Baxter: A Holy Commonwealth

Baxter: A Holy Commonwealth

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A Holy Commonwealth was written in 1659 by the Puritan minister Richard Baxter (1615-91), and proved to be the most controversial of all his works. He publicly repudiated it in 1670, and in 1683 the Oxford University authorities ordered it to be part of a book-burning that included the works of Hobbes and Milton. The scandal that surrounded it has obscured its merits as the most candid of confessions as to why a conservative Puritan fought for Parliament in the Civil War and gave his support to the Cromwells. The views it expresses are at variance with the cautious explanations given in Baxter's later memoirs (now seen as a less reliable source than past commentators have presumed). This edition of A Holy Commonwealth makes available to modern readers a work which offers a unique perspective on the relation between church and magistrate and the origins of the English Civil War.
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"Lamont's edition of 'A Holy Commonwealth' judiciously extracts the substance of the full work, including, for the first time in a modern edition, all of the three hundred eighty theses as well as those explanatory comments which contain new material...For the first time, students have access to the full range of Baxter's arguments without having to wade through the original, parts of which are redundant. The result is brilliant." Richard Greaves, Church History
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Table of contents

1. There is a God that is mans creatour, proved; 2. God is the Soveraign ruler of Mankind; 3. Of the Constitution of this Kingdom of God; 4. Of the Administration of the Universall Kingdom; 5. Of a particular Commonwealth in generall subordinate to the Universall; 6. Of the divers sorts of Commonwealths; 7. Of the Fundation, efficient and conveying Causes, and means of power; 8. Of the best forms of Government and happyest Commonwealth; 9. How a Commonwealth may be reduced to its Theocraticall temper; 10. Of the Soveraigns power over the Pastors of the Church; 11. Of the Soveraigns prerogatives; 12. Of due Obedience to Rulers, and of Resistance; 13. An Account of the Reasons that perswaded me (and many others) to take up Armes in obedience to the Parliament in the Late Warres.
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