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Baxter was one of the most influential of the Puritans. He recognised the value of writing about 170, which have sold in tens of millions since. The amazing thing is that whilst he was such a prolific author he also exercised an exemplary pastoral ministry, preached to Oliver Cromwell and Charles II, and was hounded by the authorities.
Baxter was eventually imprisoned by the notorious ‘bloody’ judge Jeffreys whom Baxter obviously exasperated “I see the rogue in your face”. said Jeffreys during the trial, “I was not aware my face was so true a mirror”. Shot back Baxter.
During his pastorate at Kidderminster in England he, and one assistant, were catechising 800 hundred families per year by taking them in groups of 14 or 15 families on Mondays and Tuesdays. On Thursdays, Baxter acted as an informal judge, settling forms of conscience. The effect on the community was such that ‘the jails in Kidderminster were empty’ at this time – yet he considered all this as secondary to his writing.
Baxter’s autobiography is fascinating because you can read the thoughts behind his plans, actions and concerns. Not only do you get an insight into the Puritan mind but also a survey of the society.
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