A NARRATIVE of the Miraculous Cure of Su∣sannah Arch, of a Lepro∣sy and Ptysick, wherewith for some Years past she had been sorely afflicted.
I Susannah Arch do solemnly declare, in the Fear of God, that my Distemper began about four Years ago with an extraordinary Itching and Scurf on my Head, and afterwards it spread over my Bo∣dy. This continued about three Years be∣fore I advised with any Physician to know what it was; and then my Husband died, whose Death was attended with many ag∣gravating Circumstances, occasioning much Sorrow and Grief; all which conduced to increase my Distemper. Under my great Di∣stress of Body and Mind I was lamenting my self, saying, What, a poor distressed Widow! a poor afflicted Widow! Then the Lord was pleased to give me in that Page 10 Scripture, Rom. 8. 32. He that spared not his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things? This I took as a Bond from the Lord, wherein he was pleased graciously to bind himself to sup∣ply all my Necessities, which was much to my Support at that time. Immediately af∣ter my Husband's Burial, being left in a poor and desolate Condition, that Scripture came to my Mind, Job 1. 21. Naked came I out of my Mother's Womb, and naked shall I return again. The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken away, and blessed be the Name of the Lord. Under these sad Exercises I was help'd to consider, that my outward Con∣dition was not worse than my Lords and Master's; of whom it is said, Matth. 8. 20. The Foxes have Holes, and the Birds of the Air have Nests, but the Son of Man hath not wh••e to lay his Head. Then was I help'd to say, I have lost all, and yet have all; and to plead with God in the Words of Jacob, Gen. 32. 12. Thou saidst, I will do thee good. These and many other precious Words were powerfully impressed on my Soul for my Support and Comfort.
After these Troubles my Distemper much increased, and then I advised with Mr. Forty an Apothecary, who told me my Distemper was a Leprosy. I asked him whether it was curable: He told me, it was not curable. Then was I advised by his Wife to go to one Page 11 Mrs. Griffin, who is skilful in curing Scald Heads, and she perswaded me to go to the Hospital, but I found a Reluctancy in my self thereto, having a Perswasion in my Mind from the time that Mr. Forty told me it was incurable, that Jesus Christ would cure it. Nevertheless considering that Passage of the Woman that had the Bloody Issue, though she spent all on Physicians, yet this did not hinder her being cured by Christ when she came to him: So I concluded my going to the Hospital might not hinder Christ's curing me: Thereupon I was satisfied in my self to go; and when I presented my self to the Physician and Chirurgeons, they told me it was a Leprosy, and asked me what I de∣sired of them. I desired to be an Out-pa∣tient, and they prescribed me some things, but I had no Faith in the Success of them, and so took but one Dose, and threw the rest away, looking to an higher Hand for my Cure. However I went a second time, and then they who gave out the Medicines, seeing my Distemper, told me, it was in vain to spend my time in attending any fur∣ther on them, for it was a Leprosy, and could not be cured. Not long after this I was sent by a Friend of mine, on her own Account, to Dr. Bourne, and I took that Opportunity to shew him my Distemper: And when he saw it, he lift up his Hands, saying, Good Lord have Mercy upon thee! Page 12 it is a Leprosy. He likewise told me, there might be something given to curb it (but not to cure it) if I had wherewithal to de∣fray the Charge. I told him I was a poor Widow, and so concerned my self no more with him. I went away from him full of Comfort, having this Perswasion, that Je∣sus Christ would be my Physician, and would cure me.
After this I was sent by the same Friend, and on her own Account, to Dr. Clarke, and took that Opportunity to discover my Case to him, who knowing me, sympathi∣zed with me, saying, Alas, poor Woman, it is a Leprosy! I asked him whether it could be cured: He told me, that something might be given to check it, but not to cure it; and that if I would go to Mr. Humes an Apo∣thecary, he would give Directions to him, and would do what he could for me. But having no Hopes of Cure from any hu∣mane Means, I concerned my self no fur∣ther with him in this Matter. One Reason why I had no Expectation of Cure from Man was, the occurring of that Scripture fre∣quently to my Mind, Mat. 8. 2. Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. This I was enabled to plead before him with some Degree of Confidence that at last I should prevail.
After this another Friend and Neighbour of mine being sick, desired me to go for her Page 13 to Dr. Nicholls; and when I had discoursed with him concerning my Friend, I asked him what he thought of my Distemper? who answered, Alas! poor Woman, how came you by this Surfeit? I asked him what the Distemper was? and he likewise told me, as the others had done before, that it was a Leprosy, and incurable.
This I can truly say, that all along my Faith was fix'd on the Lord Jesus Christ: It was on him I did and was resolved to rely, who in the Days of his Flesh, when on Earth, cured all Diseases and Sicknesses among the People; and I was confident, that he had the same Power now he was glorified in Hea∣ven, as he had in the Days of his Humilia∣tion.
There is one thing I think good to re∣mark, viz. when I considered that I was a poor polluted unclean Leper, I was under some doubt (though afterwards I concluded it was from Satan) whether I might and ought to come to the Congregation of the Lord's People to whom I belong, to partake of that Blessed Ordinance of the Lord's Sup∣per amongst them. Labouring under strong Conflicts about this Matter, as I was going to the Congregation, that Text came with Power on my Soul, Gal. 5. 1. Stand fast in the Liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free, and be not intangled again with the Yoke of Bondage. By this Text I understood that Page 14 the Law of the Leper, being part of the Ceremonial Law, is done away; and so that Doubt was removed.
Upon the last Day of May, 1694. at Night, when I was asleep in my Bed, I was pleading with God in those Words of the Psalmist, Psal. 57. 2. I will cry unto God most High, un∣to him that performeth all things for me: And then I thought I saw a Man standing by me, and laying his Hand on me, saying, I will be thou clean. I answered, Lord, if thou say∣est the Word, it is done. To which I received this Reply, All things are possible to him that believeth. I answered, Lord, I believe, help thou my Ʋnbelief. To which it was answered, He that believes, needs not to say, but is whole every whit, (the Hand being all the while upon my Hand) and thereupon I awaked, and perceived that it was a Dream. From that time (though I grew worse and worse) I was strongly perswaded that I should be made whole.
The next Morning a Christian Friend of mine came to see me, and brought a Wo∣man with her, telling me, that she had brought one that could cure the Leprosy. I then said to the Woman, Can you cure the Leprosy? She said, Yes. But said I, You shall not cure me, for I have thrown my self on the Physician of Value, and he will cure me: And though you, or all the Page 15 greatest Doctors or Chirurgions in London, would give me a great Sum of Money, you should none of you take me in hand.
After this I had divers Conflicts and Temp∣tations to weaken my Confidence; but God was pleased to give in divers seasonable Words for my Relief, and for the strength∣ning of my Faith: As at one time that Text came with Power on my Soul, Mark 11. 22. Have Faith in God. And at another time that Text, John 11. 40. Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldst believe thou shouldst see the Glory of God?
And at another time that Text, Heb. 10. 35. Cast not away your Confidence which hath great Recompence of Reward.
And whereas I had been afflicted with a Ptysick for many Years, wherewith I was laid vp every Winter; in November last it pleased the Lord to remove that Distemper, with∣out the Use of any humane Means. And this was to me a Token for Good, that God would likewise cure me of my Leprosy. Soon after this, being at Mr. Beverley's Meet∣ing, and hearing the People talk of a mira∣culous Cure of one that was lame, I asked one that sat by me concerning it: and she told me, that a Maid that had been lame 17 Years was miraculously cured on a sudden. Then I told her, I was waiting at the Pool, believing that I should be made whole. From that time my Heart was drawn out to Page 16 wrestle more earnestly with God for Cure, crying out, Lord! why not I? why not I, a poor Leper?
In December my Distemper growing worse and worse, both on my Head and Body, I met with some inward Struglings, but was help'd to say, in the Words of Job, I know, O Lord, that thou canst do every thing. I was likewise help'd to say, from that of the three Worthies, Dan. 3. 17. My God whom I serve is able to deliver me: However I am resolved to trust in him.
And now to give a true and faithful Ac∣count how I was healed.
On the 26th of December at Night I went to Bed, as bad as ever I was; and in the Night I had grievous and sore Temptations from my Adversary, who told me I had no Faith; and that if I had Faith I might be healed; those Words being cast into my Mind, O ye of little Faith: and I was temp∣ted to think I had no Faith, and that God did not love me, but I perceived this was to beat me off from my Confidence in God. Then was I help'd to look back to former Experience, and remembred that about 30 Years ago, when I was under great Distress about the State of my Soul, being under a deep Sense of my Sin. I was help'd to cast my Soul on the Lord Jesus Christ. And from that Consideration many times since, Page 17 when I have been in great Distress, with re∣spect to my outward Condition, I have been enabled to cast my bodily Concerns upon him; and then I cried out, Lord, I have cast my Soul upon thee, and my Body upon thee, and now I am resolved to cast all my Diseases upon thee. Then was I help'd to plead with God, saying, Lord, if I have true Faith, if thou lovest me, if I have an In∣terest in Christ, take away this Distemper before I die. Then Satan suggested to me, that I had sinned with a witness in that I had limited God. But I was help'd to re∣new the same Petitions to the Lord, know∣ing I had not limited the Lord, only that he would cure me before I die. Then that Scripture was brought to my Mind, Jam. 4. 7. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from thee. From which I was encouraged to resist him, knowing that he was a conquered Enemy. Then I lay quiet and with a composed Mind till Morning. Next Day I found a marvel∣lous Alteration, being much better and more chearful, which was discerned by a Friend of mine, who told me, that she did perceive that I was much better.
The next Night after this, which was Thursday Night, as I was in my Bed, I put my Hand to my Head, first on one side, and then on the other, and felt Skin on both Sides of it, which at first was surprizing and amazing to me. Then I said, Lord Jesus! Page 18 hast thou begun? thou wilt carry it on. When I arose in the Morning, and had taken off my Head-clothes, I found the Scurf was gone from off my Head, only there remain∣ed like a little Cap on the Crown of my Head, which was easily taken off with a Comb, which I made use of for that end: And then appeared firm Skin all over my Head. At the same time my Distemper, which was spread over my whole Body from Head to Foot, even to my very Toes, was likewise taken away. And whereas I had neither Skin nor Hair on my Head before, my Hair is now grown to the Admiration of them that behold it. And to this Day, through the Lord's Goodness, I remain free both from Leprosy and Ptysick.
Jan. 16. 1694/5.
SOME of us whose Names are subscribed have had certain Knowledg of Susannah Arch's Distempers, and also of her Cure: And we are all fully satisfied in the Truth of what is contained in this Narrative.
- William Kiffin,
- William Collins,
- Robert Stead,
- Richard Adams,
- Edward Man,
- John Piggott,
- Benjamin Dennis,
- William Draycot,
- Robert Bartlett.