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Rev. Mr. Hughes to the Rev. Mr. Bonwicke.
Jesus College, Jan. 9, 1706-7. DEAR SIR, I CANNOT but return you many thanks for your very kind letter, and assure you that I shall think myself as happy in your keeping up this correspondence, if you think it worth your while, as you can possibly do. I promised Mr. Turner that I would write to you long before this; but this Christmas time has so diverted me, that I was forced to defer it till after the holidays. We have no manner of news stirring at Cambridge that is worth sending you. Dr. Turner, of Greenwick*, has lately put in an answer to the pretended Rights of the Churcht. I have not read it myself but I heard from a very good judge, that it was no contemptible piece; and that, if it had been in better times, the doctor would have wrote an excellent book. I hear, likewise, that Dr. Potter, author of the Greek Antiquities, and now chaplain to his Grace of Canterbury, [Tenison,] is just publishing an answer to it. I wish to God it was substantially answered (though I must ingenuously confess I do not much expect it at present ;) for the Whig party triumphs upon it at a strange rate, and some do not stick to say that at is unanswerable. Mr. Professor Whiston is chosen to preach Boyle's lectures for this next year. His subject is upon the expletion of the prophecies of the Old Testaments; a very nice subject, and worthy of a great master; and, indeed, I believe Mr. W. is equal to it in all the parts. I expect great things from him. These are all the scraps that I could pick up to entertain you withal ; and, indeed, I should have been obliged to have ended with half a letter, had not an unusual story come seasonably into my
relief. One Mr. Shaw, formerly fellow of St. John's college, and late minister of a college living|l, within twelve miles of
* Vicar of that parish, residentiary of Lincoln, and prebendary of Canterbury. He died 1720.
+ This remarkable tract (which occasioned a long controversy, greatly alarmed the clergy, and was ordered by the House of Cominons, in 1710, to be burnt in the same flames with Dr. Sacheverell's sermon) was written by Dr. Matthew Tindal. See ante on Letter V.
"A Discourse of Church Government, Oxf. 1707."
They were afterwards printed under the sitie of, The Accomplishment of Scripture Prophecies.
Oxford, as he was sitting one night by himself, smoaking a pipe, and reading, observed somebody to open the door; he turned back, and saw one Mr. Nailor, a fellow-collegian, an intimate friend, and who had been dead five years, come into the room. The gentleman came in exactly in the same dress and manner that he used at college. Mr. Shaw was something surprised at first ; but in a little time recollecting himself, he desired him to sit down : upon which Mr. N. drew a chair, and sat by bim; they had a conference of about an hour and a half. The chief of the particulars were these; he told him, “ that he was sent to give him warning of his death, which would be in a very short time;" and, if I mistake not, he added, that his death would be sudden. He mentioned, likewise, several others of St. John's, particularly the famous Auchard, who is since dead. Mr. S. asked if he could not give him another visit : he answered no, alleging, “ that his time allotted was but three days, and that he had others to sce, who were at a great distance.” Mr. Shaw had a great desire to inquire about his present condition, but was afraid to mention it, not knowing how it would be taken. At last he expressed himself in this manner: “ Mr. N. how is it with you in the other world ?” he answered with a brisk and chearful countenance, very well.” Mr. Shaw proceeded and asked, “ are there any of our old friends with you ?" he replied, “ not one.' After their discourse was over, he took his leave and went out. Mr. Shaw offered to go with him out of the room; but he beckoned with his hand that he should stay where he was. Mr. Nailor seemed to turn into the next room, and so went off. This Mr. Shaw the next day made his will, the conference had so far affected bim; and not Jong after, being taken with an apoplectic fit while he was reading the divine service, he fell out of the desk, and died immediately after. He was ever looked upon to be a pious man, and a good scholar; only some object, that he was inclinable to melancholy. He told this story himself to Mr. Groves, fellow of St. John's, and a particular friend of his, and who lay at his house last summer.
Mr. G. upon his return to Cambridge, met with one of his college who told him that Mr. Auchard was dead, who was particularly mentioned by Mr. Shaw. He kept the business secret, till, hearing of Mr. Shaw's own death, he told the whole story. He is a person far enough from inventing such a story; and he tells it in all companies without any manner of variation. We are mightily. divided
about it at Cambridge, some heartily embracing it, and others rejecting it as a ridiculous story, and the effect of spleen and inelancholy. For my own part, I must acknowledge myself one of those who believe it, having not met with any thing yet sufficient to invalidate it. As to the little sceptical objections that are generally used upon this occasion, they seem to be very weak in themselves, and will prove of dangerous consequences, if applied to mata, ters of a more important nature.
I am, dear Sir,
J. HUGHES. Mr. Turner is very well, and I hope in a fair prospect of a fellowship
Cambridge, Jan. 21, 1706-7. SIR, There is a circumstance relating to the story of the apparition, which adds a great confirmation to it; which I suppose Mr. Hughes did not tell you. There is one Mr. Cartwright*, a Member of Parliamentt, a man of good credit and integrity, an intimate friend of Mr. Shaw's, who told the same story with Dr. Groves (which he had from Mr. Shaw) at the Abp. of Canterbury's table: but he says further, that Mr. Shaw told him of some great revolutions in state, which he will not discover, being either obliged to silence by Mr. Shaw, or concealing thein upon some prudent and politic reasons.
Mr. Bennett is publishing a book in vindication of set forms of prayers, where he proves that the primitive Christians never had any but precomposed set forins : and he adrances one paradox, that those very arguments which the Dissenters use for a separation are great reasons why they should conform.
* Of Aynho.
This was printed at Cambridge, in 8vo. 1707, and entitled " A brief History of the joint use of precomposed set forms of Prayer,' &c. Mr. Bennett published many other theological tracts. He was theu Rector of St. James's, in Colchester, and had been Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge. His son, Thomas, LL. B. died some years ago, one of the Esquire Beadles of that University; and bis granilson John Bennett, Esq. (now livin',) is of Rotthamstead, in Hertfordshire.
Mr. Whiston preaches Boyle's lectures; he has lately put out a comment upon the Revelations*, from whence he proves that the Turks shall never make war with the emperor, or any other Christian prince, or at least, if they do, must meet with a terrible defeat; and that the pope (the whore of B.) must tumble down in a few years. I wish, Sir, you would write a letter to Mr. Brown, to make him warm and vigorous in my interest. I do not in the least question his friendship, but I believe a letter from you would be of great force with him
; or if you could procure a letter from Mr. Nelsont to Mr. Ropert, it would be a great kindness : but whether I succeed or no, you may certainly expect me (setting aside accidents which I cannot arm against) immediately after the election. Your humble servant,
Mr. Turner to Mr. Bonwicke.
Cambridge, Feb. 22, 1706-7.
Mr. Smith, one of our fellows, a camp chaplain, lately sent to our masterll an account of a letter from the master of Malta to the French King, which is as follows: “ We, the great master of St. John's of Jerusalem, and great Duke of Anciterre, have received information from our ambassadors at Babylon, that in that kingdom, at a village called Fusboyn, there was brought-to-bed a woman of ex. traordinary beauty (the father not known) of a soa more ins clined to black than white, his neck short, his head sharp, long teeth, his nose fat, he spoke distinctly, and walked when he was but eight days old : he said he was the Messias, the son of God, in whom alone we must believe; our ambassadors have both heard and seen him with a great deal of wonder: at the day of his birth were seen most amazing signs in the skies, a vast eclipse of the sun at noon,a dragon carrying in his mouth a lanceof fire, 2 griffins tearing to pieces an old man, an eagle carrying a child upon his wings, and a great
* Essay on the Revelation of St. John. + 'The celebrated Robert Nelson, Esq. | Fellow of St. Joha's. | Dr. Jenkin.
many other frightful sights; the rivers overflowing, the house where he was born seemed all on fire, and then disappeared : and this child, being asked the reason of these prodigies by our ambassadors, answered, it was to warn the world of the traverses and eternal torments that would fall upon all that would not believe in him.' On the day he was born was found an earthen statue, with this inscription, • You may here see the day of his birth.' This child has raised the dead in the presence of our ambassadors, has given sight to the blind, made the deaf to hear, and the lame to walk, and cures all sorts of diseases. The people of that country adore him, the wise men believe in him, all that refuse are massacred without mercy; there was heard, 300 leagues round, the voice of angels, who sung these words, prepare to receive that son who was promised you.' All doctors and reasonable people in this country certainly believe him to be the real Antichrist, and prove it to be so by the New Testament; he understands all sorts of languages, and disappears very often, and raises himself in the air quite out of sight. Before we would believe the strange news, we had a convocation of our clan, and by their advice we wrote to our ambassadors at Babylon, who confirmed all that was writ to be true, and added several things not here inserted.”
This story meets with very little credit among us; and some are of opinion that it is forged by Jesuits, on purpose to remove Antichrist from Rome to Babylon.
The Oxonians have received a letter from the Geneva divines, in which they complain of a great many unchristian calumnies and black aspersions thrown upon their church by the English: they little expected (they say) such severe usage from our church, of which their two great founders, Calvin and Beza, had so venerable an esteem, and whose constitution they think is pure, primitive, and apostolical : it is not their choice, but their misfortune, that their ecclesiastical constitution is not the same with ours; but, if ever their circumstances will permit a reformation, it shall be after the model of the English church : they lament that they have no bishops in their church, and despair of ever having any, because a monarchy in church would naturally introduce one in state, which will never agree with the republic of Geneva: they are ashamed that our dissenters should take shelter under them, and draw an argument from the example of the church of Geneva, to vindicate their
separation from the church of England: they account our dissenters black schismatics; and for that reason, when any VOL. III.