DAVID NASH (Methodist)
Through the merciful providence of God, I was blessed with a pious mother, who not only
in infancy and childhood taught me the fear of the Lord, but from the hour of my birth, consecrated me, her youngest child, to the Lord, and to the Christian ministry.
Frequent and powerful were the strivings of the Holy Spirit with my young and tender heart
while a Sabbath-school scholar and when but a child, was brought under greater concern about religion, through a visit to my native village, and to my father’s house, of the late Rev. John Smith, the great revivalist. Shortly after his transient visit, a great revival commenced in the circuit. I sought the Lord earnestly about four weeks, and at a cottage prayer meeting was happily converted.
Being then in the fourteenth year of my age, my joy, on receiving the evidence of God’s
pardoning love, arose almost to ecstasy. I shouted aloud the praises of God and could truly say, “O Lord, I will praise Thee, though thou wast angry with me: thine anger is turned away and Thou comfortest me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.” I thank God for the clearness with which He then manifested His love to me, so young and inexperienced, it has saved me from many doubts which otherwise I might have had as to the fact of my adoption into the family of God. I was at once received on probation in the Wesleyan Methodist Society, in Sandhurst, Kent country, England.
Soon after my conversion my mind became greatly exercised about working for God, and
the impression forced itself upon my heart that after a few more year’s experience, I should be called “to preach the glorious Gospel of the blessed God.” The superintendent of the Sunday- school in the village, often prevailed me to exhort in school, and when in my seventeenth year, the superintendent of the circuit, the Rev. Joseph Wilson, asked me to accompany him to Mountfield. He preached in the morning of the Sabbath, and announced that he would leave me to address them in the afternoon. It was a very humble sanctuary, in one of the most rural parts of the County of Sussex. Soon after I began to speak, in the name of the Lord, I became deeply convinced of the necessity of a deeper work of grace in my heart. From the writings of Mr. Wesley, with which I
became familiar, I saw clearly there was a greater salvation to be attained, and about this time Providence favored me with the friendship and society of a few deeply devoted Christians, one of whom presented me with the life of the Rev. W. Bramwell. I became athirst for full salvation, and perceived clearly from Mr. Bramwell’s life and letters, that the way to its attainment was by simple faith, in the all-atoning, all cleansing blood of the Lamb. To the best of my knowledge, I had consecrated my body with all its members, and my soul with all its powers, to the Lord, for time and eternity; but I could not be satisfied with this. I perceived that heart-purity, or the cleansing of the soul from all sin, was distinct from; though combined with relative consecration, and that it consisted in a greater work wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit of God, by which is produced a moral and spiritual meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light.
While seeking this purity of heart, I used to arise about four o’clock in the morning, and
taking Bramwell’s life with me, retired to as very secluded spot in Engley Wood, near the town of Cranbrook, Kent, and spent about two hours in reading and earnest prayer, before commencing the labors of the day. I became in a greater agony for this crowning blessing of the Gospel, than I did when I sought the forgiveness of sins, until one Saturday evening, having concluded the labors of the week, I went into the house of a good local preacher, whose name was Henry Gurr, and found there three Christian friends. We soon went to prayer — got into a holy agony; the overwhelming power of the Spirit came down, and I was enable to cast my soul, by simple, childlike faith into the ”Fountain that is opened for sin and uncleanness.” O how mighty we wrestled with the Angel of the Covenant. But blessed be God, the heart-renewing love was given. Every doubt was removed, and the word of God, spoken by the Prophet Zephaniah, being powerfully applied to the mind, confirmed the blessing — “The Lord hath taken away thy judgment. He hath cast out the enemy. The King of Israel, even the Lord is in the midst of thee, thou shalt not see evil any more.” Oh! this seemed a love sufficient to overwhelm the saints in light. I could do nothing, but, in the spirit of rapturous awe, give glory to God. After this, I felt a heavenly calm within. “The work of righteousness was peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” The struggling between nature and grace, between the flesh and the spirit had ended, and I was kept in peace through Jesus’ name, supported by His smile; felt emptied of sin and self, and realized what our poet meant in the following lines:
“All the struggle then is o’er And wars and fighting cease; Israel then shall sin no more, But dwell in perfect peace. All his enemies are gone; Sin in him shall have no part; Israel then shall dwell alone With Jesus in his heart.”
After receiving this deep work of grace, my desires increased for usefulness, and felt it a
privilege as well as a duty to labor for God and for the salvation of souls. Could enter into the feelings of the Psalmist, when he said, “Rivers of water run down mine eyes because men keep not Thy law.” Providence opened various doors of usefulness. Upon removing in Berkley, in the Rye Circuit, England, I became the leader of a large class. The Lord gave me many souls. The class had to be divided repeatedly, on account of its numbers. We had in these meetings many seasons of
sanctifying power. I was also placed, on the local preacher’s plan, in three different circuits, namely, Rye, Sandhurst, and Tenterden. These were days of incessant, but happy toil. Business required my personal attention during the week. Many of the Sabbath appointments were from ten to sixteen miles from my residence, and for some years these journeys had to be performed on foot. But these were halcyon days. the men in my employ became converted, and often the shop resounded with the song of Zion. Two apprentices and one journeyman became preachers of the Gospel, and frequently we discussed points of theology and Christian experience. Well might Paul say, “God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty, that no flesh should glory in His presence,” for by so feeble an instrument He often saved from ten to fifteen souls at a Sabbath service.
When the Rev. Thomas Collins was appointed to the Sandhurst Circuit, in 1832, he came in
the fullness of the Gospel of Christ — offered the full salvation of God to every society. The membership is nearly every place began to hunger and thirst for perfect righteousness. The Lord poured out His Holy spirit in a remarkable manner. Hundreds of souls were soon converted, and the revival spread to all the adjacent circuits. He was a most intimate friend, and though he was in the itinerant ranks and I in the local, yet we labored shoulder to shoulder in this blessed work, and God gave us a day of special power.
Soon after, I became a subject of the saving grace of God, while walking with the
superintendent of the circuit, the Rev. William Kaye, a faithful man of God, who said to me, ”David, there is one passage of Scripture which I hope you will adhere to all through life: ‘In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct thy paths,'” and praised be the Lord, this has been my guiding star thus far through the pilgrimage of life, and in the year 1850, it appeared to direct me to these United States, and after much deliberation and prayer, I closed up my business, and amidst the tears and affections of a large circle of friends and relatives, bade adieu to the beloved land of my fathers, to tell my fellow-sinners here of a Saviour’s dying love, and to offer to fellow-believers the precious pearl of perfect love. God has been with us; He has prepared our way. Upon landing in this country of my adoption, I was immediately employed by the Rev. Heman Bangs on the New Haven District; joined the New York East Conference in 1851, was ordained deacon at the Conference in New York in 1853, by Bishop Waugh; elected to elder’s orders at the Conference in Danbury in 1855, and ordained by Bishop Janes. Revivals to a greater or less extent have been witnessed in every place where I have been called to labor.
Source: “Pioneer Experiences” 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