WITNESSES OF ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION.
"WE have known a large number of persons, of every age and sex, from early childhood to extreme old age, who have given all the proofs, which the nature of the thing admits, that they were 'sanctified throughout;' 'cleansed from all pollution both of flesh and spirit,' that they 'loved the Lord their God with all their heart, and mind, and soul, and strength;' that they continually presented their souls and bodies 'a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God;' in consequence of which, they 'rejoiced evermore, prayed without ceasing, and in everything gave thanks.' And this is no other, is what we believe to be true, Scriptural sanctification." — Sermons, vol. ii. p. 247.
"Agreeably to this is the plain matter-of-fact. Several persons have enjoyed this blessing, without any interruption, for many years. Several enjoy it at this day. And not a few have enjoyed it unto their death, as they have declared with their latest breath; calmly witnessing that God had saved them from all sin, till their spirit returned to God." — Sermons, vol. ii. p. 174.
To Miss Elizabeth Hardy, 1761: —
"The plain fact is this: I know many who love God with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength. He is their one desire, their one delight, and they are continually happy in Him. They love their neighbor as themselves. They feel as sincere, fervent, constant a desire for the happiness of every man, good or bad, friend or enemy, as for their own. They 'rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, and in every thing give thanks.' Their souls are continually streaming up to God in holy joy, prayer, and praise. This is plain, sound, Scriptural experience: and of this we have more and more living witnesses." — Works, vol. vi. p. 737.
"After meeting the Society, I talked with a sensible woman, whose experience seemed peculiar. She said: 'A few days before Easter last, I was deeply convinced of sin; and in Easter week I knew that my sins were forgiven, and was filled with 'joy and peace in believing.' But in about eighteen days I was convinced, in a dream, of the necessity of a higher salvation; and I mourned day and night, in agony of desire, to be thoroughly sanctified, till, on the twenty-third day after my justification, I found a total change, together with a clear witness that the blood of Jesus had cleansed me from all unrighteousness." — Journal, June 23, 1761.
"In the evening I spoke to those at Manchester who believed that God had cleansed their hearts. They were sixty-three in number, to about sixty of whom I could not find there was any reasonable objection." — Vol. vii. p. 381.
To Mr. Furley, 1762: —
"For me, I shall only once more state the case. There are forty or fifty people, who declare (and I can take their word, for I know them well), each for himself, 'God has enabled me to rejoice evermore, and to pray and give thanks without ceasing. I feel no pride, no anger, no desire, no unbelief, but pure love alone,' . . . Here is a plain fact. You may dispute, reason, cavil about, just as long as you please. Meantime, I know, by all manner of proof, that these are the happiest and holiest people in the kingdom. Their light shines before men." — Methodist Magazine, 1856, p. 988.
"That many of these did not retain the gift of God, is no proof that it was not given them. That many do retain it to this day, is matter of praise and thanksgiving. And many of them are gone to Him whom they loved, praising Him with their latest breath; just in the spirit of Ann Steed, the first witness in Bristol of the great salvation; who, being worn out with sickness and racking pain, after she had commended to God all that were round her, lifted up her eyes, cried aloud, 'Glory! Hallelujah!' and died." — Journal, Oct. 1762.
"I buried the remains of Joseph Norbury, a faithful wit-ness of Jesus Christ. For about three years he has humbly and boldly testified, that God had saved him from all sin: and his whole spirit and behavior in life and death made his testimony beyond exception." — Journal, Dec., 1763
"I buried the remains of Thomas Salmon, a good and useful man. What was peculiar in his experience was, he did not know when he was justified; but he did know when he was renewed in love, that work being wrought in a most distinct manner. After this he continued about a year in constant love, joy, and peace; then, after an illness of a few days, he cheerfully went to God." — Journal, Feb., 1764.
To his brother Charles, 1766: —
"That perfection which I believe, I can boldly preach; because, I think I see five hundred witnesses of it." — Works, English edition, vol. xii. p. 122.
"In the evening I preached in the house at Wednesbury, a funeral sermon for Elizabeth Longmore; I think the first witness of Christian perfection whom God raised up in these parts. I gave some account of her experience many years ago. From that time her whole life was answerable to her profession, every way holy and unblamable. Frequently she had not bread to eat; but that did not hinder her 'rejoicing evermore.'" — Journal, March, 1770.
"I assisted at the funeral of Susanna Pilson. She was one of the first members of this society, and continued firm in the hottest of the persecution. Upwards of twenty years she adorned the Gospel, steadily and uniformly walking with God. For a great part of the time she was a living witness, that 'the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin.' After a lingering illness, she calmly resigned her soul into the hands of her faithful Creator." — Journal, May, 1771.
"From the very time of her justification, she (Susannah Spencer) clearly saw the necessity of being wholly sanctified; and found an unspeakable hunger and thirst after the full image of God; and in the year 1772, God answered her desire. The second change was wrought in as strong and distinct a manner as the first had been." — Journal, Oct., 1774.
"I returned to London, and Sunday, 11th, buried the remains of Eleanor Lee. I believe she received the great promise of God, entire sanctification, fifteen or sixteen years ago, and that she never lost it for an hour. I conversed intimately with her ever since, and never saw her do any action, little or great, nor heard her speak any word, which I could reprove. Thou wast indeed, 'a mother in Israel!'" — Journal, Oct., 1778.
"In the afternoon, I preached a funeral sermon for Mary Charlton, an Israelite indeed. From the hour she first knew the pardoning love of God, she never lost sight of it for a moment. Eleven years ago, she believed that God had cleansed her from all sin; and she showed that she had not believed in vain, by her holy and unblamable conversation." — Journal, May, 1781.
To L. Caughland, 1768: —
"Blessed be God, though we set an hundred enthusiasts aside, we are still 'encompassed with a cloud of witnesses,' who have testified, and do testify, in life and in death, that perfection which I have taught these forty years! This perfection cannot be a delusion, unless the Bible be a delusion too. I mean, 'loving God with all our heart, and our neighbor as ourselves.' I pin down all its opposers to this definition of it. No evasion! No shifting the question! Where is the delusion of this? Either you received this love, or you did not; if you did, dare you call it a delusion? You will not call it so for all the world. If you received anything else, it does not at all affect the question." — Journal, Aug., 1768.