Tuesday, March 22, 2011

William Harney: A Revival Scoffer Was Struck Blind

The Wesleyan evangelist, the late William J. Harney of Wilmore, Kentucky, told of a sobering event during one of his revivals. The Holy Spirit struck a person temporarily blind for mocking the awakening. Harney recounts from his 1915 book, Praying Clear Through:
It was a bitterly cold winter afternoon, deep snow covered the ground. The thermometer was hovering around 28 degrees below zero, the church was packed, a great revival was sweeping the town.

The people were so stirred and moved, so wrought upon by the Holy Spirit, that about three hundred came to one service held at three o'clock in the morning. Imagine folks leaving their warm beds and warm homes and trudging through a wintry night to that service, and some walkingin about two miles from the country.

There were from forty to fifty seekers at the altar nightly. Scores were being saved and many sanctified wholly. The afternoon service we spoke of in the first paragraph was a most wonderful service. The manifestation of God's Spirit was great. Some of the Christians were so flooded with glory that they became quite noisy and a Mr. John Matthews sitting far back in the church began scoffing. We said to him, "Please do not do that," but he made a face at us. There was a large crowd of young folks near him, and we realized he was influencing them and they might consent to scoff with him, so we called the whole congregation to prayer. We prayed: "Our Father who art in heaven, this is Thy work, Thou art giving it Thy sanction, Thy Spirit is upon this meeting in marvelous power, now, we pray Thee, show this young man his sin by destroying the optic nerve for a few hours."

This prayer was breathed in us by the Holy Spirit, and we felt we must utter aloud that which was breathed into our innermost being. Right after praying this prayer, we felt that God would have us dismiss the congregation, and John with the others went his way, and we went to our room. We had not been there long, however, until Dr. Daugherty, the oculist, came running to our room, crying: "Oh, Brother Harney, John is blind, he is screaming out there in the street, the doctor is working with him. They are going to mob you." Instantly the Holy Spirit gave us the assurance and confidence that He was at work. He was answering prayer and we could rely on Him, He would see us through, so we calmly and quietly answered, "Tell the mob to come, but be sure you tell them that the first one who puts his hand on the yard gate will not only be struck blind, but paralyzed from head to foot as well." Did that mob come after such a statement as that? Never, they were afraid. They knew the Almighty God was working with John and they knew that He would protect His son,

The doctors worked eight or nine hours before John could see anything. God heard and answered the prayer of His children, As a result of this, great power fell upon the service and upon the people. They came from every direction, some of the Christians prayed all night, some fasting two or three days at a time. There was a tremendous spirit of soul agony upon the saints. One could hear the voice of prayer in almost every home, and no man dared to mock or scoff at the work of the Holy Ghost. The God of the Hebrew children, of Daniel, of the saints of all ages, was with His people. He was answering by fire.

Oh! do pause to obey the Holy Spirit, to live in such close touch with Him that He can whisper His thought into your soul and then you will dare to step out and proclaim His messages. Will you not do this? May God have the glory!
Makes you think, doesn't it? How many today would have the faith to pray this out loud?