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thing of the excitement which he himself felt. Miss Fancourt evidently observed somewhat extraordinary in his deportment; for she remarks, what our correspondent omits, "The evening was passed in serious conversation: several times I caught his eye, and perceived him frequently There was engaged in silent prayer."
clearly much mystery in his manner; and the effect was not likely to be lessened, when, as Miss Fancourt adds, " after family prayer, while all were leaving the room for supper, dear Mr. G. begged to be excused for a short time;" and, after conversing about general subjects, his relatives and the sudden death of his brother," as if he had not resolution at once to specify his peculiar errand, "rising, as I expected, to say good night, he took hold of my hand, asked some questions respecting the disease, and then said, It is melancholy," &c., as above related. "During this whole time," says the patient in the unabridged narrative, "the holy man was looking on me most stedfastly. To describe his countenance is impossible: it was most heavenly."
Surely in all this there was enough to operate upon the strongest nervous 'system; and much more upon that of a young lady who had been long confined to her couch in great pain and lassitude. A person seriously purposing to work a miracle, was of itself, especially when accompanied by all the above-mentioned circumstances, quite sufficient to produce a most powerful impression on a mind predisposed for the excitement. The patient must either account the proposer a man actually endued with miraculous powers, or an absolute madman. Few cases of animal magnetism, of which extraordinary instances are on record, have been accompanied with equal solemnity. The very circumstance of a lady attempting to make so apparently miraculous an effort as that directed, shews the strong belief she had in the possibility and probability of a supernatural cure being wrought. But it does not appear to us at all to follow that it was because the sufferer was a person of true piety, or because her faith was fixed on a true object, that she received the cure. We believe that the annals of the Church of Rome, and of every false religion, prove that the effect might have equally followed, if her strong impression had been directed to any false object or "lying wonder." She had long believed in Christ for the salvation of her soul, and this was true faith; but the belief that he would exercise a miraculous cure upon her body, we consider to have been an impression not authorised by Scripture ; wholly inconsistent with the present dispensation of the church; unreasonable; a mere imagination, having nothing whatever to do with religion, though, in this particular instance, as, perhaps, in some
of "the Scotch miracles," entertained by
Our friends may reply, that we have
of a recent miracle; the facts of which we see no reason to doubt. We will copy the case at large, for the sake of easy comparison; and we might find scores of cases in the volumes of medicine and theology, equally to our purpose. The Roman Catholic says that the Baroness D.'s case was "miraculous," and intended to confirm the faith of mankind in the popish view of the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Those who think Miss Fancourt's case miraculous will deny both these positions; but how will they distinguish between them, except they say at once that they do not believe the facts of the Baroness D.'s case, and that it is only a popish imposture. But this, we submit, is not a fair solution; for scores of popish cases are as well attested as the case of Miss Fancourt: for such cases are more numerous in the Church of Rome than in Protestant communities, for the very reason that the former encourages greater excitement and credulity than the latter. The following is the Baroness D.'s case; and we invite our friends to shew that it is not parallel.
"Extract of a letter from a lady at Chamberry, duchy of Savoy, dated April 1827, to her sister in London; containing an account of an extraordinary cure, wrought by the reception of the most holy sacrament. "This place has just witnessed a most striking event, confirmatory of our faith in the blessed sacrament. How much do I wish, my dear sister, that some of our Protestant friends, who deny, among other points, the validity of miracles (because they never see any operated in their religion), could have been here at that moment they would have been forced to yield to the evidence it afforded, that the Lord must truly have been present in the holy sacrament of our altars; since, by the mere devout reception of it, a person infirm for sixteen years, and almost dying for some mouths past, has been instantly cured, and restored to perfect health. Like to those sick and dying in the Gospel, who, during Christ's visible sojourn on earth, implored his help, and throwing themselves on their knees before his path, cried out with a firm faith, Jesus, Son of David, Jesus, Son of the living God, heal us, have mercy on us.' In the same manner, and with the same faith believing him to be really present in the blessed sacrament, did this sick one implore him, and as instantly obtained the cure of all her infirmities.
"You may well remember in what a deplorable state of health was the poor Baroness D., sister-in-law to the Mareshal de L., and for what a number of
"The names of the titled parties, not inserted in this letter, will be given if required, in attestation of the truth of the statement, on application to Messrs. Keating and Brown."
years she had been thus afflicted, even at the time you were in the country. During the last six years, however, her cruel sufferings went on augmenting; and this winter she was seized with a universal palsy, by which she became totally unable to move herself from her bed to her chair without being carried there, and entirely lost the use of her speech. She still retained her mental faculties unimpaired, and could express her wishes, partly by signs and partly by writing, which with her left hand she contrived still to trace on a slate or on paper. She evinced, however, no impatience or repining in this dreadful situation, but joined her hands, and lifting up her eyes to heaven, was seen praying in her most acute sufferings (which partook of the Tic Douloureuz, spasms in her head and face), and, except by the tears which stole down her cheeks, she never betrayed any signs of murmur.
"She had thus spent this last Lent, with renewed fervour and patience, constantly praying, and even fasting, as her state was deemed so hopeless by her physicians, that they no longer thwarted her, or prescribed any thing with regard to regimen ; and they believed she could not exist much longer. This last week, however, which was Passion Week, she expressed by writing her desire to go and receive her Easter Communion at church. They naturally combated this idea, as a thing dangerous, and almost impossible to one in her dying state: but she replied, that If she must but die, it was all the same, and that it would be more respectful than to receive the holy communion at home.' She therefore entreated to be taken to the church of Notre Dame yesterday, being Easter-Sunday. She was accordingly carried there with a great deal of difficulty, and of suffering to herself; requiring the help of eight persons to carry her from her carriage to the foot of the altar. There, after a short time in recovering herself, and in praying, she deposited into the hands of M. le Curé her written confession; and soon after, the holy communion was administered to her.
"During this she had shewn great signs of uneasiness, looking with much apparent anxiety on the ground before her; upon which it was found out that she had almost imagined that the holy wafer had dropped ere it had reached her mouth: but the fact was, she was so paralyzed, that she was actually unconscious of having really received it. When the curé had calmed her fears, she resumed the most fervent attitude of prayer, in which she continued her thanksgiving, for a long time, not only in the church, but for above an hour after she had been carried home.-All of a sudden, her faithful old servant, who was always in waiting behind a screen in his mistress's drawing-room, heard her distinctly say, My God, I thank thee for
the great blessing with which thou hast this day visited me!'-The good old servant, astonished and overjoyed at hearing her speak, not having heard the sound of her voice for several months, ran to her, exclaiming, Oh, madam, you have spoken! I have spoken, my poor Philippe answered she in a doubting voice, not yet conscious she had recovered her speech. Madam, you speak again,' he resumed in a hurried voice. Then, indeed, perceiving that it was so, she threw herself on her knees with clasped hands, and getting up again as quickly, and without help, she made several paces up and down her room in great agitation of spirit and agony of joy.-Her friends and relatives were immediately called in, to witness this miraculous change; and in order to make it more public, she announced to them she would return the next day (Easter Monday) to Notre Dame, and there offer up her public thanksgiving.
"My husband and sister went there, and were witnesses of this most striking testimony of God's favour and mercy. They saw her descending from her carriage without assistance (even refusing that of a slight cane, which was offered her), and after having distinctly answered all the felicitations of her friends, and of the crowd around her at the door, she walked in with a firm step, and a serene look of pious gratitude and joy, to kneel at that same place, to which, only the day before, she had been carried by eight persons, entirely deprived of the power of speech and motion, and now miraculously restored to both.
"Such favours from above, you will own, my dear sister, are most touching and consoling to us, whilst they should, for the enemies of our Catholic religion, form striking and convincing proofs of its truth and sanctity: it is only in its bosom that such miracles are wrought; and thence they should conclude, that a God good and just can never sanction error by miracles. How then can we doubt that indeed he is verily present in the blessed sacrament of our altars, when he performs, (by the mere reception of it, and in favour of a person full of faith in this Catholic doctrine,) a miracle so sudden and merciful as this?
"God is with us '-then may the Catholic Christian exultingly exclaim; and, like the Israelites of old, he can also exultingly ask, Where are the nations whose God is nigh unto them as our God?'
"What a happiness and consolation it is for us, dear sister, that we are in that most holy and true religion! let us endeavour to become every day more worthy of belonging to it, and let us approach often with the same faith and fervour to our God, in this his holy sacrament, as our poor infirm friend has done; and there,
like her, we may obtain the remedy of all our spiritual, and even corporal'infirmities.
"We have often been told of miraculous cures thus operated by Heaven in favour of the holy sacrament; and those granted in a similar manner to the prayers of the pious Prince Hohenlohe recently, are numerous and well attested: but you can fancy how much more striking such things are, when done under our eyes, and publicly in the face of a whole town like this, to a person of our own acquaintance, whose cruel sufferings for sixteen years rendered her an object of just compassion to all her friends, and whose hopeless and grievous state lately caused us daily to expect her death."
We have not inserted this case of the Baroness D. as a single instance, for we might readily produce numerous others equally striking, and to the point. Nor are many of these cases less credibly attested than the cure of Miss Fancourt. We have in our hands at this moment, a pamphlet, published at Washington, entitled "Collection of Affidavits and Certificates relative to the wonderful Cure of Mrs. Ann Mattingly, which took place in the city of Washington, March 10, 1824." It was a cure most extraordinary-all but miraculous; and we have the certificates of more than thirty witnesses to it, including those of several physicians. Imposture is perfectly out of the question. The medium of excitement in this instance, as in that of the Baroness D., was confession, and a strong faith in the papal sacrifice of the mass. The priest, moreover, had for some time had a remarkable presentiment, "that this was a case reserved by the Almighty, for the manifestation of his extraordinary favours to his church." We will give the particulars in another Number, if our readers wish them, for the purpose of comparison. Mrs. Mattingly had laboured for several years under most dreadful and complicated disorders; yet at the very moment," when her pain and sickness were, if possible, greater than at any former time, and so intense as to threaten her immediate dissolution," she, to the astonishment of the spectators who were on their knees around her, was suddenly restored, and arose from her bed, exclaiming, "Lord Jesus, what have I done to deserve so great a favour ?" "I am perfectly well; entirely free from pain-no pain at all." Her own affidavit is given with the others; and the Catholic Archbishop of Baltimore permits the publication, "that it may prove to the faithful a motive and occasion of praising the infinite goodness and power of God, and of serving him with increased fervour and fidelity."
And to mention at present but one recent case more, out of many that we could collect, we have in our hands, while we are writing, a pastoral address to the Ca
tholic clergy and laity of the diocese of Dublin, by Dr. Murray, announcing "the miraculous cure of Mrs. Mary Stuart, a religieuse, aged twenty-six, of the convent of St. Joseph, Ranelagh, in that diocese, on the 1st of August, 1823. The facts and the cure are attested on the strongest medical and other testimony. Dr. Murray took great pains to investigate them on the spot; and is constrained to acknowledge with all his brethren, that the cure "is the effect of supernatural agency, an effect which we cannot contemplate without feeling in our utmost soul, an irresistible conviction that this is the finger of God." He does not, however, expect" that this new and splendid wonder of the Divine goodness will awe into silence the cavils of the sceptic;" for, says he," the miracles of our blessed Redeemer himself were contradicted, and the servant is not greater than his Lord; so that incredulity may seek to cast the veil of doubt over the glory which redounds to God, and his church, from the exercise of miraculous powers; but the true believer will find therein a copious subject of consolation." Now, if Dr. Murray should chance to see our pages, we assure him that we do not doubt the facts, but only the inferences. We believe the extraordinary cure of Miss Stuart, but do not think it miraculous, or any proof of the truth of the papal doctrines; just as we might believe the extraordinary cure of Miss Mary Campbell, without thinking it miraculous, or believing the strange doctrines which are convulsing the Church of Scotland. The friends of Miss Fancourt have acted with more Christian wisdom and reserve, alleging the facts, but building upon them no system. Should our readers wish to know Miss Stuart's case more fully we will insert it with Mrs. Mattingly's; but there would be no end of such cases. We, however, copy her own affidavit.
"Mary Stuart, of Ranelagh convent, in the county of Dublin, aged twenty-six years, or thereabouts, came before me, one of his Majesty's justices of the peace for the said county, and made oath on the Holy Evangelist, and saith, that in the month of January, 1819, she was attacked by typhus fever, as she was informed and believes, which continued up to the 10th day of March following, on the night of which day, and while this deponent was in a state of convalescence, the chapel of the convent having been consumed by an accidental fire, deponent was so alarmed, that she took refuge in an adjoining field, being long after midnight, and from the damp of the grass, as this deponent was informed and believes, she, this deponent, contracted the disease under which she has been languishing for more than four years That the principal symptoms of her complaint were stagnations at night,
which were repeated five or six times for the space of four hours, which produced a total suspension of all faculties, and sometimes occurred even when this deponent was perfectly awake: that there were very few weeks in the entire period of her illness, in which she was free from these attacks: that she had occasionally experienced a temporary suspension of the faculty of speech: that since the 6th day of January, 1823, the loss of speech occur. red whenever she was raised in the bed, in consequence of which, repeated blisterings and bleedings were resorted to, in order to obtain temporary relief: that on the 27th of June last, she, this deponent, lost all faculty of speech, which could not be restored by the most powerful remedies that were applied: that since the month of September, 1822, this deponent had been confined to her bed; and from January, 1823, up to the first day of August, 1823, she has been unable to turn in the bed without the assistance of two persons, and during her illness she had been repeatedly bled in the arms and temples, and leeches had been applied to the head, in one or two instances up the nose; and, so great was the tendency of blood to the head, that on one occasion the temporal artery burst, although it had not been opened for some weeks: that blisters, in a considerable number, were applied, and since the 6th day of January, 1820, this deponent had an issue on the top of the head, containing, as she was informed and believes, thirty peas, after which, two other issues were made in the nape of the neck, and one in her left arm, containing five kidney beans: that during the entire period of her illness she has taken no remedies but such as were ordered by the physicians: that she attributes her instantaneous recovery to the supernatural interference of the Divine Power, through the intercession of Prince Hohenlohe. This deponent saith, that having understood the prince had appointed the 1st day of August, instant, as a day on which all those who wished to apply to the Almighty for relief, should join him in prayer; she, this deponent, endeavoured to dispose herself to have supplications offered up for her; that having fulfilled the conditions generally prescribed by the prince, and prepared herself by a sacramental confesssion, (which she was only able to make by signs,) to receive the most adorable eucharist. The Rev. Mr. Meagher offered the Divine sacrifice of the mass in her chamber, at which her sister, Anne Stuart, and two other religueses of the said convent and the attendant of this deponent assisted. That this deponent was accompanied by her brother, the Rev. Mr. Stuart, during the devotions, previous to the mass; after which, as deponent was informed and believes, he went to offer up for her, mass, in the chapel of the
convent that this deponent could not receive the blessed eucharist but as a viaticum; and that when receiving it she could not project her tongue beyond the teeth that at the conclusion of the mass, this deponent continued in the same helpless state as herein-before described, and when addressed by her sister, the said Anne Stuart, as to how she felt, she, this deponent, was unable to give any signs of recovery that in perceiving no alteration in herself, she was mentally making an act of resignation to the Divine will, and invoking the holy name of Jesus,' when she suddenly perceived she had strength to utter some words, and immediately exclaimed, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts, the heavens and the earth are full of thy glory,' and then, without any assistance from any person, raised herself in the bed and knelt erect, and then prostrated herself to adore the goodness of God that, having immediately dressed herself, she walked down to the chapel to give public thanks to the Almighty that since that time she has not experienced the least symptoms of her late disease: that from the issues above described, she has experienced no inconvenience whatever, notwithstanding that no application for healing has been resorted to; and that said issues are now entirely healed."
We have already stated, that in speaking thus strongly upon the question of alleged modern miracles, we would not willingly pain the minds of those who have attached much religious importance to them, whether in England or Scotland, and who seriously think they betoken the finger of God, preternaturally displayed for the proof of certain doctrines or other important ends. But believing ourselves nothing of the kind, but only that they are the natural effect of that excitement which has of late sprung up in some quarters of what is called "the religious world," and which, unless timely checked by sober, solid Scripture truth threatens an inundation of every kind of error, heresy, and extravagance, as was the case in the days of Oliver Cromwell, the Fifth-monarchy men, the Munsterites; and which-to speak quite seriously, for it is a serious subjectif it does not spring in insanity, often leads to it, of both which we could relate many painful examples, it would be inexcusable in us if we did not honestly avow our opinion. It is almost in vain, however, to reason against a belief in prodigies where they are once firmly credited, for the idiosyncrasy which disposes the mind to admit them, usually prevents the belief being expelled by the force of mere reasoning. It is easier to a person thus predisposed, to believe a miracle, than either to admit a possible solution, or to keep the mind free from all inference whatever. If a man were persuaded as a solemn truth, that the magnet turning to the north is a miracle, reasoning could CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 347.
scarcely convince him to the contrary; unless we could actually make the physical cause visible to his senses, which we could no more do than we could shew how the brain influences the muscles, or the soul the brain. But surely in the present state of knowledge the mind of every well-informed person ought to be completely proof against every species of superstition, and more particularly where, from its claiming a connexion with something religious, it appeals to him under a disguise which he is afraid to investigate, lest he should be said to be irreverent, or should be taunted in the Morning Watch, or at a prophetic conference of millenarian expositors and believers in the alleged "Scotch miracles," as "sceptical," "neologian," "infidel," and we know not what. There is no scepticism, infidelity, or neologianism, in any man's not believing, in a matter of religion, any thing which he does not find in the revealed word of God. All uninspired declarations as to matters of doubtful unfulfilled prophecy, and all alleged modern miracles to prove points of doctrine, we view in the light of additions to that sacred canon which has been long ago closed, and is not to be added to with impunity. We are, therefore, not to be deterred from the fullest expression of our opinion on this serious subject, by being told, “If you do not believe Miss Mary Campbell's case to be miraculous, you must reject the miracles of Scripture, and turn sceptic or neologian at once.' Our only reply is, that we do believe the one and do not the other; and that we see
no connexion between them.
We recommend to our readers, a letter to Mr. Erskine, by the Rev. E. Craig, in reference to the Scottish "west-country miracles." Mr. Craig has urged much to discredit the alleged facts of those miracles; particularly with regard to the absurd and fanatical pretence of the new gift of tongues, which, if not imposture, is most pitiable credulity. In regard to facts, said to be better established, he asks, "Is there any thing so satisfactory, so convincing, and so overwhelming in point of force in the improved health of a nervous lady (he alludes to Miss M. Campbell), whose bodily ailments have been throughout somewhat recondite and misconceivable, that it should be regarded as a miracle?" We think not; and, whether in England or Scotland, protest against the conclusion. Instances innumerable might be produced of nervous nuns shut up in convents, who lived on miracles till they ceased to be surprised at them, and spoke of them as familiarly as Mr. Erskine does of the alleged new gift of tongues and healing the sick. A mind that follows such vagaries is in an unhealthy state; and if this particular vagary were supplanted, some new one would probably spring up in its place. The great point is to guard against the mental disease, and Ꮞ Ꮓ