Dear Brother –
I take a few moments of that time which I have devoted to the Lord, in writing a short epistle to you, His servant. It is sweet to feel we are wholly the Lord’s, that He has received us and called us His. This is religion, a relinquishment of the principle of self-ownership, and the adoption in full of the abiding sentiment, “I am not my own, I am bought with a price.” Since I last saw you I have been pressing forward, and yet there has been nothing remarkable in my experience, of which I can speak; indeed, I do not know that it is best to look for remarkable things; but strive to be holy, as God is holy, pressing right on toward the mark of the prize. I do not feel myself qualified to instruct you: I can only tell you the way in which I was led. The Lord deals differently with different souls, and we ought not to attempt to copy the experience of others; yet there are certain things which must be attended to by every one who is seeking after a clean heart.
There must be a personal consecration of all to God; a covenant made with God that we will be wholly and forever His. This I made intellectually, without any change in my feelings, with a heart full of hardness and darkness, unbelief and sin and insensibility.
I covenanted to be the Lord’s, and laid all upon the altar, a living sacrifice, to the best of my ability. And after I rose from my knees I was conscious of no change in my feelings. I was painfully conscious that there was no change. But yet I was sure that I did, with all the sincerity and honesty of purpose of which I was capable, make an entire and eternal consecration of myself to God. I did not then consider the work as done by any means, but I engaged to abide in a state of entire devotion to God, a living perpetual sacrifice. And now came the effort to do this.
I knew also that I must believe that God did accept me, and did come to dwell in my heart. I was conscious I did not believe this and yet I desired to do so. I read with much prayer John’s first epistle, and endeavored to assure my heart of God’s love to me as an individual. I was sensible that my heart was full of evil. I seemed to have no power to overcome pride, or to repel evil thoughts which I abhorred. But Christ was manifested to destroy the works of the devil, and it was clear that the sin in my heart was the work of the devil. I was enabled, therefore, to believe that God was working in me to will and to do, while I was working out my own salvation with fear and trembling.
I was convinced of unbelief, that it made the faithful God a liar. The Lord brought before me my besetting sins which had dominion over me, especially preaching myself instead of Christ, and indulging in self-complacent thoughts after preaching. I was enable to make myself of no reputation, and to seek the honor which cometh from God only. Satan struggled hard to beat me back from the Rock of Ages; but thanks to God, I finally hit upon the method of living by the moment, and then I found rest.
I felt shut up to a momentary dependence upon the grace of Christ. I would not permit the adversary to trouble me about the past or future, for I each moment looked for the supply for that moment. I agreed that I would be a child of Abraham, and walk by naked faith in the word of God, and not by inward feelings and emotions; I would seek to be a Bible Christian. Since that time the Lord has given me a steady victory over sins which before enslaved me. I delight in the Lord and in His word. I delight in my work as a minister; my fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. I am a babe in Christ; I know my progress has been small, compared with that made by many. My feelings vary; but when I have feelings I praise God and trust in His word; and when I am empty and my feelings are gone, I do the same. I have covenanted to walk by faith, and not by feelings.
The Lord, I think, is beginning to revive His work among my people. “Praise the Lord!” May the Lord fill you with all His fullness, and give you all the mind of Christ. Oh, be faithful! Walk before God and be perfect. Preach the Word. Be instant in season and out of season. The Lord loves you. He works with you. Rest your soul fully upon that promise, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”