Phoebe Palmer



XVII.

POWER OF FAITH.

VOICE FROM THE EAST.
FACTS ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE PRINCIPLES PRESENTED IN THE PRECEDING PAGES.


"But is it possible that I
Should live and sin no more?
Lord, if on Thee I dare rely,
The faith shall bring the power."


A Congregational minister, in addressing his friend, says thus: "My mind was in a condition of perfect bewilderment, like a vessel in a thick fog, I could not possibly ascertain my position, or satisfy myself that my course was either right or safe. I knew I had not lived for years that life of faith and obedience which the Scriptures clearly required. But how to reach that elevated position of a divinely wrought holiness, I knew not. That I was not right, I well knew; but how to get so was more than I knew. I read everything that came to hand on the subject, and corresponded with several individuals whom I supposed capable of rendering me assistance, but all to little apparent purpose. Not that I think all this really lost labour; I do not, but it seemed at the time that I was gaining nothing. I was ignorant, and God was leading me in a way I knew not. I was in the hands of a kind and skillful Physician, who gave His remedies adapted to my wants, rather than to my taste. But I now see that what the Lord does to save us from sin, or to reclaim us from our wanderings, is just the thing that is calculated to effect the object aimed at. He did not leave me to my own way; neither did He trust me with my own management. He undertook for me, and the way I have been led has proved itself to be right. The Apostle says, 'If any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.' Of this declaration I have had some blessed experience. I have effectually learned the difference between divine and human light. We can understand human things, or earthly things, but 'the things of God knoweth no man.' For instruction in these things we are indebted to the Spirit of God. But the Lord did neither leave nor forsake me. He patiently endured all my stupidity and all my carnality; and, in so doing, verified the declaration of His own Word, that His compassions fall not But you will want to know where I am, and what has been done for me. And here, dear sister, I must proceed cautiously: we have, doubtless, the right to tell anything and all that the Lord really does in us or for us.

"In the first place, then, I can now say that I understand
most fully the idea of having a BIBLE EXPERIENCE. The Lord has taught me by the Word. This is a new field for me, but the most glorious of any experience I ever had. When I first read your views, I did not see the power of the thing; but the Lord took that very course with me, and I was amazed at the result! It does seem as if I obtain a clearer knowledge of more Scripture in one day than I could before in a month. And then what conviction of the truth! I cannot describe it; but you know what I mean. The prophet says, 'All thy children shall be taught of God, and great shall be the peace of thy children.' Let him that hath a dream tell a dream, but I prefer the other method of instruction. And now, the Bible, Oh, how inestimably precious! It is my meditation day and night. I can lean on nothing else now with any confidence. And again, how full it is! It meets my every want, answers all my difficulties, solves all my perplexities — 'profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness;' so that I am thoroughly furnished for every good work. If I ask the Lord for instruction on any point, I am sure to get my answer by reference to the WORD, and that in most instances before I rise from prayer! I do not wonder that the natural man does not understand the things of the Spirit; for they are spiritually discerned. I do not wonder that they are foolishness to him. My heart says, 'Praise the Lord;' and you will say so too, when you read this.

"Another experience I will mention — what you call 'the
rest of faith.' Your term expresses the idea as I now apprehend it. I can enter right into your very idea, as it seems to me, and verify the Scripture declaration, 'We who believe do enter into rest. 'This rest is truly a ceasing from our own work. For it is God that worketh in us, both to will and to do of His good pleasure. My labors, and toils, and struggles are over, and my soul rests in God. I am given up into His hands as His instrument, to be used by Him for the accomplishment of His purposes, whatever they may be. I deem myself no longer my own, but His, by purchase, and to be used wholly in His service.

"As respects the
extent of holiness, I see no end to it. It is just as illimitable as the source from whence it proceeds. It is a life hidden in God. The term, when used as expressive of a state into which mortals through the blood of the everlasting covenant may enter, implies a life hidden in God. Without Christ we can do nothing. Through Christ, who strengtheneth us, we can do anything that He would have us do. And this leads me to say, that the Christian has no right to a will of his own. He must be identified with the will of God; an instrument with which God can accomplish His purposes. When John was asked what he said of himself, his reply was, 'I AM A VOICE.'

"God was using him to point out the Saviour. This is my will, sister, to be a voice, and have the Spirit of God furnish the matter, and regulate the manner.

"What an idea does the Scripture present, when it declares, 'Ye are the temple of the Holy Ghost!' Again: God says by the Prophet,
'I will dwell in them and walk in them.' And are we indeed the representatives of God? Has the great God no better way of manifesting Himself than to take our bodies, and act out Himself in us? Surely, professed Christians do not realize the fact, or they could not exhibit such traits of character as many of them do! I do not wonder that the Spirit leaves so many. Surely they do not do honor to the Being they represent. But will GOD thus dwell with men? Most surely Christians are called to exhibit before the world an indwelling God; for the Triune Deity takes up His abode with His disciple who loves Him and keeps His words. Yes, to the obedient, loving disciple, Christ, as one with the Father, says, 'We will come and make Our abode with him.' Then loving obedient Christians must be God-like, Christlike. 'Be ye perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.' 'I in them and Thou in Me, that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me.' Christ was God manifest in the flesh, and the life also of Jesus should be made manifest in His people (2 Cor. iv. 10). Are we such? But I did not take up my pen to preach, but merely to relate something of what the Lord is doing with me. My desire, my all-absorbing desire, is to be literally one with God. No desire, no aim, apart from the will of God. All — body, soul, and spirit — at the service of God. This is my idea of Scriptural Sanctification."

"Thy soul, thy body, and thy every power,
Was purchased unto Him, and Him alone;
And not one day, no, not one passing hour,
Canst thou by virtual right use as thine own.
The Lord's free servant, thy Redeemer's claim
Seal'd with His blood's deep traceless signature.
Then go forth in His might — work in His name —
Prove faithful until death, thy crown is sure."