« PoprzedniaDalej »
Case of Miss Fancourt as described by herself in a Letter
to a Friend
“MY DEAR CHRISTIAN FRIEND,–
“ I received yours of the 22nd, on Friday last, and take up my pen with pleasure to inform you of the particulars of the Lord's gracious dealings with me; in doing which, I cannot refrain from saying, 'Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together!' I transcribe you a copy of facts, which, by the wish of my dearest father, I have written out for the perusal of our Christian friends; it is a plain detail of facts, from the commencement of my illness. In the month of November 1822, having for some months been in a bad state of health, it pleased God to visit me with a hip disease. Perfect rest was recommended by the late Mr. Pearson, of Golden Square, as absolutely necessary. . . .. This was the last application; and, in September 1828, I returned home as unable to walk as when leaving; once or twice the attempt was made, but produced much pain. From this time no means have been used excepting constant confinement to the couch. Within these few weeks, even on the very day in which Jesus so manifested His Almighty power, I had attempted to walk : scarcely could I put one foot before the other; the limbs trembled very much. Thus it continued till the 20th of October, 1830, when a kind friend, who had seen me about two months before, had been led by God to pray earnestly for my recovery, remembering what is written, “Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. He asked in faith, and God graciously answered his prayer. On Wednesday night, my friend being about to leave the room, Mr. G. begged to be excused a short time. Sitting near me, we talked of his relatives, and of the death of his brother; rising, he said, they will expect me at supper, and put out his hand.
"After asking some questions respecting the disease, he added, 'It is melancholy to see a person so constantly confined.' I answered, 'It is sent in mercy.' 'Do you think so ? Do
think the same mercy could restore you?' God gave me faith, and I answered,
believe Jesus could heal, as in old times?' 'Yes.' Do you believe it is only unbelief that prevents it?' 'Yes.' 'Do you believe that Jesus could heal you at this very time ?' “Yes.' (Between these questions he was evidently engaged in prayer.) “ Then,' he added, “get up and walk to your family.' He then had hold of my hand. He prayed to God to glorify the name of Jesus. I rose from my couch quite strong. God took away all my pains, and we walked down stairs. Dear Mr. G. prayed most fervently, Lord, have mercy upon us ! Christ, have mercy upon us! Having been down a short time, finding my handkerchief left on the couch, taking the candle, I fetched it. The next day I walked more than a quarter of mile, and on Sunday from the Episcopal Jews' Chapel, a distance of one mile and a quarter. Up to this time God continues to strengthen me, and I am perfectly well. To Jesus be all the glory. It is material to add that my legs, the flesh of which was loose and flabby, feeling them in a short time after I walked down, were firm as those of a person in full health. The back, which was curved, is now perfectly straight. My collar-bones have been pronounced by a surgeon to be in quite a natural state, whereas one of them was before much enlarged. I must tell you that my mind had not been at all occupied with those events which had taken place in Scotland ; indeed all I had heard concerning them was, that a young person had been restored in answer to prayer; this was perhaps five or six months back. I had heard of nothing since, and can with truth say, my mind had never been led to the contemplation of such subjects. I had not the least idea that my dear friend was offering up prayer in my behalf, for he did not say so till after the mighty work was wrought; he then said, “This was my errand; for this I have been earnestly praying; and with all humility gave the glory to Jesus, to whom be all might, majesty, and dominion.'
" ELIZABETH FANCOURT."
The following extracts from Mr. Baxter’s “ Narrative of
Facts” will throw full light upon the condition of the Regent Square Church, and of many devout persons in all parts of the country, in respect to the 80-called miraculous gifts.
“For the sake of those whom I may have hardened or betrayed into a false faith is it that I feel called upon to publish my own shame, and confess before all my transgressions. My God, who in His love pardons, has heard, I trust, in secret, and gladly would I rest in the obscurity of my private station without challenging public attention at all. The snare in which I was taken has, however, entangled so many others, and the busy tongues of partisans and tattlers are so much excusing and mis-stating the facts which have developed its character, that I am constrained to give a faithful narrative, at the expense of my own feelings, in the hope that God may open the eyes of the understanding of all who are seeking His truth, and deliver them from the net of the fowler. In the detail I am about to enter into, I may lay myself open to the charge of egotism. . . Another charge I must underlie which is far more painful to me. The narrative will necessarily involve the conduct of many who have, like myself, though more excusably, been deceived. The regard I bear them as sincere, though deluded, followers after truth; the debt I owe them, as well for the affectionate kindness evinced towards myself, as also for the wounds I have inflicted or exercised on them, by confirming them in delusion;
and moreover, the longing I have that they might be brought to the knowledge of the truth (for, as the Apostle said of the Israelites, so may I humbly say of them: I bear them record that they have a zeal of God but not according to knowledge): all these increase greatly my desire to say nothing which may in any way wound their feelings. It may be they may consider much of this narrative as disclosing occurrences and opinions which, passing in private, in family wor
ship, and social intercourse, ought to be treated as confidential; and thus I may be charged with blazoning to the public eye that which came before me in the confidence of friendly intercourse, and with betraying the confidence of friends. Of such a breach of confidence I trust I may, in no case, be guilty. It is simply my wish to show forth the workings of that spirit which challenges, and for which is claimed, the glorious name of the Holy Spirit of Jehovah. .
“Some months before writing the Layman's Appeal, I had heard many particulars of the extraordinary manifestations which had occurred at Port Glasgow, in Scotland. . . . . Conceiving as I did, and still do, that there is no warrant in Scripture for limiting the manifestations of the Spirit to the apostolic times — and deeply sensible of the growth of infidelity in the face of the Church, and of the prevalence of formality and lukewarmness within it - I was ready to examine the claims to inspiration, and even anxious for the presence of the gifts of the Spirit, according, as it seemed to me, to that apostolic command, Covet earnestly the best gifts. I longed greatly and prayed much for such an outpouring. When I saw, as it seemed to me, proof that those who claimed the gifts were walking honestly, and that the power manifested in them was evidently supernatural, and moreover bore testimony to Christ come in the flesh, I welcomed it at once as the work of God.
“ I should mention that I had for twelve months previously to this been in the almost daily habit of reading to and teaching the poor the parish where I reside, and had found much strength and comfort to myself; and I have reason to believe it was also accompanied with profit to those who heard it. I had carefully avoided any assumption of the ministerial office : so much so that (though I do not now think the scruple well-founded) I had refrained from praying with the people when gathered together, conceiving the privilege of leading in public prayer belonged alone to the ordained ministers. At this period I was, by professional arrangements, called up to London, and had a strong desire to attend at the prayer-meetings which were then privately held by those who spoke in the power, and those who sought for the gifts. Having obtained an introduction, I attended; my mind fully convinced that the power was of God, and prepared as such to listen to the utterances. After one or two brethren had read and prayed, Mr. T— was made to speak two or three words very distinctly, and with an energy and depth of tone which seemed to me extraordinary, and fell upon me as a supernatural utterance, which I ascribed to the power of God. The words were in a tongue I did not understand. In a few minutes Miss E. C. broke out in an utterance in English, which, as to matter and manner, and the influence it had upon me, I at once bowed to
as the utterance of the Spirit of God. Those who have heard the powerful and commanding utterance need no description; but they who have not may conceive what an unnatural and unaccustomed tone of voice, an intense and riveting power of expression—with the declaration of a cutting rebuke to all who were present, and applicable to my own state of mind in particular-would effect upon me and upon the others who were come together expecting to hear the voice of the Spirit of God. In the midst of the feeling of awe and reverence which this produced, I was myself seized upon by the power; and in much struggling against it was made to cry out, and myself to give forth a confession of my own sin in the matter for which we were rebuked ; and afterwards to utter a prophecy that the messengers of the Lord should go forth, publishing to the end of the earth, in the mighty power of God, the testimony of the near coming of the Lord Jesus. The rebuke had been for not declaring the near coming of Jesus, and I was smitten in conscience, having many times refrained from speaking of it to the people, under a fear that they might stumble over it and be offended.
“I was overwhelmed by this occurrence. The attainment of the gift of prophecy which this supernatural utterance was deemed to be, was, with myself and many others, a great object of desire. I could not therefore but rejoice at having been made the subject of it; but there were so many difficulties attaching to the circumstances under which the power came upon me, and I was so anxious and distressed lest I should mistake the mind of God in the matter, that I continued for many weeks weighed down in spirit and overwhelmed. There was in me at the time of the utterance very great excitement, and yet I was distinctly conscious of a power acting upon me beyond the mere power of excitement. So distinct was this power from the excitement, that in all my trouble and doubt about it I never could attribute the whole to excitement. ... I regarded the confession which was wrung from me to be the same thing as is spoken of in 1 Cor. xiv., where it is said: 'If all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.' It seemed so with me; I was unlearned; the secret of my heart was made manifest; and I was made, by a power unlike anything I had ever known before, to fall down and acknowledge that God was among them of a truth.
“ The day following this occurrence I devoted to fasting and prayer, to beseech God to open to me His mind in the matter, that I might not stumble in the way. In the midst of my prayer, the promise in Mat. iv. 5 — Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet