1825 — 1???

February 9, 2017 // Story


1825 — 1???


My father’s inflexible righteousness between man and man impressed me early in life. I

believed he would not intentionally wrong a fellow man for any price that could be offered. He
was so unlike the world about him, in this regard, that it gave me an intense conviction of the
integrity of God! Our altar of prayer never went down. In those days morning worship consisted of
reading the Scriptures, a hymn of praise, and prayer. In evening devotion we usually sang a few
verses standing, and then knelt in prayer. Business as never so pressing that this had to be put
aside, and the presence of visitors or working men never furnished a reason for its omission. This
left the impression that one’s duties to God were first. Children brought up without prayer are
wronged from their infancy.

The home life of my mother was the greatest human factor leading to my salvation. It was

well nigh impossible to shake off the impress of her spirit, or to resist the impression that her
religion was Divine. Her life of prayer kept a sense of my obligations to God ever before me. Her
care for the company I kept, her scrutiny of my habits, her knowledge of my heart life, her pain
when I was perverse, and her hold on God for my eternal salvation made her agency more potent
than any other that was human in bringing me to Christ. I can hardly remember when I did not
really desire an intend to be a Christian.

A sermon by Rev. John S. Barger, preached at Marietta, Ills., in the spring of 1840, made

the strongest impression of any heard in my unconverted life. He was our Presiding Elder at the
time, and preached about three hours from I Thess. 5: 23, 24. His theme was entire sanctification.
That sermon marked me for eternal years! I had been secretly seeking God all along, but the truth
fastened on my soul that day, put me where I determined never to rest till I found God. My timidity
was perhaps the greatest barrier in my way. I was powerfully impressed at times for years, to
publicly renounce a life of sin and give myself to God. Had I yielded to that conviction, I would


have been saved years before. I would have given a great price, had it been possible, for
salvation; but it seemed I could not get to an altar of prayer. I alarmed my mother by staying at
home when the family went four miles to the preaching services: when the sole object of my
remaining was to get opportunity of being for hours alone with God in prayer. One time I prayed a
half day in a woodland, and at the end it seemed like the darkness of the second death begun! I
seemed ready to do anything but yield to God. I hated a life of sin. There were no overt acts of
crime in which I indulged. I often confessed with bitter tears to God the failure of my life but there
was one thing I would not do. The early ministers gave special invitation to sinners in nearly every
sermon, and had I heeded their call and come right out before the world, as the Holy Spirit led, I
would have been saved at any time in all those years.

Reuben Plummer and Richard Walters were our ministers in 1840 and 1841. They were

esteemed as messengers of God, and a great work was accomplished at various points on that
wide circuit. During the holidays, Mr. Plummer was in a battle north of Knoxville, and the junior
preacher was to hold a watch meeting New Year’s eve at Harrisonville (now Hermon), Knox
County, Ills. It was twelve or more miles away and the weather cold; but my anxious, weary soul
could not refrain from going. A niece of my mother, Miss Eleanor Hull, accompanied me. She was
a devoted girl and had often prayed for my salvation. The services up to that time from the first
settlement there, had been held in Father Long’s dwelling. He was a good old local preacher, and
Mother Long one of John’s elect ladies. I went, all the way hoping I would not return in my sins,
that the long-looked-for time when it would be easy to yield to God would come. I was seated in
the farthest corner from the preacher, on the steps leading to the stairway, wanting to find God and
so deeply convicted I hardly heard the sermon; yet by subtle devil power put myself where it
would be most difficult to find Him!

For years the demand of the Holy Ghost had been plain that I must come out publicly and

identify myself with God’s people. The Methodists urged all penitents to unite with the church on
probation as seekers. I had refused to do it, being wiser than my teachers, as sinners generally are.
The preaching being ended an invitation was given to all penitents to come to the altar, but I
delayed in tears. A brother came by and asked me to go, but left me on my seat. A young man came
and asked me if “I wanted religion.” I timidly answered that I did. He suggested that I “go at once
to the mourners! bench,” but to me it seemed nearly impossible. He put his arm around me and
said: “Come now, and I will go with you.” Those words of love seemed to put strength into me,
and in a moment I decided to go and never to leave that spot till I was born of God!

The decision of that moment was more than equal to all those years of struggle. The

preacher had said if any would come, he would remain with them till sunrise, if need be. The Holy
Spirit threw light on the pathway of my life, till my past sins rose as mountains before me. Others
found Christ, but my sins, as a deep, dismal cloud, obscured everything but the displeasure of God.
Midnight had come and the minister was anxious to close, and made several proposals for all the
seekers to rise. I remembered his promise and did not obey. I had come to stay till I heard from
heaven. All who were seeking had found, and my condition had never seemed so terrible as now.
There was a period when it did appear the pains of hell had taken hold upon me and I had such a
view of the damnation of the wicked that it has never been erased from my mind. Despair had
seized my spirit as though my feet had entered hell’s door and all was lost!


At that juncture the minister said: “The Methodist Church is an asylum which receives

wounded souls and all who have got religion, and any who are earnestly seeking, can now be taken
into the church on probation by giving me your hand and name,” at the same time drawing near to
where I knelt. The Holy Spirit suggested, “Will you now obey?” I answered, “Yes, Lord I will,”
and, without rising, turned and gave him my hand, and in less than ten seconds was standing on my
feet in the new heavens and the new earth, God’s happy and forgiven child! The last point of
disobedience having given way, Christ instantly came before me as my sin-pardoning Saviour. He
had been there before but the door was closed; now He found it open, and He came in. Rev. 3:20.
The change apparent to my sensibilities was the utter and instant removal of my guilt load. Not
even a symptom of condemnation was left Rom. 8:1, 2. I found myself consciously possessed of a
new life which I had never had before.

I stood in silence before God. Not a word did I utter. The quiet of eternity seemed to be

within. The first active emotion was an unspeakable desire to put my arms about all that were there
and bring them to Christ! Sixty-two years have come and gone, and I have never lost that desire.
The peace then given was a new possession and a new love, never before possessed, flowed back
to God and out to universal man. I was now consciously God’s own child, as witnessed by His
Holy Spirit, and He my Father. Since that time I have never had one minute’s trouble about my
conversion! Even the devil has never questioned that I was born of God! This great transaction
took place in the first hour of 1841.

“O sacred hour, O hallowed spot,
Where love divine first found me,
Wherever falls my distant lot
My heart shall linger round thee,
And when from earth I rise to soar
Up to my home in heaven,
Down will I cast my eyes once more
Where I was first forgiven.”


It has been stated in previous chapters that I had been awakened to the subject of Christian

holiness, and since my nineteenth year [since 1844] had been a seeker of that grace. My entrance
on the work of a minister brought such responsibilities that I seemed compelled to come nearer to
God. The books assigned me to study, by the church, led toward that experience. The vows I
would be expected to take required that I be at least an earnest seeker. My people all knew I was a
seeker, and many of them were seekers with me.

The fathers of Methodism prescribed the persistent use of all the means of grace. They

specified much secret prayer, daily reading of the Scriptures, fasting, giving thorough attention to
gospel preaching, special attention upon the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, etc.: as the highway
leading to sanctification. They also said when you have done all this, come to God by simple faith
as though you had done nothing, and receive it as the gift of God through Jesus Christ.


I followed to the letter this prescription month after month, without wearying. I prayed five

times in secret, when it was at all practicable, each day. I usually fasted twice each week. I visited
nearly, if not every, family in the bounds of my circuit, including saints and sinners, and talked to
them about God, and usually prayed in every place. I usually rose at, or before, four o’clock in the
morning to pray, and read the Scriptures on my knees, and had wondrous fellowship with God. For
ten months I think there was not a minute when I felt the sting of Divine condemnation, or doubted
that I was His child. I was often exceedingly happy and carried the conscious witness that my past
sins were all forgiven, and during this time I think one hundred souls were converted under my
ministry: but all this did not sanctify me!

As seen afterwards, there was a sense in which all this time I was seeking this grace by

works! So I faithfully kept the first injunction of the fathers, but utterly failed to reach the second.
Why this long delay to find what ought to have been reached in the first hour of seeking?

  1. It was not for want of earnestness. There have been but few more earnest souls.
  2. It was not for want of prayer. I prayed enough to sanctify a thousand souls.
  3. It was not because of known sinful indulgences–there were none, as far as I knew, as I

would have to state if I were dying!

  1. It was not because I failed to be fully justified, or that I was a backslider in heart or life.

I never had had a Christian experience before so rich and glorious as during this ten months; and
surely I grew more in grace in that time than in all my life preceding it.

Why, then, was I not sanctified?

  1. Because I sought it simply as a wonderful blessing, an immense gust of glory! I got these

again and again, but each time found I was not sanctified. The Divine, inwrought work of God
called sanctification is more than ten thousand gusts of blessing. There are millions of blessings,
but only one new birth. The new birth is not simply a blessing which makes you happy; it is a work
of God which brings you into a new state, in which you are to live billions of years. You are in that
state in sorrow, as well as in joy, and can never be out of it without committing sin. Sanctification
does not consist at all in emotional upheavals. It often produces them, but exists without them. If
this is not true, every time a soul is under trial, or in sorrow, he has lost the experience!

  1. I failed to find this grace in three years of seeking, because I never met God’s conditions

for sanctification. He has not promised that any man who will pray five times each day, fast twice
each week and wear his life out working for the church shall be sanctified. If he had, all who do
these things would be sanctified. But millions have done, and are doing, all these things who have
not been, and are not now, wholly sanctified.

Then why insist that God’s dear children must tread this Roman route, that by their works,

and sufferings and sacrifices they may make themselves holy, when holiness is the gift of God?
Why did not my teachers tell me I could, and ought to be sanctified, before I got half way through
my first prayer, or had time to get hungry on fast day? Prayer is blessed both before and after being


sanctified, and fasting is right in its place: but when used as substitutes for entire consecration to
God for heart purity and faith in Jesus to make you pure, they will hinder your sanctification.
Prayer and fasting, if used to help you to comply with God’s conditions, will hasten your
sanctification. When these conditions are met, we are at once infallibly sanctified.

In the summer of 1847 I heard of three or four persons in Knox County, Ills., who had

reached this experience, and that they were going to attend a camp meeting on the Dempsey ground.
My brother Freeborn was then the “preacher in charge” on that circuit, and Roswell Morse was his
helper. As I desired to meet those persons so recently sanctified I determined to go to that camp

It was a hundred miles away and the sun was hot, but that little trip across the prairie was

nothing to my hungry soul. I had several seasons of shouting on the way, when no one heard but
God. I was so filled with love for souls and the desire to help them that I was constrained to turn
my weary horse out of the way to converse with children who were seated on a fence some
distance off, and went on feeling that some of them would be saved as the result. The camp went
forward with power and blessing, and souls were converted nearly every time we met. I became
so absorbed in helping penitents, and so happy in God, that I forgot about my own needs.

Being appointed to preach in the afternoon, the Lord so filled me with glory that I praised

Him with a very loud voice while preaching and there was a shout in the camp. I think the
preaching must have been a small affair, but God was there in great power. Thirty souls, I would
think, rushed inside the altar enclosure seeking pardon, and most of them cried aloud for mercy.
My happy soul tumbled down among them, and the impression has followed me for many years that
they were everyone converted in a few minutes! It was wonderful.

Before the night service it was determined to march around the ground with singing instead

of preaching, and wind up with an altar call. I think my brother Richard led that night, and at least
thirty penitents, largely all new seekers, were crying to God. A storm was approaching and our
chances in those days for shelter in camp, were poor. I knew the meeting must close in the
morning, and it distressed me that these seekers should be driven away without salvation. I
hastened to two of those fully saved brothers, and plead with them to join with me in prayer that
God would send the storm round and not allow those souls to go without being saved.

The whole appearance indicated a drenching rain. My brother seeing its near approach,

gave orders that the penitents be taken to the tents, and he did not know that God was going to
handle the storm. Bro. Freeborn, Bro. Morse and myself laid hold of four young men and took them
to Barton Cartwright’s tent. I saw each of them beautifully converted in a little time, and praised
God aloud, when each came through.

The last one being converted, I looked around to see if there was any other I could help,

and Richard Haney’s wife, Adaline, was crying for a holy heart at the east side of the tent. I
hastened to kneel by her, as though I were a veteran in the experience, and assured her that God
would sanctify her; I knew he would! She stepped into the fountain and was unspeakably filled
with God. Her face I shall never forget. Her life to its close was a burning lamp. No one who
knew her closely ever doubted the genuineness of her testimony.


As soon as I got through shouting I looked, and my brother Freeborn was in tears and

crying for a holy heart. I prayed and put my arms about his neck and felt I must push him right into
the fountain. When the Holy Ghost came in and applied the blood and filled him with love, he sank
down as though the boy did not have a bone in his body. He seemed awestricken and incapable of
giving expression to the glory which filled his bloodwashed soul!

His colleague, Rev. R. Morse was now in agony of struggle about six feet away. The death

of the old man in him seemed like crucifixion, but it was not long till he was overwhelmed and
swept by the great power of God. He wept and shouted and was more demonstrative than either of
the others. His whole experience was exactly in harmony with my conceptions. So another flood of
praise went up to God from my happy soul.

When all was quiet and I became quiet enough to hear the Holy Spirit whisper: “It is now

time that you give attention to your own soul.” I had come one hundred miles to that meeting to get
the experience of holiness, and had been so lost to myself in helping others, that the last night had
come and I was without the experience.

I at once began to pray and prayed all night without ceasing. About daybreak I was so

exhausted I was unable to struggle any more, and became quiet as a well conquered child. As soon
as I was out of His way He began by giving me a fearful view of the carnal nature which was in
me. In contrast with His holiness it seemed to me as black as ink. Here was the white light of His
holiness, there the deep, black, indwelling evil deposit. called the carnal mind. I was not
condemned in the slightest, for I knew every sin I had ever committed was blotted out, that God
was my Father, and I His fully forgiven and His accepted child; but I loathed this vile nature as
never before, and unspeakably desired its instant removal.

I had not thought of crying for pardon, for my whole soul plead to be made clean, but how

should I get there? The Holy Spirit whispered: “Two things are necessary, only two–first,
consecration; second, faith in Jesus.” How glad I was to find the terms so easy, and my heart
exclaimed: “O, my Lord, is that all?” My love for Him was so great I knew I could easily give to
Him anything I had. I was utterly shut out from every human being, though Christians were all about
me: and was alone, with God as a quiet listener.

The Holy Spirit then probed me with searching questions, asking would I do this, and that,

go here or there, and my whole soul said yes. He then asked: “Should I be pleased never again to
make you happy once, and allow you to live to old age,” (and it looked nearly one hundred years
away); “Will you be all mine, and trust my blood to cleanse you from all sin, and testify to this
wherever I ask you to?” To this my heart answered. “O, my Lord, how can I do this?” I had been an
exceedingly happy Christian, and to give up all religious joy, how could I do it? It seemed worse
than death. But the question was repeated, and my whole heart answered yes! I then had a clear,
definite inner sense that I was wholly given to God, and my consecration was a finished fact.

Now I said only that step of faith and I will have the blessing. So I began to make a

desperate effort to believe, as I had often done before; but my heart went in advance of my plans,
and took Jesus as my complete Sanctifier then and there and I arose to my feet. A brother said to


me: “Brother Haney, where are you now?” I answered: “I am all the Lord’s and I believe the blood
of Jesus cleanses me from all sin!” This was near sunrise in the morning and I had lain on the
ground from about 10 o’clock the previous evening, and the struggle had left its impression on my
physical force.

My new experience was at first a sense of utter emptiness. My sense of joy was not half

equal to any one of the three days preceding. I had the rest which results from settlement. There
seemed to be nothing unsettled. I was all the Lord’s, and believed without mixture of doubt, that I
was cleansed from all sin. The closing exercises of a great camp meeting, with shouts of praise,
the shedding of tears, cries of penitents, and victory in the air, did not seem to move me. I was so
exhausted that, like the disciples in Gethsemane, I fell asleep several times, and when awakened
by my nodding, Satan hurled the statement into my soul that I was a pretty specimen of
sanctification, going asleep in such a meeting as that! My heart responded: “Sleeping or waking, I
am all the Lord’s!”

I traveled thirty miles that day and testified four times that I was all the Lord’s and believed

the blood cleansed me from all sin. It was not till late in the day that the sense of emptiness began
to merge into a realization of cleanness, but in no moment did my faith give way.

Stopping with a Brother Headstrom, who knew nothing of my exercises, I led in family

prayer that night. While praying the Holy Spirit witnessed to what had been done about sunrise that
morning on the Dempsey camp ground, and flooded my soul with glory such as I had never
experienced. I had believed for sanctification fourteen hours before, and received it, and retained
it by faith during the day. Now my faith was turned into knowledge. I was as truly and as perfectly
saved when I rose from the straw in the morning as I was when the witness was given, and in
fifty-six years I have not experienced a doubt as to the genuineness of the experience.

Source: “Pentecostal Possibilities, or
Story of My Life” by M. L. Haney

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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

Phone: 570-658-1030