Chapter 5: Opposition of Formal Brethren
One of the family before mentioned as being opposed to the manifestations of the power of God upon me, on this occasion stated his belief that I was under an excitement which he thought it my duty to resist, but instead of doing so, he thought I encouraged it as a mark of God's favor. His doubts and opposition did not affect me at this time, for I seemed shut in with the Lord, and lifted above all outward influence; but he had scarcely stopped speaking when a strong man, a devoted and humble Christian, was struck down before his eyes by the power of God, and the room was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Upon recovering, I was very happy in bearing my testimony for Jesus and in telling of His love for me. I confessed my lack of faith in the promises of God and my error in checking the promptings of His Spirit from fear of men, and acknowledged that, notwithstanding my distrust, He had bestowed upon me unlooked-for evidence of His love and sustaining grace. The brother who had opposed me then rose, and with tears confessed that his feelings in regard to me had been all wrong. He humbly asked my forgiveness, and said: "Sister Ellen, I will never again lay a straw in your way. God has shown me the coldness and stubbornness of my heart, which He has broken by the evidence of His power. I have been very wrong."
Then, turning to the people, he said: "When Sister Ellen seemed so happy, I would think, Why do I not feel like that? Why doesn't Brother R. receive some such evidence? for I was convinced that he was a devoted Christian, yet no such power had fallen upon him. I offered a silent prayer, that, if this was the holy influence of God, Brother R. might experience it this evening.
"Almost as the desire went up from my heart, Brother R. fell, prostrated by the power of God, crying: 'Let the Lord work!' My heart is convinced that I have been warring against the Holy Spirit, but I will grieve it no more by stubborn unbelief. Welcome, light! Welcome, Jesus! I have been backslidden and hardened, feeling offended if anyone praised God and manifested a fullness of joy in His love; but now my feelings are changed, my opposition is at an end, Jesus has opened my eyes, and I may yet shout His praises myself. I have said bitter and cutting things of Sister Ellen that I sorrow over now, and I pray for her forgiveness and that of all others who are present."
Brother R. then bore his testimony. His face was lighted with the glory of heaven as he praised the Lord for the wonders He had wrought that night. Said he: "This place is awfully solemn because of the presence of the Most High. Sister Ellen, in future you will have our help and sustaining sympathies, instead of the cruel opposition that has been shown you. We have been blind to the manifestations of God's Holy Spirit."
All the opposers were now brought to see their mistake and to confess that the work was indeed of the Lord. In a prayer meeting soon after, the brother who had confessed that he was wrong in his opposition, experienced the power of God in so great a degree that his countenance shone with a heavenly light, and he fell helpless to the floor. When his strength returned, he again acknowledged that he had been ignorantly warring against the Spirit of the Lord in cherishing the feeling he had against me. In another prayer meeting still another member of the same family was exercised in a similar manner and bore the same testimony. A few weeks after, while the large family of Brother P. were engaged in prayer at their own house, the Spirit of God swept through the room and prostrated the kneeling suppliants. My father came in soon after, and found them all, both parents and children, helpless under the power of the Lord.
Cold formality began to melt before the mighty influence of the Most High. All who had opposed me confessed that they had grieved the Holy Spirit by so doing, and they united in sympathy with me and in love for the Saviour. My heart was glad that divine mercy had smoothed the path for my feet to tread, and rewarded my faith and trust so bounteously. Unity and peace now dwelt among our people who were looking for the coming of the Lord.
(Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 46-48)