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Irish idolater. But such a reply could convince no person; and it seems to have been tacitly abandoned by all the writers on the subject, who begin to acknowledge that there is no reason why the Church of Rome should be excluded in this question; but, on the contrary, say the vouchers for the miraculous nature of the present dispensation, the attestation of that church is a standing testimony to the truth of the doctrine.
A new chapter, I said, had been opened by these facts and discussions upon the physical and spiritual parts of our nature; for neither divines nor physicians, I am persuaded, were fully aware of the extent to which the principle of excitement might be carried. Its efficacy generally they knew and acknowledged, but they had so little practical experience on the subject that they were not aware of its latitude. Cases of alleged modern miraculous cures were encountered with strong symptoms of incredulity as to the actual facts: there was deception, it was said, or mistake, in the matter; and if the circumstance happened within the precincts of the Church of Rome, then there was one ready answer, Oh, it is all a Popish juggle. But recent examples prove that such facts may and do exist; that they are not of necessity juggles, though some of them may be so, impostors taking advantage of truth to imitate it for interested purposes. For myself, I do not deny the facts of the Winchester case of W. White, or the late Scotch cases, or the cases attested by Mr. Irving or the Morning Watch, or other post-apostolical cases which I could produce from the pages of history: but it appears to me most indubitable that they may be all traced to one cause, call it excitement, or what we will; and that this cause is more powerful, and more contagious (if I may so speak), and applicable to more diseases, than either divines or physicians have generally suspected in a word, that our ignorance of what was within
the rule of God's ordinary laws has led persons either to deny facts because they could not account for them, or to make miracles because they saw the facts and did not understand the solution.
There is one remarkable circumstance, which I could respectfully wish the advocates for modern miracles impartially to consider-namely, that the only subject upon which these recent alleged miracles have been wrought is that most sensitive and complicated fabric, the living human frame, and chiefly in the case of women. I do not at least recollect an instance of any alleged miraculous cures in the case of an individual of the less susceptible sex. Now this appears to me very much to favour the doctrine of excitement. In no one of these modern cases is the alleged miraculous action carried beyond the frame of the recipient; in no one has it occurred that a supposed miracle has been wrought except in connection with the operation of mind upon a living body. One miracle is as easy as another to Omnipotence; and, accordingly, we find in the Bible narratives, not only miracles of healing (which, however, stand on totally different grounds to these alleged modern miracles), but effects produced upon dead, and irrational, and inorganic matter. An ass spake, the sun stood still, the shadow on the dial went back, the sea was quelled, the dead were raised. In none of these cases could excitement produce such an effect; for there was no mind, no basis for excitement but in all the modern instances mind has acted upon body; there is not one case that can be taken out of this range; and though the extent to which the effect may have occurred is perhaps greater than many persons might have conceived possible, yet every case is but a magnified illustration of the common adage, that "conceit can kill and conceit can cure."
The whole, I say, of these cases, come under the peculiar and ill-understood phenomena of the action
of mind upon the living body. I know of none of these alleged miracles which go beyond a profession of speaking unknown tongues, or bodily healing. The former is, I fear, so direct a result of mental disorder, so clear a case of over-excitement of mind, fitter for a physician than a divine, that I should feel pain to dwell upon it: I can only heartily pity the victim. The latter, in all its modifications, still involves the same principle of the effect of mind upon body. I am not ashamed to say that some of these effects are more powerful than I had conceived likely perhaps or possible; so that I can now receive, and account for, many of the facts in the Church of Rome which before I thought incredible. I can believe Hohenlohism just as I believe Irvingism. In order to make a distinction between the class of cases which it is supposed mind might operate on, and those which it could not affect, it has been attempted to draw a clear line between functional and organic disorder; but it is very possible that the physiologist may find that he has presumed too far upon his supposed knowledge of the workings of the human frame, so fearfully and wonderfully made; that his definitions of what constitutes these two classes of case have not been sufficiently established; and that some diseases may possibly be cured by the operation of mind which he might have been disposed to consider as not capable of being thus affected. But, be this as it may, the general position is the same it is mind upon body; the etherial principle on the living fibre: and till our asserters of modern miracles will bring me a case out of this range, I shall not suppose a miracle, though I may be unable to account for the facts; as I cannot tell how my own mind guides my pen, or dictates to my tongue, though I am sure that it does so. I put it to our friends, seriously to ask why they have no one modern instance to produce of alleged miraculous effects upon matter not connected with mind; upon
a dead body, for example. Some persons, it is said, lately tried to raise one in Scotland, but they failed, as might be expected; for the exciting mind, the enthusiastic impulse, actuating the material frame, was wanting. In general, the cures effected have been, obviously, cases connected with the nervous system. I am not aware of any one clearly out of even this limited range. But, grant, that, in the enthusiasm which prevails in certain quarters, one apparently anomalous should occur, it would only convince me that the action of the soul on the body may be more powerful than I had antici pated; that strong nervous influences may affect cases hitherto considered beyond their reach, but still within the sphere of the operation of the mind upon the body. Give me a case beyond this category, and I shall feel staggered. If it were said, that Mr. Irving, to prove his doctrine, had hurled a stone of a hundred pounds weight over the pinnacles of the Caledonian chapel, I should doubt the fact; but if it were irrefragably attested, I should still see no miracle, as I have seen Belzoni perform wonderful feats of strength, and I am not assured how far muscular energy under very extraordinay excitement might be carried. It is still a case of the mind influencing the bodily organs, stimulating the nerves, and stringing every muscle and fibre to action. But if he moved but a pebble in my garden while he himself was several miles off; if he turned back the shadow on the sun-dial, or clave the sea, or raised the dead, or healed another who is unconscious of his operations, the miracle would be obvious. What I wish in these remarks, is simply to suggest the turning fact,-that all the cases referred to as proofs of modern miracles are cases of an excited mind operating upon a person's own body. In some of these cases the excitement happens to be connected with certain theological opinions, whether those now inculcated by Mr. Boys, Mr. McNeile, and Mr. Erskine, or those
current in the Church of Rome, or any other modification of sentiment; but in others the excitement has nothing to do with matters of religious faith, but is wholly secular. How then, in fairness, can the cases be separated, so as to make a miracle in the one and not in the other?
For my own part, my dear friend, I feel no desire to suppose myself living in an age of miracles. Far more consoling is it to my spirit to know that I am under the unceasing guidance of Him who is full of kindness and full of care; who is infinite in wisdom, and in power, and in love. He can now, as ever, work miracles. I doubt not his Almighty energy; neither do I doubt, that, if it were according to his blessed will in the present era of the dispensation under which he has mercifully placed us, he would renew the gifts of healing, the speaking with tongues, or the raising of the dead; but I see nothing in Scripture or in experience to lead me to the conclusion that such is the actual fact. In me, therefore, it would not be faith, but presumption, to look for miraculous healing, as much as it would be to look for a miraculous supply of food and raiment. These things have been, and if necessary they will without doubt be again. No, we may not limit the Holy One of Israel; but we have no right to go beyond the sphere and economy in which he has evidently placed us, to look for a renewal of miraculous manifestations, which, however gratifying to our self-importance, would not in the least conduce to our salvation. I forgot to notice just now, when writing of Cardinal Beaufort, that his skull is said to have been discovered at St. Albans in the year 1701, and is still somewhere in preservation. I have not the account at hand; but I must presume that the identity of the specimen was properly ascertained at the time: though, in truth, such researches are not always very satisfactory; for, besides the want of printed records, and the mutilations and fragility of CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 357.
non-duplicate parchments, and the dilapidation of monumental inscriptions, the mortal remains of celebrated men in former days often underwent many migrations;-their tomb being here, their shrine there, and perhaps their chauntry elsewhere; their body in the Holy Land, their head in York, and their heart at Canterbury; their bones, real or supposititious, dug up ages after their death, enshrined in distant cenotaphs, or perhaps scattered as relics through a score churches and monasteries; with twenty authentic faith-inspiring radii and ulna of one much-esteemed individual, and his inestimable molars and incisors by the hundred, throughout all the nunneries of Europe. However, this invaluable Beaufort skull has been lately consigned to a mould of plaster of Paris, for the benefit of modern cranioscopists; and so it is, that a learned paper has been read over it before the London Phrenological Society, in which the lecturer, waxing warm with his subject, magnificently exclaims,-" It is left to phrenology to establish the degree of dependence to be placed upon the assertions of historians!" Now, I have heard several mothers say that they educate their children with much scientific precision by cranioscopy; and a few clergymen, that they preach by it; and a phrenological journal has undertaken in a very grave and religious manner to explain the seventh of the Romans on the principle that St. Paul had opposing organs-the conscientious bumps saying one thing, and the wicked bumps another, so that he had no rest between them ;-and Spurzheim's friend, Mr. Bailey, has lately published sixty skulls as samples of the art, respecting which specimens we find such pithy remarks as the following: "No.-; a head in whose cerebral organization the Christian law is written :"-so that this man, who, for aught I know, was a heathen or a profligate, was a true Christian and a spiritually minded man by anticipation: he needed not Bible or sacraments, re4 B
pentance or faith, a Saviour or a Sanctifier; for the Christian law was
already engraved on his brain by
nature, and shewed itself by ossific protrusions. All this I knew, and much more; nay, that some amateur has begun to regulate infant schools by "the science;" but I was not aware that historical fact was to be submitted to this ordeal, and remodelled according to the notions of physiological grave-diggers. But so it is; for tradition, history, and, above all, Shakespeare, we are told, have mistaken poor Cardinal Beaufort's character: there is little " dependence to be placed upon the assertions of historians!" for thus run his manifestations : "Head large; the intellectual organs exceedingly well developed; yet others still more so, especially amativeness, love of approbation, self-esteem, combativeness; but almost unprecedented for destructiveness, firmness, and secretiveness." It is well for the reputation of phrenology that the Christian law was not written in his skull, since it would have required a large displacement of history to prove that it was exhibited in his life. I cannot, my friend, but think there is much evil in these reveries. I, indeed, see nothing abstractedly impossible in the idea that different portions of the brain may be connected with different parts of its actual exhibitions; but I do not think that even this has been proved by fact; and, above all, it is most rash, to say the least, to attempt to educate youth, or to re-cast history, or to interpret Scripture, upon so vague a speculation.
REMARKS ON A CLERICAL ANECdote.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
I THINK your worthy correspondent SCRUTINEER, in your last Number, has mistaken the drift of the anecdote on which he comments. The clergyman who made the remark which he objects to, did not mean to say that Satan was the author of the good sermon; but that Satan had tempted him to be proud of its being good. Scrutineer asks his readers to shew the difference between the case of St. Paul in writing one of his Epistles, and the clergyman in preaching his sermon; and thinks that the Apostle, if complimented, I would not have said that Satan had already suggested the compliment, but would have proceeded to give all the glory to God. But, in truth, the case of the Apostle is more parallel than your correspondent thinks; for, when St. Paul had been caught up into the third heavens, he began, preposterous as it might seem, to wax vain upon it; so that, had a flatterer said to him, "You have been wonderfully honoured with glorious displays, such as no other man has enjoyed," he might likely enough have replied, like the preacher, in the language of humiliation; confessing that Satan, or his own proud heart, had already used the same language.
I do not justify the clergyman's remark: far from it; for it was rude, and unkind to a party who perhaps spoke with the warmth of real affection; and it was too flippant in reference to so awful a subject as the temptations of Satan: but we must judge of such expressions by their intended meaning, and it is quite clear that the clergyman never thought of derogating from the influences of the Holy Spirit, as if whatever was good in the sermon had not been God's work, but the work of Satan. To say a man may be proud of his Christian graces, is not to say that Satan is their author.
MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS' LATIN
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. ONE of your correspondents lately requested a versified translation of a Latin hymn: would any of your readers also oblige me with a metrical version of the lines said to have been written by Mary Queen of Scotland on the morning of her execution?
O Domine, Deus, speravi in te;
Languendo, gemendo, et genų flectendo
METRICAL TRANSLATION OF ANCIENT
We have been favoured by our correspondents with several metrical translations of the Latin Hymn inserted in our Number for July. Our readers would scarcely wish us to insert more than one; and we are somewhat at a loss which to select; but we have thought the following would best answer the purpose, without offence to the writers of others. Several of the versions have particular passages more accurately or poetically translated than in the other specimens, but as we do not feel ourselves at liberty to cull these, and from them to make a sextum quid, we insert one version entire.
Now, from house and all things torn,
On the wide sea as I go,
And with peace and plenty blest
From this plague oh set me free;
Give, unworthy though I be,
Zion, be thou my peaceful goal; Refuge of my weary soul: