« PreviousContinue »
John Lightfoot, D.D.
BORN A. D. 1602.-DIED A. D. 1675.
This learned and pious presbyterian divine, so distinguished for his Hebrew lore, was born in March 1602, in the rectory house at Stokeupon-Trent, in Staffordshire. His father, Thomas Lightfoot, who was the incumbent of that living, was ranked among the puritans, and was a man much esteemed for his learning and piety. His mother was Elizabeth Baguall, a lady of respectable family, and of exemplary piety. He had four brothers, Thomas, the eldest, brought up to trade, Peter, a physician, and Josiah and Samuel, clergymen.
Dr Lightfoot received the rudiments of his education under the care of Mr Whitehead, at Morton Green, near Congleton, Cheshire. At the age of fifteen he was removed to Christ's college, Cambridge. Here he enjoyed the superior advantage of having for his tutor the learned and excellent William Chappel, the tutor of John Milton and Dr Henry More.
Lightfoot pursued his studies in general literature with great ardour, and was considered by his tutor as the best orator of all the undergraduates in the university. He is said, however, to have had no taste for the technicalities of dialectical disputation, nor even to have paid much attention to Hebrew learning, in which he afterwards became so eminent.
After a residence of four years at college, and taking his bachelor's degree, he returned to his former preceptor, Mr Whitehead, who was now master of Repton school, in Derbyshire. After remaining here two years as an assistant in the school, he entered into holy orders and commenced his ministry at Norton-under-Hales, Salop. Here he became acquainted with Sir Rowland Cotton, Knt., who resided at Bellaport in that neighbourhood, and who was distinguished for his profound knowledge of Hebrew. At the age of seven he is said to have been able to read fluently the Biblical Hebrew, and to have made such progress, as to have readily conversed in the language. To this study he had been early directed by the instructions of Mr Hugh Broughton, who was a frequent guest at his father's house in London.
Sir Rowland having frequently put questions to Mr Lightfoot on the subject of the Hebrew Scriptures, with which, by his profession, he was supposed to be acquainted, though, in truth, he was a mere novice, the young minister felt ashamed of his deficiency; and was stimulated the inore to apply diligently to this study, that he miglii not be less informed in an important branch of his sacred profession than his patron, a private gentleman. Here, therefore, he laid the foundation for his Rabbinical learning, in which he received all possible assistance and encouragement from his worthy patron. With him he continued till Sir Rowland left the country to reside with his family in London, at the request of Sir Allen Cotton, his uncle, who was then lord-mayor of the city.
Mr Lightfoot soon followed his patron to the metropolis, but returned in a short time to the country to visit his parents, residing at Uttoxeter, with a view of taking leave of them previously to an intended tour on the continent. Having left home with this purpose, he was detained on his way at Stone, in Staffordshire, and, by importunity, persuaded to abandon his further travels, and become minister of that place, then destitute. Here he continued about two years, and, in May, 1628, married Joyce, the daughter of William Crompton of Stone Park, Esq., and widow of George Copwood of Dilverne, in the county of Stafford, Gent.
Not being able to procure those books which his studies required, Mr Lightfoot removed to Hornsey, near London, that he might be in the vicinity of the library of Sion college, to which he often resorted. During this period, he gave to the public, in 1629, a specimen of his studies, by the publication of his · Erubhim, or Miscellanies, Christian and Judaical.' He was now 27 years of age, and was well-acquainted with the Latin and Greek Fathers, as well as the classics. After a residence of two years in this place, he removed with his family to Uttoxeter ; and, after a residence there for six months, his patron, Sir Rowland Cotton, presented him to the rectory of Ashley, in Staffordshire. Here he remained for twelve years in the faithful discharge of his pastoral duties, and in the most assiduous cultivation of his favourite studies in Hebrew learning, spending most of his days in the delightful seclusion of a small dwelling, consisting of three apartments, which he had erected for this purpose, in the midst of a garden near the parsonage house. From this calm retreat, he was induced, but not without much reluctance, to depart to enter into the arena of polemical strife then commenced in the metropolis. His abilities soon attracted notice, and he was speedily called to be the minister of St Bartholomew's, near the Exchange, in London ; and was also appointed a member of the assenıbly of divines, which met, A.D. 1643, in Henry the Seventh's chapel, Westminster, by authority of parliament, for the purpose of deliberating on the agitated points of doctrine and discipline in the church, and delivering their solemn opinion. In this sphere, Lightfoot's attainments had full scope foi exercise and use. Questions were continually arising in which his extensive knowledge of Hebrew and of Jewish antiquities was of great importance. In some points he differed from his brethren, but on the whole was decidedly favourable to the presbyterian mode.
In the course of the year 1643, Dr Lightfoot was made master of Catherine-hall by the parliamentary visitors of Cambridge, in the room of Dr Spurston, and before the close of the same year was appointed to the rectory of Much-Munden, in the county of Hertford, void by the death of Dr Samuel Ward, the Margaret professor of divinity in Cambridge.
Occasionally Dr Lightfoot was called to preach to the house of commons. Among other topics of reform he strongly recommends a revision of the authorized version of the Scriptures of 1611. On this subject he says : “ I hope you will find some time among your serious employments, to think of a review and survey of the translation of the bible ; certainly, that might be a work which might very well be fit a reformation, and which would very much redound to your
honour. It was the course of Nehemiah, when he was reforming, that he caused not the law only to be read, and the sense given, but also caused the people to understand the reading.' And, certainly, it would not be the least advantage, that you might do to the three nations (if not the greatest) if they be your care ; and means might come to understand the proper and genuine reading of the Scripture, by an exact, vigorous, and lively translation. I hope (I say it again) you will find some time to set afoot so needful a work; and now you are about the purging of the temple, you will look into the oracle, if there be any thing amiss there, and remove it.” He adds : “I beseech you, hasten the settling of the church. I rejoice to see what you have done in platforming classes and presbyteries; and I verily and cordially believe, it is according to the pattern in the mount.”
He commenced doctor in divinity in the year 1652, and then preached a Latin sermon from 1 Cor. xvi. 22, “ If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maran-atha.” In 1655, Dr Lightfoot was chosen vice-chancellor of the university of Cambridge, which office he discharged with great care and diligence, at the same time faithfully performing his duties as a pastor, when not required to attend in his offices at the university. Indeed, being now in the very prime of life, his days were all most busily occupied with the most important engagements. Beside his public duties, he was employed laboriously in writing those works which have instructed the world, and in assisting the learned in their magnificent undertakings for the promotion of sacred literature. The sheets of Walton's polyglott passed under his perusal as they came from the press, and he as. sisted that noble work in various ways by furnishing criticisms, especially on the Samaritan Pentateuch, lending MSS., contributing Rabbinical notes, &c., beside procuring subscriptions to the work. On its completion, under the substantial patronage of Cromwell and the council, Lightfoot delivered a speech at the university commencement, wherein he congratulates the university on the accomplishment of a work so honourable to the English nation.
Dr Lightfoot was also a promoter of that great work undertaken by Dr Castell
, the Lexicon Heptaglotton, wherein he was encouraged, assisted, and comforted by Dr Lightfoot, when almost deserted by the bishops and others who had undertaken to patronize the work. Another great and lasting monument of sacred learning, Poole's Synopsis Criticorum, was also encouraged and assisted by this patron of great works for the elucidation of the sacred Scriptures, to which object Lightfoot's life was chiefly dedicated.
By the interest of Sir Olando Bridgman, lord-keeper of the great seal, Dr Lightfoot was presented to a prebendal stall in Ely cathedral. In 1660, he attended on the side of the presbyterian divines, at the conference held at the bishop of London's lodgings, at the Savoy, relative to alterations and corrections in the book of Common Prayer. He himself did not practically conform to the rubric, not wearing the surplice, and selecting only certain portions of the Liturgy for public worship.
In the latter part of the year 1675, while travelling from Cambridge to Ely, the Doctor caught a violent cold. During his indisposition, he was persuaded to eat a red herring, and drink two or three glasses of claret. A fever immediately ensued, occasioned, or at least heightened (as his physicians pronounced) by a diet to which he was alto
gether unaccustomed, his usual beverage being only water or tablebeer. His head being much oppressed, without much bodily pain, he fell into a state of torpor. At intervals, his mind recovered its wonted power, and his habitual piety marked his last hours. When questioned as to his state, his usual reply was, “I feel rnyself in the hands of a good God.” In this lethargic condition, having continued for a fortnight, he expired Dec. 6, 1675, in the seventy-fourth year of his age. His remains were removed to Munden, where he had been minister for thirty-two years, and Mr Fulwood, formerly of Catherine-hall, preached his funeral sermon.
Dr Lightfoot had four sons and two daughters by his first wife, viz. John, chaplain to Bishop Walton ; Anastasius, also named Cottonus Jacksonus,' in memorial of the Doctor's friends, Sir R. Cotton and Sir J. Jackson; Athanasius, a tradesman; and Thomas, who died young. His daughter, Joyce, was married to Mr Duckfield, rector of Aspeden, in Hertfordshire ; and Sarah, to Mr Colclough, a gentleman of Staffordshire. With his first wife he lived nearly thirty years. His second wife was Mrs Ann Brograve, a widow, related to Sir T. Brograve, Bart., a gentleman dear to Lightfoot, from his having a relish for Rabbinical learning. He had no children by his second wife, whom he survived.
Dr Lightfoot is said to have possessed a mild countenance, as appears by his portrait, and a ruddy complexion. He was grave, but affable and courteous, and very communicative to inquirers ; plain, un affected, and gentlemanly in his behaviour. If by chance he were pre sent when rude or profligate conversation was introduced, he would testify his disapprobation by silence and speedy withdrawal froin the company. On returning home from a journey, it was his custom to pass directly to his study, and not to converse with his family, until he had previously acknowledged the providence of God in his private devotions. He was particularly susceptible of gratitude for any kindness and favour, of which his pathetic and passionate expressions in the funeral sermon which he preached for his good patron, Sir Rowland Cotton, sufficiently testify ; and all his learning and virtues were adorned with the covering of unaffected modesty and humility. He lived upon the best terms with persons of religious sentiments differing from his own. His house, says Strype, was a continual hospital, none went away unrelieved. He would frequently bring poor people within doors to his fire, and in winter found them occupation in spinning and other employments. Whenever his duties required him to be at Ely, or Cambridge, he was wont to express his desire to return to his flock, whom he familiarly termed his dear" russet-coats,
Dr Lightfoot's numerous works were published in a collective form in 1684, in 2 vols. folio, under the joint care of Dr George Bright, rector of Loughborough, and the Rev. John Strype, M.A., of Low Leighton, Essex. Other editions followed ; and the last edition of his entire w was published by the London booksellers in 1825, in 13 vols. 8vo, edited by the Rev. J. R. Pitman, A.M.
BORN A.D. 1630.--DIED A.D. 1677.
Isaac BARROW, an eminent mathematician and divine, was born in the city of London, in the month of October, 1630. His father, Thomas Barrow, who survived him, is honourably recorded as “a citizen of London, of good reputation.” He was linen-draper to Charles I., whom he followed to Oxford ; continuing, indeed, through life, a steady adherent to the royal cause. His brother, Isaac Barrow, uncle to the subject of this memoir, was educated at Cambridge for the church, and became fellow of Peterhouse. He was ejected for writing against the covenant, and, during the commonwealth, experienced great varieties of hard fortune. At the Restoration, he was re-instated in his fellowship, and, soon after, raised to the bishopric of the isle of Man. For some years he was made governor of that island by the earl of Derby. He was translated to the see of St Asaph in 1669, when his nephew, Isaac Barrow, preached his consecration sermon. He died in 1680. There was another Isaac Barrow, brother to the great-grandfather of the subject of this memoir. He was a doctor of medicine, and, in his youth, tutor to Robert Cecil, earl of Salisbury. The early youth of Dr Barrow was unpromising. He was sent to the Charter-house school, where he showed no disposition for learning, and was chiefly remarkable for encouraging quarrels and fighting among his school-fellows. His worthy father was often heard to say, that it it pleased the Lord to remove any of his children, he wished it might be his son Isaac.
“ Nescia mens hominum lati, sorti que future !"
He was removed to Felstead, in Essex, where his successful diligence in study speedily confuted all his father's gloomy prophecies, and procured him the situation of tutor to Lord Fairfax of Emely, in Ireland. In 1643 he was admitted a pensioner of Peterhouse, Cambridge, of which, however, he does not appear to have been long a member, owing, probably, to the expulsion of his uncle. He entered Trinity college in 1645. At this time the fortunes of his family were greatly reduced, through their attachment to the royal cause; and the young student was mainly indebted for his support at college to the kindness of Dr Hammond, whose memory he afterwards celebrated in an epitaph. His steady resolution in refusing to take the covenant gave offence to many in the college ; but his modesty and discretion preserved the respect and regard of his superiors. A Latin oration on the gunpowder-plot (which is still extant) so far' provoked some of the fellows of Trinity that they demanded his expulsion, on which Dr Hill, the master, gave them a quietus by saying, “ Barrow is a better man than any of us." He is said to have been dissatisfied with the physiology then taught in the schools, and to have studied with great care the
"There does not appear to be much offensive matter in this discourse. The commendations bestowed upon the charter and pulicy of James I. were probably the most unpalatable parts.' Speaking of the religion of that t me, he says, "Nec veteres illa corruptela, nec hesternuis ineplius admittebat.