It was the message that he was now repeating over and over again. And under those circumstances, it would have gone wholly unnoticed …on any occasion. However, at that moment I heard a slight scuffle by the door, relatively subdued in its degree of interruption to start with but then becoming more obvious and eventually far more of a disturbance. It was as though some were trying to prevent a person from entering and I half-feared that it might be someone from the authorities! That was my instinctive response. Why, indeed, should it not have been? After all, once someone has suffered excommunication they are all the more subject to the most searching of eyes. On account of the numbers of people who wanted to hear Brierley’s sermon, there were three times as many people outside as there were inside the chapel and consequently there was no way that the door could be shut. It was becoming increasingly overcrowded from one Sabbath to the next. Of course, even I knew that there were increased risks in that. Then, people were shouting out beyond the door frame as someone pushed their way towards the interior. A few moments later I saw who it was and I should not have been all that surprised but somehow he had managed to slip my mind so very completely. He was looking especially dishevelled that day, worse than before; worse than ever in fact; the skin on his face was cracked and bleeding, that blood long turned to brown upon the scales which had dried, and he was shaking uncontrollably all over. Brierley had stopped preaching, fallen absolutely silent and was leaning hawk-like over the pulpit, his fingers as talons clawing its frame, trying to see what was going on. Now he could see who was at the heart of this disturbance. He could probably not view him as I did though, even from his slightly elevated altitude.

–               Tempest! [He railed. I had rarely heard him speak with such absolute force.]

The whole congregation fell silent and the scuffling ceased. His voice could be so powerful and deep and had such authority over them when he raised it. When he put so much of his lungs into speaking, it made me jump backwards too and sent a shiver all along the length of my back. That was him though: there was a power in his voice! Perhaps he should still have been using it more readily to curb some of the excesses of random thoughts amongst his congregation – for he had certainly become less thorough in that? A small space had opened up now around Wayman so that he could be seen clearly enough even by Brierley at the other end of the inadequately sized, overly-cramped chapel of ease. One of the dogs – the darker of the couple – took the opportunity to break into that space. It was ignored by fairly much everyone and went unnoticed by Wayman in his state as well, in spite of the fact that it nudged the back of his stinking trousers with its nose in a touch of attention-seeking. Failing to get any though, it repositioned its muzzle to focus upon the strewn floor, soundlessly. It was Wayman rather than Brierley who broke the ensuing silence. Brierley had allowed him to get away with doing so on the previous occasion and so now the pattern was established and therefore, Tempest merely replicated it; nothing more.

–               Woe unto all of you! [He was speaking to all gathered now. Apart from the dreadful quality of his voice, he sounded almost akin to some roaming lecturer.] Crowding into this place to listen to tales of long-deceased folk when God is in the living heavens and explains everything through them rather than through some dried-out words from the Old Testament, stories designed for mere infants! You are told that this alone is the wisdom of Israel but in truth it is only the smallest part of it, a mere reflection in a part dried-out pool. The rest they keep hidden from you all; it is deemed too precious for you! And you aid those who would restrict your understanding by imprisoning yourselves beneath this chapel ceiling for the Truth is only above! Could men but read God’s great book in the heavens written in silver stars, then the course of time would unfurl itself before their very eyes![1]

He was shaking everywhere like a man whose mind had been possessed by another: some devilish demon. His voice, although actually loud enough, still sounded feeble – almost shuddering as he stumbled from one sentence to the next. Brierley stared at him – harshly, fixedly but without any specific malice or spiteful intent as such. Without pity either – there was absolutely none of that to be seen. Perhaps there was a degree of curiosity there though about what might have brought him to this strange state? Whether Wayman had a sound enough grip on his senses to pick up on that was open to some question as far as that day was concerned. Brierley, of course, was as calm as ever and his retort seemed sound and well thought-out to me as well.

–               If man would only have faith in God, Tempest, he would find his own letters written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Wayman looked ever so slightly lost and perplexed by his own situation at that moment[2]. He had taken the opening thrust in a dual with Craven’s finest preacher. He had been confident and daring in his initial outburst and argument too but he now seemed rather unprepared to deal with the answer Brierley had yielded – or, indeed, most probably any answer at all. If there was a rehearsed part of his discourse, then perhaps it was already over. Doubtlessly, he was far from fully prepared for any battle onslaught against Brierley. Even some well-informed, godly minister who cared to take issue with Brierley would have had to put in plenty of preparation time – perhaps even the likes of Shute. One could almost see the words stumbling around his mind like some intoxicated, drunken man before all he eventually managed was…

–               …The end is not far off!

He spoke it softly too – so much so that, had there not have been absolute quiet in the chapel following Brierley’s bellowing, we might not have heard him at all. (The chapel was actually so still that I became aware once again of the presence of his curs within the body of the chapel; I could hear the dark dog’s pads in contact with the flags as it moved and fidgeted around. Its nails were hardly likely to be overgrown in the fashion of some Court pet and yet on that cold stone floor I could hear them as it moved around – aimlessly.) I had known that Brierley would almost certainly not have disagreed greatly with what Tempest had said anyway. We should certainly live as though it might be at any moment – sooner rather than later. Most of those in the congregation were watching Wayman of course but, personally, I had turned back to Brierley so was probably amongst the few to see him nod his head when Wayman suggested that the end was nigh. I did not know how literally he took it or how imminent he considered it to be. For all that, it seemed as likely as not that he was nodding to confirm that that was exactly what he had expected from Wayman and his kind. Wayman, on the other hand, was about to tell us all how imminent it was and to be very specific about the issue. He was now beginning to outline his calculations and briefly he sounded more confident in his delivery again too.

–               The opening of every seal must continue for the span of seven years and the effect of every break will be felt by man before the end of that seven year span. You should know well enough when your true profession against the Antichrist in Rome began in 1541, 245 years… after…[3]

Then what he was saying just petered out completely. ‘Two hundred and forty five years after’ …what?’, I thought. Wayman was in a half delirious state; he wasn’t entirely making sense – or perhaps it really was just me. He had been clear about two hundred and forty five years and the basis year though. These were not half remembered, half-forgotten random facts. Then I grimaced at what had initially come over to me as an obscure reference – the one to the year 1541. However, after only a little thought, I had realised exactly what he meant. It was the year in which Martin Bucer had introduced what was still nominally our faith from Strasbourg – that much at least was relatively obvious to me[4]. It was not where I would have started myself, even permitting the consideration of recent developments to be put to one side. In the tradition in which I had been raised it might have been more accurate from the point of view of this island to date an anchor to 1572 when Thomas Cartwright had formalised this particular perception of Protestantism for England. 1572 had been the year in which the great John Field and John Wilcox had put their Admonition to Parliament arguing for the reform of the Church of England upon a Presbyterian model[5]. However, it hardly mattered because evidently, Wayman saw things relating to our faith differently – but then Wayman saw pretty well everything differently! But, the more consideration I gave it, the more I believed that the roots of ‘our Faith’ were neither in 1541 nor 1572 anyway; they were with us then – all the rest were only heralds for the true community of Saints. ‘What we need now are Saints!’ Those had been Brierley’s beautifully-wrought words. However, for better or for worse, Wayman had seen fit to find some foundation in the year 1541 and he had started up again, outlining the details of his calculation – unnecessary to most but essential to Brierley and of at least some peripheral interest to me too.

–               Every trumpet or vial endureth two hundred and forty five years. That means that the sounding of the seventh trumpet will not end until the year 1786. Or rather it should not end until that year…

I suspect that many other congregations would simply have laughed at Wayman until he fell silent (and worse might have fallen upon him from the likes of Abdias[6]) but Brierley of late had been teaching this lot that everybody’s contribution was valid and worthwhile to the ear and that would have to include the thoughts and rantings of Wayman regardless of how senseless some of his discourses might have seemed. Had not Christ sounded as but a fool to most? Brierley would have told them that! It was, in my opinion, why had had rather lost a degree of control in that chapel. Most likely Wayman’s calculations were merely the product of his deranged mind but the outside possibility that his ramblings were Spiritually-inspired also had to be considered[7]. I do not say that they all took him seriously. Doubtlessly, many would not have done and would have been eager to show that they did not had not the curate been present there. This was something on which many of the congregation had strong views anyway. Indeed, Wayman’s numbers would have gone straight over the heads of most of those there but I could see Brierley mentally checking over every new number mentioned in the mechanics of his brain, all the cycles of the ‘two hundred and forty five years’: their beginning and end points, their implications. That did not mean that he believed Wayman but it probably did mean that he took him seriously enough; perhaps he would even consider him a force with which to be reckoned against the weaponry of his own ministry. Regardless, he had to recalculate everything himself for the sake of accuracy. I fancied that I could see him wishing that he had had his quill and paper to hand so that he could have made more than simply a mental note of the aforementioned numbers. Had I been closer to hand, then I might even have arranged this for him for real! Indeed, had I have been nearer, he would probably have expected me to!

However, he was far from poor with numbers in spite of his preferences for other things and he could store a hundred and one separate ones in his head if he actually needed to. I do not think that Wayman noticed any of Brierley’s movements – the little twitches; the ones he could not help – but, had he been more aware, then he would almost certainly have mistaken the curate’s continuing nods as an affirmative sign when, in fact, as I knew, they were closer to musings and assessment; little mental checks in his erudite head; confirmations of those calculations, no doubt accompanied by little and seemingly random humming noises if one was in close enough proximity to him to actually overhear such things. Out of nowhere, one of the women looked up from the child to which she was tending and suddenly screamed out vehemently to Wayman. Brierley only looked mildly surprised although one or two others jumped back and the dark dog appeared from some previously unforeseen space and stared wildly from one spot to another in the agitated and forlorn hope of identifying the source of commotion from its disadvantaged angle.

–               Oh, for all our sakes, just tell us when it is going to be, Tempest!

…If you really think that you know better than our minister, then just put us out of our misery!

I thought that she might well go further and label him a foul-stenched vagrant – but, in fact, she did not… even though there was hardly much sign of admiration for him in her! Indeed, immediately after her words, she made some noise (one not that easy to put into letters!) which evidently indicated a fair degree of distaste either for Wayman or his philosophies (and probably both) and then switched most of her attentions back to the child. Brierley’s eyes did linger briefly upon her and for a second I thought that he might just be angered but then his lip curled upwards in a little smile to her – not that she noticed any of it for her own eyes were now set neither upon Wayman nor the curate but upon her greedy offspring. If anything, it had even amused him a little! Sometimes it is not the most studied, the most erudite, the most careful in their manners, who move matters forward. From both her clothes (if one may call them that, such as they were) and the unrefined edges of the local accentation of her vocals I guessed that she was from amongst the less well-off of Brierley’s audience – less than well-educated, possibly even less than literate, reliant upon others to discover the Word – but not, of course, the Spirit. And Brierley must have valued her because the loud ones such as her he monitored as best he could. When they said things that did not conform – I do not mean to the Church’s standards but rather to his, he would cast them out. And he showed no sign of even considering doing that on this occasion. But then he had been less thorough on that front of late; a little laxer than he had once been in more careful days.

The extra attention did Wayman’s nervous state little good. Already well out of the depths of his own capabilities, he opened his mouth only for nothing to emerge from it. Folk began to shuffle their feet and fidgeted. Once they had not dared move during Brierley’s sermons. That was before they started ministering to themselves! Until recently, his ministry had been so powerful that it had struck them completely silent. In contrast, this silence was becoming an discomforting one although it began to fill itself with wordly noises because the purity of the Abyss is not only unfathomable but it is also unbearable – too much for the majority of Mankind. Patently, Tempest was not a man who knew how to manage silence well. And in time, the disoriented Wayman felt coerced by it into speaking again. He raised and ordered his voice as best he could, given the state he was in. He was still fairly hesitant though.

–               …For the sake of the Elect, …He is going to shorten time.

Brierley’s eyebrows were now slightly raised and he looked genuinely interested. He was not going to let him get away with such a statement without a Biblical source. Yes, a movement of the Spirit was important to Brierley but one needed the Scriptures too. (That was always the case for him. I know that they will tell you otherwise but when they do, they are doing nothing less than slandering him! He was not as some of the folk I would meet later in my life.) I expected that he realised even then that Wayman would genuinely have such a source and the words bore a familiar sound and rhythm – even to me, let alone Brierley. Briefly, it looked as if he were considering departing his little pulpit to be closer to him but he then appeared to reconsider and decided to maintain his only moderately advantageous position. I sensed that he would really have preferred a conversation in private with Wayman, out in the garth – apart, but he had to remain in his role of ministry and stepping down would have altered the strange and, in all honesty, mildly uncomfortable, relationship he had by then with his congregation. There would be further opportunities for more personal interactions with Wayman, would there not?

–               You cannot simply say that without telling us openly where you have found such information, Tempest! You have dug it out from amongst the Books, I presume[8]?

Brierley was in defiant form and, being so, he was taking the whole congregation with him even those who did not always trust his judgements – for, indeed, there were still some: the ones who would have preferred someone with what they perceived to be more traditional values – mostly more traditional godly views; the ones who had attended elsewhere when Jobson had suggested that it would be the safest thing to do. Nevertheless, although they made themselves out to be so, with Brierley reintegrated again, they never actually chose to abandon him in favour of Jobson’s own blandness although some might actually have said that they were only saving themselves the additional walk. Meanwhile, Wayman was moving around (albeit somewhat awkwardly) in the constantly shifting space that had opened up adjacent to him on all sides; a space which – in spite of the cramped chapel conditions – had actually become greater as he swayed from side to side in his so-called, ‘ministry’. The dog was used to it. One could see that for it adapted its own movements to counter his and did so whilst almost paying no attention, lost as it was in the accumulated scents of the chapel’s flooring – for no hours of scrubbing could remove all of those!

–               It says it in the Gospel of Matthew, the twenty fourth chapter. He will shorten time for the sake of the chosen ones!

He stumbled over his own feet on the completion of that sentence but there was enough room around him for that to create no problems for anyone else. Much of the congregation seemed bewildered but I could see Brierley moving instantly to leaf through the Gospel in the pulpit as an immediate response to Wayman’s citation. He scanned some lines, passing a minute or so finding the reference and then looked back to Wayman. Superficially, he appeared impressed although I doubt whether one single word of it had truly been unknown to him before he so much as thumbed the delicate pages of his Geneva. I thought at the time that I myself would have liked to have read those words at that point but few other than Brierley had a Bible on them (and perhaps it was as well that the reading of it should fall to him alone). There was a small handful of exceptions, now that I come to think of it: for example, a young man who claimed that his father was a vicar in some far distant place; he always carried one. Brierley saw the empty, staring faces in front of him and deemed that it was best for all concerned that he should read those very words out aloud. He cleared his throat, very probably made slightly sore by his earlier harsh words to Wayman and the volume he had been required to utilise. From him it all sounded as authoritative as ever though.

–               ‘…But pray ye that your flight be not in winter, neither on the Sabbath day! For then shall be great tribulation such was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days shall be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the Elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.’ [That first part Brierley often quoted during the course of his sermons anyway so it would have seemed familiar to all gathered there. He had stopped reading. He looked up and across the little chapel.] …And that means what in the most unfathomable depths of your mixed-up mind, Tempest? ‘Shortened’, I mean? There are sectaries who imply a very specific meaning by the trotting out of that line and ones most akin to it[9].

I was already thinking that what it meant was perfectly obvious: if there were to be no shortening of Time, then there would be none to save – however that situation might come about. That was what it meant to everyone, was it not? But Brierley seemed to think not. Wayman had actually performed rather well and I think that he had sensed that he was no longer necessarily the underdog and that Brierley really did now want to exchange with him. Therefore he spoke with a renewed confidence once more, even more the shining glass of some lecturer.

–               I thought that you would not ask, Curate Brierley! I thought that you would be breaking the rules that you make for yourself to live by – the rules by which you govern yourself and by which you force others governed by yourself to live. Your… ‘ministry’!

Only disgust it may have been but Wayman’s tone felt to me to be recriminatory, slightly too mocking for my own comfort there, not to mention too much of an attempt to align Brierley with what I considered to be amongst the worst of Puritan attitudes. Did he hold something against Brierley of which I knew nothing? If that were the case, why had neither of them shown any great antipathy to one another during the courses of my conversations? Why did he and Brierley speak so frequently with one another if there were genuinely an enmity between them? Or was this really purely a theological matter? Perhaps Wayman was not always so – changed by these phases which came over him from time to time? He was a different man, one transformed, during these. Anne had warned me about them, had she not? That I should not judge him whilst consumed by one of them! Whatever, I think that Wayman may have had a point about rules as Brierley did look mildly embarrassed; perhaps even the word ‘guilty’ was appropriate. I do not shrink from the use of that word for that guilt caused him to stumble a little before he spoke; his usual self-assuredness was slightly scratched, its surface mildly perturbed although probably only a few amongst us noticed. Nothing more than something akin to the breeze on the surface of the Ribble, a loose shard of glass moving over the polished surface of the mirror, mind!

–               It might be a sin to take it too seriously but you have already taken it upon yourself to interrupt our sermon, to break our thoughts, to wrest from us the internal peace that was descending here. You could at least tell us now. However, I shall not be making this decision alone; we are all equals before Christ here and we are treated collectively. Therefore, we will come to our decision in Unity.

Such things were not spoken elsewhere; most chapels simply did not operate in that fashion or anything akin to it. Mind you, most chapels were ordered, laid out according to hierarchies. Not that one! Tempest himself took no interest. He knew that Brierley did things very differently to other ministers – no doubt, he had broken in on their sermons and been treated in very diverse fashion, dragged out and abused in the road, fortunate to avoid public lashing and sometimes exposed to a less formal, private beating from someone who took offence to him, usually slightly out of public view – but by no means always. Brierley looked around, scanning the eyes of all those who had been listening to his sermon. There was no real need for him to say anything further. One by one the congregation nodded their heads without a single word, many of the menfolk only intelligible by the slight tipping of the angle of their hats. Had Waddington been there he would simply have flicked his as well with no great movement, probably barely visible to most – not without some thought first though for – in spite of all possible appearances to the contrary – he had actually been of the thoughtful type!

Every so often, there would be a very serious young man from a particularly godly background or a stout wife in the dullest of garments – they would pause and then shake their heads. Those women would not even look up from beneath their covered heads – although I do not think that they held any personal prejudice against Brierley or even saw him as external to the greater mass of the godly. They viewed him as absolutely one of them! Brierley took no offence from them either, merely acknowledging their will with the slightest of flicks of his own chin, almost in the manner of a true local but somehow a touch slower, more considering in its outlook than most. It was absolutely not a disciplinary matter for he held their views in respect – he always did so. It came to Swindlehurst’s turn. For a moment I had thought that he might yet think better of it. But I was wholly wrong! And that should have been no surprise with him. If Brierley had implied that he was broadly in favour – and perhaps he had done – then Swindlehurst would always have gone along with it! Finally – since he could not put the same question to those gathered beyond the walls of the chapel (as that could only have involved some administrative chaos and he was never foolish enough to fall foul to that) – his eyes reached mine. I paused for a second then gave the weakest of nods – a pathetic action really, fainter than any other person who had responded (regardless of whether ‘ye’ or ‘nay’), I am sure. Brierley did not even need to register the response. Actually it could hardly have been any degree of surprise to him: he already knew well enough that I would be interested, especially if he had actually overheard anything of my conversation with Anne regarding Shaw! So, now he returned to Wayman.

–               Well, Tempest… [came his voice, bellowing out from the pulpit again, his confidence restored once more. Most others would have said those words softly but it was almost against Brierley’s inner nature – certainly against his instinctive will whenever he was present in the chapel, from wherever that came – when he had the Book and an audience in front of him]… we are in a clear majority here. [He scanned his general audience once more, almost to double-check there was no overall dispute… which he knew well enough there was not!] Those who do not wish to hear may care to step outside for a while. And, let me be clear, there should be no shame in that if that be the decision! Our choice is a controversial one, no doubt about it – out of the ordinary even, I might say, forced by some unusual circumstances to which the normal rules might no longer be applicable. And I acknowledge that such a matter should be left down to individual conscience. So let there be no disgrace in not wishing to witness what is coming next within the walls of this chapel!

I waited to see how many would step outside: I figured that it would not be a huge number. I was certainly right on that account! Swindlehurst shuffled slightly, shifting his weight from his right foot to his left… but then was still again. There was a certain reserve about all this, evident in the way that he moved. But he had agreed to it enthusiastically enough, had he not? He was hardly going to walk out after having done that!  My own feet remained stable as much out of a nervousness welling up within me as anything else.

Actually, in the event, nobody departed – not even those who had thought better and shaken their heads. They would stay too. There was a togetherness, a unity, that was almost unseen amongst any other congregation. In fact, one or two people who had formerly been reasonably content to be on the outside of the chapel now endeavoured to squeeze their way in, no doubt, in part, because they expected one or two of those whose heads had been lowered and shaken to depart at that point. In reality, we all just found ourselves a little more tightly crowded into the same space and even the open space around Wayman might have contracted a little, perhaps making him all the less comfortable, the darker of the two dogs becoming as concealed to me as the paler one had remained for the whole period of time. Brierley waited for that little bit of commotion at the back to settle again for too much motion echoed off the walls in that place.

–               …So, we are decided; we will hear you out properly now, Tempest. To my mind it cannot be a sin to hear prophecy. For all I know, your knowledge might come directly from the Christ within. Personally, I have to say that I doubt it… actually, I more than doubt it …but I cannot testify against that and I will not risk it either. [Then, almost as an afterthought or so it seemed to me…] …That does not mean that I approve of what you are going to say – but we must now hear it for we are agreed upon doing so. We will think upon your words and think carefully. That is surely more than you will get from any other congregation around these parts – including the one from which you have ultimately emerged and been outlawed[10].

In fact, when I dwelt upon it a little more, Brierley’s compromise position made little sense to me: it seemed to have no consistent, internal logic. Tempest might just have seen that too. Actually, Wayman seemed to have calmed right down now: his uncontrollable fit of temper seemed to have run its course and burned itself dry like a charred faggot that had finally fallen in two, split half and half. He almost seemed to be standing there in shame – that was always how he was afterwards. However, he never seemed to deem his actions to have been a serious enough offence to merit any compulsion to apologise for them. Perhaps he would have felt unbearably weakened by such an apology or perhaps he saw all his turmoils as exclusively internal, outside the domains of interference of the external world? But, of course, he had not finished and we were all waiting…

–               Then tell you I will, Curate – and your followers as well for that matter since they have so gracefully [I was not sure whether there was a hint of sarcasm in his use of that word or not – perhaps not!] deemed it fit to hear. [He spoke far more softly now and in order to hear him everyone had to be almost motionless for the cold floors of the ancient chapel amplified every shuffle, in spite of the fact that they dulled out every word of any preacher other than Brierley himself for Brierley had had plenty of others preach in there. That was an ancient architectural achievement!] …It means that the Day of Judgement must be between 1688 and 1700. Twelve years! A dozen seasonal cycles of doubt, uncertainty and constant trepidation for Mankind, a dozen snowbound winters, in any one of which the snows might cease forever!

But I have another calculation based on the seven angels of the fourteenth chapter of the Revelation and that produces just one date…

Brierley showed neither distaste (particularly at the predictable citing of the Revelation of John) nor any hint of animation at the prospect of hearing it but now it needed to be said.

–               Tell us what that date might be then, Tempest! Do not keep us in the darkness any longer – we are a people in search of light; we will leave the darkness to others. Once more, I am not saying that we should give it any credence but we have agreed to hear it from you.

Brierley had already said that but, clearly, he wished to reiterate the point in order for Tempest to get to his point for he seemed to be stalling slightly. For his part, Wayman was actually playing the silence rather better now than he had done previously, pausing briefly before saying anything further. Instead of the increased shuffling one had come to anticipate in any silence longer than a second or two, the remainder of the congregation contributed to that silence becoming deeper still… emptying.

–               1688… 1688 and only that year[11].

Wayman hardly even raised his voice and it was the last thing he said to us that day. He had been straightforward and clear though. As for Brierley, he looked almost disappointed not only that it was so lacking in its immediacy (in spite of having being the earliest of those dozen stated years) but also with the realisation that the moment of secret joy, of covered-in passion that they had agreed between them was already over and past. I was disappointed too but essentially only for the former reason. Wayman dwelling on the theme of the shortening of time so clearly had led me to hope that the end might have been inside those fifty years that Anne had mentioned to me and shortening might surely have implied that. Meanwhile, Wayman lowered his head and began to push his way back through the crowd the short distance towards the open air. He quickened his pace fractionally as well as he did so, probably mildly relieved to have said what he had to say and to be departing the confined an confining space. The curs cut their own respective paths through the irregular rows of feet to follow him but with some difficulty for not too many afforded them too great a portion of their attentions. Meanwhile, inside there was now a little shuffling but nobody said anything until, finally, Brierley himself spoke and, he too, spoke quietly now. Of course he did not regret having permitted Wayman to make his statement but some in his audience might have wondered if that was dwelling upon his mind from his sombre tones.

–               …Well, I have heard many such predictions for such a date and not one has been the same as the next. Look to the Scriptures and you will read that we do not know when this day will be as it will approach us unseen, as a thief in the night. Believe me, you do not know it yet, but the Day of Judgement is already with us. It too is written on our Hearts, whether we care for it or not.


[1] These aspects of Wayman’s views are based loosely upon the teachings of the famous mystic, Richard Napier but with far less of a focus on his Christian ministry and a greater interest in Jewish mysticism.  Using the Book of Revelation he forecast the end of the time in either 1688 or 1700.

[2] Again, Wayman’s comments are based on the teachings of Napier.

[3] Two hundred and forty five years: The exact relevance of this sequence is not immediately obvious. If the final two hundred and forty five year period should end in 1786, this would imply that the first one must have begun in 71 A.D. and that the year 1296 should have been the first within the cycle of the sixth trumpet.

[4] It seems unlikely that this would have been ‘relatively obvious’ to a large portion of the congregation. Brierley would have known to what Wayman was referring and a few others particularly well-versed in Calvinistic history. Of course, the fact that Wayman uses this as an historical baseline rather implies that he had his own roots in Puritanism.

[5] John Field (1545 – 1588) was a native of London and a Puritan clergyman. In 1572 he had ‘A view of Popish abuses yet remaining in the English Church’ published outside the country alongside Wilcox’s ‘Admonition’. Both he and Wilcox were found to be in breach of the Act of Uniformity and were imprisoned. Undeterred, Field set about outlining a Presbyterian structure for a Reformed Puritan Church of England. He was banned from preaching and would probably have fallen foul to a much harsher punishment had he not had influential friends close to the Royal Court. In 1586 Cope’s Bill put forward a complete Presbyterian restructuring of the English Church but it was vetoed by use of the Royal Prerogative. The Admonition debate had always defined itself in terms of the oppositions and contrasts between Cartwright and Whitgift. However, in reality there were stated areas of broad agreement between the two sides – there could not have been otherwise or else the debate would never have taken place. To state the most basic truths, both sides were in united hostility both to Catholicism and to heretical Protestant groups such as the Anabaptists. The Familists fell straight into these excluded categories although many deemed that the greatest threat from them had already passed.

[6] Abdias: i.e. Abdias Assheton – by this point seemingly rector of Slaidburn – although the exact dates are a little confused at the margins.

[7] In actual fact they are the extremely detailed calculations of Napier.

[8] From amongst the Books: from within the Bible, implied.

[9] Matthew 24: 20-22. Note that this is also central Niclaes’ ‘Evangelium Regni’ where the interpretation of the shortening of days implies that the meeting of the dead and the living is already taking place. See D. FitzHenry Jones – A straying collective.

[10] Note that the word, ‘outlaw’, dates from the Anglo-Saxon / Viking period and therefore far predates the Wild West! Essentially, it defined someone who is beyond the law.

[11] This date is taken from Napier calculation held by the British Library.  Elsewhere Napier made his forecast for 1700 – presumably both are the same calculations upon which Wayman has based his. 1688 is only really notable for having been the year of the ‘Glorious’ Revolution in which James II was overthrown alongside his tendency for a toleration of Catholicism.