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By the EDITOR
THOMAS BURNET, Esq;
T were to be wished, that the Author himself had lived to have compleated his whole Defign, and as he made Thuanus his Pattern in Hiftory, like him to have clofed his Work with an Account of his own Life: That he intended fo to have done, is evident both from his last Will, and from a rough Draught or imperfect Sketch of this nature, left behind him. He acted fo confiderable a Part in the World, in fo many different Stations; he met with fo large a fhare of Favour from fome, and fo much Cenfure from others; and in a Life, where the Scenes were fo various, there must be fo many Occurrences, which will be both ufeful and entertaining; that I feared the Publick would fcarce forgive me, as an Editor, if I fhould not endeavour to fupply this only Part of the Author's Plan, which he himself did not live to execute. Tho'
The author's birth and
Tho' the producing Authorities for the feveral facts, afferted in the following Sheets, might perhaps have exempted a writer from future cavils : yet the inferting vouchers for every particular*, would have rendred a work of this nature both dry and tedious; I have only done it, where the matter related feemed very effential, and the original papers themfelves might prove an agreeable entertainment. I have carefully avoided repeating all thofe parts of the Author's Life, which are already related in the Hiftory of his own Time: They are only tranfiently mentioned here, fo as to continue the thread of my narration, and the Reader is referred, for farther information, to the Hiftory itself.
Our Author, Dr. GILBERT BURNET, was born at Edinburgh.an.the.eighteenth day of September in the year 1643.His father was the younger brother of a family, very confiderable for its antiquity as well as intereft, in the fhire of Aberdeen; and was bred to the civil law, which he ftudied. for feven years in France: His exceffive modefty fo far deprefs'd his abilities, that he never made a fhining figure at the bar, tho' he was univerfally efteemed a man of judgment and knowledge in his profeffion; he was eminent for probity and generofity in his practice; infomuch that near one half of it went in acts of charity and friendship: From the poor he never took a fee, nor from a Clergyman, when he fued in the right of his Church. In the year 1637, when the troubles in Scotland were breaking out, he was fo difgufted at the conduct of the governing Bishops there, he cenfured them with fo much warmth, and was, at the fame time, fo remarkable for his ftrict and
Thofe facts for which no vouchers is alledged, are taken from the Bishop's manuscript notes of his own life. And can be further supported by other Teftimonies, if occafion fhould require.
exemplary life, that he was generally called a Puritan But when he faw, that instead of reforming abuses in the Epifcopal Order, the Order itself was ftruck at, he adhered to it with great zeal and conftancy; as he did to the rights of the Crown, without once complying with that party, which afterwards prevailed in both nations. For tho' he agreed with Barclay and Grotius (with the latter of whom he had been intimately acquainted) as to their notions of refiftance, where the laws are broke through by a limited fovereign; yet he did not think that was then the cafe in Scotland.
Our author's mother was very eminent for her piety and virtue; fhe was a warm zealot for the Prefbyterian Difcipline; her education that way had been very ftri&t: fhe was fifter to the famous Sir Archibald Johnftoun, called Lord Warriftoun, who, during the civil wars, was at the head of the Prefbyterians; and was too often hurried away, by his attachment to them, into exceffes that were not fuitable to his natural temper; which was just, generous and felf-denying: Infomuch that he left behind him but a very fmall provifion, for a family of thirteen children, though for many years he had been entrusted with the whole government of Scotland. He was fo zealous in the interests of his party, that neither friendship nor alliance could difpofe him, to fhew favour to thofe, who refufed the folemn league and covenant. Our author's
father therefore, perfifting in this refusal, at three feveral times was obliged to quit the kingdom, and at one of them to remain an exile for five years: And, when his return was afterwards connived at, as his principles would not permit him to renew the practice of the law, much lefs to accept of the preferments in it, offered him by Oliver Cromwell, he lived retired in the country upon his own eftate, till the Restoration; when he was made one of the Lords of the feffion.
He is ad
His father's retirement from business proved a confiderable advantage to our author's education, which was wholly under his care, and fo managed by him, that at ten years old his fon was mafter of the Latin Tongue: he was fent at that age to the college of Aberdeen, where he perfected himfelf in Greek, and went through the common methods of the Ariftotelian Logick and Philofophy with applaufe; he commenced Mafter of Arts before he was fourteen, and then applied himself to the Law, much to the regret of his father, who had always defigned him for a Clergyman. He continued ftudying the Civil and Feudal Law for above a year, by which he laid in fuch true notions of fociety and government, as are feldom found amongst Divines; he then changed his refolution, and determined wholly to dedicate himself to the Church: Thereupon he pursued a very hard courfe of ftudy; he went through the Old and New Teftament, with all the several commentaries upon the different parts of it, then in repute; he examined into the moft noted authors in controverfy, and read Bellarmine and Chamier, in oppofition to each other, quite through; he perused fome of the moft received fyftems of School-Divinity, but was foon difgufted at the fubtlety of thofe writers, and readily obferved, how little all their difputes, which the jargon of the fchools rendred endless, could tend towards making men wifer or better. In his hours of amufement, he ran through many volumes of hiftory: And it is fcarce conceivable, what a progrefs he had made in these studies, before he was eighteen, by an application, which feldom fell fhort of fourteen hours in a day,
At that age, he was put upon his trial, as a mitted as Probationer or expectant preacher; who, after a Proba- having pafs'd examination, is at liberty to preach wherefoever he is defired, but has no particular