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which I am now compleating; and which, if not throughly answered, will gain all I contend for; especially when the Apostolical Constitutions themfelves, so undoubtedly supported by them, appear more commonly among Christians, and appear to be of equal Authority with the four Gospels themselves, as they really were in all the first Times of the Church. I pray God prosper your honeft Studies and Endeavours, and make you an useful Member of his Church, and am
Your very bumble Servant,
About this Yeat, 1710, Menkenius, a learned Man in Germany, wrote to Dr. Hudson, the learned Keeper of the Bodleian Library at Oxford, to procure him an Account of me; whose Writings then made, as he faid, a great Noise in Germany. Dr. Hudson employ'd his darling Pupil and Relation Mr. Fisher, ny late very good friend, and very useful Justice of Peace, at Thirlby near Bourn, Lincolnshire, but now dead, to go to my Patron Bishop Moor, for a Character of me, who when he had given me a very good one, said, that “ A very
good Man may be mistaken”. Mr. Filber asked his Lordship, whether he would give him Leave to use his Name for my Character: But he was unwilling to it. This Account I had from Mr. Fisher himielt.
Some time in Summer this Year, 1710, or rather the foregoing Year, 1709, it must have been, when my best Friends began to be greatly affrighted at what they heard I was going about; both as to the Easebian Doctrine, which then was universally called the Arian Heresy, which I had embrac'd; and as to the Apostolical Constitutions, which favoured that Doctrine, and were by me fully asserted to be genuine. Two of them, Dr. Laughton, and Mr. Priest came together, in a way of Kindness, to diffuade me from going on, and to represent to me the Hazzards and Dangers I should bring upon myself, and my Family thereby. My Reply was quick : “ Dr. Laughton and Mr. Priest, you are
my very good friends, you love me well, and I " love you well; but as to what I am now about, “ I know you are both quite Strangers to those • Matters, and so your Arguments cannot influ. " ence me: But for myself, I have studied these “ Points to the Bottom, and am throughly satis“ fied the Christian Church has been long and
grolly cheated in them; and, by God's Blessing, w if it be in my Power, it shall be cheated no “ longer. And now I have told you this, you
may as well persuade the Sun (which then shone 66 bright into the Room where we were) to come "s down from the Firmament, as turn me from this «s my Resolution". Which Firinness of Mind soon put an End to their Solicitations.
The like refoluté Answer almost I made to Dr. Bentley, when he once came to me at London, upon the Convocation's falling upon me afterward, and L 4
aimed prodigiously to terrify me with their irresistible Authority. After which I was hardly assaulted any more in this Way; and continuing to act boldly, according to my Duty and Conscience, enjoyed a great Calm within ; how roughly soever the Waves and Billows abroad seemed ready to overwhelm
Nor do I remember that during all the legal Proceedings against me, which lasted in all four or five Years at Cambridge and London, I lost my Sleep more than two or three Hours one Night on that Account. This affords a small Specimen of what fupport the old Confeffors and Martyrs might receive from their Saviour, when they underwent such Miféries and Torments, as we should generally think unsupportable by human Nature. But to proceed ; As to myself, when I saw that it was not unlikely that I might come into great Troubles, by my open and resolute Behaviour in those Matters, and resolving to Hazzard all in endeavouring to restore the Religion of Christ as he left it's which I well knew what it was in almost every single Point: I took particular Notice of the Martyrdom of Policarp; and learned that admirable Prayer of his at his Martyrdom by Heart : And if it should be my Lot to die a Martyr, I designed to put up the same Prayer, in the same Circumstances; being satisfied that no Death is fo eligible to a Christian as Martyrdom, in case the Preservation of his Integrity, and a good Conscience make it neceffary. In this Year 1710, I published a first very
small imperfect Esay on the Epistles of S. Ignatius; But this was afterward greatly improv'd and became a large
Dissertation, and is prefixed before these Epistles in the first Volume of my Primitive Christianity Reviv'd; whither I refer the Reader.
About the Middle of the same Year 1710, I wrote a small Memorial for setting up Charity-Schools universally in England and Wales : It was presented to that Society of which I was a Member, called The Society for promoting Christian Knowledge; which had Charity-Schools under their Care ; and was I think one of the oldest of chose excellent Societies greatly promoted, if not first founded by my dear Friend Dr. Thomas Bray. This Memorial was reprinted, and subjoined to what Copies I had remaining of my Primitive Infant Baptism Reviv’d, of which presently.
Since I am fallen upon the mention of Dr. Bray, I cannot but recommend a small Book lately published, by a nameless Author, concerning him ; intituled Publick Spirit illustrated in the Life and Defigns of the Reverend Thamas Bray, D. D. late Minister of Aldgate ; which I was presented with, when I lately at Atherston met with Mr. Shaw, Jun. and Mr. Carpenter, Dr. Bray's very worthy Son-in-Law, and Successor in the Pastoral Care of Sheldon, near Colesbill, Warwickshire, and in the Patronage of the best Christian Nobleman whom I ever knew, the good Lord Digby. The Contents of which Book I can almost always attest to be true myself ; and have ever esteem'd Dr. Bray, not as one of the greatest Abilities, but by far the most useful Clergyman, and most indefatigable Promoter of Religion, and of those pious Designs and Societies which conduce
thereto that I ever knew whom I always hooured and assisted, both in the Reveiw of his Catechetick Lectures, and his other many charitable and Christian Attempts ; and heard him comforting himself with those numerous good Works he had so hcartily promoted near his own Death. And I will remember, that he once said to me, when he was prepairing to go as a Missionary or Commissary to the Weft-Indians, and expected a good Income to be provided for his Support there.“ Brother Whiston, * if you will go with me, you shall
Halves with “ me in my Profits." But my ill Health, and other Circumstances would not permit me to go with him: Tho' my Heart and good Wishes were ever with him. And I afterwards found that Providence intended to make use of me for other very great Purposes at Home, I mean the Restoration of Primitive Chriftianity, as it was left by our Saviour himself throughout the World; which End I still endeavour to pursue at this great Age, and hope I fhall ever pursue while I live in this world. And may the divine Blessing attend my sincere Endeavours! Amen.
However upon Occasion of this Mention of Dr. Bray, I must be allowed to take Notice of a Fact or two in which he was concern'd. The very learned Mr. Mafon had been at Hanover, in his Travels, fome time before the Succession of that Family to our Crown; and when he came back, Dr. Bray happened to be with him, and observed to him, how happy and religious our Nation would be, when the House of Hanover came ! Upon which Mr. Mafon, who