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LIFE and WRITINGS
Mr. William Whifton.
Written by himself in the 79th, 80th, 81ft and 82d Years of his Age.
WILLIAM WHISTON* was born at Norton juxta Twycroffe, in the County of Leicester, upon December 9, A. D. 1667. O. S. My Father was Mr. Jofiah Whifton, Rector of the fame Place: Who married
the Daughter of Mr. Gabriel Roffe, the former Incumbent; whofe Curate he had been, and was fo fortu
*The Reader is to observe, that the entire Hiftories of Mr. Whifton's Profecutions at the Univerfity of Cambridge; with his Banishment thence; of his Deprivation of the Mathematick Profefforfhip there, and of the Profits thereof: With the Cenfure of bis Notions by the Convocation; and his Profecution before the Court of
nate as to fucceed him, of which Gabriel Roffe, my Grandfather, who was Rector of Norton near 50 Years, and lived to 87 or 88 Years of Age, I remember to have heard thefe few Things only, viz. That he was under the famous Cambden, fecond Mafter of Westminster School; that he refufed to read King Charles's Book of Sports on the Lord's Day: That 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 Watkinfon, Moderator, and feven others of the Claffical Prefbytery at Wirksworth, in the Province of Derby, and ordained a Preaching Prefbyter, June 21, 1653, by Fafting, and Prayer, and Impofition of Hands. He was after the Reftoration kept in his Living of Norton by the Favour and Intereft of Mr. Merrey, his great Friend of Gopfhill, in his Neighbourhood; and was inftituted into that Living by Bishop Sanderfon, Nov. 9, 1661. He was married to Mrs. Katherine Roffe, May 13, 1657, by Mr. Francis Shute, a Juftice of Peace at Upton; as was the Practice at that Time: The Originals of all which Inftruments I have now by me. However, fince there is fomewhat very remarkable relating to
Delegates, and its Upfhot are here omitted; as already at large publibed after his Hiftorical Preface, prefix'd to the firft of his four Volumes of Primitive Chriftianity reviv'd, with fome Additions there; and at the End of the Vth Volume, Where the Reader will find compleat Accounts of them all. See alfo the Memoirs of Dr. Clark's Life per tot, and many other Places of his Writings hereafter specify'd.
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 fhall here add that Note. He there fets down my Father's Name in a Lift of Clergymen of the County of Leicester, that addrefs'd the Parliament. Upon which my Note was as follows.
N. B. This Jofiah Whifton was my Father, and at this Time 1659, become Succeffor to my Grandfather, Mr Gabriel Roffe; who died October 19A. D. 1658. When I as his Amanuenfis (for he had himfelf loft his Sight feveral Years before his. Death, read the Catalogue of Subfcribers, he was prodigiously uneafy at his Name being in it. His Account to me was this: That when fome Apparitor or Meffenger came from those at the Helm to obtain the Subscription, he was very unwilling to comply. He faid, he lived privately, and endeavoured to do his own Duty without intermedling with the Affairs of State, and fo earnestly defired to be excused. But the Apparitor or Meffenger, would admit of no Excufe, and told him, that if he refufed, his Name must be put into the Roll of Refu fers, or into his black Book, to be feen by those in Authority. The Confequence 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 alfo. Nay I believe he kept Jan. 30th, [the Anniversary Day of Humiliation for the Death of King Charles I. ] more folemnly, as a religious Faft, than any other Clergyman in England, every Year till the Day of his Death, A. D. 1685. He B 2
also wrote a Book, tho' never publifhed, againft the Lawfulness of that War; which I have now by me, under his own Hand, in MS. 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 Lawulnefs of that War began this very Year 1659, and informs us, that "this Manufcipt "was begun Jan. 11, and finifhed Feb. 19, 1665, "1666." His Brother, Mr. Jofeph Whiston of Lewes in Suffex, a very pious Diffenter, that wrote feveral Books for Infant Baptifin [an Account of whofe religious Death I have now by me] had been Chaplain to Col. Harrifon, one of the Regicides. To whom my Father made me write longLetters, 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 hei had amongst us, his Brother's Children, when he died. All this I atteft, 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 10 Years of Age, concerning that wonderful and undeniable Inftance of the Punishment of one John Duncalf of Kings Swinford, about 30 Miles from us in Staffordshire; of which I well remember we had feveral Atteftations at the very Time, either from Eye and Ear Witneffes, or those who had spoken with Eye and Ear Witneffes. This John Duncalf had curfed himself, upon his fteal