Chapter 6: Advent Experience
With diligent searching of heart and humble confessions we came prayerfully up to the time of expectation. Every morning we felt that it was our first work to secure the evidence that our lives were right before God. Our interest for one another increased; we prayed much with and for one an other. We assembled in the orchards and groves to commune with God and to offer up our petitions to Him, feeling more fully in His presence when surrounded by His natural works. The joys of salvation were more necessary to us than our food and drink. If clouds obscured our minds, we dared not rest or sleep till they were swept away by the consciousness of our acceptance with the Lord.
My health was very poor, my lungs were seriously affected, and my voice failed. The Spirit of God often rested upon me with great power, and my frail body could scarcely endure the glory that flooded my soul. I seemed to breathe in the atmosphere of heaven, and rejoiced in the prospect of soon meeting my Redeemer and living forever in the light of His countenance.
The waiting people of God approached the hour when they fondly hoped their joys would be complete in the 56 coming of the Saviour. But the time again passed unmarked by the advent of Jesus. It was hard to take up the cares of life that we thought had been laid down forever. It was a bitter disappointment that fell upon the little flock whose faith had been so strong and whose hope had been so high. But we were surprised that we felt so free in the Lord and were so strongly sustained by His strength and grace.
The experience of the former year was, however, repeated to a greater extent. A large class renounced their faith. Some, who had been very confident, were so deeply wounded in their pride that they felt like fleeing from the world. Like Jonah, they complained of God, and chose death rather than life. Those who had built their faith upon the evidence of others, and not upon the word of God, were now as ready to again change their views. The hypocrites, who had hoped to deceive the Lord as well as themselves with their counterfeit penitence and devotion, now felt relieved from impending danger, and openly opposed the cause they had lately professed to love.
The weak and the wicked united in declaring that there could be no more fears or expectations now. The time had passed, the Lord had not come, and the world would remain the same for thousands of years. This second great test revealed a mass of worthless drift that had been drawn into the strong current of the advent faith, and been borne along for a time with the true believers and earnest workers.
We were disappointed, but not disheartened. We resolved to submit patiently to the process of purifying that God deemed needful for us, and to wait with patient hope for the Saviour to redeem His tried and faithful ones.
(Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 55-58)