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TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
EARL OF NOTTINGHAM,
LORD HIGH CHANCELLOR OF ENGLAND,
ONE OF HIS MAJESTY'S MOST HONOURABLE PRIVY-COUNCIL.
MY LORD, I TAKE the boldness to present your lordship with some of the fruits of my deceased son's studies in divinity. And since it hath pleased God, to my unspeakable grief and loss, to deprive me of so great a blessing and comfort of my old age; it is no small mitigation of my sorrow, that whilst he lived he was not unprofitable to the world; and that, now he is dead, he hath left those monuments of his piety and learning behind him which, I am told, are generally thought not unworthy to be imparted to the public.
If these Sermons be such, I have no cause to doubt but they will easily obtain your Lordship’s patronage, who are so known a favourer of all that is virtuous and worthy, especially of religion and the ministers of it; of which I had particular experience upon the death of my good son, when your Lordship was pleased, with so much humanity and condescension, to send to comfort me under that sad loss, and to express your own resentment of it.
But whatever these Sermons be, since I have no other way to acknowledge my great obligations to your Lordship upon all occasions, I hope your Lordship will please favourably to accept of this, how small soever, yet sincere testimony of my dutiful respects and gratitude. I am,
and most obedient servant,
L I F E
DR. ISAAC BARROW:
REV. DR. TILLOTSON, DEAN OF CANTERBURY.
Sir, THE affection of friends, or interest of the bookseller, has made it usual to prefix the Life of an author before his works; and sometimes it is a care very necessary to give him a high and excellent character, the better to protect his writings against that censoriousness and misconstruction to which all are subject. What Dr. Barrow has left, do as little as any need such an advantage, standing firm on their own worth ; nay, his Works may supply the want of a history of his life, if the reader take along with him this general remark, that his Sermons were the counterpart of his actions; therein he has drawn the true picture of himself, so that in them being dead he yet speuketh, or rather, is spoken of. (Heb. xi. 4. marg.) Yet we the readers do gladly entertain any hopes of seeing his example added to his doctrine, and we think we express some kind of gratitude for your reviewing, digesting, and publishing his Sermons, if we desire from
his Life too. His Sermons have cost you so much pains, as would have produced many more of your own; if now his Life should ask a farther part of your time, it were still promoting the same ends, the doctor's
honour, and the public good. What memorials I can recollect, I here present you, that when you have refined this ore, it may be admitted as my offering toward his statue. What may be said would have had a stronger impression upon our passions, when they were moved upon the first news of so great a loss; or perhaps it were best to forbear till the publication of all his Works, when the reader will be farther prepared to admire him. But I proceed in the order of time, that the other particulars occurring to your memory, or suggested by other friends, may more readily find their proper place, and so give the better lustre to one another: and this I think the fitter to be observed, because the harmonious, regular, constant tenor of his life is the most admirable thing in it. For though a life full of variety, and even of contrariety, were more easy to be writ, and to most more pleasant to be read, it less deserves to be imitated.
Dr. Isaac Barrow was the son of Mr. Thomas Barrow, (a citizen of London of good reputationa yet living, brother to Isaac Barrow, late lord bishop of St. Asaph b) son of Isaac Barrow, esq. of Spiny Abbey in Cambridgeshire", (where he was a justice of peace for forty years,) son of Philip Barrogh, who has in print a Method of Physic, and had a brother, Isaac Barrow, doctor of physicd, a benefactor to Trinity college, and there tutor to Robert Cecil, earl of Salisbury, and lord treasurer.
a He was linen-draper to king Charles I, to whose interests he adhered, and followed him to Oxford. After the beheading of the king, Thomas Barrow attended his son Charles II, then in exile, and continued with him till the restoration. Pope.
b He was educated at Cambridge, and became fellow of Peter-bouse : but having written against the covenant, he was ejected by the earl of Manchester, chancellor of the uni. versity in 1643, and went to Oxford, where he became chaplain of New College. He continued in Oxford till the surrender of the garrison the parliament forces; after which time he shifted from place to place, and suffered with the rest of the loyal and
orthodox clergy, till the restoration of Charles II ; when he not only recovered his fellowship at Peter-house, but was appointed fellow of Eton. In 1663 he was consecrated bishop of Man; and in 1664 he was made governor of the island by Charles earl of Derby; which office he discharged with considerable reputation. He was a great benefactor to the clergy of the island, having raised a large subscription, by which he bought up all the impropriations from the earl of Derby, and settled them upon the clergy. In 1669 he was translated to the see of St. Asaph; and his consecration-sermon was preached by his nephew, Isaac Barrow, in Henry the Seventh's chapel in Westminster-abbey. The cathedral and palace at St. Asaph were repaired by his liberality, and in other respects he was no small benefactor to the see. He died at Shrewsbury on the 24th of June, 1680, in the 67th year of his age, and was bu. ried in the cathedral at St. Asaph. Wood.
He was born in London, October 1630e: his mother was Ann, daughter of William Buggin, of North Cray in Kent, esq. ; whose tenderness he did not long enjoy, she dying when he was about four
old. His first schooling was at the Charter-house for two or three years, when his greatest recreation was in such sports as brought on fighting among the boys : in his aftertime a very great courage remained, whereof many instances might be set down; yet he had perfectly subdued all inclination to quarrelling, but a negligence of his clothes did always continue with him. For his book, he minded it not; and his father had little hope of success in the profession of a scholar, to which he had designed him. Nay, there was then so little appearance of that comfort which his father afterward received from him, that he often solemnly wished, that if it pleased God to take away any of his children, it might be his son Isaac: so vain a thing is man's judgment, and our providence unfit to guide our own affairs.
Removing thence to Felsted in Essex, he quickly made
c He was born at Gazeby in Suffolk in 1563.
d He died in 1616, and was buried in the church of All Saints in Cam. bridge. Blomefield. He was son of John Barrow of Suffolk, and grandson of Henry Barrow. Ward.
e This date may be inferred from his epitaph, which states him to have died in 1677, at the age of 47; and also from the college register at Peterhouse, which speaks of him as annum agens decimum quartum at the time of his admission in 1643. But Dr. Pope asserts, upon the authority of Barrow himself, that his birthday fell upon the 29th of February : “and, if “ he said true, it could not be either “ in October or in 1630, that not “ being a leap-year.”