Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/541

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
521
"SPIRIT" WRITING.

dinary power of voice, enough to appall the heart of the most stout-hearted." Of its subjective side we have a vivid description from the pen of Robert Baxter, who was for a while one of Irving's leading prophets, but afterward, finding that the prophecies which his mouth uttered did not come true, he ascribed them to "lying spirits." He thus describes his own original experience:

"After one or two brethren had read and prayed, Mr. T—— was made to speak two or three words very distinctly and with an energy and depth of tone which seemed to me extraordinary, and fell upon me as a supernatural utterance which I ascribed to the power of God. The words were in a tongue I did not understand. In a few minutes Miss E. C—— broke out in an utterance

in English which, as to matter and manner and the influence it had upon me, I at once bowed to as the utterance of the Spirit of God. Those who have heard the powerful and commanding utterance need no description; but they who have not, may conceive what an unnatural and unaccustomed tone of voice, an intense and riveting power of expression, with the declaration of a cutting rebuke to all who were present, and applicable to my own state of mind in particular, would effect upon me and upon others who were come together expecting to hear the voice of the Spirit of God. In the midst of the feeling of awe and reverence which this produced I was myself seized upon by the power, and in much struggling against it was made to cry out and myself to give forth a confession of my own sin in the matter for which we were rebuked. . . . I was overwhelmed by this occurrence. . . . There was in me at the time of the utterance very great excitement, and yet I was distinctly conscious of a power acting upon me beyond the mere power of excitement. So distinct was the power from the excitement that in all my trouble and doubt about it I never could attribute the whole to excitement. . . . In the utterances of the power which subsequently occurred many were accompanied by the flashing in of conviction upon my mind, like lightning rooting itself in the earth; while other utterances, not being so accompanied, only acted in the way of an authoritative communication." At another time he was reading the Bible. "As I read, the power came upon me and I was made to read in the power, my voice raised far beyond its natural pitch, and with constrained repetition of parts and with the same inward uplifting which at the presence of the power I had always before experienced."

So far as I know, there exists no written record of the "tongues" spoken by the Irvingites, but the few specimens of their "prophecies" which I have seen present identically the same characteristics as those found in Mr. Le Baron's utterances