Page images

has furnished us with most of the particulars concerning him, gives another instance of his strength

and courage.

“ Ile was at a gentleman's country seat, where the necessary house was at the end of a long garden, and consequently at a great distance from the room where he lodged; and as he was going to it very early, even before day, for he was sparing of sleep, and a very early riser, a fierce mastiff' who used to be chained up all day, and let loose at night, for the security of the house, perceiving a strange person in the garden at that unseasonable time, set upon him with great fury. The doctor caught him by the throat, threw him, and lay upon him, and whilst he kept him down, considered what he should do in that exigency; once he had a mind to kill him, but he altered this resolution, judging it would be an unjust action, for the dog did his duty, and he was himself in fault for rambling out before it was light. At length he called so loud, that he was heard by some persons in the house, who came presently out and freed the doctor and the dog from their disagreeable situation.”

Of the doctor's generous disposition the same writer gives us the following instance. Bishop Ward had given him a prebend in the cathedral of Salisbury, and " I remember," says Dr. Pope, " about that time I heard him once say, I wish I had five hundred pounds.' I replied, “ that's a great sum for a philosopher to desire ; what


would you do with so much?”-I would,' said he

give it to my sister for a portion, that would procure her a good husband :' which sum in a few months after he received for putting a life into the

corps of his new prebend; after which he resigned it to Mr. Corker, of Trinity College, in Cambridge."

The following pleasant anecdote, from the same authority, will be amusing to the reader:

“We were once going from Salisbury to London, Dr. Barrow 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 gut

in your pockets ?” “He replied, Sermons. " L" Sermons," said I, “ give them to 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 on 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 will insure my five or six guineas against laypadders, 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 SS


either sort of the padders beforementioned, and to bring both our treasures to London.”

The sermons of Dr. Barrow are exact dissertations on theological subjects, and so full are they, that Charles the Second used to call him “an unfair preacher, because he exhausted every topic, and left no room for any thing new to be said by any who came after him.”

His sermons, however, are very long, and of this Dr. Pope gives the following instances:

“ He was once requested by the Bishop of Rochester, who was also Dean of Westminster, to preach at the Abbey, and withal desired not to be long, for that the auditory there loved short sermons. He replied, “ My lord, I will shew you my sermon," and pulling it out of his pocket, put it into the bishop's hands.--The text was the 10th chapter of the Proverbs, the latter end of the 18th 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. At another time, upon the

* This is a mistake ; the words ase,

" He that uttereth slander is a fool," add the doctor has two sermons on the text, both of a moderate length.


[ocr errors][merged small]

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 quarters of the town, and pay their two-pence to see the Pluy 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 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 Spital; 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, to be weary with standing so long.”

His personal appearance was mean, and in his dress he was negligent, if not slovenly, which was apt to prejudice his hearers against him where he was not known, of which Dr. Pope relates the following remarkable instance.

“ Dr. Wilkins, then minister of St. Lawrence Jewry, and afterwards Bishop of Chester, being


“ I began


obliged, by some indisposition, to keep his chamber, desired Dr. Barrow to give him a sermon the next Sunday, which he readily consented to do. Accordingly, at the time appointed, he came with an aspect pale and meagre, and unpromising, slovenly and carelessly dressed, his collar unbuttoned, his hair uncombed, &c. Thus accoutred, he mounts the pulpit, begins his prayer, which, whether he did read or not, I cannot positively assert or deny. Immediately all the congregation was in an uproar, as if the church were falling, and they scampering to save their lives, each shifting for bimself with great precipitation; there was such a noise of pattens of serving-maids, and ordinary women, and of unlocking of pews, and cracking of seats, caused by the younger sort liastily climbing over them, that, I confess, I thought all the congregation were mad; but the good doctor seeming not to take notice of this disturbance, proceeds, names his text, and preached his sermon to two or three gathered, or rather left together, of which number, as it fortunately happened, Mr. Baxter, the 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 staid, a certain young man, who thus accosted Dr. Barrow, as he came down from the pulpit,

Sir, be not dismayed, for I assure you it was a good sermon.” By his age and dress he seemed



« PreviousContinue »