February 6, 2017 // Story



From the very hour of my birth, in 1819, I was surrounded by the best Christian influence.

My father has stood for nearly half a century in the foremost rank of aggressive Christian workers
in the city of Baltimore, and by his side, I had ever the example of one of those sweet, gentle,
patient, loving mothers, whose presence seems always to reflect a little of heaven’s light upon the
darkness of this world.

I cannot remember when I was not subject to deep convictions of sin and sensible of my

duty toward God; yet, as a schoolboy, I wandered far from the path of truth until the age of fifteen,
when, under the blessed influences of the cadet prayer-meeting in the Pennsylvania Military
Academy, I made a profession of faith in Jesus and united with the Presbyterian Church — My
parents’ denomination.

I was happy, but I made the common mistake of our day; I did not forsake my old

companions and habits, and the inevitable result followed. For fourteen years I lived the
up-and-down experience so bitterly familiar to the average church member. I attended church,
went to the prayer-meeting, took part in it quite frequently, spoke on religious subjects and on
temperance, always from a gospel standpoint; and unquestionably I grew in grace to some extent. I
never enjoyed myself so much as when I was working in Mr. Moody’s inquiry-meetings in
Baltimore, in 1878-9; and yet, even up to that time, I was continually slipping and falling before
tempers or desires, in some form or other. Confession and prayer brought forgiveness, and I was
very sure that I was God’s child, so that when asked, “Are you a Christian?” I never thought of
answering in any other way than, “Yes, thank the Lord.”

But all this time there was a tremendous conviction of a great inward need, a cry from my

soul that God would take away from my heart these internal desires toward evil. I had never read a
line on the subject; had never heard a sermon on the Holy Ghost or upon the subject of
sanctification; had never been to a camp-meeting nor entered a Methodist Church more than three


times. But my soul cried out for complete deliverance, and God’s unlimited promises stood out like
stars above me. But I was not ready and willing to pay the price.

In the summer of 1879, my heart, which had been chronically diseased for seven years,

resisting the remedies of the ablest physicians, and refusing to grow better even after three years
spent in sheep ranching among the mountains of California, suddenly broke down so seriously as to
bring me to the very verge of the grave. I had heard a little of the “prayer of faith” for healing, but I
felt persuaded that it would border upon blasphemy to ask God for a strength which I did not
propose to use wholly for Him; and hence, it was that this desire for health only increased the
sense of the necessity for a great and entire consecration.

Kneeling alone in my mother’s room in Baltimore, in the month of July, I made a

consecration that covered everything. I have never been compelled to renew it, for it included all.
To die at once a young man; to live and suffer; to live and recover; to be, to do, to suffer any thing
for Jesus — This was my consecration. All doubtful things were swept aside and a large margin
left on God’s side. I knew in my soul that I meant every word; and so I have never had any doubts
about it since. A certain sense of peace and quietness gradually came over me. I never had any
sudden overpowering manifestation; and I found the whole Bible wonderfully open to my vision
and marvelously satisfying to my soul, as it had never been before. I seemed to live in a constant
prayer; and in fact I have lived this way nearly all the time that has elapsed since then.

Feeling now all the more impressed with God’s healing promises I sought to find Jehovah

Rophi; and, in order to obey the Word like a little child, I concluded to go to Boston and ask
prayer and anointing at the hands of Dr. Cullis. I was terribly weak, but I went. All this experience
has been written and published at length elsewhere, and I will only add that I returned in three
days, walking by faith, and not by feeling, resumed my college work in September, and at once
engaged in all kinds of religious work. I was healed by the power of God alone. Praise the Lord!

Within two months I united with the Methodist Church, owing to certain providential

circumstances; and here I began to encounter the terminology which was exceedingly unpleasant to
my ear, trained among the Presbyterians. But I promptly settled all these difficulties by declaring
that I accepted all the terms found in Scripture, joined in all scriptural prayer, and aimed at every
scriptural target with the expectation of hitting it by the infinite grace of God.

Perhaps the crucial point was passed in this way: Undervaluing the deep peace in my soul

and the great hunger for the Word which continually possessed me, not seeing that these were
evidences of the Spirit’s presence, I yearned and cried after some great manifestation. But one
night, after lying in an agony of supplication upon my floor for hours, I rose up, and, lifting my hand
to heaven, said, “O, Lord, if I never feel any more than I do now to the day of judgment I will
believe on Thy Word that Jesus saves me now. If the children of Israel could shout over Jericho
when not one stone in its walls had fallen, I can do the same.” And I began saying aloud, “Jesus
saves me now! Jesus saves me now!”

God, the angels, and the devil heard it. But my audience all understood that I meant

“sanctified wholly”; so the Lord got the honor of a complete work even from ignorant lips, and
gradually the conviction grew in my soul that it was really true. This inward conviction or


persuasion I soon recognized as the longed-for “witness of the Spirit,” and then, for the first time,
knew those thrills of heavenly joy which have been styled the “effusions of the Holy Ghost.”

From this point in my life a most distinct experience began. All sense of duty service

vanished, and a glad love service took its place. All those desperate conflicts with the will of
God, which we are pleased to call our “crushing trials,” “sore afflictions,” resolved themselves
into the dear Lord’s wisely chosen methods for enlarging the vessel in order that He might pour
into it more of His grace and love. Growth was marvelous and permanent a wonderful difference
from the years when so much time was occupied in rebuilding. There was no desert life here; no
despondency; no cloud of unbelief; no sense of condemnation. The most marked inward leanings
toward sin which had bitterly cursed my Christian life were so conspicuous by their absence that
in wonder and amazement I cried, “Is any thing too hard for the Lord?” and was greatly established
by the thought that if God could take away one such besetting sin could He not remove two? And if
two, why not all?

Here I wish to be very clear. Let not the reader suppose that during these years there has

been no occasion for self-examination or of disappointment at my record. All along the line I was
frequently surprised at new discoveries. Things which had seemed perfectly right and proper
became objects of inward suspicion. Something suggested, “You ought not to do this or to speak
so; it is not right.” But whenever this occurred a prompt willingness to turn on the most searching
light was always felt; and if, after a thorough examination in the light of the Word, the thing
appeared to smell of evil, it was always cheerfully relinquished, no inward desire to go counter to
the will of God being experienced. In fact, this has always been the great test question: Is it the
will of God? His will, when known, is mine always; not from duty, but from free, spontaneous
choice, Praise the Lord!

I have had some trouble with my body at times, for the body is very imperious, The

necessity of “keeping the body under” has been always felt, Let none misunderstand me here. I do
not mean the “body of sin,” or the “carnal mind.” That was burned up, and its desires against God’s
will eradicated, by the consuming fire of the Holy Ghost when God wholly sanctified my soul as
related above. But this physical body, with its various appetites and nerves, must be kept under all
the time. Not one of these appetites nor one of these nerves is in any degree sinful or impure in
itself. It is only the wrong use of these which constitutes sin and brings condemnation. There is not
a particle of sin in my feeling hunger, or thirst, or the sexual appetite, for God has made them all,
and His work is good. But there is sin in indulging any of them in a wrong way or in entertaining or
possess in the real desire to so indulge them. If my nerves are overtaxed I must and will feel
nervous; there is no sin in that. But I must not experience irritation and anger in the heart as an
accompaniment, for in this lies sin. I may be, and am, when such emergencies arise, tempted to
think of such indulgences or tempers; but the temptation is not sin if the heart answers not again.

This lesson was rather difficult to learn; and while studying it I was at various times a little

confused as to the exact power and shades of meaning in terminology of Bible holiness; but the
blessed Spirit brought me through in safety; and now I see it as, perhaps, the most important lesson
of my life thus far, and as the testing ground where so many sanctified Christians are led astray.


My experience is my own, and acknowledges no human master, and, therefore, I cannot

stop in a certain rut, I must go father. From the very first I conceived a deep, and even desperate,
determination to “follow on to know the Lord.” No pen can emphasize these words as they were
emphasized in my soul. Year by year passed away, and an almost infinite yearning for a deeper
manifestation of my Lord filled my very being. Suffice it to say that at Mountain Lake Park
Camp-meeting, in July, 1885, this prayer of years was answered. I can hardly tell how, except that
my Saviour became so inexpressibly real to me that all language fails to describe it. It has seemed
these two years as though my friends, my wife, even myself, are less real to me than my adorable
Saviour, my living Father, my blessed Comforter.

After about eight months some small degree of this marvelous nearness to Jesus seemed to

me to pass away, I think through a slowness to follow the Spirit with reference to a certain point.
But in July, 1887, while again at Mountain Lake Park, the blessed, Holy Ghost wonderfully and
entirely healed me of a very serious attack of brain prostration resulting from various causes,
largely unavoidable; and with this restoration all seems to be regained.

Today I am a sinner saved by grace, a repentant rebel fully pardoned by my God, a

lawbreaker justified freely by the “Judge of all the earth,” the offspring of evil adopted into the
family of the Lord, a trusting believer cleansed from inbred sin by the blood of Jesus Christ and
sanctified wholly by the Holy Ghost, a child of the King healed of my diseases by the Great
Physician. I am beset, yet full of hope; tempted and tried most sorely, yet strong in the Lord; tossed
about by circumstances, yet on the Rock of Ages; enduring misrepresentation and slander and
suspicion, yet praising God for the victory Jesus wins over all; daily realizing more and more my
own nothingness and the wonderful ALLNESS of Jesus. Praise the Lord!

  1. KELSO CARTER, YARDVlLLE, N.J., August 11, 1887.

Source: “Forty Witnesses” 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

18931 Route 522

Beaver Springs, PA 17812

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