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[180] the character of Baxter as a writer. ‘What works of Mr. Baxter shall I read?’ asked Boswell of Dr. Johnson. ‘Read any of them,’ was the answer, ‘for they are all good.’ He has left upon all the impress of his genius. Many of them contain sentiments which happily find favor with few in our time: philosophical and psychological disquisitions, which look oddly enough in the light of the intellectual progress of nearly two centuries; dissertations upon evil spirits, ghosts, and witches, which provoke smiles at the good man's credulity; but everywhere we find unmistakable evidences of his sincerity and earnest love of truth. He wrote under a solemn impression of duty, allowing neither pain, nor weakness, nor the claims of friendship, nor the social enjoyments of domestic affection, to interfere with his sleepless intensity of purpose. He stipulated with his wife, before marriage, that she should not expect him to relax, even for her society, the severity of his labors. He could ill brook interruption, and disliked the importunity of visitors. ‘We are afraid, sir, we break in upon your time,’ said some of his callers to him upon one occasion. ‘To be sure you do,’ was his answer. His seriousness seldom forsook him; there is scarce a gleam of gayety in all his one hundred and sixty-eight volumes. He seems to have relished, however, the wit of others, especially when directed against what he looked upon as error. Marvell's inimitable reply to the High-Church pretensions of Parker fairly overcame his habitual gravity, and he several times alludes to it with marked satisfaction; but, for himself, he had no heart for pleasantry.

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