Luke Woodard (Society of Friends)

March 1, 2017 // Story

(Society of Friends)

I was born at New Garden, Wayne County, Indiana, on March 12, 1832. My parents were

members of the Society of Orthodox Friends; were exemplary, godly people; and hence I enjoyed
the advantages of careful training. While I was, during my youth and early manhood, preserved
from immorality and kept a tender conscience, I was not converted till my twenty-fifth year.

My awakening was sudden and very powerful. Independent of any immediate

instrumentality, “an horror of great darkness fell upon” me at midnight. I trembled violently at the
sight of my guilty and undone condition. I cried to the Lord, but, for want of a clear understanding
of the blessed doctrine of justification by faith, I did not for some weeks get the assurance that my
sins were forgiven, and find peace with God. But suddenly Christ revealed Himself to me, and I
was overcome with the joyous sense that I was accepted in Him.

I soon began to tell others what the Lord had done for me, and He opened the precious

truths of His Word to me and called me to preach His Gospel. “I was not disobedient to the
heavenly vision.” I never broke the covenant I made to endeavor to be faithful in this service, and
He blessed me and enlarged my gift, which, in due time, was endorsed by the Church; and I had
some seals to my ministry.

Some years after I began to preach, while realizing that I had not lost my hold on Christ or

backslidden, I became conscious of internal conflicts like that described in the 7th of Romans. I
understood the full meaning of the words, “If I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin
that dwelleth in me.” By a combination of providential occurrences I was brought to understand, in
a measure, the doctrine of entire sanctification as a result of the baptism with the Holy Ghost,
received upon condition of definite consecration to God and the prayer of faith. Here Satan took
advantage, and presented the fearful responsibility involved in such a consecration as I saw it to
be, to give myself wholly and forever to God.


I saw it meant more than to consecrate myself to His service in any particular work. It was

like signing a blank sheet, leaving it for God to fill out as He chose. The devil paraded before me
the possibility that I might be called to go to Africa, and this I feared I would not do, and he made
me believe it was “better not to vow than to vow and not pay.” Now my agony of soul became
great. It was like Bunyan’s pilgrim’s fight with Apollyon. I many times groaned, “O wretched man
that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

At length, while engaged with some brethren in Michigan in holding some meetings in the

autumn of 1871, I heard yet more definite instruction on this most important feature of Christian
experience. Early in the morning of October 31 of this year, in the city of Adrian, as I was
communing with my own heart upon my bed alone, I made this resolve: “I will go to the meeting
this morning, and there, it may be, I will receive the longed-for baptism,” when something seemed
to whisper, “Why not now?” And at once, I responded, “And why not now?” I hardly knew how,
but O, such a flood of glory as covered me. My whole being seemed permeated with divine power
and joy unspeakable. I wept tears of joy. That morning I made a formal consecration at the family
altar, and went to the meeting and testified to what God had done for my soul.

The first test I had was the suggestion that when I returned home I should say nothing about

it, or speak of it only in general terms and let people judge from my life. But I soon saw that my
covenant of consecration meant to speak for God as His witness, and He gave me the victory. I
have not been free from various tests and severe temptations, but the gracious Lord has been with
me, and while there have been times of momentary wavering yet at no time have I lapsed entirely
from this experience, and the Lord has taught me many precious lessons of His truth, and blessed to
my greater establishment in holiness some very severe trials; and through the exceeding riches of
His grace I can now say the blood cleanseth and the Comforter abideth within my heart. Glory to
the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

GLENS FALLS, N. Y., June 18, 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


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