Bayly, Lewis

, an English prelate, was born at Caermarthen in Whales, and educated at the university of Oxford; but in what college, or what degrees he took is uncertain. We find only that he was admitted, as a member of Exeter college, to be reader of the sentences in 1611; about which time he was minister of Evesham in Worcestershire, chaplain to prince Henry, and rector of St. Matthew’s, | Friday-street, in London. Two years after he took his degrees in divinity; and being very much celebrated for his talent in preaching, was appointed one of the chaplains to king James I. who nominated him to the bishopric of Bangor in the room of Dr. H. Rowlands, in which see he was consecrated at Lambeth, Dec. 8, 1616. On the 15th of July 1621, he was committed to the Fleet, but was soon after discharged. It is not certain what was the reason of his commitment, unless, as Mr. Wood observes, it was on account of prince Charles’s intended marriage with the Infanta of Spain. He died in the beginning of 1632, and was interred in the church of Bangor. His fame rests chiefly on his work entitled “The practice of Piety,” of which there have been a prodigious number of editions in 12mo and 8vo, that of 1735 being the fifty-ninth. It was also translated into Welsh and French in 1633, and such was its reputation, that John D’Espagne, a French writer, and preacher at Somerset-house chapel in 1656, complained, that the generality of the common people paid too great a regard to it, and considered the authority of it as almost equal to that of the Sqriptures. This book was the substance of several sermons, which Dr. Bayly preached while he was minister of Evesham. But Lewis du Moulin, who was remarkable for taking all opportunities of reflecting upon the bishops and church of England, in his “Patronus Bonce Fidei, &c.” published in 8vo, 1672, asserts, that “this book was written by a Puritan minister, and that a bishop, whose life was not very chaste and regular, after the author’s death, bargained with his widow for the copy, which he received, but never paid her the money; that he afterwards interpolated it in some places, and published it as his own.” It is not very probable, however, that a man “whose life was not very chaste and regular,” should have been anxious to publish a work of this description; but Dr. Kennet, in his Register, has very clearly proved that bishop Bayly was the real author. 1

1

Biog. Brit, Wood’s Athenæ, vol. I. Kenaet’s Register, p. 359,