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fortunately happened, Mr Baxter, that eminent Non-conformist was one, who afterwards gave Dr Wilkins a visit, and commended the Sermon to that degree, that he said, he never heard a better Dis
There was also amongst those who stayed out the Sermon, a certain young man, who thus accosted Dr Barrow as he came down from the pulpit: 'Sir, be not dismayed, for I assure you, 'twas a good Sermon.' By his age and dress he seemed to be an apprentice, or, at the best, a foreman of a shop, but we never heard more of him. I asked the Doctor what he thought, when he saw the congregation running away from him ? 'I thought,' said he, “they did not like me, or my Sermon, and I have no reason to be angry with them for that.' But what was your opinion,' said I, of the apprentice?' 'I take him,' replied he, to be a very civil person, and if I could meet with him I'd present him with a bottle of wine.' There were then in that parish a company of formal, grave, and wealthy citizens, who having been many years under famous ministers, as Dr Wilkins, Bishop Ward, Bishop Reynolds, Mr Vines, &c. had a great opinion of their skill in divinity, and their ability to judge of the goodness and badness of Sermons. Many of these came in a body to Dr Wilkins, to expostulate with him, why he suffered such an ignorant, scandalous fellow, meaning Dr Barrow, to have the use of his pulpit. I cannot precisely tell whether it was the same day, or some time after in that week, but I am certain it happened to be when Mr Baxter was with Dr Wilkins. They came, as I said before, in full cry, saying, they wondered he should permit such a man to preach before them, who looked like a starved cavalier, who had been long sequestered, and out of his living for delinquency, and came up to London to beg, now the King was restored; and much more to this purpose. He let them run their selves out of breath, when they had done speaking, and expected an humble submissive answer, he replied to them in this manner: “The person you thus despise, I assure you, is a pious man, an eminent scholar, and an excellent preacher: for the truth of the last, I appeal to Mr Baxter here present, who heard the Sermon you so vilify: I am sure you believe Mr Baxter is a competent judge, and will pronounce according to truth;' then turning to him, “Pray, Sir,' said he, do me the favour to declare your opinion concerning the Sermon now in controversy, which you heard at our church the last Sunday.' Then did Mr Baxter very candidly give the Sermon the praise it deserved, nay more, he said, “That Dr Barrow preached so well, that he could willingly have been his auditor all day long. When they heard Mr Baxter give him
this high encomium, they were pricked in their hearts, and all of them became ashamed, confounded, and speechless; for, though they had a good opinion of their selves, yet they durst not pretend to be equal to Mr Baxter; but at length, after some pause, they all, one after another, confessed, they did not hear one word of the Sermon, but were carried to mislike it by his unpromising garb and mien, the reading of his prayer, and the going away of the congregation; for they would not by any means have it thought, if they had heard the Sermon, they should not have concurred with the judgment of Mr Baxter. After their shame was a little over, they earnestly desired Dr Wilkins to procure Dr Barrow to preach again, engaging their selves to make him amends, by bringing to his Sermon their wives and children, man-servants and maid-servants, in a word, their whole families, and to enjoin them not to leave the church till the blessing was pronounced. Dr Wilkins promised them to use his utmost endeavour for their satisfaction, and accordingly solicited Dr Barrow to appear once more upon that stage, but all in vain, for he would not by any persuasions be prevailed upon to comply with the request of such conceited, hypocritical coxcombs.”
“ He had one fault more, if it deserves that name, he was generally too long in his Sermons; and now I have spoken as ill of him as the worst of his enemies could, if ever he had any: he did not consider, that men cannot be attentive to any discourse of above an hour's duration, and hardly so long, and that therefore even in plays, which are discourses made for diversion, and more agreeable to mankind, there are frequent pauses and music betwixt the acts, that the spectators may rise from their seats and refresh their weary bodies and minds. But he thought he had not said enough, if he omitted anything that belonged to the subject of his Discourse, so that his Sermons seemed rather complete Treatises, than Orations, designed to be spoke in an hour; hereof I will give you two or three instances. He was once requested by the Bishop of Rochester then, and now Dean of Westminster, to preach at the Abbey, and withal desired not to be long, for that auditory loved short Sermons, and were used to them. He replied, 'My Lord, I will shew you my Sermon; and pulling it out of his pocket, puts it into the Bishop's hands. The text was in the tenth chapter of the Proverbs, the latter end of the eighteenth verse, the words these; He that uttereth slander is a liar. The Sermon was accordingly divided into two parts, one treated of slander,
the other of lies? The Dean desired him to content himself with preaching only the first part, to which he consented, not without some reluctancy, and in speaking that only it took up an hour and a half. This Discourse is since published in two Sermons, as it was preached Another time, upon the same person's invitation, he preached at the Abbey on a holiday: here I must inform the reader, that it is a custom for the servants of the church upon all holidays, Sundays excepted, betwixt the Sermon and Evening Prayers, to shew the tombs and effigies of the Kings and Queens in wax, to the meaner sort of people, who then flock thither from all the corners of the town, and pay their twopence to see “The play of the dead volks,' as I have heard a Devonshire clown not improperly call it. These perceiving Dr Barrow in the pulpit after the hour was past, and fearing to lose that time in hearing, which they thought they could more profitably employ in receiving,—these, I say, became impatient, and caused the organ to be struck up against him, and would not give over playing till they had blowed him down. But the Sermon of the greatest length was that concerning Charity, before the Lord Mayor and Aldermen at the Spittle; in speaking which, he spent three hours and a half. Being asked, after he came down from the pulpit, whether he was not tired; “Yes, indeed,' said he, 'I began to be weary with standing so long?!”
“ All the while he continued with the Bishop of Salisbury I was his bedfellow, and a witness of his indefatigable study; at that time he applied himself wholly to divinity, having given a divorce to mathematics and poetry, and the rest of the Belles Lettres, wherein he was profoundly versed, making it his chief, if not only business, to
1 As usual, Pope is inaccurate. He does not give even the text correctly ; nor is he right about the division of the subject-matter of the Sermon: the first (Vol. II. pp. 102—127) treats of slander and its various manifestations; the second pp. 128–146) of the folly of slander. Nor, if the Sermons as printed be the Sermons that were preached, is it credible, that the first of less than twenty-four pages took an hour and a half to deliver. Both of these are discourses of moderate length even according to modern notions.
* Here, again, another opportunity presents itself of testing the truthfulness of Pope's stories. The Spital Sermon, exclusive of notes, occupies about ninety pages of this Edition ; an amount of matter which might well be delivered within three hours and a half. But it is evident Barrow did not preach all he had written; for in the formal request to publish it (see Vol. 1. p. 2), he is asked to print his Sermon, with what farther he had prepared to deliver at that time.
write in defence of the Church of England, and compose Sermons, whereof he had great store, and, I need not say, very good.
“We were once going from Salisbury to London, he in the coach with the Bishop, and I on horseback; as he was entering the coach I perceived his pockets strutting out near half a foot, and said to him, •What have you got in your pockets?' He replied, 'Sermons.' 'Sermons,' said I, 'give them me, my boy shall carry them in his portmanteau, and ease you of that luggage.' But,' said he, “suppose your boy should be robbed :' That's pleasant,' said I, do you think there are parsons padding upon the road for Sermons ?' Why, what have you,' said he, it may be five or six guineas, I hold my
Sermons at a greater rate, they cost me much pain and time.' "Well then,' said I, “if you'll insure my five or six guineas against lay-padders, I'll secure your bundle of Sermons against ecclesiastical highwaymen.' This was agreed; he emptied his pockets, and filled my portmanteau with divinity, and we had the good fortune to come safe to our journey's end without meeting either sort of the padders forementioned, and to bring both our treasures to London.
“He was of a healthy constitution, used no exercise or physic, besides smoking tobacco, in which he was not sparing, saying, it was an instar omnium, or panfarmacon: he was unmercifully cruel to a lean carcase, not allowing it sufficient meat or sleep: during the winter months, and some part of the rest, he rose always before it was light, being never without a tinder-box and other proper utensils for that purpose; I have frequently known him, after his first sleep, rise, light, and, after burning out his candle, return to bed before day. I say, I have known him do this; I report it not upon
, hearsay, but experience, having been, as I said before, his bedfellow whilst he lived with the Bishop of Salisbury."
“ He was careless of his cloaths, even to a fault; I remember he once made me a visit, and I perceiving his band sat very awkwardly, and asked him, 'What makes your band sit so?' I have,' said he, ‘no buttons upon my collar.' 'Come,' said I, ‘put on my nightgown, here's a tailor at hand;' for by chance my tailor was then with me, who will presently set all things right.' With much ado I prevailed with him; the buttons were supplied, the gown made clean, the hands and face washed, and the clothes and hat brushed; in a word, at his departure, he did not seem the same man who came in just before."
PUBLISHER TO THE READER.
TAE Author of the following Sermons was so pub
licly known, and so highly esteemed by all learned and good men, that nothing either needs or can be said more to his advantage. Not but that I think it very fit, that the picture of this truly great man should be drawn at full length, for the knowledge and imitation of posterity; and it will, I hope, be done hereafter by some more skilful hand: however, I shall not within the narrow limits of a Preface, so much as attempt the character of him; of whom, either not a little, or nothing at all ought to be said.
And the Sermons themselves do as little need commendation as the Author; their own excellency and eloquence will praise them best. I shall therefore only advertise the reader of some few things concerning them.
The design of the five first is, to recommend religion to our esteem and practice, from the consideration of the manifold excellencies and advantages of it. The four next do treat of the two great duties of religion, and parts of divine worship, prayer and thanks