Foote, Julia A.J.
|The Lord Leadeth--Labor in Philadelphia.|
As I left the Conference, God wonderfully filled my heart with his love, so that, as I passed from place to place, meeting one and another of the ministers, my heart went out in love to each of them as though he had been my father; and the language of 1 Pet i. 7, came forcibly to my mind: "The trial of our faith is much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried by fire." Fiery trials are not strange things to the Lord's anointed. The rejoicing in them is born only of the Holy Spirit. Oh, praise his holy name for a circumcised heart, teaching us that each trial of our faith hath its commission from the Father of spirits. Each wave of trial bears the Galilean Pilot on its crest. Listen: his voice is in the storm, and' winds and waves obey that voice: "It is I; be not afraid." He has promised us help and safety in the fires, and not escape from them.
"And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath gives us." 1 John iii. 24. Glory to the Lamb for the witness of the Holy Spirit! He knoweth that every step I have taken has been for the glory of God and the good of souls. However much I may have erred in judgment, it has been the fault of my head and not of my heart. I sleep, but my heart waketh; bless the Lord.
Had this opposition come from the world, it would have seemed as nothing. But coming, as it did, from those who had been much blessed--blessed with me--and who had once been friends of mine, it touched a tender spot; and had it not been for the precious blood of Jesus, I should have been lost.
While in Philadelphia, attending the Conference, I became acquainted with three sisters who believed they were called to public labors in their Master's vineyard. But they had been so opposed, they were very much distressed and shrank from their duty. One of them professed sanctification. They had met with more opposition from ministers than from any one else.
After the Conference had adjourned, I proposed to these sisters to procure a place and hold a series of meetings. They were pleased with the idea, and were willing to help if I
"Only Thou my Leader be
And I still will follow Thee."
Trusting in my Leader, I went on with the work. I hired a large place in Canal street, and there we opened our meetings, which continued eleven nights, and over one Sabbath. The room was crowded every night--some coming to receive good, others to criticise, sneer, and say hard things against us.
One of the sisters left us after a day or two, tearing that the Church to which she belonged would disown her if she continued to assist us. We regretted this very much, but could only say, "An enemy hath done this."
These meetings were a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. Many were converted, and a few stepped into the fountain of cleansing.
Some of the ministers, who remained in the city after the Conference, attended our meetings, and occasionally asked us if we were organizing a new Conference, with a view of drawing out from the churches. This was simply to ridicule our meeting.
We closed with a love-feast, which caused such a stir among the ministers and many of the church-members, that we could not imagine what the end would be. They seemed to think we had well nigh committed the unpardonable sin.