MRS. J. R. SWAUGER (Wesleyan)
[This testimony was authored by the wife of Dr. J. R. Swauger, Home Missionary
Secretary of the former Wesleyan Methodist Church from 1943 to 1955.]
Assurance of sins forgiven was not mine until in my 13th year, though I as reared in a
Christian home, and heard Spirit-inspired testimonies at church. Often the Lord whispered to me concerning my need, and I would ask Him to save me; but no change seemed to come. I began to wonder if I were expecting too much, and that perhaps, since I had prayed, and even with tears, I might be a Christian after all.
During a time of deep concern I began to ask the Lord to sanctify me thinking that what I
heard about in testimonies might be what I lacked. But finally, at a point of desperation, feeling I could not go on any longer unsatisfied and unsure, I besought the Lord to do for me whatever needed to be done. In response to that poor, but earnest and desperate prayer, He graciously answered with pardon and peace. Then I knew, for the first time in my life, that I as born again. My name was written in the Book of Life. Where there had been darkness, light had come into my soul. I was right with God. He had dealt with me as tenderly and faithfully as though I were His sole concern!
And now the Spirit began sharpening my desire for a clean heart. The very day of my
conversion, while I was rejoicing over forgiveness of sins, I found myself praying for the fulness of the Spirit. Oswald Chambers has well said, “A born-again soul is condemned to holiness … he is a bondslave to Jesus” (Still Higher For His Highest, Zondervan, 1971, p. 174). Having been born from above, there was an intense craving to partake of all that was in included in this family relationship. Nothing less could satisfy.
For the next several months I listened to Bible studies and testimonies with keen interest. I
read The Christian Witness, which came regularly to our home. From the family bookcase I began
perusing books that had been purchased at the camp meeting bookstand, learning what had been written about the sanctified life by John Wesley, C. W. Ruth, H. C. Morrison, and Bud Robinson.
I became familiar with the great Bible truths: “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost”
(Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33): “Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. :14); “Be ye holy for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44; I Pet. 1:16); ”And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly…faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it” (I Thess. 5:23-24).
In my ignorance, at my times of prayer, I would ask the Lord to cleanse my heart from all
sin, and fill me with His Spirit. Then I would wait to sense that the work was done. If I did not feel different I would pray on, pause, examine, and pray again. Finally, at the end of nine months, the Spirit gently reminded me of what John Wesley had explained — that this work was done in answer to faith and faith alone, without regard to feeling. But how could I take such a step without testing my feelings to be sure?
The experience of Israel at Jordan came to my mind, how the way did not open until the
feet of the priests touched the waters. Would I dare to step in on naked faith? The struggle was very real. My consecration had been complete, as far as I knew, for some months. There was nothing I was withholding, but the Spirit was gently insisting that I step out. Finally, in full abandon to Him, I began saying, “I do believe You cleanse me now. I do believe. I do believe.”
If ever I am tempted to look upon teenagers as too young to understand and seek the second
work of grace, I have only to recall that I was an eighth-grader when I earnestly sought and blessedly experienced the Spirit’s cleansing from inbred sin, and taking possession of my entire being.
In all the eventualities that life has brought through threescore years since that blessed
experience, the adequacy of the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit has been paramount. In reflecting on various events and experiences, the outstanding memory in each instance is that the grace of God has been all-sufficient. He is the God of more than enough.
Source: “And They Shall Prophesy” Compiled by George E. Failing
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HOW THEY ENTERED CANAAN (A Collection of Holiness Experience Accounts) Compiled by Duane V. Maxey
Vol. I — Named Accounts