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to do. And you will easily suppose, that I have been as secret in this matter since, as in bishop Patrick's days. Now this being the case, that you, by my filence, enjoy great advantages and preferments, while I am under banishment and prosecution, as to what small place and profits I enjoy'd, and am indeed forc'd to be beholden to the generosity of some good friends for part of my support; I think it very reasonable to inform you of this matter, and of the foregoing circumstances, and to hint to you my expectations from you: for since I lost a very good preferment by my regard to your conscience, which accordingly you still enjoy, I think you cannot excuse yourself from affording me some considerable assistance, now I am, on the like account of conscience, depriv’d at least of the present advantage and income of that small imployment or preferment which I had in the university. And I do verily believe I have given the world as convincing evidence, that what I have done, is truly and really from that honest principle, as you can easily give that your avoidance of the abjuration oath was so. I heartily wish that all doubtful oaths, tests, and subscriptions were taken away, and that all christians might unite to enquire after, and obey only those doctrines, laws, and discipline, which were originally established by Christ and his apostles. But, in the mean time, 'tis fit that all really good men, who are forced to un- , dergo any sort of difficulties on account of conscience, be willing to aslift and support each other in all their neceflities which arise on that account: Which is all that is desired and expected by Your very humble and obedient Servant,
Wily. WHISTON. And here the society may please to observe, that altho' this letter produced not the least effect in Dr. Turner, to my advantage, nor did I ever receive any sort of answer to it, yet was I willing to sup
pose that it was still a scruple of conscience, and an opinion easily gone into, by persons of his education and notions, that “ supporting me would be “ supporting an heretick, and encouraging his he" rely against the church ;” which prevented the effects of his compassion and charity towards me : so that I still kept the grand secret to myself, not only during the life of bishop Patrick, who had promised the prebend to me; but also during the life of my own patron bishop More, till Dr. Turner's own death: after which the discovery could void none of his preferments. And I must needs say, that notwithstanding Dr. Turner's hardship to me in refusing me any assistance, and the many other hardships I have elsewhere met with in my temporal affairs, yet have I been so far from repenting of my procedure, with regard to Dr. Turner, that I have ever taken true pleasure and satisfaction in it ; and in particular, have ever rejoic'd that I have thereby been a kind of joint benefactor with him, to such clergymens widows, and orphans, and their families, as are in greater distress than myself and my own family have hitherto been. However, tho' I am and have long been myself, by principles of conscience, render'd incapable of any preferments among my brethren of the clergy, in the present circumstances of the church, and very well satisfied without them ; yet ought I not to neglect any pru. dent care of making provision for those my children, who being in a manner, together with their father, incapable of such preferments, yet have rendred themselves, I believe, neither unworthy of, nor unfit for other employments, and those even relating to the sacred function ; I mean, to both learning and religion ; which sort of employments, therefore, they are, which I humbly hope for of this society, either considered as such here, or in their private capacity and intereft elsewhere. And
since I think, on a very moderate computation, and without reckoning intereft, it may well be suppos'd, that Dr. Turner was, and this society is, 5000 l. richer, and myself 1200 l. poorer by my behaviour towards him, I may justly esteem myself, per accidens, a benefactor to this charitable society in the former, and somewhat more than per accidens, a benefactor in the latter sum. Which circumstances are hereby humbly offered to the confideration of this fociety.
- N. B. When the society were informed of this matter, it was not denied but I had an equitable claim to some affiftance for my family ; but no opportunity offering, I was obliged to sit down contented without it.
In this year also, I published Proposals for ereting Societies for promoting Primitive Christianity, and gave them away in great numbers, gratis, in half a sheet ; which I shall reprint at the end of these Me. moirs, with the like intention of reviving that society.
N. B. These proposals were afterwards reprinted, and inserted at the end of the small edition of the four volumes of Primitive Christianity Reviv'd. But because they were a few years afterward carefully revis'd, abridg'd, and improv'd, at the first setting up of such a fociety at my house, of which . presently. This first copy is to be looked on as not fo perfect, as the other : cho' I would not have it omitted in any future editions of the book beforementioned : the perfect copy is already printed in my Life of Dr. Clarke.
| About the same year, 1712, I printed fifty pro. posals, for printing a, cheap and correct Edition of all the Primitive Fathers, before the council of Nice; ending with Eufebius's Ecclefiaftical History, in twelve volumes: and communicated the fame to many of my learned friends, for their improvements and corrections. But not meeting with encouragement then, the design dropt. However, ic was about 1723 reviv'd, with great improvements, and some hopes of success, that such an intire set might be gotten into all the parishes of Great-Britain, till Mr. Collins, the author of Grounds and Reasons, quite diverted mine and others thoughts another way. Which amended proposals are by me inserted into the fixth volume of my Sacred History of the Old and New Testament, now published, Page 609-613.
In these two years, 1717, and 1712, my affairs were before the convocation, as the history of that - convocation, so far as I was concerned, already mentioned, will shew. What I would here add, is, somewhat about this matter in bishop Burnet's Hifa tory of his own Times, which I esteem a most authentick, and a most valuable history : (especially the conclusion, which is hardly parallelled in any modern composition that I have ever met with.] Now as to this bishop's account of my affairs, they nearly, agree with my own, as to the facts; and so they need not here be repeated. But his character of me, and his opinion of the censures of such convocations, cannot be omitted. They are in these words, on these two years, and did me great service among his friends ever after. .6 1711, An incident happened that diverted the 56. thoughts of the convocation to another matter. « Mr. Wbiston, the professor of mathematicks in 65 Cambridge, a learned man, of a sober and ex! emplary life, but much set on hunting for para.
66 doxes, fell on the reviving the Arian heresy, «s tho' he pretended to differ from Arius in several s particulars ; yet, upon the main, he was partly 6 Apolinarist, partly Arian. For he thought the « Nous or Word was all the foul that acted in our « Saviour's body. He found his notions favoured “ by the Apostolical Constitutions ; so he reckon'd " them a part, and the chief part of the canon of " the scriptures. For these tenets he was censured us at Cambridge, and expelled the university. Upon " that he wrote a vindication of himself, and his « doctrine, and dedicated it to the convocation ; os promising a larger work on these subjects.
is At the convocation meeting in winter, no an“ swer came from the queen ; and two bishops rs were sent to ask it, but she could not tell what
was become of the paper which the archbishop « had sent her ; so. a new extract of the censure 56 was again sent to her ; but she has not thought fit " to send an answer to it : fo Whiston's affair neeps; 6 thoʻ he has published a large work in four vobi lumes in 8vo. justifying his doctrine, and main“ taining the canonicalness of the Apostolical Consti36 tutions; preferring their authority not only to the 66 epistles, but even to the gospels. In this last I do 6.not find he has made any profelytes, tho' he has a fet himself much to support that paradox.
“ 1712, The censure that was pass'd onW biston's « book in the former seslions had been laid before “ the queen in due form, for her approbation ; but of at the opening of this sessions in December, the « bishops finding that no return was come from the " throne in that matter, fent two of their Number « to receive her majesty's pleasure in it; the arch“ bishop being so ill of the gout, that he came not 6 among us all that winter. The queen had put 6 the censure into the hands of some of her Mini6 sters, but could not remember to whom she gave