Thursday, 4 August 2011

More Baxter

"And now," Baxter continues " came in the great inundation of calamities, which in many streams, overwhelmed thousands of godly Christians together with their pastors. ... (1) Hundreds of able ministers with their wives and children had neither house nor bread; for many of them had not past thirty or forty pounds per annum apiece, and most but sixty or eighty pounds per annum, and few had any considerable estates of their own. (2) The people's poverty was so great, that they were not able much to relieve their ministers. (3) The jealousy of the state and the malice of their enemies were so great, that people that were willing durst not be known to give to their ejected pastors, lest it should be said that they maintained schism, or were making collections for some plot or insurrection. (4) The hearts of the people were much grieved for the loss of their pastors. (5) Many places had such set over them in their steads, as they could not with conscience or comfort commit the conduct of their souls to: and they were forced to own all these"... receiving the sacrament in the several parishes whether they would or not. (6) Those that did not this were to be excommunicated, and then to have a writ sued out against them de excommunicato capiendo, to lay them in the jail, and seize on their estates." Baxter lengthens out this catalogue of evils by enumerating the many divisions among ministers and among Christians which the great controversy of the time occasioned, the murmuring and complaining of the people against the government; and he concludes with the remark that "by all these sins, these murmurings, and these violations of the interest of the church and the cause of Christ, the land was prepared for that further inundation of calamities, by war and plague, and scarcity, which hath since brought it near to desolation."

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