Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2


Chapter 4—The Methodist Church

My brother Robert and myself still attended the Methodist class-meeting. One evening the presiding elder was present. And, filled with the love of God, I related what he had done for me, that I had at last found the blessing I had so long sought for—entire conformity to the will of God. I rejoiced in the soon coming of Jesus. I expected they would rejoice with me, but was disappointed. After I ceased speaking Elder B. asked me if it would not be more pleasant to live a long life of holiness here, and do others good, than to have Jesus come and destroy poor sinners. I told him I longed for Jesus to come. Then sin would have an end, and we should enjoy sanctification forever where there would be no tempting Devil to lead our steps astray. 2SG 21.1

Then he asked me if I would not rather die easy on a bed, than to pass through the pain of being changed from mortal to immortality. I answered that I wished Jesus to come and save his children; and that I was willing to live or die; that I could endure all the pain that could be borne in a moment in the twinkling of an eye; and that I desired the wheels of time to roll swiftly round, and bring the welcome day, when these vile bodies should be changed, and fashioned like unto Christ's glorious body. I also stated that when I lived nearest to the Lord, the more earnestly did I long for his appearing. Some in the class-meeting seemed to be greatly displeased. 2SG 22.1

Once more I attended class-meeting, and was happy in the love of God, and wished to bear my testimony among them. I told them again what Jesus had done for me, through the belief of the near coming of the Son of God. The class-leader interrupted me, saying, “Through Methodism!” But I could not give the glory to Methodism, when it was Christ and the hope of his soon coming, that made me free. I finished my testimony, the last I was ever to bear among the Methodists, and sat down. I was convinced that I must give up my belief in the soon coming of my Lord, or should have no freedom in class-meeting, or among the Methodists; for my feelings would be wounded, and their ire would be kindled against me, if I talked out what the Spirit of the Lord wrought in me. 2SG 22.2

Soon the minister visited my father's family. The entire family were interested in the doctrine of the Lord's coming. The minister wished us to withdraw from the church, as that would save a church trial. My parents told him they wished to know the reason of this request. He said that we had been walking contrary to their rules, and that they had rather we would withdraw, than to have the sound go out that they had turned us out. We preferred a trial, that we might know what sin we had committed. We were not conscious of any wrong, unless it was a sin to be looking for, and loving the appearing of, our Saviour. 2SG 23.1

Our family were notified of the church-meeting, and we met in the vestry of the meeting-house. The only charge brought against us was that we had walked contrary to their rules. It was asked, “What rules have we violated?” After a little hesitation it was stated that we had absented ourselves from the class-meeting, and had attended other meetings, and they considered that we had violated their rules. 2SG 23.2

They were reminded of some who were retained in the church, who had not attended class meeting for more than a year, and a portion of our family had been in the country, and none who had remained in the city had absented themselves but a few weeks, and they were compelled to remain away because they could not talk out the sentiments of their heart. If they mentioned the coming of their Saviour, or their love for his appearing, there was a hard pressing spirit against them, and such displeasure manifested that there was a plain division of feeling, and we knew if they loved Jesus they would love to hear of his coming. It was asked us whether we would agree to conform to their rules, and confess that we had walked contrary to them. We answered that we would confess that after the manner which they call heresy, so would we worship the God of our fathers. We dared not yield our faith. With free spirits, happy in the love of God, we left the vestry of the Methodist meeting-house. We had the assurance that God was on our side, who was more than all they that were against us. 2SG 24.1

At the commencement of their love-feast, Elder B. read off our names, seven in number, and wished it understood that it was not for immoral conduct that we were turned out, but for a breach of their rules. He also stated that a door was now open, and all who should walk contrary to their rules would share the same fate. They had made a beginning, and should follow it up. There were others in the Methodist church who were looking for the appearing of the Saviour. They wished to hold these persons among them by frightening them. They succeeded in a few instances, and some sold their favor with God for a place in the Methodist church. Many believed, but dared not confess their faith for fear of being turned out of the synagogue. They loved the praise of men more than the favor of God. Some afterwards left them and joined those who were loving the appearing of Jesus. We were all pushed out of the church because we believed and talked the near coming of our Saviour. At this time the words of the prophet were exceedingly precious: “Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified; but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.” Isaiah 66:5. 2SG 25.1