February 9, 2017 // Story



Having determined in every respect to be “crucified with Christ,” nothing of mine, which

my long-suffering Saviour may use for the advancement of His cue, shall, with my knowledge, be
withheld. Many providential circumstances, having combined to strengthen a long resisted
conviction, that this testimony out to be given, nay, could not be kept back without grieving the
Holy Spirit, I send it, trusting that story so humiliating to the sinner, will not fail to magnify the
marvelous race of the patient and loving Saviour.

The fifteenth verse of the eighty-eighth Psalm, as it is translated in the Psalter of our Book

of Common Prayer, has to me a deep significance; for I can truly say, “Even from my youth up, thy
terrors have I suffered with troubled mind.” As far back as I can remember, death and the judgment
were much in my thoughts, bringing before my childish imagination vivid and frightful pictures. But
my first realization, that any power could blemish these terrors, was by the death-bed of a dear
cousin, who departed in triumph, testifying to all round her, of the power of Jesus to save unto the
uttermost, and uttering with her dying breath St. Stephen’s Prayer, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” I
was then about seventeen years of age, and from that time, although having no clear knowledge of
the right way, tried to be a Christian. It is true that I had but little faith, and none of those who
cared for my temporal welfare, manifested any concern for my soul. Still I felt that I must have
some hope to drive away the terror of death, and so I said my prayers conscientiously, went to
church, and what I knew of the commandments, namely the letter, endeavored to keep.

This life continued until I had entered on my twenty-second year, when my eyes were

opened and I saw the precious Saviour; oh, how plainly. A Wesleyan Methodist minister, whom I
knew by reputation to be most earnest and faithful in doing His Master’s work, came to the place
where I resided, for the purpose of doing what he could to awaken an interest in heavenly things,
among a large, careless and ungodly people. I asked him to make my house his home. He did so,
and consequently I attended his service as often as convenient. An evening discourse, the
particular subject of which I cannot now recall, induced a train of thought which constrained me,
after the sermon was ended, and any member of the congregation was at liberty to speak, to rise


and declare my determination to be no longer a merely nominal, but also a practical follower of
Jesus. I had been striving to keep the law, but I had not learned of Jesus the way to do so
acceptably. I then resolved to become in truth an obedient pupil of the Divine Teacher, and
although there was not a thought of what I called “conversion,” for I had little acquaintance with
religious phraseology, I became conscious that a great change was wrought within. A joy, hitherto
quite unknown, filled my heart, and often during the night I found myself uttering words of loving
praise and thanks giving unto my reconciled Father and His well-beloved Son–my God and my

I give this early experience thus fully, because I wish to testify clearly regarding, another

subsequent experience, which might otherwise be looked upon as my first experimental
acquaintance with the truth as it is in Jesus.

Very soon after this great change in my inner life, I became impressed with the necessity, if

I would retain my peace, of entering, the Gospel ministry — in fact, believing with St. Paul, that
”woe is me if I preach not the Gospel.” On Trinity Sunday, 1850, I was ordained, and went
immediately to my appointed field of labor. For five years I wrought diligently, shrinking from no
exertion, either physical or mental which the Lord’s work seemed to me to require; yet, though in
many respects blessed, I realized vividly that my heart devotion, fell far short of the Gospel

It was not till the fall of 1855, that I caught a satisfactory view of the “more excellent way,”

and a very dear brother in the ministry, of our own denomination, made instrumentally by the Holy
Spirit, in enabling me to secure an abundant entrance into its “pleasantness” and “peace.” After
having for some months observed this brother’s consistent, happy walk (as is home but a mile
distant from mine, and we frequently met,) I spent by invitation, several days in his family, in order
to secure the rest, and release from care, needful to restore my impaired health. While with him, I
watched closely his habits and conversion, and became convinced that his religion differed widely
from mine — so widely, that I was even tempted to question whether I had really been a Christian
at all. As my visit drew near its close, I felt that I must learn his secret, and one morning as he sat
by the fireside, the heavenly peace resting in his spirit as so evident in his countenance, that I
almost involuntarily placed my hand upon his shoulder, and said:

“My brother, are you always happy? I mean, “Is your peace toward God never disturbed.”

After a few moments thought, as if seeking to make sure of giving a right testimony, he replied:

“I think I can say, my brother, that I am always happy in the Lord, always at peace towards


“You must tell me how it is, “I exclaimed, for I am not always happy — sometimes I love to

pray and do the Lord’s work, and sometimes I do not. It is my desire to be altogether Christ’s, for I
have no hope but in Him; and yet, though I have prayed and struggled, it seems to me with all the
earnestness of which I am capable, I am often troubled, and sometimes even cold and careless
now, you have something which I have not, and you must tell me what it is. He answered,

“My brother, all I can say is, Believe that ye receive these things, and ye shall have them.”


Through these words, familiar indeed, but never before so illumined by the Holy Spirit — a

bright light entered my soul. “Yes,” I exclaimed, “I will believe, and act as if I believed. All
change is in me alone; Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.” Then these
promises became living truths to my soul. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is
stayed on Thee,” and, “They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up
with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

In the comfort of that unwavering, trust my beloved Lord enabled me to walk, during the

four succeeding years of great physical suffering, and many grievous trials. But nothing reached the
life “hid with Christ in God,” and, in spite of all, the “perfect peace” was kept unbroken. In the
latter part of this period, it was my great privilege to enjoy intimate Christian communion with the
sainted bishop Hamline, and his heavenly-minded life. How precious and profitable this privilege
was, I have no words to express. From them I first learned to look upon my experience as
identified with that which the Methodists call “Christian perfection,” “entire sanctification,” and
”perfect love,” but though compelled to acknowledge these terms scriptural, I was unwilling to use
them in connection with myself, since I felt that they were, by many persons, so sadly misapplied
and misunderstood–neither did I sufficiently realize the necessity of “confession with the mouth,”
as well as of with in the heart. I speak of these two characteristics of my experience at that time,
because, through them, Satan succeeded in luring me from my blessed refuge in the safety of the
”full salvation.”

In the winter of 1860 I was called to a new field of labor, in which I found none professing

the happy experience, and permitting, myself to question the expediency of my making so singular a
profession, where it would be inevitably misunderstood, I soon lost the power to make it — so I
did what I before deemed impossible, I entered again upon the struggling, dissatisfied life, and,
strange inconsistency! continued the unhappy strife for six weary — weary years. At last the
conflict became unendurable, and I felt that I must return to my rest or miserably perish.

Though the way before had proved so direct, yet I could not again find it. I resigned every

position which I thought could stand in the way of perfect freedom, to follow the Lord’s guidance,
and made, it seemed to me, every sacrifice in my power — till my spiritual condition was,
apparently, in no wise bettered. It is true that, after each surrender, I was, for a little while,
cheered by the Lord’s presence, and comforted by the Holy Ghost — but soon the darkness returned
– so slow was I to learn the inevitable duty of confession. But, at last, the moment of decision
came, I realized that I must stand forth to the world altogether Christ’s, or be rejected by the Lord

I wrote to my well-tried friend and patient sister, Mrs. Hamline, acknowledging all my

guilty backslidings, and entreating her prayers. I sealed the letter; threw myself on my knees in an
agony of supplication, and, lo! the blessing, came! I realized, that again my heart was whole with
my precious Saviour, and I covenanted with Him to testify plainly as to His all-sufficient power, in
any way or any place which the Holy Ghost should point out. It has proved a precious covenant,
and wonderfully have I been blessed in keeping it. Never before has the way opened for me to
work so successfully for, or rather with, my ever-present Lord. Truly, His love passeth


knowledge, and He can, indeed, strengthen with “all might,” making us to know the “love that
passeth knowledge” and filling, us, O wonder of wonders! “with all the fullness of God.”

I have now thus given the leading facts of an experience which the Holy Ghost may use for

conveying unto other, as well as the writer, deep practical conviction of this too little regarded
portion of the word of God. “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth,
confession is made UNTO SALVATION.”

That makes me free, indeed
Glorify my Savior’s name!
And all its virtues spread.

Jesus all our wants relieves!
Jesus! mighty to redeem,
Saves, — and to the utmost save
All those that come to Him.

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