« PreviousContinue »
Praiseworthy Instance of Liberality and Charity
92, 139, 186, 238, 284, 331
Vindication of St. Thomas, Archbishop of Canterbury
26, 55, 127
Review of New PUBLICATIONS.
Abbe Dubois' Letters on the State of Christianity in India
Dies Iræ, (a new translation)
REPOSITORY OF INFORMATION,
For JANUARY, 1823.
DAVID BAKER, the subject of the following biographical sketch, was born in the month of December, 1575, at Abergavenny, in Monmouth. shire, where his father, a gentleman of ample fortune, resided. His mother was sister to Dr. David Lewis, a judge in the Admiralty court. In his youth, he evinced an early display of talent, and any unwearied application to his studies, although, by associating with vicious companions, he by degrees enteredinto many of their follies and extravagances. At an early age be commenced his education in Christ church Hospital, London, from whence he was, in 1590, entered a commioner in Broadgate's Hall, Oxford, and designed, by his parents, for the church. However, he was afterwards placed with his eldest brother Richard, a counsellor, with a view to be instructed in the law, and soon became a member of the Middle Temple, Here his superior attainments and abilities eminently manifesto ed themselves, but his many good qualities were sullied by his licentious habits, and the doubts he began to entertain concerning Divine Providence, and the existence of a supreme Being. Upon the death of his brother, he was appointed recorder of Abergavenny, through the interest of his father, who kept the courts under Lord Abergavenny as his steward, and was very desirous of his son's assistance. Again, however, hip occupa
tions, his studies, and his pursuits, were unexpectedly changed, and the following singular circumstance, attested by an author of his life, appears to have been the immediate cause : Ņow it happened, that returning home from a commission, and his servant outriding him, he fell into a bye-path, which led him to a foot-bridge over a dangerous river; and as he thought to pass over it, his horse was so put to a stand by its narrowness, that he could neither move backwards nor forwards; so that the danger of the precipice, the trembling and stumbling of an unruly horse, and he not being skilled in swimming, obliged him to have recourse to some other help, and immediately he made this resolution within himself: (if I escape this danger, I will acknowledge there is a Power, that takes more care of me than I am able to take of myself;' and in a moment, without his perceiving how it was done, his horse's head was turned the other
way, and removed to a broader part of the bridge, where he first had entered upon it. Whether this deliverance was divine or human, Mr. Baker himself judged it supernatural, and it had such an influence upon him, that he not only altered his .way of thinking in regard of Divine Providence, but took a resolution to serve God in the best. manner he could, who had so mercifully contrived his escape. His law books were' now laid aside, and works of morality supplied their place ; occasionally the points in dispute between the Catholie and Protestant churches claiming his attention, he was by degrees led by curiosity alone, to enter into conferences upon the subject, and at length yielding to the impression of divine grace, he became another man, and with his change of morals, entered into the pale of the Catholic church ;, into which he was received, by a zealous missionary, residing in the same neighbourhood, and who had greatly contributed to his conversion. As he had determined to renounce the world, and embrace the life of a religious, he was referred by the same ecclesiastic to some regulars at that time residing in London; these had been professed at Monte Cassano, and had been lately sent upon the mission : and as one of them was about to return to Italy, it was proposed that Mr. Baker should accompany him. This ofler he readily accepted, and when at Dover, informed his father by letter, merely of his intention to travel abroad ; he soon