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an Example that ye should do as I have done to you, John xiii. 4—15, does not imply that to be a Christian Sacrament, obligatory still under the Gofpel, as well as Baptism and the Lord's Supper: I know not whether the Convocation was then sitting, but never heard the Question was either then or afterward laid before them; tho it was a Point much fitter for their Enquiry than those which of late they have been engaged in. One or two of these Deputies came to Dr. Smalridge, and to me. We both agreed, that it was not so intended ; no Intimation appearing that the Apostles or Primitive Chriftians so understood this Command; nor ever practised accordingly : As was yet most frequent and unde-. niable in the Case of Baptism and the Lord's Supper. I also added, that in the Apoftolical Constitutions or Canons, the only compleat. Repository of the Laws of the Gospel, no such Appointment any
During the Meetings of the Court of Delegates about me, and on the very Day they folemnly met, and determined that I must answer to this Accusation of Heresy; when I was in the greatest Danger that ever I was in through my whole Life; I was 10 little concern'd at what they were doing with me, that I then first published, and presented to several of my Judges, instead of a Petition for Mercy, as at first they supposed it to be, a single Sheet, wer from the Press, intituled, The Cause of the Deluge demonstrated. It was afterward added to the later Editions of my New Theory: Page 186 mm. 197. It was also
printed in the first Edition of my Astronomical Principles of Religion ; of which presently.
And now, upon Occasion of this Prosecution against myself, it may not be amiss to give some Account of the Character and Prosecution of Mr. Woolston, Fellow of Sidney College in Cambridge, who for some Time made a great Noise in the World, But observe this Mr. Woolston, has nothing to do with that great and learned and excellent Author of The Religion of Nature Delineated. Mr. Wollaston, tho' he were of the fame College, and almost of the same Name : Which Work I have heard the late Queen say she had read over three Times; and I can say that I have done the same four Times myself, on Account of its uncommon Worth. However the other Person, or Mr. Wooljton, was of the Year above me, tho’ not of the lame College : He was in his younger Days a Clergyman of very good Reputation, a Scholar, and well esteem'd as a Preacher, charitable to the Poor, and beloved by all good Men that knew him. Now it happened that after fome Time he most unfortunately fell into Origen's Allegorical Works; and poring hard upon them, without communicating his Studies to any body, he became so fanciful in that Matter, that he thought the Allegorical Way of Interpretation of the Scriptures of the Old Testament had been unjustly neglected by the Moderns; and that it might be useful for an additional Proof of the Truth of Christianity : Insomuch that he preached this Doctrine first in the College Chappel, to the great Surprize of his Audience ; tho his Intentions being known to be good,
and his Person beloved, no Discouragement was shewed him there. After which he ventured to preach the fame Doctrine in some Sermons before the whole University, at St. Mary's ; (one of which I remember to have heard myself) and printed them, under the Title of The Old Apology Reviv'd. Upon this Publication by preaching and printing, his Notions appeared to be so wild, that a Report went about that he was under a Disorder of Mind. Which when he heard, instead of that Applause he Thought he had deserv'd by retrieving a long-forgotten Argument for the Truth of Chriftianity, he grew really disorder'd, and, as I have been inform’d, he was accordingly confined for about a Quarter of a Year; after which, tho? his Notions were esteem'd in Part the Effect of fome such Disorder, yet did he regain his Liberty. When he found himself pretty well, he Thought, he fell a writing to great Men, and to his old Friends; and insisted on the Truth of his Notions, and pretended that the Reports of his Diforders arose only from the Inability the learned were under to confute them. Nay at length he wrote several Pamphlets to prove, that the following the literal Sense of the Old Testament was no better than Antichristianifin, tho' in the mean Time he sometimes insinuated, that Jesus Christ's own Miracles were no othert han Allegorical Miracles, and not real Facts, and exposed those Miracles, taken in the literal Senfe, after such a Manner, and with such a Mixture of Wit and Scoffing, as if he in earnest intended to abuse and oppose the Christian Religion. Which Design however he utterly denyed; and
seemed to wonder that any should impute such a Thing to him ; and about the same Time he wrote another Pamphlet against some of the Unbelievers, which was by no means a contemptible one. Things being in this State, and the Unbelievers thinking to make use of his Folly to lay a Blot upon Christianity, encouraged him to go on; bought his Pamphlets at an high Price, and sent them Abroad, as far as the West-Indies, to do Mischief there.
Now during the Time when the College and his Friends thought his Cafe to be pitiable, and owing in Part to a bodily Diftemper, and upon that Account the College allowed him the Revenues of his Fellowship for his Support; he came of his own accord to the College, to shew that he was not under any Disorder. Whereupon he was called to refidence according to the College Statutes, which allow to the Fellows, if in Health, but eighty Days abfence in the Year. But he absolutely refused to reside, and so lost his Fellowship : Tho' I did all Icould to save it for him, by writing to the College on his behalf. But the Clamor ran fo high against him there, that no Intercession could prevail for him.
After this the Government fell upon him, and hal him indicted in Westminster-Hall, for Blasphemy and Profaneness. At which Time I went to Sir Pbilip York, the then Attorney-General, but now Lord Chancellor, and gave him an Account of Wooljton, and how he came into his Allegorical Notions : And told him, that their common Lawyers would not know what such an Allegorical Cause could mean; offering to come myself into the
Court, and explain it to them, in case they proceeded : But still rather desiring they would not proceed any farther against him.
farther against him. He promised he would not .proceed, unless the then Secretary of State, the Lord Townshend, sent him an Order so to do, I then went to Dr. Clarke, to persuade him to go with me to the Lord Townshend ; but he refufed ; alledging that the Report would then go Abroad, that the King supported Blasphemy: However, no farther Progress was made in Mr. Woolston's Trial, till he had publifhed another Pamphlet, against our Saviour's Miracles, and that with such reproachful Words, that tho' I pitied his Case, and looked upon it as partly a Disorder of Mind, I did not think it became me to be farther concerned for him in any publick Manner, tho' he had dedicated a Pamphlet to me, and canie himself to me. I told him that had not my Reputation, as a firm Believer of the Christian Religion, been very good, hehad done me great Harm by his Dedication. I farther told him, that what he now asserted feemed to me nearer to the Sin against the Holy Ghost than what had ever been asserted by any since the first Times of the Gospel. I withall' asked him, why he did not assert that our Saviour was no more than an Allegorical Person? since then he might naturally work Allegorical Miracles? He replyed no: There was such a Person as Jesus Christ. So I took my final Leave of him, and prayed God to forgive him. At length the Court proceeded against him to a Fine and Imprisonment. In short, he seemed to me to have so confounded himself with his Allego