February 9, 2017 // Story


I realized that, while I was a truly regenerated Christian, there was in my nature a

dangerous foe. My very dear friend, the Baptist pastor, explained that this was the condition of all
believers — this was the “Christian warfare.” I was not satisfied. I argued that if God could change
an utterly hardened infidel into a lover of His Christ, He could fix up a Christian so that he would
be a Christian all the time. I had no one to teach me, to show me the way, but I began, definitely
and earnestly, to pray that God would give me a clean heart-take out of me that thing which had
exploded-to my shame, in the courtroom.

On the night of June 18, 1897, my wife being away from home nursing a neighbor’s sick

baby, I determined to put God to the test. I knew nothing of the doctrine or terminology of
sanctification, but I was facing the cleansing baptism with the Spirit-or a relapse into my old
atheism. How wonderfully God led me as I prayed throughout the long night, even as the enemy
contested every inch of the way!

The enemy: “Does not your Bible warn against being too religious? Don’t be a fanatic. You

will lose what you have.”

The seeker: “I want more of God. I want to be like Him all the time.”

The enemy: “Your friends will all despise you and leave you.”

The seeker: “If God will only give me the desire of my heart, I’ll be willing to walk alone.”

(One time the devil told the truth. It came to pass later, as my sister came home from the

University, she cried, “Charlie has disgraced the family forever.” My artist brother wrote me from
France, “Never write me again;” and for sixteen years he cut me off. But just before his death he
wrote me, “Charlie, you chose the better way. I have received the highest recognition that can be
accorded an American painter, but it is as dead sea apples in my mouth.” My father declared
publicly that his son had gone insane. The county paper gave my case a whole column, saying that


this editor had gone crazy over a fad called holiness, and was on the way to the state asylum. My
pastor turned me out of the church without trial.)

The enemy: “You are ambitious. Your feet are on the ladder. You have every opportunity

for political honor. Do you want to lose all that, and never be known outside the county?”

The seeker: “Oh God, I am willing to be nothing, if only you will make me like yourself all

the time.”

In college I had found it so difficult to earn all my expenses while carrying a full classical

course, that I had vowed if I should ever have children I would do my part in helping them to get
an education.

The enemy: “If you go this way, your children will never have an education. Are you

willing for that? How about your wife? Her deprivations on the frontier will be as nothing
compared with what she will find.”

One may accept any degree of privation or suffering for himself, but it is another thing to

condemn one’s wife and children to martyrdom.

The seeker, finally: “Even that, even that, O God, if you’ll give me a clean heart.”

The long night of struggle was over. I was stripped of every plan, every ambition, choosing

only the full will of God. Then, He came in! His coming was not in a flood of ecstasy (I have
known that experience since), but in a peace that passeth understanding, and a sense of utter
cleanness. As I looked out upon the rising sun, it seemed that God had created the world afresh.

Source: “The Potter’s Vessel” by C. A. McConnell

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

Vol. I — Named Accounts


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