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petitions, through our great Mediator and Advocate, with this request; when the motion instantly returned. I rose up, leaning for a moment on the table, to ascertain the degree of strength given ; and, finding I could stand, I moved forward, without any other support than the arm of Omnipotence, praising God with a heart filled with gratitude and perfect love. The blessedness imparted to my soul seemed almost to make me forget the wonderful cure wrought in my limbs, and for many weeks I really think the happiness I enjoyed could scarcely be exceeded by that of angels; and the presence of the Lord seemed so constantly and powerfully manifested, that I had neither a care, nor fear, nor doubt, of any kind. Indeed, for one week it was almost too great a weight of blessing and glory for my earthly tabernacle to endure. The cure seemed perfect and instantaneous, but the strength and size of my limbs increased with use; and though I walked nearly four miles in one day a few week's afterwards, nothing ever threw me back, or seemed more than they could bear.”’—pp. 216, 217. This is certainly a case of wonderful interposition, and we should have admired it with all our hearts, but that a very small fact in the subsequent history of Mrs. Maxwell has struck us with considerable doubt and dismay ; for, it most inopportunely happens, that, as this lady was increasing in health and strength, she struck her knee against the wheel of a coach, on a certain day, and when the account was written, it appears that this favourite of Heaven was absolutely chained to her sofa We agree with Mr. Irving that the accident from the wheel had nothing whatever to do with her previous illness or cure : but what we do greatly marvel at, and cannot, on any principle, explain, is this—that at the very time when Mrs. Maxwell was in the custody of her guardian angel,-during the critical interval of being under the spell of that supernatural influence which had effected such wonders for her knee,_so little vigilance seems to have been exercised in her protection, as that the mighty event of her miraculous cure should be marred and set at nought by the contact of an inglorious chaise wheel. Alas! if such be the contingencies of a cure in the Scotch pantheon, the sooner a reform is introduced the better. The next case brought forward is that of Miss Hughes, who, from the extent of her letter, and her passion for minute description, appears to have completely established her right to be her own historian on this occasion. She declares that from her earliest years, she has been uniformly weak and sickly, having encountered, in its severest form, every disease incident to children. . In the year 1820 she felt her weakness increase—and in 1821 she kept her bed. She was bled and blistered by Mr. Keele, a surgeon, who, even after these operations, pronounced her to be in a very doubtful state. She, however, so far recovered, as to be able to go down to Norwich in the summer; but the following winter all her worst complaints came on again—the surgeon’s attendance was required a second time, and upon an attentive examination he discovered, says Miss Hughes, “ that the spine was curved, and that between the shoulders, three joints projected beyond the rest.” She was put on a regimen, and observed strict rules for the times of rising and going to bed; she also went to the sea-side, and finally got so well, as to be able to walk from Gloucester Terrace to Sloane Street. But this good state of health lasted only a short time, and after moving about from place to place, and using every means that appeared proper to restore her frame, Miss Hughes sent for Dr. Blundell. The doctor declared that her liver and bowels were almost torpid, and that her blood moved very sluggishly through her veins. He called it a case of semi-animation, and observed to Mr. Keele that she was cold,—cold to the very heart. The doctor's prescriptions did her some good, for he made her take meat twice a day, and gave her a carte blanche of the wine cellar: but after a time there came on a spasm of the leg, which was also found to be shorter than its fellow. Sir Astley Cooper was then called in, and he said that there was “a general curvature of the spine, and a projection of the seventh joint,” and that the right leg was shorter than the other. In 1830, Miss Hughes became worse; and on the 6th June that year, she says that applications were made for the purpose of reducing an inflammation occasioned by two of the bones at the back of the neck being forced out of their places.” In October, Miss Hughes had the good fortune to hear the “Morning Watch’ read, which of course struck her mind very powerfully, and speedily inspired her with a confidence that all her corporal calamities would vanish at the intercession of Mr. Irving. She made the experiment, and the following is the result. * “About a fortnight before I recovered the use of my leg, I felt particularly weak and ill; and on the 3d of this month I had so severe a pain in the head, as to be carried up to bed soon after dinner. Some conversation which had taken place had led me to pray that God would give me some token (I knew not what), to make it manifest to others that God did listen favourably to my prayers. I spent the two following days alone, and devoted my time to meditation, prayer, and study of God's word. The words, “Rise, and stand upon your feet, were much impressed upon my mind, but still without the least idea that this would be the token God would give me: I did not expect to stand till I was quite well. I tried to raise myself on my right leg, as I had done almost daily, by way of experiment (because persons are apt to say ‘you do not walk because you do not try’), on the morning of the 5th of this month. In the afternoon, between three and four, while engaged in prayer, I felt a sudden and powerful impulse to make another trial to stand. The Lord strengthened my leg; I stood, and walked, and my legs and hips were equal. On Thursday evening I went to chapel: I prayed that I might be able to sing the praises of God when there, and retain my voice. This prayer the Lord answered,
* That this poor girl is writing in utter ignorance of what she indites, is manifest from this declaration—for the “forcing out of the bones” of which she speaks, is neither more nor less than a dislocation of the cervical vertebrae—an accident whose effects would be just as promptly fatal as those of Prussic acid.
and all my friends remarked, “How strong your voice is!” for, even when I did not whisper, my voice was faint. Mr. Bowden called upon me on the 19th : he said he would not come before, to give me time to relapse, if I should relapse. He questioned me, both as to the manner of my recovery and the motives which led me to pray for it. He pressed on the spine bones, in such a manner as but a few weeks ago would have produced spasm, but it had no such effect; and the very fact of my sitting up to write this long letter will prove that my back is much strengthened. He remarked the strength of my voice. I said, ‘You know that I have several times lost my voice and it has returned, but the restoration has been very gradual; as my general strength returned so did my voice strengthen : but now, from being very weak, it is suddenly become strong.” Mr. Bowden said, ‘It is a great mercy, and a great miracle;’ and observed, ‘It is a fortunate thing I have not been attending you for a long time;’ as if he desired, as much as I, that the whole glory should be given to God. He observed, ‘I should like to bring your old doctors to see you: how surprised they would be l’’’—p. 222. It is very curious that such a case as this should be brought forward as an example of divine interposition. The account of the nature of the girl's illness is on the face of it a foolish and ridiculous exaggeration; she describes a series of ailments of the most natural character, considering the cause assigned for them— and under proper treatment we find those ailments relieved, although only for a short time. In fact, it appears that the suspension of her pains was as effectually produced by medicine as it was by prayer; and that the latter fell as short of a complete cure as the former. Miss Hughes herself indeed, in the last paragraph of her letter, acknowledges as much when she states “I do not consider my cure complete, but I only asked a token to strengthen the faith of others as well as my own.” How then, we ask, is this demand of Miss Hughes's answered 2 Why should a token so equivocal be given, if the Almighty intended to give one at all ? Why leave it to be doubted whether or not the doctors or the spiritual assistance to which she pretends did more for the patient, when it would have been so easy for Omnipotence to have settled the matter at once, by a decided and prompt removal of all her complaints Have the projecting bones in her back been restored to their natural situation ? has the curvature of her spine been reformed ? in short, have any of the alterations of structure, which the evidently scrofulous constitution of Miss Hughes has produced, been changed into a healthy condition ? We can find no answer to these questions—and we conclude that they could not be replied to in the affirmative. The subject of the last “interesting narrative ’’ which is given in the present number, is a little girl between ten and eleven years of age. From the description of the complaint of this child, it would appear that she too was affected with a disease of the spine as well as of the hip joint, and that the doctors gave up her case as hopeless. It happened, however, that during the time when the girl's family began to despair of ever seeing her restored to health, “a lady of Mr. Irving's congregation” dropped in, and of course mentioned the infallible application of the Irving system. But the young patient was of a very turbulent temper, and she shewed “to a remarkable degree, rebellion of heart against God.” She was, however, soon induced to “search the Scriptures” for herself, and she appeared to be particularly interested in that portion of the Sacred Writings which related to the miracles and healings. ... We quote the story of her “wonderful cure” in the words, we believe, of Mr. Irving himself, and how he could have gravely put on record so much absurdity, can only be reconciled to any natural motive, by those who recollect what a stake Mr. Irving has in maintaining a superstitious respect for his doctrines amongst the people whom he has gathered about him.
“Her aunt, who had lately become an attendant at Mr. Irving's church, having heard him announce on Sunday, July 10th, the miraculous restoration of Miss Hughes, in answer to prayer, was induced to request him to call on her niece, which he did on Monday the 11th. He first put a few questions concerning her knowledge of Jesus Christ her Saviour, and her faith in him, as the healer of the soul and body. Being satisfied with her answers, he asked her if she thought she could pray to Him; she replied, Yes; he then offered up a short and simple prayer, telling the Lord he had brought her to him, and beseeching him to heal her. She was much pleased and impressed with this visit; and from that time her faith appeared much to strengthen, frequently expressing her belief that she should be healed. On Friday morning, the 15th, she appeared in higher spirits than usual, and told her mother she was sure she should recover. No kind of abatement of the disease or of pain had, however, taken place; and, as she expressed it, her leg was as though it did not belong to her, having no power at all to move it, but with her hands, and that with much pain. About eleven o'clock in the forenoon of this day, her aunt, who was sitting below, heard a noise in her room, and ran up stairs, fearing that she was impatient at being left: she found her in a state of excitement and agitation: said, she could not tell her, nor any person, what had happened; however, when more composed, she related the following circumstance to her mother:—She said she had, all the morning, felt her heart more lifted up into communion with God than she had ever before experienced, and whilst reading Hebrews xi, and Mark xi. 23, she felt her faith much strengthened : “if faith, she thought, did such mighty works in former days, why should it not now 7" Upon this her heart was much drawn towards God in prayer for faith, and she was constrained to say aloud, ‘I will not let thee go except thou bless me.” Upon this, much strength came upon her, wherewith she was raised up, and enabled to stand upright, holding by the top of her bedstead. At first, she says, her diseased leg trembled violently, yet without pain; but it soon became steady, and she stepped first on a chair, and then on the ground ; first moving with a heavy, laboured step, but it became gradually lighter and more free, and she walked across the room; she hesitated whether or not she should go down stairs, but thought she would return to her bed to put on her stockings. It pleased the Lord, however, only to shew her the power of
faith, in answer to her prayer; for when on her bed she became in every respect the same as before she rose. At first she was much cast down, but her faith at length revived, and, although Saturday and Sunday she suffered much pain, she continued to say she should be restored. Monday morning she described a peculiar sensation in the limb down to the toes; she said it was ‘like life entering into the bones.’ Mr. Irving called on her again that day, and prayed with her. In the evening, whilst the family were at tea, she begged to be carried up stairs, and seemed in high spirits. She had been reading the healing of the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda, and when laid on her bed, asked her mother what was the meaning of the word impotent; on being told it was weak, infirm, she said, * Well, that is all that I feel now, and I think I can walk.” Her mother, being alarmed at the idea of seeing her attempt such a thing, ran out of the room, and sent her aunt, who told her to do just what she felt enabled: she immediately threw aside the bed-clothes, stepped out of bed, and walked across the room; swung her leg backwards and forwards; sat down and stood up with ease, and freedom from all pain. Upon examination, it was found, that it was, in every respect, just the same as the other, and her spine perfectly straight. From that time every particle of disease left her, and she daily gains bodily strength. From perfect inactivity for seven months, her legs and feet were at first rather stiff and awkward, but the one leg was as much so as the other, and not the slightest sensation of pain or fatigue accompanied the effort. “Her heart was filled with joy, and her mouth with praise, the whole evening, and, indeed, night, for she could not sleep from excess of joy, frequently exclaiming at the goodness and mercy of the Lord in having done such a work upon one so unworthy. The meeting between herself and her brother, a little boy of about mine years of age, was very affecting: he came into the room whilst she was standing up, and, having gazed at her from head to foot, apparently doubting his own eyes, he threw himself into her arms, quite overcome with wonder and joy. She told him that it was the Lord who had been pleased to hear the prayer of faith, and to raise her up. Being left alone in the room together a few minutes, their voices were heard singing a hymn; and when her friends returned, the little boy was kneeling by her bed-side, whilst she offered up a prayer aloud.” —pp. 225, 226. As if Mr. Irving was under an irresistible obligation to furnish to every mind uncorrupted by prejudices, a complete antidote against the poison of superstitious credulity, he subjoins to his account of this third miraculous cure, a certificate from the spine doctor, who had closely examined the patient. This authority (Dr. Harrison) distinctly states that he had no doubt that she could be cured. Giving, therefore, Mr. Irving the fullest credit for candour and sincerity, (and we feel that if we do so it is at a dreadful expense to his intelligence and good sense)—taking for Gospel every word which the patients have written, whether it be the voluntary or the adopted expression of their minds, we still conclude that those “miracles” are surrounded with too many circumstances of doubt and suspicion to permit a reasonable man to believe that they proceed from