A second very rare, local Kederminster printed tract by Richard Baxter. It appears to have been written in response to local abuse and disregard for the Ministry via Quaker local preachers who made claims of immediate inspiration to untrained, uneducated preachers and derided the need for a standing Ministry. Seekers and Papists are thrown in, but it seems the primary target is Quakers. The upside is we end up with a wonderful articulation of Baxter's theology of the ministry and an account of many of his personal practices and values as a pastor. Penned in August of 1657 and printed only once.
Baxter, Richard. One Sheet for the Ministry, Against Malignants of all Sorts. London. Printed by Robert White, for Nevil Simmons, Bookseller, in Kederminster, Anno Dom. 1657. First and only edition. 14pp.
"As mans first felicity was attended with the malice of the Serpent, so is the wonderful work of his Restauration. The promise of Reconciliation by the seed of the woman, is joyned with a proclamation of open war with the Serpent and his seed. The enmity was hottest in the Devil and his seed against Christ himself, who bare and overcame it, and is become the Captain of our salvation, that his Church may overcome by his Cross, and Strength, and Conduct; The next degree of malice is against his officers: the most eminent, the General Officers had the hottest assault; and his ordinary Officers bear the next: That we shall be hated of all men for the name of Christ, is still verified to our experience. Not only the openly prophane abhor us for our work sake, but false-hearted professors that turn from the truth do presently turn Malignants against the Ministry; and many weak ones that are better minded, are dangerously seduced into a guilt of the sedition. To all these I here proclaim in the name of the word of the Lord, [Numb 16.26 "Depart I pray you from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins"] Which I shall now open to you."
"The office of the Ministry is an undoubted Ordinance of God, to continue in the Church to the end of the world. No man can pretend that they ceased with the Apostles; for it is God's will that ordinary fixed Presbyters shall be ordained in every Church. And Pastors and Teachers are appointed for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the Ministry, and edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to a perfect man. A Ministry authorized to Disciple the Nations, baptize and teach them, is instituted by Christ as King and Saviour, and have his Promise to be with them alway to the end of the world. The same necessity and work continueth; still souls are born and bred in darkness; and how shall they be saved without believing, or believe without hearing, or hear without preaching, or we preach without sending? There is a clearer word in the Gospel for the Ministry then the Magistracy; though enough for both."
"These sects that are against the Ministry do all the same work as the Drunkards, Whore-mongers, Covetous, and all ungodly persons in our Parishes do: And therefore it seems they are guided by the same spirit. It is the work of Drunkards and all these wicked wretches to hate, and despise, and revile the Ministers, and to teach others to say as they. And just so do Quakers, Seekers, Papists, and all other Malignants reproach the same Ministers: And yet the blind wretches will not see that the same Spirit moveth them."
"It is apparent that it is the Devil's game they play, and his interest and Kingdom which they promote. Who fights against Christ's Officers and Army, but the General of the contrary Army? What greater service could all the world do for the Devil then to cast out the Ministers of Christ? And what more would the Devil himself desire, to set up his Kingdom and suppress the Church? Wretches! You shall shortly see your master, and he will pay you your wages contrary to your expectation."
"But you have not the Spirit, and therefore are no true Ministers [they say]. Answ. And how prove you that we have not the Spirit? He that is sanctified hath the Spirit: Prove us unsanctified, and we will resign our Office. Object. You read your Sermons out of a Paper; therefore you have not the Spirit. Answ. A strong argument! I pray you take seven years time to prove the consequence. As wisely do the Quakers argue, that because we use spectacles, or hour-glasses, and pulpits, we have not the Spirit. It is not want of your abilities that makes Ministers use notes: it's a regard to the work and good of the hearers. I use notes as much as any man, when I take pains; and as little as any man when I am lazy, or busie, and have not leisure to prepare. It's easier to us to preach three Sermons without Notes then one with them. He is a simple preacher that is not able to preach all day without preparation, if his strength would serve: especially if he preach at your rates."
Removed from a larger sammelband at some point; complete as issued. First and only edition. Sewing fragile. Textually complete and clean. Final leaf closely cropped at top header, not impacting actual text but cutting across header. Not reprinted in his theological or practical works.