Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2


Chapter 5—Opposition of Formal Brethren

For six months not a cloud intervened between me and my Saviour. Whenever there was a proper opportunity I bore my testimony in meeting, and was greatly blessed. At times the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me in such power that my strength was taken away. This was a trial to some of those who had come out from the formal churches, and often words were spoken meant for my ear, which grieved me. They did not believe that any one could be so filled with the Spirit of the Lord as to lose their strength. I began to fear. I reasoned thus: Am I not justified in holding my peace in meeting, and restraining my feelings, when my testimony causes such opposition, even in meeting, and in the hearts of some of those older in experience, and in years, than myself? I thought I would be just as faithful in living out my religion, and not bear my testimony. I often felt pressed by the Spirit of God to speak in meeting; but did not, and was sensible that the Spirit of God was grieved. I even kept away from meeting where some of those attended who were annoyed by my testimony. I withheld my testimony for fear of offending my brethren, and that uninterrupted communion with God which I had enjoyed for months was broken, and I have not since, for so long a time, been perfectly free in the Lord. 2SG 26.1

But soon one of the family which had been most forward in opposing me, while praying fell prostrate like one dead. His friends feared he was dying; but while they stood weeping over him, rubbing his hands, and using means for his restoration, he gained strength to praise God, and shout with a voice of triumph. He was unable to return home that night. While attending an evening meeting I was much blessed, and again lost my strength. Another of the family mentioned, said he had no faith that it was the Spirit of God that was upon me. He selected one who was considered a man of God, a devoted humble Christian, and said, “If this is genuine, why does it not come upon Bro. R., and he lose his strength?” Bro. R. was immediately prostrated, and as soon as he could give utterance to his feelings, declared that it was of God. 2SG 27.1

All had believed me honest, but thought I could command my feelings, and not suffer my strength to be taken away. The brother who opposed me was brought to see that he was fighting against God. While in a prayer-meeting, the blessing of the Lord rested upon him, and his countenance seemed to shine with the glory of God, and he fell prostrate to the floor. When he recovered strength he confessed he had done wrong in opposing me. Not long after this, while the same family were engaged in prayer, the Spirit of the Lord rested upon them. I had the particulars from my father who happened in at that time. He said there was scarcely one to help another. They were prostrated by the power of God, while calling upon his name. Cold formality began to melt, and then they regretted that they had opposed me, and confessed their error. 2SG 27.2

In 1843, I felt like consecrating myself daily to the Lord, and preparing for his coming. But the time of expectation passed, and we were still in this dark world, and the scoffer was bold in scoffing, and in his hard speeches against us. Some who joined the ranks through fear, left us and united with the scoffer. But we still looked for, and loved the appearing of, our Saviour. Again our minds were called to 1844, as the time for the appearing of our Lord. We hailed every evidence in favor of his coming with joy. My experience was like most of God's people at that time. I felt for others who seemed to be held in darkness and despair, and often united with individuals in earnest prayer for their deliverance, and rejoiced with them when they were made free. 2SG 28.1

With great carefulness we came up to the time of expectation. If clouds shadowed our minds, we could not rest until the darkness was removed. We frequently went to the orchards and groves, and sent up our earnest cries to God, “Restore unto us the joys of thy salvation.” We would not cease pleading with the Lord until he revealed himself unto us, and we could rejoice in the sweet assurance of his love. I knew that I must walk tremblingly and carefully before God. Heaven and its sweet joys were my meditation day and night. I loved Jesus, and the sound of his dear name enraptured me. 2SG 28.2

My lungs were diseased, and my voice failed me. The Spirit of the Lord often rested upon me in great measure. My frail body could not endure the weight of glory which the mind grasped and feasted upon, and my strength was frequently gone. The name of Jesus, lovely Jesus, was exalted before me. I seemed to dwell in a heavenly atmosphere. I expected Jesus to come and make me immortal, when I could endure to drink in the light of his countenance, and ever feast upon his glory, and praise him in perfect strains. 2SG 29.1

We waited with earnest desire for the appearing of Jesus, but the time of expectation again passed, and we were still in this mortal state, and the effects of the curse all around us. Our disappointment was bitter; but we did not faint. A strong arm bore us up. Some expressed their lack of faith as follows:—“You need have no more fears; the time has passed, the Lord will not come for years.” The passing of the time tested and shook off such. But we believed that in his own good time he would come; that we must first be proved, be purified, made white, and tried, and then he would redeem his faithful, trusting ones. 2SG 29.2

My health failed rapidly. I could only talk in a whisper, or broken tone of voice. One physician said my disease was dropsical consumption; that my right lung was gone, and my left affected. He thought I could not live long, might die very suddenly. It was very difficult for me to breathe lying down, and nights was bolstered almost in a sitting posture, and would often awake with my mouth full of blood. 2SG 30.1