Thursday, 4 August 2011

Baxter on that day

"When the Act of Uniformity was passed," says Richard Baxter in his autobiography, "it gave no longer time than till Bartholomew's day, Aug. 24, 1662, and then they must be all cast out. This fatal day called to remembrance the French massacre, when, on the same day, thirty or forty thousand Protestants perished by Roman religious zeal and charity. I had no place of my own; but I preached twice a week, by request, in other men's 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 did 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 intended to conform or not; for, had I staid to the last day, some would have conformed the sooner, from a supposition that I intended it. These, with other reasons, moved me to cease three months before Bartholomew's day, which many censured for a while, but, afterwards, better saw the reasons of it."

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