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$5. It is now necessary that we should consider the divinity of the period immediately succeeding the Restoration. In no other form of writing is the change which took place
in prose style so conspicuous. Barrow was only Postseventeen years younger than Taylor; Pearson was divinity. born in the same year with that great master of Caro
line prose; and yet the style of both these writers is as different as it well can be from the glowing, eloquent periods of Taylor's discourses. The name of ISAAC BARROW is the distinctive name of this period. His acquirements were ISAAC almost universal, and his sermons, to say nothing (1630-1677). of his other works, have a power and majesty which are common to no other prose writer of the end of his century. Barrow was the son of a London merchant, linen-draper to Charles I. His uncle, a fellow of Peterhouse at Cambridge, became afterwards Bishop, first of Sodor and Man, and then of St. Asaph. The family was strongly Royalist, and his father followed Prince Charles into exile after Worcester. Barrow himself was educated at Charterhouse and at Felstead School, and was entered at his uncle's college of Peterhouse. However, the uncle was ejected by the Parliamentary Commissioners, and the nephew went to Trinity instead. It is on record that, at school, his disposition had been violent and quarrelsome, and that he was perpetually fighting with his schoolfellows; but of this nothing remained in after-life save the energy and vigour which he applied to his intellectual pursuits, and a very high personal courage. At Cambridge he studied everything. Undoubtedly his forte was mathematics; His but he was also proficient in anatomy, chemistry, knowledge. and botany; and his classical knowledge eventually gained him the Regius professorship of Greek. He became a fellow of Trinity in 1649, and in 1654 was a candidate for the Greek chair, but was rejected as being a Royalist. After this he went abroad for four years, travelling by way of France and Italy to Constantinople and Smyrna, and returning home by way of Germany and Holland. While sailing in the Mediterranean his ship encountered an Algerine pirate, and the fighting powers which had gained him a name at Charterhouse were brought into play with great success. He came back, equipped with fresh scientific knowledge, and with a good working acquaintance with Oriental languages. In 1659 he obtained his coveted Greek professorship;
in 1662 he was appointed to the chair of geometry fessorships. in Gresham College; and, in 1663, he added to his
unique distinctions the Lucasian professorship of mathematics at Cambridge. His mathematical fame has been eclipsed by that of his pupil Newton, to whom he resigned the Lucasian professorship in 1669; but, after Newton, he was certainly the greatest mathematician of a college whose scientific eminence in his time is one of the most brilliant features of English
intellectual history. It was a Master of Trinity, John Wilkins, Bishop of Chester, who had been most active in founding the Royal Society, and Barrow was one of its first fellows. However, Barrow had taken Orders in 1659, and he devoted himself to a theological career from 1669 onwards. His sermons, many of them preached in London, became famous. Charles II was delighted with his preaching, appointed him one of his chaplains, and eventually procured his election to the mastership of Trinity In 1675 he was Vice-Chancellor of the University; 1677, while on a visit to London in connection with college business, he caught a fever and died, at the early age of forty-seven. He was buried in Westminster Abbey.
Barrow elected master of Trinity.
(1672). but in
To say with Mr. Gosse that "it would only be affectation to treat Barrow as a living force in literature" is no doubt true in itself, but, at the same time, suggests an error. His reputation in his own day was deservedly great ; his appearance in the pulpit was insignificant, but, when he began to speak, his oratory was irresistible. His sermons were certainly very long, and on one occasion the organ of Westminster Abbey struck up to "play him down." However, in their published form, they underwent considerable revision; quotations were left out, and sentences were put into a new shape. The consequence of this is an almost overladen pregnancy of thought, which is somewhat confusing to the most powerful intellects. At the same time the style is undeniably
Their style. imposing; every line bears the stamp of an unconscious power, a vigour of mind to which no subtlety is too arduous, no argument too obscure to follow out. Barrow was certainly at his ease with the most ponderous difficulties of theology, although it is doubtful whether this familiarity rendered his style more easy in itself. The distinction, which we have already remarked, between Barrow and Jeremy Taylor is essentially the distinction betweeen early and late Stewart prose, between the prose of imagination and the prose of common-sense. But Barrow's style is certainly superior to the fashionable manner of his time; it is "correct" and fluent, but it has a solid life and strength of its own. Taylor, one might say, is the English Isocrates; Barrow is the Demosthenes of the English pulpit. His sermons are very numerous, and the most valuable of them are those which character of fall into series and deal with some dogmatic or controversial subject; thus one set is devoted to works. the clauses of the Lord's prayer, another to the creed, another to the decalogue, another to the two greater sacraments, and so on-all treated with exhaustive and regular method. The student who embraces the task of examining the prose work of this period cannot do better than read Barrow if he wants to see its most favourable side.
Chatham recommended Barrow to his son as the finest model of eloquence; and Walter Savage Landor, with a rather perverse eccentricity, did not hesitate to place him above the greatest of ancient philosophers. "Plato and Xenophon," says one of the people in his Imaginary Conversations, as men of thought and genius, might walk without brushing their skirts between these two covers," striking his hand on a volume of Barrow.
§ 6. Barrow's immediate predecessor in the mastership of Trinity was JOHN PEARSON, who was the son of the rector of Great Snoring in Norfolk. He was an Etonian,
a scholar, and eventually, in 1634, a fellow, of King's, JOHN PEARSON proceeding to Holy Orders in 1639. He then be- (1613-1686). came chaplain to the Lord Keeper Finch, and rector
of Thorington in Suffolk. Although a Royalist by conviction, he held, during the Commonwealth, a lectureship at St. Clement's, Eastcheap. At the Restoration, he was made Master of Jesus College, Cambridge, archdeacon of Surrey, and a prebendary in Ely cathedral; in 1661 he was elected to the Lady Margaret professorship of Divinity, and in 1662 became Master of Trinity. He was a member of the Savoy conference in that year, and aided in the foundation of the Royal Society. In 1673 he closed his list of preferments with the bishopric of Chester. He is buried in the north transept of his cathedral. There is little to be said of his style, which is in no way remarkable; but, in his Exposition of the Creed, he made an immortal contribution to Anglican theology. This work consists of a series of lectures delivered at
St. Clement's, Eastcheap, about 1654. It was published in 1659. As a manual of the fundamental principles of Christianity, it will always keep a very high place, and its value is increased by the fact that, while the text is totally free from learned allusions, the notes contain a copious store of solid scholarship. Pearson was a voluminous writer, both in English and Latin; but his minor works are almost entirely forgotten, and his name is now exclusively associated with his one great book.
§ 7. Even to-day, the works of JOHN TILLOTSON, although not often read, have a celebrity which is, perhaps, more general than that of Barrow's sermons. His father was a Puritan clothier at Sowerby Bridge, near Halifax, and sent JOHN him to Clare Hall at Cambridge, doubtless in order (1630-1694). that he might be under the influence of Ralph Cudworth, the great republican divine. He took his Master's degree in 1654, and, on leaving Cambridge, was for some time a private tutor. His amiable disposition led him to look upon religious and political differences with an easy impartiality; and, after the Restoration, his opinions suffered no violence. As a member of the Savoy conference, he was on the Presbyterian side; but he had already taken Orders in the Church of
England, and assented to the Act of Uniformity. On the deprivation of Edmund Calamy, he was offered his living, but refused it. However, he was presented to another, and became (1663) preacher at Lincoln's Inn, where his sermons attracted large congregations. His theological position was eminently safe, and, as a Protestant latitudinarian, he was thoroughly acceptable to the fashionable conscience of the time, satisfying its dread of extremes, and allaying its faint spiritual anxieties. In 1670 he became a prebendary in Canterbury cathedral. He was made dean of Canterbury in 1672, and, in 1689, dean of St. Paul's, where he already held a prebend. His popularity
motion to the archbishopric.
seems to have been too strong for his scruples; for, in 1690, when Archbishop Sancroft refused to take the oaths, Tillotson was offered the primacy, and accepted it. He had attended William, Lord Russell, in prison, and there can be little doubt that his sympathies, such as they were, went with the new order of things; but he had hesitated over the offer at first, and, when he at last accepted it, he found himself in an awkward situation. He died in 1694, and is buried in St. Lawrence Jewry. Whatever his opinions were-and Mr. Saintsbury His style. says that his latitudinarianism was "the shoe-horn to draw on the deism of the next century"-his style exercised a great influence as an extreme example of easy and fluent correctness. It suffers from an affectation of familiarity, and consequently from a triviality of image and illustration; but in his reasoning there is a good deal of artifice and even sophistry, cunningly concealed beneath an air of candour which never deserted him. The studied colloquial tone of his sentences renders them singularly unmusical; but this is really the chief defect of a style which otherwise is logical, and contrives, without attempting any high flights, to give an impression of eloquence. It is the style of a man of the world, who aims at conquering fashionable indifference by counterfeiting it as far as possible. The final impression derived from such an attempt is rather unfortunate.
§ 8. ROBERT SOUTH enjoyed the reputation of the "wittiest churchman" of his time, and his violence as a controversialist forms a striking contrast to Tillotson's laissez-faire ROBERT attitude. He was a native of Hackney, and received (1634-1716). early correction from Busby at Westminster. He proceeded to Christ Church, where he was elected to a junior studentship in 1651. While at Oxford he wrote a copy of Latin verses congratulating Cromwell on his peace with the Dutch; and, although this was purely an academic exercise, his enemies, in after years, made a handle of it against him. But, all through his career, he was a striking example of the out-and-out Oxford Tory, and was the leading divine, from a literary point of view,. of the "high-flying" party, going al lengths in maintaining the doctrine of passive obedience and
non-resistance. He took Orders during the Commonwealth, probably receiving them at the hands of the deprived Bishop Sydserf of Galloway; in 1660 he became public orator in the University of Oxford, and was also chaplain to Clarendon. His subsequent preferment included a prebendal stall at Westminster (1663), a canonry of Christ Church (1670), and the rectory of Islip, near Oxford (1678). It is said that James II's behaviour to the chapter of Christ Church disgusted him, and he took the oaths at the Revolution. However, he remained a very independent Tory, and, when William Sherlock, after figuring as a nonjuror, came back to his allegi- Toryism ance, South attacked him bitterly. Later on he took after the the part of Sacheverell, and declined Harley's offer of Revolution. the bishopric of Rochester and deanery of Westminster. He survived the fall of the Tory ministry, and died at Westminster in 1716. He is buried in the Abbey. He was a man of extraordinary learning and, although his politics were freely mingled with his religion, of great piety. His and wit: reputation rested, to some extent, upon his humour, and he did not scruple to introduce witty anecdotes and repartees into his sermons. Consequently, he has often been accredited with much of that floating capital of pleasantries which is shared by Sydney Smith and later divines. As a humorist he does not appeal very much to the sense of the present day. But his prose, which is contained in his volumes of sermons, is eloquent, weighty, and rhythmical. He dealt in tropes and learned figures, and had a fancy for quaint phrases, which takes us back to the style of an earlier age. To give him his exact place is difficult: he does not stand so high as Barrow ; but his intellect, if not so comprehensive, is of much the same order; and to depreciate him in such a comparison is to undervalue an interesting style, and to pay an insufficient tribute to his learning.
ence on his
§ 9. One of the divines with whom South fell out in his lifetime was EDWARD STILLINGFLEET, called, from his personal beauty and piety, "the beauty of holiness." He was EDWARD born at Cranborne, on the borders of Dorset and STILLINGHampshire, and, after passing through the schools of FLEET Cranborne and the neighbouring town of Ringwood, he entered St. John's College, Cambridge, where he was elected, in 1653, to a fellowship. Like Tillotson, he left Cambridge to become a private tutor: he took orders from the deprived Bishop Brownrig of Exeter, and was presented in 1657 to the living of Sutton Coldfield in Warwickshire. Later on he became preacher at the Rolls Chapel, and, in 1665, rector of St. Andrew's, Holborn. In 1667 he became a prebendary of St. Paul's, and, in 1678, dean. In 1689 he was appointed Bishop of Worcester, and was succeeded at St. Paul's by Tillotson. When Tillotson died in 1694, Stillingfleet was the popular favourite for the primacy, but was passed