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[172] passive obedience to the King or ruling power, and the right of that power to enforce conformity. He wrote against conformity while himself conforming; seceded from the Church, and yet held stated communion with it; begged for the curacy of Kidderminster, and declined the bishopric of Here. ford. His writings were many of them directly calculated to make Dissenters from the Establishment, but he was invariably offended to find others practically influenced by them, and quarrelled with his own converts to Dissent. The High Churchmen of Oxford burned his Holy Commonwealth as seditious and revolutionary; while Harrington and the republican club of Miles's Coffee-House condemned it for its hostility to democracy and its servile doctrine of obedience to kings. He made noble pleas for liberty of conscience and bitterly complained of his own suffering from Church courts, yet maintained the necessity of enforcing conformity, and stoutly opposed the tolerant doctrines of Penn and Milton. Never did a great and good man so entangle himself with contradictions and inconsistencies. The witty and wicked Sir Roger L'Estrange compiled from the irreconcilable portions of his works a laughable Dialogue between Richard and Baxter. The Antinomians found him guilty of Socinianism; and one noted controversialist undertook to show, not without some degree of plausibility, that he was by turns a Quaker and a Papist!

Although able to suspend his judgment and carefully weigh evidence, upon matters which he regarded as proper subjects of debate and scrutiny,

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