- W. HAWKINS (Methodist)
The influence of the Holy Spirit, and the conviction that I was called to preach the Gospel,
are among the earliest recollections of my life. Receiving the truth from my parents in infancy, I had a consciousness of acceptance with God during all the years of my childhood, except at short interval, when convinced of sin and reproved by the Spirit; which, being followed by repentance of faith, restored me to favor again.
At the age of thirteen, I made a public profession of religion, by uniting with the Church,
and, from that time, until my seventeenth year, maintained a Christian character before the world, but was sometimes under condemnation, from departures both in spirit and in practice. I always desired to be released from the work of the ministry; but, being then more urgently pressed in spirit, I vowed, that, when the fullness of time should come, I would obey the call. About the same time, I began to go into society, and, during the following year, gradually yielded to temptation, withdrew from the Church, and for two years indulged in the follies and vices of the world. The Spirit appeared to be so entirely withdrawn, that, while I sinned against light and knowledge, it was without remorse. In considering this, it became evident that I should never again be moved by the Holy Ghost, until from a conviction of duty only, I returned to do my first works over. I began, at once, but coming out from the world, and being separate, and touching not the unclean thing, believing, the promise, “I will receive you;” but, for two years subsequently, I found neither delight in the things of God, nor communion with Him. For many months, I endured the most terrible spiritually conflict of my life, being so frequently overcome that I loathed myself in dust and ashes; but God, who is rich in mercy, had compassion upon me, and rebuked the adversary.
On one occasion, while enjoying sweet communion with Him, the thought arose, Why might
not this be my continual experience? I had no previous knowledge of a higher state of race, or the name by which it was called; yet I longed for purity of heart with an intense longing. Then came an almost overwhelming revelation of my deep depravity. Compared with past experience, I saw, as with microscopic vision, the exceeding sinfulness of sin I could not contemplate my greater sins; and what had once been considered trifles appeared in their true light. These trifles were the idols
which prevented a perfect consummation; but one by one they fell, till the sacrifice was complete. In reading “Faith and its Effects,” the declaration, “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin,” was presented, that I began to believe. Simultaneously a little ray of bright light descended from above, and rested upon me; and I felt the witness of the Spirit that I had believed unto the saving of the soul. I continued to read; and the thought was suggested, that so simple an occurrence would soon pass away, and be forgotten; but my faith failed not, and I was enabled to witness a good confession before many witnesses.
My vow to preach the Gospel had ever been held sacred; the fullness of time had come,
and having, obtained help of God, I continue to this day. Greater conflicts came with greater power, and my faith was tried “as gold tried with fire,” “as silver tried in the furnace of earth, purified seven times.”
Having lived for a season, without the slightest cause of condemnation, I began to rest with
satisfaction in the fact that touching the law, I was blameless; and when it is difficult to judge whether the spirit had yielded, in any degree, to temptation, the tendency was to establish my own righteousness; but the Spirit taught me to say, with Paul, when speaking of his own righteousness, ”Those things which were gain to me, them I counted loss, that I might win Christ and be found of Him; not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” What an apprehension of the fullness of the atonement followed! What a joy in realizing that we are accepted in the “Beloved!”
In connection with this, another truth was developed, contained in the sixth, seventh, and
eighth chapter of Romans, that during the term of his natural life, and in whatever state of grace, the Christian has a redeemed spirit dwelling in a body impaired by the fall. The spirit is changed when converted, and perfected when sanctified; but the body remains the same, and the law in our members still warreth against the soul. Though the conflict ceases at death because of separation from the body, yet it will not be changed until “the day of redemption,” when “this mortal shall put on immortality.” In this fact, we find our susceptibility to temptation, and liability to fall, the necessity of “walking in the Spirit that we may not fulfill the lusts of the flesh,” of “crucifying the flesh with it affections and lusts,” of ” bringing the body under, and keeping it in subjection.” It is from this cause, also, that “we, who have received the first fruits of the Spirit, even we groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption; to wit, the redemption of the body; and it is in this sense ”we are saved by hope.”
The knowledge of these great truths reconciled many difficulties which had arisen in my
own mind, a well as in the mind of others; but it led me to despair of being able always to “all in the Spirit,” and “to keep the body in subjection,” unto the coming of the Lord Jesus, without a direct scriptural assurance that this is possible. Such an assurance is given in Romans eight and fourteenth, “But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” It is also written in Romans sixth and fourteenth, “Sin shall have no dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” And again it is written, 1 Thess. v. 23, 24, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.”
With these “precious promises,” the last question is answered, the last shadow vanisheth
away; and I, this day, “join myself unto the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten,” presenting my body “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is my reasonable service;” “For I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him, against that day.”
Source: “Pioneer Experiences” by Phoebe Palmer
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HOW THEY ENTERED CANAAN (A Collection of Holiness Experience Accounts) Compiled by Duane V. Maxey
Vol. I — Named Accounts