- B. GUNN
My early impressions, received under the instruction of pious parent, were most favorable
to a belief of the truth, and a saving knowledge of Christ in my youth. The death of my mother, when [I was] between four and five years of age, also went far to teach me my need of salvation, and frequently affected me for years after. While thus young, I was confident of being a Christian man if spared, and in some way, I know not how, was satisfied that I should be a minister of the Gospel.
When ten or eleven year of age, I became deeply interested in spiritual things, and some
sermons which I have never forgotten were blessed to my thoughtful attention. One night at a prayer-meeting, I was greatly concerned, and after its close was directed and specially prayed for, when a change took place in my feelings — my tears were dried, and peace possessed my soul. For a long time following, I was both prayerful and watchful, but a few years found me careless and wayward.
But Jesus again sought me, the Holy Spirit carried conviction to my conscience, and at the
age of sixteen I had fully yielded my heart to Christ, and openly espoused His cause, and a few months later, professed my faith in Him by baptism, and have retained a membership in His Church until the present, and expect to remain such forever. I lived perhaps about as exemplary a life as young professors in general, and at times enjoyed precious seasons; but as years passed, I gave way to many doubts and fears, which brought me sad and dark hours.
I at last promised the Lord that if He would make me the instrument in the salvation of one
soul, I never would doubt more, and He took me at my Word in such a manner that I could not question it. Just at that time I commenced my ministerial work, and for awhile enjoyed a nearness to my Saviour and tolerable evidence of justification.
But I soon began to feel that I had not attained what was my privilege in a holy life,
although neither my convictions nor hungerings were very marked, until I read Boardman’s “Higher Christian Life,” the first work upon the subject I had ever perused. I thought then I comprehended
the whole work, and that I must and should in very short time obtain it. But I knew not my own ignorance and unbelief. Alas, it took me several years to learn and do what ought to have been done in an hour.
Jesus was very kind to me; souls were converted under my labor, and revivals enjoyed, but
doubts multiplied as time fled. I murmured and was almost wretched, suffering cruel self-condemnation. How often would I have left my calling and given up my hope until alone with God I could secure a full salvation!
At last I went to spend a week with my own dear brother who enjoyed the blessing which I
sought, promising myself that it should be obtained while there. I was the subject of special supplication, an earnestly prayed for “perfect love.” But the week was nearly passed, and not a perceptible step had been gained. We called at Bishop Hamline’s, who resided a short distance from my brother’s, and there I bowed to seek, while others sought for me, Jesus as my sanctification, feeling “now this must be the time and place,” and then Satan tempted me to say: “It is not for me, I must go without it.
But one more struggle: “Lord, I will believe, forgive me if I do not. I do believe,” and
Jesus began to reveal himself near, nearer, and He filled me with His fulness. Then oh! the peace, the glory in my soul. I involuntarily exclaimed, “Oh! how precious. I never loved Jesus so before.”
The change was even greater than at the time of my conversion, in the realizations of joy
and love. I went on in my work, conscious that I had gained new power over sin and Satan, and with the Holy Spirit, and I dared not but acknowledge my precious Saviour in the reality of a distinct Christian experience in the perfect love of Jesus Christ.
Source: “Guide to Holiness, April, 1872″ Edited by Phoebe Palmer
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HOW THEY ENTERED CANAAN (A Collection of Holiness Experience Accounts) Compiled by Duane V. Maxey
Vol. I — Named Accounts