Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Test the Prophets

Dunbar Plunket Barton relates an interesting story about John Holt, Chief Justice of the Court of King’s Bench appointed by William III. Holt was a strong Christian, but did not suffer fools or false prophets.

A man came to Holt announced that he, the visitor, was a “prophet of the Lord God” and that God had instructed him to tell Holt to issue a document called a nolle prosequi to release a particular man currently held in prison and awaiting trial. A nolle prosequi, by the way, was a document issued by a prosecutor stating that he would not continue to prosecute a case against a particular defendant. Holt said to the would-be prophet “Thou art a false prophet and a lying knave. If the Lord God had sent thee, it would have been to the Attorney-General, for He knows that it belongeth not to the Chief Justice to grant a nolle prosequi. But I, as Chief Justice, can grant a warrant to commit thee to bear him [the prisoner] company.”

There is an old saying “The Devil Knows Latin”; but Holt knew the Lord knows the law.

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