Phoebe Palmer



XX.

POWER OF FAITH.

VOICE FROM THE NORTH.


"I received the blessing on condition that I would profess it, and I dare not withhold my testimony."

“During the last eight months I have been permitted, in the infinite love of God, to enjoy the rest of faith, the constant cleansing of the Blood of Jesus, and the continual anointing of the Spirit, who worketh in me that love which is the fulfilling of the law. Feeling it my duty to declare, to the praise of our covenant-keeping God, what great things He hath done for me, and hoping that some seeker of full Salvation may be encouraged to persevere by a narration of my experience, I will endeavor to tell how the Lord has led me into the highway of holiness. 'He leadeth the blind by a way which they know not.' Surely thus has He led me; for very blind was I, as to the way by which I was to obtain that holiness which my soul for many years craved as its life.

"I received in childhood faithful religious training; and at the age of thirteen, by the blessing of God on the labors of a devoted teacher, was converted. I made a public profession of faith, with a deep sense of the responsibility resting upon me, and a determination to be a consistent Bible Christian. For a few years my attention was chiefly directed to the outward duties of my profession, while the need of a deep inward work was unfelt. At length it pleased God, through the labors of a devoted brother, who experienced and preached holiness, to awaken me to the necessity of having a clean heart. I had known Christ as a Saviour without me, to whom I had gone daily for pardon; but I now desired to have Him an indwelling Saviour, having full possession of my soul, and making it His fit habitation, by a thorough cleansing and an entire subjection of every thought and desire to Himself. My views of the exceeding sinfulness of my nature were so clear, that had it not been for the precious promises applied by the Spirit, at the moment of my utmost need, I should have despaired of obtaining Salvation.

"For hours I would plead some promise, feeling that the life of my soul depended upon its fulfillment. The immediate result of this experience was a clearer witness of my justification, and a conviction that holiness was attainable before death. I even argued this point, from Scripture, with others; but when I found this doctrine was accounted heresy by the church with which I was and am still connected, and that the profession of it would expose me to reproach and disgrace, I shrank back, and began to doubt the truth of this view of sanctification. The consequence was, I lost the light already given, and for ten years longer continued under the bondage of sin, dishonoring my profession, and defrauding my Saviour of the entire devotion of all my powers to His service. I am sad when I think how much I might have accomplished for the good of souls in those ten years, if I had been wholly the Lord's. Still my desires for holiness remained, and were strengthened by reading Upham's Works. I entreated the Lord to sanctify me by any means, even the severest, if necessary. He took me at my word, and, by a succession of sore bereavements and trying dispensations, stripped me of all in which I had sought enjoyment or satisfaction. My dearest idols were removed, one after another, until I lay before the Lord with a crushed and desolate heart. Bless the Lord, I murmured not, but recognized in all these dealings of my Heavenly Father the answer to my prayer. As the streams of earthly happiness dried up, my thirst for the ever-flowing Fountain increased. Formerly I desired holiness for the sake of the peace and happiness connected with it; but now I desired it that I might live for the glory of God, feeling that my own enjoyment was a thing of small consequence in comparison with the honor of Him who had loved me and given Himself for me.

"One evening, in February, 1852, I attended a prayer-meeting in the Dutch Reformed Church in Haerlem, where God was pouring out His Spirit. During the whole evening my desires for perfect union of soul with Christ were intense; and I entreated the Lord to show me before I left the room what hindered me from enjoying this union, promising Him that if a right eye or right hand was in the way, it should be sacrificed. Just before the close of the meeting I was led solemnly to vow, that if the Lord would convince me of the truth of the doctrine of holiness, as held by the Methodists and some others, and give me the experience of it in my own soul,
I would profess it. I was amazed at the step I had taken; for I had verily believed that I was doing God service in rejecting this view of sanctification; but I felt that this vow was an answer to the wrestling prayers of the evening, and was determined to be honest with God.

"From that moment I felt that all controversy between God and my soul was at an end. I was willing to be anything and to do anything which He required. For several weeks I studied the Scriptures in reference to sanctification; the Holy Spirit gave light, and I became again convinced that holiness was the duty and privilege of each believer. But how to get it I understood not. I had no Christian friend to instruct me, being a stranger in this city, and the only Protestant in a family of Roman Catholic relatives. At last I ventured to call upon a dear sister, who, by her writings, prayers, and efforts, has been the instrument of leading many into the 'way of holiness.' She showed me that the blessing was received through faith — that, after I had made an entire consecration of myself to the Lord, I was bound to believe that He, faithful to His promise, accepted the sacrifice, and sanctified it for His service. Praise the Lord! I was enabled to
'believe with the heart unto righteousness, and with the mouth to make confession unto salvation!' I received the blessing on condition that I would profess it; and I dare not withhold my testimony to the power of Jesus to 'save His people from their sins.' 'Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.'

"My heart believes, my tongue shall tell,
And far and near my faith profess;
My soul in rapturous strains shall swell
The fame of Jesus' faithfulness

He saves His people from their sin;
He saves me now! Oh, bless His name!
He sets His kingdom up within:
And shall I not His praise proclaim?"