Mrs. M. Baxter

(Church of England)

Brought up as a member of the Episcopal Church of England, under a ministry then unspiritual, I had, although trained to a high moral standard, “no hope,” and was “without God in the world.” In His grace He sought me, first by strong convictions that my life was fundamentally wrong and that I had no real contact with God. By the side of my father’s grave, in my ignorance of God’s love, I vowed that if He would speak with me as He did with Abraham and Noah I would willingly give up my sight, my hearing, or any thing else for the privilege.

Only four months later, on October 12, 1858, God revealed Himself to me in His own Word. A friend, who had also lost her father, came to see me and spoke to me about my soul. Till that time no one had ever asked me a direct question. I told her frankly that I would not ask God for the pardon of my sins; I should be asking an unjust thing, and were He unjust I could not worship Him. God guided the reply; it was His own Word: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6). Without a word, without a formal prayer, Jesus stood revealed to me as just, and yet the justifier of him that believeth. I had what I had longed for, communion with God, in which Jesus would speak to me and I to Him, and for many nights could not spare the time for sleep. He made it no difficulty to me to give up all for Him; it came quite natural. Dancing, acting, novels, fashionable dress, jewels, caricaturing, etc., died out of my life by the absorbing power of the new life within. It made me feel I possessed a knowledge which would save men from hell, and almost all my time was spent in speaking with individuals and seeking to win them to Christ.

But some months later, more than half a year after my conversion, although I saw souls continually saved, yet I felt a need for a deeper work of grace. A number of the Guide to Holiness was put into my hands, in which was an article by the late Mrs. Phoebe Palmer. I took it to the Lord, and then and there was led to yield up myself a living sacrifice, and to accept the cleansing from all sin as far as I then understood it and in some way accepted the Holy Ghost to possess me. At this time the acquaintance of the late Rev. Mr. Aitken of Pendem, was an untold blessing to me. For eight years after this time my life seemed to be a going on from strength to strength. It was but a small sphere of labor which God gave me, in a little town and the surrounding villages, but He worked blessedly and gave me, through correspondence and through notes on the Scriptures, an increasing influence.

But I did not know how much I was occupied at that time with myself and my own holiness. I fell into spiritual pride. This opened the way for other sins of temper, etc. I was sorely disappointed with myself; I felt as though God had failed me. I had conceived a very high and ascetic standard, and I had fallen miserably below it, and though I cried to God for hours by day and hours by night, my old joy and peace did not return.

In the year 1873 I first saw “Gladness in Jesus,” by the Rev. W. E. Boardman, and in reading it my eyes were opened to see that I had been all this time dealing with myself instead of acting truly to my first consecration of myself to God and letting Him deal with me. All my confidence in my own experience as a savior was gone. My old experience lived again, it is true, but I was on the divine side of it, seeing Jesus as my sanctification, Jesus dwelling in me to be patience in me, love in me, and all else I needed.

From this time God has been closely educating my conscience. While He keeps me from sinning as I trust Him, He teaches me from time to time His own views of sin, so that things which a year ago were not sin to me are so now. But the conflict is transferred; the battle is the Lord’s. He cleanses, He helps, He fights. I trust and praise Him. He has taught me the same blessed faith for the body as the soul. All glory to His holy name.

M. BAXTER, LONDON, ENGLAND, March 4, 1887.

Source: “Forty Witnesses” by S. Olin Garrison