« PreviousContinue »
I TAKE the boldness to prefent your Lordship with some of the fruits of my deceased Son's ftudies in divinity. And fince it hath pleafed God, to my unspeakable grief and loss, to deprive me of fo great a bleffing, and comfort of my old age; it is no small mitigation of my forrow, that whilft 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 fuch, I have no caufe to doubt but they will eafily obtain your Lordship's patronage, who are so known a favourer of all that is virtuous and worthy, especially of religion and the minifters of it; of which I had particular experience upon the death of my good Son, when your Lord
ship was pleased, with so much humanity and condefcenfion, to send to comfort me under that fad lofs, and to express your own refentment of it.
But whatever thefe Sermons be, fince I have no other way to acknowledge my great obligations to your Lordship upon all occafions, I hope your Lordfhip will please favourably to accept of this, how small foever, yet fincere teftimony of my dutiful respects and gratitude. I am,
Your Lordship's most obliged
and moft obedient fervant,
DR. ISAAC BARROW:
REV. DR. TILLOTSON, DEAN OF CANTERBURY.
THE affection of friends, or interest of the bookfeller, has made it ufual to prefix the life of an author before his works; and sometimes it is a care very neceffary to give him a high and excellent character, the better to protect his writings against that cenforiousness and misconstruction to which all are fubject. What Dr. Barrow has left do as little as any need fuch an advantage, ftanding firm on their own worth; nay, his Works may fupply 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, fo that in them being dead he yet Speaketh, or rather, is spoken of. (Heb. xi. 4. marg.) Yet we the readers do gladly entertain any hopes of feeing 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 defire from you 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 ftill promoting the fame ends, the Doctor's honour, and the public good. What memorials I can recollect, I here prefent 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 impreffion upon our paffions, when they were moved upon the first news of fo great a lofs; or perhaps it were beft 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 fo give the better luftre to one another: and this I think the fitter to be obferved, because the harmonious, regular, conftant 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 deferves to be imitated.
Dr. Ifaac Barrow was the fon of Mr. Thomas Barrow, (a citizen of London of good reputation yet living, brother to Ifaac Barrow, late Lord Bishop of St. Asaph,) fon of Ifaac Barrow, Efq. of Spiny Abbey in Cambridgeshire, (where he was a Justice of Peace for forty years,) son of Philip Barrough, who has in print a Method of Phyfic, and had a brother, Ifaac Barrow, Doctor of Phyfic, a benefactor to Trinity College, and there tutor to Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, and Lord Treasurer.
He was born in London, October 1630: his mother was Ann, daughter of William Buggin, of North Cray in Kent, Efq; whofe tenderness he did not long enjoy, the dying when he was about four years old.
His firft fchooling was at the Charter-house for two or three years, when his greatest recreation was in such sports