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He appears, from the narrative of Dr. Gibbons, to have been neither indigent nor illiterate.
Isaac, the eldest of nine children, was given to books from his infancy; and began, we are told, to learn Latin when he was four years old, I suppose, at home. He was afterwards taught Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, by Mr. Pinhorne, a clergyman, master of the Free-school at Southampton, to whom the gratitude of his scholar afterwards inscribed a Latin ode. .
His proficiency at school was fo conspicuous, that a subscription was proposed for his support at the University ; but he declared his resolution to take. his lot with the Dissenters. Such he
was as every Christian Church would rejoice to have adopted.
He therefore repaired in 1690 to an academy taught by Mr. Rowe, where he had for his companions and fellowstudents Mr. Hughes the poet, and Dr. Hort, afterwards archbishop of Tuam. Some Latin Essays, supposed to have been written as exercises at this academy, fhew a degree of knowledge, both philosophical and theological, such as very few attain by a much longer course of study. · He was, as he hints in his Miscellanies, a maker of verses from fifteen to fifty; and in his youth he appears to have paid attention to Latin poetry. His verses to his brother, in the glyconick
measure, written when he was seventeen, are remarkably easy and elegant. Some of his other odes are deformed by the Pindarick folly then prevailing, and are written with such neglect of all metrical rules as is without example among the ancients; but his diction, though perhaps not always exactly pure, has such copiousness and splendour as :shews that he was but at a very little distance from excellence. · His method of study was to impress the contents of his books upon his memory by abridging them, and by interleaving them to amplify one fyftem with supplements from another.
With the congregation of his tutor Mr. Rowe, who were, I believe, Inde
pendents, he communicated in his nineteenth year.
At the age of twenty he left the academy, and spent two years in study and devotion at the house of his father, who treated him with great tendernefs; and had the happiness, indulged to few parents, of living to see his son eminent. for literature and venerable for piety.
He was then entertained by Sir John Hartop five years, as domestick tutor to his son; and in that time particularly devoted himself to the study of the Holy Scriptures; and being chosen assistant to Dr. Chauncey, preached the first time on the birth-day that compleated his twenty fourth year; probably confidering that as the day of a second nativity,
by which he entered on a new period of existence.
In about three years he succeeded Dr. Chauncey; but, soon after his entrance on his charge, he was seized by a dangerous illness, which funk him to fuch weakness, that the congregation thought an assistant necessary, and appointed Mr. Price. His health then returned gradually, and he performed his duty, till (1712) he was seized by a fever of such violence and continuance, that, from the feebleness which it brought upon him, he never perfectly recovered.
This calamitous state made the compassion of his friends necessary, and drew upon him the attention of Sir Tho.