Chapter 5: Opposition of Formal Brethren
Manifestations of the Holy Spirit's Power Opposed
For six months not a cloud intervened between me and my Saviour. Whenever there was a proper opportunity, I bore my testimony, and was greatly blessed. At times the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me with such power that my strength was taken from me. This was a trial to some who had come out from the formal churches, and remarks were often made that grieved me much. Many could not believe that one could be so overpowered by the Spirit of God as to lose all strength. My position was exceedingly painful. I began to reason with myself whether I was not justified in withholding my testimony in meeting, and thus restraining my feelings, when there was such an opposition in the hearts of some who were older in years and experience than myself.
I adopted this plan of silence for a time, trying to convince myself that to repress my testimony would not hinder me from faithfully living out my religion. I often felt strongly impressed that it was my duty to speak in meeting, but refrained from doing so, and was sensible of having thereby grieved the Spirit of God. I even remained away from meetings sometimes because they were to be attended by those whom my testimony annoyed. I shrank from offending my brethren, and in this allowed the fear of man to break up that uninterrupted communion with God which had blessed my heart for so many months.
We had appointed evening prayer meetings in different localities of the city to accommodate all who wished to attend them. The family that had been most forward in opposing me attended one of these. Upon this occasion, while those assembled were engaged in prayer, the Spirit of the Lord came upon the meeting, and one of the members of this family was prostrated as one dead. His relatives stood weeping around him, rubbing his hands and applying restoratives. At length he gained sufficient strength to praise God, and quieted their fears by shouting with triumph over the marked evidence he had received of the power of the Lord upon him. The young man was unable to return home that night.
This was believed by the family to be a manifestation of the Spirit of God, but did not convince them that it was the same divine power that had rested upon me at times, robbing me of my natural strength and filling my soul with the peace and love of Jesus. They were free to say that my sincerity and perfect honesty could not be doubted, but they considered me self-deceived in taking that for the power of the Lord which was only the result of my own overwrought feelings.
My mind was in great perplexity in consequence of this opposition, and as the time drew near for our regular meeting, I was in doubt whether or not it was best for me to attend it. For some days previous I had been in great distress on account of the feeling manifested toward me. Finally I decided to remain at home, and thus escape the criticism of my brethren. In trying to pray, I repeated these words again and again: "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" The answer that came to my heart seemed to bid me trust in my heavenly Father and wait patiently to know His will. I yielded myself to the Lord with the simple trust of a little child, remembering He had promised that those who follow Him shall not walk in darkness.
A sense of duty impelled me to go to the meeting, and I went with the full assurance in my mind that all would be well. While we were bowed before the Lord, my heart was drawn out in prayer and filled with a peace that only Christ can give. My soul rejoiced in the love of the Saviour, and physical strength left me. With childlike faith I could only say: "Heaven is my home, and Christ my Redeemer."
(Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 44-46)