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ing a Bible, and had wished that if he stole it his Hands might rot off, before he died; which proved most true, and most affecting to the whole Country and Neighbourhood. A just Account of which, after many Years, I have very lately.read; and find all Things therein related as. I remember I heard then at that Time, The exact Narrative itfelef, written by Mr, Illingwortb; and the judicious Sermon that
accompanies it, preached by Dr. Ford, are now before me; and ought, in this sceptical Age to be reprinted, and recommended to all who either deny or doubt of the Interposition of a particular divine Providence sometimes, for the Punishment of notorious wicked Men, even in these last Days. And I am and have long been of the great Lord Verulam’s Opinion, here justly refer'd co by Dr. Ford, page 52. who takes Notice of it as a Defect in the Historical Part of Learning, that there is not extant an impartial and well-attested Historia Nemesios, as he calls it. An Account of the most remarkable Judgments of God upon the wicked, and complains of it ac. cordingly.
Now Gince two remarkable Things happened to me before, and when I went to School, which was A. D. 1684. I shall here relate them. The first belonged to my Grandmother · Mrs. Rolle, who then lived upon a small Estate of her own at Ratcliffe, three Miles from us at Norton ; but still had her Cofrin at our House many Years. About the Year 1680, we heard she was sick, and so we might have some Apprehensions, that she being of a great Age, that this Sickness might be fatal to
her: Tho' I do not remember any particular Tokens of her End approaching. However at this Time I had one Night a melancholy Dream, and thought I saw very distinctly her Funeral go along by the Side of her Rails to Ratcliff Church-yard, in a solemn Manner. After which I awaked, and was comforting myself, that all this was but a Dream, and my Grandmother might still recover. At which Time I heard a lumbring Noise about the Place where her Coffin was : And inquiring what was the Matter, the Answer was, that
Grandmother was dead, and they were come for her Coffin.
The second very remarkable Thing that happened then to me, was before my going to Tamworth School, A. D. 1684. At Whitfontide my Mother went with me to Swepston (my Father wanting his Sight ) to our Neighbour and Friend Dr. Gery, Rector of that Place, which was but two Miles from Norton. He had his second Son, Mr. Gery then under the Care of Mr. George Antrobus, at Tamworth: Whither I was to go soon after the Holydays were
Whilst that Son of Dr. Gery's was, during the Holydays, at Swepsion, with his Father. With whom I now aimed to contract an Acquaintance before I went to Tamworth: Accordingly we were that Day very familiar together, and hoped to be fo ever afterward. Mr. Gery, in the Evening, was so complaifant as to conduct my Mother and myself Part of the Way to Snareston, which lay in our Way to Norton. At length we parted ; and we went up a small Ascent one Way, as he went back a greater Ascent the other. At which Juncture a strong foreboding Impres
fion came upon me, from no Foundation that I know of, that I should never see him more: Which made me look backward upon him several Times: Tho' I endeavoureu to put such a disagreeable Thought out of my Mind. Upon Mr. Gery's going back to School, before I was ready to go, he fell ill of the Small-Pox at School. This affrighted me, and made me earnestly desire to be sent to Tamworth immediately, that when I had once seen him alive ( for. I had already had the Small-Pox myself) the foreboding Impression might be over. However it so proved, that either my Father's Horses, or Servants were out of the Way; or some other Impediment hinder'd my going fo long, that he was dead before I came to School, and the other Scholars had made Elegies upon his Death ; fo that according to this my strange Impression, I never did see him more. Which Accident greatly affected me at that Timę.
Several other Relations of this Nature, I mean relating to the invisible World, I have made strict Inquiry about, and collected some myself in the Course of
my and have frequently been intirely fatisfied of their Truth and Reality. But because they were not of my own original Knowledge, I rather reserve them till fome other sober and judicious Person shall make an authentick Collection of such Relations of that Nature, as may have sufficient Vouchers, and may be both to my own Satisfaction, and to the publick Benefit; when I shall be ready to communicate my Relations to the Authors of such Collection.
And here it may not be amiss to take Notice, how excellent a Pastor of a Parish my Father was; even after the Loss of his Sight; his great Infirmities of Body; and his Lameness: Nay, even when, for about six Weeks, his hearing was almost intirely lost alfo. During which Times he still continued officiating and preaching twice every Lord's-Day. He also, before his Want of Sigħt hindered him, used to go Yearly to the several Families in his Parish, to catechise the Children, and instruct, or if Occasion was, to reprove the grown Persons, in a free and familiar Manner: And particularly to fit the you er Persons four Times in the Year for their first Communion. Which Method he also continued when he had lost his Sight, with only this Difference, that he then sent for the several Families to
his own House for the same Purposes. Nor was : there any more than one Family which refused to
The Master of which Family was afterward so sensible of the good Influence of such private Instructions, that when I once came into that Country, and, as usual gave the Parishioners of Norton aSermon, he lamented to me the Negligence of the Incumbents, after
Father's Death ; and complained that since that Time, they could not govern their Children and Servants as they did before, and would I thought have gone down on his Knees that I might have had the Living, and done as he did.
My Father chiefly depended on Dr. Hammond's Paraphrase and Notes on the New Testament ( who was ten years Rector of that very Parish of Penseburst in Kent, whiclá I was offered abut Six Years ago ;)
which Work I used to read to him, and which Work was in those Days the great Standard of the Sense of the Text'among the middle Sort of our Divines, nay, almost among all the Preachers of the Church
of England ; till at last Grotius's Reputation greatly prevailed against his, and generally against that of all our other Commentators. Altho' I cannot but say, that how great soever Dr. Hammond's Reputation was with me, when I was young, and Grotius's and Bishop Patrick's, &c. when I was of middle Age ; yet in the last thirty Years and more, have I discovered so much greater Light, by the most frequent Perusal of the two or three first Centuries of Christianity, and by a close Attention to Originals, that I cannot but look upon all such Com . mentaries as at present much less considerable. But this by the Way only.
My Father performed all Parochial Duties himself; in faying the Prayers, Pfalms, and Lessons, and Preaching every Lord's Day twice, and Adminifring both Baptism and the Lord's Supper by Heart. (To which last he admitted me at fourteen Years of Age ) excepting the Office of Matrimony,
which he left to others. Nor did this extraordinary Diligence in his Function please several of his neighbouring Clergy: Who, as usual, thought it to be as it really;was, a tacit but severe Reproof of their own Negligence. As to which excellent Character I have now by me, an original Petition of the Parishioners of Norton and neighbouring Gentry, to the Lord Protector, before the Death of Mr. Gabriel Rolle, his Father-in-Law, who was then about 87,