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BLESSED STATE OF THE SAINTS,
Enjoyment of God in Heaven.
A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED.
Written by the Reo. Richard Baxter.
TO WHICH ARE ADDED,
A SERIOUS ADDRESS TO PENITENTS,
By the Rev. John Fletcher.
MR. BAXTER'S EPITAPH.
(Printer in Ordinary to His Majesty .)
87, Bartholomew Close.
MR. Richard Baxter, the anthor of the Saint's Rest, so well known to the world by this, and many other excellent and useful writings, was a learned, laborious, and eminently holy divine, of the 17th century. He was born near Shrewsbury, in 1615, and died at London, in 1691.
His ministry, in an unsettled state, was for many years employed with great and extensive success, both in London, and in several parts of the country; but he was nowhere fixed so long, or with such entire satisfaction to himself, and apparent advantage to others, as at Kidderminster.His abode there was indeed interrupted partly by his bad health, but chiefly by the calamities of a civil war, yet in the whole it amounted to sixteen years; nor was it by any means the result of his own choice, or that of the inhabitants of Kidderminster, that he never settled there again, after his going from thence in 1660. Before his coming thither, the place was over-run with ignorance and profaneness; but, by the divine blessing on his wise and faithful cultivation, the fruits of righteousness sprung up in rich abundance. He at first found but a single instance or two of daily family prayer in a whole street, and, at his going away, but one family or two could be found in some streets that continued to neglect it. And on Lord's days, instead of the open profanation to which they had been so long accus
tomed, a person, in passing through the town, in the intervals of public worship, might overhear hundreds of families engaged in singing psalms, reading the scriptures, and other good books, or such sermons as they had wrote down, while they heard them from the pulpit. His care of the souls committed to his charge, and the success of his labours among them, were truly remarkable; for the number of his stated communicants rose to six hundred, of whom he himself declared, there were not twelve concerning whose sincere piety he had not reason to entertain good hopes. Blessed be God, the religious spirit which was thus happily introduced, is yet to be traced in the town and neighbourhood in some degree: (0 that it were in a greater!) and in proportion as that spirit remains, the name of Mr. BAXTER continues in the most honourable and affectionate remembrance.
As a writer, he has the approbation of some of his greatest contemporaries, who best knew him, and were under no temptations to be partial in his favour.--Dr. Barrow said, “ His practical writings were never mend“ ed, and his controversial ones seldom confuted.”— With a view to his casuistical writings, the honourable Robert Boyle, esq. declared, “He was the fittest man “ of his age for a casuist, because he feared no man's “ displeasure, nor hoped for any man's preferment.” - Bishop Wilkins observed of him, “ That he had “ cultivated every subject he had handled; that if he “ had lived in the primitive times, he would have “ been one of the fathers of the church; and that it “ was enough for one age to produce such a person as “ Mr. Baxter.” Archbishop Usher had such high thoughts of him, that by his earnest importunity he put him upon writing several of his practical discourses, particularly that celebrated piece, his Call to the Unconverted. Mr. Manton, as he freely expressed it, “ thought Mr. BAXTER came nearer the apostolical “ writings than any man in the age.”-And it is both as a preacher, and a writer, that Dr. Bates considers him, when in his funeral sermon for him he says, “ In his