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Protestant Autobiography in the Seventeenth-Century Anglophone World$
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Kathleen Lynch

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199643936

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199643936.001.0001

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Beyond the lives of particular men

Beyond the lives of particular men

Chapter:
(p.233) 5 Beyond the lives of particular men
Source:
Protestant Autobiography in the Seventeenth-Century Anglophone World
Author(s):

Kathleen Lynch

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199643936.003.0006

Richard Baxter’s Reliquiae Baxterianae was published posthumously. As edited by Matthew Sylvester and Edward Calamy, it became an important model for history writing from an eyewitness perspective in the early eighteenth century. Baxter failed to achieve religious comprehension, but as one of the cornerstones of the collection of Dr. Williams’s Library in London, his manuscripts were a unifying factor for a nonconformist community that achieved toleration after the abdication of James II. Reliquiae Baxterianae is best understood as a refusal to identify a single determinative moment of change in a life. Baxter was labeled a political and religious extremist by Sir Roger L’Estrange, for A Holy Commonwealth (1659) which seemed to celebrate Richard Cromwell’s Protectorate. Baxter’s printed repudiation of this work stands as a singular event in his long public life and prolific writings, many published by Nevill Simmons. It is the axis around which his copious autobiographical materials revolve.

Keywords:   Richard Baxter, Reliquiae Baxterianae, A Holy Commonwealth, Dr. Williams’s Library, Sir Roger L’Estrange, Nevill Simmons, religious comprehension, toleration

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