Phoebe Palmer



CHAPTER XX.

Testimony Of A Congregational Minister.



"Let the press, whose wheels of might
Roll for reason, and for right,
Flash it on the nation's sight!
Up for Jesus stand."


"I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy loving-kindness and thy truth from the great congregation." —
David.


THE BAPTISM OF FIRE.
Testimony of a Congregational Pastor.



Years ago, sitting in Sabbath school, while my teacher spoke of God, it seemed a worthy thing to love and serve him. The flow of sweetness then went through my heart at such a thought. Was it, therefore, renewed? No! only the moral sense was awakened. That was the approval, not the reception, of God. For afterwards the sins of boyhood and youth swept through my heart with a black surge. Nevertheless, conscience was yet alive, unseared, itself burning like a hot iron into my life. This often made me moody, morbid, and misanthropic, even to thoughts of suicide.

Amid all this, still there was a wild joy, a reckless flippancy, which seemed to mark the outer life as free from stings within. But that was only the flower blooming on the crater's verge, the bird's song in the tempest cloud. Sickness came, more than once, sore and terrible, swinging me close to the dark pit. Fear-struck, I cried to God for life, and promised him my service. Though all forgotten when health came, there dwelt black phantoms of remorse in my soul. College days dawned. In the heat of study, under the spur of ambition, and with an awakened love of the beautiful in letters and art, a glare of glory brightened the cloud. No thoughts of duty to God and a religious life intruded. Fame, greatness, learning, and honors, these were the goads of endeavor, dulled only by vanities and vices of youth. But in the midst of deadness to divine things, even in the hearts of God's so-named children, one gay, frivolous fellow-student was converted. Converted? As I had been taught, or rather left untaught, this sounded strangely.

At times before, I had proposed to be religious, and so went to church oftener, read the Bible and the Episcopal prayer book solemnly, and thought I was doing right well. This, however, was only the cloud and the dew of a wayward soul. But now I heard and saw that there was in another, and must be in me, a change, deep and radical, before I could be God's child. Who would show it to me? Who might tell me? Alas! none spoke a word. I asked one, who had named Christ, to point me to salvation. He thought me in sport. Never before had I spoken a serious word to him, and he treated me as one who mocked. But when I urged my question vehemently, he was confounded, and, in his own blindness, told me to believe. Believe! Believe what? "What the Bible says — on Christ." There was no prayer offered, no advice otherwise given to my benighted soul.

I read God's word. It said to me, "Now is the day of salvation." So the preacher said; so my soul said. Now or never. It was done. Darkly and imperfectly I gave my heart to God. Vaguely and gropingly I accepted Christ, and followed him. But it was yet afar off, and through the mist. Still I had peace — no joy. How should I serve him? By preaching the gospel. So I studied theology, as it is called, — the science of God, — but after the traditions of men, not the commandments of Christ. A dry, barren, outward life of religion mine was. Enough of services, and ordinances, and ceremonies, broken cisterns, holding no water; nothing of the inward spring, flowing with eternal life. Though the peace of justification breathed low, the tide of joy in holiness did not stir.

Something was wanting. Ah, a great void within, chasm-like and abysmal, yawned deep and dark below, threatening to swallow up in death all my hope. Reason only came to my aid, and out of its fragments I patched up a many-colored coat of complicated belief. Simplicity and single-mindedness in Christ I knew not. The garment of faith I wore needed to be dipped and soaked in his blood, my soul to be baptized into his life, making it of one divine hue. Prayer was audible speech and outward form, not inward utterance and power. Truth was a creed, not a life. So I began to preach.

Young, enthusiastic, and impulsive, my zeal was without knowledge, and to the unwise appeared spiritual. Souls became thoughtful and inquiring. What could I say to them? Nothing which they could understand; if any thing were spoken, it might not be heard through what seemed a wall of granite, many feet thick and miles high, between the soul and me. What should I do? I read the lives, and works, and words of sainted men. Alas! they only smote and burned my soul. I could not think, and feel, and act, like them. "No," said the deceiver, "nature unfits you for this." That was not all. At prayer he knelt with me, and whispered, " Ah! you are no Christian at all, but a fool, a hypocrite. Why waste your powers and resources here? Go back to the great city, where fame, wealth, and influence await you, and be something." I was agonized. Pledged to God, yet drawn to desert. On the threshold, yet hesitating. Could I dare, should I not be ashamed, to look back and leave the plow in the furrow? Yet can I preach? shall I lead souls to God without his truth and life in me? I cannot; I shall not. So I spoke to a good and wise man in the church. He, too, smote me, but in love. "Young man, who sent you here? If God, what for? If to preach, do it. No matter, if as yet you are no Christian; as a vessel of dishonor God may use you to his glory; do his will; even if you are damned, yon will be less wretched than if you had basely fled from duty. I obeyed. Soon the grim list of my sifts was written out and laid before God. Within was a selfish will, a sensual mind, an ambitious heart. Chief among my transgressions was an intense, burning love of literature. This and all else was yielded.

Essays, poems, tales were bundled up, sealed over, and stowed away. What gifts seemed worthy were given to God; what seemed useless were thrown to the winds. Consecration, full and perfect, so far as knowledge went, was thus rendered. God entered then the open door, and took the vacated throne within. O, in full glory, with a pure breath of love, and a chorus of joys, in ermined holiness, was his coronation made. Peace deeper than any river, raptures transcending mountain exhilarations, then followed. It was meat and drink to do his will. It was ease and infant play to bear his cross. It was inspiration and creation to speak his words. Souls listened, and were saved. How long did this transfiguration-glory last? Only one week. In that time, the consciousness of perfect love, in full exercise, was clear and strong. But fatigue overcame emotion, exhaustion deadened thought, till, ignorant of the true and abiding way of faith, my soul pitched into the breakers and began to split.

Ah, there was the rock of death, which so many strike. Had I only known that emotion, and exercise, and vision were only the beams of the sun, and not the orb itself, the fruits, and not the roots, of God's life in the soul, I had not sunk. What was to be done? Bring out the idols bundled up; burn them to ashes; go over the smoky catalogue of sins again; renew confession, and increase endeavor. Nay, this was all useless. The foundation was already laid. Faith only was needed to lay up the walls aright. But I had not learned, was never taught by man, this "highway of holiness." So the old life again gradually came back, with its ups and downs, its fears and trials, its griefs and toils. Yet not so dimly and stiffly did I walk then as before. The light had been kindled, and was not all gone out; the life, the true eternal life, had begun to breathe; the well-spring of Christ was opened in my soul, and, at times more than ever before, religion was a vitality, a reality, an immortality, though much dimmed and down-dragged by a worldly life.

Now God began the keener work. His pruning-knife went deeper than ever, — cutting away from me my beloved; sending me out into the wild, where prairie solitudes and forest glooms were made darker by men's iniquities. Toil, sacrifice, disappointment, sickness, weighed and haunted. New scenes, new relations, brought new interests and endeavors, with their hopes and aspirations. Revivals occurred; but as each one came, a deep gloom, a keen in-search, a fearful sifting, preceded, till joy and peace returned. Then, as pressure and excitement afterwards passed away, softly the world stepped in, and circled its meshes round my unsuspecting soul.

So I lived and labored, wept and prayed, through twelve long years of ministerial life — years not deficient in tokens of God's love, that could not but awaken grateful joy, though marked by selfish plans, dark repinings, personal ambitions, and conscious unfaithfulness. No storm on the Black Sea, shipwrecking the mariner, and surging him on its shores naked and companionless, could be more dark in its memories than is that past to me. God hides much of its terrors, yet reveals enough of them to humble and melt me even now. Yet, amid all those waves of evil, yearnings for life, wrestlings for liberty, were like root-growths in the rock and oak-throes in the storm. The day of glory was coming; the blind soul was being led by an unknown way. Placed where I wished not to be, called to a work I desired not, yet obeying, as by necessity, the divine finger, God kept near to me.

I had often tried to escape the duty of preaching; never did I love the work except as an intellectual one, unless in revivals, when the present glow of interest charmed. Nevertheless, God kept me in it, and when I turned drove me back to it, as with a cherub's sword of fire. Two years ago, the great political contest of the nation commenced. Plainly I saw it expedient to preach on civil duties. Many said that such as preached thus would be cursed of God, with loss of spirituality. I began then to pray more; for I had nothing to spare from my soul, and wanted to do right. In the very teeth of some opposition, though with many favoring, I gave sermon after sermon for a month.

As I preached I prayed; never so much before. Men listened unwontedly. Why? Satan said, "Politics." God said, "Truth." I saw that not their understanding only, but their moral sense, was moved, as I had not moved men the like. This was because my heart was in the utterance. Then I asked God why the simpler, more radical truths of the gospel could not be thus impressively and successfully urged by me. This was the answering voice:—

"Because you are not
wholly consecrated to me. You think you are, because you were once; but you have taken back the gift as often as made; your heart is not in the work; you strive to please men, not ME; you preach yourself, not Christ."

All true, — sadly, fearfully true; this was my soul's deep conviction. Then I said, —

"Lord, I will be thine, — thine wholly and forever." So I gave up all things, all literary schemes, all lecturing tours, all purposes of foreign travel; every thing of life went into God's hands, till I felt that nothing remained, not an atom or hair of my own, which was not yielded. Then I
felt, I BELIEVED, I KNEW, that between me and Him no stone of separation was left standing. But then, how shall I stand? what will make me endure unto the end? Ah, how often before was this self-renunciation made, and then lost! What did I need? Not the witness of my personal acceptance; that I had gained before, and had never fully lost, though I had held it with a tremulous, loosening grasp, as a mariner overboard in the ice waves of the Pole clings to a floating berg. I wanted the proof of my call to the ministry; that only could fix me. I had been taught that reason, Providence, and such outward signs enough proved a man's call, and that any thing inward was vanity, yea, fanaticism. But now I said,

"Lord, if there truly be such a thing as an inward call, a clear, positive witness of my fitness for the ministry, and thy purpose for me in it, give it to me; for without such assurance I shall never abide."

Two weeks of prayer brought it. O, it came, blessed be God, clear, strong, full, unmistakable. The Spirit witnessed thus:—

"Yes, you were born for this, created, foreordained for it, and in this work you are henceforth to live and die, so that no authorship, professorship, or teachership, nothing whatever, shall allure."

"Ah, then," I said, "I shall stand now, sure, firm, fixed, never wavering. The problem is solved, doubt is all gone, and my work is settled."

How the future's path then glowed! How life then charmed! How toil became pastime! Two years have passed since then, and daily, hourly, even amid trials, hatreds, curses, and afflictions, this pillar of fire by night goes before me, brightening at each step. But this was only the opening eyelid of the morn: full-orbed glory was yet to come. One ray but wakened the breath for more and many. Christ, too much to me as to others, had been one far off, over the sea, a proprietor or principal for whom I was steward and agent, and to whom I sent back my account, imperfect, indeed, but true, for which I received the recompensing commission. That was not sufficient. Ah, I wanted him to come to me, or myself to go to him, and be united in a life-partnership, in an eternal fellowship.

I went. He came. We met in mid-ocean, and on the dark wave; like Peter, trembling, I cried and grasped his hand, the right, while he embraced me with his left, and took me into his heart, putting his into mine. Then I could say, and say it now, God being my witness, Christ is my life; he is hid in me, formed in my soul, the hope of glory. That was another stride which the angels of my soul, in its aspiring thoughts and affections, made on the Jacob's ladder of faith towards the New Jerusalem, which I saw now coming down to me out of heaven. I panted then for further heights. Not only to recognize, but to realize, God in all things, inward and outward; in the framework of man and of the universe; in the insect, bird, and flower, as in the thought, desire, and affection, — this I desired. Every where, at all times, in all circumstances, I wished to know and
feel that God came and spoke to me, breathed upon and touched me — a sensible presence, a living inspiration. Ah, how long I prayed for this! how much I agonized! Did I not need it? Could I speak and work for him truly, fully, unless my soul apprehended his smiling presence, his truthful voice? All through the winter's remnant and the summer's fullness, the prayer for this divine realization was offered. One more specialty was added to it, and sought amid other things. I had bid souls to God because he was great and worthy, because his service was their duty and mine, because if it was not given, they and I should be lost. If loss came, then it was just and right. But, O, there was not in my soul tender compassion, ardent, burning love for the poor, sinking sinner. I wanted this, for it was needed; so my prayer was, m

"Lord, give me an
unction for souls, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, that I may compassionate the lost and win them to Christ."

Alas! it seemed as if these two prayers, daily, hourly going up to God in clouds of importunity, would never be answered; but the delay was only to accumulate the blessing. One day, in the first autumn month, the Methodist brother having charge here came to me. He told how that at camp meeting, just closed, God was present; how that the Spirit had come with his brethren as with a cloud into the sanctuary; how that his faith foresaw, nay, that present sight even declared, a great work of God. He told me that if I and my people wished to be blessed, "it would be well to follow where God led, dropping all distinctions, and working together in Christian fellowship."

I listened doubtfully, shrugged my shoulders, shut up my heart, and called it secretly a spasm. Candidly I told him that I did not like his sect, its shouts and groans, its methods and teachings, and that neither I nor my people could labor well with him and his.

Like Abraham, but without the old saint's largeness of heart, I bid him, as Lot, go his way and I would go mine. This was not like Christ; but, as Paul did, I sinned ignorantly in unbelief, and God had mercy on me. My brother begged me to come and see. I went. I saw young men, but a little while ago thoughtless and hardened, now bowing there at God's feet, and I said, "This is a divine work; only the Spirit could thus humble." So at once I laid all my bigotry, my prejudices, my conventionalisms, and my sectarianism in one black bundle at Christ's feet, and pledged myself to my brother, in my Master's name, to help him as the Lord should will. My own people were not alive; it seemed as if a little before, the blessing had been offered them and was not received: besides, we had no place for public week-day meetings. Never dreaming but that they would more than approve of the step, and follow me as their spiritual shepherd, I went on calling to my sheep. Alas! they did not at first hear my own or their Master's voice; and I went on alone and unapproved.

Sabbath night came, when my Methodist brother asked me to preach for him. I consented, there not being service with us. God gave me the right text: "Rejoice, O young man," &c. While I spoke, the veil was lifted, time fled away, and eternity, with its judgment, appeared. O, God! I saw poor souls, precious more than myriad worlds, sweeping up thither without hope. My heart broke; it melted, it ran. So much did the power of truth and love flow together within, that I was like an over-freighted bark, nigh to sinking. Therefore I cried out for God to stay his hand; for it seemed more than I could bear and live. It was stayed, but to my grief; for, though that night many souls were pricked and wounded, and though I went home peaceful at first, the light within was veiled, the chains around were renewed. Again, two evenings after, I preached. Ah, what damp, dripping walls, what cold, rusty links, encircled me! No freedom, no fullness. Agonized in my study that night, I cried, "Lord, why is this? What sin, what difficulty walls THEE from my soul?" God replied,—

"That Sabbath night I was ready to answer your prayers — to give you all your heart's desires But two things you interposed. First, your pride — your personal, denominational, intellectual pride — stood in the way. You were not willing to seem, or be accounted as a fool, yea, a fanatic even, before that people. Then again you feared for your poor, weak body, wishing to save it up for yourself and your own people, to do a work for them; not knowing that if I had such a work to do by you, I could even raise you up from the dead; if not, that it were better for you to die." Then I said, "Lord, it is even so. With shame and grief I confess the evil. If, therefore, it be not now too late, and thou wilt return bringing back that rejected gift, I will yield up my pride, my reputation, my life, my all, believing that thou wilt protect, provide, and sustain me." In that hour I let go my hold on self; my will was put into the hands of God.

The evening before Sabbath came. Meantime I had peace again. Then we met, disciples, young and old, to tell of love. It was a pleasant, cheerful meeting; no excitement whatever there, but a sweet pervading breath of joy. At its close, souls were called to the altar. Then a neighboring Congregational brother spoke, telling his own experience. His word was powerful. As he exhorted, I stood beside the pastor, and my eye ranged over the souls yet unborn, many of whom I had warned and prayed over in love. These, and others of my own flock, dead in sin, came to my thought. Alas! how dreadfully gleamed their guilt! how luridly flashed their sins on my soul! The terror of their doom in unbelief blackened on my view. What if they should be lost? What a death must be theirs forever! At that moment a strange sensation filled me. My heart began, as it were, to collapse, and shrivel far within, like a parchment scroll in the flame. What spiritual agony was that!

I turned to the pastor and said, "My brother, I am dying." "You are not sick, or faint?" he asked. "O, no," I answered; "my soul is sorrowful, even unto death: I shall fall." "No matter," he replied "let go of yourself." I fell; instantly his arms embraced me. Then it seemed, (I say it
seemed, not because it was not reality, for it was, deep and intense; but because figures only, and those but faint, can express what imagination did not do,) it seemed as if a heart, ten thousand times greater than my own, was projected into it, till it filled, swelled, cracked, burst, and scattered into pieces like an exploded bomb. Then came arms, as if infinite and omnipotent, passing up through my soul, and reaching towards those and other souls, with wide sweep gathering them up, and bringing them into me, to press them through my soul, till, like a travailing woman, I writhed, and groaned, and cried. Then, as out on a broad sea of desolation and darkness, I was hurled, cast overboard, and sinking down, down, down, till a deep, majestic current came sweeping on, and surging me up high over the eternal shores, where the judgment throne was fixed.

Ah, there it rose, the Sinai of eternity, where blackness and darkness rolled in massive clouds, frighting the soul of sin. There Holiness, Justice, and Truth reigned over the guilty. "Before Jehovah's awful throne" souls wept, receiving their doom. My soul was tortured with grief for them, as through that gloom a voice of divine wrath spoke in spiritual tones — "Tell them — tell those unbelieving souls, that here, if they come in sin, I will say to them, 'Because I called and ye refused, I stretched out my hand and ye regarded not,' therefore your fear and desolation shall come as a whirlwind." I told them so. Some believed, some feared, while others mocked. All this while personal consciousness of time, place, and circumstances remained. Neither air nor water I wanted; for I was not faint nor sick in body m only in soul. At last the calm came, when prayer began. Then faith lived; then peace flowed. Souls yet unborn in fact were seen passing through birth. Troubles, fears, anxieties, doubts, cares, were all sunk in an ocean of love, and I was borne along, in an ark of faith, on the upper wave.

They lifted me up; for I was weak of frame, though strong of soul. I spoke to them of unbelief; of the sin against the Holy Ghost, which I then saw; of the judgment to come; of the celestial home; of the eternal hell. Ah, it was the place of God's presence there — the ante-chamber of the great future. Souls trembled and wondered. They took me home, a wonder to many, not less a wonder to myself. It was all a new and strange thing to me, for I had never seen an instance of the so-called "power" which this was, although I had never doubted its reality. After sweet and tender prayer I lay down to rest. Nights before I had tossed and groaned till past midnight, with a burning brain and a burdened heart, for my unawakened people. I thought it would be so again. Tomorrow the Sabbath was to dawn, and but an imperfect preparation made. At once I was stilled. God bade me, like a child, leave it all to him — my body, my mind, my preaching, and my people; I did so. Almost instantly, like a tired babe embraced in love, I dropped into a slumber such as never before since childhood I have ever known for its sweetness and fullness. Long before dawn it ceased.

Waking as by a touch, the divine Spirit communed to my soul; bade me in clear, unmistakable language, what to do. Among many things that Sabbath night, I was to preach, at God's bidding, on the words, "Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends." It must be in the Methodist Church. Though I had not been invited, my brother, on being told of it, recognized the divine direction. God promised to show me Christ's love as I had never before known it. That morning, on rising, strength came into my frame. O, how like a giant's members mine seemed. It was Elijah's power, — or rather, like it. Never before had I felt so strong in body; never, likewise, so clear in mind, so bold of soul.

Thus did I go to the sanctuary. My text was this: "There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out." God aided me in speech. He seemed to give me the spirit of one of the old prophets. I cried aloud and spared not, telling my people of their sins, seeing them at the judgment seat, and alarmed in soul at their danger. They looked aghast, and listened amazed. Some were frightened, others angered, while many deemed me crazed. Alas! they were as yet not raised enough above the earth to discern the Lord's presence. God knows, — and I am sure now, — that I was truly rational, though filled with a divine unction.

Night came, and with it a crowd to the Methodist church — not to hear my poor speech, but drawn thither by the Unseen. I told them of Christ's love — for it came to me then as a present reality — an intense conception — almost like a pictured vision. The Father's bosom opened, the life-star descending, the infant mangered, the wanderings and persecutions, the long, long trial of men's scorn, the bitter cup in Gethsemane, the cruel judgment, the piercing cross, the dark sepulcher, the coming forth and the passing away, — all these appeared in clear, full view; all as tokens of love. Ah, such love, so marvelous, so infinite! But alas! the guilt so terrible of its rejection — the baseness so damning of its despisal! This made that love a terror to the soul of sin. Yes, this was the new light in which God showed to me Christ's love. It did not melt, but smote; it did not comfort, but condemn. Nevertheless, it saved; though Satan hissed, and said only evil was done.

Now, then, came the power of that tempter. Next day complaints, censures, revilings, sunk like spears and arrows into the already wounded heart. Even women, otherwise kind, reproached. They called the preacher wild and mad. Only a few spoke words of kindness. One chiefly, and most tenderly of all, was the brother who stood to receive the smitten. I said to him, in anguish, "My brother, they pierce, they crucify me — even my own people." "No matter," he replied; "so it was with the Lord." At my request, we went into his empty church, and sat down in the pulpit. I told him the sad story of all my past; of rebellions, and wanderings, and ambitions; of God's crosses and burdens upon me; of my unworthiness and nothingness, till the whole was unfolded.

We agreed to a mutual consecration, and together knelt in prayer. He poured out his soul for me and my people, as for himself and his own. Then I opened my heart to God. At the very outset he took my soul into his hands, and bore me up to the presence of ineffable glory. Through this, the Spirit of his Son, with a clearness and definiteness of tone that spoke with power, in my heart and through my lips, asked me for each and every one of my life's cherished treasures: "Will you give up to me your beloved wife, for me to take her from you if I will, by separation or death? Will you put your children, not their bodies only, but their minds, into my hands, willing to have them know nothing, and be nothing, if that shall glorify me? Will you employ all your time, and devote all your talents, even the smallest and seemingly most useless, to my service? Will you resign your reputation, personal and professional, to me, so that, if I require, you may be disgraced, contemned, even by your friends and brethren, as by the world? Will you part with your people, ready to suffer reproach from them, and be discarded by the most attached? Will you yield to me your few possessions, your books, and your home, that you may become destitute and shelterless? All,
all, ALL. Will you now and forevermore, without condition, without reservation, without any expectation of earthly good, without any return but my own life, consecrate thus yourself and your all to me?" Ah, Lord, how those questions came with searching, sifting power! They burnt into my bones; they ate my flesh; they flayed my heart. I pleaded with God, and reasoned with him at every step, to let me keep but one gift. No! all or none! I yielded all, and he took all. O, in that hour I felt like an outcast seaman left on a desert island in mid-ocean. Inwardly I suffered the loss of all things more keenly than if outwardly they had been in reality taken away; for then I had still retained the affection and anticipation of them. But now all ties of life were broken, all interests of time lost, all joys of earth quenched.

When this was done, the voice said, "Go now and preach my gospel, baptizing men with truth and love, in power." In that hour my future spread before me; my path of duty lay plain, and my mission henceforth was definite to my view. In that hour I saw before me in the world only tribulations, sneers, censures, oppositions; but in Christ, I beheld, inwardly, truth, love, and divine glory as mine. That was the "sealing of the Spirit." Under that process — a fiery ordeal indeed — I cried like a babe torn from its mother's heart. I sobbed like an orphan at the grave of both parents. All hopes, all ambitions, all interests, all affections, every thing of life, then stripped off, passed completely into God's hands. That was the "inward crucifixion" — "the circumcision of the heart." The will of self then fell into the will of God, as a rain-drop or snow-flake falls into the sea and becomes a part of its current. Thus began the union of the human soul with the divine nature. What were the results of all this? Let others speak of those external to myself. Nothing do I see to glory in or commend. Only of that which is within can I tell, and that imperfectly. At first I felt as if a besieged city, overcome and prostrate, lay in my life, amid ruins; as if a dissected frame were mine, yet intensely alive and sensitive to every touch of evil, every word of error. Men frowned, and I wept; lips cursed, and I warned. * * * Intellectually, thought was quickened and intensified, conceptions of truth were clear and strong, speech was fuller and truer; only the old habitudes of mind hampered the utterance.

The former poetic and ornate sentences, which gave pleasure to the earthly taste, with just enough truth in them to save from damnation, were gone to ashes, burned up as hay, wood, and stubble. In their place, plain speech, simple thought, yea, even sometimes common-place expression, entered, displeasing to minds who think that popularity and success with ministers depend upon beauty, and not upon truth. Preaching became and now is attractive, glorious. The Sabbaths come not often and nigh enough. Study, and prayer, and converse on religious themes are an intense delight unceasingly. The interests of earth excite but little; it is child's play to talk of or attend to them. Time is a shortened duration, in which all the energies must be enlisted to the utmost. O, it is a glory thus to live.

I never knew before what that term "
glory" meant. It has been like the flashing of a rocket wheel, expiring in the moment that it shines. Now it is the pathway of suns, the sweep of comets through my soul's firmament. Night and day God realizes himself to my soul.

Spiritually, this life is indeed beyond description; truly, its peace passes understanding; its joy is unspeakable. Amid trials, tests of faith and sincerity, which God has brought to me over and over again; by seeming death agonies of my beloved; by insults to my face, and slanders at my back; by desertions and distresses multiplied and severe, I am still kept sustained by all-sufficient grace, with the harmonies of God's truth, the great choruses of his promises in my soul, with the pulsations of love in deepening tides beating evermore into my central life. God be praised.

The tempter comes, hisses with hate, allures with smiles, assails with questionings, in vain. Knowing that victory is sure, though the battle is keen, I am never overwhelmed. Blessed be God, who causeth me to triumph. Though weakness, defects, and infirmities abound, — though ignorance, and failure, and difficulty retard, — the step is progressive, the movement upward How can I unfold all the sweet, transcendent blessings of this new life in Christ? Whatever he commands I obey, though it be to stand in the fire with the Three. Ah, I know that the form of the Fourth will be there, and that the smell of fire even shall not be found upon me. If God be with me, who can be against me? If Christ be my
All, how can I need more? No! the world may take from me all its own; I claim and need it not. The church, yet half-born, in the twilight of the valley, may grope and doze, may cast the spawn and slime of its earth-life along my path. My soul shall be cleansed therefrom by the ever-cleansing blood of Him who walked that path before. My feet shall tread the air as though they were wings: and the mountain tops only shall be my stepping-stones of glory — my ascension ladder to the mid-heaven of God's great city. There and thence I shall cry, "O, church of God! O, souls on whose lintel the blood of Christ is sprinkled, be ye wholly cleansed. Lion, arise! Israel, come out of Egypt, pass from the wilderness, possess the land of rest in the blaze of God's shekinah, and shout, 'Enter thou, O Lord, with us, and dwell in thy temple evermore. Amen.'"