M. Steele (Methodist)

February 28, 2017 // Story

M. STEELE
(Methodist)

From the very first of my religious awakenings, I had a desire to be holy. This may not, and

probably does not, accord with the experience of others: nevertheless, it is my own. I remember,
then but a little boy, being in attendance at a Camp-meeting, here the power of God was evidently
manifested; and, as I beheld others falling like dead men, under the outpouring of the Divine Spirit,
I earnestly coveted such a blessing, for myself I longed to have some one converse with me, and
lead me as a little child to the Saviour of sinners; one of which I felt I was, even then. But no one
spoke a word to me on the subject of my soul’s salvation; supposing, doubtless, that I was too
young to realize anything about the truth of God.

I grew up in sin. The family altar, the Sabbath-school, the social meetings to which I was

often led, the faithful preaching, of the Word of God, — none of these saved me from being a very
wicked boy. It was my nature to be sinful. I loved to transgress law. So far as I have my
recollection of the matter, I went astray as soon as I was born.

When I was about eleven years old, God took my eldest sister, at about thirteen years of

age, to himself. She was the first one I ever saw launch out over the dark river: and I am glad she
was; for death has seemed much like a kind friend to me ever since. Her triumphant exit fastened
the truth in my soul, — “God’s children die well.”

But after a little, except at interval, these serious impressions left me; and, at the age of

sixteen, I was hardened and impenitent sinner. One young man, my most intimate associate, went to
the State Penitentiary, convicted of high crime; with whom my association had been providentially
broken off only a little while before. While he went to prison, God sent me into the mining district
of Lake Superior. While there, way from my companions in sin, my conviction of guilt took a deep
hold upon my heart. It was a dreadfully bitter cup I drank of, until one night in December, while
bowed at my mother’s side in the log-cabin of a copper-miner, a flood of joy overwhelmed me. I
praised, I shouted, I laughed, I cried aloud for joy. There seemed to be no bottom to the depth of

 

that well which had sprung up within me. My happiness continued for weeks. It did seem to me at
time that the angels could know no higher rapture than filled my heart as I sung, —

“But now I am happy in Him,
December’s as pleasant as May.”

I had great freedom and great comfort in offering salvation through Christ to all I could

meet.

Soon after my conversion, I left home again for school. Here, amid the excitements of

earnest study, and an unguarded ambition to be first in my class, religion soon became a secondary
matter. And thus it continued until the winter of 1855 and 1856, then, while teaching, and I was
feeling the necessity of a better qualification for my responsibilities, Mr. Palmer’s “Way of
Holiness” fell into my hands. It brought me the clearest light I had ever found on the subject that
had always, whenever I turned my thoughts towards it, taken so deep a hold upon me. A revival
broke out in an adjoining district; and, during, its progress, I entered the way of holiness. God
saved me; and I was able to declare all that He had done for my poor soul, even before those who
did not believe the truth.

But that divine blessing went away. At the time, I did not know how. I desired, above all

things, to retain it. But praying nor fasting nor groaning could hold it. I lacked faith. After the
blessing was gone, I drifted loosely for years I entered the traveling connection; I took the solemn
vows of the sacred office; I was examined especially upon this point by devout and godly men; I
studied and prayed and preached: but, if I went either way, it was backwards, from God. None
were awakened, none converted, under my labors. I feared I had mistaken my calling. In this state
of mind, I attended our district Camp-meeting, held near Quincy, where I was laboring in the
summer of 1863. My condition at this time really alarmed me. I felt that I was not even in a
justified state. My convictions for holiness, at the same time, were never so deep, so clear, so
distressing; nor did the way ever seem so dark, so concealed. All I could do was to sit down, and

“Sigh to think of happier days,
When thou O Lord! wast nigh,
When every heart a tuned to praise,
And none more blest than I.”

The powers of darkness were let loose upon me. In spite of myself, my thoughts, at times.

were blasphemous. I felt that I must curse God and die. But, oh! how could I die with the memory
of those blessed days upon me ? Oh, to be damned, when once I had been so completely saved! –
to go to perdition in holy order! A good brother, filled with the Holy Ghost, was giving instruction
to several inquiring ones just as I entered a tent of prayer. The Spirit signified that his words were
for me by applying them at once to my heart. I felt that my hour had come. He told us of the
consecration we must make. I understood that perfectly well, nor was I long in bringing all to the
altar. Then he began to speak about faith. How many enter not in because of unbelief, even after
they have brought their all to the borders of the promised land! My great struggle was for faith
Could I believe God would trust me with that great blessing again? Presently faith came. Oh, the
blissful assurance! Blessed be God! how my soul mounted up! how it sunk down too! When I

 

returned to myself, I found the house swept and furnished. I felt so clean in my heart! The Purifier
had passed through me; and He left it written in the chambers of my full soul, “I will; be thou
clean.”

It is a wonder God saved me; and oh, the treachery of this poor doubting soul! I lost the

blessing even then, again I know where I lost it this time. I went home from the camp-ground one
night. My wife and little ones were safely in their beds. I never loved them before as I did then.
”Now,” said the Spirit, “before you sleep, do tell the companion of your joys what God has done
for you on the camp-ground.” Oh! how could I have halted at so plain a duty? But I stopped, and
said, “Thou knowest, Lord, my good wife is not of this way of thinking. She does not believe in
this thing at all. Would it not be better for me first to convince her of the reality of this state of
grace by my life? I will confess it in the class-room; I will preach it in the pulpit; I will live it at
home, and in a very little while she will acknowledge and embrace it.” Just as if I knew better than
God! But even then the blessed Spirit bore with me. It revealed my error; but I lost the blessing.
Winter came. Revival efforts commenced. I went home from meeting, where God had been
blessing the people, one night, and found my companion weeping. I soon learned the cause of her
trouble. “Oh, husband!” said she, “how unfaithful to God I am living! Will you pray for me?” We
prayed, and the Lord blessed her. She had heard my witness before the congregation, and as deeply
convicted for the blessing of holiness. Could I have borne the cross then, and told her all the Lord
had done for me, and urged her to a full consecration to God, who blessed would it have been for
us both! At the Coldwater Camp-meeting, last July, I had to go over the same ground again. God
again set me at liberty and at rest. I cannot ask to have my own way now: God knows best. If the
blessed Spirit impresses me with a sense of duty, I must not stop to parley. I am becoming
established. Sinners are being converted; and, bless God! His dear children are being renewed in
love. May it never be that I shall again grieve Him by doubting His grace! Thus the long deferred
hope of my life is deferred no longer. My sick heart is made well in Jesus.

This perfect love. — ’tis perfect, perfect bliss.
All is well! All is well!
Oh, what a happy, happiness is this!
All is well! All is well!
My Jesus whispers, thou are mine,
And all in me, my child is thine,
All, these are transports all divine!
All is well! All is well!

Rise! — Rise my soul, and onward, onward still.
All is well! all is well!
God, will with all, — with all His fullness fill.
All is well! All is well!
Stronger than death, His love to thee,
And thou to all eternity
A monument of grace shalt be,
All is well! All is well!

Source: “Pioneer Experiences” by Phoebe Palmer

 

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HOW THEY ENTERED CANAAN
(A Collection of Holiness Experience Accounts)
Compiled by Duane V. Maxey

Vol. I — Named Accounts

Interchurch Holiness Convention

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