committed to historic Baptist & Reformed beliefs

 

 

CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE.

        I have told you about the little book that first gave me clear views about sin and my Savior, and also that neither parents or preachers seemed to know that a little child could understand these truths. Since then I have found that other children, like myself, think and feel much more than they can tell in words. I did not grow in grace, because I did not know how to feed this new life in my soul, and yet I was to blame for backsliding, because, although I learned much from my Bible and hymns, I failed to tell others what a dear Savior I had found. "Confess with the mouth" should always follow "Believe in thine heart." That God may have the glory (Rom., 10:9), we should always continue to testify of blessings received. "Call upon me in the day of trouble and I will deliver thee and thou shalt glorify me." Yes, our testimony gives God the glory. About two years after my spiritual restoration and union with the church of which I have already told you, I went to my pastor, Rev. B. H. Thomas, a very good man, and said: "I am not satisfied with my Christian life. When the tempter comes, as he does in so many ways every day, I often yield; then I am so sorry, but it is too late. What can I do?" The pastor listened thoughtfully, and then said: "Your experience is mine, and I suppose it will be the way until we get home to glory." I asked: "Is not God able to keep me?" "Yes, able when we trust him, but our faith and our flesh are both weak," was the pastor's sad reply. I did not know then that faith was a gift of God, and that we might have the faith of the Lord Jesus as well as his meekness and love. Most people think that faith is something we have in our own hands apart from Christ. This is not so. But we do have the power to choose the wrong or the right. When we yield our wills to God, he gives us power to obey. I asked my pastor to tell me the difference between my life and that of an unconverted person. He said that one wanted to sin and the other did not. Another difference was that one sinned all the time (habitually) and the other only at times.

        I talked it all over with the Lord, my Bible and myself, something after this manner: If I tell a lie about my neighbor, though I did not want to tell it, yet I have injured his character as much as the lie brother John wanted to tell. The sad results of sin are the same in both cases, and it has brought me under condemnation and I must repent and be forgiven like any other sinner before I can have peace with God. Then as to the number of sins. I reasoned that one sin?one command positively disobeyed?caused Adam and Eve to be turned out of Eden and brought sin upon the whole human race. Every way I turned I could see that sin?any kind of sin?displeased God and brought down vengeance upon some like Achan and Ananias, and even when the child of God repented the results were very sad, as in the case of Moses, who could not enter the Promised Land because of that one sin. Is it any wonder that I was afraid of sin? O how it did worry and grieve me! I read that those whom Christ made free were free indeed. (John, 8:31-36.) So this led me to doubt my conversion, for I knew I was not free. "His servants ye are whom ye obey." (Rom. 6:16.) This whole sixth chapter of Romans did make it plain to me that now, this very day, "being made free from sin we did have our fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life," and that the wages or result of sin was death. I heard a preacher say in the pulpit that he could not control his temper, and that he knew there were sins that would always stick to him through this life. A few days after this, I said to this brother: "Suppose Brother Thomas has been found drunk, and you bring him up for trial before the church and ask, 'Did you know that it was wrong to get drunk?' He says, 'Yes.' 'Then what made you get drunk?' 'Well, pastor, the flesh is so weak, the temptations so strong, and I said I am like you with your bad temper, this drink habit will stick to me as long as I live.' Tell me, will you excuse that brother, and say, 'All right, go ahead?'" This preacher replied, "There are different kinds of sins. Some we can't help and some we can." Then I said, "Give me a list of those I can commit and not be guilty." Neither he nor any one else has ever given me such a list. I know there are sins of ignorance, therefore I am daily and hourly studying the Bible and am hearkening to the Holy Spirit that I may know God better. Yes, I need to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ, but these sins of ignorance do not bring me into condemnation as long as I am using every effort to understand God's will. The Bible says, "To him that knoweth to do good, to him it is sin." I read in my Guidebook that Jesus came to save his people from their sins; that he came to destroy the works of the devil. I knew that sin was the work of the devil and that Jesus was able to do what he came to do, and yet I did not get the victory for which I longed. When I was about 27 years old the Lord put into my hands some writings which helped me. Perhaps a year after I spent a day at a Methodist camp meeting and went forward to the altar seeking victory over sin, but did not obtain it there. The next day as I was meditating on the subject and praying there crept into my soul a quiet peace and a sweet realization of God's presence. Oh, it was so restful! For just a moment, I seemed to see the glory of God, but only for a moment, and it was gone, but the rest and the quiet were still with me, and the same quiet peace is mine to-day, only it is more settled and real. I did not then call this experience sanctification or the gift of the Holy Spirit or by any other name. I only knew that it took the worry out of me and it showed me Christ, not only as my Savior from the penalty of sin, but also from the power of sin. I had often been told that evil was always present; now I knew that Christ was always present according to His promise, "Lo, I am with you always," and I knew that Jesus was stronger than Satan, and trusting in his power to save, I said, "Get thee behind me, Satan," and was saved, and I am saved.

        I was teaching school at this time in the country near Belvidere, Ill., and was a member of the South Belvidere Baptist church. When I came home I told the deacons, and also testified at our prayer meeting to this new experience, but I felt that the people did not understand me, therefore I said less and less about my new-found joy, and concluded that I would live this life of victory and say but little about it. To-day, as I look back, I feel sure I made a mistake. But it was a sin of ignorance. Rev., 12:11, tells us we are saved by three things. (1) The blood of the Lamb; (2) testimony; (3) by suffering, if needs be. I did not grow in this grace as I would have done had my testimony been more positive, and yet, notwithstanding these mistakes and the opposition I have met, God's rest and peace remain. Glory to his name! He is so kind and patient with His children. But I have not had the glory in my own soul, nor the results that followed those, who, like the early disciples, prayed that they might "speak the word boldly, that signs and wonders might be done in the name of the Holy Child, Jesus." (Acts, 4:20-31.) I have taught that those filled with the Holy Spirit had always the power and did overcome the evil one, but I supposed that it was not for all converted persons to understand this truth, but that they must grow into a place where they would see how to gain this victory. The truth is that every one truly born of God feels the need of victory over sin. Their first sin shows them their weakness. All pastors and teachers should hasten to teach each convert how to make the full surrender of self that brings the filling of the Holy Spirit. Before conversion we sought forgiveness of sin, which we found by faith. Now, by faith, we enter into the "Grace wherein we stand"; yes, stand and conquer. These two experiences are taught in Rom., 5:1-5; verse 5 shows that victory is given by the power of the Holy Spirit. We keep filled by abiding in Christ. (John, 15:1-14.) Christ in us and we in Him, and a life thus hid with Christ in God is surely safe. (Col., 3:3.) O, that this wonderful salvation might be taught and believed. Then would backsliding cease. After being thus filled with the Spirit we begin to bear more and more the fruit of the Spirit. (Gal., 5:22, 23.) It is the abiding plant that grows. I am often asked, "Do you believe in the perseverance of the saints?" I answer, "Yes, I believe in the perseverance that keeps me a saint from the day of my conversion to the day of my death." That is God's standard for his children. Read James, 3:10-12. Therefore watch and pray, trust and obey. "All things are possible to him that believeth."

        About twenty years ago at a Quaker meeting in Iowa I was taught that the old sinful nature could be taken out and the heart made pure, instead of the evil being kept in subjection. That the blood of Jesus cleansed from all sin. (1 John, 1:7.) The preacher said, "Suppose there is a nest of vipers in your breast that are lying dormant, but may come to life at any minute. Would you not rather have them taken out?" I said, "Yes," and by faith I took in that new truth. The temptation is from without, but the yielding is from within.

        About the same time there was a tumor of some kind growing on my throat which physicians feared was a cancer. I came to Chicago and had it examined, and finally agreed to having it removed, but much against my will, because I was then beginning to see that Jesus had also power to heal sick bodies. I prayed. Prayer is a wonderful privilege. Because of some emergency, the surgeon delayed one day. When he came and examined the tumor, he said, "I think the character of the sore is somewhat changed and we will wait a few days." Then I praised the Lord, saying, "Yes, you will wait: for another physician has your patient in charge." I said this to myself. I wish I had shouted it out, and perhaps I would have recovered sooner. The tumor disappeared gradually and I got well, and ever since Jesus has been my doctor for soul and body. My general health has been good, and yet I have been sick several times?very sick once; but took no medicine but prayer and faith. Let me call attention to some ways in which Divine Healing has blessed my Christian life. When I am sick I am more restful; I am not afraid that the doctor may be late coming; or perhaps another doctor would do better, or that I may forget to take my medicine at the right time, nor am I always watching my symptoms, because I have given my case up into the loving hands of the great Physician, who knows exactly what to do. This keeps me restful and brings me nearer to God. Those who take Christ as their doctor have more time to talk about Him, because they have given their headaches and backaches and all other aches into the hands of the great Healer, and they talk of his power to cure and comfort. Have you ever noticed how much of our conversation is about our bodily ailments and the best cure? Usually each one has a different remedy. O, how much better to gather around the one Great Healer. We may not all be cured, but we will be lifted up nearer to God and in His love and comfort forget the little pains and aches of the body. You ask, "Is this a new doctrine?" No, it is as old as the Bible. Jesus, while on earth, cured sickness as well as forgave sins, and Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day and forever. I do not believe in any phase of Christian Science. I simply believe that the body is sometimes sick and that every soul has sinned, and I praise God "Who forgiveth all my iniquities and healeth all my diseases." (Ps., 103:3.)

        The best of all books on these subjects is the Bible, because it is all there. Put on your glasses of faith and obedience and prayerfully search, and you shall find. I am often asked, "Sister Moore, do you belong to the Holiness people?" I answer, "I am hid away in Christ, and He is holy; I belong to God, and He is holy; I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and He is holy. I never have been led to leave the Baptist church, because the Baptist faith is holiness. Their baptism by immersion teaches that they are dead to sin, dead to the "Old Man" and resurrected a new creature?a new creation in Christ Jesus, and that is all I claim. In fact, if all our evangelical churches would live up to their own confessions of faith they would live holy lives. I know the church as well as the world judges the genuineness of our faith by our every-day life. God help me to live the life that will be a much stronger proof of God's power to save from sin than all my words. Perhaps I have taken too much of my reader's time with this subject, but if you take out of my life God and what he has been to me these 70 years of my earthly pilgrimage, there is nothing left worth telling. All that helps humanity comes through our knowledge of God and from copying His character. (Jer., 9:23, :24.)

        I wish you could have stood where I have these last years and seen the victory, the beauty, that has come into the lives of many of our dear colored women through the power of the Holy Spirit. How they have gained the victory over bad temper, beer, snuff dipping, idle gossip, impatience, and all sin as far as they knew what sin was. Not only women, but men and children have been saved by daily Bible study and the faith that claims full salvation?not simply conversion, but that kind of sanctification that leads to a daily walk with God. It is all in Christ. After we once see Christ everything else looks very small. I have the abiding presence of Christ and that satisfies me. Glory be to the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me, to be my all in all. Yes, I am sanctified in Christ Jesus. He only is the power that saves and keeps me saved.

        If you ask what has been the greatest inspiration of my life, I answer, "The presence of the Lord Jesus." I have been much among strangers, and usually traveled alone. As I enter the cars every face is strange. No one cares who I am nor where I am going. Then comes the sweet thought, "Jesus is here; He knows where I am going, He will stay with me on the cars and be present at my meeting." These thoughts give me a satisfied and at home feeling. I remember one night I was on a plantation. There was some confusion between whites and colored, but nothing connected with me. We were having a Bible reading in the house where I lodged that night, but when the people heard of the trouble all were greatly alarmed and went home. It was quite late. I said, "O Lord, if my time has not come to die, you will send an army of angels to protect me, and if you want me in heaven you will send for me; in either case I am safe, because you are here and will take care of me." So I "laid me down and slept and awoke, for the Lord sustained me." There was a tremendous uproar all night, and one was killed, but I heard nothing of it. When Jesus said, "Go ye into all the world," He promised, "I will go with you." That settled the matter of supplies, of wisdom, of guidance, of companionship, and for all our need. Glory be to God!

 
 
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