Richard Baxter’s “End Of Controversy” -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 012:46 (Apr 1855)
Article: Richard Baxter’s “End Of Controversy”
Author: Anonymous


Richard Baxter’s “End Of Controversy”

On the 21st of January, 1691, Mr. Baxter wrote the Preface to this celebrated treatise. The title of the treatise is: “An End of Doctrinal Controversies which have lately troubled the Churches by Reconciling Explication without much Disputing. Written by Richard Baxter. Psalm 120:6-7, My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace; but when I speak, they are for war. Luke 9:46, 49, 50, 54-55, There arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest, etc. London: Printed for John Salusbury, at the Rising Sun, Cornhill, 1691.” On the 8th of December, 1691, Baxter died. Of course, the present treatise could not have been published many months before his decease. Parts of the treatise, however, had been, for twenty years, lying by him in manuscript. The work, therefore, may be presumed to contain his latest and maturest views. Notwithstanding all that has been said with regard to his theological fluctuations, this treatise develops a good degree of harmony pervading the entire course of his theological speculations. He changed his opinions sometimes. Not seldom has he contradicted himself; so did Dr. Owen and Dr. Twisse contradict themselves; but most of the contradictions found in Baxter’s later works, were found in his earlier also. In one sense, he was consistent with himself in adhering to them.

A succinct but luminous and richly suggestive view of Baxter’s theological system, spirit, and history, was given in two Articles of the Bibliotheca Sacra, Vol. IX. pp. 135-169, 300–329. The only doubts which we have heard expressed with regard to the entire impression of those Articles, were derived

from the suspicion, that Baxter may have modified his theological system toward the close of his life. The design of the present Article is to give a brief synopsis of the last important theological work which Baxter published, and thus to exhibit the symmetry between the principles laid down in his “End of Controversy “and the principles which were ascribed to him in the ninth volume of the Bibliotheca Sacra, and were advocated by him in the volumes, Catholic Theologie and Methodus Theologiae Christianae, which he published in his earlier, although, intellectually, not in his more vigorous, manhood.

The same spirit characterizes the present volume which distinguishes his preceding works. It is a spirit of conciliation, but of decided invective against the divines who refuse to be conciliated, and to whom he applies t...

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