesh." 


to settle a corrupted ministry; and when the ignorant and scan- 
dalous 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 unreformedness 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 effectually disperse and shame them all."'' 

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 
swore fidelity to him, they meant to keep it no longer than he 
pleased them. When they saw that he began to favor the sober 
people of the land, to honor parliaments, and to respect the min- 
isters, 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 inter- 
est of the nation. He was not so formidable to them as his fa- 
ther 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 against him, among the sec- 
taries 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 main work.^ 

"The Wallingford-house party, consisting of the active officers 
of the army, determined that Richard's parliament must be dis- 
solved; and then he quickly fell himself. Though he never 
abated their liberties, or their greatness, he did not sufficiently 
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 gov- 
ernment, he was resolved it should cost no blood to keep him in 
it; but if they would venture for their parts to new confusions, 

(k) Reformed Pastor, published in 1658. Works, vol, xiv. pp. 152, 163. 
(1) For an account of Owen's conduct in this affair, see 'Memoirs of Owen/* pp. 
213215, second edition. 


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 pleased. 

"His good brother-in-law, Fleetwood, and his uncle, Desbor- 
ough, were so intoxicated as to be the leaders of the conspiracy; 
and when they had pulled him down, they set up a few of them- 
selves under the name of a Council of State. So mad were 
they with pride, as to think the nation would stand by and rever- 
ence 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 
core of the business also was, that Oliver had once made Fleet- 
wood believe, that he should be his successor, and had drawn 
an instrument to that purpose; but his last will disappointed him. 
And then the sectaries flattered him, saying, that a truly godly 
man, who had commanded them in the w^ars, was to be prefer- 
red before such a one as they censured to have no true godli- 

Richard Cromwell rose to the Protectorate without effort, and 
fell from it without much regret on his ow^n 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 little qualified for 
managing the daring spirits by which he was surrounded. He 
was a lover of peace and a friend of religion, and had he quietly 
succeeded to a well-established throne, would have filled it with 
honor to himself, and advantage to his country. But it was a 
difficult affair to occupy the seat of a protector, and to maintain 
claims which were still regarded as those of a usurper. Sur- 
rounded by cabals of enemies, misled by the advice of injudi- 
cious friends, and terrified by the prospect of new civil convul- 
sions, he had the wisdom to descend from the seat of power, 
without a struggle, which would only have been attended with a 
useless effusion of blood, and followed with certain defeat. "I 
have no doubt," says Baxter, "that God permitted all this for 
good; and that, as it w^as the treason of a military faction to set 
up Oliver, and destroy the king, so it was their duty to have set 
up the present king instead of Richard. Thus 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 inten- 

(m) Life, part i. pp. 100, 101. There are letters from Baxter to Sir James Neth- 
ersole, and Colonel Harley, about the affairs of the country during' ''Richard's usur- 
pation, when men were raised to some vain hopes.'"' Baxter MSS. 


tion, had been a duty, as done by them, was as barbarous per- 
fidiousness 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 themselves, and sworn allegiance to; 
that they should do this without 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 ac- 
complish it, not only without the parliament's advice, but in spite 
of it, and force him to dissolve it first; that they should so 
proudly despise, not merely the parliament, 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 

While the praise or blame of pulling down Richard is thus 
studiously ascribed, 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 Presbvterians 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 perfidious- 
ness which these things involved, than he was disposed to admit. 
That party threw every possible difficulty in the way of the 
Commonwealth administration, because they were not of suffi- 
cient importance under it; and did all they could to bring back 
the king, whom they could not doubt would reward their fidel- 
ity, and comprehend them in the new establishment. They 
were taken effectually in their own snare, and were more 
severely 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 sen- 
sible of the insolence of Vane and Lambert, and the fanatics in 
England and Ireland, who set up and pulled down governments 
as boldly as if they were making a lord of a May game, and 
were grasping all the power into their own hands; that he pres- 
ently 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, Lam- 
bert marched against him, but his soldiers forsaking him, and Sir 
Arthur Haselrigge getting Portsmouth, and Colonel Morley 
strengthening him, and Major-General Berry's regiment which 
went to block it up, revolting to them, the clouds rose every- 
where at once, and Lambert could make no resistance; so that 
instead of fighting, they were fain to treat. While Monk held 
them treating, his reputation increased, and theirs abated; their 

(n) Life, part i. p. 101. 


hearts failed them, their soldiers fell oif; and General Monk 
consulted with his friends what to do. Many counties sent let- 
ters of thanks and encouragement to him. Mr. Thomas Bamp- 
field was sent by the gentlemen of the West, and other counties 
did the like; so that Monk came on, but still declared for a 
Commonwealth, against monarchy; till at last, when he saw all 
ripened thereto, he declared for the king. The chief men, as 
far as I can learn, w^ho turned his resolution to bring in the king, 
were Mr. Clarges,*^ and Sir William Morris, his kinsman; the 
petitions and affections of the city of London, principally moved 
by Mr. Calamy and Mr. Ash, two ancient leading able minis- 
ters; w^ith Dr. Bates, Dr. Manton, Dr. Jacomb, and other minis- 
ters of London who concurred. These were encouraged by 
the Earl of Manchester, the Lord Hollis, the late Earl of An- 
glesey, and many of the then council of state. The members 
of tlie old parliament, who had formerly been ejected, being 
recalled, dissolved themselves, and appointed the convening of 
a parliament which might recal the king. When General 
Monk first came into England, most men rejoiced, in hope to 
be delivered from the usurpation of the fanatics, Anabaptists, 
Seekers, &:c. I was myself so much affected with the strange 
providence of God, that I procured the ministers to agree upon 
a public thanksgiving to God. I think all the victories which 
that army obtained, w^ere not more wonderful than their fall was, 
when pride and error had prepared them for it. It seemed 
wonderful to me, that an army which had got so many great and 
marvellous victories, which thought themselves unconquerable, 
and talked of nothing but dominion at home, 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 so small a power as Monk's army in 
the beginning was. So eminent was the hand of God in all this 
change." P 

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 his 
own terms, he was rew^arded with a dukedom. *i Baxter had 

(o) Clarges was originally an apothecary, hut acting as physician to Monk's army, 
became M. D. He was afterwards created Sir Thomas Clarges, by Charles, for his 
services at the restoration. He was the son of a blacksmith, and brother to Nan 
Clarges, better known by that appellation than by her future title, the Duchess of 
Albemarle, a situation which she neither deserved, nor was qualified to fill. 

(p) Life, part i. p. 214. 

(q) ''Monk no more intended or designed the king's restoration when he came 
into England, or first came to London, than his horse did; but shortly after finding 
himself at a loss, that he was purposely made odious to the city, and that he was a 
lost man, by the parliament^ and that the generality of the city and country were 

VOL. T. 19 


an interview with Monk after he came to London; which laid 
the foundation of a charge preferred against him by L'Estrange, 
in the ninety-sixth number of 'The Observator,' that he had 
endeavored to influence Monk not to bring back the king. In 
reply to which, Baxter says: 

"Dr. Manton (and whether any other, I remember not) went 
once with me to General 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 pre- 
tence of being 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 fiction. 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 
debauchery 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 
confidence, as his conduct at the time of the restoration shows 
how heartily he rejoiced in it. But it is impossible not to mar- 
vel 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 was just then released from his tedious 
confinement in Windsor Casde, 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 dissolv- 
ed, 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 minds, which 
were in no small commotion through clandestine rumors, he, by 
means of Sir Robert Murray, and the Countess of Balcarras, 
then in France, procured several letters to be written from 
thence, full of high eulogiums on the king, and assurances of his 

for the restoring the king, he had no way to save himself but to close A-ith the city." 
Aubrey ii. p. 455. The grand object and aim of Monk in all he did was his own 

(r) Calamy's Continuation, vol. iv. p. 911. 

(s) 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 un- 
natural union of the Cavaliers and the Presbyterians to effect this object, appears to 
have met with his approbation. A letter of his to Major Beake was intercepted, but 
being written with caution, nothing could be made of it. He assigns no reason for 
leaving Kidderminster, and coming to London at this time; but I have no doubt it 
was to be present to aid and assist his Presbyterian brethren as circumstances might 
require. Sir Ralph Clare informed him of some things that were going on, and that if 
the restoration took place, a ver^' moderate episcopacy would satisfy that party. 
This led Baxter to propose terms of union to Dr. Hammond, in consequence of which 
a correspondence took place, but which, like all such schemes, came to nothing. 
Life, part ii. pp. 207214. 


firmness in the Protestant religion, which he got translated and 
published. Among others, one was sent to me from Monsieur 
Gaches, a famous, pious preacher at Charenton; wherein, after 
a high strain of compliment to myself, he gave a pompous char- 
acter of the king, and assured me, that during his exile, he never 
forebore the public profession of the Protestant religion, no, not 
even in those places where it seemed prejudicial to his affairs. 
That he was present at divine worship in the French churches, 
at Rouen and Rochelle, though not at Charenton, during his 
stay at Paris; and earnestly pressed me to use my utmost inter- 
est, that the king might be restored by means of the Presbyte- 

"When I was in London, the new parliament being called, 
they presently appointed a day of fasting and prayer for them- 
selves. The House of Commons chose Mr. Calamy, Dr. Gau- 
den, and myself, to preach and pray with them, at St. Marga- 
ret's, Westminster. In that sermon, I uttered some passages 
which were afterwards matter of some discourse. Speaking of 
our differences, and the way to heal them, I told them that, 
whether we should be loyal to our king was none of our differ- 
ences. In that, we were all agreed; it being as impossible that 
a man should be true to the Protestant principles and not be 
loyal; as it was impossible to be true to the Papist principles, 
and to be loyal. And for the concord now wished in matters of 
church government, I told them it was easy for moderate men 
to come to a fair agreement, and that the late reverend Primate 
of Ireland and myself had agreed in half an hour. I remember 
not the very words, but you may read them in the sermon, which 
was printed by order of the House of Commons.^ The next 
morning after this day of fasting, the parliament 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; and the lord- 
mayor and alderman desired me to preach before them at St. 
Paul's church; wherein I so endeavored 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 thanks- 

(t) This sermon was preached on the 30th of April. IGGO, and is printed in vol. 
xvii. of his Works. The subject is Repentance, the text Ezok. xxxvi. 31. He dedi- 
cates it to the House of Commons, and speaks of the honor which he considered it, to 
conclude by preaching- and prayer, the service which immediately preceded the vote 
of the House to recal his majesty. Iiis distinguished by his usual plainness and fidel- 
ity, and contains some eloquent passages. Few such sermons, I fear, have been 
preached in that house since then. His advice and requests to them as legislators 
were both sound and moderate. 


giving; 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 di- 
vines, witli 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 maj- 
esty gave such encouraging promises of peace, as raised some of 
them to high expectations.'' And when he came in, as he pass- 
ed through the city towards Westminster, the London ministers 
in their places attended him with acclamations,^ and by the 
hands of old Mr. Arthur Jackson, presented him with 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 Cromwell's, 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 mag- 
ical 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 tlie 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 

(u) Tliis sermon was preached on the 10th of May, 1660, and appears in vol. xvii, 
of his Works, under the title of ''Right Rejoicing/' founded on Luke x. 20. There is 
much admirable personal address in this discourse, and the allusions to political mat- 
ters are brief and moderate. 

(x) Charles duped the Presbyterian ministers by causing them to be placed within 
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. 

(y) 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 return. On its 
being intimated by Monk, that there should be a free parliament, "Immediately a 
loud iiolla 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 bonfires, which were prodigiously great and 
frequent, and ran like a train over the city. They made little gibbets and roasted 
rumpes of mutlon, naye I sawe some very good rumpes of beef. Health to King 
Charles IL was dranke in the streets, by the bonfires, even on their knees. This hu- 
mor ran by the next night to Salisbur^^, where was the like joy; so to Chalke, where 
they made a great bonfire on the top of the hill; from thence to Blandford and Shaftes- 
bury, and so lo the Land's End. Well! a free parliament was chosen, and Sir Har- 
bottle Grimston was chosen Speaker. The first thing he put to the question was, 
Whether Charles Stuart should be sent for, or no? Yea, yea, nem. con. Sir Thomas 
Greenhill was then in towne, and posted away to Brussells, found the king at dinner, 
little dreaming of so good news, rises presently from dinner, had his coach immedi- 
ately made ready, and that night got out of the King oi Spain's dominions, into the 
Prince of Orange's country. Now, as the morn grows lighter and lighter, and more 
glorious till it is perfect day, so it was with the joy of the people. May-poles, which 

in the hypocritical times 'twas to set up, now were set up in every cross-way; 

and at the Strand near Drury Lane, was set up the most prodigious one for height, 
that, perhaps, ever was seen; they were fain, I remember, to have the seaman's art to 
elevate it. The 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." Axihrei/s Miscel. vol, ii. 
pp. 454., 456. 

(z) Life, part i. pp. 214218. 


old nobility and their retainers; the church had never entirely 
lost its hold of a considerable body of the population; Presbyte- 
rianism was too rigid a system to suit the temper and genius of 
the multitude; the ambition of Cromwell had lost him the affec- 
tion of his republican associates, and destroyed the confidence 
and respect of the Independents and minor sects. Tired of the 
versatility and duplicity of a man, who was great, but never dig- 
nified; feared, but not loved or respected; and possessed by a 
blind attachment to the exiled monarchy, it required only the 
favorable opportunity of the old Protector's death, and the con- 
currence of a few other circumstances, to produce the marvel- 
lous 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 
in the English character, than the facts which have been briefly 
glanced at. All that the people, the religious and well-informed 
people, had suffered from the cruel oppressions of the Stuart 
family was forgotten; not because Cromwell had used them 
worse (for they had enjoyed great quietness and security under 
his administration,) but because there was no royal blood in his 
veins, and the absence of the port and high bearing of a mon- 
arch by divine right. The impatience to recall the exiled fam- 
ily, the readiness to be duped by the oaths and promises of a 
profligate prince who had learned nothing from his banishment 
but the vices of the people among whom he sojourned, are evi- 
dences of infatuation of the most extraordinary kind; which 
show that the people of England had not yet been sufficiently 
disciplined and prepared for the enjoyment of freedom. 

The leading instruments in effecting the restoration, may be 
entitled to respect for their royalty, but deserve little credit for 
their patriotism, their disinterestedness, or their wisdom. The 
hypocrisy and dissimulation of Monk, the murmuring of the 
Royalists, and the infatuation of the Presbyterian ministers, 
were all part of the machinery by which Providence accom- 
plished its purposes. While we mark the hand of God, and 
adore the justice of his Providence in punishing a nation's sins, 
the parties who were instrumental in this punishment, and the 
principles which actuated them, have no claim to our gratitude 
or respect. 

Baxter's conduct during the several changes which have 
been noticed, does credit to his conscientiousness rather than to 
his wisdom. He acted v/ith the Parliament, but maintained the 
rights of the King; he enjoyed the benefits of the Protectorate, 
but spoke and reasoned against the Protector; he hailed the 
return of Charles, but doubted whether he was freed from alle- 


giance to Richard. The craft and duplicity of Cromwell, he 
detected and exposed; but the gross dissimulation and heartless 
indifference of Charles to every thing except his own gratifica- 
tion, it was long before he could be persuaded to believe. Ab- 
stract principles and refined distinctions, in these as in some 
other matters, influenced his judgment more than plain matters 
of fact. Speculations, dejure and de facto, often occupied and 
distracted his mind, and fettered his conduct, while another 
man would have formed his opinions on a few obvious princi- 
ples and facts, and have done both as a subject and a Christian 
all that circumstances and the Scriptures required. 

Before taking our leave of Kidderminster, to which place 
Baxter never returned with a view to fixed residence or minis- 
terial labor after the restoration, a few facts remain to be stated, 
to complete the view of his life and exertions during this impor- 
tant and active period. 

The statement of his labors contained in the preceding chap- 
ter, by no means includes all that he did during this busy inter- 
val of his life. In fact, he tells us that the labors of the pulpit 
and the congregation were but his recreation; and that his chief 
labor was bestowed on his writings. A bare enumeration of 
these, of which a full account will be given in a subsequent 
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 number 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 dis- 
advantages, have produced volumes with the ease that other 
men issue tracts. 

During the fourteen years of his second residence at Kidder- 
minster, he found time partly to write and publish his Aphor- 
isms, and Saint's Rest. He wrote and published, beside other 
things, his works on Infant Baptism On Peace of Conscience 
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, he, he. 

When it is reflected on that many of these books are consid- 
erable 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 cor- 
respondence to which they frequently led, and the diversity of 
subjects which they embrace, illustrate at once the indefatigable 
diligence of Baxter, and the extraordinary versatility of his 

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 w^hich 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 the subject, but 
which we labored to remove. One of these schemes had 
brought on a long correspondence and several interviews with 
Dr. Owen. But the Diocesans, as he calls them, the Presby- 
terians, and the Baptists, also engaged his attention with a view 
to union, as well as the Independents, and with the same suc- 

One of his most useful employments, about the period of the 
king's return, was a negociation respecting the propagation of 
the 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 (cele- 
brated as the apostle of the Indians) and some others in this 
most benevolent undertaking. The contributions were laid out 
partly in stock, and partly in land, to the amount of seven or 
eight hundred pounds per annum, and were vested in a corpor- 
ate body, to be employed on behalf of the Indians. After the 
king's return, Colonel Beddingfield, from whom the land had 
been purchased at its proper value, seized it again; on the un- 
just pretext, that all that was done in Cromwell's time, was null 
and void in law, and that the corporation formed, had no longer 
any legal existence. The corporation, of which Mr. Ashurst 
was treasurer, consisted of excellent persons. They were ex- 
ceedingly grieved that the object for which the money had been 
raised should thus be entirely and iniquitously defeated. Bax- 
ter being requested to meet them, and to assist by his counsel 
and influence, which he readily did, was employed to procure 
if possible a new charter of corporation from the king. This, 
chiefly through the influence of the Lord Chancellor, he hap- 
pily obtained. His lordship also, in a suit in chancery, respect- 
ing the property, decided against the claims of Beddingfield. 
Mr. Ashurst and Baxter had the nomination of the new mem- 


bers; the Hon. Robert Boyle, at their recommendation, was 
made president or governor; Mr. Ashurst was re-appointed as 
treasurer; and the whole matter put into a state of excellent 
and efficient operation. 

This affair 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 considera- 
ble portion of the remainder of both their lives. That distin- 
guished man was honored to lead many poor savages of the 
American woods to the knowledge of God; and, to accomplish 
a translation of the entire Scriptures into their language, one of 
the most difficult for a foreigner to acquire. It is highly grati- 
fying to observe how fully Baxter entered into these missionary 
labors; and that at a period when the subject of missions was 
little understood, he not only regarded it as a great work, in 
which Christians are required 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 
honorable and comfortable than yours: to propagate the Gos- 
pel and kingdom of Christ into those dark parts of the world, 
is a better work than our devouring and hating one another. 
There are many here, who would be ambitious of being your 
fellow laborers, 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 honorable gentleman, 
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 lan- 
guage, and partly while they labor in the work, as also to trans- 
port 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 alienation 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 further 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, w4io would be glad 
to go anywhere, to the Persians, Tartarians, Indians, or any un- 
believing nation, to propagate the Gospel, if they thought they 
would be serviceable; but the difficulty of their languages is 
their greatest discouragement. 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 to stand for the words of the same significa- 
tion 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 diat 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-minded; but all seek their own 
things. We had one Dury here, that hath above thirty years 
labored for the reconciling of the churches, but few have re- 
garded him, and now he is glad to escape from us into other 
countries. Good men who are wholly devoted to God, and by 
long experience are acquainted with 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 con- 
cernments, and narrowness of mind, and so wholly to dev^ote 
themselves to God. The industry of the Jesuits and friars, and 
their successes in Congo, Japan, China, he, shame us all save 
you; but yet, for their personal labors in the work of the Gos- 
pel, here are many that would be willing to lay out, where they 
have liberty and a call, though scarce any that will do more in 
furthering great and public works. I should be glad to learn 
from you how far your Indian tongue extendeth: how large 
or populous the country is that useth it, if it be known; and 
whether it reach only to a kw scattered neighbors, who cannot 
themselves convey their knowledge far, because of other lan- 
guages. We very much rejoice in your happy work, the trans- 
lation of the Bible and bless God that strengthened you to fin- 
ish it. If any thing of mine may be honored to contribute, in 
the least measure, to your blessed work, I shall have great cause 
to be thankful to God, and wholly .>ubmit the alteration and use 
of it to your wisdom. IVIethinks the Assemblies' Catechism 
should be, next the holy Scriptures, most worthy of your labors." * 

(a) Life, part ii. p. 295. There are many letters which passed between Baxter 
and Elliot, still preserved among the Baxter MSS. in the Redcross Street Library. 

VOL. I. 20 


This admirable letter shows how deeply Baxter entered into 
the philanthropic views which were then so rare, but which have 
since been so generally adopted by Christians. How would his 
noble spirit have exulted had he lived to witness, even with all 
their imperfections, the extended exertions of modern times. 
How ardently would he have supported every scheme of send- 
ing the Scriptures, or the knowledge of salvation, to the desti- 
tute parts of the world! If there is joy in heaven, over the 
plans of earth which tend to the furtherance of the Gospel, Bax- 
ter, though removed from the scene of labor 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 ex- 
isting remains of it affording decisive proof of its muhifarious 
character, and of the application which it must have required. 
He was 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 counsel of others. 
As the agent of the ministers of Worcestershire, he addressed 
the Provincial Assembly of London in 1654, calling their atten- 
tion to the state of the Psalmody, and requesting them to adopt 
measures for its improvement."^ On the other hand, he was 
requested by Calamy, Whitfield, Jenkyns, Ash, Cooper, Wick- 
ens, and Poole, to assist them in an answer which they were 
preparing to the Independents.^ What aid he afibrded 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 

He was consulted by Manton, in 1658, about a scheme for 
calling a general assembly of the ministers of England, to de- 
termine certain matters, and arrange their ecclesiastical affairs. 
To this he returned an answer expressive of doubts of its prac- 
ticability and expediency. He was friendly to such associations; 
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 Cromvv^ell 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 public business of 
that church, which he afterwards vilely betrayed. He was re- 
warded for his treachery at a future period, with the archbish- 

(b) Baxter MSS. (o) Ibid. 


opric of St. Andrews, where at last he lost his life by the hands 
of a few individuals, who thus chose to avenge their country's 
wrongs. Of his piety, Lauderdale and Beake speak strongly; 
and he probably was at this time a very different man from what 
he had become when he fell before the wiles of a court, 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, respect- 
ing matters in which they were concerned; and by a multitude 
of private individuals, on cases of conscience, which he was 
requested to solve. To all these he returned, often, long and 
minute letters, the manual labor of which must have been very 
considerable, especially as he kept copies of many of them.^ 

In these active and multifarious labors, Baxter spent fourteen 
of the happiest and most useful years of his life. Unceasingly 
engaged in some useful pursuit, his mind found sufficient scope 
and employment for that energy by which it was eminently dis- 
tinguished. There were many evils then, indeed, as well as at 
other times, which he greatly deplored; but there was so great 
a preponderance of good when compared with the period w^hich 
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 henceforth hear chiefly of his fruitless 
struggles for peace, and for liberty to preach the Gospel; of the 
disappointment which followed negotiations; of the anguish ex- 
perienced from the restriction of his ministry; of confiscations, 
imprisonment, and being unceasingly harassed for conscience' 

(d) Baxter MSS. Sharpe was sent to London again immediately before the Res- 
toration, with a view to negociate the interests of the church of Scotland. He re- 
turned after the king was re-established, with a plausible letter signed by Lauderdale, 
in the name of the king. He was afterwards rewarded for his treachery and apos- 
tacy by the Primacy of Scotland. It is impossible to justify his murder; but the 
poor people of Scotland had been driven to desperation by long-continued oppression. 

(e) There are some hundreds of these letters among the Redcross Street MSS.; 
many of them curious, though relating to individuals and subjects which would not 
now interest the public. Baxter had a long correspondence with Gataker, chiefly on 
the subjects of infant baptism and original sin. Gataker exceedingly bewails ihe dif- 
ference's that then subsisted among Christians, and says "they may well be lamented 
with an ocean of tears." He had a laborious correspondence with Dr. Hill, about 
predestination, a subject on which Baxter wrote a great deal. Besides what he pub- 
lished on it, there is enough remaining among his unpublished manuscripts to make a 
volume or two. Many letters also passed between him and Tombes, Poole, Dury, 
Wadsworth, Bates, and Howe. There are, also, many letters to and from corres- 
pondents, both male and female, of the names of Allan and Lambe, who seem to have 
enjoyed no small portion of his attention. Some of these are printed in his Life by 


CHAPTER VII. 16601662. 

The Restoration Views of the Nonconformists C(>ridiict of the Court towards them Bax- 
ter's desire of A<ireement Interview with the King Baxter's Speech The Ministers 
requested to draw up tlieir Proposals Meet atSion Collece for this purpose Piesent their 
paper to the Iving Many Ministers ejected already The King's Declarati(^n Baxter's 
Ohjections to it Presented to the <'hancelior in the form of a Petition Meeting with his 
Majesty to hear the Declaration Declaration altered Baxter, Calarny, and Reynolds, of- 
fered Bislioprics Baxter declines Private interview with the King The Savoy Con- 
ferenceDebutes about the mode of proceeding Baxter draws up the Reformed Liturgy 
Petition to the Bishops No disposition to agreement on their part Ans\ver to their for- 
mer papers Personal debate Character of the leading parties on both sides Issue of the 

Charles II. was received with general acclamation; which 
can only be accounted for fi'om that love of change which is 
characteristic of nations, as well as of individuals; from the sick- 
ening influence of Cromwell's ambition, and the imbecility of 
his son; from the disgust felt by many at the fanaticism of the 
times; together with that love of monarchy its pomp and cir- 
cumstance which constitutes a distinguishing feature in the 
character of Enghshmen. That Charles deceived the people 
by his professions, is clear; but they might easily hav^e obtained 
such a knowledge of his principles, habits, and sentiments, had 
they been disposed to make what inquiry the nature of the case 
seemed to demand, as might have prevented the deception from 
taking effect. They imagined that the sufferings endured by 
the royal family would cure, or at least moderate, that heredi- 
tary love of arbitrary power, and attachment to Popery, which 
had caused most of those sufferings; that Charles was perhaps 
too much a man of the world, to make the costly sacrifices for a 
religious party which his father had made; and that they might 
easily form such an agreement with him as should effectually 
limit his power, and secure their rights. In all this they dis- 
covered their own weakness and simplicity. In fact, Charles 
returned on his own terms, and was left as unfettered as if 
he had come in by 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 promoting 
the Restoration. 

(f ) Charles took the covenant three several times; once at the completion of the 
treaty abroad, a^ain at his landing in Scotland, and a third time when he was crown- 
ed at Sconej while it is impossible to believe that he ever had the least serious inten- 
tion to observe it. Though it is considered that Charles was a Papist, or an iufidel, 
nothing can excuse his want of principle in taking this oath; and as the profligacy of 
his character could scarcely be unknown to the party which required the oath; it is 
difficult to excuse their conduct in imposing it, or in being satisfied to be deceived by 
Charles submitting himself to it. 


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 mon- 
archy and the constitution, the enjoyment not only of protection 
and liberty, (for these they had fully enjoyed under the usurpa- 
tion,) 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 country. 

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 re- 
spect. Several of the ministers were accordingly chosen to be 
king's chaplains.^ Calamy, Reynolds, Ash, and several others, 
among whom was Baxter, had this honor; and Reynolds, Cal- 
amy, Spurstow, and Baxter, each preached once before his 
majesty. Manchester'' and Broghill were the noblemen who 
chiefly managed these affairs at the 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 Presbyterians; and the happy consequences to 
the civil and religious interests of the country which would re- 
sult from such a union. The effect of this conversation he has 

"Lord Broghill' was pleased to come to me, and told me, 
that he had proposed to the king a conference for an agree- 

(g) Baxter says, -'When I was invited by lord Broghill, afterwards Earl of Orrery, 
to meet him at the lord Chamberlain's, they both persuaded me to accept the place. 
I desired to know whether it were his majesty's desire, or only the efiect of their 
favorable request to him. They told me that it was his majesty's ow?i desire, and that 
he would take it as an acceptable furtherance of his service. 'IMiereupon I took the 
oath from the lord Chamberlain." The date of his certificate is June 26, 16G0. Life, 
part ii. p. 229. Dr. Peirce, the decided adversary of Baxter, thought proper to dis- 
pute whether he was king's chaplain, when he published the sermon preached before 
his majesty, and annexed that title to his name. The certificate, however, speaks 
for itself 

(h) Edward, Earl of Manchester, was a nobleman of many great and amiable 
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 iiigh treason, along with tlie five mem- 
bers of the House of Commons. He took an active part in the wars on the side of 
the Parliament, and was one of the leaders of the Presbyterian party. After the bat- 
tle of Newbury, he was suspected of favoring the king's interest. He was a decided 
friend of the Restoration, and was immediately after it appointed chamberlain of the 
household. It is evident, from various circumstances, that he was a real friend of 
the Nonconformists, and bore to Baxter, in particular, a very cordial attachment. An 
occurrence once happened at his table, when Baxter was dining with him, which gave 
the good man great concern, and in which his lordship, as soon as apprised of it, acted 
with great propriety and kindness. Life, part ii. p. 289. 

(i) Roger Boyle, Baron of Broghill, was a native of Ireland, third son of the first 
Earl of Cork, and brother to the honorable Robert Boyle. He took an active part in 
the civil wars on the parliamentary side. He was regarded by all parties, as a man 
of very considerable ability and address. He enjoyed a large share of the Pro- 
tector's favor and confidencej was president of his council for Scotland, and one 
of the lords of his upper house. He favored the Restoration, however, and was cre- 
ated Earl of Orrery on the 5lh of September, 1660. He was also nominated, the same 
year, Lord President of Munster. for life. His lordship died in the year 1679. There 


ment, and that the king took it very well, and was resolved to 
further it. About the same time, the Earl of Manchester signi- 
fied 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 king's chaplains 
might 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. Alban'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 
they had of a cordial union among all dissenters by his means 
I presumed to speak to him of the concernments of religion, and 
how far we were from desiring the continuance of any factions 
or parties in the church, and how much a happy union would 
conduce to the good of the land, and to his majesty's satisfaction. 
I assured him that though there were turbulent, fanatic per- 
sons in his dominions, those whose peace we humbly craved of 
him were no such persons; but such as longed after concord, and 
were truly loyal to him, and desired no more than to live un- 
der him a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty. 
But that as there were differences between them and their breth- 
ren, about some ceremonies or discipline of the church, we 
humbly craved his majesty's favor for the ending of those differ- 
ences; it being easy for him to interpose, that so the people 
might not be deprived of their faithful pastors, and ignorant, 
scandalous, unworthy ones obtruded on them. 

"I presumed to tell him, that the people we spoke for were 
such as were contented with an interest in heaven, and the lib- 
erty and advantages of the gospel to promote it; and that if these 
were taken from them, and they were deprived of their faithful 
pastors, and liberty of worshipping God, they would take them- 
selves as undone in this world, whatever else they should enjoy: 
that thus the hearts of his most faithful subjects, who hoped for 
his help, would even be broken; and that we doubted not but his 
majesty desired to govern a people made happy by him, and not 
a broken-hearted people. I presumed to tell him, that the late 
usurpers so well understood their own interest, that to promote 
it, they had found the way of doing good to be the most effect- 
seems to have been a considerable intimacy between him and Baxter. It was in his 
lordship's house Baxter became acquainted with Archbishop Usher. He dedicates 
one of his works to him, and often refers to him in his life, generally calling- him by his 
first title, lord Broghill. 


ual means; and had placed and encouraged many thousand 
faithful ministers in the church, even such as detested their usur- 
pation; and that so far had they attained their ends hereby, that 
it was the principal means of their interest in the people; where- 
fore, I humbly, craved his majesty, that as he was our lawful 
king, in whom all his people were prepared to centre, so he 
would be pleased to undertake this blessed work of promoting 
their holiness and concord; and that he would never suffer him- 
self to be tempted to undo the good which Cromwell, or any 
other, had done, because they were usurpers that did it; or dis- 
countenance a faithful ministry, because his enemies had set 
them up; but that he would rather outgo them in doing good, 
and opposing and rejecting the ignorant and ungodly, of what 
opinion or party soever; that the people whose cause we rec- 
ommended to him, had their eyes on him as the officer of God, 
to defend them in the possession of the helps of their salvation; 
which if he were pleased to vouchsafe them, their estates and 
lives would be cheerfully offered to his service. 

"I humbly besought him that he would never suffer his sub- 
jects to be tempted to have favorable thoughts of the late usur- 
pers, by seeing the vice indulged which they suppressed; or the 
godly ministers or people discountenanced whom they encour- 
aged; and that all his enemies^ conduct could not teach him a 
more effectual way to restore the reputation and honor of the 
usurpers than to do worse than they, and destroy the good which 
they had done. And, again, I humbly craved that no misrepre- 
sentations might cause him to believe, that because some fanatics 
have been factious and disloyal, therefore the religious people 
in his dominions, who are most careful of their souls, are such, 
though some of them may be dissatisfied about some forms and 
ceremonies in God's worship, which others use: and that none 
of them might go under so ill a character with him, by misre- 
ports behind their backs, till it were proved of them personal- 
ly, or they had answered for themselves: for we, that better 
knew them than those that were likely to be their accusers, did 
confidently testify to his majesty, on their behalf, that they are 
resolved enemies of sedition, rebellion, disobedience, and divi- 
sions, which the world should see, and their adversaries be con- 
vinced of, if his majesty's wisdom and clemency did but remove 
those occasions of scruple in some points of discipline and 

"I, further, humbly craved, that the freedom and plainness of 
these expressions to his majesty might be pardoned, as being 
extorted 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 relig- 
ious part of his subjects in general, than whom no prince on earth 


had better. I also represented to him how considerable a part 
of that kingdom he would find them to be; and of \vhat 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 by not casting out the faithful ministers that must exercise 
it, and obtruding unworthy men upon the people: and how easy 
it was to avoid the violating of men's solemn vows and cove- 
nants, without hurt to any others. And finally, 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 govern- 
ment and the country. Happy would it have been for Charles, 
had he listened to such counsels; but from his well-known char- 
acter, 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 illus- 
tration 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 promises, to remind him of his 
engagements, to place before him the circumstances and expec- 
tations of his subjects, and to urge upon him the encouragement 
of some, and the protection of all religious people. But to talk 
to such a man of discountenancing sin, and promoting godliness, 
or to entertain any expectation that he would pay the least atten- 
tion to such things, shows that the parties thus addressing him 
were better Christians than politicians. Policy required, how- 
ever, that he should treat them decently for a time; and hence 
he deceived them by an appearance of candor and kindness, 
and by promises never intended 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 resolution 
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 somewhat 
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 see 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 promise of 
his majesty had put into his heart." ^ 

(k) Life, part ii. pp. 230; 231. (1) Life, part ii. p. 231 


Whether Charles himself really wished, at this time, to effect 
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 
say. 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, 
destroyed his father, and driv'^en 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 before. To these men there is full evidence that all the 
obnoxious measures which led to the act of uniformity, and to 
the unmerited sufferings 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 prevented 
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 w4iom he acted; and was not l)y any means imprac- 
ticable. Or failing that, to waive enforcing uniformity of wor- 
ship and ecclesiastical order upon the then-incumbents of differ- 
ent sentiments on these points, while they lived, and which they 
were entitled to expect from the 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 passed, 
which would have gradually effected the favorite object, without 
inflicting tremendous suffering on conscientious men, and an 
incurable w^ound on the church itself. Every principle of integ- 
rity and good policy ought to have secured the interests of the 
Nonconformists; though I doubt W'h ether the interests of religion 
in the nation would ultimately have been so effectually promoted, 
as by the course pursued. The hardest, the most unjust, the 
most oppressive measure that could be adopted, was the rigor- 
ous enforcement of episcopacy and the liturgy, with all their 
concomitants, on pious and conscientious men. For this, who- 
ever 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 w^ere agreed upon, there would be litde 
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- 
mission from any of our brethren to express their minds; and 
therefore desired that his majesty would give us leave to acquaint 

VOL. I. 21 


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 could our- 
selves only, with those of the city we could take with us. 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 call an as- 
sembly of the other party, but would bring a few, such as he 
thought meet; and that if he thought good to advise with a few 
of each side, for his own satisfaction, none had cause to be 
offended at it. 

"We also craved that, at the same time, when we offered our 
concessions to the king, the brethren on the other side might 
bring in theirs, containing also the uttermost that they could 
abate and yield to us for concord, that seeing both together, we 
might see what probability of success we had. And the king 
promised that it should be so. 

"We hereupon departed, and appointed to meet 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, and 
some came not; and divers country ministers, who were in the 
city, came also to us; as Dr. Worth, since a bishop in Ireland, 
Mr. Fulwood, since archdeacon of Totness; but Mr. Matthew 
Newcomen was most constant in assisting us. 

"In these debates, we found the great inconvenience of too 
many actors, though there cannot be too many consenters to what 
is well done: for that which seemed the most convenient expres- 
sion to one, seemed inconvenient to another; and we who all 
agreed in matter, had much ado to agree in words. But after 
about two or three weeks' time, we drew up a paper of propo- 
sals, which, with Archbishop Usher's form of government, called 
his reduction, we should offer to the king. Mr. Calamy 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 
proceedings. Nothing could be fairer, if something was to be 
conceded by both parties, than that each should state what it 
was ready to give up or to modify; it would then have been seen 
at once, whether the parties were likely to agree on any common 
basis. The Nonconformists, it is clear, were not backward to 
offer concessions; and had they been met with a conciliatory 
spirit by the church party, matters would not have proceeded 

(m) Life, part ii. pp. 231, 232. 


to the extremity which they did. As some of their papers, 
even those against ceremonies, were drawn up by Reynolds and 
Worth, who both afterwards conformed, and were made bishops, 
their proposals must have been very reasonable. 

The paper referred to by Baxter, drawn up in the most re- 
spectful manner, and containing very moderate propositions, 
was laid before his majesty. It embraced the leading points of 
difference relathig to church government, the liturgy and cere- 
monies, on which such extended controversies had been main- 
tained. Usher's scheme of a reduced episcopacy (a kind of 
presbyterian episcopate, in which the bishop is regarded ^ rather 
as the permanent moderator in the synods or councils of his 
brethren, ih.e primus inter pares, than as clothed with independ- 
ent authority, and exclusive rights and privileges) was the basis 
of their proposition on this head. They agreed on the lawful- 
ness of the liturgy, but objected to its rigorous enforcement, and 
to several parts of the Book of Common Prayer which required 
amendment. They also pointed out the various ceremonies in 
divine service at which they were offended; 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. M\ these particulars and 
requests they humbly laid at his majesty's feet. They also pre- 
sented Usher's own model as drawn up in 1641. 

"When we went," says Baxter, "with these foresaid papers to 
the king, and expected there to meet the divines of the other 
party, according to promise, with their proposals also, containing 
the lowest terms which they would yield to for peace, we saw 
not a man of them, nor any papers from them of that nature, no, 
not to this day; but it was not fit for us to expostulate or com- 
plain. His majesty very graciously renewed his professions, I 
must not call them promises, that he would bring us together, 
and see that the bishops should come down and yield on their 
part; and when he heard our papers read, he seemed well pleas- 
ed with them, and told us, he was glad that we were for a liturgy 
and yielded to the essence of episcopacy, and, therefore, he 
doubted not of our agreement; with much more, which we 
thought meet to recite in our following addresses, by way of 
gratitude, and for other reasons easy to be conjectured. 

"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 any thing below archbishops and 
bishops, we should but have suddenly furnished them with plau- 
sible reasons for the rejecting of all further attempts of concord, 
or any other favor from them. 

"Before this time, by the king's return, many hundred worthy 
ministers were displaced, and cast out of their charges; because 


they were In sequestrations where others had by the parliament 
been cast ont. Olu' earnest desires had been, that all such 
should be cast out as were in any benefice belonging formerly 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 great; 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 proceedings 
upon the act of conformity till such agreement were come to or 
refused, and some other matters arising out of the unsettled 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 their proposals. 
They felt that they were treated unworthily, and therefore 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 docu- 
ments at large.*^ 

A short time after this, the ministers were informed that the 
king would communicate his intentions in the form of a declar- 
ation; to which they would be at liberty to furnish their excep- 
tions. This was accordingly done on the 4th of September, 
1660. This paper, which is very long, is full of pretensions to 
zeal for righteousness, peace, and imion; unfair in its assump- 
tions, and unkind in its insinuations; and expresses nothing ex- 
plicitly but the determination of the court to uphold things as 
they were. It however intimated his majesty's approbation of 
the principles and conduct of the Presbyterian ministers who 
waited upon him at Breda; renews the declaration made there 
in favor of liberty of conscience; promises that none shall be 
molested for differing from the forms of episcopacy; waives en- 
forcing the sign of the cross at baptism, kneehng at the sacra- 
ment, the use of the surplice, the subscription of canonical obe- 
dience and re-ordination, where these were conscientiously ob- 
jected to. It renews the promise to appoint a meeting to review 
the Liturgy; engages to make some alterations respecting the 
extent of some of the dioceses, if necessary, and to modify the 
authority of the bishops, if requisite: and that some other mat- 

(n) Life, parJ ii. p. 241. (o) Ibid, pp. 212258. 


ters of reformation should be attended to.P As far as the feel- 
ings and wishes of the Presbyterian party on the great leading 
points of church government and discipline were concerned, it 
was vox et preterea nihil. "^ 

"When we received this copy of the declaration," says Bax- 
ter, "we saw that it would not serve to heal our differences; w^e 
therefore told the Lord Chancellor, with whom we were to do 
all our business, that our endeavors, 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 judg- 
ment was, that all the fruit of this our treaty, beside a little re- 
prival 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 desired 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. Reynolds had 
read my paper, they were troubled at the plainness of it, and 
thou2;ht it never would be endured, and therefore desired some 
alteration; especially that I might leave out the prediction of the 
evils which would follow our non-agreement, which the court 
would interpret as a threatening: and the mentioning the aggra- 
vations of covenant-breaking and perjury. I gave them my 
reasons for letting it stand as it was. To bring me more effect- 
ually to their mind, they told the Earl of Manchester, with 
whom, as our sure friend, we still consulted, and through whom 
the court used to communicate to us what it desired. He 
called the Earl of Anglesey'" and the Lord Mollis' to the con- 

(p) This declaration was drawn up by Lord Clarendon; but the evasive claims 
which render it, in a ^real measure, nugatory, were inserted by the secret advisers of 
the king-. Sheldon, Hinchman, and Morley, were deeply engaged in the whole af- 
fair. Secret History of Charles U., vol. i. "p. 93. 

(q) Life, part ii, p. 259, 205. 

(r) The Earl of Anglesey was one of the most respectable of those noblemen who 
were understood to be attached to the Nonconformists. H(; was a native of Ireland, 
and son of Lord Mount Norris. He was at first supposed to favor the royal cause, 
but afterwards joined that of the parliament, and went to Ireland in its service. 
Though he had taken no part in the events which led immediately to the deatli of the 
king, his lordship did not increase his reputation by sitting as one of the commission- 
ers on the trial of the regicides. He was made an car! for his important services in 
promoting the restoration, and rose to some of the highest offices in the stale during 
the reign of Charles II. He was a man of very considerable learning, and indefati- 
gable in business; but he seems to have been more attentive to his interests than to 
his consistency, or to what was due to the religions party by wiiich he was held in 
estimation. /?zoo-. Brit. vol. i. pp. 192200; Atlit^n. Ox. voI."iv. pp. 181186. 

(s) 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, honorable, and disinterested in all his conduct. He appears to have taken a 
decided part against Charles I. (with whom he 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 greatest confidence in him; he was consequent- 
ly disliked by Cromwell and the Independents, both of whom he opposed. Even 



sultations as our friends. And these three lords, with Mr. 
Calamy and Dr. Reynolds, perused all the writing; and all, 
with earnestness, persuaded me to the said alterations. I con- 
fess, 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 unpleasing, as never used to 
the language or converse of a court. But it was not my un- 
skilfulness in a more pleasing language, but my reason and con- 
science upon foresight of the issue which were the cause. 
When they told me, however, it would not so much as be re- 
ceived, and that I must go with it myself, for nobody else 
would, I yielded to the alterations." ^ 

"A little before this petition was agreed on, the bishop's party 
appointed, at our request, a meeting witli some of us, to try 
how near we could come in preparation for what was to be re- 
solved on. Dr. Morley, Dr. Hinchman, and Dr. Cosins, met 
Dr. Reynolds, Mr. Calamy, and myself; and after a few roving 
discourses, we parted, without bringing them to any particular 
concessions or abatement, only their general talk was, from the 
beginning, as if they would do any thing for peace which was fit 
to be done. They being then newly elected, but not consecrated 
to their several bishopricks, we called them. My Lords, which 
Dr. Morley once returned, saying, 'We may call you also, I sup- 
pose by the same name.' By which I perceived they had some 
purpose to try that way with us." " 

The petition, as altered, was finally agreed too. 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; 
the distinction which they had always contended for between 
the episcopal form 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 sat- 
isfy themselves, and, they believed, the great body of serious 
persons of their persuasion throughout the country. "But on 
being delivered to the lord Chancellor, 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 ne- 
cessity; and that we alter not the preface or language of it: for 
it was to be the king's declaration, and what he spake as ex- 

Clarendon acknowledges that he deserved the high reputation which he enjoyed, 
^'being of more accomplished parts than any of the Presbyterian leaders.'' It does 
not appear, however, that he espoused the Presbyterian interest so warmly after the 
restoration as he had done before. 

(i) Life, part ii. p. 265. (u) Ibid. 274. 


pressing his own sense was nothing to us. If we thought he 
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 de- 
claration 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 w^e at first offered, nor which we 
thought most expedient for the healing of the church; but seeing 
that cannot be attained, we shall humbly submit, and thankfully 
acknowledge his majesty's condescension, if we may obtain what 
now we offer, and shall faithfully endeavor 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- 
\oY,^ 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 Al- 
bermarle and Ormond,^ as I remember: the Earl of Manches- 
ter, the Earl of Anglesey, the lord Mollis, &lc.; and Dr. Shel- 
don, then bishop of London, Dr. Morley, then bishop of Wor- 
cester, Dr. Hinchman, then bishop of Salisbury, Dr. Cosins, 
bishop of Durham, Dr. Gauden, afterwards bishop of Exeter 
and Worcester, Dr. Barwick, 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. Reynolds, Mr. Calamy, Mr. Ash, Dr. Wallis, 
Dr. Manton, Dr. Spurstow, myself, and who else I remember 
not. The business of the day w^as not to dispute, but as the 
lord Chancellor read over the declaration, each party was to 
speak to what it disliked, and the king to determine how it 
should be, as he liked himself. While the lord Chancellor read 
over the preface, there was no interruption, only he thought it 
best himself to blot out those words about the declaration in Scot- 

(x) Life, part ii. pp. 274276. 

(y) Hyde, earl of Clarendon, now lord Chancellor, was in various respects a con- 
siderable man. He possessed a large portion of that kind of loyalty which made him 
regard the glory of his country chieliy as it contributed to the glory of the king. 
He was narrow-minded, and the subject of prejudices of the most violent kind, es- 
pecially against the friends of liberty and the Nonconformists. It does not appear 
that his lordship particularly disliked Raxterj on the contrary, he 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, is mainly to be attributed. He could be merry with them, how- 
ever, sometimes. He told Baxter, after ihe Savoy conference, that had he been 
but as fat as Dr. Manton, they had done very well. Baxter readily replied, that if 
his lordship would teach him the art of growing fat, he should find him quite ready to 
learn. Life, part ii. p 3. 

(z) The Duke of OrmoKd was lord steward of the household, and was a man of 
great integrity and benevolence. He had always been a royalist, but was much re- 
spected by all parties. I am not aware that he took much part in the affairs which 
related to the Nonconformists. 


land for the covenant, that we did, from the moment it passed 
our hand, ask God forgiveness for our part in it. The great mat- 
ter which we stopped at, was the word consent, where the bishop 
is to confirm by the consent of the pastor of that church; and 
the king would by no means pass the word consent, either there 
or in the point of ordination or censures, because it gave the 
ministers a negative voice. We urged him hard with a passage 
in his father's book of meditations, where he expressly granteth 
this consent of the presbyters;-' but it would not prevail. The most 
that I insisted on was from the end of our endeavors, that we 
came not hither from a personal agreement only with our breth- 
ren of the other way, 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 consent be but a little word, it was necessary to a very 
desirable end; if it were purposed that the parties and divis- 
ions 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 labor would be to no purpose. 

"Bishop Morley told them how great our power was, and 
what we might do if we were willing. He told the king also that 
no man had written better of these matters than I had done; 
and there my five Disputations of Church Government lay, 
ready to be produced. All this was to intimate as if I now 
contradicted what I had there written. I told him that I had 
the best reason to know what I had written, and that I was still 

(a) The passage in llie 'Eikou Basilike/ to which Baxter refers, as that in which 
Charles concedes that the bishops should rule with the consent of the presbyters, is, 
I apprehend, the following: ''Not that I am against the managing of this precedency 
and authority in one man, by {\\c joint counsel and consent of mamj presbyters: I have 
offered to restore that, as a fit means to avoid those errors, corruptions, and partial- 
ities, which are incident to any one man: also to avoid tyranny, which becomes no 
Christian, least of all churchmen. Besides it will be a means to take away that bur- 
den and odium of afl'airs which may lie too heavy on one man's shoulders, as indeed 
I think it formerly did on the bishops' here." (pp. J 53, 154.) This was the opinion 
of Charles I. in solitude and suffering, and therefore no reason why it should bind 
Charles II., in full possession of royaT power and auihorit\\ He, indeed, must have 
been amused at the quotation of his father's opinions from this book} and Dr. Gau- 
den, 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 king, it is said, when the 
reference was made, said quietly, ''All that is in that book is not Gospel-," a remark 
which meant more than met the ear. Bates' Funeral Sermon for Bcuvter. 


of the same mind. A great many words there were about pre- 
lacy and re-ordination; Dr. Gunning and bishop Morley speak- 
ing ahnost all on one side, and Dr. Hinchman and Dr. Cosens 
sometimes; and Mr. Calamy and myself most on the other 
side; but I think neither party value the rambling discourses of 
that day so much as to think them worth recording. Mr. Cal- 
amy answered Dr. Gunning from Scripture very well, against 
the divine right of prelacy as a distinct order. When Dr. Gun- 
ning told them that Dr. Hammond had said enough against the 
Presbyterian cause and ordination, and was yet unanswered, 
I thought it meet to tell him, that I had answered the substance 
of his arguments, and said enough, moreover, against the dioce- 
san frame of government; and to prove the validity of the 
English presbyters' ordination, which, indeed, was unanswered, 
I though I was very desirous to have seen an answer to it. I said 
this, because they had got the book by them, and because I 
thought the unreasonableness of their dealing might be evinced, 
who force so many hundreds to be re-ordained; and will not 
any of them answer one book, which is written to prove the va- 
lidity of that ordination which they would have nullified, though 
I provoked them purposely in such a presence. 

The most of the time being spent thus in speaking to particu- 
lars of the declaration, as it was read, when we came to the 
end, the Lord Chancellor drew out another paper, and told us 
that the king had been petitioned also by the Independents and 
Anabaptists; and though he knew not what to think of it him- 
self, and did not very well like it, yet something he had drawn up 
which he would read to us, and desire us also to give our advice 
about it. Thereupon he read, as an addition to the declara- 
tion, 'that others also be permitted to meet for religious worship, 
so be it they do it not to the disturbance of the peace; and that 
no justice of peace or officer disturb them.' When he had 
read it, he again desired them all to think on it, and give their 
advice; but all were silent. The Presbyterians all perceived, 
as soon as they heard it, that it would secure the liberty of the 
Papists; and Dr. Wallis whispered me in the ear, and entreat- 
ed me to say nothing, for it was an odious business, but to 
let the bishops speak to it. But the bishops would not speak 
a word, nor any one of the Presbyterians, and so we were 
like to have ended in silence. I knew, if we consented to it, it 
would be charged on us, that w^e spake for a toleration of 
Papists and sectaries: yet it might have lengthened out our own. 
And if we spake against it, all sects and parties would be set 
against us as the causers of their sufferings, and as a partial peo- 
ple that would have liberty ourselves, but would have no others 
enjoy it with us. At last, seeing the silence continue, I thought 
our very silence would be charged on us as consent, if it went 
VOL. I. 22 


on, and therefore I only said this: 'That this reverend brother, 
Dr. Gunning, even now speaking against the sects, had named 
the Papists and the Socinians: for our parts, we desired not 
favor to ourselves alone, and rigorous severity we desired 
against none. As we humbly thanked his majesty for his indul- 
gence to ourselves so w^e distinguished the tolerable parties from 
the intolerable. For the former, we humbly craved just lenity 
and favor, but for the latter, such as the two sorts named before 
by that reverend brother, for our parts, we could not make their 
toleration our request.' ^ To which his majesty said, there were 
laws enough against the Papists; to which I replied, that we 
understood the question to be, whether those laws should be 
executed on them or not. And so his majesty broke 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 four divines to determine of any words in the alteration, 
if there were any difference; that is, Bishop Morley, Bishop 
Hinchman, Dr. Reynolds, and Mr. Calamy; and if they dis- 
agreed, that the Earl of Anglesey and the Lord Mollis should 
decide it. As they went out of the room, I told the Earl of 
Anglesey, that we had no other business there but the 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 more than he was like to get by it. Though called a 
Presbyterian, he had spoken more for prelacy than we expect- 
ed: and 1 think by the consequent that this saying did some 
good; for when I afterwards found the declaration amended, and 
asked how it came to pass, he intimated to me that it was his 

"When I went out from the meeting, I went dejected, being 
fully satisfied that the form of government in that declaration 
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, but 
patiently suffer with other dissenters. But tw^o or three days 
after, meeting the king's declaration cried about the streets, I 
presently stepped into a house to read it; and seeing the word 
consent put in about confirmation and sacrament, though not as 
to jurisdiction, and seeing the pastoral persuasive power of 
governing left to all the ministers with the rural dean, and some 
more amendments, I wondered how it came to pass, but was 

(b) Baxter's honesty is always evident in every thing he did; but'here his prejudices 
and imperfect views of relig'ious liberty made him appear in a very disadvantageous 
light. There is no doubt that the conduct of the court on this occasion was designed 
to entrap the Nonconformists. If they said yea to the proposition, they would be re- 
garded as the friends of Popery; if they said nay, they would be considered enemies 
to the liberties of others, while they were struggling for their own. 


exceeding glad of it; perceiving that now the terms were, 
though not such as we desired, such as any sober, honest minis- 
ter might submit to. I presently resolved to do my best to per- 
suade all, according to my interest and opportunity, to conform 
according to the terms of this declaration, and cheerfully to 
promote the concord of the church, and brotherly love, which 
this concord doth bespeak. 

''Having frequent business with the Lord Chancellor about 
ovher matters, I was going to him when I met the king's declara- 
tion in the street; and I was so much pleased with it, that hav- 
ing told him why I 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 prom- 
ised, and this settled and continued to us by law, and not re- 
versed, I should take it to be my duty to do my best to pro- 
cure the full consent of others, and promote our happy concord 
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 
bishopric, of which more anon."^ 

The account which Clarendon gives us of the transactions 
relating to the declarations, are very different from Baxter's; 
and as he refers to the conduct of the ministers on this occa- 
sion for proof of the necessity of a rigorous enforcement of the 
laws, I shall give 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 
"disingenuousness of some of the Presbyterian leaders, and 
the absurd bigotry of others." ^ 

"Here," says Clarendon, "I cannot but instance two acts of 
the Presbyterians, by which, if their humor and spirit were not 
enough discovered and known, their want of ingenuity and in- 
tegrity would be manifest; and how impossible it is for men who 
would not be deceived, to depend on either. When the de- 
claration 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 it, 
and which he thought would facilitate their living in good neigh- 
borhood together, or w^ords to that effect. When they had 
considered the w^hole some days, Mr. Calamy, and some other 
ministers deputed by the rest, came to the Chancellor to re- 
deliver it into his hands. They acknowledged the king had 
been very gracious to them in his concessions; though he had 

(c) Life; part ii. pp. 276, 279. (d) Heber's Life of Taylor, pp. 101, 34L 


not granted all that some of their brethren wished, yet they 
were contented, only desiring him that he would prevail with 
the king, that the clause mentioned before might be left out, 
which, they protested, w^as 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 w idi that 
form by informing them that it contained much piety and de- 
votion, 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 
the common people, who were to be treated with skill, and 
would not be prevailed upon all at once. The king was to be 
present the next morning, to hear the declaration read the last 
time before both parties, and then the Chancellor told him, in 
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 w^as no sooner published, than, observing that the people 
were generally satisfied with it, they sent their emissaries 
abroad, and many of their letters were intercepted, and particu- 
larly a letter from Mr. Calamy, to a leading minister in Somer- 
setshire, whereby he advised and intreated him that he and his 
friends would continue and persist in the use of the Directory, 
and by no means admit the Common Prayer in their churches; 
for thus he made no question but that they should prevail fur- 
ther with the king than he had yet consented to in his declara- 

"The other instance was, that as soon as the declaration was 
printed, the king received a petition in the name of the minis- 
ters of London, and many others of the same opinion 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 they re- 
ceived as an earnest of his future goodness and condescension, 
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 absolutely abolished 
out of the church, as being scandalous to all men of tender 
consciences! From these two instances, all men may conclude 
that nodiing but a severe execution of the law can prevail upon 
that class of men to conform to government." ^ 

On this account of Clareudon'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 declaration, 
respected the king's use of the Liturgy in his private chapel, 
and his wish that those who used it might recommend it to 
others. Whereas I cannot perceive that the ministers objected 
to this at all, or preferred any request that the clause on this 
subject should be omitted. Baxter, it is certain, could have 
been no party to such a demand. The petition drawn up by 
him for his brethren, at first sight of the declaration, but w^hich 
was not adopted, contains no reference to any such thing; which 
it must have done had it been insisted on, as Clarendon asserts. 
And in fact the declaration, as published, contains the king's 
request that the ministers would recommend the Prayer-book. 

Instead of their being dissatisfied with the king's declaration, 
as altered in conformity with some of their wishes; it is apparent 
from Baxter's narrative, how much he and most of his brethren 
rejoiced in it, and that they considered little more necessary for 
their satisfaction than the fulfilment of the promises contained in 
it, and passing it into a law. 

The duplicity charged on Calamy is founded on the evidence 
of letters pretended to be intercepted; the most convenient sort 
of proof for a prime minister, but the most villanous of all kinds 
of evidence. The conduct charged is not consistent 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 treachery, a 
bishopric 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 w^ho had waited upon the king, was not, 
as Clarendon insinuates, disaffection to him, 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 ground 
that it implied their approbation of bishops and archbishops, 
&tc.; 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. 

(e) Life of Lord Clarendon, pp. 75, 76. 


As conclusive evidence how little the authority of Clarendon 
is worth in this affair, the importunity and ill manners of which 
he accuses the ministers has no foundation in fact, for the lan- 
guage which he ascribes to them does not occur in the paper to 
which he refers. He grossly misrepresents the petition which 
they presented/ 

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 betv/een the parties respected "the form and color 
of an ecclesiastical garment, the wording of a prayer, or the in- 
junction of kneeling at the sacrament." s He does not, indeed, 
justify the conduct of the ruling powers; but he entirely forgets, 
that the question at issue really was, w^hether 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 be- 
lieved certain things to be unlawful in the worship of God; the 
leaders of the church said, "We admit that they are not of di- 
vine 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 Nonconformists 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 biiroted sectarians who involved the nation 
in blood and mischief for trifles, they deserve to be held in 
everlasting remembrance, as sufferers for pure and undefiled 

The gratification of Baxter, from the apparent adoption in 
the declaration of some of the phrases contended for by the 
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 leading ministers bishops. Not that they wanted such bish- 
ops; but because it was the most effectual method of silencing 
such men, and destroying their influence 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. 

(f ) See Baxter's Life, part ii. pp. 284, 285, where the petition is given at large. 

(g) Heber's Life of Taylor, p. 100. 


"A little before the meeting about the king's declaration, 
Colonel Birch came to me, as from the Lord Chancellor, to per- 
suade me to take the bishopric of Hereford, for he had bought 
the bishop's house at Whitburne, and thought to make a better 
bargain 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 bishopric 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 that I was resolved never to be bishop of 
Hereford, and that I did not think I should ever see cause to 
take any bishopric; 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 to- 
gether, to importune us all to accept the offer, for the bishopric 
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 
declaration came out, when I was with the lord chancellor, who 
did all, he asked me whether I would accept of a bishopric; 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 govern- 
ment the king should set up, I could not have a hand in execut- 
ing 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 exceedingly 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 bishopric be the way, I was in 
doubt, and desired some further time for consideration. But if 
his lordship w^ould procure us the settlement of the matter of that 
declaration, by passing it into a law, I promised him to take tliat 
way in which I might most serve the public peace. 

"Dr. Reynolds, Mr. Calamy, and myself, had some speeches 
together about it; and we all thought that a bishopric might be 
accepted according to the description of the declaration, without 
any violation of the covenant, or owning the ancient prelacy:*^ 
but all the doubt was whether this declaration would be made a 

(h) It requires a considerable portion of the distinguishing powers of Baxter to 
understand how the acceptance of a bishopric, on any such footing as it was likely 
to be placed, was consistent with the principles of the covenant. 


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 rumor of it fled abroad, and the voice of 
the city made a difference. For though they wished that none 
of us should be bishops, the said Dr. Reynolds and Mr. Baxter, 
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 clamor 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, I resolved against it at the first, but not as 
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, incapable 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 

"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 episcopacy 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 he 
would publicly declare that he took it on the terms of the king's 
declaration, and would lay it down when he could no longer 
exercise it on those terms. Only I left it to his consideration 
whether it would be better to stay till he saw what they would 
do with the declaration; and for myself, I was confident 1 should 
see cause to refuse it. 

"When I came to the lord chancellor the next day save one, 
he asked me of my resolution, and put me to it so suddenly, 
that I was forced to delay no longer, but told him that I could 
not accept it for several reasons. And it was not the least that 
I thought I could better serve the church without it, if he would 
but prosecute the establishment of the terms granted; and be- 
cause I thought it would be ill taken if I refused it upon any but 


acceptable reasons. But as writing would serve best against 
misreports hereafter, I the next day put a letter into the lord 
chancellor's hand, which he took in good part; in which I con- 
cealed most of my reasons, but gave the best, and used more 
freedom in my further requests than I expected should have any 
good success." ^ 

As this letter contains some of Baxter's views of the state of 
things w^hich then existed, and suggests to the lord chancellor 
measures which, if adopted, he supposed would both advance 
the interests of the church, and gratify the Nonconformists, I 
shall present it entire. Whether he had any reasons for believ- 
ing that the persons whom he mentions would accept of bishop- 
rics, cannot now be ascertained. It has rarely happened that 
such a situation has been so completely in the power of an indi- 
vidual to accept, whose principles did not stand in the w^ay of 
his acceding to it, but who honorably declined it for himself, and 
so ingenuously recommended others. 

"My Lord, / 

"Your great favor 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 dejected, and resolved against a bishopric as unlawful; 
but, finding there more than on October 22d., that his maj- 
esty 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, &ic. Fiuding 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 instru- 
ments, and my conscience presently told me it was my duty 
to do my best with myself and others, as far as I had interest 
and opportunity, to suppress all sinful discontents; and having 
competent materials now put into my hands, without which I 
could have done nothing, to persuade all my brethren to thank- 
fulness 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 presuming what further 
endeavors will be necessary to accouiplish it. 1. If your lord- 
ship will endeavor to get the declaration passed into an act. 2. 
If you will speedily procure a commission to the persons that are 
equally to be deputed to that work, to review the Common 
Prayer-book, according to the declaration. 3. If you will fur- 
ther effectually the restoration of able, faithful ministers, w^ho are 
lately removed, who have, and will have, great interest in the 

(i) Life, part ii. pp. 281,282. 
VOL. T. 23 


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 bishoprics, 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 us, in that it hath no salary or maintenance, 
nor coercive power, but that simple, pastoral, persuasive power 
w^iich 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 
business, unless the things granted should be reversed, which 
God forbid. I must profess to your lordship that I am utterly 
against accepting of a bishopric, because I am conscious that it 
will overmatch my sufficiency, and affi'ight 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 
1 am but as one of themselves; so I must profess to your lord- 
ship that it w\\] stop my own mouth that I cannot for shame 
speak half so freely as now I can and will, if God enable me, for 
obedience and peace; while 1 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 persuasion 
into the place which you intend for me, though I now think that 
Dr. Reynolds and Mr. Calamy may better accept of a bishop- 
ric 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 Shropshire and Hereford diocese, a 
man of great worth and good interest; Mr. Daniel Cawdrey,* of 
Billing, in Northamptonshire; Mr. Anthony Burgess, of Sutton 
Coldfield, in Warwickshire all know^i by their printed works; 
Mr. John Trap, of Gloucestershire; Mr. Ford, of Exeter; Mr. 
Hughes, of Plymouth; Mr. Bampfield, of Sherborne; Mr. 
Woodbridge, of Newbury; Dr. Chambers, Dr. Bryan, and Dr. 
Grew, all of Coventry; Mr. Brinsley, of Yarmouth; Mr. Porter, 
of Whitchurch in Shropshire; Mr. Gilpin, of Cumberland; Mr. 
Bow^les, of York; Dr. Temple, of Brampton, in Warwickshire: 
I need name no more. 

(k) How different is this froin Clarendon's representation of the behavior of the 
ministers in London towards iheir brethren in the country! 

(1) It is .singular that Baxter should have proposed Cawdrey for a bishopric. He 
was one of the most decided, indeed violent, Presbyterians of the times. 


"Secondly: That you will believe I as thankfully acknowl- 
edge your lordship's favor as if I were by it possessed of a bish- 
opric: and if your lordship continue in those intentions, I shall 
thankfully accept it in any other state or relation that may further 
my service to the church and to his majesty. But I desire, for 
the fore-mentioned reasons, that it may be no cathedral relation. 
And whereas the vicar of the parish w^here I have lived w^ill not 
resign, but accept me only as his curate, if your lordship would 
procure him some prebendary, or other place of competent 
profit, for 1 dare not mention him to any pastoral charge, or 
place that requireth preaching, that so he might resign that vic- 
arage to me, without his loss, according to the late act before 
December; for the sake of that town of Kidderminster, I should 
take it as ^ very great favor. But if there be any great incon- 
venience or difficulties in the w^av, 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 re- 
main," Sic.'" 

This letter, which is dated the 1st of November 1660, states 
clearly Baxter's approbation of the king's declaration, and his 
anxious desire that it might be put on the footing of law, and 
fairly 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 com- 
plied with. The letter as a whole, is an admirable specimen of 
the simplicity, integrity, and disinterestedness of Baxter. 

"Mr. Calamy," he says "blamed me for giving in my denial 
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 could 
not conveniently delay my answer. 

"Dr. Reynolds almost as suddenly accepted, saying, that some 
friend had taken out the conge d'elire for him without his knowl- 
edge. 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 ordine but gradu; that a bishop was but 
the chief presbyter, and that he was not to ordain or govern but 
with his presbyters' assistance and consent; that he accepted of 
the place as described in the kins^'s declaration, and not as it 
stood before in England; and that he would no longer hold or 
exercise it than he could do it on these terms. To this sense it 
was, and he told me that he would offer it to the king when he 
accepted of the place; but whether he did or not I cannot tell. 
He died in the bishopric of Norwich, an. 1676." 

(m) Life, part ii. pp. 283, 284. 

(n) Dr. Reynolds was a person of g'ood learning, respectable talents, and decided 
piety. It appears that Baxter thought he might, consistently with his principles, ac- 


*'Mr. Calaniy long suspended his answer, so that that bishop- 
ric was long undisposed of; till he saw the issue of all of our 
treaty, which easily resolved him.'* Dr. Manton was offered the 
deanery of Rochester, and Dr. Bates, the deanery of Coventry 
and Litchfield, which they both after some time refused. And, 
as I heard, Mr. Edward Bowles was offered the deanery of 
York, at least, which he refused." 

Thus ended the affair of the Presbyterian bishoprics, which 
did the rejectors more honor than the accepter. Calamy seems 
to have hesitated; perplexed, it would appear, by opposite 
views of duty, but little wishing to decHne, provided he could 
have complied without compromising his character and consist- 
ency. Baxter's promptitude and decision reflect the greatest 
credit on his disinterested and upright character. The king's 
declaration was issued; and the London ministers, glad to 
receive any thing w4iich seemed to promise protection and en- 
couragement to their labors, 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 mAist come the next day to 
the king, who was pleased to tell me that he sent for me only 
to signify his favor to me. 1 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, freedom, 
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. 1 suppose this favor came from the bishops, 

cept a bishopric. Reynolds does not appear to have believed in Vhejus divinum of 
any form of church government, and therefore he could have no conscientious objec- 
tions to a bishopric, and probably thoug-hl he might be able to serve the Noncon- 
formists more in that capacity, than had he remained one of themselves. He appears 
to have managed the see of Norwich with great moderation, though, even there, 
much suffering was enduredj many of the Nonconformists being prosecuted b}' the 
bishop's chancellor, though, it is said, greatly against the bishop's will. See Chalm- 
ers' 'Life of Reynolds," prefixed to his works, and the 'Conformist's Plea for the Non- 
conformist/ part iv. p. 67. 

(o) It would have been honorable to the character of Dr. Calamy had he refused 
the bishopric in a more prompt and decided manner. It is evident that he cast a 
longing, lingering look towards it, and said nolo episcopari with some reluctance. 
Nothing seems to have prevented his acceptance but the outcry which it would have 
raised against his consistency, and the renionslrances of his friends. This fact throws 
a greater shade over his character for decision than any thing else thai I know. He 
possessed highly respectable talents, was the leader of the ministers of London for 
many years; and must have been a very moderate Presbyterian when he could de- 
liberate so long whether to accept or to reject the proferred bishopric. Even Baxter 
seems to think, however, he might have acceded consistently with his sentiments. 


who having notice of what last passed, did think that now I 
might serve their interests." ^ 

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 fre- 
quently 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 that being done, a commission under the great seal was 
issued empowering 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 Nonconformist 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 place. 
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. Stern, bishop of Carlisle; and the constant- 
est man in attendance of them all, Dr. Gauden, bishop of Exe- 
ter. On the other side there met. Dr. Reynolds, bishop of 
Norwich; Mr. Clark, Dr. Spurstow, Dr. Lightfoot, Dr. Wallis, 
Dr. Manton, Dr. Bates, Dr. Jacomb, Mr. Cooper, Mr. Raw- 
linson, Mr. Case, and myself. The commission being read, 
the archbishop of 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 commis- 
sion, which required us to meet together, advise, and consult. 
They told him that by conference we might perceive, as we 
went on, what each would yield to, and might more speedily dis- 
patch, and probably obtain, our end; whereas, writing would be 
a tedious, endless business, and we should not have that familiar- 
ity and acquaintance with each other's minds, which might facili- 
tate our concord. But the bishop of London resolutely insisted 

(p) Life, part ii. p. 2S4. 


on not doing any thing till we brought in all our exceptions, 
alterations, and additions, at once. In this I confess, above all 
things else, I was wholly of his mind, and prevailed with my 
brethren to consent; but, I conjecture, for contrary reasons. 
For, I suppose, he thought that we should either be altogether 
by the ears, and be of several minds among ourselves, at least 
in our new forms; or that when our proposals and forms came 
to be scanned by them, they should find as much matter of ex- 
ception against ours as we did against theirs; or that the people 
of our persuasion would be dissatisfied or divided about it. 
And indeed our brethren themselves, 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 offer 
new forms, which was the expedient that from the beginning I 
had aimed at and brought in, as the only way of accommoda- 
tion, considering that they should be m Scripture words, and 
that ministers should choose which forms they would. I stated, 
that verbal disputes would be managed with much more conten- 
tion; 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, 
wliile none durst contradict it. On this plan what we said for 
our cause, w^ould come fully and truly to the knowledge of Eng- 
land, and of other nations; and that if we refused this oppor- 
tunity of leaving upon record our testimony a2;ainst corruptions, 
for a just and moderate reformation, we might never have the 
like again. So for these reasons, I told the bishops that we ac- 
cepted 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 Presbyteri- 
ans 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 Noncon- 
formists, 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 required, the probability 
was, either that the Nonconformists would disagree among 
themselves, some perhaps going too far, and others stopping 

\ (p) Life, part ii. pp. 305, 306. 


short, and thus a satisfactory reason for refusing compliance 
would be furnished. Or, presenting a considerable mass of ob- 
jection and alteration at once, a sufficient pretence would be 
afforded for holding them up as unreasonable and captious, and 
determined to be satisfied with nothing less than an entire revo- 
lution of the church. The last probable result was that which 
took place, and due use was made of it accordingly. 

The Nonconformists, after withdrawing from this conference, 
in which they had only a choice of difficulties to encounter, 
agreed to divide among themselves the task devolved on them. 
The selection of exceptions to the Common Prayer-Book they 
distributed among them, and the additions, or new forms, they 
devolved on Baxter alone. He immediately set himself to the 
task, and completed, in a fortnight, an entire liturgy; correcting 
the disorderly arrangement, removing the repetitions, and sup- 
plying the defects of the Prayer-Book; which he considered its 
principal fauhs. He found, at the end of the fortnight, that his 
brethren had not completed their part of the business; so, to 
assist them, he also drew up a paper containing the exceptions 
which occurred to him. This paper and his liturgy were both 
afterwards printed by himself."* The exceptions and alterations, 
as presented, are also printed in his life.^ Few persons who 
consider these exceptions, with the proposed amendments, if any 
tolerable degree of candor be exercised, will be ready to main- 
tain that the former were uncalled for, or that the latter would 
not be improvements. But were undistinguishing admiration is 
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, the 
brethren oft read over the reformed liturgy which I offered 
them. 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 exceptions. 

"At this time the convocation was chosen; for till now it was 
deferred. Had it been called when the king came in, the in- 
ferior clergy would have been against the diocesan and impos- 
ing way: but afterwards many hundreds were turned out, that 
all the old sequestered ministers might come in. And the opin- 
ion of re-ordination being set afoot, all those ministers that, for 
twenty years together, while bishops were laid aside, had been 
ordained without diocesans, were, in many counties, denied any 
voices in the election of clerks for the convocation. By all 

(r) Life, part ii, p. 308. (s) Ibid. 316. 


which means, and by the scruples of abundance of ministers, 
who thought it unlawful to have any thing to do in the choosing 
of such a kind of assembly, the diocesan party wholly carried 
it in the choice. 

"In London the election was appointed to be in Christ's 
Church, on the second day of May, 1661. The London min- 
isters that were not ejected, proved the majority against the di- 
ocesan party; and when I w^ent to have joined with them, they 
sent to me not to come, as they did also to Mr. Calamy; so, 
without my knowledge, they chose Mr. Calamy and me for 
London. But they carried it against the other party but by 
three voices: and die bishop of London having the power of 
choosing two out of four, or four out of six, that are chosen by 
the ministers in a certain circuit, did give us the great benefit 
of being both left out. So we were excused, and the city of 
London had no clerk in the convocation.^ How should I have 
been then baited, and what a vexatious place should I have had 
in such a convocation! 

"On the fourth day of May, we had a meeting with the bish- 
ops, where we gave in our paper of exceptions to them, which 
they received. The seventh was a meeting at Sion 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 street, by the 
hands of the common hangman. 

"When the brethren came to examine the reformed liturgy, 
and had frequently 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 lines in the administration of the Lord's Supper, where the 
word "offering" was used; and they put out a page of reasons 
for infant baptism, which I had annexed to that office, thinking 
it unnecessary. They also put the larger litany into an appen- 
dix, as thinking it too long; and Dr. Wallis was desired to draw 
up the prayer for the king, which is hig work, being afterwards 
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 long, and to 
the altering of any thing that should be found amiss. 

(t) This is only one of the many proofs of the enmity of Sheldon to the whole Non- 
conformist party, and of his determination to thwart them every way in his power. 
Rather than have Calamy and Baxter; he deprived London of its proper representa- 
tives in the convocation. 


"As I foresaw what was likely to be the end of our confer- 
ence, I 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 commission, 
yet we are commanded by the Holy Ghost, if it be possible, and 
as much as in us lieth, to live peaceably with all men. If we 
were denied, it would satisfy our consciences, and justify us be- 
fore 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 up 
the petition, which I did, and being examined, was, with a word 
or two of alteration, consented to. When we met with the bish- 
ops, to deliver in these papers, I was required to deliver them: 
and, if it were possible, to get audience for the petition before 
all the company. I told them that though we were equals in the 
present work, and our appointed business was to treat, yet w^e 
were conscious of our place and duty, and had drawn up a pe- 
tition to them, which, though somewhat long, I humbly craved 
their consent that I might read. Some were against it, and so 
they w^ould 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. I dehvered them the petition when I 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 
departed." "^ 

That there was no disposition on the part of the bishops to 
yield any thing, is very evident from the whole of their conduct. 
The commission only 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 
K. the hturgy as excepted against, and the other of their accept- 
ance of our offered forms or reasons against them; instead of 
both these, a good while after, they sent us such a paper as they 

(u) Life, part ii. pp. 333, 334. 

VOL. I. 24 


did before, of iheir reasonings against all our exceptions, with- 
out any abatements or alterations at all that are worth the 
naming. Our brethren, seeing what ihey 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 tlie first. This task also they 
imposed on me. I went out of town, to Dr. Spurstow's house, 
in Hackney, for retirement; where, in eight days' time, I drew 
up a reply to their answer to our exceptions. This the breth- 
ren read and consented to, only wishing that it had been larger 
in the latter end, where I had purposely been brief, because I 
had been too large in the beginning; and because particulars 
may be answered satisfactorily in a few w^ords when the general 
differences are fully cleared. 

"By this time, our commission w^as almost expired; and there- 
fore our brethren were earnestly desirous of personal debates 
with them upon the papers put in, to try how much alteration 
they w^ould yield to. We therefore sent to the bishops to de- 
sire it of them; and, at last, they yielded to it, when we had but 
ten days more to treat. 

"When we met them, I 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 commission; 
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, never knew what we offered them in the 
reformed liturgy, nor in this reply, nor in any of our papers, 
save those few which we read openly to them; for they were 
put up, and carried away; and, I conjecture, scarce any but 
the WTiters of dieir confutations would be at the labor of read- 
ing them over. I remember, in the midst of our last disputation, 
when I drew out the short preface to the last reply, which Mr. 
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 I had said. By which I per- 
ceived that they had never read or heard that very preface 
which was an epistle to themselves: yea, the chief of them con- 
fessed, w4ien they bade me read it, that they knew no such thing. 
So that, it seems, before they knew what was in them, they re- 
solved to 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 liturgy, 
which we had put in long before; and that they would tell us 
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 importunity, 
be entreated 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 our 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 or- 
dinary Lord's-day prayers far shorter than theirs. And since we 
had given our exceptions against theirs, if they would neidier 
by word nor WTiting except against ours, nor give their consent 
to them, they w^ould not honor their cause or conference. But 
all would not extort either debates on that subject, or any rep- 
rehensions of what we had offered them. 

"When they had cast out that part of our desired conference, 
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 alterations they would 
yield to. This, bishop Reynolds oft pressed them to, and so did 
all the rest of us that spake. But they resolutely insisted on it, 
that they had nothing to do till we had proved that there was a 
necessity for alteration, which we had not yet done; and that they 
were there, ready to answer our proofs. We urged them again 
and again with the very words of the king's declaration and 
commission: 'That the ends expressed are for the removal of all 
exceptions, and occasions of exceptions and differences from 
among our good subjects, and for giving satisfaction to tender 
conciences, and the restoring and continuance of peace and am- 
ity in the churches. And the means are, to make such reason- 
able and necessary alterations, corrections, and amendments 
therein, as shall be agreed upon to be needful and expedient, for 
the giving satisfaction to tender consciences, and restoring and 
continuing peace,' &ic. We plainly showed hence, that the king 
supposeth that some alterations must be made; but the bishops 
insisted on two words necessary alterations, and such as should 
be agreed on. We understand them, that the word necessary 
hath reference to the ends expressed; viz. the satisfying tender 
consciences, and is joined with expedient: and that it was strange 
if, when the king had so long and publicly determined of the 
end, and called us to consult of the means, we should presume 

188 \ 


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 nodiing, that so all 
endeavors 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 

*'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 
our task, or none, to prove by disputation, that any alteration 
was necessary to be made; while they conliued our proofs. We 
told them, that the end being to satisfy tender consciences, and 
procure unity, those tender consciences did themselves profess, 
that without soQie 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 npcessary, and they would yield to all that 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 endeavors; 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 disput- 
ing as not tending to fulfil the king's commands. We told the 
bishops, over and over, that they could not choose but know 
that before we could end one argument in a dispute, our time 
would be expired; that it could not possibly tend to any accom- 
modation; 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 dispute, 
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 commis- 
sion, 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 I 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 fear- 
ing it, seeing they would give us no hopes of concord. 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. They 
met accordingly, in the presence of many of the Episcopal 
party, who attended in considerable numbers; but the Noncon- 
formists, except the three advocates, all absented themselves. 
The debate itself, which Baxter has recorded at length, was, as 
might have been anticipated, exceedingly unsatisfactory; par- 
taking more of the nature of personal altercation than of grave 
religious argument. The discussion was carried on by ex-tem- 
pore writing as well as by occasional speaking; w^iich must have 
l3een as w^earisome to all parties, as the history of it would now 
be tedious and unprofitable. As Baxter chiefly maintained the 
discussion on the side of the Nonconformists, his numerous 
writings contain a full exposition and defence of his ow^n views 
and those of his brethren; while the liturgy 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 respectively took in the discussion, 
may appropriately close the review of the Savoy conference. 

"The bishop of London, Dr. Sheldon, since archbishop of 
Canterbury, only appeared 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: ^ 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 litde; and came 
but once or twice in all. Bishop Morley was often there, but 
not constantly, and with free and fluent words with much earn- 
estness, was the chief speaker of all the bishops, and the greatest 
interrupter of us: vehemently going on with what he thoudit 
serviceable to his end, and bearing down our answers by the 
said fervor and interruptions. Bishop Cosins was there con- 
stantly, and had a great deal of talk with so little logic, natural 

(x) Life, part ii. pp. 233 23fi. 

(y) The views of Sheldon in the affair of the Savoy conference, are apparent from 
one circumstance. When Lord Manchester remarked to the king-, that he was afrnid 
the terms of the act of uniformity were too rig-id for the ministers to comply with, 
Sheldon replied, "I am afraid they w'\\\." Bate's Funeral Sennon for Baxter. It is 
only necessary to look at some passages of Pepys's 'Memoirs,' to be satisfied diat 
Sheldon was a profane, as well as an unprincipled 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 
engine of government, and a matter of policy." Oum Times, i. p. 257. 


or artificial, that I perceived no one much moved by any thing 
he said. But two virtues he showed, though none took iiim 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 w^as, that as 
he was of a rustic wit and carriage, so he would endure more 
freedom of discourse with him, and was more affable and famil- 
iar than the rest. Bishop Hinchman, since bishop of London, 
was of the most grave, comely, reverend aspect of any of them; 
and of a good insight in the fathers and councils. Cosins and 
he, and Dr. Gunning, being all that showed any considerable 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 his principles and resolu- 
tions as any of them. 

"Bishop Sanderson, of Lincoln, was sometimes there, but 
never spake, that I know of, except a very little; but his great 
learning and worth are known by his labors, and his aged peev- 
ishness 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 meddled in any 
dispute or point of learning; but he had a calm, fluent, rhetor- 
ical tongue; and if all had been of his mind we had been recon- 
ciled. 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 end, 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, thouii;h not commissioners. 
King, bishop of Chichester, I 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 neither 
of them spake much.*^ 

"Among all the bishops, there was none who had so promis- 
ing a face as Dr. Sterne, bishop of Carlisle. He looked so 
honestly, gravely, and soberly, that I scarce thought such a face 

(z) It is said tliat Bishop Sanderson requested, on his dealli-bed, that the ejected 
ministers should he employed again: but of course that was not compHed with. 
Baxter^s Life, part ii. p.' 363. 

(a) It is somewhat singular that the author of the 'Eikon Basiiike/ should have 
been so moderate a man in the debates with the Nonconformists. Baxter's descrip- 
tion of his calm and fluent tongue, agrees very well with the style of that celebrated 
book; the controversy about which is now set at rest, and the claims of Gaudeu fully 

(.b) Life, part ii. p. 364. 


could have deceived me. When I was entreating them not to 
cast out so many of their brethren through the nation, he turned 
to the rest of the reverend bishops, and said, 'He will not say- 
in the kingdom, lest he own a king.'' This was all I ever heard 
that worthy prelate say. I told him 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 much the first day, for bringing 
them to abatements and moderation; and afterwards he sat with 
them, and spake now and then a word for moderation. He 
was a solid, honest man, but through mildness and excess of 
timorous reverence for great men, altogether unfit to contend 
with them. 

"Mr. Thorndike spake once a few impertinent, passionate 
words, confuting the opinion which we had received of him 
from his first writings, and confirming that which his second and 
last writings had given us of him. Dr. Earle, Dr. Heylin, and 
Dr. Barwick, never came. Dr. Hacket, since bishop of Co- 
ventry and Litchfield, said nothing to make us know any thing 
of him. Dr. Sparrow said but litde, but that little was with 
spirit enough for the imposing dividing cause. 

"Dr. Pierce and Dr. Gunning did all their work, beside Bish- 
op Morley's discourses, but with great difference in the manner. 
Dr. Pierce was their true logician and disputant, without whom, 
as far as I could discern, we should have had nothing from them, 
but Dr. Gunning's passionate invectives, mixed with some argu- 
mentations. He disputed accurately, soberly, and calmly, being 
but once in any passion; breeding in us great respect for him, 
and a persuasion that if he had been independent, 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 honor 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 fathers and councils, 
and of a ready tongue; I hear, and believe, of very temperate 
life also, as to all carnal excesses whatsoever; but so vehement 
for his high, imposing principles, and so over zealous for 
Arminianism, and formality, and church pomp; and so very 
eager and fervent in his discourse, that I conceive his pre- 
judice and passion much perverted his judgment. I am sure, 
they made him lamentably overrun himself in his discourses. 
Of Dr. Peirce I will say no more, because he hath said so 
much of me.'^ 

(c) Life, part ii. p. 284. 

(d) Jeremy Taylor says in one of his letters, "It is no wonder that Baxter under- 
values the gentry of Ent^land. You know what spirit he is of, but I suppose he has 
met with his match: for Mr. Peris (Peirce) hath attacked himj and they are joined 
in the lists." i/eZer' Life of Taylor, p. 88. 


"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 loth to expose them to the hatred of the bishops; but 
was willing to take it all upon myself, they themselves having so 
much wit as to be therein more sparing and cautious than 1. I 
thought also that the day and cause commanded me those two 
things, w^iich then were objected to me as my crimes, viz., 
speaking too boldly and too long. I thought it a cause that I 
could comfortably suffer for, and should as willingly be a martyr 
for charity as (or 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 conduct 
of Sheldon at the very first meeting; beside wdiat 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 most unfit to heal 
matters, and the fittest to widen them that could have been 
found out. Baxter was the opponent, and Gunning was the re- 
spondent, who was afterwards advanced, first to Chichester, 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 were a couple of fencers engaged in disputes, 
that could never be brought to an end, or have any good ef- 
fect." f 

The affair having thus ended in a kind of farce, and the min- 
isters 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. It 
was written by Baxter, with a few alterations and amendments, 
was at last laid before his majesty, with a fair copy of all the pa- 
pers, by Dr. Manton, Dr. Reynolds, Dr. Bates, and Mr. Bax 
ter. It gives a short history of the conference, and its unsuc- 
cessful 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 de- 

(e) Life, part ii. pp. 363, 364. 

(f) Burnet's 'Own Times,' vol. i. pp. 283, 284. 

(g) Life, part ii. pp. 366368. ^ 


termination 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 faikire offers one of 
many illustrations of the folly of attempting to reconcile the prin- 
ciples of this world, with the laws and government of the king- 
dom 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 negotiation, the great object of the 
ministers was, if possible, to get parliament to pass the king's de- 
claration into a law, without which it would be of no permanent 
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 execution, 
and all hopes, treaties, and petitions, were not only disappointed, 
but a weight more grievous than a thousand ceremonies was add- 
ed to the old conformity, with a heavy penalty.'^ 

(h) Although the Episcopal commissioners would concede nothing to the Noncon- 
formists for the sake of peace, they soon after held a meeting 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 8ih of May,. 1661, 
and agreed to some alterations and additions. They began with the office for the 
king's birth and return, which was brought in on the IGlh 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 20th, tlie book was completed and 
subscribed by tlie members of both houses. 

''The principal alterations which were made in this version, were the following. 
Several lessons in the calendar were changed for others more proper for the days. 
The prayers upon particular occasions, were disjoined from the liturgy. The prayers 
for the parliament, that for all conditions of men, and the general thanksgiving, were 
added; several of the collects were altered; the epistles and gospels were taken out 
of the last translation of the Bible, they having been read before, according to the 
old. Tlie office of baptism for those of riper years, the forms of prayer to be used at 
sea, the form for the martyrdom of King Charles, and that for tlie king's return, or, 
as it is now called, the restoration of the royal family were added. The book did 
not go to press till some time after it was subscribed, the Act of Uniformity for enact- 
ing it into a law taking up a considerable time." Nichols Pre/ace to the Book of 
Common Prayer, p. 10. In all these alterations, it is very clear the clergy took spe- 
cial care that no attention should be shown to the feelings or piejudices of the Non- 
conformists. This writer has forgotten to state that, among the other improvements 
made by this convocation on the 'Prayer Book,' the story of 'Bell and the Dragon' 
was added to the lessons taken from the Apocrypha! 

VOL. I. 25 


CHAPTER VIII. 16611665. 

Baxter (-ndeavois to gain possession of Kidderminster The King and Clarendon favorable 
to it Defeateii by ^ir Ralpli Clare and Bishop Murley Conduct of Sir Ralph Clare to the 
People of Kidderminster Baxter's spirited Remonstrance Insurrection of the Fifth 
Monarchy Men Baxter's Preaching in London (Jbtains a License from the Archbishop 
of Canterbury AtU'nipts to negociute with the Vicar of Kidderminster Treatment of 
the People by the Bishop and Clergy Baxter entirely sep:^rated from Kidderminster 
Takes leave of the (.'hurcli Act of Cniformity Its Injustice, Impolicy, and Cruelty Its 
injurious Effects Raxter's Marriage Declaration of Indulgence Death and Character 
of Ash .Nelson Elardsliips of the A'onconforniists Death of Archbishop Juxrm ^Suc- 
ceeded by Sheldon Act against Privr.te .Meetinus :?ufferiiigs of the People Baxter re- 
tires to Acton VVoiks written or published by him during this period Correspondence 
Occasional Communion Consulted by Ashley Concluding JMemorials of the year 1665. 

In the preceding chapter, an account has been given of all the 
public transactions in which Baxter was engaged from the period 
of the restoration to the termination of the Savoy conference. 
His more private or personal affairs now require our attention. 
In his letter to lord Clarendon, declining the bishopric of Here- 
ford, the reader will have observed that he prefers a request of 
a very humble nature respecting Kidderminsterj that if his lord- 
ship would bestow some prebendal place on Mr. Dance, the 
vicar, it would enable him to return to his old and favorite sphere 
of employment. The following narrative brings before us the 
failure of this application, and, in consequence, his entire sepa- 
ration from Kidderminster. 

"When I had refused a bishopric, I did it from such reasons 
as offended not the lord chancellor; and, therefore, instead of 
it, I presumed to crave his favor to restore me to preach to my 
people at Kidderminster again, from whence I had been cast 
out, w4ien many hundreds of others were ejected, upon the res- 
toration of all those who had been sequestered. It was but a 
vicarage, and the vicar was a poor, unlearned, ignorant, silly 
reader, who little understood what Christianity, 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 him- 
self, 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 bishopric, and petitioning to be a reading vicar's curate; but I 
had little hopes of so good a condition, at least for any consid- 
erable 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 enougfi 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. Openly, 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 
as good a place, from which I had received but ninety pounds per 
annum. Either all desire it, or none desire it. But the hin- 
derance was, that among all the livings and prebendaries of 
England, there was none fit for the poor vicar. A prebend he 
must not have, because he was incompetent, and yet he is still 
thought competent to be the pastor of near 4,000 souls! The 
lord chancellor, to make the business certain, engages himself 
for a valuable stipend to the vicar, and his own steward shall be 
commanded to pay it for him. What could he desire more? 
But the poor vicar was to answer him that this was no security 
to him; his lordship might withhold that stipend at his pleasure, 
and then where was his maintenance? Give him but a legal 
title to any thing of equal value, and he would resign. The 
patron also was my sure and intimate friend. But no such thing 
v^'as to be had, and so Mr. Dance must keep his place. 

"Though I requested not any preferment but this, yet even 
for this I resolved I would never be importunate. I only nomin- 
ated it as the favor which I desired, when their offers in general 
invited me to ask more; and then I told them, that if it were 
any way inconvenient to them, I would not request it. Even at 
the very first I desired, that if they thought it best for the vicar 
to keep his place, I was willing to take the lecture, which, by his 
bond, was secured to me, and w^as still my right; or if that were 

(i) Sir Ralph Clare, of Caldwell, of whom Baxter j^ives (his curious account, was 
an eminent royalist. He spent a great part of his fortune in the cause of Charles II. 
Being taken prisoner at the battle of Worcester, he remained a long time in con- 
finement, till released, probably by Baxter's influence, by Major-General Berr}- com- 
ing in to command in the county. It appears, from various parts of Baxter's narra- 
tive, that the old knight was a great thorn in his side. In Nash's 'History of Wor- 
cestershire,' portraits of Baxter and Sir Ralph are given in one page. Vol. ii. p. 44, 


denied me, I would be his curate while the king's declaration 
stood in force. But none of these could be accepted with men 
that were so exceedingly willing. In the end, it appeared that 
two knights of the country, Sir Ralph Clare and Sir John Pack- 
ington,-' who were very great with Dr. Morley, newdy-made 
bishop of Worcester, had made him believe that my interest was 
so great, and I could do so much widi ministers and people in 
that county, that unless I would bind myself to promote their 
cause and party, I was not fit to be there. And this bishop, 
being greatest of any man with the lord chancellor, must ob- 
struct my return to my ancient flock. At last. Sir Ralph Clare 
did freely tell me, that if I would conform to the orders and 
ceremonies of the church, preach conformity to the people, and 
labor to set them right, there was no man in England so fit to be 
there, for no man could more effectually do it; but if I would 
not, there was no man so unfit for the place, for no man could 
more hinder it. 

"I desired it as the greatest favor of them, that if they intended 
not my being there they would plainly tell me so, that I might 
trouble them and myself no more about it; but that was a favor 
too great to be expected. I had continual encouragement by 
promises till I was almost tired in waiting on them. At last, 
meeting Sir Ralph Clare in the bishop's chamber, I desired him, 
before the bishop, to tell me to my face, if he had any thing 
against me which might cause all this ado. He told me that I 
would give the sacrament to none kneeling, and that of eighteen 
himdred communicants, there were not past six hundred who 
were for me, and the rest were rather for the vicar. I answer- 
ed, I was very glad that these words fell out to be spoken in the 
bishop's hearing. To the first accusation, I told him, that he 
himself knew I invited him to the sacrament, and offered it him 
kneeling, and that under my hand in writing; that openly in his 
hearing in the pulpit, I had promised and told both him and all 
the rest, I never had nor ever would put any man from the sa- 
crament on the account of kneelins;, but leave everv one to the 
posture he should choose. I farther stated, that the reason why 
I never gave it to any kneeling, was because all who came would 
sit or stand, and those who were for kneeling only followed him, 
who would not come unless I would administer it to him and his 
party on a day by themselves, when the rest were not present; 
and I had no mind to be the author of such a schism, and make, 
as it were, two churches of one. But especially the conscious- 

( j) Sir John Paeking'ton, of Westwood. was another warm royalist baronet, in the 
county of Worcester. He was husband to Lady Packiiigton, to whom that well- 
known work, 'The Whole Duty of Man,' has been ascribed. Sir John's house was 
the resort of many of the Episcopal clergy during- the wars and the Commonwealth; 
afld Dr. Hammond died in it, Aihen. Oxon. ili. 49f). Grander, v. 377. 


ness of notorious scandal, which they knew they must be ac- 
countable for, did make many kneelers stay away; and all this 
he could not deny. 

"As to the second ("harge, I stated, there was a witness ready 
to say as he did. I knew but one man in the town against me, 
which was a stranger newly come, one Ganderton, an attorney, 
steward to the Lord of Abergavenny, a Papist, who was lord of 
the manor. This one man was the prosecutor, and witnessed 
how many were against my return. I craved of the bishop that 
I might send by the next post to know their minds, and if that 
were so T would take it for a favor to be kept from thence. 
When the people heard this at Kidderminster, in a day's time 
they gathered the hands of sixteen hundred of the eighteen 
hundred communicants, and the rest were such as were from 
home. Within four or five days after, I happened to find Sir 
Ralph Clare with the bishop again, and showed him the hands 
of sixteen hundred communicants, with an offer of more if they 
might have time, all very earnest for my return. Sir Ralph 
was silenced as to that point; but he and the bishop appeared so 
much the more against my return. 

"The letter which the lord chancellor upon his own offer 
wrote for me to Sir Ralph Clare, he gave at my request un- 
sealed; and so I took a copy of it before I sent it away, think- 
ing the chief use would be to keep it and compare it with their 
dealings. It was as folio weth: 
" 'Sir, 

" 'I am a little out of countenance, that after the discovery 
of such a desire in his majesty, that Mr. Baxter should be settled 
in Kidderminster, as he was heretofore, and my promise to you 
by the king's direction, that Mr. Dance should very punctually 
receive a recompense by way of a rent upon his or your bills 
charged here upon my steward, Mr. Baxter hath yet no fruit of 
this his majesty's good intention towards him; so that he hath 
too much reason to believe that he is not so frankly dealt with 
in this particular as he deserves to be. I do again tell you, that 
it will be very acceptable to the king if you can persuade Mr. 
Dance to surrender that charge to Mr. Baxter; and in the mean 
time, and till he is preferred to as profitable an employment, 
whatever agreement you shall make with him for an annual rent, 
it shall be paid 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 earn- 
estly entreat you, that you will with all speed inform me what we 
may depend upon in this particular, that we may not keep Mr. 
Baxter in suspense, who hath deserved very well from his majesty, 
and of whom his majesty hath a very good opinion; 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 curateship, 
when it is not in the power of the king and the lord chancellor 
to procure it for him, though they so vehemently desire it? But, 
oh! 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 their present conveniences! Wonderful! 
thought 1, that men who do so much ov^ervalue worldly honor 
and esteem, can possibly so much forget futurity, and think only 
of the present day, as if they regarded not how their actions be 
judged of by posterity. Notwithstanding all his extraordinary 
favor 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 maintenance. So that I, and many a hundred 
more, had not had a piece of bread but for the voluntary contri- 
bution, whilst we preached, of another sort of people: yea, while 
I had all this excess of favor, I would have taken it indeed for 
an excess, as being far beyond my expectations, if they would 
but have 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 his- 
tory. Giving Clarendon, and Charles, who also appears to have 
been a party, credit for sincerity in their professed friendship 
for Baxter, it is extraordinary that they should have been de- 
feated by the management of the "old civil courtier," Sir Ralph, 
or the wilely bishop of Worcester, Dr. Morely. 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 honor of the cavaliers! It is evi- 
deut, from the humor 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 w^as 
determined he should not, and therefore the affair was so man- 
aged 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 others caused the 
houses of the people of the town of Kidderminster to be search- 

(k) Life, part ii. pp. 298300. 


ed for arms, and if any had a sword it was taken from them. 
Meeting him with the bishop, I desired hiai to tell us why his 
neighbors were so used, as if he would have made the world 
believe they were seditious, or rebels, or dangerous persons, 
that should be treated as enemies to the king. He answered 
me, that it was because they would not bring out their arms 
when they were commanded, but said they had none; whereas 
they had arms on every occasion to appear on the behalf of 
Cromwell. This great disingenuity of so ancient a gentleman 
towards his neighbors, whom he pretended kindness to, made 
me break forth into some more than ordinary freedom of re- 
proof; so that I answered him, we had thought our condition 
hard, that by strangers, who knew us not, we should be ordi- 
narily traduced and misrepresented: but this was most sad and 
marvellous, that a gentleman so civil, should, before the bishop, 
speak such words against a corporation, which he knew I was 
able to confute, and were so contrary to truth. I asked him 
whether he did not know that I publicly and privately spake 
against the usurpers, and declared them to be rebels; and 
whether he took not the people to be of my mind; and whether 
I and they had not hazarded our liberty by refusing the engage- 
ment against the king and House of Lords, when he and others 
of his mind had taken it. He confessed that I had been against 
Cromwell; but the people had always, on every occasion, ap- 
peared in arms for him. I told him that he struck me with ad- 
miration, that it should be possible for him to live in the town, 
and yet believe what he said to be true, or yet to speak it in our 
hearing if he knew it to be untrue. I professed also that having 
lived there sixteen years since the wars, I never knew that they 
once appeared in arms for Cromwell, or any usurper; and chal- 
lenged him, upon his word, to name one. I could not get him 
to name any time, till 1 had urged him to the utmost; and then 
he instanced in the tiuie when the Scots army fled from Wor- 
cester. I challenged him to name one man of them that was 
at Worcester fight, or bare arms there, or at any time for the 
usurpers: and when he could name none, I told him that all 
that was done to my knowledge in sixteen years of that time 
was but this, that when the Scots fled from Worcester, as all the 
country sought in covetousness to catch some of them for the 
sake of their horses, so two idle rogues of Kidderminster, that 
never communicated with me any more tlian he did, had drawn 
two or three neighbors with them in the night, as ihe Scots fled, 
to catch their horses. But I never heard of three that they 
caught; and I appealed to the bishop and his conscience, wheth- 
er he that beinp; ur2;ed, could name no more but this did 
ingeniously accuse the corporation, magistrates, and people, to 
have appeared on all occasions in arms for Cromwell.'' When 


they had no more to say, I told them by this we saw what meas- 
ures to expect from strangers of his mind, when he that is our 
neighbor, and noted for eminent civihty, never sticketh to speak 
such things even of a people among whom he hath still lived. 

"At the same time, about twenty or tvvo-and-twenty furious 
fanatics, called fifth-monarchy men, consisting of one Venner, 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 way, till 
there were some killed and the rest taken, judged, and executed.' 
I wrote a letter at this time to my mother-in-law, containing 
nothing but our usual matter, even encouragements to her in her 
age and weakness, fetched from the nearness of her rest, together 
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 having read it, 
they were not ashamed to send it up; but joyful would they 
have been, could they have found but a word in it which could 
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 of 
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 me my letter 
again to my lodgings. Lord Windsor told me the lord chan- 
cellor appointed him to do it; so after some expression of the 
abuse, 1 thanked him for his great civility and favor. But I saw 
how far that sort of men were to be trusted." '^ 

Being removed from his beloved flock in Worcestershire, and 
uncertain whether he might ever return to them or not, he re- 
fused to take any other charge, but preached gratuitously in 
London, where he happened to be invited. When he had done 
this above a year, he thought a fixed place was better, which 

(1) Venner's mad insurrection may be considered as the last oftiie fifth- monarchy 
system for many years. It illustrate? the length to which men may be carried by 
adopting- mistaken views of Scripture, and of the principles of the kingdom of Christ. 
It is quite of a piece, though on a smaller scale, with the conduct of the Munsler fanat- 
ics; and was a most unfortunate occurrence, not merely for the poor deluded indi- 
viduals themselves, but for the county. The court greedily laid hold of it to justify 
the atloption of measures to crush the dissenters, and establish a standing army, by 
which the arbitrary designs of Charles and his new government might be effectually 
accomplished. iVeaZ, iv. 278280. 

(m) Life, part ii. pp. 300, 301. 


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 sermon in the city, but he had accounts from Westminster that 
he had preached seditiously or against the government; when 
he had neither a thouglit nor a word of any such tendency. 
Sometimes he preached purposely against faction, schism, sedi- 
tion, and rebellion, and those sermons also were reported to be 
factious and seditious. Some sermons at Convent Garden were 
so much accused, that he thought it necessary to print them in 
his own defence. They are entided the 'Formal Hypocrite 
Detected,' &z:c. When they appeared, he heard not a word 
more against them. The accusations against him, were, in gen- 
eral, of sedition and faction, and speaking against the church; 
but not one syllable charged of a particular nature. 

"The congregation being crowded," he says, "was that which 
provoked envy to accuse me: and one day the crowd did drive 
me from my place. It fell out that at St. Dunstan's church, 
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 fall- 
ing of the stones. The people crowded out of doors: the 
women left some of them a scarf, and some a shoe behind them, 
and some in the galleries cast themselves down upon those 
below, because they could not get down the stairs. I sat down 
in the pulpit, seeing and pitying their vain distemper, and as 
soon as I could be heard, I entreated their silence, and went on. 
The people were no sooner quieted and got in again, and the 
auditory composed, but some who stood upon a wainscot-bench, 
near the communion-table, brake the bench with their weioht, 
so that the noise renewed the fear again, and they were worse 
disordered than before. One old woman was heard at the 
church door asking forgiveness of God for not taking the first 
warning, 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 resolution to pull down all the roof, and build it better, which 

(n) This is a remarkable instance of the composure of Baxter in very alarming 
circumstances; and not ihe only occasion on wliicli he displayed great fortitude and 
self-possession. Dr. Bates tells us, when the confusion was over, F^axter rose and 
said, "We are in the service of God, to prepare ourselves that we may be fearless at 
the great noise of the dissolving world; when the heavens shall pass away, and 
the elements melt with fervent heat." Funeral Sermon for Buxlfr. Another in- 
stance of alarm occurred when he was preaching at the place over the market-house, 
in St. James'; where his wife displayed a courage and presence of mind equal to his 
own. Life of his PFJ/e, pp. 60,61. edit. 1826. 

VOL. I. 26 


they have done with so great reparation of the walls and stee- 
ple, 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 
common 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 silenced. At the same time I preached once every Lord's 
day at Blackfriars, were Mr. Gibbons, a judicious man, was 
minister. In Milk Street, I took money, because it came not 
from the parishioners, but from strangers, and so was no wrong 
to the minister, Mr. Vincent, a very holy, blameless man. But 
at Blackfriars I never took a penny, because it was the parish- 
ioners who called me, who would else be less able and ready 
to help their worthy pastor, who w^ent to God by a consump- 
tion, 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 resurrection. 

"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, besides having power as the church magistrate or 
officer of the king; and though I was under no necessity, I 
w^ould not refuse a lawful thing, when authority required it. 
The archbishop received me with very great expression of re- 
spect, offered me his license, and would let his secretary take no 
money of me. But 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 what 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 doc- 
trine 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 par- 
ticulars that would have deserved notice, I should have heard 

(o) Life, part ii. pp. 301,302. 


particularly from him. I scarce think that ever I preached a 
sermon without a spy to give them his rejjort ^f it.P 

"Shortly after our disputation at the Savoy, I went to Rick- 
mansworth, in Hertfordshire, and preached there but once, from 
Matt. xxii. 12, 'And he was speechless.' 1 spake not a word 
that was any nearer kin to sedition, or that had any greater tend- 
ency to provoke them, than by showing that wicked men, and 
the refusers of grace, however they may now have many things 
to say 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 litde 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 
favor 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 have preached 
a sermon, or put up a prayer to God, which one or other, through 
malice or hope of favor, would not have been tempted to accuse 
as guilty of some heinous crime. ^ 

"Soon after my return to London, I went into Worcestershire, 
to try whether it were possible to have any honest terms from 
the reading vicar there, that I might preach to my former flock; 
but when I had preached twice or thrice, he denied me liberty 
to preach any more. I offered then to take my lecture, which 
he was bound to allow me, under a bond of 500; but he re- 
fused it. I next offered to be his curate, and he refused it. I 
then offered to preach for nothing, and he refused it: and, lastly, 
I desired leave but once to administer the sacrament to the peo- 
ple, and preach my farewell sermon to them; but he would not 
consent. At last, I understood that he was directed by his su- 
periors to do what he did: but Mr. Baldwin, an able preacher, 
whom 1 left there, was yet permitted. 

"At that time, my aged father lying in great pain of the stone 
and stranguary, I went to visit him, twenty miles further: and 
while I was there, Mr. Baldwin came to me, and told me that 
he also was forbidden to preach. We returned both to Kidder- 
minster, and having a lecture at Shiffnal in the way, I preached 
there, and staid not to hear the evening sermon, because I 
would make haste to the bishop. It fell out that my turn at 
another lecture was on the same day with that at Shiffnal, viz., 
at Cleobury, in Shropshire; and many were met in expectation 
to hear me. But a company of soldiers were there, as the 
.country thought, to have apprehended me; who shut the doors 

(p) Life, part i. p. 302. (q) U(e, part i. p. 374, 


against the ministers that would have preached in my stead, 
bringing a command to the churchwarden to hinder 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 home with grieved 

"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 morning, 
with Mr. Baldwin, and in the hearing of him and Dr. Warm- 
estry, then dean of Worcester, I reminded the bishop of his 
promise to grant me his license, &ic., but he refused me liberty 
to preach in his diocese; though I offered to preach only on the 
Creed, the Lord's-prayer, and the Ten Commandments cate- 
chistical principles, and only to such as had no preaching. 

"Bishop Morley told me when he silenced me, that he would 
take care that the people should be no losers, but should be 
taught as well as they w^ere by me. When I was gone, he got 
awhile a few scandalous men, with some that were more civil to 
keep up the lecture, till the paucity of their auditors gave them 
a pretence to put it down. He came himself one day and 
preached a long invective against them and me as Presbyterians, 
and I know not what; so that the people wondered that a man 
would venture to come up into a pulpit and speak so confidently 
to those he knew not, the things which they commonly knew to 
be untrue. But this sermon was so far from winning any of 
them to the estimation of their new bishop, or curing what he 
called the admiration of my person, which was his great endea- 
vor, that they were much confirmed in their former judgments. 
But still the bishop looked at Kidderminster as a factious, schis- 
matical, Presbyterian people, that must be cured of their over- 
valuing of me, and then they would be cured of all the rest. 
Whereas if he had lived with them the twentieth part so long as 
I had done, he would have known that they were neither Pres- 
byterians, nor factious, nor schismatical, nor seditious; but a 
people that quietly followed their hard labor, 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 to 
their own faces. Many have gone about by backbiting to make 
people believe a false report of others, but few will think to per- 
suade men to believe it of themselves, who know the matter 
much better than the reprover doth. Yet beside all this, their 
lecturers 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 judgment and spirit of Dr. Gun- 
ning, 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 lecture, and 
then, as I said, they accused the people of deserting it, and put 
it down. 

"In place of this ordinary preacher, they set up 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 
us, and after 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 pul- 
pit, 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 dis- 
hke of Episcopacy of which they were so frequently and vehe- 
mently accused. I heard not of one person among them, who 
was won to the love of prelacy or formality after my removal.^' 

"Having parted with my dear flock, I need not say with mu- 
tual 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 they 
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 insuflicient, as not 
being able to teach them the articles of the faith and essentials 
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 

(r) Life, part i. pp. 371376. 


of godliness. When in the application he set himself against the 
ends of his office, to make a holy hfe 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 by 
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 minis- 
ters who could not conform, no longer time than till Bartholo- 
mew's day, August 24, 1662, and then they must be all cast 
out. This fatal day called to remembrance the French massa- 
cre, when on the same day thirty or forty thousand Protestants 
perished by Roman religious zeal and charity. 1 had no place 
of my own; but I preached twice a week, by request, in other 
men's congregations, 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 
interpret a doubtful clause in the act, as ending the liberty of 
lecturers at that time; because I would let authority soon know 
that I intended to obey in all that was lawful; because I would 
let all ministers in England understand in time, whether I intend- 
ed to conform or not: for, had I staid to the last day, some 
would have conformed the sooner, from a supposition that I in- 
tended it. These, with other reasons, moved me to cease three 
months before Bartholomew day, which many censured 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 continued 
his labors till he was obliged to desist. The reasons assigned 
for his conduct, however, possess considerable force; but wheth- 
er they are approved or not, all must respect the man who was 
capable of acting in so noble and disinterested a manner. 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 Bax- 
ter was 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 Bartholo- 
mew's day, August 24, 1662. Every thing practicable, and 
consistent with what they regarded as the will of God and the 

(s) Life, pari i. p. 376. (t) Life, part ii. p. 384. 


rights of conscience, had been done by the leaders of the Non- 
conformists, to prevent the passing of this act, or to procure 
some modification of its provisions; but all was in vain. Hatred 
of the nonconforming clergy, a desire to be revenged for the 
wrongs which it was conceived they had done to the church, and 
the supposed necessity of the times, urged forward the royal and 
episcopal party, flushed with recent success, and eager to secure 
the advantage 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, honor, or emolument, more 
than conscience, continue to join. Those, 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 difierently 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 consid- 
erably from each other, though they agreed generally in the un- 
lawfulness of submitting on the terms which were proposed to 
them. Some laid the chief stress on one point, others on a dif- 
ferent one; some would have gone a considerable length in sub- 
mitting to authority; others objected more decidedly to its ex- 
ercise. 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 livings 
or lectureships, or any post of service in the established church, 
were the following: They must submit to be re-ordained, if 
not episcopally ordained before. They must declare their un- 
feigned assent and consent to all and every thing contained and 
prescribed in and by the Book of Common Prayer, and adminis- 
tration of the sacraments, and other riles and ceremonies of the 
church of England; together with the Psalter and the form or 
manner of making, ordaining, ard consecrating bishops, priests, 
and deacons, &:c.; to which was attached an equivalent sub- 
scription. 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 cove- 
nant; 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 without any- 
thing to qualify or soften them, or room left for a dispensation. 


So that if a man scrupled but at one point, though he could have 
complied with all the rest, he was as certainly 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- 
ment,' 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, 
who had taken an active part in the former changes, or who 
had approved of those changes, could submit to them. They 
extended to some things by an almost wanton stretch of au- 
thority, and involved a total departure from all just views of 
civil liberty, the cause of which must be regarded as virtually 
abandoned by those who submitted to them. All the temporal 
interests of the ejected party were on the side of compliance with 
the requirements of authority; whatever, therefore, may be 
thought of their judgment, every candid individual will give 
them full credit for sincerity. 

But it is not necessarv 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 
entertain 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 opponents. Among the churchmen of the day, there were 
none superior, as scholars and divines, to Calamy, Bates, Owen, 
Howe, Baxter, and many others who could be mentioned. They 
were as capable of forming enlarged and comprehensive views 
of truth and 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 
from 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 
them, are proofs of narrow-mindedness and illiberality. It is 
demanded often in a tone of triumph, whether the things required 
were in themselves sinful; if not sinful, it is inferred they must 
be innocent; and hence the folly and impropriety of disputing 
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 

(u) Calamy, vol. i. p. 196. 


by the imposers, as well as by the refusers? It must have been 
worse, on this principle, to impose such things, than to resist 
their imposition. In fact, this was the grand matter of dispute 
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, 
w^iether a prescribed form of prayer might be used in public, as 
whether no prayer should ever be employed but that lorm; 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 be baptized, unless the min- 
ister 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 v/ould 
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, w^ill any man who has the least regard for conscience, 
or for common sense, aver, that these were questions of a trilling 
or unimportant nature? It is obvious, on the contrary, that they 
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 sin- 
ful; it may be said, many of the Nonconformists believed them 
to be so: and if this was their belief, though they had been mis- 
taken, they were not only justified in rehising compliance, but 
bound to do so, at all hazards. They regarded them as human 
additions to the laws and ordinances of Christ; as imposed with- 
out authority from him; as calculated to interfere with the obe- 
dience which they owed to him alone in all matters of religion; 
as popish in their origin and tendency; and as destructive of 
that liberty w^ith which Christ has made his people free. The 
controversy, therefore, was not about a few trilling circumstances 
or adjuncts; it was a grand struggle for principle, liberty, and 
the honor 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 
follow that they had not truth or right on their side, when they 
were obliged to contend for principles in reference to them- 
selves, the full extent of whose operation they did not clearly 
understand? Certainly not. The principles which they endeav- 
ored to maintain, and for which many of them sufiered the 
loss of all things, are those of eternal and immutable truth; and 

VOL. I. 27 


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 rev- 

To do justice to those men, w^e 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, 1831, the present occupants of livings, curacies, &;c., 
shall subscribe a declaration, engaging themselves to baptize 
no child without the employment of salt, oil, and spittle, as a 
part of the ordinance of baptism; to administer the Lord's- 
supper 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 
such 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 lord- 
ed over and defiled? Or, if they submitted to such exactions, 
W'Ould they not be justly regarded by their flocks and country- 
men, 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 nature of the ordinances of Christ, be considered as an im- 
pertinent trifler? Yet this supposed case is not stronger than that 
of the Nonconformists. They were placed in this very situa- 
tion and viewed the condition to which they w^ere obliged to sub- 
mit, as a similar interference would now be regarded. 

The injustice and cruelty of the Bartholomew act, are strik- 
ingly apparent in two circumstances. It was designed to op- 
erate as a posi-facto law-. Had it been merely prospective in 
its operation, something more might have been alleged in its 
favor than can now be done. A great multitude of the ministers 
of the church, had obtained possession of their livings while 
no such conformity was either required or considered necessary. 
Many of them, indeed, w^ould 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, then, 
which should compel all tliose persons, either to violate their 
consciences, or to abandon stations of usefulness, and the honor- 
able means of living, was most flagrant injustice. 

But even this is not all the hardship of the case. "So great," 
says Locke, "was the zeal in carrying on this church affair, and 
so blind was the obedience required, that if you compute the 
time of passing this act, with the time allowed for the clergy to 
subscribe the book of Common Prayer, thereby established; yon 
shall plainly find, it could not be printed and distributed, so as 


one man in forty could have seen and read the book they did 
so perfectly assent and consent to." -^ 

When these facts are considered, instead of being surprised 
that two thousand ministers preferred leaving the church rather 
than submit to such conditions, it is more surprising that the 
many thousands who remained, should have found means of 
reconciling their consciences to the terms. It is not so much 
to the honor of the Nonconformists that they left the churcJi, 
as it 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 w^hich were seen and temporal, than to the 
things w^hich are unseen and eternal." Not a few of them were 
jus divinum Prelatists in the time of Charles I.; took the Pres- 
byterian covenant under the Long Parliament; submitted to the 
Independent engagement; and once more assented and consent- 
ed to an altered prayer-book, which they had never seen. 5' 

The effects resulting both to the Nonconformists and to the 
nation from their ejection, w^ere of a melancholy description. 
Multitudes of ministers and their families w^ere involved in great 
distress and poverty. Few of them had any independent prop- 
erty; and those to w^hom they afterwards ministered, w^ien they 
had an opportunitv, were generally poor, and therefore little able 
to assist them. They were not only driven out of the cl)urch, 
but persecuted after they were out. Their usefulness was cur- 
tailed; and, in many instances, entirely destroyed. Tlie churches 
they vacated were generally supplied by men of very different 
principles and spirit from themselves. The established church 
was converted into a mass of frigid, outward uniformity, desti- 
tute of the vitality of genuine religion; and more than a century 
elapsed before it recovered from the effects of this almost fatal 

(x) Locke's Works, x. 203, 204. The Act of Uiiiforinilv wa^ passed on tlie 13lli 
of May, 1662. All the ministers of the church were required lo suhscrilie and con- 
form before the 24th of August following-. It is certain the Common Prayer-honk, 
with the alterations and amendments made by the Convocation, chd not leave the 
press till a few days before the 24th of Augustj it was therefore impossible the great 
body of the ministers could possess the book. 

(y) This conduct of the clergy led Locke to say of them, "The clergy readily 
complied with the Bartholomew act; for you know that sort of men arc taught rather 
lo obey than understand; and to use that learning they have, to justify, not to ex- 
amine what their superiors command." Letter to a Person of Qualitij, Works, 
X. 202. Could a greater reproach be uttered against the ministers of religion? 


Out of evil, however, the Most High often educes good, with- 
out removing the blame from its authors. This was the case in 
regard to the Bartholomew ejection. 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 trudi 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, w^ith their blameless lives, added 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. They w^ere the 
mstruments of forming an extensive body of dissenters in all 
parts of the kingdom, by whose means chiefly the power of re- 
ligion was preserved from destruction for many years, and to 
whom the country has been indebted for more blessings than 
will ever be known or acknowledged in this world. ^ 

Shortly after the Bartholomew ejection, an event of great im- 
portance 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 

(z) It is deplorable to find such a man as Mr. Southey, attempting to defend or 
palliate the iniquity and impolicy of this wicked act. "The measure," he sajs, "was 
complained ol' as an act of enormous cruelly and persecution; and the circumstances 
of its beinc^ fixed for St. Bartholomew's day, g-ave the complainants occasion to com- 
pare it with the atrocious deed committer! upon that day against the Huguenots in 
France. They were careful not to remember, that the same day, and for the same 
reason (because the tithes were comm.only due at Michaelmas.) had been appointed 
for the former ejectment, when four limes as man}' of the loyal clergy were deprived 
for fidelity to their sovereign. No small proportion of the present sufferer?; had ob- 
tained iheir preferments by means of that tyrannical deprivation; they did but now 
drink of the cup which they had administered toothers." Book of the Church, ii. 467. 

Seldom has a larger portion of misstatement been compressed into so small a space 
as in the above passage. It would have been obliging, if the learned author had pro- 
duced his authorities for his assertions. But these are carefully suppressed through- 
out 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 j'ear's tithes, Mr. 
Soulhey 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 refus- 
ing the covenant at no one definite period, as, on reflection, Mr. Soothey would be 
aware; nor can I find anyone parliamentary ordinance in Husband's collection, that 
mentions 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 income 
had been reserved for the dispossessed incumbents." Constit7itional History of Eng- 
land, ii. 460, note. 

But this is not the only misrepresentation in the above passage. Southey asserts 
that fo7ir times the number of ministers had been ejected of "the loyal clergy," ns he 
is pleased to denominate them. Eight thousand ministers of the church formerly dis- 
possessed of their livings? And for what? For their loyalty to iheir sovereign! And by 
whom? B}- the Nonconformist ministers, who were only now drinking the cup which 
they had given to others! The historian of the church is really unbounded in his de- 
mands on the confidence of his readers, when he expects them to receive such mon- 
strous things on his bare authority. 


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 minister's 
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, 
his infirmities of body many, 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 com- 
fort 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 Breviate of her hfe," which will be noticed in another 
place, I extract at present a few particulars. 

"We were born in the same county, within three miles and a 
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 ancestor's 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, maintained 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 
thought 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 after- 
wards 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 childien saw part of the buildings 
burnt, and some lie dead before their eyes; and so Robert got 
possession of the children. 

"Afterwards, however, she, by great wisdom and diligence, 
surprised them, secretly conveyed them to IMr. Bernard's, in 
Essex, and secured them against all his endeavors. 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 her- 
self; but out of it conscientiously paid the debts of her husband, 


repaired some of the ruined houses, and managed things faithful- 
ly, according to her best discretion, until her son marrying, took 
his estate into his own hands. 

"She, being before unknown to me, came to Kidderminster, 
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 only son, who in his youth had so much need of 
her counsel, conduct, and comfort; and that if passion in her, or 
any fault in him, had caused a difference, the love w^iich brought 
her through so much trouble for him, should teach her patience. 
She went home, but shortly came again, and took a house with- 
out my knowledge. 

"When she had been there alone awhile, her unmarried 
daughter, Margaret, then about seventeen or eighteen years of 
age, came after her from her brother's, resolving not to forsake 
the mother who deserved her dearest love; though sometimes 
she went to Oxford to her eldest sister, w^ife to Mr. Ambrose 
Upton, then canon of Christ-church. At this time, the good old 
mother lived as a blessing among the honest poor weavers of 
Kidderminster, strangers to her, whose company for their piety 
she chose before all the vanities of the woi'ld. In which time, 
my acquaintance with her made me know", that notwithstanding 
she had been formerly somewhat passionate, she was a woman 
of manly 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 deep- 
est distress of mind, which he was called to assist in relieving. 
She became, in due time, an eminent Christian, and in all re- 
spects worthy to be the wafe of Richard Baxter. But we must 
give his own account of the marriage, and a few particulars re- 
specting 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 wise 
friends, by whom I am advised, think it better to omit such per- 
sonal particularities, at least at this time. Both in her case and 
mine there was much extraordinary, which it doth not concern 

(a) Life of Mrs. Baxter, p. 13. 

(b) As nearly as I can calculate from incidental circumstances, the age of Mrs. 
Ba,\ter, at the lime of her marriage, must have been about twenty-two or twenty- 
three. Her husband, as has already been stated, was in his forty-seventh year. 
There was some room, therefore, for remark on the disparity of their ages. 



the world to be acquainted with. From the first thoughts of it, 
many changes and stoppages intervened, and long delays, till I 
was silenced and ejected; and so being separated from my old 
pastoral charge, which was enough to take up all my time and 
labor, some of my dissuading reasons were then over. At last, 
on September 10, 1662, we were married in Bennet-Fink 
church, by Mr. Samuel Clark, having been before contracted by 
Mr. Simeon Ash, both in the presence of Mr. Henry Ashurst 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 
affairs, that I might be entangled in no lawsuits. Thirdly, that 
she would expect none of my time which my ministerial work 
should require. 

"When we were married, her sadness and melancholy van- 
ished; counsel did something to it, and contentment something; 
and being taken up with our household affairs did somewhat. We 
lived in inviolated love, and mutual complacency, sensible of the 
benefit of mutual help, nearly nineteen 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 dis- 
abling 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 thousand 
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 
first 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 her 
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. 

(c) Life of Mrs. Baxter, pp. 4953. 


"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 w^ay of indulgence, 
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 restoration, or 
whom he pleased: but all was frustrated. After this, they were 
told that the king had power himself to dispense 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 with much hesitancy, and they 
worded it so cautiously, that it extended 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 w^orship as 
well as others; and that it was better for them to have it, than 
for all of us to go without it.^ But the Presbyterians still an- 
swered, that the king might himself 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; but if it were expected 
that we should be forced to 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 declar- 
ation, 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 give them 
liberty. On the second of January, Mr. Nye came to me, to 
treat about our owning the king's declaration, by returning him 
thanks for it; when I perceived that it was designed 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 endeavoring unity. The rest 

(d) It is gratifying to find that such were the opinions of some of the Independ- 
ents of this time. It shows, that correct views of religious liberty were still to be 
found in that body, though much can be said in vindication of the conduct of the Pres- 


of the ministers also had enough of it, and resolved 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 av^erse 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 favor shown by the 
court to the Catholics was intended to operate beneficially on 
the Nonconformists. It was not love for liberty, but the desire 
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 
favor 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 impa- 
tience to get rid of them, perpetuate the civil and religious 
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 be impracti- 
cable within the limits of this work. But were they entirely 
omitted, injustice would be done to the memory of those holy 
men, who suffered for conscience' sake; and an imperfect im- 
pression 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 Nonconform- 
ists, who died shortly after the enforcement of the act. 

"Good old Simeon Ash was buried on the eve of Bartliolo- 
mew day, and went seasonably to heaven at the very time when 
he was to be cast out of the church. He was one of our oldest 
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; full of matter 
and excellent words. His ordinary speech was holy and edify- 
ing. Being much confined by the gout, and having a good estate 
and a very good wife, inclined to entertainments and liberality, 
his house was very much frequented by ministers. He was 
always cheerful, without profuse laughter or levity: never trou- 
bled with doubtings of his interest in Cin-ist, but tasting the con- 
tinual love of God, was much disposed to the communicating of 
it to others, and the comforting of dejected souls. His eminent 

(e) Life, part ii. pp. 42'J, 430. 

VOL. I. 28 


sincerity made liim exceedingly loved and honored; insomuch 
that Mr. Gataker, Mr. Whittaker, and others, the most excellent 
divines of London, when they went to God, desired him to 
preach their funeral sermons. He was zealous 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 Cornhill, being heated, he 
caught cold in the vestry, and thinking it would prove but one of 
his old fits of the gout, he went to Highgate, where it turned to 
a fever. He died as he lived, in great consolation, and cheerful 
exercise of faith, molested with no fears or doubts discernible; 
exceedingly glad of the company of his friends, and greatly en- 
couraging all about him with his joyful 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 him, glad- 
ness so excited his spirits, that he spake joyfully and freely of 
his going to God, to those about him. I staid with him his last 
evening, till we had long expected his change, being speechless 
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 
weeping prophet^ because his seriousness oft expressed itself by 
tears; of a most holy, blameless life; and though learned, greatly 
averse to controversy and dispute. In almost all things he was 
like Mr. Ash, except his natural temper, and the influence it had 
upon his soul; both of them so composed of humility, piety, and 
innocence, that no enemy of godliness that knew them had a 
word to say against them. They w^ere scorned as Puritans, like 
their brethren, but escaped all the particular exceptions and ob- 
loquy w^iich many others underwent. But 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 employment which had the 
least show of ostentation. Less than a year before his death, 
he fell into a grievous fit of melancholy, in which he was so con- 
fident of his gracelessness, that he usually cried out 'O, not one 

(f ) Mr. Ash was one of the ministers engaged at the Savoy conference, but per- 
sonally took little part in the discussion. 


spark of grace, not one good desire or thought! 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 sin- 
cerity 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 fit, and shortly after he 
confessed that what I said was true, that his despair was all the 
effect of melancholy; and rejoiced much in God's dehverance. 
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 silenced, and at his own unserviceableness, it roused 
his melancholy, which began also to work with some fears of 
want and his family's distress; all which cast him so low, that 
the violence of it wore him away like a true marasmus. So 
that without any other disease, but mere melancholy, he con- 
sumed to death, continuing still in 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 apprehen- 
sions, or the sadness of his mind at death; and in what a differ- 
ent manner men of the same eminency in holiness and sincerity 
may go to God. Which I have the rather showed by the in- 
stance of those two saints, than whom this age hath scarce pro- 
duced and set up a pair more pious, humble, just, sincere, labo- 
rious in their well-performed work, unblamable in their lives, 
not meddling w^ith state matters, nor secular affairs, and there- 
fore 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 ministry, because they could not submit to the exercise of 
an unrighteous authority. Such were some of the fathers of 
Nonconformity. The church and the w^orld were not worthy 
of them, but they were counted worthy not only to believe, but 
also to suffer for the sake of Christ; and then- 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, or 
pray together; and, as I foretold them oft, how they would use 

(g) Life, pari ii. pp. 430; 431. 


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 bat 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 
fell out that Dr. Bates and I did fail them, and could not come; 
but it was known at Westminster, that we were appointed to be 
there, whereupon two justices of the peace were procured from 
the distant parts of the town, one from Westminster and one 
from Clerkenwell, to come with the parliament's serjeant at arms 
to apprehend us. They came in the evening, when part of the 
company were gone. There were then only a few of their kin- 
dred, 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 Presbyterian, seditious 
schismatics, to have found but such an occasion as praying wnth 
a dying woman, to have laid us up in prison! Yet, that same 
week, there was published, a witty, malicious invective against 
the silenced ministers; in which it was affirmed, that Dr. 
Bates and I were at Mr. Beal's house, such a day, keeping a 
conventicle. The liar had so much extraordinary modesty as, 
within a day or two, to print a second edition, in w^hich 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 respec- 
table 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. He attended Charles I. on the 
scaffold, and received his last commands in the emphatical 
word, "Remember." At the restoration, he was made arch- 
bishop of Canterbury; and crowned Charles II.; by w^iom 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 consist- 

(h) Life, part ii. pp. 431, 432. 



ent 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 minis- 
ters, for what end, I knew not, was revived again, and we were 
blamed by many that we had never once petitioned the parlia- 
ment; for which we had sufficient reasons. It was said, that 
they were resolved to grant us either an indulgence by way of 
dispensation, or a comprehension by some additional act; taking 
in all that could conform in some particular points. Hereupon 
there was great talk about the question, whether the way of in- 
dulgence 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 parliament men themselves per- 
suaded us that it would be done. 

"For my own part, I meddled but little with any such busi- 
ness, since the failing of that which incurred so much displeas- 
ure: and the rather, because though the brethren commissioned 
with me stuck to me as to the cause, yet they were not forward 
enough to bear their part of the ungrateful management, nor of 
the consequent displeasure. But yet, when an honorable per- 
son 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, I 
gave him my mind, though I thought it was to little purpose.^ 

"Instead of indulgence and comprehension, on the last day of 
June, 1663, the bill against private meetings for religious exer- 
cises passed the House of Commons, and shortly after was 
made a law. The sum of it was, 'that every person above six- 
teen years old, who should be present at any meeting under 
color or pretence of any exercise of religion, in other manner 
than is allowed by the liturgy or practice of the church of Eng- 
land, 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 Virginia.' 
The calamity of the act, beside the main matter, was, that it was 
made so ambiguous, that no man that ever I met 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 record a man an offender without a 

(i) Life; part ii. p. 433. 


jury, and if he did it carelessly, we were without any remedy, 
seeing he was made a judge. According 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 number, so be it the quality of the exercise be allowed by 
the church; which 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 for 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'. 
While 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 
that 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 sin, 
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' commodity. 

"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 for 
more than four visitors, neighbors, messengers, or one sort or 
other, to be most so many days at dinner with them, many 
durst 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 justices. 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 present 
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; 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 some- 
times meet only to sit still in silence, when, as they said, the 
Spirit did not move them: and it was a great question, whether 
this silence was a religious exercise not allowed by the liturgy, 
&ic. Once, upon some such reasons as these, when they were 
tried at the sessions, in order to a banishment, the jury acquitted 
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 w^as much to their present ease.*^ 

"The divisions, or rather the censures of the nonconforming 
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 Noncon- 
formists, did fall under more of their displeasure than any one 
man beside, as far as I could learn. With me they joined Dr. 
Bates, because we w^ent to the public assemblies, and also to 
the common-prayer, even at the beginning of it. Not that they 
thought w^orse of us than of others, but that they thought our 
example would do more harm; for I must bear them witness, 
that in the midst of all their censures of my judgment and 
actions, they never censured my affections and intentions, nor 
abated their charitable estimation of me in the main. Of the 
leading prelates, I had so much favor 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 
factions, shall have his honesty acknowledged by die several 
factions, whilst his actions, as cross to their interest, are detcstet^: 
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." ^ 

(k) Had there been more of the same determined spirit among others, which the 
Friends displayed, the sufterings 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 
efieclually roused. The conduct of the Quakers was infinitely to their honor. 

(1) Life, part ii. pp. 435, 436. 


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 
which he was called to pass. But we cannot be surprised that 
his conduct troubled and offended both churchmen and dissen- 
ters, even while they gave him credit for integrity. Few could 
enter into his numerous, and often wire-drawn distinctions; 
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 wor- 
thy and devoted individual ever engaged. His catholic spirit 
grasped and hoped for that which is reserved for happier times 
than his own, or than has yet blessed the church of God. 

"Having lived three years and more in London, and finding 
it neither agree with my health nor studies, the one being 
brought very low and the other interrupted, and all public ser- 
vice being at 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, 1663, where 
I followed my studies privately, in quietness, and went every 
Lord's-day to the public assembly, when there was any preach- 
ing or catechising, and spent the rest of the day with my family, 
and a few poor neighbors that came in; spending now and then 
a day in London. The next year, 1664, 1 had the company of 
divers godly, faithful 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 Divinity,' that I might know whether it would 
be licensed for the press, I tried the licensers with a small 
treatise, the 'Character of a Sound Christian, as differenced 
from the weak Christian and the Hypocrite.' I offered it Mr. 
Grig, the Bishop of London's chaplain, who had been a Non- 
conformist, and professed an extraordinary respect for me; but 
he durst not license it. Yet after, when the plague began, I 
sent three single sheets to the Archbishop of Canterbury's chap- 
lain, without any name, that they might have passed unknown; 
but, accidentally, they knew them to be mine, and they vi^ere 
licensed. The one was Directions for the sick; the second was 
Directions for the conversion of the ungodly; and the third was 
Instructions for a holy life: for the use of poor families that can- 
not buy greater books, or will not read them." '" 

Beside these works, he wrote or published, between the 
time of his leaving Kidderminster and the year 1665, several 
considerable works, both practical and controversial. Among 

(m) Life, part ii. pp. 440, 44L 


these were, his '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-ignorance,' 
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 
pubhc business in which he was engaged, and his various trials 
and changes, must have found him very full employment; and 
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 preaching 
in a private house, where we received the Lord's supper, a bul- 
let came in at the window among us, passed by me, and nar- 
rowly missed the head of a sister-in-law of mine that was there, 
but hurt none of us. We could never discover whence it came. 
"In June following, an ancient gendewoman, with her son 
and daughter, came four miles in her coach to hear me preach 
in my family, as out of special respect to me. It fell out, con- 
trary 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 f 

had ended. She was so earnest to know when she might come 
again to hear me, that I appointed her a time; but before she 
came I had secret intelligence from one that was nigh her, that 
she came v/ith a heart exceeding full of malice, resolving, if 
possible, to do me what mischief she could by accusation, and 
so that danger was avoided." " 

During this period, some foreign ministers of eminence, who 
had heard of Baxter's character and talents, and were desirous 
of cultivating his acquaintance and friendship, wished to engage 
him in correspondence. Among these were Amyrald, or Amy- 
raut, a French Protestant minister, and professor of theology at 
Saumur, whose sentiments on some doctrinal points were nearly 
allied to those of Baxter, and Zollicoffer of Switzerland, 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 thnt some had upon me, made 
me understand that, though no law of the land was against 
literary persons' correspondencies beyond the seas, nor had any 
divines been hindered from it, yet, it was likely to have proved 
my ruin, if I had but been known to answer one of their letters, 
though the matter had been ever so much beyond exception. 
So that I neither answered this nor any other, save only by word 
of mouth to the messenger, and that but in small part. Our si- 

(n) Life, part ii. p. 444. 

VOL. I. 29 


lencing and ejection, they would quickly know by other means, 
and how much the judgment of the English bishops did differ 
from theirs about the labors and persons of such as we. 

"About this lime, I thought meet to debate the case with 
some 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 sacrament. They desired me to bring in my judgment and 
reasons in writing, which being debated, they were all of my 
mind 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 
very much increased; which now^ were somewhat moderated by 
our concurrence with ihem. I thought the case very hard on 
both sides; that we, who w^ere so much censured by them for 
going somewhat further than they, must yet omit that which else 
must be our duty, merely to abate their sufferings who censure 
us: but I resolved to forbear with them awhile, rather than any 
Christian should suffer by occasion of an action of mine, seeing 
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 years, 
it can be said that the Protestant Dissenters of England are in 
possession of common rights and privileges w^ith their fellow sub- 
jects of the established church. After such a delay in the dis- 
charge of justice, let no man be sanguine in his expectations 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, w^ars and 
plague and danger of famine began at once on us. War 
with the Hollanders, which yet continueth; and the dryest win- 
ter, 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 w^here 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 neighbor and himseh': and God, for our 
sins, is a terror to us all. O! how is London, the place which God 
hath honored 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 kw 
places, especially corporations, are free: luhich makes me oft 
groan, and wish that London, and all the corporations of Eng- 
land, would review the Corporation Act, and their own acts, 
and speedily repent. 

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

CHAPTER IX. 16651670. 

The Plague of London Preaching of some of the Xoncoiiforniis^ts 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 
Conscience The Latitudinarians Fall of C'^uendon The Duke of lluckingham Sir 
Orlando Bridgman Preaching of the Nonconformists connived at Fresh Disrussions 
about a Comprehension Dr. Creighton Ministers imprisoned Aildtess to the King 
Nonconformists attacked from the Press Baxter's Character of Judce Hale Dr. Rives 
Baxter sent to Prison Advised to apply fnr a Habeas Corpus Demands it from the Court 
of Common Pleas Behavior of the JmlgesDisciiarged Removes to Totteridge Ilia 
Works during this period Correspondence with Owen. 

In the end of the preceding chapter, we left Baxter at Hamp- 
den, morahzing on the desolation of London, during the raging 
of the plague. Of that fearful calamity, and also of the fire, 

(o) Life, part ii, p. 448. 


which followed soon after, he has left some additional notices, 
as well as of the influence of these events on the trials or enlarge- 
ment 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 bills of mor- 

"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 
God 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 pestilence. 
How fearful people were thirty or forty, if not a hundred miles 
from London, of any thing they bought from mercers' or dra- 
pers' 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 friends; and if a man passed over the fields, 
how one would avoid another as we did in the time of the 
wars; how every man was a terror to another! p Oh, how sin- 
fully unthankful are we for our quiet societies, habitations, and 

"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, 
men of singular judgment, piety, and moderation. The plague 
came 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 God that no other person died. 
"One great benefit the plague brought to the city, it occasion- 
ed 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 

(p) Among the places which the plague visited at a distance, was the villao^e of 
Loughboroug-h, in the county of Leicester; it there entered the house of the Rev. 
Samuel Shaw, the ejected minister of Long Whatton. He buried two of his children, 
two friends, and a servant, who had died of the distemper. Both his wife and him- 
self were attacked, but mercifully escaped. His house was shut up for three months, 
none being permitted to enter it^ so that he had to attend the sick himself, and after- 
wards to bury them in his own garden. It was in those circumstances he produced 
that beautiful and impressive little volume, 'The Welcome to the Plague.' It was 
originally a sermon, preached to his own family, and affords an admirable illustra- 
tion of the power and blessedness of true religion. If the reader has not seen this 
little work, or another of Shaw's, 'Immanuel; or, a Discovery of True Religion,' I 
beg to recommend them to his attention, as among the finest specimens of the Non- 
conformist school of theology. The author died ia 1696. See the Memoir prefixed to 


occasioned, can not by the daily guards of soldiers nor by the 
imprisonment of muhitiides 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 timorousness, as their loathness to offend the king, 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 dying and dis- 
tressed people, who had none to call the impenitent to repent- 
ance, or to help men to prepare for another world, or to com- 
fort them in their terrors, when about ten thousand died in a 
week, resolved that no obedience to the laws of mortal men 
whatsoever, could justify them in neglecting men's souls and 
bodies in such extremities. They, therefore, resolved to stay 
with the people, and to go into the forsaken pulpits, though pro- 
hibited, and to preach to the poor people before they died; also 
to visit the sick and get what relief they could for the poor, es- 
pecially 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; 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. All was done with great seriousness, so that through the 
blessing of God, abundance were convened from their ca]-eless- 
ness, impenitency, and youthful lusts and vanities; and religion 
took such a hold on many hearts, as could never afterwards be 

(q) Vincent published in 1667, a work, entitled 'God's Terrible Voice in the City 
by Plague and Fire/ founded on these two awful calamities, both of which lie had 
witnessed. He remained in the city, preaching- with great fervor and etVccl during 
the whole lime of the plague. It came into the house in which he resided, and look 
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 ai imperishable record. He died ai Ho.x- 
ton, in 1671 Colamy, ii. 32. 

(r) *De Foe's Journal of the Plague Year,' though written as a fiction, 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 niingled together 
that it is impossible to separate them. Wiiile the description is not more lernble than 
the reality, and many of the narratives are probably descriptive of real occurrences, 
the book cannot be used as authority. Tiiere are some afiecting notices of it in the 
'Diary of Pepysj' 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 iiingand Dr. Tillotson, and addressed to Dr. Sancrofl, 
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. 


"Whilst God was consuming the people by these judgments, 
and the Nonconformists were laboring 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- 
finement to make the silenced ministers' case incomparably hard- 
er than it was before, by putting upon them a certain oath, which 
if they refused, they must not come, except on the road, within 
five miles of any city, or of any corporation, or any place that 
sendeth burgesses to the parliament; or of any place wherever 
they had been ministers, or had preached since the Act of Ob- 
livion. So little did the sense 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 
lost, or the fear of the great and final reckoning, affect the 
hearts of the prelatists, or stop them in their way. The chief 
promoters of this among the clergy were said to be the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, and Dr. Seth Ward, the bishop of Salis- 
bury. One of the greatest adversaries of it in the Lord's 
House, w^as the Earl of Southampton, lord treasurer of Eng- 
land, a man who had ever adhered to the king, but understood 
the interest of his country and of humanity. It is, without con- 
tradiction, 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 procur- 
ed 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 
families." ^ 

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, endeavor any alteration of the government, either in 
church or state." " 

We are at a loss which most to be astonished at the impiety, 
the folly, or the cruelty of the men who could impose this oath. 

(s) Burnet tells u?, Southampton spoke vehemently against the bill, and said ''he 
could take no such oath himself; how firm soever he had always been to the church, 
as things were managed he <lid not know but he himself might see cause to endeavor 
an alteration." Oivn Times, vol. i. p. 329. Southampton was a very able man, 
exemplary in private life, and of invincible integrity in his public conduct. He died 
in 1667. 

(t) Life, partiii. pp. 1 3. (u) Ibid. p. 4. 


They could not suppose that rehgious men would generally take 
it; they must therefore have contemplated the infliction of the 
most grievous wrongs on some of the best friends of the coun- 
try. It was carried through the House of Lords chiefly by 
the influence of the archbishop and the lord chancellor. In 
the House of Commons, an unsuccessful attempt was made to 
insert the word "legally" before "commissioned;" but the bill 
passed without a division, the lawyers declaring that the word 
"legally" must be understood. Some Nonconformist minis- 
ters took the oath on this construction: but the far greater 
number refused. Even if they could have borne the solemn 
assertion of the principles of passive-obedience in all possible 
cases, their consciences revolted from a pledge to endeavor no 
kind of alteration in church or state; an engagement, in its 
extended sense, irreconcilable with their religious principles, 
and with the civil duties of Englishmen. Yet, to quit the towns 
where they had long been connected, and where alone they had 
friends and disciples, for a residence in country villages, was an 
exclusion from the ordinary means of subsistence. The Church 
of England had, doubtless, her provocations; but she made 
retaliation much more than commensurate to the injury. No 
severity comparable to this cold-blooded persecution had been 
inflicted by the late powers, even in the ferment and fury of a 
civil war.^ 

Baxter submitted the consideration of the oath to his kind 
friend, Serjeant Fountain, with a series of queries, to which that 
learned person replied at considerable length. The answers, 
however, could by no means satisfy Baxter that it was lawful 
to take the oath the reasons for which he assigns with his usual 

"The act which imposed this oath," he says, "openly accused 
the nonconformable ministers, or some of them, of seditious doc- 
trine, and such heinous crimes, wherefore, when it first came 
out, I thought that at such an accusation no innocent persons 
should be silent; especially when Papists, strangers, and poster- 
ity, may think that a recorded statute is a sufficient history to 
prove us guilty; and the concernments of the Gospel, and our 
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; and the reasons why we re- 
fused the oath. But reading it to Dr. Seaman, and some others 
wiser than myself, they advised me to cast it by, and to bear all 
in silent patience; because it was not possible to do it so fully 
and sincerely but that the malice of our adversaries would make 
an ill use of it, and turn it all against ourselves: and the wise 

(x) Hallam's constitutional History, vol ii. p. 474. 


statesmen laughed at me for thinking that reason would be re* 
garded by such men as we had to do with, and would not ex- 
asperate them the more." >' 

Sheldon determined to execute the act as strictly as possible, 
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 min- 
isters, with their place of abode, and manner of life. The re- 
turns oi the several bishops are said to be still preserved in the 
Lambeth library.^ 

"After this, the ministers finding the pressure of this act so 
heavy, and the loss likely to be so great to cities and corpora- 
tions, some of them studied how to take the oath lawfully. Dr. 
Bates being much in favor with the Lord Keeper Bridgman.^ 
consulted with him, who promised to be at the next sessions, and 
there, on the bench, to declare openly that, by endeavor, to 
change the church government, was meant unlawful endeavor; 
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 m.ay be seen in the 
letter which he addressed to Baxter on the occasion; ^ but the 
reasoning of Baxter seems fully to justify his declining to do so. 
The oath was a wicked device, to ensnare and injure the minis- 
ters; and those of them who took it, even with the Lord Keeper 
Bridgman's explanation, that only seditious endeavors were 
meant, seem not to have added to their reputation among the 

"The plague which began at Acton, July 29, 1665, having 
ceased on the first of the following March, I returned home, and 
foimd the church-yard like a ploughed field, with graves, and 
many of my neighbors dead; but my house, near the church- 
yard, uninfected, and that part of my family which I left there 
all safe, through the great mercy of God, my merciful pro- 

"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 without 

(y) Life, part iii. p. 13. (z) Calamy vol. i. p. 313. 

(a) Sir Orlando Bridgman was a son of the Bishop of Chester. Soon after the 
Restoration, he was made lord chief baron of the Exchequer, and, a few monllis after, 
was renioved to the Common Pleas, in which he presided with great dignity. He 
possessed suflficient integrity for the high office of lord keeper, but not sufficient firm- 
ness for the difficulties which belonged to it He is said, however, to have lost the 
office for refusing to affix the seal to the king's unconstitutional declaration for liberty 
of conscience. He wished, as will afterwards be seen, the comprehension of the Dis- 
senters in the church, but was opposed to the toleration of Popery. 

(b) Life, part iii. p. 13. (c) Ibid. p. 14. 


them. The season had been exceeding dry before, and the 
wmd in 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 burn without remedy, the engines be- 
ing 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 befriended by 
their wealth, got carts and saved much, and the rest lost almost 
all. The loss in houses and goods is scarcely to be valued, and 
among the rest, the loss of books was an exceeding great detri- 
ment to the interests of piety and learning. Mostly all the book- 
sellers in St. Paul's Church-yard brought their books into vaults 
under St. Paul's church, where it was thought almost impossi- 
ble that fire should come. But the church itself taking fire, the 
exceeding weight of the stones falling down, did break into ihe 
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 nonconformable, in 
the city; w^ith the libraries of many Nonconformists of the coun- 
try, w^hich had lately been brought up to the city. I 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, w4]ich stopped the fire, though in some 
places it stopped as wonderfully as it had proceeded, without any 
known cause. It stopped at Holborn-bridge, and near St. Dun- 
stan'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 places at the 
city wall. In Austin-Friars, the Dutch church stopped it, and 
escaped; in Bishopsgate-street, and Leadenhall-street, and Fen- 
church-street, in the midst of the streets it stopped short of the 
Tower: and all beyond the river, escaped. 

"Thus was the best, and one of the fairest cities in the world 
turned into ashes and ruins in three days' s])ace, widi many 
scores of churches, and the wealth and necessaries of the inhab- 
itants. 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 future 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 stuff', 
while sumptuous buildings, warehouses, and furnished shops and 
libraries, &lc., were all on flames, and none durst come near to 
secure any thing; to see the king and nobles ride about the 

VOL. I. 30 


streets, beholding all these desolations, and none could afford 
the least relief; to see the air, as far as could be beheld, so filled 
with the smoke, that the sun shined through it with a color hke 
blood; yea, even when it was setting in the west, it so appeared 
to them that dwelt on the w^est side of the city. But the dole- 
fullest sight of all was afterwards, to see what a ruinous, confused 
place the city was, by chimneys and steeples only standing in 
the midst of cellars and heaps of rubbish; so that it was hard to 
know where the streets had been; and dangerous, 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 it highly probable, however, not- 
withstanding the testimony of "London's tall pillar," that it was 
a groundless prejudice, excited by hatred of the Catholics, and 
the apprehensions of danger from them with which multitudes 
were then haunted. Among the individuals who distinguished 
themselves by their exertions to relieve the distresses occasioned 
by this frightful calamity, were Mr. Henry Ashurst and Mr. 
Gouge. Baxter bears the following honorable testimony to 
their benevolent exertions. 

"The most famous person in the city, who purposely addicted 
himself to works of mercy, was my very dear friend Mr. Henry 
Ashurst, a draper, a man of the primitive sort of Christians for 
humility, love, blamelessness, meekness, doing good to all as he 
was able, especially needy, silenced ministers, to whom, in 
Lancashire alone, he allowed one hundred pounds per annum; 
and in London was most famous for their succor and for doing 
hurt to none. His care was now to solicit the rich abroad, for 
the relief of the poor, honest Londoners. Mr. Thomas Gouge, 
the silenced minister of Sepulchre's parish, son to Dr. William 
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 exhortation and counsel, as he gave them alms, and saw 
more cause than I was sensible of before, to be thankful to God, 
that I never much needed relief from others. 

(d) Life, part i. pp. 98 100. Pepys has preserved some interesting memorials of 
this second dire calamity which hefel the city of London within two years. Calamy, 
then drooping-, was driven through the ruins, after the fire had been extinguished, and 
it is said was so affected by the sig-ht, that he went home and never left his house 
again till he died;, which was shortly after. Calamij. vol. ii. p. 7. 

(e) See 'State Trials/ vol vi., Burnet, i. pp. 3363413 Hallam, vol. ii. 512. 


"It was not the least observable thing in the time of the fire, 
and after it, considering the late wars, the multitude of disband- 
ed soldiers, and the great grief and discontent of the Londoners 
for the silencing and banishing of their pastors, that there were 
heard no passionate words of discontent, or dishonor against 
their governors; even when their enemies had so often accused 
them of seditious inclinations, and when extremity might possi- 
bly 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 
places and maintenance, the Nonconformists were now more 
resolved than ever to preach till they were imprisoned. Dr. 
Manton had his rooms full in Convent Garden; Mr. Thomas 
Vincent, Mr. Thomas Doolittle, Dr. Samuel Annesly, Mr. 
Wadsworth, Mr. Janeway at Rotherhithe, Mr. Chester, Mi\ 
Franklin, Mr. Turner, Mr. Grimes, Mr. Nathaniel Vincent, 
Dr. Jacomb in the Countess of Exeter's house, and Mr. Thomas 
Watson, &1C., all kept their meetings very openly, and prepared 
large rooms, and some of them plain chapels, with pulpits, seats, 
and galleries, for the reception of as many as could come. The 
people's necessity 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 Non- 
conformists, was all one as to forbid them all public worship; to 
forbid them to seek heaven when they had lost almost all 
that they had on earth; to take from them their spiritual comforts, 
after all their outward comforts were gone. They thought this 
a species of cruelty so barbarous, as to be unbeseeming any 
man who would not own himself to be a devil. But all this lit- 
tle moved the ruling prelates, saving that shame restrained diem 
from imprisoning the preachers so hotly and forwardly as before. 
The Independents also set up their meetings more openly than 
formerly. Mr. Griffiths, Mr. Brooks, Mr. Caryl, Mr. Barker, 
Dr. Owen, Mr. Philip Nye, and Dr. Thomas Goodwin, who 
were their leaders, came to the city. So that many of the citi- 
zens went to those meetings called private, more than went to 
the public parish churches. 

"At the same time it also happily fell out that the parish 
churches which were left standing had the best and ablest of the 
Conformists in them; especially Dr. Stillingdeet, Dr. Tillotson, 
Mr. White, Dr. Outram, Dr. Patrick, Mr. Gifford, Dr. Whitch- 
cot, Dr. Horton, Mr. Nest, he. So that the moderate class of 
the citizens heard either sort in public and private indifferently; 
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 prayers or the 

Baxter's account of these Conformists is creditable to his can- 
dor, and shows his willingness to do justice to men of all de- 
scriptions. The individuals whom he mentions w^ere doubtless 
men highly respectable both for character and talents; but they 
were the principal means of introducing into the pulpits of the 
established church, that cold, inaccurate, and imperfect mode of 
preaching the Gospel which characterised even the respectable 
part of the clergy for more than a century. In the writings of 
Tillotson, Stillingfleet, and men like them, the leading doctrines, 
such as the Trinity, the atonement of Christ, the work of the 
Holy Spirit, Sic, are clearly stated; with much important argu- 
ment on the truth of Christianity, and the duty of all to receive 
and obey it. But in vain do we look to their discourses, with 
those of their successors, for correct and striking views of the 
grace of the gospel, or of justification by faith alone; and much 
less do we find warm and pungent appeals to the conscience and 
the heart. They were afraid of being thought puritanical, and 
enthusiastic. They studied to reconcile the world to the Gos- 
pel, by modifying its statements, and endeavoring 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 Hum- 
fries, and Sir Charles Wolsley; and many wrote against it, as 
Dr. Perinchef, and others, mostly without names. The Con- 
formists were now grown so hardened, as not only to do all them- 
selves that was required of them, but also to think themselves 
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 do 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 w^its, and ambi- 
tious mindsy and set themselves to seek preferment. 

"On this account, a great number of those w4io were called 
Latitudinarians began to change their temper, and to contract 
some malignity against those that were much more religious than 
themselves. At first they were only Cambridge Arminians, and 
some of them not so much; and were much for new and free 
philosophy, and especially for De Cartes, and not at all for any 
thing ceremonious. Being not so strict in their theology or way 

|f ) Life, part iii. pp. 17 19. 


of piety as some others, they thought that conformity was too 
small a matter to keep them out of the ministry. But after- 
wards, 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 wor- 
shipping God."^' 

After noticing the burning of London, the loss and disgrace 
sustained by the country from the Dutch, who sailed up the 
Thames 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 many 
speeches were made against him, and an impeachment or charge 
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 sought 
his life, at last it was concluded that his banishment should satisfy 
for all; and so he was, by an act of parhament, banished during 
his life. The sale of Dunkirk to the French, and a great comely 
house which he had newly built, increased the displeasure that 
was against him: but there were greater causes which I must 
not name. 

"It was a notable providence that this man, who had been the 
great instrument of state, and had dealt so cruelly with the Non- 
conformists, should thus, by his own friends, be cast out and 
banished, while those that he had persecuted were the most 
moderate in his cause, and many of them for him. It was a 
great ease that befel good people throughout the land by his 
dejection. For his way had been to decoy men into conspira- 
cies, or to pretend plots, upon the rumor 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 litde better what 
to expect, 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 

{g) Life, part iii. pp. 19, 20. The Latitudinarians .spoken of by Baxter, were such 
men as More, Wortliin^lon, Wliitclicot, Cudworth, Wilkins, mostly of Cambridge, 
who joined with the others of wliom we have ah'eady spoken, in introducing a very 
inefficient mode of preaching into the established church. They endea\ored to ex- 
amine all the principles of morality and religion on philosophical 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 Arminiaiis of the Dutch school, but admitted of a considerable 
latitude of sentiment, both in philosophy and theology. On this account, they ob- 
tained the name which Baxter assigns to them. They were, in fact, low churchmen 
of Arminian principle?; moderate in piety, in sentiment, and in zeal. Some of liiem. 
it appears, graduallj' became (to use a phrase well understood in the northern pari of 
the island) "fierce for moderation." See 'Burnet's Own Times/ vol. i. p. 274. 



banishing ministers from corporations who took not that oath, 
doth, in his letter from France, since his banishment, say, that he 
never was in favor since 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 was 
fain to hide himself, till the Dutch put us in fear. He then sur- 
rendered himself, and went prisoner to the Tower; but with 
such acclamations of the people, as was a great discouragement 
to the chancellor; the duke accordingly was quickly set at hb- 
erty. Whereupon, as the chancellor had made himself the head 
of the prelatical party, who were for setting up themselves by 
force, and suffering none that were against them; so Bucking- 
ham would now be the head of all those parties that were for 
hberty of conscience. The man was of no religion, but noto- 
riously 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. Wherefore he 
countenanced fanatics and sectaries, among others, without any 
great suspicion, because he was known to be so far from them 
himself. He married the daughter and only child of Lord Fair- 
fax, late general of the parliament's army, and became his heir 
hereby, yet was he far enough from his mind; though still de- 
fender of the privileges of humanity.^ 

"When the chancellor was banished. Sir Orlando Bridgman 
was made lord keeper: a man who, by his becoming modera- 
tion 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 prelates. But when he saw that the game would not 

(h) "The estranerement of the king's favor is sufficient to account for Clarendon's 
loss of power; but his entire ruin was rather accomplished b}' a strano;e coalition of 
enemies, which his virtues, or his errors and infirmities, had brought into union. The 
Cavaliers hated him on account of the act of indemnity, and the Presbyterians 
for that of uniformit}'. Yet the latter were not in general so eager in his prosecution 
as the others. A distinguished characteristic of Clarendon, had been his firmness, 
called, indeed, by most, pride and obstinacy, which no circumstances, no perils, 
seemed likely to bend. Bui his spirit sunk all at once with his fortune. Clinging too 
long to office, and cheating himself, against all probability, with a hope of his mas- 
ter's kindness,wiien he had lost his confidence, he abandoned that dignified philosophy, 
which ennobles a voluntary retirement, that stern courage which innocence ought to 
inspire; and hearkening to the king's treacherous counsels, fled before his enemies 
into a foreign country." Hallam, vol. ii. pp. 494 503. Ellis has given a letter from 
Charles to the Duke of Ormond, in which he assigns as the reason for depriving Clar- 
endon of the seals, ''that his behavior and humor had grown so unsupportable to 
himself, and to all the world else, that he could not longer endure it." Onqinal Let- 
ters, second series, vol. iv. pp. 38 40. Clarendon deserved all that befel him; but 
the conduct of his royal master to him was base and ungrateful. 

(i) All who are conversant with the times of Charles IT., are familiar with the char- 
acter ofVilliers, duke of Buckingham. Gay, witty, and profligate, 'ne was a fit 
servant of such a master. He was the alchemist and the philsopher, the fiddler and 
the poet, the mimic and the statesman. In the last capacity, Baxter seems to have 
had a better opinion of his principles than he was entitled to. 


go on, he turned as zealous the other way, and wholly served ' 
the prelatical interest; yet was he not much valued by either 
side, but taken for an uncertain, timorous man. High places, 
great business and difficulties, do so try men's abilities and their 
morals, that many, who in a low or middle station acquired and 
kept up a great name, do quickly lose it, and grow despised 
and reproached persons, when exaltation and trial have made 
them known; besides that, as in prosperous times the chief 
state ministers are praised, so in evil and suffering times they 
bear the blame of what is amiss. 

"When the Duke of Buckingham came first into this high 
favor, he was looked on as the chief minister of state, instead 
of 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 way, thinking that the king 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 moderation, 
was put into it. But it was not long till Crofts, was either dis- 
couraged, 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 closet.^ 

"At the same time, the ministers of London, who had ven- 
tured to keep open meetings in their houses, and preached to 
great numbers contrary to the law, were, by the king's favor, 
connived at: so that the people w^ent openly to hear them with- 
out 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 thought 
that the Papists were really against liberty of conscience, and 
did rather desire that the utmost severities might ruin the Puri- 
tans, 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 more success- 
ful game than ever toleration wa? likely to be. Whatever was 
the secret cause, it is evident that the great visible cause, was 
the burning of London, and the want of churches for the peo- 

(k) Burnet says, "Crofts was a warm, devout man, hut of no disrrelion in his con- 
ductj so he lost ground quickl3\ He used much freedom witli the king; but i| was in 
the wrong place, not in private, but in the pulpit.'' Ofr Tt'vies, vol. i. p. 379. 

(1) Crew, who was afterwards raised to the bishopric of Durham, was vain, ambi- 
tious, unsteady, and insincere; more compliant with all the measures of court, than any 
of his brethren. He was regarded, Granger says, as the grand inquisitor in the reign of 
James H.; in whose fate he very nearly shared, as, at the revolution, he was excepted 
from the act of indemnitv; but he afterwards obtained a pardon through the influence 
chiefly of Dr. Bsites. Birch's Life of TiUotson, pp. 137, 138. 


pie to meet: it being, at the first, a thing too gross, to forbid an 
undone people all public worship, with too great rigor; 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 s. favor, 

"Whatever was the cause of the connivance, it is certain that 
the country ministers were so much encouraged by the bold- 
ness and liberty of those in London, that they did the like in 
most parts of England, and crowds of the most religiously-in- 
clined people were their hearers. Some few got, in the way of 
travelling, 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 
breaking 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 Non- 
conformists' 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, es|)ecially the richer sort. 

"Tn January, 166S, I received a letter from Dr. Manton, 
that Sir John Babor told him it w^as 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 he had certain proposals to offer us; that many great cour- 
tiers were our friends in the business, but that, to speak plainly, 
if we would carrv it, w^e must make use of such as were for a 
toleration of the Papists also. He demanded how we would 
answer the common question. What ivill 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 w^ork 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 decrees of satisfaction, as to the number of 
persons to be satisfied; and there are divers degrees of satisfy- 
ing the same persons. If the}^ will take in all orthodox, peace- 
able, worthy ministers, the terms must be larger. If they will 
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 particu- 
lar, 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 Biibor's forwardness 
that had been the cause. He told us why he sent for ns; that 
it was to think of a way of our restoration; to which end lie 
had some proposals to offer us, which were for a comprehension 
for the Presbyterians, and an indulgence for the Independents 
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, 
while no way injurious to the welfare of any, might take in 
both Presbyterians and Independents, and all sound Christians, 
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 con- 
sult 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 pi'oposals. 

"When we saw the proposals, we perceived that the business 
of the lord keeper, and his way, would made it unfit for us to 
debate such cases with himself; and therefore we wrote to him, 
requesting that he would nominate two learned, peaceable 
divines 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 proposals, 
and of the whole business, "^ and his chaplain, JMr. Burton." 
When we met, we tendered them some proposals of our own, 
and some alterations which we desired in their proposals; 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- 
Hament by Lord Chief Justice Hale; but Bishop Wilkins, an 
honest and open-hearted man, having disclosed the affair to 

(m) Bishop Wilkins was one of the best members of ihc cpiscopary fluriii? his 
lime. His character as a philosopher is well known; his moderation as a rhnrriimaii 
appears from his conduct in the artair of the comprehension, which failed from no 
want of firmness and principle in him, but from the violence of the hii!:h-church party. 

(n) Dr. Hezekiah Burton was chaplain to the lord keeper, and n person of great 
respectability. Beside tiie persons eng^ag-ed in this affair mentioned by Baxter, it ap- 
pears that Tillotson and Stillingfleet were also concerned in it. Birch's Life of Til- 
lotson, p. 42. 

(o) Life, part iii. pp. 20 24. Hallam says, "The design was to act on the prin- 
ciple of the declaration of IGGO, so that Presbyterian ordination should pass sub modo. 
Tillotson and Stillingfleet were concerned in it. The king was at this time e.vasper 
ated against the bishops for their support of Clarendon." Constitutional Hist. vol. 
ii. p. 506. 

VOL. I. 31 


Bishop Ward, in hope of his assistance, he alarmed the bishops; 
who, instead of promoting the design, concerted measm'es to 
defeat it. As soon as parliament met, it was mentioned that 
there were rumors out of doors that a bill was to be proposed 
for comprehension and indulgence; on which a resolution was 
passed, that no man should bring such a bill into the House.P 
To crush the Nonconformists more effectually. Archbishop 
Sheldon wrote a circular letter to the bishops of his province to 
send him a particular account of the conventicles in their sev- 
eral dioceses, and of the numbers that frequented them; and 
whether they thought they might be easily suppressed by the 
magistrate. 1 When he obtained this information, he went to the 
king and got a proclamation to put the laws in execution against 
the Nonconformists, and particularly against the preachers, ac- 
cording to the statute which forbade their living in corporate 

This treaty not only shared the fate of all former treaties of 
the same kind, but eventually increased the sufferings of the Non- 
conformists. It amused and occupied attention for a time, and 
then came 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 ministers 
of peace and reconciliation, were generally the means of retard- 
ing or preventing them. 

"How joyfully," says Baxter, "would 1400, at least, of the 
nonconformable ministers of England have yielded to these 
terms if they could have got them! But, alas! all this labor 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 
us, and set us on work, himself turned that way, and talked after 
as if he understood us not. 

(p) "Sir Thomas Littleton spoke in favor of the comprehension, as did Seymour 
and Waller; all of them enemies of Clarendon, and probably connected with the 
Buckingham faction: but the church party was much too strong for them. Pepyssays 
the Commons were furious against the project: it was said, that whoever proposed 
new laws about religion, must do it with a rope about his neck. January 10, 1668. 
This is the first instance of a triumph obtained by the church over the crown, in the 
House of Commons. Ral|>h observes upon it, 'It is not for nought that the words 
Church and State are so often coupled together, and that the first has so insolently 
usurped the precedency of the last.' " Haliam,vo\. ii. p. 506. 

(q) It is said there were private instructions given to some of the clergy, "to make 
the conventicles as few and inconsiderable as might be;" with which they were re- 
quested to answer the question, "Whether they thought they might be easily suppress- 
ed by the assistance of the civil magistrate'/'' The ConformisVs Flea for Noncon- 
formists, part i. p. 40. 

(r) Neal, vol. iv. pp. 385, 386. Neal gives a full detail of the nature of the terms 
proposed in this treaty, to which the reader may easily refer, if he wishes to enter 
more minutely into the subject. 


"In April, 1668, Dr. Creighton, dean of Wells, the most fa- 
mous loquacious, ready-tongued preacher of the court, who was 
used to preach Calvin 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 2:0 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 
fluent extempore speaker, but one that was never known to want 
words, especially to express his satirical or bloody thoughts. 

"In July, Mr. Taverner, late minister of Uxbridge, was sen- 
tenced to Newgate, for teaching a few children at Brentford, 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 church, in Oxford, 
and orator to the University, was sent to gaol for teaching two 
knight's sons in his house, not having taken the Oxford oath. 
Many of his neighbors, of Brentford, were sent to the same 
prison for worshipping God in private together, where they all 
lay many months. I name these because they were my neigh- 
bors, but many counties had the like usage: 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 Oxford Act, and 
some on the Act against Conventicles. 

"In September, Colonel Phillips, a courtier of the bed-cham- 
ber, and my next neighbor, who spake to me fair, complained 
to the king of me, for preaching to ^reat numbers; but 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 by many 
of great quality,^ was told by Sir John Babor that the king was 
much inclined to favor the Nonconformists, that an address now 
would be acceptable, and that the address must be a thankful 
acknowledgment of the clemency of his majesty's government, 

(s) Dr. Manton was a person of very excellent character and talents as a minister; 
and seems to have enjoyed a considerable portion of popularity, lie had a ";ood 
deal of intercourse with the king, and could number among his liearors many of the 
nobility. If we may attach any importance to Clarendon's joke, and a good plump 
portrait, we should regard Manton as a remarkably pleasant, good-tenipercd, easy 
man. Such probably he was; but he was far from being a timid, or a lime-serving, 
courtier. On the contrary, he was a man of invincil)le uilcgrily and principle, com- 
bined with great prudence, which were put to the lest on various occasions in his life. 
He was a very voluminous 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 me to be a high churchman, that I might 
never hear him read or read him more." See his life, prefixed to his sermons on the 
119th Psalm; Granger's Biog, Hist.; and Palmer's Noncon. Mem. 


and the liberty which we thereby enjoy, &:c. Accordingly, they 
drew up an address of thanksgiving, and I was invited to join in 
the presenting of it, but not in the penning, for I had marred 
their matter oft enough: but I was both sick and unwilling, hav- 
ing been often enough employed in vain. 1 told them, however, 
only of my 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 
talk of liberty did but occasion the writing many bitter pamph- 
lets against toleration. Among others, they gathered out of mine 
and other men's books all that we had there said against liberty 
for Popery, and for Quakers railing against the ministers in open 
congregations, which they applied as against a toleration of our- 
selves; for the bare name of toleration did seem in the people's 
ears to serve their turn by signifying the same thing. Because 
w^e had said that men should not be tolerated to preach against 
Jesus Christ and the Scriptures, they would thence justify them- 
selves for not tolerating us to preach for Jesus Christ, unless we 
would be deliberate liars, and use all their inventions. Those 
same men, who, Vv'hen commissioned with us to make such alter- 
ations in the liturgy as were necessary to satisfy tender con- 
science?3 did maintain that no alteration was necessary to satisfy 
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 boast- 
ing, 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 minis- 
ters, were. Dr. Patrick in his 'Friendly Debate between a Con- 
formist and a Nonconformist,' which was answered by several 
writers; and Samuel Parker, w^hose 'Ecclesiastical Polity' called 
forth the weight of Owen's displeasure, and the pungency of 
Marvel's wit. But the controversial affairs of the period, we 

(t) Life, part iii. p. 36. 

(u) Dr. Manton, in a letter to Baxter, gives him an account of the reception which 
they experienced from his majest}', and of the reference which Charles made to his 
preaching at Acionj the popularity of which seems not to have been acceptable to 
the higher powers. Life, part iii. p. 37. 

(X) Life, part iii. pp. 38, 39. 


must defer to a subsequent part of this work, and return to 
Baxter's narrative. 

"While I Hved at Acton, as long as the act against conventi- 
cles was in force, though I preached to my family, few of the 
town came to hear me; partly because they thought it would 
endanger me, and partly for fear of suffering themselves, but 
especially because they were an ignorant poor people, and had 
no appetite for such things. When the act expired, there came 
so many, that I wanted room; and when once they had come 
and heard, they afterwards came constantly; insomuch, that in a 
little time, there was a great number of them, who seemed very 
seriously affected with the things they heard, and almost all the 
town and parish, besides abundance from Brentford and the 
neighboring parishes, came; and I know not of three in the 
parish that were adversaries to us or our endeavors, or wished 
us ill." 5' 

It was while residing at Acton, that Baxter first became ac- 
quainted with Sir Matthew Hale, then lord chief baron of the 
Exchequer, and one of the most eminent men for integrity and 
worth in his profession, as well as for pure and enlightened views 
as a Christian, whom this country has been honored to produce. 
As Baxter has drawn his character at large with considerable 
power, the reader, I am sure, will be glad to have it placed 
before him. 

"He was a man of no quick utterance, but spake with great 
reason. He was most precisely just; insomuch that, I believe, 
he would have lost all he had in the world rather than do an 
unjust act. Patient in hearing the most tedious speech which 
any man had to make for himself. The pillar of justice, the 
refuge of the subject who feared oppression, and one of the 
greatest honors of his majesty's government; for, with some 
other upright judges, he upheld the honor of the English nation, 
that it fell not into the reproach of arbitrariness, cruelty, and 
utter confusion. Every man that had a just cause, was almost 
past fear, if he could but bring it to the court or assize where he 
was judge; for the other judges seldom contradicted him. He 
was the great instrument for rebuilding London: for when an 
act was made for deciding all controversies that hindered it, he 
was the constant judge, who, for nothing, followec the work, and, 
by his prudence and justice, removed a muhitude of great im- 

"His great advantage for innocency was, that he was no lover 
of riches or of grandeur. His garb was too plain; he studiously 
avoided all unnecessary famiharity with great persons, and all 

(y) Life, part iii. p. 46. 


that manner of living which signifieth wealth and greatness. 
He kept no greater a family than myself. I lived in a small 
house, which, for a pleasant back opening, he had a mind to; 
but caused a stranger, that he might not be suspected to be 
the man, to know of me whether I were willing to part with 
it, before he would meddle with it. In that house he lived 
contentedly, without any pomp, and without costly or trouble- 
some retinue or visitors; but not without charity to the poor. 
He continued the study of physics and mathematics still, as his 
great delight. He hath himself written four volumes in folio, 
three of which I have read, against atheism, Sadduceism, and 
infidelity, to prove first the Deity, and then the immortality of 
man's soul, and then the truth of Christianity, and the Holy 
Scripture, answering the infidel's objections against Scripture. 
It is strong and masculine, only too tedious for impatient 
readers. He said, 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 
close to work, and kept in a method. But I could not persuade 
him to publish them. 

"The conference which I had frequently with him, mostly 
about the immortality of the soul, and other philosophical and 
foundation points, was so edifying, that his very questions and 
objections did help me to more light than other men's solutions. 
Those who take none for religious, who frequent not private 
meetings, &tc., 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- 
couragement to the common people to go on; though the other 
sort muttered that a iud2;e 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 desirer 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 place, 
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 their 


mind,^ I desired him to tell me the truth therein. He assured me 
that Selden vvas an earnest professor of the Christian faith, and 
so angry an adversary to Hohbes, 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 attainments, 
and rendered him an eminent blessing to his country. Unfor- 
tunately, few of the clergy were like this ornament to the law, 
either in religious character, or in peaceable disposition. Very 
different, for example, was the clergyman of the parish in which 
Judge Hale and Baxter resided. The conduct of this individual 
brought Baxter into such trouble, that I must leave him to de- 
scribe both his character and his behavior. 

"The parson of this parish w^as Dr. Ry ves, dean of Windsor 
and of Wolverhampton, parson of Hasely and of Acton, chap- 
lain in ordinary to the king, he. His curate was a weak young 
man, 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 
heard him when he preached, and went to the beginning of the 
common 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 
refusing. When 1 preached, after the public exercise, they went 
out of the church into my house. It pleased the doctor and 
parson, 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 
fair, and we lived in seeming love and peace while he was there, 
yet he could not long endure it. When I had brought the people 
to church to hear him, he would fall upon them with groundless 

(z) I am at a loss to understand on what grounds the class of persons to whom Baxter 
refers, could claim Selden as one of them. I suspect the insinuation musi have 
originated with the high-church party, to whose claims Selden was ceriainiy no friend. 
His attack on the divine right of tithes, the publication, not the doctrine of which he 
retracted, gave gieal 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 Assembly, of which he was a lay member, probably ren- 
dered his serious piety a little doubtful. Nothing in his writings, however, can induce 
any one to suppose that Selden was either infidel or sceptical in his notions of religion; 
but more firmness of character than he appea.s to have possessed, would have greatly 
increased the lustre of his eminent talents and profound learning. 

(a) Life, part iii. pp. 47, 48. Bishop Hurnet published an interesting little volume, 
'The Life and Death of Sir Matthew Hale,' which confirms all that Baxter has said of 
his illustrious friend. Burnet was not himself acquainted with Hale, but does ^real 
justice to his character. He mentions that "he held great conversation with Mr. Bax- 
ter who was his neighbor at Acion; on whom he looked as a })erson of great devotion 
and piety, and of a very subtile and quick apprehension. Their conversation lay 
most in metaphysical and abstracted ideas and schemes." p. 45. Bnrnet concludes 
his memoirs of the judge by saying, "He was one of the greatest patterns this age has 
afforded, whether in his private deportment as a Christian, or in liis public employ- 
ments either at the bar, or on the bench." p. 128. A second edition of this life was 
accompanied with notes by Baxter. 


reproaches; as if he had done it purposely to drive them away, 
and yet he thought that my preaching to them, because it was 
in a house, did all the mischief; though he never accused me of 
any thing that 1 spake, for I preached nothing but Christianity 
and submission to our superiors, faith, repentance, hope, love, 
humility, self-denial, meekness, patience, and obedience. 

"He was the more offended, because I came not to the sacra- 
ment with him; though I communicated in the other parish 
churches in London and elsewhere. I was loth to offend him, 
by giving him the reason; which was, that he was commonly 
reputed a swearer, a curser, a railer, he. In those tender times, 
it would have been so great an offence to the Congregational 
brethren, if I had communicated with him, and perhaps have 
hastened their sufferings who durst not do the same, that I 
thought it w^ould do more harm than good." ^ 

It is a pity Baxter did not put his refusal to communicate 
W'ith such a man, on a better footing than merely that of giving 
offence to his brethren.^ An individual acting in a manner so 
openly profane, ought not to have been countenanced as a re- 
ligious teacher by any Christian. It is, indeed, difficult to con- 
ceive how Baxter could reconcile himself even to hear such a 
man, and, by his example, to influence others to do the same; 
when we reflect on his strong views of the mischief and sin- 
fulness of countenancing ungodly ministers. His love of peace, 
and desire to prevent schism in the established church, were the 
impelling motives, which, in this instance, certainly carried him 
too far. 

"At Wolverhampton, in Staffordshire, where Ryves was dean, 
w^ere abundance of Papists and violent formalists. Amongst 
w4iom was one Brasgirdle, an apothecary, who, in conference 
with Mr. Reynolds (an able preacher there silenced and turned 
out,) by his bitter words, tempted him into so much indiscre- 
tion as to say, that the Nonconformists were not so contemp- 
tible for number and quality as he made them; that most of 
the people were of their mind; that Cromwell, though an usur- 
per, had kept up England against the Dutch; and that he mar- 

(b) Life, part iii. pp. 46, 47. 

(c) The account which Baxter gives of the conduct of Dean Ryves corresponds 
accurately with the opinion which we should have formed of him from some of his 
writings. He was a violent royalislj and as he had suffered for his principles during 
the civil wars, he probably thought himself justified in retaliating on the Noncon- 
formists. His 'Mercurius Rusticus, or the Counlr3''s Complaint of the barbarous 
outrages committed by the Sectaries of this late flourishing Kingdom,' contains some 
curious accounts of the battles, sieges, and combats, between the king's and the par- 
liament's forces, to the year 1646. He represents the treaty of the royal party to have 
been, in man}' instances, intolerably severe, v.'hich was probably the case. His ac- 
count of the treatment of the sectaries, is, I apprehend, a good deal aggravated. The 
'Querela Cantabrigensis,' which is commonl}' ascribed to him, is also ascribed to 
Dr. John Barwick See 'Life of Barwick, pp. 32, 33, Dr. Ryves died in 1677, in 
the 81st year of his age. 


veiled he would be so hot against private meetings, when 
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 referred, 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 it 
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 granted to 
bring Baxter before the justices at Brentford. After maintaining 
a considerable conflict with them, in which they treated him very 
indecorously, he was, by their mittimus, sent to Clerkeiiwell 
prison, for holding a conventicle, not having taken the Oxford 
oath, and refusing it when tendered to him. 

"They would have given me leave to stay till Monday, be- 
fore 1 went to gaol, if I would have promised them not to preach 
the next Lord's day, which I refused. This was made a hei- 
nous crime against me at the court, and it was also said that it 
could not be out of conscience that I preached, else why did 
not my conscience put me on it so long before? Whereas I had 
ever preached to my own family, and never once invited any 
one to hear me, or forbade any; so that the difference was made 
by the people, and not by me. If they came more at last than 
at first, before they had heard me, that signified no change in 
me. But thus must we be judged of, where we are absent, and 
our adversaries present; and there are many to speak against us 
what they please, and we are banished from cities and corpora- 
tions, and cannot speak for ourselves. 

"The whole town of Acton were greatly exasperated against 
the dean, when I was going to prison; so much so, that ever 
after they abhorred him as a selfish persecutor. Nor could he 
have devised to do more to hinder the success of his seldom 
preaching there; but it was his own choice, 'Let them hate 
me, so they fear me.' 

"Thus I finally left that place, being grieved most that Satan 
had prevailed to stop the poor people in such hopeful beginnings 
of a common reformation, and that I was to be deprived of the 
exceeding grateful neighborhood of the Lord Chief Baron Hale, 

(d) Life, part iii. p. 43. 
TOL. I. 32 


who could scarce refrain from 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 w^ould not be so injurious 
to Judge Hale. He perused my mittimus, and, in short, advis- 
ed me to seek for a habeas corpus^ but not in the usual court 
(the King's Bench), for reasons known to all that knew the 
judges; nor yet in the Exchequer, lest his kindness to me should 
be 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 

"My greatest doubt was, whether the king would not take it 
ill, that I rather sought to the law than unto him; or if I sought 
any release rather than continue in prison. My imprisonment 
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. My 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 com- 
fortably as at home, though in a narrower room, and had the 
sight of more of my friends in a day, than I had at home in half 
a year. I knew also that if I got out against their will, my suf- 
ferings would be never the nearer to an end. But yet, on the 
other side, it was in the extreme heat of summer, when London 
was wont to have epidemical diseases. The hope of my dying 
in prison, 1 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 every night, I had little hope 
of sleeping but by day, which would have been likely to have 
quickly broken my strength, which was so little that I did but 
live. The number of visiters daily, put me out of hope of stu- 
dying, or of doing any thing but entertain them. I had neither 
leave at any time to go out of doors, 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 favor 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 probability 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 w^as to his dis- 
service. The Earl of Manchester could do little but by Lord 
Arlington, who, with the Duke of Buckingham, seemed much 


concerned in it; but the Earl of Lauderdale, who would have 
been most forward, had he known the king's mind to be other- 
wise, said nothing. So all my great friends did me not the least 
service, but made a talk of it, with no fruit at all. The mod- 
erate, 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 spoken to the king about it, but that, after all had 
done their best, he was not willing to be seen to relax the law 
and discourage justices in executing it, he; but that his majesty 
would not be offended if I sought my remedy at law, which most 
thought 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 
same 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 
much reverenced by the rest, who were every one strangers to 
me, save by hearsay, that I believe it much settled these resolu- 
tions. The lord chief justice Vaughan was no fj-iend to Non- 
conformity, or Puritans; but he had been one of Selden's exec- 
utors, and so Judge Hale's old acquaintance. Judge Tyrell 
was a well-affected, sober man, and Serjeant Fountain's brother- 
in-law by marriage, and sometime his fellow-commissioner for 
keeping the great seal and chancery. Judge Archer was one 
that privately favored religious people: and Judge Wild, though 
greatly for the prelates' way, was noted for a righteous man. 
These were the four judges of the court. 

"My habeas corpus being demanded at the Common Pleas, 
was granted, and a day appointed for my appearance. Wlien I 
came, the judges, I believe, having not before studied the Ox- 
ford act, when Judge Wild had first said I hope you will not 
trouble this court with such causes, asked 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 pri- 
son, and a new day set. They suffered me not to stand at the 
bar, but called me up to the table, which was an unusual respect; 
and thev sent me not to the Fleet, as is usual, but to the same 
prison, which was a greater favor. 

"When I appeared next, the lord chief justice, coming to- 
wards Westminster Hall, went into Whitehall by the way, which 
caused much talk among the people. When he came. Judge 
Wild began, and having showed that he was no friend to con- 
venticles, opened the act, and then opened many defauks 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 s very 


hard thing to draw up a mittimus by it; which was no compli- 
ment to the parliament. Judge Archer next spake largely 
against the mittimus, without any word of disparagement to the 
main cause, and so did Judge Tyrell after him. Judge Vaughan 
concluded in the same manner, but with these two singularities 
above the rest. He made it an error in the mittimus, that the 
witnesses were not named, seeing that the Oxford act giving the 
justices so great a power if the witnesses be unknown, any inno- 
cent person may be laid in prison, and shall never know where, 
or against whom, to seek remedy, which was a matter of great 

*'When he had done with the cause, he made a speech to the 
people, and told them that by their appearance, he perceived 
that this was an affair of as great expectation as had been before 
them. It being usual with the people to carry away things by 
halves, and as their misreports might mislead others, he there- 
fore acquainted them, that though he understood that Mr. Bax- 
ter was a man of great learning and of a good life, yet he having 
this singularity, that he was a conventicler, and as the law was 
against conventicles, it was only upon the error of the warrant 
that he was released. That the judges were accustomed, in 
their charges at assizes, to inquire after conventicles, which are 
against the law; so that, if they that made the mittimus, had but 
known how to make it, they could not have delivered him, nor 
can do it for him, or any that shall so transgress the law. 

"This was supposed to be that which was resolved on at 
Whitehall, by the way. But he had never heard what I had to 
say in the main cause, to prove myself no transgressor of the 
law; nor did he at all tell them how to know what a conventicle 
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 time be- 
fore or after. I had now more exasperated the authors of my 
imprisonment. 1 was not at all acquitted as to the main cause. 
They might amend their mittimus, and lay me up again. I knew 
no w^ay how to bring my main cause, whether they had power 
to put the Oxford oath on me to a legal trial, and my counsel- 
lors 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 1 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, corporation, &:c. 
Where to find such a place, and therein a house, and how to 
remove my goods thither, and w^iat to do with my house till my 
time expired, were more trouble than my quiet prison by far, 
and the consequents yet worse. 


Gratitude commandeth me to tell the world who were my 
benefactors in my imprisonment, and calumny as much obligeth 
me, because it is said among some that I was enriched by it. 
Serjeant Fountain's general counsel ruled me. Mr. Wallop and 
Mr. Offley lent me their counsel, and would take nothing. Of 
four Serjeants that pleaded my cause, two of them, Serjeant 
Windham, afterwards baron of the Exchequer, and Serjeant 
Sise, would take nothing. Sir John Bernard, a person I never 
saw but once, sent me no less than twenty pieces; the Countess 
of Exeter, ten pounds; and Alderman Bard, five. I received 
no more, but I confess more was offered me, which I refused; 
and more w^ould have been given, but that they knew I needed 
it not: and this much defrayed my law and prison charges. 

"When the same justices saw that I was thus discharged, they 
were not satisfied to have driven me from Acton, but they made 
a new mittimus by counsel, as for the same supposed fault, nam- 
ing the fourth of June as the day on which I preached; and yet 
not naming any witness, though the act against conventicles was 
expired long before. This mittimus they put into an officer's 
hands, in London, to bring me, not to Clerkenwell, but among 
the thieves and murderers, to the common jail at Newgate, which 
was, 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 at Totteridge, 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 the 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 an- 
guish." ^ 

Between the years 1665 and 1670, Baxter labored 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, on 
the 'Life of Faith;' beside some minor pieces, such as his 
'Cure of Church Divisions.' He wrote also 'his Apology for 
the Nonconformists,' and a great part of his 'Methodus,' 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 agreement 
among Christians of all parties. It was not productive of any 
practical eftect at the time; and the blame of its failure Baxter 
lays upon Owen. The correspondence he has published, from 

(e) Life, part iii. pp. 50 60. 


which it is not difficult to account for the failure, without attach- 
ing blame to either party. The views of these two distinguished 
individuals differed, not, indeed, in any essential points, but on 
various subordinate matters affecting systematic union and co- 
operation. Ttiey differed also in their dispositions and anticipa- 
tions. Owen was calm, dignified, and firm, but respectful and 
courteous. Baxter was sharp and cutting in his reproofs, 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 
expected 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 be 
effected. The issue has proved that, in this case, Owen had 
made the wiser calculation. 

CHAPTER X. 16701676. 

Conventicle Act renewed Lord Lauderdale Fears of tlie Bishops about the increase of 
Popery Bishop Ward Grove Serjeant Fountain Judge Vaughan The King connives 
at the Toleration of the Xoncnnformists Siiuts up the Exchequer The Dispensing Decla- 
ration License applied for on Baxter's behalf Pinner's Hall Lecture Haxter Preaches 
at different Places The King's Declaration voted illegal by Parliament The Test Act 
Baxter desirad by the Earl of Orrery to draw up new Terms of Agreement Healing 
Measure proposed in the House of Cocnmons, which fails Conduct of some of the Con- 
formists Baxter's Afflictions Preaches at vSt. James's Market House Licenses recalled 
Baxter employs an Assistant Apprehended by a Warrant Escapes beins imprisoned 
Another Scheme (if Comprehension Informers City Magistrates Parliament falls on 
Lauderdale and others The Bishops' Test Act Baxter's Goods distrained Various 
Ministerial Labors and Sufferings Controversy with Penn Baxter's Danger His Writ- 
ings during this period. 

In the year 1670, the act against conventicles was renew^ed, and 
made more sev^ere than ever, several new clauses being inserted, 
v/hich Baxter beheved 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 doubt- 
ful clauses should be interpreted in the sense most unfavorable 
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 rigor against the most respect- 
able persons among them.^ The meetings in London were 

(f) Sheldon again addressed the bishops of the province of Canterbury, urging- 
them to promote, by every means in their power "so blessed a work as the prevent- 
ing and suppressing of conventicles/' which the king and parliament, "out of their 


continually disturbed by bands of soldiers. Dr. 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 Scodand with a project of making some alterations in the 
state of ecclesiastical affairs in that country. By the king's 
permission, he consulted Baxter, and offered him, if he would 
' go to Scodand, a church or a bishopric, or the management of 
some of the colleges. Baxter was not to be taken in such a 
trap, for such in all probability it was; as Lauderdale no sooner 
went into Scotland, than he became one of the greatest perse- 
cutors of the Presbyterian church. In answer to his requests 
and offers, Baxter, on the 24th of June, 1670, wrote him the 
following admirable letter, which illustrates his character as a 
minister, his courtesy as a gentleman, and supplies some partic- 
ulars respecting his family. 

*' My Lord, 

"Being deeply sensible of your lordship's favors, and es- 
pecially for your liberal offers for my entertainment in Scodand, 
I humbly return you my very hearty thanks; but the following 
considerations forbid me to entertain any hopes, or further 
thoughts of such a removal: 

"The experience of my great weakness and decay of strength, 
and particularly of this last winter's pain, and how much worse 
I am in winter than in summer, fully persuade me that I should 
live but a little while in Scotland, and that in a disabled, 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 1 expect to do God and his 
church more in the world a Latin Methodus Theologiae. In- 
deed I can hardly hope to live so long, as it requires yet nearly 
a year's labor 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 honors, if 
ever I remove. 

"If 1 were there, all that I could hope for, were liberty to 
preach the Gospel of salvation, and especially in some university 
among young scholars. But I hear that you have enough already 
for this work, who are likely to do it better than I can. 

pious care for the welfare of the church and kin^rdom.'' had endeavored to accom- 
plish in ihe late act. Calannfs Ahrido;ment, i. 3'28 331. Harris also, in his 'Life 
of Charles 11./ has e:iven theletter entire, vol. ii. pp. 106, 107. Bishop Wilkins op- 
posed the above act in the House of Lords, notwithstanding the king's request that 
he would at least be silent. 


"I have a family, and in it a mother-in-law of eighty years of 
age, of honorable extract and great worth, whom I must not neg- 
lect, and who cannot travel. To such an one as I, it is so great 
a business to remove a family, with all our goods and books so 
far, that it deterreth me from thinking of it, especially having 
paid so dear for removals these eight years as I have done; and 
being but yesterday settled in a house which I have newly taken, 
and that with great trouble and loss of time. And if I should 
find Scotland disagree with me, which I fully conclude it would, 
I must remove all back again. 

"All these things concur to deprive me of the benefit of your 
lordship's favor. But, my Lord, there are other parts of it, 
which 1 am not altogether hopeless of receiving. When I am 
commanded 'to pray for kings and all in authority,' I am allowed 
the ambition of this preferment, which is all that ever I aspired 
after, 'to live a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and hon- 
esty. Diu nimis habitavit aniina mea inter osores pads. 

"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 might have 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 1 am alive, court, city, and coun- 
try, are still filled with clamors against me. When a preacher 
wanteth preferment, his way is to preach or write a book against 
the Nonconformists, and me by name; so that the menstrua of 
the press, and the pulpits of some, are bloody invectives against 
myself, as if my peace were inconsistent with the kingdom's 
happiness. Never did my eyes read such impudent untruths, 
in matter of fact, as such writings contain. They cry out for 
answers and reasons of my nonconformity, while they know the 
law forbiddeth me to answer them unlicensed. I expect not 
that any favor 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 dishonor them,) I would request that I might be 
allowed to live quietly to follow my private studies, and might 
once again have the use of my books, which I have not seen 
these ten years. I pay for a room for their standing in at Kid- 
derminster, 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 London, 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 am consecrated per sacramentum ordinis,) I would re- 


quest the favor of a better prison, where I may but walk and 
write. These I should take as very great favors, and acknowl- 
edge 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 great matters; no, not the benefit of the law. 

"I think I broke no law, in any of the preachings of which 
I am accused. I most confidently think, that no law imposeth 
on me the Oxford oath, any more than on any conformable 
minister; and I am past doubting the present mittimus for my 
imprisonment is quite without law. But if the justices think 
otherwise now, or at any time, I know no remedy. I have a 
license to preach publicly in London diocese, under the arch- 
bishop's own hand and seal, which is yet vahd for occasional 
sermons, though not for lectures or cures; but I dare not use 
it, because it is in the bishop's power to recal it. Would but 
the bishop, who, one should think, would not be against the 
preaching of the Gospel, not recal my license, I could preach 
occasional sermons, which would absolve my conscience from 
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 1st, 1662. I ihank 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 favors, and 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 was paid to it; but after Lauderdale had gone to 
Scodand, Sir Robert Murray, a confidential friend of his lord- 
ship, 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 
name and form of episcopacy an execration in Scotland to the 

{o;) Life, pari iii. pp. 7o, 7G. 

VOL. I. 33 


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, remained a professed 
Presbyterian to the last. He was actuated by mean and arbi- 
trary principles, fawning to those above him, but imperious 
and violent to all below. A man of learning, being well ac- 
quainted with Latin, Greek, and Hebrew; and possessed of a 
strons; but blunderins; mind. Devoted to the interests of Charles 
II., though he continued to hate even the memory of his royal 
father. In Scotland he acted like a demon; and by the fury of 
his behavior, 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 rehgious character, by bishop Burnet, Baxter, and 
other religious men of the day. I shall have occasion 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 pro- 
fessed a strong desire that some of the Presbyterians, as they 
called even the episcopal Nonconformists, might, by some abate- 
ment of the new oaths and subscriptions, have better invitation 
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 hindrance 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 w*ould have 
shown it by more than their discourses; and that all this w^as 
but that the odium might be diverted from themselves. I hope 
they are not so bad as this censure doth suppose. But it is 
strange that those same men, who so easily led the parliament 
to what was done, when they had given the king thanks for his 
declaration about ecclesiastical affairs, could do nothing to bring 

(f) Burnet's 'Own Times/ vol. i. pp. 142 144. 

() The Duchess of York, dau^hter of Clarendon, embraced the same creed as her 
husband, and, as he tells us, without knowledg'e of his sentiments, but one year 
before her death, in 1670. She left a paper at her decease, containingthe reasons for 
her change. See it in Kennet, p. 320. It is plain that she. as well as the duke, had 
been influenced by the Romanizing tendency of some Anglican divines. Hallam, 
vol. ii. p. .515. So much for the effects of the writings of Hooker and Heylin; and of 
the conduct of 3Iorley and Sheldon. 

(h) Afterwards archbishop of York. ~ 


it to moderate abatements, and the healing of our breaches, if 
they had been truly willing. 

*'In the year 1671, the diocese of Salisbury was more fiercely 
driven on to conformity, by Dr. Seth Ward, than any place else, 
or than all the bishops in England did in theirs.' Many hundreds 
were prosecuted by him with great industry; and among others, 
that learned, humble, holy gentleman, Mr. Thomas Grove, an 
ancient parhament man, of as great sincerity and integrity as 
almost any man I ever knew. He stood it out awhile in a law- 
suit, but was overthrown, and fain to forsake 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. Rob- 
ert 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, I could get no licenser to do it.*^ And as be- 
ing 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 1 lived not 
more 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 

(i) Dr. Seth Ward, who acted in this violent manner, was one of those ecclesiastical 
turn-coats who, during a succession of changes, always appear to consult their worldly 
interests. In the time of the Commoiivveallh he took the engagement to be true to tlie 
government as then established. He wrote against the covenant, and took the 
place of Greaves, as professor of astronomy in the University of Oxford, who was 
ejected for refusing it. At the Restoration he paid court to the royal party, by sup- 
porting all its measures. Even Anthony Wood calls him a "politician," and speaks 
of him as '-'winding himself into favor by his smooth language and behavior." Athen. 
Ox. Bliss, vol. iv. p. 24.8 Yet Ward was, in other respects, a respectable man. 
He was a profound mathematician and an able speaker; but he was a persecutor. 
Dr. Pope, the author of his life, endeavors to apologise for his conduct, but very un- 
satisfactorily: he admits that he endeavored to suppress conventicles; that his meas- 
ures produced a petition against him from the principal manufacturers in the towns 
of his diocese, alleging that their trade had been ruined by liim. In answer to all^ 
which he says, "Mie was no violent man as these petitioners rcjircsentcd him; luit if 
at any time he was more active than ordinary against the dissenters, it was l\v ex- 
press command from the court sometimes by letters, and sometimes giveii in charges 
by the judges of the assizes; which councils altered frequently now in favor of the 
dissenters, and then again in opposition. li is true he was for the act against con-^ 
venticles, and labored much to get it to pass, not without the order and direction of 
the greatest authority, both civil and ecclesiastical; not out of enmity to the dissent- 
ers' persons, as they unjustly suggested, but of love to the repose and llio welfare of the 
government. For he believed, if the growth of them were not timely suppressed, it 
would either cause a necessity for a standing army to preserve the peace, or a gen- 
eral toleration, which would end in Popery." p. 68. Pope further informs us, that 
so effectually did the bishop play his part, that there was scarcely a conventicle left in 
the diocese of Salisbury, except on the skirts of Wilts, where there was not a settled 
militia. Yet Ward was no persecutor! 

(k) Mr. Grove, who acted this friendly part to Baxter, was afterwards raised to 
the episcopal bench as bishop of Chichester. This took place in KiiH . and his death 
in \^%. Athen. Ox. vol. iv. p. 337. 


gave me ten pounds per annum, from the time of my being 
silenced till his death. I 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, be did our country great service 
against vice. He was a man of quick and sound understanding, 
and upright, impartial life; of too much testiness in his weak- 
ness, but of a most believing, serious fervency towards God, 
and open, zealous owning of true piety and holiness, without re- 
garding the little partialities 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 my service to him, and tell him, it is a great 
work to die well; his time is near, all worldly glory must come 
down; intreat him to keep his integrity, overcome temptations, 
and please God, and prepare to die.' He deeply bewailed the 
great sins of the times, and the prognostics of dreadful things 
which he thought we were in danger of; and though in the wars 
he suffered imprisonment 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 mayorality of Sir Samuel Stirling, many jury- 
men in London were fined 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 
vehemently to that purpose, never thing, since the king's return, 
was received with greater joy and applause by the people; so 
that the judges were still taken for the pillars of law and lib- 
erty. "^ 

"The parliament having made the laws against Nonconform- 
ists' preaching, and private religious meetings, so grinding and 
terrible, the king, who consented to those laws, became the sole 

(1) Fountain, of whom Baxter makes such honorable mention, was son of William 
Fountain, of iSeabroke, in Bucks; and educated at Christ's-church, Oxford. He 
adopted the cause of the parliament, in whose army he had the command of a regi- 
ment. He was made a serjeant-at-law by Cromwell, and in 1659 one of the com- 
missioners of the great seal. At the Restoration he was made a serjeant by the king. 
Wood's Fasti, vo\. i. p. 497. Edit. Bliss. 

(m) Baxter refers here to the celebrated trial of Pennand Mead, before the record- 
er of London, who has thus, with the lord mayor, Stirling, obtained an infamous noto- 
riety. The trial rendered immense service to the cause of liberty. 

(n) Sir John Vaughan, lord chief justice of the Common Pleas, who acquitted him- 
self 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 principles and independ- 
ence. 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, in which 
he appears to have acted with a good deal of tact. 


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 mayor- 
alty, though supposed one of their greatest and most knowing 
adversaries, 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, and to profess their loyalty. Sir John Babor intro- 
duced Dr. Manton, Mr. Ennis, a Scots Nonconformist, Mr. 
Whittaker, Dr. Annesly, Mr. Watson, and Mr. Vincent, he. 
The king told them, that though such acts were made, he was 
against 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 Lon- 
don 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 ne- 
cessities 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 favor to the preaching of Nonconformists; 
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 ahenated 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 against the Nonconformists, to grind 
them to dust, and that the king should allay the execution at 
his pleasure, and become their protector against parliaments; 
and that they who would not consent to this should suffer. In- 
deed, 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 

(o) The conduct of the court towards the dissenters at this time, can only be ex- 
plained by a knowledge of the secret treaty with France; the object of which, on 
Charles's part, was to be rendered independent of parliamcnl; the object of France 
was the re-establishment of Popery in England. Thougii the relaxation of the per- 
secution of the drssenters is said to have proceeded from the advice of Shaltesbury, 
who had no concern in the original secret treaty with France, it was completely in 
the spirit of that compact, and must have been acceptable to the king. ////, i- 


many ways, frustrate them. All attempts, however, to get any 
comprehension, as it was then called, any abatement of the rig- 
or of the laws, or legal liberty and union, were most effectually 
made void.? 

"In the beginning of the year 1671-2, the king caused his 
Exchequer to be shut; so that whereas a multitude of mer- 
chants 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 complaint in 
the city were very great, that their estates should be, as they 
called it, so surprised. This was the more complained of, be- 
cause it was supposed to be in order to assist the French in 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. Among 
others, 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. I had got in all my life the 
net sum of one thousand pounds. Having no child, I devot- 
ed 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 sus- 
pect 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 

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 Clifford.'^ 
The stoppage, as Baxter says, was intended to last only for a 

(p) Life, part iii. 8688. ^ (q) Ibid, part iii. p. 89. 

(r) Shaflesbury defends himself against the charge of having advised the measure, 
or approving of it, in a letter to Locke, which Lord King has published. It is plain 
enough, from that letter, however, that he had taken care that his own interests 
should not be affected by the measure. It was properly the commencement of the 
national debt, and produced at the time universal dismay. 


year; but it does not appear that he ever recovered the money. 
He bore the loss, however, very patiently, and records the dis- 
aster rather to instruct others how to use their property, than to 
mourn over it himself. The difficulty he experienced in dis- 
posing of his thousand pounds, which he ascribes to the devil's 
resistance, is a curious illustration of the peculiarity of his own 
mind. He appears always to have found great difficulty in sat- 
isfying himself, where there was the least room for doubt or ob- 
jection. 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. This document was issued on 
the 15th of March, 1672, and declares "that his majesty, by 
virtue of his supreme power in matters ecclesiastical., suspends all 
penal laws thereabout, and that he will grant a convenient num- 
ber of public-meeting places to men of all sorts that 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 London 
ministers, as might be expected, w^ere not harmonious as to the 
use which should be made of this just, but illegal privilege. 

"When it came out," says Baxter, "the London nonconform- 
able ministers were invited to return his majesty their thanks. 
At their meeting. Dr. Seaman and Mr. Jenkins, who had been 
till then most distant from the court, were for a thanksgiving, in 
such high applauding terms as Dr. Manton, and almost all the 
rest, dissented from. Some were for avoiding terms of appro- 
bation, lest the parliament should fall upon them; and some, be- 
cause 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 interest required 
it: which is inconsistent with the interest of the Protestant relig- 

(s) The Lord Keeper Bridgman resigned the great seal because he would not at- 
tach it to this act, and Shaftesbury, the author of the measure, succeeded to his place. 
Locke was at this time appointed secretary to Shaftesbury, for the presentation of 
benefices. It is probable, therefore, tiiat Shaftesbury's designs were not intended in 
hostility to the dissenters^ Lord King's Life of Locke, p. 33. Locke's letter to a 
person of quality states very clearly the part which Shaftesbury took in this measure, 
and the reasons which influenced him. 


ion, and the church of England: and that they had no security 
for it, but it might be taken from them at any time. 

"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 w^ere 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 generation of 
Nonconformists was likely to be soon worn out, and the public 
assemblies to be lamentably disadvantaged by young, raw, un- 
qualified ministers, that were likely to be introduced; they con- 
cluded, therefore, on a cautious and moderate thanksgiving for 
the king's clemency, and their own hberty; 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 as- 
semblies, or such an abatement of impositions as would restore 
some ministers to the public assemblies by law, were more de- 
sirable, was a great controversy then among the Nonconformists, 
and greater it had been, but that the hopes of abatement, called 
then a comprehension, were so low as made them the less 
concerned in the agitation of it. But whenever there was a 
new session of 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 sectaries, 
and some few Presbyterians, especially in London, who had 
large congregations, and liberty and encouragement, were rather 
for a toleration. The rest of the Presbyterians, and the episco- 
pal Nonconformists, were for abatement and comprehension." ^^ 

The several parties were influenced by their respective prin- 
ciples of church government and civil establishments. All parties, 
however, were glad to obtain what they could, and to use the 
temporary freedom which was allowed, though in a very uncon- 
stitutional manner, for the promotion of the interests of religion. 
The attachment to popery on the part of the reigning powers, 
threatened great danger to the country; but I very much doubt, 
whether if this had not created much anxiety to the church 

(t) I apprehend Baxter has here fallen into some mistake. It is not likely the min- 
isters would have been received to deliver an extempore address. Besides, if they 
could not ao^ree among themselves what to say in writing', who would have undertaken 
to speak for them? An address drawn up by Owen, though he seldom appears in Bax- 
ter's accounts of the London ministers, v/as adopted on this occasion. Memoirs 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 on Slilling- 
fleet's authority, and represents it as hush money. It is very strange, if this was 
done, that Baxter should not have mentioned it. Burnet's Oicn Times, vol. ii. p. 16. 
Calamy remarks on this passage, in 'His Own Life," vol. ii. p. 468. 

(u) Life, part iii. pp. 99, 100. 


party, the Nonconformists would not have been entirely crushed. 
From the conflicting interests of party, the cause of the dissent- 
ers 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 capacity 
of service "I had till now forborne, for several reasons, to seek 
a license for preaching from the king, upon the toleration; but 
when all others had taken theirs, and w^re settled in London and 
other places, as they could get opportunity, I delayed no longer, 
but sent to seek one, on condition 1 mia;ht have it without the 
tide of Independent, Presbyterian, or any other party, but only 
as a Nonconformist. Before I sent. Sir Thomas Player, cham- 
berlain of London, had procured it me so, without my knowl- 
edge or endeavor. I had sought none so long, because I was 
unwilling to be, or seem, any cause of that way of hberty, if a 
better might have been had, and therefore would not meddle 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 fully 
settled theirs, who had borne the burden in the times of the rag- 
ing plague, and fire, and other calamities, lest I should draw 
away any of their auditors, and hinder their maintenance. No 
one that ever I heard of till mine could get a license, unless he 
would be entitled in it, a Presbyterian, Independent, Anabaptist, 
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, public 
assembly, though not yet tolerated in any consecrated church, 
but only against law, in my own house. Some merchants set up 
a Tuesday's lecture in London, to be kept by six ministers, at 
Pinner's Hall, allowing them twenty shillings a piece each ser- 
mon, of whom they chose me to be one. But when 1 had 
preached there only four sermons, I found the Independents so 
quarrelsome with what I said, that all the city did ring of their 
backbitings and false accusations;^ so that, had I but preached 
for unity, and against division, or unnecessary withdi-awing from 
each other, or against unwarrantable narrowing of Christ's 
church, it was said, abroad, that I preached against the Inde- 

(x) Here is another discrepancy of date from what is given in the 'Baptismal Reg- 
ister/ and referred to in the first page of this volume. According to this, he was not 
baptised either on the sixth or the sixteenth; but it is pretty evident ho was born on 
the twelfth of November, according to his own account. 

(y) For some reason or oilier, Baxter and the Independents seem never to have 
agreed. There were probably faults on both sides; though, I npproiiend, the princi- 
pal causes were, the rashness and imprudence with which he carried iliings to the 
pulpit, and allowing himself to be influenced by mischievous and often trifling reports. 

VOL. I. 34 


pendents. 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 that men 
have power to do better than they do; it was cried abroad, 
among all the party, that I preached up A.rminianism, and free 
will, and man's power; and, O! what an odious crime was 

"On January the 24th, 1672-3, I began a Tuesday lecture 
at Mr. Turner's church, in New Street, near Fetter Lane, with 
great convenience, and God's encouraging blessing; but I never 
took a penny 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 un- 
settled 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 offended the Conformists, 
and had many other present incoQveniences, 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 con- 
sulted of a bill for the ease of Nonconformists, or dissenters. 
Many 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, destroying 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 

(z) The Tuesday moi-ning 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 some of their most respectable ministers were long left to deliver 
that lecture to almost empty benches. The lecturers, much to their honor, though I 
believe the}' derive no pecuniary benefit from their labors, continue them, as there is 
some property for the good of others entrusted to their distribution. 

(a) The place in which Baxter ofiiciated in Fetter Lane, is that between Nevil's 
Court and New Street, now occupied by the Moravians. It appears to have existed, 
though perhaps in a different form, before the fire of London. Turner, who was the 
first minister, was a very active man during the plague. He was ejected from Sun- 
bury, in Middlesex, and continued to preach in Fetter Lane till towards the end of 
the reign of Charles IL, when he removed to Leather Lane. Baxter carried on the 
Friday morning lecture till the 24th of August, 1602. The church which then met 
in it was under the care of Mr. Lobb, whose predecessors had been Dr. Thomas 
Goodwin and Thankful Owen. It has been preserved b}' an unbroken line of Evan- 
gelical pastors to the present time, in which it enjoys the ministry of my venerable 
friend the Rev. George Burder, and his worth}' co-pastor the Rev. Caleb Morris. 
See 'Wilson's Dissenting Churches,' vol. iii. p. 4-20. 

(b) 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 issu- 
ing writs in the recess of parliament. Hallam, vol. ii. p. 530. 


quiet neighbors, at Totteridge, and much more health or ease 
than I exjDCCted, and some opportunity to serve him. 

"The parHament grew into great jealousies of the prevalency 
of Popery. There was an army raised which lay upon Black- 
heath, 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 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 their state, 
by a standing army. These thoughts put them into dismal ex- 
pectations, and many wished that the army, at any rate, might 
be disbanded. The duke of York being general, the parlia- 
ment made an act that no man should be in any office of trust 
who would not take the oaths of supremacy and allegiance; re- 
ceive 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 setded men in the full belief that 
the duke of York and lord Clifford were Papists. The Lon- 
doners had special hatred against the duke, ever since the burn- 
ing of London, commonly saying, that divers were taken casting 
fire-balls, and brought to his guards of soldiers to be secured, 
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 reputa- 
tion for their silent deportment. The 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. The disin- 
terestedness of the dissenters in submitting to let this bill pass 
quietly, is more worthy of commendation than is their wisdom; 
while the injustice and ingratitude of the party which then praised 
them, do it infinite discredit. It is highly satisfactory to the 
enlightened men of all parties that this abomination is now no more. 

Though the preamble of the act, and the whole history of the 
transaction, show that the main object was a safeguard against 

(c) Lifespan iii. p. 106. 


Popery, It is probable that a majority of both houses liked it the 
better for this secondary effect of shutting out the Presbyterians 
still more than had been done by previous statutes of this reign. 
There took place, however, a remarkable 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 ad- 
versaries, 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 insid- 
iously, returned it with amendments more favorable to the dis- 
senters, and insisted upon them, after a conference. A sudden 
prorogation put an end to this bill, w^iich 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 sud- 
denly 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 
king, by the chancellor, prorogued them till Monday follow- 
ing, because it was not usual for a parliament to grant money 
twice in a session. On Monday, when they met, the king de- 
sired speedy 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 resentment of the 
duke of York's marriage, and renewed their message to the king 
against it, who answered them that it was debated 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 danger of Popery, and Popish coun- 
sellors, and their grievances w^ere 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. Stillingfleet to preach before it, who was then 
mostly engaged in writing against Popery: but on the day before, 
being November 4th, the king, to their great discontent, pro- 
rogued the parliament to the 7th of January. 

(d) Hallam, 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 passing of the Repeal bill, in the year 1828. Lord Holland's speech, on intro- 
ducing 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 accu- 
rately recorded. 


"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 Lau- 
derdale 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 favored the 
Nonconformists were against the rest, and helped off lord Arl- 
ington, the rest were greatly exasperated against them, and 
reported that they did it, because he had furthered the Noncon- 
formists' licenses for tolerated preaching. 

*'The 3d of February was a public fast against Popery, the 
first which I remember, beside the anniversary fasts, which had 
ever been since this parliament vVas called, which had now sat 
longer than that called the Long Parliament. The preachers, 
Dr. Cradock and Dr. Whitchcot, meddled but little with that 
business, and did not please them as Dr. Stilhngfleet had done; 
who greatly animated them and all the nation against Popery, 
by his open and diligent endeavors 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. Sir Thomas 
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 contrary, and never any thing this way, since his profes- 
sions of that sort, that till his real endeavors convinced men, it 
would not be believed that he was serious. But when I had 
given the earl of Orrery my papers, he returned them me with 
bishop Morley's strictures, or animadversions, as by his words 
and the hand-writing I had reasons to be confident; by which he 
made me see fully that all his professions for abatement and 
concord were deceitful snares, and that he intended no such 
thing." ^ 

(d) Formerly Lord Broghill, under which title he is generally spoken of by Bax- 
ter, and other writers of that period. He was a very distinguished man, and pro- 
bably sincerely desirous on this occasion to promote the good of the country, and 
the benefit of the Nonconformists, to whom he was a steady friend. 

(e) Dany>y succeeded Clifford, on the fall of the cabal ministry. He was not a 
Papist like his predecessor; but was a corrupt man, capable of resorting to meas- 
ures, to please the court, which were most injurious to the constitution and interests 
of his country. It was through his instrumentality, however, that the marriage of 
the Princess Mary with the Prince of Orange was effected, to which circumstance 
ue ultimately owe the Revolution. 

(f) Life, part iii. pp. 102 lO'J. 


Again, our worthy and indefatigable friend of peace took up his 
pen, and devoted no small attention to this new scheme of union. 
His proposals, Bishop Morley's strictures, and his reply, are 
given at large, in his own narrative; ^ but it would be useless to 
trouble the reader with any part of the documents, since the 
whole ended, as all other schemes of the same kind had done, 
in disappointment. 

"A little after, some great men of the House of Commons 
drew up a bill, as tending to our healing, to take off our oaths, 
subscriptions, and declarations, except the oath of supremacy, 
and allegiance, and subscriptions to the doctrines of the church 
of England, according to the 13th of Elizabeth. But showing 
it to the said bishop of Winchester, he caused them to forbear, 
and broke it; and instead of it he furthered an act, to take off 
only assent and consent, 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 con- 
tinued 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 abatement, he 
told them in the house that had it been but to abate us a cere- 
mony, 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 trou- 
bled, 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 others hating the Non- 
conformists more, were still as hot for prelacy and violence as 

"All this while, the aspiring sort of Conformists, who looked 
for preferment, and the chaplains who lived in fulness, and 
other malignant factious clergymen, did write and preach to 
stir up king, parliament, and others, to violence and cruelty 
against the liberty and blood of the Nonconformists, who lived 
quietly by them in labor and poverty, and meddled not with 
them. Some railed at them as the most intolerable villains in 
the world, especially Sam. Parker, who was jocularly confuted 
and detected by Mr. Marvel, a parliament man. One Hickering- 
hill, and others, came near him in their mahgnity; and Papists 
taking the advantage, set in and did the like. One wrote a 

(g) Life, purt iii. pp. 113140. 


*Sober Inquiry,' of the reasons why the nonconformable 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 but stran- 
gers, and those that were blinded by faction, malignity, or false 

"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 but 
vengeance, urging them to set fire to the fagot, 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 au- 
thority 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 ceremonies 
the test of holiness, and their worldly interest and domination 
the only cement of concord. Oh how much hath Satan done 
against Christ's kingdom in the world, by setting up pastors and 
rulers over the churches, to fight against Christ in his own name 
and livery, and to destroy piety and peace, by a pretence of 
promoting them! 

"At this time, April, 1674, God so much increased my lan- 
guishing, and laid me so low, by an incessant inflation of my 
head, and translation of my great flatulency thither to the nerves 
and members, increasing for ten or twelve weeks to greater 
pains, that I had reason to think that my time on earth would 
not be long. And, oh! how good hath the will of God proved 
hitherto to me: and will it not be best at last? Experience 
causeth me to 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 contin- 
ued, I removed the last spring to London, where my diseases 
increasing for about half a year, constrained me to cease my 
Friday's lecture,' and an afternoon sermon on the Lord's day 
in my OAvn house, to my grief; and to preach only one sermon 
a week at St. James's market-house, where some had hired an 
inconvenient place. But I had great encouragement to labor 
there, because of the notorious necessity of the people: for it was 

(li) See an account of the controversy here referred to, and of the behavior of Par- 
ker and Marvel, in 'Memoirs of Owen/ pp. 268273. 

(i) I suppose he renewed it a^ain, and continued it, though perhaps with frequent 
interruptions, till 1682, when he hnaliy gave it up. 


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 twentieth 
person in the parish, to liear in the parish church; and the next 
parishes, St. Giles and Clement Danes, were almost in the like 

"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 
falling, but remembering the like at St. Dunstan's in the West, 
I reproved their fear as causeless. But the next day, taking up 
the boards, 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! J 

"It pleased God to give me marvellous encouragement in my 
preaching at St. James's. The crack having frightened away 
most of the richer sort, especially the women; most of the con- 
gregation were young men of the most capable age, who heard 
with very great attention, and many that had not come to church 
for years, received so much, and manifested so great a change 
(some Papists and divers others, returning public thanks to God 
for their conversion,) as made all ray charge and trouble easy to 
me. Among all the popish, rude, and ignorant multitude who 
were inhabitants of those parts, we had scarce any that opened 
their mouths against us, and that did not speak w^ell of the 
preaching of the word among them; though, when I first went 
thither, the most knowing inhabitants assured me that some of 
the same persons wished my death. Among the ruder sort, a 
common reformation was notified in the place, in their conversa- 
tion as well as in their judgments. 

"But Satan, the enemy of God and souls, did quickly use 
divers means to hinder me: by persecution, by the charges of 
the work, and by the troublesome clamors of some that were 
too much inclined to separation. First, a fellow, that made a 
trade of being an informer, accused me to Sir William Pul- 
teney, a justice near, upon the act against conventicles. Sir 
William dealt so wisely and fairly in the business, as frustrated 
the informer's first attempts, who offered his oath against me; 
and before he could made a second attempt, Mr. David Lloyd, 

(j) On this occasion Mrs. Baxter discovered great presence of mind. After the first 
crack was heard, she went immediately down stairs, 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 noth- 
ing of it, but had its fears increased by the man's knocking. Memoirs of Mrs. Bax- 
ter, p. 61. 


the Earl of St. Alban's bailiff, and other inhabitants so searched 
after the quality of the informer, and prosecuted him to secure 
the parish from the charge of his children, as made him flee, 
and appear no more. I, who had been the first silenced, and 
the first sent to gaol upon the Oxford act of confinement, was 
the first prosecuted upon the act of conventicles, after the par- 
liament's condemning the king's declaration, and licenses to 

"Shortly after this, the storm grew much greater. The min- 
isters of state had new consultations. The Duke of Lauder- 
dale, the Lord Treasurer, the Earl of Danby, the Lord-Keeper, 
Sir Heneage Finch,'" Bishop Morley, and Bishop Ward, he, 
were the men whom the world talked of as the doers of the 
business. The first thing that appeared, was, his majesty call- 
ing the bishops up to London to give him advice what was to be 
done for the securing of religion. The bishops, after divers 
meetings and delays, the said duke and lord treasurer being ap- 
pointed to meet with them, at last advised the king to recal his 
licenses, and put the laws in execution, which was done by a 
proclamation, declaring the licenses long since void, and requir- 
ing the execution of the laws against Papists (who were most 
largely mentioned) and conventicles. No sooner was this proc- 
lamation published, but special informers were set at work to 
ascertain the execution, and I must here also be the first to be 
accused." ^ 

It appears that Baxter, partly to avoid the penalties for not 
complying with the act of uniformity, and partly for his own 
relief, employed an assistant, who read a portion of the church 
service for him on the Lord's day. This partial conformity 
occasioned many false reports respecting his sentiments, which 
gave him great trouble, while it failed to commend him to the 
staunch supporters of ecclesiastical order. 

"The Separatists gave out presendy that I had conformed, 
and openly declared my assent and consent, Stc; and so confi- 
dently did they affirm it, that almost all die city believed it. 
The prelatists again took the report from diem, with their own 
willingness that so it should be, and reported the same thing. 
In one episcopal city, they gave thanks in public diat I had con- 
formed; ,n many counties their news was, that I most certainly 
conformed, and was, thereupon, to have a bishopric; which if 

(k) Sir Heneage Finch was one of the leading- members of the parliament which 
restored Charles II., l)y whom he was made solicitor-general immediatelv after. 
He became attorney-general in 1670, and lord-keeper of the great seal in ll>73; was 
raised to the chancellorship in 1675, and created Earl of Nottingham in 1G81. His 
lordship was properly the founder of the noble family of Winchilsea. He possessed 
good learning, considerable eloquence, and was, on the whole, a respeclalilc public 
character. He himself refused to put the great seal to lord Danby's pardon. 

(1) Life, part ill. pp. 110153. 

VOL. I. 35 


I should, I had done foohshly in losing thirteen years lordship 
and profit, and then taken it when I was dying. This was di- 
vulged by the Conformists, to fortify their party in the conceits 
of their innocency, and by the Separatists, in spleen and quar- 
relsome zeal; but confident lying was too common with both. 
And yet, the next day, or the next day save one, letters fled 
abroad, on the contrary, that I was sent to jaol for not conform- 

"While I was thus murmured at by backbiters, sectaries and 
prelatists, when the king's licenses were recalled, I w^as the first 
that was apprehended by warrant, and brought before the jus- 
tices as a conventicler. One Keeling, ^"^ an ignorant fellow, had 
got a warrant, as bailiff and informer, to search after conven- 
ticlers. Papists and Protestants, which he prosecuted with great 
animosity and violence. Having then left St. James's, the lease 
of the house being out, I 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 distrain- 
ed on by warrant from a justice of the division or county where 
I live. So that the preaching place being in the city, only a 
city justice might judge me. Keeling went to many of the city 
justices, but none of them would grant him a warrant against 
me; he therefore went to the justices of the county, who lived 
near me, and one. Sir John Medlicot, and Mr. Bennet, brother 
to Lord Arlington, ignorant of the law herein, gave their war- 
rant to apprehend me, and bring me before them, or some other 
of his majesty's justices. The constable, or informer, gave me 
leave to choose what justices I would go to. I accordingly 
went with them to seek divers of the best justices, 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 that 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 warrant, 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 showed him 
and all the company, from the act, that none but a city 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 Lucy Montague, sis- 
ter to the said Mr. Henry Montague, and told them of the case 
and warrant, who assured me, that he whose hand was at it, 

(m) Burnet g-ives a long- account of Keeling', with his conduct as a contriver of 
plots, and an informer. vol. ii . pp. 369 390. 


knew nothing of it; and some of them sent to him, and Reel- 
ing's warrant, was called in within two or three days. 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 his 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 his house together. Shortly after, Keel- 
ing came several times to have spoken with me, to ask my for- 
giveness; and not meeting with me, went to my friends in the 
city, with the same words: though a little before, he had boasted, 
how many hundred pounds he should have of the city justices 
for refusing him justice. At last he found me within, and would 
have fallen down on his knees to me, and asked me earnestly 
to forgive him. I asked him what had changed his mind; 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 the warrant, 
and all the people cried out against him; but that which set it 
home, was Mr. Barwell's death, for of Sir John Medlicot's he 
knew not. I exhorted the man to universal repentance, and 
reformation of hfe. He told me he would never meddle in 
such businesses, or trouble any man more, and promised to hve 
better himself than he had done. 

"As the next session of parliament approached, Bishop Mor- 
ley set upon the same course again, and Bishop Ward, as his 
second and chief co-agent, joined with him; so that they were 
famed to be the two bishops that were for comprehension and 
concord: 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 o})inion, 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 
came to maturity, when it might be further notified by consent. 
I thought that we might hope for success with these tw^o men; 
and, in time, it might be some advantage to our desired unity, 
that our terms were such as they consented to." " 

It is irksome to record these constantly recurring schemes of 
comprehension and union, from which nothing whatever result- 
ed. Tillotson and Stillingfleet appear to have been sincere, 
while neither Morley nor Ward was so; and thus, after various 
meetings and discussions, Baxter, who had taken the trouble of 
drawing up a "Healing Act," and several petitions or addresses 
to the king, which were never used, was left only with the com- 
fort of reflecting that he had conscientiously sought that peace, 
which others either wanted the will or the power to promote. 

"While the said two bishops were fraudulently seeming to set 
us in this treaty, their cause required them outwardly to pretend 
that they would not have me troubled; but I was still the first 
that was hunted after and persecuted. For even while I was in 
this treaty, the informers of the city, set on work by the bishops, 
were watching my preaching, and contriving to load me with 
divers convictions and fines at once. They found an alderman- 
justice, even in the ward where I preached, fit for their design, 
one Sir Thomas Davis, w^ho understood not the law, but was 
ready to serve the prelates in their own way. To him, oath was 
made against me, and the place where I preached, for two ser- 
mons, which came to threescore pounds fine to me, and four- 
score to the owner of the place where we assembled; but 1 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 as Taunton, 
which were entirely dissolved by it, the aldermen w^ere, for the 
most part, utterly averse to such employment; so that, when- 
ever an informer came to them, though they forfeited a hun- 
dred 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 behavior, 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 all 
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- 

(n) Life, part iii. pp. 154<^157. 


tors on purpose. Marshall was laid in the Compter for debt, 
where he remained for a considerable time; but Stroud, keeping 
a coffee-house, was not so deep in debt, and was bailed. Had 
a stranger of another land come into London, and seen five or 
six poor, ignorant, sorry fellows, unworthy to have been inferior 
servants to an ordinary gentleman, hunting and insulting even 
the ancient aldermen, and the lord mayor himself, and all the 
reverend, faithful ministers that were ejected; while eighty-nine 
churches were destroyed by the fire; and, in many parishes, the 
churches yet standing, could not hold a sixth or tenth part of 
the people, yet those that preached for nothing were prosecuted 
to utter ruin, with such unwearied eagerness, sure he would 
have wondered what these prelates and prosecutors were. It 
may convince us that the designation <^iu(io\oi (false accusers,) 
given in Scripture to some, is not unmeet, when men pretending 
to be the fathers of the church, dare turn loose half-a-dozen 
paltry, silly fellows, that know not what they do, to be to so 
many thousand sober men, as wolves among the sheep, to the 
distraction of such a city, and the disturbance of so many thous- 
ands for worshipping God. How lively doth this tell us, that 
Satan, the prince of the aerial powers, worketh in the children 
of disobedience; and that his kingdom on earth is kin to hell, as 
Christ's kingdom is to heaven! 

"When I understood that the design was to ruin me, by heap- 
ing up convictions, before I was heard to speak for myself, I 
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 accu- 
sers. But 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 unlawful meeting on pretence of a religious exercise in 
other manner than according to the liturgy and practice of the 
church of England, he w^as bound to take this general oath for 
proof, and to record a judgment; so that the accusers were in- 
deed the judges, and not he. I told him that any lawyer would 
soon tell him the contrary, and that he was judge wliether 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 must name what 
the act was, and prove him guilty. Though ] was cit 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 
would have no remedy. At last, he told me that he would con- 
sult with other aldermen at the sessions, and they would go one 


way. When the sessions came, I went to Guildhall, and again 
desired that I might be heard before I was judged; but though 
the other aldermen, save two or three, were against such doings, 
I could not prevail with him; but professing great kindness, he 
then laid all on Sir John Howell, the recorder, saying that it was 
his judgment, and he must follow his advice. I requested him, 
and Sir Thomas Allan, to desire the recorder that I might be 
heard 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 
recorder would not speak with me. When I saw their resolu- 
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 had 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 informers 
that had sworn against me met me at his house." 

At this meeting, Baxter was charged by the informers wnth 
preaching in an unconsecrated place, with being a Nonconform- 
ist, and with not using the common prayer. These accusations 
he met in such a way as confounded the informers and perplexed 
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 Scottish army would come into Englsnd, when Lau- 
derdale replied, that if the dissenting Scots should rise, an Irish 
army should cut their throats, &lc. But because Burnet had 
lately magnified the said duke, in an epistle before a published 
book, many thought his testimony now to be more unsavory and 
revengeful; every one judging as he was affected.? But the 
king sent them answer, that the words were spoken before his 
late act of pardon, which, if he should violate, it might cause 
jealousies in his subjects, that he might do so also by the act of 

(o) Life, part iii. pp. 165, IGG. 

(p) Baxter refers here to Bishop Burnet's 'Vindication of the Authority and Con- 
stitution of the Clmrch of Scotland/ 12mo. 1G73, wliich is dedicated to the duke, 
who was tlien the king''s commissioner for ScoILtikI. Burnet himself, was at the 
time professor of theology in the University of Glasgow. The dedication is 
abundantly fulsome and adulatory. The duke's "jiatrociny,'' the autlior very earn- 
estly implores. The style of this document is not much in harmony with the charac- 
ter which Burnet afterwards g-avo of the duke, Sec. Hisl. vol. i. pp. 142 144. I 
suspect the bishop himself did not regard this publication as among- the wisest things 
he ever did. In his 'Own Times,' however, he explains the circumstances in which 
he appeared against the duke, and defends himself against the charge of ingratitude 
or revenge. vol. i. pp. 123 12.5. Bishop Burnet acknowledged to Calamy that "if 
he had any acquaintance with serious, vital religion, it was owing to his reading Bax- 
ter's practical works in his younger days. These works he greatly extolled, saying 
many handsome things of Baxter and his writings; but expressed his dislike of the 
multitude of his distinctions." Calami/s Oirn Life, vol. i. p. 4GJ>. 


"Their next assault was against the lord ti-easurer, the earl of 
Danby, who found more friends in the House of Commons, 
which at last acquitted him. But the great work was in the 
House 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- 
ration oath; of which more anon. It was now supposed that 
the bringing of the parliament under this oath and test, was the 
great work which the house had to perform. The sum of it 
was, that none commissioned by the king may be by arms resist- 
ed, and that none must endeavor any alteration of the govern- 
ment of church or state. Many lords spake vehemently against 
it, as destructive to the privileges of their house, which should 
v^ote freely, and not be pre-obliged by an oath to the prelates. 
The Lord Treasurer, the Lord Keeper, with Bishop iMorley, 
and Bishop Ward, were the great speakers for it; and the Earl 
of Shaftesbury, Lord Hollis, Lord Halifax, the Duke of Buck- 
ingham, the Earl of Salisbury, the chief speakers 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 hon- 
esty and conscience, in these words: '1 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 than accord- 
ing to my opinion and conscience, as I shall be truly and really 
persuaded upon the debate of any business in parhament.' But 
the bishops on their side did cry it down, and cast it out. 

"The debating of this test, did more weaken the hiterest and 
reputation of the bishops widi the nobles, than any thing that 
ever befel them after the king came in: so much doth unquiet 
\ over-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, which they, with the 
Commons, had before imposed upon others. They exercised 
so much liberty, for many days together, in opposing the bishops, 
and by free and bold speeches against their test, as greatly turned 
to the bishops' disparagement. The Earl of Shaftesbury, die 
Duke of Buckingham, the Earl of Bristol, 'Uhc jMarquis of Win- 
chester, the Earl of Salisbury, Lord Hollis, Lord Halifax, and 
the Lord of Aylesbury, distinguished themselves in the debate; 
which set the tongues of men at so much liberty, that the com- 

(q) Bristol was a Roman Catliolic, but appears to have opposed tliis l>ill on much 
the same grounds with the Protestant dissenters. He considercMhal it endangered 
the constitution and interests of the country. Ropin, vol. ii. p. G70. 


mon talk was against the bishops. It was said there were so few 
among the bishops, able to speak to purpose, Bishop Morley, of 
Winchester, and Bishop Ward, of Salisbury, being their chief 
speakers, that they grew 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 accommodation of 
the cause of the Nonconformists, of any thing that this parlia- 
ment ever did, for they reduced it to these words of a declara- 
tion and an oath. 

" 'I, A. B., do declare that it is not lawful, on any pretence 
whatsoever, to take arms against the king; and tliat I do abhor 
that traitorous position of taking arms by his authority against 
his person, or against those that are commissioned by him ac- 
cording to law, in time of rebellion and war, in acting in pursu- 
ance of such commission.'" 

" 'I, A. B., do swear that I v/ill not endeavor an alteration of 
the Protestant religion now established by law in the church of 
England; nor will I endeavor any alteration in the government 
of this kingdom in church or state, as it is by law established.' " ^ 

Baxter mentions that the Nonconformists would have taken 
this declaration and oath, had they been offered them, instead of 
the Oxford oath, the subscription for conformity, and the corpo- 
ration and vestry declarations. But the arguments by which he 
endeavored to prove the lawfulness of taking them, though they 
were doubtless satisfactory to his own mind, savor more of the 
subtlety of the schoolmen, than of Christian simplicity. By the 
same mode of reasoning, it would be easy to show the lawfulness 
of the most unjust and absurd proceedings, or of submission to 
the grossest outrages on the rights and liberties of men.* 

(r) The declaration originally proposed, was as follows; " I, A. B., do declare, 
thai it is not lawful^ upon any pretence whatever, to take up arms against the king; 
and that I do abhor that traitorous position of taking arms by his authority, against 
his person, or against those who are commissioned by him, in pursuance of such 
commission; and I do swear that I will not, at any time, endeavor the alteration of 
the government, either in church or state So help me God.'" Locke's Works, vol. x, 
p. 213. The modifying clauses finally introduced, did not alter the spirit or principle 
of the measure, but rendered the oath ambiguous, and thus so far extracted its poison. 

(s) Life, part iii, pp. 167, 163. 

Sheldon at this time discovered his wonted activity in hunting out separatists from 
the church of England. Calamy has preserved another circular letter from him, ad- 
dressed to the bishops of the province of Canterbury, enjoining them to make returns 
of the number of persons in their dioceses, of all Popish recusants, and ''what num- 
ber of other dissenters were in each parish, of what sect soever, which either obsti- 
nately refuse, or wholly absent themselves from the communion of the church of 
England, at such times as they are by law required." Calamxj's Abridgment, vol. i. 
p. 345. 

(t) A full and admirable account of the memorable debate on this bill in the House 
of Lords, is given by Locke, in his letter to a person of quality; in which, availing 
himself of the intimacy he enjoyed with Lord Shaftesbury, he opens the secret springs 
of several of the measures then proposed. Locke's Works, vol. x. pp. 240 246, edit. 


''While this discussion was carrying on in the House of Lords, 
and five hundred pounds voted to be the penalty of the refusers 
of the test, before it could come to the Commons, a difference 
took place between the Lords and Commons about their privi- 
leges. This was occasioned by two suits that were brought be- 
fore the Lords, in which two members of the Commons 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 should 
be released. Sir John Robinson, lieutenant of the Tower, obey- 
ed the Commons; for which the Lords voted him to be a de- 
linquent; and so far went they in daily voting at each other, that 
the king was fain to prorogue the parliament, from June the 9th 
till October the 13th; there appearing no hope of reconciling 
them, wdiich rejoiced many that they rose without doing further 

The debate on this celebrated bill, commonly called "the 
Bishops' Test," on account of their united zeal for its accom- 
plishment, lasted five days, before it was committed to a com- 
mittee of the w^hole house. It was afterwards debated sixteen or 
seventeen whole days; the house sometimes sitting from morning 
till midnight. After it passed the committee in the manner de- 
scribed by Baxter, the grand contest arose between the two 
houses about their privileges, in consequence of which the king 
was obliged to prorogue the parliament, so that the bill was never 
reported to the house by the committee. Its defeat was gener- 
ally 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 Providence defeat that 
unjust attempt to injure the rights and liberties of the people of 

"Keeling, the informer, being commonly detested for prose- 
cuting me, was cast into gaol for debt, and wrote to me to en- 
deavor his deliverance, which I did. A w^hile 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 tiie 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 lock- 
ed to keep them in till I had done; and one of them, supposed 
to be sent fi-om Fulham, stayed weeping. Yet went they 

(u) Life, part iii. p. 171. (x) Lord Kin^"s 'Life of Locke/ p. 37. 

VOL. I. 36 


Straight to the justices, and the week following heard me again, 
as informers, at my lectures; but I heard nothing more of their 

"Sir Thomas Davis, notwithstanding all his warnings and con- 
fessions, 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 
paid to the value of twenty pounds a sermon for their preaching, 
and I must pay twenty pounds, and forty pounds, a sermon, for 
preaching for nothing. O, what pastors hath the church of 
England, who think it worth their unwearied labors, and all the 
odium which they contract from the people, to keep such as I 
am from preaching the Gospel of Christ, and to undo us for it as 
far as they are able; though these many years they do not, for 
they cannot accuse me for one word that ever J preached, nor 
one action else that I have done; while the greatest of the bish- 
ops preach not three a year themselves! 

"The dangerous crack over the market-house, at St. James's, 
put many upon desiring that I had a larger and safer place for 
meeting; and though my own dulness, and great backwardness 
to troublesome business, made me very averse to so great an un- 
dertaking, 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 sec- 
retaries, who had a house joining to it, and was a member of 
parliament, 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, &ic. 

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: 

(y) WhcMi the warrants were issued by Sir Thomas Davis. Baxter says, '"'My wife 
(lid, without any repining", encourage me to undergo the loss, and did herself take the 
trouble of removing and hiding my library awhile (many scores of books being so 
lost), and after, to give it away, bona fide, some to New England, and the most at 
home, to avoid distraining on them." Memoirs of Mrs. Baxter, p. 70. It appears 
that he sent valuable presents of books to Harvard College. 

(z) Life, part iii. p. 171. 


"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 
hide my library first, and afterwards to sell it; so that if books 
had been my treasure (and I valued little more on earth), I had 
now been without a treasure. For about twelve years, I was 
driven a hundred miles from them; and when I had paid dear 
for the carriage, after two or three years, I was forced to sell 
them. The prelates, to hinder me from preaching, deprived 
me also of these private comforts; but God saw that they were 
my snare. We brought nothing into this world, and we must 
carry nothing out. The loss is very tolerable. 

"I was the more wilhng to part with goods, books, and all, 
that I might have nothing to be distrained, and so go on to 
preach; and accordingly removing my dwelling to the new 
chapel which I had built, I purposed to venture to preach in it, 
there being forty thousand persons in the parish, as is supposed, 
more than can hear in the parish church, who have no place to 
go to for God's public worship; so that I set not up church 
against church, but preached to those that must else have had 
none. When I had preached there but once, a resolution was 
taken to surprise me the next day, and send me for six months 
to the common gaol, upon the act for the Oxford oath. Not 
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 disap- 
point 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, almost 
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 I had put off, and Dr. Cox, who compelled me, and told 
me he would, else, carry me into the coach. It proved a special, 
merciful providence of God; for, after one week ot languishing 
and pain, I had nine weeks' greater ease than ever I expected 
in this world, and greater comfort in my work. For my good 
friend, Richard Beresford, esq., clerk of the Exchequer, whose 
importunity drew me to his house, spared no cost, labor, or kind- 
ness, for my health or service." -^ 

The extraordinary variety of Baxter's diseases, tlie enumera- 
tion of which follows this passage, would be any thing but enter- 
tainment to the reader: suffice it to say, that he was, for many 
years, a living wonder to himself, and to those who were ac- 
quainted with his condition. It is amazing how he could exist, 

(a) Life., part iii. p. 172. 


and still more wonderful how he was capable of the unceasing 
labor in public or in writing, in which he was engaged. Though 
"in deaths oft," he prosecuted, with unremitting and growing 
ardor, the service of his Master, and the salvation of his fellow- 

"Being driven from home, and having an old license yet in 
force, by the countenance of that, and the great industry of Mr. 
Beresford, 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 Sarat, at King's Langley, at 
Chesham, at Chalford, at Amersham, and that often twice a day. 
Those heard, who had not come to church for seven years; and 
two or three thousand heard, where scarcely an hundred were 
wont to come, and with so much attention and willingness as 
gave me very great hopes that I never spake to them in vain; 
thus soul and body had these special mercies. 

"But the censures of men pursued me as before: the envious 
sort 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, nothing 
hath been charged on me as crimes, so much as my costliest and 
greatest duties. But the pleasing of God, and saving souls, will 
pay for all. 

"The country about Rickmersworth, abounding with Quakers, 
because W. Penn, their captain, dwelleth there, I was desirous 
that the poor people should once hear what was to be said for 
their recovery, which coming to Mr. Penn's ears, he was for- 
ward to a meeting, where we continued speaking to two rooms 
full of people, fasting, from ten o'clock till five.^ One lord, 
two knights, and four conformable ministers, beside others, being 
present, some all the time, some part. The success gave me 
cause to believe that it was not labor lost: an account of the con- 
ference may be published ere long, if there be cause.'^ 

(b) No account of this meeting has been printed, as far as is known to me; but 
part of the correspondence between Penn and Baxter remains. From the letters of 
Penn it appears that Baxter proposed the meeting, to which Penn acceded. A second 
meeting appears to have been demanded, but does not seem to have taken place. 
Penn's language to Baxter, in two of his letters, is very abusive. He tells him, ''I 
perceive the scurvy of the mind is thy distemper; and I fear it is incurable. I had 
rather be Socrates at the day of judgment, than Richard Baxter." In the last letter, 
however, he speaks in a much more courteous style; and acknowledges the great 
civility he had experienced from Baxter at the meeting. The correspondence is cu- 
rious, as showing, in one way, 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 an ardent and ingenuous mind; the 
severity of Penn is sheer ribaldry. Baxter's MSS. 
(c) Life, part iii. p. 174. 


"While this was my employment in the country, my friends 
at home had got one Mr. Seddon, a Nonconformist, of Derby- 
shire, lately come to the city as a traveller, to preach the second 
sermon in my new-built chapel; he was told, and overtold, all 
the danger, and desired not to come if he feared it. I had left 
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 any 
but the meeting house. While he was preaching, three justices, 
supposed of Secretary Coventry's sending, came to the door to 
seize the preacher. They thought it had been I, and had pre- 
pared a warrant upon the Oxford act, to send me for six months 
to the common gaol. The good man, and two weak, honest 
persons, entrusted to have directed him, left the house 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 him, blotted my 
name out of the warrant and put in his; though almost every word 
fitted to my case was false of his. To the Gate-house he was 
carried, where he continued almost three months of the six: 
and being earnestly desirous of deliverance, I was put to charges 
to accomplish it, and at last, having righteous judges, and the 
warrant being found faulty, he had an habeas corpus, 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 an 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, he 
lost his kind and excellent friend. Judge Hale, to whom he had 
often been indebted, and of whose death he speaks in a very af- 
fecting manner. Before proceeding to notice his next trials, I 
shall just mention the books which he wrote during the period 
which this chapter embraces. 

He published, in 1671, his Defence of the Principles of Love 
His Answer to Exceptions against it The Divine Appoint- 
ment of the Lord's Day The Duty of Heavenly Meditation 
Holiness the Design of Christianity The Difference between 
the Power of Magistrates and Ch'irch Pastors Vindication of 
God's Goodness Second Admonition to Mr. Bagshaw. In 
1672, appeared More Reasons for the Christian Religion De- 
sertion of the Ministry Rebuked Certainty of Christianity with- 
out Popery A Third Answer to Bagshaw. In 1673 and 1674, 
he published his Christian Directory, on which he had been 
employed for some years. In these two years, he also publish- 
ed his Full and Easy Satisfaction, and his Poor Man's Family 

(d) Life; part iii. p. 174. 175. 


Book. In 1675, he produced his Cathohc Theology, a folio 
volume, which was followed by several other pieces in the course 
of that and the folio v/ing 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 his afflictive retirement, he labored 
incessantly with his pen. The mere oversight of the press of so 
many works, would have been employment enough for an ordina- 
ry man. But Baxter must not be measured by this standard. 
He lived but to labor; and labor was his life. 

CHAPTER XI. 16761681. 

Baxter resumes preaching in the parish of St. Martin Nonconformists again persecuted 
Dr. Jane Dr. Mason Baxter preaches m Swallow street Conipton, Bishop of London 
Lamplugh, Bishop of Exeter Lloyd, Bishop of Worcester Various slanders against Bax- 
terDeath of Dr. Manton Pinner's-Hall Lecture Popish Plot Earl of Danby Baxter's 
interference on behalf of Banished Scotsmen Hungarians The Long Parliament of 
Charles H. dissolved Transactions of the New Parliament Bill of Exclusion Meal-Tub 
Plot Baxter's Reflections on the Times Writings Death of Friends Judge Hale 
Stubhs Corbet Gouge Ashurst Baxter's Step-mother Mrs. Baxter. 

In the latter years of Baxter's life, the information which he has 
furnished respecting himself, is much less particular, than what 
he has supphed respecting the earlier and more bustling period 
of it. As he advanced in age, he appears to have lived more 
retired; and either from choice, or from necessity, took a less 
active part in public affairs. His ill state of health rendered re- 
tirement absolutely necessary, and his experience of the useless- 
ness of contending against the disposition of the government, and 
the bigotry of the church, probably reconciled him to wait and 
pray for better times, which happily he lived to see. The 
gleanings of his last days, however, we must endeavor carefully 
to gather up. He thus resumes his narrative: 

"When I had been kept a w^hole year from preaching in the 
chapel which I built, 1 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 wor- 
ship 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- 
tices, 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; till, at last. Sir Joseph Sheldon, the 
Archbishop of Canterbury's near relation, being lord mayor, on 
April 30th, 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 ig- 
norant people who had no other teacher, that Satan owed him 
a malicious disturbance. He had built the chapel in his own 
house (with the help of friends,) in compassion to those people, 
who, as they crowded to hear him, so did they follow him to 
the justices, and to the jail, to show their affection. It being 
the place where I had been used often to preach, I suppose was 
somewhat the more maliced. The very day before, I had new 
secret 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 
the lord mayor and aldermen, in the month of June, turned his 
sermon against Calvin and me. My charge was, that I had sent 
as bad men to heaven as some that be in hell; because, in my 
book called the 'Saint's Rest,' I had said, that I thought of 
heaven with the more pleasure, because I should there meet 
with Peter, Paul, Austin, Chrysostom, Jerome, Wickhff, Luther, 
Zuinglius, Calvin, Beza, Bulhnger, Zanchy, Paraeus, Piscator, 
Hooper, Bradford, Latimer, Glover, Sanders, Philpot, Rey- 
nolds, Whittaker, Cartwi-ight, Brightman, Bayne, Bradshaw, 
Bolton, Ball, Hildersham, Pemble, Twisse, Ames, Preston, 
Sibbs, Brooke, Pym, Hampden. Which of these the man 
knew to be in hell, I cannot conjecture: it is likely those who 
differed from him in judgment; but till he prove his revelation, 
I shall not believe him. 

(e) Dr. Jane, of whom Baxter gives this account, was one of tlie highest of the 
high churchmen of liis day. His father was a member of the Long- Parliament; one 
of the most decided friends of the king; and author of iheEtKav A^AUJTC,?,\he 'Image 
unbroken/ in answer to Milton's^KcKrTii?, the 'Image broken." The son was 
educated at Westminster and Oxford, and no doubt expected to rise high in the 
church, for his father's services. He does not appear, however, to have advanced 
beyond the deanery of Gloucester, which l;o held with the preccntorslii|) of the 
church of Exeter. He had the principal share in drawing up the famous decree 
passed by the University of Oxford, on the 21st of July, I()83, condemning the politi- 
cal principles and writings of Locke, Baxter, Owen, and others of their description. 
On the 24ih of that month, it was presented to Charles II., in the presence of the 
Duke of York, by Dr. Jane and Dr. Huntingdon, but had the honor to be burnt by 
the common hangman, by order of the House of Lords, in 1710. Notwithstand- 
ing the principles avowed in this document. Dr. Jane was one of four^ sent to 
the Prince of Orange, when on his march to London, with an olTer of the University 
plate, to his highness, who declined itj but Jane thougiit his services then so impor- 
tant, that he U)ok the opportunity of soliciting for himself the see of Exeter. This 
could not be obtained: in consequence of which he remained secretly disaffeclctl to 
King William, during his reign. Jane died in lllG. Birch's Lije of Tillotsov, pp. 



"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 sending me 
to prison, and offered to let me stay till Monday, if I would 
promise not to preach on Sunday, I answered, '/ shall not^ 
equivocating; meaning, I shall not promise, 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 tjieir lives! 
The whole truth is this; Ross and Phillips, being appointed to 
send me to prison, for preaching at Brentford, shut the chamber 
doors, and would neither show nor tell me who was my accuser 
or witness, or let any one living be present but 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 promise any such 
thing: if you hinder me, I cannot help it, but I will not other- 
wise forbear.' Never did I think of equivocation. This was 
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 
per annum for the ground-rent myself, and glad to preach for 
nothing, near it, at a chapel built by another for gain, in Swal- 
low-street.s" It was among the same poor people who had no 
preaching, the parish having sixty thousand souls in it more than 
the church could hold. When I had preached there awhile, 
the foresaid Justice Parry, with one Sabbes, signed a warrant 
to apprehend me, and on the 9th of November, six constables, 
four beadles, and many messengers, were set at the chapel 
doors to execute it. I forebore that day, and afterwards told 
the Duke of Lauderdale of it, and asked him what it was that 
occasioned their wrath against me. He desired me to go and 

(f) The person of whom Baxter g-ives this account was, I apprehend, Charles Ma- 
son, who was made rector of St. Mary Woolchurch, in 1G61, a prebendary of St. 
Paul's in 1663, and collated to the rectory of St. Peter Le Poor, in 1669. He was 
author of two or three sermons, of which I know nothing'., He died in 1677. 

(g) There has been a Scots church in Swallow-street for a great mau}^ years: but 
I believe neither the present building, nor the congregation, arose from the labors of 
Baxter. The English Presbj-terian congregation formed by Baxter's preaching, was 
dissolved about the beginning of last century. Wilsotvs Diss. Churches, vol. iv. pp. 


speak with the Bishop of London.'' I did so, and he spake 
fairly, and with peaceable words; but presently, he having 
spoken also 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 off; I desired the bishop, dierefore, 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 muhitudes 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 w^ill they 
continued guarding the door for above four-and-twenty 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 talce away that excellent, 
faithful minister, Mr. Thomas Wadsworth, of Southwark. Just 
when I was thus kept out at Swaliow-sti-eet, his flock invited me 
to fill his place, where, though I refused to be their pastor, I 
preached many months in peace, there being no justice willing 
to disturb us. This was in 1677. When Dr. William Lloyd 
became pastor of St. Martin's in the Fields, upon I^amplugh's 
preferment,' I was encouraged by Dr. Tillotson, to offer my 
chapel in Oxendon-street'^ for public worship, which he accept- 

(h) Compton was raised to the see of London, on the dcalli of lilnchmnii. Ho had 
formerly been a soldier, and did not take orders till lie was past thirty. Ho was not 
a man of learning', or of much talent. Accordliig' to Jlunict, he was lunnhlcand niod- 
estj but weak, wilful, and stran;^oly wedded to a party. Yet he applied himself dili- 
gently to the business of the diocese; and was considered decidedly oiiposed to Popery. 
Oicn tinirs, vol. ii. p. 14-4. He did not onlirely forgot his martial character after 
he wore lawn sleeves^ for, on the landing of tin; I'rince of Orange, he carried ofl' the 
Princess Anne to Nottingham, and marched into that town at the iiead of a lino troop 
of gentlemen and their attendants, as a guard for her highness. 

(i) Dr. Lamplugh, formerly lector of iit. 3Iarlin's, was raised to the bishopric of 
Exeter, 1G16; and after the lie volution, was made archbishop of York. Judging from 
an anecdote of him told by IJaxter, 'liifc,' par^ iii. pp. 17!!. \~i9, ho must have \n:eu both 
a high and a fierce man. While rector of St. Martin's, he met old JMr. Sanger, a 
Nonconformist, at the liouse of one of his parishioners, who was sick, and accosted 
him, "Sir, what business have you here?" "To visit and pray with niy sick friend, 
who sent for me," was the answer. The doctor then fiercely laid hold of his breast, 
and thrust him to the door, saying, "Get out of the room. Sir;" to the great dismay ol' 
the sick woman, who had shortly before buried her iiusband. 

(k) After the chapel in Oxendon-street, built by Maxtor, liad been a chapel of ease 
to the parish of St. Afartin for more than a century, it foil again iuio the hands of the 
dissenters. The lease of it was taken, in l.'I07, by the Scots sooossion church, thou 
under the ministr}' of the late Rev. Dr. .lermont, who has been succce<loil bv my re- 
spected friend, the Rev. William Broadfoot, its i)rescnl minister. Wilsuii's Dins. 
Cliurches, vol. iv. p. 5G. 

VOL. I. 37 


ed, to my great satisfaction; and now there is constant preach- 
ing there; be it by Conformists or Nonconformists, I rejoice 
that Christ is preached to the people in that parish, whom ten 
or twenty such chapels cannot hold." ^ 

This account of the transaction was some time afterwards 
publicly and shamelessly contradicted. Baxter, in the memoir 
of his wife, had stated that "Dr. Lloyd and his parishioners had 
accepted the chapel for public worship on the offer of himself 
and his wife."*^ The author of 'The Complete History of 
England,' after Calamy's Abridgment of Baxter' was published, 
stated "that this part of the relation, as to the offer of a chapel, 
is known to be false;" thus giving the lie direct to Baxter's own 
declaration. Lloyd, however, then bishop of Worcester, being 
applied to for an explanation of the circumstance, stated "that Mr. 
Baxter being disturbed in his meeting in Oxendon-street by the 
king's drums, which Mr. Secretary Coventry caused to be beat 
under the windows, made an offer of letting it to the parish of St. 
Martin for a tabernacle, at the rent of forty pounds a year; and 
that his lordship hearing it, said he liked it well. That therefore 
Mr. Baxter came to him, and proposed the same thing. He 
then acquainted the vestry with it, which took it upon those 
terms." " Thus the veracity and disinterestedness of Baxter 
were satisfactorily vindicated. Lloyd, who became successively 
bishop of St. Asaph and Worcester, was one of the best in- 
formed men of his profession, and, on the whole, more mod- 
erate in his principles than most of them. 

"About March, 1677, fell out a trifling business, which I will 
mention, lest the fable pass for truth when I am dead. At a 
coffee-house, in Fuller's Rents, where many Papists and Pro- 
testants used to meet together, one Mr. Dyet, son to old Sir 
Richard Dyet, chief justice in the north, and brother to a de- 
ceased, dear friend of mine, the wife of my old, dear friend, 
Colonel Silvanus Taylor," one that professed himself no Papist, 
but was their familiar, said openly that I had killed a man with 
my own hand; that it was a tinker, at my door, who, because he 
beat his kettle and disturbed me in my studies, I went down and 
pistoled him. One Mr. Peters occasioned this wrath, by oft 
challenging, in vain, the Papists to dispute with me; or answer 
my books against them. Mr. Peters told Mr. Dyet that this was 

(1) Life, part iii. pp. 17G 179. 

(m) Breviate of the Life of Mrs. Baxter, 4to. p. 57. 

(n) Calamy's Abridgment, vol. i. p. 348. 

(o) Colonel Taylor was an officer in the parliamentary army, and served some 
years under Cr)lonel Massey. He was an active man in the county of Hereford. 
He appears, however, to have obtained favor after the Restoration, and was appoint- 
ed keeper of the king's stores at Hai-wich, where he died in 1678. He was a great 
antiquary; a distinguished amateur in music, having published 'Court Ayres or Pa- 
vins,' 'Almaine's Corants and Sarabands;' and a good mathematician and linguist. 
^then. Oxon. vol. iii. p. 1175; Aubrey, vol. iii. p. bbb. 


SO shameless 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, 
Mr. 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 especially 
to one whose relations had been my dearest friends; and that he 
was one of the first gentlemen who ever showed so much inge- 
nuity as to confess and ask forgiveness. He told me, he would 
hereafter confess and unsay it, and vindicate me as 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 
coffee-house, Mr. Dyet openly confessed his fault." p 

"In November, 1677, 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 Prov- 
idence, and of opposing Arminianism, greatly corrupted the 
Christian doctrine, and schismatically impugned Christian love 
and concord, hereticating and making odious all who spake not 
as erroneously as themselves. Many of the Independents, in- 
clining 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 two 
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 both among the 
lecturers and the people. The preachers consisted of four Pres- 
byterians and two Independents. I believe tlie 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. C lisp's senti- 

(p) Life, part iii. p. 179. I have not quoted tlie tail-piece of this foolish story. It 
is very odd to find such a man as Baxter accused twice of killing persons. Dr. Bore- 
man's story, to which he alludes, is the affair of Major 'Jennings, of which we have 
given an account, with its refutation, in pp. 56, 57. They must have been greatly at 
a loss for scandal, when it was found necessary to accuse Ba.\ter of murder, 
(q) Life, part iii. p. 182. (r) Neal's Purit. vol. v. p. 'U4. 


"About October, 1678, fell out the murder of Sir Edmund 
Burry Godfrey, which made a very great change in England. 
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, 
Jesuits, priests, and odiers, who were the chief contrivers, and 
said that he himself had delivered to several of the lords their 
commissions: 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 
treasurer. He told who were to be the archbishops, bishops, 
Sic, 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 council. He mentioned a multitude of letters, which he 
himself had carried 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 litde con- 
science was not be believed. His confessions however were 
received by some justices of the peace. None w^as more for- 
ward 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 w^ould confess, or discover the murder. One Mr. Bedlow, 
that had fled to Bristol, began, and confessed that he knew of it, 

(s) Dr. Israel Tongue was one of the city divines, whose head was full of all sorts 
of fancies about Romish plots and cons))iracies. According to Wood, ''he under- 
stood chronology well, and spent much time and money in the art of alchem}'. Ho 
was a person cynical and hirsute, shiftless in the world, yet absolutely free from cov- 
etousness. Aiheji. O.xoji. vol. iii. p. 12(J0. If seems more probable that he was im- 
posed on by OateS;than that he was a party to a scheme of deception. Burnet, vol. 
1. pp. 424,425. 

(t) From Crosby's 'Histor}' of the Baptists/ it appears that this account of Oates 
is substantially correct. He was a Baptist in his youth, and, after running the round 
of religious professions, was, in the latter part of his life, received among them again, 
after a separation of thirty j'cars. In a short time, however, the church with which 
he connected himself was obliged to exclude him. He seems to have been a con- 
summate hypocrite and villain. Crosby, vol. iii. pp. IGtS, 182. 

(u) The death of Sir Edmund Burry Godfrey is a subject involved in great obscu- 
rity. Burnet gives a very minute account of his disappearance, and ol' the state in 
which his body was found, IkU throws no light on the manner in which he came by 
his death. 


and who did it, and named some of the men, the place, and 
time; it was at the queen's house, called Somerset House, by 
Fitzgerald and Kelly, two Papist priests, and four others, Berry, 
the porter, Green, Pranse, and Hill. The priests fled: Pranse, 
Berry, Green, and Hill, were taken. Pranse first confessed all, 
and 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. Thus 
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 condemned, as designing 
to kill the king. Hill, Berry, and Green, were condemned for 
the 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, 
and 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 
Papists' 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;^ but the parlia- 
ment kept off all aspersions from the duke: the hopes of some, 
and the fears of others of his succession prevailed with many. 

"At last, the lord treasurer. Sir Thomas Osborne, made Earl 
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 him, know- 
ing 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 seize on all Mr. 
Montague's letters; who suspecting some such usage, had con- 
veyed away the chief letters; and telling the parliament where 
they were, they sent and fetched them. On the reading of them 
they were so irritated against the lord treasurer, that they im- 
peached him in the Lords' House of high treason. But not 
long after, the king dissolved the long parliament, which he had 
kept up about seventeen or eighteen years. "^ 

(x) The character of Oates was such that no dependence could be placed upon his 
testimony. He appears to have been a finished scoundrel, who was afterwards sent 
lo the pillory for perjury in this aflfair, thouijh he seems to have risen a little in credit 
after the Revolution. There is reason to believe much of this plot was contrived en- 
tirely by him, thou^h some circumstances gave a color of truth to his statements. 
Baxter's account shows the degree of credit which it then geiierallv obtauied. They 
who would examine the subject fully must examine the histories of the peruKl. 

(y) There is little doubt but that bates perjured himself, though it is equally certam 
that Coleman was a great knave, and had acted often in the most unpnncipled man- 
ner. He served masters who made no scruple of sacrificing tiieir servants, afler they 
had accomplished their own ends by [hem. B" met. vol. ii. jip. 'iH^lf). 

(z) The best account which I have met with of the Earl of Danby's admunstration 
and of the circumstances relating to his fall, is Hallam's. That able writer, though 


"About thirty Scotchmen, of which three were preachers, 
were by their council sentenced to be not only banished, but 
sold as slaves, to the American plantations. They were brought 
by ship to London, where divers citizens offered to pay their 
ransom. The king was petitioned for them; and I went to the 
Duke of Lauderdale, but none of us could prevail for one man. 
At last the ship-master was told, that by a statute it was a 
capital crime to transport any of the king's subjects out of 
England, where they now were, without their consent, and so 
he 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 tlie Dutch 
admiral's request, and some of them largely relieved by collec- 
tions in London.^ 

"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, 1678, a new one was 
chosen, and met on the 6th 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 succession. 
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 ones, 

he does not approve of Danby's principles and conduct, nevertheless vindicates him 
from charges, which much more belong to his royal master than to him. Danby es- 
caped 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 committed to the Tower, where he remained till 
1681-, when he was released on bail. He was created Duke of Leeds in 1694. 

(a) The persons here referred to by Baxter were banished from Scotland, for the 
high crime of attending conventicles contrary to law. Severe as the sufferings 
of the Nonconformists in England were at this period, they were nothing 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 inhabitants were spoiled of their 
goodsj cast into prisons, banished, and sold as slaves5 and multitudes of them shot in 
cold blood, and otherwise butchered, sometimes with, and sometimes without, form of 
law. Woodrow's 'History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland,' contains re- 
citals of the most horrible deeds ever perpetrated in a civilized country. 

(b) The Hungarian ministers referred to by Baxter, were driven out of their coun- 
try, or sold for slaves, by the Emperor of Austria. The contest which produced 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 houses sequestered, their persons im- 
prisoned, and dragged to public execution. Two hundred of their ministers were, at 
one time, in the Spanish galleys, coupled with Turks, Moors, and malefactors. It 
was for the relief of such sufferers that British benevolence was excited. Z>e Foe's 
Life and Times, vol. i. p. 91. 


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 sat, 
excited by the confession of Stubbs, that the firing plot went on, 
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 parlia- 
ment will serve the prince's will. 

"On the Lord's day. May 11th, 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 Prot- 
estant religion with their lives and fortunes; and if the king came 
to a violent death, which God forbid, they would be revenged on 
the Papists. The parliament w^as shortly afterwards dissolved 
while it insisted on the trial of the lord treasurer." ^ 

The bill of exclusion afterwards passed the House of Com- 
mons, 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 prin- 
ciples which were well known to characterise the Duke of York. 
In the same session of parliament, which passed the exclusion 
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 25th of Elizabeth, it was pro- 
vided 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, widiout the 
favor of banishment. Both Houses passed a bill to repeal diis 
act. It went heavily indeed in the Lords, for many of the 
bishops, though they were not for putting the law in execution, 
thought the terror of it was of some use, and diat the repeal of 
it would make the party more insolent. On the day of the pro- 

(c) Life, part iii. pp. 183186. 


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 opinion 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 na- 

"There came from among the Papists more and more con- 
verts, that detected the plot against religion and the king. After 
Oates, Bedlow, Everard, Dugdale, and Pranse, came Jervison, 
a gentlemen of Gray's Inn, Smith, a priest, and others; but 
nothing stopped them more than a plot designed to have turned 
all the odium on the Presbyterians and the Protestant adversa- 
ries of Popery. They hired one Dangerfield, to manage the 
matter; but by the industry of Colonel Mansel, who was to have 
been first accused, and Sir William Waller, the plot was fully 
detected; and Dangerfield confessed all, and continueth a stead- 
fast 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 is 
done, and likely to be done so copiously by otherc, that these 
shreds will be of small signification. Every year of late hath 
afforded matter for a volume of lamentations. But that pos- 
terity may not be deluded by credulity, I shall truly tell them, 
that lying most impudently in print against the most notorious 
evidence of truth, in the vending of cruel malice against men of 
conscience, and the fear of God, is become so ordinary a trade, 
that it is likely with men of experience, to pass ere long for a 
good conclusion, dictum vel scriptum est a malignis, ergo fal- 

(d) Buniet, vol. ii. pp. 300, 301. 

(e) The above paragraph refers to the infamous Meal-tub plot, as it was called, from 
the pretended scheme being found in a small book concealed in a mcal-lub. The ob- 
ject of this sham plot, which caused great trouble to some of the Nonconformists, was 
to throw the whole blame of the Popish plot on the dissenters. It was by the good 
providence of God completely defeated. Dangcriicid, of whom IJaxter, by a strange 
mistake, speaks as a good Protestant, was an infamous liar. He was tried for his 
conduct, in King James's reign, sentenced to be whipped at the cart's tail, from New- 
gate to Tyburnj and while undergoing the punishment, was struck on the head b}' a 
student, which caused his death, and for which the fellow was justly hanged. Bur- 
neVs Own IHines, vol. iii. p.:i9. 


sum est. Many of the malignant clergy and laity, especially 
L'Estrange, 'The Observator,' *" and such others, do with so great 
confidence publish the most notorious falsehoods, that I must 
confess it hath greatly depressed my esteem of most history, 
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 far 
from signifying truth, that many for one are downright lies. It 
is no wonder perjury hath grown so common, when the most 
impudent lying hath so prepared the way." s 

Such were the sombre reflections with which Baxter con- 
cludes his brief notices of this period of his history. It is not 
surprising that he was deeply pained, or that he cherished the 
most gloomy forebodings respecting his country. Religion was 
in a very perilous and oppressed condition. The best men had 
been driven out of the church, and their places too generally sup- 
plied by persons who cared little for the terms on which they 
entered, 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 inetficient 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 places, 
or share in their tribulations. The immoralities and profligacy 
of the court, were shocking to every sober and well-constituted 
mind. Its principles and policy were every day more apparent- 
ly at variance with the constitution, freedom, and prosperity of 
the country. Under the influence of France, to which Charles 
had basely sold his country to support his mistresses, the dissent- 
ers were oppressed or eased, persecuted or protected, as the in- 
terests of Popery, and the caprices of despotism or licentiousness, 
might dictate. When they suffered severely, they had not the 
consolation to think, that it was for their own attachment to truth 
and principle they suffered. They were afflicted, 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 concern- 
ed for their wrongs, but that he might promote tlie interests of a 

(f ) 'The Observator,' was a political pamphlet of three or four sheets, which l/Es- 
trange published weekly. Having lived during all the Ironblcs of the coMiilry. and 
possessing an exhaustless ccpia vcrhoriim, which he poured forth wilhout any restraint, 
he was one of the most efficient instruments of a corrupt court which then existed. 
His great object was to defiune the men of principle, whether out of, or in, the church; 
and especially to produce a belief among the clergy, that their ruin was intended. 
He never failed to consult his own interests, and obtained considerable sums for the 
service which he did. Henry Care was one of the ablest of L'Estrange's opponents, 
and his 'Weekly Packet frorn Rome,' was intended as a set-oft' against 'The Obser- 
vator,' and other productions of the same stamp. 

(g) Life, part iii. p. 187. 

YOL. I. 38 


party, which, while it pretended to kiss them as fellow sufferers, 
was preparing to stab them as soon as it had the power. In such 
circumstances, vain 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 
this period, and which seem to have chiefly occupied his time. 
These related mostly, though not exclusively, to the Popish and 
Nonconformist controversies. He published Select Arguments 
against Popery; His Sermon in the Morning Exercises, on the 
same subject; his Roman Tradition Examined; his Naked 
Popery; Which is the True Head of the Church? and. On 
Universal Roman Church Supremacy. All these works were 
on that subject which then so deeply engaged the 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 Answer 
to Dr. Stillingfleet; his Treatise of Episcopacy; his Apology 
for the Nonconformists' Ministry; his Dissent from Dr. Sher- 
lock; his Search for the English Schismatic; and, his Second 
True Defence of the Mere Nonconformists. All these, beside 
his Latin Methodus, and various other pieces of a miscellaneous 
nature, were the production of four or five years only; and those, 
years of sorrow, affliction, and persecution. They evince the 
unsubdued ardor of Baxter's mind, and w^hat importance he at- 
tached to the principles 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 wTong 
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 honor and distinction; his 
conduct and consistency entitle him to an honorable 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 honor, 
how poor are all the distinctions, which wealth and rank can 
bestow! None of the lords, spiritual and temporal, of his day, 
will be known over so great a portion of the world, or remem- 
bered 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, 1676. He 
went into the churchyard, and chose his grave, a few days be- 
fore his death. As a token of his love for Baxter, he left him 
forty shillings in his will; with which, says Baxter, "I purchased 
the largest Cambridge Bible, and put his picture before it, as 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 monument in his 
honor." ^ 

The Rev, Henry Stubbs was born at Upton, on an estate tliat 
was given 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 he took his degrees. He first was minister of St. Phil- 
lip's, Bristol, and afterwards of Chew-Magna. In 1654, he was 
of the city of Wells, and assistant to the commissioners, appoint- 
ed by the parliament to eject ignorant and scandalous ministers. 
The Act of Uniformity found him in Dursley; though he was not 
incumbent 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 in 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 dis- 
abled 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 7tli, 167S, aged 
73, was interred in the new burying-place, Bunhill-fields. Being 
of a charitable disposition, he devoted the tenth part of his in- 
come to pious uses, with which was purchased four pounds per 
annum for Dursley and Horsley, for teaching j^ioor 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 

(h) Life, part ii. p. 181- 

(i) Calamv, vol. ii. p. 318320. It would be very gratifying' to know wliat has 
become of these legacies; whether they are applied for the benefit of the poor, either 
in Bristol or London. 


Baxter preached his funeral sermon, from Acts xx. 24; in the 
course of which he speaks very strongly of the eminent spiritu- 
ality and devotedness of this excellent man. "He was the 
freest," he says, "of most that ever I knew, from that deceit of 
the serpent, mentioned in 2 Cor. xi. 3, who corrupteth men by 
drawing them from the simplicity which is in Christ. His 
breath, his life, his preaching, his prayers, his conference, his 
conversation, were Christian simplicity and sincerity. Not as 
the world calleth simplicity, folly; but as it is contrary to hypoc- 
risy, to a counterfeit zeal, to mere affectation, to a divided heart. 
He knew not how to dissemble or wear a mask; his face, his 
mouth, his whole conversation, laid bare his heart. While he 
passed by all quarrels, few quarrelled with him; and he had the 
happiness to take up head, heart, and time, with only great, 
sure, and necessary things." ^ 

The Rev. John Corbet was born and brought up in the city 
of Gloucester, and a student in Magdalen Hall, Oxon. He be- 
gan his ministry in his native city of Gloucester, and lived for 
some yeai's, 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 mournful 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 after- 
ward remo^^ed to Chichester, and thence to Bramshot, a living 
of more than 200 a year, from which he was ejected in 1662. 
He lived privately in and about London, till the king's indul- 
gence, in 1671, when a part of his old flock invited him to Chi- 
chester, where he continued his labors with great assiduity and 

God afflicted him many years with the stone, but while the 
pain was tolerable to nature, he endured it, and continued to 
preach, till within a fortnight of his being brought up to London 

(k) Works, vol. xvlii, p 71. 

(1) The little work referred to is, 'An Historical Relation of the Military Govern- 
ment of Gloucester, from the Beginuing of the Civil War to the Removal of Colonel 
Massie, 1G45.' He wrote also a 'Vindication of the Magistrates of Gloucester, from 
the Calumnies of Robert Bacon; 1647.' Clarendon has given a long account of the 
siege of Gloucester, v/hich is honorable to the courage and perseverance of the be- 
sieged. His representation of the ambassadors of the people, and their reply to the 
king's summonses, is very graphic, but very ludicrous. "Within less than the time 
prescribed, together with tlie trumpeter, returned two citizens from the town, with 
lean, pale, sharp, and 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 the 
most cheerful hearts sad; for it was impossible such ambassadors could bring less 
than a defiance. The men, without any circumstances of duty or good manners, in a 
pert, shrill, undismayed accent, said, 'They had brought an answer from the godly 
city of Gloucester to the king;' and were so ready to give insolent and seditious an- 
swers to any question, as if their business were chiefly to provoke the king to violate 
his own safe conduct." Hist, of the Rebel, vol. ii. p. 315. Their answer, notwith- 
standing this caricature, was firm and respectful; and Charles, after exerting his ut- 
most strength; was at last obliged to raise the siege. 


to be cut; but before that could be done, he left this for a better 
life, December 26th, 1680."^ His funeral sermon was preached 
by Baxter, who represents him, as a man of great clearness and 
soundness in religion, and blamelessness of conversation. "He 
was of so great moderation and love of peace, that he hated all 
that was against it, and would have done any thing for concord 
in the church, except sinning against God, and hazarding his 
salvation. He was for catholic union and communion of saints, 
and for going no further from any church or Christians than they 
force us, or than they go from Christ. He was for loving and 
doing good to all, and living peaceably with all, as far as w^as 
in his power. Something in Episcopacy, Presbytery, and Inde- 
pendency, he liked, and some things he disliked in all. He was 
true to his conscience, and valued not the interest of a party or 
faction. If all the Nonconformists in England had refused, he 
would have conformed alone, if the terms had been reduced to 
what he thought lawful. He managed his ministry with faith- 
fulness and prudence. He had no worldly designs to carry on, 
but was eminent in self-denial. He was not apt to speak against 
those by whom he suffered, nor was he ever pleased with ripping 
up their faults. He was very careful to preserve the reputation 
of his brethren, and rejoiced in the success of their labors, as 
well as of his own; and a most careful avoider of all divisions, 
contentions, or offences. He was very free in acknowledging by 
whom he profited; and preferring others before himself. He 
was much employed in the study of his own heart; as is evident 
from the little thing of his that is published, called, "Notes of 
Himself,' &ic. He had good assurance of his own sincerity; 
and yet was not altogether without his mixture of fears. He 
had the comfort of sensible growth in grace: he easily perceived 
a notable increase in his faith and holiness, heavenliness, humil- 
ity, and contempt of the world, especially in his latter years, and 
under his affliction, as the fruit of God's correcting rod; and 
died at last in great serenity and peace." " 

Of another man of the same school and character, Baxter has 
left the following memorial: "The Rev. Thomas Gouge was a 
wonder of industry in works of benevolence. It would make a 
volume to recite at large the charity he used to his poor par- 
ishioners at St. Sepulchre's, before he was ejected and silenced 
for nonconformity. His conjunction with Alderman Asluirst 
and some others, in a weekly meeting, to take account of the 

(m) Calamy, vol. ii. pp. 3.32 336. f 

(n) Funeral Sermon. Works, vol. xviii. pp. 185192. The sermon is founded on 
2 Cor. xii. 19, and is one of the most beautiful of Baxter's discourses. It is full of 
striking thoughts and pathos. Corbet was a man altogether to Baxter's taste, and of 
his own mode of thinking. 


honest, poor families in the city that were in great want, he being 
the treasurer and visitor; his voluntary catechising the Christ- 
church boys when he might not preach; the many thousand 
Bibles printed in Welsh, that he dispersed in Wales; 'The Prac- 
tice of Piety;' 'The Whole Duty of Man;' 'My Call,' and many 
thousand of his own writings given freely all over the principal- 
ity; his setting up about three or four hundred schools in it, to 
teach children to read, and the catechism; 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 si- 
lenced minister, who went constantly to the parish churches, and 
was authorised by an old university license to preach occasion- 
ally; yet for so doing he was excommunicated even in Wales, 
while 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 
Baxter, as well as one of the most distinguished lay Noncon- 
formists of that period. He was the third son of Henry Ashurst, 
of Ashurst, in Lancashire, by Casandra, daughter of John Brad- 
shaw, of Bradshaw, in the same county. His father was a man of 
great wisdom and piety, and very zealous for the reformed relig- 
ion 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 whom he was rather 
severely treated. During his apprenticeship, however, he be- 
came decidedly religious, spent most of his spare time in devo- 
tion, and of his spare money in procuring religious books. He 
commenced business as a draper, with 500, in partnership with 
a Mr. Row, wiio left him the whole business in about three years. 
By his wife, he had a fortune of about 1500. From this com- 
mencement, with diligence and economy, he acquired a very 
ample fortune. His generosity and zeal to reheve distress 
during the plague and fire of London, and to the distressed 
Nonconformist ministers, were very great, as has been already 
noticed; but they were not limited to this country. 

So great was his desire of doing good, that not only England, 
Scotland, and Ireland, experienced the benefit of it, but America 

(o) Life, part iii. pp. 190,191. A full account of this excellent man, who seems 
to have been quite an apostle of benevolence, is given in Clark's 'Lives.' Arch- 
bishop Tillotson, then dean of Canterbury, preached his funeral sermon, in which he 
speaks in the highest terms of his piety, philanthropy, and moderation. 


also. His active services for the interests of New England, 
both during the Commonwealth, and after the Restoration, have 
been elsewhere narrated. For nineteen years after the settle- 
ment of the affairs of the New England Society, when he was 
made treasurer, he had, along with the honorable Robert Boyle, 
the chief management of the whole business. Through their 
instrumentality, Elliot was enabled to carry on his evangelical 
labors among the poor Indians, and to translate the Scriptures 
into their language. Mr. Ashurst left in his will a hundred 
pounds to Harvard College, and fifty to the society. He was 
universally beloved and respected for active benevolence, and 
unw^earied zeal in doing good. Among the Nonconformists, he 
acted as a father and a counsellor, while his purse was ever open 
to relieve their wants, and his house for a refuge to them when 
persecuted and oppressed. He paid the fine, rather than serve 
the office of alderman, avoiding as much as possible all connec- 
tion with public affairs. "He was," says Baxter, "my most 
entire friend, and commonly taken for the most exemplary saint 
of public notice in the city. So sound in judgment, of such 
admirable meekness, patience, and universal charity, that we 
knew not where to find his equal. After much suffering and 
patience, he died with great quietness of mind, and hath left 
behind him the perfume of a most honored name, and the me- 
morials of a most exemplary life, to be imitated by all his de- 

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 entides it 'Faithful Souls shall 
be with Christ,' and dedicates it in a most affectionate address 
to his widow; to his son Henry, who, as well as his father, was 
the devoted friend of Baxter, and a lover of all good men; and 
to all his brothers and sisters. "i 

"Near the same time," he says, "died my father's second 
wife, Mary, the daughter of Sir Thomas Hunks, and sister to 
Sir Fulke Hunks, the king's governor of Shrewsbury, in the 
wars. Her mother, the old Lady Hunks, died at my father's 
house, between eighty and one hundred years old; and my 
mother-in-law died of a cancer, at ninety-six, in perfect under- 
standing; having lived from her youth, in the greatest mortification, 
austerity to her body, and constancy of prayer and all devotion, 
of any one that ever I knew. She lived in the hatred of all sin, 
strictness of universal 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 

(p) Life, part iii. p. 189. (q) Works, xviii. p. 121. 


seasons, 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 Psalm, 
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 mother'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: 

'Thus must thy 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 delay, 
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 monument. 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 
marble stone was."^ 

Howe preached the funeral sermon, and dedicated it to her 
husband. The text is, 2 Cor. v. 8; and the discourse is wor- 
thy 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, 

(r) Life, part iii. p. 189. 

(s) Mrs. Baxter's Life, p. 99. Mrs. Baxter's mother died in 1G61. He preached 
a funeral sermon for her at St. Mary Magdalene, Milk-Street, where he then occa- 
sionally officiated. She appears to have been an excellent, devoted Christian. 
Works, xviii. 1 56. 

(t) Howe's Funeral Sermon for Mrs. Baxter, pp. 40, 41. 


commenced on her part, and had almost killed her m conse- 
quence 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, benevolent, 
and intelligent; devoted to the service of Christ; and disposed, 
in every possible, way, to aid her husband in his unwearied 
labors. 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 
faults and virtues. A few passages 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 wdiat we 
were agreed in. She was for universal love of all true Chris- 
tians, and against appropriating the church to a party; and 
against censoriousness and partiality in religion. She was for 
acknowledging all that was of God in Conformists and Noncon- 
formists; but she had much n:iore rev^erence for the elder Con- 
formists than for most of the young ones, wdio ventured upon 
things which dissenters had so much to say against, without 
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 ow"n 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 endeavors and expectations 
still look at greater exactness than I, and such as T, 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 endeavoring to bring me to greater readiness and strict- 
ness 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 w^ould 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 
familiarly instruct them personal]}', beside my ordinary family 
duties, she was troubled at my remissness. And whereas ot 

VOL. I. 39 


late years my decay of spirits, and diseased heaviness and pain, 
made me much more seldom and cold in profitable conference and 
discourse in my house than I had been when I was younger, and 
had more ease, and spirits, and natural vigor, 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 common 
hearers, and harden them under it, as a customary thing; and 
that too much good talk may bring it into contempt, or make it 
ineffectual." ^ 

The death of such a woman, in the prime of life (for she 
was little more than forty when she died,) was an irreparable 
loss to Baxter. She had tenderly nursed him for many years, 
and now, with increased age and infirmity, he was left to sorrow 
over her tomb, though not without hope. The decision of her 
character, the fervency of her piety, the activity and disinter- 
estedness of her Christian benevolence, left no doubt remaining 
that her spirit rested with God, where it has long since been 
joined by that of her much-loved companion and husband. 

CHAPTER XII. 16811687. 

Tlie continued Sufferings of Bnxter Apprehended and his Goods distrained Could obtain 
no Redress General Sullerings of the Dissenters Mayot's Legacy Baxter again appre- 
hended and bound to his good behavior 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 llaxter Apprehended on a Charge of Sedition Brougiit to Trial Indict- 
ment Extraordinary Behavior of Jetferies to Baxter and his Counsel Found Guilty 
Endeavors to procure a New Trial, or a mitigated Sentence His Letter to the Bishop of 
London Fined and imprisoned Remarks on the Trial Conduct of L'Estrange Sher- 
lock Behavior while in Prison The Fine remitted Released from Prison Assists Syl- 
vester in the JVlinistry. 

While friend after friend was consigned to the tomb, and Bax- 
ter was left alone to endure what he justly describes as a living 
death, in the constant and increasing sufferings of his diseased 
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 difficult to deter- 
mine whether he ought more to feel indignant at the treatment 
which an aged, infirm, and most respectable minister of Christ 
endured, from a professedly Christian government, or admira- 
tion of the principles and temper by which it was sustained. 
The first of die iniquitous proceedings is thus described by him- 

(u) Life of Mrs. Baxter, pp. 7680. 


self. The latter part of the statement must toucli the heart of 
every feelmg individual. 

He had retired into the country, from July, 1682, to the 14th 
of August following, when he returned in great 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 24th of August, just that day twenty years that I, and near 
two thousand more, had been by law forbidden to preach. 1 
was sensible of God's wonderful mercy that had kept so many 
of us twenty years, in so much liberty and peace, while so many 
severe laws were in force against us, and so great a number 
were round about us, who wanted neither malice nor power to 
afflict us. I took, that day, my leave of the pulpit and public 
work in a thankful congregation: and it was hke, indeed, to be 
my last. 

"But after this, when I had ceased preaching, and was newly 
risen from extremity of pain, I was suddenly surprised by 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 corporation, 
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 
justices, 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 with the king, and 
told him what the doctor had sworn: so the kins 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 IMr. 
Parry 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 die constables who 

(x) The king said, ^'Lel him die in his bed."Baxttr's Venilcnt Confcasiotis , 
p. 39. 


"But though I sent the justice the written deeds, \yhich 
proved that the goods were none of mhie, nor ever were; and 
sent tuo witnesses whose hands were to those conveyances, and 
offered their oaths of it; and also proved that the books I had 
many years ago ahenated to my kinsman, this signified nothing 
to them, they seized and sold all nevertheless; and both pa- 
tience and prudence forbade us to try the title at law, when v^-e 
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 they had 
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 house, 
w^iich 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 needeth 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, w^re 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 atl 
desire of avoiding suffering from them by concealment; by 
laying on me more himself than man can do. Then imprison- 
ment, 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, loathe myself, contemn the world, and sub- 
mit to the sentence of death with willin2;ness, than otherwise it 
was ever likely to have been. O, how little is it that wrathful 
enemies can do against us, in comparison of what our sin and 


the justice of God can do! and, O, how Htde is it that the best 
and kindest of friends can do for a pained body, or a guilty, sin- 
ful soul, in comparison of one gracious look or word from God! 
Wo be to him that hath no better help than man: and blessed 
is he whose help and hope are in the Lord!"^ 

While we execrate the tyranny which doomed this righteous 
man to so much undeserved suffering, every Christian must un- 
feignedly bless God for the illustrations of the principles and 
power of religion, w^hich Baxter was enabled to afford in such 
trying circumstances. Those who think of him only as a sec- 
tarian, or a wrangling controversialist, must now regard him with 
admiration, exercising the faith and patience of the saints; brav- 
ing danger, enduring pain, despising life, and rejoicing in the 
hope of the glory of God. In his case, tribulation, indeed, 
wrought patience, and patience experience, and experience 
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 Hick's Hall, in Southwark, and by some of the city 
justices. The dissenters were tried by mercenary judges, be- 
fore packed juries, on Irish evidence. Their meetings were 
often interrupted and broken up, and their ministers imprisoned 
and fined. ^ Distress and dismay were every where experienc- 
ed, 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, produced almost univ^ersal mistrust and suspi- 
cion. It was dangerous to give utterance to the expression of 
fear, or hope, and far more, to indulge in the language of com- 
plaint or censure. Every advantage w^as taken, and every dis- 
honorable 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 follow. 

With the statement of Baxter's cause, in reference to his late 
treatment, had he been allowed to present it in court, it is un- 
necessary to occupy these pages. It is a satisfactory defence of 
himself, even as the law then stood; and his own view of it was 
supported by the opinion of eminent counsel. But what signi- 
fies law, when they who occupy the seat of judgment, arc de- 
termined to oppress, and act unjustly. As an evidence of this, 
take the following example: "About this time, one Mi-. Robert 

(y) Life, part iii. pp. 191, 192. (z) Calamy, vol. i. pp. 35G, 357. 


Mayot,^ of Oxford, a very godly man, that devoted all his estate 
to charitable uses, a Conformist, whom I never saw, died, and, 
beside many greater gifts to Abingdon, he, gave, by his last will 
600/., to be by me distributed to sixty poor, ejected ministers, 
adding, that he did it not because they were Nonconformists, 
but because many such were poor and pious. But the king'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, but 
do what they did while they lived." '^ 

Providence mercifully interposed to defeat this unrighteous 
measure. The money was paid into Chancery by order of the 
court, to be applied to the maintenance of a chaplain for Chel- 
sea 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 
thwarts the designs of the wicked, and accomplishes the object 
which his servants have contemplated with a view to his glory. 
A wicked and unjust policy may succeed for a time; but it gen- 
erally 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 
world; so that, long before the final consummation, men may 
draw the conclusion, that there is an essential difference between 
the righteous and the wicked, and "that verily there is a God 
who judgeth in the earth." ^ 

(a) Mr. Mayot was a beneficed clerg'yman of the Church of England. His will 
was made in 167G. He died in 1683. His legacy is a striking proof of the estimation 
in which Baxter was held, not only among the Nonconformists, but among the re- 
spectable part of the Church. 

(b) Sawyer, the attorney-general, was a dull, hot man; and forward to serve all 
the designs of the court. Burnet, ii. 353. 

(c) Roger North, the biographer of this noble family, has given a particular ac- 
count of the Lord Keeper Guilford; from which it would seem that he was a man of 
parts and learning, though he did not appear to great advantage in the court of 
Cbancer3^ He was considered to be too much inclined to favor the court, though 
he seems to have been often sick of its measures. Burnet speaks of him as a 
crafty and designing man; guilty of great mal-administration of justice; and who 
died despised and ill-thought of by the whole nation. Own Times, vol, iii. pp. 
67, 68. 

(d) Life, part iii. p. 198. 

(e) Calamy, vol. ii. p. 361. Some account of this affair is given in Vernon's 'Re- 
ports;' in which Baxter is unjustly represented as swearing that he was a Conformist. 
Whereas he only swears to his answer given in to the attorney-general's bill of com- 
plaint. That answer merely alleges Baxter's moderation in the matters of contro- 
versy with the Church, and his joining, from time to time, in the worship of the Church, 
which it is well known he often did. Baxter's answer, with some appropriate remarks 
on Vernon, by Calamy, is given in the continuation of his 'Account of the Ejected Min- 
isters/ vol. ii. pp. 9229.32. 

(f ) There 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 ministers, who 
were of the pious and charitable principles of the late Rev. Richard Baxter." His 
peculiar manner of devising the legacy gave rise to doubts, as to whether the money 
should be distributed amons: Churchmen or Dissenters. The executrix and the trus- 


"In 1684, while I lay in pain and languishing, the justices of 
the sessions sent warrants to apprehend me, about a thousand 
more being in catalogue to be all bound to their good behavior. 
I thought they would send me six months to prison for not taking 
the 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 bed 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 behavior. 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 w^as number- 
ed with the suspected, and by whose accusation; but they gave 
me good words, and would not tell me. I told them I had 
rather they would send me to jail than put me to wrong others, 
by being bound with me in bonds that I w^as 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 behavior. They 
told me not if they came on other business unexpectedly, and 
not to a set meetings nor yet if we did nothing contrary to law 
and the practice of the church. I told them our innocency was 
not now any security 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 preach- 
ed, and they had thus sworn against very many worthy persons, 
in Hackney, and elsewhere, 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 knew that I was not likely to break 
the behavior, unless by lying in bed in pain." ^ 

The trial of the Rev. Thomas Roswell, at this time, created 
a great sensation in the country. He was minister of Rother- 
hithe, and was imprisoned in the Gate-house, in Westminster, by 
a warrant from Sir George Jefieries, 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 25th, and 
tried November the 18th following, at the King's Bench by a 

tees differed between themselves. But after a considerahle delay llie question was 
brought into the court of Chancery, when the master of the rolls, Sir Joseph Jekyl, in 
a very handsome manner, decided in favor of the Dissenters. Calami/ii Oxen Life, 
vol. ii. pp. 476 478. 
(g) Life, part iii. pp. 198, 199. 


Surrey jury, before Chief Justice JefFeries and three other judges 
of that court, Withins, Holloway, and Walcot. The high trea- 
son, as laid in the indictment and sworn to by the witnesses, was, 
that in a sermon which he preached on September the 14th, he 
said these w^ords: 'That the people,' meaning the subjects of 
our sovereign lord the king, 'made a flocking to the said' sove- 
reign lord the king, 'upon pretence of healing the king's eviL 
which he,' meaning our said sovereign lord the 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 prophets, that, by our prayers, can heal the dolors 
and griefs of the people. We,' meaning the subjects of our said 
sovereign lord the king, 'have had two wncked 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.' And 
'that if diey,' meaning the said evil-disposed persons, then and 
there, so, as aforesaid, with him, unlawfully assembled and gath- 
ered 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 enemies,' meaning 
our said sovereign lord the king and his subjects, 'as in former 
times, with rams' horns, broken platters, and a stone in a sling.' 
The witnesses were three w^omen, who swore to the w^ords as 
they stand, without the inuendos. The trial lasted about seven 
hours. Roswell made a full and luminous defence of himself, 
very modestly, and yet strenuously, vindicating his innocence, to 
the satisfaction of those who w^ere present, and so as to gain the 
applause of many gentlemen of the long robe. The jury, how- 
ever, 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 jus- 
tice have been obtained; but they were screened by the record- 
er, wdio was the person that laid the wdiole scheme, and patched 
up the indictment, 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 or- 
dered JefFeries to find some evasion. Whereupon he assigned 
him counsel afterwards to plead to the insufliciency of the indict- 
ment, in arrest of judgment, and the king gave hun his pardon^ 
after which he was discharged.^ 

(g) Calamy, vol. i. pp. 363 365, 


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 ray bonds of four hundred pounds would have been judged 
forfeit. The more moderate justices, who promised my dis- 
charge, w^ould none of them be there, but left the work to Sir 
William Smith and the rest; who openly declared that they bad 
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, against my declared will, lest I should die in jail, and so 
I must continue. Yet they discharged others as soon as T was 

gone. I was told that they did all by instructions from 

and that the main end was to restrain me from writing; which 
now should I do with the greatest caution, they will pick out 
something 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, w^hen I was gone, one Justice Decrham 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 ac- 
cused 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 19th, 
1684-5, as Mr. Bamfield, Mr. Rhapson, and others, died lately 
before him. The prison where so many are, sufFocateth the 
spirits of aged ministers; but blessed be God, that 2;ave 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, &ic.: the reader must expect none of 
this sort of history from me. No doubt there will be many vol- 
umes of it transmitted by others to posterity; who may do it 
more fullv than I can now do." '' 

(h) Life, part iii. pp. ^ DO, 200. 

VOL. I. 40 


Thus Baxter concludes the interesting memorials which he 
has left of his own age and life. The darkness was now in- 
creased till it had spread universal gloom and despondency. Pri- 
vate 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 
generally proceeded no farther than to mourn over the past, and 
dwell in gloomy forebodings over the prospect of the future, the 
consequences to some of them were most disastrous. Plots and 
conspiracies were hatched to ensnare the innocent and terrify 
the timid. The death, or rather murder, of Lord William Rus- 
sell, 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 abso- 
lute despotism. The corporation of London was deprived of 
its charter, and other towns shared in its fate. Enormous and 
ruinous fines were levied. The judges prostituted their author- 
ity and influence to promote the corrupt designs of the court. 
Juries were browbeaten, and frightened into verdicts which were 
neither according to law nor justice. The clergy in general, 
were either timid and truckling, or destitute of sufficient influ- 
ence to resist the rapid advances which were making towards 
Rom.e. The Nonconformists, oppressed and dispirited, finding 
complaint unavailing, and redress hopeless, surrendered them- 
selves to sufiering, 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 11. was called, unexpectedly, 
to give in his account, on the 6th of February, 1G84-5. His 
character 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 quahties 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 super- 
stition. But Charles the Second had neither the personal vir- 
tues 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 wdtty; but he was heart- 
less, profane, and licentious: equally regardless of his own honor, 
as of his country's good. What had happened to his father, and 
all he had suffered during his own exile, seem to have produced 
no salutary influence on his principles or dispositions. Every 


thing was made subservient to the love and enjoyment of pleas- 
m-e. His ambition was directed solely against 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 honor, and the happiness, of his country, to his mis- 
tresses and his licentious courtiers. Such a man's pretension to 
religion, in any form, is offensive to decency and common sense. 
He was an infidel while he lived in pleasure; and only the fear 
of death drove him to that system 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 ascension of 
James to the vacant throne, were far from flatterina;. His well- 
known attachment and devotedness to Popery, promised nothing 
but ruin to what remained of the religion and liberty of the coun- 
try; while the decided part which the Nonconformists had taken 
in every measure which tended to limit his power, or to exclude 
him from the throne, marked them out to be the objects 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 dis- 
senters; his character of JefFeries, and his remarks on the char- 
acter and trial of Baxter. It does great credit to the discern- 
ment and candor of that eminent man. 

"Partly from similar motives, and partly to gratify the natural 
vindictiveness of his temper, James persevered in a most cruel 
persecution of the Protestant dissenters, upon the most frivolous 
pretences. The courts of justice, as in Charles's days, were 
instruments equally ready, either for seconding the policy, or for 
gratifying the bad passions, of the monarch; and JefFeries, whom 
the late king had appointed chief justice of England a little be- 
fore Sidney's trial, was a man entirely agreeable to the tem])er, 
and suitable to the purposes, of the present government. He 

(i) There are two accounts of tlie doath-bcd of Charles; the one by Protestants, 
the other by Roman Catholics. The former may be cnllcd his Protoslnnl dcaih. 
when he vvas attended by the bishops, wlio spoke to him as the Lord's anoiiilod, and 
requested his blessinj:;'. Bishop Ken absolved him from his sins in tlie presence of 
liis mistress and his illegitimate ofi'spring. The Catholic death is dcscri(>c<l by Father 
Iludleston, who attended and ofliciated in the last ceremonies of the church. From 
this it is very certain thai Cliarles died a Roman Catholic; which in fact he had been 
before the restoration, whatever lie liad pretended to bo to the Nonconformists and the 
Church of England. Both the Popish and the Protestant death of Charles are re- 
corded by Burnet, ii. pp. 4.3G 460. Ellis, in the first series of his letters on English 
history, has given an account of the Protestant death of the king, by the chaplain to 
the Bishop of Ely, who was then in the room. vol. iii. p. 333. In the second series 
he has given Hudleston's account of the Popish death, vol. iv. pp. 78, 80. 


was thought not to be very learned in his profession; 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 limitation, rendered, to such as es- 
poused it, all that branch of law wdiich is called constitutional, 
extremely easy and simple. He was as submissive and mean 
to those above him, as he was haughty 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 regard for morality, or even for de- 
cency, he never failed to animadvert upon, and to punish, the 
most slight deviation in others, with the utmost severity, espec- 
ially if they were persons whom he suspected to be no favorites 
of the court. 

"Before this magistrate was brought for trial, by a jury suffi- 
ciently prepossessed in favor of tory politics, the Reverend Rich- 
ard 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 differ- 
ences between the church and those of his persuasion. The 
pretence of this prosecution was a supposed reference of some 
passages 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 
been 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, and who was supposed to favor the political opinions of 
the whigs."^ 

Thus far Mr. Fox. That Baxter was not a whig was well 
known at court: and that his sentiments as a dissenter were con- 


sideredtobe very moderate, can as little be doubted. The design 
unquestionably was to strike terror into all the Nonconformists, 
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 can be 
safe; if a harmless, uncontroversial paraphrase on the Scriptures 
be construed into a libel, it must be impossible either to state our 
sentiments or defend them, without bringing down upon us the 
heavy arm of the law. These must have been the views of the 
court, and the reasonings of the dissenters respecting this affair. 
The malignant designs of the one, however, and the fears of the 
other, were finally disappointed. 

(k) Fox's History of the Reign of James II. pp. 101103. 


As the trial of Baxter, for the sentiments expressed in his 
^Paraphrase on the New Testament,' ^ is among the most extraor- 
dinary circumstances of his hfe, and one of the most curious 
specimens of the style in which justice was administered by the 
monster who then presided over the justice of his country, it is 
much to be regretted that we have nol an account of it, either 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 hfe. The re- 
port 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 him. From this 
document, and Calamy together, I have endeavored 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 bound to his 
good behavior. They declared, at the same time, that they 
considered him innocent, but did this for security, and till diey 
were prepared. 

On the 28th of February, Baxter was committed to the 
King's-Bench prison, by warrant of lord chief justice JefFeries, 
for his 'Paraphrase on the New Testament,' which had been 
printed a little before; and wdiich was described as a scandalous 
and seditious book against the government. On his commit- 
ment by the chief justice's warrant, he applied for a habeas cor- 
pus, and having obtained it, he absconded into the country to 
avoid imprisonment, till the term approached. He was induced 
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, he 
appeared in Westminster Hall, and an information was then or- 
dered to be drawn up against him. On the 14th of May, he 
pleaded not guilty, to the information. On the ISth 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 him. 
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 his life. 
We have had to do,' said he, 'with other sorts of persons, but 
now we have a saint to deal with; and I know how to deal with 
saints as well as sinners. Yonder,' said he, 'stands Oates in the 
pillory' (as he actually did at diat very time in the New Palace 

(!) A particular account of the Taraplirase on the New Testament/ will be found 
in the socond part of this work, 
(m) Penitent Confessions, p. 40. 


Yard,) 'and he says he suffers for the truth, and so says Baxter; 
but if Baxter did but stand on the other side of the pillory with 
him, I woidd say, two of the greatest rogues and rascals in the 
kingdom stood there.' " 

The following is a copy of the indictment, which, from its 
singular nature, 1 have preferred giving in its original state to a 
translation. Even the mere English reader will have little diffi- 
culty in understanding its scope, and the substance of its mean- 
ing, as it is so much interlarded with quotations from the Para- 

"Quod Richardus Baxter, nuper de, &ic., Clericus existens 
person' seditiosa et factiosa, pravae mentis, impiae, inquietae, tur- 
bulent' disposition' et conversation,' ac machinans, practicans et 
intendens, quantum in ipso fuit, non solem pacem et communem 
tranquilhtat' diet' Dom' Regis infra, hoc regnum Angl' inquie- 
tare, molestare et perturbare, ac seditionem, discord' et malevo- 
lent' int' ligeos et fideles subdit' diet' Dom' Regis movere, 
p'curare et excitare, verum etiam sinceram, piam, beatam, et 
pacificam Protestan' Religion' infra hoc regn' Angl' usitat', ac 
Prelat', Episcopos, aliosq; Clericos in Ecclesia Anglicana legi- 
bus hujus regni Angl' stabilit', ac Novum Testamentu, Dom' 
Salvator' nostri Jesu Christi in contempt' et vilipend' inducere 
et inutile reddere; quodq; p'd' R. B. ad nequissimas, nefan- 
dissimas et diabolicas intention' suas, pred' perimplend' perfici- 
end' et ad effect' redigend' 14 die Febr', anno regni diet Dom' 
Jacobi Secundi, &ic. primo, vi et armis, &c. apud, &c. falso 
illicite, injuste, nequit', factiose, seditiose et irreligiose fecit, 
composuit, scripsit, impressit et publicavit, et fieri, componi, 
scribi, imprimi et publicari causavit, quendam falsum, seditios- 
um, libellosum, factiosum et irreligiosum librum, intitulat' A 
Paraphrase on the Testament, with JVotes doctrinal and prac- 
tical: In quo quidem, falso, seditioso, hbelloso, factioso et irre- 
ligioso libro int' al' content' fuer' has falsae, factiosae malitiosas 
scandalosae, et seditiosas sententiae de eisdem Prelat' Episcopis, 
allisq; Clericis Ecclesiae hujus regn' in his Anglican' verbis se- 
quen', videl't, Note, Are not these Preachers and Prelates 
(Epos aliosq; Clericos, praed' Ecclesiae hujus regn' Angl' innu- 
end') then the least and basest that preach and tread down 
Christian love of all that dissent from any of their presump- 
tions, and so preach down not the least, hut the great command^- 
Et ult' idem Attorn' diet Dom' Regis nunc general' pro eodem 
Dom' Rege dat Cur' hie intelligi et informari, quod in al' loco 
in p'd' falso, scandaloso, seditioso et irreligioso libro, inf al' con- 
tent' fuer' hae al' falsae, libellosae, scandalosae, seditiosae et irre- 

(o) Colonel Dangerfield had been tried before Jefferies, and condemned to be whip- 
ped that morning at Westminster Hall, for the Bleal-Tub plot; so that Jefferies was 
quite in a whipping humor. 


ligiosae sentent' sequent' de Clericis Ecclesia3 hiijiis regn', videl't, 
Note, It is folly to doubt ivhether there be Devils, while Devils 
incarnate live here amongst us (Clericos pred' hujus regni Angl' 
innuendo;) What else but Devils, sure, could make ceremonious 
hypocrites (Clericos pred' innuendo) consult with Politic Roy- 
alists (ligeos et fidel' subdit' diet' Dom' Regis hujus regni Angl' 
innuendo) to destroy the Son of God for saving men's health 
and lives by miracles^ Quasre, Whether, if this withered hand 
had been their own, they would have plotted to kill him, that 
ivould have cured them by a miracle, as a Sabbath-Dreaker? 
And whether their successors (Prelat', Episcopos, Aliosq; Cleri- 
cos Ecclesife hujus regni Angl' qui deinceps fuerint innuendo) 
would silence and imprison godly ministers (seipsum R. B. et 
al' factiosas et seditias as p'son' infra hoc regn' Angl' contra 
leges hujus regni ac Liturg' Ecclesias infra hoc reg' stabilit' 
p'dican' innuendo) if they coidd cure them of cdl their sicknesses, 
and help them, to preferment, and give them money to feed their 
lusts? Et uit' idem Attorn' diet Dom' Regis nunc general' pro 
eodem Dom' rege dat Cur' hie intelligi et informari, quod in al' 
loco in pred' falso, hbelloso, scandaloso et irreligioso libro inter 
al' content' fuer' ha3 al falsae, libellosse, scandalosa35 seditioss et 
irreligiosae Anglican' sentent' sequen' de et concernen' Ep'is 
p'd' et Ministris Justitia? hujus regn' Angl', videl't. Note, Men 
that preach in Chrisfs name (seipsum R. B. et al' factiosas et 
seditiosas p'son' infra hoc regn' Angl' contra leges hujus regn' 
Angl' et Liturg' Ecclesia^ hujus regn' per legem stabilit' pred' 
innuendo) therefore are not to be silenced, though faulty, if they 
(pred malae dispo' it factiosas et seditiosas person' pred' iterum 
innuendo) do more good than harm; dreadful, then, is the case 
of them (Episcopos et Ministros Justitia3 infra hoc regn' Angl' 
innuendo) that silence Chrisfs faithful ministers (seipsum R. B. 
et al' seditiosas et factiosas person' pred' innuendo.) Et ulterius 
idem Attorn' diet' Dorn' Regis nunc general' pro eodem Dom' 
Rege dat Cur' hie intelligi et informari, quod ad excitand' popul' 
hujus regn' Angl' in illicit' Conventicul convenire et defamand' 
Justit' hujus regn' impuniendo illicit' Conv^enticul', in al' loco in 
pred' falso, scandaloso, seditioso, et irreligioso libro, nit' al' con- 
tent' fuer' has al' falsae, scandaloscP, libellosa}, seditiosas et irre- 
ligiosae Anglican'sentent' sequen', videl't, (1) Note, It ivas well 
that they considered ivhat might be said against them, which now 
most Christians do not in their disputes. (2) These Persecu- 
tors, and the Romans, had some charity and consideration, in 
that they were restrained by the fear of the people, and did not 
accuse and fine them as for Routs, Riots, and Seditions. (3) 
They that deny necessary premises are not to be disputed with. 
Et ulterius idem Attorn' diet' Dom' Regis' nunc general' pro 
eodem Dom' Rege' dat Cur' hie intelligi ct informari quod in 


al' loco in pred' falso, scandaloso, seditioso et irreligioso libro, 
intal' content' fuer' has al' fals^e, libellosas, scandalosse, seditiosse 
et irreligiosffi Anglican' Sententias sequent' de et concernen' 
Episcopis et al' Clericis hujus regn' Angl', videl't, (3) Let not 
those proud hypocrites (Episcopos et al' Clericos Ecclesias 
hujus regn' Angl' innuendo) deceive you (subdit' dicti Doni' 
Regis hujus re,gn' Angl innuendo) ivho by their lo7ig Liturgies 
arid Ceremonies, (Liturg' et Ceremon' Ecclesiae hujus regn' 
Angl' innuendo,) and claim of Superiority, do hut cloak their 
Worldliness, 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, quod in al' loco in pred' falso, scandaloso, seditioso 
et irreligioso libro int' al' content' fuer' hse al' falsas, libellosse, 
scandalosse, seditiosEe, et religiosae, Sentent' Anglican' sequent' 
de et concernen' Clericis hujus regn' Angl', (2) Note, Priests 
now are many (Clericos Ecclesia hujus regn' Angl innuendo) 
hut Laborers few; what men are they that have and do silence 
the faithfullest laborers (seipsum R. B. et al' facti' as et sedit' 
as p'son' pred' innuendo) suspecting that they are not for their 
Interest^ (interesse Clericor' Ecciesiae hujus regn' Angl' innu- 
endo.) Et ulterius idem Attorn' dicti' Dom' Regis nunc gen- 
eral' pro eodem Dom' Rege dat Cur' hie intelligi et informari, 
quod in al' loco in pred' falso scandaloso, seditioso et irreligioso 
libro, inter al' content' fuerunt hfE al' falsae libellosae scandalosic, 
seditiosoe et irreligioste sentent' sequen' de et concernen' Cleri- 
cis hujus regn' Angl', videl't, (3) Note, Chrisfs Ministers use 
God's ordinances to save Men, and the DeviVs Clergy (Cleri- 
cos Ecclesioe hujus regn' Angl' innuendo) use them for Snares 
Mischief, and Murder. (2) They (Clericos EcclesiaB hujus 
regn' Angl' innuendo) will not let the people be JVeuters be- 
tween God and the Devil, but force them (subdit hujus regn' 
Angl' innuendo) to he informing Persecutors. Et ulterius idem 
Attorn' dicti' Dom' Regis nunc general' pro eodem Dom' Rege 
dat Car' hie intelligi et informari, quod in al' loco in praed' falso, 
scandaloso, seditioso et irreligioso libro, int' al' content' fuerunt 
hae aliae falsa?, libellosa?, scandalosas seditiosas et irreligiosas sen- 
tentiae Anglicanae sequen' de et concernen' legibus hujus regn' 
Angl' contra illicit' Conventicul' et ad excitand' popul' convenire 
in illicit' Conventical', videl't, (2) Note, To he Dissenters and 
Disputants, against errors and tyrannical impositions, upon 
conscience (leges et statut' hujus regn' Angl' contra person' fac- 
tios' et Liturg' Eccl' hujus regn' Angl' adversar' Angllce,) 
against Dissenters (edit' et provis' innuendo,) is no Fault, but 
a great Duty. In magnam Dei omnipotent' displicent' in con- 
tempt' leg' hujus regn' Angl' manifest' in malum et pernitiosis- 
sim exemplum omniu' al' in tali casu delinquen' ac contra pacem 


dicti Dom' Regis nunc, coron' et dignitat' suas, he. Unde idem 
Attorn' dicti Dom' Regis nunc general pro eodem Dom' Rege 
pet' advisament' Cur' hie in premiss' et debit' legis process' 
versus ipsum prefat R. B. in hac parte fieri ad respond' dicto 
Dom' Regi de et in premiss, &ic." 

On May the 30th, in the afternoon," Baxter was brought to 
trial, before the lord chief justice, at Guildhall. Sir Henry Ash- 
urst, 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 the coming of 
the lord chief justice, who appeared quickly after, 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 he 
received drew plenty of tears from my eyes, as well as from 
others of the auditors and spectators: yet I could not but smile 
sometimes, when I saw my lord miitate our modern pulpit drol- 
lery, which some one saith any man engaged in such a design 
would not lose for a world. He drove on furiously, like Hanni- 
bal 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 Bax- 
ter had burned the city or the temple of Delphos.' But others 
said, it was not the custom, now-a-days, to receive 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 tlie clerk began to read the tide 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 incapa- 
ble of pronouncing whether his 'Paraphrase' was, or was not, 
according to the original text. He dierefore 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 expect- 
ed, was overruled by the court. 'i 

The passages contained in the indictment, were, it is under 
stood, picked out by Sir Roger L'Estrange and some of his 

(n) Hargreaves' State Trials, vol. x. App. p. (37.) The editor expresses hi.s regret 
that no account of this trial exists, except what is ^iven by Calamy. He says, "It 
shows the temper of the chief justice, and the cruel usage of the prisoner." 
(p) Baxter MSS. (q) I^id. 

VOL. I. 41 


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., he. 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 reflected 
on the prelates of the church of England, and so was guilty of 

The king's counsel opened the information at large, with its 
aggravations. Mr. Pollexfen, Mr. Wallop, Mr. WUliams, Mr. 
Rotherham, Mr. Atwood, and Mr. Phipps, were Baxter's coun- 
sel, and had been fee'd by Sir Henry Ashurst. 

(r) As the 'Paraphrase' is not in every body's hands, I have extracted the passa- 
ges and notes referred to in the indictment, and placed them tos^ether, that the read- 
ers may have fairly and fully before them the grounds on which the charge of sedition 
was preferred. Some of the phraseology is pointed and severe, characteristic of 
Baxter's style, but all justly called for by the treatment which he and others had ex- 

Matt. V. 19. ''If any shall presume to break the least of these commands, because 
it is a little one, and teach men so to do, he shall be vilified as he vilified God's law, 
and not thought fit for a place in the kingdom of the Messiahj but he shall be there 
greatest that is most exact in doing and teaching ail the law of God." 

Note. "Are not those preachers and prelates, then, the least and basest, that preach 
and tread down Christian love of all that dissent from any of their presumptions, and 
so preach down, not the least, but ihe great command." 

Mark iii. 6. '"It is folly to doubt whether there be devils, while devils incarnate 
dwell among us. What else but devils, sure, could ceremonious hypocrites consult 
with politic royalists to dcstro}' the Son of God, for saving men's health and lives by 
miracle? Quere: Whether this withered hand had been their own, they would have 
plotted to kill him that would have cured them by a miracle, as a sabbath-breaker? 
And whether their successors would silence and imprison godly ministers, if they could 
cure them of all their sicknesses, help them to preferment, and give them money to 
feed their lusts'?" 

Mark ix. 39. Note. ''Men that preach in Christ's name, therefore, are not to be 
silenced, though faulty: if they do more good than harm, dreadful, then, is the case of 
them that silence Christ's faithful ministers." 

Mark xi. 31. A^ote."It \s well that they considered what might be said against 
them, which now inost Christians do not in their disputes. These persecutors, and 
the Romans, had some charity and consideration, in that they were restrained by 
the fear of 'the people, and did not accuse and line them, as for routs, riots, and 

seditions ' " 

Mark xii. 33 40. Note. "Let not these proud hypocrites deceive you, who, by 
their long liturgies and ceremonies, and claim of superiority, do but cloak their world- 
liness, pride, and oppression, and are religious to their greater damnation." 

Luke X. 2. Note. "Priests now are many, but laborers are few. What men are 
they that hate and silence the faithfulest laborers, suspecting that they are not for 
their interest?" 

John xi. 37. Note. "1. Christ's ministers are God's ordinances to save men, 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 them to be informing per- 

Acts XV. 2. Note. "1. To be dissenters and disputants against eiTors and tyran- 
nical impositions upon conscience is no fault, but a great duty. 2. It is but a ground- 
less fiction of some that tell us that this was an appeal to Jerusalem, because it was 
the metropolis of Syria and Antioch, as if the metropolitan church power had been then 
settled; when, long after, when it was devised, indeed, Antioch was above Jerusalem; 
and it is as vain a fiction that this was an appeal to a general council, as if the apos- 
tles and elders at Jerusalem had been a general council, when none of the bishops of 
the gentile churches were there, or called thither. It is notorious that it was an appeal 
to the apostles, taking in the elders, as those that had the most certain notice of 
Christ's mind, having conversed with him, and being entrusted to teach all nations 
whatever he commanded them, and had the greatest measure of the Spirit; and also, 
being Jews themselves, were such as the Judaising Christians had no reason to sus- 
pect or reject." Baxter^ s Neiv Testament in locis. 


Pollexfen then rose and addressed the court and the jury. 
He stated that he was counsel for the prisoner, and felt that he 
had a very unusual plea to manage. He had been obliged, he 
said, 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 par- 
aphrase of those passages of Scripture which were objected to 
in the indictment, and by whose help he would be enabled to 
manage his client's cause. "I shall begin," said he, "with Dr. 
Hammond; and, gentlemen, though Mr. Baxter made an ob- 
jection 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 profound 
bow, and said, "Yes, sir." 

On this his lordship burst upon Pollexfen, like a fiuy, and 
told him he should not sit there to hear him preach. "No, my 
lord," said Pollexfen, "I am counsel for Mr. Baxter, and 
shall offer nothing but what is ad rem.^^ "Why, this is not," 
said JefFeries, "that you cant to the jury before hand." "I beg 
your lordship's pardon," said the counsel, "and shall then pro- 
ceed to business." "Come, then," said JefFeries, "what do 
you 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 this as belonging to liturgies?" "So do others," replied 
Pollexfen, "of the church of England, who w^ould be loth so to 
wrong the cause of liturgies as to make them a novel invention, 
or not to be able to date them as early as the Scribes and Phar- 
isees." "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 snort- 
ed, 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 w^ill think it is hard measure to 
stop these men's mouths, and not let them speak through dieir 
noses." "Pollexfen," said JefFeries, "I know you well; J. 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 die mighty.' He 
encouraged all the women and maids to bring their bodkins 
and thimbles to carry on their war against the king of ever 
blessed memory. An old schismatical knave, a hypocritical 


"I beseech your lordship," said Pollexfen "suffer mc a word 
for my client. It is well known to all intelligent men of age in 
this nation, that these things do not apply to the character of 
My. Baxter, who wished as well to the king and royal fam- 
ily as Mr. Loi'e, who lost his head for endeavoring to bring 
in the son long before he was restored. And, my lord, Mr. 
Baxter's loyal and peaceable spirit. King Charles w^ould have 
rewarded with a bishopric, when he came in, if he would have 

"Aye, aye," said the judge "we know that; but what ailed the 
old blockhead, the unthankful villain, that he would not conform? 
Was he wiser or better than other men? He hath been, ever 
since, the spring of the faction. I am sure he hath poisoned the 
world with his linsey-woolsey doctrine." Here his rage increas- 
ed to an amazing degree. He called Baxter a conceited, stub- 
born, fanatical dog. "Hang him," said he; "this one old fellow 
hath cast more reproach upon the constitution and discipline of 
our church than will be wiped off this hundred years; but I'll 

handle him for it: for, by G , he deserves 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 church. 
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; my 
business is to plead for my client, and to answer the charge of 
dangerous sedition, which is alleged to be contained in his 
'Paraphrase of the New Testament.' " ^ 

Mr. Wallop said, that he conceived, the matter depending 
being a point of doctrine, it ought to be referred to the bishop 
his ordinary; but if not, he humbly conceived the doctrine was 
innocent and justifiable, setting aside the inuendos, for which 
there was no color, there being no antecedent to refer them to 
(i. e. no bishop or clergy of the church of England named;) 
he said the book accused, i. e. the 'Comment on the New Tes- 
tament,' contained many eternal truths: but they who drew the 
information were the libellers, in applying to the prelates of the 

(s) Baxter MSS. Pollexfen, who acted as first counsel in the trial of Baxter, is 
not mentioned at all in Calamy's account of the trial. The whole that I have given 
above is contained in the manuscript account furnished by a person who was present. 
As far as it proceeds in the remainder of the narrative it agrees with Calamy. Pol- 
lexfen was descended from a good family in Devonshire, and rose to the highest rank 
in his profession. He was counsel for the Earl of Danby, in 1679, was employed by 
the Corporation of London in the afl'air of their charter, and was one of the counsel 
retained for the bishops. He was knighted after the Revolution, and made chief jus- 
lice of the Common Pleas. He died in 1692. Noble's Continuation of Granger, vol. 
i. p. 170. 


church of England, those severe things which were written con- 
cerning 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 gendemen 
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 Jeffe- 
ries, "and I humbly conceive. Swear him, swear him." "My 
lord," said he, "under favor, 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 reflection upon the church of England, than any thing 
contained in the book he is accused for." "Sometimes you 
humbly conceive, 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 some- 
thing of them as well as you; but, in short, must tell you, that if 
you do not understand your duty better, 1 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 the sharp reflections were intended only against the prelates 
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 honorably of 
the bishops of the church of England." 

Baxter added, "My lord, I have been so moderate with re- 
spect to the church of England, that I have incurred the censure 
of many of the dissenters upon that account." "Baxter for 
bishops!" exclaimed Jefteries, "that is a merry conceit indeed: 
turn to it, turn to it." Upon this, Rotherham turned to a place 
where it is said, "that great respect is due to those truly called 
to be bishops among us;" or to that pin*pose: "'Aye," said Jef- 
feries, "this is your Presbyterian cant; truly called to be bishops: 
that is himself, and such rascals, called to be bishops of Kidder- 
minster, and other such places. Bishops set apart by such fac- 
tious, snivelling Presbyterians as himself: 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; "Rich- 
ard, Richard, dost thou think we'll hear thee poison the court? 
Richard, thou art an old fellow, an old knave; thou 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 whip- 
ped out of thy writing trade forty years ago, it had been happy. 
Thou pretendest 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 I see thou'lt go on as thou hast begun; but, by the 
grace of God, I'll look after thee. I know thou hast a mighty 
party, and I see a great many of the brotherhood 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, speak up. What 
doth he say? I am not afraid of you, for all the snivelling calves 
you have got about you:" alluding to some persons who were in 
tears about Mr. Baxter. "Your lordship need not," said the 
holy man; "for I'll not hurt you. But these things will surely 
be understood one day; w^hat fools one sort of Protestants are 
made, to persecute the other." And lifting up his eyes to 
heaven, said, "I am not concerned to answer such stuff; but am 
ready to produce my writings for the confutation of all this; and 
my life and conversation are known to many in this nation." * 

Mr. Rotherham sitting down, Mr. Atwood began to show, 
that not one of the passages mentioned in the information ought 
to be strained to the sense which was put upon them by the inu- 
endos; they being more natural when taken in a milder sense: 
nor could any one of them be applied to the prelates of the 
church of England, without a very forced construction. To 
prove this, he would have read some of the text: but Jefferies 
cried out, "You shan't draw me into a conventicle with your 
annotations, nor your snivelling parson, neither." "My lord," 
said Mr. Atwood, "that I may use the best authority, permit 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 author 
already; though you speak and write impertinently." Atwood 
replied, "I can't help that, my lord, if my talent be no better, 
but it is my duty to do my best for my client." 

JefFeries then went on inveighing against what Atwood had 
published; and Atwood justified it as in defence of the English 
constitution, declaring that he never disowned any thing that he 

(t) Baxter's MSS. 


had written. JefFeries, several times, ordered him to sit down; 
but he still went on. "My lord," said he, "I have matter of 
law to urge for my client." He then proceeded to cite several 
cases wherein it had been adjudged that words ought to be taken 
in the milder sense, and not to be strained by inuendos. 'Well,' 
said JefFeries, when he had done, 'you have had your say.' 

Mr. Williams and Mr. Phipps said nothing, for they saw it 
was to no purpose. At last, Baxter himself said, "My lord, I 
think I can clearly answer all that is laid to my charge, and I 
shall do it briefly. The sum is contained in these few papers, 
to which I shall add a little by testimony." But he would not 
hear a word. At length, the chief justice summed up the matter 
in a long and fulsome harangue. "It was notoriously known," 
he said, "there had been a design to ruin the king and the na- 
tion. The old game had been renewed; and this person had 
been the main incendiary. He is as modest now as can be; 
but time was, when no man was so ready at, 'Bind your kings 
in chains, and your nobles in fetters of iron;' and, 'To your 
tents, O Israel.' Gentlemen, for God's sake, don't let us be 
gulled twice in an age." And when he concluded, he told the 
jury, "that if they in their consciences believed he meant the 
bishops and clergy of the church of England, in the passages 
which the information referred to, and he could mean nothing 
else; they must find him guilty. If not, they must find him not 
guilty." When he had done, Baxter said to him, "Does your 
lordship think any jury will pretend to pass a verdict upon me 
upon such a trial?" "I'll warrant you, Mr. Baxter," said he; 
"don't you trouble yourself about that." 

The jury immediately laid their heads together at the bar, 
and found him guilty. As he was going from the bar, Baxter 
told the lord chief justice, who had so loaded him with re- 
proaches, and still continued them, that a predecessor of his, 
had had other thoughts of him; upon which he replied, "that 
there was not an honest man in End and but what took him for 
a great knave." Baxter had subpoeaned several clergymen, who 
appeared in court, but were of no use to him, through die vio- 
lence of the chief justice. The trial being over. Sir Henry 
Ashurst led him through the crowd, and conveyed him away in 
his coach. "^ 

(u) Sir Henry Asluust, who acted in this truly Christian and noble manner to 
Baxter, feeing his counsel, standing- by him at his trial, and conveying him home in 
his own carnage, was the son of one of his oldest and best friends, and in all rcspecls 
worthy of the family whose honors he sustained and increased, lie married Lady 
Diana, the fifth daughter of William Lord Paget, by whom he had several children. 
She died in August, 1707, when a funeral sermon was preached on the occasion by 
the Rev. Richard Mayo. Sir Henry was the intimate friend and correspondent of 
the Rev. Philip Henry. He published a short life of ilie Rev. Nathaniel llcywood, 
the ejected minister of Ormskirk, which shows that he was not ashamed of his con- 
nection with that despised race of confessors. Sir Henry died at his seat at \Va- 
terstroke, near Coventry, on the 13th of April, 1710-11. See the Lives of Philip and 
Matthew Henry, by Mr. Williams. 


Between the time of his trial, and of his being brought up for 
sentence, Baxter employed what influence he possessed, to pro- 
cure a more favorable result than he had reason to expect from 
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 be- 
half. His letter to the bishop, is W'Orthy of being inserted 
entire. It gives a calm and correct view of his case, shows his 
attachment to the church, the labor he had bestowed to promote 
its interests; and entreats that he might yet be heard before a 
more impartial and competent tribunal. 

"My Lord, 

''Being by episcopal ordination vowed to the sacred 
ministry, and bound not to desert it, w^hen by painful diseases 
and debility I waited for my change, I durst not spend my last 
days in idleness, and knew not how better to serve the church 
than by writing a 'Paraphrase on the New Testament,' pur- 
posely fitted to the use of the most ignorant, and the reconciling 
of doctrinal differences about texts variously expounded. Far 
was it from my design to reproach the church, or draw men 
from it, having therein pleaded for diocesans as successors of 
the apostles over many churches; though I confute the over- 
throwing opinion which setteth them over but one church, deny- 
ing the parishes to be churches. But some persons offended, 
it is like, at some other passages in the book, have thought fit 
to say that I scandalised the church of England; and an infor- 
mation being exhibited in the King's Bench, at a trial before a 
common jury, on my ow^ning the book, they forthwith found me 
guilty without hearing my defence, and I have cause to expect 
a severe judgment, the beginning of the next term. All this is on 
a charge that my unquestionable W'Ords were meant by me to 
scandaHse the church, w^hich I utterly deny. If God will have 
me end a painful, weary life, by such a suffering, I hope I shall 
finish my course with joy; but my conscience commandeth me 
to value the church's strength and honor before my life, and I 
ought not to be silent under the scandal of suffering as an enemy 
to it. Nor would I have my sufferings increase men's prejudice 
against it. I have lived in its communion, and conformed to as 
much as the Act of Uniformity obliged one in my condition; I 
have drawn multitudes into the church, and written to justify the 
church and ministry against separation, when the Paraphrase 
was in the press: and my displeasing writings (w^hose eagerness 
and faults I justify not) have been my earnest pleadings for the 
healing of a divided people, and the strengthening of the church 
by love and concord on possible terms. I owe satisfaction to 
you that are my diocesan, and therefore presume to send you a 
copy ol the information against me, and my answer to the par- 


ticular accusations; humbly entreating you to spare so much 
time from your weighty business as to peruse them, or to refer 
them to be perused for your satisfaction. I would fain send 
with them one sheet, (in vindication of my accused life and loy- 
alty, and of positive proofs that I meant not to accuse the 
church of England, and of the danger of exposing the clergy 
to charges of thoughts and meanings as prejudice shall conjec- 
ture,) but for fear of displeasing you by length. For exposi- 
tions of Scripture to be thus tried by such juries, as often as 
they are but called seditious, is 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 will not be for its interest, I hope 
you will vouchsafe to present my petition to his majesty, that my 
appeal to the church may suspend the sentence till my diocesan, 
or whom his majesty shall appoint, may hear me, and report 
their sense of the cause. By which your lordship will, I doubt 
not, many ways serve the welfare of the church, as well as 

"Obhge your languishing humble servant."'' 

It does not appear that these applications, or any other influ- 
ence employed, w^as of much avail. It will not be thought that 
he received a mitigated sentence, though perhaps this was the 

On the 29th of June, he had judgment given against him. 
He was fined five hundred marks, condemned to lie in prison 
till he paid it, and bound to his good behavior for seven years. 
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 must 
have appeared to be, even to the parties most deeply interested 
in the result. Had JefFeries intended to bring all law and jus- 
tice into contempt, or to render judicial proceedings the object of 
disgust throughout the kingdom, he could not have adopted a 
more effectual method than the conduct he pursued at Baxter's 
trial. The apology which has sometimes been offered for this 
unjust judge, that his cruelties were perpetrated to please his 
royal master, will not, I am afraid, stand the test of a rigid ex- 
amination. That James was cold, and cruel too, cannot be 
doubted; but the conduct of JefFeries on this and similar occa- 
sions, seems 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 

(x) Baxter's MSS. (y) Il>id. 

VOL. I. 42 


admirably qualified for rendering that government an object of 
universal hatred and loathing. Nothing, probably, contributed 
more effectually to the downfall of James's authority, and the 
utter extinction of his influence in the country, than the brutal 
outrages of this man. They may be said to have commenced 
with his treatment of Baxter, and to have terminated with his 
western campaign. His track was marked with blood and mur- 
der, which at last brought down the vengeance of Heaven on 
his infatuated employers, and led to the final deliverance of his 
oppressed and injured country. 

On the legal merits of Baxter's trial, there can now be but 
one opinion. It is highly probable, as has been already re- 
marked, that he was singled out to be the first victim, and with 
a view of striking terror into all his brethren. His services to 
the church, by his writings in her defence, and by the division 
which he mainly contributed to keep up among the dissenters: 
were very considerable. If such a man, therefore, must be 
severely punished, and that for one of the least offensive of his 
publications, what might others expect? The notes fastened on, 
certainly contain no sedition. They do not even name the bish- 
ops, the constitution, or the services of the church of England. 
It was therefore entirely by inuendo^ or insinuation, as the 
counsel alleged, that his words were construed to be an 
attack on the prelates and liturgy of the church. As he was a 
believer in bishops, and no enemy to a liturgy, he could only 
refer to unsuitable persons holding the office, or to the abuse of 
the forms of the church. To constitute allusions to such things 
in a commentary on the Scriptures, high legal offences, endan- 
gering the liberty or lives of the subjects, shows either that the 
court was at a loss for grounds of prosecution, or that even at 
this early period of's reign, a deep-laid plot had been 
formed to ruin the dissenters, and, with them, the liberties of 

At the end of the second edition of the Paraphrase, he left 
the 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'Estrange 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, and attendance under the most reproachful W'Ords, as 
if I had been the most odious person living, and not suffered at 
all to speak 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 accu- 
sations which (after the great clergy search of my book) were 
brought in as seditious. I have altered never a word accused, 
that you may know the worst. What I said of the murderers 


of Christ, and the hypocrite Pharisees and their sins, the judge 
said I meant of the church of England, though I have written 
for it, and still communicate with it." Then follow the passages 
of Scripture, which have been given in a preceding note. 
"These," he adds, were all, by one that knoweth his own name, 
put into their hands, with some accusations out of Rom. xiii., 
as against my life; but their discretion forbade them to use or 
name them." 

The conduct of L'Estrange, in promoting the prosecution of 
Baxter, is only in harmony with