The Last Shall Be First
Conversion and the Call to Preach
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.-- Matthew 20:16
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
-- Jeremiah 1:1-9
In 1820, during a revival in the town of Cranston, Rhode Island, Elleanor Knight, a wife and mother who was pregnant with her second child, began attending a Baptist church in search of spiritual "consolation." Not only had her father recently died, but after two years of marriage, she realized that she had pledged her future to a man who was alcoholic, unable to hold a steady job, and violent. Although she never accused her