Thomas Barlow

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Contributed by Kent Barlow
From: A New General Biographical Dictionary
Projected and partly arranged by the late Rev. Hugh James Rose, B.D.
Principal of King's College, London

Barlow, Thomas an eminent divine and relate of the seveteenth century, was born in the parish or Orton, in Westmoreland, in 1607, and educated in one of those northern schools which have sent forth so many men who have attained to eminence in the church or the state. From the school at Appleby, he removed to Queen's College, Oxford, became B.A., M.A., and fellow of his college. The lectures which he delivered as reader in metaphysics, were published in 1637. He retained his fellowship in the changes which soon followed, through the interest, as was supposed, of his friends Selden or Dr. Owen with the visitors of the university; for he was no favourer of the designs of parliament. In 1654, he was appointed keeper of the Bodleian library, and about the same time lecturer of Church-hill, near Barford. On the death of Dr. Langbaine, 1657, he was chosen provost of his college. On the change of the times, he was named a commissioner for restoring the members of the university who had been displaced in 1648; was made D.D., lady Margaret professor of divinity, and archdeacon of Oxford. When nearly seventy years of age he was removed from Oxford, where he had lived more than fifty years, being nominated to the bishopric of Lincoln on the death of bishop Fuller in 1675. Here he remained till his death, dying in his palace at Bugden, October 8, 1691. He left to the Bodleian library all such books in his collection as were not already in that repository, and the remainder to Queen's college.

His published writings are many. They are chiefly in theology, and especially controversial or casuistical, in which latter department of theology he was supposed greatly to excel. A list of them may be found in the Athanae Oxoniensis, and the Biographia Britannica. It may suffice to name a few of them:

The Case of Toleration in Matters of Religion, 1660
Mr. Cottington's Case of Divorce, 1671
The Original of Sinecures, 1676
Popery, or the Principles and Opinions approved by the Church of Rome
The Gunpowder Treason, with a Discourse of the Manner of its Discovery
The Rights of the Bishops to judge in Capital Cases in Parliament cleared
A Letter for the putting in execution the Laws against Dissenters

There are many other small tracts. He left directions, that no writings found among his papers after his death should be printed. His two chaplains, Mr. Offley and Mr. Brougham, were charged to see to this; and they appear to have discharged their trust faithfully; nevertheless, soon after the bishop's death, there appeared several miscellaneous and weighty cases of conscience, learnedly and judiciously resolved by the right reverend father in God, Dr. Thomas Barlow, late lord biship of Lincoln. This was published by Sir Peter Pett, who in 1693 published also another volume, entitled The Genuine Remains of that learned relate, Dr. Thomas Barlow, late lord bishop of Lincoln containing divers discoursed, theogoical pilosophical, historical, &c, in letters to several persons of honour and quality. In theology, he was of the Calvinia school, and in philosophy an opponent of what was called the New Philosophy and the Royal Society.

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