Excerpt from “Other Faith Cures” published by Dr. Charles Cullis in 1885. The following account of a most singular cure, the truth of which is so well attested as to put it beyond a doubt, is copied from an old London magazine of the year 1788. God in all ages hath not left himself without a testimony of his eternal power and Godhead, as will appear in the following narrative.
A church at Tiverton, in the West, being congregated together, and having one among them whom they designed for their pastor, a letter was sent by the consent or order of them, to a church in Colchester for the dismission of a member their intended pastor; and likewise a clause in the letter for directions in the ordination, whether it was judged necessary to lay on hands. The aforesaid church in Colchester having their pastor absent, I was desired to answer the aforesaid letter, and when I came to answer that point as to ordination, I wrote as follows, “Laying on of hands being an insignificant thing, only to denote the person ordained, it having no power to convey any ministerial gifts to the person so ordained, we rather judge it to be a primitive ceremony, such as the anointing of the sick, and the washing of the feet, which ceased with the lives of the Apostles, and with the extraordinary gifts of healing.”
This letter, thus written, was brought to the church for approbation, and to be subscribed by them; but some rejected it, and replied that they believed anointing with oil, and also laying on of hands, were ordinances in the church, and ought still to be preached; which I opposed and quoted the authors I had read against it; but to no purpose, for the letter they would not sign, and another was written according to their own minds.
From that time I was left in great darkness of soul, so that I oftentimes questioned my interest in Christ Jesus, and I kept many days of fasting and prayer for the return of the light of God’s countenance; and thus I continued for the space of two months, till at length, being at St. Edmund’s Bury, in Suffolk, towards the latter end of December, I was desired to pray with a gentleman and woman who had been long afflicted and whilst I was at prayer, I was much in the dark and thought I had more need to pray for myself than others, which I did in these words “Why hast Thou left me, O Lord, why hast Thou hid Thy face from me ? Return, return, O Lord, and lift up the light of Thy countenance upon me.” To which request I was immediately answered by thought off mind, that I had denied his ordinances, viz., anointing, and laying on of hands. I replied again in my own soul “Lord, if I did know they were ordinances, I would not willingly deny them, nor no other.”
So then I was convinced that the ordinance of laying on of hands and anointing with oil were continued in the church; and if I practiced them the Lord would own them. I then, upon this resolve of mind, had my desires granted, for the Lord did lift up the light of His countenance upon me, and my prayer was turned into praises; and when I had concluded my prayer the gentlewoman being lame of a dead palsy on one side. I said to her “Mistress, I believe if you were anointed in the name of the Lord, that your limbs would be restored for I am convinced most strangely, of that which I opposed not long since, with the greatest vigor.” She told me she could not submit to it, neither did she believe it. I used some arguments with her, but to no purpose.
So that day I returned to Colchester, and going to one, Mrs. Mary Munnings, a widow who kept a milliner’s shop near the market, I told her how I had been convinced of the ordinance of anointing with oil and further told her, I firmly did believe that God would own his own ordinances. She was much surprised, knowing how vigorously I had opposed it, but a short time before; and supposing it to be a fancy, she asked, whether I had any faith in the application of it to her daughter, who was a cripple, as will plainly appear by this narrative. I told her yes, I had, and asked her whether she believed it to be an ordinance? She said, she did. Then I looked into the room where her aforesaid daughter sat, and said, “Child ! do you believe that the Lord can make you whole ?” She replied, ‘”The Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, neither is His ear heavy that He cannot hear.” “Well,” I replied, ”if you believe His ability, I believe His willingness. Then her mother asked me whether I would please to administer the ordinance to her ? I told her I would, but this being the last day of the week, I could not now, because of my study. So I left them, and on the second day of the next week, being to expound, after my wonted custom, the aforesaid Mrs. Munnings, being there, she thought it the most proper time to administer the ordinance to her daughter, while I was affected with the Spirit and grace of God. According to her request, I went with her to her house; and she sent her maid for a pennyworth of oil, and told me she hoped I would be as good as my word, to anoint her daughter. I told her a bad promise was better broken than kept, but if I could find a warrant in the Word of God I would. Calling for a Bible, I desired not to be interrupted, and searched from one end to the other for the space of three hours, from nine to twelve, in which time I had collected most places of Scripture, both for the ordinance, and for the encouragement of faith, as James v: 14, Mark vi:13, Mark xi :24, which last I called a seal to my commission.
Having done I closed up the Bible, and said to the mother and to the other sister present “I have not only found a commission, but a seal thereto” So I addressed myself to the ordinance in the manner following: First I went to prayers, that would raise our faith in the ordinance, and that also we might lay hold on the promise; then I set apart the oil from common to special use, by prayer. Then I anointed her in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, on the place grieved, three times, according to the number of the persons of the Trinity; but note, when I came to anoint her ankle, I was astonished, for her lameness was in manner following: her hip-bone was sprung up under her arm; her leg was crooked and her ankle sprung out of its place, so that on the inside none was to be seen, her left foot in the form of a stump, beside her other bodily infirmities for the want of her limbs. Her mother saith she knows not whether she was born so or not, for she just perceived it when she was in her leading-strings, and she being nigh sixteen years of age, many did her mother make use of for help but to no purpose, she still growing: worse and worse. At length she made an application to an eminent surgeon, who told her he would not take her money, for no man in the world could help her, nor reduce the bones into their proper places, the sinews being shrunk and gathered under her ham as big as a man’s hand, and the whole side so weak that she could not carry a four-pound weight on that side.” When I saw her leg so deformed, for I never saw it before, my countenance fell, and I said within myself “Sure, I am worse than a madman, — can crooked bones be made straight?” and with that such a trembling seized me that I could not stay my hand (but with the help of the other) to anoint her, and while I was in the confusion this text dropped into my mind, “Though you believe not yet he abides faithful and cannot deny Himself.”
So, as soon as I had anointed her, I fell on my knees, as it were in agony, and said these words: ”Lord, I have done my part, I have gone to the outside of my commission; Lord, I leave the work in Thy hands to be accomplished !” And while I was thus saying, I fell as it were into an ecstasy, and behold as it were the heavens open, and Christ at the Father’s right hand presenting a petition. Then I cried out “Lord that is our petition, and we wait for an answer.” The mother and sister wondered at the expression; but as soon as I had so said, I had these words brought to me, “Be it unto you according to your faith.” I replied, “I believe she shall be made whole.” And then I had this reply, “I will – she shall be made whole.” Then, before I came off my knees I praised God for making her whole; and when I had concluded, I got up and walked some turns round the room; and then sat down, and fixing my eyes upon her, said: “Child, the Lord hath made thee whole.” Her mother replied, “Sir, what, do you mean to say so before you know?” I replied, “Unbelief stand by! Child, the Lord hath made thee whole.” Her mother replied as before; at which I replied the third time, with greater earnestness than before, “Child, the Lord hath made thee whole.” Then she got up, and said, “What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits! For while you pronounced me whole the second time, my bones snapped without the least pain, and are come into their places.” And to our astonishment we beheld her straight and whole, and a full hand’s breadth taller than before. So she put forth her foot, showed us her ankle, and all was well; her bodily infirmities also removed, and her soul, with ours, filled with the loving kindness of the Lord, so that we knew not how to contain ourselves.
“Come,” said I to her mother and sister, “let us sing the praises of the Lord.” “No,” said her mother, “the neighbors will hear us. It being but three o’clock last New Year’s day, in the morning.” I replied “If we hold our peace, the stones in the street will cry against us.” So we sung extempore and concluded the morning with blessing and praising God. In the morning her mother said, “Go, see whether your brother does not cry.” She went upstairs and fetched him down, he being a lusty child near five years old. So the day following, when some members of the church were called together, was spent in praising God.
Signed at our church meeting; We whose names are after written (members of the same society) do attest to the truth hereof, and know of no other means that have been used, but that God hath showed his great power herein — Thomas Power, Nathaniel Hicks. John Blackfill, Thomas Pettly, Daniel Hart, Robert, Harris, Benjamin Smith, William Rawlings, John Maxey, Samuel Todd, John Browne, Joseph Ellingsford, Francis Howard, Philip Stowars, Jeremiah Baxter.” The above narrative is signed and sworn to by a great number more, among whom is a surgeon who had examined and attended the girl.