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Gilbert Burnet


Gilbert Burnet BURNET, GILBERT, bishop of Salisbury, and an historian of great eminence, was born at Edinburgh on the 18th of September, 1643. His father was a younger brother of a family possessing considerable interest in the shire of Aberdeen, and was bred to the law, which he followed with great success. He was eminent for his probity, and his generosity was such that he never took a fee from the poor, nor from any clergyman; when he sued in the right of his church. In his morals he was strict, and his piety procured him the reproach of being a puritan; yet he was episcopal in his judgment, and adhered to the bishops and the rights of the crown with great constancy, and three several times he left the kingdom to avoid taking the covenant. On one of these occasions, he was an exile for several years, and though his return was latterly connived at, he was not permitted to resume the practice of the law, but lived in retirement upon his estate in the country till the Restoration, when he was promoted to be a lord of session. The mother of our author was not less conspicuous than his father, being a sister of Lord Warriston's, and, like him, a great admirer of the presbyterian discipline.

In consequence of his seclusion from business, Mr Burnet took the education of his son, in the early part of it, wholly upon himself, and he conducted it so successfully, that at the age of ten years, Gilbert was sufficiently acquainted with the Latin tongue, as to be entered a student in the college of Aberdeen, where he perfected himself in Greek, went through the common methods of the Aristotelian logic and philosophy, and took his degree of M. A. before he was fourteen. After this, much to the regret of his father, who had all along intended him for the church, he commenced the study of the law, both civil and feudal, in which he made very considerable progress. In the course of a year, however, he altered his resolution, and, agreeably to the will of his father, devoted himself wholly to the study of divinity, in which, with indefatigable diligence, studying commonly fourteen hours a day, he made a rapid progress, having gone through the Old and New Testaments, with all the commentaries then in repute, as well as some of the most approved systems of school divinity, before he was eighteen years of age; when having passed the usual routine of previous exercises, which at that time were nearly the same in the presbyterian and episcopalian churches, he was licensed as a probationer or preacher of the gospel. His father was about this time appointed a lord of session, and his cousin-german, Sir Alexander Burnet, gave him the presentation to an excellent benefice, which lay in the very centre of all his relations. He refused to accept of it, however, on account of his youth, notwithstanding the importunities of all his friends, his father excepted, who left him entirely to his own discretion. His father dying shortly after this, and one of his brothers (Robert) having become famous at the bar, his mother's relations eagerly desired him to return to his former studies, the law, in which they assured him of the most flattering encouragement; but he was immoveably fixed in his purpose of devoting his life to the service of the church. In this resolution he was greatly confirmed by the Rev. Mr Nairn, who at that time filled the Abbey church of Edinburgh, and took a deep interest in him. Mr Nairn was reckoned one of the most eloquent of the Scottish preachers, and afterwards became well known in the west of Scotland, as one of "Archbishop Leighton's Evangelists." He was remarkable in his discourses for accuracy of style, strength of reasoning, and lofty flights of imagination; yet he always preached extempore, considering the task of writing his discourses as a loss of time. Young Burnet was his great admirer, and learned from him to preach extemporaneously, which he did all his life with great ease, by allotting a part of every day to meditation on all sorts of subjects, speaking all his thoughts aloud, and studying to render his expressions fluent and correct. To Mr Nairn, also, he was indebted for his acquaintance with various celebrated works, particularly Dr More's works, the writings of Plato, and Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity, by the principles of which he professed to be guided through life. In 1662 he became acquainted with bishop Leighton, who, conceiving a great affection for him, took a particular delight in overlooking his studies. Through this amiable divine, he became acquainted with the primitive writers, going through all the apologies of the fathers of the three first centuries, and Binnius' Collections of Councils, down to the second council of Nice. He had the good fortune, about this same time, to contract an intimacy with Mr Laurence Charteris, a man of great worth and gravity, who was not only a solid divine, but an eminent master of history, both ancient and modern, well acquainted with geography, and a profound mathematician, and who also took a deep interest in finishing the education of his young friend, which had been so happily begun, and so successfully carried on.

In 1663 Burnet made an excursion into England, taking Cambridge and Oxford in his way. At the first of these, he had the pleasure of being introduced to Drs Cudworth, Pearson, Burnet (author of the theory of the earth), and More. At the latter he met with great attention, particularly from Drs Fell and Pocock, on account of his ready knowledge of the fathers and ancient councils. Here he improved his mathematics by the instructions of Dr Wallis, who gave him a letter of introduction to that great philosopher and Christian, Mr Robert Boyle, at London. In London he was introduced to all the eminent divines of that period, Tillotson, Sti1lingfleet, Patrick Lloyd, Whitchcot, and Wilkins, all of whose characters he lived to draw in his history. Here also he had the advantage of the conversation of Sir Robert Murray, who introduced him into the first circles of society, acting at the same time the part of a faithful monitor, in pointing out to him those errors and indiscretions into which he was in danger of falling from his youth and inexperience.

After spending six months in this agreeable manner, he returned to his native country, where he again pressed to enter into orders, and to accept of a charge in the west, which he could not be prevailed on to do. Hearing of his great fame, Sir Robert Fletcher of Salton, who had been acquainted with, and had received many obligations from his father at Paris, sent for him at this time to his country seat, and after hearing him preach, offered him that parish, the minister having just been nominated to one of the bishoprics. Burnet would have excused himself, as he intended travelling to the continent, and solicited the place for his friend Nairn; but Sir Robert would take no denial, being resolved to keep the place vacant till his return.

In 1664, the subject of this memoir went over to Holland, and after seeing what was most remarkable in the Seven Provinces, fixed his residence at Amsterdam, where, under the care of a learned Rabbin, he perfected himself in the Hebrew language. He also became acquainted here with the leading men of many different sects, among all of whom he declared he found so much real piety and virtue, that he became fixed in a strong principle of universal charity, and conceived an invincible abhorrence of all severities on account of differences in the profession or forms of religion. From Holland, by the way of the Netherlands, he passed into France, where, at Paris, he had the pleasure of conversing frequently with Daille and Morus, the two protestant ministers of Charenton, the former renowned for his learning and judgment, the latter for shining abilities and unrivalled eloquence. His stay in France was prolonged on account of the kindness with which he was treated by Lord Hollis, then ambassador at the French court. Towards the end of the year, however, he returned to Scotland by the way of London, where, by the president, Sir Robert Murray, he was introduced as a member of the Royal Society. On arriving at Edinburgh he was waited upon by Sir Robert Fletcher, who carried him down to Salton, and presented him to the parish, which he declined taking absolutely, till he should have the joint request of all the parishioners. This he very soon obtained without one single exception, and was ordained a priest by the bishop of Edinburgh in the year 1665. At Salton he remained for five years, a bright example of what parish ministers ought to be. He preached twice every Sabbath, and once through the week. He catechized three times a week, so as to examine every parishioner, old and young, three times in the compass of the year. He went round his parish, from house to house, instructing, reproving, or comforting the inmates, as occasion required. The sick he visited often twice a day. The sacrament he dispensed four times a year, and he personally instructed all such as gave notice that they intended to receive it. Of his stipend,* all that remained above his own necessary subsistence, he gave away in charity. On one occasion, a parishioner who had been in execution for debt, asked him for a little to help his present exigency; he inquired how much it would take to set him up again in his business, and on being told, ordered his servant to go and give him the money. "Sir," said his servant, probably piqued at his generosity, "it is all the money we have in the house." "It is well," was the reply, "go and pay it to the poor man. You do not know the pleasure there is in making a man glad." We need not wonder that such a man had the affections of his whole parish, even of the presbyterians, though he was then the only minister in Scotland who made use of the prayers in the liturgy of the church of England. No worth and no diligence on the part of individuals, however, can atone for or make up the defects of a wretched system; on the contrary, they often render these defects more apparent, and their consequences more pernicious. Few parishes in Scotland were filled in the manner that Salton was. Ignorant and profane persons had almost every where, through political interest, thrust themselves into the cure of souls, which, of course, they totally neglected, to the great offence of good men like Burnet, who drew up a memorial of the many abuses he observed among his brethren, which was highly resented by his superiors. In consequence, of this, lest his conduct might be attributed to ambitious views, he sequestrated himself almost entirely from the public, and by hard study and too abstemious living threw himself into a fever, which had nearly proved fatal. He was soon after interrupted in his pious labours, by being called upon, by the new administration that was appointed in 1668, in which his friend Sir Robert Murray had a principal share, to give his advice for remedying the public disorders, which had been occasioned by the overthrow of the presbyterian constitution, and, along with it, the civil rights of the people. At his suggestion, the expedient of an indulgence to the presbyterians, under certain limitations, was adopted in the year 1669, by which it was hoped they would by degrees be brought to submit to the new order of things. He was at the same time employed to assist Leighton, now made archbishop of Glasgow, in bringing forward his scheme for an accommodation between the conflicting churches. In the course of his journeyings to the west, he was introduced to Anne, duchess of Hamilton, a very excellent woman, with a strong bias towards the presbyterians, which enabled her to influence in some degree the leaders of that body, and rendered her somewhat of a public character. At her house, the managers of the college of Glasgow had occasion to meet with the minister of Salton, and, the divinity chair being there vacant, he was unanimously elected to fill it. All this was unknown to Burnet till it was over, and he was again thrown into much difficulty, his friends insisting upon him to accept the invitation, and his parishioners that he should refuse it. Leighton, however, laid his commands upon him, which he considered as law, and he therefore removed to Glasgow in the year 1669.

Owing to the deplorable state of the church and nation, he encountered much trouble and many inconveniences in his new situation. His principal care, however, was to improve his pupils, to whom he seems to have devoted almost his whole time and attention. On the Mondays he made each of the students in his turn explain a head of divinity in Latin - propound a thesis from it, which he was to defend against his fellow-students, the professor concluding the exercise by deciding the point in a Latin oration. On Tuesdays, he prelected in Latin, purposing in eight years to embrace a complete system of divinity. On Wednesdays, he gave a lecture of an hour upon the gospel of Matthew. On Thursdays the exercise was alternate; one Thursday he expounded a Hebrew psalm, comparing it with the Septuagint, the Vulgate, and the English version; on the other, he explained some portion of the ritual and constitution of the primitive church. On Fridays he made each of his pupils, in course, preach a short sermon upon a text assigned, upon which he gave his own remarks in conclusion. This was the labour of the mornings. In the evenings, after prayers, he every day read them a portion of the Scriptures, on which he made a short discourse, after which he examined into the progress of their several studies, exhorting, encouraging, and directing them, as he found necessary. In order to keep up all these exercises, he was under the necessity of rising every morning at four o'clock, and it was ten before his preparations were completed for the labours of the day. During his vacations, he made frequent visits to Hamilton, where he was engaged by the duchess to examine and put in order the papers of her father and uncle, which led him to compile the memoirs of the Dukes of Hamilton. The duke of Lauderdale, hearing he was employed upon this work, wrote for him to come up to London, promising him such information concerning the transactions of these times as he could furnish. He went to London, accordingly, and was received by Lauderdale with much kindness. But the impious manners of this nobleman were not agreeable to him, and he made no use of the confidence reposed in him, except to reconcile his grace to the duke of Hamilton, who had assignations given him on the revenues of the crown, in satisfaction of some old claims for which vouchers had been found by Burnet among the papers intrusted to his care, and in return the Duke of Hamilton engaged to concur with the measures of the court in the ensuing parliament.

Four of the Scottish bishoprics were at this time vacant, of which Burnet was offered his choice; but he foresaw that they would entangle him in difficulties, with little prospect of his being able to effect any thing good; so he utterly refused to accept any of them. In 1672, he prevented a breach between Lauderdale and the Duke of Hamilton, for which his country certainly owed him little thanks. About this time he published his Vindication of the authority, constitution, and laws of the church and state of Scotland, wherein he strenuously maintained the cause of Episcopacy, and the illegality of resistance merely on account of religion. This was by the court reckoned a most acceptable service. He was again courted to accept of a bishopric, with the promise of the first archbishopric that should become vacant; but he still persisted in refusing. In 1673, he went again to London, in order to obtain a license for publishing his Memoirs of the duke of Hamilton. He also entertained a resolution to have nothing further to do with the affairs of state, being satisfied that popery was now the prevailing interest at court, and that the sacramental test by which York, Clifford, and other papists had been excluded, was a mere artifice of Charles to obtain money to prosecute the Dutch war. On this occasion, he used much freedom both with the duke and duchess of Lauderdale; pointing out to them in strong terms, the errors they had fallen into, and the fatal effects that would accrue to themselves and to the whole nation. This, with his known intimacy with duke Hamilton, who was at the time a kind of feeble oppositionist, brought him into high credit, as possessed of great influence in Scotland, in consequence of which he was frequently consulted both by the King and the duke of York, to the latter of whom he introduced Dr Stillingfleet, and proposed a conference, in presence of his Royal Highness, with some of the Catholic priests, on the chief points of controversy between the Romanists and the Protestants, which must have been highly offensive to that bigoted prince. With the king he made no other use of the freedom allowed him than to attempt awakening him out of that lethargy of indolence and vice, in which he seemed to be wholly entranced, and to revive in him some sense of religion, an aim in which his self-love must have been very strong if he had any hopes of succeeding. The king made him a compliment, however, by naming him one of his chaplains. Having obtained a license for his Memoirs of the dukes of Hamilton, which was delayed that the king and some of his ministers might have the pleasure of reading them in MS.; he returned to Scotland, and finding the animosity between the dukes of Lauderdale and Hamilton no longer repressible, he retired to his station at Glasgow. The favour shown him at London awakened the jealousy and exposed him to the rage of a numerous class of courtiers. The schemes of the court having been in some instances thwarted by the parliament, Lauderdale threw the whole blame upon Burnet, whom he represented as the underhand instrument of all the opposition he had met with. This accusation drew him again to court in 1674. The king received him coldly, and ordered his name to be struck off the list of chaplains. Yet, at the entreaty of the duke of York, his majesty admitted him to an audience, to say what he could in his own defence, which having heard, he seemed satisfied, and ordered him home to Glasgow. From this the duke of York dissuaded him till his peace should be entirely made; otherwise, he assured him he could be thrown into prison, where he might be detained as long as the present party was in power. His Royal Highness at the same time exerted himself to have him reconciled with Lauderdale, but without effect. Dr Burnet had now no alternative but to resign his professorial chair, and seek a settlement in Eng1and, or by going back to Scotland, put himself in the power of his enemies. He did not long hesitate, and would have found at once a quiet settlement in London, had not the electors of the church he had in view been deterred from choosing him by a sharp message from the king. This, though at the time it had the aspect of a misfortune, he ever after spoke of as one of the happiest incidents of his life; as it at once set him free from the entanglements of a corrupt court, whose services he had been so far engaged in, that, without some such accident, he might never have escaped from them.

He had now an offer of the living of St Giles, Cripplegate, from the Dean and chapter of St Pauls. As he, however, had learned, that it was originally their intention to bestow the living upon Dr Fuller, afterwards bishop of Gloucester, he thanked them for the offer, but declared himself not at liberty to accept it. Through the recommendation of Lord Hollis, he was next year appointed preacher to a Chapel by Sir Harbottle Grimston, master of the rolls, though the court sent first a bishop and afterward secretary Williamson to inform Harbottle that he was a preacher highly unacceptable to the king. In this chapel he remained nine years, during which time he was elected a lecturer at St Clements, and was one of the most admired preachers in town. In 1676, he printed an account of a conference which himself and Dr Stillingfleet held with Coleman and the principal of the Romish priests; and in 1679, appeared the first volume of his history of the Reformation, which procured him a vote of thanks from both houses of parliament, with a request that he would prosecute the work to its completion, without loss of time. Two years after this, he published the second volume, which met with the same general approbation as the first. Having at this time no parochial cure, Dr Burnet was not in the practice of visiting the sick, as a part of his regular calling; but he was always ready to attend those who requested his visits. Among these happened to be a lady, who had been criminally connected with John Wilmot earl of Rochester, and the manner in which the Dr conducted himself towards her, excited a strong desire in his lordship to see and converse with him. This led to a weekly meeting of Dr Burnet and Lord Rochester for a whole winter, which ended first in the conviction, and latterly it is to be hoped the conversion of that singular libertine. An account of the whole affair was published by Dr Burnet in 1681, which, Dr Johnson says, "the critic ought to read for its elegance, the philosopher for its arguments, and the saint for its piety." During the time of the inquiry into the popish plot, Charles seems to have been softened down considerably, and often sent for Dr Burnet, and consulted with him on the state of the nation. His Majesty made also another attempt to bring him over, by offering him the bishopric of Chichester, at that time vacant, provided he would come entirely into his interests; Burnet with an honesty, that we fear, is but too seldom practised, told the king, he knew the oaths that in such a case he must take: these he would observe religiously, but must be excused from giving any other engagements. He of course was not installed in the bishopric; but he embraced the opportunity of writing a letter to the king, which does him more real honour than if he had held in his single person, all the bishoprics in England. This letter, so full, so free, so faithful, and so affectionate, we regret that our limits forbid us to insert. We must also leave it to general history, to detail the endeavours he made to save the lives of Staley and the Lord Stafford, on occasion of the popish plot. By his conduct with regard to the exclusion of the Duke of York, and the scheme of a Prince Regent in lieu of that exclusion, he lost the favour of both parties, perhaps not undeservedly. Yet, in 1682, when the administration was wholly in favour of the Duke of York, a promise was obtained from the king to bestow upon him the mastership of the Temple, which was likely to be immediately vacant; upon which he was again sent for by the king, and treated with extraordinary kindness. Burnet himself, however, waved the promise that had been made him, when he found that he was expected in return for the place, to break up correspondence with all those who had been his best friends. He felt himself at this time upon such dangerous ground, that he was afraid of all communication with either of the parties that at this time were agitating the public mind; and as an excuse for privacy, built a laboratory, and for a whole year amused himself with performing experiments in chemistry. He was at this time offered a living of three hundred pounds a year by the earl of Essex, upon condition that he would continue to reside in London. In case of having the cure of souls, however, Burnet thought residence an indispensable obligation, and the benefice was given to another. In 1683, he narrowly escaped being brought by his friends into trouble by the Ryehouse plot; and by his conducting the trial and attending on Lord William Russel in prison and on the scaffold, and particularly by defending his memory before the council, he incurred the odium of the court, which, from a certain knowledge of his integrity, could not fail at this time to be greatly afraid of him. In the course of this year, probably to be out of the way of his enemies, he went over to Paris, where he was treated with great deference, by the express orders of Louis XIV. Here, his friends, apprehensive of danger to him at home, wished him to remain; but as no consideration could induce him to be long absent from his charge, he of course returned in a short time. That same year, however, he was discharged from his lecture at St Clements, by a mandate from the king, and in March 1684, he was forbid preaching any more in the chapel at the rolls. Being thus happily disengaged from all his employments, at the death of Charles II. upon the accession of James VII. he requested, and obtained leave to quit the kingdom, and went to Paris, where he lived in great retirement, to avoid being involved in the conspiracies which the duke of Monmouth and the earl of Argyle were then forming against the government. When that business was at an end, he in company with an officer, a protestant in the French service, made the tour of Italy, and in 1684, came to Utrecht, where he found letters from some of the principal ministers of state at the Hague, requesting him to wait upon the prince and princess of Orange. As the Revolution in England was already in contemplation, Dr Burnet met from these personages a most gracious reception, and was soon admitted to an entire confidence. When Dyckvelt was sent over ambassador to England, with a view particularly to sound the inclinations of the people, his secret instructions were drawn up by Dr Burnet, of which the rough draught in his own hand writing is still preserved. James, in the meantime, was highly incensed against him for the reflections he had made on the richness of the catholic countries, through which he had passed, in an account of his travels recently published, which it was supposed had had a sensible effect upon the people of England. His majesty accordingly wrote two severe letters against him to the princess of Orange, and forbade his envoy at the Hague to transact any business with that court till Dr Burnet was forbidden to appear there. This to humour James was done; but Hallewyn Fogel and the rest of the Dutch ministers consulted with him privately every day. A prosecution for treason was now commenced against Dr Burnet in Scotland; but before this could be notified to the States, he had been naturalized with a view to his marriage with a Dutch lady; and in a letter in answer to the charges preferred against him, directed to the earl of Middleton, he stated that being now naturalized in Holland, his allegiance, during his stay there, was transferred from his majesty to the States. This expression was at once laid hold of, and dropping the former prosecution, they proceeded against him for these words, as guilty of high treason, and passed against him a sentence of outlawry. It was then demanded of the States to deliver him up, or to banish him; but as he had been naturalized, the States refused to proceed against him, unless he were legally convicted of some crime; which, if his majesty found himself capable of doing, they would punish him according to their law. To narrate the important part he performed in the revolution, would be to write the history of that great event. By the prince of Orange as well as by the friends of liberty in England, he was treated with unreserved confidence. He had a principal hand in drawing up the prince's declarations, as well as the other public papers written at the time to justify the undertaking. But for a particular account of these we must refer our readers to the history of England. At the Revolution, Dr Crew, bishop of Durham, having been on the high commission created by king James, offered to resign his bishopric to Dr Burnet, trusting to his generosity for one thousand a year for life out of the episcopal revenue; and sent the earl of Montague to the prince of Orange with the proposal; but when mentioned to Burnet he refused absolutely to have anything to do with it on these terms, as he considered them highly criminal. He was shortly after promoted to the see of Salisbury. At the close of the Session of parliament 1689, Dr Burnet went down to his diocese, when he entered upon the duties of his episcopal office with that conscientious ardour which distinguished his character. His first pastoral letter, however, in which, to save betraying the discrepancies of his political creed, he founded king William's right to the throne upon conquest, gave so much offence to both houses of parliament, that they ordered it to be burnt by the hands of the hangman. He maintained, nevertheless, unshaken credit with king William and queen Mary to the end of their days; and employed that credit in the most praise-worthy manner. He was by the king, in preference to all his ministers, appointed to name the princess Sophia, Electress of Brunswick, next in succession to the princess of Denmark, and her issue, in the famous bill for declaring the rights and liberties of the subject, and settling the succession to the crown; and when that succession was explicitly established in 1701, he had the honour of being chairman of the committee to which the bill was referred. He had also the pleasure in 1690, of being a successful advocate for Lord Clarendon, who had engaged in a plot against the king, and been one of the Dr's bitterest enemies, at the time when popery and arbitrary power were in favour.

During the life of Mary, Dr Burnet being generally one of her advisers, the affairs of the church passed wholly through his hands. After her death, in 1694, a commission was granted for that purpose to the two archbishops and four prelates, of whom Dr Burnet was one. A commission of the same kind was granted in 1700, and the Doctor still continued a member. In 1698, he was appointed preceptor to the Duke of Gloucester, and, on that occasion, insisted on giving up his bishopric. King William, however, would not allow him to do so; but, in order to soothe him, made arrangements that he might be at hand, and still have it in his power to pay considerable attention to his diocese. In this high trust the bishop conducted himself so as to have the entire approbation of the princess of Denmark, who ever after retained a peculiar affection for him, of which he had many sensible tokens after she came to the throne; though in her last years he was in direct and open opposition to her measures. In the year 1699, he published his celebrated exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles, and a short time before his death, a third volume of his History of the Reformation. In the month of March, 1715, he was attacked with a pleuritic fever, which carried him off, being in the seventy-second year of his age. He was married first to the Lady Margaret Kennedy, daughter to the Earl of Cassillis, celebrated for her beauty and her wit. Secondly, to Mrs Mary Scott, a Dutch lady of noble extraction and large fortune, by whom he had three sons. Thirdly, to Mrs Berkeley, a widow lady of singular talents and uncommon piety, by whom he had no issue. From the brief sketch which we have given of the principal events of his life, it is evident that Dr Burnet possessed a vigorous understanding, and was a man of great piety, and unwearied perseverance. Early prepossessions, however, which, vigorous as his understanding was, he evidently could not overcome, made him the dupe of a system antiscriptural and superstitious - a system which whatever it may seem to promise in theory, has in practice been found cumbersome and inefficient - a system which, while it provides for the pampering of a few of the privileged orders of the clergy, leaves all the rest, together with the great body of the people, to pine and perish in want, contempt, and ignorance. What man as a bishop could do, Dr Burnet, while bishop of Salisbury, appears to have done; but he was hampered on all hands by insurmountable abuses originally inherent, or growing naturally out of the legalised order of things. His consistorial court he found to have become a grievance both to clergy and laity, and he attended for years in person to connect it. But the true foundation of complaint he found to be the dilatory course of proceedings, and the exorbitant fees, which he had no authority to correct. He could not even discharge poor suitors who were oppressed with vexatious prosecutions, otherwise than by paying their fees out of his own pocket, which he frequently did, and this was all the reform he was able to accomplish. In admitting to orders, he met with so much ignorance and thoughtless levity, that for the benefit of the church he formed a nursery at Salisbury, under his own eye, for students of divinity, to the number of ten, to each of whom he allowed a sum of money out of his own income for his subsistence, and in this way he reared up several young men who became eminent in the church; but this was soon discovered to be a designed affront put upon the method of education followed at Oxford, and he was compelled to give it up. Pluralities he exclaimed against as sacrilegious robbery, and in his first visitation at Salisbury quoted St Bernard, who, being consulted by a priest, whether he might not accept of two benefices, replied, 'And how will you be able to serve them.' ‘I intend,' said the priest, 'to officiate in one of them by deputy.' ‘Will your deputy be damned for you too,' said the saint; ‘believe me, you may serve your cure by proxy, but you must be damned in person.' This quotation so affected one of his hearers, Mr Kilsey, that he resigned the rectory of Bemerton, worth two hundred pounds a year, which he held along with one of still greater value. The bishop was, at the same time, from the poverty of the living, frequently under the necessity of joining two of them together to have them served at all, and sometimes he found it necessary to help the incumbent out of his own pocket into the bargain. These, with other evils, it must be admitted, the Doctor lost no opportunity to attempt having redressed, but alas! they were and are inherent in the system, without a reform in which, they admit of no cure. He travelled over his diocese which he found "ignorant to scandal," catechising and confirming with the zeal of an apostle; and when he attended his duty in parliament, he preached in some of the London churches every Sabbath morning, and in the evening lectured in his own house, where a number of persons of distinction attended. So much conscientious diligence, confined to a legitimate locality, could scarcely have failed to produce a rich harvest of gospel fruits. Scattered as it was over such a wide surface, there is reason to fear that it was in a great measure unprofitable. While Dr Burnet was a diligent instructor from the pulpit, he was not less so from the press, having published in his life-time fifty-eight single sermons, thirteen treatises or tracts on divinity, seventeen upon popery, twenty-six political and miscellaneous, and twenty-four historical and biographical, to which we may add the History of his Own Time, published since his death. Some of these, particularly the Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles, the History of the Reformation, and of his own times, still are, and must long continue to be, especially the latter, standard works. The History of his Own Time, it has been happily observed, has received the best testimony to its worth from its having given equal offence to the bigoted and interested of all parties. Take him all in all, perhaps no juster eulogium has been passed upon him than that of Wodrow, who, speaking of him as one of Leighton's preachers, calls him "Mr Gilbert Burnet, well known to the world since, first professor of Divinity at Glasgow, and after that persecuted, for his appearing against popery, and for the cause of liberty, and since the Revolution the learned and moderate bishop of Sarum, one of the great eye-sores of the high-fliers and tories of England, and a very great ornament to his native country."

* As minister of Salton, Burnet received in stipend from the laird of Salton, in 1665, 397 10s. Scots [equal to 33 2s. 6d. sterling,] together with 11 bolls, 2 pecks, 2 lippies, of wheat; 11 bolls, 2 pecks, 2 lippies of bear; and 22 bolls, 1 firlot, 1 peck, 3 lippies meal.- Receipt, MSS. Adv. Lib. Signed " GILBERT BURNETT."


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