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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Brothers, Richard,

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an enthusiast and pretended prophet, was a lieutenant in the British navy, which he quitted in 1789. Declining to take the oath required on receipt of half pay, he was very near dying of hunger, and was ultimately taken to a workhouse. From the year 1790 Brothers dates his first call. On May 12, 1792, he sent letters to the king, ministers of state, and speaker of the House of Commons, stating that he was commanded by God to go to the Parliament-house on the 17th of that month, and inform the members for their safety that the time was cone for the fulfilment of the 7th chapter of Daniel. Accordingly, on the day named, he presented himself at the door of the House of Commons, and, according to his own account, met with a very scurvy reception. Having some time after prophesied the death of the king, the destruction of the monarchy, and that the crown should be delivered up -to him, he was committed to Newgate, where, if his statement be true, he was treated with great cruelty. On his liberation, he continued what he denominated his ministry with renewed energy, and obtained many followers.

While the more rational part of the community were laughing at the prophet, there were some persons of liberal education and of good ability who maintained the divinity of his mission. Among these, Nathaniel Brassey Halhed, Esq., M. P. for Lymington, and Mr. Sharp, an eminent engraver, were the most zealous: they published numerous pamphlets and testimonials in his favor, and others to the same effect appeared by Bryan, Wright, Mr. Weatherall, an apothecary, and a Mrs. Green. Among other things, Halhed bore testimony to his prophesying correctly the death of the three emperors of Germany. Among several strange letters which Brothers published was one entitled "A Letter from Mr. Brothers to Miss Cott, the recorded Daughter of King David, and future Queen of the Hebrews, with an Address to the Members of his Britannic Majesty's Council" (1798). Such an effect had these and other similar writings on people of weak understanding, that many persons sold their goods and prepared themselves to accompany the prophet to his New Jerusalem, which was to be built on both sides of the River Jordan, and where he was to arrive in the year 1795. Jerusalem was then to become the capital of the world; and in the year 1798, when the complete restoration of the Jews was to take place, he was to be revealed as the prince and ruler of the Jews, and the governor of all nations, for which office he appears to have had a greater predilection than for that of president of the council or chancellor of the exchequer, which he said God offered for his acceptance. Taken altogether, the writings of Brothers are a curious jumble of reason and insanity, with no small number of contradictions. He was placed in a lunatic asylum, from which he was released in 1806, and died in 1824. One of his disciples, Finlayson, published in 1849 a book called The Last Trumpet, more fanciful, if possible, than Brothers's own book. There are still a few of his disciples left in England.


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Brothers, Richard,'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/b/brothers-richard.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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Saturday, January 18th, 2020
the First Week after Epiphany
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