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ESQUIRE BICKERSTAFF'S PREDICTIONS FOR 1708.1
I do not Lurk in the Dark; I am not wholly unknown in the world: I have sett my Name at Length, to be a mark of Infamy to mankind, if they shall find I deceive them.
My first praediction is but a Trifle; yett I will mention it, to show how Ignorant these sottish pretenders to Astrologers are; It relates to Partridge, the Almanack maker. He will infallibly Dye, on the 29th of March next, about eleven at night, of a raving Feavour.2
April observable for the Death of many great Persons.
On the 4th, the A[rch] B[isho]p of Paris:
On the 11th, the young prince of Asturias, son to the D[uke] of Anjou.
On 14th, a great peer of this Realm, at his Countrey-house.
On 19th, an old Layman of great Fame for Learning.
On 23, an Eminent Goldsmith in Lombard-Street.
I could mention others, but it will be of Little Instruction to the world.
Public Affairs; on 7th, an Insurrection in Dauphiné, not quieted in some months.
On 15th, a violent storm, on the South-East of France, which will destroy many of their ships.
The 19th, famous for the Revolt of a whole Province or Kingdome, Excepting one City; by which the affayrs of a certain prince in the Alliance, will take a better face.
May 7, the Death of the Dauphin, after a short sickness, and grievous Torments with the Strangury. He dies Less Lamented by the court, than the Kingdome.
9, A marshal of France will break his leg, by a Fall from an Horse. I have not been able to discover, whether he will then Dy or not. 11, Will begin a most important Siege, which the Eyes of all Europe will be upon.
19, Three noble Ladies of this Kingdome, will against Expectation, prove with Child, to the great Joy of their Husbands.
23, a famous Buffoon of a Play-house, will dy of a ridiculous Death, suitable to his vocation.
1I have not found this skit in print in any almanac of that day. *The use by Franklin of this same form of wit, predicting the death of a rival philomath, Titan Leeds, may be read in Writings of Franklin (Smyth), II. 196, etc.
June. The utter despersing of those deluded Enthusiasts, commonly called, The prophecies.
I, A Fr: General kill'd by a Random shott of a cannon bal.
6, A Fire in the Suburbs of Paris, will destroy above 1000 houses. 10, A great Battel fought; it will begin at 4h P.M. and Last till 9h at night. No Decisive Event. The Commanders on each Left Wing, kill'd; I see Bonfires and hear the Noise of Guns for a victory. 20, Cardinal Porto Carrero will dy of a Dysentery.
July 12, A great Commander, will dy a prisoner, in the hands of his Enmies.
14, a shameful Discovery will be made of a Fr[ench] Jesuit, giving Poison, to a great foreign general; and when he is putt to the Torture; will make wonderful Discoveries.
T'wil be a month of great Action, if I might have Liberty to discover the particulars.
15, The Death of an old famous Senator, at his Countrey-house; worn with Age and Diseases.
But, what will make this month memorable, is the Death of the French] K[ing] Lewis XIV. after a weeks sickness at Marli; which will happen on 29th about 6 a clock in the Evening.
It seems to be an Effect of the Gout in his Stomach, follow'd by a Flux.
Three dayes after, Monsr. Chamillard1 will follow his M[aste]r, dying suddenly of an Apoplexy.
In this month, an Ambassador, will dy in London. But I can not assign the Day.
Aug[us]t. I see an Expres in mighty haste; with Joy and wonder on his Looks, arriving by break a day, on the 26th of this month, having travelled in 3 dayes, a prodigious Journey by Land and Sea. In the Evening, I hear Bells, and Guns, and see the Blazings of a 1000 bonfires.
A young Admiral of noble Birth, does likewise this Month gain immortal Honour, by a Great Atchievment.
September. Begins with a Surprising Fitt of Frosty weather, which will last near 12 dayes.
The Pope having Languished Last month, with Swellings in his legs breaking, and the Flesh mortifying, will dy on the 11th.
In three weeks time succeeded by a cardinal of the Imperial Faction, but a Native of Tuscany, who is now about 61 years old.
1 Michel de Chamillart (1651-1721), controller general of finance and minister of war under Louis XIV.
I shall add one prediction more, on mystical Terms.
Alter erit jam Tiphys, et altera quae vehat Argo Delectos Heroas.1 On the 25th of this month, the fulfilling of this prediction will be manifest to every body.
It will be a glorious Campaign for the Allies; whether the English will have their full share of Honour.
Her Majesty, Q[ueen] Ann, will continue in Health, and prosperity.
No Ill Accident will arrive to any in the chief Ministry.
My Fortune has placed me above the Little Regards of scribbling for a few pence.
I was once of the opinion with those who despise all predictions from the Stars, till in the year 1686 a man of Quality, show'd me written in his Album, That the most Learned Astronomer Captain H. assured him, he would never beleeve any thing of the Stars influence, if there were not a great Revolution in England, in the year 1688. Since that time, I began to have other Thoughts; and after 18 years diligent study, I have no Reason to repent my pains.
SIR, Your case is, Whether a Baptism received from a Deacon, Employed to Baptise, by a Society of Anabaptists, and rigid Separatists, who also hold several other Errors, be a valid Baptism?
Doubtless, tis not an orderly and regular Baptism. Nevertheless the Answer which is generally given by Protestants, to that problem, Whether the Baptism received from Laymen, or Women, in the Communion of the Church of Rome, be so disallowable as to make a New Baptism necessary? may serve on this occasion.
You know, they generally make use of this old Rule; Multa fieri non debent, quae tamen facta valent. The Army of them who have written on this point, and against the Repetition of a Baptism, tho' attended with such very Defective Circumstances, is very Numerous; and the Reasons they bring, are as powerful, as the Writers are Numerous. They are so well-known, there is no need Repeting them neither.
Here was a Society of Christians, and a Church tho' Labouring under very great Corruptions. Here was an Administrator, authorized, according unto their Opinion, to the work of Baptising. The
1 Verg. Ec. iv. 34.
Popish Baptism, which compells not Protestants, to Repeat their Baptism, has rather more Exceptions against us than this, in the Case now before us.
There is a Distinction to be made, between a, Vitium in Actu Baptismatis, and a, Vitium in Persona Baptismatis. Here was a Baptism, a Sacred washing, in the Name of the glorious and Eternal Trinity. Tho' he that performed this washing, had not all the Qualifications, that he should have had. They also distinguish between One that has no manner of Call at all, to Baptise; and another that has a Call, tho' not a Lawful one. In many Churches of the Reformation, those persons have no manner of Call at all, who are allow'd in the church of Rome to Baptise, in a (pretended) Necessity. If a Baptism have been received from one of those persons, then such Reformers as Beza and Cartwright, will affirm, Ejusmodi Ablutionem, nihil Magis ad Baptisuum faciunt, quam ordinariam aliam aliquam et quotidianam Lavationem. Certainly, In our Dayes, and among us, a Baptism of the Boyes of Alexandria, would not be judg'd sufficient. It was not so, in the Baptism we now have to Consider; There was a profession of a Call and Power to Baptise, in the Administrator. Yea, you know who, besides Anabaptists, do ordain Deacons, to Baptise.
But after all, while the Baptized person has not a Plerophory, which putts him out of all Doubt, that his Baptism is a meer Nullity; the Judgment and Custome of the Reformed Churches, has been to commend the modesty of those, who do not make Haste unto a New Baptism. For, Non privatio Sacramenti, sed contemptus damnat. And as Voetius observes, The Repetition of Baptism, is usually founded in the same Error that produced the Disorders of the First Baptism, that give the occasion of desiring to have it Repeted. Namely, Imaginare Necessitas Baptismi tanquam medii.
Syr, These Thoughts have been Laid before the pastors of several Churches, who allow my transmitting of them to you; with their prayers, that both in your ministry and in your Neighbourhood, you may see the glorious Head of our Churches, who is also the God of Order, smiling upon you. I am, Syr, Your faithful Brother and Servt.
SIR, Will you give me Leave to Impose a Trouble on you? I know, you will count it no Trouble; partly because tis I (a Tried
Old Friend) that Impose it; partly because the Design of it, will Exceedingly suit and please you.
I will not then say, I Trouble you, but, I Furnish you, with Twenty Little Books, Entituled, A GOOD EVENING.1 My Desire is, That by your prudent Care, there may be One convey'd unto Every Counsellour and Justice, and One unto Every Minister, in your Province. If any Remains Lett One be presented unto Each of your Deputies. When you send one to Mr Cotton at Hampton, oblige me so far as to write to him, and Lett him know, I shall be glad to hear, what Acceptance it finds with him.
I am sorry, that the Name of the Author is Compelled to accompany the Treatise. But if That have a Tendency to hinder the Acceptance of it among your people, there is a Little Ticket on the Backside of the Title-Page, from which you may argue something by way of Antidote.
However, the Name will be no prejudice with you; who know me well and who know that I am, Syr, Your hearty Friend and Servt.
1 A Good Evening for the Best of Dayes. An Essay, to Manage an Action of Trespass, against those who Mispend the Lords-Day Evening. It was a sermon preached by Mather, November 4, 1708, before the General Assembly, and contained an Address to the Reader by Increase Mather. The book was printed by B. Green, in 1708.