Ellen G. White: The Lonely Years: 1876-1891 (vol. 3)


The Revival at South Lancaster

As S. N. Haskell announced the general meeting to be held at South Lancaster, Massachusetts, to open on Thursday, January 10, he stated that “the important interests to be considered make this meeting one of the most important, if not the most so, of any ever held in South Lancaster.”—The Review and Herald, January 1, 1889. He enumerated the reasons why he believed this was so. First: “The important crisis that has been brought upon us as a people by the Sunday bill now before Congress“: and second: “Another important consideration is the presence of Sister White.” He spoke of the great value of her counsel and testimony “in a time like this.” It was time also for the annual meeting of the South Lancaster Academy, and the New England Tract and Missionary Society would hold its general meeting. 3BIO 424.6

Wednesday evening, January 9, after a day filled with important interviews and the writing of “several important letters that could not be safely delayed” (Manuscript 17, 1889), Ellen White took the train at Battle Creek to meet the New England appointments. Arriving at South Lancaster early Friday afternoon, she found W. C. White already on the ground. She spoke at the Sabbath afternoon meeting. The church was well filled with Adventists who lived in the community, the students in the school, and delegates from Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and other states (Ibid., March 5, 1889). In a report written for the Review and Herald, she disclosed her sentiments as she stood before the people that Sabbath afternoon: 3BIO 425.1

We realized that there was a work to be done in setting things in order, which man's best efforts could not accomplish without the aid of God. Our hearts were drawn out in earnest supplication to God that He would work in our behalf. We had a message of present truth for the people; and if they would place themselves in the channel of light, they would be prepared to do a work for others similar to the work that should be done for them.... 3BIO 425.2

On Sabbath afternoon, many hearts were touched, and many souls were fed on the bread that cometh down from heaven.—Ibid. 3BIO 425.3

Her address was an earnest appeal to be right with God. She declared: 3BIO 425.4

It is the privilege of everyone to say, “I will carry out my Captain's orders to the very letter, feeling or no feeling. I will not wait for a happy sensation, for a mysterious impulse. I will say, ‘What are my orders? What is the line of my duty? What says the Master to me? Is the line of communication open between God and my soul? What is my position before God?’” Just as soon as we come into right relations to God, we shall understand our duty and do it; and we shall not think the good things we do entitle us to salvation. 3BIO 425.5

As she brought her soul-stirring address to a close she declared, “We are coming to a crisis, and I am in terror for our souls.” She then asked some penetrating questions: 3BIO 426.1

Why is it that we find men leaving the faith? Are we in a position where we shall know what we believe, and shall not be shaken out? That souls leave the truth should not discourage us in the least, but only make us seek more earnestly for the blessing of God. 3BIO 426.2

It is not the education, or the talents, or the position of men, that is to save them. We are to be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. How do you stand before God today? The question is not, How will you stand in the day of trouble, or at some future time? but How is it with your soul today? ...We want a personal, individual experience today. Today, we want Christ abiding with us.—Ibid., April 9, 1889. 3BIO 426.3

This was the beginning of a revival that was to extend far beyond the scheduled dates for the convocation, with a response beyond all expectations, as well. Of this Ellen White reported: 3BIO 426.4

As our brethren and sisters opened their hearts to the light, they obtained a better knowledge of what constitutes faith. The Lord was very precious; He was ready to strengthen His people. The meetings continued a week beyond their first appointment. 3BIO 426.5

The school was dismissed, and all made earnest work of seeking the Lord. Elder Jones came from Boston, and labored most earnestly for the people, speaking twice and sometimes three times a day. The flock of God were fed with soul-nourishing food. The very message the Lord has sent to the people of this time was presented in the discourses. Meetings were in progress from early morning till night, and the results were highly satisfactory.... 3BIO 426.6

Both students and teachers have shared largely in the blessing of God. The deep movings of the Spirit of God have been felt upon almost every heart. The general testimony was borne by those who attended the meeting that they had obtained an experience beyond anything they had known before. They testified their joy that Christ had forgiven their sins. Their hearts were filled with thanksgiving and praise to God. Sweet peace was in their souls. They loved everyone, and felt that they could rest in the love of God.—Ibid., March 5, 1889. 3BIO 427.1

Truly the presenting of righteousness by faith yielded good fruit. Ellen White had participated in many revivals across the land and overseas, but of this experience at South Lancaster she wrote: 3BIO 427.2

I have never seen a revival work go forward with such thoroughness, and yet remain so free from all undue excitement. There was no urging or inviting. The people were not called forward, but there was a solemn realization that Christ came not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance. 3BIO 427.3

The honest in heart were ready to confess their sins, and to bring forth fruit to God by repentance and restoration, as far as it lay in their power. We seemed to breathe in the very atmosphere of heaven. Angels were indeed hovering around. 3BIO 427.4

Friday evening the social service began at five, and it was not closed until nine. No time was lost, for everyone had a living testimony to bear. The meeting would have continued hours longer, if it had been allowed to run its full course; but it was thought best to close at that time.—Ibid. 3BIO 427.5

Sabbath morning A. T. Jones spoke with “great power” (Manuscript 17, 1889), and in the afternoon Ellen White presented her message “with great freedom.” She wrote: 3BIO 427.6

This was a most precious Sabbath to our souls. We felt that we were breathing in an heavenly atmosphere, and Christ was indeed found of all those who sought for Him. This is indeed a wonderful outpouring of the Spirit of God, testifying to us what the Lord is willing to do for His people who will believe in Jesus for themselves.—Ibid. 3BIO 427.7

Through Sunday the meetings continued with no diminishing of interest; the final meeting was held Monday morning. 3BIO 427.8