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Did God send a prophet?

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Autobiographical Sketch of Ellen G. White

The Disappointment

Stirring Meetings

* The year 1843, Jewish time, was believed [by some] to reach from March 21, 1843, to March 21, 1844. [Others felt it stretched from the new moon of April 1843 to the new moon of April 1844.] Those who received the Advent faith looked for the coming of Christ during that year.

With carefulness and trembling we approached the time* when our Saviour was expected to appear. With solemn earnestness we sought, as a people, to purify our lives, that we might be ready to meet Him at His coming. Meetings were still held at private houses in different parts of the city, with the best results. Believers were encouraged to work for their friends and relatives, and conversions were multiplying day by day.

Notwithstanding the opposition of ministers and churches, Beethoven Hall, in the city of Portland, was nightly crowded; especially was there a large congregation on Sundays. All classes flocked to these meetings. Rich and poor, high and low, ministers and laymen, were all, from various causes, anxious to hear for themselves the doctrine of the second advent. Many came who, finding no room to stand, went away disappointed.

The order of the meetings was simple. A short and pointed discourse was usually given, then liberty was granted for general exhortation. There was, as a rule, the most perfect stillness possible for so large a crowd. The Lord held the spirit of opposition in check while His servants explained the reasons of their faith. Sometimes the instrument was feeble, but the Spirit of God gave weight and power to His truth. The presence of the holy angels was felt in the assembly, and numbers were daily added to the little band of believers.

On one occasion, while Elder Stockman was preaching, Elder Brown, a Christian Baptist minister, was sitting in the desk listening to the sermon with intense interest. He became deeply moved, and suddenly his face grew pale as the dead, he reeled in his chair, and Elder Stockman caught him in his arms just as he was falling to the floor, and laid him on the sofa back of the desk, where he lay powerless until the discourse was finished.

He then arose, his face still pale, but shining with light from the Sun of Righteousness, and gave a very impressive testimony. He seemed to receive holy unction from above. He was usually slow of speech, with an earnest manner, entirely free from excitement. On this occasion his solemn, measured words carried with them a new power.

He related his experience with such simplicity and candor that many who had been greatly prejudiced were affected to tears. The Spirit of God was felt in his words and seen upon his countenance. With a holy exaltation he boldly declared that he had taken the word of God as his counselor; that his doubts had been swept away and his faith confirmed. With earnestness he invited his brother ministers, church members, sinners, and infidels to examine the Bible for themselves, and charged them to let no man turn them from the purpose of ascertaining what was the truth.

When he had finished speaking, those who desired the prayers of the people of God were invited to rise. Hundreds responded to the call. The Holy Spirit rested upon the assembly. Heaven and earth seemed to approach each other. The meeting lasted until a late hour of the night. The power of the Lord was felt upon young, old, and middle-aged.

Elder Brown did not either then or afterward sever his connection with the Christian Church, but he was looked upon with great respect by his people.

(Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, pp. 45-46)

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