JOHN S. INSKIP (Methodist — First President of National Holiness Association)
I was awakened and converted to God at Marshalton, Chester Co., Pa, April 2, 1832, under
the ministry of Rev. Levi Scott, now one of the bishops of the M. E. Church. Although I encountered much opposition from my misguided parents, the Lord sustained and directed me. Aided by divine grace, I continued steadfast, and “witnessed a good confession” for Christ.
At length, it was impressed upon my mind, that God had called me to the work of the
ministry. A field of labor being opened, I commenced my itinerant life, and consecrated myself to the service of God, and the responsible duties of my calling.
The subject of entire sanctification attracted my attention. I was profoundly interested with
it at the time of my ordination, when the Bishop asked me the solemn and heart-searching question, ”Do you expect to be made perfect in love in this life? are you groaning after it?” etc. At that moment I came very near to this great salvation. A little encouragement from any one familiar with the “deep things of God,” could have been of infinite benefit to me, and might have so modified my subsequent experience as to have greatly increased my power with God and man Often, indeed, a similar crisis has occurred in my life, but, alas, it was allowed to pass away unimproved. In two or three instances the “land of Beulah” was clearly in view, and with the aid of a devout instructor, I am fully persuaded I could have “entered in,” and possessed the “rest” provided for the soul.
Various influences combined to change my views of the doctrine, and more especially of
the experience of Christian perfection. My mind, it is true, adhered to the doctrine as a peculiarity of our creed. I was supported in my adherence by a kind of denominational tenacity which led me to contend for the doctrine when I discarded the experience. The doctrine I found in all our standard authorities, and knowing it as a “specialty” among our Methodistic ideas, I was
constrained to protect and advocate it on all suitable occasions. Notwithstanding this, I became exceedingly hostile to profession of the experience. My hostility assumed a more reprehensible form than doubt or skepticism. It became, in fact, a deep seated and unyielding prejudice, and sometimes developed in the most uncharitable criticisms upon those who professed the blessing, and the methods which they adopted to promulgate it. The remembrance of this fact is often occasion of great humiliation before God and my brethren. I am aware I did it “ignorantly and in unbelief.” Still the error was a very grievous one, and, in a certain sense, was “without excuse. I ought to have done better and done differently. But God has graciously forgiven me.
For nearly two years prior to the time when it pleased God to bestow this blessing upon me
I had been living a more devout life than at any former period of my history. My personal religious interests had been more prominently in view, and excited a larger measure of attention and effort than usual. This was not, however, with any special reference to the attainment of the definite blessing of purity. I sought after a “closer walk with God,” and frequently was conscious of extraordinary power in the pulpit, and divine fellowship in the closet. My whole experience during this period was of the most improving and satisfactory character. I was under the control of the sentiment expressed in the line, “Nearer my God to Thee — nearer to Thee.” Yet the idea of seeking entire sanctification I think did not enter my mind. I mean that I did not distinctly and specifically have it in view, nor was it with me a well defined object of endeavor or hope.
At the Sing Sing Camp Meeting, August 19, 1864, my wife sought and found this “perfect
rest.” Prior to leaving home she had been impressed she would receive this blessing. She was present at most of the meetings in which the subject of holiness was presented as a “specialty,” and also attended and took part in all the usual services of the hour. Her entire time was given, and all the energies of her nature were roused and drawn toward this momentous theme. On the morning of the last day of the meeting the Lord heard and answered her cry. The question came up, would you be willing to acknowledge this blessing to your husband and others? She made an affirmative response, and “looking unto Jesus” by faith, she felt the “all cleansing blood” applied, and rejoiced in the assurance that she was made “every whit whole.” In an instant the great transaction was done.
The intelligence soon reached me. I cannot say I was surprised. Yet I was afflicted and
mortified. To the individual who communicated the fact, I expressed myself in terms of the most decided disapprobation. This, however, only increased my embarrassment and difficulty. I could scarcely sometimes tell what I felt, nor what I should do. In the meantime my wife, wherever she went, continued to tell the “wondrous story,” and testified that Christ had become to her “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” Upon returning home, she embraced the earliest opportunity to give her testimony to the church. This produced quite sensation, and a number of persons came forward to the altar, earnestly seeking a “clean heart.” The impression brought in my own mind was such as led me to call on God for a larger measure of the influence of the Comforter, that I might be a more efficient laborer in the vine-yard. I was wonderfully quickened. My whole soul was stirred within me. Yet even at this moment I had not definitely determined to seek the blessing, of holiness. The effect of my wife’s testimony and spirit was such, however, as to command my attention and confidence. I could not but be persuaded that her experience was in harmony with the teachings of the Father, and if I should attain to it my usefulness and enjoyment would be greatly increased.
Matters continued in this indefinite state until the ensuing Sabbath morning, when I was led
to preach on these words, “Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us,” etc. In pressing home upon the consciences of the people this admonition, I was led to speak with great earnestness, and endeavored to urge them to immediate and decisive action. My appeals were unusually pointed and direct. The interest of the hour became more and more intensified as the train of thought I was pursuing developed. A culminating crisis was soon reached, and in the most vehement manner I cried out, “Brethren lay aside every weight. Do this NOW. You can do it now, and, therefore, you should. It is your privilege, and, therefore, it is your duty to this moment to make a consecration of your all to God, and declare you in henceforth be wholly and forever the Lord’s. I endeavored to make this point very clear, and repeated with increased earnestness, “Let us NOW lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us.” I dwelt upon this, and as I continued to urge the admonition, a voice within said, “Do this yourself.” I paused a moment and the voice repeated, “Do this yourself, and do it now.”
Of course, in the circumstances, I could consistently do but one thing, and that was to obey.
My mind was clearly persuaded of the correctness of the views I had presented, and advised my people to adopt. Hence it was proper that I should lead in their practical observances; and with so marked and startling a call, I could not hesitate. Therefore I proceeded thus: “Come, brethren, follow your pastor! I am determined to lay aside every weight! I call heaven and earth to witness that I now declare I will be henceforth wholly and forever the Lord’s.” Seeing that I had thus given myself in an “everlasting covenant” to the Lord, and had, so far as I could, come out and separated myself unto God, my faith gathered strength, and “looking unto Jesus, I proclaimed with a rapture perfectly unutterable, “I AM, O LORD, WHOLLY AND FOREVER THINE.” In this act of commingled consecration and faith, the wondrous work was done, and I was at once divinely assured of its consummation. The bliss — the peace — the triumph of that hour will never be forgotten. Then, indeed, I felt the joy of the Lord was my strength. A new phase of spiritual life seemed to be revealed unto me, and I went forward in the path of duty with alacrity and vigor, such as I had never known before.
The effect upon my congregation was truly amazing. Up to this time there had been no
marked indication of any revival interest among the people. But in the evening, of the day referred to, the altar was filled with penitents, and eight souls were happily converted to God. The work went on with wondrous success and power. Over three hundred were converted, and a large number were sanctified wholly. All the interests of the Church were invigorated, and refreshing, showers of mercy and salvation descended upon the congregation for many weeks and months in succession. A special meeting for the promotion of holiness was held weekly in the parsonage and scores there found the way of faith and purity. Such meetings have been a source of much profit to my soul ever since.
Prior to entering into this experience I had not read any of the recent works on the subject.
My mind, indeed had become so embittered with prejudice that I as disinclined to read anything upon the question. Therefore I was not devoted to, or embarrassed by any particular theory. In this whole matter I was evidently led and taught by the Spirit. It is, however, rather singular that in the consecration and faith which I practiced, I should have employed almost the identical phraseology
used by Mrs. Palmer in her work entitled, “The Way of Holiness.” Immediately after I obtained the blessing I became a subscriber to the “Guide to Holiness,” and purchased the entire list of Mrs. Palmer’s publications, together with numerous other works upon the “higher life,” all of which I read with a delight I cannot describe. The Bible also appeared like a new book, and was so illuminated and precious that it seemed I had discovered a new and great treasure. The “promises” all appeared to be more clearly mine than ever before. In short, a complete and wonderful revolution was accomplished in me, and I felt I had verily come into a land of corn, and wine, and oil, favored with God’s peculiar smile.
The results in my work as a minister were glorious. It made labor very pleasant — and
especially those departments of labor which previously had been so burdensome. I became enamored, indeed, with my work, looking upon it as being done for Christ. I had certainly always labored to promote His glory and the success of His Kingdom. This thought made every task so easy, and turned every cross into a blessing. I was no longer my own, but reckoning myself “dead unto sin,” I lived a “life of faith,” and went on my way rejoicing in my Master, whose “yoke” I proved to be “easy,” and his “burden light.” Duty became a pleasure, and my soul, filled with light and love, delighted to do the Master’s will.
Three years have passed away since this transpired. I remain through God’s help “steadfast
in the faith.” If possible I am more assured than ever that the doctrine of holiness is true, and its experience is the great want of the Church everywhere. In some instances I have been severely tried and tempted. Yet the Lord has graciously aided me to endure “as seeing Him who is invisible.” The enemy has occasionally “thrust sore at me.” The conflict, sometimes has been, indeed, terrible. Yet I have been kept — safely and sweetly “kept by the power of God through faith. I so love my work as a Christian minister, that one life time appears to be too short in which to prosecute it. I could wish my days were months, and the months years, that I might have further opportunity to do something to promote the common salvation.
All doubt and skepticism have been removed by this “full assurance,” and religion is a
blissful reality. My belief of its truth has become settled satisfactory knowledge. I now know that Christ is able to “save to the uttermost all them who come unto God through Him,” and that the Gospel is the “power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” Christ reveals Himself as my present, perfect, constant, and Almighty Saviour. It is much easier to preach, to pray, to visit the sick, and to comfort the dying, than formerly. I am much blessed in leading souls to the fountain, and pointing them to the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. This always appeared to me a great honor, but now my heart leaps with joy at the thought that God has committed to me a “dispensation of the Gospel,” and I may now say to the world, “If we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin.” The Scriptures not only establish my creed, but they also answer to my experience. I am still “pressing on,” and daily “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord.” To Him be all honor and praise.
“O, that the world might taste and see The riches of His grace; The arms of love that compass me Would all mankind embrace.
“His only righteousness I show, His saving truth proclaim; ’Tis all my business here below To cry, behold the Lamb!
“Happy, if with my latest breath, I may but gasp His name, Preach Him to all, and cry in death, Behold, behold the Lamb.”
Source: “Pioneer Experiences,” Edited by Phoebe Palmer
[Please Note: The second of these two items was apparently written many years later, after
Inskip’s death, by his biographers. This account of his sanctification contains interesting facts which are not mentioned in Item 1 above.]
The subject of entire sanctification, as held and inculcated by the Methodist Episcopal
Church, early engaged Mr. Inskip’s thoughts. At the time of his ordination, he became profoundly interested in the doctrine. When the solemn questions were addressed to him and others, by the presiding bishop, “Are you going on to perfection? — do you expect to be made perfect in love in this life? — are you groaning after it?” — he could but feel, as an honest man, standing before God and His church, that such questions meant more than official holiness, or its mere observance as a perfunctory duty. He assures us that at that time he came very near to the reception of the great salvation. A little encouragement from one who knew the deep things of God, and had skill in directing an honest inquirer, might have led him into the experience of that grace which would have so moulded his subsequent life, as to have greatly increased his power with God and usefulness with men. A similar crisis occurred several times in his life, but alas, these crises were allowed to pass without the conscious reception of the blessing, leaving him still only on the border of
“The land of rest from inbred sin, The Land of perfect holiness.”
In two instances, according to his own statement, he did receive the great blessing.
A variety of influences combined to modify his views on some important aspects of the
subject, more especially the experience. He firmly held the dogma, as a part of his Methodistic creed. His denominational pride led him to tenaciously contend for the doctrine, while he virtually discarded the experience. The doctrine he found clearly taught in all the standard authorities of his church, and knowing it to be the central doctrine of Methodism, he was constrained to protect and defend it on all suitable occasions. Notwithstanding his acceptance of the doctrine, he became exceedingly hostile to a profession of its experience. This hostility did not develop itself in the form of doubt or skepticism simply, it assumed a more reprehensible form — a deep-seated and
unyielding prejudice, leading to the most bitter and at times uncharitable criticisms upon those who professed the experience, as well as the methods employed for its promotion.
In a book written by him in 1851, entitled, as we have before seen, “Methodism Explained
and Defended,” he attempts a defense of the doctrine of holiness. It is described as “that in which we teach the possibility of man’s attaining a state of grace in the present life, in which he will be made free from sin.”
After a few lines more of explanation, he proceeds to describe the abuses of the doctrine
by those who profess it. Their “practical inconsistencies have given great occasion of stumbling to others.” They are “wild and deluded enthusiasts.” They “possess all the pride, irritability, and petulancy incident to persons of their temperament.” They “cannot endure contradiction.” “In the most uncharitable manner possible, they pass judgment upon all who do not happen to be as they are.” He finds also, that there is great want of harmony “in the numerous theories that have been published.”
“Whether such a state may or may not be obtained at the time of justification; whether
instantaneous or progressive; and many other similar inquiries, which have been discussed with unusual vehemency, are questions of but little consequence.”
These crude and unscriptural views, as well as un-Methodistic teachings, plainly show that
in his experience he was far from the enjoyment of perfect love. His remembrance of this presentation of the subject, and his manner of treating those who professed the experience, was, in after life, the occasion of great humiliation before God and his brethren. And when others spoke of him and his associates in the same manner, he would often say, “Let us bear with them for we did the same thing.” His only relief was in the fact that he did it “ignorantly in unbelief.” Still he regarded the error a very grievous one. But God graciously forgave all.
He seems to have entered into the experience of heart purity at Dickinson College, in 1832,
and also at Sing Sing Camp-meeting in 1853. These experiences, in later life, he would have accepted as entire sanctification. We have no doubt but that he so regarded them at the time.
He failed to confess frankly what God had done for him; he put his light under a bushel, and
it went out, as has been the case with thousands.
The experience of 1853 did not long continue. Change in pastorates, various forms of
excitement, and a failure to confess it, dissipated the sweet sense of “Beulah” life which had charmed him so much, and for some twelve years he says little or nothing upon the subject except to complain of those who professed the experience.
But for nearly two years prior to the time it pleased God to bestow on him this grace, he
had been living, he tells us, a more devout life than for many years before. His personal religions state occupied more of his attention than formerly, and he was seeking and receiving a deeper work of grace.
On the thirteenth of April, 1864, Mr. Inskip received an appointment from the New York
East Conference, which held its session that year in Hartford, Ct., to South Third St., Brooklyn (E D.). He seems from the beginning of his pastorate in this church to be improving in his spiritual state. Frequent references to his religious experience are made in his journals of this period.
May 3, he says: “The Lord is favoring me with a good state of mind. My heart is in the
work. Oh that I may have grace and strength to labor for my Master!”
May 19, he says: “Had a profitable day in my study. Seem finally to have come back fully
to former ministerial habits. These had been so seriously interfered with by my operations as chaplain, that I feared for some time I would never be able to resume them. However, through the Divine blessing, I have at last got all right again. My work is now interesting and pleasant. My heart is in it. I really love to work for the Lord. Oh, may He grant me success! A wide and promising field is open before me. Oh that I may labor efficiently and with a single eye!” The following evening, speaking of his prayer-meeting, he says: “The Spirit of the Lord was evidently in our midst, and all felt the place to be the ‘house of God and the gate of heaven.’ ” He speaks of his soul’s being “much refreshed,” the following Sabbath, while preaching on the “Pentecost.”
June 1, he says: “Find the experience of some of the dear old saints belonging to my class,
very interesting and profitable.” He says of his prayer-meeting, June 10: “Our meetings all are so spiritual that we must certainly, ere long, reap some fruit.”
July 10, of his Sabbath services, he says, “I had a good day. It kept getting better and better
all day. The Lord was with me in great mercy.”
Referring subsequently to this period, he says: “During my time at Birmingham, and
especially during the five months I had labored here, I was living closer to Christ than I had done for many years. It has sometimes occurred to me that during this period I might have been in a certain sense, ‘preparing the way of the Lord.’ If this, however, were the case, I was not conscious of it. Upon the subject of entire sanctification my prejudices were as strong as ever. My mind was in the dark. I had no conviction — that is, no special conviction. I was in no proper sense awakened upon the subject, until within a few moments of the time when I received the blessing.”
It must not be forgotten that the country at that time was passing through the greatest
excitement ever before known. Mr. Inskip had been in the army, and was deeply interested in the movements of our troops. Gen. Grant was at this time before Richmond. The country was vibrating between hope and despair, not knowing what a day would bring forth. A man of Mr. Inskip’s temperament would not be likely to remain calm.
August 15, in company with his wife, he went to Sing Sing to attend the annual
camp-meeting. Mrs. Inskip had been seeking a higher and richer experience, and hoped that God might lead her into the enjoyment of perfect love at that far-famed religious resort. On Friday, the 19th, she was Divinely assisted to claim the blessing, and by faith rejoiced in its realization. It was a day of great joy to her heart, and the beginning of a new life.
The intelligence of her experience soon reached her husband who, though not surprised,
was, as he confessed, “greatly afflicted and mortified.” To the brother who communicated the fact to him, he returned an answer of the most decided disapprobation. This, he confessed, only increased his embarrassment, and added to his disappointment. Mr. Inskip had, for some reason, become greatly prejudiced against the experience of holiness. He felt his need of “more religion,” a “deeper work of grace,” and a “baptism of the Spirit.” But the idea of entire sanctification had become repulsive to him.
On their return to Brooklyn, Mrs. Inskip gave a clear and ringing testimony in the church at
the public prayer-meeting. One of the leading members of the church approved her testimony, and expressed the conviction that it was what the whole church, not only needed, but should seek at once. Mr. Inskip makes the following record of the meeting: “Glorious prayer-meeting at night. Looks as if the Lord was about to do a great work among us. Members came forward for prayers.” He did his best to encourage the people to go on, but, as he often said, he did not know where they were going. The impression made upon Mr. Inskip’s mind was such as to lead him to call upon God for a larger measure of the Spirit, that he might the more successfully lead souls to God. His whole soul seemed stirred within him, and he became wonderfully quickened. And yet he had not definitely determined to seek the blessing of holiness. He seemed fully convinced that his wife’s experience was not only genuine, but in harmony with the Word of God, and that, should he attain unto this grace, his usefulness and enjoyment would be greatly increased.
Matters continued in this indefinite state until the following Sabbath, Aug. 28. He was led
to preach, much against his feelings, from Heb. xii 1: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us,” etc. He had unusual liberty, and his appeals were uncommonly pointed and direct. He urged upon his people the duty and importance of immediate and decisive action. The culminating point was reached, and in the most vehement manner he exclaimed: “Brethren, lay aside every weight! Do it now. You can do it now, and therefore should do it. It is your privilege, and therefore your duty at this moment to make a consecration of your all to God, and declare you will henceforth be wholly and forever the Lord’s!” He sought to make this point very clear and emphasized it with increased earnestness. “Let us now lay aside every weight,” he said, “and the sin which doth so easily beset us.” He dwelt upon the thought; and as he continued to urge the admonition, a voice within said, “Do it yourself.” He paused a moment, and the admonition was repeated, “Do it yourself, and do it now.” Must he turn away from his own teaching, and urge others to do what he would not do himself? He could, consistently, do nothing else but obey. He believed most fully in the correctness of the views he had presented, and urged his people to adopt. As an honest man he could not do otherwise than lead in their practical observance. He was not long in deciding what course to pursue. In the same earnest manner he said: “Come, brethren, follow your pastor. I call heaven and earth to witness that I now declare I will be henceforth wholly and forever the Lord’s.” Having gone so far as to give himself to God in an “everlasting covenant,” his faith gathered strength, and “looking unto Jesus,” he exclaimed with unutterable rapture, “I am, O Lord!, wholly and forever thine!” In this act of mingled consecration and faith, the great work was accomplished, and he was then and there divinely assured of its consummation. The bliss, the peace, the triumph of that hour, he never lost sight of. It was to him a new life.
He records in his journal: “My soul was indeed wonderfully blessed. I cannot tell when I
was ever more filled with the Spirit.” As yet he had not formulated the blessing received. He only knew that he had given all, and that God had come in and filled the human temple. In the evening of that memorable day, he witnessed about twenty souls at his altar seeking salvation, eight of whom found peace. He says: “It was truly a wonderful time.” He attended the Preachers’ Meeting the next day, but does not seem to have found any special pleasure in it, or in the political movements of the hour. “Matters of this sort,” he says, do not so much interest me just now. My mind and heart are absorbed in the great work of God which has commenced among us. This fills my soul with wondrous delight. My mind, I trust, is in good condition to labor. I have laid all upon the altar. The sacrifice through Jesus my Advocate will be accepted. Praise the Lord!”
Up to this time there had been no marked indications of a revival among the people. But, as
we have seen, the same night after God had fully sanctified his soul, eight persons were converted. The revival continued until more than three hundred were converted, and a large number fully sanctified, and a special meeting for the promotion of holiness established and held weekly in the parsonage. The change came upon him so suddenly, and in some respects unexpectedly, that at first he did not seem to be able to adjust himself to his new experience. He does not say that God had perfected him in love, or sanctified him wholly. “Wholly and forever the Lord’s,” seemed to, as indeed it did, cover the whole ground. But his joy became so great, and his peace so deep and abiding, and his heart so filled and fired with love, that he could not refrain. He seeks the company of the holy, and confesses the Lord Jesus as his perfect Saviour.
A few extracts from his journal, will give the reader some idea of his enraptured state of
August 31. — “Oh, how my heart rejoices in the love of Christ! Of course I must look for
severe assaults from the enemy. But I feel unspeakable comfort in consecrating myself to the service of God and the duty of my calling.”
Sept. 2. — “My soul is on fire. Praise the Lord!” The next day, he says: “Oh, how my soul
does rejoice in the Rock of my salvation!” The following day, being the Sabbath, he writes: “My soul was filled with Divine love and joy. Language can give no adequate idea of the raptures I was permitted to feel. Fifteen found peace in believing.”
On the ninth, he was “indisposed all day; ” and yet he says: “My soul was truly blessed.
Peace — sweet peace — holy peace! I have been happy and joyous before, but never so peaceful. The sensation of triumph and exultation I have often felt, but I never knew so well the ‘rest of faith.’ I love God’s cause more and more. My whole heart is in this work.”
Sept. 13. — “Attended Dr. Palmer’s meeting for the first time, and wonderfully,” he says,
“did the Lord bless me in bearing testimony to the great work wrought in me by this grace. What peace and joy I felt!” The next day, he called on Dr. and Mrs. Palmer to engage them to come and hold meetings the following week in his church, for the promotion of holiness. He describes the interview as of the “most delightful and satisfactory character.” He then proceeds to say: “How the fire of Divine love burns in my soul! Such near access to God — such tranquil joy — I never knew before. My soul has often been filled with transport, but I never before had such peace. Oh, sweet
peace! Holy calm! How my heart is thrilled! I wish I could put my experience into words. But language is too feeble for such a use. Oh, why have I not long since attained this grace? Because I did not make the consecration. My mind had long been prejudiced against the efforts made by a few holy brethren and sisters to keep this flame alive in our church. I said not much against them, it is true. Indeed, I could not. The doctrine I knew to be of God. But their manner of promoting it was made to me, by the enemy, a ‘stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.’ It has pleased God, however, to reveal His grace to me, and what I say, I know by experience to be true. Two weeks ago last Sabbath morning, preaching on ‘Lay aside every weight and the sin,’ etc., I came to the point at which I urged my dear people to say, ‘Lord, from henceforth I will be wholly and only Thine.’ I importuned them to follow their pastor, and added, ‘I call heaven and earth to witness that I will be henceforth wholly the Lord’s,’ and finished the declaration by exclaiming, ‘I am, O Lord! wholly and forever Thine.’ The work was then done, because fully the Lord’s. The humble offering I made was accepted, and I was at once introduced into a new life. Glory and honor to God forever! I praise and magnify His mercy and power. ‘He is all and in all.’ ”
The following day he writes: “I went into all the classes and gave my testimony.” He
further says: “The Lord has graciously enabled me all day to use faith at every point. Oh, what a glorious thought, ‘we are saved by grace through faith!’ By faith I came to the knowledge of this grace, and by faith I continue. My faith fixes my attention on the infinite merit of Christ — the righteousness of my glorious Saviour. He is the ‘Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.’ Precious Lamb! Glorious Redeemer! My soul is filled with Thy love, and satisfied with Thy presence.”
On the sixteenth of September, he writes: “I will not, I cannot, dishonor God by doubting. It
seems to me I never shall doubt again. I live by faith. Every moment I need, and every moment I have, the merit of my Saviour’s death.” The following day he says: “I feel unspeakably happy, in that my mind is in a state of perfect peace. The Word shines with increasing brightness upon my pathway. I have such a sense of the truth. Everything connected with religion now appears to me so much more substantial and true. Sometimes the adversary suggests, ‘Suppose you believe that Christ saves you and it turns out that you are deceived?’ But will He deceive? He has said, ’Believe, and thou shalt be saved.’ I believe, — I am saved. That is the uniform experience. I wonder everybody does not at once become a believer. But why should I wonder? How long I hesitated and doubted! I must be ready to make all allowance for those who halt and hold back. The way, however, is so delightful! Occasionally I find that my will has much to do with my faith. I perceive more than I ever did before the propriety of the chorus, “I will believe! I do believe.’ The will and the do — the determination and the act — are closely allied. What a man sincerely and earnestly will, that he is most likely soon to do. Hence, if a man can truthfully sing, ‘I will believe,’ in a little time he can also sing, ‘I do believe.’ I live one day at a time. I fully accredit the Divine promises. I believe them all. The Lord will make all things work together for my good and His glory. I can trust Him — I do trust Him. I can but rejoice for being a believer. I never saw such a beauty in the way of faith My utter unworthiness now only leads me the more highly to prize the great merit of the Redeemer. My feebleness and peril make me feel all the stronger and more secure, in hiding myself behind the cross. I am surprised that long ere this I did not come to this glorious state. I would that all Christian ministers felt as I do.”
Thus, from day to day, he proceeds, more and more assured of his salvation to the
uttermost. Before this wonderful change, his journals teemed with war news. But now, he seldom makes any reference to the fearful struggles which were shaking the land from north to south. His theme is salvation, and the wonderful deliverance which had come to his soul, and his anxiety to see others saved. The same is true in regard to politics. He says: “The world seems to be a great deal excited on the subject of politics, etc. Things of this kind, just now, interest me very little. Matters of greater moment occupy my mind. So far as I am concerned, at present, the world must look after itself. Of course I am interested in the government of my country. Our political institutions must be looked after and preserved. Nevertheless, I do not feel myself particularly called to that work. My business is of another character entirely. I am called of God to proclaim a glorious Gospel and a glorious Saviour. This business will occupy all my time, and call out all my energies. The remainder of my life I propose to use in crying, ‘Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world!’ I deem it a mark of great favor and wondrous mercy, that to me this grace is given, and I have the honor of bearing the standard.”
Mr. Inskip, for many years, had been an inveterate user of tobacco. Few men, it is
believed, used more. In referring to the practice, he used to say, that he used as much, or more, than any other man of this time. Up to the time of his entire sanctification, he had attempted in vain to abandon it. Nor did the question of its abandonment come to his mind until several days after the great change occurred. Some twenty days after, he writes: “My mind has been exercised in regard to the use of tobacco. I have for many years been an inveterate smoker. I now feel disposed to abandon the practice. My only difficulty relates to the effects which may follow. My system has been so long under the influence, that I fear giving it up all at once may prove such a shock as will be difficult to bear. For Christ’s sake I can most cheerfully make the sacrifice. Praise the Lord, He will direct me!”
A few days later he says: “I believe the Lord has given me the victory over tobacco. The
inclination to use it as a mere luxury has been entirely overcome. Indeed, in one or two instances in which I deemed it proper to use it medicinally, my system seemed disposed to reject rather than enjoy it. I deem this a wonderful triumph. Of course I must expect to be severely tried, yet I know I shall be powerfully sustained. Divine grace will make ample provision for each and every emergency that may arise. I have, indeed, given all to Christ. Praise the Lord!” It is only needful to say, that the appetite never returned, but the practice became more and more offensive to him, until he actually loathed it. He could not even endure the smell of tobacco. Nothing but the power of grace could have so changed a man’s appetite after so many years of indulgence.
About two months later, he says: “Until I received the blessing of perfect love, I did not
deem it possible to live without tobacco. But so easily I have laid it aside! It has cost me little or no effort, and certainly no suffering. I have made the sacrifice with perfect ease. The reason of this is, I have done it for Christ’s sake. It was not so much for health, for I could not perceive that it was to me a damage in this respect. Nor did considerations of frugality determine me. I looked at the influence it would have upon the unconverted, and my brethren. I asked myself the question, ’Can I consistently profess the blessing of sanctification, and smoke?’ My answer was, ‘I cannot.’ So I made the sacrifice. And the pleasure afforded by the idea that I have done it for Christ’s sake, has far exceeded the gratification its use afforded me.”
His church was in a flame of revival. Sinners were being converted daily, and believers
were entering into the experience of perfect love. He speaks of his members being “in full pursuit of the great baptism,” and of the “whole congregation” being “under the influence” of the ”overwhelming power” of the “Spirit of the Lord.”
In meeting a few friends socially, he rejoiced greatly that ‘the Lord enabled” him to keep
himself ” free from the ordinary damaging influences of social intercourse.”
At another time he says: “Took tea in company with a number of friends, with Bro. W. Had
a pleasant interview. Endeavored to keep from the usual evils of social communications. On such occasions we are apt to throw off at least a measure of moral and religious influence, and indulge in foolish jesting and unbecoming mirth. Such things have a mournful influence upon the soul. I earnestly prayed for the Lord to guide and control me, and He graciously answered my prayer. We spent a pleasant evening, — had an agreeable talk — a warm, friendly time, and came away happy and grateful.”
Any one familiar with the mirthful, jesting spirit, in which Mr. Inskip and others were
accustomed to indulge when together, can fully appreciate the change indicated in the foregoing extract.
At first, he was cautious in regard to professing the experience. Such had been his
prejudices against all testimony of this kind, that his was given in general terms. He was soon led to see the inconsistency of such withholding. “I find it needful,” he says, “to bear testimony regarding the great work of grace in my heart. For a short time after receiving this blessing, I was inclined to speak of it in general terms, and rather avoided the use of definite terms and modes of speech. Probably this was owing to certain prejudices my mind had formed before I enjoyed the blessed influences now reigning within. It, however, has been made clear as my duty on all proper occasions to tell the wondrous story that the ‘blood of our Lord Jesus Christ cleanseth from all unrighteousness.’ ‘He sprinkles with clean water,’ and we certainly ought not to hesitate to own the fact, when we know it is accomplished in us. Numerous objections are urged against bearing testimony, but they may all be urged with equal propriety against our testifying to the work of justification. If it be right and expedient to own God’s grace in the one case, why not in the other? The case, to my mind, is a very plain one. I hope the Lord will aid me to declare the wondrous power of perfect love. It is true that injudicious persons may in a boastful and unbecoming manner speak of this blessing. But do not persons do this in speaking of a lower state of religious experience? We must not on this account abandon the duty of speaking for the Lord. We are to ’overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.’ ”
Few believed that the work would long continue. Some of his ministerial associates urged
him not to make any rash promises, or pledge that he would never more use tobacco, etc. “Poor Inskip,” they said, “he is a jovial, good-hearted fellow: what a pity that he should have gone among those holiness fanatics! But he will be over it soon. It is a religious spasm.” But these were false prophets. It was not for a day, but for life.
For eight years, subsequent to the time God fully sanctified his soul, Mr. Inskip kept a full
journal, in which his daily experience is minutely recorded. This journal covers many hundred
pages. At the top of each page was printed in large, beautiful letters, as those who are familiar with his chirography, will understand, these words: “I am, O Lord, wholly and forever Thine!” This was his daily thought, and his daily declaration. He never forgot to repeat the words which opened to him a new and higher life.
Source: “The Life of Rev. John S. Inskip” by William McDonald and John E. Searies
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HOW THEY ENTERED CANAAN (A Collection of Holiness Experience Accounts) Compiled by Duane V. Maxey
Vol. I — Named Accounts