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Life Sketches Manuscript

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    The Pastor's Visit

    Our family were all interested in the doctrine of the Lord's soon coming. My father had long been considered one of the pillars of the Methodist church where he lived. He had been appointed to act as exhorter, and leader of meetings held in homes at a distance from the city. The whole family had been active members of the church; but we made no secret of our new belief, although we did not urge it upon others on inappropriate occasions, or manifest any unfriendliness towards our church. However, the Methodist minister made us a special visit, and took occasion to inform us that our faith could not agree with Methodism. He did not inquire our reasons for believing as we did, nor make any reference to the Bible in order to convince us of our error; but he stated that we had adopted a new and strange belief that the Methodist Church could not accept.LSMS 57.1

    My father replied that he must be mistaken in calling this a new and strange doctrine, for Christ Himself, in teaching the disciples, had preached His second advent. He had said, “In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” When He was taken up to heaven, and His faithful followers stood gazing after their vanishing Lord, “Behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;” which also said, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.”LSMS 57.2

    “And,” said my father, warming with his subject, “the inspired Paul wrote a letter to encourage his brethren in Thessalonica, saying, ‘To you who are troubled, rest with us when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day.’ ‘For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.’LSMS 58.1

    “There is high authority for our faith. Jesus and His apostles dwell upon the event of the second advent with joy and triumph; and the holy angels proclaim that Christ, who ascended to heaven shall come again. This is our offense,—believing the word of Jesus and His disciples. This is a very old doctrine, and bears no taint of heresy.”LSMS 58.2

    The minister did not attempt to refer to a single text that would prove us in error, but excused himself on the plea of want of time. He advised us to withdraw quietly from the church, and avoid the publicity of a trial. We were aware that others of our brethren were meeting with similar treatment for a like cause, and we did not wish it understood that we were ashamed to acknowledge our faith, or were unable to sustain it by Scripture; so my parents insisted that they should be acquainted with the reasons for this request.LSMS 58.3

    The only answer to this was an evasive declaration that we had walked contrary to the rules of the church, and the best course would be voluntarily to withdraw from it to save a trial. They answered that they preferred a regular trial, and demanded to know what sin was charged to us, as we were conscious of no wrong in looking for and loving the appearing of the Savior.LSMS 59.1

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