Hall, Elisha (DNB00)

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HALL, ELISHA (fl. 1562), fanatic, was an impostor who professed to have revelations and to write books by direct inspiration. On his appearance in London he was brought before Grindal, bishop of London, on 12 June 1562 for examination. He asserted that in 1551 he heard a voice say 'Ely, arise, watch and pray; for the day draweth nigh,' and that in April 1552 he was absent from earth two days while he saw heaven and hell. He was bidden to watch and pray for seven years, and then to write for three years and a half, during two years and a half of which he should ' bring nothing to pass,' while at the end of the last year he was to ' be troubled and fall into persecution.' He affirmed that he had during the last year been examined several times before commissioners, and that unless he should have a fresh revelation his commission would cease in a few weeks. He made no claim to being a religious teacher, and affirmed that the 'Great Book' he had written was a work of inspiration, as he had not 'read much' of the Bible, or consulted with any one. His revelation commanded him neither to eat fish nor flesh, to forsake everything pleasant, and to write his book on his knees. As his examination did not reveal that he held dangerously heterodox opinions, or that he endeavoured to propagate heresy, he does not appear to have been further proceeded against nor to have published his 'Great Book.'

According to Tanner, Hall wrote: 1. 'Of Obedience.' 2. A book of 'Visions' in Metre. Tanner says that a manuscript of the latter belonged to Sir John Parker.

[Strype's Annals of the Reformation, vol. i. pt. i. pp. 433-5, ed. 1828; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.- Hibern.]

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