Dear Bro. King:– Having been a subscriber to your periodical from its beginning, and
taking a deep interest in the subject it advocates, I am induced to communicate, through this medium, a sketch of what the Lord has done for me. Should God be glorified, and his children encouraged, or in any wise benefited, my object will be gained. — A. Osborn
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Seward, N. Y., February 25th, 1848
My conversion to God dates back to the beginning of 1830; nothing special being said on
the subject of sanctification at that time, four or five years elapsed before I was excited and led to seek for its attainment. At this time it pleased God to make an example of his sanctifying grace in the case of one of the members of our class; a sister sought and obtained the blessing. The change was so great -its evidences so strong, and her testimony so convincing, that none could resist a conviction of its reality and its blessedness. To this day, I feel thankful to God for this instance of his grace, and cannot help remarking how much good one sanctified soul may do by letting this light shine, and exhorting others to seek for the same blessing. But, alas! how many conceal the light, and hence either soon lose it, or entirely fail to be any special example or blessing to others.
Had this sister done so, I might for years longer have remained satisfied with a merely
justified state, but the light now broke in upon my mind; conviction fastened upon my heart; I saw the beauty of holiness — I felt its necessity. Immediately, the purpose was formed to seek after this blessing, and as soon put into practice.
Endeavoring to carry out the newly-formed purpose, I found that a new era had commenced
in my religious career; my former and present enjoyments were obscured by the greater ones in prospect; a discovery of remaining depravity surprised and humbled me; a second repentance ensued, more distressing than the first. I abhorred myself in the dust and ashes, and groaned under the painful and apparently increasing burden of inbred sin. I sought for deliverance; sought as well
as I knew how for some length of time; but failing of success, I became discouraged and relaxed my efforts.
It was not long, however, before I was again induced to seek for the desire of my heart; but
again I failed, and gave the matter up for the present. Thus, for two years, I continued alternately to seek and to neglect, to hope and to despair. At times my anxiety and struggle of mind became intense and all-absorbing. I spent hours in secret, earnest prayer, but at the very height of my exercises it would be suggested to me as follows:
“You have sought for sanctification a long time, sought it with all your heart, and yet failed;
you can never seek any harder or more earnestly; how can you then expect to succeed? Yours is a hopeless case — you might as well give it up.”
This reasoning appeared to me then (but not now) sound and conclusive; the temptation
was almost irresistible; for a time the enemy triumphed, but the spirit of conviction did not subside; the excellence, the loveliness of the desired blessing was still before me, and again I was on the track, “faint, yet pursuing.” The Lord, however, did not leave me without some encouragement in this long struggle for redemption; several passages of Scripture were forcibly impressed on my mind, as also was the following quotation from one of Mr. Wesley’s sermons:
“Look for it (sanctification) every day, every hour, every moment, why not this hour? this
moment? Certainly you may look for it now, if you believe it is by faith. And by this token you may surely know whether you seek it by faith or by works: If by works, you want something to be done first, before you are sanctified. You think, I must be, or do, thus or thus. Then you are seeking it by works unto this day. If you seek it by faith, you may expect it as you are, and if as you are, then expect it now. It is of importance to observe that there is an inseparable connection between these three points. Expect it by faith, expect it as you are, and expect it now.”
I now took fresh courage; I clearly saw, that though I had sought and failed so many times,
yet it was possible for me to have it the next time I asked for it. Soon after this, the following passage from the Christian Manual struck my mind with peculiar force: “Some who believe that sanctification is to be obtained by faith, and yet hold that faith in the Antinomian or Solifidian way, and do not rightly balance faith and works. While some seek by works alone, they seek by faith alone. They ask as though they expected God would infuse sanctification into them, instead of working it in them, through their own exertions. It is true that sanctification is obtained by faith; but then it is a faith which is accompanied by earnest efforts to overcome all sin, and to possess and practice all righteousness.”
Here I distinctly saw how I had so long failed. I had sought it by faith without suitable or
sufficient works; the earnest, agonizing spirit of the closet, was not followed by a constant watchfulness, and a rigid self-denial of everything opposed to holiness. It evaporated during the intervals of devotion. Seeing, and endeavoring to avoid the rock upon which I split, it was not long before my prayers were answered. This event, never to be forgotten, occurred under the following circumstances:
Making a visit one day to a sick brother, (husband of the sister above referred to,) prayer
was proposed; during its exercise, a wonderful spirit of agonizing, believing prayer was felt; all hearts seemed to melt into tenderness; God was present; the cloud of the Divine glory rested there, and after continuing for sometime in this attitude, I felt that a change was effected; the long-felt burden of inbred sin gave place to the most delightful ease and quietness of heart; an inexpressible simplicity and sweetness of spirit pervaded the soul; God seemed to be all around me; prayer appeared like simply talking to him, face to face. I had often been blest, and melted down before God, but this instance was more deep and abiding than any before.
I returned home exceeding happy; my joy was full — my peace like a river; no tongue can
tell the heaven of love that filled my soul; God had taken up his abode there; every desire and inclination were brought into subjection to his will; to pray without ceasing was easy — “rejoice evermore, natural; death had lost its sting, the grave its gloom. O, what a blessed state of union and communion with God that was; what a triumph of soul over every thing; what a life hid with Christ in God!
Nearly ten years had now elapsed since the blessing of sanctification was first received,
and though I cannot say that I had always walked in the light of it, yet has it always been kept prominently before my mind, and made the great personal object of my life.
Several times it has been renewed powerfully and lastingly; once, when engaged in a
protracted meeting in Berne, Albany Co. (Rev. Aaron Rogers, of the N. Y. conference was present.) At that time the power of God prostrated me upon the altar floor, and so deepened and established his work in my heart, that for nearly twelve months the evidence and fruit of it were as constant as the breath of life, and as satisfactory as the fact of my own existence.
But time would fail me to give a full account of the past; I can only speak a little of the
present. I am thankful to be able to say that the present evidences of this blessing are as clear and satisfactory as they ever were, and the fruits of it more abundant. God’s will appears so infinitely good and blessed, that it not only absorbs my own, but leads to an ardent desire and effort to do and suffer it to my utmost capacity. His Word is open to my understanding in a peculiar sense, and its truths and promises come home to my heart with as much force (seemingly) as though spoken directly from heaven. His providences — every event in life — reflect light, and disclose an every where present God, overruling all things for good. Faith opens the most glorious prospects beyond the grave, and gives an insight into the glories of the heavenly world. All — all is on the altar, and it seems to require but little effort to keep it there. O, the peace — the joy — the triumph of a present, free, full salvation. “Now unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God, and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen.”
Source: Guide to Holiness Articles, (From Volume 13 Through Volume 16), Part 4 — Edited by Dexter S. King
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HOW THEY ENTERED CANAAN (A Collection of Holiness Experience Accounts) Compiled by Duane V. Maxey
Vol. I — Named Accounts