Page images

were “The representatives of that majestic company of devout and learned men,

With beaming eye,
That, lifted, speaks its commerce with the sky,

who adomed our Church and Literature during two hundred years." The memory of these men will never cease to be held in reverence by all branches of the Protestant Church, for all are now enjoying the fruits of their labours and of their sufferings, in purer forms of Christianity and that liberty with which England has long been blessed, and to which she owes her present greatness and vast influence in the world.

Although the writings of many of our elder Divines were necessarily much devoted to controversial subjects, there are portions of all of them of an entirely different character— the gentle but earnest thoughts of earnest men, on whose hearts religion had made an enduring impression--and from these the contents of this volume have been selected.

No lengthened observations are required to invite attention to the warm eloquence of the passages now brought together, for the Compiler is satisfied that these will find favour with every Christian reader, and that, however often they may be read, they will never lose their interest, or cease to exercise a beneficial influence upon the mind, by confirming and strengthening it in all good and holy purposes.

It is right to add that the Compiler is a Lay Member of the Church of England.

December, 1863.



This divine, father of the celebrated English essayist, was a native of Westmoreland. He was born in 1632, and educated at Queen's College, Oxford, where he proceeded M.A. Being selected to deliver an oration before the University in 1658, he inveighed with so much satire against the existing authorities in the state as to be compelled to make recantation, and ask pardon on his knees. He soon after quitted Oxford, and retired to Petworth, in Sussex, till the Restoration. He was subsequently appointed chaplain to the forces at Tangier, where he remained some time. Visiting England, however, in 1670, with the intention of returning to his charge, the appointment was conferred on another clergyman, and Addison's circumstances were much straitened by so untoward an event. At this juncture he received the rectory of Milston, in Wilts, a small living worth 120l. a year, to which was afterwards added a prebendal stall in Salisbury Cathedral. In 1683 the Commissioners for Ecclesiastical Affairs, in consideration of his services at Tangier, conferred upon him the Deanery of Lichfield, in conjunction with which preferment he also held the Archdeaconry of Coventry. Dr. Addison published several works, the results of his observations in Barbary, and others on various points of Christian doctrine and practice. He died in 1703, in the seventy-first year of his age. A passage from his writings appears at page 144, (The Lord's Supper.)


Gervase Babington, described by Chalmers (Biographical Dictionary) as a “Learned English prelate," was a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. He lived at the close of the sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth centuries. After studying other branches of learning he applied himself to divinity, and became a favourite preacher at Cambridge, the place of his residence. Having proceeded D.D., he was made domestic chaplain to the Earl of Pembroke, President of the Council in the marches of Wales, and is supposed to have assisted the Countess in her metrical version of the Psalms. Through the interest of Lord Pembroke Dr. Babington was appointed Treasurer of the church of Llandaff; and afterwards promoted to the Bishopric of that see in 1591. Three years subsequently he was translated to Exeter, and in 1597 removed to Worcester, being likewise appointed one of the Queen's Council for the Welsh marches. To the cathedral library of Worcester the Bishop was a munificent benefactor, not only fitting up and repairing the edifice, but bequeathing to it the whole of his books. He continued Bishop of that see for thirteen years, dying in 1610. The writer already quoted describes him as neither tainted with idleness, pride, nor covetousness, in the midst of all his preferments, but diligent in preaching, and also in writing books for the understanding of the Holy Scriptures. It is further added that he was excellent and animating in his discourses, his style being good, although not without the quaintnesses peculiar to the time. A passage from his writings is given at page 165, (The Sabbath.)


Dr. Barrow, nephew of the Bishop of St. Asaph, was born in London in 1630, and gave so little promise in his earlier years as to cause his father solemnly to wish that if God were pleased to take any of his children Isaac might be the one. Being removed from Charterhouse to Felsted, in Essex, he made so great progress that his schoolmaster appointed him as a kind of little tutor to the young Lord Fairfax. While at Felsted he was admitted in Peterhouse (his uncle's college) at Cambridge, but on removing to the University in 1645 entered Trinity. He was chosen fellow in 1649, but, as the times were unsettled, devoted his attention for some years to medical studies, particularly anatomy, botany, and chemistry. Feeling, however, that such a course was not consistent with his oath of fellowship, he quitted medicine and applied himself to the study of divinity. After a prolonged continental tour, Barrow entered holy orders, and through his own prudence and the kindness of others experienced little annoyance on account of his monarchical views during the interregnum. After the Restoration he became Greek Professor at Cambridge, and Geometry Lecturer at Gresham College, resigning the latter appointment on being chosen Lucas Mathematical Lecturer. He held this office, for which his distinguished attainments in mathematical science eminently fitted him, till 1699, when he was succeeded by his friend Isaac (afterwards Sir Isaac) Newton; and having formed a resolution to apply himself to biblical studies only, “Took a course (says his friend and biographer Hill) “Very convenient for his public person as a preacher and his private as a Christian; for those subjects which he thought most important to be considered for his own use he cast into the method of sermons for the benefit of others, and herein was so exact as to write some of them four or five times over.” He became master of his college in 1672, where he remained in the tranquil discharge of his duty till his death, which took place in London in 1677. The writer already referred to thus briefly sums up Barrow's character : “All I have said or can say is far short of the idea which Dr. Barrow's friends have formed of him, and that character under which he ought to appear to them who knew him not. Beside all the defects on my part, he had in himself this disadvantage of wanting foils to augment his lustre, and low places to give eminence to his heights. Such virtues as his, contentment in all conditions, candour in doubtful cases, moderation among differing parties, knowledge without ostentation, are subjects fitter for praise than narrative. If I could hear of an accusation that I might vindicate my friend's fame, it would take off from the flatness of my expression; or a well-managed faction, under the name of zeal, for or against the Church, would show well in story; but I have no shadows to set off my piece.” A passage on “ The Lord's Supper” is given at page 124, and others at pages 346 (Upright Walking Safe Walking) and 350, (Living in Peace.)


William Bates was an eminent Nonconformist divine of the seventeenth century. He graduated at Cambridge, and obtaining preferment in London took part in preaching the morning exercises at Cripplegate. On the restoration of Charles II. he became one of the royal chaplains, and was admitted to the degree of Doctor in Divinity in the

« PreviousContinue »