Phoebe Palmer



CHAPTER XIX.

How the promise of the Father was received.



"The things unknown to feeble sense,
Unseen by reason's glimmering ray,
With strong, commanding evidence,
Their heavenly origin display.
Faith lends its realizing light,—
The clouds disperse, the shadows fly,
The Invisible appears in sight,
And God is seen by mortal eye."



HOW THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER WAS RECEIVED.

A FEMALE friend testifies of her reception of this grace thus:

The subject of heart holiness has been to me one of all-absorbing interest; and not only heart holiness, but a holy walk, a holy life, a holy conversation, a life of entire symmetrical holiness — an aiming to be in the world as he was, our blessed Pattern, our holy Redeemer. I had been a professor of religion sixteen years, but I never heard of the doctrine of entire holiness as a thing to be realized in this life until February, 1839. When I tell you that I had never been associated with a people of this belief, you will be able to account better for my ignorance. In the good providence of God, I went, last February, into a protracted meeting. I heard a sister there speak as I never before heard man or woman speak. A holy composure sat on her countenance, and she seemed to be breathing the atmosphere of heaven. She spoke with the simplicity and love of the beloved disciple who leaned on Jesus' bosom.

I sought a private interview with her. I opened to her my heart. I told her I lived in a state of daily condemnation, and I had never indulged a hope of living above this state. Then, for the first time in my life, I heard of Jesus, a present Saviour from all sin. We knelt side by side, and prayed m she to a present God, clearly seen in and through Jesus; I to God afar off. The news of this salvation, a salvation from sin, was good news, glad tidings. This, thought I, is worthy of the Son of God; this is, indeed,
peace on earth. I seemed to see, if this were true, it was the healing balm for all my woes. I will not undertake to describe ray past experience. I will turn away from this long, dark chapter of my history, only with saying, I remember three different periods of this experience, when, it now seems to me, I might easily have entered into this state of entire consecration to God, and perfect love in the soul, had I met with such a friend to guide me.

But I cannot excuse my sins, my unbelief of God's word. There God,
even my God professedly, had always called me to holiness; and I may say in truth that I never read and meditated upon his word without seeing and feeling the difference between the gospel standard and that by which I was living. I had only one interview with this sister, as she left town, having been here only on a visit. Alone, unaided, except by the Spirit of God, I pursued the doctrine of heart holiness.


NOBLE-MINDEDNESS.


When a doctrine is pressed on the attention, where there is a contrariety of opinions, and human teachings seem dark and contradictory, thrice blessed the privilege of turning aside from all human counselors to the unadulterated teachings of the Wonderful Counselor, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. "To the law and the testimony;" if not according to these, it is because there is no light in them. It is thus alone that we can arrive at unerring conclusions.

Those we have esteemed the most pious may err. Though those who sit in Moses' seat may teach us, and we should, with due deference, regard the opinions of God's appointed ministers, yet even these, from educational trainings or denominational prejudices, may not always know the mind of the Spirit. The most important truths, those that stand in vital connection with human salvation, are generally the most unpopular. When questions of vital interest to the soul are proposed, it were better not to ask the question, "Have any of the Scribes and Pharisees believed?" but to do as did those Bereans, who were pronounced by the voice of inspiration more
noble-minded than the Thessalonians, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so. And those who would know of the full baptism of the Holy Ghost must surely pursue a similar course, or never will they know experimentally of the doctrine. This we see in a scriptural sense betokens noble-mindedness. And this was the course pursued by our friend. The glorious results which followed her prayerful Scripture searchings we will lay before our readers, with earnest importunity that they will go and do likewise.

Our witness continues her testimony:—

I came to the word of God with a determination to lay aside my former creed; to forget the experience of those dear servants of Christ I had long known and loved, and understand for myself what the salvation of the gospel was. Being so situated as to be able to control my time, I laid aside all work, excepting the more necessary and peculiarly pressing family duties, and devoted my time, for eight weeks, to the study of the Bible. I commenced with Paul's writings, and often read one epistle through four or five times before I went to another, dwelling on his expressions, and endeavoring to find out all his meaning. From the Epistles I went to the Gospels, and from the Gospels to Isaiah's glowing descriptions of the church. I soon became speculatively convinced, not only of the extent of God's requirements, but of the obligation and the ability of the Christian to fulfill these requirements in and through Jesus, who, I saw, was manifested to take away our sins.

I now set myself, by prayer and supplication, to seek the Lord. I fasted, wept, and prayed. Passages of this import, "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." "If ye have not the Spirit of Christ, ye are none of his," were searching texts. The Spirit of God accompanied the word, and it was like a two-edged sword, piercing my heart. But I had come to the Bible to receive and believe it all, and my eye fastened on the promise of our Saviour, "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled." Blessed, sweet promise! my heart swells with emotion while I repeat it. While pleading this promise, kneeling before God with the words on my lips, I felt a sweet assurance that my prayer was heard; a sensible peace entered into my soul. I arose and returned to my Bible with new emotions. Now I saw and believed.

I should have said that as soon as I believed that holiness was to be
attained in this life, I immediately commenced perfecting myself — that is, I labored to control every sinful emotion; and herein I advanced externally, but found my heart was ill at rest. But after this peace or love entered into my soul, nothing moved me. I thought if every friend on earth should die, my happiness could not be affected. I had but one desire, namely, that God's will might be done. I seemed to have no will of my own. I could conceive fully of the feelings of martyrs, and it seemed to me an easy thing to yield up life for Christ's sake. Indeed, I felt, to die is gain. I read my own heart's emotions in the strong language of Paul and David. Christ was my all in all. I could say, " Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none on earth that I desire beside thee."

The presence of Christ was as much a reality as if he had been in the flesh, sitting by my side; and as I read the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth, I received them as fully as if I had heard his own voice. Thus my feelings ran for several weeks; my soul seemed completely under the power of love. I knew of no contrary emotion existing there. I had been conscious, in weeks prior to this state of love, of the Spirit's power on my heart, particularly in setting home the truths of God's word; but I now received a special manifestation, as much of a reality to my soul as the sunlight to my eye.


BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST.


It came gently, yet powerfully and overpowering; it was like a mighty, rushing wind in the soul, extending itself through all my bodily frame. I said, "Lord, I am thine, eternally thine; come life, or come death, I am wholly consecrated to thee." I seemed now to know what is meant by the Holy Ghost. This manifestation brought me nigher to God than ever before. I could now say, Father, Abba, Father. I seemed joined to Christ; the oneness I cannot define, but our Saviour prays, "that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us," and I think I know what he meant, and received the very thing he then prayed for. I could now say, " I live, yet not I, Christ liveth in me." I felt strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Now came various temptations, and in various ways; but out of them all the Lord delivered me, and he doth yet deliver, and I believe he ever will if I only confide in him. I do know that my Saviour hath power over Satan, and through him I expect to conquer every foe. Sometimes I have been in heaviness, through manifold temptations, doubtful of the path of duty, and
variously tried; yet have I never lost my faith and love. As with the desperation of a drowning man, clinging to some rope, extended to draw him to shore, thus have I held on to the promises of God, determined never to cease my hold. Often have I come, pleading, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee," and on his promise anchored my soul, though in darkness, beset with temptations. For the last year, I can say, the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith on the Son of God. Blessed be God, his word is as immutable as himself.

I have known much of this world's happiness. Riches, friends, and intellectual pleasures have ever been spread out before me; but all, all I have ever enjoyed now seems as nothing compared with my happiness the past year. I have now found rest to my soul; everlasting life and blessedness have dawned there, and the prospect is widening, and I sometimes get an open vista into heaven. The sunlight of God's countenance, the
great God, whose beautiful works I every where behold, and have so often admired, — even the terrible God, who rideth in the chariot of his anger, to destroy the rebellious nations from off the earth — this God is my God. The sunbeams of his love rest upon me; upon me, a poor, frail child of dust, once all polluted with sin, but now a joint heir with Christ, a partaker of his holiness, with immortal glory full in view. Glory, glory be to God, glory and praise forever and ever. Amen.

Do I then shrink to give up all for Christ? Do I withhold my heart, my
whole heart? O, no! How much I love the first and great command I cannot tell; how much I love that Saviour who atones for past offenses, and now frees from condemnation, by enabling me to fulfill this command, I cannot say in words. I trust my life will tell the story of my love, and in death I expect to praise his name, and throughout eternity to love and adore. O, could I speak to the Christian world, I would proclaim, "His name is Jesus, to save us from our sins. Be it unto thee according to thy faith."


KEPT FROM FALLING.


"I trust my life will tell the story of my love." Well, years have passed since our friend, whom we have brought as a witness before you, thus made mention of her humble trust. Has she been kept? Yes, though encompassed about by a great cloud of witnesses, she has been, and is still being, kept by the power of God, through
faith. Yes, through faith, not in herself, but faith in the ability of God to keep her. Dear reader, were you now required to answer the question, before congregated thousands, whether you believe before God that he is at this moment able to keep you from falling, and to preserve you blameless, and present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, what would you answer? Would you limit the Holy One of Israel, and hesitate in giving an answer? Surely, you would not sin against your Almighty Lord, and against your own soul, and say, No! If you would not dare say no, then why not glorify the God of your salvation, and say, Yes? Do you say yes? Then you will appreciate the testimony of our friend, who, year after year, has been enabled to trust in Him who is able to keep her from failing.

RECORDINGS BY THE WAY.


In this continuation of my experience, in the summing up of the feelings of several years, I am at a loss where to begin, and what to say — how to give the right expression the average weight of feeling. But through every change I think I can say, in truth, I have maintained one purpose — one fixed and unalterable desire to glorify God, by the constant exhibition of the spirit and temper of my Lord and Master. I account it my highest happiness to have known the Lord Jesus as a pattern for imitation in interior purity and in outward conformity to the will of God. I have been made happy (as happy, it seems to me, as a mortal in the body can be) in the love of God.


WALKING IN THE WAY.


The way upon which our friend had now entered, being a way east up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in, it will be interesting to our readers to know something of the manner of her progress. A singular idea has obtained with some persons, that, when the redeemed of the Lord have, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, entered upon this way, they have arrived at a point in their heavenward career from which they may not progress. Does not our wonderful Counselor, in the chart he has given us, direct our attentions to this as the only way leading directly from earth to heaven, in which the ransomed of the Lord shall walk? It is by this way that they are to return to Zion.

And that there may be no mistake in a matter so momentous, and in view of the fact that there are many by-paths, he does not leave the matter in indefiniteness, as some good meaning people would have us infer. No, he gives the way a name, and as we will observe, it is a
highway; a way above the groveling walk of ordinary professors. "An highway shall be there, and it shall be called The Way of Holiness." Blessed way of purity, over which the unclean shall not pass, but so plain and free from obstructions to the earnest, simple follower of the Lamb, that even "wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein." But let us not say that it were a matter of small moment what we shall call this way, when God, in his infinite wisdom, has given it a definite name. "It shall be called THE WAY OF HOLINESS."

We will give some recordings by the way, setting forth how truly our friend found it to be a way in which she might return to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon her head. Yes, she found it a blissful way, and thus, as year after year passed, she proved yet more gloriously that the joy of the Lord was her
strength. "Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost hath come upon you," said the incarnate Saviour, as he was about ascending to his Father and our Father; and now, we will see by the recordings of our friend that she was enabled to retain this gift of power, and pursue a steady, onward and upward course, gathering at every point strength and joy to work more efficiently for God.

May. Have an abiding sense of God's presence, and at times my heart seems not only filled, but to overflow with the love of God. No clouds nor darkness overshadow my path; my faith receives no check; it seems fixed immovably on God. Have a strong desire to declare publicly, yea, to all the world, could my voice be heard, what a Saviour I have found — one that makes whole; but am hindered. I mourn as a child who so loves, he fears to grieve his parent; as one whose heart is full, and yet is forbidden to speak. Was greatly comforted in this strife of feeling between love and fear, as I opened to, and read again and again, (1 Peter iv. 1,) "Forasmuch, then, as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind." O, what sustaining power did I find in this chapter! Verily I went in the strength of that meat many days. O Lord, thou knowest I desire only to do thy will. Let me but know thy will, and it is done, if all the world despise me. I sacrifice nothing when I give up all the world for thee.

May 25. After much deliberation, and many weeks of prayerful study of God's word with reference to this duty, was led this evening, at a public prayer meeting, to declare the
greatness of the salvation I had experienced. Now, Lord, have I sacrificed all to thee; a willing sacrifice, thou knowest. Be thou still my God, and joyfully will I bear reproach and shame.

June 20. My peace this month has been abundant, like the river ever flowing; and my joy, at times, has risen high, even as the swollen river, overflowing its banks. New sources of joy arise in my contemplations of God, and God alone is the object on which my mind rests. It seems a waste of thought to dwell upon myself, on my past sins. God's forgiveness is so complete, my sins so blotted out, as if no more remembered, that I cannot name them. My poor, famished soul, so long oppressed in darkness and in sin, having found new wings on which to rise and soar, scarcely dares look back, but hastens on to know more and more of God.

August 31. Received, a few nights since, a special token of God's remembrance of me, which greatly cheered and comforted my heart. I returned from church conference depressed, not finding in the breasts of others any response to my own feelings, and, under the influence of much that was discouraging, committed myself to sleep. I awoke at dead of night, surrounded by God's presence. Surely he had come, or sent some angel visitant to bear up my spirit, which was drooping. My reflection was, what can I not do, what can I not bear, sustained by God? One other such angel visit, at dead of night, I would here record, two months since it was light, glory, and blessedness in my soul, which banished all sleep, and kept my eyes waking, and strengthened me for the performance of a cross bearing duty, which immediately awaited me, and I knew it not.

O, sacred temple, has it since been polluted? Father, thou knowest. I hope, I believe not. The foul breath of disease and death has often blown upon it, but the breath of the Eternal has consumed it; and, O, shall I not say it? left the temple still his own. Lord, if it is so, I am wholly a debtor to thy grace. Thou knowest my weakness — through what straits of temptation I have sometimes passed; how near my feet have come to slipping, if I have not slipped; and thou hast seen the anguish that has almost overpowered my spirit from the dread of sin. Yes, the thought of thy presence has supported, has comforted, has cheered, when my soul was bordering on hell, on sin; and I still live, my soul is still alive to praise thee — to declare thy great goodness, thy faithfulness, to one of the children of dust, of emptiness, of very weakness itself.

O, come, ye hearts of love, let us worship, and adore, and praise the Lord our Maker, our Redeemer, our Sanctifier — the holy, holy, holy Three and One, in whom our salvation is complete. In the beauty of holiness, in the secret depths of the soul, let us worship, and love, and adore, now and forevermore. Amen.


And now we must leave our friend steadily pursuing her heavenward way. Nearly a score of years have passed since, as a disciple of Jesus, she tarried at Jerusalem in obedience to the command of the Saviour. You have her testimony before you, dear reader, that she did not wait in vain. Does not the testimony she has given prove that God has not forgotten his ancient promise, but that he does, in verity, as truly pour out his spirit in these last days upon his daughters as on the day of Pentecost?

You will also observe, from the testimony of this female disciple, a development of the principles which we have endeavored to urge on your attention. With what unutterable longings did she seek opportunities to testify before her fellow-disciples as they assembled for social worship, in the conference room and elsewhere. But cruel custom forbade her; and when occasionally she did obey these constrainings of the Spirit, we see how crucifying to the flesh was the coldness with which this testimony was received. O, it is a serious matter that the professors of the religion of the cross should, at this late day, crucify Christ in his members! Let us refer you to points in the testimony of this witness, where she speaks of her heart as "not only filled, but overflowing, with the love of God." No cloud's nor darkness, but with a faith in exercise, which receives no check, but immovably fixed on God. Could David have testified of more, when he proclaimed, "My heart is fixed, O God; my heart is fixed"? Or could Mary have said more when the cloven tongue of fire rested on her head, and she spake as the Spirit gave utterance? Mary was filled to overflowing, and this precious female disciple of these latter days testifies that she is filled to overflowing.

But where is the difference of the two? Mary was permitted to speak as the Spirit gave utterance, and, doubtless, by her testimony, added her full quota, in company with the other disciples, to the great amount of good that was done when such a multitude believed, when, not only Peter, but all the other disciples, spake as the Spirit gave utterance. But this Mary of later days was not permitted to speak as the Spirit gave utterance. Had she been permitted to do so in an unrestrained manner, who can tell what a message might have been delivered through the lips of this daughter of the Lord Almighty, now being so almost irrepressibly urged by the Spirit to speak?

Let us review her testimony on this point, and let those male disciples, whether of the clergy or laity, who prohibit women from testifying as the Spirit gives utterance, see how they will be able to answer in the day of reckoning to the Head of the church for prohibiting the use of this gift of prophecy in woman. In view of the momentousness of this matter, then, we will not apologize for again bringing forth our witness, and for a few moments reviewing her testimony, in order that you may see the difference between the religion of the brethren of apostolic days and the present. That Mary and the other female disciples were permitted to speak, as the Spirit gave utterance, before the apostles and other male disciples, is too evident to need comment. But how was it with this disciple? Listen to her testimony: "Have a strong desire to declare publicly, yea, to all the world, could my voice be heard, what a Saviour I have found — one that makes whole; but am
hindered. I mourn as a child who so loves, he fears to grieve his parent; as one whose heart is full, and yet is forbidden to speak." She then speaks of being greatly comforted between this strife of love and fear by the Holy Comforter bringing to her remembrance the sufferings of her Saviour in the flesh, and the necessity of arming herself with the same mind; and then she resolves "to do the will of God, though all the world despise." What a pity that fellow-disciples in church communion with herself should have been made the occasion of thus crucifying the Saviour afresh in one of his precious members! Again, under another date, "after many weeks of prayerful study of God's word," she records her deliberate conviction of duty on the point of testifying of the greatness of the salvation she had experienced, and she dares refrain no longer, but, as a consequence, she is made to feel the reproach of the cross; but she exclaims, "Be thou still my God, and gladly will I bear reproach and shame." But how passing strange to be reproached for bearing a testimony of the saving power of Christ before a company of the disciples of Jesus! O, how unlike Christianity in the days of its primitive freshness!