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    CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE

    At the age of fifteen I was baptized, and united with the Christian church. But at the age of twenty I had buried myself in the spirit of study and school teaching, and had lain down the cross. I had never descended to the common sin of profanity, and had not used tobacco, tea and coffee, nor had I ever raised a glass of spirituous liquor to my lips. Yet I loved this world more than I loved Christ and the next, and was worshiping education instead of the God of Heaven. In this state of mind I returned home from my second and last school, when my mother said to me: “James, Bro. Oakes, of Boston, has been lecturing at our meeting-house on the second coming of Christ about the year 1843, and many believe the doctrine, and there has followed these lectures a good reformation, in which most of your mates have experienced religion.”LIFIN 15.2

    I had regarded what was commonly called Millerism as wild fanaticism, and this impression was confirmed by hearing one James Hall, of Maine, speak upon the subject at the house of worship at Palmyra. But now that my mother, in whose judgement and piety I had reason to confide, spoke to me upon the subject in words of earnestness, candor and solemnity, I was shocked and distressed. In spite of me, conviction would fasten upon my mind that these things might be so. But, then, how could I have it so? I was unprepared, and my plans for this life were made. The conversation continued:LIFIN 15.3

    “But, Mother, this preacher Oakes, of whom you speak, professes to know more than the Lord and his angels, in teaching the time of the second advent. Christ himself has said, ‘But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in Heaven; neither the Son, but the Father.’ This man Oakes is certainly wise above that which is written.”LIFIN 16.1

    “‘As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.’ God gave the time to Noah. The Bible says, ‘My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.’ Genesis 6:3. Noah had this time given him in which to build the ark and warn the world. And his message, based upon the word of the Lord that a flood of water would destroy man and beast from off the face of the earth at the close of the one hundred and twenty years, condemned the world.LIFIN 16.2

    “Jesus also says in this connection, that there shall be signs in the sun, moon, and stars, and adds, ‘When ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.’LIFIN 16.3

    “But Paul has said, ‘For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:2. This language is very plain, and shows that as the thief in the stillness of night quietly seeks his plunder, without giving notice, so Christ will come when least expected, hence this idea of warning the world of his soon coming is a mistake.”LIFIN 16.4

    “But, James, of whom is the apostle in this verse speaking? Not of Christians, but of the ungodly. They will not receive the warning. They will not be looking for Christ. They will be buried up in the spirit of this world. They will be saying, Peace and safety, and they will be suddenly and unexpectedly destroyed. Not so with those who love Jesus and his appearing. They will receive the warning. They will be looking for, waiting for, and loving the appearance of the dear Saviour, and that day will not come upon them as a thief. Notice with care the two classes mentioned in the two following verses. One is the ungodly. The other is the brethren. The day of the Lord will come on one class as a thief; but not so with the other. ‘For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. ’”LIFIN 16.5

    My good mother was ready to meet, calmly and pleasantly, all my objections, and I was now disposed to view the subject as worthy of my attention. And when in the house of God I heard my schoolmates speak of the love of Christ, and the glory of his appearing, I was deeply impressed that the hand of God was in the Advent doctrine.LIFIN 17.1

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