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latest posterity, are Baxter, Bates, Howe, Owen, Pool, Charnocke, Philip Henry, Goodwin, Jackson, Calamy, Flavel, Gilpin, Clarke, Gale, Greenhill, Jacomb, Jenkins, Manton, Mead, Newcomen, and many more of equal merit and kindred spirit. In this galaxy of Christian excellence and pre-eminent talent, Baxter shone as a star of the first magnitude. He was beyond comparison the most voluminous author of that age of voluminous authorship. For example, the works of Bishop Hall amount to ten volumes octavo; Jeremy Taylor's to fifteen; Dr. John Goodwin's to twenty; Dr. Owen's to twenty-eight; but Baxter's would exceed sixty volumes. We have an edition of his practical and spiritual works in twenty-two large octavo volumes; but these form only a small part of what he wrote. And yet he was a martyr to sickness and pain throughout his whole life; and his labors as a minister and his engagements in public business formed his chief employment for many years, so that he speaks of writing as a kind of recreation from more severe duties! Baxter's writings have been divided into twelve classes: 1. Works on the Evidences of Religion; 2. Doctrinal Works; 3. Works on Conversion; 4. Works on Christian Experience; 5. Works on Christian Ethics; 6. Works on Catholic Communion; 7. Works on Nonconformity; 8. Works on Popery; 9. Works on Antinomianism; 10. Works on Quakerism, Baptism, and the Millennium; 11. Political and Historical Works; 12. Devotional Works. In theological warfare he was a giant; as a controversialist, on every subject he took in hand, whether political or religious, he had no equal in his day; and in every department in which he employed his talents as a writer, they appeared to great advantage. If some of his controversial works have been objected to for their severity, his devotional works have been universally admired for their sweetness and elevated tone of hallowed feeling. Grainger, in his invaluable Biographical Dictionary, says-" Richard Baxter was a man famous for weakness of body and strength of mind; for having the strongest sense of religion himself, and exciting a sense of it in the thoughtless and the profligate; for preaching more sermons, engaging in more controversies, and writing more books, than any other Nonconformist of his age. He spoke, disputed, and wrote with ease; and discovered the same intrepidity of spirit when he reproved Cromwell, and expostulated with Charles II., as when he preached to a congregation of mechanics. This champion of Nonconformists was the butt of every other religion, and of those who were of no religion at all. But this had no effect upon him: his presence and his firmness of mind on no occasion forsook him. He was just the same man when he went into a prison, while he was in it, and when he came out of it; and he maintained a uniformity of character to the last gasp of his life. His enemies have placed him in hell; but any man that has not ten times the bigotry that Baxter himself had, must conclude that he is in a better place." Dr. Isaac Barrow said, that Baxter's "practical writings were never mended, and his controversial ones seldom answered." In reference to his controversial writings, the Honorable Robert Boyle has observed, that "he was the fittest man of the age for a casuist, because he feared no man's displeasure, and hoped for no man's preferment." Bishop Wilkins has observed respecting him, that "he had culti
vated every subject which he had handled-and if he had lived in the primitive times, he would have been one of the fathers of the Church;" and "it was enough for one age to produce such a man as Baxter." Dr. Bates, in his sermon preached at the funeral of Baxter, says " his books of practical divinity have been effectual for more numerous conversions to God than any printed in our time; and while the church remains on earth, will be of continual efficacy to recover lost souls. There is a vigorous pulse in them that keeps the reader awake and attentive." Dr. Doddridge has observed in a letter to a friend-"Baxter is my particular favorite. It is impossible to tell you how much I am charmed with the devotion, good sense, and pathos, which are everywhere to be found in him. I cannot forbear looking upon him as one of the greatest orators, both with regard to copiousness, acuteness, and energy, that our nation hath produced; and if he hath described, as I believe, the temper of his own heart, he appears to have been so far superior to the generality of those whom he charitably hoped to be good men, that one would imagine that God raised him up to disgrace and condemn his brethren; to show what a Christian is, and how few in the world deserve the character." Dr. Adam Clarke has also remarked, that " as a useful writer, as well as a successful controversialist, Mr. Richard Baxter has deservedly ranked in the highest order of divines of the seventeenth century. His works have done more to improve the understanding and mend the hearts of his countrymen than those of any other writer of his age. While the English language remains, and Scriptural Christianity and piety to God are regarded, his works will not cease to be read and prized by the wise and pious of every denomination."
Of the practical and devotional works of Baxter, none have exceeded in usefulness and popularity throughout the Christian world, for a century and a half, those whose titles stand at the head of this article; to excite additional interest in the perusal of which we have introduced these remarks respecting the age and character of their sainted author. If any stronger interest can be awakened in the mind of the reader to the perusal of these works, it will arise from the circumstances under which the "Saints' Everlasting Rest" and the "Dying Thoughts" were written. The "Everlasting Rest" was written when the author was languishing in suspense between life and death; when, as he says, he "was sentenced to death by the physicians." In the dedication of the original unabridged work to his flock, the inhabitants of Kidderminster, (Works, vol. xxii, pp. 1, 2,) Baxter gives the following touching account of the origin and writing of that imperishable book:
Being in my quarters, far from home, cast into extreme languishing by the sudden loss of about a gallon of blood, after many years' foregoing weaknesses; and having no acquaintance about me, nor any books but my Bible, and living in continual expectation of death, I bent my thoughts on my 'Everlasting Rest; and because my memory, through extreme weakness, was imperfect, I took my pen and began to draw up my own funeral sermon, or some helps for my own meditations of heaven, to sweeten both the rest of my life and my death. In this condition God was pleased to continue me about five months from home; where, being able
for nothing else, I went on with this work, which so lengthened to this which here you see. It is no wonder, therefore, if I be too abrupt in the beginning, seeing I then intended but the length of a sermon or two; much less may you wonder if the whole be very imperfect, seeing it was written, as it were, with one foot in the grave, by a man that was betwixt living and dead, that wanted strength of nature to quicken invention or affection, and had no book but his Bible while the chief part was finished, nor had any mind of human ornaments if he had been furnished. But O how sweet is this providence now to my review, which so happily forced me to that work of meditation which I had formerly found so profitable to my soul, and showed me more mercy in depriving me of other helps than I was aware of, and hath caused my thoughts to feed on this heavenly subject, which hath more benefited me than all the studies of my life!"
The very title of this book awakens in the mind of the Christian the most delightful associations; and every page of it awes him into self-inspection and caution, and places before the eye of faith and hope the glorious rest of the heavenly state "in a light so strong and lively, that all the glittering vanities of this world vanish in their comparison, and a sincere believer will despise them, as one of mature age does the toys and baubles of children." The Saints' Rest was first published in 1650; his "Dying Thoughts" were published upward of thirty years afterward, shortly before his death, "for his own use on the latter times of his corporal pains and weakness, and originally intended to be left to his executors for publication." The following preface, which we publish entire, will tell to the reader's heart, as well as inform his mind of the occasion and circumstances which produced the publication of the แ Dying Thoughts:"
CC THE PREFACE TO THE READER.
"Reader,-I have no other use for a preface to this book, but to give you a true excuse for its publication. I wrote it for myself, unresolved whether any one should see it; but at last inclined to leave that to the will of my executors to publish or suppress it when I am dead, as they saw cause. But my person being seized on, and my library, and all my goods distrained on by constables, and sold, and I constrained to relinquish my house, (for preaching, and being in London,) I knew not what to do with multitudes of manuscripts that had long lain by me, having no house to go to, but a narrow hired lodging with strangers: wherefore I cast away whole volumes, which I could not carry away, both controversies and letters practical, and cases of conscience; but having newly lain divers weeks, night and day, in waking torments, nephritic and colic, after other long pains and languor, I took this book with me in my removal, for my own use in my farther sickness. Three weeks after, falling into another extreme fit, and expecting death, where I had no friend with me to commit my papers to, merely lest it should be lost, I thought best to give it to the printer. I think it is so much of the work of all men's lives to prepare to die with safety and comfort, that the same thoughts may be needful for others that are so for me. If any mislike the title, as if it imported that the author
is dead, let him know that I die daily, and that which quickly will be, almost is. It is suited to my own use. They that it is unsuitable to may pass it by. If those men's lives were spent in serious, preparing thoughts of death, who are now studying to destroy each other, and tear in pieces a distressed land, they would prevent much dolorous repentance. RICHARD BAXTER."
The "Reformed Pastor" claims the devout attention of every minister who would, in spirit and life, be thoroughly quickened and furnished unto every good word and work; and the "Now or Never" urges, with the most intense earnestness and affection, matters of infinite moment upon the consideration of every person who is not prepared for death and judgment.
It will scarcely be necessary for us, after what has been stated, to solicit for these books a fresh perusal and a more extensive circulation among all classes of Christians who desire and are praying for the revival and promotion of pure and undefiled religion in the land. We cannot, however, conclude this notice without making one remark. How often are the severest privations and sufferings of individual Christians contributary to their own meetness for heaven and the instruction and salvation of others! Had not Richard Baxter been confined upon a bed of languishing for months, at a distance from home, and secluded from all other intercourse except that which he held with God and heaven, "The Saints' Everlasting Rest" would not have been inherited by the church. Had he not suffered protracted pain, and, like the ancient witnesses for Christ, been persecuted and imprisoned, "being destitute, afflicted, tormented," succeeding generations of the inquiring and wrestling children of God would not have been blessed with his " Dying Thoughts;" which have instrumentally proved "thoughts" of life and immortality to myriads. So the afflictions, persecutions, and sufferings of individual Christians in the present day, may not only result in a large accession of spiritual knowledge and wealth to themselves, but prove the morning splendor of the church's purity, happiness, and glory, in coming generations.
"Ye fearful souls, fresh courage take!
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
Three of the above-mentioned works, viz., The Reformed Pastor, A Call to the Unconverted, and The Saints' Everlasting Rest, are published and for sale at the Methodist Book-Store, 200 Mulberry. street, New-York.
From the North American Review:
The Teacher, or Moral Influence employed in the Instruction and Government of the Young. New Stereotype Edition, with an additional chapter on "the First Day in School." By JACOB ABBOTT, late Principal of the Mt. Vernon Female School, Boston, Mass. Boston: Published by Whipple & Damrell, 1839.
AMONG the endless variety of systems and plans for education, it is comfortable to think that bright scholars and excellent men have come out from under the most unpromising regimen, and have VOL. X.-Oct., 1839. 60
often formed themselves without any rule or system whatever. This is not saying, however, that all systems are equally good, or that it is matter of no consequence what system is pursued. And, whatever plan is determined on, it ought to propose, as the most important preparatory step, to teach a child the habit of fixing his attention for a certain time upon a certain thing; and this, not because it is particularly pleasant or attractive in itself, though care should be taken that it should not be made unnecessarily otherwise. When a child finds, that, by giving his attention for a very short time to a given subject, either the letters which make a word, or any thing else, he conquers a difficulty, and fixes the word or the number in his mind, he enjoys the pleasure of successful labor, and has learned a lesson he will not forget. He will be willing to make a similar effort the next day; and by patiently going on in this way, a good habit of study will be formed, with very little time spent at each separate trial. This of course can be done best at home, where the hours and moments are under the teacher's control, and where the moment the point is gained the child can be set at entire liberty. It forms a most excellent preparation for school; as the pupil, having learned the art of application, and having been taught in this way to study, will be able to enter with pleasure into the routine of the school, the operations of which, however, should be varied as much as possible, since young children so soon weary of real application.
Even at school, however, something like this sort of training would not be impracticable. If the teacher could devote the time which he spends in hearing a class spell, for instance, to hearing the pupils who compose it, each in succession, spell the words from the book, two or three times-and it would hardly take longer to do this, than to hear the words boggled over and passed down the class, as is often the case-the time would be better spent, and the children would know more about the words than if they had sat in the usual listless way over their books for an hour. After this exercise, the books might be put away, and the attention of the children turned to something else; and they would thus escape the danger of getting listless, idle habits, which are so apt to follow the usual methods of studying in school. They know that they must stay there a certain time, whether they are idle or not, and they know that they must hold the book and try to study till the time comes to recite; and they learn to make the best of the matter, and amuse themselves as well as they can in looking around the school, and taking notice how others are occupied.
When this habit of fixing the attention is formed and forming, a good exercise for it is to strengthen the memory by getting things by heart, as we say. This practice has been abused; and it is not uncommon, at the present time, to hear the attempt to store the memory with words and facts spoken of with disapprobation. But the great facility children have in committing things to memory seems to show that nature has intended some use should be made of this power in early life. There are many things of a mechanical and technical kind which it is very important to have fixed in the mind, which, learned in childhood, are never forgotten, and which are acquired much easier in early childhood than in after life. And