Chapter 11 The French Prophets and the Scottish Mystics: Prophecies and Letters

In: Early Modern Prophecies in Transnational, National and Regional Contexts (3 vols.)

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Abstract

This is an edition of prophecies of the Scottish Episcopalian prophet, Katherine Pringle, Lady Abden. An introduction, and series of letters, place them in the context of early eighteenth-century mysticism and prophecy. Abden was one of the first Scottish converts to the mission of “French Prophets”, a group of millenarian prophets active in England since 1706. In 1709, the group arrived in Scotland, where it captured the attention of Episcopalians, like Abden, who followed the Flemish Quietist, Antoinette Bourignon. These self-described “mystics” believed their lives were guided by the Holy Spirit. Abden’s “Last Revelation that shall be putt in print to the sons and children of men”, part of which is printed here, promoted Bourignon’s ideas of interior spiritual reformation and called on her fellow mystics to embrace the prophets as instruments of God. The contradictions between outward ecstasy and inward piety caused divisions in the movement. Abden’s “Last Revelation” convinced some mystics to accept the mission, but others remained unconvinced, and argued that spiritual reformation would not appear by outward signs and wonders. The letters printed here reveal that the French Prophets were also unconvinced that the Scottish mystics were inspired by the same spirit that led their mission.