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Jim’s Quote of the Day:

On The Great Plague of London: “And now, after all the breaches on the churches, the ejection of the ministers, and impenitency under all, wars, and plague, and danger of famine began all at once on us. War with the Hollanders, which yet continueth; and the driest winter, and spring, and summer that ever man alive knew, or our forefathers mention of late ages; so that the grounds were burnt like the highways where the cattle should have fed! The meadow grounds, where I lived, bare but four loads of hay, which before bare forty. The plague hath seized on the most famous and most excellent city of Christendom; and, at this time, eight thousand and near three hundred die of all diseases in a week. It hath scattered and consumed the inhabitants, multitudes being dead and fled. The calamities and cries of the diseased and impoverished are not to be conceived by those that are absent from them! Every man is a terror to his neighbour and himself; for God, for our sins, is a terror to us all. Oh! how is London, the place which God hath honoured with his gospel above all the places of the earth, laid low in horrors, and wasted almost to desolation, by the wrath of God, whom England hath contemned; and a God-hating generation are consumed in their sins, and the righteous are also taken away, as from greater evil yet to come.
‘The number that died in London, besides all the rest of the land, was about a hundred thousand, reckoning the Quakers, and others that were never put in the bills of morality, with those that were in the bills. The richer sort removing out of the city, the greatest blow fell on the poor. At the first, so few of the most religious sort were taken away, that, according to the mode of too many such, they began to be puffed up, and boast of the great difference which God did make; but quickly after, they all fell alike. Yet not many pious ministers were taken away: I remember but three, who were all of my own acquaintance.
‘It is scarce possible for people, that live in a time of health and security, to apprehend the dreadfulness of that pestilence! How fearful people were, thirty or forty, if not a hundred miles from London, of anything that they bought from any mercer’s or draper’s shop! or of any goods that were brought to them! or of any person that came to their houses! How they would shut their doors against their friends! and, if a man passes over the fields, how one would avoid another, as we did in the time of wares; and how every man was a terror to another! Oh, how sinfully unthankful are we for our quiet societies, habitations, and health!’
Many of the ejected ministers seized the opportunity of preaching in the neglected or deserted pulpits, and in the public places of resort, to the terror-stricken inhabitants of London; and blessed results followed. ‘Those heard them one day often, that were sick the next, and quickly died. The face of death did so awaken both the preachers and the hearers, that preachers exceeded themselves in lively, fervent preaching, and the people crowded constantly to hear them; and all was done with such great seriousness, as that, through the blessing of God, abundance were converted from their carelessness, inpenitency, and youthful lusts and vanities; and religion took that hold on the people’s hearts, as could never afterward be loosed.” – Richard Baxter, from Richard Baxter, The Pastor’s Pastor (Baxter was a Reformed pastor in the 17th century, and both a prolific and influential writer.)