Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Baxter, Richard, was born at Rowton, Shropshire, November 12th, 1615. His parents were poor, and his early education was neglected. He was very diligent, however, in acquiring knowledge, his taste inclining towards religious philosophy. At first he sought to make his way at court, and with an introduction to Sir Henry Herbert set out for London. After a month at Whitehall, followed by an illness, he resolved upon a career in the church. At the age of twenty-three he was ordained by the Bishop of Worcester, and became master of Dudley grammar school. He soon acquired popularity as a preacher, and was next appointed assistant to a Bridgenorth clergyman. In 1641 he was invited to become minister of Kidderminster, where with interruptions he remained for about nineteen years - the interruptions being due to the Civil war. Though a supporter of monarchy, he yet sympathised with the Puritans; and though he sympathised with the Puritans, he yet did not go the whole length of considering episcopacy unlawful. His position was thus a difficult one, and Worcester being a cavalier stronghold, Baxter withdrew to Gloucester and thence to Coventry, where he preached regularly to the garrison and citizens for about a couple of years. After acting as chaplain to Colonel Whalley's regiment, and being present at the sieges of Bridgewater, Exeter, Bristol, and Worcester, he was invited back to Kidderminster, where at this period he produced his Saints' Rest and Call to the Unconverted. After the Restoration he was appointed one of the king's chaplains, and exerted himself chiefly, though futilely, in endeavouring to bring about a reconciliation between the contending church factions. The Act of Uniformity compelled him to sever his connection with the church altogether, and he settled in 1663 in Acton, Middlesex, where he devoted his time to authorship. By the Act of Indulgence (1672) he was enabled to return to London, and in 1685 he was condemned to pay a fine for alleged sedition. The fine was not paid, and Baxter, though now seventy years of age, lay in prison for two years. Thereafter he lived in peace, dying December 8th, 1691. He was a very prolific writer, his publications exceeding 160 in number. Dean Stanley named him "the chief of English Protestant sohoolmen."