Phoebe Palmer

Letters #9 - 16.

TO MRS. W_____, TO MRS. R_____.

No. IX. — To Mrs. W_____.

An apology — Fruits of holiness partially enjoyed — Work of the Spirit, and tenderness of conscience at an early age — Regret — Difficulties — The cost counted — Activity required — Intense breathings — A wrong standard of experience — A darling object — Great Things Anticipated.

Dear Mrs. W____. You will be surprised on receiving a communication so long after my promise, and I question whether I shall be able to furnish such an apology as will render my long silence excusable. Scarcely a day passed, for a month or two after my return from B____, but my thoughts recurred to the pleasure I enjoyed in your society, and the remembrance of my unfulfilled promise as often caused me much uneasiness.

When I tell you the reason of my delay, I trust you will rather rejoice with me than accuse me of remissness. There has been a great improvement in my religious experience, as the result of a decision made at that time, that my undivided purpose should be the attainment of the witness of entire holiness.

Previous to this I had, in a degree, partaken of the fruits of holiness: my mind reverts to some sweet assurances that I was not without a measure of its blessed enjoyment while on the road to Baltimore and Washington. I am not sure but that the love which casteth out all fear then had possession of my heart. Yes, I think I was then enabled to "reckon myself dead indeed unto sin, and alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord." But I did not, at that time, habitually enjoy that abiding, lively consciousness of the seal of consecration on all my powers, which for some months past I have enjoyed in the rich plenitude of its blessedness.

O how I love to exhibit to the lovers of my adorable Jesus the riches of his grace, as manifested toward me, without money or price! I am sure, if you but knew how unworthy I have been, how disobedient in former time to the heavenly vision, you would wonder, even to amazement, at the riches of grace. That this may be the favorable result — yes, to furnish yourself and your beloved husband with new motives for adoring gratitude — I will proceed to present the more prominent portions of my experience in the things of God from my infancy; for from that early period I trace his hand leading me to himself

My parents, prior to my being intrusted to them, were rather devotedly pious. I was therefore early instructed in experimental, religion. Of the necessity of its affecting my life, and even in minute things inducing a change of conduct, I was in the morning of my existence aware. I shall never forget the intense anguish I suffered in consequence of telling an untruth, when but about three and a half years old.

This extreme sensitiveness, as to moral and religious obligation, grew up with me; so much so, that I was sometimes smiled at for my well-intentioned scrupulousness, and at other times almost censured for carrying it to a troublesome excess. I then regarded refuge in God as the safe sanctuary for the recital of the little grievances incident in childhood. Thanks be to God that the maturer knowledge of later years has never erased the principles thus early cherished by the operation of the Holy Spirit, and pious parental solicitude.

Would that from these early drawings of the Father it had been my ceaseless endeavor to follow the Lord fully; how much more gloriously had I, ere this, been led on by the Spirit of holiness toward the attainment of that fullness of stature in Christ Jesus, for which my soul now eagerly waits! But Jesus forgives; yes, he forgives freely! Hallelujah to his excellent name!

But, to proceed. It has been my opinion, from the survey of subsequent experience, that I, from this early age, enjoyed a low measure of regenerating grace, though, for much of the time, not precisely conscious of my state before God. How often have I labored to bring myself into a state of extreme anguish before God, and wept because of the failure! imagining if I could only bring myself to feel the burden of sin upon my conscience, to the degree which I have heard others express, that I could then easily come to God, with the expectation of obtaining the witness of justification.

The state of my mind for years, as nearly as I can express it, was this:— I had rather a belief that I was a child of God; yet I had not enough of the spirit of adoption to cry with unwavering confidence, "Abba, Father." O how often did I feel a longing thirst for holiness, conscious that nothing less could supply my need! Yet this seemingly impassable barrier was ever present, to stay my onward progress, "You are not yet clear in justification." In the strength of faith I many times endeavored to surmount this difficulty, by looking at the reasonableness of the requirement of holiness, believing that Christ had purchased full salvation for me, and as it was already my purchased inheritance, the sooner I entered into the enjoyment of it, the more I should glorify the Purchaser, by being made a witness of his power to save unto the uttermost. And thus at times my faith became almost victorious; and doubtless would soon have triumphed, had I only held fast the beginning of my confidence steadfast unto the end; yet my proneness to reason, and also the unwise propensity I had of measuring my experience by what I imagined the experience of others, gave the enemy advantage over me; so, as frequently as I arose in the majesty of faith to go forward, he threw me again on my former ground.

Thus I continued to rise and fall, and consequently made but little progress in the way to heaven, until the early part of last June, when, in the strength of Omnipotence, I resolutely determined that I would set myself apart wholly for God, fully purposed that my ceaseless aim should thenceforth be the entire devotion of all my powers to the service of my Redeemer. This, through grace, I then more deliberately decided upon than at any former period. I calmly counted the cost, which I felt would be the surrender of my own will in all things. I then took, as the motto for my future guidance, and the sole principle of every subsequent effort,
entire devotion of my heart and life to God. To this one object, I resolved that every earthly consideration should be subservient, fully purposed that all ordinary pursuits should cease to be absorbing, till the witness was obtained, that the offering was accepted and sealed.

You are aware that I have been accustomed to devote a portion of my time to writing, but I now felt that I could proceed no further in any ordinary pursuit. I apprehended in yet clearer light, that God required activity in his service, and an intense desire was imparted to glorify his name put such a deep, piercing sense of my helplessness prevailed, that it seemed as though I could not go forward until endued with power from on high, Yet, notwithstanding this, hope gathered strength, while the whisperings of the Spirit seemed to say, "Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord." Yet these convictions were not accompanied with those high-wrought feelings, or that distress of spirit, which I had heard some speak of, as given preparatory to receiving purity, and which I had thought indispensable; few, perhaps, may more emphatically say, that they were led by a way they knew not.

From the time I made the resolve to be wholly devoted to the service of Christ, I began to feel momentarily that I was being built up and established in grace: humility, faith, and love, and all the fruits of the Spirit, seemed hourly maturing: such was the ardor of my spirit, and the living intensity of its fervor, that in the night season, though my body partook of repose sufficient for the refreshment of nature, my spirit seemed continually awake in communings with God, and in breathings after his fullness.

Perhaps I should have said, that, previous to these exercises, I had resolved on taking the word of God, and simply trying myself by its tests of a new creature, determined to abide by its decisions, without regard to my particular emotions; assured that there is no positive standard for
feeling, in the Scriptures. Yet, upon reviewing my slow progress, I cannot but regard the fault of taking the feelings and experience of others as a standard for my own, in place of going to the word of the Lord, as having been my greatest hindrance. I now took this portion of divine truth: "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." I soon found, by the light of the Spirit, that I had conclusive evidence of my adoption. As I had resolved that I would abide by the decisions of Scripture, the Holy Spirit did not leave himself without a witness in my heart. Quietness and assurance now took possession of my breast, and an undisturbed resting on the promises became my heritage.

After this resolve on entire devotion of heart and life to God, my breathings for divine conformity became more satisfactory. The appeal to my understanding seemed to say, "God is all in all;" yet my heart did not fully attest the witness. One exercise which I then commenced, and have since continued with increasing benefit, I will mention:— It was that of making
daily, in form and in the most solemn manner, a dedication of all the powers of body and soul, time, talents, and influence, to God.

Thus I continued to enjoy increasing happiness in God. but not yet perfectly satisfied as to the fitness — the indubitable seal of consecration. I was kept in constant expectation of the blessing.

July 26. On the morning of this day, while with most grateful emotions remembering the way by which my heavenly Father had led me, my thoughts tested more especially upon the beloved one whom God had given to be the partner of my life. How truly a gift from God, and how essentially connected with my spiritual, as also my temporal happiness, is this one dear object! I exclaimed.

Scarcely had these suggestions passed, when with keenness these inquiries were suggested: "Have you not professedly given up all for Christ? If he who now so truly absorbs your affections were required, would you not shrink from the demand?" I need not say that this one dear object, though often in name surrendered, was not in reality given up. My precious little ones, whom God had taken to himself, were then brought to my recollection, as if to admonish me relative to making the sacrifice. I thought how fondly I had idolized them. He who had said, "I the Lord your God am a jealous God," saw the idolatry of my heart, and took them to himself. The remembrance of how decidedly I had, by these repeated bereavements, been assured that He whose right it is to reign, would be the sole sovereign of my heart, assisted me in the resolve, that neither should this, the yet dearer object, be withheld.

The remainder of the day, until toward evening, was unexpectedly spent from home. The evening I had resolved to spend in supplication. So intense was my desire for the seal of the Spirit, that I made up my mind I would not cease to plead until it were given. Thoughts were presented as to risk of health, &c.; but my spirit surmounted every discouraging insinuation. Thus fixed in purpose, I, in the firmness of faith, entered as a suppliant into the presence of the Lord. As if preparatory to a long exercise, I thought, Let me begin just right; and though I have heretofore entered into covenant with God, let me now particularize, and enter into an
everlasting covenant, which shall in all things be well ordered and sure. I imagined some extraordinary exercise, such as an unusual struggle, or a desperate venture of faith, &c., preparatory to the realization of my desire, saying in my heart, though hardly aware of it, that some great thing must surely be wrought. But how God works in order to hide pride from man, I will endeavor to show you in my next.

Yours in the bonds of love.

No. X. TO MRS. W________.

A sacrifice contemplated — The surrender is made — The seal of consecration enstamped — Apprehends a state of holiness — Exults in the knowledge of the sanctification of body, soul, and spirit - Scruples removed — Christ all in all.

MY DEAR MRS. W____. I left you in my last endeavoring to lay hold on the terms of the covenant, — fixed in purpose, — surrendering myself in the bonds of an everlasting obligation to God.

I began to particularize. The thoughts and exercises of the morning occurred again with yet greater power. Can God be about to take from me this one dear object, for which life is principally desirable? thought I. Looking into the future, I said, "What a blank!" Never before had I realized, that the very fibers of my existence were so closely interwoven with his. My impression was, that the Lord was about to take my precious husband from me. The inquiry with me was, whether it were possible that my heavenly Father could require me to make the surrender, when he had authorized my love, by making it my duty to be of one heart and soul with him. But grace interposed; and from more mature consideration, I was led to regard it as extraordinary condescension in God thus to apprise me of his designs, by way of preparing my heart for the surrender.

With Abraham I said, "I have lifted my hand to the Lord." In word, I had again and again made the sacrifice before, and said, "My husband and child I surrender to thee." I had not been insincere, but I now saw that I had not in fact done that which, in word, had often been named. Far, indeed, had I been from realizing the depth of obligation which, in word, I had taken upon myself

Truth in the inward part I now in verity apprehended as God's requirement. Grace triumphed. In full view of the nature of the sacrifice, I said,

"Take life or friends away."

I could just as readily have said, "Take
life," as I could have said, "Take friends;" for that which was just as dear, if not dearer, than life, had been required. And when I said, "Take him who is the supreme object of my earthly affections," I, from that moment, felt that I was fully set apart for God, and began to say, "Every tie that has bound me to earth is severed." I could now as easily have doubted of my existence as to have doubted that God was the supreme object of my affections. The language of my heart, and, as far as memory serves, the expressions of my lips, were, I live but to glorify thee. Let my spirit from henceforth ceaselessly return to the God that gave it. Let this body be actuated by the Spirit, as an instrument in thy hand for the performance of thy pleasure in all things. I am thine — wholly thine. Thou dost now reign in my heart unrivaled. Glory! Glory be to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for ever!

While thus glorying in being enabled to feel and know that I was now altogether the Lord's, the question, accompanied with light, power, and unquestionable assurance, came to my mind, "What is this but the state of holiness which you have so long been seeking?" It was enough! I now felt that the seal of consecration had in verity been set. God, by the testimony of his Spirit, had proclaimed me wholly his! I said, and also felt, in such a peculiar sense as my spirit still most delightfully appreciates, "Henceforth I am not of earth; the prince of this world, though he may come, yet hath nothing in me. The Lord, my Redeemer, hath raised up a standard against him;
I am set apart for ever for thy service!"

While thus exulting, the voice of the Spirit again appealingly applied to my understanding, "Is not this sanctification?" I could no longer hesitate; reason as well as grace forbade; and I rejoiced in the assurance that I was wholly sanctified — throughout
body, soul, and spirit.

O with what triumph did my soul expatiate on the infinitude of the atonement! I saw its unbounded efficacy, as sufficient to cleanse a world of sinners, and present them faultless before the throne. I felt that I was enabled to plunge, and lose myself, in this ocean of purity — yes.

"Plunged in the Godhead's deepest sea,
And lost in love's immensity,"

It was enough! My spirit returned consciously to its Source, and rested in the embrace of God. From my inmost soul I said, "Lord, it is enough!" I pause at the exclamation; for I hesitate what language to use, or what expression to make of my views of the condescension of my covenant-keeping God, relative to this eventful period of my Christian history. Ah! I have no doubt but, even after innumerable ages of eternity have past, the amazing condescension thus manifested for the establishment of one so fearful and unbelieving, will be by me exultantly rehearsed to a listening multitude of rejoicing angels, and cause a renewed burst of holy triumph from the adoring throng.

Every shade of objection, or thought of scruple, was thus by Omnipotence himself rebuked, or rather utterly silenced. What I mean by scruples should be mentioned. It is this:— Though I have ever been a firm believer in the doctrine of Christian holiness, embracing the entire sanctification of body, soul, and spirit, as taught from the Scriptures by the apostolic Wesleys, and their contemporaries; yet the terms made use of, in speaking of this attainment, were objectionable to my mind, in a manner which I cannot now take time to explain. Though from early life I had felt that I needed just the blessing comprehended, yet the terms made use of I seldom used. Now there seemed such a glorious propriety in the words "HOLINESS," "SANCTIFICATION," that I thought nothing less than infinite Wisdom could have devised words so infinitely proper.

What more reasonable, thought I, now that I have been enabled through grace to resolve on being wholly the Lord's, than that he should set the seal which proclaims me his; and still further, now that I have set myself apart exclusively for his service, that he should take cognizance of the act, and by the seal of the Spirit ratify the engagement? So dear was the work, and so apart from anything like extravagance in feeling or otherwise, that though I had fixed my calculations on the performance of some great thing, such as an amazing struggle — a desperate venture of faith — I was now ready to exclaim, "How simple and rational! and how precisely as might have been expected as the result of such exercises. It is all here; I, through the Spirit's influence, have given all for Christ, and now he hath revealed himself, and given himself to me, and become my all in ALL.

Your sister in Christ.

No. XI. — TO MRS. W________.

The bliss of dwelling in God — Blessings are received for the good of others — Confession contemplated — What had been a hinderance for years — Hearty submission to the order of God.

TO MY SISTER IN THE LORD, MRS. W____. I could almost wish that the barrier preventing thought from mingling identically with thought, might for this once be passed. It is thus only permission might be gained to lay open to you fully the deep exercises of that devoted hour to which I referred in my last. O that blissful hour! when the spirit, redeemed by the blood of the covenant, was permitted to pass through the veil of outward things, and return to its Source, with all its tide of affections. Nothing but the veil of mortality, which now seemed almost drawn aside, appeared to prevent the enraptured, blood-washed spirit, coming into the full blaze of the presence of the eternal Trinity.

Such was my sense of dwelling in God, and being surrounded by his presence and glory, that it seemed as if my spirit mingled in worship with the heavenly company. The exercises through which I passed I regarded as nothing less than a holy compact, entered into between the Triune God and the spirit which came forth from him; and as such have I ever since felt the power and weight of the engagement.

Not as the least of the privileges of this period do I regard that of being permitted to count the cost so fully. I foresaw, that, if I would perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord, I must not lean to my own understanding, or exercise independently my own will. Also, that the blessing I had received was not imparted for my own enjoyment exclusively; but that, in accordance with the requirement of Him, who, by the offering up of himself, made this great salvation possible for me, I had been constituted a
witness of it, for the good of others.

I was convinced that for years I had been hindered from rising in holiness, by a neglect to comply with the order of God, implied in the passage, "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation;" and though the deep quiet of my soul seemed to present a natural obstacle to anything like personal publicity, yet I was inspired with the resolve that, through grace, Satan should never again triumph over me in this matter.

The requisition seemed to be (whether temptation, or otherwise, time must determine) to the acknowledgment of what God had done for me, before hundreds and thousands. "Can you, will you, do it?" was the inquiry proposed. "Yes, Lord Jesus, even before an assembled universe, if this be thy will." was the response of my now perfectly subdued heart. Now, though I well know that this blessing is the gift of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ; yet I fully believe, if I had not yielded to these convictions relative to confession, I could not have retained it.

I then felt, and time continues to confirm the conviction, that if I should cease to comply with the terms implied in being set apart for God, as a vessel dedicated to holy service, it would be at the forfeiture of sanctification itself. Yet need I state conclusions so evidently inferable from such premises? Here the distinct idea of symmetrical holiness first impressed me.

By symmetrical holiness I mean that result of entire devotion to God, which is achieved in the
perfect consistency and agreement between the various elements of the character possessing it. Never in heartfelt realization did I before so apprehend the great goodness of God in issuing to polluted mortals the command, "BE YE HOLY," and for such a reason, "For I the Lord your God am holy." O well may angels desire to look into such, a scheme.

Yours, in the fellowship of the gospel.

No. XII. — To Mrs. W_____.

The adversary foiled — Unbroken quiet — Tempted in a dream — Sweet repose — Encouragement given during sleep — Peace, the heritage of the believer.

TO MY DEAR MRS. W____. With my natural propensity to reason, it was suggested that it would require a miracle of grace to sustain me in this state of salvation. The example of those who were apparently possessed of much more spiritual firmness, and yet had failed in retaining it, was presented to weaken my faith; especially the experience of the sainted Fletcher, who, at three or four different periods, let go his confidence, was presented to induce despair. But the adversary was foiled. In the strength of Omnipotence I was enabled to count the cost of living a life of
faith, and firmly did I resolve rather to die than to doubt. I gained beyond calculation, by the determination that I would not reason with the enemy; assured if I ventured even to parley, as in the case of the first transgression, his suggestions would soon assume the appearance of plausibility.

O can I ever, my dear sister W____, cease retain in lively remembrance this eventful evening! I began it, intending to devote it in prayerful waiting before God. I was prevented from continuing long, by some friends calling in; but the deep quiet of my spirit was not in the least disturbed by the visitors. After they had retired, I spoke of the sweet rest upon which my soul had entered to my dear sister Sarah, and then went to my chamber.

Previous to retiring to sleep, my reflections ran thus:— As I have not been favored with extraordinary emotion, such as I have heard many express, may I not expect something especially confirming during the night? I had been enjoying sweet and hallowing communion with God during the night season for some time previous to this, and now, thought I, may I not expect some extraordinary manifestation during these hours of repose? Whether this should be given, or otherwise, I felt that I was resting consciously in the arms of everlasting love; and the breathings of my passive spirit were, Lord, it is enough! thou art my soul-satisfying portion! The assurance had been imparted, that just the portion of ecstasy best fitted to enable me to glorify God would be given. Already unutterable peace, fresh from the throne, was flowing into my soul, and thus I resigned myself to repose.

But I was made painfully aware that I was not yet out of the reach of the enemy, even while asleep. After the above reflections, imagine my surprise on awaking in a frightful dream. Yes, Satan himself, transformed into an angel of light, was permitted to assault me. But the wrath of our enemy may be made to praise the Lord. Thus it was now. I think the narration calculated to be useful, and, therefore, will give it in part.

I imagined myself standing in the back parlor. All the circumstances of the evening, embracing the precious experience I had gained, were still vividly before me. Presently I was aroused by a loud knock at the door. Knowing that all about the house had, by the lateness of the hour, been quieted, and all the inlets secured, I was assured that something was wrong: but remembering that I was already in the power of the intruder, and resistance in vain, I, with firmness, said, "Come in;" when, lo! a personage, altogether unlike any I had before conceived of, entered. Added to a countenance fiendish in the extreme, was a costume of the Highland order, with a covering of thin white, and black underneath; the black, in many places, projecting below the white. He harshly demanded, "Is the doctor in?" "He is in the front parlor, on the sofa," I replied. As he passed me, I ran and screamed for assistance, and was awakened by the effort. Quick as thought the suggestion came, "Where is the expected manifestation? Is not this enough to call in question the exercises of the evening?" I remembered how sweet had been my communion for several preceding nights, and now to be thus assaulted by the fiend of darkness was, for a moment, a trial. But, blessed be the Lord my strength, I was kept by the Angel of the covenant from yielding to the temptation. Yet there was so much seeming reality in the assault, that my nervous system suffered, much the same at though it had been an actual occurrence; but it was thus far only that the adversary was permitted to exert his power. The tranquillity of my spirit was not disturbed. All was a silent heaven of love. Soon I again sunk sweetly to repose, as under the shadow of the Almighty.

In about an hour and a half after this I was again aroused by these words: "Behold, I, an angel, beseech you that ye walk worthy the vocation wherewith ye are called." An angel? an angel? inquired I, as if conscious of its not being the exact phraseology of Scripture. With the exclamation I again awoke, filled with glory and with God, sweetly assured that God had sent his angel to strengthen me. I arose, and returned thanks to God. Soon after this, my beloved husband came in, who had been absent on professional business since quite early the preceding evening, and was, therefore, unapprised of the glorious assurance of hope I had received.

I told him how the Lord had blessed me. Of the assault from Satan, and how the Lord had just sent his angel to strengthen me. He seemed overjoyed, and regarded the condescension of God as so surprisingly glorious, that I wondered at him, for I felt it was only what might have been expected. Through the power of the Spirit I had first endured temptation, and then that a ministering spirit should be permitted to visit a fellow-heir of glory, appeared altogether natural; for my mind had become so spiritualized, that I seemed to apprehend, in most happy realization, that I had, through the blood of sprinkling, come not only to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, but even "unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels."

Again my sheet admonishes me that I must close; but I shall take an early opportunity to tell you how I have since been borne onward by the might of the Spirit. I find a firm, abiding peace, the heritage of the believer after having entered the rest of perfect love. I daily feel that God requires I should be holy, in order that I may be more useful, and, consequently, more happy. I am ever enabled to endure, as seeing the Invisible. Having entered through the blood of the everlasting covenant into the holiest, I realize daily that I cast anchor deeper within the veil.

Yours, in the blessing of perfect love.

No. XIII. — To Mrs. W_____.

Temptation relative to retaining the blessing — Mental conflict — Peace — Confession — Desires to know the precise foundation of faith — A statement of the way in which prayer was answered — The consequences of turning out of the way apprehended.

TO MY DEAR SISTER, MRS. W____. I am happy to avail myself of an opportunity which offers to continue the recital of the way by which the Lord hath brought me thus far on my Christian pilgrimage.

You may remember the temptation that I mentioned before relative to the improbability of my retaining the blessing, and the resolve which I made thereupon, that I would sooner die than relinquish my claim. I have since felt that this resolution was entirely of the Spirit's influence; and as often as my mind has referred to it, it has been cause of intense gratitude to God. Had it not been for this decision the enemy might have triumphed over me in many of the struggles to which my faith has since been subjected.

I felt the binding nature of the obligation to profess the blessing, yet whenever opportunity offered, there seemed to be an increased effort on the part of the adversary to darken my evidence. Though he could not induce me to surrender, his continued suggestion was, that I believed because I would believe. In answer to this, in the resoluteness of faith, I replied,

"Be it I myself deceive,
Yet I must, I will believe."

I had said, I will die in the conflict rather than unloose my grasp. On the third day after I received the blessing, the mental conflict was so great, under the power of temptation, as to have reached apparently my utmost power of endurance. I had no sensible communication whatever, and nothing but the shield of faith to defend me. The contest lasted, I think, more than an hour, during which my physical nature was so affected by the struggles of my spirit, that my whole frame was in feverish excitement. The conflict continued till I was both physically and mentally prostrated, and then, on resting my cause wholly with Christ, I proved the truth of the words, "I will subdue all thine enemies."

It was night, and on resigning myself thus, wearied nature sunk to repose. The next morning I awoke at an early hour, with peace reigning in all my borders, and with a soul unutterably filled with God.

Still greater confirmation followed this severe conflict. Much of the time my mind was kept calmly staid upon God, exulting in the blessedness of the rest upon which I had entered. On one afternoon of the sixth day (it being Tuesday, an opportunity of which many witnesses of full salvation avail themselves at our house, to bear testimony) I felt it my duty to declare explicitly the salvation wrought out for me, when I was again most powerfully assailed with the temptation, that I believed merely because I would believe. During the evening I wrestled importunately with God that these distressing temptations might cease, and that I might have clear, enlightened views of the
precise ground upon which I obtained, and might retain, this blessing.

In the simplicity of my heart I expressed my desires as nearly as I can remember thus: "Let me have the blessing in some such tangible form, that the enemy may never be successful in the insinuation, that I believe merely because I will believe, without a reasonable foundation for my faith to rest upon." What I wanted was a certain knowledge, which would always be available, by which I might be enabled at any moment to come at the precise ground of my belief.

My prayer was answered; and such clear views were given in answer to my petition, that the adversary was completely vanquished. The Holy Spirit took of the things of God and revealed them unto me, by opening to my understanding Rom. xii, 1: "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Abiding views by which I have ever since been enabled to give a reason of the hope within me, were then imparted.

I saw that nothing less than the omnipotence of grace could have enabled me thus to present my whole being to God. That the power to do so was of itself a miracle. That while I was thus empowered to present every faculty of soul and body a
living, or, as Dr. Clarke says, a continual, sacrifice, it was an express declaration — a truth to be believed, and therefore not to be doubted without sin, that the blood of Jesus cleanseth the offering thus presented from all unrighteousness.

This, I was given to see, was in verity placing all upon that altar which sanctifieth the gift. So long as my heart assured me that I offered all, I saw it was not only my privilege, but my solemn
duty, to believe that the blood of Jesus cleanseth, at the present and each succeeding moment, so long as the offering be presented. Thus I learned the imperative necessity of living by the moment. I learned, that in order to maintain a constant witness of present purification, the sacrifice to God must be ceaselessly made. Should I discontinue the entire abandonment of every power and faculty to God, by shrinking from some duty because the flesh is not willing, it would be at the forfeiture of state of holiness.

A direct path, marked with light, hath from this period been before me. I see the inevitable consequence of turning either to the right hand or to the left. I realize that holiness to the Lord consists in being set apart for his service — not doing my own will, or leaning to my own understanding. But, in acting upon these principles, I am wholly the Lord's: not an hour of my future existence is at my own disposal: I have willed myself over to God, and made an absolute surrender of time, talents, and influence, to his reasonable service: by the power of his Spirit he hath enstamped the seal, which proclaims me his: henceforth it is not for me to confer with flesh and blood; the warfare upon which I have entered is not at my own charge: God requires that I should be holy, in order that I may be more useful, and consequently more happy.

In my next I will endeavor to tell you something more of my establishment in these blessed principles. In the mean time, praying that you and I, with all the household of God, may be rooted grounded, and built up, in our most holy faith. remain,

Yours, in the love and faith of the gospel.

No. XIV. — To Mrs. W_____.

Heaven begun below — Holiness the believer's strength — "If I get it I cannot keep it" — Remark of Dr. B — Mysticism — Consecration a simple act — Holiness maintained by constant faith — The Scriptures a medium of communion with God — The way of the cross — A new existence — The command, "Be ye holy" — Effect on the world of universal holiness in the church.

DEAR MRS. W____. You will remember the promise in my last, relative to the continuance of my narrative. Through grace I can say my heart is daily becoming more rooted and grounded in those blessed truths. My experience continually attests the truth of the assertion, that the life of the believer is a heaven below. The divine tranquillity; the deepened communion with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and the accompanying increase of love, faith, light, and humility; make it such: while the quickened power of perception in discerning the subtlety of the tempter, together with the increased power it gives in contending with him, make this state not only the high privilege, but the imperious necessity, of the believer. Can a reasonable, holy, acceptable service, be rendered without it?

A present and full salvation would not have been made available unless it were needed, in order to glorify God. Yet, my dear Mrs. W____, we need the experience of this salvation in order to know its excellency — its entire adaptation to every want. O the fallacy of the observation, "If I get the blessing I am sure I shall never be able to keep it!" It is precisely what is needed in order to produce that stability of soul which renders us less liable to vacillate in our Christian course; or, in the language of an eminent minister now living — in answer to the objection of a trembling heart, "I fear I could not keep it" — "Brother, nothing but holiness will
keep you."

Do you not think, dear Mrs. W____, that there is too much mysticism thrown around this blessing? I have thought so, and this I believe to be the principal hindrance with many whom I approach on this subject. With the eye of carnal wisdom they seem to be looking at something quite beyond their present reach. Thus they overlook its simplicity. Now, for a soul all athirst for God, what is more easy than to come with a purpose fixed in the strength of the Lord Jehovah, to be his — irrevocably his — whether living or dying: and then, relying on eternal veracity for the acceptance of the gift, to leave there the offering upon the altar? Is not this being set apart for God? And, in its immediate effect, is it not the sanctification which God demands? [“The altar sanctifieth the gift." Matt. xxiii, 19.] The strength required in bringing the offering to the altar is wholly of God; and would he impart the power to do it, without fulfilling his gracious design in inducing the sacrifice? No! If God-dishonoring unbelief does not bind the hands of Omnipotence, a mighty work will at once be accomplished.

But the declaration must be believed: "The blood of Jesus
cleanseth." Mark! it is in the present tense. It is a living sacrifice that is required. I now, this moment, offer the sacrifice, and it is cleansed — I continue in the same act, the succeeding moment, and continue to feel that the blood of Jesus cleanseth. To the soul that thus continues to live in the spirit of sacrifice the veracity of the immutable Jehovah is pledged. It is thus that the blessing is obtained, and also retained, by faith in the sufficiency of the atonement, and a firm reliance on the indubitable WORD OF GOD.

With most grateful reflections do I look back upon the way by which I have been brought in reference to the Scriptures. Blessed be the Lord Jehovah for this chart, by which my way has been so luminously marked out! Would that I could convey to your mind an idea of my hallowing, delightful communings with the God of all grace, through this precious medium, while by most unequivocal assurances he has made himself known to me, and I have joyously exclaimed, "It is the Lord!"

I shall also ever with most grateful emotions retrace the way of the cross. In reference to some of its most painful peculiarities, I have been led to exult in its blessedness, and exclaim, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!" There have been some demands to which my nature could not have submitted unless there had been an entire crucifixion of it. But I do not remember to have made one sacrifice, however unaccountable the nature of it at the time may have been, without proving by subsequent experience that my spiritual advancement required the surrender.

To the praise of Almighty grace, I ought to acknowledge that he has caused me to become so established in the assurance that I know nothing aright, only as taught by the Spirit, that it is my most earnest endeavor to know the mind of the Spirit, and after being once convinced of the will of God concerning me, I have never dared, nor even wished, to hesitate in the performance of it.

Never, previous to receiving the witness of holiness, did I realize that I had received the sentence of death in myself; that I should not trust in myself, but in Him who raiseth the dead. So conscious have I since been, that all my sufficiency is of God, that for worlds I would not live one day without the
witness that I have returned all my redeemed powers to him. Momentarily do I know, yes, deeply realize, that the seal of consecration is set.

On my first entering into this blessed state, a constant effort seemed necessary in order to retain it. I have thought my views and feelings at the time, in a manner, comparable with one who had just entered upon a new existence, without being precisely aware of the principles upon which that existence is to be sustained. He inhales the life-sustaining air joyously, yet with a degree of tremulousness; queries whether he can again, and yet again, be sustained in a like effort: until the principles by which he is held in existence are gradually apprehended, and he breathes more and more freely, till at length, without even a careful thought, he revels in new existence. Thus at first I was continually asking myself, Do I now present all? Do I now believe? This slight degree of restlessness has since graduated into the blessedness of unquestionable certainty, that I
do present all; I do believe.

This assurance, that all my powers are consecrated to holy service, gives me to feel the imperative necessity of being a laborer in the vineyard of the Lord; and this knowledge of consecration brings with it the inspiring persuasion that my labor is not in vain. "Forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." O, my dear sister W____, it would be impossible, even though time and space might permit, to describe to you. how comprehensive in hearing this blessing has been upon all my experience since its reception. The light of eternity alone can reveal the superior blessedness of that soul, who, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, has entered into, and abides in, a state of holiness.

And now I cannot longer view it as
optional with any redeemed child of Adam whether he will rise to this state or not. No! within the lids of the Bible a more authoritative command cannot be found, than, "BE YE HOLY." And would the command be given, and yet the power to obey it withheld? And if empowered, by the might of the Spirit, to live in this state of entire consecration, surely it would be to the praise of God, that the clear, decided witness, be given, in order that his witnesses may declare it to the glory of his grace.

O that every master in Israel might teach, from experimental knowledge, the necessity of this great salvation! Pray fervently for this, my dear friend. When this object is gained, how soon shall we see the armies of our Israel coming up to the help of the Lord against the mighty, and by the power of personal holiness hastening the time when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God and of his Christ!

Yours, in the bonds of perfect love.

No. XV. — To Mrs. R_____.

Questions — Unreasonable not to be holy — Danger of slighting convictions — Sad remembrances — A fearful state — Count the cost — Decision — Self-sacrifice — The martyrs — The offense of the cross not ceased — Self-distrust — The way opened to the holiest — Temptations.

DEAR SISTER IN CHRIST, — And now, dear sister R____, how does your soul prosper? Has the consecration of all your powers yet been made? and is the sacrifice accepted? Or are you still halting between two opinions? Your Redeemer demands your entire service. O that this may be the hour when you may fully acknowledge his claim, and render back your whole existence to him!

I know I need not say that this is but a
reasonable service. Your would-be-devoted heart already assures you of the reasonableness of your Redeemer's demand. O yes! you know that it is unreasonable not to be holy. Will you not act this moment upon your conviction of duty? The delay of one hour may witness a great abatement in the fervor of your desires. The very conviction of your need of holiness, and these restless aspirations after it, are talents for which you will be held responsible when you give an account of your stewardship. Yes, these are, indeed, gracious gifts from God. It is GOD that worketh in you.

Should you now, by delay, refuse to be a worker together with him, and thereby grieve the Spirit, and cause the withdrawment of its operations, how fearful would be your case! Ah! I have witnessed such cases, and my heart is agonized at the remembrance. Could rivers of tears purchase the return of these gracious influences, or any sacrifice, however costly, it were less fearful to trifle with, or to treat as of secondary importance, these God-wrought exercises. It is a solemn truth, that the light which is in us may become darkness; and then, O how great is that darkness! The light may shine afterward, but the
darkness comprehendeth it not. What a fearful state!

Now is God's time! Will you choose any future period? If so, you take your own time. And is not this exceedingly perilous? Do you say, "It is but meet that I should count the cost?" Well, dear sister, begin just now to make the calculation, and let it be with the decision fixed irrevocably, that you will abide by the reckoning. I entreat you, in the name of the Lord Jesus, to pause, and now bring this matter to an issue. Do you find aught but what already belongs to God? Ah! the obligation, implied in the demand of your Redeemer, settles the claim with unquestionable certainty: "Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and spirit, which are God's."

Will you not now begin to render back your
whole existence to God? I appeal to you in the name of the Lord of hosts — and in the presence of those angel spirits that encamp around about them that fear him. Will you not now begin to count all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus? There must be a point in your experience when this is done, if you are ever numbered with that blood-washed company, of whom it is said, "These are they that have come up out of great tribulation, having washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Does not this imply that a self-sacrificing spirit is necessary? Of this I am assured, that no less devotion than that which carried the martyrs through the flames, will carry us, unpolluted, through this present world. The idea that the state of the world is now such as to make but little sacrifice of public opinion necessary, in order to be a traveler in the King's highway, is unauthorized, either from Scripture, or Scriptural experience. "The servant is not above his master. In the world ye shall have tribulation. If ye were of the world, the world would love its own; but ye are not of the world, therefore it hateth you."

O, dear sister, fix your eye on a BIBLE
experience, and this will lead you at once to HOLINESS!

And now, will you not begin to carry out with entire decision those views of privilege and responsibility which were, through the Holy Spirit's influence, apprehended by you at the time we met?

You, doubtless, feel as if you would fain with full purpose commence. But you are distrustful of yourself. And should you not be distrustful of self? God grant that you may ever feel that you have received the sentence of death in yourself, that you may not trust in yourself, but in Him that raiseth the dead. But, unworthy as you are, Christ is your Saviour. He has paid your debt, and purchased your
entire freedom from sin. Why not this moment, then, begin to reckon yourself dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God, through our Lord Jesus Christ? Behold your present privilege — your duty! The way into the holiest is open. The Spirit and the Bride say, Come! come! for all things are ready. When Jesus bowed his head upon the cross, and said, "It is finished!" the veil of the temple was rent, and the way into the holiest made accessible for all, through the blood of the everlasting covenant. Why, then, should you delay to enter? O arise with a holy boldness! "The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." You may be assured that Satan will take every possible way to hinder you. He will tell you that "you are not yet ready for the reception of the blessing." When you begin to venture, he will tell you that it is "presumptuous; you have not feeling enough; 'tis too much the work of imagination to be real; perhaps you have not yet given up all;" with nameless other suggestions. But, in the name of the Lord, you may say, with David, "I can run through a troop."

Your affectionate friend.

No. XVI. — To Mrs. R_____.

Power of faith — Terms of the covenant — Unsanctified resting in creature-good — Self-denial — A Jewish offerer —The Christian's altar; where? — It is Christ; it is here—The sacrifice to be offered — The altar sanctifieth the gift — Sinfulness of doubting it — The altar greater than the gift — Self-sacrifice reasonable; our duty; its benefits —The offering must touch the altar —The will must be resigned.

MY DEAR SISTER, — This is just the state of salvation you need. Without this establishing grace you will ever be wavering in your purposes; and is it not possible that you may have it even before you lay this communication aside? Dear sister, all things are possible with God, and all things are possible to him that believeth! Do you observe that this implies a present act — not something is the future? "He that believeth on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live! O the omnipotence of faith! the want of it may even stay the hand of the Almighty. You will remember that it was said of the blessed Jesus, "He could not do many mighty works, because of their unbelief." He cannot work where unbelief prevails, consistently with the order of his government, a principle of which is explicitly stated, — "He that believeth not is condemned already." John iii, 18.

And now, dear sister, let me again say, "Come, for all things are ready." A redemption from all iniquity has
already been wrought out for you, and all that remains to be done is, that you accept it, on the conditions specified in the word of God. One condition, which may be readily apprehended by an individual who is seeking to be wholly sanctified, is recorded in 2 Cor. vi, 17: "Come out from among them, and be ye separate; touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you." Here are the conditions on the part of God, and also on the part of the creature. Take this in connection with the first verse of the succeeding chapter, and you will find a thorough exposition of the process by which the soul is sanctified.

Are you willing to comply with the conditions? Ah! I fear your mind is resting on this and the other beloved object. Your heart may be saying, in view of some cherished idol, "Am I indeed called to sacrifice this object, which surpasses all others in desirableness?" Why this, probably, is precisely the object which God intends to dethrone. You know he is a jealous God, and will have no other gods before him. But perhaps you may say, "It is not an idol — it is but one of the precious gifts of God; and can he now require that I should resign it?" Why, dear sister, if it is indeed a gift from God, is not this a conclusive reason why you should give it up, at the bidding of the giver? Abraham did not know why he was called to sacrifice his beloved Isaac; but he conferred not with flesh and blood, and without questioning the right of God, immediately obeyed.

Job said, "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; and
blessed be the name of the Lord." Can you not say the same? Perhaps nature still shrinks, notwithstanding all your efforts to induce a willingness to make the sacrifice. Well, be it so. You know that every onward step for the disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ is marked with self-denial. "If any man will be my disciple, let him deny himself." "As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him." By this you are assured that every successive step must be thus marked. An illustration is suggested to my mind, which I think will help you:— Imagine a Jew in ancient time, fully aware of the requirements of the law demanding the choice of his flock; for a moment he hesitates while covetousness, murmurs in his heart, as he gazes with increasing interest on the valuable sacrifice, until aroused by the consideration of what indulgence in the unhallowed propensity will lead to, he, with decisive step, hastens at once with his offering to the hallowed altar. The sacrifice is presented; and the very moment it touches that "altar most holy" it is sanctified. The sanctification of the gift did not depend on any inherent good in the offerer, but upon the sanctity of the altar upon which it was laid. The ALTAR sanctifieth the gift.

And now I presume that you are saying, "Would that I could find the altar! gladly would I hasten to it! but where, O where, is the
Christian's altar? Has God indeed provided an 'altar most holy,' whereunto the believer in Christ may come, and upon which he may lay his offering? Had I a thousand miles to journey, gladly would I this moment leave all and hasten to it; and my all should at once, and for ever, be laid upon the Sanctifier."

Listen to God, dear sister:—
"We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat who serve the tabernacle." The fact is settled beyond controversy. Is your spirit asking whether it is an "altar most holy?" sufficient to warrant the expectation that the altar will sanctify the gift which you lay upon it? Let the Holy Spirit answer: "We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Christ, once for all." Heb. x, 10. The ancient altar was sanctified by modes of purification prescribed by the law; and now, "if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of an heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works, to serve the living God?" Christ speaks: "For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they may be sanctified through the truth." John, xvii, 19.

And now, what more, dear sister? Is your heart saying, "I cannot apprehend the altar as near?" In the name and strength of the Lord, banish the thought. "It is nigh thee." Say not in thy heart, Who shall ascend into heaven to bring Christ dawn? or who shall descend into the deep, to bring him up? He is as near you this moment as you are to yourself. And now, what is wanting but that you, as a worker together with him, perform the work assigned you? You may have forgotten that you are of God's royal
priesthood; and that it is now your duty to offer up continually spiritual sacrifices. The offering to be presented is as near to you as is the altar upon which it is to be laid. The description of sacrifice required is thus given: "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Rom. xii, 1.

If the scribes and Pharisees were reproved for thinking more of the gift than of the, altar which sanctifieth the gift, who can portray the guilt of that unbelief which prompts the offerer at the Christian's altar to doubt whether, when he lays his offering upon the altar, it will be sanctified? And yet another course, if possible, even more dishonoring to God, is pursued by many: it is that of thinking more of the gift than of the altar itself. Did the temple service require sacrifices? How much more commanding are the claims of Christ our Redeemer! His cause requires a whole burnt-sacrifice. The entire service of body, soul, and spirit, is not only a
reasonable, but a required service. Christ has purchased all unto himself. How unreasonable, then, not to live ceaselessly in the act of returning to him all these redeemed powers! O it is but meet that it should be a living sacrifice! And is it not blessed to know that we may thus be unto God a sweet savor of Christ?

Abiding here, you will
realize in verity what it is to have your life hid with Christ in God. How can it be otherwise, than that the soul abiding thus in humble confidence on the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, should realize momentarily the purifying efficacy of the atonement? Living in this state, must necessarily induce the enlistment of all our powers in his holy service. Reposing thus on the heart of infinite Love, the pulsations of his heart all beat in unison with the Saviour's.

Our interests being all identified with the interests of the Redeemer's kingdom, how can it be otherwise than that all our sympathies should be thrown out upon a perishing world? And is the design of redemption answered in any lower state of grace than this? If you live in the enjoyment of this salvation, you will then be constrained to acknowledge yourself but an unprofitable servant, rendering no more than is His due. You will have cause for deepest abasement before God, that you have ever neglected thus to acknowledge the claim of your Redeemer.

If you delay presenting the sacrifice, from any cause whatever, you make food for repentance. God demands
present holiness. Every earthly consideration should dwindle into insignificance in comparison with this. Resolve, sister, from this moment, that this demand of your God shall be met. Say to every minor object, "Let the dead bury their dead."

Remember, the offering must
touch the altar before it can be sanctified. This is God's unalterable decree. With him there is neither variableness nor shadow of turning. The act, on your part, must necessarily induce the promised result on the part of God. But do not forget that all is not laid upon the altar, until that will that requires signs and wonders preparatory to believing is also resigned. This seems to be the last point about which the heart lingers. What you are aiming at is holiness, not feeling. Trust the matter with God, and he will give you just the amount and kind of emotion that will best fit you to glorify his exalted name; and this is all that you are now to live for. Your God is now saying unto you, "Bring all the tithes into my store-house, and prove me herewith."

Do it, dear sister, and you will at once know, most assuredly, that if any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, Not tomorrow, but NOW.

Your faithful friend.