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imperfectly acquainted. Esculapius, the father of medicine, was considered a deity, and his successors were elevated to the rank of his hierophants. His temples were crowded with the grateful offerings of those he was supposed to have benefited.---Vide Celsus de Medecina. Lib. i. pref.
Diodorus Siculus says of the Egyptian Isis, that“ many have been strangely cured by her help, who have been given over by physicians, and many blind and lame have been healed by her.” Hist. 1. 1, p. 22. Strabo and Cicero ascribe similar miraculous cures to other deities.
The North American Indians retain the practice of attempting cures by supernatural means... For a very singular instance, the subject of which, a Huron woman, was won. derfully recruited, but not entirely cured, see Father Charlevoix's Travels in North America, Letter xiy.
(33.) Horne's Introd. to the Study of Scrip. vol. i. p. 222.
(34.) “As no impostors ever pretended to perform a great number of miracles, so they always or usually limited themselves to one species of them.”-Horne's Introd. to the Scrip. vol. i. p. 243.
- (35.) Bacon, in his Essays, informs us, that“ in Vespasian's time, there went a prophecy in the East, that those that should come forth of Judea should reign over the world, which, though it may be meant of our Saviour, yet Tacitus expounds it of Vespasian.”. Bacon's Essays. Of Prophecies, xxxv.
This ambitious emperor, not content with pleading visions, and presages, and auguries, in his favour, aspired to work miracles; and accordingly, as Tacitus reports, cured a blind man in Alexandria, by means of his spittle, and a lame man by the mere touch of his foot, in obedience to a vision of the God Serapis. But Tacitus also informs us, that when Vespasian consulted the physicians, whether such maladies were curable by human art, they declared, that in the one the power of sight was not extinct, “ but would return were the obstacles removed; that in the other, the joints had suffered some dislocation, which, by a salutary pressure, might be redressed.”-See Campbell on Miracles, p. 168.
The power of working miracles is also ascribed to the Emperors Hadrian and Aurelian, by Spartian and Vopiscus, their biographers.
(36.) A few specimens of such NATURAL MIRACLES will show the extraordinary influence of sudden shocks and mental excitement on corporeal disease.
Van Swieten relates, from Hildanus, that a man, disguised to represent a ghost, or spectre, took another, labouring under a gouty paroxysm, out of his bed, and carried him down stairs, dragging his feet and legs, which were the seat of the pain, down the steps, and placed him at last upon the ground. The man, thus treated, immediately recovered the use of his limbs, and ran up the stairs with great swiftness, under the strongest impressions of terror. After this incident he lived many years free from any symptoms of the gout.” Van Swieten's Commen. on Boerhaave.
The great Dr. Sydenham relates, that having long attended a gentleman of fortune with little or no advantage, he frankly avowed his inability to render him any farther service, adding at the same time, that there was a physician of the name of Robinson at Inverness, who had distinguished himself by the performance of many remarkable cures of the same complaint as that under which his patient laboured, and expressing a conviction that, if he applied to him, he would come back cured. This was too encouraging a proposal to be rejected ; the gentleman received from Sydenham a statement of his case, with the necessary letter of introduction, and proceeded without delay to the place in question. On arriving at Inverness, and anxiously inquiring for the residence of Dr. Robinson, he found, to his utter dismay and disappointment, that there was no physician of that name, nor ever had been in the memory of any person there. The gentleman returned, vowing eternal hostility to the peace of Sydenham; and on his arrival at home, instantly expressed his indignation at having been sent on a journey of so many hundred miles for no purpose.
Well,” replies Sydenham, are you not better in health ?" “Yes, I am quite well, but no thanks to you.” “No,” says Sydenham, “but you may thank Dr. Robinson for curing you. I wished to send you a journey with some object of interest in view ; I knew it would be of service to you : in going you had Dr. Robinson and his wonderful cures in contemplation; and in returning, you were equally engaged in thinking of scolding me.” Paris's Pharmacologia, p. 65, Introduction.
The account of a cure of the gout, by placing the patient on a heated floor, related in the History of Sandford and Merton, is familiar to most children ; and almost every body has read of a gentleman's life being saved by the bursting of a quinsey in consequence of a violent fit of laughter occasioned by the unexpected descent of a sweep down his bedroom chimney. Both these cures were effected on the same principle. The sudden acquisition of speech by the son of Cræsus, when he saw his father's life in jeopardy, is equally well known. We are informed, on the best authority, that the troubles in Scotland, in the
1745 and 1746, almost exterminated hysteric affections. Faulkner on the Passions, p. 129.
“ When the scurvy, amongst other misfortunes, made its appearance during the siege at Breda, in the year 1625, and carried off such great numbers, that the garrison were inclined towards a surrender of the place, the Prince of Orange, anxious to prevent its loss, contrived to introduce letters, promising the most speedy assistance. These were accompanied with medicines against the scurvy, said to be of great price, and still greater efficacy. Three small vials of medicine were presented to each physician. It was publicly given out that four drops were sufficient to impart a healing virtue to a gallon of liquor. We now displayed our wonder-working balsams. Not even the commanders were let into the cheat upon the soldiers, who flocked in crowds about us, every one soliciting that part might be reserved for his use. The effect of this delusion was truly astonishing ; such as had not moved their limbs for a month before, were seen walking in the street, with their limbs sound, strait, and whole." • This curious relation," says Dr. Lind,“ is given by an eye witness, an author of great candour and veracity, who, as he informs us, wrote down every day the state of his patients.” Faulkner, p. 150.
“ The powerful influence of confidence in the cure and prevention of disease,” says Dr. Paris, “ was well understood by the sages of antiquity. The Romans, in times of pestilence, elected a Dictator with great solemnity, for the sole purpose of driving a nail into the wall of the temple of Jupiter. The effect was generally instantaneous; and while they thus imagined that they propitiated an offended Deity, they in truth did but diminish the susceptibility to disease, by appeasing their own fears.” Paris's Pharmacol. p. 27.
Four of the five miraculous cures ascribed by Bede to St. John of Beverley, in his history, book v, chap. 2–6, were undoubtedly, in a great measure, the effects of strong excitement.
Those who would wish to extend their knowledge of such cases are referred to
The Narrative of the Miraculous Cure of Tietske Klaas, a Dutch woman, who had been lame of both her legs for fourteen years; “ taken by a Dutch merchant from her own mouth,” and “ attested by many famous witnesses.” Satan's Invisible World Discovered, by George Sinclair, p. 20; and Bekker's World Bewitched, vol. iv.
The Wonderful Recovery of the Wife of Colonel Jones, through the prayers of Dr. Samuel Winter, a noted Puritan minister.-Clarke's Lives, folio, 1683, p. 104.
The Wonderful Cure of Mary Maillard,a French Protestant, afterwards the wife of the Rev. Henry Briel, who was lame for the first thirteen years of her life. The particulars, with abundant attestations, are reprinted in the Gospel Magazine for 1777, vol. iv. pp. 415 ---424, 453---460, 507---517, 543---552.
The Instantaneous Cure of Mrs. Mather, daughter of the late Rev. Joseph Benson, the well-known Wesleyan preacher. This is related in the memoir of Mr. Benson.
Some of these might be answers to prayer, but they are all manifestly attributable to excitement.
The extraordinary and unquestionable cures performed by animal magnetism, which was boasted of by Mesmer, its reviver in the last century, as “ a sovereign instrument for securing the health, and lengthening the existence of mankind,” have been proved by Thouret,
who distinguished himself by exploding its pretensions in France, to be attributable
solely to the influence of the imagination on the body.” See a series of excellent papers on the subject, in the two first volumes of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine.
(37.) The Rev. Edward Irving has published a volume to prove that the manhood of our Lord Jesus Christ was capable of sinning. He was born, this gentleman tells us, a mere man. After his baptism, " then it was that he put forth the mighty power beyond man's bound; then it was that he was more than man, and manifested to be more than
Up to this time he was man, holy in flesh and in soul; but from that time forth he became man with God in him. All this divine power, manifested in the man Christ Jesus, was the consequence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost.”—Sermon by Mr. Irving, in The Pulpit, No. 468, Nov. 7, 1831.
It is the author's intention, should these Sermons meet with as favourable a reception from the press as from the pulpit, to refute the above, and other dangerous tenets held by Mr. Irving and his followers, particularly those relative to the Millennium, in two additional discourses, on “ The Coming of Christ in the Flesh,” and his “ Second Coming in Glory.”
(38.) See a Sermon preached before the University of Oxford, at St. Mary's Church, by the Rev. Henry Bellenden Bulteel, late Curate of St. Ebbe’s, Oxford ; wherein, among many other things equally reprehensible, the following passage occurs : Whereas, by reason of sin remaining in us (for “ if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves,”') the devil tempts us to believe, through the medium of our feeling, that God takes notice, and is angry with us on account of sin; on the other hand, God comes in plainly and forcibly with his word of truth, and says, not only, “ I have not beheld iniquity in Jacob, but by one offering my Son hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Heb. x. 14.
Did even Satan himself more grossly pervert the spirit of Scripture, attempting to slay with the letter of that, the spirit of which maketh alive, when he made use of it to tempt the Lord his God? As the Son of God answered the tempter, so can we answer the Rev. Henry Bellenden Bulteel. It is written again, If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity. If I be wicked, woe unto me. Job x. 14, 15. And again, “ Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace ? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.” Heb. x. 29, 30.
(39.) The recapitulation of the previous discourse, which appeared desirable from the pulpit, is here omitted as unnecessary.
(40.) Bishop Blackall's Sufficiency of the Scripture Revelation. Sermon v.
(41.) Ephraim, the Syrian, is also said, by some Romanist writers, to have acquired a knowledge of the Greek tongue through the prayers of St. Basil. St. David, St. Paternus, and St. Theliaus, are instanced, as having preached at Jerusalem in their own tongue, and having been understood by the 'people as if they had spoken theirs. St. Goodric, says Capgrave, spake French to a monk on the day of Pentecost, although he never understood that language before. St. Vincentius Ferrarius, says Mariana, addressed his auditors in one tongue, and was understood by them in several. St. Ludgard, an Italian, speaking Dutch, was perfectly understood by some French women, who were acquainted only with their own language. But, perhaps, the case which bears the closest resemblance to those which have called forth the present work, is that of Friar Bernard, one of the disciples of St. Francis, who, as Baker relates, “in the heat of his interior affection, could usually cry out nothing but V, V, V.”
(42.) A Cry from the Desert, 1707. Declarations of Isabel Charras and Durand Fage. For further particulars of these people, see Peter Jurieu's Pastoral Letters, 1688. History of the Edict of Nantes, vol. iii. 1695. Lacy's Prophetical Warnings, 1707.
(43.) It hath been granted to me, to be in fellowship with angels and spirits, and to converse with them, and to see what is in their worlds, and afterwards to relate to mankind
many of the things which I have seen and heard. This I have done in a Treatise concerning Heaven and Hell, published at London in the year 1758.”---Doctrine concerning Scripture, p. 107.
This enthusiast even professes to explain the differences between the languages which are assigned to the first, second, and third heavens; and the characters in which they are written.
According to Swedenborg, the gift of tongues, in this its loftiest peculiarity, is of the very highest antiquity. “I have been informed,” says he, “ that the men of the most ancient church which was before the Flood, were of a nature and temper so heavenly, that they conversed with angels, and could discourse with them by correspondencies. I have been further informed, that Enoch, with those of his society, collected correspondencies as they received them from their forefathers, and handed down the science thereof to posterity.”
."---Doctrine concerning the Scripture, p. 42. The first instance after the Flood of the pretended gift, under its more ordinary limitation, is recorded by Herodotus, in Euterpe, at the commencement of the book. Psam. meticus, king of Egypt, he tells us, being desirous to ascertain who were the most ancient people in the world, resorted to a singular artifice for solving the problem. Two male children, of indigent parentage, newly born, were committed to a trusty shepherd, to be brought up in utter solitude, with a solemn charge that he should inform his sovereign what word should first break from them. At the end of two years, as their shepherd guardian was entering the door of their hut, “ the children ran to him, and holding out their hands, cried Bekkos.” This, on inquiry, was found to be a Phrygian word, signifying bread ; and accordingly, to the Phrygians was conceded precedence of the Egyptians, and of all other nations, in antiquity.
The “ Father of History” informs us also, that the Egyptian priestess who founded the oracle at Dodona, was considered by the Dodonæans as having the gift of tongues. The tradition among the priestesses of Dodona was, “ that two black pigeons flew away at a certain time, from Thebes, in Egypt; that one of these arrived at Libya, and the other in Dodona; that this last, as she sat perched on a beech-tree, admonished the inhabitants with an articulate voice, to erect an oracle in that place to Jupiter; and that the people, believing this to be no less than a divine revelation, readily obeyed.” Herodotus conjectures, and Banier thinks rightly, that the Dodonæans gave these women the name of pigeons, because they were barbarians, and their speech no more understood than the chattering of birds : (see 1 Cor. xiv. 11:) but as soon as the one domiciliated among them became able to speak their language, they presently reported that the pigeon had spoken with a human voice; for while she continued to use a barbarous tongue, she was no better understood than a bird."---Herod. Euterpe.
(44.) Anne Lee, as well as her predecessors, the “ French Prophets,” and those wild sects which sprung up in the reign of the first Stuarts, announced the immediate approach of the Millennium. One of the tenets of her followers forbids to marry. They sing in what they call an “unknown language.”---See Evans's Sketch of all Religions. The Duke de la Rochefoucault's Travels through America, vol. i. Dr. Dwight's Travels in America, vol. iii. And, A Visit to the Shakers, inserted in Blackwood's Magazine, for April, 1823. vol. xiii. p. 463.
(45.) Peter Cornelius Van Hooft, in his History of the Low Countries, book iii. See also Brandt's History of the Reformation, book vi., and Dr. Dapper's Description of the City of Amsterdam. The celebrated Balthazzar Bekker, in his “World Bewitched,” (De Betover Wereld,) bestows a minute examination on this, and the similar occurrence at Hoorn, in order to show they were not ascribable to demoniacal possession. Vol. iv. book iv. chap. 25.
(46.) Francis Knyper, in his work On Devils. (47.) See Knyper’s Book, and Bekker's World Bewitched, vol. iv. book iv, chap. 25. (48.) Blackwood's Magazine, vol. ii. p. 437. (49.) The Rev. John Newton, the friend of Cowper, in his Cardiphemia.
Many other instances of this pretended gift are on record, to some of which it may be desirable here to refer.
Michael Psellus, a writer of the 16th century, gives an account of an Italian woman, who suddenly began to speak in an “unknown tongue,” and who, on being chid for her frenzy by an Armenian, replied to him in his own language, not knowing what she said. - Psellus de Operatione Dæmonum, 1577, p. 28.
Bekker has a curious narrative of a Dutch boy, who, in his pretended interviews with the devil, spake Hebrew.---World Bewitched, vol. iv. book iv. chap. 9.
Erasmus tells us of an inhabitant of Spoleto who spoke, during sickness, in a tongue of which he was totally ignorant.---Encomium Medecine.
Guianerius mentions a clown, who could make Latin verses at the full of the moon, though he knew nothing of Latin at any other time.---Tract 15. c. 4.
Forestus relates the same thing of a female.---Johnston Thaumat. Natur. p. 487.
The tragic imposture of the Nuns of Loudun is well known. They pretended to speak Latin while under possession of evil spirits.
Feyjoo, the Spanish historian, in a letter on the subject of the Wandering Jew, describes a person who professed to be that mysterious individual in the 17th century, as boasting that he could heal diseases with the touch, and speak almost every language on earth.
Mr. Irving asserts, that to his own knowledge, certain children possessed with evil spirits, have very lately spoken with tongues !--- Morning Service at the Regent Square Church, Nov. 27th, 1831.
(50.) Joan of Arc, in France, during our civil wars of the Roses; and the Maid of Kent, in England, during the reign of Edward VI; will at once suggest themselves.
Female revelations have always been very common in the Church of Rome. To what degree of credit they are entitled, we may judge from the following remarks of an intelligent Romanist.—“If any thing be false in a prophecy, though some prove true, we have cause to suspect all ; especially if it come from women, whose judgments are weak, and their passions vehement, and imaginations easily possessed with what they are most desirous of, and least able to distinguish between the strength of imagination, and a divine revelation.". Joh. Franciscus Picus Mirandula, de Rerum Prænot. 1. 9. c. 2.
(51.) Prophecies, and tongues, and knowledge, and all the other miraculous gifts of which a summary is given us in 1 Cor. xii. 8—10, the apostle Paul expressly says, are to fail, and cease, and vanish away, as appendages only of the infant state of the church, “ For we (the apostle and his contemporaries) know in part, and we prophesy in part :" i. e. in a manner suited to the crude, disjointed, unconnected, unembodied state of the elements which are to form the mystical body of Christ. “But when that which is perfect is come,” when that body shall be perfectly compacted, by that which every joint supplieth,--when it shall be fitly joined together, “then that which is in part shall be done away.” That this is the apostle's meaning, the last verse of the chapter shows. " And now abideth, faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” This cannot refer to the triumphant state of the church in heaven : for faith is but “ the evidence of things not seen ;” and “hope that is seen, is not hope ; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” It clearly designates the maturity of the church militant, which St. Paul thus intimates must be animated, and edified, and ripened for glory, not by the temporary miraculous gifts, but by the abiding, ordinary, more excellent manifestations of the Holy Ghost.
(52.) The daughters of Philip are mentioned in connexion with "a certain prophet, named Agabus,” the nature of whose prophesying is distinctly explained. “ He took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, so shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.” It is probable, that Philip's daughters had predicted the same event, not in public, but in their father's house, where St. Paul abode. Acts xxi, 9-11.
(53.) This shows that a mere speaking according to the Scriptures is not a sufficient