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.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Struggle With Selfishness

Under the influence of the feelings which I have just described, I consecrated myself anew to God in a more specific and solemn manner. I now made a written record of my consecration, which I had not done before. But while it seemed to me that I sincerely endeavored to give up all, I was unable as yet, in consequence probably of some lingering remains of unbelief, or because God, in his wise sovereignty, was pleased to try a little longer the faith which he had given me, to speak confidently of my SANCTIFICATION.

I would take the liberty to say here, that I do not consider CONSECRATION and SANCTIFICATION the same thing. Consecration is the incipient, the prerequisite act. It is the laying of ourselves upon the altar; but it is not till God has accepted the sacrifice, and wrought upon us by the consuming and restoring work of the Holy Spirit, that we can be said to be sanctified. It is true that the one may immediately and almost simultaneously follow the other; and that will be the case where faith in God is perfect. But this was not the case with me. But I was now, however, by the grace of God, in a position where I had new strength, and could plead the promises with much greater confidence than formerly. God had given me great blessings, such as a new sense of forgiveness, increased love, a clear evidence of adoption and sonship, closer and deeper communion with himself, but I felt there was something remaining to be experienced.

In this state of mind, not having fully attained the object of my expectations and wishes, but still greatly in advance of my former Christian experience, and with a fixed determination to persevere, I left the city of New York about the middle of January, 1840. Immediately after my arrival at my residence in the State of Maine, I united with some Methodist brethren in establishing a meeting similar to those which had benefited me so much in New York, for the purpose of promoting personal godliness, and which was designed to be open to persons of all denominations of Christians. This meeting was very encouraging to me and others.

Nevertheless, I was not able for about two weeks to profess the personal experience and realization of the great blessing of holiness as it seemed to be experienced and realized in others. The principal difficulty; as I daily examined my heart to see how the case stood between my soul and God, seemed to be a consciousness, while other evils were greatly or entirely removed, of the remains of SELFISHNESS. Indeed, at this particular time, the selfish principle, or rather the principle of self-love, in its inordinate and unholy exercise, seemed to be stimulated to unwonted activity. The remains of every form of internal opposition to God appeared to be centered in one point and to be prosecuted in one aspect. I do not know that I was ever more troubled, during so short a space of time, with feelings of this nature.

I do not mean to say that I was more selfish at this time than ever before; by no means. But the existence and horrible nature of this state of' mind were more fully brought to view. I took this encouragement, however, that God was perhaps now showing me, as he often does when he is about to bless with entire holiness of heart, the very root of evil. And I was sincerely desirous to see it and to know it, that it might be slain in his presence. The good hand of the Lord was pleased to sustain my faith in this sharp contest. My continual prayer to God was that He would enable me to love him with all my heart. I knew not fully what the nature of perfect love was; but my prayer was that this love, whatever might be its nature and its inward manifestations, might in God's time and way be realized within me. And in the answer to this prayer, whenever it should be given, I confidently foresaw the termination of this internal conflict. For selfishness can never exist in union with perfect love.


— 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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