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eighty-seven or eighty-eight years of age,
I remember to have heard these few things only, viz. That he was under the famous Camden, second master of Westminster school ; that he refused to read king Charles's Book of Sports on the lord's day; however, when he heard he was beheaded, he fell a weeping; and that in his very old age, when he went to bed he used to say; I go to my bed as to my grave. Now my father had been admitted into Queen's college, Oxford, tho' he did not I believe stay there long. He had been approved by Peter Watkinson, moderator, and seven others of the classical presbytery at Wirksworth, in the province of Derby, and ordained a preaching presbyter June 21, 1653, by fafting, and prayer, and imposition of hands. He was after the restoration kept in his living of Norton by the favour and interest of Mr. Merrey, his great friend of Gopshill, in his neighbourhood ; and was instituted into that living by bishop Sanderson, November 9, 1661. married to Mrs. Katherine Rolle, May 13, 1657, by Mr. Francis Shute, a justice of peace at Upton; as was the practice at that time. The originals of all which instruments I have now by me. However, since there is somewhat very remarkable relating to my father, in a note I lately made upon a paffage in Sir William Dugdale's Short View of the late Troubles of England, page 473, I shall here add that note. He there sets down my father's name in a list of clergymen of the county of Leicester, that address'd the parliament. Upon which my note was as follows.
address'd fure of his notions by the convocation; and his prosecution before the court of Delegates, and its upshot are here omitted ; as already at large published after his Historical Preface, prefixed to the first of his four Volumes of PRIMITIVE CHRISTIANITY Revived, with some additions there ; and at the end of the Vth Volume. Where the reader will find compleat accounts of them ail. See also the MEMOIRS of Dr. CLARK'S Life, per tot. and many other places of his writings hereafter specified.
N. B. This Josiah Whifton was my father, and at this time 1659, become successor to my grandFather, Mr. Gabriel Ross; who died October 19. A. D. 1658. When I as his amanuensis (for he had himself lost his fight several years before his death) read the catalogue of subscribers, he was prodigiously uneasy at his name being in it. His account to me was this : that when some apparitor or messenger came from those at the helm to obtain the subscription, he was very unwilling to comply. He said, he lived privately, and endeavoured to do his own duty without intermeddling with the affairs of state, and so earnestly desired to be excused. But the apparitor or messenger would admit of no excuse, and told him, that if he refu. fed, his name must be put into the roll of refusers, or into his black book, to be seen by those in authority. The consequence of which my father fo dreaded, that he did at last subscribe ; but deeply repented it all the days of his life, and upon his death-bed also. Nay, 1 believe he kept the 30th of January (the anniversary day of humiliation for the death of king Charles I.] more solemnly, as a religious faft, than any other clergyman in England, every year till the day of his death, A. D. 1685. He also wrote a book, though never published, against the lawfulness of that war ; which I have now by me, under his own hand, in manuscript, and a better copy of which, as I take it, the late Sir John Harpur had. My copy begins with this declaration, That his doubts about the lawfulness of that war began this very year 1659, and informs us, that “ this manuscript was begun January 11, “ and finished February 19, 1665, 1666." His brother, Mr. Joseph Whiston, of Lewes, in Sussex, a very pious difsenter, that wrote several books for
infant baptism (an account of whose religious death I have now by me] had been chaplain to colonel Harrison, one of the regicides. To whom my father made me write long letters, to convince him of the unlawfulness of that war: (a copy of one of which letters I have ftill by me) but all in vain. Their differences in opinion however did not break their brotherly friendship, as appeared by his leaving what he had amongst us, his brother's children, when he died. All this I attest, April 25, 1746. But before I proceed to my own history, I cannot omit to mention the relations that came to my
father at Norton, when I was but a child under ten years of age, concerning that wonderful and undeniable instance of the punishment of one John Duncalf of Kings Swinford, about thirty miles from us in Staffordshire ; of which I well remember we had several attestations at the very time, either from eye and ear-witnesses, or those who had spoken with eye and ear-witnesses. This John Duncalf had cursed
himself, upon his stealing a bible, and had wished, • that if he stole it, his hands might rot off, before
he died; which proved most true, and most affect ing to the whole country and neighbourhood. A just account of which, after many years, I have very lately read ; and find all things therein related as I remember I heard then at that time. The exact narrative itself, written by Mr. Illingworth, and the judicious fermon that accompanies it, preached by Dr. Ford, are now before me ; and ought, in this sceptical age, to be reprinted, and recommended to all, who either deny, or doubt of the interposition of a particular divine providence sometimes, for the punishment of notorious wicked men, even in these last days. And I am, and have long been, of the great lord Verulam's opinion, here justly referred to by Dr. Ford, page 52, who takes notice of it as a defect in the hiftorical part
of learning, that there is not extant an impartial and well-attested Historia Neméfios, as he calls it ; An account of the most remarkable judgments of God upon the wicked, and complains of it accordingly,
Now, fince two remarkable things happened to me before, and when I went to school, which was A. D. 1684, I shall here relate them. The first belonged to my grandmother, Mrs. Role, who then lived upon a small estate of her own at Ratcliffe, three miles from us at Norton; but still had her coffin at our house many years. About the year 1680, we heard she was sick, and so we might have some apprehensions, that, the being of a great age, this fickness might be fatal to her: tho' I do not remember any particular tokens of her end approaching. However, at this time I had one night a melancholy dream, and thought I saw very diftinctly her funeral go along by the side of her fails to Ratcliffe church-yard, in a solemn manner.
After which I awaked, and was comforting myself, that all this was but a dream, and my grandmother might still recover. At which time I heard a lumbring noise about the place where her coffin was ; and inquiring what was the matter, the answer was, that my grandmother was dead, and they were come for her coffin.
The second very remarkable thing that happened then to me, was before my going to Tamworth school, A. D. 1684. At Whitfontide, my mother went with me to Swepston (my father wanting his fight) to our neighbour and friend Dr. Gery, rector of that place, which was but two miles from Nora ton. He had his second son, Mr. Gery, then under the care of Mr. George Antrobus, at Tamworth: whither I was to go foon after the holidays were over ; whilft that son of Dr. Gery's was, during the holidays, at Swepston, with his father. With
whom I now aimed to contract an acquaintance before I went to Tamworth: accordingly we were that day very familiar together, and hoped to be so ever afterward. Mr. Gery, in the evening, was so complaisant as to conduct my mother and myself part of the way to Snareston, which lay in our way to Norton. At length we parted, and we went up a small ascent one way, as he went back a greater ascent the other. At which juncture a strong foreboding impression came upon me, from no foundation that I know of, that I should never see him more: which made me look backward upon him everal times : tho' I endeavoured to put such a disagreeable thought out of my mind. Upon Mr. Gery's going back to school, before I was ready to go, he fell ill of the small-pox at school. This affrighted me, and made me earnestly desire to be sent to Tamworth immediately, that when I had once seen him alive (for I had already had the smallpox myself) the foreboding impresion might be over. However, it so proved, that either my father's horses, or servants were out of the way ; or fome other impediment hinder'd my going so long, that he was dead before I came to school, and the other scholars had made elegies upon his death ; so that, according to this my strange impression, I never did see him more. Which accident greatly affected me at that time.
Several other relations of this nature, I mean, relating to the invisible world, I have made strict inquiry about, and collected some myself in the course of my life; and have frequently been intirely satisfied of their truth and reality. But because they were not of my own original knowledge, I rather reserve them till some other sober and judicious person shall make an authentic collection of such relations of that nature, as may have sufficient vouchers, and may be both to my own fatisfaction,