RALPH GOODRICH FINCH
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An Account of His Getting Sanctified
In the fall of 1907, by the time God’s Bible School was to open, I had my crops sold, debts
paid and was ready to go. There are two outstanding things that happened while we attended Bible School which have been of inestimable value in my work all through life. First, I discovered I was not sanctified; and in the second place, I learned to prevail in prayer and to keep my face set like a flint to go through, regardless of my feelings.
The first night, in the school tabernacle, as I saw those boys and girls sing, testify and pray
with such liberty and power, I looked on with amazement. By the third night, which was Sunday night, I went over an hour early, and as I walked toward the front I heard a boy say to another that he had to get sanctified or leave the school. He declared it was too hot for him. I spoke up and told them I was in the same condition, only I had to get through, as I had but a dollar left and couldn’t leave. Off we went to find a place to pray where we would not be disturbed.
Boys were in every room on the floor above so we went to the third floor, but it was the
same way. Every room contained boys and men praying for the night service, but the bathroom was empty. In it we three knelt to pray. The white boy knelt at the foot of the tub and I at the head while the black boy knelt just behind me. No one had to pound us on the back and urge us to pray. We both were desperate to be made holy. We believed in the baptism with the Holy Ghost, heart purity and power. For thirty minutes I poured out my soul to God. I prayed at the top of my voice, not that I thought that God was deaf, but my desperate feelings, and determination caused me to fairly scream.
In the midst of my praying the enemy seemed to perch himself in the little window above us
and laugh and sneer. He suggested the yard below was full of folks who were listening to us screaming up there, and were laughing at us. He overstepped himself right there. Once before he
defeated me in prayer by such talk, so I plunged into prevailing all the harder. When seeking to be converted in the old Methodist Church, or just before making a public start, the enemy bluffed me one morning by his talk. Coming from a town three miles away, I promised myself to go into the church and pray if the door was open. I was sure the door would not be open as it was below zero and a northwest wind was blowing. But, to my surprise, as I came in sight of the old church, one door was wide open. I hitched old Prince, threw a blanket over him, went in and right to the altar, kneeled down and was just beginning when the devil suggested that folks were looking in the windows and laughing at me. Without ever looking to see, I jumped up and went home. Now he was trying to work the same bluff again. How plain and real he can seem; but I knew that trick of his, so kept right on praying. My voice got so weak and my throat so hoarse that I prayed only in a whisper; then I threw up my hands and told God I would be made pure or stay there until I died. At once my voice began getting stronger and in a few moments cleared up while all the time I was climbing in desperation and in faith. The black boy had stopped praying. I wished he would keep on but feared to stop myself long enough to urge him for fear I might lose the ground I found myself gaining. Suddenly with a rushing, mighty flame of invisible fire I was consumed. It struck me in the tips of my fingers, then rushed through my whole body. I was melted to a helpless condition and fell back on the black boy, able to move but one hand and my head and to shout, “This is that! This is that!”
As soon as I could struggle to my feet, I staggered down and into the tabernacle. As I
started downstairs, the black boy caught me and straightened out my hair and clothes as best he could. I staggered for the first time in my life. But what did I care; I was drunk on God’s love. I was filled with the Holy Ghost. I was so thrilled it seemed I would have died in another minute if God had not withdrawn the emotion. As I walked into the tabernacle, Sister Peabody, the speaker, gave me the floor and at once I witnessed to what had happened — how I had thought I was pure within, but how I found out different, and how now the work was done.
I felt I must witness to everyone I met. In fact, I was impressed I would lose the Spirit if I
once failed. The next day I met a man on the street and stopped to tell him. He listened quietly, then grinned and told me I had come in contact with an electric wire, and he walked off. Next night at prayer meeting I jumped up to testify and to do just as I had done on Sunday night; but, lo and behold, it was not the same. We all kneeled in prayer, whereupon I was impressed that what the man, I met that day, had told me might be true. I was also impressed I had made a fool of myself, and that all saw it. Home I went to let the enemy drive me farther into gloom. I got on my knees at last and begged God to witness to my purity again, and to my great joy, He did so. But with it came such a shame for doubting and letting the enemy whip me so badly that I promised God to never doubt Him again.
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Source: “Heart Searching Truth” by Ralph Goodrich (R.G.) Finch
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HOW THEY ENTERED CANAAN (A Collection of Holiness Experience Accounts) Compiled by Duane V. Maxey
Vol. I — Named Accounts