Denied the prospect of political office, the dissenting movement had to return to making its appeal through prayer, preaching and argument. It had to accommodate itself once more to the role of a minority religion and to restate its philosophy in terms that were significant to a new age. Like the early Christians, after the fall of Rome to the Barbarian, they sought their St. Augustine. They looked for someone to explain their new situation and help them guide their lives in a strange land. At this moment, Richard Baxter, `the most learned, the most practical, and the most persuasive' of its Restoration propagandists, produced just the definitive account of a moderate Puritanism which the times called for, detailing a system of belief and, especially, a code of conduct which, while loyal to basic principle, combined both rigour and realism in its precepts.
Described by Tawney as 'in essence a Puritan "Summa Theologica" and "Summa Moralis" in one,' 1 Baxter's great Christian Directory is a final statement of English Puritanism at its moment of crystallization and it presents us with the fullest working out of those more equable aspects of Calvinism which have found acceptance in our attitudes towards life, work and recreation.