Chapter 10—Special Appeals in Public Ministry
At Battle Creek in Early Days
Attended meeting at the church at Battle Creek. Spoke to the people about one hour with freedom, in regard to the fall of Adam bringing misery and death, Christ bringing life and immortality to light through His humiliation and death. Felt to urge upon the people the necessity of entire consecration to God—the sanctification of the entire being, soul, body, and spirit. Spoke upon the death of Moses and the view he had of the promised land of Canaan. There was a depth of feeling in the congregation. ... In meeting that evening we called those forward who had a desire to be Christians. Thirteen came forward. All bore testimony for the Lord. It was a good work.—Diary, Jan. 12, 1868.
Earnest Work at Tittabawassee, Michigan
Meetings were held all through the day. My husband spoke in forenoon; Brother Andrews in the afternoon. I followed with remarks quite at length, entreating those who had been interested through the meetings to commence from that day to serve God. We called forward those who wished to start in the service of the Lord. Quite a number came forward. I spoke several times, beseeching souls to break the bands of Satan and start then. One mother went to her son and wept and entreated him. He seemed hard, stubborn, and unyielding. I then arose and addressed Brother D, begged him to not stand in the way of his children. He started, then arose, spoke, said he would commence from that day. This was heard with glad hearts by all. Brother D is a precious man.
Sister E's husband then arose, testified that he would be a Christian. He is an influential man—a lawyer. His daughter was upon the anxious seat. Brother D then added his entreaties to ours. Sister D's also to their children. We entreated and at last prevailed. All came forward. The fathers and all the sons and other fathers followed their example. It was a day of gladness. Sister E said it was the happiest day of her life.—Diary, Feb. 19, 1868.
A Good Response in Battle Creek
I spoke in the afternoon from 2 Peter. I had freedom in talking. After I had spoken one hour I invited those who wished to be Christians to come forward. Between thirty and forty came forward quietly without excitement and occupied the front seats. I spoke with them in regard to making an entire surrender to God. We had a praying season for those who came forward. We had a very precious season of prayer. Those who wished baptism were requested to signify it by rising. Quite a number arose.—Diary, June 9, 1873.
After Some Hesitancy a Response
I spoke in the afternoon [at Stanley, Va.] from John 17:3. The Lord gave me much of His Holy Spirit. The house was full. I called those forward who wished to seek the Lord more earnestly and for those who wished to give themselves to the Lord a whole sacrifice. For a time not one made a move, but after a while many came forward and bore testimonies of confession. We had a precious season of prayer and all felt broken down, weeping and confessing their sins. O that each may understand!—Diary, Nov. 9, 1890.
As She Begins Work in Switzerland
Sabbath and Sunday were precious seasons.2 The Lord especially blessed (me) in speaking Sunday afternoon. At the close of the discourse an invitation was given for all who desired to be Christians, and all who felt that they had not a living connection with God, to come forward, that we might unite our prayers with theirs for the pardon of sin, and for grace to resist temptation.
This was a new experience for many, but they did not hesitate. It seemed that the entire congregation were on their feet, and the best they could do was to be seated, and all seek the Lord together. Here was an entire congregation manifesting their determination to put away sin, and to engage most earnestly in the work of seeking God. After prayer, one hundred and fifteen testimonies were borne. Many of these showed a genuine experience in the things of God.—Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 173.
At Christiana [Oslo], Norway
We spent two weeks in Christiana, and labored earnestly for the church. The Spirit of the Lord moved me to bear a very plain testimony. At our last meeting especially, I presented before them the necessity of a thorough change in the character if they would be children of God. ... I urged upon them the necessity of deep repentance, confession, and forsaking of the sins which had shut away the sweet spirit of Christ from the church. We then called for those to come forward who would take a decided position on the Lord's side. Many responded. Some good confessions were made, and earnest testimonies were borne.—The Review and Herald, October 19, 1886.
Determination Indicated by Standing
A request was made [at Basel, Switzerland] for all who would from this time make most earnest efforts to reach a higher standard to arise. All arose. We hope this now will have the effect to win them to God and to heavenly reflections and make earnest efforts to be all that God has given them power to be—faithful and true devoted soldiers of the cross of Christ.—Diary, Nov. 22, 1885.
Backsliders Reclaimed in Basel
In the afternoon of the Sabbath we assembled again for social meeting. The blessing of the Lord rested upon me as I again addressed the people for a short time. Every seat was full and extra seats were brought in. All listened with deep interest.
I invited those who desired the prayers of the servants of God to come forward. All who had been backslidden, all who wished to return to the Lord and seek Him diligently, could improve the opportunity. Several seats were quickly filled and the whole congregation was on the move. We told them the best they could do was to be seated right where they were and we would all seek the Lord together by confessing our sins, and the Lord had pledged His word, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Many testimonies were borne in quick succession and with depth of feelings, showing that the hearts were touched by the Spirit of God. Our meetings continued from two o'clock P.M. to five, and then we were obliged to close, with several earnest prayers.—Diary, Feb. 20, 1887.
An Outstanding Experience in Australia
On Sabbath, May 25 , we had a precious meeting in the hall where our people meet at North Fitzroy. For several days before the meeting, I knew that I was expected to speak in the church on Sabbath; but unfortunately I had a severe cold and was quite hoarse. I felt inclined to excuse myself from this appointment; but as it was my only opportunity, I said, “I will place myself before the people, and I believe the Lord will answer my earnest prayers, and remove the hoarseness so that I can present my message to the people.” I presented to my heavenly Father the promise, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. ... If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:9-13). ...
The word of God is sure. I had asked, and I believed that I would be enabled to speak to the people. I selected a portion of Scripture; but when I rose to speak, it was taken from my mind, and I felt impressed to speak from the first chapter of second Peter. The Lord gave me special freedom in presenting the value of the grace of God. ... I was enabled by the aid of the Holy Spirit to speak with clearness and power.
At the close of my discourse, I felt impressed by the Spirit of God to extend an invitation for all those to come forward who desired to give themselves fully to the Lord. Those who felt the need of the prayers of the servants of God were invited to make it manifest. About thirty came forward. Among those were the wives of the Brethren F, who for the first time made manifest their desire to come near to God. My heart was filled with unspeakable gratitude because of the movement made by these two women.
I could then see why I was so earnestly moved to make this invitation. At first I had hesitated, wondering if it were best to do so when my son and I were the only ones whom I could see who would give us any help on that occasion. But as though someone had spoken to me, the thought passed through my mind, “Cannot you trust in the Lord?” I said, “I will, Lord.” Although my son was much surprised that I should make such a call on this occasion, he was equal to the emergency. I never heard him speak with greater power or deeper feeling than at this time. He called upon Brethren Faulkhead and Salisbury to come forward, and we knelt in prayer. My son took the lead, and the Lord surely indited his petition; for he seemed to pray as though in the presence of God. Brethren Faulkhead and Salisbury also presented fervent petitions, and then the Lord gave me a voice to pray. I remembered the Sisters F, who, for the first time, were taking a public stand for the truth. The Holy Spirit was in the meeting, and many were stirred by its deep movings.
At the close of the meeting many pressed their way to the platform, and taking me by the hand, requested me with tears in their eyes to pray for them. I answered heartily, “I will.” The Sisters F were introduced to me, and I found that their hearts were very tender. ... The mother of one of the sisters who has now taken her position on the truth, has been a most bitter opposer, and has threatened that if her daughter did become a Sabbathkeeper, she would not allow her to enter her home; for the mother would look upon her as a disgrace to the family. Mrs. F had often made the statement that she would never join the Seventh-day Adventists. She had been brought up in the Presbyterian Church, and had been educated to think that it was very improper for women to speak in meeting, and that for a woman to preach was altogether beyond the bounds of propriety. She enjoyed hearing Elders Daniells and Corliss, and thought them very clever speakers, but she would not listen to a woman's preaching. Her husband had prayed that God would so arrange matters that she might be converted under the ministry of Sister White. When I made the appeal, and urged those to come forward who felt their need of drawing nearer to God, to the surprise of all, these sisters came forward. The sister who had lost her little one, said that she was determined that she would not move forward, but the Spirit of the Lord so forcibly impressed her mind that she dared not refuse. ... I feel so grateful to my heavenly Father for His lovingkindness in bringing these two precious souls to unite with their husbands in obeying the truth.—The Review and Herald, July 30, 1895.
Non-Adventist Visitors Respond at Ashfield Church
I invited all who wanted to give themselves to God in a sacred covenant, and to serve Him with their whole hearts, to rise to their feet. The house was full, and nearly all rose. Quite a number not of our faith were present, and some of these arose. I presented them to the Lord in earnest prayer, and we know that we had the manifestation of the Spirit of God. We felt that a victory had indeed been gained.—Manuscript 30a, 1896.
The Special Call at the Battle Creek College
I have now spoken to the helpers, nursing class, and physicians five times during the Week of Prayer, and I am sure my talks are appreciated. I have spoken in the college twice. Last Thursday Professor Prescott wished me to come over there. I went and prayed and spoke to the large chapel filled with students. I had much freedom in speaking and in presenting before them the goodness and mercy of God and the great condescension and sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the heavenly reward purchased for us, the last final victory, and what a privilege it is to be Christians.
Professor Prescott arose and attempted to speak, but his heart was full and he did not utter a word for five minutes, but stood weeping before the people. Then he said a few words, “I am glad that I am a Christian.” He talked for about five minutes, then he gave liberty for all to speak. Many testimonies were borne, but it seemed to me that there must be a company reached that we had not yet succeeded in reaching. We called all to come forward who felt that they were unready for Christ's coming and had not an evidence of their acceptance with God. I thought the whole house was in motion. We then gave opportunity for all to express their feelings, but we had after a little another season of prayer and the blessing of the Lord seemed to reach hearts.
Then we separated into divisions and continued the work for two hours longer, and the Lord's Spirit came into the meeting in a remarkable manner. Several of those who had known nothing of a religious faith, unbelievers from the world, have obtained a genuine experience in the religious life. And the work is going deeper and deeper. The Lord is at work and will work, as fast as we prepare the way for Him that He can safely reveal His power in our behalf.—Letter 75, 1888.
Called Forward in San Francisco
Friday, December 21 (1900), I went to San Francisco, where I was to spend the Week of Prayer. Sabbath afternoon I spoke to the church there, although I was so weak that I had to cling to the pulpit with both hands to steady myself. I asked the Lord to give me strength to speak to the people. He heard my prayer, and strengthened me. I had great freedom in speaking from Revelation 2:1-5.
The deep moving of the Spirit of God came upon me, and the people were strongly impressed with the message borne. After I had finished speaking, all who desired to give themselves to the Lord were invited to come forward. A large number responded, and prayer was offered for them. Several who came forward are persons who have recently heard the Advent message, and are in the valley of decision. May the Lord strengthen the good impression made upon them, and may they give themselves wholly to Him. Oh, how I long to see souls converted, and hear them sing a new song, even praise to our God!
Sunday afternoon I spoke to a large audience, many of whom are not of our faith. My strength was renewed, and I was able, without clinging to the desk, to stand before the people. The Lord's blessing rested upon us, and increased strength came to me as I spoke. As on Sabbath, those seeking spiritual help were invited to come forward, and we were glad to see the ready response. The Lord came very near as we sought Him in prayer.—The Review and Herald, February 19, 1901.
A Similar Work in Every Church
Sabbath, November 10, I visited San Francisco, and spoke to a church full of people who had ears to hear and hearts to understand. ...After I had finished speaking, Elder Corliss invited all who wished to give themselves to Jesus to come forward. There was a quick and happy response, and I was told that nearly two hundred persons came forward. Men and women, youth and children, pressed into the front seats. The Lord would be pleased to have a work similar to this done in every church.
Many could not come forward, because the house was so crowded, yet the animated countenances and tearful eyes testified to the determination, “I will be on the Lord's side. From this time I will seek earnestly to reach a higher standard.”—The Review and Herald, February 12, 1901.
Response at General Conference of 1909
My brethren and sisters, seek the Lord while He may be found. There is a time coming when those who have wasted their time and opportunities will wish they had sought Him. ... He wants you to keep in the line of reason, and in the line of labor. He wants you to go forth to our churches to labor earnestly for Him. He wants you to institute meetings for those outside of the churches, that they may learn the truths of this last message of warning. There are places where you will be gladly received, where souls will thank you for coming to their help. May the Lord help you to take hold of this work as you have never yet taken hold of it. Will you do this? Will you here rise to your feet and testify that you will make God your trust and your helper? [Congregation rises.]
[Praying] I thank thee, Lord God of Israel. Accept this pledge of this Thy people. Put Thy Spirit upon them. Let Thy glory be seen in them. As they shall speak the word of truth, let us see the salvation of God. Amen.—The General Conference Bulletin, May 18, 1909.