THE RELIGIOUS WORLD
[By lan Maclaren.]
In the ' Sunday Magazine' for August the series classed under ' The Prayer Telephone' is continued by the.R»v. John Watson, M.A., D.D. His title of ' Christian Telepathy' is also his theory' of explanation. His first story is of an aged minister with whom be had served as colleague, and who was taken dangerously ill:
It was a great relief to learn, towards the end of a week, that the sickness had abated, and when on Sunday morning a letter came with strong and final assurance of recovery the strain was quite relaxed, and I did my duty at morning service with a light heart. During the afternoon my satisfaction began to fail, and I grew uneasy till, by evening service, the letter of the morning counted for nothing. After returning home my mind wa? torn with anxiety, and became most miserable, fearing that this good man was still in danger, and he might be near unto death. Gradually the conviction deepened and took hold of me that he was dying, and that I should never fee him again, till at last it was laid on mc that, if I hoped to receive his blessing, I must make haste, and by-and-bye that I had better go at once. It did not soem as if I hid now any choice, and I certainly'had no longer any doubt; so, having written to break two engagements for Monday, I left at midnight for Glasgow. . . . On arrival I drove rapidly to the well-known house, and was in no way astonished that the servant who opened the door should be weeping bitterly, for the fact that word had come from that very house that all was going well did not now weigh one grain against my own inward knowledge. " He had a relapse yesterday afternoon, and he is . . . dying now." No one in the room seemed surprised that I should have come, although they had not sent for me; and I held my reverend father's hand till he fell asleep in about twenty minutes. He was beyond speech when I came, but, as we believed, recognised me and was content. My night's journey was a pious act, for which I thanked God, and my absolute conviction is that I was guided to its performance by a spiritual influence. " lAN " AS AUTOMATIC WRITER ! Who shall say there is anything uncanny in automatic writing when something so like it as this is confessed to by one who combines the several functions of Doctor of Divinity, popular preacher, and religious romancer ?
Some years ago I was at work one forenoon in my study, and very busy, when my mind became distracted, and I could not think out my sermon. Some short time before a brother minister, whom I knew well and greatly respected, had suffered from dissension in his congregation, and had received our sincere sympathy. He had not, however, been in my mind that day, but now I found myself unable to think of anything else. My imagination began to work in the case till I seemed in the midst of the circumstances, as if I were the sufferer. Very soon a suggestion arose and grew into a commandment, that I should offer to take a day's duty for my brother. At this point I pulled myself together, and resisted what seemed a vagrant notion. So one turned to his manuscript to complete a broken sentence, but could only write "Dear A. B." Nothing remained but to submit to this mysterious dictation, and compose a letter as best one could, till the question of date arose. There I paused and waited, when an exact day came up before my mind, and so I concluded the letter. It was, however, too absurd to send ; and so, having rid myself of this irrelevancy, I threw the letter into the fire and set to work again ; but all day I was haunted by the idea that my brother needed my help. In the evening a letter came from him, written that very forenoon, explaining that it would be a great service to him and his people if I could preach some Sunday soon in his church, and that, owing to certain circumstances, the service could be doubled if I could come on such and such a day—and it was my date ! My course was perfectly plain, and I at once accepted his invitation under a distinct sense of a special call, and my only regret was that I had not posted my letter first.
Dr Watson tcl's of another instance in which lie was moved by a sudden impulse to aall ou a family in a certain street. He found the family had removed to another house, the number of which he could not ascertain, After several inquiries he give up the quest, somewhat ashamed of the time he had wasted on it:— Next morning the head of that household I had yesterday sought in vain came into my study with such evident sorrow on his face that one hastened to meet him with anxious inquiries. "Yes, we are in great trouble ; yesterday our little one (a young baby) took very ill, and died in the afternoon. My wife was utterly overcome by the shock, and we would have sent for you at the time, but had no messenger. I wish you had been there—if vou had only known!'' " And the time ?''
" About half-past three." So I had known, but had been too impntiont. After other kindred reminiscences, Dr Watson adds :
Nor do I remember any case where, being inwardly moved to go after this fashion, it appeared in the end that I had been befooled.
He offers three inferences i
(1) That people may live in an atmosphere of sympathy which, will be a communicating medium. The correspondence here is between heart and heart, and the medium through which the message passes is love. (2) That this love is but another name for Christ, who is the head of the body; and here one falls back on St. Paul's profound and illuminating illustration. It is Christ who unites the whole race, and especially all Christian folk, by His Incarnation. Into Him are gathered all the fears, sorrows, pains, troubles of ench member, so that he feels with all, and from Him Hows the same feeling to other members of the body. (3) That in proportion as one abides in Christ he will be in touch with his brethren. If it seems to one marvellous and almost incredible that any person should be affected by another's sorrow whom he does not at the moment see, is it not marvellous, although quite credible, that we are so often indifferent to sorrow which we do see'? Is it not the case that one of a delicate soul will detect ?
During the debate in the Victorian Anglican Assembly on the honor about to be conferred on the Primate of Australia, who is to be Bhortly raised to the dignity of an archbishop, it was stated that the Lambeth Conference had decided that the existence of three dioceses in a colony creats the status necessary for the formation of an arch: bishopric. The Dean of Melbourne mentioned that an archbishopric of Brisbane may shortly be looked for, and that when the third diocese is constituted in Victoria the Bishop of Melbourne will become an arohbiahop. A non-celibacy movement is at present in progress among the Roman Catholic priests of Poland.
The Rev. A. C. Yorke has been appointed rector of Foulmire, Royston (England.)
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Evening Star, Evening Star, Issue 10446, 16 October 1897
THE RELIGIOUS WORLD Evening Star, Issue 10446, 16 October 1897
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