MRS. E. S. DUFF
…At twenty-five years of age, my hopes were about to be realized, but I wasn’t yet quite
ready to yield, and the Lord in His loving kindness and tender mercy laid the hand of affliction on me in August of that year, and I was brought down to the very gates of death. I lay prostrate for months, and I promised the Lord that if He would raise me up I would serve Him anyway, whether I had any experience or not. I had been waiting all these years for a big Christian experience to begin with.
I asked Him to raise me up before all the protracted meetings were over in the fall that I
might have another chance to attend a revival service. That was just what the Lord was getting me ready for, but I didn’t know it. So by the first of October I was able to be up, and the last of the protracted meetings of the season was announced to be held by the Cumberland Presbyterian church of the town. They had engaged an evangelist to conduct the services; he was of the Moody School, and knew God. He was the first evangelist I ever heard.
I was able to attend the third service that was held, and the Lord certainly gave him the
message for me that day. I kept crying “Yes” to God, as I sat quiet in my pew. I counted the cost and accepted Jesus by faith. Hallelujah! I didn’t know anything about testimony meetings, but I thought I should like to have the opportunity to make a public statement that would explain my attitude so my worldly associates would know that I had given them up. I thought that taking this stand would be a great help to me in the separation from the world that was to take place; but there was no opportunity to testify.
The evangelist, however, was invited to hold a prayer meeting at my next door neighbor’s
that afternoon, and I went. He shook hands with everyone and asked them if they were saved. My faith began to waver and I prayed silently, saying, “Now, Lord, help me to know what to say before he comes to me, for I don’t want to deceive anybody, and most of all I don’t want to be deceived myself.”
When he came to me, God enabled me to say, “Yes, by the grace of God I am His child,”
and with that confession He opened the windows of Heaven on my soul, and I didn’t have to wait for an opportunity to tell it, for it just told itself, and everything else had to give place. From that day I walked and talked with God. For six weeks I hardly knew how I lived. Heaven seemed more real than this earth.
I need have had no fear of my worldly companions seeking my society. Redeeming love
was my theme from morning till night, and my friends became uneasy about me for fear my mind might become unbalanced, and they sent me away to the country for a period of isolation; but I was not alone. Hallelujah! He was teaching me the deep things of God. He separated me completely from the world. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
He brought me out that He might bring me in. His plan was to lead me straight through to
Canaan by way of Kadesh-barnea, but I was too slow to understand. I thought that consecration meant doing some great and impossible thing, so like the Israelites of old I entered not in on account of unbelief. I did not understand spiritual things as I do now. So the Lord dealt with me according to the light I then had. Now, under the illumination of the Holy Ghost I look back and understand God’s dealings with me in a way that I could not then understand.
So, ten years later He again led me up to the crossing of the Jordan, and there was just one
thing that had to be left behind that I insisted on taking over to Canaan with me, and that kept me out of the blessing; but ten years later on the last Thursday in May, 1898, about ten o’clock, A. M., I obeyed marching orders. Leaving everything behind and surrendering everything ahead, I followed our Great High Priest, before Whom the waters parted, and I went over dry shod. Hallelujah!
“Is not this the Land of Beulah, Blessed, blessed land of light, Where the flowers bloom forever, And the sun is always bright?
“I can see far down the mountain, Where I wandered weary years; Often hindered in my journey, By the ghosts of doubts and fears.
“Broken vows and disappointments Thickly sprinkled all the way; But the Spirit led unerring, To the land I hold day.”
My wanderings were spent in the wilderness of affliction, and my prayer was, “Lord make
me whole in soul and body.” In some way I had a spiritual intuition that the soul-health must come first and I wished it so, and when the affliction had wrought its work and the Lord saw that I had
come to a place of surrender He took me through the period of consecration, which lasted about a week. When I was through everything, I was surrendered to God, and I could say with Job, “The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” I had given up will, reputation, home, friends, time and the little means He had entrusted to me.
Hallelujah! I had the witness of the Spirit to my consecration. I knew that everything was
yielded up to God and the peace that passeth understanding came into my soul. The struggle was over. I did not know enough to ask Him to baptize me with the Holy Ghost, or to sanctify me wholly, or to give me a clean heart; but my prayer was that I might be wholly the Lord’s. He was faithful and showed me what it meant to be wholly His, and what it would cost, and He enabled me to meet the conditions and receive the blessing. Praise the Lord!
The following morning at about ten o’clock, while sitting alone in my room and meditating
on the wonderful dealing of God with my soul, lost in quiet spiritual communion with God, the wonderful baptism of the Holy Ghost came upon me. Words cannot express it. He introduced Himself. I had no doubt in regard to the identity of my Guest, and I was ready to exclaim with Jacob, “Surely, the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not.” Like Moses in the presence of the burning bush, I realized that I was on holy ground.
Instead of having been ushered suddenly into the presence of God, God came in the person
of the Holy Ghost to make my body His temple. “For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” (Acts 1:5). I hoped that no one would come into the room to disturb the unbroken communion and the holy quietness of that heavenly atmosphere. I thought I could never condescend to talk of common things again, and that I must devote my whole time to the Bridegroom of my soul.
“Many beauteous names Thou bearest, Brother, Shepherd, Friend, and King, But they none into my spirit Such Divine support can bring. Wilt thou have this precious ‘Ishi,’ Bridegroom of thy soul to be? He, the fairest of ten thousand, Waits in love to welcome thee.”
He began to teach me from that hour. (John 14:26)…He showed me the condition of the
world and of the churches, and the burden was so great that I had to ask for relief. I couldn’t bear it. I felt as if I were carrying the whole lost world on my heart. He taught me about Divine healing. The power of God came on my body in the night, and I thought the Lord was about to take me home to Heaven. The spiritual ecstasy was something beyond description, and I thought that condition of soul attended the death of the sanctified; but He spoke to me again, and said, “This is not death. It is Divine healing. Now, your body is healed.” And I was healed from that hour. Hallelujah! I have been going for God ever since. At this time I had never come in touch with the holiness people, but the Holy Spirit had been talking to me about my lifework, and I felt that I must have an opportunity to study the Word.
Source: “Redeemed by the Blood” by Mrs. E. S. Duff
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HOW THEY ENTERED CANAAN (A Collection of Holiness Experience Accounts) Compiled by Duane V. Maxey
Vol. I — Named Accounts