W. W. Prescott
One of the most forceful leaders of late-nineteenth-century Adventism was William Warren Prescott. But forceful individuals are not always spiritual leaders. So it was with the early Prescott, who had become president of Battle Creek College in 1885.
The turning point in his life came in late 1890, when he read a special testimony entitled “Be Zealous and Repent” before the Battle Creek Tabernacle. “The Lord,” it said, “has seen our backsliding. . . . Because the Lord has, in former days, blessed and honored” the Adventist Church, “they flatter themselves that they are chosen and true, and do not need warning and instruction and reproof.”
But, “the True Witness says, ‘As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent’” or else “‘I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place.’… The displeasure of the Lord is against his people. In their present condition it is impossible for them to represent the character of Christ. And when the True Witness has sent them counsel, reproof and warnings because he loves them, they have refused to receive the message. . . . What does it mean that such amazing grace does not soften our hard hearts?. . . .
“There is to be in the churches a wonderful manifestation of the power of God, but it will not move upon those who have not humbled themselves before the Lord, and opened the door of the heart by confession and repentance. . . . Taken, long experience, will not make men channels of light, unless they place themselves under the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. . . .
“Light is to shine forth from God’s people in clear, distinct rays, bringing Jesus before the churches and before the world. . . . One interest will prevail, one subject will swallow up every other — Christ our righteousness. . . . All who venture to have their own way, who do not join the angels who are sent from heaven with a message to fill the whole earth with its glory will be passed by. The work will go forward to victory without them, and whether will have no part in its triumph” (RH Extra, Dec. 23, 1890).
While reading, Prescott felt so move that several times he stopped because of tearful emotion. His life would never be the same. He had been an Adventist, but that day he had met Christ as his Savior. Thereafter he linked arms with Ellen White, Jones and Waggoner in preaching Christ and His love. Prescott had taken seriously the counsel to repent and be zealous.
George R. Knight is a retired professor of Church History at the Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University. This article is from his book, Lest We Forget, a daily devotional, published by the Review and Herald Publishing Association, page 301. Reprinted with permission.