Phoebe Palmer



CHAPTER IX.

Special demands of truth on the ministry.


"Who are these arrayed in white —
Brighter than the noonday sun?
Foremost of the sons of light,
Nearest the eternal throne?
These are they that bore the cross
Nobly for their Master stood;
Sufferers in his righteous cause,
Followers of the dying God."


It is our aim in this humble volume to present what we believe to be truth. What is truth should be the one great question with every professed Christian, whether of the ministry or laity. But on the ministry truth has special demands. Every minister truly called of God is a legally authorized expositor of the word. He receives his commission direct from the court of Heaven; and, if faithful to his trust, great will be his reward in heaven. It has been divinely ordained that "the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they" — that is, the people — "should seek the law at his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts."

But in case the priest's lips fail to keep knowledge, and the people inquire at his mouth, and receive for doctrines the commandments of men, how momentous the responsibility! Is the minister now reading these lines asking himself, "What is truth in relation to the doctrines of this work? Has the promise of the Father been fulfilled? Am I now living in the last days of which the prophet Joel spake when he said, 'It shall come to pass afterwards that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit.'"

Of this no room for doubt remains. The Scriptures of truth settle the question. The
last days have been ushered in. Corroborative of this, the apostle Peter, after having himself been filled with the Holy Ghost, in token of the fulfillment Of the promise of the Father, says, "It shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; and on my servants, and on my handmaidens, I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy."

And if God, in his eternal faithfulness, thus remembered his promise to his sons, was he unmindful of his daughters? No: truly as the word of the promise-keeping Jehovah was fulfilled in the pouring out of his Spirit upon his sons, in like manner was it fulfilled to his daughters. Did the sons prophesy, so also did the daughters. They all spake as the Spirit gave utterance. Was this outpouring of the Spirit on the daughters of the Lord to cease with the day of Pentecost, or was it destined to continue through the entire period of the last days? No! "The promise is unto you and your children, and all that are afar off." And that it has continued to be poured out upon the daughters of the Lord down through all succeeding ages, and to the present day is being poured out, is what we have set forth by most significant facts, and is what we shall still bring forth testimony to prove in the succeeding pages of this work.

But by whom has the exercise of the gift of prophecy in woman been most seriously resisted? Has not the use of this endowment of power been withstood mainly by those whose lips should keep knowledge? Has not the people who have sought to know the law on this important topic been met with dissuasive teachings, as though God's ancient promise had not been fulfilled? And if the gift has been received, and the spirit Of prophecy is now being poured out upon the daughters and handmaids of the Lord, why should ministers, whose lips, above all others, should keep knowledge, and at whose mouth the people are seeking to know the law on this subject, — why should these, above all others, labor to restrain this gift of prophecy? Why do a large portion of those whom the people are disposed to look upon as able ministers of the New Testament assume an attitude so repulsive on this subject? so repulsive that it were, indeed, most crucifying to the heart of the devoted sensitive Christian female to give vent to the Holy Spirit's urgings on this point. The question with every minister in relation to this momentous subject should be,
What is truth? Surely sin lieth at the door somewhere.

These reflections have been induced by reviewing the experience of a lovely and beloved daughter of the Lord, who, yielding to the impellings of her heaven-baptized spirit, began to speak to the people as the Spirit gave utterance. That she had received a divine commission, who could doubt? The remarkable fruitfulness of her efforts proved, to saint and sinner, that she spake as the Spirit gave utterance. She was naturally talented; but she was also exceedingly sensitive. Added to the refinements of nature were the more lovely refinements of grace.

And here let me pause, and ask the minister who may be reading these lines, Have you not observed that it is only upon those female members of your flock, who have known most of the refinements of grace, having been numbered with those who follow the Saviour most closely, that these constrainings of the Spirit are felt? It is not from that heartless, fashionable professor that you hear, as though she would fain open her mouth for God. No! it is that lovely, affectionate Mary, who is more than willing to sacrifice her earthly all for the privilege of breaking the alabaster box of very costly ointment, and pouring it on the head of her Saviour, and of washing his feet with her tears. It is these only that take time to tarry at Jerusalem until endued with power from on high, that feel these constraining influences to open their lips in the assembly in honor of their Lord.

And thus refined by both grace and nature was the lovely Christian female we will now introduce to your attentions, in testimony of the fact, that not only is the Spirit still being poured out upon God's daughters, but that that Spirit may be
withstood by human agencies, and thorns planted in the dying pillow of those who yield to these restraining influences,

Miss Elizabeth Hurrell was one of those whom Mr. Wesley honored with his correspondence and personal encouragement. Under the ministry of the Rev. Mr. Berridge, of Everton, she was awakened from the sleep of sin, and was soon after brought to an experimental knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus.

Having given herself to the Lord, she endeavored, from the overflowings of benevolence, to bring others to him. She traveled through many counties in England, preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ; and many, very many, were, through her instrumentality, brought to the knowledge of the truth, not a few of whom were afterwards called to fill very honorable stations in the Methodist connection. Some were useful class leaders, others local preachers, and several traveling preachers. Mr. William Warrener, who was the first missionary appointed by Mr. Wesley to labor in the West Indies, and Mr. Henry Foster, who traveled several years in England, and died in the work, were brought to God through her instrumentality. Mr. John Lancaster, a very useful preacher at Pickering, and afterwards at Burlington, Yorkshire, was also converted under her ministry.

"It is very much to be lamented," says Dr. Taft, "that she ever relaxed, or in any measure buried that extraordinary talent which God had committed to her but such was the fact. It has been supposed that she sunk beneath the
heavy cross connected with the public ministrations of females, especially a female of such tender and delicate feelings as she possessed.

"But whether she turned aside from the path of duty to avoid suffering, or through the power of temptation, or from whatever cause, she deeply lamented the course she had taken, when death and eternity appeared in view. Indeed, for some considerable time, she seemed to be on the borders of despair. 'I am going to die,' said she. 'I am entering the eternal world; but all is dark before me: neither sun, moon, nor stars appear. O that I had my time to live again! I would not bury my talent as I have done.' It pleased the Lord, however, before she departed hence, to lift upon her the light of his countenance. He saw the genuineness of her repentance; he healed all her backslidings, and enabled her to bear ample testimony to his almighty power to save to the uttermost."

Miss Hurrell was of a delicate frame of body — a woman of great simplicity and integrity of mind. She possessed a wonderful facility of conveying her ideas and feelings with scriptural accuracy, and often manifested such strength of thought and felicity of expression as were irresistibly impressive. Her public labors were abundantly owned of God; and many will be the stars in the crown of her rejoicing in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Miss Sarah Lawrence was another handmaid of the Lord, who was also made a blessed recipient of the outpouring of the Spirit, and whose remarkable usefulness proved that her mission was divine. When but a little child, she saw herself a sinner in need of a Saviour, and sought the Lord in the use of the means of grace, and in importunate prayer. When about eighteen years of age, she was confirmed in the Old Leeds Church. She felt most deeply the solemnity of the obligations she had thus taken upon herself, and, as she was returning home five miles distant, entreated the Lord that she might ever be mindful of the holy responsibilities she had that day assumed. While she was thus wrestling with the angel of the covenant by the way, ere she had reached her home the Holy Comforter said with great power to her heart, "I will keep thee as the apple of mine eye." This filled her soul with consolation and strength.

In early childhood, he who hath said, "Leave your fatherless children to me," consigned this lovely lamb of the fold to the care of Miss Bosanquet, afterwards Mrs. Fletcher. Providence is God in motion. Of Miss Lawrence Mrs. F. says, "Providence cast her into our hands when a little child. As she increased in years we observed a remarkably upright and obedient spirit in her, and a great attachment to us. When very young, she would often cry to the Lord that she might never be separated from me. Before she was eight years old, she was often under strong conviction for sin; and from the time she was ten, she manifested an earnest desire to be devoted to God. When she heard us read in the family of the sufferings of our Lord, or of the martyrs, it would kindle in her breast an intense desire to do something for Him who had borne so much for her."

But it was not until in the eighteenth year of her age, when on her return from the Old Leeds Church, after her confirmation, that she seems to have had the abiding assurance that her sins were forgiven, and her name written in the Lamb's book of life. She had now confessed Christ openly before men, and from this hour a new song was put in her mouth, and she was divinely assured that she had been brought out of spiritual bondage, and her feet set in the way cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. But though she enjoyed much peace and blessedness in the way upon which she had entered, she felt that there was still a higher elevation in Christian experience, which she longed to attain.

She saw it was the privilege of the believer to be constantly and consciously filled with the Spirit. And with unutterable longings she sought for the full baptism of the Holy Ghost. Though so young in years and just budding into womanhood, she counted all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ her Lord. And for this she was willing to be crucified to the world, and that the world should be crucified to her.

In regard to this stage of her experience, says Mrs. Fletcher, "Soon after she obtained a clear sense of the forgiveness of her sins, she saw it her privilege to be cleansed from all unrighteousness. The way she obtained this blessing shall be given in her own words.

One Wednesday night, in that blessed meeting we used to have once a fortnight in Cross Hall, where so many were blessed, while I was waiting on the Lord, and saw myself as lying at the pool longing for the Lord to say, "Be clean," my soul was engaged in fervent prayer that I might that night be brought into clear liberty; and while my dear mistress (Miss Bosanquet) was praying, several promises were applied to my mind, such as "Thou art clean through the word I have spoken unto thee," &c. I now felt unbelief give way, and was enabled to cast my soul on the perfect atonement, and felt the divine efficacy of that blood which cleanseth from all sin.'


After the inmates of Miss Bosanquet's orphan home were scattered, the God of providence having provided, through the agency of Miss B., favorable situations for those who had so long enjoyed the bounties of her hospitable roof, Miss Lawrence, who had now arrived at young womanhood, was permitted to have the prayer of her childhood answered. Miss B. having now become the wife of the devoted Vicar of Madely, Miss L. was still the humble yet chosen friend of Mrs. Fletcher, and remained with her till she passed from earth to heaven. The career of Miss Lawrence was comparatively short, but beautifully luminous. We will give it in Mrs. Fletcher's words.

Some time after my dear Mr. Fletcher's death, as I was one day pleading with the Lord to raise up more helpers in the work, the word came to me, 'The spirit of Elijah shall rest on Elisha.' I thought it meant Miss Lawrence; and soon after a visible concern arose in her mind, more forcible than ever, for the souls of the people, and in particular for those of the rising generation. And such a gift was then given her for children as I have hardly seen in any one, and a love that of a parent. Next, the sick were laid on her heart, and she ran far and near, to seek and to relieve them, both in soul and body, insomuch it greatly broke her little strength, which was always but small.

One night she dreamed (see Acts x. 10-17) she was looking out at our chamber window on a parcel of fowls of all sorts and sizes in the yard, when she saw a very little bird flying to and fro over them, and as each put up his head, the little bird put a bit into his mouth. And after looking on them for some time, she thought she called me, and said, 'Only look how that little creature feeds those great fowls.' She then saw a most beautiful pillar in the sky; it appeared like gold, exceeding bright. She was solemnly afflicted at the sight, and awoke with the application of these words to her heart: 'I have made thee as this little bird; follow me, and I will make thee a pillar.' This brought to her mind a promise given her many years back: 'I will make thee a pillar in my house, to go out no more.'


"I have been humbled to the dust," continues Mrs. Fletcher,
at the ardent zeal and diligent application wherewith she sought after the good of her fellow-creatures. For reproving sin, and inviting to the means of grace few could equal her. Here I did indeed see the spirit of my dear Mr. Fletcher seem to rest on her; and, like him, she began a meeting in a very hardened part of the parish, with a bell in her hand.

The town of Madely is a hardened spot. I do not know that I ever found more discouragement in speaking any where than there; and she was brought to shed tears over them many times, when, going from door to door, she entreated them to come, and in return, met with only reproach and rudeness. But that was nothing to her, who sought no honor but from God. Sometimes Satan would represent how ridiculous she appeared in their eyes, and when strangers passed by in carriages they would think her mad. But, as the means she used had been instrumental in calling some, and had been blessed to many, as well as prevented much sin, she rejoiced to have the honor of being thought a fool for Christ. And such an intense love did she feel towards them, at the very time they were ridiculing her, that she has told me, it seemed she could with pleasure submit to be bound to a stake and burned, if it might draw these souls to choose the way of life.

One night, passing by a house where some young persons were dancing, she looked to the Lord for power, and, going in among them, she began to plead with them, and, in a very moving and tender manner, to express the love and concern she felt for their souls; and, glory be to God, we have some in heaven who dated their first conviction from that hour. Indeed, her whole soul seemed to be drawn out after the salvation of all around her. She began meetings in different places, at which numbers attended. Her method was, after singing and prayer, to read some life or experience, or some awakening author, stopping now and then to explain and apply it as the Lord gave her utterance; and several, who are now lively members in our connection, were brought in through that means. But in every step she took she inquired of the Lord, fearing much to take one out of his order.

When the work commenced in Coalport, and the inhabitants began to increase, she was strongly importuned to go and hold a meeting there. She complied with the invitation, and continued to attend every other Sunday night for four years. Sinners would scoff, but the power of God was felt. Her word was gladly received by numbers, and deeply did they lament when she could no longer meet with them as usual, and many an earnest prayer did they put up that she might be restored to them again. I could never discern in her any spirit but that of the most perfect deadness to the world, and such a submission to crosses of every kind as augured to me that her will was entirely lost in that of God.

She was for many years weak and infirm; but her ardent desire for the salvation of souls carried her frequently beyond her strength, and many times, when she was speaking to sinners with a view to bring them to repentance, her poor body was fitter for the bed than any other place.

When in much pain from continual coughing, with spasms all over her body, she sometimes cried out, —

'Corruption, earth, and worms
Shall but refine this flesh,
Till my triumphant spirit comes
To put it on afresh.'

About two weeks before she died, after suffering much one night from her cough and other complaints, she observed, 'What a sweet night I have had in the love of God! Such nearness to Jesus, such willingness to suffer with him, did I feel, that I praised the Lord for every fit of coughing. Continually I am pointed to look at the dying Saviour in these words:—

"See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?"

On Wednesday, Dec. 3, 1800, her happy spirit took its flight to feast with Jesus' priests and kings.


Paul speaks in his journeyings of honorable women not a few. It is our privilege to introduce yet another daughter of the Lord, of honorable memory, who, from among those of the generation just passing away, tarried at Jerusalem, and was enabled to witness a good confession to the faithfulness of her promise-keeping Lord, before a gainsaying world. That she had received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, her every day life was an outspoken testimony. Dr. Taft thus speaks of this devoted disciple:—

Mrs. B. Hall, of the city of York, was one of the most eminent women of her time. She sought the truth, doing the will of her heavenly Father, and soon became far known for her piety. Possessed of a small fortune, she could devote much of her time to religion, which was the delight of her soul. Being thus devoted to God, and constantly attending the church, she became acquainted with Mr. Nelson, prebendary of Ripon, who had received much evangelical light from reading John Arndt's True Christianity. When Mr. Wesley came to York, she presently embraced Methodism; but before that time, she had commenced the work of prayer, and expounding the Holy Scriptures to her neighbors twice a week, which practice she continued after she became a Methodist. She was often visited by Quaker ladies, and had good ministers of the church to take breakfast with her. She often corresponded with Mr. Wesley and some of her letters are given in the earlier volumes of the Methodist Magazine.


Miss Newman is also another whose heaven-baptized soul led her out beyond the paths of ordinary usefulness. She began her Christian course with marked decision. Previous to her conversion she kept a book store at Cheltenham, in Gloucestershire, England. But on setting out in the way to heaven, she resolved that every obstruction that stood in the way of her own salvation, or the salvation of others, should be removed. As the Jews and Greeks at Ephesus, whose minds, through the teachings of Paul, were enlightened, in relation to the evil tendencies of their books, burned them, though at the cost of fifty thousand pieces of silver, so the excellent Miss Newman resolved at once on sacrificing every thing which might be inimical to the interests of her own soul, or in any way militate against the spiritual interests of others.

In remembrance of the infinite price paid for the redemption of the human family, she, with prompt and true dignity of purpose, began at the commencement of her heavenward course to act on the principle that the Christian religion requires that which may cost its possessor something. She had on her shelves novels, plays, and romances. But she could not now sell these to poison the minds of others, any more than she could injure her own soul by reading them herself. She therefore, at the sacrifice of worldly gain, refused to sell that which would poison the immortal mind, on the same principle that she would refuse to sell that which would poison the body. But in counting all things lost for Christ, she gained all. "Every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive a hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life." But not only was Miss N. willing to sacrifice her earthly goods, — she also sacrificed her entire physical and spiritual being on Heaven's altar; and her whole subsequent life was a development of power, and proved that she had received the baptism of fire. Dr. Taft says, "She united with the Methodists, and became a very active and useful member of their society, and soon began to exhort in prayer meetings. She afterwards manifested her love for souls, by making occasional visits to Tewkesbury and the adjacent places. Her religious experience was clear, and included an acquaintance with the deep things of God. She was a woman of strong understanding and amiable temper; prudence and modesty were leading traits in her character. Mr. Wesley had a high opinion of her qualifications and usefulness, and encouraged her in all her pious endeavors. She used to exhort and preach occasionally; and the Lord owned her labors in the salvation of many souls. Among those who were brought to God through her instrumentality were her own mother, and Mr. Cousins, who afterwards became her husband. After her marriage, Mrs. Cousins did not exercise much in public, for her health began to decline; and her husband also was considerably afflicted. He was called away in the midst of his usefulness; and she soon left this vale of tears to meet him in the skies.

From among the many Heaven-baptized women who from time to time, have come up before us, is yet another of superior excellence — Mrs. Anne Gilbert. She was born of the Spirit in her youthful days. She soon found that, in order to retain a state of adoption, she must go on from grace to grace, and thus, in obedience to the teachings of the Spirit, walk in Christ as she had received him. She was not placed in circumstances to enjoy other helpful influences than those of the Scriptures, in regard to the doctrine of the full baptism of the Holy Ghost. But she felt that she needed a gift of power which she consciously did not possess, and in obedience to the Spirit's teachings through the written word, she resolved to tarry at Jerusalem until endued with power from on high.

And whoever resolved in the name and strength of the Lord Jehovah to have the purchased grace, and to have it now, but has quickly heard the Saviour say, "Be it done unto thee even as thou wilt." She had been living in the enjoyment of this precious grace some time before she had heard a single sermon on the doctrine of Christian perfection. Mr. Taft, in his Memoirs of Holy Women, thus speaks of her:

In the year 1771, going one day to the preaching. in an adjoining village, the preacher happened not to come; she therefore gave out a hymn and prayed. She told the people they need not be disappointed, for the Lord was present to bless them. Immediately she received such a manifestation of the love and power of God that she was constrained to entreat and beseech them to repent and turn to the Lord.


Thus began the public labors of this distinguished woman, which she continued for many years. She had a most persuasive and engaging address, and many were the seals that were added to her ministry. One of the preachers, in a letter to Miss Barritt, says, "I had the pleasure of hearing Mrs. Anne Gilbert preach in the chapel at Redruth, Cornwall, to about
fourteen hundred people. She had a torrent of softening eloquence, which occasioned a general weeping through the whole congregation. She was almost blind at the time, and had been so for many years." Mrs. Gilbert died at an advanced age, and in full assurance of faith and hope.