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[160] the army with the settled purpose of causing its defection from Cromwell; but, by one of those dispensations which the latter used to call ‘births of Providence,’ he was stricken down with severe sickness. Baxter's own comments upon this passage in his life are not without interest. He says. God prevented his purposes in his last and chiefest opposition to the army; that he intended to take off or seduce from their officers the regiment with which he was connected, and then to have tried his persuasion upon the others. He says he afterwards found that his sickness was a mercy to himself, ‘for they were so strong and active, and I had been likely to have had small success in the attempt, and to have lost my life among them in their fury.’ He was right in this last conjecture; Oliver Cromwell would have had no scruples in making an example of a plotting priest; and ‘Pitchford's soldiers’ might have been called upon to silence, with their muskets, the tough disputant who was proof against their tongues.

After a long and dubious illness, Baxter was so far restored as to be able to go back to his old parish at Kidderminster. Here, under the Protectorate of Cromwell, he remained in the full enjoyment of that religious liberty which he still stoutly condemned in its application to others.

He afterwards candidly admits, that, under the ‘Usurper,’ as he styles Cromwell, ‘he had such liberty and advantage to preach the Gospel with success, as he could not have under a King, to whom he had sworn and performed true subjection and obedience.’ Yet this did not prevent him from

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