« PreviousContinue »
I referred the reader, p. 244, to the visions of Rice Evans, as containing some things not unworthy of notice. Mr. Warburton has given me the following remarks on the man, and on his predictions; and the bishop of Bangor, and he, have been willing to appear as my friends and my coadjutors in this work.
“ Ibit et hoc nostri per sæcula fædus amoris,
Doctorumque inter nomina nomen ero :
Forsitan et dicet, Tu quoque noster eras.
Lenibunt manes talia dona meos.
Æterno rectum sub duce pergat iter !
Salve, Musa, nimis blanda tenaxque comes :
Tune etiam emerito cura futura viro?
Sed raro, sed vix sæpe rogata, veni.
Livor in hæc poterit juris habere nihil.” - You desired to have a more particular account of a certain prophecy of one Rice Evans, which you have heard some of your friends speak of in terms of astonishment : as I have his book, which is scarce, I am able to give you that satisfaction. But it may not be amiss first to let you into the character of the prophet. Rice Evans lived and flourished in the last century, during the time of our civil
a Whose dissertation on the destruction of Jerusalem is inserted above, p. 202–207.
confusions. He was a warm Welshman, and not disposed to be an idle spectator in so busy a scene. So he left his native country for London; and finding, on his arrival there, that inspiration was all running one way, be projected to make a diversion of it from the Round-heads to the Cavaliers, and set up for a prophet of the royalists. He did and said many extraordinary things to the grandees of both parties : and, it must be owned, he had a spice of what we seldom find wanting in the ingredients of a modern prophet,-I mean prevarication. Of this he has himself given us a notable example in the forty-second page of his tract, called An Eccho from Heaven, &c. which, because it contains an uncommon fetch of wit, I shall transcribe. “ There are two confessions," says he,“ subscribed by my hand in the city of London ; which if not now, in afterages will be considered. The one was made at the Spittle, and subscribed with the right-hand, in the aforesaid vestry, before Sir Walter Earl; and that is a confession made by the inner man, or new man.
The other confession is a confession of the flesh, called the outward man, or old man; and the confession I made before Green (the recorder], and subscribed with the left-hand, as the difference in the writing, being compared, will make it appear. I know the Bench and the people thought I recanted ; but, alas ! they were deceived."
Well, but this very man has in the 77th and 78th pages of this Eccho, printed for the author in 12mo, and sold at his house in Long-alley, in Black-friers, 1653, second edition, with additions, a prophecy which astonishes all who carefully consider it. It is in these words:
“ A vision that I had presently after the king's death.
"I thought that I was in a great hall, like the shire-hall, in the castle in Winchester ; and there was none there but a judge that sat upon the bench, and myself; and as I turned to a window north-westward, and looking into the palm of my hand, there appeared to me a face, head and shoulders, like the lord Fairfaxes, and presently it vanished again ; then arose the lord Cromwel
, and he vanished likewise; then arose a young face, and he had a crown upon his head, and he vanished also; and another young face arose with a crown on his head, and he vanished also; and
another young face arose with a crown upon his head, and he vanished also; and another young face arose with a crown upon his head, and vanished in like manner: And as I turned the palm of my hand back again to me, and looked, there did appear no more in it. Then I turned to the judge, and said to him, There arose in my hand seven, and five of them had crowns; but when I turned my hand, the blood turned to its veins, and there appeared no more: so I awoke.
“ The interpretation of this vision is, that after the lord Cromwell there shall be kings again in England; which thing is signified unto us by those that arose after him, who were all crowned ; but the generations to come may look for a change of the blood, and of the name in the royal seat after five kings reigne once passed.” 2 Kings x. 30.
[The words referred to in this text are these : “ And the Lord said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well, &c. thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.”]
The restoration of the monarchy is here plainly pre. dicted; together with the crown's passing from the house of Stewart into another family. But the prophet at first sight appears to be doubtful about the number of reigns before that event. He reckons up in his hand only four successions to the monarchy, yet in his speech to the judge he calls them five : in his interpretation he says the change shall be after the reign of five kings; and yet referring, in conclusion, to a text in the second book of Kings, we are brought back again to the number four. But it is this very circumstance which makes the prodigious part of this affair
. A good guesser (who, an antient writer says, is the best prophet) might reasonably conjecture the monarchy, after the subverter of it, Cromwell, was taken off, would be restored ; and if it continued in the same family for four or five generations, that was as much as, in the ceaseless revolutions of human affairs, could be expected. But we shall find there was something more in this matter. The succession of the house of Stewart, during the course of these four generations, was disturbed ; and that circumstance our prophet has distinctly marked out. The four crowned heads he saw in his hand denote Charles the Second, James
the Second, queen Mary, and queen Anne. They are af. terwards called five : and so they were; for king William the Third shared the sovereignty with queen Mary, and reigned alone after her. But he being of another family, when the succession in the house of Stewart is reckoned up, he could not be numbered : so they must be there called four. When the prophet reckons the reigns, king William comes in, and then they are called five. The key to this explanation is the text he concludes with :—" Thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne.”
• A great and extraordinary genius, lately deceased, struck with this wonderful coincidence, hath written with his own hand, in the margin of the page, these words, “ A manifest prophecy.” You know who I mean.
But every one must judge for himself, unless (which I had rather) you would give us your own sentiments upon it.
* But now my hand is in, as you have had one of his visions, you shall have a dream too, as he tells it in the 12th page of the first, and the 8th page of his second edition.—“My heart was for London, and as one Mr. Oliver Thomas preached, Cant. ii. 10. Arise up, my love, my fair one, and come away; my heart was allured with it, that I thought it was a hastening of me to London ; and at that time, in a dream, methought I was on Islington-hill by the water-house, and London appeared before me as if it had been burnt with fire, and there remained nothing of it but a few stone walls: but I made nothing of this dream."
· Whosoever reflects upon what we are told by Burnet in the History of his own Times, vol. i. p. 231. of the condition in which the works were put at the water-house at Islington, when the fire of London happened, cannot but think Evans' making this the scene of his dream a very unaccountable circumstance. His telling us that he made nothing of this dream, adds to the credit of his relation.'
It is observable, that in the first edition, printed in the year 1652, Evans reckons up five, not four young faces in his hand, and he concludes only thus :
All that I apprehend by this vision is, that after the lord Cromwell we shall have a king again in England.'
My thoughts are the same with Mr. Warburton's, that
the visions of Evans are a curiosity deserving to be known, but not a foundation to build any thing upon. If there be in them any forgery, which the difference between the first and second editions once inclined me to suspect, they who can detect it, will oblige us and many others by the discovery.
Evans says, p. 16. of edit. 1652— being perfectly awake--a voice---said to me, Go to thy book, whereuponI suddenly started up, and to the table I went, where my Bible lay open ; immediately fastening my eyes upon Ephes. v. 14. being these words, “ Wherefore he saith, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light,” &c. The same thing he did at other times. Evans, who was illiterate, little thought that he was practising a kind of divination in great request amongst the Pagans, and the antient Jews and Christians, who had recourse to their Sortes Homericæ, Virgilianæ, Evangelicæ, and Biblicæ. The same causes produce the same effects; and nothing is more like one enthusiast, mystic, cabbalist, or quietist, than another.
OF THE SADDUCEES.
SIR, I have joined myself with those who think that the Sadducees did not reject the prophets, or at least, that we cannot prove them to have been guilty of this fault. You incline to the contrary side, which throws me into a state of doubting, as I have, in general, a better opinion of your skill and judgment than of my own; but permit me to produce some further reasons for
sentiment. The question, you think, is determined by Josephus, and I am very willing to appeal to him. Let us hear what he
says to it:
--Νόμιμα πολλά τινα παρέδοσαν τώ δήμω οι Φαρισαίοι εκ πατέρων διαδοχής, άπερ ουκ αναγέγραπται εν τοις Μωϋσέως νόμοις, και δια τούτο ταυτα το Σαδδουκαίων γένος - έκ