TESTIMONY OF HARRIET HALL JULY 3, 1847
EIGHT years ago I was taken sick. . . . All exercise was attended with much pain, so that I was at last forbidden by the physician even to walk or stand on my feet. Three years from the commencement of my sickness I was suddenly reduced to entire blindness. This continued six months. In the seventh month I began to see a little.
About this time my mind became interested in the subject of animal magnetism, and hearing that Mr. J. H. Noyes had made some successful experiments in that science I sent for him. His operations had some good effect on my eyes. I soon began to perceive that he was a Christian, and requested him to inform me about his faith He sent me hooks and papers, and conversed with me; and I saw the truth of his testimony and confessed myself a believer in perfect holiness. . . . Soon after this (October 27, 1843) I was conveyed to Mr. Noyes's house. To the astonishment of my friends the ride did not pain or tire me, and I steadily grew better under Mr. Noyes's care till 1 was able to walk about the house quite comfortably. My head and eyes improved so that I could write again.
After several weeks Alexander Wilder, who was then in Mr. Noyes's family, began to magnetize me, and assumed the charge of my case~ From this time 1 began to be worse. I returned home, and to my old state of prostration and darkness.
About this time the separation between Mr. Noyes and Mr. Wilder took place, and I was deceived by Mr. Wilder so far that I lost much of my first confidence in Mr. Noyes. My health continued to grow worse for the ensuing three years and a half.
On the 2nd of November, 1845, I was married to Mr. Hall, a man who, though somewhat friendly to Mr. Noyes's writings, was on the whole an infidel. I was barely able to sit up long enough to go through the marriage ceremony. After this I was separated still farther from Mr. Noyes and at last became nearly as much a skeptic as my husband.
But in the meantime my brother and two sisters had returned fully to fellowship with Mr. Noyes, and so communication was kept open between him and our family. By this means my heart was finally turned back to my first love and confidence. .
I had felt all through my sickness a dim instinctive assurance that I should yet recover, and from the time of my first acquaintance with Mr. Noyes I had more or less expectation that I should be healed by faith. This expectation revived with much strength at the time of my return to his fellowship. .
It may be mentioned here that in the whole course of my sickness medicine of every kind proved ineffectual and injurious. I consulted at different times not less than ten physicians. At length I lost all confidence in medicines, and about the time of my renewal of acquaintance with Mr. Noyes entirely abandoned the use of them, committing my case to the care of God.
On the 22nd of June Mr. Noyes in company with Mrs. Cragin visited me. 1 was at that time in a very low condition, lower than ever before. I was unable to move or be moved without excruciating pain. A mere crack of the window below the curtain was all that I could endure. Yet I expected to be
healed, and even to go home with Mr. Noyes at his first visit, and had told my husband so on that very morning.
I will not attempt a particular account of the things that were said and done by Mr. Noyes and Mrs. Cragin during the three hours of their visit to my dark room. They will speak of these things for themselves. I will only say that I was calm and happy through scenes which would once have been agitating and even frightful to me.
Mr. Noyes at one time spoke of going home, but I could not believe that he would go till I could go with him. At length I told him that I would do anything that he would bid me. He told me to sit up in the bed. I did so with ease. He then commanded me with great energy to "get up," and taking me by the hand led me to a chair. Without pain and with great delight I sat before the window. Mrs. Cragin raised the curtain and let in the blaze of day. My eyes were perfectly well, and drank in the beauty of a world all new to me with wonderful pleasure. I was constrained to declare again and again that I was perfectly well. I called for work, and found myself able to knit with facility. It was soon determined that I should go home with Mr. Noyes and Mrs. Cragin. I was immediately stripped by my sisters and Mrs. Cragin of my extra flannels and caps and my grave clothes in general, and in an ordinary dress without spectacles or veil I took my seat in the carriage and rode two miles in the light of a midday summer's sun without the least fatigue. That was indeed a joyful ride. I was conscious of perfect health. All pain had vanished.
This event took place about two weeks ago. I have never doubted since that I was healed instantaneously by the power of God. I have been able to ride long distances, to attend meetings in the evening at home and on Sunday at the Chapel, and to take my meals with the family. My appetite is very good. My eyes are strong. I am fast overcoming the effects of the
long disuse of my limbs, and am learning to walk as fast as can be expected of a child. On the whole I can honestly say that, whereas for eight years I have been a miserable, bedridden, half-dead victim of disease, I am now well.
TESTIMONY GF MRS. MARY E. CRAGIN JULY 3, 1847
During the past three months I have been myself amicted with a painful disease, which I ascribed to various secondary causes. Despairing of help from human aid I committed myself fully to Jesus Christ as physician for the body as well as the soul. After making this surrender the scales fell from my eyes, and I recognized unbelief as the first cause of disease and death. I saw that I must have a healthy spirit in order to have a healthy body. After much bodily suffering and mental conflict with the powers of darkness I was enabled to confess Christ within me as savior from the power of unbelief. The result was an almost immediate restoration to health. Sickness left me as suddenly as it had seized me, and I found myself able to prove by word and deed that the power of Christ's resurrection had taken effect in every part of my nature.
Before I received final deliverance I thought much of the case of Mrs. Hall. From what I heard I was sensible that she was fast approaching the same point with myself, a thorough conviction that faith alone could save her from death. J fully believed that the work begun in her in 1843 would be completed, but was conscious that any testimony from me respectjug the power of faith would be ineffectual so long as I was in bondage myself. On the morning after my confession of Christ I felt as though I was ready to testify. . . . When I entered her darkened room and saw her helpless condition, I was struck with horror at the mighty power of unbelief, and the thought arose in my mind that she was in the same grave
from which I had been raised. At the same time I felt a perfect willingness to go down into the grave again, if by so doing I could help her out. As these thoughts and desires occupied my heart I was conscious of general sickness unlike anything I had ever felt before. But as my mind was filled with what I was anxious to say to her I gave no attention to my bodily feelings.
When Mr. Noyes said to me that I might speak, I immediately began to tell her what God had done for me in saving me from unbelief. J had not talked more than a minute before a "horror of great darkness" seized me. My eyes grew dim, my hearing left me; still J resisted until my tongue was palsied and I did not know what I was saying. I had sufficient consciousness left to attempt to go to the door, but I felt Mr. Noyes was not willing. I was sinking lower and lower into a dreadful, dark abyss. When I began to recover I found myself sitting in a chair, and heard Mr. Noycs commanding me in a loud voice to look at him. His tones thrilled me like a shock of electricity, and as soon as I looked at him life triumphed over death. I rose and walked the room astonished and delighted at the power which I felt diffusing itself through my veins, recalling me to newness of life. I said to Mrs. Hall, "This is the most effectual preaching you can have; I have tasted of death, and behold the power of the resurrection."
After conversing with her some time this same horror of unbelief began to paralyze me again. J rose and attempted to throw it off, but could not. 1 called to Mr. Noyes, and had sufficient presence of mind to look steadily at him until I partook of his strength and it passed away. The remainder of the day J was stupid and sleepy, and felt as I imagine persons do who have been recovered from drowning; but since that time I have been perfectly sound in health.
TESTIMONY OF NOYES JULY 3, 1847
Many circumstances have conspired to draw the attention of believers in this place within a few months toward the healing power of Christ, and to raise a belief in their minds that great manifestations of that power are at hand. The unity, internal and external, into which we have lately been brought, the power and success of our testimony to the wo4d around, and the exigency of our situation in the midst of the raging enemies of faith enlarged our expectations and stimulated us to demand more strength from God. Some instances of the victory of faith over disease, which were notable to us though not to the world, occurred during the past winter and spring.
Soon after we came together in family unity Mrs. Cragin was attacked by disease of an obstinate and threatening character. This brought me into a necessity of examining our position in relation to sickness and death. 1 settled my own principles more thoroughly than ever before, and gave a course of lectures in which I declared my independence of the medical systems of this world and claimed for Christ the office of physician to our Community. There was but one heart and one voice among us. J treated Mrs. Cragin's case on faith principles and, though the struggle with the power of death was long and desperate, life gradually prevailed.
After Mrs. Hall returned to our fellowship I began to have a strong impression that the first signal manifestation of healing power would be in her case. The fact that she had come under my care several years ago and a cure had been commenced, which had been defeated for the time by evil powers, seemed a pledge of a complete work yet to come. Her connection with an infidel husband and an infidel father made her case just such an one as we might suppose God would choose if be wisbed to striKe a death-blow at unbelief. From the time
when she invited me to visit her I felt myself challenged to a public contest with death. I made up my mind not to go to her until I could go in the fullness of faith, and I had an assurance that my dealings with her at this time would not be like those of the former trial but altogther more swift and decisive.
Mrs. Cragin's case was still upon my hands. Her enemies, though often routed, yet persecuted her at times, and I found at last that the traitor who let them in was a subtle spirit in her of unbelief. It became evident that a decisive victory over unbelief was essential to a permanent victory over disease of any kind, forasmuch as unbelief is the protecting cover of all subordinate powers of evil. It also became evident that I could not reasonably expect to carry victory over unbelief abroad until I had obtained it at home. This then was the burden that lay upon my heart: 1 must lift Mrs. Cragin out of the grave of unbelief before I could hope to raise Mrs. Hall. Under this burden I labored a week. Faith was the subject of constant investigation in our meetings. On the 21st of June the contest with unbelief came to its crisis with Mrs. Cragin. In the evening meeting she testified that Christ had saved her forever from the unbelieving spirit. The next morning I saw that all was ready for a movement toward Mrs. Hall. Her sister was at our house and wished to be carried home. Mrs. Cragin and I went with her.
During the first half hour of our visit I gave a general discourse on faith. Then I called on Mrs. Cragin to speak. She had not proceeded far when she began to be pale and faint. I took her by the hand and supported her as she sank into death. I said to her several times in a loud voice, "Look at me." She heard me not. Her eyes were open, but fixed and glassy like a dead person's. I carried my head forward until my eye was in range with hers. At that moment there was a glimmer of recognition. I smiled, and she replied by a smile. Immedi-
ately the deadly spell passed away, and Mrs. Cragin emerged into angelic life and beauty. This scene was afterwards repeated in a milder way.
When these transactions were finished, Mrs. Cragin and I placed ourselves in more immediate communication with Mrs. Hall by taking hold of her hands. I perceived that the power of unbelief was broken Mrs. Hall declared with emphasis that she felt "something good" taking place in herself while Mrs. Cragin was dying. Up to this time I had no very definite idea of what was to be done for Mrs. Hall. The way seemed open for her release, but the circumstances in which I found myself were new and I shrank from anything like over-boldness or experimenting. I thought and spoke of returning home, and yet it seemed to me that she ought to go with me.
At length, as I walked the floor meditating, an omnipotent will began to infuse itself into my consciousness. I said in my heart with the freedom that goes with the power of realization, "God shall have his own way in this matter." Soon the way was naturally and easily opened for me to call her forth from her prison with full consciousness of the authority and cobperation of God. After she arose and while the women were changing her clothes I walked in another room, and then again felt an omnipotent will going forth from my heart that she should go home with me; which she did, as she has related.
TESTIMONY OF DANIEL J. HALL
Putney, July 15, 1847.
Mr. G. W. Noyes.
Perhaps it may be proper in the first place to remark, that I cannot think there ever was an individual who attached less confidence to anything that savored of marvelousness than I did previous to the obvious manifestation of the power of
God in restoring Mrs. Hall to health. . . . I was so completely wrapped up in unbelief after I had witnessed her truly wonderful cure, that I felt inclined for a while to ascribe it to some other cause and to think that it would be of short duration. But to my astonishment as well as to my unbounded gratification I have found that time has proved this idea to be fallacious; and I freely confess that it is the power of God that has raised her. I acknowledge also with gratitude, that the same power which has raised her from sickness has also saved me from misery and death. 1 no longer doubt the existence of God or the divine authenticity of the Bible.
From the foregoing statement of my convictions you are at liberty to draw such concltisious as in the sight of God you may deem most proper and profitable, and present them to the public through the columns of the Magazine.
DANIEL J. HALL.
Mr. Hall afterward succumbed for a time to hostile influences. When the Putney Community was broken up in the fall of 1847 he was in sympathy with their enemies, and arranged to have Mrs. Hall live at Putney with her father, an infidel. She suffered a relapse, which Noyes attributed to the lack of an atmosphere of faith. Dr. David Allen took this occasion to prepare a statement of her case for publication in a book entitled Noyesism Unveiled by the Methodist minister of Putney, the Rev. Mr. Hubbard Eastman. Dr. Allen was described by the Rev. Mr. Eastman as "intelligent and highly respectable," Mrs. Hall's "principal attending physician, who had been familiar with her case from the very cornmencement."
TESTIMONY OF DR. DAVID ALLEN DECEMBER 28, 1848
Mrs. Harriet A. Hall in her early sickness was affected with a derangement of the liver and digestive organs generally, with a well-marked scrofulous habit of constitution. In this stage of debility by making considerable over-exertion she
brought on an organic displacement, which prostrated her upon her bed, and with her early complaints and a highly sensitive nervous development was the cause of much suffering and protracted confinement. Subsequently there came on a scrofulous disease of the kidneys, which has since produced ulceration; and is now progressing in a regular course, and ever has been, apparently, to a fatal termination.
At the time Mrs. Hall first came out she had been for some time more comfortable; the system had become so far accommodated to the state of her disease, that she was able under a strong effort of the will to exercise for a time as she did. But, as might be expected, her essential symptoms of disease returned with about the same violence as before. Medical aid was again called for. Another period of more than two years confinement and rest, with some appropriate remedies, enabled her again to rally for a time under the well-known power of a highly excited imagination, or mesmeric influence. But the reported cure seems after all to prove no cure. Her diseased kidneys and other debility have never been removed; and she is now, and has been for some time past entirely confined to her bed, an object of much suffering and pity. Apparently death will ere long relieve her of her sufferings.
Cases where individuals were raised from long confinement by a strong mental effort are comparatively frequent. The case of Miss Martineau . . . is in point. She reports herself as havmg been raised from a protracted confinement under somewhat similar circumstances by the influence of mesmerism, though she was destitute of the incipient disease that will doubtless in the event prove fatal to Mrs Hall.
But Mr. Hall, who had returned to friendship with the Community, knew that imagination killed as well as cured. He had seen that under the imaginations of "Putney unbelief" Mrs. Hall suffered a relapse, and he hoped that under the imaginations of
"Oneida faith" she might again recover. Consequently he took her to Oneida on a cot despite her father's prophecy that she would die before she arrived. By an irony of fate her father was later brought to Oneida on a cot, and she cared for him until he died. One year after her arrival she was a school-teacher in active service, pronounced by two physicians a healthy woman. She had recently returned from a visit to Putney with her husband, and had dined with Dr. Allen.
Mrs. Hall was a member of the Oneida Community for more than thirty years. The author remembers her, after the dissolution of the Community, as a somewhat delicate, elderly woman with weak eyes, but able most of the time to care for herself. She died in 1893 at the age of seventy-four.
Chapter 26: Knitting of East and West | Contents