MIRACULOUS POWERS AND THE SCRIPTURE TESTIMONY ON THE PERPETUITY OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS
"Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight." 1 John iii, 22.†
MIRACULOUS POWERS. THE SCRIPTURE TESTIMONY ON THE PERPETUITY OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS, ILLUSTRATED BY NARRATIVES OF INCIDENTS AND SENTIMENTS CAREFULLY COMPILED FROM THE EMINENTLY PIOUS AND LEARNED OF VARIOUS DENOMINATIONS.
BY M. E. Cornell.
p. 1, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"These signs shall follow them that believe." p. 4, Para. 1, [POWERS].
STEAM PRESS OF THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST PUBLISHING ASSOCIATION, BATTLE CREEK, MICH. 1862.
p. 4, Para. 2, [POWERS].
PREFACE. -- We are happy to present this work to the public as one of the most valuable issued from the press of the Seventh-day Adventists. The numerous extracts gathered by the untiring efforts of Elder M. E. Cornell, generally breathe the spirit of true piety. These, with the compiler's clear and pointed introductory remarks, will not fail to interest, instruct and benefit the spiritual condition of the believing reader. p. 5, Para. 1, [POWERS].
These testimonies from not only the eminently pious, but from many of the learned, and from some of the most reliable historians fairly represent the faith of the church upon the subject of miraculous powers. We do not rely upon the testimony of men as proof of our position; but after being established in the doctrine of the perpetuity of spiritual gifts from the plain testimony of God's word, it is a matter of unspeakable joy to find that on this vital doctrine our faith is in harmony with the good, the humble, and the prudent, ever since Christ said
to his first ministers, "These signs shall follow them that believe." p. 5, Para. 2, [POWERS].
In some of the extracts in this work there may appear to be a shade of fanaticism, or an appearance of extravagance. Let it be distinctly understood that the great object in presenting them is to show the faith of the church. No one should seek to be guided by the impulses and experiences of those who have lived in the past, and battled with errors and temptations peculiar to the age in which they lived. We may be instructed as we learn their faith and history, but our safety is in coming for ourselves to the word of God, the source of true knowledge, and to the throne of grace for wisdom to understand it, and make a right use of all the blessings in reserve for this time. p. 5, Para. 3, [POWERS].
In accordance with the wishes of Bro. Cornell we have given in the first part of this work some of the evidences of the perpetuity of spiritual gifts. We trust the repetition of some points by us both will be excused, and hope the Bible evidences touching the subject will be carefully and prayerfully studied. p. 5, Para. 4, [POWERS].
James White. p. 6, Para. 1, [POWERS]. Contents. p. 6, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Perpetuity of Spiritual Gifts p. 11-33 p. 7, Para. 1, [POWERS].
CHAPTER I. --- Bible Argument p. 33-44 --- Testimony of Milman p. 35 --- Testimony of Luther p. 36 --- Testimony of Dr. Clarke p. 39 --- Rules by which to test false and true prophets p. 43.†† p. 7, Para. 2, [POWERS].
CHAPTER II. --- Testimony of Dr. Clarke p. 44 ---
Testimony of Wesley p. 44, 45 --- Testimony of Bunyan p. 46
--- Testimony of Wm. Eddy p. 46--- Testimony of The
Independent p. 47 --- Testimony of H. W. Beecher p. 47 --- Testimony of Prof. Kurtz p. 47 --- Testimony of Jno. Winebrenner p. 48.†††††††† p. 7, Para. 3, [POWERS].
CHAPTER III. --- Miraculous powers in the days of Ignatius p. 49 --- Miraculous Powers in the days of Justin Martyr p. 50 --- Miraculous Powers in the days of Theophilus p. 51 --- Miraculous Powers in the days of Tertullian p. 51 --- Miraculous Powers in the days of M. Felix p. 51 --- Miraculous Powers in the days of Origen p. 51.††† p. 7, Para. 4, [POWERS].
Miraculous Powers in the days of Cyprian p. 52, 55 --- Miraculous Powers in the days of Arnobius p. 52 --- Miraculous Powers in the days of Lactantius p. 52 --- Miraculous Powers in the days of Irenaeus p. 52 --- Miraculous Powers in the days of The Montanists p. 53 --- Admissions of Milner p. 54, 55, 56, 57 --- Admissions of Gibbon p. 55 --- Admissions of Mosheim p. 57, 58. p. 7, Para. 5, [POWERS].
CHAPTER IV. --- Polycarp's Vision and Martyrdom p. 59-64 -
-- Speaking Without Tongues p. 64 --- Miracles in Behalf of Holmes, Baynham & Tompkins p. 64,65 --- Remarkable Cases of Healing p. 65-70 --- Blindness Cured p. 68. p. 8, Para. 1, [POWERS].
CHAPTER V. --- Prophetic Utterances of Jno. Huss p. 70 --- Prophetic Utterances of Sextus p. 71 --- Prophetic Utterances of Geo. Wishart p. 71 --- Prophetic Utterances of Jonathan Pyrah p. 72. p. 8, Para. 2, [POWERS].
CHAPTER VI. --- Dreams p. 73-75. p. 8, Para. 3, [POWERS]. CHAPTER VII. --- Vision of Elder J. B. Finley p. 75-78 --- Vision of Dr. Bond p. 79-81. p. 8, Para. 4, [POWERS].
CHAPTER VIII. --- Miraculous Healing of Zwingle p. 82 --- Miraculous Healing of a Dumb Woman p. 82 --- Miraculous Healing of Elder Keach p. 83 --- Miraculous Healing of Jno. Trebble p. 84. p. 8, Para. 5, [POWERS].
Miraculous Healing of Mr. Meyrick p. 84 --- Miraculous Healing of Mr. Downes p. 85 --- Miraculous Healing of by Mr. Smith p. 85, 86 --- Miraculous Healing of a Case of Mortification p. 87 --- Miraculous Healing of Paralyzed Limbs p. 87 --- Miraculous Healing of by Elder D. Haggard p. 87 --- Miraculous Healing of Mr. Bramwell p. 88, 89, 93 --- Miraculous Healing of Wm. Carvosso p. 90 --- Miraculous Healing of a Lady in Baltimore p. 91 --- Miraculous Healing of T. Stearns p. 92 --- Miraculous Healing of G. W. Henry
p. 92.† p. 8, Para. 6, [POWERS].
CHAPTER IX. --- Discerning of Spirits p. 94-96. p. 9, Para. 1, [POWERS].
CHAPTER X. --- Expelling Evil Spirits p. 97, 98. p. 9, Para. 2, [POWERS].
CHAPTER XI. --- Judgments for Lying p. 98-101. p. 9, Para. 3, [POWERS].
CHAPTER XII. --- Miraculous Power in Preaching p. 101-107.
p. 9, Para. 4, [POWERS].
CHAPTER XIII. --- Praying for Rain p. 107 --- Providential Interposition p. 109 --- Miraculous Conversion of Justin Martyr p. 110 --- Miraculous Deliverance of Jno. Wesley p. 112 --- Miraculous Deliverance of Adam Clarke p. 113 ---
Miraculous Deliverance of a Ship's Crew p. 116 --- Miraculous Deliverance of Richard Boardman p. 120 --- Starvation Escaped by Prayer p. 119 --- Remarkable Answer to Prayer p. 122. p. 9, Para. 5, [POWERS].
Three Days in a Trance p. 123 --- Remarkable Interposition p. 128 --- Prayer Answered p. 131 --- Supernatural Voice p. 132 --- Goodness of Providence p. 133 --- Answer to Prayer p. 135 --- Divine Interposition p. 137 --- Narrow Escape p. 140. p. 9, Para. 6, [POWERS].
PERPETUITY OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS. p. 10, Para. 1, [POWERS].
In approaching this subject we are aware that we shall be met with unbelief, and, by many, with settled prejudice. Popular opinion, and almost universal feeling, upon the subject are against us. Many feel very strongly opposed to the doctrine that the gifts were designed for the entire Christian dispensation, and they know not why. There is a most singular propensity to unwarrantable liberality in the men of this generation to carry back those things which belong to them, and give them to the people of past ages. The Universalist gives all the threatened judgments of the Almighty to Old Jerusalem, and most all are agreed in giving the Sabbath to the Jews, and the gifts to the first generations of Christians. p. 11, Para. 1, [POWERS].
But it is a scriptural fact that God has appointed a day in which he will judge the world--not the Jews only, but the world, and that decree has not been revoked. Jesus announced the fact that the Sabbath was made for man--not the Jews alone, but for man, for the race. It is also a scriptural fact that the gifts were put in the church, to remain in the church till the perfect day shall come, when hope shall be lost in fruition, and faith in sight. We present as the ground-work of the scriptural doctrine of the perpetuity of spiritual gifts, the ORIGINAL COMMISSION. p. 11, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Mark xvi, 15-20: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe: in my name shall they cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues, they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them, they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. So then, after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen." p. 11, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Matt. xxviii, 18-20: "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." p. 11, Para. 4, [POWERS].
This high commission relates to the gospel, to faith, to baptism, to salvation, and to spiritual gifts. The gospel was to be preached as long as there were sinners to hear it. Faith is equally requisite throughout the Christian age. Baptism is a perpetual ordinance in the church, and the ministers of the nineteenth century baptize "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,"
because the original commission requires it. The terms of salvation stated in this commission were to be held out as long as sinners might be saved. Running parallel with all these we find in the same commission, spiritual gifts. In absence of proof that the gifts were to be restricted to any particular age of the Christian church, this commission alone is sufficient evidence of their perpetuity. p. 12, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Some make a distinction between the apostles, and those who should believe on their word, on this wise: The apostles had the gifts, the believers were not to have them; and they think they see this distinction between the two classes in our Lord's prayer. John xvii. We reply to this by quoting the words of our Lord in the original commission, as follows: "And these signs shall follow them that believe." Or, as Dr. Geo. Campbell translates, "These miraculous powers shall attend the believers." Or, as Wakefield translates, "These signs will accompany believers." When it can be shown that to believe was required of the first Christians only, then it may be proved that the gifts were for them alone. p. 12, Para. 2, [POWERS].
The gracious promise of our Lord in this commission, when he says, "And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world," is the strongest proof of the perpetuity of the gifts. He was not to be personally with his people, no; but how was he to be with them? The inspired record states that after the Lord was received up into heaven, "they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following." p. 12,
Para. 3, [POWERS].
This promise cannot be restricted to the lifetime of the chosen twelve, nor the Christians of the first century, for it extends to the end of the world [aiwv], age. "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world," to the end of the Christian age. If it be said that the Jewish age is here meant, we reply, That dispensation closed with the death of Christ, forty-two days before this commission was given. We give two passages as proof. Col. ii, 14:
"Blotting out the hand-writing of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross." Dan. ix, 27: "In the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease." This prophecy was fulfilled at the death of the Messiah, in the middle of the last of the seventy weeks. There the Jewish typical sacrifices ceased to be of any virtue, when the great antitypical Sacrifice was offered. Christ gave this commission just before his ascension [Mark xvi, 19], which was at least forty-two days after his crucifixion. p. 13, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Again, to suppose that the end of the world here means the close of the Jewish age, would be to carry back the gospel, with all the other specifications in the commission, to the Jewish age, to close with that dispensation, and leave the present without it. This view is too absurd to need any further comment. p. 13, Para. 2, [POWERS].
We now come to the testimony of Paul. Eph. iv, 4-13:
"There is one body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." p. 13, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.† p. 13, Para. 4, [POWERS].
"And he gave some, apostles, and some, prophets, and some, evangelists, and some, pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." p. 13, Para. 5, [POWERS].
The apostle first presents the subject of unity, in the declaration that there is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. He then presents the gifts as the means by which God designed to secure the unity of the church. He refers to Christ's ascension, when he led up to heaven a multitude of captives from their graves, as the time when the gifts were bestowed. He then mentions some of the gifts, given at the same time, for the same objects, and all to extend to the same point of time. p. 14, Para. 1, [POWERS].
It will be admitted that evangelists, pastors, and teachers were to extend to the end of the Christian age. Then why not the others? If it be said that the state of unity and perfection described by the apostle, is in the past history of the church, then we reply that evangelists, pastors, and teachers ceased with that happy state of things. But he who admits the perpetuity of these, must acknowledge the perpetuity of the others. p. 14, Para. 2, [POWERS].
It is worthy of notice that Paul's letter to the Ephesians was written A.D. 64, and that from that point it looks to the future for that unity and perfection of the church to be accomplished by the gifts, "till we all come in the unity of the faith," says the apostle. If Paul could not see this unity and perfection in his day, or in the past, certainly we cannot see it in the past history of the church; hence the perpetuity of the gifts, and their revival in the last days in great power to unite and perfect the church ready for translation to heaven at the second coming of Jesus Christ. p. 14, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, has spoken very definitely upon this subject of spiritual gifts. In 1 Cor. xii, 1, he says: "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant." He regarded this subject as one of the highest importance, and urges an understanding of it. But in all he has said relative to it, he has not once intimated that the gifts were to cease before the perfect day of glory should come. The apostle proposes to instruct the Corinthians on the subject. He would not have them ignorant in regard to it. Therefore if the gifts were designed for the first Christians only, we might expect to find somewhere in his epistles to them, some instruction to the point. We affirm that there is not an intimation of the kind to be found in his letters to them. But Paul does clearly point out the time when the gifts will cease. 1 Cor. xiii, 8-12. "Charity [ aya??n -- love,] never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known." p. 14, Para. 4, [POWERS].
The apostle here contrasts the mortal state with the immortal; the present imperfect, with that which will be perfect; the cloudy present while we walk by faith, with the open glory of the life to come. Here, we only know in part, prophesy in part; there, that which is in part, will be done away. Here, we see through a glass darkly; there, face to face. Here, we know in part; there, we shall know, even as we are known. Charity, or love, will never end. Here, it is the highest Christian grace; there, it will be the crowning glory of immortals for ever and for ever. In this sense love will never fail. But prophecies will fail, tongues will cease, and knowledge will vanish away. The light of heaven through the dim medium of these, and the other gifts of the holy Spirit, is represented as being
only in part, and is to be superseded by the perfect day of glory when we may talk face to face with God, Christ, and angels, as our first parents talked with God in Eden before sin entered. But when? This is the vital question. When were the gifts to be done away? Let Paul answer: "But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." "And let all the people say, Amen." p. 15, Para. 1, [POWERS].
The apostle presents the gifts more fully in 1 Cor. xii, 28: "And God set some in the church; first, apostles; secondarily, prophets; thirdly, teachers; after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." p. 15, Para. 2, [POWERS].
God set them in the church. And where is the text that declares that they have been set out of the church? Here are eight gifts mentioned, and given in their order of importance. That "first," "secondarily," "thirdly," and so on, refer to importance, and not to time, is evident from the fact that Paul in this connection dwells largely upon the relative value of some of the gifts, and in verse 31 says, "Covet earnestly the best gifts." p. 16, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Note: It is interesting that Paul specifically mentions the coveting of the gift of prophecy, to wit:
1Cr 14:39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. [End note by rwb].
1 Cor. i, 4-8. "I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." p. 16, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Note: The words ďso that ye come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ,Ē proves irrefutably that all the gifts are to continue as long as we are waiting for the coming of our Lord. Also, Israel had many prophets, not just ONE! Strangely, some Adventists wish to restrict the gift of prophecy to one prophet, Ellen G. White. Where does Godís Word teach that strange fire? Nowhere! So those who teach this strange notion are speaking against the Word of God Almighty. Vance Ferrell publicly teaches this strange fire contrary to the Word of God, so I am publicly rebuking him for so doing. Ellen White clearly stated that light was to continually unfold. Vance teaches that we have all the light we need. Thus he is speaking contrary to Ellen G. White as well as Godís Word which teaches that the gifts are to extend and even be coveted until Jesus comes. When Vance teaches that the gift of prophecy is no longer to be coveted and/or needed, he is directly contradicting Godís Word. This makes him a false prophet. Vance does not take a yea or nay position on other things like separation from apostasy. He rather says that he is not telling anyone to leave, nor is he telling anyone to stay! God says to let our speech be yea or nay, not both! This is another evidence of him being a false prophet or a false representative of God.
Ellen White said that after her death, great changes would be made in the church. This necessitates prophet(s) who can not only distinguish the omega of apostasy changes, but teach a correct response to them, and Vance Ferrell fails in both these endeavors. He can cite most of the apostasies, but He does not realize the unpardonable sin seriousness of them and the corporate responsibility associated with them. These serious characteristics demonstrate his ineptness in the Word, and his inability to teach a correct response to the omega of apostasy. And this same indictment applies to any professing SDA who considers him/herself a leader in representing Godís Word to professing Seventh-day Adventists. End note by rwb.
The gifts were planted in the Christian church. God set them there. And we judge that the Corinthians shared largely of their benefits, from the fact that Paul in his epistles to them, occupies much space in speaking definitely in regard to their proper exercise. p. 16, Para. 3, [POWERS].
In the above quotation the apostle thanks God on their behalf for the grace bestowed upon them by Jesus Christ; that they were enriched in all utterance and knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in them. If we turn to Rev. xix, 10, for an inspired definition of the testimony of Jesus, we read, "For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." By this they were enriched in knowledge and utterance. p. 16, Para. 4, [POWERS].
However applicable this testimony might have been to the church at Corinth at the time the apostle wrote, or to Christians from that day to this, certainly especial reference is made to the last days in the expressions, "waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ," "the end," "the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." Hence verse 7, "So that ye come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ," teaches the perpetuity of the gifts, and the privilege of the waiting ones to enjoy them all. The end here mentioned, is evidently the end of the age. p. 17, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Here, in this very connection, the subject of perfect unity is introduced. Read verse 19. Paul taught the Ephesians [chap. iv, 11-14] that the gifts were given "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith." He exhorts the Corinthians to "all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgement;" and this, too, in connection with the statement, "that ye come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Then right here comes in the restitution of the gifts to unite and prepare the waiting ones for the second coming of Jesus Christ.†††††† p. 17, Para. 2, [POWERS].
If an effort be made to carry this testimony back, and restrict it to the very members of the Corinthian church living when Paul wrote, then we inquire, Was that what the apostle calls the day of our Lord Jesus Christ? Did they scripturally wait for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ? Did "the end" then come? All well-instructed Adventists will answer these questions negatively. The present is the time to scripturally wait for the second coming of Christ, which event, is associated in the New Testament with "the end." p. 17, Para. 3, [POWERS].
The epistles to the Corinthians were written for the benefit of the Christian church, not for those Christians only then living at Corinth, but for the church, and some portions have a special application to the present time. We will call attention to two passages where the apostle apparently, by the use of the word WE, addresses only those then living, and yet the events of which he speaks, are in the future. In chap. XV, 51, 52, Paul says, "Behold, I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." Shall we say that the word "we," used three times in this quotation, embraces Only Paul and the members of the church at Corinth then living? Circumstances will not admit of so narrow an application. Paul and his brethren at Corinth did sleep -- die. The last trump did not then sound. And none of them were changed to immortality in the twinkling of an eye. Hence this testimony has a special application to Christians who are alive on earth at the second coming of Christ. p. 17, Para. 4, [POWERS].
The apostle says [1 Thess. iv, 16, 17], "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words." Here he again uses the word we, but the events mentioned did not occur in Paul's day. He and his brethren at Thessalonica were not translated to heaven without seeing death. The chapter closes with the above quotation, and the next opens with the continuation of the same subject.††† p. 18, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Chap. v, 1-4. "But of the times and seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. p. 18, Para. 2, [POWERS].
For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For, when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." The day of the Lord is the day of "sudden destruction." It is the day of wrath which is in the Old and New Testaments associated with the second advent of Christ. This day is not in the past, hence the language is not applicable to the Christians of past generations. The Christians of the last generation -- the very men and women who are to be living on the earth when the day of the Lord comes -- are here addressed. Hence all true Adventists will regard themselves as the "brethren" Paul addresses, and his language especially applicable to the present time. He continues in this chapter without change, setting forth practical duties applicable to those who are watching for the approach of the day of the Lord, and in verses 19-21, says, "Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." Here are three very important injunctions: p. 18, Para. 3, [POWERS].
1. "Quench not the Spirit." We quench fire with water. And prominent among the means of quenching the Spirit of God is unbelief. Jesus in his own country did not many mighty works because of their unbelief. There is at the present
time almost a universal state of unbelief in regard to the operations of the Holy Spirit, especially in the manifestation of the gifts. Unbelief shuts the Spirit of God away from the mind. It quenches the Spirit, and leaves the masses exposed to the delusions of these last days. p. 19, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Note: Ellen G. White indicts SDA leaders with UNBELIEF, to wit:
Begin at My Sanctuary -- "Here we see that the church--the Lord's sanctuary--was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust. They had taken the position that we need not look for miracles and the marked manifestation of God's power as in former days. Times have changed. These words strengthen their unbelief, and they say: The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil. He is too merciful to visit His people in judgment. Thus 'Peace and safety" is the cry from men who will never again lift up their voice like a trumpet to show God's people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. These dumb dogs that would not bark are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God. Men, maidens, and little children all perish together." E. G. White, Testimonies, Vol. 5, 211.
That UNBELIEF quenches the Spirit and that is why there is no longer any living gift of prophecy in the professing SDA church today, and the church spurns and despises those who aspire to possessing this gift of the Spirit. End note by rwb.
Again, those who by unbelief quench the Spirit in these last days will be ill prepared to share in the great blessings which God promises by the prophet Joel, quoted by Peter, Acts ii, 17, 18: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit, and they shall prophesy." p. 19, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Note: In the ancient church of Israel, which did not include as many millions of Jews as now constitute professing Seventh-day Adventists, there were many men prophets and a number of women prophets. If Godís people need only ONE prophet at the end-time, why did God send more than one prophet to a lesser number of His first chosen people? Is it not strange that the Early Rain required more prophets than the Latter Rain, when in the Latter Rain there are far more people involved? I doubt if Vance Ferrell or anyone else could answer this question satisfactorily! End note by rwb.
The "former rain" was given on the day of pentecost, and enjoyed by the early Christians, to cause the gospel seed to germinate and take root. The "latter rain" is coming to ripen the golden harvest for the garner of God. Take care, dear reader, lest unbelief in you quench the Spirit, and shut you away from this great blessing designed for "them that believe." p. 19, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Note: ď2Ch 20:20 And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.Ē [End note by rwb].
2. "Despise not prophesyings." We are here warned of one of the dangers of the last days. The pretensions of Ann Lee, the mother of the Shakers, the corrupt prophets of Mormonism, and the one thousand and one of Satan's medium prophets, devoted to the cause of Spiritualism, with all its baseness, have struck the world with disgust at anything like the supernatural. The Devil got these things up to not only destroy many souls by them, but to disgust and drive others as far as possible to unbelief in regard to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Hence the danger of indiscriminately despising all prophesyings.†††† p. 20, Para. 1, [POWERS].
3. "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." The three declarations, "Quench not the Spirit; Despise not prophesyings; Prove all things, hold fast that which is good," have a close relation to each other. Therefore the "all things" to be proved, do not mean everything in the wide world, for this would be imposing an unreasonable tax upon believers; hence the expression must be limited to the subject of prophesying. Despise not prophesyings, but prove them, and separate the genuine from the counterfeit coin of the Devil, and that which is good, which is from the Spirit of God, which will stand the test, hold fast. We will here give three rules by which true and false prophesyings may be known: p. 20, Para. 2, [POWERS].
1. Matt. vii, 15-20. "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? p. 20, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."††††† p. 20, Para. 4, [POWERS].
2. Isa. viii, 19, 20. "And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." p. 21, Para. 1, [POWERS].
3. False prophets speak smooth things, prophesy lies, and cry, Peace and safety, which has ever been pleasing to unconsecrated professors; hence the love of the peace and safety in the delusion of Spiritualism. Jer. xiv, 14. "Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of naught, and the deceit of their heart." Chap. xxiii, 16, 17. "Thus saith the Lord of hosts. Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. They say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you." Chap. viii, 10, 11. "For every one from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness. From the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace." p. 21, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Chap. v, 30, 31. "A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?"††† p.
21, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Isa. xxx, 8-11. "Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come forever and ever: that this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us."†††† p. 21, Para. 4, [POWERS].
On the other hand the prophets of God have faithfully reproved sin, and borne a testimony which has called down upon their heads the wrath of the self righteous deceived. p. 22, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Joel ii, 28-32, next claims our attention. "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all fresh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into
darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call." We call attention to the following points in this prophecy -- p. 22, Para. 2, POWERS].
1. The manifestations of the Holy Spirit noted in this prophecy, are in connection with the signs of the near approach of the great and terrible day of the Lord. In fact, they constitute one of those signs. p. 22, Para. 3, [POWERS].
2. The calling on the name of the Lord, and the deliverance of the remnant, spoken of in close relation to the great day of the Lord, evidently refer to the closing scenes of the history of the church in this mortal state. The oppressed people of God are yet to raise to heaven one united day and night cry for deliverance. Luke xviii. p. 22, Para. 4, [POWERS].
This is symbolized by the message of prayer of the fourth angel of Rev. xiv. 15. And in answer to this prayer, the remnant which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus, will find deliverance. p. 22, Para. 5, [POWERS].
3. We object to that narrow-souled theology which will not allow the old ladies to have dreams because the prophecy says, "your old men shall dream dreams;" and that will not allow young women to have visions because the prophecy
says, "your young men shall see visions." These stingy critics seem to forget that "man" and "men" in the Scriptures generally mean both men and women. The Book says that it is "appointed unto men once to die." Don't women die? "Unto you, O man, I call, and my voice is to the sons of men." Don't [Doesnít] the Lord call women? But the prophecy does say, "Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy." p. 23, Para. 1, [POWERS].
On the day of Pentecost the believers were filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, to the great amazement of the multitude. Some, unacquainted with the operations of the Holy Spirit, said, "These men are
full of new wine." Peter answered, "These men are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel. And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit," &c.†††† p. 23, Para. 2, [POWERS].
The prophecy of Joel applies to the Christian age. And we do not object to applying the term "last days," here used by Peter, to this entire age, though it may have a more limited meaning. But let this fact be borne in mind, that the great events of the prophecy are in close connection with, and are signs of, the great and notable day of the Lord. The Spirit was given on the day of Pentecost; hence Peter, pointing to its influence upon believers on that occasion, could say, "This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel." That was the early rain. Believers have ever since enjoyed a degree of the Holy Spirit, and from time to time God has wonderfully manifested his power. But, for the close of the dispensation, is reserved the latter rain, the pouring out of the Spirit. Here is the fulfillment of the burden -- of the prophecy. p. 23, Para. 3, [POWERS].
We object to that stupid blindness which has the entire prophecy fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, and hence, the "last days" were past more than eighteen hundred years ago. We find in the record only the exercise of the gift of tongues. There is no account of dreams or visions on that day. Certainly the outsiders might well have been amazed on beholding old men asleep, dreaming in the midst of the excitement and uproar of the occasion. And well might they have supposed such to be stone drunk. Again, was the sun turned into darkness, and the moon into blood on the day of Pentecost? And was that the great and terrible day of the Lord? No! no! The "last days" must embrace the last day. Should we say that the leaves of the New Testament were the last leaves of our Bible, we should speak correctly; yet they would embrace the last leaf. It would be equally correct to call the book of Revelation, or the two last leaves of the Bible, the last leaves. But in each case, the last leaves embrace the very last leaf. So with the last days. If we call the whole Christian age, or the last century, or the last thirty years, the last days, in each case the last days must embrace the very last day. With this view of the subject we read with delight the prophetic description [Joel ii, 28-32] of the termination of the present age with gracious blessings upon the people of God. The Christian age will terminate with glory to the righteous; yet a severe conflict with the dragon host, is just ahead. p. 23, Para. 4, [POWERS].
Rev. xii, 17. "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."††††† p. 24, Para. 1, [POWERS].
The woman is a symbol of the church, and the remnant of the church represents the Christians of the last generation of men, living just prior to the second advent.†† p. 24, Para. 2, [POWERS].
The dragon makes war on these for keeping the commandments of God, Sabbath and all, and having the testimony of Jesus Christ, which, according to the inspired definition of chap. xix, 10, "is the spirit of prophecy." Here, then, are the causes of the dragon's warfare upon the remnant. They teach the observance of the ten commandments, and the revival of the gifts, and acknowledge the gift of prophecy among them. When the Devil got one foot upon the fourth commandment, and the other upon the gifts planted in the Christian church by Jesus Christ, then his satanic majesty was filled with revengeful delight. But when the remnant, whom God designs to fit for translation to heaven without seeing death, "ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein," then the dragon is wroth, and makes war on them. p. 24, Para. 3, [POWERS].
The true spirit of the dragonic host, which is already being somewhat developed, is vividly described in Isa. xxx, 8-13, as being manifested just prior to the sudden
destruction of those who hate the pure testimony, and love smooth and deceitful things. p. 25, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Note: It is an abominable, cherished error by the SDA church to refer to itself as the remnant church. It should be the remnant, but the true remnant is the final generation of faithful Adventists who are translated without seeing death. Will that include all Adventists since 1844? Nay! So the 144,000, who are indeed translated without seeing death, (Early Writings, p. 19), are the faithful remnant that goes forth out of Jerusalem, Isaiah 37:31, 32, exactly like the faithful Christian Jews did in the first literal fulfillment of Ezekiel 9. They went out of the apostate Jewish church from A.D. 27 [The disciples first, as the brideóDA 232] and then the disciples called out the faithful guests from A.D. 34 and on. IF the bride, one cannot be the guests, and if guests one cannot be the bride, The Great Controversy, pp. 426, 427. If you are married, the guests at your wedding were not the bride! End note by rwb.
"Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come forever and ever [margin, "the latter day"]; that this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon: therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant."† p. 25, Para. 2, [POWERS].
But the skeptical objector inquires, "Where are the gifts? If your position be correct, why have they not been manifested in the church all along down ever since God set them in the church? Why are not the sick healed by faith now?" We are aware that this is the principal objection brought against the scripture doctrine of the perpetuity of the gifts, therefore it demands especial notice. We reply to it as follows: p. 25, Para. 3, [POWERS].
1. The sick were not always healed by faith in Paul's day. He says [2 Tim. iv, 20], "Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick." Again he says to Timothy [1 Tim. v, 23] "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities." God could have answered the prayers of his servant Paul, and raised up Trophimus, and healed Timothy's infirmities, if this had been best. We conclude that God has not designed in any age of the church to manifest his power so far that there should be no sick among Christians. But in cases where it would be for the good of the afflicted, and for his own glory, he has manifested his power, and will manifest it. p. 25, Para. 4, [POWERS].
2. The unbelief of the professed followers of Christ in the manifestation of spiritual gifts is sufficient reason why they are not more fully manifested. It is said of Christ, "And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief." Matt. xiii, 58. There is an impious unbelief with many at this day who profess to take the Bible as their guide, which resembles that of those who, mockingly, said of Christ as he hung on the cross, "Let Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe." It is sometimes said in reply to the Bible evidences of the perpetuity of spiritual gifts, "Just work a few miracles, and we will believe your doctrine." It is not God's plan to gratify such spirits; for should they see as powerful manifestations as were seen in the days of Christ, of Paul, and Peter, they would scoffingly attribute it to the power of Satan, or some other cause besides the power of God. p. 26, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Note: How true the above statement is! After showing warning truths to Godís people, that have lain dormant since the Bible was written, such like spirits have said the same thing to me! The truth is not evidence enough for them, to the point that many of such types have labeled my warnings as being of Baal. They want bigger signs and it is not Godís plan to gratify their unbelief. End of note by rwb.
It is humble, confiding faith that moves Omnipotence. Those only who have this faith may expect the manifestation of the gifts. Mark ii, 5. "When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee." Chap. ix, 23. "Jesus said unto him, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." Matt. ix, 21, 22. "For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her he said, Daughter, be of good comfort, thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour." Chap. xv, 28. "Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour." p. 26, Para. 2, [POWERS].
3. The gifts have been superseded in the popular churches by human creeds. The object of the gifts, as stated by Paul, was "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come in the unity of the faith." These were Heaven's appointed means to secure the unity of the church. Christ prayed that his people might be one, as he was one with his Father. Read John xvii. Paul exhorted the Corinthians in the name of Christ to be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment. Read 1
Cor. i, 10; Rom. xv, 5; Phil. ii, 1, 2; 1 Pet. iii, 8; v, 5. The gifts were given to secure this state of unity.††††† p. 26, Para. 3, [POWERS].
But the popular churches have introduced another means of preserving unity, namely, human creeds. These creeds secure a sort of unity to each denomination; but they have all proved inefficient, as appears from the "New Schools" and "Reformed" of almost every creed-bound denomination under heaven. Hence the many kinds of Baptists, of Presbyterians, and of Methodists, &c., &c. There is not an excuse for this state of things any where to be found in the Book of God. These sects are not on the foundation of unity laid by Jesus Christ, and taught by Paul, the wise master builder. And the smaller sects who reject human creeds, professing to take the Bible as their rule of faith and practice, yet reject the gifts, are not a whit better off. In these perilous times they shake to fragments, yet crying, the Bible! the Bible! We, too, would exalt the Bible, and would say to those who would represent us as taking the gifts instead of the Bible, that we are not satisfied with a part of the Sacred Volume, but claim as ours the Bible, and the whole Bible, gifts and all.††† p. 27, Para. 1, [POWERS].
All the denominations cannot be right, and it may not be wrong to suppose that no one of them is right on all points of faith. To show that they cannot have their creeds and the gifts too, that creeds shut out the gifts, we will suppose that God, through chosen instruments taken from each sect, begins to show up the errors in the creeds of these different denominations. If they receive the testimony as from heaven, it would spoil their creeds. But would they throw them away and come out on the platform of unity taught by Christ, Paul, and Peter? Never! never! They would a thousand times sooner trample the humble instruments of God's choice into the dust. It is evident that if the gifts were received, they would destroy human creeds, and that if creeds be received, they shut out the gifts. The second angel's message brought the Adventists from the creed-bound churches, where they could be reached by the gifts, be united and prepared for the coming of the Lord.†††††††† p. 27, Para. 2, [POWERS].
4. When we consider the great apostasy of the church, the corruption of her pure doctrines, and her sojourn of 1260 years in the wilderness, we are not surprised that we do not find on the pages of her sad history any clearer records of the manifestations of spiritual gifts. p. 28, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Note: The above statement applies all so truly to the present SDA church! End note.
Infinite wisdom has doubtless withheld them to a great extent lest Satan take advantage of the ignorance and weakness of the people of God, and push them over into fanaticism. Many who have supposed that they were favored with manifestations of the Spirit of God, have regarded themselves as being quite out of danger. They soon became lifted up with pride in spiritual things, and were Satan's easy prey. p. 28, Para. 2, [POWERS].
If it was necessary that Paul should have a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan, to buffet him, lest he become exalted through the abundance of revelations with which he was favored, it is a reasonable conclusion that all who seek to walk with God, and share all the spiritual blessings of the Christian age, are also in danger of exaltation and the wiles of the Devil. If he can push one such to extremes and fanaticism, he disgraces the vital part of Christianity, and gains a greater victory than in holding a hundred souls in cold formality. p. 28, Para. 3, [POWERS].
The history of Luther, the Wesleys, and others, who by the power of a living faith led the church from the dark shades of error and formality to a clearer light, proves the necessity of the mind's being well balanced with caution. And he who sees no need of caution here is not far from some delusive snare of Satan. But in walking softly and humbly before God, in strict watchfulness and fervent prayer to be kept by the power of God from the wiles of Satan, there is safety. God has great blessings in store for his people, and will bestow them as fast as they can make a right use of them to their good, and his glory. Amen. p. 28, Para. 4, [POWERS].
J. White. p. 29, Para. 1, [POWERS]. MIRACULOUS GIFTS. p. 29, Para. 2, [POWERS].
To the foregoing we append the following striking paragraphs, so truthfully expressing the teaching of the Scriptures, and showing the light that has occasionally dawned in the minds of men, upon this subject. The first is from the Bethlehem Star, of May, 1824, headed, "Miraculous Gifts:" p. 29, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"Such as are no friends to the belief of extraordinary or miraculous gifts, have labored much to confine them to the apostles, the church at Jerusalem, or to the primitive churches of the saints. But in so contradicting the general testimony of Scripture, church history, and evidence of facts, they show much prejudice and little modesty, and manifest but poor regard for the blessings of the gospel. That such gifts were set in the church, no Christian will deny; and that they were found among the Gentile churches, is very evident from 1 Cor. xii, 9, 10, 28, 30, and xiv, 1. And that these gifts were exercised in the churches after the days of the apostles, the writings of the early Christians plainly show." p. 29, Para. 4, [POWERS].
In the Northwestern Christian Advocate we find the following: p. 29, Para. 5, [POWERS].
"There is a tendency among men at this day to depreciate or deny the supernatural in religion, and to account for all the phenomena of religious manifestation on natural and scientific principles. Hence, remarkable power or fluency in speaking is oratory or elocution, either natural or acquired; deep solicitude for sinners, amounting to a 'travail' of soul is the result of mistaken views of the danger of sinners or of a sympathetic nature; deep religious joy, amounting to ecstasy, expressed by shouting, crying or laughing, and especially by falling down, is the result of 'nervousness,' or excitement of the animal passions. The effect of prayer, of what the apostle calls the 'fervent effectual prayer of a righteous man,' that is sympathetic, or the effect of the workings of imagination. p. 30, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"If the sick are restored in answer to prayer, it is because just then the disease had reached a crisis, though the fact may not have been known at the moment. And this tendency is spreading in the Church. The tales told us by our fathers of the "mighty works" that were witnessed in the days of Abbot, Wooster, and Wesley, were the offspring of credulity, or of superstition. And even the miracles of the New Testament, they might all be accounted for on natural principles, if the laws of the material universe were better understood. Perhaps the time will come yet, in the developments of the future, that all these will be made plain. But if they be admitted to be supernatural, they were confined to the days of the apostles, and the supernatural has ceased from the Church, especially all things of a tangible or sensible nature. These are the days of science, of intelligence, of refinement. "The former days were not better than these," -- even when those mighty works were wrought, when devils were subject to Christians through the name of Jesus. So says an unbelieving, skeptical world; so say merely philosophical, metaphysical, psychological, formal, fashionable professors of religion. But what saith the Scriptures? Let us look at the doctrine of Spiritual gifts, especially as St. Paul says, "Now concerning spiritual gifts, I would not have you ignorant." p. 30, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"The apostle says, 'There is a diversity of gifts, but the same spirit, and there are diversities of operations; but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.' See 1 Cor. xii, 4--7. Then follows an enumeration of some of those gifts: 'The word of wisdom,' 'the word of knowledge,' 'faith,' 'gifts of healing,' 'prophecy,' 'discerning of spirits,' &c. Now mark, these are all supernatural gifts of the Spirit. Not natural endowments, not acquirements merely. And these are divided by the Spirit to every man severally as he wills. Verse 11.†††† p. 30, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"Then there is the gift of 'utterance.' The apostles spake 'as the Spirit gave them utterance.' Pray for me, says Paul, that 'utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.' Eph. vi, 19. 'Praying for us that God would open a door of utterance.' Col. iv, 3. Now, though the Spirit divides these severally to every man (each member of Christ's body) as he wills, yet he teaches us to covet the best gifts earnestly, and the church is called upon to pray that their ministers, as also themselves, may be endowed with these gifts. p. 31, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"It will not do to say that these gifts were restricted in their bestowment to the apostles and early Christians. All will allow that what Paul says of 'charity,' or love, 'the more excellent way,' in 1 Cor. xiii, applies to Christians in all subsequent time, and yet he immediately exhorts to covet earnestly the best gifts. The truth is, the church needs these gifts at this day, to battle against error in its various forms. She needs them to preserve in her own mind the idea of the spiritual, the supernatural. She needs them as ornaments to supersede her jewelry. Let her 'covet earnestly' these gifts, and there would be less
covetousness of worldly riches and honor, less covetousness of worldly display. Take, for example, the gift of 'faith.' 1 Cor. xii, 9. By faith here, the apostle evidently intends something more than justifying or sanctifying faith. He speaks of faith as a special endowment -- an extraordinary power of believing against great difficulties and overcoming them -- of removing mountains -- of casting out devils -- of securing mighty results. p. 31, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"'A faith that will not shrink, Though pressed by every foe; That will not tremble on the brink Of any earthly woe.' p. 31, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"'That laughs at seeming impossibilities, and cries, It must be done.' p. 32, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"See the instances of the power of this faith, as cited by Paul. Heb. xi, 32-35. These instances, to be sure, are cited from the Old Testament, but if such power of faith was enjoyed by the ancient worthies, how much more may the church now covet it, seeing Christ has 'ascended on high,' and led captivity captive, and received gifts for men!" p. 32, Para. 2, [POWERS].
CHAPTER 1. SCRIPTURE TESTIMONY.††† p. 32, Para. 3, [POWERS].
The word miracle in the New Testament is from two words, dunamis and semeion. Dunamis, according to Greenfield, signifies "Great power, mighty work;" and semeion, "Remarkable event, extraordinary phenomenon, wonderful
work, miraculous operation," &c. p. 33, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Robinson in his Greek Lexicon gives "semeion, supernatural event or act, a token, wonder, miracle, by which the power and presence of God is manifested, either directly or through the agency of those whom he sends." p. 33, Para.
Also the Religious Encyclopedia: "In a more accurate and philosophical sense, a miracle is a work effected in a manner unusual, or different from the common and regular method of providence by the power of God himself, for the proof of some particular message." p. 33, Para. 3, [POWERS].
And Webster has, "Miraculous; performed supernaturally, or by a power beyond the ordinary agency of natural laws." p. 33, Para. 4, [POWERS].
Taking the above reliable definitions, together with the Bible, as our standard with which to judge some of the facts of this dispensation, and there can be no doubt that miraculous powers have been perpetuated even to the present time. p. 33, Para. 5, [POWERS].
It is true that they were nearly extinguished about the close of the second century, but there were genuine miracles all through the period of the martyrdom of God's people, as will be hereafter shown in this work. p. 33, Para. 6, [POWERS].
By a careful examination of history we find that miraculous powers have been manifested more or less, according to the faith and piety of the church in all ages. p. 34, Para. 1, [POWERS].
The counterfeit miracles of the Catholics, Mormons, and Spiritualists have caused much prejudice against everything that claimed to be miraculous; but when rightly considered, the counterfeit is an intimation that the true coin does exist. True and false miracles have existed at the same time in all ages. When Moses performed miracles by the power of God, how soon they were counterfeited by the power of Satan. See Ex. vii, 8-12. The apostle Paul declares that such counterfeits will continue in the last days [2 Tim. iii, 1-8], and thereby men will resist or oppose the truth. It has ever been the object of Satan to reproach the truth and bring the work of God into disrepute. For this object
he moved upon the damsel to follow Paul and Silas many days, crying, "These men be the servants of the Most High God, which show unto us the way of salvation." Acts xvi, 17. Paul was grieved that one of Satan's agents should
pretend to be on the side of truth, only to reproach it. So now may those who contend for the ancient faith grieve that Mormons and Spiritualists have professed faith in spiritual gifts. But shall we reject the true because of Satan's counterfeit? By no means. Do men reason that because counterfeit bank bills are common, therefore none are genuine? If a man should reason thus he would be thought insane. p. 34, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Upon the subject of detecting false miracles we insert the following appropriate remarks from one of the best church historians:† p. 34, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"It has ever been one of the greatest trials to men really led by the Spirit of God -- besides the open opposition of the profane -- to be obliged to encounter the subtle devices of Satan, who often raises up pretended illuminations, and so connects them with delusion, folly, wickedness and self-conceit, that they expose true godliness to the imputation of enthusiasm, and to contempt and disgrace. The marks of distinction are plain to minds which are serious and of tolerable judgment and discretion; but, men, void of the fear of God will not distinguish. We see here an instance of what has often been repeated from that day to the present in the church of Christ; and Christians should never fail to do now, what they then did, -- namely, they should examine, expose, condemn, and separate themselves from such delusions." p. 35, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"Miltiades was usefully engaged in discriminating the genuine influences of the Holy Spirit from the fictitious, -- of which unhappy instances had then appeared. False prophets evinced at first the most stupid ignorance, and afterwards a distempered imagination and furious frenzy. Miltiades showed that the influence of the Holy Spirit described in Scripture, was sober, consistent, reasonable. There is no new thing under the sun: impostures and delusions exist at this day; -- and why should it not be thought as reasonable now as it was then -- to discriminate genuine from fictitious or diabolical influences, by laying down the true marks and evidences of each, instead of scornfully treating all alike as enthusiastic? p. 35, Para. 2, [POWERS].
The extraordinary and miraculous influences chiefly come under Miltiades' inspection; for these were at that time very common in the Christian church; so were delusive pretenses also." Milman's Church History, pp. 90, 92, 93. p. 35, Para. 3, [POWERS].
We have a good example of trying spirits, by the reformers. D'Aubigne relates that on one occasion "Melancthon drew back, alarmed and astonished. 'There are indeed spirits of no ordinary kind in these men,' said he; 'but what spirits? none but Luther can solve the doubt. On the one hand let us beware of quenching the Spirit of God; and on the other, of being seduced by the spirit of the Devil."†††††††† p. 36, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Luther was called, and he at once exposed them. "The sacred writings," said Luther, were treated by them as a dead letter, and their cry was, 'The Spirit! the Spirit!' But assuredly, I, for one, will not follow whither their spirit is leading them! May God, in his mercy, preserve me from a church in which there are only such saints. I wish to be in fellowship with the humble, the weak, the sick, who know and feel their sin, and sigh and cry continually to God from the bottom of their hearts to obtain comfort and deliverance."†† p. 36, Para. 2, [POWERS].
That spiritual gifts were to continue through the Christian age, can be as easily shown from the Bible, as that faith, prayer, the ordinance of baptism, or the gospel itself was to be perpetuated. Our Saviour declares (see Dr. Geo. Campbell's translation) that "these miraculous powers shall attend the believers," even unto the end of the world. Compare Mark xvi, 15-18, with Matt. xxviii, 19, 20. As sure as the commission to preach the gospel extends to the end of the world, so sure the promise of the signs following extends to all believers without limitation. p. 36, Para. 3, [POWERS].
In 1 Cor. xii, the apostle dwells especially upon the subject of spiritual gifts, and we may expect that he will enlighten the church both as to their object and perpetuity. He commences with, "Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant," and closes up with, "If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues." Chap. xiv, 37-39. p. 36, Para. 4, [POWERS].
With such an introduction, and close, we are assured of having a clear and reliable exposition of the subject of spiritual gifts. As to their object, he says in verse 7, it is "to profit withal," and in verse 25, "that there should be no schism in the body." In chap. xiv, 3, of the gift of prophecy, he says it is for "edification and exhortation and comfort." And in Eph. iv, 11-13, "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." p. 37, Para. 1, [POWERS].
These reasons are as applicable to the church now as ever. Profit, exhortation, comfort, and edification, are needed now. The necessity for preventing schisms, perfecting saints, and unity in the faith, was never greater than at the present time. p. 37, Para. 2, [POWERS].
The "Bible-alone" system has been preached from Luther's time, and still sects are multiplying. Even those who profess to reject all creeds but the Bible, are dividing and scattering. The fact is, they do not go by the Bible. Instead of "earnestly contending for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints," they earnestly contend against it. If churches would really and truly take the Bible as their guide, being true believers, the Lord would work with them, confirming the word with signs following. But it happens now quite generally as with one class anciently, not many mighty works are done among them because of their unbelief. See Matt. xiii, 58. p. 37, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." Mark ix, 23. p. 38, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." Matt. xxi, 22. p. 38, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." Mark xi, 24. p. 38, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it." John xiv, 12-14. p. 38, Para. 4, [POWERS].
"Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight." 1 John iii, 22. p. 38, Para. 5, [POWERS].
"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us. And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him." 1 John v,
14, 15. p. 38, Para. 6, [POWERS].
These scriptures show that all blessings which are for the edification and profit of the believers, are placed within their reach. p. 39, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees, And looks to that alone; Laughs at impossibilities, And cries, It shall be done." p. 39, Para. 2, [POWERS].
We close this point with the following from Dr. Adam Clarke [Author of Clarkís Bible Commentary], He says: p. 39, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"We must approach God in prayer, fully expecting, if we ask such things as we are authorized by his word to ask, and are earnest, importunate, and persevering in asking them, that we shall certainly receive what we ask, as our Lord declares in the next words; even if the granting of our petitions imply God's doing what is really extraordinary, he having, in all ages, on certain occasions, done what was truly miraculous, in answer to the prayers of his faithful people; innumerable instances of which, especially with respect to recovery from sickness, may easily be produced. For instances, see the Arminian Magazines, Vols. v, viii, and ix." -- Comments on Mark xi, 22-24.††††† p. 39, Para. 4, [POWERS].
We now come to notice that part of the apostle's discourse which relates to the perpetuity of spiritual gifts. He declares positively that they shall cease "WHEN THAT WHICH IS PERFECT IS COME," and explains that the "perfect" comes when we shall see face to face, and know as we are known. 1 Cor. xiii, 8-12. The apostle here, A.D. 59, points forward to the time when the gifts should cease, and as no event has yet occurred that can possibly be termed the "coming" of the "perfect," we are shut up to the conclusion that spiritual gifts are perpetuated beyond the present time. p. 39, Para. 5, [POWERS].
By 1 Cor. xii, 28, we learn that God has "set," fixed or placed (see Macknight's Translation), miracles and gifts of healing in the church in connection with teachers. In verses 8, 9, the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, and faith, are
mentioned. Will any deny that these last are still needed in the church? If not, they must admit that so much of what God set in the church is perpetuated, and as miracles, gifts of healing, &c., are nowhere excepted, we must conclude that they also remain. p. 40, Para. 1, [POWERS].
The perpetuity of the gift of prophecy may be shown from the expression, "Despise not prophesyings." 1 Thess. v, 20. This text has reference to the last days, the time when they shall say "peace and safety," just before the sudden destruction at the second advent of Christ. Verses 2, 3. It applies to those who shall be "alive and remain," when Jesus comes. See chap. iv, 17. The whole testimony appears to be given in the Spirit of prophecy, and "calls these things that are not as though they were." p. 40, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"Prophesyings" is from the Greek, [propheteia], and signifies, according to Greenfield, "The exercise of the gift of prophecy," or "The gift of speaking through divine inspiration." It does not mean, "Despise not the prophecies," but despise not the exercise of the gift of prophecy. The first would refer to prophecies already given, but the latter signifies the act of prophesying. The
next sentence, "Prove all things," &c., shows that both true and false prophets will exist at the same time. In 2 Thess. ii, 9, we read of "lying wonders," or miracles by the power of Satan. If then Satan is permitted to manifest such power, may we not conclude that God will "raise up a standard against him," by working for his own glory? If the text proves anything, it is that Satan's miracles have not ceased, and of course the genuine must somewhere exist. p. 40, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Our next argument for the perpetuity of miraculous powers is founded on the prophecy of Joel. "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call." Joel ii, 28-32. p. 41, Para. 1, [POWERS].
This prophecy covers the gospel age, embracing the signs of Christ's second advent, and the "great and terrible day of the Lord." The pouring out of the Spirit, the development of the gifts, and the great signs of the end, all occur in the period termed "those days." It is emphatically a prophecy of the gospel age. When the Spirit was poured out on the day of pentecost, Peter justified the
wonderful manifestation by this prophecy, quoting and applying it in a manner which shows that he understood that the gifts were to be expected throughout the dispensation, and especially in the "last days." "The remnant whom the Lord shall call," must refer to the true believers of the last generation.†††††††† p. 41, Para. 2, [POWERS].
In Rev. xii, 17, we learn that the "remnant" "have the testimony of Jesus." By comparing Rev. xix, 10; xxii, 9; and 1 Cor. i, 5-8, we learn that the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy," that the ancient prophets had that testimony -- and that those who are waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ," "come behind in no gift," by which they will be confirmed, unto the end, that they may be blameless when Christ appears. p. 42, Para. 1, [POWERS].
The church will come fully out of the wilderness. The gospel age is not to open with power and glory, and close up in obscurity. When our Saviour comes he will find such a church as he left. The prophecies, both of the Old and New Testaments, abundantly prove that great power will be given to God's people in the closing scenes of this age. p. 42, Para. 2, [POWERS].
The perpetuity of the gifts may also be argued from the fact that the New Testament, as well as the Old, furnishes rules for detecting counterfeit manifestations. If there was no genuine, the counterfeit would cease to exist, and no rules for trying the prophets would be needed. The expression "Beware of false prophets," implies the existence of the true; or otherwise it might read, "Beware of all prophets." p. 42, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Some of the Bible rules which we deem sufficient to try all supernatural manifestations are the following: p. 43, Para. 1, [POWERS].
1. Though a prophet should give a sign or wonder amounting to an absolute miracle, yet if its tendency and object is to lead away from the one living and true God and his word, he may be safely rejected. Deut. xiii, 1-3.††† p. 43, Para.
2. If the word of a prophet fail in a single instance, he is not of God. Deut. xviii, 21, 22. p. 43, Para. 3, [POWERS].
3. False prophets generally prophesy peace, even to the evil doers. Jer. xxviii, 8, 9. p. 43, Para. 4, [POWERS].
4. Prophets are to be known by their fruits. The whole tendency of the teaching of a true prophet is good. It cannot be otherwise. And as all prophets are either of God or the Devil, the results of their teachings will be as opposite as the nature of the beings by whose power they prophesy. Matt. vii, 15-20; xii, 30, 33. p. 43, Para. 5, [POWERS].
5. That which is in favor of all goodness, righteousness, and truth, and doth manifest and reprove sin and error, is the fruit of the Spirit of God. Eph. v, 9-13. p. 43, Para. 6, [POWERS].
6. A false prophet, not knowing God, will not hear, nor acknowledge, his apostles. 1 John iv, 6; 1 Cor. xiv, 37. p. 43, Para. 7, [POWERS].
7. He that does God's will has the promise that he shall know whether a doctrine is of God or men. John vii, 17. Christ's sheep will not follow a false shepherd. John viii, 47; x, 26, 27.††††††††† p. 43, Para. 8, [POWERS].
8. Those who have the Spirit of God will discern the things which come from God, and cannot be deceived. Matt. xxiv, 24; 1 Cor. 11, 12-14.††††† p. 44, Para. 1, [POWERS].
CHAPTER 2. TESTIMONY OF EMINENT MEN. p. 44, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Dr. Adam Clarke says: p. 44, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"Dreams have been on one hand superstitiously regarded, and on the other skeptically disregarded. That some are prophetic there can be no doubt. . . . . . Dreams are of different kinds. . . . . Some come immediately from Satan, and instill thoughts and principles opposed to truth and righteousness, and others come from God and necessarily lead to him, whether prophetic of future good, or of future evil, or impressing holy purposes, and heavenly resolutions. There is often as much superstition in disregarding as in attending to dreams, and he who fears God will escape it in both." -- Clarke's Theology, p. 404. p. 44, Para. 4, [POWERS].
John Wesley, the apostle of Methodism, says:†† p. 44, Para.
"'And these signs shall follow them that believe.' An eminent author subjoins, 'That believe with that very faith mentioned in the preceding verse. Even at this day in every believer faith has a latent miraculous power (every effect of prayer being really miraculous); although in many, both because of their own littleness of faith, and because the world is unworthy, that power is not exerted. Miracles, in the beginning, were helps to faith; now also they are the object of it. At Leonberg, in the memory of our fathers, a cripple that could hardly move with crutches, while the Dean was preaching on this very text, was in a moment made whole.'" -- Wesley's Notes on Mark xvi, 17. p. 44, Para. 6, [POWERS].
Again, Wesley, at a time of reaction, after extreme views of outward manifestations had grown into fanaticism, says: p. 44, Para. 7, [POWERS].
"The danger was, to regard extraordinary circumstances too much, such as outcries, convulsions, visions, trances; as if these were essential to the inward work, so that it could not go on without them. Perhaps the danger is, to regard them too little; to condemn them altogether; to imagine that they had nothing of God in them, and were a hindrance to his work. Whereas the truth is, 1. God suddenly and strongly convinced many that they were lost sinners; the natural consequences whereof were sudden outcries and strong bodily convulsions. 2. To strengthen and encourage them that believed, and to make his work more
apparent, he favored several of them with divine dreams, others with trances and visions. 3. In some of these instances, after a time, nature mixed with grace. 4. Satan likewise mimicked this work of God, in order to discredit the whole work; and yet it is not wise to give up this part, any more than to give up the whole. At first, it was doubtless wholly from God. It is partly so at this day; and
he will enable us to discern how far in every case, the work is pure, and where it mixes or degenerates." -- Wesley's Journal, Vol. iv, p. 49.†††††† p. 45, Para. 1, [POWERS].
John Bunyan, founder of the Baptist denomination in England, says: p. 45, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"Though I will not now speak all that I know in this matter, yet my experience hath more interest in that text of Scripture, Gal. i, 11, 12, than many amongst men are aware." p. 46, Para. 1, [POWERS].
The scripture referred to is the following: p. 46, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." p. 46, Para. 3, [POWERS].
In the above, Bunyan very modestly refers to his receiving instruction by special revelation. Again he says he had been in his preaching "as if an angel of God had stood by at my back to encourage me. Oh, it hath been with such power and heavenly evidence upon my own soul, while I have been laboring to unfold it, to demonstrate it, and to fasten it upon the consciences of others, that I could not be contented with saying, I believe, and am sure." &c. -- Bunyan's Life, or Grace Abounding, pp. 102, 103. p. 46, Para. 4, [POWERS].
Wm. Eddy, a Methodist minister, writing in the Northern Christian Advocate, in 1855, says:†† p. 46, Para. 5, [POWERS].
"It will not do to say that these gifts were restricted in their bestowment to the apostles and early Christians. All will allow that what Paul says of 'charity' or love, 'the more excellent way,' in 1 Cor. xiii, applies to Christians in all subsequent time, and yet he immediately exhorts to 'covet earnestly the best gifts.' The truth is, the church needs these gifts at this day to battle against error in its various forms. She needs them to preserve in her own mind the idea of the spiritual, the supernatural. p. 46, Para. 6, [POWERS].
She needs them as ornaments to supersede her jewelry. Let her 'covet earnestly' these gifts, and there would be less covetousness of worldly riches and honor; less covetousness of worldly display. Take for example, the gift of faith. 1
Cor. xii, 9. By faith here, the apostle evidently intends, something more than justifying or sanctifying faith. He speaks of faith as a special endowment -- an extraordinary power of believing against great difficulties and overcoming them -- of removing mountains -- of casting out devils -- of securing mighty results. p. 46, Para. 7, [POWERS].
"We should covet the gift of prophecy. It is a New Testament endowment. See the quotation of Peter from Joel on the day of pentecost: 'Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy in the last days,' saith God."††† p. 47, Para. 1, [POWERS].
A late writer in the Independent, says: p. 47, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"The Bible speaks of scores of men as 'holy.' 'Well, but those were extraordinary men,' says one, 'who lived in extraordinary times. They possessed wonderful gifts.' So they did. And so may you. Their God is your God. Their promises are your promises."† p. 47, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Henry Ward Beecher says: p. 47, Para. 4, [POWERS]. "What is needed is, that we should take a larger and broader faith, and we shall then have no difficulty with special providences, or miracles, or prayer; but all their problems will be solved, and their mysteries cleared away." -- Views and Experiences, p. 231.p. 47, Para. 5, [POWERS].
Professor Kurtz, D. D., a German author, says:† p. 47, Para. 6, [POWERS].
"It can therefore occasion no surprise that the holy Scriptures unconditionally promise that Christian prayer shall be heard, and assign to that faith of which it is the expression, a miraculous power derived from divine Omnipotence." -- Sacred Hist. p. 407. p. 47, Para. 7, [POWERS].
The following is by John Winebrenner V. D. M., founder of the sect called "Church of God." In contrasting the ancient with the modern ministry he says: p. 48, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"Preachers in primitive times were wonder-working ministers. They had spiritual gifts among them. They not only preached the gospel in the demonstration of the Spirit and with power, but they confirmed it with signs and wonders and divers miracles. These spiritual and special gifts of healing the sick and speaking with other tongues, &c., were signs and demonstrations of their divine mission, and gave great weight and power to their preaching. p. 48, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"Miraculous power, however, was not peculiar to Christ and his apostles. Christ having set this power in the church, many others also had it. (1 Cor. xii, 10-28.) The seventy and the hundred and twenty had it. (Acts ii, 4.) Stephen had it. (Acts vi, 8.) Philip and his four daughters had it. (Acts viii, 6; chap. xxi, 9.) Barnabas and Paul had it. (Acts xiv, 3; chap. xv, 12; xix, 11.) The Gentile converts at Cesarea had it. (Acts x, 45; chap. xi, 17.) The Corinthians had it. (1 Cor. xii, 4.) The Romans had it. (Rom. i, 11; chap. xii, 6, 7, 8.) The Presbytery or Eldership had it. (1 Tim. iv, 14.) . . . . . Now concerning these spiritual gifts, brethren, God would not have us ignorant, because he has set those in the churches for signs to unbelievers, to make them 'obedient by word and deed.' p. 48, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Not by word only, mark you, but by 'deeds' or through mighty signs and wonders. (Rom. xv, 19.) But why are not the gifts in the churches now? Why is not the modern ministry a wonder-working ministry? Is it because God has taken these gifts and powers out of the church; or is it because of unbelief? Are the New Testament church and ministry to be less gifted and less glorious than that of the Old? Who will dare to affirm it? Who will prove it?" Doctrinal and Practical Serm., pp. 191, 192. p. 48, Para. 4, [POWERS].
CHAPTER 3. HISTORY OF MIRACULOUS POWERS. p. 49, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Mr. Wesley, in his reply to Dr. Middleton, referring to the writers of the second and third centuries, says:† p. 49, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"You own they all 'speak of spiritual gifts as abounding among the Christians of that age,' but assert, 'These cannot mean anything more than faith, hope, and charity.' You assert: But the proof sir! I want the proof. Though I am but one of the vulgar, yet I am not half so credulous as you apprehend the first Christians to have been. Ipse dixit will not satisfy me; I want plain, clear, logical proof; especially when I consider how much you build upon this; that is the main foundation whereon your hypothesis stands. You yourself must allow, that in the epistles of St. Paul, pneumatipsa psarismata, spiritual gifts, does always mean more than faith, hope, and charity; that it constantly means miraculous gifts. How then do you prove, that, in the epistle of St. Ignatius, it means quite another thing?" -- Wesley's Works, p. 717. p. 49, Para. 3, [POWERS].
To the question, "If you allow miracles before the empire became Christian, why not afterward too?" Mr. Wesley answers:††††††† p. 49, Para. 4, [POWERS].
"Because after the empire became Christian, a general corruption both of faith and morals infected the Christian church; which, by that revolution, as St. Jerome says, 'lost as much of her virtue, as it had gained of wealth and power.' And this very reason St. Chrysostom himself gave in the words you have afterward cited: 'There are some who ask, Why are not miracles performed still? Why are there no persons who raise the dead, and cure diseases?' To which he replies, that it was owing to the want of faith, and virtue, and piety in those times." -- Ib. p. 706. p. 50, Para. 1, [POWERS].
The following authorities are quoted by Wesley, which will of course have great weight with those who receive the testimony of the fathers.††† p. 50, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"Justin Martyr," says Mr. Wesley, "who wrote about fifty years after the apostles, says: (I translate his words literally), p. 50, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"'There are prophetic gifts among us even until now. You may see with us both women and men having gifts from the Spirit of God.' He particularly insists on that of 'casting out devils, as what every one might see with his own eyes.' p. 50, Para. 4, [POWERS].
"Irenaeus, who wrote somewhat later, affirms 'that all who were truly disciples of Jesus wrought miracles in his name; some cast out devils; others had visions, or the knowledge of future events; others healed the sick.' And as to raising the dead, he declares it to have been frequently performed on necessary occasions, by great fasting, and the joint supplication of the church. 'And we hear many,' says he, 'speaking with all kinds of tongues, and expounding the mysteries of God.' p. 50, Para. 5, [POWERS].
"Theophilus, bishop of Antioch, who lived in the same age, speaks of casting out devils as then common in the church. p. 50, Para. 6, [POWERS].
"Tertullian, who flourished toward the end of the second century, challenges the heathen magistrates, to 'call before their tribunals any person possessed with a devil. And if the evil spirit, when commanded by any Christian, did not confess himself to be a devil, who elsewhere called himself a god, they should take the life of that Christian.' p. 51, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"Minutius Felix, supposed to have written in the beginning of the third century, addressing himself to his heathen friend, says, 'The greatest part of you know what confessions the demons make concerning themselves, when we expel them out of the bodies of men.' p. 51, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"Origen, something younger than Minutius, declares, that there remained still the manifest indications of the Holy Spirit. 'For the Christians,' says he, 'cast out devils, perform many cures, foretell things to come. And many have been converted to Christianity by visions. I have seen many examples of this sort.'††††† p. 51, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"Again Origen says, 'Some heal the sick. I myself have seen many so healed of loss of senses, madness, and innumerable other evils, which neither men nor devils can cure.' 'And this is done, not by magical arts, but by prayer, and certain plain adjurations, such as any common Christian may use, for generally common men do things of this kind.' p. 51, Para. 4, [POWERS].
"Cyprian, who wrote about the middle of the third century, says, 'Beside the visions of the night, even in the day- time, innocent children among us are filled with the Holy Spirit; and in ecstasies see, and hear, and speak those things by which God is pleased to admonish and instruct us.' Elsewhere he particularly mentions the casting out of devils: 'Which,' says he, 'either depart immediately, or by degrees, according to the faith of the patient, or the grace of him that works the cure.' p. 51, Para. 5, [POWERS].
"Arnobius, who is supposed to have written in the year of Christ 303, tells us, 'Christ appears even now to men unpolluted, and eminently holy, who love him; -- whose very name puts evil spirits to flight, strikes their prophets dumb, deprives the soothsayers of the power of answering, and frustrates the acts of arrogant magicians.' p. 52, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"Lactantius, who wrote about the same time, speaking of evil spirits, says, 'Being adjured by Christians, they retire out of the bodies of men, confess themselves to be demons, and tell their names, even the same which are adored in the temples." -- Wesley's Works, pp. 720, 721. p. 52, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Eusebius says of Justin Martyr, who wrote about A.D. 140:
p. 52, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"He writes also, that even down to his time gifts of prophecy shone forth in the church." -- Eccl. Hist. Bk. iv, ch. 18. Roses' Neander, p. 43. p. 52, Para. 4, [POWERS].
Eusebius testifies concerning Irenaeus who wrote in the latter part of the second century. He says: p. 52, Para. 5, [POWERS].
"In the second book of the same work, he also shows that even down to his times, instances of divine and miraculous power were remaining in some churches,..... for even among the brethren, frequently, in a case of necessity, when a whole church united in much fasting and prayer, the spirit has returned to the exanimated body, and the man was granted to the prayers of the saints..... Some indeed most certainly and truly cast out demons. p. 52, Para. 6, [POWERS].
So that frequently those persons themselves, that were cleansed from wicked spirits, believed and were received into the church. Others have knowledge of things to come, as also visions and prophetic communications; others heal the sick by the imposition of hands and restore them to health. And moreover as we said above, even the dead have been raised and continued with us many years. And why should we say more? It is impossible to tell the number of the gifts which the church throughout the world receive from God, and the deeds performed in the name of Jesus Christ, that was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and this too every day, for the benefit of the heathen, without deceiving any, or exacting their money...... We hear many of the brethren in the church who have prophetic gifts, and who speak in all tongues through the Spirit, and who also bring to light the secret things of men for their benefit, and who expound the mysteries of God. These different kinds also continued with those that were worthy, until the times mentioned." -- Eusebius' Eccl. Hist. Bk. v, chap. 7. Roses' Neander, p. 43.†††††† p. 52, Para. 7, [POWERS].
Of the Montanists in the second century, Neander says: p. 53, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"The Montanists looked upon it expressly as something characteristic of this last epoch of the development of the kingdom of God that according to the prophecies of Joel then in course of fulfillment, the gifts of the Spirit should indifferently be shed abroad over all classes of Christians of both sexes." "It appears also to have been the doctrine of the Montanists, that the season of the last and richest outpouring of the Holy Spirit would form the last age of the church and precede the second coming of Christ, and be the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel." -- Roses' Neander, pp. 330, 332.†† p. 53, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Mr. Wesley was prepossessed in their favor by reading a work designed to ridicule them. He says: p. 53, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"By reflecting on an odd book which I had read in this journey, 'The General Delusion of Christians with Regard to Prophecy,' I was fully convinced of what I had long suspected, 1, That the Montanists, in the second and third centuries, were real scriptural Christians; and 2, That the grand reason why the miraculous gifts were so soon withdrawn, was not only that faith and holiness were well nigh lost; but that dry, formal, orthodox men began even then to ridicule whatever gifts they had not themselves; and to decry them all, as either madness or impostors." -- Wesley's Journal, Vol. 3, p. 496. p. 54, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Milner, writing of events in the second century says: p. 54, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"We cannot but hence conclude that the effusion of the Spirit of God, which began at the feast of Pentecost, was still continued. Christians were so in power, and not in name only, by the testimony of an heathen prince." -- Church Hist., p. 67. p. 54, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Again, of the third century he says:† p. 54, Para. 4, [POWERS].
"Though the miraculous dispensations attendant on Christianity form no part of the plan of this history, I cannot but observe on this occasion, how strongly their continuance in the third century is here attested. Pionius affirms that devils were ejected by Christians in the name of Christ; and he does this in the face of enemies, who would have been glad of the shadow of an argument to justify their bitterness, resentment, and perfidy." Church History, p. 143. p. 55, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Gibbon says: p. 55, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"The supernatural gifts, which even in this life, were ascribed to the Christians above the rest of mankind, must have conduced to their own comfort, and very frequently to the conviction of infidels. Besides the occasional prodigies, which might sometimes be effected by the immediate interposition of the Deity when he suspended the laws of Nature for the service of religion, the Christian church, from the time of the apostles and their first disciples, has claimed an uninterrupted succession of miraculous powers, the gift of tongues, of visions, and of prophecy, the power of expelling demons, of healing the sick, and of raising the dead." -- Milman's Gibbon, Vol. I, p. 539. p. 55, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Cyprian, speaking of the effusion of the Holy Spirit, and its results, says: p. 55, Para. 4, [POWERS].
"Hence an ability is given with sober chastity, uprightness of mind, and purity of language, to heal the sick, to extinguish the force of poison, to cleanse the filth of distempered minds, to speak peace to the hostile, to give tranquillity to the violent, and gentleness to the fierce, to compel, by menaces, unclean and wandering spirits to quit their hold of men, to scourge the foe, and by torments bring him to confess what he is." p. 55, Para. 5, [POWERS].
Upon this Milner remarks: p. 55, Para. 6, [POWERS].
"The testimony here given to the ejection of evil spirits, as a common thing among the Christians, even in the third century, deserves to be noticed, as a proof that miraculous influences had not ceased in the church." "Minutius Felix," continues Milner, "speaks to the same purpose, and I think with more precision. 'Being adjured by the living God, they tremble and remain wretched and reluctant in the bodies of men; they either leap out immediately, or vanish by
degrees, as the faith of the patient, or the grace of the person administering relief, may be strong or weak.' Indeed the testimonies of the fathers in these times is so general and concurrent, that the fact itself cannot be denied without universally impeaching their veracity. We may safely, therefore, infer that such things were frequent among Christians." -- Church Hist., Am. ed., p. 254.† p.
56, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Gregory Thaumaturgus lived in the third century. Of him Milner says:† p. 56, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"He went to a 'large and populous city -- full of idolatry -- the very seat of Satan.' When he commenced his labors, there were only seventeen Christians in the city; and it is remarkable that when he was about to leave, by diligent search only seventeen unbelievers could be found! He was greatly distressed on account of these, and prayed earnestly for their conversion. p. 56, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"The situation of Gregory," says Milner, "so like that of the primitive Christian preachers, in the midst of idolatry, renders it exceedingly probable that he was, as they were, favored with miraculous gifts: for these the Lord bestowed in abundance, where the name of Jesus had as yet gained no admission; and it is certain that miracles had not then ceased in the church. Gregory Nyssen himself lived within less than a hundred years after Gregory Thaumaturgus; and both he and his brother -- the famous Basil -- speak of his miracles without the least doubt. Their aged grandmother, Macrina, who taught them in their youth, had, in her younger years, been a hearer of Gregory.
Basil particularly observes that she told them the very words which she had heard from him; and assured us that the Gentiles, on account of the miracles which he performed, used to call him a 'second Moses.' The existence of his miraculous powers, with reasonable persons, seems then unquestionable. It is only to be regretted that the few particular instances which have come down to us are not the best chosen; but, that he cured the sick, -- healed the diseased, -- and expelled devils; and, that thus God wrought by him for the good of souls, and paved the way for the propagation of the gospel, -- as it is, in itself, very credible, so has it the testimony of men worthy to be believed." -- Milner's Ch. Hist. p. 178.† p. 56, Para. 4, [POWERS].
Mosheim, in speaking of the progress of the Christian cause, in the third century, says: p. 57, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"Among the causes which belong to the first of these classes, we do not only reckon the intrinsic force of celestial truth, and the piety and fortitude of those who declared it to the world, but also that special and interposing providence, which, by such dreams and visions as were presented to the minds of many who were either inattentive to the Christian doctrine, or its professed enemies, touched their hearts with a conviction of its truth and a sense of its importance, and engaged them without delay, to confess themselves the disciples of Christ. p. 57, Para. 2, [POWERS].
To this may also be added the healing of diseases, and other miracles, which many Christians were yet able to perform by invoking the name of the divine Saviour. The number of miracles, however, we find to have been much less in this than in the preceding century; nor must this alteration be attributed only to the divine wisdom which rendered miraculous interposition less frequent in proportion as they became less necessary, but also to that justice which was provoked to diminish the frequency of gifts, because some did not scruple to pervert them to mercenary purposes." -- Church Hist. Vol. I, p. 78. p. 57, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Of miracles in the fourth century, Mosheim says: p. 58, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"But I cannot, on the other hand, assent to the opinions of those who maintain, that, in this century miracles had entirely ceased; and that, at this period, the Christian church was not favored with any extraordinary or supernatural work of a divine power engaged in its cause." -- Id., Vol. I, p. 105.†††† p. 58, Para. 2, [POWERS].
CHAPTER 4. MIRACLES OF THE MARTYRS AND OTHERS. p. 58, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Polycarp was martyred in the second century. The historian says:††††††† p. 59, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"Three days before he was seized, he had a vision while he was praying. He saw his pillow consumed by fire; and turning to the company, he said prophetically, 'I must be burnt alive!' Upon hearing that the persons in search of him were just at hand, he retired to another village. Immediately the officers came to his house, and not finding him, they seized two servants, one of whom was induced, by torture, to confess the place of his retreat. Certainly it was impossible to conceal him, since even those of his own household discovered him. And the Tetrarch, called Cleronomus Herod, hastened to introduce him into the stadium; that so he might obtain his lot as a follower of Christ; and that those who betrayed him, might share with Judas. Taking then the servant as their guide, they went
out about supper time, with their usual arms, as against a robber; and arriving late, they found him lying in an upper room at the end of the house, whence he might have made his escape, but he would not, saying, 'The will of the Lord be done.' Hearing that they were arrived, he came down and conversed with them; and all who were present admired his age and constancy. Some said, 'Is it worth while to take pains to apprehend so aged a person?' He immediately ordered meat and drink to be set before them, as much as they pleased, and begged them to allow him one hour to pray without molestation; which being granted, he prayed standing, and was so full of the grace of God, that he could not cease from speaking for two hours. The hearers were astonished, and many of them repented that they were come to seize so divine a character. p. 59, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"When he had finished his prayers, having made mention of all whom he had ever known, small and great, noble and vulgar, and of the whole Catholic [*] church throughout the world, the hour of departing being come, they set him on an ass and led him to the city. p. 59, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"The Irenarch, Herod, and his father Nicetes, met him, who taking him up into their chariot, began to advise him, asking, 'What harm is it to say, Lord Caesar! -- and to sacrifice and be safe?' At first he was silent, but being pressed, he said, 'I will not follow your advice.' When they could not persuade him, they treated him abusively, and thrust him out of the chariot, so that in falling he bruised his thigh. But he, still unmoved as if he had suffered nothing, went on cheerfully under the conduct of his guards to the stadium. There the tumult being so great that few could hear any thing, a voice from heaven said to Polycarp, as he entered on the stadium, 'Be strong, Polycarp, and behave yourself like a man!' [+] None saw the speaker, but many of us heard the voice. When he was brought to the tribunal, there was a great tumult, as soon as it was generally understood that Polycarp was apprehended. p. 60, Para. 1, [POWERS].
[[*] The word "Catholic," here signifies only universal. This being in the second century, the Roman Catholic church was not yet established. [+] On this Milner has the following note: "The reader should remember that miraculous interpositions of various kinds were still frequent in the church."] p. 60, Para. 2, [POWERS].
The proconsul asked him if he was Polycarp, to which he assented. The former then began to exhort him, -- 'Have pity on thy own great age, and the like. Swear by the fortune of Caesar, repent; say, 'Take away the atheists.' Polycarp, with a grave aspect, beholding all the multitude, waving his hand to them, and looking up to heaven, said, 'Take away the atheists.' The proconsul urging him, and saying, 'Swear and I will release thee, -- reproach Christ,' Polycarp said, 'Eighty and six years have I served him, and he hath never wronged me, and how can I blaspheme my King who hath saved me?' The proconsul still urging, 'Swear by the fortune of Caesar.' Polycarp said, 'If you still vainly contend to make me swear by the fortune of Caesar, as you speak, affecting an ignorance of my real character, hear me frankly declaring what I am. I am a Christian; and if you desire to learn the Christian doctrine, assign me a day, and hear.' The proconsul said, 'Persuade the people.' Polycarp said, 'I have thought proper to address you; for we are taught to pay all honor to magistracies and powers appointed by God, which is consistent with a good conscience. But I do not hold them worthy that I should apologize before them.' 'I have wild beasts,' says the proconsul: 'I will expose you to them, unless you repent.' 'Call them, replies the martyr.' 'Our minds are not to be changed from the better to the worse; but it is a good thing to be changed from evil to good.' 'I will tame your spirit by fire,' says the other, 'since you despise the wild beasts, unless you repent.' p. 60, Para. 3, [POWERS].
'You threaten me with fire,' answers Polycarp, 'which burns for a moment, and will be soon extinct; but you are ignorant of the future judgment, and of the fire of eternal punishment reserved for the ungodly. But why do you delay? Do what you please.' Saying this and more, he was filled with confidence and joy, and grace shone in his countenance; so that he was far from being confounded by the menaces; on the contrary the proconsul was visibly embarrassed: he sent, however, the heralds to proclaim thrice, in the midst of the assembly, 'Polycarp hath professed himself a Christian.' Upon this all the multitude, both of Gentiles and of Jews, who dwelt at Smyrna, with insatiate rage shouted aloud, 'This is the doctor of Asia, the father of Christians, the subverter of our gods, who hath taught many not to sacrifice nor to adore.' They now begged Phillip, the Asiarch, to let out a lion against Polycarp, but he refused, observing, that the amphitheatrical spectacles of the wild beasts were finished. They then unanimously shouted, that he should be burnt alive (for his vision was of necessity to be accomplished) . . . . . Immediately the usual appendages of burning were placed about him. And when they were going to fasten him to the stake, he said, 'Let me remain as I am; for He who giveth me strength to sustain the fire, will enable me also, without your securing me with nails, to remain unmoved in the fire.' Upon which they bound him without nailing him. And he, putting his hands behind him, and being bound as a distinguished victim selected from a great flock, a burnt offering acceptable to God Almighty, said, 'O Father of thy beloved and blessed Son, Jesus Christ, through whom we have attained a knowledge of thee, O God of angels and principalities, and of all creation,
and of all the just who live in thy sight, I bless thee, that thou hast accounted me worthy of this day, and this hour, to receive my portion in the number of martyrs, in the cup of Christ, for the resurrection to eternal life both of soul and body in the incorruption of the Holy Ghost; among whom may I be received before thee this day as a sacrifice well favored and acceptable, which thou, the faithful and true God, hast prepared, promised beforehand, and fulfilled accordingly. Wherefore I praise thee for all these things, I bless thee, I glorify thee, by the eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ, thy well-beloved Son; through whom, with him in the Holy Spirit, be glory to thee, both now and forever, Amen.' p. 61, Para. 1, [POWERS].
And when he had pronounced amen, aloud, and finished prayer, the officers lighted the fire, and a great flame bursting out, -- we, to whom it was given to see, and who also were reserved to relate to others that which happened,
-- saw a wonder. For the flame, forming the appearance of an arch, as the sail of a vessel filled with wind, was as a wall round about the body of the martyr; which was in the midst, not as burning flesh, but as gold and silver refined in a furnace. We received also in our nostrils such a fragrance, as arises from frankincense, or some other precious perfume. At length the impious, observing that his body could not be consumed by the fire, [*] ordered the confector to approach, and to plunge his sword into his body. Upon this a quantity of blood gushed out, so that the fire was extinguished, and all the multitude were
astonished to see the difference thus providentially made between the unbelievers and the elect; of whom the admiral personage before us was doubtless one, in our age an apostolical and prophetical teacher, the bishop of the Catholic church of Smyrna. For, whatever he declared, was fulfilled and will be fulfilled." -- Milner's History, Church pp. 76-78. See also Eusebius' Eccl. Hist., Book iv, chap. 15.† p. 62, Para. 1, [POWERS].
[[*] The historian states that subsequently he was burnt, and his bones collected by his friends.] p. 63, Para. 1, [POWERS].
The following miracle was said to have been wrought in the fifth century. Wesley relates that "Hunneric, an Arian prince, in his persecution of the orthodox in Africa, ordered the tongues of a certain society of them to be cut out by the roots. But, by a surprising instance of God's good providence, they were enabled to speak articulately and distinctly without their tongues. And so continuing to make open profession of the same doctrine, they became not only preachers, but living witnesses of its truth." -- Wesley's Works, Vol. v, p. 746. p. 64, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Abraham Holmes was martyred about the beginning of the seventh century. On the scaffold he prayed fervently for the downfall of antichrist and deliverance of England. On his trial, when urged by the king and council to retract, he made the following noble reply: p. 64, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"I am an aged man, and what remains to me of life is not worth a falsehood or a baseness. I have always been a republican; and I am so still." "He was," says the historian "sent back to the West and hanged. The people remarked with awe and wonder that the beasts which were to drag him to the gallows became restive and went back. Holmes himself doubted not that the angel of the Lord, as in the old time, stood in the way, sword in hand, invisible to human eyes, but visible to the inferior animals. 'Stop, gentlemen,' he cried, 'let me go on foot.' There is more in this than you think. Remember how the ass saw him whom the prophet could not see." -- Macaulay's Hist. of England, Vol. I, p. 435. p. 64, Para. 3, [POWERS].
In the fifteenth century James Baynham, a reputable citizen of London, when chained to the stake, embraced the fagots, and said: "O ye papists, behold! ye look for miracles; here now you see a miracle; for in this fire I feel no more pain than if I were in bed; for it is sweet to me as a bed of roses." -- Blanchard's Book of Martyrs, p. 207.††† p. 64, Para. 4, [POWERS].
Thomas Tompkins had his hand burnt over a wax candle of three or four wicks; but he declared to one James Hinse, "that his spirit was so rapt that he felt no pain! In which burning he never shrank till the sinews burst and the water spirted into Mr. Harpsfield's face." -- Id. p. 231. p. 65, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Mrs. Jones, an eminently pious woman, was instantly healed. Mr. Wesley says: p. 65, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"She had various physicians, but still grew worse and worse; till, perceiving herself to be no better, she left them off. She had a continual pain in her groin, with such a prolapsus uteri, as soon confined her to her bed. There she lay two months helpless and hopeless; till a thought came one day into her mind, 'Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me whole! Be it according to thy will!' Immediately
the pain and the distress ceased. Feeling herself well, she rose and dressed herself. p. 65, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Her husband coming in and seeing her in tears, asked, 'Are those tears of serious joy?' She said, 'Of joy!' on which they wept together. From that hour she felt no pain, but enjoyed perfect health. I think our Lord never wrought a plainer miracle, even in the days of his flesh." -- Wesley's Journal Vol. IV, p. 748.†† p. 65, Para. 4, [POWERS].
Martin Luther, the great reformer, says: p. 66, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"A woman at Isenack, lying very sick, had endured horrible paroxysms, which no physician was able to cure; for her indisposition was directly the work of the Devil, and an unnatural thing, occasioned by devilish frightenings, insomuch that she fell into a faint swooning, and thereupon had four paroxysms, each enduring the space of three or four hours; her hands and feet bended in the manner of a
horn. She was chill and cold, her tongue rough and dry; her body, by reason of the disease, was much swelled; she, seeing Luther, who came to visit her, was much rejoiced thereat, raised herself up and said, 'Ah! my loving father in Christ, I have a heavy burden upon me. Pray to God for me; and so she fell down into her bed again -- whereupon Luther fetched a deep sigh, and said, 'God, rebuke and command thee Satan, that thou suffer this his creature to be in peace!' Then turning himself to the standers-by, he said, 'She is plagued of the Devil in the body, but the soul is safe and shall be preserved. Therefore let us give thanks to God and pray for her.' And so they all repeated aloud the Lord's prayer. After which Luther concluded with these words, 'Lord God, heavenly Father, who hast commanded us to pray for the sick, we beseech thee through thy only beloved Son, that thou wouldst deliver this thy servant from her sickness, and from the hands of the Devil. Spare, O Lord, her soul, which together with her body thou hast purchased and redeemed from the power of sin, of death, and of the Devil.' Whereupon the sick woman said, Amen. The night following she took good rest, and the next day was graciously delivered from her disease and sickness." -- Table Talk, p. 359. p. 66, Para. 2, [POWERS].
The following extract shows at least that a bishop of the Church of England believed in miracles in his time, and also that such faith was general in his day -- the seventeenth century:†††††† p. 66, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"A poor woman of the parish had a sadly afflicted son. When about a year old, having previously had his health very well, and all his teeth, 'he was,' his mother tells us, 'taken with fits, both inward and outward, which were so violent that he lost the use of his legs,' and his teeth fell out. He crawled on his back for five years. At the age of six he was baptized by Ken. 'About a week and odd days after, sitting at the door in his chair, one of his playmates called him Tattie. The child (which never spoke before) answered, 'My name is not Tattie -- my name is Matthew; Dr. Ken has baptized me.' About a fortnight after, sitting at the door in a chair, he started up and went among his play fellows without being bid, and without leading; and that very day month following his baptism, he went in my hand to the church in which he was baptized (which is near a quarter of a mile from my then dwelling), and answered several questions of the church catechism. The mother's letter signed, Sarah Cante, is among the Baker MSS. in the British Museum Library. The cure seems to have been permanent as well as speedy.††† p. 67, Para. 1, [POWERS].
It is not more remarkable than many recorded in medical history, but it doubtless produced a great effect among a hundred population, in an age of little information. Dr. Ken himself was among the credulous. He is said to have spoken of the occurrence thirteen years after as 'a great miracle.' The remark was in accordance with the spirit of the age. Almost every leading man of the day would have expressed the same opinion, and could be proved to have done so in many a similar case." -- Life of Bishop Ken (Bishop of Bath and Wells) pp. 49, 50. p. 67, Para. 2, [POWERS].
A case of curing blindness, as related in Bramwell's Memoir: p. 68, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"William Greensmith, son of Thomas Greensmith, of Watnal, near Nottingham, when about nine years of age was severely afflicted with a scrofulous humor in his eyes, so that he was unable to bear the light even with bandages upon them. Mr. Bramwell was then in Nottingham circuit, and went in his regular turn to preach in Mr. Greensmith's house. On one of these occasions he remained all night; and previous to his departure the next morning, when his horse was brought to the door, he asked where the boy was who had sore eyes. Mrs. Greensmith replied that he was in a dark room behind the door. He wished him to be called out. He came and stood near Mr. Bramwell, who put his hand on the boy's head, and looked upward as if in ejaculatory prayer. He then went out, leaving the child standing, while the latter, as if conscious of some important change, pulled off his bandages, looked through the window, and asked if Mr. Bramwell was gone. On perceiving that his eyes were perfectly healed, all the family were completely astonished. He is now about thirty years of age, and has never since had any complaint in his organs of sight." -- Memoir, p. 157. p. 68, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"In returning to Canterbury I called upon Mr. Kingsford, a man of substance as well as piety. He informed me, 'Seven years ago I so entirely lost the use of my ankles and knees, that I could no more stand than a new-born child. . . . . . I could not move from place to place, but on crutches. All the advice I had, profited me nothing. In this state I continued about six years. Last year I went on business to London, then to Bristol and Bath. At Bath I sent for a physician; but before he came, as I sat reading the Bible, I thought, Asa sought to the physicians, and not to God; but God can do more for me than any physician. Soon after I heard a noise in the street; and, rising up, found I could stand. Being much surprised, I walked several times about the room, then I walked into the square, and afterward on the Bristol road: and from that time I have been perfectly well, having as full a use of all my limbs as I had seven years ago.'" Wesley's Journal, Vol. IV, p. 682. p. 68, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Again Wesley says: p. 69, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"Many came: among the rest was one William Kirkman, a Weaver, near Old Nichol street. I asked him, 'What complaint have you?' 'O, sir,' said he, 'a cough, a very sore cough. I can get no rest day nor night.' I asked, 'How long have you had it?' He replied, 'About three-score years; it began when I was eleven years old.' I was nothing glad that this man should come first, fearing our not curing him might discourage others. However, I looked up to God, and said, 'Take this three or four times a day. If it does you no good, it will do you no harm.' He took it two or three days. His cough was cured, and has not returned to this day." -- Wesley's Journal, Vol. V, p. 187.††††† p. 69, Para. 2, [POWERS].
To the following, "Dr. Middleton absolves you from all boasting, in relation to the miracle you worked upon Kirkman," Mr. Wesley replies, "Dr. Middleton does me too much honor, in taking notice of so inconsiderable a person. But miracle or no miracle, the fact is plain: William Kirkman is, I apprehend, yet alive and able to certify for himself, that he had that cough three-score years, and that since that time it has not returned." -- Id. p. 363.††††† p. 69, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Speaking of this in another place he says: "Now let the candid man judge, does humility require me to deny a notorious fact? If not, which is vanity? to say I by my own skill have restored this man to health, or to say God did it by his own almighty power?" p. 70, Para. 1, [POWERS]. CHAPTER 5. PROPHESYING. p. 70, Para. 2, [POWERS]. D'Aubigne says: p. 70, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"John Huss did more; prophetic words issued from the depths of his dungeon." Huss saw the Reformation about one hundred years before Luther came, and was, says the historian, "The John Baptist of the Reformation." -- Hist. Ref. p. 30. p. 70, Para. 4, [POWERS].
Milner, speaking of Sextus bishop of Rome, says: p. 70, Para. 5, [POWERS].
"While they were carrying him to execution, Laurentius, his chief deacon, followed him weeping and said, 'Whither goest thou, father, without thy son?' Sextus said, 'You shall follow me in three days.' We may suppose him to have been possessed with the spirit of prophecy in saying this, because we are certain that miraculous gifts were as yet by no means extinct in the church." -- Church History, p. 166. p. 71, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Charles Buck, author of Religious Anecdotes, speaking of the execution of George Wishart, a Protestant, says: p. 71, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"Then looking toward the cardinal, he said, 'He who in such state from the high place, feeds his eyes with my torments, within a few days shall be hanged out at that same window, to be seen, with as much ignominy as he now leans there with pride; and so his breath being stopped, he was consumed by the fire, near the castle of St. Andrew, in the year 1546. This prophecy was fulfilled, when, after the cardinal was slain, the provost, raising the town, came to the castle gates crying, 'What have you done with my lord cardinal? Where is my lord cardinal?' To whom they within answered, 'Return to your houses, for he hath received his reward, and will trouble the world no more.' But they still cried, 'We will never depart till we see him.' The Leslies then hung him out at that window, to show that he was dead, and so the people departed." -- Relig. Anec. pp. 188, 189. p. 71, Para. 3, [POWERS].
John Wesley relates: p. 71, Para. 4, [POWERS].
"A little before the conclusion of the late war in Flanders, one who came from thence gave us a very strange relation. I knew not what judgment to form of this, but waited till John Haine should come over, of whose veracity I could no more doubt than of his understanding. The account he gave was this --††††††† p. 71, Para. 5, [POWERS].
'Jonathan Pyrah was a member of our society in Flanders. I knew him some years, and knew him to be a man of unblamable character. One day he was summoned to appear before the board of general officers. One of them said, "What is this which we hear of you? We hear you are turned prophet, and that you foretell the downfall of the bloody house of Bourbon, and the haughty house of Austria. We should be glad if you were a real prophet, and if your prophecies came true. But what sign do you give, to convince us you are so; and that your predictions will come to pass?" He readily answered, "Gentlemen, I give you a sign. To-morrow at twelve o'clock, you shall have such a storm of thunder and lightning, as you never had before since you came to Flanders. I give you a second sign: As little as any of you expect any such thing, as little appearance of it as there is now, you shall have a general engagement with the French within three days. I give you a third sign: I shall be ordered to advance in the first line. If I am a false prophet, I shall be shot dead at the first discharge. But if I am a true prophet, I shall only receive a musket ball in the calf of my left leg." At twelve the next day there was such thunder and lightning as they never had before in Flanders. On the third day, contrary to all expectations, was the general battle of Fontenoy. He was ordered to advance in the first line. And at the very first discharge, he did receive a musket ball in the calf of his left leg.'"
-- Wesley's Works, pp. 284, 285. p. 71, Para. 6, [POWERS].
CHAPTER 6. DREAMS. p. 72, Para. 1, [POWERS].
About the commencement of the Reformation, Elector Frederic of Saxony had a wonderful dream relating to the overthrow of popery, which was afterward very strikingly fulfilled in the work of the Reformation. The dream is too lengthy for our use. Concerning it the Elector remarks: p. 73, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"It is so firmly graven in my memory that I should never forget it, even were I to live a thousand years; for it came three time, and always with new circumstances." p. 73, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Remarking upon it, the historian says: "The essence of which is no doubt true." -- D'Aubigne's Hist. Ref., pp. 95, 96. p. 73, Para. 3, [POWERS].
The Memoirs of "Hutton the Moravian," contain the following well authenticated and remarkable dream: p. 73, Para. 4, [POWERS].
"One night, in London, he had a dream in which he imagined that some one shook him by the arm, and urgently besought him to proceed forthwith to a certain house where his help was wanted. He woke up, thought it was only a dream, and fell asleep again. The same impression came over him the second time. Feeling disturbed, he turned himself, and again fell asleep. Now, a still more powerful shaking took place, and a third time he was importuned to comply with the request, or it would be too late. p. 73, Para. 5, [POWERS].
Greatly alarmed, he arose, dressed himself quickly, and, in the darkness of the night, lantern in hand, hastened to the street which had been distinctly indicated, and rang the bell of the house pointed out to him in his dream. The door was opened, and, at the inquiry of Hutton, he was told that an old man lived in one of the upper rooms, who was probably the person he sought. Hutton, with some trouble, ascended, opened the door, and saw a very aged man reading by lamp light in the prophet Isaiah. He had a razor in his right hand, with which he was about to destroy himself. 'In the name of Christ Jesus -- hold!' Saying this, Hutton sprang forward, seized the arm, and wrenched the murderous weapon from the hand of the victim of despair. He then proclaimed to him, who had lost all hope of salvation, that for him as well as for himself, the most deserving of wrath, the Son of God had died on the cross. The poor old man was saved; and, amidst a flood of tears, he thanked the Lord, who at the critical moment had sent his angel of peace." p. 73, Para. 6, [POWERS].
Barton W. Stone, who originated the movement now known as "Campbellism," speaking of his labors with R. Dooley, at Eaton, Ohio, says: p. 74, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"We commenced operations there on Saturday, and appointed to preach at a house near town next day. After meeting on Saturday, a lady (Major Steele's wife,) returned home, and found her husband just returned from the West. She told him that two strange preachers had come to town, and she had been to hear them. Nothing more was said on the subject. In the night Major Steele dreamed that he went to meeting -- that a man whom he had never seen rose to preach. p. 74, Para. 2, [POWERS].
The features of the preacher were deeply impressed on his mind, and the very text from which he preached, which was, "If God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things." He was very much agitated in sleep and awoke. He told his wife the dream, and slept again, and dreamed the same things. He could sleep no more that night. Next day he came to meeting, and after the congregation met, I arose. That moment Steele recognized the very person whom he had seen in sleep the night before. He began to fear greatly. I read my text, the very one he had heard read in his sleep. His mind became so affected that he went out, and tried in vain to be composed. He endeavored to shake off the impression by going with a company to the West to explore lands; but all in vain. He returned, and was by us baptized at a subsequent time." -- Biography, pp. 72, 73.††† p. 74, Para. 3, [POWERS].
CHAPTER 7. VISIONS. p. 75, Para. 1, [POWERS].
The following vision of Elder J. B. Finley, is related in his Autobiography, and quoted by G. W. Henry in a book entitled "Shouting in all Ages of the World," pp. 43-47: p. 75, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"It was in the summer of 1842. Worn down with fatigue, I was completing my last round of quarterly meetings, and winding up the labors of a very toilsome year. p. 75, Para. 3, [POWERS].
I had scarcely finished my work till I was most violently attacked with bilious fever, and it was with great difficulty that I reached home. The disease had taken so violent a hold on my system that I sank rapidly under its power. Every thing that kind attention and medical skill could impart was resorted to, to arrest its ravages; but all was in vain, and my life was despaired of. On the seventh night, in a state of entire insensibility to all around me, when the last ray of hope had departed, and my weeping family and friends were standing around my couch waiting to see me breathe my last, it seemed to me that a heavenly visitant entered my room. It came to my side, and, in the softest and most silvery tones, which fell like rich music upon my ear, it said, 'I have come to conduct you to another state and place of existence.' In an instant I seemed to rise, and, gently borne by my angel guide, I floated out upon the ambient air. Soon earth was lost in the distance, and around us, on every side, were worlds of light and glory. On, on, away, away from the world to luminous worlds afar, we sped with the velocity of thought. At length we reached the gates of Paradise; and O, the transporting scenes that fell upon my vision as the emerald portals, wide and high, rolled back upon their golden hinges! Then, in its fullest extent, did I realize the invocation of the poet: p. 75, Para. 4, [POWERS].
'Burst, ye emerald gates, and bring To my raptured vision, All the ecstatic joys that spring, Round the bright Elysian.' p. 76, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Language, however, is inadequate to describe that there, with unvailed eyes, I saw. The vision is indelibly pictured on my heart. Before me, spread out in beauty, was a broad sheet of water, clear as crystal, not a single ripple on
its surface, and its purity and clearness indescribable. On each side of this lake or river, rose up the most tall and beautiful trees, covered with all manner of fruit and flowers, the brilliant hues of which were reflected in the bosom of the placid river. p. 76, Para. 2, [POWERS].
While I stood gazing with joy and rapture at the scene, a convoy of angels was seen floating in the pure ether of that world. They all had long wings, and, although they went with the greatest rapidity, yet their wings were folded close by their side. While I gazed, I asked my guide who they were, and what their mission. To this he responded, 'They are angels, dispatched to the world from which you came, on an errand of mercy.' I could hear strains of the most entrancing melody all around me, but no one was discovered but my guide. At length I said, Will it be possible for me to have a sight of some of the just made perfect in glory? Just then there came before us three persons; one had the appearance of a male, the other a female, the third an infant. The appearance of the first two was somewhat similar to the angels I saw, with the exception that they had crowns upon their heads of the purest yellow, and harps in their hands. Their robes, which were full and flowing, were of the purest white. Their countenances were lighted up with a heavenly radiance, and they smiled upon me with ineffable sweetness††††† p. 76, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"There was nothing with which the blessed babe or child could be compared. It seemed to be about three feet high. Its wings, which were long and most beautiful, were tinged with all the colors of the rainbow. p. 77, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Its dress seemed be of the whitest silk, covered with the softest white down. The driven snow could not excel it for whiteness and purity. Its face was all radiant with glory; its very smile now plays around my heart. I gazed, and gazed with wonder upon this heavenly child. At length I said, If I have to return to earth, from whence I came, I should love to take this child with me, and show it to the weeping mothers of earth. Methinks when they see it, they will never shed another tear over their children when they die. So anxious was I to carry out the desire of my heart, that I made a grasp at the bright and beautiful one, desiring to clasp it in my arms, but it eluded my grasp, and plunged into the river of life. Soon it rose up from the waters, and as the drops fell from its expanding wings, they seemed like diamonds, so bright did they sparkle. Directing its course to the other shore, it flew up to one of the topmost branches of one of life's fair trees. With a look of most seraphic sweetness it gazed upon me, and then commenced singing in heavens own strains, 'To Him that hath loved me, and washed me from my sins in his own blood, to him be glory both now and forever. Amen.' At that moment the power of the eternal God came upon me, and I began to shout, and, clapping my hands, I sprang from my bed, and was healed as instantly as the lame man in the beautiful porch of the temple, who 'went walking, and leaping, and praising God.' Overwhelmed with the glory I saw and felt, I could not cease praising God." p. 77, Para. 2, [POWERS].
The following extract is from the memoir of p. 78, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Dr. Bond, and was published in the Christian Advocate: p. 78, Para. 2, [POWERS].†
"About this time occurred a very extraordinary incident in the life of Dr. Bond, which we narrate, with great doubt as to the propriety of the publication. He very rarely mentioned it, and never ventured to designate or explain it. Its truth is, however, beyond question. The circumstances forbid the supposition of optical illusion, or temporary hallucination. There are those living who testify to such of the facts as were subject to observation, and the memorials of the transaction are yet distinctly preserved in the religious character of sons and daughters of some who were immediately affected by it. p. 79, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"Being on a visit to his father, he was deeply grieved to find the church, which he had left in a state of prosperous activity, languishing, lukewarm, and weak. His thoughts were much occupied with the subject, and of course, it was the matter of earnest and frequent prayer. In this state of mind, one morning he was walking over the fields to a neighboring house, when suddenly he seemed to be in a room where a number of people were assembled, apparently for worship. The room he recognized as an apartment in the house of a neighbor, where a prayer-meeting was to be held on the evening of that day. Had he stood in the midst of it, he could not have been more conscious of the scene. There was nothing of the dim, or shadowy, or dreamy, about it. He recognized the people, noticed where they sat and stood, remarked his father near the table, at which a
preacher was rising to give out a hymn, and near the middle of the congregation he saw a man named C., for whose salvation he felt considerable anxiety, standing with his son beside him. While gazing with astonishment upon the scene, he heard the words, 'Go and tell C. that he has an offer of salvation for the last time.' p. 79, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"Naturally supposing that too great concentration of mind upon one subject had induced some hallucination of the senses, Dr. Bond fell down on his knees, and besought God to preserve his reason. The scene, however, continued; it
would not disappear or change in any of its particulars. In vain he struggled to dispel it, the voice yet repeated, with indubitable distinctness, 'Go tell C. that he has an offer of salvation for the last time.' Yet how would he dare to deliver so awful a message! For a great length of time he struggled for deliverance from what he still considered an illusion. At length an expedient occurred to him, which he adopted. He had never been in the room in which he was apparently present, when it was used for a public religious meeting. He, of course, did not know how it was commonly prepared for such occasions. He therefore noted with great care the particulars of the scene. He saw where the little table for the preacher, the benches and chairs for the people, were placed. He noticed his acquaintances, and where they sat and stood, and when he was satisfied that he had possessed himself of these details, he said, 'I will go to this meeting, and if I find all things there to correspond with what I now see, it shall be a sign from the Lord, and I will deliver the message.' Immediately the scene vanished, and he was alone in the green fields. p. 79, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"With a spirit indescribably agitated, he returned home, where he found ladies, who required him to escort them a long distance, and it was somewhat past the hour fixed for the meeting when he reached the awful place. p. 80, Para.
During the day he had freely indulged the hope, that on his entrance into the room his trouble would disappear. He thought he had been the subject of an illusion, the fruit of an excited brain, and that a want of correspondence, immediately to be detected, between the real scene and the one presented to his disordered fancy, would at once satisfy him as to the morbid character of his morning vision, and release him from the obligation of delivering the terrible message, with which he was conditionally charged. When he opened the door, however, he saw again, in all its minuteness of detail, the morning scene. In vain he searched the room for a variant particular. There sat his father in the designated place. The preacher at the table was rising to give out the hymn. In the midst of the room stood C., with his son beside him. Every thing demanded
that the message should be delivered. p. 80, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"After the preliminary exercises, he rose and stated the circumstances as we have related them, and then going to C., he laid his hand upon him, and repeated the words he had heard. The effect was indescribable. C. and his son fell down together, and called upon God. An awful solemnity rested upon all present. Many cried for mercy, and from that time began a revival which spread far and wide, -- the fruits of which are yet seen, after many days." p. 81, Para. 1, [POWERS].
CHAPTER 8. HEALING THE SICK. †p. 81, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Zwingle, of Switzerland, the great reformer, was seized by the plague called "Great Death," which was sweeping off its thousands, and was so near gone that he was supposed by some to be dead; but he was miraculously restored in answer
to prayer. p. 82, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"The believers," says the historian, "cried to God night and day, earnestly entreating that he would restore their faithful pastor." The prayer was answered, and the news was soon flying every where, "that Zwingle had been snatched from the brink of the grave." -- D'Aubigne's Hist. Ref., Vol. II, p. 331.†††††††† p. 82, Para. 2, [POWERS].
The following striking account of the healing of a woman who had been dumb two years, is published in the "Life of Garretson," p. 97: p. 82, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"There was a preacher present, Mr. Daniel Ruff, who consented to call a meeting, and they cried to the Lord in her behalf, that day and the next. She then went into a private room, kneeled down to prayer, and continued there till the Lord blessed her soul. At the same time her tongue was loosened, and she could speak forth the praises of Israel's God. She had been dumb about two years."† p. 82, Para. 4, [POWERS].
The biographer of bishop Roberts, speaking of a young lady who was expected to die, and had sent a request for prayers, says: p. 82, Para. 5, [POWERS].
"The bishop read the contents from the stand, .....and concluded by calling upon them to unite in earnest prayer to God for her salvation, and for the recovery of her health. p. 82, Para. 6, [POWERS].
His address to the throne of grace on this occasion, which was the opening prayer of the service, was most fervent, importunate, and powerful, and was made, apparently with all the confidence and strong faith of one who felt assured that his requests would be heard and answered. And so it was, for in that very hour she began to recover, and in a few days was fully restored to health." Biography, p. 277. p. 82, Para. 7, [POWERS].
Of Mr. Keach, author of "Travels of true Godliness," and Baptist minister in England, it is said: p. 83, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"He was at one time so ill, in 1689, as to be given over by the physicians, and several of the ministers and his relations had taken leave of him, as a dying man, past all hopes of recovery. But the Rev. Mr. Hanserd Knollys, seeing his friend and brother in the gospel to all appearance near expiring, betook himself to prayer; and in an earnest and very extraordinary manner, begged that God would spare him, and add unto his days the time granted to his servant Hezekiah. . . . . . . So remarkable was the answer of God to this good man's prayer, that I cannot omit it; though it may be discredited by some, there are yet living incontestable evidences of the fact. For Mr. Keach recovered of that illness, and lived just fifteen years afterward; and then it pleased God to visit him with that short sickness which put an end to his life." -- Travels of True Godliness, published by American Baptist Publication Society, pp. 20, 21; see also Crosby's History of the English Baptists. p. 83, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"Bishop Hall, speaking of the good offices which angels do to God's servants, says: p. 83, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"'Of this kind was that marvelous cure which was wrought upon that poor cripple at St. Madern's, in Cornwall; whereof besides the attestation of many hundreds of the neighbors, I took a strict examination in my last visitation. This man, for sixteen years together, was obliged to walk upon his hands, by reason the sinews of his legs were so contracted. Upon an admonition in his dream to wash in a certain well, he was suddenly so restored to his limbs, that I saw him able to walk and get his own maintenance. The name of this cripple was John Trebble.'"
p. 84, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Wesley remarks: "And were 'many hundreds of the neighbors,' together with bishop hall, deceived in so notorious a matter of fact? or did they all join together to palm such a falsehood on the world? O Incredulity! what
ridiculous shifts art thou driven to! what absurdities wilt thou believe rather than own any extraordinary work of God!" -- Wesley's Journal, Vol. VI, pp. 565, 566. Wesley's Journal, Dec. 20, 1742, says: p. 84, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"When I came home they told me the physician said he did not expect Mr. Meyrick would live till the morning. I went to him, but his pulse was gone. He had been speechless and senseless for some time. A few of us immediately joined in prayer (I relate the naked fact); before we had done, his sense and his speech returned. Now, he that will account for this by natural causes, has my free leave; but I choose to say, This is the power of God. p. 84, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"Saturday, 25. The physician told me he could do no more; Mr. Meyrick could not live over the night. p. 84, Para. 4, [POWERS].
I went up, and found them all crying about him; his legs being cold, and (as it seemed) dead already. We all kneeled down and called upon God with strong cries and tears. He opened his eyes and called for me; and, from that hour, he continued to recover his strength, till he was restored to perfect health. I wait to hear who will either disprove this fact, or philosophically account for it." -- Vol. III, p. 275. p. 84, Para. 5, [POWERS].
Wesley again says: p. 85, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"When we came to Smeton, Mr. Downes was so ill that he could go no further. When Mr. Shepherd and I left Smeton, my horse was so exceeding lame that I was afraid I must have lain by too. We could not discern what it was that was
amiss; and yet he could scarcely set his foot to the ground. By riding thus seven miles, I was thoroughly tired, and my head ached more than it had done for some months. (What I here aver is the naked fact; let every man account for it as he sees good.) I then thought, 'Cannot God heal either man or beast, by any means, or without any?' Immediately my weariness and headache ceased, and my horse's lameness the next instant. Nor did he halt any more either that day or the next." -- Id. pp. 365, 366. p. 85, Para. 2, [POWERS].
The following account of Mr. Smith's visiting an afflicted family, is from a book published for the Methodist Episcopal Church, at the Conference Office, 14, Crosby Street, N. Y.: p. 85, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"Upon one occasion of Mr. Smith's visiting them, he was invited up stairs to see the mother, who was very ill. He found her surrounded by her weeping family, and suffering under pain so severe that they apprehended her speedy death, unless it were mitigated. After making a few observations, he kneeled down and brought the case before the Lord. The answer was immediate. The pain entirely left her, and with the return of bodily ease came an extraordinary blessing upon her spirit. p. 85, Para. 4, [POWERS].
"An answer to prayer of an equally remarkable kind was granted to Mr. Smith during the time he was at Brighton. Calling one day at the house of Mr. _____, he there found an infant lying on the lap of its distressed mother, and writhing in a severe convulsion fit. It had frequently been affected in a similar way, even from its birth. Mr. S. took the child from the mother's arms, and sitting down, sung one of his favorite hymns. He then engaged in intercession on its behalf. Having arisen from his knees he gave it back to the mother, and retired. From that time the affliction ceased ; the child became strong, and after the lapse of eight years, the grateful mother assured the relater of this incident that it had never since had a single fit. The same gentleman adds, from his personal knowledge, that the young person for whom this deliverance was wrought out, is now in the bloom of perfect health; and he intimates that this was only one of many cases in which similarly extraordinary effects resulted from Mr. Smith's prayers." -- Memoirs of John Smith, pp. 180, 181. p. 85, Para. 5, [POWERS].
The Journal of Mrs. Hester Ann Rogers, June 29, 1782, says: p. 86, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"This day the Lord instantaneously removed a rapid mortification in my dear mother's limb, in answer to prayer. The doctor having given his opinion that in a few hours it would be fatal, I flew to my almighty Refuge, and felt I had power with God, through faith in that promise -- 'The prayer of faith shall save the sick.' And when in half an hour I looked again at the wound, all the bad symptoms were gone; and the same doctor, standing astonished, said no danger now appeared. I could not forbear weeping aloud for joy and gratitude, praising the God of my life." p. 86, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"June 10, 1794. I had a peculiar season in wrestling prayer with my God this night, on account of my dear little Mary. The great weakness of her limbs for three months past, and her seeming total inability to walk, has caused much pain to my dear husband as well as myself. It appears to me I had used every possible means in vain. But this night I had power to cry unto my God, and tell him, 'Thou art the same yesterday, to-day, and forever: thou art my God! Thou hast said, Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will hear thee. Thou hast healed cripples, made the lame to walk, yea, raised even the dead, in answer to praying faith! Lord, hear me now; stoop to my request; let the child's feet and ankle bones receive strength; give power to walk, and let me soon know thou hast heard my prayer; and I had power to believe it should be done; and my soul was filled with the divine presence. p. 86, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"Thursday, the 12th. I already see an answer to my prayer in the child. She is greatly strengthened in her limbs. How good, how faithful, how condescending is the Lord! We may - - I may, like Abraham, like Moses, like Elijah, ask and
obtain." -- Journal, pp. 116, 119, 120. Eld. William Kinkade (Christian minister) says: p. 87, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"There have been in the bounds of my acquaintance many miraculous cures performed in answer to prayer. p. 87, Para. 2, [POWERS].
I have been acquainted with several of the people who were healed, conversed on the subject with the persons who were present at the time, and some of these cures I have seen myself. I as firmly believe that Eld. David Haggard had the gift of healing, as that the apostles had. He has fallen asleep, but there are many alive who saw him perform cures, and what I saw myself puts the matter beyond doubt with me. I state these facts in honor to God, who, in every age of the world, has shown a willingness to bless his creatures in proportion to their faith and obedience." Bible Doctrine, p. 341.†††† p. 87, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Mr. Thomas Ryder, local preacher of Thorngumbald, says: p. 88, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"In the year 1805, our daughter Abigail was so very ill of the whooping cough that at times she appeared to lose her breath, and my wife often thought she was dead. Mr. Bramwell was in the Hull circuit; and when in that part of Holderness where we then lived, he slept in our house. At one of his visits we told him how violently our little girl was afflicted. He asked several questions concerning her, and then said, 'Let us pray.' We knelt down, and the man of God prayed with peculiar fervor, and apparently in strong faith, that the Lord would bless the child, and speedily restore her. The Almighty, whose eyes are over the righteous, and whose ears are open to their prayers, heard and answered the prayer of his servant. Our daughter began to recover from that hour, and never afterward had a severe attack."††††††††† p. 88, Para. 2, [POWERS].
The following cure in answer to prayer, so generally admitted, is of some weight: p. 88, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"In the frost of 1804-5, Mr. Brayshaw, of Hull, had the misfortune to fall and pitch upon his right elbow. p. 88, Para. 4, [POWERS].
Not finding much inconvenience at the time, he neglected to apply anything to it, until about the middle of February, when a mortification ensued. So rapid was its progress that his medical attendants had determined to amputate his arm as soon as he should have sufficient strength to undergo the operation. They probed and laid it open to the bone; but so much was nature exhausted, that it was feared at every subsequent dressing he would have died. An asthmatical cough, to which he had been long subject, then suddenly stopped; a convulsive hiccough came on, and all hopes of his recovery were lost. His family were called in; he took an affectionate leave of them, and gave them, as he thought, his last blessing. At this important crisis Messrs. Griffith and Bramwell called to see him as they were going to the select band. Mrs. Brayshaw requested they would remember her husband at a throne of grace in the band-meeting. And while they were engaged at the meeting in agonizing prayer for his recovery, Mr. Brayshaw began to cough, the hiccough left him, and his asthmatical cough returned; so that he recovered to the great surprise of all around him. A friend called after the band-meeting, and observed that she was almost sure that Mr. Brayshaw would recover, -- for there had been such an uncommon outpouring of the Spirit, accompanied by such faith while prayer was made by those men of God for his recovery, that she had no doubt concerning his restoration. The event proved the
correctness of her opinion; and it was generally thought to be a miraculous cure in answer to prayer." -- Bramwell's Memoir, pp. 194, 195.†† p. 88, Para. 5, [POWERS].
Mr. William Carvosso, who was sixty years a class leader in the Wesleyan Methodist connection, gives an account of the healing of a sick woman as follows: p. 89, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"The next morning, a friend asked me to visit a woman who was sick, and offered to accompany me. When we arrived at the house, we were informed she was very ill. I went up stairs, and found her, to all appearance, on the borders of eternity. Finding that she had been three years a member of the society, and knew nothing of salvation by the remission of her sins, I felt no little concern for the salvation of her soul..... I explained to her the plan of salvation..... 'And now,' said I, 'it is a duty which God requires of you to believe in Jesus Christ, and in the truth of his promises.' While I was thus speaking to her, she was seized in a strange manner; and it appeared to me, and those present, that she was dying. But in a moment or two she lifted up her hands and eyes to heaven, and cried out,
'Glory be to God, I am healed! I am healed!' And for some considerable time she kept on repeating, 'The Lord has healed me, body and soul.'††††††††† p. 90, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"The news of this was soon conveyed to her neighbors, who rushed into the chamber in such crowds that I was afraid the beams would give way. But she continued saying, 'The Lord has healed my body and my soul.' We then kneeled down to praise the Lord for what he had done; and while engaged in prayer, two of those who came in were awakened, and began to cry for mercy. With these distressed souls I was occupied four hours before I could leave the place. The next day, Mr. Sibly, from Truro, came there to preach, and dined with us at the friend's house where I lodged; when the friend who had been with me the preceding day related the circumstance to him. p. 90, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Having expressed a desire to see the woman, I went with him to the house; and to our very great astonishment, we found her down stairs, sitting by the fire. I visited her several times after this, and found her not only happy in God, but confirmed in her restoration to health. I have seen many of the mighty works of the Lord, both in convincing and converting sinners, but never before saw the
body healed as well as the soul." -- Memoir of Carvosso, pp. 73-75. p. 90, Para. 3, [POWERS].
The Baltimore Patriot says: p. 91, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"A lady residing in the western part of the city, formerly a communicant of the Episcopal church, having lately been converted to the Baptist faith, under the ministration of the Rev. Dr. Williams, of the First Baptist church of this city, was on Sunday evening immersed in the presence of a large congregation. This lady has been afflicted for a number of years with the rheumatism, so much so that she
was unable to walk without assistance. After her immersion she "came up out of the water" relieved of her affliction, and was enabled to proceed to her home without the help she formerly required. This wonderful cure was made the subject of some very feeling remarks by the pastor of the church, who attributed it to the agency of the divine Spirit." -- Western Recorder. p. 91, Para. 2, [POWERS].
The Christian Age, of May 26, 1857 (Disciple paper), Cincinnati, from which the above is taken, affirms that such cases are not unusual.††††† p. 91, Para. 3, [POWERS].
G. W. Henry, in giving a history of the Third M. E. Church, Syracuse, in his book on "Shouting," says: p. 91, Para. 4, [POWERS].
"Bro. Timothy Stearns, a prominent member, whose piety we never heard doubted, had a malignant spider cancer on his jaw -- so called by eminent physicians. He refused any application whatever. He carried it to the Lord, and in a few weeks it disappeared." p. 91, Para. 5, [POWERS].
Again he says: p. 92, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"At the last Bergen camp-meeting, as we awoke in the morning our throat seemed skinned down to the vitals. It was Friday morning. This was our day of fasting, and always a day of peculiar solemnity. The Devil said we had preached our last sermon, our throat was destroyed. O what a mountain of gloom rested upon our soul! We took our guide (G. W. Finley was blind) and went into the woods and laid our case before the Lord. We were directed to Bro. B. F. Robert's tent, in which there were some of the Third-Church brethren, who possessed the healing faith. When we arrived they were at prayer. We knelt down in front of the tent and wept like a child. We could scarcely speak above a whisper. About this time the brethren had learned our case, and in a moment our throat was healed, and we could sing, shout, or pray, as the Spirit moved. p. 92, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Mr. Bramwell's biographer writes:†† p. 92, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"I was once attacked by a violent pleuritic fever, when all around me despaired of my life. Many of our kind friends visited me in my affliction; and almost unceasing supplication was offered up to God for my recovery. But all prayers appeared to be without effect till Mr. Bramwell came home out of the circuit. He immediately came to see me, and on entering the room, was quite astonished at beholding such a woful change in my appearance. p. 92, Para. 4, POWERS].
He thought I had all the marks of a speedy dissolution upon me; and giving me a look of the greatest sympathy, he raised my head a little higher by means of a pillow. He then went to the foot of the bed, and began to pray to God in my behalf. His faith seemed to gain ground as he proceeded. He continued his intercessions with the greatest fervency; and, in agony, asked in submission to the will of God, that I might be restored. The Lord heard and answered his servant's prayers; for I immediately experienced such a sweet tranquillity and melting of soul, as I am unable to describe. From that moment my recovery commenced, and I was soon strong enough to resume my ordinary occupations." -- Memoir, pp. 163, 164.††††† p. 92, Para. 5, [POWERS].
The author of "Bank of Faith" relates the following:† p. 93, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"At last I asked the doctor if he thought there was any hope of her life. He answered, No; he would not flatter me; she would surely die. This distressed me beyond measure; and, as he told me he could do no more for her, I left my lodging-room, went to my garden, in the evening, and in my little tool-house wrestled hard with God in prayer for the life of the child. . . . . . I went home satisfied that God had heard me, and in three days the child was as well as
she is now, and ate as heartily, only her flesh was not perfectly restored. This effectually convinced me that all things were possible with God." -- Pages 28, 29. p. 93, Para. 2, [POWERS].
CHAPTER 9. DISCERNING SPIRITS. p. 93, Para. 3, [POWERS].
We have but little under this head worthy of confidence. So many fanatics have made pretensions in this direction, that it is with some reluctance that we give the following, even from so humble and devoted a man as Mr. Bramwell,
whose piety is not questioned by any who have read his Memoir. His biographer says: p. 94, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"Mr. Bramwell was by no means of a censorious disposition; yet he had the gift of discerning the spirits and dispositions of men in a remarkable manner. I have frequently known him to detect impostors who have stepped forth to exercise in various meetings. On one occasion, when he was desired to visit a dying man, I went with him. We beheld the wretched object without a shirt to his back. The few rags which hung on him scarcely covered his body. His habitation was a damp, miserable cellar, and a woman was attending him, who was represented to be his wife. For some time after our entrance into this dwelling, Mr. Bramwell remained silent; at length he exclaimed, 'All is not right here! I am clear there is something amiss in this place!' Then turning to the woman, he said, 'This man is
not your husband. You never were married to him; but for several years you have been living together in sin and wickedness!' His word went with power to their hearts, -- they both wept exceedingly, acknowledged the charge to be true, and began to entreat the Lord to have mercy upon them." -- Memoir, p. 155. p. 94, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Again the same writer says: p. 94, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"One night as I was preaching at Bristol, a man (who was a stranger to all present) either in pretence or reality, fell ill, and had to be taken out of the chapel. The account which he afterward gave of himself was that he came out of Lancashire (from Leigh or its vicinity), was in search of work, had had nothing to eat for three or four days, &c. One of our friends took him home and gave him a night's lodging. The next morning two of the friends came to me and expressed a desire to beg something for the relief of the poor man. I immediately headed the subscription-list with the small sum which I considered it my duty to give; and they went round the village to obtain what they could from others. p. 95, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"In the mean time Mr. Bramwell came home out of the circuit. I related the whole affair to him. He wished greatly to see the man himself; and I went with him to the house where the man had lodged during the preceding night. We found him within; for he was waiting to receive the money which the friends were collecting for him before he took his departure. The man very pathetically related his tale of wo to Mr. Bramwell. This account appeared to me to be quite rational, accurate and ingenuous; it pierced to the bottom of my heart. While the man was rehearsing his troubles, Mr. Bramwell had his eyes closed, and frequently groaned in spirit. At length he lifted up his head and looked at the man with an eye that seemed to pierce him through, and said, 'Tell me! is there not a bastard child in all this?' The man appeared to be thunderstruck; he began to tremble, faltered in his speech, and at length confessed that he had left home to avoid the payment to an illegitimate child which the law exacted.†††††††† p. 95, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Mr. Bramwell very faithfully warned him of his sin and danger, and advised him to go home, desist from his evil practices, and turn to God with purpose of heart. The man expressing some reluctance about returning home, Mr. Bramwell threatened to have him taken up as an impostor if he did not leave the town immediately. We watched him out of the town, and were glad that he had gone without his booty. Mr. B. afterward assured me that (to the best of his recollection) he had never seen the man before." p. 95, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"One day," says Mr. Stones, "as he and I were going together to visit the sick, we passed a public house, out of which came a man just as we had got beyond the door. When we had proceeded a little farther, Mr. Bramwell groaned in spirit, and said, 'The Lord have mercy on that man! Do you know who he is?' I replied, 'Yes sir! Do you?' 'No,' said he, 'but this I know, that he is a perfect infidel.' 'Dear Mr. Bramwell,' said I, 'do not say so.' He replied with increased emphasis, 'I am sure of it! He is a perfect infidel!' It is remarkable that this very man, to my certain knowledge, was then, (and for aught I know to the contrary) is still such a character for infidelity and profaneness, as perhaps has not his equal in all Yorkshire, if in the United Kingdom." -- Memoir, p. 84.†††† p. 96, Para.
CHAPTER 10. EXPELLING EVIL SPIRITS. p. 96, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Upon this we have the same delicacy as expressed in the last chapter on "Discernment of Spirits." This gift has no doubt been exercised, but there has been far more counterfeit than true on this head. None but the humblest and most devoted and faithful could be entrusted with such gifts. p. 97, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"Coming to Mansfield Woodhouse, there was a distracted woman under a doctor's hand, with her hair loose about her ears. He was about to let her blood, she being first bound and many people about her, holding her by violence; but he could get no blood from her. I desired them to unbind her and let her alone, for they could not touch the spirit by which she was tormented. So they did unbind her, and I was moved to speak to her, and in the name of the Lord to bid her be quiet and still; and she was so. The Lord's power settled on her mind, and she mended. . . . . . . . Many great and wonderful things were wrought by the heavenly power in those days; for the Lord made bare his omnipotent arm, and manifested his power to the astonishment of many; by the healing virtue whereof many have been delivered from great infirmities, and the devils were made subject through his name; of which particular instances might be given, beyond what this unbelieving age is able to receive or bear." -- Geo. Fox's Journal, p. 26. p. 97, Para. 2, [POWERS].
John Wesley says: p. 97, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"Soon after, I was sent for to one of those who was so strangely torn by the Devil that I almost wondered her relations did not say, 'Much religion hath made thee mad.' We prayed God to bruise Satan under her feet. Immediately we had the petition we asked of him. She cried out vehemently, 'He is gone! he is gone!' and was filled with the spirit of love, and of a sound mind." -- Journal, Vol. III, p. 158. p. 97, Para. 4, [POWERS].
CHAPTER 11. AWFUL JUDGMENTS FOR LYING.††† p. 97, Para. 5, [POWERS].
The following account of God's manifest judgments for the awful sin of lying, is related by Charles Buck, author "Religious Anecdotes." He says:††††† p. 98, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"The following awful account is related of a man whose name shall be concealed, in tenderness to surviving relatives. He waited upon a magistrate near Hitchin, in the county of Hertford, and informed him that he had been stopped by a young gentleman of Hitchin, who had knocked him down and searched his pockets; but not finding anything there he suffered him to depart. The magistrate, astonished at this piece of intelligence, dispatched a messenger to the young gentleman, ordering him to appear immediately, and answer to the charge exhibited against him. The youth obeyed the summons, accompanied by his guardian and an intimate friend. Upon their arrival at the seat of justice, the accused and the accuser were confronted; when the magistrate hinted to the man he was fearful that he had made the charge with no other view than that of extorting money, and bade him take care how he proceeded; exhorting him, in the most earnest and pathetic manner, to beware of the dreadful train of circumstances attending perjury. p. 98, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"The man insisted upon making oath of what he had advanced. The oath was accordingly administered, and the business fully investigated, when the innocence of the young gentleman was established, he having, by the most incontrovertible evidence proved an alibi. The infamous wretch, finding his intention thus frustrated, returned home much chagrined, and meeting soon afterward with one of his neighbors, he declared he had not sworn to anything but the truth, calling God to witness the same in the most solemn manner, and wished, if it was not as he said, his jaws might be locked, and that his flesh might rot upon his bones; when, terrible to relate! his jaws were instantly locked, and the use of the faculty he had so awfully perverted was denied him forever; and, after lingering nearly a fortnight, he expired in the greatest agonies, his flesh literally rotting upon his bones." p. 98, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Again Mr. Buck says: p. 99, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"One day there happened a tremendous storm of lightning and thunder, as archbishop Leighton was going from Glasgow to Dunblane. He was descried, when at a distance, by two men of bad character. They had not courage to rob him; but wishing to fall on some method of extorting money from him, one said, 'I will lie down by the way-side, as if I were dead, and you shall inform the archbishop that I was killed by the lightning, and beg money of him to bury me.' p. 99, Para. 2, [POWERS].
When the archbishop arrived at the spot, the wicked wretch told him the fabricated story. He sympathized with the survivor, gave him money, and proceeded on his journey. But when the man returned to his companion, he found him really lifeless! Immediately he began to exclaim, 'Oh, sir, he is dead! Oh, sir, he is dead!' On this, the archbishop discovering the fraud, left the man with this important reflection: 'It is a dangerous thing to trifle with the judgments of God.'" -- Relig. Anec., pp. 237-289. p. 99, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Probably no more solemn instance has ever occurred of the evil consequences of the sin of lying than that which is recorded in the following inscription on the market cross of Devizes, in Wiltshire, England:††† p. 100, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"The mayor and corporation of Devizes avail themselves of the stability of this building to transmit to future times the record of an awful event, which occurred in this market-place in the year 1753, hoping that such a record may serve as a salutary warning against the danger of impiously invoking the Divine vengeance, or of calling on the holy name of God, to conceal the devices of falsehood and fraud. On Thursday, the 25th of January, 1753, Ruth Pierce, of Pottern, in this county, agreed with three other women to buy a sack of wheat in the market, each one paying her due proportion toward the same. One of these women, in collecting the several quotas of money, discovered a deficiency, and demanded of Ruth Pierce the sum which was wanting to make good the amount. Ruth Pierce protested that she had paid her share, and said she wished she might drop down dead if she had not. She rashly repeated this awful wish, when, to the consternation of the surrounding multitude, she instantly fell down and expired, having the money concealed in her hand."†††† p. 100, Para. 2, [POWERS].
CHAPTER 12. MIRACULOUS POWER IN PREACHING. p. 100, Para.
Whenever the preaching of the word has accomplished a good work, and souls have been genuinely converted, the Holy Spirit has attended it. The great Head of the church promised to be with his servants until the end. The Comforter was promised, the Holy Spirit, to guide into all truth. On the day of pentecost, when the Spirit rested down upon the servants of God, they had such power that three thousand were converted. Afterward we hear Peter declaring, "The Holy Ghost fell upon them as upon us at the beginning." Of Barnabas it is said, "He was a good man, full of the Holy Ghost and of faith, and much people was added unto the Lord." Acts xi, 24. p. 101, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Speaking of the early Christian preachers, Mosheim, the celebrated church historian, says: "Their very language possessed an incredible energy, an amazing power of sending light into the understanding, and conviction into the heart." p. 101, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Whitfield says: "After I had begun, the Spirit of the Lord gave me freedom, till at length it came down like a mighty rushing wind, and carried all before it." -- Quarterly Review for 1842, p. 602.†††††††† p. 101, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"The power of the Lord fell upon me and all the people." -
- Life of Valton, p. 122.† p. 101, Para. 4, [POWERS].
"A record of the Baptist churches in Kentucky states that 'in the remarkable outpourings of the Holy Spirit, from 1799 to 1803, in most parts of our land, among different denominations, about ten thousand were added to the Baptist churches within that State, who gave evidence of genuine conversion." -- Revival Sketches, p. 195. p. 102, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Mr. Watson, in his life of Wesley, p. 83, says: p. 102, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"He (Wesley) unquestionably believed in special effusions of the influence of the Holy Spirit upon congregations and individuals, producing powerful emotions of mind, expressed in some instances by bodily affections." p. 102, Para. 3, [POWERS].
At a camp-meeting in Hebron, Conn., in A.D. 1809, great power was manifested. The following description is from the life of Bishop Hedding: p. 102, Para. 4, [POWERS].
"From the very commencement there were signal indications
of the Divine presence and power. ..... On the fourth or fifth day, during the evening sermon, the power of the Holy Ghost fell on the congregation with overwhelming effect. The people began to fall on every side. Many who had come to the meeting out of mere idle curiosity, were stricken down to the ground and cried aloud for mercy. Many, of the Christian denomination, who were greatly prejudiced against the Methodists, and especially against such exercises, fell powerless to the earth, and afterward acknowledged the mighty hand of God. Quite a number of Methodists also, who had never witnessed such scenes, and were strongly opposed to them, fell along with the others. It was an awful hour of the manifestation of God's power and grace. p. 102, Para. 5, [POWERS].
Within the space of a few minutes, it was ascertained that not less than five hundred lay prostrate by the power of the Holy Ghost. . . . . . The people were all amazed and confounded; the scoffer was silenced; the blasphemer turned pale and trembled; the infidel stood aghast. The universal voice of all was, 'Truly this is the mighty power of God, let us adore and tremble before him.'" -- Life and Times of Hedding, pp. 185, 186. p. 102, Para. 6, [POWERS].
Mr. Flemming, in his Fulfilling of Scripture, relates the following interesting account of a meeting in Scotland: p. 103, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"In no individual instance, probably, was the power of the Spirit more signally displayed than at the kirk of Shotts, on Monday, the first of June, 1630. It appears that John Livingston, a young man about twenty-seven years of age,
who was at that time domestic chaplain of the counties of Wigton, had gone to attend the dispensation of the Lord's supper at the kirk of Shotts. There had been a great confluence of both ministers and people from all the adjacent country, and the sacred services of the communion Sabbath had been marked with much solemnity of manner and great apparent depth and sincerity of devotional feeling. When the Monday came, the large assembly of pious Christians felt reluctant to part without another day of thanksgiving to that God whose redeeming love they had been commemorating. Livingston was prevailed upon to preach, though reluctant and with heavy misgivings of mind at the thought of his own unworthiness to address so many experienced Christians. He even endeavored to withdraw himself secretly from the multitude, but a strong
constraining impulse within his mind caused him to return and proceed with the duty to which he had been appointed. p. 103, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"Toward the close of the sermon the audience, and even the preacher himself, were affected with a deep, unusual awe, melting their hearts and subduing their minds, stripping off inveterate prejudices, awaking the impenitent, producing conviction in the hardened, bowing down the stubborn, and imparting to many an enlightened Christian a large increase of grace and spirituality. 'It was known,' says Flemming, 'as I can speak on sure ground, that nearly five hundred had at that time a discernible change wrought on them, of whom most proved lively Christians afterwards. It was the sowing of a seed through Clydesdale, so that many of the most eminent Christians of that country could date their conversion, or some remarkable confirmation of their case, from that day.'" -- Private Sketches, by Heman Humphrey D. D., pp. 31, 32. p. 103, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Mr. Barton W. Stone thus describes a powerful meeting at
Caneridge, Ohio: p. 104, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"This memorable meeting came on Thursday or Friday before the third Lord's day in August, 1801. The roads were literally crowded with wagons, carriages, horsemen, and footmen, moving to the solemn camp. The sight was affecting. It was judged, by military men on the ground, that there were between twenty and thirty thousand collected. Four or five preachers were frequently speaking at the same time, in different parts of the encampment, without confusion. The Methodist and Baptist preachers aided in the work, and all appeared cordially united in it -- of one mind and of one soul, and the salvation of sinners seemed to be the great object of all. p. 104, Para. 2, [POWERS].
We all engaged in singing the same songs of praise -- all united in prayer -- all preached the same things -- free salvation urged upon all by faith and repentance. A particular description of this meeting would fill a large volume, and then the half would not be told. The numbers converted will be known only in eternity. Many things transpired there, which were so much like miracles, that if they were not, they had the same effects as miracles on infidels and unbelievers; for many of them by these were convinced that Jesus was the Christ, and bowed in
submission to him." -- Biography of B. W. Stone, pp. 37, 38. p. 104, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Again Mr. Stone writes: p. 105, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"Since the beginning of the excitement I had been employed day and night in preaching, singing, visiting and praying with the distressed, till my lungs failed, and became inflamed, attended with a violent cough and spitting of blood. It was believed to be a dangerous case, and might terminate in consumption. My strength failed, and I felt myself fast descending to the tomb. Viewing this event
near, and that I should soon cease from my labors, I had a great desire to attend a camp-meeting at Paris, a few miles distant from Caneridge. My physician had strictly forbidden me to preach any more till my disease should be removed.
p. 105, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"At this camp-meeting the multitudes assembled in a shady grove near Paris, with their wagons and provisions. Here for the first time a Presbyterian preacher arose and opposed the work, and the doctrine by which the work amongst us had its existence and life. p. 105, Para. 3, [POWERS].
He labored hard to Calvinize the people, and to regulate them according to his standard of propriety. He wished them to decamp at night, and to repair to the town, nearly a mile off, for worship, in a house that could not contain half the people. This could not be done without leaving their tents and all exposed. The consequence was, the meeting was divided, and the work greatly impeded. Infidels and formalists triumphed at this supposed victory, and extolled the preacher to the skies; but the hearts of the revivalists were filled with sorrow. Being in a feeble state, I went to the meeting in town. A preacher was put forward who had always been hostile to the work, and seldom mingled with us. He lengthily addressed the people in iceberg-style -- its influence was deathly. I felt a strong desire to pray as soon as he should close, and has so determined in my own mind. He at length closed, and I arose and said, Let us pray. At that very moment, another preacher of the same cast with the former, rose in the pulpit to preach another sermon. I proceeded to pray, feeling a tender concern for the salvation of my fellow creatures, and expecting shortly to appear before my Judge. The people became very much affected, and the house was filled with the cries of distress. Some of the preachers jumped out of a window back of the pulpit, and left us. Forgetting my weakness, I pushed through the crowd from one to another in distress, pointed them the way of salvation, and administered to them the comforts of the gospel. My good physician was there, came to me in the crowd, and found me literally wet with sweat. He hurried me to his house, and lectured me severely on the impropriety of my conduct. p. 105, Para. 4, [POWERS].
I immediately put on dry clothes, went to bed, slept comfortably, and rose next morning relieved from the disease which had baffled medicine, and threatened my life. That night, sweat was my cure, by the grace of God. I was soon able to renew my ministerial labors, and was joyful to see religion progressing. This happy state of things continued some time, and seemed to gather strength with days. My mind became unearthly, and was solely engaged in the work of the Lord. I had emancipated my slaves from a sense of right, choosing poverty with a good conscience, in preference to all the treasures of the world. This revival cut the bonds of many poor slaves, and this argument speaks volumes in favor of the work.* For of what avail is a religion of decency and order, without righteousness?" -- Biography of B. W. Stone, pp. 42-44. p. 106, Para. 1, [POWERS].
[[*] True, for God has said, "Let the oppressed go free," and that such shall "call, and the Lord shall answer," they shall "cry, and he shall say, Here I am." Isa. lvii, 6,9.] p. 107, Para. 1, [POWERS].
CHAPTER 13. MISCELLANEOUS INCIDENTS. p. 107, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Praying for Rain. p. 107, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"In the Summer of 1623, the people of Plymouth were visited with a severe and distressing drought. From about the middle of May to the middle of July, the rain was entirely withheld, the ground became exceeding dry, and the corn greatly parched and dried up; so that famine, with its attendant evils, seemed inevitable. p. 107, Para. 4, [POWERS].
In their extremity they repaired to Him who had so often appeared for them in the dark hour of affliction. A day of fasting and prayer was appointed; they met and continued their fervent supplications for eight or nine hours, without cessation. During the former part of the day the sky was cloudless, and the sun poured his clear and scorching rays upon the surrounding fields; but before night the heavens were overcast, and soon the rain fell in gentle, refreshing showers, which continued at intervals, for fourteen days. The natives were struck with amazement at the sight, and could not but acknowledge that the blessing came in answer to prayer. One of them, named Hobomack, exclaimed, 'Now I see that the Englishman's God is a good God, for he has heard you, and sent you rain, and that without storms and tempests, which we usually have with our rain, which breaks down our corn; but yours stands whole and good still; surely your God is a good God." -- Early Hist. of New England, pp. 41, 42. p. 107, Para. 5, [POWERS].
Mr. Fox, the distinguished martyrologist, in treating of events in the second century, says: p. 108, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"About this time several of the Northern nations having conspired against Rome, the Emperor marched against them with 975,000 men. Having arrived within the country of Germany, they fell unconsciously into an ambuscade of the enemy, where they were in imminent danger of being defeated, and to add still more to their difficulty, they were almost entirely cut off from water. The emperor in this emergency, commanded his soldiers to call upon their gods for aid, which was accordingly done, but to no purpose. p. 108, Para. 2, [POWERS].
He next called upon that division of his army which was composed of Christians, and commanded them to pray to their God, which was immediately complied with. They prostrated themselves before Heaven and implored relief, when suddenly a heavy shower descended, and the whole army was thus saved; and while it rained upon the Roman army, the hail descended in torrents upon their enemies, which induced a great portion of them to disperse, while many others came over to the Romans. Thus was a great victory gained, and the empire probably saved through the interposition of Heaven, The emperor wrote immediately to the senate on the subject, in which he fully acknowledge the services of the Christians, and gave immediate orders for stopping the
persecution against them." -- Fox's Book of Martyrs (latest edition), pp. 26, 27.p. 108, Para. 3, [POWERS]. Providential Interposition.†††††† p. 109, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"Mr. John Craig, a distinguished minister, and colleague of Knox, having gone to reside in Bologne, in a convent of the Dominicans, found a copy of Calvin's Institutions, which God made the means of his conversion to the reformed faith. He was seized as a heretic soon after, and carried to Rome, where he was condemned to be burnt; but on the evening preceding the day of execution, the reigning pontiff died, and, according to custom, the doors of all prisons were thrown open. All others were released; but heretics, after permitted to go outside the walls, were reconducted to their cells.††††††† p. 109, Para. 2, [POWERS].
That night, however, a tumult was excited, and Craig and his companions escaped. They had entered a small inn at some distance from Rome, when they were overtaken by a party of soldiers, sent to apprehend them. On entering the house, the captain looked Craig steadfastly in the face, and asked him if he remembered having once relieved a poor wounded soldier in the neighborhood of Bologne; Craig had forgotten it. 'But, said the captain, 'I am the man; I shall requite your kindness; you are at liberty; your companions I must take with me; but for your sake I shall treat them with all possible lenity.' He gave him all the money he had, and Craig escaped. But his money soon failed him; yet God, who feedeth the ravens, did not. Lying at the side of a wood, full of gloomy apprehensions, a dog came running up to him with a purse in his teeth. Suspecting some evil, he attempted to drive the animal away, but in vain. He at length took the purse, and found in it a sum of money which carried him to Vienna. -- Anecdotes of the Assembly's Shorter Catechism, by John Whitcross, Edinburgh, pp. 170, 171. p. 109, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Miraculous Conversion of Justin Martyr. p. 110, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Justin Martyr was miraculously converted in the second century. He had known only the fashionable philosophy of the Stoics and Platonics. These failing to satisfy his mind about the existence of God, he sought retirement. While walking alone, his mind was directed to the Scriptures, by the appearance of an aged man. p. 110, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"As I was walking," says Justin, "near the sea, I was met by an aged person of a venerable appearance, [*] whom I beheld with much attention. We soon entered into conversation: and upon my professing a love for private meditation, the venerable old man hinted at the absurdity of mere speculation abstracted from practice. This gave occasion to me to express my ardent desire of knowing God,
and to expatiate on the praises of philosophy. The stranger by degrees endeavored to cure me of my ignorant admiration of Plato and Pythagoras. He pointed out the writings of the Hebrew prophets as much more ancient than any of those called philosophers; and he led me to some view of the nature and of the evidences of Christianity. He added, 'Above all things, pray, that the gates of light may be opened to you; for they are not discernible, nor to be understood by any one, except God and his Christ enable a man to understand.' He said many other things to the same effect; he then directed me to follow his advice, and he left me. I saw him no more; but, immediately a fire was kindled in my soul, and I had a strong affection for the prophets and for those men who are the friends of Christ. I weighed within myself the arguments of the aged stranger; and in the end, I found the divine Scriptures to be the only sure philosophy." -- Milner's Church Hist., p. 67. p. 110, Para. 3, [POWERS].
[[*] Probably one of the old prophets, "made perfect," being raised at the resurrection of Christ. See Matt. xxvii, 52, 53; Rom. viii, 29, 30; Heb. xii, 22, 23; Eph. iv, 8 (margin); see also Moses and Elias on the Mount of Transfiguration.] p. 111, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Miraculous Deliverance of John Wesley. p. 111, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Speaking of his deliverance from the enraged mob, he says: p. 112, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"The circumstances that follow, I thought, were particularly remarkable: 1. That many endeavored to throw me down while we were going down hill on a slippery path to the town; as well judging, that if I was once on the ground, I should hardly rise any more. But I made no stumble at all, nor the least slip till I was entirely out of their hands. 2. That although many strove to lay hold on
my collar or clothes, to pull me down, they could not fasten at all: only one got fast hold of the flap of my waistcoat, which was soon left in his hand; the other flap, in the pocket of which was a bank note, was torn but half off. 3. That a lusty man just behind, struck at me several times, with a large oaken stick; with which if he had struck me once on the back part of my head, it would have saved him further trouble. But every time the blow was turned aside, I know not how; for I could not move the right hand nor left. 4. That another came rushing through the press, and raising his arm to strike, on a sudden let it drop, and only stroked my head, saying, 'What soft hair he has!' 5. That I stopped exactly at the mayor's door, as if I had known it (which the mob doubtless thought I did), and found him standing in the shop, which gave the first check to the madness of the people. 6. That the very first men whose hearts were turned were the heroes of the town, the captains of the rabble on all occasions, one of them having been a prize fighter at the bear garden...... By how gentle degrees does God prepare us for his will! Two years ago a piece of brick grazed my shoulders. p. 112, Para. 2, [POWERS].
It was a year after that the stone struck me between the eyes. Last month I received one blow, and this evening two; one before we came into the town, and one after we were gone out; but both were as nothing: for though one man
struck me on the breast with all his might, and the other on the mouth with such force that the blood gushed out immediately, I felt no more pain from either of the blows, than if they had touched me with a straw." -- Wesley's Journal, Vol., III, pp. 297, 298. p. 112, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Miraculous Deliverance of Dr. Adam Clarke, As Related by himself, in his Commentary on Luke iv, 30. p. 113, Para.
"A missionary who had been sent to a strange land to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom of God, and who had passed through many hardships, and was often in danger of losing his life through the persecutions excited against him, came to a place where he had often before, at no small risk, preached Christ crucified. About fifty people who had received impressions from the word of God, assembled. He began his discourse, and after he had preached about thirty minutes, an outrageous mob surrounded the house, armed with different instruments of death, and breathing the most sanguinary purposes. Some that were within, shut to the door; and the missionary and his flock betook themselves to prayer. The mob assailed the house, and began to hurl stones against the walls, windows, and roof; and in a short time almost every tile was destroyed, and the roof nearly uncovered, and before they quitted the premises, scarcely left one square inch of glass in the five windows by which the house was enlightened. p. 113, Para. 2, [POWERS].
While this was going forward, a person came with a pistol to the window opposite to the place were the preacher stood (who was then exhorting his flock to be steady, to resign themselves to God, and trust in him), presented it at him, and snapped it, but it only flashed in the pan! As the house was a wooden building, they began with crows and spades to undermine it, and take away its principal supports. The preacher then addressed his little flock to this effect: 'These outrageous people seek not you, but me; if I continue in the house they will soon tear it down, and we shall all be buried in the ruins; I will therefore, in the name of God, go out to them, and you will be safe.' He then went towards the door: the poor people got round him and entreated him not to venture out, as he might expect to be instantly massacred. He went calmly forward, opened the door, at which a whole volley of stones and dirt was that instant discharged; but he received no damage. The people were in crowds in all the space before the door, and filled the road for a considerable way, so that there was no room to pass or repass. As soon as the preacher made his appearance, the savages became instantly as silent and as still as night; he walked forward, and they divided, to the right and to the left, leaving a passage of about four feet wide, for himself and a young man who followed him, to walk in. He passed on through the whole crowd, not a soul of whom either lifted a hand, or spoke one word, till he and
his companion had gained the uttermost skirts of the mob. p. 113, Para. 3, [POWERS].
The narrator who was present on the occasion goes on to say: 'This was one of the most affecting spectacles I ever witnessed; an infuriated mob without any visible cause (for the preacher spoke not one word), became in a moment as
calm as lambs! They seemed struck with amazement bordering on stupefaction; they stared and stood speechless; and after they had fallen back to right and left to leave him a free passage, they were as motionless as statues! They assembled with the full purpose to destroy the man who came to show them the way of salvation; but he passing through the midst of them, went his way. Was not the God of missionaries in this work?"††††††††† p. 114, Para. 1, [POWERS].
By reference to the "Life of Adam Clarke," it will be seen that the "missionary" referred to above, was no other than Clarke himself. From page 209 we take the following: p. 115, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"During the whole time of his (Clarke's) passing through the mob, there was a death-like silence, nor was there any motion, but that which was necessary to give him a free passage! Either their eyes were holden that they could not know him; or they were so over-awed by the power of God that they could not lift a hand, or utter a word against him. The poor people finding all was quiet, came out a little after, and passed away, not one of them being either hurt or molested! In a few minutes the mob seemed to awake as from a dream, and finding that their prey had been plucked out of their teeth, they knew not how, attacked the house afresh, broke every square of glass in the windows, and scarcely left a whole tile upon the roof. He afterwards learnt that the design of the mob was to put him in the sluice of an overshot water-wheel, by which he must necessarily have been crushed to pieces." in a Storm. p. 115, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Miraculous Deliverance of a Ship's Crew. p. 115, Para. 3, [POWERS].
The following is an account of the wreck of the Brig Commerce on the coast of Africa, on the ninth of August, 1815. Captain Riley, the commander, from whose narrative this account is taken, was once a member of the legislature of the State of Ohio. He has been also a member of the N. Y. Historical Society. The remarkable deliverance related by him is no doubt worthy of the utmost confidence. He says: p. 116, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"We had got the small boat's sails, consisting of a gib and mainsail, into the boat, with a spar that would do for a mast, and the brig's foremast staysail; the keg of water, a few pieces of salt pork, a live pig, weighing about twenty pounds, which had escaped to the shore when the vessel struck, and which had swum back to us again when we were driven from the shore; about four pounds of figs, that had been soaking in the salt water ever since the brig was wrecked, which had been fished out of her cabin; this was
all our stock of provisions. Everything being now ready, I endeavored to encourage the crew as well as I could; representing to them that it was better to be swallowed up altogether, than to suffer ourselves to be massacred by the ferocious savages; adding, that the Almighty was able to save, even when the last ray of hope was vanishing; that we should never despair, but exert ourselves to the last extremity, and still hope for his merciful protection. p. 116, Para. 2, [POWERS].
As we surveyed the dangers that surrounded us, wave following wave, breaking with a dreadful crash just outside of us, at every instant, our hearts failed us and there appeared no possibility of getting safely beyond the breakers, without a particular interference of providence in our favor. The particular interference of providence in any case I had always before doubted; but if there is a general there must be a particular providence. Every one trembled with dreadful apprehensions, and each imagined that the moment we ventured past the vessel's stern would be his last. I then said, 'Let us pull off our hats my companions and shipmates in distress.' This was done in an instant, when lifting my eyes and soul toward heaven, I exclaimed, 'Great Creator and preserver of the universe, who now seest our distresses; we pray thee to spare our lives, and permit us to pass through this overwhelming surf to the open sea; but if we are doomed to perish, thy will be done; we commit our souls to thee our God who gave them: and O, universal Father, protect and preserve our widows and children.' The wind, as if by divine command, at this very moment ceased to blow. We hauled the boat out; the dreadful surges that were nearly bursting upon us suddenly subsided, making a path for our boat, through which we rowed her out as smoothly as if she had been on a river in a calm, whilst on each side of us, and but a few yards distant the surf continued to break twenty feet high, and with unabated fury. We had to row nearly a mile in this manner; all were fully convinced that we were saved by the interposition of divine providence in this particular instance, and all joined in returning thanks to the Supreme Being for his mercy. As soon as we had reached the open sea, and had gained some distance from the wreck, we observed the surf rolling behind us with the same force as it had on each side of the boat." -- Riley's Narrative, pp. 33, 34.†††††† p. 116, Para. 3, [POWERS].
The following interesting remarks from the author's preface, are worthy of a place here. p. 117, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"With respect to the extraordinary circumstance mentioned in the narrative of the sudden subsiding of the surf when we were about committing ourselves to the open sea, in our shattered boat, I am aware that it will be the subject of much comment and probably of some railery." p. 118, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"I was advised by a friend to suppress this fact, lest those who are not disposed to believe in the particular interposition of Divine Providence should make use of it as an argument against the correctness of the other parts of my narrative. This probably would have been good policy in me as a mere author, for I am pretty sure that previous to this signal mercy I myself would have entertained a suspicion of the veracity of a writer who should have related what to me would have appeared such an improbable occurrence. Sentiments and feelings however of a different kind from any that mere worldly interest can excite, forbid me to suppress or deny what so clearly appeared to me and my companions at the time, as the IMMEDIATE and merciful act of the Almighty at the awful moment when dismay, despair, and death were pressing close upon us, with all their accumulated horrors. p. 118, Para. 2, [POWERS].
'The waters of the sea had well nigh covered us; the proud waves had well nigh gone over our soul. Then cried we unto thee, O Lord, and thou didst deliver us out of our distresses; the windy storm ceased and turned into a
calm.'"† p. 118, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Starvation Escaped by Prayer. p. 119, Para. 1, [POWERS]. The following interesting account of a family's being saved from starvation in answer to prayer, was published not long since in the Presbyterian: p. 119, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"Many years ago a devoted English clergyman was in a strange place, and became reduced to great straits. His money was all gone, and not a particle of food remained for his household. In the depth of his distress he cried mightily unto the Lord at the hour of morning prayer. When he arose his little ones begged for bread, and as there was none to give them, all burst into tears. But a sleepless eye had watched all his footsteps, and even while he was yet speaking, had sent a messenger to relieve his distress.
The door-bell rang, and a man presented to the astonished wife a small parcel, saying he was directed by a gentleman to leave it there, and that some provisions would arrive shortly. Very soon a countryman drove up with a load of provisions of almost every description. The paper was found to contain forty gold pieces. Such a profusion had never been known in the house of the poor minister before. It was with feelings almost of awe as well as boundless gratitude that this marvelous relief was regarded, so plainly was the hand of God to be seen in it. These timely gifts were continued at intervals until the day of his death, yet it was long before he could learn from whence they came. p. 119, Para. 3, [POWERS].
At length it was found to be a benevolent Christian merchant, who had often observed the clergyman walking the streets with a grave, dejected air, and had been led to inquire privately into his circumstances. As a result he had sent them the gold by his clerk, and the provisions by his country servant, saying, "God forbid that any of Christ's ambassadors should be strangers and we not visit them; or in distress, and we not assist them." p. 119, Para. 4, [POWERS].
Boardman's Remarkable Deliverance. p. 120, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Rev. Richard Boardman related a short time before his death, the following remarkable interposition of divine providence in his behalf: p. 120, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"I preached one evening at Mould, in Flintshire, and next morning set out for Parkgate. After riding some miles I asked a man if I was on the road to that place. He answered, 'Yes, but you will have some sands to go over, and unless you ride fast you will be in danger of being inclosed by the tide.' It then began to snow to such a degree that I could scarcely see a step of my way. I got to the sands and pursued my journey over them for some time as rapidly as I could; but the tide them came in and surrounded me on every side, so that I could neither
proceed nor turn back, and to ascend the perpendicular rocks was impossible. In this situation I commended myself to God, not having the least expectation of escaping death. In a little time I perceived two men running down the hill on the other side of the water, and by some means they got a boat and came to my relief just as the sea had reached my knees as I sat on my saddle. They took me into the boat, the mare swimming by our side till we reached the land. p. 120, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"While we were in the boat one of the men said, 'Surely, sir, God is with you.' I answered, 'I trust he is.' The man replied, 'I know he is,' and then related the following circumstance:†††††††† p. 120, Para. 4, [POWERS].
"'Last night I dreamed that I must go to the top of such a hill. When I awoke, the dream made such an impression on my mind that I could not rest. I therefore went and called on this man to accompany me. When we came to the place we saw nothing more than usual. However I begged him to go with me to another hill at a small distance, and there we saw your distressed situation.' p. 121, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"When we got ashore, I went with my two friends to a public house not far distant from where we landed; and as we were relating the wonderful providence the landlady said: 'This day month we saw a gentleman just in your situation; but before we could hasten to his relief, he plunged into the sea, supposing, as we concluded, that his horse would swim to the shore; but they both sank and were drowned together.' I gave my deliverers all the money I had, which I think was about eighteen pence, and tarried all night at the hotel. Next morning I was not a little embarrassed how to pay my reckoning for the want of cash, and begged my landlord would keep a pair of silver spurs until I should redeem them; but he answered, 'The Lord bless you, sir, I would not take a farthing from you for the world.' After some serious conversation with the friendly people, I bade them farewell, and re-commenced my journey, rejoicing in the Lord, and praising him for his great salvation."†††††††† p. 121, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Remarkable Answer to Prayer. p. 121, Para. 3, [POWERS]. "The following account of a deliverance in answer to the prayer of a pious colored boy, as received from the lips of one who was of the ship's crew at the time of the accident, was published at Boston in the World's Crisis: p. 122, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"About twenty-five years ago the packet ship Sovereign, Capt. Griswold, of New York, with a large number of passengers and freight, was in the British Channel, on the lee shore, in a heavy gale. At that place called the Bill of Portland, the land forms a curve, two points of land projecting into the sea. Between these the ship was drifting directly on shore, and escape seemed impossible. Only a change of wind could save them. p. 122, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"It was near midnight. No one had retired, for none expected to see another rising of the sun. The captain thought that within an hour and a half all would be over. p. 122, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"There was on board, as steward, a colored boy, about eighteen years of age. He was a good Christian lad, then recently converted. When all were anxious for their fate, he went down into the coal-hold, under the forecastle, and there prayed. When he came up he went to the mate, whose name was Williams, and said, 'Mr. Williams, we shall not go ashore.' 'How do you know?' inquired he with an oath and a sneer. 'Because the Lord has told me so,' replied the boy;
'we shall have a change of wind.' p. 122, Para. 4, [POWERS].
"Whether in answer to his prayer or not, let the reader judge; but half an hour from that time, the wind shifted about five points of the compass, enabling the ship to pass clear of the land, and they were safe. The ship returned to New York, discharged her passengers and cargo, went on another voyage and was lost. p. 122, Para. 5, [POWERS].
"Of course unbelief will construe all this as the result of accident. To the atheist the world is the result of accident. But men of God, who are in the habit of visiting the closet and communing with God, to whom the prayer of faith is a reality, will have no difficulty in believing that that colored boy knew whereof he affirmed when he said God told him so. There is a God who hears and answers prayer. May we all know the way to his throne!" p. 123, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Wm. Tennent, three Days in a Trance. p. 123, Para. 2, [POWERS].
The following incident in the Life of Wm. Tennent, once pastor of the Presbyterian church at Freehold in New
Jersey, was published in the Evangelical Intelligencer for the year 1806. In 1815 the same account was placed in the Memoirs of his Life. He was no doubt one of the best [*] of men, and his statement worthy of all confidence: p. 123, Para. 3, [POWERS].
[[*] His biographer says of him: "If there ever was a person who deserved to be believed unreservedly on his own word, it was he. He possessed an integrity of soul, and a soundness of judgment, which did actually secure him an unlimited confidence from all who knew him. Every species of deception, falsehood, and exaggeration, he abhorred and scorned. He was an Israelite, indeed, in whom there was no guile."] p. 123, Para. 4, [POWERS].
"After a regular course of study in theology, Mr. Tennent was preparing for his examination by the Presbytery, as a candidate for the gospel ministry. His intense application affected his health, and brought on a pain in his breast, and a slight hectic. He soon became emaciated, and at length was like a living skeleton. His life was now threatened. He was attended by a physician, a young man who
was attached to him by the strictest and warmest friendship. He grew worse and worse, till little hope of life was left. In this situation his spirits failed him, and he began to entertain doubts of his final happiness. He was conversing one morning with his brother, in Latin, on the state of his soul, when he fainted and died away. After the usual time, he was laid out on a board, according to the common practice of the country, and the neighborhood were invited to attend his funeral the next day. In the evening his physician and friend returned from a ride into the country, and was afflicted beyond measure at the news of his death. He could not be persuaded that it was certain; and on being told that one of the persons who had assisted in laying out the body, thought he had observed a
little tremor of the flesh under the arm, although the body was cold and stiff, he endeavored to ascertain the fact. He first put his own hand into warm water, to make it as sensible as possible, and then felt under the arm, and at the heart, and affirmed that he felt an unusual warmth, though no one else could. He had the body restored to a warm bed, and insisted that the people who had been invited
to the funeral, should be requested not to attend. To this the brother objected as absurd, the eyes being sunk, the lips discolored, and the whole body cold and stiff. p. 123, Para. 5, [POWERS].
However the doctor finally prevailed, and all probable means were used to discover symptoms of returning life. But the third day arrived, and no hopes were entertained of success but by the doctor, who never left him night nor
day. The people were again invited, and assembled to attend the funeral. The doctor still objected, and at last confined his request for delay to one hour, then to half an hour, and finally to a quarter of an hour. He had discovered that the tongue was much swollen and threatened to crack. He was endeavoring to soften it by some emollient ointment put upon it with a feather, when the brother came in, about the expiration of the last period, and mistaking what the doctor was doing for an attempt to feed him, manifested some resentment, and in a spirited tone, said, 'It is shameful to be feeding a lifeless corpse;' and insisted with earnestness, that the funeral should immediately proceed. At this critical and important moment, the body, to the great alarm and astonishment of all present, opened its eyes, gave a dreadful groan, and sunk again into apparent death. This put an end to all thoughts of burying him, and every effort was again employed, in hopes of bringing about a speedy resuscitation. In about an hour, the eyes again opened, a heavy groan proceeded from the body, and again all appearance of animation vanished.
In another hour, life seemed to return with more power, and a complete revival took place, to the great joy of the family and friends, and to the no small astonishment and conviction of very many who had been ridiculing the idea of restoring to life a dead body..... After he was able to walk the room, and to take notice of what passed around him, on a Sunday afternoon, his sister, who had staid from church to attend him, was reading in the Bible, when he took notice of it, and asked her what she had in her hand. p. 124, Para. 1, [POWERS].
She answered that she was reading the Bible. He replied, 'What is the Bible? I know not what you mean.' This affected the sister so much that she burst into tears, and informed him that he was once well acquainted with it. On her reporting this to the brother when he returned, Mr. Tennent was found, upon examination, to be totally ignorant of every transaction of his life previous to his sickness; he could not read a single word, neither did he seem to have an idea of what it meant. As soon as he became capable of attention, he was taught to read and write, as children are usually taught, and afterward began to learn the Latin
language, under the tuition of his brother. One day as he was reciting a lesson in Cornelius Nepos, he suddenly started, clapped his hand to his head, as if something had hurt him, and made a pause. His brother asked him what was the matter; he said he felt a sudden shock in his head, and it now seemed to him as if he had read that book before. By degrees his recollection was restored, and he could speak the Latin language as fluently as before his sickness. His memory so completely revived, that he gained a perfect knowledge of the past transactions of his life, as if no difficulty had previously occurred. This event, at the time, made a considerable noise, and afforded not only matter of serious contemplation to the devout Christian, especially when connected with what follows in this narration, but furnished a subject of deep investigation and learned inquiry to the real philosophical and curious anatomist. p. 125, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"The writer of these memoirs was greatly interested by these uncommon events; and on a favorable occasion earnestly pressed Mr. Tennent for a minute account of what his views and apprehensions were, while he lay in this extraordinary state of suspended animation. He discovered great reluctance to enter into any explanation of his perceptions and feelings at this time; but being importunately urged to do it, he at length consented, and proceeded with a solemnity not to be described: p. 126, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"While I was conversing with my brother,' said he, 'on the state of my soul, and the fears I had entertained for my future welfare, I found myself, in an instant, in another state of existence, under the direction of a superior being, who ordered me to follow him. I was accordingly wafted along, I know not how, till I beheld at a distance an ineffable glory, the impression of which on my mind, it is impossible to communicate to mortal man. I immediately reflected on my happy change, and thought, Well, blessed be God! I am safe at last, notwithstanding all my fears. I saw an innumerable host of happy beings surrounding the inexpressible glory, in acts of adoration and joyous worship; but I did not see any bodily shape or representation in the glorious appearance. I heard things unutterable. I heard their songs and hallelujahs of thanksgiving and praise with unspeakable rapture. I felt joy unutterable and full of glory. I then applied to my conductor, and requested leave to join the happy throng; on which he tapped me on the shoulder and said: 'You must return to the earth.' p. 127, Para. 1, [POWERS].
This seemed like a sword through my heart. In an instant I recollect to have seen my brother standing before me, disputing with the doctor. The three days during which I had appeared lifeless, seemed to me not more than ten or twenty minutes. The idea of returning to this world of sorrow and trouble gave me such a shock, that I fainted repeatedly.' He added, 'Such was the effect on my mind, of what I had seen and heard, that if it be possible for a human being to live entirely above the world and the things of it, for some time afterward, I was that person. [*] The ravishing sounds of the songs and hallelujahs that I heard, and the very words that were uttered, were not out of my ears, when awake, for at least three years. All the kingdoms of the earth were in my sight as nothing and vanity; and so great were my ideas of heavenly glory, that nothing which did not in some measure relate to it, could command my serious attention.'" -- Life of Tennent, pp. 12-18. p. 127, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Remarkable Interposition. p. 128, Para. 1, [POWERS]. The following is related in the Life of Mrs. Hester Ann Rogers, pp. 116-118:††††† p. 128, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"November 29, 1785. A lady of genteel appearance, whom I had not seen before, requested to speak with me. I found she had come secretly to hear preaching for some months, and was under deep awakenings. p. 128, Para. 3, [POWERS].
[[*] A tree is known by its fruit. The influence of this wonderful trance was such that we cannot think it was from Satan. Mr. Tennent became a devoted and powerful preacher, and was an instrument of much good in the world."] p. 128, Para. 4, [POWERS].
Her husband is a man of fortune, but a professed infidel; believes in neither God, devil, heaven, nor hell; mocks at the Scriptures, especially the New Testament; and will neither attend any place of public worship himself, nor suffer her to do so. And what added to her affliction, his bad state of health determined him to go to live in France. She cried, 'What will become of me there? No means of
grace; no friend to fly to; in a country of idolaters abroad, and infidels at home; my sinful heart and the temptations of Satan to struggle with; I shall lose all my good desires, and my poor soul will be ruined.'†††† p. 128, Para. 5, [POWERS].
"I asked, Is there no way to prevent this? She answered, No. I said, But the Lord can prevent it; and if not for his glory, he will. 'Ha!' said she, I fear nothing can prevent; the carriage is preparing, and the time is fixed.' I replied, 'Only put the whole into the Lord's hand, and you are safe. Trust in God, and make it a matter of prayer; and if the journey be not for your good, though it come to the last hour, he will prevent it. Nay, if you should even set out, he can, by a thousand means, turn you back, and he will. Did he not suffer the three Hebrew children to be cast into the furnace? Yet the fire had no power to consume. Daniel was cast into the den; but the God you are called to trust, shut the lions' jaws. St. John was put into the cauldron of boiling oil; yet he received no harm. This God, who is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever, will prevent this journey if you put your trust in him; or he will make it a blessing to your soul.' I then went to prayer, and at parting, bid her pray much for her husband, and believe all things are possible with God. p. 129, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"Some time after she called on me, and told me she had taken my advice and prayed for her husband who, a few nights ago had a remarkable dream, which much affected and astonished him. He thought he was giving orders to his coach maker about his new carriage, and more especially about one of the wheels; when the man turned about and said, in a very solemn manner, 'Stir, you need not trouble yourself about that wheel, for the Lord Jesus Christ has the whole management of it.' He was filled with surprise and awoke. I again commended her to God in prayer, and she returned home not a little comforted. p. 129, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"A few days afterward, a note was sent to request public thanks to Almighty God for his power and love manifested in behalf of a person whose name is unknown. The messenger, calling on me at the same time, said, 'Thank God, this journey is prevented at last!' I asked, 'But how was this brought to pass?' She said, 'Only two days ago all was fixed for the journey; and on this day they were to set off. But the Lord afflicted the physician who advised them to go. And Mr. finding himself very poorly, called in another doctor, who assured him he could not undergo the journey, and that France is not a proper place for his constitution, and therefore all thoughts of going are at an end. p. 130, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"O how my soul was filled with wonder, love, and praise! Who that considers the above, will not see omnipotence, love, and faithfulness exerted in answer to prayer? Who would not wish for such a Friend? Who would not love, serve, and confide in such a God? Who would not own he heareth prayer, and to him shall all flesh come? And how wonderful is such a dream of the Lord Jesus Christ by a man of such principles! Surely it was all of God, and to him alone is due all the glory."†††† p. 130, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Prayer Answered.† p. 130, Para. 3, [POWERS].
In the "Early History of Methodism," pp. 405, 406, we find the following interesting account: p. 131, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"It was in this year, 1795, that a singular occurrence transpired at Southold, L. I. A. Mrs. Moore had been converted in New York in 1794, and removed to Southold. Being destitute of a spiritual ministry, she united with two other females of like spirit with herself every Monday evening, in praying that God would send them a faithful minister. Mrs. Moore was praying one night till a late
hour, when she received this answer: 'I have heard thy cry, and have come down to deliver thee.' From this moment she had confidence that some heaven-sent minister would soon make his appearance. At this very time Mr. Lee was at New London, Conn., and had put his trunk on board a vessel with a view to go to his appointment in New York. The wind was contrary, and the vessel did not sail. On the same night in which these pious females in Southold were praying for God to send them a shepherd after his own heart, Mr. Lee, detained by contrary wind in New London, felt an unusual struggle of mind for the salvation of souls, attended with a strong impression that it was his duty to cross the sound and go to Long Island. p. 131, Para. 2, [POWERS].
He at first resisted it, but so powerful was the impression he finally yielded. On going to the wharf the next morning he found, to his surprise, a sloop ready to sail for Southold, and without hesitating longer, he immediately entered on board. He reached Southold in safety in a short time, and made some inquiry and was conducted to the house of Mrs. Moore. As Mr. Lee approached the house, from his appearance she recognized him to be a Methodist preacher though she had never seen him before. Mrs. Moore was overjoyed, and running to the door, saluted him with the following: 'Thou blessed of the Lord, come in!' They
mutually explained the circumstances which we have briefly related, and rejoiced with exceeding joy. A congregation was soon gathered, and Mr. Lee preached to them with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. A class was soon formed, &c."††† p. 131, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Supernatural Voice. p. 132, Para. 1, [POWERS].
The following instance of the goodness and mercy of God toward one oppressed with darkness and despair, but exceedingly anxious for a token of acceptance, is truly wonderful. That our heavenly Father hears the cries of the humble and contrite, this incident clearly shows. Mrs. Fletchery says: p. 132, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"But the Lord graciously helped me, in an extraordinary way. As I lay reflecting on my situation, and weeping before him on account of the darkness of my mind, I discerned an unusual brightness (yet not dazzling) and a voice came so powerful, that I can only say, I heard and felt it with every faculty of soul and body -- 'Thou shalt walk with me in white!' p. 132, Para. 3, [POWERS].
An answer seemed to come from my heart, independent of myself, 'Lord, how can that be, seeing I am not worthy?' It was spoken to me again, 'Thou shalt walk with me in white; I will make thee worthy.' This was followed by these words,
'I will thoroughly purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin.' [*]††† p. 132, Para. 4, [POWERS].
[[*] Henry Moore, Mrs. Fletcher's editor, says: "Who can account for this manifestation on common principles? Yet what pious mind will not conclude, it was help from the Lord in the time of need?"] p. 132, Para. 5, [POWERS].
To this day I have the most lively remembrance of that manifestation, and in the darkest moments I have since passed through, I could never doubt its being the voice of the Lord." -- Life of Mrs. Fletcher, pp. 41, 42. p. 133, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Goodness of Providence. p. 133, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"After the plague had spread its ravages in London, in 1666, Mr. Mortimer returned to Devonshire, his native country, at which time the plague breaking out there, the inhabitants accused him of having brought it, though he had no sickness, and cruelly sent him and his wife to the pesthouse; but Providence preserved him so that neither he nor his wife caught the disease. p. 133, Para. 3,
"Afterward he became much reduced and in debt, and for fear of being thrown into prison was obliged to leave his home and hide himself. As he was walking along the road he met a man driving some sheep, whom he endeavored to avoid; but the man came up to him and put a paper into his hand, in which was a good sum of money. p. 133, Para. 4, [POWERS].
He immediately returned to his wife, whom he left in great sorrow, and gave her the paper, in which was written these words, 'To preach Providence.' The whole family, it may be supposed, were full of joy and thankfulness at receiving so seasonable a supply, and in a manner so wonderful." -- American Tract Society, Primer No. 2. p. 133, Para. 5, [POWERS].
The same book contains the following: p. 134, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"From the history of the Sclavonic churches we find that it was no uncommon thing for their enemies to shut up their pious members in prison for a while, and then starve them to death. Matthias Dolanscius was a prisoner in the city of
Prague, designed for this miserable end; and all the attempts of godly people in that place to relieve him completely failed. One day, when he was on the point of starving, he cast his eye toward the grate of his prison windows, and saw a little bird, perhaps a carrier-pigeon, sitting there with something in his bill. His curiosity led him thither, the bird flew away, but left a bit of cloth,
in which, when he took it up, he found a piece of gold: with this he found means to furnish himself with bread until he obtained full deliverance."† p. 134, Para. 2, [POWERS].
Answer to Prayer.† p. 134, Para. 3, [POWERS].
The following account of a dreadful storm approaching a camp-meeting, being turned aside by prayer, is credited among Methodists. It speaks for itself: p. 135, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"All were of the opinion that the services of the meeting would soon be seriously interrupted, if not entirely broken off, by the coming tempest. At this solemn hour I saw Rev. William B. Christie for the first time. He ascended the stand to close the service. It was soon apparent, even to the careless, that no ordinary personage was leading the devotion of the people of God at that hour. Brother Christie, after praying for the sanctification of the people of God, the conversion of sinners, and the success of the meeting in general, began to plead most eloquently with Almighty God, if consistent with his will in the government of the world, to 'stop the bottles of heaven,' and give us 'fair weather' in which to continue our worship in the tended grove.††††† p. 135, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"Never till that day had I known so fully the power and efficacy of prayer; and never before did I witness such a striking and remarkable answer to prayer. The minister on that occasion seemed to converse with God 'face to face,' as a man with his friend. As the petitioner approached nearer, and nearer still to the mercy seat, sprinkled with the blood of the Son of God, his faith waxed stronger and stronger, till 'HE PREVAILED WITH GOD;' and the humble, fervent prayer of the suppliant was almost instantly answered. Hundreds of 'living witnesses' at this day would unite their testimony to mine in confirmation of this wonderful interposition of God in answer to the prayer of his faithful servant. p. 135, Para. 3, [POWERS].
Before the close of that ever-memorable prayer, all felt that the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and that his ear is open to their cry, and that the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Before he left off speaking, or while he was yet praying, God turned aside the storm, and the bright cerulean was seen through the disparting clouds. Never did a more cheerful and luminous light gladden the hearts of God's ancient people in the wilderness, than shone out upon the tents of our Israel in the grove that day. As it respects my own observation, I had never seen it on this wise before." -- Foot Prints of an Itinerant, pp. 86, 87. p. 135, Para. 4, [POWERS].
"Another instance of Mr. Bramwell's faith, was at the time when a general alarm agitated our body respecting a bill which Mr. A. Taylor Esq., was about to bring into the House of Commons, to abridge the religious liberties of Dissenters. Many at that season were led to plead mightily with God, that our privileges might be continued; and, among others, Mr. Bramwell did not forget to offer up his fervent supplications. At the evening service one Lord's day, before a very crowded congregation, he got into an agony of prayer; and, after wrestling for some time, he said, 'Lord, thou hast now told me that this bill shall never pass into a law!' Adding, 'It is out of the power of any man, or set of men, to bring it to pass!' Several of the congregation thought he was going too far; but about a week afterward the bill was quashed!" -- Memoir of Bramwell, pp. 153, 154. p. 136, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Charles Buck, author of Religious Anecdotes, says: p. 136, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"In Professor Frank's account of the footsteps of Divine Providence in raising and supporting the hospital for the reception and education of poor children, &c., ..... we have several pleasing instances of prayer being answered." p. 136, Para. 3, [POWERS].
'Another time,' says Frank, 'all our provision was spent; but, in addressing myself to the Lord, I found myself deeply affected with the fourth petition of the Lord's prayer, Give us this day our daily bread; and my thoughts were fixed in a more special manner upon the words this day, because on the very same day we had great occasion for it. While I was yet praying, a friend of mine came before my door in a coach, and brought the sum of four hundred crowns!' -- Relig. Anec., pp. 352, 353. p. 137, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Divine Interposition. p. 137, Para. 2, [POWERS]. The following incident is taken from a recent work entitled, "Narratives of Remarkable Conversions," and which opens with the following announcement of an unqualified belief in the continuation of miraculous manifestations from the days of Christ to the present: "The history of the gospel is the real record of the Supernatural in this world. We deny that 'the age of miracles is past;' and this humble volume -- humble, yet of transcendent contents -- shall sustain the denial." p. 137, Para. 3, [POWERS].
The incident here narrated is found on page 123: p. 137, Para. 4, [POWERS].
"A native of Sweden, residing in the south of France, had occasion to go from one port to another in the Baltic Sea. p. 137, Para. 5, [POWERS].
When he came to the place whence he expected to sail, the vessel was gone. On inquiring, he found a fishing-boat going the same way, in which he embarked. After being for some time out to sea, the men observing that he had several
trunks and chests on board, concluded he must be very rich, and therefore agreed among themselves to throw him overboard. This he heard them express, which gave him great uneasiness. However, he took occasion to open one of his trunks which contained some books. Observing this, they remarked among themselves that it was not worth while to throw him into the sea, as they did not want any books, which they supposed was all the trunks contained. They asked him if he were a priest. Hardly knowing what reply to make, he told them he was; at which they seemed much pleased, and said they would have a sermon on the next day, as it was the Sabbath. p. 137, Para. 6, [POWERS].
"This increased the anxiety and distress of his mind, for he knew himself to be as incapable of such an undertaking as it was possible for any one to be, as he knew very little of the Scriptures; neither did he believe in the inspiration of the Bible. p. 138, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"At length they came to a small rocky island, perhaps a quarter of a mile in circumference, where was a company of pirates, who had chosen this little sequestered spot to deposit their treasures. He was taken to a cave, and introduced to an old woman, to whom they remarked that they were to have a sermon preached the next day. She said she was very glad of it, for she had not heard the word of God for a great while. His was a trying case, for preach he must, still he knew nothing about preaching. p. 138, Para. 2, [POWERS].
If he refused, or undertook to preach and did not please, he expected it would be his death. With these thoughts he passed a sleepless night. In the morning his mind was not settled upon any thing. To call upon God, whom he believed to be inaccessible, was altogether vain. He could devise no way whereby he might be saved. He walked to and fro, still shut up in darkness, striving to collect something to say to them, but could not think of even a single sentence. p. 138, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"When the appointed time for the meeting arrived, he entered the cave where he found the men assembled. There was a seat prepared for him, and a table with a Bible on it. They sat for the space of half an hour in profound silence; and even then, the anguish of his soul was as great as human nature was capable of enduring. At length these words came to his mind -- "Verily, there is a reward for the righteous: verily, there is a God that judgeth in the earth!" He arose and delivered them; then other words presented themselves, and so on till his understanding became opened -- his heart enlarged, in a manner astonishing to himself. He spoke upon subjects suited to their condition: the rewards of the righteous, the judgments of the wicked, the necessity of repentance, and the importance of a change of life. The matchless love of God to the children of men had such a powerful effect upon the minds of these wretched beings, that they were melted into tears. Nor was he less astonished at the unbounded goodness of the Great Supreme, in thus interposing to save his spiritual as well as his natural life, and well might he exclaim -- "This is the Lord's doings, and marvelous in our eyes." p. 139, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Under a deep sense of God's goodness, his heart became filled with such thankfulness that it was out of his power to express. What marvelous change was thus suddenly brought about by divine interposition! He who a little before disbelieved in communion with God and the soul, became as humble as a little child; and they who were so lately meditating on his death, now were filled with love and good will toward each other, particularly toward him; manifesting affectionate kindness, and willing to render him all the assistance in their power. p. 139, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"The next morning they fitted out one of their vessels, and conveyed him where he desired. From that time he became a changed man. From sentiments of infidelity, he became a sincere believer in the power and efficacy of the truth as
it is in Jesus." p. 140, Para. 1, [POWERS]. Narrow Escape. p. 140, Para. 2, [POWERS].
In the following singular warning of danger, by which the life of Dr. De Wette, the celebrated German scholar was saved, we cannot see anything to favor Spiritualism. The doctor not being dead, of course it can afford no help for those who are so anxious to prove that the dead are conscious, and do communicate with the living. The account says: p. 140, Para. 3, [POWERS].
"Dr. De Wette, the famous German Biblical critic, returning home one evening between nine and ten o'clock, was surprised, on arriving opposite the house in which he resided, to see a bright light burning in his study. p. 140, Para. 4, [POWERS].
In fact, he was rather more than surprised, for he distinctly remembered to have extinguished the candles when he went out, an hour or two previously, locked the door and put the key in his pocket, which, upon feeling for it was still there. Pausing a moment to wonder by what means and for what purpose any one could have entered the room, he perceived the shadow of a person apparently occupied about something in a remote corner. Supposing it to be a burglar employed in rifling his trunk, he was upon the point of alarming the police, when the man advanced to the window, into full view, as if for the purpose of looking out into the street. It was De Wette himself! -- the scholar, author, professor -- his height, size, figure, stoop Ė his head, his face, his features, eyes, mouth, nose, chin, every one -- skull-cap, study-gown, neck-tie, all, every thing; there was no mistaking him, no deception whatever; there stood Dr. De Wette in his own library, and he out on the street; why, he must be somebody else! The doctor instinctively grasped his body with his hands, and tried himself with the physiological tests of self-consciousness and ideality, doubtful if he could believe his senses, and black were not white, that he longer existed his former self, and stood perplexed, bewildered, and confounded, gazing at his other likeness looking out of the window. Upon the person's retiring from the window, which occurred in a few moments, De Wette resolved not to dispute the possession of his study with the other doctor before morning, and ringing at the door of a house opposite, where an acquaintance resided, he asked permission to remain over night. p. 140, Para. 5, [POWERS].
The chamber occupied by him commanded a full view of the interior of his library, and from the window he could see his other self engaged in study and meditation, now walking up and down the room, immersed in thought, now rising to search for a volume among the book-shelves, and imitating in all respects the peculiar habits of the great doctor, engaged at work and busy with cognitations. At length when the cathedral clock had had finished striking through first four and then eleven strokes, as German clocks are wont to do an hour before twelve, De Wette, number two, manifested signs of retiring to rest -- took out his watch, the identical large gold one the other doctor in the other chamber felt sure was at that moment safe in his waistcoat pocket, and wound it up, removed a portion of his clothing, came to the window, closed the curtains, and in a few moments the light disappeared. De Wette, number one, waiting a little time till convinced that number two had disposed himself to sleep, retired also himself to bed, wondering very much what all this could mean. p. 141, Para. 1, [POWERS].
"Rising the next morning, he crossed the street and passed up stairs to his library. The door was fastened; he applied the key, opened it and entered. No one was there; every thing appeared in precisely the same condition in which he had left it the evening before -- his pen lying on the paper as he had dropped it on going out, the candles on the table and mantlepiece evidently not having been lighted, the window curtains drawn aside as he had left them; in fine, there was not a single trace of any person having been in the room. 'Had he been insane the night before? He must have been. He was growing old -- something was the matter with his eye or brain; any how he had been deceived, and it was very foolish for him to have remained away all night.' p. 142, Para. 1, [POWERS].
Endeavoring to satisfy his mind with some such reflections as these, he remembered he had not yet examined his bed- room. Almost ashamed to make the search, now convinced it was all a hallucination of the senses, he crossed the
narrow passage-way and opened the door. He was thunderstruck! The ceiling, a lofty, massive brick arch, had fallen during the night, filling the room with rubbish, and crushing his bed into atoms. The apparition had saved the life of the great German scholar. p. 142, Para. 2, [POWERS].
"Tho luck, who was walking with me in the field near Halle, when relating the anecdote, added, upon concluding, 'I do not pretend to account for the phenomenon; no knowledge, scientific or metaphysical, in my possession, is adequate to explain it; but I have no more doubt it actually, literally did occur, than I have of the existence of the sun at noon-day." -- Atlantic Monthly. p. 143, Para. 1, [POWERS].