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Sermons on Evil-Speaking   By: (1630-1677)

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This eBook was prepared by Les Bowler, St. Ives, Dorset.




Introduction by Professor Henry Morley.

Against Foolish Talking and Jesting.

Against Rash and Vain Swearing.

Of Evil speaking in General.

The Folly of Slander. Part 1.

The Folly of Slander. Part 2.


Isaac Barrow was born in London in 1630. His father was draper to the king. His mother died when he was four years old. He was named Isaac after an uncle, who died in 1680, Bishop of St. Asaph. Young Isaac Barrow was educated at the Charterhouse School, and at Felstead, before he went, in 1643, to Cambridge. He entered first at Peterhouse, where his uncle Isaac was a Fellow, but at that time his uncle was ejected from his Fellowship for loyalty to the King's cause, and removed to Oxford; the nephew, who entered at Cambridge, therefore avoided Peterhouse, and went to Trinity College. Young Barrow's father also was at Oxford, where he gave up all his worldly means in service of the King.

The young student at Cambridge did not conceal his royalist feeling, but obtained, nevertheless, a scholarship at Trinity, with some exemptions from the Puritan requirements of subscription. He took his B.A. degree in 1648, and in 1649 was elected to a fellowship of Trinity, on the same day with his most intimate college friend John Ray, the botanist. Ray held in the next year several college offices; was made in 1651 lecturer in Greek, and in 1653 lecturer in Mathematics. Barrow proceeded to his M.A. in 1652, and was admitted to the same degree at Oxford in 1653. In 1654, Dr. Dupont, who had been tutor to Barrow and Ray, and held the University Professorship of Greek, resigned, and used his interest, without success, to get Barrow appointed in his place. Isaac Barrow was then a young man of four and twenty, with the courage of his opinions in politics and in church questions, which were not the opinions of those in power.

In 1655 Barrow left Cambridge, having sold his books to raise money for travel. He went to Paris, where his father was with other royalists, and gave some help to his father. Then he went on to Italy, made stay at Florence, and on a voyage from Leghorn to Smyrna stood to a gun in fight with a pirate ship from Algiers that was beaten off. At college and upon his travels Barrow was helped by the liberality of public spirited men who thought him worth their aid. He went on to Constantinople, where he studied the Greek Fathers of the Church; and he spent more than a year in Turkey. He returned through Germany and Holland, reached England in the year before the Restoration, and then, at the age of twenty nine, he entered holy orders, for which in all his studies he had been preparing.

The Cambridge Greek Professorship, which had before been denied him, was obtained by Barrow immediately after the Restoration. Soon afterwards he was chosen to be Professor of Geometry at Gresham College. In 1663 he preached the sermon in Westminster Abbey at the consecration of his uncle, Isaac, as Bishop of St. Asaph. In that year also he became, at Cambridge, the first Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, for which office he resigned his post at Gresham College.

As Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, Isaac Barrow had among his pupils Isaac Newton. Newton succeeded to the chair in 1669. Barrow resigned because he feared that the duties of the mathematical chair drew his thoughts too much from the duties of the pulpit, towards the full performance of which he had desired all studies to be aids. He was then intent upon the writing of an "Exposition of the Creed, Decalogue, and Sacraments." He held a prebend in Salisbury Cathedral, and a living in Wales, that yielded little for his support after the Professorship had been resigned. But he was one of the King's chaplains, was made D.D. by the King in 1670, and in 1672 he was appointed Master of Trinity by Charles II... Continue reading book >>

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