The vision or prophecy of Joseph Hoag, which is published below, is so remarkable in the accuracy of some of its details, that were its authenticity not attested by the most respectable and reliable living witnesses, we should hardly credit it. The predicted “civil war,” through which we have just passed is not more singular than are several other features in the vision which have been verified.
Joseph Hoag was an eminent minister of the Gospel in the Society of Friends. At the date of his subjoined vision, in 1803, this Society was a unit, the division in it not having occurred until 1827. After the separation, Hoag affiliated with the orthodox branch, in which connection he continued until his death, at the age of forty-five. His ancestors were among the early settlers of New-England, and lived for several generations in the State of New Hampshire, although he was born in Duchess County, New York, but in early life removed to the home of his ancestors. In his services as a minister he travelled extensively throughout the United States, and he is well remembered by a large number of the old members of the Society of Friends in Philadelphia as a very gifted and spiritual-minded minister. Those who knew him best say that he was a man of great piety and very correct life and conversation from his youth; also, that his spiritual perceptions were very deep and clear, so much so that he was often favored with a sense of the condition of other people without outward knowledge, and, in many instances, known to persons still living, foretold circumstances which occurred long afterward, and of which he could have had no knowledge when he predicted them. A journal of his life exists, in which the author says Hoag “was a man of good understanding, retentive memory, and a mind seasoned with grace. His conversation was truly instructive. He appeared most conspicuous in the gift of the ministry, and the spirit of Prophecy.” The following is Joseph Hoag’s vision as transcribed by his daughter–who is still living–in the year 1805, since which time many duplicate MS. copies have been made and preserved by members of the Society, as a curious, interesting, and, as the sequel has shown, an amazingly premonitory document:
“In the year 1803, in the eighth or ninth month, I was one day alone in the field, and observed that the sun shone clear, but a mist eclipsed its brightness.
“As I reflected upon the singularity of the event, my mind was struck into a silence the most solemn I ever remembered to have witnessed, for all my faculties were low, and unusually brought into deep silence. I said to myself: ‘What can all this mean? I do not recollect ever before to have been sensible os such feelings.’
“And I heard a voice from heaven, saying: ‘This which thou seest is a sign of the present coming times. I took the forefathers of this country from a land of oppression; I planted them here among the people of the forest. I sustained them and while they were humbled I blessed them, and fed them, and they became a numerous people. But they have now become proud, and forgotten me, who nourished them, and protected them in the wilderness, and are running into every abomination and evil practice of which the old countries are guilty, and have taken quietude from the land, and suffered a dividing spirit to come among them–lift up thine eyes and behold.’ And I saw them dividing the great heat. The division began in the churches on points of doctrine. It commenced in the Presbyterian Society, and went through the various religious denominations, and in its progress and close, its effects were the same. Those who dissented went off with high heads and taunting language, and those who kept to their original sentiments appeared exercised and sorrowful. And when the dividing spirit entered the Society of Friends, it raged in as high degree as in any I had noticed or before discovered; and, as before, those who separated went off with lofty looks, and taunting, censuring language. Those who kept their ancient principles retired by themselves. It next appeared in the Lodges of the Free Masons; it broke out in appearance like a volcano, inasmuch as it set the country in an uproar for a time.
“Then it entered politics throughout the United States, and did not stop until it produced a civil war. And abundance of blood was shed in the course of the combat; the Southern States lost their power, and slavery was annihilated from their borders. Then a monarchical power sprang up, took the government of the States, established a national religion, and made all societies tributary to support its expenses. I saw them take property from Friends. I was amazed at beholding all this, and I heard a voice proclaiming: ‘This power shall not always stand, but with it I will chastise my Church until they return to the faithfulness of their forefathers; thou seest what is coming upon thy native country for their iniquities and the blood of Africa, the remembrance of which has come up before me.’
“This vision is yet for many days. I had no idea of writing it for many years, until it became such a burden, that, for my own relief, I have written it.
Originally posted 2008-02-14 13:01:10.