A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/South, Robert

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South, Robert (1634-1716). -- Divine, s. of a London merchant, was b. at Hackney, and ed. at Westminster School and Oxf., where in 1660 he was appointed Univ. Orator. He became domestic chaplain to the Lord Chancellor Clarendon, and in 1663 the degree of D.D. was conferred upon him. After accompanying an embassy to Poland he became Rector of Islip, and a chaplain to Charles II. Thereafter he steadily declined higher preferment, including the bishopric of Rochester. He was opposed to the Romanising measures of James II., but owing to his views as to the duty of passive obedience he declined to associate himself in any way with the Revolution, to which nevertheless he submitted. He was an expert controversialist, but it is chiefly by his sermons, which are among the classics of English divinity, that he is remembered. He has the reputation of being the wittiest of English preachers, and this characteristic is sometimes present to a degree not quite suitable to the subjects treated.