George Palmer Pardington
Published By The Author,
692 Eighth Avenue,
This narrative, written by my son, consists of two parts. The first is fearfully true. No one but ourselves will ever know all the intensity of his sufferings and our affliction. The second is gloriously true. He has given a very faithful and conscientious account of it all. He was moved by the Spirit of God to write this that he might be of help to others, that he might answer in fuller detail, and in more permanent form, the many letters coming to him from all parts of the county asking for particulars of his Healing
While he offers this as a thanksgiving to God, and sends it forth as an encouragement to suffering ones, he is also trying in his life to make, as Matthew Henry has said, a thanksgiving to God. His dear mother and myself desire to give glory to God for all He has done for us, in our prayerful and thankful endorsement of this simple narrative.
Fleet Street M. E. Parsonage,
Brooklyn, N. Y., February, 1886.
|R. S. Pardington|
In the February number of "Triumphs of Faith," 1885, an account of my healing was published. Under the title, "The Crooked Made Straight," the same article appeared in "Thy Healer" (April 15, 1885), issued in London, England. So many have written to me for particulars of my recovery that I have yielded to the urgent request of friends to publish, in tract form, a detailed account of my long illness and wonderful deliverance in answer to the "prayer of faith." Earnestly desiring, therefore, that the dear Master may be glorified and some of His suffering children benefited by what I am about to relate, I send forth this little tract.
I am the son of Rev. R. S. Pardington, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1876 my father was pastor of the Fort Street M. E. Church, Detroit, Michigan. I was then ten years of age, in very good heath, and a pupil of the Webster Public School.
One bright May morning, while my class in Arithmetic was doing black-board work, our teacher said that she must leave the school-room for a few moments. Putting us on our good behavior and reminding us of the rule by which no communication was allowed, she, as I supposed, left the room. Immediately my attention was arrested by a noise behind me, and, looking around, I saw a pupil holding up a comical picture. I laughed outright. Instantly I felt myself in the grasp of someone and was severely shaken. I was then seized by the coat-collar and my right arm jerked up and back, till I felt something snap. I was greatly frightened. The injury extended to the right arm, shoulder, neck, and back, giving a terrible shock to my nervous system. Afterwards I learned that the teacher did not leave the room, and, being near me when I laughed, inflicted the punishment described.
When I reached home I was in a very excited condition and denounced the conduct of the teacher in wild and incoherent terms. My parents saw by my confused, unnatural language that something was wrong and sent for our family physician. I became delirious; and, by the time he arrived, my pulse had risen to 140, with a very high fever. His judgment was that I was coming down with scarlet fever. Nausea and diarrha set in and for twenty-four hours my condition was critical.
I soon recovered, however from this intense nervous excitement. My pulse fell from 140 to 120; but at the latter height it remained, with slight change, during my entire illness. I complained from the first of a severe aching throughout my right arm, shoulder, neck, and back, as if the muscles and ligaments had been strained or over-taxed. My arm felt easy only when in a sling, and I carried it thus for a time. I preferred the corner of a church pew, so that I could rest my arm on the end of the seat. The closest examination by the most skillful surgeons revealed no injury. They could not discover why the arm should ache. Soon the two middle fingers of the right hand began to twitch involuntarily; then the hand moved spasmodically, and finally the whole arm became uncontrollable. I wanted to move my arm constantly, but my parents insisted that I should control it. This I could not do. When sitting at a table, my arm, in moving, would, unconsciously to myself, brush articles on the floor. Once I knocked an inkstand from my father's study table. The movements of the arm were involuntary, and I had not the slightest control over them.
The muscles of the right arm gradually contracted, drawing the hand toward the shoulder. This continued with increasing tension, till the palm of the hand settled between the shoulder-blades, where the hand remained, day and night, for three and a half years. The muscles assumed great rigidity. I was placed under the care of one of the most skillful physicians in Detroit, who administered electricity. At the time the muscles of the arm began to contract, my head, owing to the contraction of the muscles of the neck, was drawn forward on my breast. To remedy this tendency and also to straighten my spine, which was becoming crooked, my physician advised a "Taylor brace." Attached to a rod running up and down the back of the brace, was a circular piece of steel, neatly padded. This went around my head and supported my chin. Besides giving me great pain while wearing it, the brace proved useless. At this time my physician could give me no assurance of recovery. My spine was curving laterally and was also thrown forward, so that my chest and abdomen projected abnormally. The most comfortable attitude, which I could assume, was to lie on the floor, flat upon my stomach, my chest and head being supported by my elbows. In this position my spine curved more and more. Thus, by the contraction and rigidity of the muscles of my whole body, my right arm, shoulder and hip were drawn up, my chest and abdomen thrown forward, my head was depressed on my chest, and I became a helpless cripple. I was twisted entirely out of shape, and when lying on the floor, upon my back, my body formed a complete arch, my head and heels only touching the floor.
At this time I was very feeble. Though not confined to my bed, I was rarely ever able to leave the house. Occasionally I enjoyed a short ride, and a dear lady friend was always ready to take me for a drive, whenever I felt able to go. I spent most of my time in reading. With a book on the floor in front of me, I used to lie in my favorite position, and read for hours. During my entire illness, I preferred the floor to a bed or lounge. I seldom used a pillow. I could not rise from the floor and stand erect without assistance; but, being on my feet, I could walk as far as I could hold my breath. This was a most peculiar feature of my case. As long as I held my breath, I could manage myself quite well; but, in order to take another breath, I had to drop and then be assisted on my feet again.
I continued to grow worse. A change of physicians would occasionally benefit me. But the disease was every day more deeply seating itself in my system. Every feature of my case baffled medical science. Once the members of a Detroit medical society met to consider my case. I was stripped and carefully examined. They were puzzled. They said there was no case of similar character which they had ever seen, or of which they had heard. Their unanimous judgement was that the nerves of sensation were in a normal condition, but that the nerves of motion were thoroughly disorganized. While they encouraged me with the hope of recovery, they made no suggestions to my attending physician; hence, we were no wiser than before.
In the fall of 1877 my father was appointed to the Jefferson Avenue M. E. Church in the same city. Although the distance was less than three miles, it was with great difficulty that I was removed to our new home. Later in the same fall I was taken to Mt. Clemens, Mich., to try the effect of the mineral waters. I spent a month there, but received no perceptible benefit. Upon my return, physicians again advised the use of braces to straighten my spine. While the braces supported me so that I could walk about a little, my spine was steadily becoming more and more crooked. Steel corsets were then adopted, and, while wearing these, I was taken to Grand Haven, Michigan, to test the mineral bathes at that place. I received no benefit. While there I was examined by one of the most skillful physicians of the West, who positively declared that my case baffled his science.
By medical advice, plaster-of-paris jackets were then tried. Several were put on me by physicians in Detroit. It was found necessary to put them on double the usual thickness, and, while wearing them I was able to walk around a little. It often took a whole afternoon to put a case on me, and from three to five persons were required to assist the physician. As soon as one was put on, I was placed upon a stretcher, on my back, one or two persons sitting on my body, to keep me in a straight a position as possible, while the case dried. So great was the tension of the muscles up and down my back that very often on being placed upon my feet, the case would break over at the back. Finally, at my mother's suggestion, pieces of holly or white-wood boards were incased at the back. These cases I wore for weeks at a time.
At last in the summer of 1880, by the request of my physician, I was taken to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for examination before the faculty and students of the State Homeopathic Medical College. My case was thoroughly investigated, and the judgement of the faculty was that there was no help for me. My friends considered the decision of the faculty final; but, as my general health was so firm, my physician still had hope of my recovery. By his advice, I remained on my back a month, the object being to keep all weight from my spine. This only tended to weaken me. Ointments and liniments were used to soften the muscles. My mother rubbed me, for an hour or more, every night and morning. My right arm still remained in its position over my head. Nothing that was used affected it in the least. As a last resort, my dear mother, unknown to any member of our family, took the matter to the Lord. If the arm did not come down to its proper position soon, it seemed to her that she could not live. She poured out her soul before the Lord. Despairing of earthly help, she yielded the whole matter to the dear Lord; desiring that the will of God should be done, she told Him that whatever the issue was to be, she would be satisfied. Having committed the case to God, she prayed no more about it.
One evening, not long after, as I was conversing with a friend, I took my right hand from its position above my head, where it had been day and night for three and a half years, baffling medical science, and laid it in my lap. It was a natural movement. My arm feeling tired from being in one position too long, I took it down, as I would make any voluntary motion. Calling the attention of my parents to the change, my dear mother was so overcome that she was obliged to retire from the room. When she revealed to me the secret of the sudden healing, we rejoiced together. My arm was perfectly healed, and has caused me no trouble since that time. As I think of that hour, I wondered that we did not then claim perfect healing of the Lord; but our hearts were blinded; we did not know the way of faith; and, again, the Lord's time was "not yet."
In the fall of 1880, my father was appointed to Tecumseh, Michigan, about sixty miles from Detroit. It was a great trial for me to leave Detroit, where all my kind friends were, and go to Tecumseh. In the city I was receiving the best treatment, and in Tecumseh, I thought, the medical advantages would necessarily be limited. Then, too, Tecumseh was off the direct line to Ann Arbor, to which place I was compelled to go every few weeks to have a plaster-of-paris jacket put on. The way was dark. But at Tecumseh I found a kind, skillful physician, who, for nearly a year, did all in his power to cure me. At first success seemed to attend his efforts; he did much to relieve my intense suffering. At times I thought that I should get entirely well. My general health was excellent. But even he could not touch the seat of my trouble. There was every evidence that the disease was gaining on me. It was becoming more deeply seated every day. Late in the fall I began to fail. I lost all control of my head. When not supported by my hands, locked together at the back of my head, it fell back on my shoulders. I had no control of it. The muscles of my neck enlarged. I became more and more helpless. My decline, though gradual, seemed certain.
During the winter of 1880, the Rev. John M. Arnold, D. D., of Detroit, editor of the "Michigan Christian Advocate," spent a Sabbath with us. With my consent, upon his return, he gave the youthful readers of his paper a sketch of me. As the article so graphically describes my condition at that time, I insert it entire:
On Saturday, December fifth, the editor of the "Michigan Christian Advocate" visited Tecumseh, to spend the Sabbath. That Sabbath was one that will not soon be forgotten. Where we stayed was a boy, fourteen years of age, who has a strange history, and we thought it might be of interest to our little readers to learn something about him, and with his consent we briefly give it. We had frequently seen him with his father in the bookstore, and on the streets in Detroit, and had been attracted by his smiling countenance and pleasant inquiries as well as by his curious shape and movements. But in the home we had an opportunity to study him carefully and converse with him freely. We found him lying upon the floor upon his back, with a pillow under his head, engaged in reading the life of Gen. Garfield. Occasionally he would raise himself by a series of quick movements, in which his legs were twisted in all sorts of shapes, and his chest thrown out like a bow, and stand almost erect with his hands clasp on the back of his head; sometimes he would spring part way up and catch the rim of the large coal stove; and pull with all his might. But through the long day, and for days and months together, his posture most of the time is as we have described, on the floor, only that he assumes almost all sorts of shapes. His meals are taken from a server in this position on the floor. When he is removed from room to room, his favorite way is to be dragged by the fee, he pulling his own cushion. At night he did not retire till almost midnight, but he made it up by sleeping till about ten o'clock the next morning, which is his favorite habit of rest. George has a companion, a little brown dog, which stays by him and flies into a rage if any one touches his master, except to help him, which the animal seems to understand perfectly.
Now you may think this is a strange kind of boy; and so he is; but he was a fair and goodly a child, when an infant, as any of you; but he has had a succession of injuries which seem to have followed him closely all along his life. When he was six months old he had congestion of the brain and lungs and barely lived. At two years old the measles left him very ill. At four and one-half years old he had a fall which broke his thigh bone, and left him a long time helpless. Then a fall* [*The injury referred to was caused by a stone which was thrown by a companion] gave him a severe bruise on his head, which probably affected his nervous system. At ten years old, in a public school in Detroit, a teacher gave him a sudden jerk, which frightened him and brought on the disease from which he has suffered so much, the chorea or St. Vitus' dance.
Some of you, perhaps, have never seen a person thus affected. You know our strength by which we walk and labor is in the muscles or lean flesh that clothes our bones. When in health, we can move as we please by the use of our muscles, but, with this disease, a person cannot control his movements. I meet often on the streets a young man whose head is turned violently from one side to the other all the time. Some thus affected can walk, but they throw their limbs here and there in the strangest sort of way.
But Georgie cannot even walk any distance, but must lie on the floor most of the time. Great efforts have been expended by his parents to relieve him, and he has had the best physicians. Sometimes he is put in a plaster-of-paris jacket, which is like stone all around the trunk of his body. He is now using electricity, which is administered to him by machine about once a week,* [*The doctor has made a slight mistake. Electricity was administered to me for an hour or more every morning] and medicine is about as constant as food with him.
But this body I have been describing is not Georgie, only the shattered house he lives in. He knows as much as other boys of his age, and more than the most of them. All the time he has a book by him, and if he cannot endure to read he asks others to read for him. He asks a great many questions, has a good memory, and stores up knowledge of all kinds. He is just about to commence reading Bryant's History of the United States, and when he takes up a book he does not let go till he knows all about it. He likes books of fun and jokes, and tells and induces others to tell a great many anecdotes. He seems bound to be happy at any rate. While there we did not hear a word of complaint or weariness. All was bright and cheerful with Georgie. He is ingenious, and can make a great many curious and nice playthings.
But, best of all, he is a Christian. He was converted at about seven years of age, and has become firm and strong in his religious character. He has had his doubts and fears, but he is now resigned to the will of God, is not afraid to die, and finds sweet comfort in trusting in Jesus. He has learned to be more patient and cheerful in all his privations than others are with their enjoyment and health and the use of their limbs.
Georgie knows what true friendship is. Many persons know him better and love him more than if he had been a strong, healthy boy. They come and sit by his side, talk for hours with him, send him delicacies, and learn to love him. It was hard for Georgie to leave Detroit when his father was removed from the Jefferson Avenue Church last fall. He had so many dear acquaintances here, and took so much comfort riding out occasionally and seeing the ten thousand sights that the city affords of life in the streets and shops. When here, he enjoyed the best medical treatment the city could afford. But at Tecumseh he found friends and a kind and skillful physician. One young friend was there the day we saw him, and sat a long time with him, a girl about his own age, who seemed to cherish him like a brother. On Sabbath, November twenty-first, he was taken to church and partook of the sacrament, which was a great privilege for him. With a kind, attentive father and a fond, unwearied mother, Georgie seemed to us like a callow bird in a downy nest. He cannot move as he sees others do, but he can patiently wait till God shall give him release, and then he will have angelic wings and live in a brighter clime.
My dear children, I hope you never slight those who are deformed, either by disease or age, but show them all the kindness in your power. Do not forget when you see them to thank you Heavenly Father for your limbs and faculties, through which you receive such great pleasure.
This peculiar boy of whom I have told you is Master George P. Pardington, the son of Rev. R. S. Pardington, formerly of Detroit, but now of Tecumseh, Michigan.
Having been converted at the age of seven, I enjoyed the love of God in my heart during my illness. From the very first I was resigned to my lot, and was willing to suffer or do anything for Jesus' sake. Soon after I was injured, I received the assurance that my sickness was to be for the glory of God, and that if I patiently abided His time I should recover. Upon this promise I lived and so as one physician after another gave me up, either to die or to a life of utter helplessness, I did not become discouraged. Although I did not know the time or way in which I would be healed. I knew that I should recover. Not once during my entire illness did I doubt, for an instant, that I should get well.
In the spring of 1881 I was at my worst. My parents were despairing of ever getting help for me. Human power availed nothing. Medical science had been tested to its utmost, without success. At this time water was gathering on my brain; the muscles of the neck were enlarging, and finally my head became uncontrollable. Drawn by the muscles, it fell back, and, when not supported by my hands, it lay between my shoulder-blades. Fatal symptoms were appearing, and my friends were expecting every day to hear of my death.
In the summer of 1881, I was taken to Detroit, apparently for the last time, to visit our friends. While there, I met Mrs. Eliza Porter, wife of Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Porter, of Chicago, Illinois. She deeply sympathized with me in my affliction and placed in my hands a little book, entitled "The Prayer of Faith," by Miss Carrie F. Judd, of Buffalo, N. Y. Before I had finished reading the first chapter, I was so impressed that the dear Lord Himself had sent the little book to me, that I was immediately willing to accept healing. As I had waited so long for the Lord's guidance, I was now ready to act. I went to my room, kneeled down and thanked the Lord for revealing Himself to me as my Healer, and then, without the knowledge or advice of anyone, I decided to stop the use of all medicine. I committed my case wholly to Him. My friends said that it would be a great risk, but I gave up all human aid, determined to trust the Lord for complete healing. Yielding, however, to the persuasion of my parents, I did not remove my plaster-of-paris jacket. This was on Saturday July 2d. The next day, Sunday, after making known my decision to my mother, I took my last dose of medicine, upon which I had been living since my injury. From that day till the present the Lord has kept me; and, having taken Him as my Great Physician, I have not found it necessary to use medicine. Upon my return home a few days later, I wrote to Miss Judd, requesting her to pray for me. She replied that they would remember me in prayer on Thursday evening, July 21st and 28th, at 8 o'clock. At the appointed hour on each of these evenings, friends in Michigan united with those in Buffalo, in prayer for my recovery. On both of the evenings mentioned, I was greatly blessed, but no wonderful changed, such as I had expected, took place. And now came my great struggle. I had thought that when the time came, the Lord would heal me instantly. Because He did not do this, I was discouraged. Satan came in "like a flood," but, thank God, "the Spirit of the Lord lifted up a standard against him." The Dear Lord taught me a lesson then which I have never forgotten. It was this: First, God renewed the assurance that I should be healed, but He taught me to look to Him, and not to what He would do. Secondly, He revealed to me that as my disease had come upon me slowly, so would my recovery be gradual.
In a few days my head was healed. All signs of water on the brain disappeared, and I could move my head at pleasure, without the aid of my hands. All the muscles of the neck relaxed. My general health improved, and I became quite strong and well. I gained steadily, to the great joy of my friends. If I rested a few times, I was able to walk a distance equal to a city square.
My form, however, was still out of shape. My spine was twisted every way. My abdomen projected so much that my shoulders and hips nearly touched. I still wore my brace, as without it I could not walk; and the muscles up and down my spine, which held it in this crooked shape, and prevented a brace from straightening it, were as rigid as ever. For months there was a section of my spine, at the small of my back, in which the vertebræ could not be felt, even if I bent over, till my hands touched the floor.
Soon my faith was severely tested. From the time I accepted Christ as my Healer, the following question had confronted me: Can I trust the Lord to heal my crooked and diseased spine? His ability or willingness I did not once doubt. The matter was pressed upon my heart so constantly, that I was forced to make a decision. My former physicians and friends were watching me, to see if my faith would reach to my deformed condition. I had a fearful struggle. At Buffalo they were still praying for me. On Thanksgiving Day, 1881, I gained the victory! The struggle, through which I passed on that day, was most severe. I decided that I could and would trust God to make me "every whit whole." I took off my plaster-of-paris jacket forever on that day and walked forth in Jesus' name, leaning on the mighty arm of God and supported by His promises. Oh, how weak my spine was! When in an upright position, it seemed that the slightest touch would upset me. I was scarcely balanced. I was sorely tempted to put my case on again, because I was so weak. Great light was given me at that time. I was led to see Christ's death on the Cross, as an atonement for sickness as well as for sin. With this light, notwithstanding my deformed condition, I boldly claimed that I was "every whit whole on the finished work of Christ." This ground once taken, I steadfastly maintained. I confessed to everyone my belief. People laughed at my claims; they tried to argue me from the ground I had taken. At first I argued with them but soon found that it did no good. I was thrown into darkness every time I reasoned and argued. I finally gave it up, and whenever my friends wanted to argue with me, I pointed them to the Bible as my guide.
In order that I might fulfill the command in Jas. v: 14, 15, I had a great desire to be anointed. For a long time my mother and myself made it a subject of prayer, that the way might be opened either for Miss Judd to visit us, or for me to go to Buffalo. In the summer of 1882, the dear Lord graciously opened the way for me to visit Buffalo and Chautauqua, N. Y. While at Buffalo, I was anointed. My visit was a source of great blessing to me. My life was quickened, spiritually and physically, and I returned home encouraged and greatly strengthened. My improvement during the fall and winter, though gradual, was permanent. Having claimed that I was "every whit whole," I acted faith. I reasoned that if I was truly healed I should act as if I was well. This I did as best I could. I gained in a marked manner, only as I acted my faith.
In the spring of 1883, my father was transferred from the Detroit Conference to the New York East Conference and appointed pastor of the First Methodist Episcopal Church, Hartford, Connecticut. I enjoyed the change of climate very much. Amid new scenes and among new friends, I improved rapidly. I was soon able to have a private teacher and to resume my studies for the first time since my injury in 1876. In May, 1884, my health was so firm that I entered school. After an attendance of eight months, early in spring of 1885, I passed an examination for the Public High School. While in school, I improved steadily every day. Indeed, I considered myself well.
In April, 1885, we moved to Brooklyn, N. Y., my father having been appointed pastor of the Fleet Street M. E. Church. A word as to my present condition. I am well. My spine is straight. The old trouble is gone. I am perfectly healed! I have dedicated myself wholly to the Lord. God has healed me and my life is His. My one great desire is to do His bidding, and where He leads, I will follow.
"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength."--Isa. xl : 31.
"I am the Lord that healeth thee."--Ex. xv : 26
"O that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men." "Whoso is wise and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord."--Ps. cvii: 15, 43.
43 FLEET STREET, BROOKLYN, N. Y.
BUFFALO, N. Y., 1886.
It is a privilege to add my word of testimony in regard to the marvellous change wrought in George Pardinton, through Divine power, since he first visited our "Faith Rest." Then a pale, slender, deformed boy, exciting the wondering compassion of all who looked upon his crooked attempts to walk a short distance; now strong and well developed, walking with ease, during his last visit here, a distance of five miles to a church service and back, in company with the writer.
The healing of this dear young brother, has been the more blessed to me, because of my full knowledge of the obstinacy of his disease (humanly speaking) and the aggravated nature of his deformity, first through correspondence with him and afterwards by personal acquaintance (though he had gained much in answer to prayer before he came to Buffalo). I praise the Lotd that He has wrought the blessed change by the mighty inworking of that Spirit of Life Who brought Christ again from the dead, and Who quickens His members with the same blessed Power. --Rom. viii: II
In Jesus, our Lord,
CARRIE JUDD MONTGOMERY.