June 6, 1871 I had an unusual attack with my limbs. The cramp extended through the whole
body, so that it took six persons to keep me in my chair. My shoulders were bruised with the pressure required to keep my body in place, and I suffered some hours from tetanus. For ten days I could only be fed with a spoon. It was a wonder to all that I recovered. I owe much, through the blessing of Providence, to the attentive physicians, the watchful care of loved ones, and many kind friends who came to our assistance. Through this terrible suffering I was wonderfully supported; the Savior was near me, and I Could say, “Thy will be done.” I realized as never before that I had not comprehended the breadth and length and depth and height of that love which it was my privilege to enjoy.
Several incidents occurred during this sickness.
As my chair required repairing, three friends presented me with a lounge, so that my limb
might be strapped to it, and I could be moved with more ease. I had a thread-case I used only to keep little valuables in and money that I was collecting to pay bills. The day I was taken worse I had sold more than usual, and laid the case with its contents in my chair. The next day, after recovering from the stupor caused by the pain, I let mother know it was there; but when she looked for it, it was gone, and never could be discovered afterward. It contained fifteen dollars, besides a number of keepsakes. The loss, however, was partly made up to me. After some weeks I improved rapidly, until my general health was better than usual.
July 8th I rested better, but am still weak. This is a lovely morning; the air is vocal with the
songs of birds. My thoughts, I find, are too wandering. I want an increase of faith and love, a more zealous interest in the salvation of souls. It is with an eye single to the glory of God that I desire to attend the first national camp-meeting at Urbana, of which there has been much talk of late He alone knows my need. But I will trust, and if it be his will, he will open my way, so that I shall have the means and strength to go.
July 14th My way was closed up until within a few days of the meeting. Brother and sister
- R Smith called and told us of the arrangement to have a union tent on the camp-ground. They then presented me with a ready-made wrapper. Not long after this, a letter came from Rev. J. F. Conrey, inclosing eight dollars from friends in the Second Charge, with an invitation to come to camp-meeting.
August 1st On receiving a dispatch from our friends we went to the railroad station, where
I was carefully lifted, so as not to receive any injury, and placed aboard the train for Urbana. By the time we reached that place I was quite exhausted, but got a refreshing sleep after being placed in the ladies’ room. It had been arranged to take us to the camp early. The ride was delightful, a much-needed shower having refreshed all nature, and the scenery and atmosphere were invigorating to both soul and body.
We spent the first day at brother Hitt’s tent. They were exceeding kind. I could hear
considerable of the service in the square. My feelings at first were so wrought upon that I was homesick. I felt like a child that wanted something and could not tell what. I could not feel in sympathy with the meeting. As sisters Inskip and Shyrhia approached me next morning, I felt at once they had the experience my burdened heart was longing for. After I expressed my feelings, sister Inskip said: “You want a pure heart, filled with love. Nothing but the all cleansing power of Jesus’ blood can give you this. Tears are of no avail. Give all to Jesus; make a complete consecration, simply trusting him, and he will do the work for you.” We then went to the great tabernacle, where we heard brother Coleman preach a powerful discourse upon the gracious invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Oh how I felt the need of the renewing power of the Holy Spirit, and a more perfect consecration to God! Scores thronged the altar of prayer, and at each service souls were delivered from the bondage of sin. I was greatly blessed, and at times very happy, yet the consecration was not complete.
On Thursday, while listening to a sermon by brother Gray, from Hebrews vii “Therefore he
is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them ” — I was able to place all upon the altar, as I had never done before. I laid hold of the promises by naked faith, with out any feeling. I took the Lord at his word. I accepted him as my complete Savior and Sanctifier. After a time my peace flowed as a river. I saw the beauty of holiness, and realized how able he was to cleanse my heart from all sin. My unbelief had limited his keeping power by not living more in the present, trusting in him moment by moment.
On Sabbath morning I was deeply impressed with the scene in the great tabernacle. Such a
love-feast is seldom witnessed. I thought, If it is so glorious here, what will heaven be, where ”God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.” How sweet the anticipation of the reunion in heaven; and that, too, with many of the acquaintances formed at this meeting. Rev. Alfred Cookman, who so soon after went “sweeping through the gates, washed in the blood of the Lamb,” said to me: “Dear sister, you are a great sufferer, and almost helpless; yet you may outlive many of us who are on this ground.” How true his words! Numbers have since gone to their long home. Brother Gunn, in a recent letter, says: “That camp-meeting has a history which does not end in this world, but I believe will reach far into eternity, swelling the numbers of the blood-washed throng.”
Many were the incidents of those ten days, but space will not permit my giving them. The
last evening, after the Lord’s-supper was administered (which was a feast to the soul), they all fell into rank, and slowly marched three times around the square, singing as they went. I never beheld a sight so solemn, and so suggestive of the world’s march to the judgment, the great day of the final separation, as represented in the Gospel of Matthew. As I looked at the procession, I wondered who of that throng could say of this meeting, as many will be compelled at the last to say, “The harvest is past, the Summer is ended, and we are not saved!” I returned home fatigued, but my health was improved. Our visit to camp was a benefit to both mother and myself, physically as well as spiritually.
We had our last quarterly-meeting August 26th and 27th. The brethren took me down to the
church on Saturday afternoon — a privilege I had not enjoyed for years, and one, too, so little appreciated by a majority of our members in the Methodist Episcopal Church, at least it is not attended as it should be; namely, the Saturday sermons of our presiding elders. Rev. J. Wykes preached an excellent discourse from Matthew v, 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” A shower came up, so I was compelled to remain for the evening service, after which it was still raining. I was rejoiced in being thus storm-stayed. The dear friends were solicitous for our welfare, but when convinced of my heart’s desire to remain in our Father’s house all night, they consented, as it was convenient to make it comfortable for mother to sleep. That was one of the happiest nights of my life. During the day I read in Dr. Mahan’s “Baptism of the Holy Ghost” an incident of a Scotch girl who, during the era of deadly persecution in Scotland, when on her way to a religious meeting, was met by a company of murderous marauders and required to give her destination. She could not deny the faith, and would not reveal the place of meeting. At this moment the promise of our Lord to his disciples presented itself to her mind-” It shall be given you in that hour what ye shall speak.” She lifted a secret prayer that God would give her what she should speak. Instantly these words suggested themselves: “I am going to my Father’s house. My elder Brother has died. His will is to be read today, and I have an interest in it.” The commander bade her go on her way, saying: “I hope you will find a rich portion left to yourself.” This gave me a theme for precious meditation — the power of prayer — and every time I woke my first thought was, I am in my Father’s house, and I sweetly realized I had an interest in the blessed will through the death of the beloved Son.
There was a heavy storm at daybreak, but my heart bounded with joy to think I was safe at
church for the day’s service. We had a glorious love-feast in the lecture-room, and then went upstairs. Brother Wykes preached from the words, “If any man serveth me, him will my Father honor.” His sermon made clear the path of duty for every Christian. During the lovefeast, the sermon, and sacramental service, it seemed to me that
“Heaven came down our souls to greet, While glory crowned the mercy-seat.”
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Souce: “The Valley of Baca” by Jennie Smith
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HOW THEY ENTERED CANAAN (A Collection of Holiness Experience Accounts) Compiled by Duane V. Maxey
Vol. I — Named Accounts