Candidate for sanctification.
When the call was made, I went forward and consecrated myself and all my hopes and desires and longings and all to God. How in the world I had ever acquired so low a desire I do not know, but my chief ambition had been to be a professor of science in some college. But the Lord put me through a series of questions:
“Will you be my property henceforth?”
“Are you willing that people should call you a ’holiness crank’?”
“Supposing I should ask you to shout, would you?”
“I would do my best at it.”
“Will you give up all your plans and be a one-horse preacher of holiness if I want you to?”
Ah, here was a rub, indeed. Preaching was precisely what I did not relish. Anything rather than that. I had visions of small salaries, and country churches, and long, cold rides. I had seen the life of the preacher ever since I could remember. I debated the question. Then I answered, “Yes.” The audience was singing:
“Here I give my all
Friends and time and earthly store.
Soul and body then to be
Wholly Thine forever more.”
They told us seekers to raise our hands if we meant it. I meant it, so up went a hand. Instantly faith got an answer, and the witness came, and I knew that I was sanctified wholly.
But I was a dull scholar, and had to learn many lessons after my Jordan-crossing. Owing to my failure in definite testimony, my experience suffered partial eclipse, and my last year at Oak Grove was more or less dark and unhappy. I was much helped, however, by the reading of holiness books sent me by a sanctified music-teacher, who had interest enough in me to write me real Fenelon letters and keep me supplied with holiness reading. During the summer of 1893 I was more fully established in the grace, and in the autumn began to preach.
The abiding Christ.
I have frequently erred in judgment, and made most stupid blunders, but the perpetual spring experience of full salvation has been my greatest comfort and blessing. The abiding Christ gives zest and spice to life, and makes the ministry of holiness delightful and joyous.
God always answers.
God has blessed my ministry, and given me success. It is all of Him. What a wonderful God we have! He never leaves us. I have called upon Him when preaching, and He has always answered. I have cried to Him in hours of loneliness and discouragement, and He has replied like a flash. I stood by a cot and watched a saintly mother slip away to the “undiscovered bourn,” and He did not fail me. Hallelujah! He can not only sanctify, but He can preserve, sustain and keep. Whatever may come to us, Christ will not forsake us. As we look down the vista of years to come, and remember that life is swift and serious, we can only lean hard on the Son of God and push on, confident that His promise, “Lo, I am with you alway,” can not fail. Praise the Lord!