Eccles, Solomon

, an English musician, was much admired 'for many years for his surprising skill on several instruments, but while in the zenith of his fame, became a quaker, and practised so many follies in this new profession that he was the ridicule of the whole town. He burnt his lute and his violins, and by meditation found out a new expedient for ascertaining the true religion; this was, to collect under one roof the most virtuous men of the several sects that divide Christianity; who should unanimously fall to prayer for seven days without taking any nourishment. “Then,” said he, “those on whom the spirit of God shall manifest itself in a sensible manner, that is to say, by the trembling of the limbs, and interior illuminations, may oblige the rest to subscribe to their decisions.” He found, however, none that would put this strange conceit to the trial; and while he persisted in propagating his folly, his prophecies, his invectives, his pretended miracles, only served to pass him from one prison into another: till at length, by this sort of discipline he was brought to confess the vanity of his prophecies, and he finished his life in tranquillity, but without religion. He died about the close of the seventeenth century. 2


Preceding edit, of this Dict.