Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Early Friends' Experiences of the Light, Part 2

This is a continuation of a previous post.

Healing may have played a bigger role among early Friends than we know. There was once a text by George Fox called the Book of Miracles, of which we now have only an outline, and details pieced together by Henry Cadbury. In this book, Fox recorded over 150 incidents of people being healed, although much of what we have of this book looks like this:

And there was a man ... tailor ... bed-ridden ... And Daniel Baker
who went ... crutches ... never wore them afterward.

From the small amount of information available in the outline, Henry Cadbury was able to find other sources containing the same information. For example, the following account came from a Fox manuscript referred to as the Trickett manuscript:

His mother had a dead palsy [and had little use of one side and she often did fall down and then could not help herself, and had been so many years. And George Fox came to see her, and at night she fell down, and he was moved to take her by the hand, and it immediately left her, and she arose and could] go about her business.

There are other accounts of George Fox healing people:

George Fox says, in 1653 he was at a meeting where Richard Myer was, who had been long lame of one of his arms. “I was moved of the Lord to say unto him amongst all the people, ‘Stand up upon thy legs,’ for he was sitting down; and he stood up, and stretched out his arm that had been lame a long time and said, ‘Be it known unto you, all people, that this day am I healed!’ He soon after came to Swarthmore meeting, and then declared how the Lord had healed him.”

In 1675 as he was travelling north to Swarthmore from London, at Cassel “A woman brought her daughter for me to see how well she was; putting me in mind, that when I was there before, she had brought her to me much troubled with the king’s evil [scrofula], and had then desired me to pray for her. Which I did, and she mended upon it. Praised be the Lord”

Other Friends participated in these healings as well. Fox relates an encounter with Nathaniel Batts in which he acknowledges that Friends had healed a woman:

He asked me about a woman in Cumberland, who, he said, he was told, had been healed by our prayers and laying on of hands, after she had been long sick, and given over by the physicians: he desired to know the certainty of it. I told him, we did not glory in such things, but many such things had been done by the power of Christ.

If you are interested in healing, Richard Lee is giving a workshop on it at the FGC Gathering again this year, and hopefully there will be a daily Meeting for Healing in the afternoon. These meetings for healing at the FGC Gathering are very intense and deep, I highly recommend them. If I was going to the Gathering this year, the meetings for healing would be the thing I would look forward to the most.

Continued in Part 3

1 comment:

  1. hi forrest,
    I just posted part 4 of the experiences and it contains a quote from William Sewel's history of Friends that talks about how quaking was not considered essential:
    "yet they themselves never asserted that trembling of the body was an essential part of their religion, but have occasionally said the contrary; though they did not deny themselves to be such as trembled before God; and they also did not stick to say, that all people ought to do so, however thereby not enjoining a bodily shaking."

    I think there are a number of aspects of the Light that we tend not to be open to, and are definitely in "head space". That's part of the reason I am doing this workshop next weekend - I want to talk about the experience and not the history or the doctrines.
    Not that those things aren't important, but that they flow from the experience.

    With love,