[anzac] A PROPHET of OLD!

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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Fri, 25 May 2012 23:18:51 +1200
GIROLAMO SAVONAROLA - a PROPHET of OLD
-by David Smithers.

In James 5:10 we are exhorted to "take the prophets for an example". 
A careful study of the "Holy Men of Old" can kindle both the fires 
of self-sacrifice and prayerful devotion. However, prophetic examples 
are not confined only to the pages of the Scriptures. Though often 
neglected, maligned and forgotten, God's prophetic torches have 
always burned throughout the history of the Church. One such 
burning prophet was Girolamo Savonarola.  Through his tears, 
prayers and passionate preaching, the seeds of reformation and 
revival took root in Italy.
 
Born in Ferrara, Italy, September 14, 1452, Savonarola was the 
third in a family of seven children - five sons and two daughters. 
As a boy his devotion and fervor increased as he spent many 
hours in prayer and fasting. At times he would kneel in church 
for many hours engaged in earnest prayer... His soul was deeply 
wounded by the sin and worldliness he saw all around him. The 
luxury, splendor, and wealth displayed by the rich in contrast with
the awful poverty of the lowly peasants weighed heavily on his t
ender heart. Italy was the prey of petty tyrants and wicked priests, 
and dukes and popes who strived with each other for political power 
and control. These things brought great sorrow to his young soul 
which was burning for holiness and truth. He talked little, and kept 
to himself. He loved to wander in lonely places to sing or more 
often weep, giving vent to the strong emotions which tore at his 
heart. "Prayer was his one great solace, and his tears would 
often stain the altar steps, where he sought aid from heaven 
against the vile and corrupt age". 

One day, he saw a vision of the heavens opened, and all the future 
calamities of the Church passed before his eyes. He then heard 
God's voice charging him to warn the people. From that moment 
he was convinced of his prophetic calling, and he was suddenly 
filled with a new unction and power. His preaching was now with 
a voice of thunder, and his rebukes against sin were so terrific 
that the people who listened to him sometimes went about the 
streets half-dazed, bewildered, and speechless. His listeners 
were often so overcome with tears that the whole church echoed 
with the sounds of sobbing and weeping. Workmen, poets and 
philosophers, all would burst into tears under his passionate 
preaching.  

Savonarola's zeal for prayer seemed to increase day by day. 
While engaged in prayer, he would sometimes fall into a deep 
trance. Often he was so completely gripped by the power of the 
Holy Spirit that he would be forced to retire to a secluded place. 
Some of his biographers relate that on Christmas Eve, in the 
year 1486, Savonarola, while seated in the pulpit, remained 
immovable for five hours, in a trance, and that his face seemed 
illuminated to all in the church. 

The influence of Savonarola eventually grew greater than ever. The 
people of Florence abandoned their vile and worldly books. All 
prayed, went to church, and the rich gave freely to the poor. 
Merchants restored ill-gotten gains. All the people forsook the 
carnivals and vanities in which they had indulged, and made huge 
bonfires of their worldly books, obscene pictures, and other things 
of the kind. The children marched from house to house in a 
procession, singing hymns in the streets. Soon Savonarola's 
fearless sermons aroused the anger of many, and especially of 
the corrupt pope and cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church. 
He was then threatened, excommunicated and finally, in 1498, 
by express order of pope Alexander VI, he was beaten, strangled 
and burned in the public square of Florence, Italy. 

The life of Savonarola exemplifies many precious qualities that 
our fainthearted and distracted age so desperately needs. We 
are barren and deficient in prayer, patience, purity and most 
importantly a sacrificial love for Jesus. Until we as the body of 
Christ return to these holy principles, true reformation and 
revival will not be realized; Oh Lord break our hearts and open 
our eyes! 

-Original Source-

www.watchword.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=38