In 1839 Wm. Miller visited Portland, Me., and gave a
course of lectures on the second coming of Christ. This had a great
effect upon me. I knew that I must be lost if Christ should come, and I
be found as I then was. At times I was greatly distressed as to my
situation. But it was hard for me to give entirely up to the Lord. I
viewed it a great thing to be a Christian, and feared that I never
should be one if I professed religion, and remained some months
suffering distress of mind.
My parents were Methodists. I generally attended meeting with them;
and at a camp-meeting held at Buxton, I resolved to give myself
unreservedly to the Lord. I commenced there to seek the Lord with all my
heart. My mind was in great distress; but at a prayer-meeting I found
relief. O, how sweet was peace of mind. Everything seemed changed. I
then felt no disposition to dress like the world, but wished to be plain
in my dress, sober and watchful.
When twelve years old, I wished to be immersed. The minister
reluctantly consented to go into the water. He chose to sprinkle the
candidates. It was a very windy day. The waves ran high, and dashed upon
the shore; but my peace was like a river. When I arose out of the water,
my strength was nearly gone, for the power of God rested upon me. Such a
rich blessing I never experienced before. I felt dead to the world, and
that my sins were all washed away.
The same day a sister and myself were taken into the church. I felt
happy, till I looked at the sister by my side, and saw gold rings on her
fingers, and large gold earrings in her ears. Her bonnet was filled
with artificial flowers, and was trimmed with costly ribbon, which was
filled with bows upon her bonnet. My heart felt sad. I expected every
moment that a reproof would come from the minister; but none came. He
took us both into the church.
My reflections were as follows: This is my sister; must I pattern
after her? Must I dress like her? If it is right for her to dress so, it
is right for me. I remembered what the Bible said about adorning the
body. 1 Tim. ii, 9, 10. For some time I was in deep trial, and finally
concluded that if it was so sinful as I had thought it to be to dress
like the world, those whom I looked up to as being devoted Christians,
and older in experience than myself, would feel it, and would deal
plainly with those who went thus contrary to God's word. But I knew that
I must be plain in my dress.
I believed it to be wicked to think so much of appearance, to
decorate our poor mortal bodies with flowers and gold. It seemed to me
that we had better be humbling ourselves in the dust, for our sins and
transgressions were so great that God gave his only beloved Son to die
for us. I found it almost impossible to enjoy religion in a large female
seminary, surrounded with so many influences calculated to lead the mind
from God, and night would often find me in bondage.
I did not attend school after I was twelve years old. And I did not
feel satisfied with what I enjoyed. I longed to be sanctified to God.
But sanctification was preached in such a manner that I could not
understand it, and thought that I never could attain to it, and settled
down with my present enjoyment.
In 1841 Wm. Miller gave a second course of lectures in Portland, I
attended them, and felt that I was not ready for Christ's coming. And
when the invitation was given for those who desired prayers to come
forward, I pressed through the crowd, and in taking up this cross found
some relief. I began to plead with God for pure religion. I believed the
truths I heard Wm. Miller proclaim; but realized that a mere belief in
the second coming of Christ would not save me. I must experience the
soul-purifying effects of the truth, that when it was preached, it would
find a response in my own heart. O, how I longed for a living experience
in the things of God. I prayed earnestly for this. My soul was thirsting
for full and free salvation, but I knew not how to obtain it.