On January 9, 1885, at about nine o’clock in the morning, God sanctified my soul. I was in my own room at the time, but in a few minutes I went out and met a man and told him what God had done for me. The next morning, I met another friend on the street and told him the blessed story. He shouted and praised God and urged me to preach full salvation and confess it everywhere. God used him to encourage and help me. So the following day I preached on the subject as clearly and forcibly as I could, and ended with my testimony.
God blessed the word mightily to others, but I think He blessed it most to myself. That confession put me on record. It cut the bridges down behind me. Three worlds were now looking at me as one who professed that God had given him a clean heart. I could not go back now. I had to go forward. God saw that I meant to be true till death. So two mornings after that, just as I got out of bed and was reading some of the words of Jesus, He gave me such a blessing as I never had dreamed a man could have this side of Heaven. It was a heaven of love that came into my heart. I walked out over Boston Common before breakfast weeping for joy and praising God. Oh, how I loved! In that hour I knew Jesus and I loved Him till it seemed my heart would break with love. I loved the sparrows, I loved the dogs, I loved the horses, I loved the little urchins on the streets, I loved the strangers who hurried past me, I loved the heathen — I loved the whole world.
Do you want to know what holiness is? It is pure love. Do you want to know what the baptism of the Holy Ghost is? It is not a mere sentiment. It is not a happy sensation that passes away in a night. It is a baptism of love that brings every thought into captivity to the Lord Jesus (2 Cor. x. 5); that casts out all fear (I John iv. 18); that burns up doubt and unbelief as fire burns tow; that makes one “meek and lowly in heart” (Matt. xi. 29); that makes one hate uncleanness, lying and deceit, a flattering tongue and every evil way with a perfect hatred; that makes Heaven and Hell eternal realities; that makes one patient and gentle with the froward and sinful; that makes one “pure … peaceable … easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (Jas. iii. 17); that brings one into perfect and unbroken sympathy with the Lord Jesus Christ in His toil and travail to bring a lost and rebel world back to God.
God did all that for me, bless His holy name!
Oh, how I had longed to be pure! Oh, how I had hungered and thirsted for God — the living God! And He gave me the desire of my heart. He satisfied me — I weigh my words — He satisfied me! He satisfied me!
These ten years have been wonderful. God has become my Teacher, my Guide, my Counselor, my All and in All.
He has allowed me to be perplexed and tempted, but it has been for my good. I have no complaint to make against Him. Sometimes it has seemed that He had left me alone, but it has been as the mother who stands away from her little child to teach him to use his own legs that he may walk. He has not suffered me to fall.
He has been with my mouth and helped me to speak of Jesus and His great salvation in a way to instruct, comfort and save other souls. He has been light to my darkness, strength to my weakness, wisdom in my foolishness, knowledge in my ignorance.
When my way has been hedged up and it seemed that no way could be found out of my temptations and difficulties, He has cut a way through for me, just as He opened the Red Sea for Israel.
When my heart has ached, He has comforted me; when my feet had well-nigh slipped, He has held me up; when my faith has trembled, He has encouraged me; when I have been in sore need, He has supplied all my need; when I have been hungry, He has fed me; when I have thirsted, He has given me living water.
Oh, glory to God! What has He not done for me? What has He not been to me?
I recommend Him to the world.
He has taught me that sin is the only thing that can harm me, and that the only thing that can profit me in this world is “faith which worketh by love” (Gal. v. 6). He has taught me to hang upon Jesus by faith for my salvation from all sin and fear and shame, and to show my love by obeying Him in all things and by seeking in all ways to lead others to obey Him.
I praise Him! I adore Him! I love Him! My whole being is His for time and eternity. I am not my own. He can do with me as He pleases for I am His. I know that what He chooses must work out for my eternal good. He is too wise to make mistakes and too good to do me evil. I trust Him, I trust Him, I trust Him! “My expectation is from Him” (Ps. lxii. 5); not from man, not from myself; but from Him. He has been with me for ten years, and I know He will never fail me.
During these ten years God has enabled me to keep a perfect, unbroken purpose to serve Him with my whole heart. No temptation has swerved that steadfast purpose. No worldly or ecclesiastical ambition has had an atom of weight to allure me.
My whole heart has cried within me as did Ephraim’s: “What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard Him, and observed Him” (Hos. xiv. 8).
“Holiness to the Lord” (Exod. xxviii. 36) has been my motto. In fact, it has been the only motto that could express the deep desire and aspiration of my soul.
For a year and a half at a stretch I have been laid aside from work by bodily weakness. At one time I should have thought this a cross too heavy to be borne; but in this, as in all things else, His grace was sufficient.
Of late God has been especially blessing me. My heart pants after Him and, as I seek Him in fervent, patient, believing prayer and in diligent searching of His word, He is deepening the work of grace in my soul.
S. L. Brengle