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Full text of "The Gospel of the Holy Spirit [microform]"

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be University of Cbica^o 
Klibrarics 




The Prophetic Consciousness 



BIBLICAL STUDIES. 



A series of Monographs on problems of Biblical 
theology and exegesis. 

THE EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL TO THE 
COLOSSIANS. 

Four Lectures by the Rev. MAURICE JONES, D.D. Cloth 
boards, 5s. 

"A thoroughly adequate study of the Epistle . . . decidedly 
suggestive as well as new." 

THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS. 
A Study. By W. J. Fox ELL, M. A. Cloth boards, 6s. 6d. 

The Expository Times says : " An able and thorough study." 

THREE LECTURES ON THE EPISTLE TO 

THE EPHESIANS. 
By H. L. GOUDGE, D.D. Cloth boards, 3s. 6d. 
The Month says : " Sound and stimulating." 

THE FIRST EASTER MORNING. 

By the Rev. N. P. WILLIAMS. Paper cover, 2s. 6d. 

Cloth boards, 3s. 6d. 

The Church Family Newspaper says : " A successful attempt to 
demonstrate the accuracy of the records . . . deserves earnest atten- 
tion on the part of New Testament students." 

MOSES: THE FOUNDER OF PREVENTIVE 
MEDICINE. 

By PERCIVAL WOOD, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P. Cloth boards, 4s. 
The Medical Times says : " The case is convincingly stated." 

THE TESTIMONY OF JOSEPH US TO JESUS 
CHRIST. 

By WILLIAM EMERY BARNES, D.D. Paper cover, 4d. 

UTOPIA ACCORDING TO MOSES. 

By M. D. R. WILLINK. Cloth boards, 5s. 
A study of the Hebrew law in the light of modern social problems. 

S.P.C.K., 
NORTHUMBBRLAND AVENUE, LONDON, W.C. 2. 



BIBLICAL STUDIES 






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BY 



M. D. R. WILLINK, S.Tn. 



LONDON 

SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING 
CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE 

NEW YORK AND TORONTO I THE MACMIt/LAN CO. 
1924 






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CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

INTRODUCTION ix 

I. THE PROBLEM i 

II. SOME SOURCES OF EVIDENCE . . .10 

III. THE FRINGE OF PROPHECY ... 20 

IV. FRINGE OF REVELATION .... 27 
V. THE CALL TO THE PROPHETIC OFFICE . 43 

VI. THE PROPHETIC VISION .... 60 

VII. PREDICTION AND INSIGHT ... 78 

VIII. THE THIRD DEGREE OF VISION ... 87 

IX. ILLUSTRATIONS OF SOME INCIDENTS . . 97 

X. SOME CONSIDERATIONS . . . .no 



LIST OF AUTHORITIES 
QUOTED AND ABBREVIATIONS 

Archbishops' Report on the Evangelistic Work of the Church. 
S.P.C.K. 

A. M. F. At the Master's Feet. Sundar Singh. Christian Lit. Soc. 
of India, 1922. 

Barnes. Spiritualism and the Christian Faith. Student Movement. 
Bunyan. Grace Abounding. R.T.S. 

C. L. F. T. Christian Life, Faith and Thought, being the first part 
of the Book of Christian Discipline of the Religious Society of 
Friends. Friends' Bookshop, 1922. 

C. of S. History of St. Catherine of Siena and her Companions. 
Drane. Longmans, 1899. 

Cloud. The Cloud of Unknowing. Ed. Underbill. Watkins, 1912. 
Classics of the Soul's Quest. Welsh. 

Curteis. Dissent in its Relation to the Church of England. Mac- 
millan, 1872. 

Finney. Life of Charles G. Finney. Autobiography. Salvation 
Army. 

Fox. Fox's Journal (abridged). L. Parker. Salvation Army. 

Grellet. Stephen Grellet, abridged by William Guest. Headley, 
1903. 

H. T. Hudson Taylor in Early Years. Dr. and Mrs. Howard 
Taylor. Morgan and Scott. 

Holmes. The Presence of God. S.P.C.K., 1923. 
Hudson. Psychic Phenomena. 

Julian, Julian of Norwich. Revelations of Divine Love. Warrack. 
Julian of Norwich. Comfortable Words for Christ's Lovers. 
Harford. Allenson. 

Kerin. The Living Touch. Dorothy Kerin. Bell, 1915. 

Mysticism. Evelyn Underbill. Macmillan. 

Nor Scrip. Amy Wilson Carmichael. Marshall Bros., 1921. 

Pall. Lausiac History of Palladius. Lowther Clarke. S.P.C.K., 
1918. 

vii 



viii LIST OF AUTHORITIES 

P. and R. The Prophet and Religion. Skinner, 1922. 

Rel. Con. The Religious Consciousness. Pratt. Macmillan, 1921 

Life of Lord Radstock. Mrs. Trotter. 

Sadhu. The Sadhu, Streeter and Appasamy. Maemillan, 1921. 

Suso. The Life of Blessed Henry Suso. F. T. Knox. Methuen, 1913. 

Thouless. Religious Psychology. Thouless. 

1000 Miles. A Thousand Miles of Miracle in China. A. E. Glover. 
Holness. 

T. L. Life of St. Theresa, by herself. Ed. Zimmerman. Baker, 
5th edition, 1916. 

Int. Cas. The Interior Castle. St. Theresa. Ed. Zimmerman, 
Baker, 2nd edition, 1912. 

Foundations. St. Theresa, the History of her Foundations. 
Trans. Mother Agnes Mason. C.U.P., 1909. 

Tauler. Life of Tauler. Winkworth. 

Var. James's Varieties of Religious Experience, i vol. edition. 
W. Journal of John Woolman. Small edition. Swarthmore Press. 
Three Friends of God. Mrs. Bevan. 



INTRODUCTION 

IT is now a good many years ago since, having to 
teach the Old Testament to some fairly advanced 
students, I was struck by the similarity between the 
descriptions of her experiences given by St. Theresa and 
some of the phenomena recorded by the prophets in 
connection with their reception of God's message. It 
seemed to me more profitable, in trying to form a 
theory of inspiration, to seek out facts as to how God 
had worked rather than to accept the statements of 
authorities, however much respected, as to how He 
ought to have worked, or how with our present-day 
outlook might be believed to have worked, in making 
His way known to men. 

The following pages contain some of the examples 
collected, purposely chosen from sources varying both 
in date and religious outlook ; and, while I am not so 
daring as to formulate a theory of inspiration of my own, 
it seems to me that it is only on a basis of some such 
comparison of actual occurrences that a satisfactory 
theory can be built up which will take into account the 
facts of spiritual experience. 

Two fruitful sources have not been drawn upon here : 
James's Varieties of Religious Experience, because I 
prefer as far as possible to see my illustrations in their 



x INTRODUCTION 

contexts ; and the "To His Praise "column in the Life 
of Faith, because the contributions to that, being 
anonymous, do not easily admit of being verified. 

Practically nothing has been said about the dates and 
authorship of the Old Testament documents, because 
these do not really come into the question. The only 
point at issue here is that certain men are said to have 
had certain experiences which are described in certain 
ways. Have we any reliable evidence of similar ex- 
periences more completely described by other writers 
from which we can check their statements ? 



The Prophetic Consciousness 



CHAPTER I 
THE PROBLEM 

r I ^HE problem before us can hardly be better set out 

1 than by quoting Jeremiah 28. 

The scene is in one way modern enough. Two 
religious leaders confront each other at an open-air 
political meeting in the courts of the Temple. It is 
their phraseology, and the conception of politics 
on which it is based, that seem so foreign to our 
ideas. 

It was a few years after the carrying away of the pick 
of the nation to Babylon, and one of the speakers, 
Jeremiah; the son of Hilkiah, wore on his neck a wooden 
yoke, signifying that the remainder of the people must 
submit to the yoke of the conqueror. The other 
Hananiah, the son of Azzur declared with a fine 
flourish : " Thus speaketh the LORD of Hosts, the God 
of Israel, saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of 
Babylon. Within two full years will I bring again into 
this place . . ."all that had been carried away king, 
spoil and prisoners. Jeremiah replied: "Amen; the 
LORD do so : the LORD perform thy words which thou 
hast prophesied. . . . The prophet which prophesieth 
of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to 



2 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

pass, then shall the prophet be known that the LORD 
hath truly sent him." 

For answer Hananiah took the yoke from Jeremiah's 
neck and broke it, repeating his prediction. Jeremiah 
went away in silence. 

" Then the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah 
saying, ' Go, and tell Hananiah, saying, Thus saith the 
LORD : Thou hast broken the bars of wood ; but thou 
shalt make in their stead bars of iron.' " Jeremiah 
returned with his message, adding " Hear now, 
Hananiah ; the LORD hath not sent thee ; but thou 
makest this people to trust in a lie. Therefore thus 
saith the LORD, ' Behold I will send thee away from off 
the face of the earth ; this year thou shalt die, because 
thou hast spoken rebellion against the LORD.' So 
Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh 
month." 

It all sounds extraordinarily unlike a present-day 
scene, and yet, stripped of its old-world dress, it is 
extraordinarily modern. 

There is the great open-air meeting addressed by 
two religious leaders, one of whom declares the state of 
society too hopelessly rotten for God to deliver it from 
its rightful punishment ; the other, with what doubt- 
less appeared to his audience who were no more 
dissatisfied with themselves than most people are to 
be splendid and patriotic faith, declared that they 
had only to believe and God would work a great 
deliverance. 

What is foreign to our ideas is that both men claimed 
to have received their political message from God 
Himself. Both introduce their speeches with " Thus 
saith the LORD," and the audience accept it as the 
natural claim of the man they call a " prophet." Again 



THE PROBLEM 3 

in chapter 36, 16, Jeremiah has been publishing a series 
of his addresses, by the only method then open to him, 
that of having them publicly read, and it is thought a 
political event of sufficient importance to be brought in 
all seriousness to the king. 

The prophet was held to have as definite a right to 
speak with authority on political or social questions as 
a Minister of State,. and throughout the history of the 
nation, as long as it had any policy to direct, we find 
prophets speaking not only as reformers, but as the 
representatives of a Great Power with the ability to 
enforce its commands in a small dependency. 

Nowadays we are accustomed to hear men appeal to 
" Christian principles " in matters of policy, but these 
men claimed to have direct revelations from God on the 
special points at issue. The assumption is that " The 
LORD your God is your King," and at every crisis He 
sends a messenger with His directions to His viceroy. 

We are told that at first the nation was ruled by 
prophets under direct Divine guidance like Moses or 
Samuel. Samuel acts as king-maker, and still expects 
to guide the policy of the king. Saul is dethroned for 
asserting his independence. Later we find David has 
at court a series of " seers," Abiathar, Gad, Nathan, 
two of whom tell him very unpalatable home-truths. 
Later, again, Ahijah announces the division of the king- 
dom, and appoints the new king. * Shemaiah forbids the 
resulting war. 2 The "disobedient prophet "beards Jero- 
boam at the altar of his new sanctuary. 3 Elijah does the 
like to Ahab, not once nor twice. Elisha changes the 
succession. 4 The prophets freely ad vise or criticise. 5 In 
later years their freedom of speech was liable to be 

1 i Kings li, 29-30. 2 i Kings 12, 22-24. 

3 i Kings 13. * 2 Kings 9. 

6 i Kings 20, passim; 21, 1-7 ; 2 Kings 22, 14-20; 



4 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

resented, 1 but it made no difference. They looked 
upon themselves as watchmen with a responsibility to 
God and man. 

These men claimed not only to speak God's views 
upon the immediate political questions of their own 
nation, in which we see that the event generally proved 
them right, but on moral and social matters too, and 
though they spoke to a small semi-barbarous people, we 
are only now beginning to realise how true their teach- 
ing was on what does or does not make for national 
health. And these pronouncements were not made in 
the safe pages of a book, but the prophet confronted 
the high-placed evil-doer in person with his "Thus 
saith the LORD." 

On the same authority they claimed to foretell the 
line of God's purpose not only for the individual before 
them 2 but for the world. In Isaiah 3 the prophet 
in the name of his God throws down the gauntlet 
to the gods of the nations, challenging them to fore- 
tell the future which He has planned and will bring 
to pass. 

We find in fact from Genesis to Revelation the 
assumption that there is a chain of men to whom God 
has directly made known His will. There are often 
conflicting claims to be His mouth-piece of which 
more later but the writings which have come to us 
making that claim do contain what is recognised as 
some of the highest moral and spiritual teaching we 
possess, that on which our present-day morality is based. 
These writings are recognised by the Church as " in- 
spired." But the manner of the inspiration is a matter 
very much in dispute. How was the message received, 

1 i Kings 22, 26-28 ; Jeremiah, passim. 

8 i Kings 1 6, i -jo. 8 Isaiah 40, 22-27 ; 46, 9-13. 



THE PROBLEM 5 

ind what authority had the prophet for believing that 
he received it direct from God ? 

It is the object of this essay to bring forward certain 
evidence which may illustrate the question. 

There have been a good many different ways of look- 
ing at the question of inspiration. Not so very long 
ago, it was generally believed that the prophet was 
" a man in the Bible," and therefore quite unlike any 
man anywhere else, and Biblical inspiration was little 
more than writing at the dictation of the Holy Spirit 
what a man himself might or might not understand. 
This was in fact a continuation of the Montanist saying, 
" I am the lyre and the Spirit is the plectrum." That 
position is not yet wholly abandoned. 

Then a reaction set in, and it was said that the 
prophet was a fairly ordinary man of great spiritual 
insight and poetical power which he used with 
sanctified common sense, but he never literally 
heard the voice of God. It was only his way of 
expressing himself. People do not hear in that 
way. 

Next came the Spiritualists, making claim to powers 
of communication with the spiritual world, but these 
powers are for the most part exercised unconsciously by 
the medium in trance, or by automatic writings, and 
have been so exercised for thousands of years ; many 
of their writings, too, are of a highly didactic though 
not always very original character. They claim that 
man can hear supernatural voices. 

But beside the Spiritualists arose the Psychologists, 
and to every claim made by seer or medium they 
opposed the mysterious words " suggestion " or " sub- 
consciousness." 
These worcls open up very large questions, but for the 



6 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

present purpose it is enough to notice three fnain points. 
The theory of suggestion teaches that : 

(i) In certain circumstances I can make myself 
believe what I like. 

(ii) In certain circumstances I can make you 
believe what I like, either by direct action or by tele- 
pathy, my thoughts filtering into your mind without 
either of us knowing it. 

(iii) If enough of us believe something; if "every- 
body does it " or " they say so," we suggest ideas to 
each other and make each other believe them, and it is 
sometimes very hard to recognise that there is no real 
authority for the thing said or done. 

" That," says the objector, " is what happens to 
your medium or to your prophet . It is considered to be 
the right thing for him to hear or see in a certain way ; 
he expects it, other people expect it, so he does hear 
and see things, but they are all bred in his own brain." 

Now that sort of reasoning would quite account for 
Hananiah. He had in the great historical deliverance 
under Isaiah a certain ground for his teaching. He 
very much wanted it to be true ; so did his audience. 
It was exactly their idea of what a God ought to do 
for His people, and Hananiah may honestly have 
persuaded himself that God had told him He 
would so do. 

But does it account for Jeremiah ? He did not want 
to speak, nor others to hear, his message. Or does it 
account for all the other facts ? for there are other 
facts to be taken into consideration which will be 
brought forward in due course. All mills may work on 
much the same principle, but the corn they grind comes 
from very various places. 



THE PROBLEM 7 

As to the subconsciousness, or unconscious mind 
being the source of prophetic messages, while Hudson 
in his Psychic Phenomena some years ago was 
prepared to allow that the "subjective mind" was 
more idealistic than the objective, the present-day 
schools seem to teach that it is considerably less so 
that it is in fact a hiding-place for what we do not want 
to have in our conscious minds. Professor Pratt 
speaks of dissociated personalities, suggesting that the 
" presence of a dissociated complex is sufficient to 
explain a vision," or again, he refers it to the "subcon- 
scious mechanism." " The prophet ponders long over 
the condition of his people, the will of God, and the 
problem of his own duty. Then some day suddenly 
the sought-for solution rushes into his mind he finds a 
message ready-made upon his tongue, and it is almost 
inevitable that he should preface it with the words : 
' Thus hath Yahweh showed me ' ! J>1 

But as Prof. Pratt elsewhere points cut, 2 our being 
able to describe a mental process does not prove that the 
matter with which it is concerned is not real. " May it 
then perhaps be that the mystics are the seers of our 
world, and that whenever they open the eyes of their 
souls, the Eternal Light pours in." I may analyse the 
mental processes by which I choose a particular tram, 
but my catching a perfectly real tram is a fact. Have 
we grounds for saying that prophets and apostles had 
as good evidence for their statements as I have for 
saying " That is a tram which will take me to the 
Embankment " ? St. Paul makes the claim perfectly 
clearly : " The gospel which is preached of me is not 
after man. For I neither received it of man, neither 
was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." 3 
1 Rel. Con., p. 65. 2 Ibid., p. 458, 3 Gal, i, 11-12. 



8 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

And he distinguishes clearly between revelation and 
conclusions arrived at by ordinary processes of thought. 
" Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of 
the Lord : yet I give my j udgment . " x 

As Christians we are committed to a belief in a 
spiritual world, a higher state of being in which live 
God, angels, and departed spirits, but of whose nature 
we know very little. But we may believe that God did 
not leave Himself without means of making His will 
known to His creatures, and if we are in future to live 
under those conditions it is not impossible that we may 
already have in embryo some powers. belonging to the 
state for which we are destined, and with which some 
of us at least may be able to apprehend communications 
from it. 

But how ? 

Opinions differ very much. Canon Barnes, speaking 
on Spiritualism, says that even if there is an influence of 
the departed "it is almost certainly a diffused atmo- 
sphere such as that with which the Holy Spirit surrounds 
us when we try to know, serve and love God. We may 
expect to experience it in its power to guide will and 
feeling rather than to convey specific ideas." 2 

Dr. Skinner considers that communications were 
much more definite. Writing on Numbers 12, 6-8, he 
says : <f We may reasonably hold that in face to face 
converse with Yahwe, that comprehensive insight into 
His purpose which are there attributed to Moses, we 
have the typical representation of what Jeremiah re- 
garded as the essence of true prophecy." 3 

Leaving theory, let us come to facts. The series of 
people from Genesis to Revelation who claimed to have 

1 i Cor. 7, 25. 

* Spiritualism and the Christian Faith, p. 35. 

3 P. and R., p. 197. See also pp. 221, 222. 



THE PROBLEM 9 

immediate intercourse with God did not cease with the 
close of the New Testament canon. It has continued 
until the present day, and by some of them details 
have been given of the manner in which they received 
communications and how they judged of their truth, 
which coincide with the scanty data given by the 
prophets, who were generally more interested in the 
matter than the manner of their messages. It is the 
intention of the following pages to bring forward a little 
of the evidence from these sources in the hope that it 
may throw light on the vexed question of prophetic 
inspiration. 



CHAPTER II 
SOME SOURCES OF EVIDENCE 

IN Deuteronomy two rough tests are given by which 
to judge whether a man claiming to be a prophet 
is really speaking from the Lord or not. (i) The 
teaching must be continuous with what has gone before; 
it must not contradict God's previous revelations of 
Himself. 1 (2) It must be verified, either by a sign 
or by its actual working out. 2 The same principles 
are accepted in the New Testament ; the first by our 
Lord in His controversy with the Pharisees, when He 
claimed that His teaching was continuous with the 
Law, while theirs nullified it, 3 and the second by His 
use of signs, not only in the case of the sick of the 
palsy 4 but elsewhere . 5 

The complementary side of the test is to be found 
in the fate of the sons of Sceva. 6 The Name of God 
will not allow itself to be used in vain . 7 

If we adopt these tests we at once rule out from our 
inquiry a number of utterances coming from seances 
and automatic writing. But we leave in a number of 
orthodox and edifying reflections which have " come 
into " people's minds, and which are in accordance 
with actual events because they are probably an up- 

1 Deut. 13, 1-3. 2 Deut. 18, 20-22. 

3 Mark 7, 1-13 ; cp. i John 4, 2-3. 

4 Mark 2, 9-12. Gp. John 3, 2 ; 5, 36. 
8 Acts 19, 13-16. 7 Cp. Mark 9, 38-39. 



10 



SOME SOURCES OF EVIDENCE 11 

rising in the conscious mind of principles learnt from 
the study of books which have been inspired in the 
Biblical sense. These must also be excluded. They 
are not " prophetic," merely reminiscent. 

But from the first days of the Church to our own 
time there have been men and women who have 
claimed to hear the word of God, and who' give the 
criteria by which they have learnt to distinguish a 
genuine revelation from a merely imaginary one, and 
from them our illustrations will for the most part be 
taken. Some of them are pre-Reformation mystics, 
and in one way their evidence is more valuable in con- 
firmation of the prophetic hints than that of members 
of the Reformed Churches, because sometimes, as in the 
case of St. Theresa, their acquaintance with the Old 
Testament was too slight for them to colour their 
accounts with reminiscences of Old Testament phraseo- 
logy as did Fox and Hudson Taylor, who are soaked 
in it. 

It is noticeable, too, that many of the great mystics 
do not look upon such phenomena of revelation as 
at all a necessary sign of, or accompaniment to, a 
high degree of spirituality. " There are many saints 
who do not know what it is to receive one such favour, 
while others who receive them are not saints at all," 
says St. Theresa, 1 and both she and the author of the 
Cloud of Unknowing say that if people are bent 
on having such " favours " the devil is perfectly ready 
to supply them to those who do not know how to 
distinguish between the false and the true. " All 
other comforts, sounds, and gladness and sweetness, 
that come from without suddenly and thou wettest 
never whence, I pray thee have them in suspect. For 
1 Int. Cas., VI, ix, 19. 



is PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

they may be both good and evil ; wrought by a good 
angel if they be good, and by an evil angel if they be 
evil," 1 and " the devil hath power to feign some false 
light or sounds, sweet smells in their noses," etc., if 
they are bent on having them, and at the same time 
" The remembrance of God will he not put from them, 
for fear that he should be had in suspect, and him 
list not to let himself," 2 and so he gradually works 
them into error. 

As a protection against this deception the mystics 
tell of an experience which is different in kind. 

Fox, speaking of a discussion at Swarthmore in 1652 
with some " priests," says he asked them " whether 
any one of them could say he ever had the word of the 
Lord to go and speak to such and such a people ? 
None of them durst say he had, but one of them burst 
out into a passion, and said he could speak his 
experience as well as I. I told him experience was one 
thing, but to receive and go with a message, and to 
have a word from the Lord as the apostles and prophets 
had and did, this was another thing. And therefore 
I put it to them again, could any of them say he had 
ever had a command or word immediately from the 
Lord at any time ? but none of them could say so." 3 

St. Theresa speaks to the same effect of both vision 
and audition. " One who very lovingly asks something 
of our Lord may fancy that an answer comes from 
Him. This often occurs, but I think that no one 
accustomed to receive divine communications could 
be deceived on this point by the imagination," 4 and 
some people with vivid imaginations " feel certain they 
see whatever their fancy imagines. If they had ever 

1 Cloud, p. 225. 2 Cloud, p. 238. 

8 Fox, p. go. * Int. Cas., VI, iii, 17. 



SOME SOURCES OF EVIDENCE 13 

beheld a genuine vision they would recognise the 
deception unmistakably." 1 In fact there is very little 
which later writers can say about auto-suggestion in 
this matter which St. Theresa has not taken into 
account in her books. But both she and some of our 
modern teachers say there is a genuine experience. 
"There is generally something proper to itself and 
belonging to no other in the tone of a human voice," 
says Fr. Holmes. 3 "It can rarely be described, and 
no one can explain with scientific accuracy why he 
knows that it is that voice and no other that he has 
heard. Experience testifies that it is the same with 
the voice of the Divine Friend ; it is His and none 
other's ; they know His voice." 

Sundar Singh confirms what the author of the 
Cloud of Unknowing says about false ecstasy : 
" No longer now, but frequently some years ago, 
before getting into the state of ecstasy, I used to hear 
voices and that with these ears (that is, not in the 
spiritual language of the heavenly world), and see 
lights or hear music, and I found out that this was due 
to Satan or some evil spirit. ... I think there is some- 
thing in the heart which enables one to judge instinc- 
tively whether such experiences are from God or not. 
I somehow felt that these were not from God. As 
soon as I heard the voice I recognised that it was 
not Christ's voice. The sheep hear His voice and re- 
cognise it. Mary thought that the man she saw in 
the garden was the gardener, but as soon as He began 
to speak she knew that it was Christ." 3 

The authors of "The Sadhu," in speaking of this 
claim, say that Sundar Singh does believe himself to 

1 Int. Cas., VI, ix, 6. 

2 Presence of God, p. 89. 
* Sadhu, p. 150. 



14 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

have spiritual experiences analogous to those of the 
writer of the Apocalypse. "If so it follows that a 
study of the Sadhu's experience will throw light on 
the psychological mechanism through and by means 
of which religious truth was mediated to certain of 
the Biblical writers." 1 " His visions are those of a 
personality completely unified ... in deep conscious 
communion with his Lord . . . the same psychological 
principles have determined the form, and exactly the 
same factors of personal conduct, character, and con- 
centrated devotion account for the value ... of the 
visions in the Bible. We should connect this with 
the conception of Inspiration as being essentially a 
hyper-stimulation of the natural faculties of insight 
and understanding which, in men of high ideals schooled 
by the discipline of a noble life, must inevitably follow 
from personal communion with a personal Divine. 
And lastly, we should urge that the supreme degree 
of Inspiration which characterises the great Hebrew 
writers is mainly conditioned by their standard of 
conduct sane, stern, but, for that age, humane by 
their intense concentration of interest on moral and 
religious issues, and by their deep experience of com- 
munion with the Divine." 2 All these last points will 
be seen to be borne out by the evidence of the prophets 
themselves. 

In trying to account for the phenomena of inspira- 
tion much use has been made of the phenomena of 
clairvoyance, clairaudience, telepathy, thought trans- 
ference, suggestion, the work of the unconscious mind 
and so on, and we may have cause to believe that 
some of the accounts of the signs done by the prophets 
were due to one or other of these powers. Part of the 

1 " Sadhu," p. 114. 2 Ibid., p. 145. 



SOME SOURCES OF EVIDENCE 15 

wads of Samuel 1 might be ascribed to powers of 
clairvoyance ; so might Ahijah's recognition of the wife 
of Jeroboam ; 2 Elisha was almost certainly both 
clairvoyant and clairaudient. 3 It may well be, too, 
that many of our Lord's signs of healing were wrought 
by the power of suggestion. But does this idea of the 
Divine economy lessen the authority of the sign of 
the prophet ? We have no right to debar God from the 
right to work by one -of His own laws because we have 
found out that we are more wonderfully made than 
we had thought. After all, God set in order the laws 
of psychology which we are just discovering, and has 
been working through them all down the ages. We 
are like the Bourgeois Gentilhomme when he discovered 
that he had been speaking prose " all my life without 
knowing it." It is more than likely that a man was 
called to be a prophet because the possession of such 
gifts was a special qualification for the office. Just 
as some of us have an extra range of musical sensi- 
tiveness or artistic power, so it is in spiritual things. 
While many of us have occasional spiritual experiences 
which are above the ordinary level of our everyday 
life, some people have, as it were, an extra range 
of sight and hearing. Their eyes and ears are, 
as Elisha said, " open." 4 It all depends on 
the use they make of their power what kind of 
things they will see, whether they will see truth or 
falsehood. 

If then, without going into details of the exact 
mode, we accept it as a working hypothesis that there 
are some people who can both hear and see things 
which others cannot, and yet \vhich are proved by 

1 i Sam. 9, 15 to 10, 9. 2 i Kings 14, 6. 

3 2 Kings 5, 26 ; 6, 12. 32. 4 2 Kings 6, 17. 



i6 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

the event to give them true information, we find 
they are divided into two groups : 

1. Those who without being especially spiritual 
may hear or see once or twice. These are not prophets 
as a rule. The message is often individual, and no 
particular conditions are required, except that there 
is a need for that person to know or do something, 
and there is no other means of making it known to 
him. For instance, during the war many people 
heard stories of men who had been saved from death 
by hearing their names called and being thus led out 
of the range of some shell ; others have received intima- 
tions of deaths, or special guidance in emergencies. 
The experience is generally a private one. 

2. There are also those who hear frequently. In 
Old Testament times the prophet held that he was 
responsible to the nation for his power of vision. He 
was a watchman, and they had a right to expect of 
him that he would "stand on his tower," and pass 
on to them any warning or command that he received 
from the Lord. 1 His message is one of more than per- 
sonal importance ; he sees for the sake of his people. 
Therefore he must, as it were, go into training, and we 
find that the prophets denounce certain things as 
hindering, or even shutting off vision. The condition 
of such prophecy was, as Dr. Skinner says, "the 
illumination of the whole conscious mind by the spirit 
of God." 2 Any kind of self-interest and self-indul- 
gence obscured the vision. The man who divined for 
hire and made his living by " spacing " could not 
expect revelations from the Lord. 3 Drink shuts the 
eyes. 4 The man who consistently speaks the smooth, 

1 Ezek. 3, 17 ; 33, 2-9 ; Hab, 2, i ; Isa. 21, 6-12. 

2 P. and R., p. 222. 3 Micah 3, 5-8 ; Jer, 8, 10. 
* Isa. 28, 7, -whence succeeds Isa. 29, 9-11. 



SOME SOURCES OF EVIDENCE 17 

popular thing when he should take the message of 
reproof, especially when he combines it with a sharing 
in the sins he ought to have reproved, 1 can have no 
revelation, 2 or again, as St. Paul says, 3 the "natural 
man " does not naturally see spiritual things. The 
popularity hunter could not be a true watchman. 4 

So the prophet had to be a man of disciplined life 
as well as spiritual fervour, and this agrees with what 
we find in the lives of later men and women who have 
claimed to receive direct guidance from God. Apostles, 
mediaeval mystics, early Quakers, Bunyan, Grellet, 
China Inland Missionaries and others who will be quoted 
were all men and women living with a single eye to the 
glory of God and freely enduring hardness in obedience 
to it. 

One thing is to be noted. People did not undertake 
this life with a view to receiving visions and revelations. 
As has been said above, many of them looked upon 
such things as " favours " not to be expected or de- 
sired, though they might be gratefully received. St. 
Theresa says that a person who very strongly desires 
such gifts is " certain to be deceived, or at least is in 
great danger of delusion " either from the devil or 
from auto-suggestion. The vision is the outcome of a 
life lived in relation with God. The life comes first, 
the visions and auditions may or may not follow. 
Brainerd had none, nor had Therese of Lisieux. 

It is noteworthy that what to them was, and has 
ever since been held to be, a special favour from God, 
was to the prophets a duty, and not always a welcome 
one. Herein is the safeguard of the claim of the prophets 
to originality, which some may think endangered by 

1 Jer. 14, 13-16. 

2 Jer. 23, 9-40 ; Ezek. 13, 1-23 ; Lam. 4, 13-14. 
8 i Cor. 2, 14. * Lam. 2, 14. 



i8 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

saying that others have held direct communion with 
God after a similar fashion. Does it lessen the origin- 
ality of Newton that others have carried on his dis- 
covery of gravitation, or of Lister that now all surgeons 
use antiseptics ? Only one man could discover that 
the earth goes round the sun, or be first at the North 
Pole. The prophets were the pioneers of new truth. 
Men have learnt from God since, and the standard by 
which they have tested the teaching has been its 
correspondence with that already given to the prophets. 
Christ Himself declared that the proof of the validity 
of His teaching was its continuity with what had been 
revealed before, whereas the " tradition " of the 
Pharisees was a perversion of their own. 1 

Not only so, but the Bible is still God's instrument 
in these further revelations. It is notable how many 
of the auditions recorded by other servants of God are 
in the words already used and recorded by these 
prophetic pioneers. As Fr. Holmes says, " It is not to 
be used only as a record of what He has said in the 
past ; it is the instrument through which He speaks 
with a living Voice to-day. ... It is attested by the 
experience of millions that the Supreme Personality 
uses this book to speak with living tones to the sons of 
men." 2 Here is an instance. During the Boxer 
rebellion a China Inland Missionary and his family 
underwent a terrible time of hunting and persecution, 
recorded in A Thousand Miles of Miracle in China. 
Their minds were well stored with the words of the 
Bible, and the whole account is full of the ways in 
which these were used not only for comfort but for 
actual direction in cases of emergency. "Through 
the written word laid up in our hearts, the Eternal 

1 Mark 7, 9 etc. 2 Pres., p. 23. 



SOME SOURCES OF EVIDENCE 19 

Word manifested to us both Himself and the Father. . . 
It was literally as though I heard His living voice 
beside me. Now He was breathing in my ear ' Fear 
not them which kill the body ' . . . "and so on. 1 The 
same use is seen throughout Bunyan's experience in 
Grace Abounding, and also in Amy Wilson Car- 
michael's Nor Scrip. 

It is sometimes objected that the prophets expected 
to hear, and heard what they expected. That is of 
course part of Jeremiah's indictment of the false 
prophets, 2 and St. Theresa gives it as one of the reasons 
for not seeking to have such favours. But, on the other 
hand, no one blames botanists or astronomers for 
finding some object just because they looked carefully 
for it, and why should the spiritual discoverer's finding 
be more suspect than theirs ? Sometimes, too, the 
vision or call came when it was not expected. To 
Amos, 3 Paul, 4 Isaiah, 5 the word came suddenly, and 
sometimes, as St. Theresa says : " A person who is in 
no way expecting such a favour, nor has ever imagined 
herself worthy of receiving it, is conscious that Jesus 
Christ stands by her side." 6 

It appears then that as the same two instruments 
are at work the Spirit of God and the mind of man 
we may hope to find in the records of later communi- 
cations something that may throw light on the method 
by which the revelations recorded in the Bible were 
received, and some explanation of the expressions used 
by the recipients. 

1 1000 Miles, p. 134. 

2 Jer, 14, 13-15 ; 23, 16. Ezek. 13, 3. 

3 Amos 7, 15. * Acts 9, 1-9. 

6 2 Kings 20, 1-5. 6 Int. Cas., VI, viii, 2. 



CHAPTER III 
THE FRINGE OF PROPHECY 

(a] ECSTATIC ACTIONS 

BEFORE going on to deal with the phenomena 
of the revelations to the greater prophets it will 
be well to consider some of what might be called the 
fringes of prophecy, the prophetic gilds and occasional 
manifestations. 

These gilds, with their exciting " prophesyings " as 
recorded in I Samuel, have been declared to be very 
like, and possibly not much more spiritual than, the 
proceedings of dervishes in much the same neighbour- 
hoods. But a closer examination will show resem- 
blances to incidents much nearer home. There was, it 
is generally admitted, some kind of a revival under 
Samuel, and to go no further for convenience of 
reference very marked similarities to much of what 
is recorded can be found in Appendix I to the 
Archbishops' Report on the Evangelistic Work of the 
Church in which accounts are given of the phe- 
nomena accompanying revivals from the times of the 
Franciscans. 

The chief passages in question are i Samuel 10, 5-13 ; 
19, 20-24. 

The chief items seem to be the use of music and the 
infectious character of the singing, so that a man 

20 



THE FRINGE OF PROPHECY 21 

like Saul, who afterwards showed himself to be of an 
unstable mental balance, was twice carried away by it. 
Anyone who has at all followed the course of twen- 
tieth-century revival campaigns will remember how 
large a part singing has taken in them, and the extra- 
ordinary effect it has on many temperaments. The 
work of Alexander the choirmaster was as effective as 
that of Torrey or Chapman. Moody and Sankey are 
inseparably connected, while all revival meetings of a 
certain type, missions, and the meetings of the Keswick 
Convention seem to be inevitably and of set purpose 
preceded by prolonged singing of a particular kind of 
" mission " hymn, one feature of which is that it nearly 
always has either a very marked staccato rhythm (an 
irreverent person not affected by music said that in 
writing a Keswick tune the first thing seemed to be to 
put a dotted note about the middle of every line and 
write the rest of the tune round it) or a swinging waltz 
time. What is that but the rhythm of the harp and 
timbrel of the early sons of the prophets ? And now, 
as then, it has strong effects on those who are set to 
that key by nature . The Franciscan revival went ahead 
to the hymns of God's " jongeleurs " ; Wesley's revival 
was the cause of an outbreak of hymnody; Moody 
and Sankey sang thousands into conversion ; the 
Welsh revival services consisted almost entirely of ' 
singing and prayers. As Prof. Pratt says : " By sing- 
ing out at the top of his voice the sentiments and ideas 
which the revivalist desires to instil into him, each 
member of the audience suggests them to himself in 
the technical meaning of that phrase." 1 And he says 
it is a perfectly sound and legitimate psychological 
method, 

1 Rel. Con., pp. 176-7. 



22 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

Then follows the instance of Elisha in the wilderness 
of Edom, calling for a musician before he could tell the 
three kings what course to pursue. 1 This is sometimes 
taken to prove that the prophet wished to be thrown 
into a kind of hypnotic trance before he could produce 
an oracle. The actual case seems to be much more 
commonplace. We do not know how Elisha came to 
be there with the army, but he seems to have been in 
a very bad temper with Joram, which suggests that 
under the then conditions of universal military service 
he had been called up against his will for an ex- 
pedition of which he disapproved. Be that as it may, 
he was distinctly ruffled, and the aim of the minstrel 
was probably to quiet his nerves and temper till he was 
sufficiently calm to hear spiritual communications. 

Another feature of the early prophesyings in Samuel 
was the way in which people were impelled to fall on 
their faces before the meeting. This has its parallel 
in several modern instances. Speaking of the Irish 
revival of 1857-9, * ne Archbishops' report quotes : "a 
great number in this neighbourhood ... are ' smitten 
down ' suddenly, and fall as nerveless and paralysed 
and powerless as if killed instantly by a gunshot ; they 
fall with a deep groan." 2 In the account of the 
" Master and the Man," usually taken as the story of 
Tauler's conversion, much the same thing is described 
.as happening at his second sermon after his conversion. 3 
Finney gives several instances quite as striking, 4 and 
similar things happened under Wesley's early preaching 
till he put a stop to it. 5 R. H. Thouless quotes this 
of the Kentucky revival of 1801. 

" The whole body of persons who actually fell help- 

1 2 Kings 3, 15. a p. 51. 

3 Tauler, pp. 93-94. * Finney, pp. 84-95, 126, 135, etc. 

6 Curteis, pp. 372-5. 



THE FRINGE OF PROPHECY 23 

less to the earth during the progress of the meeting 
was computed to be ... 3000 persons, about I in 6. 
... At no time was the floor less than half covered. 
Some lay quiet, unable to speak or move. Some talked 
but could not move. Some beat the floor with their 
heels. Some, shrieking in agony, bounded about like a 
live fish out of water. Many lay down and rolled over 
and over for hours at a time." 1 

So these early manifestations seem to have been only 
the quite natural and spontaneous accompaniments of 
revival in many other places the coming of a new 
spiritual force into contact with a mental mechanism 
not accustomed to it, and unable to adapt itself at first 
to new conditions. Later in Israel they seem to have 
become more systematised, as regular " methods," and 
closely assimilated to those of the heathen outside. 
There is not a very great deal to choose between the 
performances of the prophets of Baal on Carmel, 2 and 
of the so-called prophets of the Lord in the gate at 
Samaria, 3 and from the time of Amos to that of Ezekiel 
we find the greater prophets continually confronted 
with a succession of men whom they denounced as 
prophesying falsehoods. It was then, of course, a 
temptation for a shrewd fellow with some psychic 
powers and the capacity for working himself up into 
the requisite frenzy to set up as a prophet, just as now 
he might set up as a " psychic " to get a living. They 
were not necessarily all deliberate frauds ; like Mr 
Sludge they may have felt that there was more in it 
than they knew. 

These pseudo-prophets and prophetesses apparently 
held what we should call regular seances. 4 Jeremiah 

1 Davenport, Prim. Traits in R.R. Thouless, p. 155. 

2 i Kings 1 8, 26-9. 3 i Kings 22, 6-12. 
4 Isa. 8, 19; Ezek. 13, 17. 



24 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

says they went about trying to steal from each other 
any hint of what might be a genuine revelation or 
dream, 1 and the oracles or " burdens " they produced 
were strikingly in accordance with what they and their 
clients thought ought to be God's course of action, as 
St. Theresa says " when people strongly desire a thing, 
the imagination makes them fancy they see or hear it, 
just as when a man's mind is set on a thing all day he 
dreams of it at night." 2 If the man cannot raise a 
dream himself, both she and the author of the Cloud 
of Unknowing say the devil is quite ready to supply 
what is wanted. We do not generally admit his work- 
ing nowadays in such unqualified fashion, but if man's 
mind is open to suggestion from incarnate intelli- 
gences, why not also from discarnate, and that of two 
kinds, good and bad ? Spiritualistic evidence gives at 
least an air of probability to the work of some such 
agencies. 

One of the most interesting of these men on the 
fringe of prophecy is Balaam, He appears to have been 
what Hudson would call a trance speaker, with possibly 
some real knowledge of the One God in him. He came 
from Pethor in the borders of the kingdom of the 
Mitanni, from whence came the queens of Amenhoteps 
I and II who are suspected of bringing in their train 
some of the monotheistic ideas which were more fully 
developed by Akhnaton. It was also not very far from 
Haran, the traditional starting-place of Abraham, and 
dwelling-place of Laban, hence there may have been 
some tradition of the God worshipped by them. For 
if a curse was to be really effectual it was necessary to be 
able to use the name of the God under whose protection 
the person to be cursed lay, and it may well have been 

1 Jer. 23, 30. 2 Int. Cas., VI, ix, 15. 



THE FRINGE OF PROPHECY 25 

that all the trouble of calling Balaam from a distance 
instead of employing local talent was undertaken be- 
cause he was supposed to know the name of Israel's God. 

Balaam is careful to safeguard himself by disclaiming 
any personal responsibility for what he says. 1 When it 
comes to the point he goes " to meet with enchant- 
ments." 2 Evelyn Underhill says 3 that the object of 
the incantation used by a magician is not that it shall 
have an effect on the spirits invoked, but that it shall 
act as a kind of transmuting agent on the magician 
himself, whereby his mind is set free from things of the 
earth plane to operate on the psychic plane. Whatever 
he expected, Balaam describes himself as "falling 
down," possibly in a trance, and the translators do not 
seem to be sure whether his eyes are opened to spiritual 
things or shut to earthly. In any case we are told that 
his power of trance speaking was for once not amenable 
to the suggestions of those about him, and he delivered 
an oracle very far from what was desired, apparently 
without his own volition. 

This is in marked contrast to the accounts given by 
the Hebrew prophets from Moses onward. In every 
case they are represented as understanding what they 
are saying. They ask questions and are given at all 
events some explanation of the reason for what they are 
to say. St. Paul in later days writes : " The spirits of 
the prophets are subject to the prophets," 4 in direct 
contrast to the prevailing Gentile idea, afterwards 
developed by the Montanists, and now held by some 
Pentecostal groups, that the more really inspired a 
man was the less control he had over himself. 

This idea of control and understanding comes out in 

1 Num. 22, 18. 38. 2 Num. 24, i. 

3 Mysticism, p. 189. 4 i Cor. 14, 32. 



26 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

the contrast between the controlled bearing and con- 
sidered utterance of the greater prophets whenever we 
find them set in controversy with their opponents. 

St. Theresa has interesting remarks on both these 
points. 

She strongly counsels anyone who thinks he is being 
given revelations not to attend to them. This is quite 
possible if they are self -suggested, but " This is not 
feasible when these communications come from the 
Holy Ghost ; who when He speaks, stops all other 
thoughts and compels the mind to listen ... the soul 
can do nothing, nor has it ears to stop, nor power to 
think of aught but what is said to it . ' ' 1 This is the exact 
opposite to the counsel given by the Tongues Move- 
ment. But the prophet must understand as well as 
hear. Some things revealed she says cannot be under- 
stood " in a way that can be told, but they do make a 
deep impression." " Neither was Moses able to relate 
more than God willed of what he had seen in the 
burning bush, but unless the Almighty had clearly 
revealed certain mysteries to his soul, causing it to see 
and know its God was present, the lawgiver could never 
have undertaken so many and such great labours." 2 

1 Int. Cas., VI, iii, 27. 2 Ibid., iv, 5-7. 



CHAPTER IV 
FRINGE OF REVELATION 

(b) EXTERIOR VISIONS AND AUDITIONS 

r I A HE prophets themselves give but few details as 
JL to the manner in which they received their com- 
munications, but by comparing what few data they do 
give with those given by later persons it is possible to 
arrive at some idea of how they heard and saw spiritual 
things. 

Julian of Norwich in the fourteenth century writes 
of her Revelations of Divine Love 1 : "All the blessed 
teaching of our Lord was shewed by three parts : 
that is to say, by bodily sight, and by word formed in 
mine understanding, and by spiritual sight. For the 
bodily sight I have said as I saw as truly as I can ; and 
for the words I have said them right as our Lord 
shewed them to me ; and of the spiritual sight, I have 
told some deal, but I may never fully tell it," or, as she 
says in another place, " the spiritual sight I may not 
and cannot shew it unto you as openly and as fully as 
I would." 

St. Theresa gives the same evidence. God arouses 
the soul " by means of words addressed to the soul in 
many different ways ; sometimes they appear to come 
from without, at other times from the inner depths of 

1 Chapter 73, 
27 



28 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

the soul, or again from its superior part, while other 
speeches are so exterior as to be heard by the ears like 
a real voice. At times, indeed, very often this may be 
only a fancy, especially with persons of a lively imagina- 
tion or who are afflicted with melancholy to any marked 
extent," 1 To these latter she says no attention should 
be paid they should be told not to trouble themselves 
about it, for " any kind I mentioned may come either 
from God, the devil, or the imagination," and she goes 
on to describe the means of distinguishing the source 
from which they come, 

Prof. Pratt has no place for the devil in his account 
of these " abnormalities," He uses the subconscious 
self and dissociated personality to account for them to 
some extent. " The phenomena which I have here in 
mind are such things as violent but unaccountable 
impulses to do certain things, fixed ideas whose source 
cannot be traced, 'inspirational speaking/ so far as 
this is not to be accounted for by the ordinary laws of 
association, motor automatisms, visions and the like. 
These all bring with them the sense of external origina- 
tion. . . . Moreover, all the phenomena above referred 
to have parallels in non-religious cases, where the 
explanation is plainly to be had in terms of dissocia- 
tion of consciousness. . . . The 'inspiration' of the 
prophet, like that of the poet or of the inventor, often 
seems to have its immediate source in the deeper and 
unconscious parts of his being." The prophet ponders 
over the state of his people . ' ' Then some day suddenly 
the sought-for solution rushes into his mind he finds 
a message ready-made upon his tongue, and it is 
almost inevitable that he should preface it with the 
words : ' Thus hath Yahweh showed me ' ! " 2 

1 Int. Cas., VI, iii, 1-4. 2 Rel. Con., pp. 64, 65. 



FRINGE OF REVELATION 29 

This would doubtless account for many of what 
St. Theresa would call "imaginary" revelations 
which, as she says, may be quite edifying in themselves, 
but does not account for the new matter which is the 
distinguishing note of the true prophet. Prof. Pratt 
ascribes much of the " inspiration " of which we are 
accustomed to speak to dissociation of personality, 
though at the same time he owns that " In the case of 
some noble but psychopathic personalities the split-off 
states do seem to be of real use, though even here it 
must be remembered the highest and noblest part of 
the man is his conscious personality. Especially in 
the case of many great religious leaders do we find 
psychopathic conditions that seem to have contributed 
a good deal toward making them the useful men they 
were. Consider, for example, Ezekiel, Mohammed, 
George Fox, St. Paul the reader will be able to add 
to the list many other names." 1 

Yet in spite of this he is bound to say on a later page : 
" May it then be that the mystics are the seers of our 
world, and that whenever they open the eyes of their 
souls, the Eternal Light pours in ; and that though we 
blind ones learnedly describe, generalise, and explain 
their experience by regular psychological laws which 
take account only of psychological organism, still the 
light is really there, and the mystic apprehends it 
directly, even as he says." 2 St. Theresa would say 
" Exactly," and would go on to explain the difference 
between real and hysterical auditions and visions. 

First, she says the true divine communication 
carries its own authority with it, 3 " these words are 
operative," or, as she puts it elsewhere, " His words are 



1 Rel. Con., p. 66. 8 Ibid., p. 458. 

Cp.Marl-: u, 27-33, 



3 



30 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

deeds." " The second sign is a great calm and a devout 
and peaceful recollection . . . together with a desire 
to praise God." ..." The third proof is that these 
words do not pass from the memory, but remain there 
for a very long time. . . . This is not the case with 
what men may utter . . . neither if they prophesy of 
things to come do we believe them as we do these 
divine locutions, which leave us so convinced of their 
truth that, although their fulfilment seems utterly 
impossible, and we vacillate and doubt about them, 
there still remains in the soul a certainty of their 
verity which cannot be destroyed . . . and that 
finally what was foretold must surely happen ; as 
indeed it does." 1 This seems to be an extraordinarily 
apt account of the persistence of the Messianic hope 
in Israel. " If these locutions," she goes on, " proceed 
from the imagination, they show no such signs, bring- 
ing neither conviction, peace, nor interior joy with 
them." 2 

In the Old Testament we have a series of visions and 
auditions which answer this test they were believed 
and they came to pass. Some were recorded because 
they did come to pass, others because of the authority 
they carried which made men believe that in spite of 
all appearances they would come to" pass. Lady 
Julian's division into interior and exterior is simpler 
than the more detailed one of St. Theresa, and will be 
followed here in examining them, beginning with the 
exterior. 

These, as St. Theresa says above, may be quite 

authentic, but she agrees with the author of the Cloud 

of Unknowing that they are generally vouchsafed to 

beginners. " All the revelations that ever saw any man 

1 Int. Cas., VI, iii, 7-9. 2 Ibid., 16. 



FRINGE OF REVELATION 31 

here in bodily likeness in this life, they have ghostly 
bemeanings. And I trow that if they unto whom they 
were shewed had been so ghostly, or could have con- 
ceived their bemeanings ghostly, that then they had 
never been shewed bodily." 1 

In this connection it is interesting that nearly all 
the visions and auditions recorded in Genesis seem to 
be of this elementary type, or by dream, which latter 
mode of communication went out of credit among 
the later writing prophets (" I have heard what the 
prophets have said that prophecy lies in my name, 
saying I have dreamed, I have dreamed. . . . The 
prophet that hath a dream let him tell a dream ; and 
he that hath my word let him speak my word faith- 
fully " 2 ). But both were accepted again in the New 
Testament as a means of revelation. St. Matthew 
speaks of dreams making known to Joseph and the magi 
what they were to do. 3 St. Luke tells of exterior 
visions and auditions granted to Zacharias, the Virgin 
Mary and the shepherds. 4 These might well all be at 
the beginning of such spiritual experiences ; we are 
not told that Simeon heard thus : "the Holy Spirit 
was upon him." 5 

Later Old Testament instances record these exterior 
communications as coming to people at the beginning 
of a spiritual career or when they were not in the temper 
to receive it " ghostly." 

To take examples. In Genesis we are told of com- 
munications given to Abraham. Certain instances 6 are 
definitely exterior. One 7 is spoken of as a vision, in 

1 Cloud, p. 258. * Jer. 23, 25-28. 

8 Matt, i, 20 ; 2, 12. 13. 19. * Luke 1-2. 
B Luke 2, 25-28. 

8 Gen. 15, 17; 17, 1-22; 1 8, 1-35; 22, 11-18. 
7 Gen. 15, i. 



32 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

another " God appeared," 1 and of others 2 we are not 
told details. 

Hagar 3 and Lot 4 are given exterior visions and 
auditions. In Genesis 26, 2. 24 the Lord " appeared 
to Isaac." Jacob, in Genesis 28, "dreamed," while 
the angels at Mahanaim are apparently an exterior 
vision, 6 followed 6 by what appears to be intended to 
be the account of another at Jabbok. No manner is 
specified in two further instances. 7 Laban also has 
a dream. 8 

Later on, in Exodus, Moses' vision at the Bush 9 was 
apparently an exterior one at the beginning of his 
prophetic career. The inauguration of the Covenant 
at Sinai before an ignorant people was accompanied by 
visible and audible signs. 10 In Numbers 11 there is the 
account of an exterior manifestation to a group of which 
two at least were not in a state of mind to hear 
" ghostly." But what is meant by the Lord speaking 
"mouth to mouth even manifestly " to Moses 12 and later 
in Deuteronomy 13 by a prophet "whom the Lord knew 
face to face " we cannot tell, though it would look as if 
the narrators were of opinion that exterior communi- 
cations were the highest favour. We are, however, 
given no details. Again, Balaam, the semi-accredited 
seer, receives communications after three manners. 14 
At first, while he is still neutral, after what was ap- 
parently his usual fashion, intelligently, at night, 
possibly by dream. Later, as he goes wilfully against 

1 Gen. 17, i. z Gen. 12, i ; 13, 14; 22, i. 

3 Gen. 16, 7 and 21, 17. 4 Gen. 19. 

5 Gen. 32, i. 6 Gen. 32, 24-29. 

7 Gen. 31, 3 and 35, i. 8 Gen. 31, 24. 

9 Exod. 3. 

10 Exod. 19, 16-20 ; 24, 10-11 ; cp. Deut. 4, 10-13. 

11 Num. 12, 5-9. 12 Num. 12, 8. 

13 Dent. 34, 10. 14 Num. 22, 9. 20. 31 ; 23, 16. 



FRINGE OF REVELATION 33 

his better judgment, by exterior vision. Then, when he 
persisted, the matter was taken out of his power 
altogether and the word was " put in his mouth." 
Moses' visions in Exodus 33, 17-23 ; 34, 6 will be dis- 
cussed elsewhere, but it is noteworthy that in an 
account which purports to be of the beginnings of 
religious experience and direct revelation the pheno- 
mena recorded should be of revelation by modes which 
later experience has shown to be appropriate to that 
stage of spiritual development. It is especially notable, 
if it be true that the records were finally edited at a 
date when the more interior form of revelation appears 
to have been in use. 

These exterior revelations are elsewhere generally 
recorded at the beginning of a spiritual career, Gideon's 
conversation with the angel of the Lord at Ophrah 
was as exterior as the manifestations in Genesis 3 it 
was not till the end of the interview that the angel was 
recognised. Manoah's wife took the angel for a man 
of God; 2 Joshua, for an unknown warrior. 3 Samuel 
was called by an exterior audition ; 4 in 2 Samuel 
24, 17 and i Chronicles 21, 16. 20, 21 the same word 
is used for seeing David and seeing the angel. The 
visions in Ezekiel I, 4 and 3, 22 were apparently 
exterior. Then in the New Testament, when prophecy 
had long been silent, Saul was called by an exterior 
audition, 5 as was also Cornelius. 6 Perhaps the deliver- 
ances in Acts 5, 19 and 12, 7-12 hardly come under 
the same category, nor the vision on the Mount of 
Transfiguration. The accounts of the latter in Matthew 
and Mark speak of it as if it were an exterior vision, 
but Luke has the interesting addition, 7 " Now Peter 

1 Judges 6, 11-23. z Judges 13. 3 Josh. 5, 13-15- 

4 i Sam. 3, 4-21. * Acts 9, 7 ; 26, 13. 14. Acts 10, 3. 

7 Luke 9, 32. 



34 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

and they that were with him were heavy with sleep ; 
but when they were fully awake they beheld His glory 
and the two men that stood with him," which recalls 
Zechariah 4, 1, " And the angel that talked with me 
came again and waked me, as a man that is wakened 
out of his sleep," and then showed him a vision. It also 
resembles two passages in Daniel, 1 all of which seem to 
imply some more interior mode of sight. Whatever the 
date of Daniel it contains one or two allusions to modes 
of audition that can be illustrated from other sources. 

Another case in which we find exterior communica- 
tions in use is when the state of mind of the hearer is 
such that he cannot hear or see otherwise, as it was 
with Elijah at Sinai. 2 

The question is, what do these people mean when 
they say they ' ' heard " or " saw ' ' ? We are apparently 
meant to take it quite literally that they did hear and 
see things from another order of being. Samuel heard 
a voice speaking so clearly that he thought it was Eli 
calling. 8 Elijah at Sinai heard the still small voice 
after the same manner that he heard the , storm.* 
There are many instances of messages sent by the 
prophets between these two instances, but no descrip- 
tion of the mode is given . It seems that Elisha's power 
of seeing spiritual things was tested at Elijah's trans- 
lation, and that he really did see an exterior vision. 8 
Exterior vision and audition together are implied for 
Moses at the Bush, 6 and for Ezekiel, at all events, in his 
first experiences ; 7 Saul implies them in Acts ; 8 in both 
accounts it is mentioned that his companions heard 
and saw something but were not able to receive it, a 

1 Dan. 8, 18 and 10, 9. 10. 3 i Kings 19, 5-18. 

3 i Sam. 3, 4-14. * I Kings 19, 11-13. 

5 2 Kings 2, ii. 6 Exod. 3, 1-5. 

7 Ezek. i, 4-28 ; 3, 22. 24. 8 Acts 9, 3-7 and 22, 9. 



FRINGE OF REVELATION 35 

point illustrated by the differing apprehension of the 
" voice " in St. John 12, 29. The visions seen by 
Zacharias, the Virgin Mary and Cornelius were all 
apparently exterior, and St. Luke carefully distinguishes 
in Acts 10 between the vision of Cornelius which was 
seen " openly " and that of Peter which was seen in 
" a trance," and he is careful to tell us that Peter in 
prison 1 had an objective experience, but thought he 
saw a vision. 

Those who give us these accounts were sure that there 
was something to be seen if a man had eyes to see and 
that certain men had their eyes open to these things 
and did see them. There is an interesting series of 
instances in an ascending scale dealing with the idea 
of the eyes being opened to see what is actually there. 
First, Hagar's are opened to a material object. " God 
opened her eyes and she saw a well of water " 2 ; then 
Balaam's to a spiritual one. " The Lord opened the 
eyes of Balaam and he saw the angel." 3 Then there is 
the story of Elisha and the Syrians in which we have 
not only the opening of the eyes of Elisha 's servant 
to see the angel guard, but the closing of the eyes of 
the Syrians, that they might recognise neither Elisha 
nor the city of Samaria until their eyes were opened 
again ; that, rather than a complete blindness, would 
seem to be implied by the story. 4 The same thing is 
suggested in the story of the two disciples going to 
Emmaus. "Their eyes were holden that they should 
not know Him." Then at the breaking of the bread 
" their eyes were opened and they knew Him, and He 
vanished out of their sight." 5 

These instances are practically all those in the Bible 

1 Acts 12, 9. * Gen,, 21, 19. 3 Num. 22, 31. 

4 2 Kings 6, 8-23. 6 Luke 24, 16. 31. 



36 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

of which we can definitely say that the narrators 
plainly intend us to understand that something was 
seen or heard with the outward eye or ear. There are, 
however, many more modern instances, a few of which 
may be quoted as bearing out the principles that have 
been suggested. 

Did St, Augustine actually hear a child playing, or 
was it a spiritual voice which he heard that brought 
about his conversion ? If it were an audition it was 
certainly an exterior one. His account leaves the ques- 
tion open. " Lo, from a neighbouring house I heard a 
voice, as of a boy or girl, I know not, singing and oft 
repeating, ' Take, read. Take, read.' Instantly, with 
a changed countenance, I began to think most intently, 
whether boys in any kind of game used to sing such a 
phrase ; nor could I remember ever to have heard the 
like. So checking the torrent of my tears, I arose ; 
interpreting it to be no other than a Divine command to 
open the book, and read the first chapter I should find." 1 
St. Augustine, like St. Paul, had been living under 
great nervous strain for some time before his call, and 
this very definite call seems to have been necessary to 
help them to overcome the inhibitions, moral and in- 
tellectual, which stood in the way of their change of 
mind. 

Suso tells of a somewhat different instance. " A 
secular man from a foreign country " sought him, say- 
ing that a little while ago he had been in despair and 
on the point of suicide. " I had already taken a run 
with the deliberate purpose of drowning myself. I 
heard a voice above me say, ' Stop ! stop ! Put not 
thyself to this shameful death ; seek a friar preacher,' 
and the voice named you to me by name which I had 

1 Confessions, viii, 12. 



FRINGE OF REVELATION 37 

never heard before, and it said, ' He will help you and 
set you right ! ' " which he did. 1 Suso gives several 
other instances of much the same kind. This is one of 
the most definite for our purpose. 

Bunyan was much troubled with auditions, both in- 
terior and exterior, both those which he says were 
heavenly and those which were of diabolical origin. It 
is not always clear from his account how they were 
heard. Once he said he was warned by the text, 
" Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you." 
Then he heard a voice calling behind him, " Simon, 
Simon ! " The last time it called him " I turned my 
head over my shoulder thinking verily that some man 
had behind me called me ; being at a great distance, 
methought he called so loud," 2 but most of his experi- 
ences seem to belong rather to the second category of 
communication. 

Coming nearer to our own day, there are several 
interesting examples in Hudson Taylor in Early Years, 
the founder of the China Inland Mission. 

The first is one told in 1844 by a speaker at a camp 
meeting. It had happened to a man the speaker had 
known in Tasmania, of the name of Gardener. " Walk- 
ing up Cataract Hill . . .he had even been startled 
by a voice behind him earnestly saying : ' Gardener, 
give Me thy heart.' He turned to face the speaker, but 
no one was in sight." He heard it again : " My son, 
give Me thy heart." But it would have upset his plans 
to become a Christian just then, so he put by the call. 
Shortly afterwards, being violently tempted to kill his 
partner for a sum of money he possessed, he was 
unable to resist, and presently murdered him. He told 
the story to the chaplain the night before his execution. 3 

1 Suso, chap. 61. 2 Grace Abounding, 93. 3 H.T., pp. 60-62. 



38 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

Another instance tells of a Chinese farmer who lay 
sick at home, and in terror of death. "And then a 
strange thing happened. In the silence of the empty 
house he heard himself called. The voice, though un- 
known, was so real that he got up and made his way 
to the door, but on opening it could see no one. Pain- 
fully he crept back to bed, only to hear the same voice 
a little later calling more urgently. Again he rose, and, 
supporting himself by the walls and furniture, managed 
to reach the door. But again no one was in sight. 
Greatly alarmed, he buried his face beneath the cover- 
let. . . . And now the voice spoke a third time, and 
told him not to be afraid. He was going, it said, to 
recover. An infusion of a certain herb would cure his 
sickness, and as soon as he was able he was to go into 
Ning-po, where he would hear of a new religion that 
would bring him peace of heart." He did as he was 
bidden, worked his way to Ning-po, and there met a 
former neighbour who brought him to Christ and he 
became one of the most useful of the missionaries' 
native helpers. 1 

Two other visions granted to people at the beginning 
of a career of Christian work, both of which were 
apparently exterior, were the visions of Christ seen 
by Catherine of Genoa, and by Finney, two very 
different people, neither of whom had visions sub- 
sequently. The vision seen by Sundar Singh on the 
night of his conversion, also apparently exterior, will 
be treated of in the next chapter. 

It will have been noticed that these exterior com- 
munications of which examples have been given, were 
made when there was no human means of reaching 
the person dealt with, either because of his mental 

i H.T., p. 474. 



FRINGE OF REVELATION 39 

state or his isolation. The following account from 
A Thousand Miles of Miracle in China illustrates this 
point still further. Mr. Glover, his wife, their two 
children, and Miss Gates, a lady missionary, were 
fleeing for their lives from the Boxers. They had taken 
refuge in a little hollow .on the top of a hill, where, 
exposed to the full glare of the sun, they waited through- 
out- the scorching day, hoping that their faithful 
Chinese servant would be able to bring them some 
help. It was a time of thirst and intense strain. The 
two women were in a state of collapse, and yet they 
dared not come out of their place of hiding to go down 
to the stream below and drink, for fear of being mur- 
dered. Then, " As my dear wife and I were pleading 
with God for her [Miss Gates's] recovery, I heard a 
word behind me, as distinctly as if it were spoken in 
my ear ' Up, get thee down and tarry not.' I said 
to my wife, ' Come, darling, we must gather up what 
strength remains to us and go down to the water. It 
is not the will of God that we should remain here any 
longer.' Then, taking Miss Gates by the arm, I bent 
over her and said, ' Dear sister, we must be going 
without delay. In the name of the Lord Jesus, get 
up ! ' In a moment consciousness was restored, and 
she rose up." They went down, drank, and had 
hardly taken shelter under some trees when a small 
party of yamen officials with a cart appeared, who 
took charge of them, and they were saved for at all 
events the next stage of their journey. " Twenty 
minutes later and we should have been too late ! The 
procession would have gone on and the cart with it, 
and we should have been left to the rabble. Then 
it was that I understood the urgency of that Voice . . . 
and how truly it had been the Voice of God. Then, 
D 



40 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

too, it was that I realised how the strength to rise 
up and get down was given where, humanly speaking, 
it was an impossibility. ' ' 1 

One more instance Dorothy Kerin, writing of her 
experience of divine healing in 1912. She received 
Holy Communion when it was thought that she was 
past hope of recovery, and " In the evening I asked 
my little sister to sing 'Abide with me,' as all was 
then so dark. She did not know it well enough to sing, 
but as she sat by my bed with my hand in hers, we 
heard it sung from beginning to end most beautifully. 
My sister heard it as distinctly as I did, and said ' Oh, 
how wonderful ! ' We are certain it must have been 
the holy angels who sang it, for there was no one 
singing either in the house or outside." Then she 
had what was apparently an interior vision of our 
Lord, after which "a great light came all round 
me, and an Angel took my hands in his and said, 
' Dorothy, your sufferings are over. Get up and walk.' 
He passed his hands over my eyes and touched my 
ears, and then I opened my eyes and found myself 
sitting up in bed.". . . She said she must get up. 
" The Angel said to me again, ' Get up and walk.' 
Then they brought the dressing-gown, and when I 
had put it on I got out of bed unassisted. Part of the 
light came to the right side of the bed, and I put my 
hand on it and it led me out of the room and along a 
passage and then back into my room again." 2 

As was said above, nearly all these cases of exterior 
vision and audition came at the beginning of a spiritual 
experience or when the person concerned was not in 
a state of mind to hear an interior voice. The same 

1 1000 Miles, pp. 172, 178. 
8 The Living Touch, pp. 7-10. 



FRINGE OF REVELATION 41 

was the case with two instances which were told me 
personally. A Chinese missionary told me how he had 
been attacked while itinerating, and fled from the 
inn in which he had been resting, leaving his books, 
etc., behind. Then he heard a voice saying, perfectly 
audibly, " Be not afraid of their terror," and, said he, 
" The fear went," and he went back and secured his 
books unmolested. Another time during the war a 
young fellow's mother told, in the presence of her son, 
that While he was taking a message at the Front, he 
had stopped, hearing his name called. On looking 
round there was no one, but a shell had fallen just 
where he would have been if he had gone on. I was 
told that the same thing happened to many others. 

The same year (1915) when I visited an old woman 
in my neighbourhood, she told how some fifteen years 
before she had been lying alone ill, when she saw our 
Lord stand by her and heard Him say, " Be not afraid. 
It is I." The memory was, she said, still vivid. She 
was said to be a " reformed character," but whether 
the reformation dated from that experience I did not 
hear. The parish priest said that he had heard many 
similar stories from uneducated people, and seemed to 
think they signified very little. 

There is one interesting exception to the general 
principle of the use of exterior manifestations noted 
above. Catherine of Siena told Fr. Raymund of 
Capua, her confessor and one of her biographers, " I 
was never taught the rule of spiritual life by any man 
or woman, but only by my Lord and Master Jesus 
Christ, Who made it known to me either by secret 
inspiration or else appearing openly to me and speaking 
to me as I now speak to you." She declared also that 
in the beginning her visions were for the most part 



42 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

only wrought in the imagination, but they were after- 
wards sensible, so that she saw with her eyes the Form 
that appeared to her, and heard with her ears the 
sound of the voice that spoke. 1 But later we are told 
with many examples "that she saw more distinctly 
the souls than the bodies of those who approached 
her," 2 so that her whole hearing and seeing may have 
been abnormal. 

She gives, however, practically the same criterion 
whereby to judge the validity of visions as does Theresa. 
Our Lord said to her : "By this thou mayest know 
if thy vision be from Me or from the enemy ; of Truth 
or of falsehood ; if they come of Truth they will make 
thy soul humble, if they come of falsehood they will 
make thee proud." 3 

All these more modern instances just given have 
been purposeful, and except in one case they have been 
effective in what they were meant to do. There is 
also enough likeness between the conditions in which 
they are used for us to say that the instances recorded 
of exterior vision and audition in the Old Testament 
seem to have been of a similar nature, and that man 
has been so planned that in case of need God can use 
the eyes and ears He has made to convey intimations 
from Himself at times when other methods are not 
available. It were indeed a strange architect who 
should plan a temple to which all should be admitted 
except himself. 

1 C. of S., p. 40. 2 Ibid., p. 87. 3 Ibid., p. 42. 



CHAPTER V 
THE CALL TO THE PROPHETIC OFFICE 

SO far we have only touched the fringe of the pro- 
phetic office, dealing with experiences common to 
people at many stages of the spiritual life, but chiefly 
in its more elementary development, and liable to be 
counterfeited, either by auto- or hetero-suggestion, yet 
which do appear sometimes to be made the means 
of conveying genuine divine communications. 

But we are warned that this hearing and carrying 
of divine messages is only a very small part of the 
prophetic life. It is indeed the work to which a prophet 
is called, but the discharge of his office requires the 
background of a life lived before God ("The LORD 
before whom I stand," 1 ), a life of steady discipline and 
obedience. The literary output of the prophets which 
has come down to us is astonishingly small. A popular 
preacher of the present day will print more matter in 
a year than an Isaiah, a Jeremiah, or an Ezekiel has 
left of half a century's ministry. Very probably the 
greater part of their preaching has not come down to 
us, but even so we find long periods of retirement 
in their lives when they did not exercise their ministry. 
Clearly it was required of a prophet not only that he 
should be a man who was sufficiently " sensitive " 
or " psychic " to be able to hear a message, but that he 

1 i Kings 17, i ; cp. 2 Kings 5, 25 and i Kings 10, 8. 

43 



44 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

should be able to hold his tongue when he had no 
message to give, and to live the disciplined life which 
was the condition of vision. 

Such a man being found, he was called to the work. 
We are not always given details 1 of the mode of the 
call, but in certain instances at least we are told that 
it was accompanied by something in the nature of a 
vision of God which was on a few occasions exterior, 
and the later visions are fuller than the earlier ones. 
Considering the position given to Moses in the national 
history as theman who spoke to God face to face and was 
made the mediator of that covenant relationship which 
was held to be the raison d'etre of Israel's existence, 
it is remarkable that the account of visions granted 
to him is much simpler than that of visions seen by 
Isaiah and Ezekiel. Moses' call was by the voice from 
the Burning Bush. 1 Later, at Sinai, it was impossible 
for him to see the full vision of the Lord. 2 This record 
of the limitation of the great leader's vision seems to 
point to the preservation of some genuine tradition. 
We are, it seems, meant to understand an objective 
vision in both cases. The next call recorded is that of 
the nation at Sinai. 3 There the vision is only of the 
thick, fiery cloud and the terrible words, a manifestation 
of a character .which as was seen in the last chapter 
it was possible for people at a low stage of spiritual 
development to receive. But in view of that and 
of the definite limitation of the vision of Moses, it is 
difficult to account for the description of the covenant 
feast of the elders, when " they beheld God, and did 
eat and drink." 4 

The call of Samuel again was by exterior audition, 5 

1 Exod. 3, 2-4. 2 Exod. 33, 17-23. 

3 Exod. 19 and 20. 4 Exod. 24, 9-11. 
D i Sam. 3, 1-14. 



THE CALL TO THE PROPHETIC OFFICE 45 

and we have no further full record of a prophetic call 
until Isaiah's except that Amos says, " The LORD took 
me from following the flock." 1 

With Isaiah we come to a far more detailed vision. 
" I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted 
up, and His train filled the temple." 2 He saw also the 
heavenly court and heard the word of the Lord giving 
him his commission. 

Ezekiel by the river Chebar apparently received his 
call through an ob j ecti ve vision . It has been suggested 
that there is a certain solar phenomenon sometimes 
visible in Mesopotamia which may have furnished the 
starting-point of his vision of the heavenly chariot, 
but, in addition, he sees " the likeness of a throne, as 
the appearance of a sapphire stone (in Exodus 24, the 
pavement was of sapphire), and upon the likeness 
of the throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man 
upon it above," all shot through with the appearance 
of fiery glory. 3 

From Jeremiah I, 9 we conclude that the call of the 
prophet was accompanied by a vision, but he gives no 
details. 

The call of the apostles by our Lord during His 
incarnate life does not come into the question under 
discussion. But the call of Saul 4 was, as pointed out 
before, apparently an objective vision. 

Elijah's recornmissioning at Sinai 5 was accompanied 
by an exterior audition, and the commission of the 
seer of Patmos for his special work was by the vision 
of the Lord, not apparently objective, but given when 
he was " in the spirit." 

So we are told that some at least of the men who 

1 Amos 7, 15. 2 Isa. 6. 

3 Ezek. i, 26-28. 4 Acts 9, 7 ; i Cor. 15, 8. 

6 i Kings 19, 9-18. 



46 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

were called to a special life of witness were given their 
commission in a personal vision or audition by God 
Himself. Sometimes, as in the case of Ezekiel, the 
vision recurs, sometimes it seems to be unique in that 
particular form. 

Other saints have left records of a similar call 
by which their life work was practically fixed, and all 
bear out the observation of Prof. James, 1 that " there 
is one form of sensory automatism which possibly 
deserves special notice on account of its frequency. I 
refer to hallucinatory or pseudo-hallucinatory luminous 
phenomena, photisms, to use the term of the psycholo- 
gists. St. Paul's blinding heavenly vision seems to 
have been a phenomenon of this sort ; so does Con- 
stantine's cross in the sky. Henry Alline mentions 
a light about whose externality he seems uncertain. 
Col. Gardiner sees a blazing light." He might have 
added St. Theresa's statement that " the splendour of 
Him who is revealed in the vision resembles an infused 
light, as of the sun, covered with a veil as transparent 
as a diamond, if such a texture could be woven." 2 What 
is this but the externalising of what St. John says : 
" God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all," 3 
and Christ's words : " I am the light of the world." 4 
That is as it may be, but in most of the instances we 
have quoted from the Bible the vision was accompanied 
by fiery light, and the same account is generally given 
in the latter manifestations which will now be brought 
forward. 

First, the vision of Catherine of Siena by which her 
vocation was fixed. Catherine's legend is so full of 
the marvellous that it is somewhat risky to quote, 

1 Var. of Rel. Exp., p. 252. 2 Int. Cas., VI, ix. 3. 

3 i John 1,5. 4 John 8, 12. 



THE CALL TO THE PROPHETIC OFFICE 47 

and, consequently, some cautious biographers omit the 
greater part of that side of it. But it seems to be 
certain ihat when she was six she saw the vision which 
fixed her vocation. One account of it is as follows : 
She was going on an errand with her brother " when, 
raising her head and looking towards the Church of 
San Domenico on the opposite hill, Catherine saw in 
the heavens a majestic throne set, as it were, upon the 
gable-end of the church, on which throne appeared our 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, crowned with a tiara, 
and wearing pontifical robes, while beside Him stood " 
various saints. As she stood looking " she beheld how 
our Lord stretched out His right hand towards her, 
and made over her the sign of the cross." -She stood 
absorbed until her brother came and took her by the 
hand to lead her home and roused her " as it were out of 
a deep sleep," and from that time she was no more a 
child. 1 The vision changed her from being a good 
little girl into a person with a definite aim in life, to be 
conformed to the Lord she had seen. 

A different experience was that of Stephen Grellet 
about 1798. He had been converted for some years, 
and had been recognised among the Friends as a 
preacher, when, during an epidemic of yellow fever, he 
was so near to death that his coffin was ordered. But 
" whilst death seemed to be approaching, and I turned 
myself on one side, the more easily to breathe my last, 
my spirit, feeling already as encircled by the angelic 
host in the Heavenly Presence, a secret but powerful 
language was proclaimed on this wise : ' Thou shalt 
not die, but live thy work is not yet done.' Then 
the comers of the earth, over seas and lands, were 
opened to me, where I should have to labour in the 

1 C- of S., pp. 13-14- 



48 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

service of the gospel of Christ. Oh, what amazement 
I was filled with ! What a solemn and awful prospect 
was set before me ! Sorrow took hold of me at the 
words : for it seemed as if I had had already a foothold 
in the heavenly places. I wept sore, but as it was the 
Divine will I bowed in reverence before Him." 1 He 
recovered, and said nothing to anyone, but in a 
meeting not long after " Arthur Ho well, in the course 
of his testimony mentioned me by name, and said that 
the Lord had raised me up, having a service for me 
in the isles and nations afar off, to the east and west, 
the north and south." 2 In later years he travelled 
throughout New England and Europe preaching, 
with very remarkable results. 

Another noted missioner Charles Finney was also- 
called by a vision which has several points in common 
with that of Isaiah, 

It was about 1821, and Finney was a young man in a 
lawyer's office. He had had few religious privileges, 
but found many allusions to Biblical principles in some 
of the old legal authorities. This excited his curiosity, 
and he began to read the Bible, but found little help in 
the teachings of the local ministry. One day he gave 
himself entirely to Christ. That evening, wanting to 
be alone, he went into the room behind the front office 
to pray. 

" There was no fire and no light in the room ; 
nevertheless it appeared as if it were perfectly light. 
As I went in and shut the door it seemed as if I met the 
Lord Jesus Christ face to face. It did not occur to me 
that it was wholly a mental state ; it seemed that I 
saw Him as I would see any other man. He said 
nothing, but looked at me in such a manner as to break 

1 Grellst, pp. 41-42. 2 Ibid., p. 43. 



THE CALL TO THE PROPHETIC OFFICE 49 

me right down at his f eet . I have always since regarded 
this as a most remarkable state of mind, for it seemed 
that He stood before me, and I fell down at His feet, and 
poured out my soul to Him." 1 

Yet another example of the call to an apostolic 
career by a vision is that of Sundar Singh. In great 
spiritual distress he had determined that if he gained 
no satisfaction for his soul by five in the morning he 
would kill himself. "At 4.30 I saw something of 
which I had no idea at all previously. In the room 
where I was praying I saw a great light. I thought the 
place was on fire. I looked round but could find 
nothing. . . . Then, as I prayed and looked into the 
light, I saw the form of the Lord Jesus Christ. It had 
such an appearance of glory and love. ... I heard 
a voice saying, in Hindustani, ' How long will you 
persecute Me ? I have come to save you ; you were 
praying to know the right way. Why do you not take 
it ? ' The thought then came to me, ' Jesus Christ is 
not dead, but living, and it must be He Himself.' So 
I fell at His feet and got this wonderful Peace which I 
could not get anywhere else." 2 

Later he undertook a forty days' fast, which he 
regards as a definite step in his spiritual life. " In 
the course of the fast he saw Christ ; not, he says, as at 
his conversion, with his physical eyes, because they 
were now dim and could not see anything, but in a 
spiritual vision, with pierced hands, bleeding feet, and 
radiant face." 3 

These visions, both those recorded in the Bible and 
those of later date, were very effectual as a preparation 
for the work to which they called the seers, unifying 

1 Finney, p. 17. 2 The Sadhu, p. 6. 

8 The Sadhu, p. 25. 



50 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

their wills for the life of discipline and danger to which 
they were now committed. 

It was a life of discipline and purging of desires, as we 
have already seen, for, as the prophets of old declared, 
self-seeking and self-indulgence blinded the eyes. 
Seeking to please men, says Ezekiel, is another cause 
of false prophecy, and Zephaniah was not the last who 
saw the best spiritual hopes for his people in poverty. 1 
John Woolman tells how in 1764 an old Friend stood 
up in the yearly meeting and said that " he had been a 
member of our Society for upwards of sixty years, and 
he well remembered that in those early times Friends 
were a plain, lowly-minded people, and that there was 
much tenderness and contrition in their meetings. 
That at twenty years from that time, the Society 
increasing in wealth and in some degree conforming to 
the fashions of the world, true humility was less 
apparent, and their meetings in general were not so 
lively and edifying. That at the end of forty years 
many of them were grown very rich, and many of the 
Society made a specious appearance in the world. . , . 
And as such things became more prevalent, so 
the powerful overshadowings of the Holy Ghost 
were less manifest in the Society." 2 On his arrival 
in England Woolman bears a witness which would 
have satisfied Zephaniah upon the way in which 
Friends had mixed themselves with trafficking. 
" Members of our Society worked in superfluities, and 
bought and sold them, and thus dimness of sight 
overcame many." 3 The prophet might have only 
one love, and in obedience to it he might not indulge in 
fear. He must go where he was sent. The whole 

1 Zeph. i, 17-18; 3, 11-13. 2 Woolman, pp. 187-8. 

3 Ibid., p. 237. 



THE CALL. TO THE PROPHETIC OFFICE 51 

interview in Exod. 3 and 4 is punctuated by Moses' 
attempts to have himself excused from the work to 
which he was called, but nevertheless he was held to it 
relentlessly. Jeremiah's ministry begins in much the 
same way. "Then said I, ' Ah, Lord GOD ! behold I 
cannot speak, for I am a child.' But the LORD said unto 
me, ' Say not I am a child ; for to whomsoever I shall 
send thee thou shalt go, and whatsoever I shall 
command thee thou shalt speak.' ' (1 And all through 
his ministry we see in Jeremiah a shrinking from the 
heavy task which he was made to carry through. A 
like charge is.given to Ezekiel. " And thou son of man 
be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, 
though briars and thorns be with thee, and thou dost 
dwell among scorpions, be not afraid of their words, nor 
be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious 
house. And thou shalt speak My words unto them, 
whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear." 2 

We may believe that nothing less than the vision of 
the Most High could have nerved the prophet for such 
a task as that to which he was committed, for he was 
opposed not only to the social habits of his people, but 
to their most distinguished popular preachers and 
teachers. 

The very scantiness of their records is one sign of 
the honesty and self-control of the true prophets. We 
have not many details of the methods of the false 
prophets, but one characteristic seems to be implied. 
They were generally ready to give an " oracle " at short 
notice, and to speak freely upon any occasion. The 
true prophet waited for his message, even though he 
was practically sure what it would be ; as Jeremiah, 
openly contradicted by Hananiah, gave no counter 

1 Jer. i, 6-7. a Ezek. 2, 6-7; 3, 8-n. 



52 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

oracle, but " went his way " until he was sent back 
with a definite " word of the LORD." Again, after, the 
destruction of Jerusalem, when Johanan and the others 
came to him to ask advice, he waited ten days for a 
sure word, though when it came it was what he had 
been saying all the time. 1 In this we are reminded of 
Christ's repeated saying in St. John's Gospel, " Mine 
hour is not yet come." 2 God, to whom all hearts are 
open, knows the exact moment at which His words 
must be spoken to have the effect He intends to 
produce. 

Something of this obedience of the prophet is to be 
found in John Woolman ; we see in him that same 
feeling of responsibility for the message given to him 
which makes St. Paul so careful in his epistles to 
distinguish between what " I say of myself," and what 
is given him by the Spirit. 3 It is impossible with our 
lack of data to speak too positively about pre-Christian 
conditions, but such records as we have of Christian 
men and women who lived in close touch with Him who 
is the Truth go to show that it bred in them a great 
conscientiousness which finds a very clear expression 
in John Woolman. 

He writes : " One day, being under a strong exercise of 
the spirit, I stood up and said some words in a meeting ; 
but not keeping close to the Divine opening, I said, 
more than was required of me. Being soon sensible of 
my error, I was afflicted in mind some weeks, without 
any light or comfort, even to that degree that I could 
not take pleasure in anything . . . being thus 
humbled and disciplined under the cross, my under- 
standing became more strengthened to distinguish 
the pure spirit which inwardly moves on the heart, and 

1 Jer. 28 and 42. 2 John 2, 4 ; 7, 6-8. 3 i Cor. 7, lo. 12, etc. 



THE CALL TO THE PROPHETIC OFFICE 53 

which taught me to wait in silence sometimes many 
weeks together, until I felt that rise which prepares the 
creature to stand like a trumpet through which the Lord 
speaks to His flock. ... I was taught to watch the 
pure opening, and to take heed lest, while I was 
standing to speak, my own will should get uppermost, 
and cause me to utter words from worldly wisdom, and 
depart from the channel of the true gospel ministry." 
Some little time later he went on a mission tour with 
a friend who was "frequently strengthened to 
publish the word of life amongst them. As for me, I 
was often silent through the meetings, and when I spoke 
it was with much care, that I might speak only what 
truth opened." 1 This has a suggestion of St. Paul's 
caution to the Corinthians that "the spirits of the 
prophets are subject to the prophets," 2 and are not to 
be allowed to run away with them. 

It was as important that the prophet . should not 
speak when he had no message as that he should speak 
when he had ; that he should learn to be silent. So 
we find Isaiah told to bind up the testimony and wait, 3 
and Ezekiel's grim, mysterious silences inhibitions, 
we might call them now were to be as much a sign 
as his speech. 4 Woolman again speaks of his care 
" from day to day to say neither more nor less than 
what the spirit of truth opened in me, being jealous 
over myself lest I should say anything to make my 
testimony look agreeable to that mind in people which 
is not in pure obedience to the cross of Christ." 5 And 
so, say the letters written after his death, Woolman 's 
ministry " was very sound, deep and penetrating. . . . 

1 Woolman, pp. 50-51, 56. 2 i Cor. 14, 32. 

3 Isa. 8, 16-17. 

4 Ezek. 3, 26-27 J 24, 27 ; 29, 21 ; 33, 21-22. 
6 Woolman, p. 140 ; cp. Ezek. 13, 6. 16. 



54 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

In transacting the affairs of the discipline his judgment 
was sound and clear." 1 Thus, though his conscientious- 
ness may now and then appear hypersensitive, it is 
evident that it made him a man who could be trusted 
with a direct message, which was one of the functions 
of the prophet. Many of his scruples are of the kind 
which St. Paul cast to the winds (notably that which 
made him only write short letters, for fear lest the 
post-horses should be overburdened), but where 
Woolman's inspiration was a streamlet whose course 
had to be kept clear, St. Paul's was a torrent which 
carved out a course for itself, and gave little chance 
for weeds to grow up and divert it . 

Closely allied to this care in speaking was the 
obligation to speak when the word was given. The 
prophet might have to be silent when what looked like 
a good opportunity arose, he had also to speak when 
he might wish to be silent. 

We have spoken before of the conception of the 
prophet as a watchman responsible to those in the 
town below, 2 but beside this there is the power of 
the word in his heart insisting on being spoken. "HI 
say I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more 
in his name, then there is in mine heart as it were a 
burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with 
forbearing, and I cannot contain," 3 and so it goes on, 
from "The Lord God hath spoken, who can but 
prophesy" 4 to "Necessity is laid upon me; for woe 
is me if I preach not the gospel." 5 

The prophetic message may be pain and grief to see 
and to speak. 6 The prophecy of Jeremiah, like that 

1 Woolman, p. 261. 2 Ezek. 3, 16-21 ; 33, 1-9, 
3 Jer. 20, 9. * Amos 3, 8. B i Cor. 9, 16, 

Isa. 16, 9-n ; 21, 1-4; 22, 4-5; Jer. 4, 19-22; 15, 15-18; 
Ps. 39, 2. 



THE CALL TO THE PROPHETIC OFFICE 55 

of Hosea, is broken with sobs, but the prophet might 
not be wise for himself, his knowledge was given to be 
passed on. 

The same description of the fiery compulsion is 
found in other seers. Behmen says : " With the eyes 
of my spirit I saw God. I saw both what God is, and 
how God is what He is. And with that came an un- 
controllable impulse to put it down, so as to preserve 
what I had seen ... the truth of God did burn in 
my bones till I took pen and ink and began to set it 
down." He continues, that when the Spirit was taken 
away he could not always understand what he had 
written, and prayed that the matters should be given 
to a more learned man. " But He always put my 
prayer away from Him and continued to kindle His 
fire in my bones." 1 

Fox in 1651 felt himself commanded to go to 
Lichfield. 2 He got within a mile. "Then I was 
commanded by the Lord to pull off my shoes. I stood 
still, for it was winter ; and the word of the Lord was 
like a fire in me. So I put off my shoes and left them 
with the shepherds. . . . Then I walked on about a 
mile, and as soon as I was within the city, the word of 
the Lord came to me again, saying ' Cry, Woe to the 
bloody city of Lichfield,' " and as he went he saw the 
city full of blood. John Woolman uses a different 
metaphor. " My heart was like a vessel that wanted 
vent. For several weeks after my arrival, when my 
mouth was opened in meetings, it was like the raising 
of a gate in a water-course when a weight of water lay 
upon it." 3 

The testimony of Sarah Grubb (1773-1842) .gives 

1 Quoted R. E. Welsh, " Classics of the Soul's Quest," p. 206. 

2 Fox, p. 57. 3 Woolman, p. 245. 

E 



56 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

another illustration : l " . . . Often have I hesitated 
and felt such a reluctance to it, that I have suffered 
the meeting to break up without having made the 
sacrifice ; yea, when the word of life in a few words was 
like a fire within me. . . .No one knows the depth of 
my sufferings and the mortifying, yea, crucifying of my 
own will, which I had to endure in this service ; yet I 
have to acknowledge to the sufficiency of Divine grace 
therein. ... At Bath I had to go to the Pump Room 
and declare the truth to the gay people who resorted 
there. . . . In these days and years of my life I was 
seldom from under some heavy burden, so that I went 
greatly bowed down." 

It would indeed appear that this feeling of com- 
pulsion is part of the meaning of the word translated 
"burden " or "oracle " which occurs in many prophecies 
of Isaiah 2 and others, until in the time of Jeremiah it 
had become so cheapened somewhat as the expression 
" message " is now in certain quarters that reputable 
prophets gave up its use. 3 Ezeldel seems to substitute 
" the hand of the Lord was upon me," or " was heavy 
upon me." 4 The meaning in both cases seeming to be 
a heavy, directing constraint, a " concern," a feeling 
of " must," 

Fox tells how in the latter part of 1670, after he had 
been taking meetings in Kent, 5 " We passed towards 
Rochester. On the way, as I was walking down a hill, 
a great weight and oppression fell upon my spirit ; I 
got on my horse again, but the weight remained so that 
I was hardly able to ride. At length we came to 
Rochester, but I was much spent, being so extremely 

1 C. L. F. T., pp. 50, 51. a Isa. 13-23, etc. 

8 Jer. 23, 33. 

* Ezek. 3, 14.22 ; 8, i ; 37, I ; 40, i. 

6 Fox, p. 418-21. 



THE CALL TO THE PROPHETIC OFFICE 57 

laden and burthened with the world's spirits that my 
life was oppressed under them. ..." At the house of 
various friends he "lay all that winter, warring in 
spirit with the evil spirits of the world that warred 
against truth and Friends," and for the greater part of 
the time a violent persecution of the Friends was in 
progress. Towards the spring it died down, " and I 
plainly felt, and those Friends that were with me, and 
that came to visit me, took notice that as the persecu- 
tion ceased, I came from under the travails and 
sufferings that had lain with such weight upon me." 
In 1688 he again writes :* " About this time great 
exercise and weights came upon me (as had usually 
done before the great revolutions and changes of 
government) and my strength departed from me, so 
that I reeled and was ready to fall as I went along 
the streets." 

Stephen Grellet felt something of this when he came 
to London in 1811. " I soon felt the heavy gospel 
bonds awaiting me in this metropolis to be rapidly 
fastening upon me. The depth of exercise into which 
I was introduced on account of the various classes of 
its inhabitants is indescribable. Rich and poor . . . . 
rested heavily upon me." 2 In 1819 he went to Rome, 
and writes : " My bonds for Rome also feel so heavy 
that I could not have any pleasure in those things 
which, were I differently circumstanced, would interest 
me so much." 3 

Woolman's Journal is full of such experiences. 
" Having sat a while silent, I felt a weight on my mind, 
and stood up ; and through the gracious regard of our 
Heavenly Father strength was given fully to clear 
myself of a burden which for some days had been 

1 Fox, p. 488. 2 Grellet, p. 74. 3 Ibid., p. 162. 



58 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

increasing upon me." 1 The whole question of slavery 
was very much upon his mind, and we frequently meet 
such words as " I felt an engagement on my mind to 
have a conference with them in private concerning 
their slaves." 2 "... There yet remained on my 
mind a secret though heavy exercise in regard to some 
leading active members about ^Newport, who were in 
the practice of keeping slaves." 3 " To speak of that 
which is the burden of the Word in an easy way to the 
natural part, doth not reach the bottom of the 
disorder." 4 "Fifth of fifth month, 1768 I left home 
under the humbling hand of the Lord, with a certificate 
to visit some meetings in Maryland." 5 

There is, of course, always the possibility that men 
so deeply read in their Bibles as these were, suggested 
to themselves similar experiences to those of which they 
read, but it seems more probable that in men living in 
a like relation to God the same Spirit wrought similar 
experiences. This seems the more probable as we gain 
our .interpretation of what may have been the ex- 
perience of the prophet, from the description given by 
the later writer. These men were in their measure 
used to do great works for God. They were not fanciful 
fanatics. Grellet and Woolman were both good men 
of business ; Finney was a lawyer, Fox a great 
organiser, and founder of a Society noted for the 
excellent business capacities of its members. The 
practical effect of the spiritual experiences of these men 
gives us the right to believe them genuine men do not 
gather figs of thorns and makes it not unreasonable 
to believe that those of the prophets were also genuine, 
and thus enables us to go on with tolerable confidence 

1 Woolman, p. 77. 2 Ibid., p. 143. z Ibid., p. 148. 
4 Ibid., p. 150. B Ibid., p. 200. 



THE CALL TO THE PROPHETIC OFFICE 59 

to study the other indications of the manner in which 
they received the messages and " burdens" for which 
they had been so carefully prepared, and to the 
proclamation of which they were so insistently 
driven. 



CHAPTER VI 
THE PROPHETIC VISION 

" Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint : 
But he that keepeth the law, happy is he." 1 

THE vision and the law are placed in parallelism. 
The wise man taught that the moral standard of 
his people, the standard upon which our own has been 
built up, was not evolved by man's intelligence, but by 
the vision of the prophet. To the more particular 
consideration of that vision we now come. 

The prophets themselves give very few details of the 
manner by which they received their communications. 
Their spiritual processes had not been dissected into 
the " stick-and-label " state to which we with our 
modern psychological notions would like to reduce them; 
nor had they a language suitable for the expression of 
the subtle distinctions which even St. Theresa candidly 
says she could never quite understand, even when they 
had been explained to her. They were content to accept 
and act upon the message which was the outcome of the 
experience. 

It will, therefore, be easier, as labels have their uses, 
to begin with some modern instances of what Lady 
Julian calls " the word formed in mine understanding," 
the "ghostly showing" of the Cloud of Unknowing, 
the interior audition and vision of the sixteenth- 

* Prov. 29, 1 8. 
<5p 



THE PROPHETIC VISION 61 

century mystics. As St. Theresa says, " a little fire, 
also, is as much fire as a great fire, and yet there is a 
visible difference between them," and the little fire of 
the later seer will serve to illustrate the nature of the 
great fire of the early one. 

Sundar Singh distinguishes between this mode of 
hearing and the exterior auditions spoken of in the 
last chapter. " Some years ago ... I used to hear 
voices, and that with these ears (that is, not in the 
spiritual language of the heavenly world)." 1 St. 
Theresa says : " The words are very distinctly formed ; 
but by the bodily ear they are not heard. They are, 
however, much more clearly understood than they 
would be if they were heard by the ear. It is im- 
possible not to understand them, whatever resistance 
we may off er. . . . There is another test more decisive 
still. The words formed by the understanding effect 
nothing ; but when our Lord speaks, it is at once 
word and work. ... It seems to me that there is as 
much difference between these two locutions [divine 
and auto-suggested] as there is between speaking and 
listening, neither more nor less ; for when I speak, as 
I have just said, I go on with my understanding, 
arranging what I am saying ; but if I am spoken to by 
others I do nothing else but listen." 2 Another time 
she tells how, when she came to a dead stop in her 
writing, " God enlightened my understanding at one 
time suggesting the words, at another shewing me how 
to use them." 3 With this compare Finney's account 
of how at a critical moment " this passage of Scripture 
[Jeremiah 29, 12. 13] seemed to drop into my mind 
with a flood of light." 4 

1 Sadhu, p. 150. 2 Life, xxv, 2-6. 

3 Life, xviii, jo; cp. Matt. 10, 19; Deut. 18, 18; Exod. 4, 12; 
Acts 4, 8. * Finney, p, 14. 



62 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

Suso tells how "one day he was rapt in ecstasy, 
and his bodily senses being abstracted, it was sweetly 
said to him within his soul : I will show thee to-day 
the high nobility of My life, and how a suff erer should 
offer up his sufferings to the praise and glory of a 
loving God." 1 

Nicholas of Basle was praying the night before his 
wedding in a sudden repentance, " And at that moment 
there spoke to me a voice the sweetest and gladdest 
that ears have ever heard, and thus it spake. ' Thou 
beloved of my soul, know thou that I Who speak to 
thee am the Lord of Lords, and the Lord of all things 
that have ever been, or that ever shall be, and thou 
hast done well that thou hast given up time for eternity, 
for few there are who do so in these evil days. . . .' " 
A year later he heard the voice again, and then after 
two more years of spiritual struggle he was praying, 
"And as I spake these words there shone around me, 
as it were, a fair and blessed light, the light that is love ; 
and from the glory of that light a radiance filled my 
soul, so that whether I were in the body or out of the 
body I cannot tell, for my eyes were opened to see the 
wonder and the beauty that are far above the mind 
of man, and I cannot speak thereof for there are no 
words to tell it. ... And as I was marvelling thereat 
and rejoicing greatly, I heard as it were the gladdest 
and sweetest voice, which came not from myself, but 
yet it came to me as one who spake within me, but 
it was not my thoughts that it spake." 2 

Fox, in his Journal of 1674, tells that when he was 
lying very ill in prison, " yet the invisible power did 
secretly support me, and conveyed refreshing strength 

1 Suso, chap, xxxiii. 

2 Three Friends of God, pp. 227-40. 



THE PROPHETIC VISION 63 

unto me, even when I was so weak that I was almost 
speechless. One night as I was lying awake upon my 
bed in the glory of the Lord which was over all, it was 
said to me, that the Lord had a great deal more 
work for me to do for Him, before He took me to 
Himself." 1 

It will be noticed that in the two latter instances 
the words were accompanied by a vision of glory such 
as we read of in Isaiah 6, and Ezekiel and the Revelation. 
John Woolman gives a modification of the same experi- 
ence, dated 13 May, 1757. He lay awake one night. 
" After this, I went to sleep again ; in a short time I 
awoke ; it was yet dark, and no appearance of day or 
moonshine, and as I opened mine eyes I saw a light in 
my chamber, at the apparent distance of five feet, 
about nine inches in diameter, of a clear, easy bright- 
ness, and near its centre the most radiant. As I lay 
still looking upon it without any surprise, words were 
spoken to my inward ear, which filled my whole inward 
man. They were not the effect of thought, nor any 
conclusion in relation to the appearance, but as the 
language of the Holy One spoken in my mind." 2 
This may throw a little light on the experience behind 
such expressions as " the same night the word of the 
Lord came unto Nathan, saying ... According to all 
these words, and according to all this vision, so did 
Nathan speak unto David " 3 ; "I saw in the night." 4 
St. Paul's visions recorded in Acts seem to have been 
seen most frequently by night. 6 It may, of course, 
mean in a dream, but may also mean that the night 
was a quiet time, when the necessary stillness of soul 

1 Fox, p. 454. 2 Woolman, p. 84. 

3 i Sam. 7, 4. 17. * Zech. i, 8. 

B Acts 1 6, 9; 18, 91 23, n; 27, 23. 



64 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

could be obtained that the seer might " reflect as a 
mirror the glory of the Lord." 

The foregoing have been instances of interior audi- 
tions given when the auditor was, if not in a state of 
spiritual calm, at all events physically uninterrupted. 
The following example shows how spiritual calm was 
made possible under circumstances of constant physical 
hardship and interruption. " Jesus Himself drew near 
and talked with us by the way ; and the words that 
He spoke to us, they were spirit and they were life. 
It was literally as though I heard His living voice 
beside me. Now He was breathing in my ear, ' Fear 
not them which kill the body, and after that have no 
more that they can do.' . . . And I knew it for 
my Lord's own voice when the words echoed within : 
' Said I not unto thee that if thou wouldest believe, 
thou shouldest see the glory of God 1 ' " 1 

As was said above, the prophets give very few hints 
of the mode in which they received their revelations. 
The following instances are perhaps those which come 
nearest to giving us any information. In 2 Kings 
20, 4 we read that as Isaiah was returning home, leaving 
Hezekiah sick unto death, " the word of the Lord came 
unto him " telling him to return. The circumstances 
make it probable that it was an interior audition. 
When the city became hysterical at the approach of 
the Assyrians and turned to feasting instead of to 
prayer, "the LORD of Hosts revealed Himself in mine 
ears : ' Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from 
you till ye die/ saith the Lord." 2 Again, " He wakeneth 
mine ear to hear as they that are taught. The Lord 
God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, 

1 1000 Miles, pp. 134-5. 

2 Isaiah 22, 14 ; cp. i Sam. 9, 15 marg. 



THE PROPHETIC VISION 65 

neither turned away backward." 1 It is at all events 
possible to take these passages as referring to hearing 
with the inward ear, and also that in Kings, 2 , when 
the wife of Jeroboam in disguise was on her way to 
Ahijah, " and the LORD said unto Ahijah, ' Behold the 
wife of Jeroboam cometh.' " 

One more passage from the writings of Marmaduke 
Stevenson, one of the Quaker " Boston Martyrs " of 
1659, shows a similarity to the call of Amos, when 
" the LORD took me from following the flock, and the 
LORD said unto me, 'Go, prophesy unto my people 
Israel. ' " 3 

" In the beginning of the year 1655 I was at the 
plough in the east part of Yorkshire, in Old England, 
near the place where my outward being was ; and as 
I walked after the plough, I was filled with the love 
and presence of the living God, which did ravish my 
heart when I felt it, for it did increase and abound in 
me like a living stream, so did the life and love of God 
run through me like precious ointment giving a pleasant 
smell, which made me to stand still. And as I stood a 
little still, with my heart and mind stayed upon the 
Lord, the word of the Lord came to me in a still small 
voice, which I did hear perfectly, saying to me in the 
secret of my heart and conscience, ' I have ordained 
thee a prophet unto the nations,' and at the hearing 
of the word of the Lord I was put to a stand, seeing 
that I was but a child for such a weighty matter. So, 
at the time appointed, Barbadoes was set before me, 
unto which I was required of the Lord to go." 4 Here 
we have a correspondence with Jeremiah. 5 " Then 
said I, ' Ah, Lord GOD ! behold, I cannot speak : for I 

1 Isa. 50, 4. 5. 2 i Kings 14, 5. 

3 Amos 7, 15. " C. L. F. T., L. F. T., p. 32. 

6 Jer. i, 6-7. 



66 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

am a child/ But the LORD said unto me, ' Say not, I 
am a child : to whomsoever I shall send thee thou 
shalt go, and whatsoever I shall command thee thou 
shalt speak/ " 

As a rule, however, the prophets confine themselves 
to saying " The word of the Lord came " (about 125 
times), or "The Lord spake, saying" (about 80), or 
some such expression. Ezekiel speaks of the Spirit 
giving strength to hear. 1 St. Theresa in some measure 
corroborates this " My meaning is, that so exceeding 
great is the power of this vision, when our Lord shows 
the soul much of His grandeur and majesty, that it is 
impossible, in my opinion, for any soul to endure it, 
if our Lord did not succour it in a most supernatural 
way, by throwing it into a trance or ecstasy, whereby 
the vision of the divine presence is lost in the fruition 
thereof." 2 

So far we have spoken of auditions, things heard. The 
prophets also say " I saw," " He shewed me " ; they 
speak of visions ; the "seer" was one of the names of 
the prophet (the title was growing obsolete when 
I Samuel 9, 9 was written, but Gad is called " David's 
seer" in 2 Samuel 24, u, and it seems to have come 
into use again later, since the Chronicler uses it more 
than any other writer). The prophet was a man who 
both heard and saw what others did not. This is 
brought out in the forcible words of Isaiah, "The Lord 
hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and 
closed your eyes, the prophets, and your heads, the 
seers, hath he covered. [To ' uncover the ear ' is one 
of the descriptions of an audition. 3 ] And all vision is 
become to you as the words of a book that is sealed." 4 

1 Ezek. 2, 2; 3, 24 ; cp. Dan. 8, 18 ; 10, 7-10. 18. 
Life, xxviii, 14. 3 i Sam. 9, 15 marg. 

4 Isa. 29, lo-ii. 



THE PROPHETIC VISION 67 

And again, "they are gone astray through strong drink, 
they err in vision, they stumble in judgment." 1 

Four times Amos says, " Thus the Lord God shewed 
me : and behold . . . " 2 Jeremiah " saw " the rod 
of an almond tree, and a seething cauldron, 3 and " the 
Lord, shewed me, and behold, two baskets of fruit." 4 
These latter may have been actual baskets of offerings 
used as a starting-place for the revelation, as elsewhere 
was the potter, but Ezekiel "sees" from beginning 
to end, and even when he does not mention a vision 
his descriptions are pictorial. He was emphatically a 
" seer." 

Stephen " saw " "the Son of Man standing on the 
right hand of God." 5 The expression occurs again and 
again in Revelation, though the writer tells us that 
both for what he saw and heard he was " in the Spirit." 6 

Sometimes, as said above, at a more or less elemen- 
tary stage of development, revelation is made by 
dreams. These are still held in parts of the East to be 
an authoritative channel of revelation, and mission- 
aries, especially in Egypt and Persia, can tell remarkable 
stories of men who have been led to become inquirers, 
and often converts, through some significant dream. 
It appears that, in dealing with men, God uses that 
form of communication which they are disposed to 
accept as valid, without considering whether it would 
be so regarded by our more sophisticated intelligences. 
So in Genesis we find Abimelech, Jacob, Laban, and 
Pharaoh instructed through dreams. 7 When Saul can 
get answer in no other way he tries to get it by dreams; 8 

1 Isa. 28, 7. 2 Amos 7, i. 4. 7 ; 8, i. 

3 Jer. i, 11-13. * Jer. 24, i. 

5 Acts 7, 55. 

6 Rev. i, 10 ; cp. also Dan. 8 and 10 passim. 

7 Gen. 20, 36 ; 28, 10 ; 31, 24 ; 41, 25. 8 I Sam. 28, 6. 



68 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

then, prophecy being dumb, dreams are again used in 
the early chapters of St. Matthew, but they do not 
appear to have been used for any communications that 
have come down to us as definitely/' prophetic," and 
Acts 1 mentions trances as the vehicle of vision. 
Possibly, Luke the Greek did not feel the evidential 
value of dreams to be so great as did Matthew the 
Jew. He, moreover, distinguishes clearly between the 
open vision of Cornelius, the trance of St. Peter, trances 
and visions by night of St. Paul, the open vision of 
Zacharias, and the speaking in the spirit of Simeon in a 
way that seems to suggest a certain amount of investi- 
gation of the subject, though he does not go into such 
details about "intellectual" and "imaginary" visions 
as does St. Theresa. 

Before going on to notice modern examples it is 
to be observed that the visions seen appear to have 
been as a rule symbolic. Man cannot see the spiritual 
verities direct he has to be taught by parable in sight 
as well as in word, and thus in the face of the visions 
recorded of Isaiah, Amos, Ezekiel, and the rest, John 
can still say with truth, " No man hath seen God at 
any time." As Lady Julian says, 2 " And then shall 
we see God face to face, homely and fully. The creature 
which is made shall see and endlessly behold God 
which is the maker. For thus may no man see God, 
which is the maker and the life after, that is to say in 
this deadly life. But when He of His special grace 
will shew Himself here, He strengtheneth the creature 
above itself, and He measureth the shewing after His 
own will as it is profitable for the time." 

The author of the Cloud of Unknowing is even 
more definite. " For that they say of St. Martin and 

1 Acts 10, 10 ; 22, 17. 2 Julian, chap. 55. 



THE PROPHETIC VISION 69 

St. Stephen, although they saw such things with their 
bodily eyes, it was shewed but in miracle and in certi- 
fying of thing that was ghostly. ... For howso His 
body is in heaven standing, sitting, or lying wots no 
man. . . . For if He shew Him lying, or standing, or 
sitting, by revelation bodily to any creature in this 
life, it is done for some ghostly bemeaning : not for 
no manner of bodily bearing that he hath in heaven." 1 
Dr. Skinner, after speaking of the early beginnings of 
prophecy, continues : " This crude and fragmentary 
conception of inspiration left far behind, visions and 
auditions and mysterious inward promptings to speech 
and action are still part of the prophet's experience, 
but the field of revelation is no longer confined to them 
alone. The meaning of the vision passes into the 
prophet's thinking, and becomes the nucleus of a com- 
prehensive view of God and the world from which 
spring ever fresh intuitions of truth and calls to duty." 
He goes on to say that this may be expressed in imagery. 
The prophet interprets what he sees, and "the sub- 
stance of the revelation is not the mere vision or 
audition itself, but the truth which it has evoked or 
symbolised in his mind." 2 Part of this merely puts 
into modern words what the older writer says about 
" ghostly bemeanings," and part which refers to the 
fuller content of the vision will fall to be discussed in 
a later chapter. 

Again, in their account of the visions of the Sadhu, 
Canon Streeter and Mr. Appasamy say : "He is not 
only aware, but is urgent to insist, that the sights and 
words he reports are but shadowy reflections of the 
reality in other words, that they are essentially 
symbolic." 3 

1 Cloud, pp. 257-60. 2 P. and R., p. 211. 5 Sadhu, p. 141. 



70 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

To come to the visions : St. Theresa describes what 
she calls an "intellectual" vision, which may illustrate 
St. Paul's experiences in Acts 23, n and 27, 23. " A 
person who is in no ways expecting such a favour, nor 
has ever imagined herself worthy of receiving it, is 
conscious that Jesus Christ stands by her side, although 
she sees Him neither with the eyes of the body nor of 
the soul. . . . Whenever she desired to speak to His 
Majesty in prayer, or even at other times, He seemed 
so close that He could not fail to hear her." 1 At other 
times He shows the soul " in a vision His most sacred 
Humanity under whatever form He chooses ; either 
as He was during His life on earth, or after His Re- 
surrection. ... You must understand that though the 
soul sees this for a certain space of time, it is no more 
possible to continue looking at it than to gaze for a 
long time on the sun . . . although its brightness does 
not pain the interior sight in the same way as the sun's 
glare injures our bodily eyes. The image is seen by 
the interior sight alone." 2 Again, in the Life she 
speaks of a vision she saw of Christ : " This vision, 
though imaginary, I never saw with my bodily eyes, 
nor, indeed, any other, but only with the eyes of the 
soul. Those who understand these things better than 
I do say that the intellectual vision is more. perfect 
than this ; and this the imaginary vision, much more 
perfect than those visions which are seen by the bodily 
eyes. The latter kind of vision, they say, is the 
lowest ; and it is by these that the devil can most 
delude us." 3 

In both books she gives a good many other details, 
and then in the Foundations she leaves psychology 

1 Int. Cas., VI, viii, 2, 4. 2 Ibid., VI, ix, 2, 3. 

3 Life, xxviii, 5. 



THE PROPHETIC VISION 71 

and tells the story of two visions. One of a monk who 
had made up his mind to render perfect obedience to 
his superior. He was sent to dig in the garden after 
a very tiring day, and as he was going down a path 
" There our Lord appeared to him with the cross on 
His shoulders, so wearied and worn out that he very 
well could see that his own fatigue was nothing in 
comparison of that." 1 The other story is that of 
Dona Catalina Godinez who, when she professed in 
I 575 told her that twenty years ago, desiring to find 
the most perfect religious order that she might profess 
in it, she had a dream in which she was introduced to 
a convent where she saw the same sisters she was now 
professed with, and was shown a Rule of which she 
wrote down as much as she remembered, and after 
much inquiry found it to be the rule of the Carmelites. 2 

In the life of Catherine of Siena we are told that on 
the day she received the habit of Penance she was 
meditating and saw " before the eyes of her soul " a 
vision of a tree full of fruit hedged about with thorns, 
and a hill covered with fair-seeming corn which was, 
however, withered within, and she understood that the 
choice of her manner of life was set before her. 3 

Suso tells us that after his penances had been going 
on some twenty-two years " it seemed to his inward 
vision that a noble youth came down from above," and 
told him that he had been long enough in the lower 
school, he must now come to a higher life. He " took 
him by the hand and carried him, as it appeared to him, 
into a land above the ken of sense." 4 After that he 
gave up his austerities, but a few weeks later "his, 
senses became abstracted, and it seemed to him that 

1 Found., p. 34. * Ibid., p. 155. 

8 C. of S., p. 38. * Suso, chap. xxi. 



72 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

there came in a comely youth of a manly form," who 
told him what his future sufferings should be. He was 
terrified until " something spoke within him thus : 
' Be of good cheer. I myself will be with, thee and I 
will aid thee graciously to overcome all these unusual 
trials.'" 1 

Fox tells that being in Lancaster Castle in i664 2 
"there was a great noise and talk of the Turks over- 
spreading Christendom, and great fears entered many. 
But one day, as I was walking in my prison chamber, 
I saw the Lord's power turn against me, and that he 
was turning back again. And I declared to some 
what the Lord had let me see ... and within a month 
after the news came that they had given him a defeat. 
Another time, as I was walking in my chamber, with my 
eye to the Lord, I saw the angel of the Lord with a 
glittering drawn sword stretched southward, as though 
the court had been all on fire. Not long after the wars 
broke out with Holland, the sickness broke forth, and 
afterwards the fire of London, so the Lord's sword was 
drawn indeed." 

Woolman tells of a vision which calls to mind St. 
Paul's words, 3 "having the desire to depart and be 
with Christ . . . yet to abide in the flesh is more 
needful for your sake." 

Woolman had been very ill and was thought to be at 
the point of death. " After I had lain near ten hours 
in this condition, I closed my eyes thinking whether I 
might now be delivered out of the body ; but in these 
awful moments my mind was livingly opened to behold 
the church ; and strong engagements were begotten 
in me for the everlasting well-being of my fellow-? 

1 Suso, chap. 22. 2 Fox, p. 384. 

3 Phil, i, 23. 24, 



THE PROPHETIC VISION 73 

creatures." 1 And he was willing to recover and serve 
them. Again, in 1772, he records a vision in two parts, 
the first purely symbolical, the second more pictorial. 
" In a time of sickness, a little more than two years and 
a half ago, I was brought so near the gates of death 
that I forgot my name. Being then desirous to know 
who I was, I saw a mass of matter of a dull, gloomy 
colour between the south and the east, and was in- 
formed that this mass was human beings in as great 
misery as they could be, and live, and that I was mixed 
with them, and that henceforth I might not consider 
myself as a distinct or separate being. In this state I 
remained several hours. I then heard a soft, melo- 
dious voice, more pure and harmonious than any I had 
heard with my ears before ; I believed it was the 
voice of an angel who spake to the other angels : the 
words were : ' John Woolman is dead.' " He wondered 
what it meant. " I was then carried in spirit to the 
mines where poor oppressed people were digging rich 
treasures for those called Christians, and heard them 
blaspheme the name of Christ, at which I was grieved, 
for His name to me was precious. I was then informed 
that these heathens were told that those who oppressed 
them were the followers of Christ, and they said 
among themselves : ' If Christ directed them to use us 
in this sort, then Christ is a cruel tyrant.' ... As I 
lay still for a time I at length felt a Divine power 
prepare my mouth so that I could speak, and then I 
said : ' I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I 
live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.' . . . Then 
the mystery was opened and I perceived . . . that 
the language 'John Woolman is dead ' meant no more 
than the death of my own will." 2 

1 Woolman, p. 211. z Ibid., pp. 239, 240. 



74 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

Bunyan tells of a symbolic vision, which was 
apparently interior. " About this time the state and 
happiness of these poor people at Bedford was thus, 
in a kind of vision, presented to me." He saw them on 
a sunny mountain, surrounded by a high wall, while 
he was shivering outside in the cold. After a great 
struggle he succeeded in getting through a narrow gate 
in the wall, and joined them in the sun. 1 

Dorothy Kerin gives an example of the visions of the 
night, the expressions in which are reminiscent of some 
of the descriptions in the Old Testament, though there 
is a much freer use of adjectives. " One Sunday, in 
the middle of the night, I was awakened out of my 
sleep by the sound of exquisite music. Everywhere 
there was a wonderful Glory-light ... the atmo- 
sphere seemed to throb with ' Holy, Holy,- Holy,' and 
I realised Heaven. Then a great blue mist cleared 
and revealed three transcendent forms; on the left 
hand I recognised the angel who had been sent to heal 
me, on the right the Virgin Mary, and in the centre our 
Lord. He held His hands over me, and in the palm of 
each there shone a wonderful red jewel. . . . Great 
rays of light streamed from the sacred hands and 
permeated my whole being. The vision then slowly 
faded and I was again in my bed." 2 

Finally, Sundar Singh gives two points about these 
interior visions and auditions which bear out St. 
Theresa's more lengthy and elaborate descriptions. 
" In Heaven I see not with bodily but with spiritual 
eyes, and I was told that these spiritual eyes are the 
same as those which all men will use after permanently 
leaving the body." " When they speak to me they 
put their thoughts into my heart in a single moment, 

1 Grace Abounding, 53. 2 Kerin, p. 26. 



THE PROPHETIC VISION 75 

just as on earth one sometimes knows what a person is 
going to say before he says it." 1 Elsewhere we read : 
"The words are words, but they are neither heard nor 
spoken, the sights are seen and yet not as if with 
eyes." 2 

So we come back to the prophetic expression of 
having eyes and ears " opened," and to our Lord's 
words, "he that hath ears to hear, let him hear." 3 
It depends on the development of our spiritual faculties 
how much we can see or hear of spiritual things. 4 

But the prophet was not only to be a seer and 
recounter of visions. The visions he saw were not of 
private interpretation, as were most of those recounted 
above. They were to exercise a definite effect on the 
life of the nation ; they contained precepts which were 
meant to be put into effect by the intelligent co- 
operation of the seer. That being so, he cannot 
simply give himself over to the enjoyment of the vision ; 
he asks questions and receives explanations. The 
visions containing these colloquies seem to belong to 
the stage we are now dealing with, for St. Theresa says 
that in a further stage the soul is taught without them. 
" A person is far from thinking of seeing anything, no 
idea of which has crossed the mind, when suddenly 
the vision is revealed in its entirety. ... Meanwhile, 
certain sublime truths have been so impressed on 
the mind that it needs no other master, for, with no 
effort of its own, Wisdom Himself .has enlightened its 
former ignorance." 5 This seems to be the "spiritual 
sight " which Lady Julian says she cannot fully 
describe. Lady Julian herself asks questions and 
receives explanations, as does also Sundar Singh, and 

1 Sadhu, pp. 117, 1 1 8. 2 Ibid., p. 140. 

3 Cp. John 8, 43. 47 ; g, 39-41- 

4 i Cor. 2, 11-15. 6 Int. Cas., VI, ix, 7. 



76 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

we find the same in Amos, Habakkuk, Jeremiah, and 
Zechariah, and the Revelation. 

" In these visions we have the most wonderful talks," 
says Sundar Singh. ..." There are very many things 
which I see and hear there, and of which I have a clear 
picture in my mind, but I can't express them, even in 
Hindustani, much less in English, and some of them are 
things that it would be no use even trying to express, 
because their beauty would be lost if they could be 
taken out of that world and put into this." 1 But 
something of what the prophet saw had to be translated, 
and that into an inflexible language. We inherit the 
spiritual vocabulary they built up, but for a great deal 
that they saw there can have been no vocabulary, and 
they had to paint their teaching in broad lines of pic- 
ture and parable, to our great advantage. Even then 
it was not possible to make all clear, 2 but the prophet 
was expected by his followers to see after a different 
fashion from themselves, and his " dark speech " 
would be likely to be transmitted by them if he had 
already made a reputation as one who knew more of the 
counsel of God than other men. If his word had been 
proved true in short-period predictions there would be 
grounds for preserving his predictions of a more distant 
future, especially if it were not known how distant 
that future was to be. The man, too, who could tell 
what was had a right to declare what ought to be, in 
social as well as religious matters. 

In effect, we do find that of many of the prophets 
there are recorded incidents of prediction and insight 
which would serve to warrant the preservation of their 
writings and sayings as having permanent as well as 
immediate value. Elijah seems to have been absorbed 

1 Sadhu, p. 1 19. 2 i Peter i, 10-12. 



THE PROPHETIC VISION 77 

by the need of strenuous action, and comparatively few 
of his words are preserved. Of the later prophets we 
have comparatively few deeds recorded, though the 
impression is left that they were men of fearless action 
in the power of the spirit. And it was the impression 
they made of being " God-possessed," warranted by the 
" signs " done in the name of the Lord, 1 that ensured 
the preservation and partial acceptance of the revo- 
lutionary social and moral teaching which they gave 
in the same Name, teaching so revolutionary that 
though we still preserve and admire it, we have not 
yet had the practical faith to try it properly. 

1 Deut. 1 8, 22. 



CHAPTER VII 
PREDICTION AND INSIGHT 

PREDICTION, says Dr. Skinner, " is not a secon- 
dary or accidental feature of Old Testament 
prophecy even in its highest manifestations, but a 
central interest round which all other forms of pro- 
phetic activity ranged themselves." 1 

This dictum marks a change from the " not foretelling 
but forth-telling " of which we used to hear in recent 
years. There is here, however, no intention to dis- 
cuss prediction in general, only to take up such 
instances of short-distance prediction as might serve 
to authenticate the prophets' mission to their con- 
temporaries, 2 and to add such modern instances as 
may serve to illustrate them. 

The two tests propounded in Deuteronomy, con- 
tinuity with former revelation, and the giving of a 
sign in the "Name " were, as has already been pointed 
out, accepted by our Lord. 3 The confidence in the 
power of the Name to take care of itself is illustrated 
in Mark 9, 38-39 and in the story in Acts of the sons 
of Sceva.* The Name did not work by magic, as was 
supposed to be the case with other names of power, it 
could only be used effectively by properly authorised 
persons. 

1 P. and R., p. 4. Deut. 18, 22. 

1 Deut. 13, i ; 18,22; Mark 2, 8-n ; 7, 5-13. 
* Acts 19, 13-16. 

78 



PREDICTION AND INSIGHT 79 

The first of the authenticating instances after that 
of Deborah, 1 are the signs given by Samuel to Saul. 8 
They were of a perfectly neutral character, but would 
serve as well as any others to maintain the ascendancy 
of the prophetic over the kingly office, which was 
Samuel's ideal. Later in the history Ahijah foretells 
both the disruption of the kingdom and the hour of 
the death of Jeroboam's son. 3 

Elisha, sitting with the elders during the siege of 
Samaria, prophesied that the siege would be raised 
that night, and that there would be abundance of 
provision in the city next day, and also that the 
particular officer of the king who spoke with him should 
not eat of it. 4 Several such predictions are recorded 
of Isaiah. There is the prophecy of the captivity of 
Egypt and Ethiopia ; 5 the prophecies relating to 
Shebna and Eliakim ; 6 that of the destruction of 
Assyria, and of Hezekiah's recovery and fifteen years 
longer lease of life, together with the sign of the dial of 
Ahaz. 7 

It has been said that Amos's sign upon Amaziah 8 was 
not fulfilled because the captivity of Israel did not 
come until a generation after Amos. But after the 
death of Jeroboam, who had given Amaziah his 
appointment, there were three kings two of them 
usurpers within the year, and it is quite possible that 
a court favourite would fall with his master without 
any need to wait for a national destruction. 

Jeremiah's prediction of the death of Hananiah 9 had 
its fulfilment within the year. His prophecy of the 

1 Judges 4, g. 4 i Sam. 9, 15-10, 9. 

3 i Kings ii, 26-39 ; 14, 6-14. * 2 Kings 6, 33-8, 13. 
B Isa. 20. * Isa. 22. 

7 Isa. 37 and 38. 8 Amos 7, 1 7. 

Jer. 28, 15-17. 



8o PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

seventy years' captivity and return was concerned 
with a more distant event, 1 while his declaration that 
Nebuchadnezzar would take Tahpanhes 2 had its nearer 
fulfilment. Most of the single-oracle prophets whose 
words are recorded in the historical books were bearers 
of some such short - distance prediction. Ezekiel's 
continual prophecy for many years that Jerusalem 
must fall before the might of Babylon was really a 
very obvious one, but the details concerning the king's 
attempted escape and disguise would give it additional 
effect. 

These and other unrecorded fulfilments must not 
only have given the prophet himself confidence in his 
own message, as was shown by Jeremiah's act of faith 
in buying the field against the return of his people ; 3 
they had also their effect in the persistence of the 
belief in the future Messianic age, which continued in 
spite of all appearances to the contrary until Messiah 
did come. It was possibly because the vision seen in 
eternity had to be translated into terms of time that 
the glorious consummation was expected to be so much 
nearer than it actually was. The time-perspective was 
lost , but the conviction endured . 

This enduring conviction is, says St. Theresa, one of the 
distinctive marks of a prophetic locution. Words of grace 
or of instruction may be forgotten in time, " But as to 
prophetic words, they are never forgotten, in my 
opinion ; at least I have never forgotten any and yet 
my memory is weak." 4 Again she says that one may 
quite well forget -what men say. "Neither if they 
prophesy of things to come, do we believe them as we 
do these divine locutions, which leave us so convinced 

1 Jer. 29, 10. cp. 20, 1-6; 30. 2 Jer. 43, 10. 

3 Jer. 32. 4 Life, xxv, 10. 



PREDICTION AND INSIGHT 81 

of their truth, that although their fulfilment sometimes 
seems utterly impossible, and we vacillate and doubt 
about them, there still remains in the soul a certainty 
of their verity which cannot be destroyed. Perhaps 
everything may seem to militate against what was 
heard, and years pass by, yet the spirit never loses its 
belief that God will make use of means unknown to 
men for the purpose, and that finally what was foretold 
must surely happen ; as indeed it does." 1 " I know 
by experience in many ways when these locutions come 
from God. I have been told things two or three years 
beforehand, which have all come to pass ; and in none 
of them have I been hitherto deceived." 2 

Palladius tells two stories of this kind ; the first of 
Didymus, the blind scholar, might be accounted for 
by clairvoyance. He told Palladius: "As I was 
thinking one day about the life of the wretched Emperor 
Julian ... it happened as I sat in my seat I was 
overcome by sleep and I saw in a trance white horses 
running with riders and proclaiming : Tell Didymus 
to-day at the seventh hour Julian died. Rise and eat, 
they said, and send to Athanasius the bishop, that he, 
too, may know. And I marked, he said, the hour 
and month and week and day, and it was found to be 
so." Later Palladius went to see John of Lycopolis, 
"who, having completed thirty years immured . . . 
was accounted worthy of the gift of predictions. Among 
other instances he sent various predictions to the 
blessed Emperor Theodosius, one concerning Maximus 
the tyrant, that he would conquer him and return from 
the Gauls ; similarly he also gave him good news about 
the tyrant Eugenius." After having told him certain 
home truths, the hermit went on : " Many afflictions 

1 Int. Gas., VI, iii, 11. a Life, xxv, 3. 



82 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

are in store for you, and many times have you been 
tempted to leave the desert " ; the devil, he said, had 
been worrying him about his brother and sister, and 
his father's health ; " Behold, then, I give you good 
news ; both are saved, for both have renounced the 
world . And as regards your father, at this very moment 
he still has other years to live." 1 

Fox tells of several predictions of his own which 
were fulfilled. For a man of his professedly peaceful 
principles he shows a great interest in the bad ends which 
overtook his persecutors, especially if he had foretold 
them. In 1653, " Being one day in Swarthmore Hall 
when Judge Fell and Justice Benson were talking of 
the news, and of the parliament then sitting, which 
was called the Long Parliament, I was moved to tell 
them that before that day two weeks the parliament 
should be broken up, and the Speaker plucked out of 
his chair. And that day two weeks, Justice Benson 
coming hither again, told Judge Fell that now he saw 
George was a true prophet, for Oliver had broken up 
the Parliament." 2 

In 1658 he records the well-known incident of how 
he met Cromwell " riding into Hampton 'Court Park, 
and before I came to him, as he rode at the head of his 
life-guard, I saw and felt a waft (or apparition) of 
death go forth against him ; and when I came to him 
he looked like a dead man." 3 In the same year he 
writes : " I had a sight and sense of the king's return a 
good while before, and so had some others. I wrote 
to Oliver several times, and let him know that while 
he was persecuting God's people, they whom he 
accounted his enemies were preparing to come upon 
him. When some forward spirits that came among 
1 Pall. pp. 52, 120-122. z Fox, p. in. 3 Ibid., p. 279. 



PREDICTION AND INSIGHT 83 

us would have bought Somerset House, that we might 
have meetings in it, I forbade them to do so ; for I 
then foresaw the king's coming in again. Besides, 
there came a woman to me in the Strand, who had a 
prophecy concerning King Charles's coming in, three 
years before he came ; and she told me, that she must 
go to him to declare it. ... I saw her prophecy was 
true, and that a great stroke must come upon them in 
power. ' ' 1 The following year, after making a prolonged 
tour, " I returned to London, when General Monk was 
come up thither, and the gates and posts of the city 
were pulled down. Long before this I had a vision, 
wherein I saw the city lie in heaps and the gates down; 
and it was then represented to me, just as I saw it 
several years after, lying in heaps, when it was burned." 3 
It was perhaps only human nature for Fox to char- 
acterise the disasters which befell the Puritans as the 
punishment for their treatment of the Friends, and so 
he writes a letter and says, " Was it not told you ? " 

Among the spiritual gifts mentioned by St. Paul 3 
is the " discerning of spirits." St. John also bids his 
converts " believe not every spirit, but try the spirits." 4 
" A certain amount of insight into character was expected 
from men who had the Spirit. We see this specially 
in our Lord, with His instant knowledge of the needs 
of those with whom He came in contact. It is brought 
out in His first greetings of Peter and Nathaniel, 5 
and again in John 2, 24. 25, " He knew what was in 
man." After Pentecost Peter by the Spirit discerned 
the subterfuge of Ananias and Sapphira. 6 

These sudden challenges were among the powers 
which added to the prestige of the Old Testament 

1 Ibid., p. 283. Ibid., p. 288. 

3 i Cor. 12, 10. 4 i John 4, i. 

6 John i, 42, 47. Acts 5, 1-9. 



84 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

prophet, and by their dramatic character lent themselves 
to preservation in stories. It was Ahijah's sudden 
greeting, " Come in, thou wife of Jeroboam ; why 
feignest thou thyself to be another ? For I am sent to 
thee with heavy tidings," 1 which probably fixed the 
accompanying prophecy in people's minds. No less 
than three stories of Elisha deal with the same power, 
that of Gehazi and Naaman, of his services to the king 
as intelligence officer, and his interview with Hazael. 2 
Such powers might not have the same evidential force 
now as they did then, but, as we said before, God 
uses the methods which appeal to the men with whom 
He is dealing, even if they do not necessarily appeal 
to us. 

We find, however, in history that such insight has 
been of the 'greatest use to teachers of spiritual things. 

John of Lycopolis, of whom we spoke in the last, 
chapter, had the gift. Palladius was interrupted in a 
conversation with him by the coming of the ruler of 
the district, and John turned to talk to the latter. 
Palladius went a little way off, feeling annoyed, and 
was contemplating going away altogether, when John 
sent his interpreter, saying, "Go, tell that brother, 
'Do not be petty-minded. I am just going to dismiss 
the ruler and talk to you.' " And when his turn came, 
John gave him a lecture on his attitude. 3 

Anthony too, had similar powers. Palladius tells 
the story of Eulogius and the cripple, and how when 
they had got on each other's nerves past bearing, 
they had gone to ask advice of Anthony. He tells 
how, sitting in the dark, Anthony called Eulogius out 
of the party by name and city, though he had been 

1 i Kings 14, 6. 2 2 Kings 5, 25 ; 6, 8 ; 8, n. 

3 Pall., p. 122. 



PREDICTION AND INSIGHT 85 

told neither, and knew also the state of the pair and 
foretold their speedy, peaceful deaths. 1 

Catherine of Siena prayed for the grace of seeing the 
state of such souls as she might converse with in order 
that she might the more be moved to seek their salva- 
tion, and, says Fr. Raymund, "saw more distinctly 
the souls than the bodies of those who approached 
her." He reproved her for allowing some signs of 
homage. " God knows," she replied, "I do not often 
notice the outward gestures of those who come to see 
me ; I am so engaged in beholding their souls, that I 
pay little attention to their bodies." 2 Sin had to her 
an offensive odour. The story is told that when she 
had gone to Avignon to visit the Pope, some of the 
fair dames of the court were curious to see her. One 
day a lady appeared who seemed to Fr. Raymund a 
most devout person, modest in bearing and edifying in 
conversation, and he was considerably disturbed when 
Catherine turned her back on her and would have 
nothing to do with her, and took the Saint to task 
for it. "Oh, Father," she said, "if you had been 
conscious as I was of the stench of sin that made itself 
sensible whilst that woman was talking to us, I think it 
would verily have turned you sick." Later on, when 
he had made inquiries, he found that Catherine was 
quite right. 3 

Fox gives an almost identical account of his experi- 
ence in 1647 : " The Lord shewed me that the natures 
of those things which were hurtful without, were 
within in the hearts and minds of wicked men. ... I 
cried to the Lord, saying ' Why should I be thus, 
seeing I was never addicted to commit those evils ? ' 
The Lord answered, That it was needful I should have 

1 Ibid., 93. 95- ' C. of S., p. 87. 8 Ibid., p. 368. 



86 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

a sense of all conditions, how else should I speak to all 
conditions ? " 1 

John Woolman found that his habit of waiting upon 
God brought him into truer relation to men, so that 
he could without offence speak very straight to them 
about the question of slavery which was ever on his 
mind. "It is good for thee to dwell deep, that thou 
mayest feel and understand the spirits of people," he 
said. 2 Another time he says he went to Meeting " in 
which I sat in bowedness of spirit, and being baptised 
into feeling of the state of some present, the Lord gave 
us a heart-tendering season." 3 

There are many people who have such gifts on the 
purely mental plane, but Woolman seems to imply 
something distinctive, a sort of spiritual sympathy as 
opposed to a merely psychic telepathy, much as we are 
told that there is a difference between spiritual and 
mental healing. 

In speaking of these signs given to give authority 
to the prophetic message, no mention has been made of 
the miracles attributed to the prophets. They do not 
come within the scope of the present inquiry, but there 
is an amount of similar illustrative matter which opens 
the question whether it is not possible that a new 
relation to the Creator may in some cases involve a 
new relation to the creation. 

1 Fox, p. 17. 2 Woolman, p. 149. 3 Ibid., p. 197. 



CHAPTER VIII 
THE THIRD DEGREE OF VISION 

IT will be remembered that Julian of Norwich spoke 
of a third manner of vision, a "spiritual sight" 
which she found indescribable . St . Theresa gives many 
particulars of ecstasy, rapture, and intellectual vision, 
which all share this characteristic, that they go beyond 
the simpler ' ' word formed in mine understanding," and 
do not seem necessarily to convey any message for 
transmisssion. It is therefore difficult to assert that 
there are signs of them in the prophetic accounts 
which are less concerned with the personal experience of 
the prophet than with the present and future condition 
of his people, and with his own authorisation to act as 
God's ambassador to them. But a brief examination 
of some of St. Theresa's data may throw a little light 
on the subject of our inquiry. 

" I was in prayer one day," she says, " when I saw 
Christ close by me, or, to speak more correctly, felt 
Him ; for I saw nothing with the eyes of the body, 
nothing with the eyes of the soul. . . ." It is not, 
she says, as if a blind person or one in the dark was 
aware of someone else in the room. " The darkness is 
not felt ; only He renders Himself present to the soul 
by a certain knowledge of Himself which is more clear 
than the sun." This is an intellectual vision, and 
differs from the "imaginary " vision or interior audition 
G 87 



88 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

before described, because in the latter " the soul seems 
to have other ears wherewith it hears ; and He forces 
it to listen, and will not let it be distracted," but in the 
intellectual vision " even that little which is nothing 
more than the bare act of listening, which is granted to 
it in the other case, is now out of its power. It finds 
its food prepared and eaten ; it has nothing more to do 
but to enjoy it. It is as if one without ever learning, 
without ever taking the pains even to learn to read, 
and without studying any subject whatever, should 
find himself in possession of all knowledge, not knowing 
how or whence it came to him. . . .* These two 
kinds of visions come almost always together, and 
they do so come ; for we behold the excellency and 
beauty and glory of the most Holy Humanity with the 
eyes of the soul. And in the other way I have spoken 
of that of intellectual vision we learn how He is God, 
is mighty, can do all things, commands all things, 
governs all things, and fills all things with His love." 2 

In another place she gives a slightly different 
description. " God speaks to the soul in another way, 
by a certain intellectual vision. ... It takes place 
far within the innermost depths of the soul, which 
appears to hear distinctly, in a most mysterious 
manner, with its spiritual hearing, the words spoken 
to it by our Lord Himself." 3 Speaking of ecstasy, she 
says, " While the soul is in this suspension, our Lord 
favours it by discovering to it secrets, such as heavenly 
mysteries and imaginary visions which admit of 
description afterwards, because they remain so im- 
printed on the memory that it never forgets them. 
But when the visions are intellectual they are not thus 

1 ? Cp. Acts 4, 13. 2 Life, xxvii, 3, 10 ; xxviii, 14. 

3 Int. Cos., VI, iii, 19. 



THE THIRD DEGREE OF VISION 89 

easily related, some of those received at such a time 
being so sublime that it is not fitting for man while 
living in this world to understand them in a way that 
can be told." 1 Some of this tallies closely with St. 
Paul's account of his rapture, 2 especially when later 
she goes on to describe what she calls "the flight of the 
spirit." " With the swiftness of a bullet fired from a 
gun, an upward flight takes place in the interior of the 
soul. . . . Although noiseless, it is too manifest a 
movement to be any illusion, and the soul is quite 
outside itself ; at least, that is the impression made 
upon it." " She cannot tell . . . whether her spirit 
remains within her body or not. She feels that she 
has been wholly transported into another and very 
different region from that in which we live, where a 
light so unearthly is shown that if during her whole 
lifetime she had been trying to picture it, and the 
wonders seen, she could not possibly have succeeded. 
In an instant her mind learns so many things at once 
that if the imagination and intellect spent years in 
striving to enumerate them it could not recall a 
thousandth part of them," 3 but " neither the bodily 
eyes, however, nor the eyes of the soul see anything, 
for these visions and many other things impossible to 
describe are revealed by some wonderful intuition that 
I am unable to explain." 4 

Further details are given by both Fox and the Sadhu. 

Sundar Singh says, " There are pearls in the sea, but 
to get them you have to dive to the bottom. Ecstasy 
is a dive to the bottom of spiritual things." 5 Else- 
where we are told " the words are words, but they are 
neither heard nor spoken, the sights are seen and yet 

1 Int. Cas., VI, iv, 5. 2 2 Cor. 12, 1-4. 

3 Int. Cas., VI, v, 10, 8. * Ibid., VI, v, 9. 

5 Sadhu, p. 132. 



90 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

not as if with eyes." " There is no language which 
will express the things which I see and hear in the 
spiritual world ; I am like a dumb man who can taste 
and enjoy the sweets that are given to him, but cannot 
express or explain it to others." 1 

Fox tells how " one Brown " prophesied about him 
when on his death-bed. " When this man was buried, 
a great work of God fell upon me, to the admiration of 
many who thought I had been dead. ... I saw into 
that which was without end, things which cannot be 
uttered, and of the greatness and infinitude of the love 
of God which cannot be expressed by words. . . . I saw 
the harvest white, and the seed of God lying thick on the 
ground, as ever did wheat that was sown outwardly, 
and none to gather it." 2 And in the following year, 
after he had been at Mansfield, " Now was I come up in 
Spirit, through the flaming sword, into the paradise of 
God. All things were new ; and all creation gave 
another smell unto me than before, beyond what words 
can utter. . . . Great things did the Lord lead me 
into and wonderful depths were opened unto me, 
beyond what can by words be declared ; but as people 
come into subjection to the Spirit of God, and grow up 
in the image and power of the Almighty, they may 
receive the Word of Wisdom, that opens all things, 
and come to know the hidden unity in the Eternal 
Being." 3 

From these quotations emerge certain facts. Those 
who saw the kind of visions described can give very 
little account of them, because they transcend our 
language, indeed they do not always remain in the 
memory, but they exercise a profoundly modifying 
effect upon the outlook and sense of values of the seer. 

1 Sadhu, p. 140. 2 Fox, pp. 18-19. 3 Ibid., p. 25. 



THE THIRD DEGREE OF VISION 91 

As St. Theresa says, 1 the vision entirely changes the 
view of this life. Nothing is to be prized in comparison 
with the riches of heaven and the knowledge of God ; 
and we see this same transmutation of values in 
the prophets. Had they, too, undergone some such 
experience which gave that ground and background to 
all their teaching ; not so much a direct message, as a 
general disposition of mind out of which comes their 
considered attitude to life, and which colours all their 
teaching ? A good deal of teaching which is not given 
as a definite message seems to be based upon some 
such intuition of truth. Many teachers before them 
have given virtuous maxims, but they have not been 
enforced as belonging to the very stuff of the world by 
men who have seen into the eternal verities, into the 
truth of life personal and national, and of God's 
purpose for it . And from this vision of the law of God 's 
working comes the realisation of the conditional nature 
of prophecy. God has not made this world a rigid 
bed of Procrustes into which men have to fit according 
to their destiny whatever they do . God in making man 
in His own image has made him to some extent a 
causal agent, and, seeing this, the prophets first dis- 
covered the individual and first wrote history. 2 

In the prophetic history of the kingdoms we have two 
outstanding figures who produced cause, " Jeroboam 
the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin," and to 
whom in consequence the downfall of Israel is traced, 
and David, for whose sake the Judean dynasty was 
preserved. This problem, then, confronts the* seer. 
God's good purpose must stand, yet even David has 
not sufficed to save a people bent on going astray. So 
when the destruction of the nation is inevitable the 
1 Int. Cas., VI, iv, 14. a Jer. 18, 1-12. 



92 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

search begins for that " man " who shall suffice for its 
restoration. Jeremiah * can see none, nor can Ezeldel 2 
find one who will, as Moses or Phinehas, "stand in the 
gap " to deliver his people. 3 Deutero-Isaiah feels 
after him throughout the " servant " passages, until 4 he 
sees the vision of the man who shall be adequate to 
the task. There is throughout the prophetic books a 
feeling for law, of cause and effect. "Because . . . 
therefore/' is repeated again and again. But whatever 
men may do, the vision of the prophet has taught him 
two things. God's purpose for man is good, and He is 
able to bring it to pass. 

There are two signs which may bear on this question 
of the " intellectual " vision in the case of the prophets. 

It will be remembered that our examples spoke of 
the difficulty of describing the manner by which 
that which was neither really seen nor heard was 
apprehended. In Mysticism Evelyn Underhill speaks 
of the difference in the number of vibrations which 
determines whether we perceive a thing by sight 
or hearing, and suggests that, apart from our physical 
bodies and their apparatus, we may have some means of 
perceiving which is neither hearing nor seeing. In this 
connection the new instrument by which the blind can 
hear the letters of a book by means of an optophone is 
of interest. In some, at all events, of the experiences of 
the prophet the distinction between sight and hearing 
seems to have been blurred, and he says " The word 
that Isaiah the son of Amos saw." 5 Habakkuk so 
mingles the two that it seems indifferent to him which 
word he uses. " I will . . . look forth to see what 
He will speak with me. ... And the LORD answered 

1 Jer. 5, i. * Ezek. 22, 30-31. 

3 Ps. 106, 23. 30. 4 Isa. 53. 

5 Isa. 2, i ; cp. Micah i, i ; Amos i, i. 



THE THIRD DEGREE OF VISION 93 

me and said, ' Write the vision.'" 1 "This is the 
word that the LORD hath shewed me." 2 It seems to 
imply that in some cases there was a mode of apprehen- 
sion which could not be strictly called either. 

A little light is thrown on the point by an expression 
in Dorothy Kerin's book. 3 Speaking of a vision of 
angels she says : " Their movements made lovely 
music . ' ' Further light is given in the following account 
by Frances Ridley Havergal of how she once saw music. 

She writes on Sept. 29, 1874 : "In the train I had 
one of those curious musical visions which only very 
rarely visit me. I hear strange and very beautiful 
chords, generally full, slow and grand, succeeding each 
other in most interesting sequences. I do not invent 
them. I could not, they pass through my mind and I 
only listen. . . . It is so interesting, the chords seem 
to fold into each other and die away down into music of 
most exquisite softness and then they unfold and open 
out as if great curtains . were being withdrawn one 
behind another. . . . This time there was an added 
feature ; I seemed to hear depths and heights of sound 
beyond the scale which human ears can receive, keen, 
far-up octaves, like vividly tinkling starlight of music, 
and mighty, slow vibrations of gigantic strings going 
down into the grand thunders of depths, octaves below 
anything otherwise appreciable as musical notes. 
Then, all at once, it seemed as if my soul had got a new 
sense, and I could see this inner music as well as hear 
it ; and then it was like gazing down into marvellous 
abysses of sound and up into dazzling regions of what to 
the eye, would have been light and colour, but to this 
new sense was sound. Wasn't it odd? It lasted 

1 Hab. 2, 1-2. 2 Jer. 38, 21. 

3 Kerin, p._8. 



94 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

about half an hour." 1 If it had not been for such 
experiences there would perhaps have been little to 
notice in the expressions quoted above from the 
prophets, but with such illustrations they give a hint 
of a possible new mode of apprehension. 

There is another point which may be illustrated in 
this connection. It has been said that we lose much 
of the prophet's vision through the necessity which lay 
upon him to focus it down into words. The bigger the 
vision the more it has to be reduced to get it into our 
language. On the other hand, when God uses a word 
to the prophet, it seems to open a door into a far larger 
connotation, and the vision of what may be a very 
simple thing seems to carry with it far more than its 
face value. This is the case, for example, in Jeremiah 
i, 11-13, Amos 8, 2-3, and Habakkuk 2, 1-3. In each 
case a little apparently conveys a great deal. St, 
Theresa again says, speaking of intellectual visions, 
"In a manner which I cannot explain these communica- 
tions, without any further explanations, frequently give 
us to understand far more than is implied by the words 
themselves," and again, of an imaginary vision, 
"Although no words are pronounced the spirit is 
taught many truths." 2 

Julian of Norwich gives two incidents in which the 
same feature is brought out. First, " And in this He 
shewed me a little thing, the quantity of a hazel-nut 
lying in the palm of my hand ; and to my understand- 
ing it was as round as any ball. I looked thereupon 
and thought, ' What may this be ? ' And I was 
answered generally thus : ' It is all that is made.' I 
marvelled how it might last, for methought it might 
fall suddenly to nought for littleness. And I was 
1 Memorials, p. 152. 2 Int. Cas., VI, iii, 2 ; VI, v, <j. 



THE THIRD DEGREE OF VISION 95 

answered in mine understanding : ' It lasts, and ever 
shall, for God loves it.' And so all-thing hath its being 
through the love of God. And in this little thing I saw 
three parts." She then goes on for three pages 
expounding the further teaching arising out of her 
perception of the vision. 1 

In the next chapter she says again : " And in that 
time that our Lord shewed this that I have now said in 
ghostly sight, I saw the bodily sight lasting of the 
plenteous bleeding of the head [of the crucifix] . And as 
long as I saw that sight I said oftentimes, Benedicite 
Domine. In this first shewing of our Lord I saw six 
things in mine understanding. ' ' She enumerates them, 
and they are big things, but so far all the vision 
recorded is that of the bleeding of the crucifix and the 
sight of the cosmos. " And the bodily sight ceased ; 
and the ghostly sight dwelt in mine understanding." 
This is the story as it is set out in the first draft 
of the Revelations, hardly more than a pamphlet. But 
by the meditations of years, more and more was opened 
from the original visions (for apparently she had no 
more) till the final edition is a considerable sized book 
of deep thought. 

Prof. Pratt speaks of this slow formulation of truth 
perceived. "... This feeling is invariably crystal- 
lised about some central idea, some intellectual cer- 
tainty, which comes to the mystic as a revelation of 
truth, and which he usually has no difficuly in defining 
and communicating. It does not come to him, to be 
sure, in the form of a clearly expressed judgment, but 
rather as an immediate intuition of a reality, which 
only later on he is able to formulate into a perfectly 
definite proposition." 2 

1 Comfortable Words, chap. 4. * Rel. Con,, p. 349. 



96 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

We cannot on such very faint indications claim to 
prove that intellectual visions formed a part of the 
prophetic experience. But what we know of that ex- 
perience is necessarily like that part of an iceberg which 
appears above water. It indicates a much deeper life 
than is visible. A life of very deep communion with 
God was essential for men who had to go against the 
whole current of contemporary thought, and who 
attained to a vision of the purposefulness of the life of 
the race, not only of their own nation , which no one 
else had at the time when they taught. 

It seems, then, not wholly impossible that some of 
their declarations may arise rather from this back- 
ground of experience than from an immediate com- 
mission or message. 



CHAPTER IX 
ILLUSTRATIONS OF SOME INCIDENTS 

r i ^HERE is one occurrence which is frequent in 
1 prophetic experience. The prophet is told to 
go somewhere and to do something, or sometimes just 
told to go, and wait till he arrives for his instructions. 
Sometimes the thing he is told to do appears almost 
unreasonable until time makes clear why it was com- 
manded. 

Some of the things the prophet was bidden to do, 
while they put a severe test on his obedience, were yet 
clearly comprehensible as a means of bringing some 
fact forcibly and continuously before the eyes of people 
who might pay little attention to the spoken word only. 
Such, for instance, was Isaiah's two years " naked and 
bare-foot/' 1 or Jeremiah's yoke, 2 or, again, Ezekiel's 
acted siege of Jerusalem, and of the king's flight. 3 

The prophet of the Old, as the apostle of the New 
Testament, was the " slave " of the Lord, and as such 
prompt and unquestioning obedience was required of 
him. He might be bidden to go to some place for a 
purpose which was not revealed till he arrived, and he 
had to face the possibility of making a public fool of 
himself by acting on what he believed to be his 
Master's commands. Was some such fear at the 
bottom of John Baptist's question, " Art thou He that 

1 Isa. 20. 2 Jer. 27; cp. Acts 21, 10. 

3 Ezek. 4, 1-5, 17; 12, 1-13. 

97 



98 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

should come ? " l Samuel is told to go down to Beth- 
lehem and anoint one of Jesse's sons, but he is not told 
which, and has to pass the whole family in review be- 
fore arriving at the right man . Elijah, after denouncing 
famine upon Israel, is sent to two unlikely places for 
shelter, and then with apparently no instructions sent 
back to Ahab. 2 Amos says, " The LORD took me from 
following the flock, and the LORD said unto me, ' Go, 
prophesy unto My people Israel.' " 3 Jeremiah goes 
down to the potter's to hear the word. 4 Cornelius and 
Peter are both bidden to act on trust, one to send for 
a wholly unknown man, to hear from him an unknown 
message ; the other to go and visit a Gentile-^a course 
of action opposed to his whole upbringing, and which 
would certainly be condemned by the rigorist party at 
Jerusalem. 5 

In Mrs. Trotter's Life of Lord Radstock, two such 
stories follow closely on each other. " When living at 
Southsea he was awakened at three in the morning by 
a strong impulse to dress and go out. He at first tried 
to resist it, but so persistent was it that in the cold 
winter morning he rose and went out to the common, 
where he found a solitary man. That man in anguish 
of soul had come out in his despair. God's servant met 
him, and then and there light dawned and the burden 
rolled away." 6 And again : he was one day apparently 
going to be late for a meeting and was reminded of it. 
" His reply was that the Lord would not let him go yet, 
and when asked whether that meant that he had been 
mistaken in appointing the meeting, he said no, it was 
all right, but he could not go yet. He said he did not 
know why the Lord kept him waiting. Shortly after, 

1 Matt. 11,3. 2 i Kings 17, 2. 8 ; 18, i. 

3 Amos 7, 15. 4 Jer. 18, i. 

*> ActS 10, 5. 20. 6 P. 120. 



ILLUSTRATIONS OF SOME INCIDENTS 99 

a telegram quite unexpectedly was handed to him." 
It turned out to be important, and he was still able to 
get to the meeting in time to do his part. 1 

Another instance is to be found in the Life 
of Hudson Taylor ; in fact, the whole book is full of 
illustrations of the subject, but two must suffice. He 
was ill, and was ordered nourishing food, but soon was 
at the end of his money. Some months before he had 
advanced money to a poor woman on account of her 
sailor husband's pay. Then, going to draw the pay at 
the office, he was told the man had deserted his ship, 
and the money was forfeited. On this occasion he was 
just able with great difficulty to get downstairs, when 
he felt " as if He were directing my mind to the con- 
clusion to go again to the shipping office and inquire 
again about the wages I had been unable to draw." 
He thought it might be " some mental process of my 
own rather than His guidance and teaching," especially 
as he had no means of getting to the office, and had 
barely been able with help to get downstairs. " The 
assurance was brought vividly home to me that what- 
ever I asked of God in the Name of Christ would be 
done . . . that what I had to do was to seek strength 
for the long walk, to receive it by faith, and set out 
upon it." Which accordingly he did, though, as he 
said, " I never took so much interest in shop windows 
as I did on that journey," and in due course got from 
Soho to Cheapside. Arrived at the office, he found that 
there had been a mistake the deserter had- been 
another man of the same name, He therefore received 
the money due to him, which was sufficient to pay his 
doctor and take him home to Yorkshire and also pay 
for an omnibus back to Soho. 2 

1 P. 129. H. T., pp. 167-9, 



zoo PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

The other instance is the end of the story of Wang 
the farmer, who was cited as an example of exterior 
audition. He went to Ning-po, as he had been in- 
structed by the voice, and for some time supported 
himself by selling grass to the townsfolk, but found no 
one who could help him on religious matters. At last 
one day he heard a working-man talking in a tea-shop 
about the " Jesus-doctrine," and the forgiveness of 
sins, and introduced himself to inquire further. He 
found the man came from his own neighbourhood, and 
was one of Hudson Taylor's converts. His master had 
dismissed him because he refused to work on Sunday, 
and had gone round to all the members of his Guild, 
asking them to promise not to engage the man when 
he came round on Monday, seeking work. They did as 
they were asked, and as he could get no work the 
Christian used his enforced holiday in preaching. So 
doing, he met Wang, and was the means of his con- 
version. He got a job next day, for he was a clever 
workman, and while the new master had promised not 
to engage him on Monday, he had said nothing about 
Tuesday ! l 

Miss Amy Wilson Carmichael, whose name is known 
in connection with her home at Dohnavur for the rescue 
of Temple children in India, has written a little book 
called Nor Scrip, telling of the way in which the 
work has been supported entirely by prayer and with- 
out appeals. One story out of many tells how she had 
lost a case at law, and the judge decreed that she was 
to pay heavy costs. " Three weeks before the bill was 
sent in, a man in London, manager of a well-known 
business house, was wakened and caused to understand 
that he was to send a cheque to us next day. He was 

i H. T., p. 474. 



ILLUSTRATIONS OF SOME INCIDENTS 101 

also caused to pray for us very earnestly, and having 
committed us, with full assurance that help and com- 
fort had reached us, he slept again." Next day he sent 
off the cheque which " was the exact sum to the rupee 
to pay the bill of costs." 1 

At other times the prophet was bidden to do some- 
thing which seemed more than rash, as when Jeremiah 
was commanded to buy the field of Hanameel. 2 Miss 
Carmichael says that never did she understand that 
story till the day she finished paying for a field the 
complicated buying of which had lasted from 1904 to 
1914 the last date at which it would have been 
possible to secure it. One day, long before she had had 
any idea that so much land would be wanted, as she 
was looking from the verandah out on "a view of a 
fair field beyond, reaching, in fact, up to a village on 
the north, the word came as clearly as ever I had known 
it, ' Ask for that piece of land.' 

" ' But, Lord, we do not want it,' and again the word 
came, 'Ask.' I had never asked for an unwanted 
thing, and was puzzled. . . . But there was no escape 
from that strange urging as of another will than mine ; 
so I asked for the field, adding though, I remember, 
' But have we not enough ? ' " The field had many 
owners, and about thirty transactions were needed be- 
fore all the many persons who had a voice in its disposal 
were satisfied, and throughout the ten years new gar- 
dens were continually being taken up and walls sunk 
all round it ; but no one bought a part of the plot that 
Was asked for, and it was all paid for by special gifts. 3 

Then there is the story of the disobedient prophet, 4 
who was sent on an errand and bidden not to eat or 

1 Nor Scrip, chap. 6. 2 Jer. 32. 

3 Chap. 15; 4 i Kings 13. 



102 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

drink till he returned from it. Both Palladius and Fox 
give illustrations of this. Palladius was told by Moses 
the Libyan how, when he was a young man, he with 
other monks at his monastery dug a well, but after 
three days' hard work, when they had got below the 
usual level at which water was found, and found none, 
they thought of giving up. " Then Pior appeared from 
the desert . . . and said, after the greeting, ' Why 
have you lost heart, men of little faith ? For I have 
seen you since yesterday losing heart.' And having 
descended by a ladder to the cavity of the well, he said 
a prayer with them, and having taken a pick he said, 
after striking the third blow : ' Oh, God of the holy 
patriarchs, make not the toil of thy servants useless, 
but send them the water they need.' And immediately 
water sprang out so that they were wetted all over, So 
he prayed once more and went off. They tried to make 
him eat, but he would not suffer them, saying : ' That 
for which I was sent is accomplished ; for this I was 
not sent.' " l 

Sometimes the prophet was simply bidden to go 
somewhere, or told how to go, as Jeremiah was sent to 
the Euphrates. 2 The story of Marmaduke Stevenson 
quoted above gives instances of this. " So at the time 
appointed," he says, " Barbadoes was set before me, 
unto which I was required of the Lord to go and leave 
my dear and loving wife and tender children. ... So 
in obedience to the living God I made preparation to 
pass to Barbadoes in the fourth month, 1658." After 
he had been there some months he heard that in New 
England a law had been passed to execute Quakers if 
they returned after being exiled. "And as I con- 
sidered the thing . . . immediately came the word of 

1 Pall., p. 138. 2 Jer. 13, 1-7. 



ILLUSTRATIONS OF SOME INCIDENTS 103 

the Lord to me, saying, ' Thou kuowest not but that 
thou mayest go thither.' " Then apparently he was 
led to go to Rhode Island. " So after I had been there 
visiting the seed which the Lord had blessed, the word 
of the Lord came to me, saying, ' Go to Boston with 
thy brother William Robinson,' and at His command 
I was obedient." The account was written a week 
before his execution at Boston. 1 

A story of Stephen Grellet is told by Miss Hodgkin 
in her Book of Quaker Saints, which illustrates the 
story of Philip's journey to Gaza and his sermon to the 
eunuch. Grellet heard the command to leave his work 
and take a certain journey. When he reached the end 
of it he found only a deserted lumber camp. Never- 
theless he was bidden to go into the main shanty and 
preach, which he did, until, having delivered his soul 
of the burden laid upon him, he felt himself at liberty 
to go back on his several days' journey home again. It 
was not till many years later that he learnt that a man 
had been hidden behind the hut, was converted by his 
sermon, and became the means of converting a whole 
village. 

Perhaps the most remarkable account of travelling 
directions is that given in Acts, 2 by which Paul was 
guided to cross into Europe. But it is illustrated by 
the extraordinary story of the voyage of the Woodhouse 
(in 1657), carrying a party of Quakers to New England. 

The Woodhouse was a small ship, and for part of the 
way was convoyed by three big ships, who left them 
for fear of the Dutch. " It was showed to Humphrey 
Norton early in the morning that they were nigh unto 
us that sought our lives ; and he called me and told 
me, but said : ' Thus saith the Lord ; ye shall be 

1 C. L. F. T., p. 33. 2 Acts 1 6, 6-10. 

H 



104 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

carried away as in a mist.' " They saw the Dutchman, 
and their companions fled, " In the very interim the 
Lord God fulfilled His promise and struck our enemies 
in the face with a contrary wind, wonderfully to our 
refreshment. Then upon our parting from these three 
ships, we were brought to ask counsel of the Lord and 
the word was from Him, ' Cut through and steer your 
straightest course, and mind nothing but Me,' unto 
which thing He much provoked us and caused us to 
meet together every day. . . . Thus it was all the 
voyage with the faithful, who were carried far above 
storms and tempests, that when 'the ship went either 
to the right hand or to the left, their hands joined all 
as one and did direct her way ; so that we have seen 
and said, we see the Lord leading our vessel even as it 
were a man leading a horse by the head, we regarding 
neither latitude nor longitude, but kept to our Line, 
which was and is our Leader, Guide and Rule." When 
in July, 1657, they made land, after special "drawings," 
they found themselves exactly at that part of Long 
Island "where the movbgs of some Friends were 
unto." 1 

Stephen Grellet gives the story of another guidance 
operating in a different manner. He was in Europe in 
1813, on one of his missionary tours. In Genoa he 
intended to go to Rome by sea via Leghorn. " As I 
was going to engage my passage for that port, my mind 
was introduced into unutterable distress gross dark- 
ness seemed to be before me, whilst a bright stream of 
light was behind ; I stood still for a while and found 
I could not go forward." He went home and prayed 
to God for guidance. " He gave me to see and very 
strongly to feel that to Rome and Naples I should 

1 c. L. F. T., p. 29-30. 



ILLUSTRATIONS OF SOME INCIDENTS 105 

indeed go, but that the time for it had not yet come, 
and the language of the Spirit was to proceed with all 
speed to Geneva and Switzerland." This he accord- 
ingly did, and found later that the French had sent out 
orders for his arrest, and if he had escaped he ran the 
risk of being shut up into Italy by the retreating army 
of the King of Naples, or involved in the flying armies 
of Napoleon pursued by the Austrians. 1 

After these more detailed accounts, Woolman's 
description of the guidance which he experienced on 
his journey to England is very slight. He knew of a 
ship that was shortly sailing, " and feeling a draught 
in my mind towards the steerage of the same ship," he 
went to make inquiries. 2 

Quite a different experience is indicated by the ex- 
pression, "The pattern shewed thee in the mount." 3 
Was a pattern really shown ? From Miss Carmichael's 
account it is not impossible. She found that it was 
necessary to build a schoolhouse for the growing 
children. " We had not thought of anything large, 
but as we pondered the matter, ' as it were the appear- 
ance ' of something large was shown. Our way where 
buildings are concerned is to ask for a pattern. . . . 
Now, the perplexing thing in this case was that the 
pattern that seemed to be shown was much too large 
for our requirements. We had enough money, a special 
gift, for a building framed on a smaller pattern. . . . 
But it was drawn and considered, and on January 17, 
1910, the estimate was made. It far passed the limits 
of that gift." But on the 2oth so much money came 
in that they decided to begin the work, and next month 

1 Grellet, pp. 91-92. z W., p. 215. 

3 Exod. 25, 40; 27, 8; Num. 8, 4; cp. Ezek. 40-48 and Rev. n, 
i. 2; 21, 12-20. 



io6 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

a letter dated January 17 brought 100, and gifts came 
in steadily till the work was paid for. 1 

Our last examples concern the power of God to hold 
back those who would hurt His servants when they are 
on His errands until their work is accomplished. 

It has often been noted in connection with Daniel in 
the den of lions that a fakir in a trance will go safely 
into the jungle because wild beasts will not touch a 
man in that state. But there is another kind of hold- 
ing back. We have so far not been taking our Lord's 
experiences into account. He is unique. But two or 
three times it is recorded of Him that His enemies were 
unable to do anything against Him " because His hour 
had not yet come/' 2 and in Luke, 3 when the people of 
Nazareth tried to kill Him, " He, passing through the 
midst of them, went His way." 

There are several incidents which illustrate this bind- 
ing power of God's providence. It is told that during 
one of the periodical faction fights to which Siena was 
subject Catherine of Siena's brothers were on the losing 
side, and a friend of theirs came to the house begging 
them to take refuge in the church of St. Anthony, 
where others had gone for safety. Catherine said : 
" They shall certainly not go to St. Anthony's ! and I 
am heartily sorry for those who are already there." 
Then she rose up and led them straight down the street 
which was occupied by their enemies, who bowed 
reverently to her, and took them to a place of safety 
where she told them to lie hidden for three days. After 
three days the city was quiet, but all who had gone to 
St. Anthony's were killed. 4 

Mr. Glover tells how on their flight from the Boxers 



1 Nor Scrip, 22-25. 2 ]^ n 7> 44 ' I0 39- 

3 Luke 4, 30. * C. of S., pp. 97, 98. 



ILLUSTRATIONS OF SOME INCIDENTS 107 

they were pursued to the edge of a ridge which " fell 
away on one side in a steep declivity to a dry torrent 
bed." They were jostled and pushed as the people 
tried to force them along the ridge to a little temple, 
intending to stone them. At a word from their faithful 
Chinese servant they turned and followed a thin goat 
trail down the steep declivity. " The moment we dis- 
appeared over the side, the mob simultaneously stopped 
dead at the spot, as if arrested by a sudden and irre- 
sistible power. The loud yells and cries of a moment 
ago were stilled to silence absolute, awful silence. So 
startling was it that I dared to turn and take one look. 
I could scarcely believe my eyes. The mob lined the 
ridge in hundreds, motionless as if spell-bound, help- 
lessly watching us ... slip away from under their 
very hand. Not a single soul of them attempted to 
follow." 1 

Later on they were arrested and taken a terrible 
journey to the yamen of a mandarin by soldiers who, 
while not daring to kill them themselves, were anxious 
to get rid of them without involving the yamen in 
possible trouble. They came to a large market-town 
which they were told was very anti-foreign, and while 
they rested at the inn the soldiers left them for a time, 
as they afterwards found, to stir up the populace to a 
massacre. They meanwhile gave themselves to prayer. 
" Meantime a crowd was gathering at the courtyard 
gates, which had been closed behind us, and the yelling 
and battering that now ensued told its own tale. The 
terrible cry, ' Kill the devils ! ' was its own confirma- 
tion of the escort's warning. When at length they 
called us to ' shang ch'ae,' it was significantly to repeat 
the warning that there was no chance of our getting 

1 1000 Miles, p. 146. 



[08 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

Dut of the town alive ; and in the prospect of immediate 
ieath we passed out on to the street. . . . What was 
it that paralysed the arm and tied the tongue of the 
vast crowd that lined the way ? We saw it with our 
syes the people, who but now were at the doors 
yelling for us to be brought out to them, as though 
turned to stone at the sight of us. Hundreds of them 
(I might almost say thousands) massed on either side, 
watching us pass slowly along the narrow lane they 
Left for us, without speaking a word or lifting a finger 
igainst us. A few lads echoed the shout that had so 
lately rent the air, but there was no response of any 
sort or kind." 1 

Fox's Journal is full of instances. The following is 
perhaps one of the most striking. In 1671, as he was 
jailing to America, their ship was chased by what they 
:hought was a Sallee rover. The master, saying that 
" If the mariners had taken Paul's counsel they had 
lot come to the damage they did," consulted him, and 
" The Lord showed me that His life and power was 
placed between us and the ship that pursued us." 
The Sallee rover was the faster ship of the two, and 
chough the Englishmen put out all their lights, "About 
eleven at night the watch called and said they were 
ust upon us. That disquieted some of the passengers, 
whereupon I sat up in my cabin and, looking 
through the porthole, the moon not being quite gone 
down, I saw them very near to us. I was getting up 
to go out of the cabin, but remembering the word of the 
Lord, that His life and power was placed between us and 
them, I lay down again. The master and some of the 
seamen came again and asked me if they might not 
steer such a point ? I told them they might do as 

1 1000 Miles, p. 230. 



ILLUSTRATIONS OF SOME INCIDENTS 109 

they would. By this time the moon was quite down, 
a fresh gale arose, and the Lord hid us from them ; and 
we sailed briskly on and we saw them no more. . . . 
Afterwards, while we were at Barbadoes, there came in 
a merchant from Sallee and told the people that one 
of the Sallee men-of-war saw a monstrous yacht at sea, 
the greatest that ever he saw, and had her in chase, 
and was just upon her, but that there was a spirit in her 
that he could not take." l 

Examples might be multiplied, but enough have 
been brought forward to show that whatever con- 
clusion psychology may draw as to their nature, the 
phenomena have been continuous from the prophets 
to the present day, and that in people who, like the 
prophets, have been leaders in new social and religious 
developments which have stood the test of time. 

The question of the inspiration of the prophets is 
then not an isolated problem, but is bound up with the 
experience of the servants of God for the last two 
thousand years. 

1 Fox, pp. 423-5. 



CHAPTER X 
SOME CONSIDERATIONS 

IN these days, when psychology has made such strides, 
it is harder than it would have been some ten years 
ago for one without first-hand knowledge of either 
psychology or mysticism to draw definite conclusions 
from these data. We can only of er some considerations 
which appear to rise out of them. 

There are, as St. Theresa says, certain words which 
"are deeds." They have in an unparalleled way 
"found" people for the last two thousand and more 
years. Originally written in Palestine, yet the present 
age only shows in an increasing measure the 
universality of their appeal, as they come with a force 
which none of our modern productions can command, 
alike to the ignorant savage or the cultured philosopher. 
They change lives. They have been through the ages 
recognised by those who knew God as spoken by the 
same voice that spoke to them. 

We are now engaged in the quest for social ameliora- 
ation and reform. In these words are found by 
growing consent the soundest principles of national, 
political, and social life. Centuries ago prophets and 
wise men taught that the root of both social and 
economic righteousness lay first in the spiritual attitude 
of man to God and to his neighbour ; "as a man 
thinketh, so is he . " Their teaching as to what destroys 

no 



SOME CONSIDERATIONS in 

a nation has been exemplified throughout history, and 
not least in our own time. These men were not only 
ahead of their own age, they are still ahead of ours. 
They laid the foundation of the building Christ came to 
complete. It fitted. He had not to destroy but to 
fulfil. Looking back, we can see that they were 
working to a plan ; but they were looking forward. 

Whence had these men these things ? 

We have seen that their experiences, though larger 
in scope, appear to be of the same nature as those of 
others throughout the Christian era, which are also 
ascribed to the direct communication of God the 
Creator with man made in His image . Are these claims 
valid, or are they to be accounted for in terms of 
sublimation of instincts, emotions, complexes, and 
suggestions ? 

Any mental processes must of course come within 
the scope of psychology, but can these be reduced to 
merely mental processes without vitiating the evidence, 
even as did materialism by trying to reduce mental 
processes to terms of the material in which they 
worked ? As the mind uses the body for its purposes, 
so the spirit uses the mind, but neither is to be limited 
to, or identified with, the instrument it uses, nor to be 
explained in terms of the instrument alone. 

If mankind were in a cul-de-sac with no further 
development to look forward to, such an explanation 
might be necessary. But if man is on a thoroughfare, 
if " the true Divine order is ever ready to break through 
into the world, if men will only suffer it to break into 
their hearts," if man's true development depends on 
his response to a Divine environment, more is necessary 
to account for experiences which, as we have seen, are 
so widespread. If evolution is a progress from one 



ii2 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

state of being, it is also a progress towards another, 
and if man retains vestiges of his past is he to be 
denied embryonic indications of his future, powers not 
yet fully developed of spiritual hearing and sight by 
means of which in trusted hands the race is to be 
guided in the direction of the goal to which it is bound ? 

If that is so, we may think of man as living in a tent 
with two doors. If we credit one party, he can only 
open his back door and look back on the way by which 
he has come, to the rock from whence he was hewn, 
and the hole of the pit from which he was digged. 
On the other view, he can also open his front door, and 
look forward to the home to which he goes, and hear 
the words of those who dwell there. For most of us the 
door is very stiff. The saints and prophets are those 
who have succeeded in opening it a little wider than 
the rest of us. 

One more consideration. If we can accept the 
evidence of the prophets and saints, who, whatever 
their gifts, were still sinful and imperfect men and 
women, that they did, in spite of all, know and hold 
communion with God and with Christ, and hear the 
commands of the Holy Spirit what light does it 
throw upon the human consciousness of Christ ? 
Would it not appear that whatever degree of kenosis we 
accept, yet for Him, as the Perfect, Sinless Man, Man 
as he is meant to be when full grown, there would be 
none of the barriers to perfect communion with the 
Father which are imposed by our sinfulness and 
imperfect development? Would there be any limit 
to the revelations which the Perfect Man could as 
MAN receive from His Father except the unknown 
limits of the capacity of the perfect human nature to 
register them ? 



NOTE ON THE 

QUARTER SHEKEL OF SAUL'S SERVANT 

i SAMUEL 9 



M 



[ANY conclusions as to the status of Samuel have 
been drawn from the suggestion of Saul's servant 
that the quarter shekel he had in his pocket would be an 
adequate gift in connection with the inquiry about the 
lost asses. For example, Professor T. R. Robinson, 
in his Prophecy and the Prophets, which was unfortunately 
not published in time to be used more extensively in this 
essay, says : " A fee is usually required . . . this implies 
that the Seer is master of his own powers and can work to 
order " (p. 29). 

The following note from a book written by one who some 
seventy years ago lived for a considerable time in the Holy 
Land is illuminating : 

" Then as now, in the East, it would have been the 
height of rudeness and indecorum for anyone to present 
himself before a superior or equal, especially if he had a 
request to make, without some present, more or less, 
according to his degree, not by any means as a fee or 
bribe, but in testimony of his homage, his respect, or his 
compliments." Plutarch records of the Persian King 
Artaxerxes Mnemon that he " always received with 
satisfaction the smallest and most trifling gifts which 
evinced the zeal and attention of the offerers ; and in a 
country where we have ourselves bought six of the finest 
pomegranates for a penny, he evinced the utmost pleasure 
on receiving from a man named Romises the finest 
pomegranate his garden yielded. A present equally 
small would have enabled Saul to pay his respects to 

"3 



ii4 PROPHETIC CONSCIOUSNESS 

Samuel ; but it was as impossible for him to appear empty- 
handed, as it would be for us to enter a gentleman's 
parlour with covered heads. He lamented that . . . there 
was not a morsel left of the bread they had taken with them, 
clearly intimating that one of the small cakes or loaves 
into which Eastern bread is made, would in his view have 
been a suitable offering. The servant informed him, 
however, that he had sixpence in his pocket, which could be 
applied to this purpose. . . . With us, to offer a small sum 
of money to a superior or a public man, or even to an 
equal, would be a gross affront. ... All this is different in 
the East, where a small coin is not less acceptable as a mark 
of respectful attention, than its value in any other shape." 

Dr. Kitto. Daily Bible Illustrations, 30th week, 5th day. 

(Oliphant, 1853.) 



INDEX OF SCRIPTURE REFERENCES 



Page 


Page 


Page 


Gen. 12. i - - 32 


Josh. 5. 13-15 - 33 


?ss. 106. 23, 30 - 92 


13. 14 - -32 


Judg. 4. 9 - - 79 


?rov. 29. 1 8 - - 60 


15-1 - - 31 


6. 11-23 - 33 


'.sa. 2, i - - 92 


15- 17 - - 31 


13- - - - 33 


6. - . - 45, 63 


16. 7 - - 32 


i Sam. 3. 4-21 33, 34, 


8. 16-17 ' 53 


17. 1-22 31,32 


44 


8. 19 - - 23 


18. 1-35 - 31 


9. 9 - - 66 


16. 9-1 1 - 54 


19. - - - 32 


9. 15 - 64, 66 


20. 9 54> 79, 97 


20. 36 - - 67 


9. 15-10.9 15,79 


21. 1-4 - - 54 


21. 17-19 32, 35 


10. 5-13 - 20 


21. 6-12 - 16 


22. I - - 32 


19. 20-24 20 


22. 4-5 - - 54 


22. II-l8 - 31 


28. 6 - - 67 


22. 14 - - 64 


26. 2, 24 - 32 


2 Sam. 7. 4-17 - 63 


22. 15-25 - 79 


28. 10-22 32, 67 


24.11 - - 66 


28. 7 - 16, 67 


31-3 - - 32 


24- 17 - - 33 


29.9-12 1 6, 66 


31. 24 - 32, 67 


i Kgs. 11.26-39 3,79 


37. and 38. - 79 


32. I - - 32 


12. 22-24 - 3 


40. 22-27 - 4 


32. 24-29 - 32 


13- - 3. I01 


43. 10 - - 80 


35-i - - 32 


14. 5-14 15, 65, 


46. 9-13 - 4 


41. 25 - - 67 


79,83 


50. 4-5 - - 65 


Exod. 3. 32, 34, 44, 51 


16. i-io - 4 


53- - - - 92 


4. 12 - - 61 


17. i - - 43 


Jer. 1.6-7- - 5 1 


19. 16-20 32, 44 


17. 2, 8 - - 98 


i-9 - 45.65 


24. 10-11 32, 44 


18. i - - 98 


i. 11-13 - 67 


25. 40 - - 105 


18. 26-29 - 23 


4. 19-22 - 54 


27. 8 - - 105 


19- 5-i8 34. 45 


5. i - - 92 


33- i7- 2 3 33. 44 


20. - - - 3 


8. 10 - - 16 


34-6 - - 33 


21. 1-7 - - 3 


13. 1-7 - - 102 


Num. 8. 4 - - 105 


22. - - 4, 23 


14. 13-16 17, 19 


12. 5-9 - 8, 32 


2 Kgs. 2.11 - - 34 


15. 15-18 - 54 


22.9,20,31 - 32 


3-15 - - 22 


18. 1-12 91,98 


22.18,38 25,35 


5. 25-26 15, 84 


20. 1-6 - - 80 


23. 16 - - 32 


6, 8-32 - 15, 35, 


20. 9 - - 54 


24. i - - 25 


84 


23. 9-40 17, 19, 


Deut. 4. 10-13 - 3 2 


6.33-7.20 - 79 


24,31,56 


13. 1-3 - 10, 78 


8. ii - - 84 


24, i - - 67 


18. 18 - - 61 


9- - - - 3 


27. - - - 97 


18. 20-22 10, 77, 


20. 1-5 - 19, 64 


28. - - i, 52 


78 


22. 14-20 - 3 


28. 15-17 - 79 


34. 10 - - 32 


iChr, 21. 16-21 - 33 


29. 10 - - 80 



SCRIPTURE REFERENCES 





Page 




Page 




Page 


Jer. 30. - - 


- 80 


Amos 7. 1-8. i 


- 6 7 


Acts 5. 1-9 - 


- 8 3 


32. - - 


80, ioi 


7- 15 19, 


45, 65. 


7- 55 - 


- 6 7 


36. 16 - 


- 3 


98 




9- i-9 - 


19, 33. 


38.21 - 


93 


7- 17 - 


- 79 




34.45 


42. 


52 


8.2,3 - 


- 67 


10.3 - 


33,35 


43- 10 - 


- 80 


Micah i.i 


- 92 


10. 10 - 


35,68 


Lam. 2. 14 - 


i? 


3-5-8 - 


- 16 


10. 5-20 


- 98 


4- 13-14 


17 


Hab. 2. 1-3 - 


16, 93 


12. 9 


- 35 


Ezek. i. 4-28 


33, 34. 


Zeph. i. 17-18 


5 


16. 9 


- 63 




45 


3- 11-13 


- 50 


16. 6-io 


- 103 


2. 2 


- 66 


Zech. i. 8 - 


- 63 


18. 9 - 


- 63 


2. 6, 7 - 


5i 


4.1 


34 


19. 13-16 


10,78 


3. 8-1 1 - 


- 5i 


Matt. i. 20 - 


- 3i 


21. 10 - 


- 97 


3- I4- 22 


16, 33, 


2.12,13,19- 31 


22. 9 


34 




54,56 


10. 19 - 


- 61 


22. 17 


- 68 


3- 24 - 


- 66 


ii. 3 - 


- 98 


23. II - 


63,7 


3. 26-27 


- 53 


Mark 2. 9-12 - 


10, 78 


27. 23 - 


63, 70 


4- 1-5- 17 


97 


7- i-i3 - 


10, 78 


I Cor. 2, 14 - 


- i7 


8. i 


- 56 


7. 9 - 


- 18 


2. 11-15 


17.75 


12. I-I3 


- 97 


9- 38, 39 


10 


7. IO, 12 


- 52 


. 13- 3 


19 


27-33 


- 29 


7-25 ' 


- 8 


13- 1-23 


17 


Luke i. -2. - 


3i 


9. 16 


54 


13. 6, 16 


" 53 


4- 3 


- 106 


12, IO - 


- 83 


13- 17 


23 


9- 32 - 


- 33 


14. 32 - 


2 5> 53 


22. 30, 31 


- 92 


24. 16,31 


- 35 


15.8 - 


- 45 


24. 27 - 


- '53 


John i. 42-47 


- 83 


2 Cor. 12. 1-4 


- 89 


29. 21 - 


- 53 


2. 4 


- 5 2 


Gal. i. ii, 12 


7 


33- 2-9 - 


16, 54 


2. 24-25 


- 83 


Phil. i. 23-24 


- - 72 


33- 21-22 


- 53 


3- 2 


10 


i Peter i. 10-12 


- 76 


37- i - 


56 


5-36 - 


- 10 


i John i. 5 - 


- 46 


40. i 


56 


7- 6, 8 - 


- 52 


4- i 


- 83 


40.-48. - 


- 105 


7-44 - 


106 


4- 2, 3 


- IO 


Dan. 8. 10 - 


34 


8. 43, 47 


- 75 


Rev. i. 10 


- 67 


8. 18 - 


- 66 


9- 39-4 1 


- 75 


ii. i 


- 105 


10. 9-10 


- 34 


10. 39 - 


- 106 


21. I2-2O 


- 105 


10. 7-10, 1 8 - 66 


12. 29 - 


- 35 






Amos i. i 


54.92 


Acts 4. 13 - 


- 88 







INDEX OF SUBJECTS AND AUTHORITIES 



Anthony, St., 84 
Apostles, 45, 97 
Archbishops' Report, 20, 22 
Auditions, 18, 27-28, 30-38, 39 

exterior, 31-42 

interior, 47, 60-66 
Augustine, 36 
Barnes, Canon, 8 
Behmen, 55 
Bible, 18, no 
Bunyan, 19, 37, 74 
burden, 24, 51, 56-58 
Carmichael, A. W., 19, 100-101, 

105 
Catherine of Siena, 41-42, 46-47, 

71, 85, 106 

Christ, 10, 78, 106, in, 112 
clairaudience, 14-15 
clairvoyance, 14-15 
Cloud of Unknowing, n, 12, 24, 

30, 60, 68 

deliverances, 106-109 
devil, ii, 17, 24, 70 
Didymus, 81 
dissociation, 7, 29 
dreams, 31, 67, 68 
ecstasy, 87, 90 
Finney, 22, 38, 48-49, 61 
Fox, ii, 12, 55, 56-57, 62, 72, 

82-83, 85, 90, 108-109 
Franciscans, 21 

Glover, A., 18-19, 39. 64, 106-108 
Grellet, 47, 57, 103, 104 
Grubb, Sarah, 55-56 
Havergal, F. R., 93-94 
Holmes, 13, 1 8 
Hudson, 7 
Hudson Taylor, n, 37-38, 99- 

100 

insight, 83-84, 85 
inspiration, theories of, 5-7, 28 



James, Prof., 46 
John of Lycopolis, 81, 84 
journeys, guidance on, 103, 104 
Julian of Norwich, 27, 68, 75, 

. 94-95 
Kerm, 40, 74, 93 

locutions (see Auditions) 

Luke, St., 35, 68 

Messianic hope, 30, 80 

Moses, 44 

music, 20-22, 91-94 

Nicholas of Basle, 62 

oracle (see burden) 

Palladius, 81, 84, 102 

" pattern shewed," 105-106 

photisms, 46 

Pior, 102 

Pratt, 7, 21, 28, 29, 95 

prediction, 4, 30, 76, 78, So 

Prophet, 25, 66 

authority, 3 

discipline, 16-17, 43 5 

false, 19, 23, 51 

gilds, 20 

on history, 91-92 

language, 60, 76, 94 

obligation, 51, 54-56, 97 

originality, 17 

signs, 78-86, 97 

silence, 43, 51, 53 

on social questions, 4, 75, 77, 

IIO-III 

Radstock, Lord, 98-99 

rapture, 89 

revivals, 20, 22-23 

Sadhu, 13, 14. 49, 61, 69, 74, 76, 

89 

Skinner, 8, 16, 69 
spiritualism, 5, 8 
Stevenson, Marmaduke, 65, 102- 

103 



117 



n8 



SUBJECTS AND AUTHORITIES 



subconsciousness, 5-7 

suggestion,. 5 

suggestion, auto , 17, 30, 58, 61 

Suso, 36, 62, 71 

Tauler, 22 

Tests of revelation, 10, 18 

Theresa, St., n, 13, 17, 19, 61, 

87, no 

Foundations, 70, 71 
Interior Castle, n, 12, 19, 24, 

26, 27, 29-30, 46, 70, 75, 

88, 89, 91, 94 
Life, 61, 70, 80, 88 

Thouless, 22 

Tongues Movement, 25, 26 
unconscious mind (see subcon- 
sciousness) 



Underbill, E., 25, 92 
Vision 

at beginning of career, 31, 44- 
, 46, 48-49, 65 

exterior, 32-35, 41-42, 44 

hindrances to, 16-17, 5 

imaginary, 70, 87 

intellectual, 70, 87-88, 89, 94, 
96 

interior, 66-67, 7~75 

symbolic, 68-70, 73 
watchman, 4, 16 
Wesley, 22 

Woodhbuse, voyage of, 103-104 

Woolman, 50, 52-54, 55, 57-58, 

63; 72-73. 86, 105 






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