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to beg of him not to suffer Mr. Whifton to be taken from them, when Mr. Roffe should die, as they were greatly afraid he should be. Tho' I suppose the Petition was never presented : The Reason of which I do not know. I also remember what
my Father told me; that after the Restoration, almost all Profession of Seriousness in Religion would have been laughed out of Countenance, under Pretence of the Hypocrisy of the former Times, had not two very excellent and serious Books, written by eminent Royalists, put some stop to it: I mean The whole Duty of Man; and Dr. Hammond's Practical Catechism: (The latter of which I sometimes read in Evenings to my Pupils, when I was a Tutor.) I also remember his Observation on Mr Hoord's Book concerning God's Love to Mankind, as the first that began to set aside the Calvinists Unhappy Scheme of Election and Reprobation in England, which till then was the current Opinion of the Members of the Church of England, as it is still the Doctrine of her
Articles. I farther remember, that when the Bill for the Exclusion of the Duke of York was in Agitation, my
Father was fo fearful of Popery, that he wilbed such a Bill were lawful : But did not think it was so. Which fear of Popery had so great an Influence upon him, that it had almost prevented his Consent to my being bred a Scholar, in order to my being a Clergyman; which yet he greatly desired; for fear the Popish Religion should come in, and I should become a Popish Priest: Against which Religion I had then read so many Prote
ftant Books, that I was in very little Danger of ever embracing it.
I remember also, that when sometime before his Death, great Numbers of French Refugees came over hither, at the Revocation of the Edict of Nantz, 1685. This so greatly affected him, that considering them as Confessors for Religion, as they reaily were, he preached several Sermons to his small Parish, to excite them to an uncommon Liberality on that Occasion. In Particular he told them from the Pulpit, which I myself heard, that he intended himself to give them six Pounds. By which Means I believe the Parish of Norton made up a greater Sum than Perhaps any other in the Kingdom, of no larger Wealth and Magnitude.
Now it ought here to be mentioned, that my Father was acquainted with that most eminent Dissenter and most vigilant Pastor, Mr. Richard Baxter, and had a great Esteem for him, and his practical Writings : Insomuch that he caused me to learn his small Catechism, of xii Articles by Heart. And certainly as Mr. Baxter put a great Stop to the Folly of the Antimonians, who in the Times of Anarchy were ready to over-set the Majority of weak, but zealous Christians; so had he been as well versed in the original Writers of the two or three first Centuries, as he was in the Schoolmen, his Parts were so considerable, that he had afforded very great Light to the Christian World. Nor indeed by the by, could I ever prevail with myself to preach against our Dissenters, even when my Principles were very different from theirs; on Account of that Seriousness
of Piety, which I found in many of them. Nor do I at this Day approve of one Party of Christians Preaching against another, where they are not allowed to plead for themselves ; but think they had better all of them look into their own Errors, and leave them; and all of them unite upon the only wise Foundation, the Original Settlements of Primitive Christianity.
As to my Father's Death, it was after a most Christian Manner., For when he saw it approaching, he said, he was not afraid to die. And calling for us his Children, he gave us all a solemn Charge for leading a religious Life, and caution'd us not to meet him at the Day of Judgment in an unregenerate State ; and then solemnly prayed with us, and for us. A few Hours after which he Nept in the Lord, the Beginning of January, 1685-6, in the 63d Year of his Age, and lies buried in the Chancel of Norton : With only this original Inscription, now worn out, Depositum Josia Whiston, bujus Ecclefia Re&toris, and had his Funeral Sermon preached by Dr. Gery.
As to my Mother, Katherine Rolle, the youngest Child of Mr. Gabriel Rolle, she was baptized Jan. 19, 1639-40, and died December 1, 1701, at near 62 Years of Age. She was a very good fincere religious Woman, who took great Care of her Husband under all his Infirmities, and of us, a numerous Family of Children. We had been ten in all; but fix Sons and one Daughter lived to be grown Men and Women. The youngest of which, Daniel. by Name, besides myself, is still alive, and
is still no more than a Curate at Somersham, under the Regius Professor of Divinity of the University of Cambridge : His Sincerity obliging him not to lign the 39 Articles for' farther Preferments, and never to read the Athanafian Creed : For refusal to read which he was once in Danger of Expulsion from his Curacy But by Dr. Clarke's Interposition with a Noble Peer in that Neighbourhood, it was prevented. He has, I believe, composed more Sermons, and thofe not bad ones, than any other Clergyman in England ; I have heard him say, above 3000 in Number.
But his principal and most useful Work is, his Primitive Catechism; which when I had myself greatly approved and improved, I publish'd under the Title of a Presbyter of the Church of England, and still insert it among the Catalogue of my own Writings, as I have long made use of it, and of it only in my Catechetick Infrutions, instead of our other more modern Compositions, which seem to me quite inferior to this, as it is wholly taken out of the Bible, and the Apostolical Constitutions : But what Opinion my Brother had of those Conftitutions, I shall here give the Reader in his own Words, taken out of his Letter to me, not dated, but written about A. D. 1715, as follows:
“ I having lately read over the Constitutions with a
Design of putting them in Practice, as far as “they appear either clear in themselves, or a
“ greeable to the other more uncontested Scriptures, rs desire you wou'd be pleas’d to give me your “ Opinion touching these few Difficulties, which “ have occur’d in the Reading thereof. I do not “ intend hereby as if I wou'd attempt any Alte" ration in the Publick Offices of the Church, any “ farther than by the bare Omission of those “ Forms, which I conceive to be directly Repug
nant to the Word of God, because indeed " these very Constitutions, which do so directly « condemn some of those Forms, do at the “ fame Time strictly enjoin a Conformity to the " Injunctions of the Bishops; even of those Spi
ritual Guides, without whose Direction we of « the Inferiour Clergy are required not to do any “ thing of Moment, especially not in the Publick “ Offices of the Church: My Duty I conceive “ with respect to them, is earnestly to pray to " God, which I never omit to do, That he wou'd “ fo guide and govern the Bishops and Pastors of “ his Church, that we may by their Means be “ led into all necessary Truth, particularly, which “ is the sincere Desire of my Soul, That he would “ be pleased to remove their Prejudices, and open " the Eyes of their Understanding, that they may “ restore to us that ancient, and truly pious Form “ of Worship contain'd in the Constitutions : In
Respect of which, in my humble Opinion, espe
cially as to that Divine Office of the Eucharist, « nothing can be faid to be either equal or com
parable to it. The great Plainness and Easiness “ of the Style, the Piety, Ardor, and even