The life of those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High may be called a Hidden Life, because the animating principle, the vital or operative element, is not so much in itself as in another. It is a life grafted into another life. It is the life of the soul, incorporated into the life of Christ; and in such a way, that, while it has a distinct vitality, it has so very much in the sense, in which the branch of a tree may be said to have a distinct vitality from the root.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Early Christian Experience

In the Spring of 1815, in connection with a remarkable revival, which took place in Dartmouth College, I suppose that I experienced religion. About three years afterwards, I made a profession of religion in the Congregational Church. Accordingly, I have been a public professor of religion ever since that time. During the greater part of that long period, I believe that I have striven earnestly for high religious attainments. For various reasons, however, and particularly the discouraging influence of the prevalent doctrine that personal sanctification cannot fully take place till death, I did not permanently attain the object of my desires. Sometimes, it is true, I advanced much, and then again was thrown back — living what may be called the common Christian life of sinning and repenting, of alternate walking with God and devotedness to the world. This method of living was highly unsatisfactory to me, as it has often been to others. It seemed exceedingly dangerous to risk my soul in eternity in such a state as this. In this state of mind I was led, early in the summer of 1839, by a series of special providences, which it is here unnecessary to detail, to examine the subject of personal holiness as a matter of personal realization. I examined the subject, as I thought, prayerfully, candidly, and faithfully — looking at the various objections as well as the multiplied evidences — and came, ultimately, to the undoubting conclusion that God required me to be holy, that he had made provision for it, and that it was both my duty and my privilege to be so. The establishment of my belief in this great doctrine was followed by a number of pleasing and important results.


— from Phoebe W. Palmer (editor), Pioneer Experiences or The Gift of Power Received by Faith Illustrated and Confirmed by the Testimony of Eighty Living Ministers of Various Denominations (1872).

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