Richard Baxter (1615 – 1691)
Although Richard Baxter was the only son, he lived the first 10 years of his life with his maternal grandparents, instead of his own parents due to his father’s debt and gambling habit and mother’s poor health. But upon returning, Baxter had a good serious talk with his father, Richard Baxter, Sr. who since had converted through the reading of scriptures, it was through these serious talks with his father that Richard Baxter recounted as his conversion point.
Richard did not have much formal education, but mostly learnt through his self-reading, he was deeply influenced by authors like William Perkins, Richard Sibbes and Ezekiel Culver. He then enrolled into a grammar school and was persuaded not to enroll into university and instead was mentored for 18 months under Richard Wickstead, the chaplain of Ludlow Castle.
At the age of 23, Baxter was ordained deacon and therefore had joined the conformist, thinking that they had a better cause. Baxter would later develop a deeper appreciation for nonconformity when he served briefly for 9 months as assistant minister at Bridgnorth, Shropshire. Baxter also had accompany the army during the early days of Civil War, and was compelled to leave in 1647 due his his prolonged illness. It was during this period of illness that Baxter wrote the first part of ‘The Saints’ Everlasting Rest‘.
In the ensuing years, Baxter laboured laboriously through pain as he served at Kidderminster, in which the congregation grew not only in numbers, but also in godliness. In 1662, almost at the age of 50, Baxter was ejected from the Church of England because of the Act of Uniformity. It was also around this time where Baxter married Margaret Charlton, this marriage at first raised some consternation, due to their age disparity (Margaret was in her early 20s then). But their fears were dispelled after the excellence of their marriage was seen by others.
For his remaining years, Baxter would be hounded by magistrates, with possessions being confiscated and imprisoned various times. All these lasted until 1989, 2 years before Baxter eventually died, where the Toleration Act was passed. Baxter spent his remaining time writing and eventually penned about 150 treaties, not counting his hundreds of unpublished letters and papers.
Here are some of his works:
A Call to the Unconverted: here, and here (free international shipping), mobi, pdf, html (Some discernment is required for this work since Richard Baxter do hold some weird stance towards a hypothetical kind of universalism)
The Practical Works of Richard Baxter:
23 Vols: Go to here
Reliquiae Baxterianae: None currently, but here’s an upcoming project on it
One of the best kindle deals for Baxter:
Four of his works in one (Reformed Pastor, The Causes and Danger of Slighting Christ and His Gospel, Saints’ Everlasting Rest, A Call to the Unconverted) in mobi ($0.99)