Page images

indeed strongly marked throughout, importance to excite his attention, from his ea ly youth. When yet and call forth his faculties; and a boy, he had the fame independe that, like many other men of geence of spirit and originality of nius, he was often unable to origi. mind, which marked his riper years. nate those literary exertions, which

" Failings, such as his, have their sometimes bring fame, and which most unfavourable effects in general generally bring happiness. His fpiintercourse. In the eye of friend- rits indeed were not equal. He ship they appear of little account, was often lively, chearful, and faa when weighed against a liberal, cul- miliar, and sometimes grave, inat. tivated, and vigorous mind, and a tentive, and reterved. Circumtemper brave, generous, and fin- stances, which it would be painful cere,

and improper to relate, contributed “ Dr. Bell acquired knowledge to throw tome degree of gloom with remarkable facility ; but he over his latter days. But he was did not communicate it with equal naturally subject, at times, to those ease. This was chiefly owing to eübings of the mind, as an admired carly habits of verbal and grainma- writer expresses himself, which getical criticism, in which he had nerally accompany great sensibility; greatly indulged. He was extreme- a state, from which the transition is ly nice in his choice of words; he fometimes more easy to levity and would use no expressions that were mirth, than to the fober exercises not exactly fitted to his ideas, and, of reason. in his ditlike of every thing Itrain " It is common to expect, even ed or affected, he had declared war in the more minute parts of the against some of the natural orna- conduct of men of allowed fupe. ments of speech. His reading was riority of talents, some marks of inextenlive, and his learning various, tention and defign, by which such In every thing which related to his superiority might be indicated. But profeflion, he was minutely inform- this is, I think, an error. The ed. His education had afforded hiin characteristic of genius is fimplicity. every opportunity of improvement; A lofty spirit subunits, with difficule , his application was great, and his ty, to reitraint or disguise; and the acquirements were proportionably higher emotions of the mind are valuable. In classical literature he leidom compatible with a nice at. had few equals ; and, in historical tention to little things. It is, how. and philofophical knowledge, he ever, to be lamented, that men of had not many superiors.

great endowments are often deficie " The qualities of Dr. Bell's ent in that self-command, which mind required a llate of action. He fhould give regularity to conduct, was eininently fitted for fituations and steadiness to exertion. But let of difficulty or danger; and had his us not too halily condemn them. lot been cast differently, the enthu. The powers of genius impo'c the falin of his fpirit, and the itrength severest talk on the judgment, The of his faculties, might have enrolled imagination in which they refide, his name in the list of those which must always be strong; the sensibi, go down, to furure ages, with ho. lity by which they are attended, nour and applause, le was his mis- muft often be wai ward. To refortune, that his ficuation did not strain, to excite, and to direct, the alway's present objects of futticient exertions of a mind to conllituted. 1785.


in January, 1763, and was buried self with temper and good manners near him, Oil the 31st of that towards his adverfaries ; insomuch, month.

that it will be difficult to find one 66 In private life, Dr. Sykes was single instance, wherein he exceedof easy, gentle, and obliging man- ed the bounds of decorum and ciners, naturally:cheerful and good vility. Few men have laboured teinpered, modest and unalluminy, more unweariedly to serve the best unfoured by controversy, not proud intereits of Christianity and prote: ot, or confident in his learning. Vanuim ; for while he defended the He was strictly juít in all his con- truth and evidences of our common cerns with others, faithful in his faith, he displayed the same zeal engagements, humane to the poor; for the sacred right of private judg. fingularly exact in all his appoint- ment, without which the revealed ments, and punctual in his paye - will of God would ccafe either to ments.

lead us into a reasonable faith, or “ His manner and delivery in influence a rational conduct. He the pulpit, were very generally ap- was warmly attached to the civil proved, and admired. His fermons liberties of his country, to the prin. were rather plain thian elegant; but ciples of the Revolution, and 16C they were always clear and intelli- protestant fucceffion. gible, though tometimes argumen. " In his person, our author is • tative. He was always careful ini said to have been rather low of fiathe choice of his fubititute, when ture, and something inclined to he was necessarily absent from town, corpulency ; to have been slightly where he chiefly refided, except marked with'the small-pox, and of during some part of every summer, a fresh complexion. His counte* which he conttantly ipent at Ray. nance is also taid to have been a . Jeigh, and his occafional relidence ' faithful mirror of his mind, plea: at Wincheiter and Salisbury. And fant and good tempered. There as he never wanted the readv atlistance a portrait of him, taken whep be of fome of the highest order of the was between forty and fifty years of clergy.' A person now living, who age, painted by Wills. It was himielf regularly attended public given by Mrs. Sykes, his widow, to woathip in King-street chapel, re- Robert Bristow, efq. and I am in · meinbers to have heard three bi- formed, it is now in that family.. flops preach for him, on three luc. , « What has already been taid, cellive Sundays.

in the preceding pages, should feem . ". It is very observable, that Dr. to preclude any particular display Sykes applied himself early in life, of our author's abilities as a scho or the study of the Scriptures ; and lar, and a divine ; his works will he pursued it with equal applica- speak his just praise. His bonell tion and success, to a good old age, love and ardent zeal for truth are He was also well verted in the apparent, and have already been writings of the fathers, and the occationally noticed, and appear

early philolophers; and added to the leading features of his charac: · these acquirements, he was happy ter. “ \Vhatever iny abilities are, .in a quick discernment, aird a folid says he to Mr. Whison, " which judgment. In all his various poli- -I 'freely acknowledge to be not tical debates, and literary contro great, yet be they more or less, verties, he always conducted him- truth I love, and truth I couitantly


fearch after, and make truth the was engaged he was sure to be on study of my lifc; and I hope nor the wrong side. To this Dr. Jortin thing will ever have intluence replied, that " without entering enough to make me fwerre from into the particular question then that.” And elsewhere he writes, before the company, this he was “ How well I have fucceeded in well assured of, that Dr. Sykes was my delign, the reader is now to deserving of much praise ; for even judge. Perhaps it may be thought if he was so frequently in the that I have mistaken the ineaning wrong, as the gentleman had ob. of some paffiiges of Scripture. All fervoo, it must be remembered, that that I can say for myself is, this no man took more pains to be in only; that in the explication of to the right.” And this good opinion many, it is well if I have not, of Dr. Jortin seems to have been However, I have Gncerely endea. reciprocal on the part of Dr. Sykes, voured to follow truth, being very who in his letter to Dr. Birch, in little folicitous where it led me : July, 1753, writes ;--- As to my and if I have failed, yet this I am. friend Mr. Jortin, he is already to fure of, that my intentions were far in the mire, that he cannot re. good and upright.” And Dr. Gres tire backwards, confequently he gory Sharpe, in his Review of the must go on: I heartily with hiin all Controversy about the Meaning of success, and hope he will at length the Demoniacs, bears his testimony receive, what he ought to have had to the amiable and ingenuous dispo- many years ago, an encouragement lition of his friend ; " If I may suitable to his learning, and real guess," says he, “ at the inquirer's merits." temper, I believe he had, at any “Dr. Sykes’s sentiments refpeét. time, rather embrace the truth, leting the person of Jesus Christ are who will teach it, than continue in well known to have agreed with an error with the multitude,” those of Dr. Clarke ; and one of

“In confirmation of this excel- his tracts was exprefly written in fent part of our author's character, defence of his Scripture Doctrine

am happy to be able to produce of the Trinity. In the use of this the evidence of the eminently learn- word (trinity), I cannot but think ed and liberal minded Dr. Jortin, that these learned men misreprefrom the information of a most re- sented themfelves; and while they spectable clergyman in the ellab- rejected the doctrine'which is genea

led church, whose situation in rally understood by the word s trithis great city, derives peculiar ho- nity,” they would have done well hour and credit to his noble pa to have waved the frequent and in

In a mixed company, where discriminate use of the term. Dr. 2Jortin was present, and at a Sykes, in one place, speaks of

hen certain of Dr. Sykes's “the ever blessed trinity," and in

tions were the subject of another, he says, "the doctrine of flation, it was observed by the trinity, when considered as it gentleman (who probably in- lies in the New Testament, is not

his own principles and opi- any absolute mysterious notion, but n the fame quiet undisturbed only a doctrine holding forth that that he had succeeded to the which the baptismal creed likewise an inheritance of his family), contains.” And again, as the scrip. atever debate Dr, Sykes ture doctrine of the trinity stands

B 3


[ocr errors]

that in whatever debate Dr, oy

devoted to religious studies, which found and unimpaired to the very he considered as included in the lait. Within the last year of his proper duties of his station, and as lite he finished and published a their higheit aim. Many of his work, which he had prepared fome sermons preached before the uni- time before, on the Citations in versity were printed by requelt, and the Old 'Tettament in the New. his larger work upon “ the Doc Repcated attacks at length brought trine of the Trinity,” in answer to him to a state of weakness that was " the Effay on Spirit,” was pub. qu te desperate, under which he lalished in the years 1753, 1754. boured for threc months, and died From the rear 1°56 to 1759 he Mircb 24, 1-83. held the office of vice-chancellor, " The reader will perceive from in which he was allowed on all the above account, that his whole havds to have conducted himself attention was confined to his prowith temper and ability, at a time feilion, and his fation in the uniwhen disputes ran high, and the versity. Being convinced that the business of the uniiertity was more province alloited to himn, if its duthan common: the: Vinerian lta. ties were faithfully dischargcd, was tutos having been rettled, and the sufficient for his own employment, delegacy of the press reformed dur- and for the rendering him an ute. ing that period. There several la- ful member of society, he was not bours were fo well received by the disposed to wander beyond it. He university, that in the year 178 was a zealous Tupporter of the doc. he was unanimously elected to the trincs of the church of England, Margaret profefforihip of divinity from a conviction that they were on the death of Dr. Jenner. In those of the true religion of Chritt. the preceding year he had been It has sometimes been invidioufly promoted to the archdeaconry of urged by the enemies of our reli. Oxford on the resignation of Dr, gious eítrblishment, who with great Potter: which promotion took place profellions of 1 berality are by no by the recommendation of archbi- means fcrupulous of the terms in Hop Secker, accepted and confirm which they speak of the doctrines, ed by bishop Lowth, then bishop disciplin-, or members of our of Oxford ; and may be considered church, that its supporters act from as a tefiimony borne by those re- interclied views. In answer to this fpectable prelates to his merit and charge thrown out against himielf character. From this time to that in common with others, Dr. Ran. of his death he was again frequent. dolph says, in a preface to an inly engaged in controversy. The tended work, " One of these wri. questions now ayitated were chiefly, ters is now near fourspore years of that of Subscription to Articles of age, who neither hopes for, nor Faith, and that of the Doctrine of will folicit for any thing further in che Trinity revived by Mr. Lindthis world : he fights under no banley, and his followers. On these ner, but that of his Lord and Sa. hé published several tracts, and also viour, from whom alone he expects oçcationally gave his atliitance to his reward,” Conscious of having oibers engaged in the same cause. acted thus from a rense of duty, he Bodily intirinities he was subject to bore his long illness with patience, for manc years before his death; and met the near approach of death the faculties of his mind were with calinness and fortitude; as truit. such aversion to controversy is held of the late learned excellent Dr. by well meaning and more candid Sykes's works, to bind and send to minds, it is no other than their de. Harvard college, in America, for claring their earneft defire to estab- honourable preservation of his melish the end, while at the same time mory.” “A collection, add the they inconsistently and perempto editors of the Memoirs, the inore rily protest against the only means neceffary, as well as the more value which can effect it.

able, as some of the doctor's tracts " The late Mr. Hollis, who was were become exceeding scarce." himself an active and greatly distin. This tettimony of Mr. Hollis, and guished friend of liberty, bore his of his biographers, will bring more testimony to Dr. Sykes's writings, reputation to the writings of Dr. by repeatedly advertifing in the Sykes, than it was in the power of year 1766, his two tracts againft the committee of convocation in popery, originally published in the 1717, to withhold, or take away, year 1746, and reprinted 1763. by indirect reflection or threat, And further, by collecting, as he when they openly affailed the then states in his diary, “ a complete fet bifhop of Bangor."

Some ACCOUNT of the LIFE and WRITINGS of the late Profeffor GREGORY, M. D. F. R. S. By Dr. JOHNSTONE, of Worcester.

[From the second Volume of the Memoirs of the Literary and Philoso.

phical Society of MANCHESTER.

" JOHN Gregory, M.D.F.R.S. fcope, improved by fir Isaac New.

fellow of the Royal College ton. His Optica Promota, and oof Phyficians in Edinburgh, and ther mathematical works, are still professor of medicine in the univer- in high eiteem. lity of Edinburgh, born at Aber. “ David Gregory of Oxford, an. deen in 1725, was third son of other of the family, the do tor's James Gregory, M. D. professor of coufin, published an excellent and medicine in King's College, Aber. complete Treatise of Astronomy, deen, and of Anne, daughter of founded upon the principles, and the rev. George Chalmers, princi- pflanatory of the doctrinc, of fir pal of King's College there. The Isaac Newton. James Gregory, family of Dr. Gregory is of great M. D. the doctor's eldcit brother, antiquity in Scotland, and has for succeeded their father as professor more than a century paft produced of medicine in King's College, A. a succession of gentlemen of the berdeen : and the doctor, of whom first distinction in the learned world. we write, has left a son, who now James Gregory, professor of mathe. holds the office of professor of the matics, firit at St. Andrews, and Institutions of Medicine in the uni. afterwards at Edinburgh, the doc- versity of Edinburgh, made vacant tor's grandfather, was one of the by the election of Dr. Cullen to be most eminent mathematicians of the fóle professor of practice, after his last age, the age of mathematics, father's death. It seems to be the He invented the scflecting tele destiny of this family, to enlarge

B 4


« PreviousContinue »