February 6, 2017 // Story


  1. F. CRARY

I was born in Jennings County, Indiana, December 12, 1821, and was converted to God in

January, 1839, while at school at Pleasant Hill, Ohio. The revival was under a most devoted
Presbyterian minister. My conversion was clear, and my peace with God constant and wonderful
for months. I was admitted to the Indiana Conference in the fall of 1845, and had been for three
years before that under a strong impression that I ought to preach. I had most of the time a
consciousness of pardoned sin and fellowship with God, but felt at times great depression of
spirits and doubt about my duty.

I did not readily yield to my conviction that I ought to preach, but instead pursued my own

chosen path and studied law, and was admitted to practice. I always felt a degree of happiness in
talking to others about religious matters, and was active in Christian work. In the summer of 1845 I
yielded so far to the voice of the Spirit as to submit my case to the will of the Church, intending to
take the decision of the Conference as a final providential direction. I was admitted, and sent to a
large circuit.

My conversion had been instantaneous, and about midnight, and the joy of it kept me up all

night. So I never doubted that, but had times of dense darkness through which I fought with
desperation, holding to the fact of my regeneration and to God’s promise. In preaching I had times
of great triumph, and then again was overwhelmed with confusion bordering on despair. It seemed
as though I was left to myself, and my weakness was unaccountable and my doubts very

In 1847 I read with great care The Life of John Fletcher, and also his treatise on Christian

Perfection. I read them on horseback, studying, praying and often weeping over them and over my
own want of such experiences. In 1849, at a revival meeting, in the month of July, while many
souls were seeking Christ and I was profoundly interested and affected in talking with them, and
was very happy in my own soul, I was led into a faith and an experience I never had before.


While kneeling at the “mourner’s bench” and directing a poor sinner how to trust God, a

devoted sister, who knew my own convictions and experience, and who enjoyed perfect love
herself, said to me very quietly,” Brother Crary, you had better try that yourself, and trust God for
full salvation.” I said then and there, “I will; I do; bless the Lord!”

This meeting was near Bedford, Lawrence County, Indiana. I had after that a constant

experience of the Love of God in my soul, and never afterward went back so far that I fell into the
doubts and depressions which before that gave me so much trouble. It was a quiet, subdued,
constant peace and joy. I had afterward a time of long and fearful trials, sickness, sorrow and
death in my family, stroke after stroke, until a shivering dread of disease and death came over me. I
did not fear for myself, but for my remaining children and friends.

I then learned the meaning of “Thy will be done,” and finally could say it and feel it. Before

that I thought I could and would do any thing for Christ; now I learned to suffer and bear it
patiently. That was another great victory, and I rejoiced and was glad, and sang and triumphed. My
faith became fixed and I took to myself God’s promises. Then I entered into another state of
temptation from most unfortunate financial troubles. They were small, but no less grievous. I never
lost faith in God nor gave up my trust in any way, but was helpless, not, as I believed, from my
own fault, and I had to bear a most cruel weight of suspicion and sometimes harsh accusations. I
paid, month by month, debts that oppressed me, and grieved in silence and alone. This I had to
bear through weary years. On a small salary I contrived to save some and pay what I could. I dared
not go in debt any more nor borrow any thing. During this time I could not explain, and I grew
naturally cautious about saying much concerning my Christian experience; but I never denied God
nor lost my faith.

Intimate friends blamed me sometimes for being so troubled over this matter. I found

myself helpless and broken over this most unfortunate affair. I believe I had friends who could and
would have helped me, but I did not ask them nor tell them. But now, having done what I could
alone, and having left all with God, still hoping, working, and trusting, I find that my faith has
grown into full assurance, and my peace flows like a river. Goodness and mercy fill up the days
and nights, and my soul often cries out, “God is good!” I never mistook regeneration for Christian
perfection. Both experiences were clear and definite epochs in my life. I have always preached
that the Christian may, and indeed must, be sanctified wholly. At this time, March 4, 1887, I find
my faith simple and my peace perfect. I put myself and my family in God’s hands with such a sweet
and precious trust that my burden seems all cast upon the Lord. I find myself in the most joyful
fellowship with God’s people. My whole soul overflows with gratitude and praise. So I have
enjoyed this gift and grace, thirty-eight years, during which I have never lost this sense of rest and
peace with God, though at times in the midst of manifold troubles.

I had lived, after my conversion, ten years in a state too fluctuating and uncertain, and had

sought perfect love most earnestly at intervals, but did not find it until I fully believed and obtained
the baptism of power through the Holy Ghost. I have never in the least degree lost faith in my
brethren in the Church nor joined with those who indulged in faultfinding and denunciations, but
have lived in peace, and done what I could to save souls, having the sweetest fellowship with all


  1. F. CRARY SAN FRANCISCO, CAL., March 5, 1887.

Source: “Forty Witnesses” by S. Olin Garrison

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

Vol. I — Named Accounts

Interchurch Holiness Convention

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