Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

mitted ; but a gay and vigorous dissertation, where delight is mingled with instruction, and where the author proves his right of judgment by his power of performance.”

[merged small][ocr errors]

Dr. Robert South, a divine celebrated for his wit as well as his learning, was descended of the Souths of Kelstone and Kielby in Lin.colnshire, and born at Hackney in 1633, his father being an eminent merchant. He entered as king's scholar of Westminster school in 1647, under Dr. Busby; and rendered himself remarkable the following year, by reading the Latin prayers in the school, on the day of the martyrdom of Charles I. and by praying for his majesty by name.

In 1651, he was chosen student in Christ-church, Oxford.

Having taken bis degrees in arts, and entered into orders, the following year, 1659, he was appointed to preach the assize sermon before the judges, in which he displayed a warm

zeal against the Indeperdents, to the great satisfaction of the Presbyterians; though towards the latter end of the

year

he was no less severe against the hypocrisy of the latter. In 1660, he was chosen public orator of the university ; in which office, on the election of the earl of Clarendon as chancellor of the university, he received him with an elegant Latin speech; and addressed another to himn on his investițure. Hence he became domestic chaplain to the chancellor : and in 1663, was installed prebendary of Westminster, and soon after created doctor of divinity.

After the earl's banishment in 1667, the doctor was appointed chaplain to James duke of York, and collated to a canonry of Christchurch in 1670, by the king. In 1676, he attended Laurence Hyde, esq. younger son of the earl of Clarendon, in quality of chaplain, on his embassy to Poland; of which country he wrote a brief account in a letter from Dantzic, 1677, to Dr. Edward Pococke, regius professor of Hebrew, and canon of Christchurch. After his return he was presented, in 1678, by the dean and chapter of Westminster, to the rectory of Islip in Oxfordshire. He was also one of Charles the Second's chaplains in

[ocr errors]

ordinary. On the accession of James II. the earl of Clarendon, going lord-lieutenant to Ireland, offered him an archbishopric in that island, which he declined, froin a desire to live more privately. The latter part of his life was spent chiefly at Islip and Oxford, and sometimes at his paternal estate at Caversham in Oxfordshire, at which places, he employed himself in preparing for the press his very curious and witty sermons. At the revolution he refused at first to take the oaths to the new government, though he afterwards complied; but it is highly to his credit, that on being offered one of the sees vacated by the non-juring bishops in 1692, he declined it; alledging** That notwithstanding he, for his part, saw nothing that was contrary to the laws of God, and the common practice of all nations, to submit to princes in possession of the throne, yet others might have their reasons for a contrary opinion; and he blessed God, that he was neither so ambitious, nor in want of preferment, as for the sake of it, to build his rise upon the ruins of any one father of the church, who for piety, good morals, and strictness of life, which every one of the deprived bishops were famed for, might be said not to have left

their equal. In the same spirit he afterwards 'refused the bishopric of Rochester and deanery of Westminster, though importuned to accept those dignities. He died in 1716.

The most voluminous productions of South are his Sermons, which are comprised in 6.vols. 8vo. The following brief extracts are taken from the first in the collection, which is remarkable for its elegance and rationality, and for its having been preached at court. Its subject is “ The Ways of Pleasantness, or that Virtue is the truest Happiness.” I have not room to follow the author through his ingenious arguments, in illustration of this important truth ; and must therefore content myself . with exhibiting only the passage which contains the result of his arguments on the subject.

Nothing (says he) is comparable to the pleasure of an active and a prevailing thought-a thought prevailing over the difficulty and obscurity of the object, and refreshing the soul with new discoveries, and images of things; and thereby extending the bounds of apprehension, and (as it were) enlarging the territories of reason.

No man was ever weary of thinking, much less of thinking that he had done well or virtuously; that he had conquered such VOL, U11,

li

« ElőzőTovább »