Barlow, Thomas

, a very learned divine and bishop in the seventeenth century, was born at Langhill, in the parish of Orton, in Westmorland, in 1607; being the son <*f Mr. Richard Barlow, descended from the ancient family of Barlow-moore in Lancashire. He had his first education at the free-school at Appleby, in his own country. From thence being removed, in the sixteenth year of his age, to Queen’s college in Oxford, he took his degrees in arts, that of master being completed the 27th of June, 1633, and the same year was chosen fellow of his college. In 1635, he was appointed metaphysic-reader in the university; and his lectures being much approved of, were | published in 1637 for the use of the scholars. When the garrison of Oxford surrendered to the parliament in 1646, he submitted to the persons then in power and by tb-^ interest of colonel Thomas Kelsey, deputy governor of that garrison, or more likely by that of Selden or Dr. Owen, preserved his fellowship, notwithstanding the parliamentary visitation, of which he gave a ludicrous account, in a pamphlet entitled “Pegasus.” In 1652 he was elected keeper of the Bodleian library and about the same time, was made lecturer of Church-hill, near Burford, in Oxfordshire. July 23, 1657, he took his degree of bachelor in divinity and, in the latter end of the same year, was chosen provost of his college, on the death of the learned Dr. Langbaine. After the restoration of king Charles II. he procured himself to be one of the commissioners, appointed first by the marquis of Hertford, chancellor of the university, and afterwards by the king, for restoring the members which were ejected in 1648. The 2d of August, 1660, he was not only created doctor in divinity among the royalists, but also chosen Margaret professor of divinity, the 1st of September following, upon the ejection of Henry Wilkinson, senior. He wrote, the same year, “The case of a Toleration in matters of religion,‘ 7 addressed to the famous Rob. Boyle, esq. in which that subject fs handled with great candour. In 1661, he was appointed archdeacon of Oxford, in the room of Dr. Barten Holiday, deceased but he was not installed till June 13, 1664, owing to a contest between him and Dr. Thomas Lamplugh about thut dignity, which, after having lasted some time, was at length decided in favour of Dr. Barlow, at the assizes held at Oxford, March 1, 1663-4. Being eminent for his skill in the civil and canon law, he was often applied to as a casuist, to resolve cases of conscience, about marriage, &c. And on one of these occasions, in 1671, he wrote” Mr. Cottington’s case of Divorce,“in which is discussed the validity of his marriage with a lady whose former husband was living and some years after, another case of marriage, inserted in his” Genuine remains.“Upon the death of Dr. W. Fuller, bishop of Lincoln, which happened April 22, 1675, he obtained, the same day, a grant of that bishopric, at the recommendation of some of the nobility, and chiefly through the interest of the two secretaries of state, Henry Coventry, esq. and sir Joseph Williamson, both some time of his college, | and the first formerly his pupil. The 27th of June following, he was consecrated at Ely-house chapel. Archbishop Sheldon opposed his promotion, though the reasons of it are not assigned. After his advancement to this see, bishop Barlow wrote several curious things. They were generally short, and most of them by way of letter. The most considerable are these: In 1676,” The original of Sine Cures >“concerning” Pensions paid out of Churchlivings“and a ’‘Survey of the numbers of Papists within the province of Canterbury” in 1679, “A letter concerning the Canon Law, allowing the whipping of heretics.” But he was most distinguished by his writings against popery the chief of which were, “Popery, or the principles and positions approved by the Church of Rome, &c. are very dangerous to all,” and “A discourse concerning the Laws ecclesiastical and civil, made against heretics by popes, emperors, and kings, provincial and general councils, approved by the Church of Rome,” evidently levelled against the duke of York. He expressed his zeal against the papists, not only in writing, but in action. For when, in 1678, after the discovery of the popish plot, a bill was brought into parliament, requiring all members of either house, and all such as might come into the king’s court, or presence, to take a test against popery our bishop appeared for that bill in the house of lords, and spoke in favour of it. Notwithstanding which we are told, that after king James II.’s accession to the throne, bishop Barlow took all opportunities to express his affection, or submission, to him for he sent up an address of thanks to him, for his first declaration for liberty of conscience, signed by six hundred of his clergy. He wrote reasons for reading that king’s second declaration for liberty of conscience he caused it to be read in his diocese ,*


In Wood’s Life of Dr. Barlow, there is a considerable taint of prejudice. He probably could not forgive Barlow for acceding to the truism That king James had abdicated, and for supplying the vacant livings of the nonjurors. But how far he, or the author of this life in the Biog. Brit, is justified in asserting that Dr. Barlow caused the king’s declaration to be read in his diocese, will appear from the following extract of a letter he wrote to one of his clergy on the subject: "I received yours, and all that I have time to say, is only this: By his majesty’s command, I was required to send that declaration to all churches in my diocese in obedience whereto I sent them. Now the same authority which requires me to send them, requires you to read them. But whether you should, or you should not, read them, is a question of that difficulty, in the circumstances we now are, that you cannot expect, that I should hastily answer it, especially in writing. The two last Sundays, the clergy in London were to read it, but


as I am informed they generally refused. For myself, I shall neither persuade nor dissuade you, but leave it to your own prudence and conscience, whether you will not read it; only this I shall advise, that after serious consideration, you find, that you cannot read it, but reluclante vel tubitante conscientia, in that case to read it, will be your sin, and you to blame for doing it. I shall only add, that God Almighty would be graciously pleased to bless and direct you so, that you may do nothing in this case, which may be justly displeasing to God, or the king, is the prayer of, &c." ms Letter in Mr. Baker’s copy of Barlow’s remains, in the possession of the Editor.

nay, he was | prevailed upon to assert and vindicate the regal power of dispensing with penal laws, in an elaborate tract, with numerous quotations from canonists, civilians, and divines. And yet, after the revolution, he was one of those bishops who readily voted that king James had abdicated his kingdoms. He took the oaths to his successors and no bishop was more ready than he, to fill the places of such clergymen as refused to take the oaths to king William and queen Mary. There was nothing in this, however, inconsistent in one who held his sentiments *in favour of toleration. It is more doubtful that he was entirely addicted to the Aristotelian philosophy, and a declared enemy to the improvements made by the royal society, and to what he called in general the new philoso’phy. He was, however, a rigid Calvinist, and the school divinity was that which he most admired but when his attachment to Calvin’s notions engaged him in a public opposition to some of Mr. Bull’s works, he declined a public disputation on the subject. He has also been blamed for never appearing in his cathedral, nor visiting his diocese in person, but residing constantly at his manor of Bugden but against this he appears to have vindicated himself. His enemies are willing to allow that he was a good casuist, a man of very exten^ sive learning, an universal lover and favourer of learned me if, of what country or denomination soever, and a great master of the whole controversy between the Protestants and Papists. He died at Bugden, October 8, 1691, in the eighty-fifth year of his age; and was buried the llth of the said month, on the north side of the chancel belonging to that church, near the body of Dr. R. Sanderson, some time bishop of Lincoln, and, according to his own desire, in the grave of Dr. William Barlow, formerly bishop of the same see to whose memory, as well as his own, is erected a monument, with an inscription which he composed himself a few days before his death. He bequeathed to the | Bodleian library, all such books of his own, as were not in that noble collection at the time of his death and the remainder he gave to Queen’s college in Oxford, on which the society erected, in 1694, a noble pile of buildings, on the west side of their college, to receive them. All his manuscripts, of his own composition, he left to his two domestic chaplains, William Otfley and Henry Brougham, prebendaries of Lincoln, with a particular desire that they would not make any of them public after his decease. Besides the works already mentioned, he wrote against popery, 1.'“Confutation of the infallibility of the church of Rome,” written in 167S. 2. “A letter to J. Evelyn, esq. concerning invocation of Saints, and adoration of the Cross,London, 1679, 4 to. 3. The same year he reprinted in 8vo, “The Gun-powder Treason, with a discourse of the manner of its discovery, &c.” printed at first in 1606, and placed in the beginning of it, “A preface touching that horrid conspiracy, dated Feb. 1, 1678-9.” 4. “Brutum Fulmen, or the bull of pope Pius Sextus against queen Elizabeth,1681, 4tn. 5. “Whether the pope be Antichrist, &c.” 6. “A few plain reasons why a Protestant of the church of England should not turn Roman catholic,1688. Some sheets of this, not being licensed, were omitted. Besides these, he is the author of the following 7. “Pietas in Patrem, or a few tears upon the lamented death of his most dear and loving Father Richard Barlow, late of Langhill in Westmorland, who died December 29, 1636,Oxford, 1637, 4to. 8. “A letter to Mr. John Goodwin, concerning Universal Redemption, by J. Christ,1651. 9. “For toleration of the Jews,” 3655. 10. “A letter to Mr. John Tombes in defence of Anabaptism, inserted in one of Tombes’s books.” 11. “A tract to prove that true grace doth not lie so much in the degree, as in the nature.” This also is inserted in a book, entitled Sincerity and Hypocrisy, &c. written by William Sheppard, esq. 12. “The Rights of the Bishops to judge in capital eases in parliament cleared, &c.” Lond. 1680. Dr. Barlow did not set his name to this, and it was by some ascribed to Tho. Turner of Gray’s-inn. 13. “A letter (to his clergy) for the putting in execution the Laws against Dissenters, written in concurrence to that which was drawn up by the justices of the peace of the county of Bedford, at the quarter-sessions held at Ampthill for the said county, Jan. 14, 1684.” After his decease, sir Peter Pett | lisbed in 1692, 8vo, “Several miscellaneous and weighty cases of conscience, learnedly and judiciously resolved by the right rev. father in God, Dr. T ho. Barlow, late lord bishop of Lincoln.” Sir Peter published also in 1693, Lond. 8vo, 14. “The genuine Remains of that learned prelate, Dr. Thomas Barlow, late lord bishop of Lincoln, containing divers discourses, theological, philosophical, historical, &c. in letters to several persons of honour and quality.” But these two volumes being published without the knowledge or consent of the bishop’s two chaplains above-mentioned, to whom he had left all his manuscripts, with orders that they should not be published, they severely Reflected upon the publisher, for the unwarrantable liberty he had taken. 1

Biog. Brit —Ath. Ox. vol. II.