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‘  be brought to an end.’ In themselves considered, many of the points at issue seem altogether too trivial for the zeal with which Baxter contested them,—the form of a surplice, the wording of a prayer, kneeling at sacrament, the sign of the cross, etc. With him, however, they were of momentous interest and importance, as things unlawful in the worship of God. He struggled desperately, but unavailingly. Presbyterianism, in its eagerness for peace and union and a due share of State support, had already made fatal concessions, and it was too late to stand upon non-essentials. Baxter retired from the conference baffled and defeated, amidst murmurs and jests. ‘If you had only been as fat as Dr. Manton,’ said Clarendon to him, ‘you would have done well.’ The Act of Conformity, in which Charles II. and his counsellors gave the lie to the liberal declarations of Breda and Whitehall, drove Baxter from his sorrowing parishioners of Kidderminster, and added the evils of poverty and persecution to the painful bodily infirmities under which he was already bowed down. Yet his cup was not one of unalloyed bitterness, and loving lips were prepared to drink it with him. Among Baxter's old parishioners of Kidderminster was a widowed lady of gentle birth, named Charlton, who, with her daughter Margaret, occupied a house in his neighborhood. The daughter was a brilliant girl, of ‘strangely vivid wit,’ and ‘in early youth,’ he tells us, ‘pride, and romances, and company suitable thereunto, did take her up.’ But erelong, Baxter, who acted in the
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