CLIFFORD B. BARRETT
While Mr. Barrett had a wonderful experience in saving grace, the fact of a propensity in
his heart to sin was self-evident. It was manifested in one form or another, and greatly hindered his spiritual progress. That disposition was due to the indwelling of the Adamic nature, which passed in judicial penalty upon all men; “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3: 23) and is only eradicated through sanctification of the Holy Spirit. To retain that principle in his heart would have meant to dwarf his soul, cripple his spiritual graces, and render his life comparatively useless. He found out that it is impossible to attain to a vigorous growth of Christian character while contending with all the elements of inbred sin; that there can be no maturing and ripening of the fruits of the Spirit when the heart is the seat of conflicting principles; and that the greatest degree of success in life is possible only with those whose hearts are clean and who are baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire. He may have been cognizant, too, of the fact that the Spirit-baptism is necessary to make our lives accord with the word of God; for it says, “Be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).
When Mr. Barrett came to the end of self, to his place of Golgotha, where only the fulness
of Christ is revealed, he found God in His sanctifying grace; for the abounding Christ-life is received only after a death to the carnal and self-life. Christ in His fulness enthroned meant sin and its power dethroned. His heart became the seat only of holy principles, of pure motives and aspirations.
The exact time or year when he was sanctified wholly is not clearly known. Bishop J. S.
MacGeary, places the time as three years after his conversion. In that connection the following extract from a letter by Rev. J. B. Freeland is given:
“I was converted in the winter of 1854, and it was the next spring that I met Clifford Barrett
at Cincinnati, Ohio. He was employed in caring for some rafts, as I also was in looking after my father’s rafts. I returned to Allegheny, New York, after my father’s lumber was delivered. It was the same summer, I think, that the incident occurred in regard to my needing a clean heart and subscribing for the ‘Guide to Holiness,’ of which Brother Barrett was a subscriber and for which
he was an agent. If so, he was fully saved at that time, in 1854. But it is possible that it was not until the next summer, in 1855. It could have been no later than that, I am sure, as I received the experience of perfect love in the summer of 1856. I am positive in my remembrance of having been a reader of the ‘Guide’ before that date.”
Mr. Barrett attended some of the first camp-meetings of the National Holiness Association,
particularly at Martha’s Vineyard and on the Round Lake campground, in New York, and it is believed that he was sanctified at one of those meetings, possibly two years after his conversion.
The usual hindrance of unconcern and indifference on the part of seekers for holiness, so
frequently met with, was unquestionably no fault with Mr. Barrett. The lack of an intelligent understanding or perhaps of any knowledge whatever concerning the doctrine and experience, may have accounted for his not obtaining heart purity at an earlier date in his Christian life. The doctrine of holiness of heart, obtained instantaneously as a second work of grace subsequent to that of regeneration, was not so universally recognized as Biblical and so prominently taught, and the experience so frequently observed then as at the present time. And the opponents of that most essential doctrine, who were predominantly associated in the Methodist church with those who sanctioned the doctrine and were benefited by the experience, confused the minds of many seekers after heart purity, and disturbed the peace of not a few spiritual meetings. The disinterested way in which many persons seek for holiness, occupying months or years and seemingly never arriving at a definite state in that grace, when by earnest application of mind and heart they could obtain the experience within a reasonable length of time, which in most cases under present gospel light would be but a few days or hours, was wholly out of keeping with Mr. Barrett’s intense methods of Christian service and his short-cut way of reaching a throne of grace.
It was common knowledge that Mr. Barrett maintained at all times a clear, definite
experience in sanctifying grace, and gave constant and frequent testimony to it. If he ever lost the Spirit’s witness to that work, the fact is not known. According to his own statements, when shadows of darkness or doubt began to creep upon him, he sought the covert of secret prayer, and ceased not to pray until God gave him victory and the full assurance of his standing in grace. He was very precise in the manner in which he expressed himself when testifying to perfect love. He upheld the doctrine and experience with true apostolic zeal, and urged the grace upon all saved persons as a glorious present- time possibility, a necessary state, pressing many, very many, into an immediate enjoyment of the experience.
Source: “The Happy Alleghenian” by M. L. Rhodes
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HOW THEY ENTERED CANAAN (A Collection of Holiness Experience Accounts) Compiled by Duane V. Maxey
Vol. I — Named Accounts