THE Southcottian nuisance shows no sign of abating, even though the prophecy with which the Tube stations were placarded last spring was not fulfilled. It foretold, if we remember rightly, immense disaster to London if the sealed box were not immediately opened. And unfortunately the box cannot at present be opened, since the Archbishop lately declared that ridiculous conditions were imposed. It may be remembered that at the time of the Lambeth Conference we urged that the box should be examined, in the presence of the necessary twenty-four bishops, and the silly business ended. It now appears, from an interview accorded to a representative of the Western Morning News, that in 1918 the bishops asked that it might be taken to the Jerusalem Chamber, “but as they refused to comply with the conditions the present custodians refused to part with it.” So it seems that the money of the Southcottians will still be poured out on useless advertisement and circular. It seems that twenty-four “believers” must be present at the opening of the box, as well as the twenty-four bishops; and that if the bishops decide against the writings, the documents may be burnt. What they are like may perhaps be estimated from the six volumes of Joanna’s prophecies which were printed between 1813 and 1852. A few examples are given by Blunt in his “Dictionary of Sects and Heresies”, and he affirms that in several thick volumes of them there is nothing but nonsense and blasphemy. But a sect which could survive Joanna Southcott’s failure to produce the promised Shiloh is likely to prove immortal.
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