February 6, 2017 // Story



I was converted at the age of eleven, and united with the M. E. Church. Soon after my

conversion I became deeply impressed with the necessity of “holiness, without which no man shall
see the Lord.” By reading the memoirs of the most prominent among the early Methodist in the old
country, together with the works of Messrs. Wesley and Fletcher on the subject, I became
aquatinted with the doctrine of sanctification, and in theory learned the power of Jesus’ blood to
”cleanse from all unrighteousness.” At this early period of my Christian life, I became fully settled
in my views of sanctification as a distinct blessing to be sought, experienced and enjoyed. The
Memoir of William Bramwell, especially, which I read over and over again, convinced me that the
sanctifying grace of God is an absolute pre-requisite to usefulness, both in the ministry and laity.

At the age of twenty I commenced to travel under the Presiding Elder as a Methodist

itinerant preacher. And, oh! how much I suffered during that first year, from my convictions of the
necessity of purity, and a consciousness that I was not all that God would have me to be. Oh! how
my conscience smote me when I tried to urge believers to “go on to perfection in Christ Jesus!”

Still I had many happy seasons, and saw many souls converted, and at times was surprised

to hear Christians tell what a blessing some of my feeble efforts had been to them. But to my shame
be it known, that my labors had only aroused them from their slumbers, convinced them of the
necessity of sanctification, but left them in the dark as to how it could be attained.

Thus it was for years. There had been, and still was, one reserve in my consecration.

Immediately after my conversion I was troubled with convictions of duty relative to the ministry.
The older I became, the more pungent were my convictions that at some time I must preach the
Gospel, and, although, I had been constrained to give myself up to the work, and had preached for
years with a great degree of success, by the grace of God, so far as the conversion of sinners was
concerned, yet I had never as yet consented to devote myself wholly to God and his work
unreservedly. The truth was this:– -“at the age of ten I made up my mind to be a sailor. And if a
person ever worked hard to accomplish any thing, I did to enter upon my cherished vocation. I left


no means untried; I did all in my power; several times ‘I secured a berth,’ but before the vessel
sailed, Providence hedged up my convictions and entered the ministry, I still desired

“A life on the ocean wave
And a home on the rolling deep.”

I was determined to be a Christian, and get to heaven, I loved to preach, and felt a deep

anxiety to see souls saved. But, still I would think, I will preach in the conference awhile, then I
will settle in some seaport town, preach occasionally, (just enough to still my conscience), but the
most of my time shall be spent in sailing, or in some way I will be identified with the shipping and
commerce of our country. Thus you see my consecration was not a unreserved one.

Things passed in this way until July, 1849. I had been absent from home several days.

Returning on Saturday evening about dark, Mrs. B. met me at the gate, and exclaimed, “Oh my
husband! Elder Brakeman is dead and buried!” The shock of an earthquake could not have been
more startling. He was my Presiding Elder. I loved him as I have loved any other man, and he had
been more than a father to me. He was thrown from a horse and was killed. His death made a deep
impression upon my mind, and I felt at once to pray, “Oh, that his mantle might fall on me.”

The next day I had three appointments, and at each of them was obliged to announce the

death of their P. E., Rev. Josiah Brakeman. I was much affected, and so was all the people; and if
ever I prayed in good earnest for any thing, it was during that day — that his death might be blessed
to me. While on the way to my third appointment I was earnestly pleading with God to bless this
heavy stroke to my good, and to make me a better and more useful man, when all at once something
seemed to say, “What you need is entire sanctification.” I responded, “I believe that, but how can I
obtain it?” The answer came, “You might have had it long ago if you had been willing to give up
your cherished pursuit, leave the world — leave all — and live and die a devoted, self -sacrificing,
minister of the Lord Jesus.” I then solemnly vowed that I would not rest, until I should obtain the
witness that I was fully sanctified. I seemed then to lose sight in part of Brother Brakeman’s death,
and soon was actually groaning for full redemption. Arriving at my appointment, I felt I could do
nothing but pray for myself. If the service consisted of any thing else, I don’t know what, for I never
had any recollection of it. I was in the struggle for three days. Those three days are never to be
forgotten. How I was tempted! Satan assailed with all his power. Sometimes the world with all its
charms, its riches, honor, and pleasures were presented to me, and I was bid to choose them. Then
the toils, trials, responsibilities, and sufferings of an itinerant minister’s life was presented, and I
was urged to shun these. Then my solemn vows would stare me in the face. Then the horrible
punishment that would follow if I should not pay those vows, would pass before me. Then, again,
the suggestion, you are converted, and you know it; you see sinners converted under your labors,
and why not be satisfied with that, would be urged. Still at heart I felt to say, “Victory or Death!”

At length I reached this point. I must now choose between the world and hell, Jesus and

Heaven; which shall it be? Oh, how earnestly for a few moments, did I struggle, then through grace
I Triumphantly said with all my heart, “Give me Jesus.” Oh, how the world with its beauties
passed from my view, and no sooner had I loosed my hold of the world, than I felt to cry out, “I
cannot rest till pure within.” Till I am wholly lost in thee.”


“Believe and it shall be done,” was the answer. My heart responded, “I do believe with all

my heart.” And, Oh! what a change. I did not feel like shouting, I was in no excitement. But, O!
how calm and beautiful! I then asked, “Is the work wrought? Am I wholly the Lord’s, and he mine?”
The more I prayed over it the better satisfied I was, and have been ever since.

From that time until now I have never doubted my acceptance, and have never had the least

desire to abandon the ministry for any thing and every thing the world can give. And, strange as it
may seem to others, it is nevertheless true that all my desires to sail on the ocean were taken away,
and I now have a perfect dread and detestation of it.

After I obtained the great blessing, I saw the vast difference between preaching about a

thing that we know nothing of, and preaching what we have experience ourselves. And one strong
evidence to me is the fact that never since July, 1849, have I preached or talked on the subject, or
even testified that “I know the blood of Jesus cleanseth from all unrighteousness, but I have been
blessed in so doing, and it has proved a blessing to others.” Yes, the “blood of Jesus cleanseth
from all sin.” I know it. And thanks be to His name that I Have ever been able to preach this truth
to others, and that I am spared to place my testimony on paper.

Since the first Sabbath in November, 1866, I have been laid aside from my labors, my

voice having been reduced to a mere whisper, and having suffered constantly and exceedingly with
a chronic disease of the throat. It is evident that my effective work as a preacher is done. During
these three months last passed I have been taking new lessons in what is called, “Bearing the
Cross.” This has been a great trial to me, but still I can say, never in my life has Jesus been so
precious as during these months of suffering and trial. Oh, what sweet abiding peace I enjoy! what
a sinking out of self into God! what resignation to the will of God! The Providence that laid me
aside amid my abundant labors is to me very mysterious; still I feel all the time that it is all for the
best in some way, although I cannot see how. Oh, how full of hope and joy is the sweet witness,
that I dwell in God, and that He dwelleth in me!

I rejoice that for nearly thirty-two years I have been able to testify that Jesus hath power on

earth to forgive sins; and that for almost eighteen years I have been able to testify that His “blood
cleanseth from all sin.” Glory be to God for a present, full salvation. Kind reader, let me exhort
you to seek it, obtain it, live it.

Source: “Pioneer Experiences” by Phoebe Palmer

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(A Collection of Holiness Experience Accounts)
Compiled by Duane V. Maxey

Vol. I — Named Accounts

Interchurch Holiness Convention

18931 Route 522

Beaver Springs, PA 17812

Phone: 570-658-1030