Isaac Barrow


English Polemical Author, Scholar, Mathematician and Christian Theologian

Author Quotes

Nature has concatenated our fortunes and affections together with indissoluble bands of mutual sympathy.

The fruits of the earth do not more obviously require labor and cultivation to prepare them for our use and subsistence, than our faculties demand instruction and regulation in order to qualify us to become upright and valuable members of society, useful to others, or happy ourselves.

Wherefore for the public interest and benefit of human society it is requisite that the highest obligations possible should be laid upon the consciences of men.

God designs that a charitable intercourse should be maintained among men, mutually pleasant and beneficial.

No man speaketh, or should speak, of his prince, that which he hath not weighed whether it will consist with that veneration which should be preserved inviolate to him.

The histories of ages past, or relations concerning foreign countries, wherein the manners of men are described, and their actions reported, afford us useful pleasure and pastime: thereby we may learn as much, and understand the world as well, as by the most curious inquiry into the present actions of men; there we may observe, we may scan, we may tax the proceedings of whom we please, without any danger or offence. There are extant numberless books, wherein the wisest and most ingenious of men have laid open their hearts and exposed their most secret cogitations unto us: in pursuing them we may sufficiently busy ourselves, and let our idle hours pass gratefully: we may meddle with ourselves, studying our own dispositions, examining our own principles and purposes, reflecting on our thoughts, words, and actions, striving thoroughly to understand ourselves: to do this we have an unquestionable right, and by it we shall obtain vast benefit.

Wisdom makes all the troubles, griefs, and pains incident to life, whether casual adversities or natural afflictions, easy and supportable, by rightly valuing the importance and moderating the influence of them.

He that loveth a book will never want a faithful friend, a wholesome counsellor, a cheerful companion, an effectual comforter.

No unkindness of a brother can wholly rescind that relation, or disoblige us from the duties annexed thereto.

The Mathematics which effectually exercises, not vainly deludes or vexatiously torments studious Minds with obscure Subtilties, perplexed Difficulties, or contentious Disquisitions; which overcomes without Opposition, triumphs without Pomp, compels without Force, and rules absolutely without Loss of Liberty; which does not privately overreach a weak Faith, but openly assaults an armed Reason, obtains a total Victory, and puts on inevitable Chains; whose Words are so many Oracles, and Works as many Miracles; which blabs out nothing rashly, nor designs anything from the Purpose, but plainly demonstrates and readily performs all Things within its Verge; which obtrudes no false Shadow of Science, but the very Science itself, the Mind firmly adheres to it, as soon as possessed of it, and can never after desert it of its own Accord, or be deprived of it by any Force of others: Lastly the Mathematics, which depend upon Principles clear to the Mind, and agreeable to Experience; which draws certain Conclusions, instructs by profitable Rules, unfolds pleasant Questions; and produces wonderful Effects; which is the fruitful Parent of, I had almost said all, Arts, the 47 unshaken Foundation of Sciences, and the plentiful Fountain of Advantage to human Affairs.

Wit is proper and commendable when it enlightens the intellect by good sense, conveyed in jocular expression; when it infringes neither on religion, charity, and justice, nor on peace; when it maintains good humor, sweetens conversation, and makes the endearments of society more captivating; when it exposes what is vile and base to contempt; when it reclaims the vicious, and laughs them into virtue; when it answers what is below refutation; when it replies to obloquy; when it counterbalances the fashion of error and vice, playing off their own weapons of ridicule against them; when it adorns truth; when it follows great examples; when it is not used upon subjects, improper for it, or in a manner unbecoming, in measure intemperate, at an undue season or to a dangerous end.

I pass by that it is very culpable to be facetious in obscene and smutty matters.

No virtue is acquired in an instant, but step by step.

The mind of man is able to discern universal propositions ? by its native force, without any previous notion or applied reasoning, which method of attaining truth is by a peculiar name styled intellection.

If men are wont to play with swearing anywhere, can we expect they should be serious and strict therein at the bar or in the church.

Now as to what pertains to these Surd numbers (which, as it were by way of reproach and calumny, having no merit of their own are also styled Irrational, Irregular, and Inexplicable) they are by many denied to be numbers properly speaking, and are wont to be banished from arithmetic to another Science, (which yet is no science) viz. algebra.

The reading of books, what is it but conversing with the wisest men of all ages and all countries.

In defiance of all the torture, the might, and the malice of the world, the liberal man will ever be rich; for God's providence is his estate, God's wisdom and power his defense, God's love and favor his reward, and God's word his security.

Our hearts will be so resty or listless that hardly we shall be induced to perform it [devotion] when it is most necessary or useful for us.

The very exercise of industry immediately in itself is delightful, and hath an innate satisfaction which tempereth all annoyance, and even ingratiateth the pains going with it.

Industry hath annexed thereto the fairest fruits and the richest rewards.

Poetry is a kind of ingenious nonsense (Spence, Anecdotes

There is not in nature anything so remotely distant from God, or so extremely opposite to him, as a greedy and griping niggard.

A constant governance of our speech, according to duty and reason, is a high instance and a special argument of a thoroughly sincere and solid goodness.

Industry sweeteneth our enjoyments, and seasoneth our attainments with a delightful relish.

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English Polemical Author, Scholar, Mathematician and Christian Theologian