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TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
SIR RICHARD PEPPER ARDEN,
OF THE ROLLS, AND ONE OF HIS MAJESTY'S MOST
HONOURABLE PRIVY COUNCIL.
SIR, PERFECTLY sensible of that regard which you entertain for the virtuous character, I experience no difficulty in committing to your patronage a new edition of the following pages. They contain portraits of genuine excellence, finished by no unskilful artist. Charmed from my earliest years with their captivating beauties, I shall probably be deemed a partial and prejudiced spectator. Be this as it may—when I request your permission to inscribe to you a volume which exhibits a full and adequate representation of persons emineat for their great and amiable qualities, I am confident of your kind indulgence. I am,
WYCLIFFE, JAN. 16, 1796.
PREFACE to the SECOND EDITION.
It will be necessary to observe, that a more full and particular account of several of our English Divines and other eminent persons mentioned in this volume might easily have been introduced. But such a de. tail would have far exceeded the bounds of my plan, which was only to intersperse fome traits of their characters, some short extracts from, or references to their works, sufficient to incite in the reader a desire of acquiring a more intimate knowledge of them, by a diligent examination of their writings, or a more enlarged inquiry into their lives.
In compliance with a request made by the late Mr. Gilbert Wakefield, the note relative to his remark on the venerable Richard Hooker is omitted in this edition.
The Editor has been blamed for his attempt to embellish this volume with the portraits of those good men whose lives are recorded in it. He makes no apology. The satisfaction, which is not seldom derived to him from contemplating the portraits of excellent men, may be attributed to the delusions of fancy, or the temerity of groundless conjecture. However this may be, he can surely incur no great degree of just rebuke for indulging himself in an harmless gratification. He discovers, or at least he thinks that he discovers in the countenance of Isaac Walton, a placid and serene mind, never ruffled by discontent, or discomposed by passion. That of Dr. Donne exhibits an acuteness, a penetration and promptitude of talent, which peculiarly discriminated his character; while in that of Sir Henry Wotton is discerned the demeanour of a gentleman adorned with
urbanity of manners, elegance of taste, and benignity of disposition. The ever to be revered Hooker presents the features of an humble, meek, and mild temper. In the lineaments of Mr. George Herbert, piety and benevolence, with an unaffected fanctity and fimplicity of heart, are conspicuous; and Dr. Sanderson's dignity of aspect fuggests profound erudition, illuminated wisdom, and a gravity and seriousness becoming a Christian Prelate. fic illi oculos, fic ora ferebant.
Virg. The authors of a periodical publication *, which was once read with great avidity, have asserted, that this biograpbical work of Isaac Walton was re-published with the express intention of misrepresenting the conduct of the Dissenters, and with a view to exalt, at all events, the character of the Church of England. That Church requires no such support. The Editor is not conscious that he has entertained any other design than that of exhibiting the characters of men with truth and candour, and of paying that tribute of applause which is due to the modest merit of many of our excellent Divines. If remarks are occasionally made on the temper and behaviour of those who had separated themselves from the established Church, he trusts that he has paid the strictest regard to truth, and that he has neither exaggerated nor extenuated, nor fet down aught in malice: It is his wish to follow the example of Virgil's hero. Tros Rutulusve fuat, nullo discrimine habebo.
VIRG. Many of those gentlemen whose assistance and encouragement he experienced in the first impression of this work, are now numbered among the dead: James Boswell, Esq. who once formed the design of editing these Lives ; Dr. Richard Farmer, Master of Emanuel College, Cambridge; and Dr. William Sheffield, Provost of Worcester College, Oxford, and Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum,
* The Analytical Review, Vol. xxiv, for July 1796, p. 48-50.
and good man, whose pre-eminent merit, while it is
That excellent person to whom the first edition of this work was inscribed, died March 19, 1804, aged 59 years.
Sir Richard Pepper Arden, Master of the Rolls, and one of his Majesty's most Honourable Privy Council, was created, May 22, 1801, Baron Alvanley of Alvanley, in the county of Chester, and promoted to the office of Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, which was vacated by the advancement of Lord Eldon to the dignity of Lord High Chancellor. He was formerly Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, having previously acquired those academical honours which are conferred upon classic and mathematical erudition. His professional learning and talents were universally acknowledged. Totally removed from a haughty demeanour, he uniformly endeared himself to all who knew him, by the suavity of his difpofition, and the innocent cheerfulness of his conversation. He discharged the relative duties of life with fidelity and honour.
Impressed with a strong sense of the intrinsic worth of Christianity, he conformed his life to its precepts, and was himself an amiable example of that goodness which it enjoins. A true and firm friend to our ecclefiaftical constitution, he was a serious and constant attendant on the services of the Church. From the period of his early years to his demise, he was the dear and intimate friend of Mr. William Pitt; of that great
the admiration of the present age, will command the approbation and applause of the latest pofterity.