A Letter concerning Invocation of Saints, and Adoration of the Cross, writ ten Years since, to John Evelyn of Depthford, Esq; …

London, Printed by John Macock for John Martyn … 1679

Small 4to., pp. 39, [1]; a fine copy in recent quarter calf and marbled boards.


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First edition. Evelyn had asked his old friend Thomas Barlow if a certain passage in a sermon of St. Cyril before the Council of Ephesus as reported in Binnius ‘might not be a good Argument for the Popish Invocation of Saints’. Barlow has no trouble in dismissing the suggestion: ‘the Passage in Cyril … is only a Rhetorical Apostrophe’, ‘all Prayers not made in faith, without doubting, are vain, and (as to obtaining any thing) ineffectual’, and ‘such are the Popish Invocations of Saints’. Bishop Stillingfleet, whom Evelyn had also approached, made the same answer.

Barlow, who is mentioned many times in Evelyn’s Diary, was Bodley’s Librarian in the Interregnum and a very busy Provost of Queen’s College, Oxford, at the time of this Letter (28 September 1669). ‘It is now towards twelve a clock, and I more than half asleep (as you may guess by this rude scribble)’. In 1675 he was consecrated Bishop of Lincoln.

Wing B 834; Keynes, Evelyn, 179.

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