JH Noyes: Confession of religious experience
CONFESSIONS OF JOHN H. NOYES
INCLUDING A HISTORY
LEONARD & COMPANY, PRINTERS
CONFESSIONS OF JOHN H. NOYES.
CONFESSION OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.
THE practice of relating one's own religious experience, which is common among all the more spiritual denominations, is as ancient at least as Christianity, and is countenanced by the example of Paul, who constantly defended himself before the tribunals of the Jews and Romans, by giving an account of his religious life, his early zeal for J)1daism, and his subsequent conversion to Christianity. - It may be said in favor of auto-biography in general, that as each individual is better acquainted with his own private history than any other man can be, each is best qualified, and has the best right (other things being equal) to tell his own story, if his story needs or deserves to be, told. And especially in the case of religious experience, which is less open to foreign observation than any other, it is proper and necessary, if this most valuable kind of history is to be preserved at all, that each one should give account of himself.
For the sake of giving those who have taken an interest in my career as an editor and an author, some information which perhaps they have the curiosity and the right to possess, and also with a view to preparing the way for subsequent confessions of social experience and social principles, I propose in this first part, briefly to 'tell my religious experience.' This will comprise, first, an account of the causes and process of my conversion to Perfectionism in 1884; and secondly, an account of the principal events in my religious life, from that period till my history became identified with that of the Putney Community, in 1838. Believing that this expose is fairly demanded at the present time, and casting away therefore all undue solicitude about any charges of egotism which I may incur from those who 'watch for evil,' I will proceed to give account of myself in simplicity, as in the sight of God.
My father, whose ancestors formerly lived in Newburyport, (Mass.,) was a man of liberal education, and at first proposed to enter the ministerial: profession, but subsequently devoted himself to mercantile business, in which he was quite successful. He rose to some distinction in politics; but was not a professor of religion. (See Appendix A.)
My mother, whose maiden name was Hayes, and whose family came from
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New Haven, (Conn.,) was a member of the Congregational church. Her prominent traits were independence, conscientiousness, and religious assurance. She had her children baptized and took much pains to educate them in the fear of God.
After graduating at Dartmouth College in 1830, (the 19th year of my age,) I commenced the study of law, in the office of my brother in law L.G. Mead, Esq. At the end of a year (i.e. in August 1831) my attention was called to the subject of religion, by a protracted meeting in Putney. After a pain process of conviction, in which the conquest of my aversion to becoming a minister was one of the critical points, I submitted to God and obtained spiritual peace. The well known direction of Paul in Rom. 10:6-9, was the medium of my reconciliation. With much joy and zeal I immediately devoted myself to the study of the scriptures, and to religious testimony in private and public. The idea of entire salvation from sin, (which was then forbidden by universal opinion,) was not present to my mind., But I remembered that I had a strong consciousness of the approving praise~ of God, and a confidence that his grace would lead me into all truth and righteousness. The year 1831 was distinguished as 'the year of revivals.' New measures, protracted meetings, and New York evangelists had just entered New England, and the while sprit of the people was fermenting with religious excitement. The Millennium was supposed to be very near. I fully entered into the enthusiasm of the time; and, seeing no reason why backsliding should be expected, or why the revival-spirit might not be maintained in its full vigor permanently, I determined with all my inward strength to be a 'young convert' in zeal and simplicity for ever. My heart was fixed on the Millennium, and I resolved to live or die for it. I soon concluded that I was to enter the ministry, and commenced the preparatory Hebrew studies which are required for admission to the theological seminary at Andover.
On one occasion, at this period, in conversation with my father, who was fond of theological argument, I suggested an interpretation of some passage in scripture, which he thought was new. 'Take care,' said he, 'that is heresy.' 'Heresy or not,' said I, 'it is true.' 'But if you are to be a minister,' said he you must think and preach as the rest of the ministers do; if you get out of the traces, they will whip you in.' I was very indignant at this suggestion, and replied, 'never! Never will I be, whipped by ministers or any body else into views that do not commend themselves to my understanding, as guided by the Bible, and enlightened by the Spirit.
Four weeks, after my conversion, I went to Andover, and was admitted to the' theological seminary. I had imagined that Christians every where were full of zeal and love, and especially that a theological seminary; where the choice young men of al1 the churches gather, was little less heavenly than a habitation of angels. Fresh as I was from the world, and from the study of law, I had some misgivings as to the reception which such a Saul would meet with, and the figure he would make in the 'school of the prophets.' A short acquaintance with the seminary, however, dispelled these imaginations, and occasioned misgivings of another sort. I soon found that learning was a matter of far greater account with theological students generally than spiritual-
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ity, and that Andover was a very poor place for one who bad vowed to live in the 'revival spirit,' and be a 'young convert' forever.
It was often remarked by the most devoted among the students, that the spiritual atmosphere of the seminary was much less favorable to lively piety than that of common classical schools and colleges. The cause of this was supposed to be the circumstance that students in the seminary, being secluded from the world, and being all professors of religion, have less stimulus to exertion in prayer and watchfulness, than pious students in schools and colleges, who are surrounded by the ungodly. I am persuaded however that the principal reason of the fact is this: While men are studying in schools and colleges, or engaged in any other ordinary business, religion, if it is any thing to them, is a matter of the heart; their external faculties are otherwise engaged But in a theological seminary religion becomes a professional affair, an external business, a prospective means of subsistence.- When the external faculties are devoted to pursuits that are supposed to be sacred, it is quite natural to fall into a habit of thinking that there is little or no occasion for a separate education of the heart. Such a notion is fatal to spirituality.
Often was the question asked, in our little meeting- 'What would the churches, with their glowing zeal and their glorious revivals, think,'if they could look in upon us and see how lifeless and worldly we are?' And in truth there was occasion for the question. I thought then, as others thought, and as I still think, that there was less fervor and simplicity of devotion in the seminary as a whole, than in ordinary religious society; and that there was, at least, as much levity, bickering, jealousy, intrigue, and sensuality there, as in any equal gathering of young men with which I had ever been connected
As to my own experience, I may say in general, that the year" I spent at Andover was a period of much sorrow and inward conflict. Whether it was because my conscience was newly awakened and legality worked wrath in me with unusual vigor, or whether it resulted from the spiritual contagion of the place, I know not; but the fact was that I suffered more from the temptations of sensuality, especially from alimentiveness, during that year, than I have suffered in any year before or since. Nevertheless, I kept my vow in mind, and daily renewed it before God, 'with strong crying and tears' for help. Often the floods of sin seemed ready to overwhelm me, but on the whole, grace prevailed, and experience worked hope. My motto and text of argument with those who thought a halfway religion sufficient, was Paul's expression,- ' bringing into captivity EVERY THOUGHT, to the obedience of Christ. 2 Cor. 10: 5.
Notwithstanding the general scarcity of spirituality which I have described, there were some worthy exceptions. I became acquainted with a number of young men whose religion was truly that of the heart, and who were very zealous for progress in holiness. Especially among those who had devoted themselves to the foreign missionary service, I found brethren whose conversation and spiritual influence was a great blessing to me.
On 'my way to Andover, a brother-in-law, who accompanied me a short distance, and who was a little apprehensive that my zeal would outgrow my
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worldly wisdom, cautioned me against taking the infection of the missionary spirit. I had not a thought of the matter before, and did not then think of it seriously. But the caution had no effect to hinder me from following what I afterward believed to be the call of duty. My spiritual state naturally threw me into fellowship with those who had the most zeal; and they in many case~ were pledged to foreign missions. The consequence was, that I was drawn to an examination of the question of my duty in regard to Service among the heathen; and within three months from the time of my conversion, I had decided to go, and was pledged to the American Board. The premises of my decision were these: I believed that true Christianity was permanently established and in full saving operation in this country. It seemed to me therefore that the diffusive, self-sacrificing spirit which animated the apostles would send every man who was able to serve Christ abroad, into heathen lands I stated the case to myself thus: Suppose an angel (i. e. a being having no earthly attachments) were hovering over the earth, surveying all nations at once, with a view to select his field of labor in the gospel. Where would he alight? My judgment at that time answered, in the midst of Asia;' and thither I determined to go. I shall relate hereafter the change which subsequently came over my views in relation to this subject. It is sufficient at present to say that my conversion to the missionary spirit was a great spiritual blessing to me. It tried my heart, and established its faithfulness. It severed many worldly affections, and gave me a buoyancy of spirit, and a consciousness of God's gracious presence, like that which I had at my first conversion.
In consequence of my decision to become a missionary, my connection with the missionary brethren became more intimate, and I was admitted to a select society which has existed among them since the days of Newell, Fisk, &c. Among those with whom I was thus associated, I remember Lyman and Munson, who were killed by cannibals some years ago on one of the islands in the East Indies; Tracy, who I suppose is now in China; Justin Perkins, the Nestorian missionary, and Champion, who went to Africa, but subsequently returned and died. One of the weekly exercises of this society was a frank criticism of each other's character, for the purpose of improvement. The mode of proceeding was this : At each meeting, the member whose turn it was according to the alphabetical order of his name, to submit to criticism, held his peace, while the other members, one by one, told him his faults in the plainest way possible. This exercise sometimes cruelly crucified self-complacency, but it was contrary to the regulations of the society for any one to be provoked or to complain. I found much benefit in submitting to this ordeal, both while I was at Andover and afterward.
My studies while at Andover were very much confined to the scriptures. The first year of the course in the seminary was at that time devoted almost exclusively to biblical Hebrew and Greek, with a collateral modicum of German hermeneutics. Prof. Stuart and Dr. Robinson were the principal instructors of my class. I became very much enamored of the Greek Testament, and of Robinson's Lexicon; but I could not force myself into any decided relish for commentaries, though I tried occasionally to follow the fashion ill this respect.
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On two interesting passages of scripture, I received instructions from Prof. Stuart, which had an important bearing on my subsequent course. The first was the twenty-fourth chapter oi Matthew, which he taught us, in defiance of tradition and popular opinion, to refer altogether to the events connected with the destruction of Jerusalem. The second was the seventh chapter of Romans, which for the first time, and with much astonishment, I learned from his comments to regard as a description, not of Christian, but of carnal experience before conversion. This view harmonized well with my theory that Christians might always remain in the 'revival spirit,' and confirmed my purpose and hope of overcoming the world entirely and perpetually.
Though I gave diligent attention to the regular lessons of my class, and to the lectures of its instructors, I derived the principal nourishment of my mind and heart, even at this period, from investigations suggested by my own instinct, and pursued by methods of my own invention. I think the best part of my education at Andover was that which I obtained by studying the four Evangelists in the English, without note or comment. My method was this: I selected some specific trait in the character of Christ, or some vein of truth in his instructions, and with my eye on that, read the four gospel through at a sitting, noting with my pen all the passages relating to the point of interest. When this reading was finished, I reviewed my notes, meditated on them, and endeavored to obtain a concentrated and comprehensive view of the trait or truth selected for examination. My interest in the subject wou1d steadily increase as light beamed forth from one passage and another, till at last, when all the scattered rays were converged, my mind seemed to dwell in a focus of glory, and my heart burned within me. The pleasure and profit of this exercise was not chiefly intellectual. It opened a fountain of spiritual life to my soul. It drew me more and more into blessed fellowship with the spirit of him whose beauty I sought for and beheld. Many a time when I was ready to sink under the infirmities of flesh and spirit, and when I could find no rest for my soul either in communion with brethren, or in prayer, I betook myself to this method of conversing with Christ and found abundant joy and peace. I went through the gospels in this way almost daily for several months, and acquired so much facility in reading rapidly, and at the same time catching all that pertained to the subject in mind, that the process was by no means laborious.
I may mention in concluding this account of my experience and pursuits at Andover, that I had charge of a Bible class of young men in one of the churches of the village, and obtained much valuable biblical knowledge from the study and reflection which that engagement occasioned. The book of Acts was our field of inquiry. In the course of our investigations I was led to meditate much on the distinction between the Jewish and Christian dispensations. J saw then that Christianity, even after the day of Pentecost, was but in embryo-a bird that had not yet burst its shell; and I had a glimmering of the truth that the destruction of Jerusalem was the boundary line between Judaism and the kingdom of heaven. These ideas were the germs of my subsequent conclusions in regard to the Second Coming.
In the latter part of the year which I spent at Andover it became a
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question of some importance to me, whether I should remain there, or go to New Haven. Several of my classmates had determined to go. It was urged in favor of the exchange, that Dr. Taylor was a more profound metaphysician, and a more interesting lecturer than Dr. Woods. The inducement which principally attracted me, however, was the fact that at New Haven I should only be required to attend the lectures of the seminary, and should thus be at liberty to devote the greater part of my time to my favorite study of the Bible; whereas at Andover the regular course of the second year would confine me mostly to the study of technical theology and the writings of 'standard divines.' Some formidable objections, such as the heretical reputation of Dr. Taylor, and the sacrifice of valuable connections at Andover, for a time held me in suspense. Indeed my mind was oppressed with 'doubtful disputatious' on the subject. The question seemed too large for my comprehension and decision. I prayed for guidance. At this juncture a curious circumstance occurred, which I will relate simply as an anecdote, leaving the reader to form his own judgment of it; and reserving my own views of the principle concerned in it for future discussion.
I had heard of instances in which persons, in perplexity about their course, had opened the Bible, and, in the verse which first met their eyes, bad found direction. I remembered that when I was first seeking the Lord, with the burden of sin heavy upon me, and almost in despair of, finding any clue of deliverance, I casually opened the Bible, and, to my astonishment and joy, found the very direction that I needed (Rom. 10: 6-10) immediately before me. These facts suggested the idea of opening the Bible, as a means of resolving my doubts about going to New Haven. Without any very serious confidence in this mode of asking counsel, but partly for the sake of trying an experiment, I took my Bible and hastily opened it. Whether it was by chance, or by the providence of Him who 'numbers the hairs of our head,' I will not say, but the passage that my eyes first fell upon was Matt. 28: 5, 6. 'Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus which was crucified. HE IS NOT HERE.' I could not but be amused at the coincidence of the passage with the facts in the case. I knew that I was seeing Jesus, and was well convinced that he was not at Andover. I see no reason why I should be ashamed to confess that this little circumstance broke the equilibrium of my doubts, and settled my determination to go.
The fall of 1832 found me at New Haven, a member of the middle class in the Yale Theological Seminary. There I remained a year and a half; i. e. till February in 1834, when I became a Perfectionist. During that year and a half I attended lectures daily, and studied Taylorism enough to be prepared for examinations: but my mind was chiefly directed with my heart to the simple treasures of the Bible. I went through the epistles of Paul again and again, as I had gone through the Evangelists at Andover and, in the latter part of the time, when I had begun to exercise myself in preaching, I was in the habit of preparing the matter of every sermon by reading the whole New Testament through with reference to the subject I bad chosen.
While at Andover, I became interested in the Anti-slavery cause; and soon after I went to New Haven I took part with a few pioneer abolitionists
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in the formation of one of the earliest Anti-slavery societies in the country At the same time I devoted my leisure hours to religious labor among the colored people of that city. My heart was chiefly engaged in this work during the former part of my residence there. Subsequently I became attached to a little band of revivalists, who were called the 'free church,' and took part with them in labors 'for a general awakening. When I first became acquainted with them, they scarcely numbered a dozen; and Amos Townshend was the only man among them who had any wealth or weight of character. They held their meetings in an old vestry that belonged to the centre
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dover. At that time the revival spirit of which Finney and his fellow-evangelists had been the fountains, and which was distinguished for its 'new measures' and its 'free churches,' had gathered to itself in all the principle cities a distinct body of the most zealous spiritualists, and was apparently on the verge of separating itself from its parent denominations and establishing a new sect. Its relations to 'dead orthodoxy,' as, it termed the religion of the popular churches, were not very amicable. It called too loudly for reform, to be agreeable to sleepers. As I imbibed its zeal and its discrimination I began to doubt whether true Christianity in its full saving operation was so extensively diffused in this country as I had imagined. As I lost confidence in the religion around me, and saw more and more the need there was of a re-conversion of most of those who professed Christianity my outward-bound missionary zeal declined, and my heart turned toward thoughts, desires, and projects of an internal reformation of Christendom. Quality of religion, instead of quantity, became my centre of attention
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I did not however at this time entirely abandon my design of going on a foreign mission. But I became so much dissatisfied with the religion of the churches, with their 'benevolent societies,' and missionary machinery, that I determined not to go under the patronage and direction of the American Board. My purpose was to remain unmarried, and to go among the heathen, either 'without scrip or purse,' or at the expense of my own patrimony. in conversation with one of the secretaries of the Board, I stated my objections to the spirit and measures of the churches and their societies, and, to my surprise, he admitted, for the most part, the truth of my views.
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I did not at once perceive with much distinctness things which this discovery was to have on the whole range of my theological views. But I felt and wrote to my friends that I had entered upon a course of departure from popular belief which would probably end in ecclesiastical 'outlawry. It will be seen hereafter what effect my new theory of the Second Coming ultimately had in preparing me for the adoption and defense of the doctrine of holiness. Its immediate consequences were, first, a great diminution of confidence in the theological authorities of the 'whole Christian church since the apostolic age; and secondly, a clear apprehension of the great truth of which I had a glimmering at Andover, that the development of Christianity was progressive - and that the destruction of Jerusalem, instead of the birth, ministry, or death of Christ, or the day of Pentecost, was the termination of Judaism and the, commencement of mature Christianity. I had been bred under the common impression that the Christian religion extended back from Christ through all preceding ages, as well as forward to the present time,
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and that religious privileges and experience have remained on the same general level from Adam till this day. But I now saw that growth is a principle. of God's dispensations-that human nature under divine culture, was gradually ascending heavenward, not only before, but much more after the incarnation of Christ, - that at the end of the apostolic age, 'this world' and the 'world to come' flowed together, and the true Christian dispensation was ushered in by the glories of the Second Advent.
One of the practical results which soon followed these changes' was a great increase of faith in prayer. I reasoned thus: The. personal ministry of Christ, instead of being the noonday, was only the dawn of Christianity. - Christ himself said to his disciples, 'He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and GREATER WORKS than these shall he do because I go to the Father.' John 14: 12. Christ had healed the sick, raised the dead, and cast out devils; whenever he had prayed to the Father, the very thing he had asked was done; those who had followed him had found their faith a never-failing draft on the treasury of his power. And yet his promise to believers was that they should do 'greater works' than these, as the' growth of his kingdom advanced. Instead therefore of confining the omnipotence of the prayer of faith to Christ, or to the early period of the, Christian dispensation, I was constrained to believe. that the promise-' Whatsoever ye ask, be1ieving ye shall receive,' - was greatly enlarged in its scope, after the day of Pentecost, and is in all its fullness, the inheritance of Christians in all ages. My theory that the mighty works of Christ in his personal ministry, pertaining as they did chiefly to the bodies of men, were, like the whole Jewish dispensation under which they were performed, only 'shadows of good things to come;' and that the substance was seen - the 'greater works' were performed when the apostles began to heal the spiritually sick, and raise the 'dead in trespasses and sins,' - in short, when the power of Christ was applied to mens souls. Now as souls need miraculous healing as much in all ages as in any, I repudiated the maxim that 'the age of miracles is past,' and maintained that believers now, as in the primitive church, are commissioned to ask and expect power to do greater works than Christ did, just so far as they are commissioned to save souls. On these grounds, I claimed a share in promises of specific answers to prayer, and contended zealously among all my acquaintances, for that kind of faith which expects the very thing it asks for. I wrote a long discourse on the prayer of faith in which the preceding views were embodied, including my theory that Christianity was not born till the destruction of Jerusalem, and read it to Dr Taylor. He appeared pleased with it at that time, though he subsequently disowned all fellowship with my 'notions.'
In consequence of my zeal for the prayer of faith, I committed an indiscretion which, threatened to bring me into difficulty with the college authorities. I was in the habit of freely expressing my opinion that the greater part of what is called prayer among religionists, is little better than solemn mockery. On a certain occasion, a fellow-student, who was not very friendly to me or my views, asked me, in the presence of several other persons, what I thought of the prayers which President Day offered in the college chapel every night and morning. I said that in my view they were 'very good
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moral discourses, edifying religious talk-but-no prayers at all.' This was reported to some of the Faculty, and probably to Pres. Day himself. The consequence was that I received an admonitory visit from Tutor Day, the President's nephew. I confessed to him that my remark was indiscreet, and the affair passed over.
In August 1833, my class received licenses to preach. In the course of the examination before the Association, I was drawn into two long and warm controversies,, on points of doctrine - one with Dr. Taylor on the question of the 'double sense' of scripture, he holding the affirmative, and I, as a disciple of Prof. Stuart, the negative; the other with Dr. Bacon, on the subject of the prayer of faith. Nevertheless, I received my license with the rest.
During the vacation of six weeks which followed, I labored as pastor of a little church in North Salem, N. Y. The first time I preached, I read a written sermon - a thing which I never did afterward. My way was to study subjects by reading through the New Testament, and then preach without notes, or with only a 'skeleton.' I preached, on an average, six times a week, and visited daily from house to house. My labors were very profitable to myself in various ways; but I did not succeed in attaining my heart's desire - a glowing revival; though we had some pleasant foretastes of such a season. At the close of my engagement, I received twenty five dollars for my services. This, with seven dollars that I afterward received for preaching a Sabbath in one of the churches at Middletown, was all the pay I ever received for ministerial labor. (See Appendix B.)
During the Autumn of 1833, my spirit rapidly increased in strength. By constant fellowship and conversation with Boyle, Dutton, (a disciple of the famous revivalist Horatio Foot,) and other zealous young men of the 'new measure school,' who had recently joined the seminary, by reading such books as the life of J. B. Taylor, and Wesley on Christian Perfection, as well as by much study of the Bible and fervent prayer, my heart was kept in steady and accelerating progression toward perfect holiness.
Soon after my return from North Salem I had occasion, with the rest of my class, to make a skeleton of a sermon for examination by Dr. Fitch, on a text given out by him, viz. Phil. 3: 13, 14. 'Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.' The passage harmonized well with the state of my mind, and in studying it, I received a new baptism of zeal. The train of thought sketched in the skeleton which I handed in, was summed up at the end in these words,-' Paul sought a PERFECT object, by PERFECT means, with PERFECT energy.' The Doctor smiled at the repetition of the word perfect, but made no objection.
In the course of Boyle's preaching he frequently threw out the idea that persecution is the test of faithfulness in all cases, and especially in the case of ministers. This was a favorite maxim of the 'new measure' school generally. I embraced it cordially, and promulgated it as far as possible among the students of the seminary. It met with opposition, and caused many disputations and much ferment. I read a long article on the subject before the society of the seminary, in which I adduced the whole testimony of the Bible to the truth that 'they who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer perse-
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cution.' I insisted that the seed of the woman, in bruising the serpent's head, must always suffer the bruise of the serpent's fangs in his own heel-that Bible religion can no more live in a world of sin without being persecuted than fire can live in water without being disturbed by it. The excitement on the subject ran so high, that a debate was appointed, and Dr. Taylor was called in to give his opinion. After much discussion he decided the question in the negative - alleging the experience of the best ministers in Connecticut as illustrations of his position, that persecution in this country does not always follow faithfulness. In the course of this controversy I settled in my heart a principle which abides with me to this day, viz. that I will never expect or desire to be treated in this word better than Jesus Christ and his gospel are treated. (See John 15: 18-20.);
During the whole fall and winter, the seminary was constantly agitated by discussions, private and public, on subjects similar to that above noticed. Dr. Taylor was generally called in as arbitrator, and generally took ai~8 with the conservatives, against the doctrines of the more zealous part of the school. I acknowledge, however, to his credit, that he laid no obstacle in the way of free discussion, and that he exhorted us to 'follow the truth, though it should cut our heads off.' Dutton stood by me faithfully through the whole warfare; and, indeed, he was the only man with whom I had full sympathy at that time. Our hearts were knit together with a love 'passing the love of women.'
The subject of perfect holiness was frequently touched; upon in conversation between Boyle, Dutton, and myself. Dutton's reports of the testimony of John B. Foote, and the letters which he occasionally received from his sister, excited much interest in my mind. The usual objections to the doctrine of perfection, at first stood in my way. But they gradually disappeared. The new views which I had attained of the Second Coming, and of the progressive nature of God's dispensations, relieved me of the difficulty arising from the fact that the Old Testament saints were not perfect. I saw that the measure of grace enjoyed under the Jewish dispensation was no standard for Christians, and that even the disciples before the day of Pentecost, were not to be regarded as ripe specimens of Christianity. Prof. Stuart had taught me how to dispose of the 7th chapter of Romans. The objection which seemed strongest and remained last, was the confession of Paul - 'Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect,' &c. Phil.3:12. While ruminating on this text, it suddenly occurred to me that there were several passages in which Christ was said to have been perfected. I immediately turned to Heb. 2:10, 5:8, 9, and Luke 13:32, and found that in each of these instances, the word perfect is used in connection with the idea of suffering, just as it is in Paul's confession. Christ, ' though he was a son,' and of course perfectly holy, yet needed to learn obedience, and to be made perfect by suffering. 'The obvious inference was, that Paul might have been perfectly holy, though he yet needed to be made perfect by 'fellowship with the sufferings' of Christ. I saw plainly that Paul was not speaking of perfect holiness, but of perfection by suffering, or perfect experience. The difficulty was entirely removed, and I was set free from all scriptural hindrances to the attainment of perfect holiness.
From this time, (which was as early as Nov. 1833,) I began to advocate
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the doctrine of perfection in the seminary, and among my acquaintances. - The theology of Dr. Taylor, affirming as it does, man's entire ability to meet the demands of the divine law, gave an excellent opening to my theory. Dr. Taylor himself had at one time expressly declared himself in favor of preaching perfect holiness. The seminary was not frightened at the word perfection. In our devotional meetings, which were at that time very interesting, I declared my belief that the time was coining when perfection-revivals would sweep over the churches, as ordinary revivals had swept over the ranks of the impenitent; and I proposed to the students this trying question
'If we preach to sinners their ability to repent, and the obligation of immediate submission to God, why ought we not to lay to heart our ability to be perfectly holy, and the obligation of immediate conformity to the whole demand of the law?'
At last I prepared and read before the society of the seminary, an elaborate essay on 'the question - ' Why does not the Christian church at the present day advance as rapidly as the primitive church did toward the conquest of the world?' My answer, in substance, was this: -1. The primitive church freely and earnestly preached the doctrine of perfection; whereas modern churches have fallen back upon the 7th chapter of Romans, and are afraid to say any thing about perfection. 2. The primitive church took hold on the full strength of God by the prayer of faith; whereas modern churches think that the age of miracles is past,' and therefore dare not expect actual and immediate answers to their prayers. 3. The primitive church relied first on personal holiness, secondly on prayer, and thirdly on preaching, as the mean of converting the world. The apostles first yielded themselves wholly to God: then with their right hand they laid hold on his strength, and with their left hand they drew men out of the mire of sin. Whereas the modern churches, reversing the order, rely first on preaching, secondly on prayer, and lastly on personal holiness. Their ministers, without giving much attention to their own holiness, and with little confidence in the efficacy of prayer, lay hold on sinners with both hands. Having nothing to support them, it is not strange that instead of pulling sinners out of the mire they are often pulled into it themselves. In conclusion I proposed, for our motto, and as a memorial of the order in which the three great subjects ought to stand in our minds, the words - 'PERFECTION, PRAYER, PREACHING.' All this, though it caused excitement and interesting discussions in the seminary, raised no alarm of heresy.
In the meantime the free church was on its way toward the issue of Perfectionism. Boyle was laboring with all his might to bring its members under conviction. A revival, that promised to shake the whole city, had commenced. It began in a meeting which was held on Saturday evenings at a private house on Elm street. The first convert was a young man by the name of Merwin. At one of the meetings he was convicted; and Dutton, in the bold way which he had learned in his service with the revivalist, Horatio Foot, immediately commenced an open conversation with him, and insisted, before the whole assembly, that he should immediately submit to God. Much excitement prevailed in the congregation. The young man hesitated long. But Dutton persevered, and by dint of cool reasoning on the one
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE 13
hand, and warm praying on the other, he at last conquered. Merwin broke down and professed submission on the spot Thenceforward the revival steadily advanced. The Saturday evening meetings were crowded, and every meeting was crowned with conversions. Boyle gave charge of those meetings to Dutton and myself Our method of proceeding was this: I preached the regular discourse; Dutton followed with an exhortation; and at the close of the meeting, those who were desirous of conversation were invited to remain. A dozen or more would usually stop; and it was rare that any of them went away at last without professing conversion. We made it a point never to leave those who fell into our hands, till they submitted. I held several other weekly meetings in different parts of the city, at the same time, and with similar results. The meetings in Meadow street were specially interesting and successful. My heart was much engaged in these labors. It will be seen hereafter what effect they had in preparing me for Perfectionism.
My narrative has now arrived at the highest point of my experience under the dispensation on which I entered at my first conversion. It may be well before entering on the account of my second conversion, to give a summary sketch of the state of my inner man at this period.
By systematic temperance, fasting, exercise and prayer, I had satisfactorily overcome the bodily infirmities which troubled me at Andover. I was no longer tormented with inordinate alimentiveness, and other temptations to sensuality. I had conquered my nervous system, which for a long time after my first religious agitation had been morbidly excitable. I could now study intensely, twelve or even sixteen hours in a day, without injury. Preaching, which once would shake and disorder my nerves, had become a delight and refreshment to me. I was constantly cheerful, and often very happy. My chief delight, next to that of communing with Christ through the scriptures, was in prayer. I was in the habit of spending not less than three hours in my closet daily. In those seasons, I could truly say that I entered 'into the secret place of the Most High, and abode under the shadow of the Almighty.' The spirit of love blotted out my transgressions, wiped away my tears, and 'filled me with unutterable bliss. Many times, and for days together, my heart was so burdened with spiritual joy, that my body became weak and pined away.- I record these facts, not in the spirit of boasting, but rather that I may show how much religion I had to give up, when subsequently 'judgment was laid to the line, and righteousness to the plummet.' (See Acts 22: 3.Gal. 1: 14. Phil. 3: 4-7.)
'The reaction upon myself, of my labors to convert others, in the revival at New Haven, was the immediate cause of my conviction and conversion to Perfectionism. In searching the scriptures for truths adapted to pierce the hearts of the impenitent, I was found at last pierced and writhing on the points of those very truths myself. Every discourse I preached came back upon me with all its convicting power. I knew I was a sinner myself; and I could not 'preach to sinners' without classing myself among them and sinking with them into condemnation. I felt in my inmost soul that the hand of God was upon me, and that lie was making use of that revival, and of my labors, not merely to convert others, but to convert myself.
I well remember one discourse which I preached, in different places, four
14 RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.
times within a few weeks, and every time with an increasing weight of self-application. The text was Prov. 28:13; 'He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall find mercy.' - The train of thought was this: The antithesis of covering sin, is confessing and forsaking sin. Mere confession is not enough. If men do not forsake their sins, they cover them, though they may confess them ever so much. In fact, confession of sin in the common way, i.e. without forsaking it, is the most ingenious and satisfactory way of covering' it. When a man's sins lie before him in all their hatefulness, what better way can he take to cover them, than to spread a neat white confession over them? This hides their deformity from himself and his fellow-men. But God sees through the cover, and must abhor this whole system of sinning and confessing, and sinning again, which prevails in the churches. Common sense, as applied to the dealings of men with each other, repudiates it. If a man steals from you to-day, and afterward confesses it, you forgive him. But if he steals again to-morrow, and again confesses it, you begin to distrust him. Perhaps however you forgive him the second time. But if he steals the third day, and confesses the third time, even with tears, you account his confession as bad as his theft - an insult added to injury - a cover of iniquity. Yet this is the way that men who profess to be religious are dealing with God all over the land. From day to day, from sabbath to sabbath, from year to year, in the closet, the family, and the church, they confess the same sins over and over, and never forsake them - never expect to forsake them. The thought I have thus sketched was like a barbed arrow in my heart. Every time I handled it, it entered deeper. It brought me into an agony of conviction, from which I knew there was no escape, except by the abandonment, once for all, of the whole body of sin. This same discourse also took away Dutton's old 'hope,' and placed him with me in the condition of a convicted sinner.
All this might have resulted in no decisive change, if I had not previously seen the way open into perfect holiness. But, with clear views on this subject, I found the whole force of my convictions of sin, impelling me toward a radical spiritual revolution. Yet I knew I had been converted before in some sense, and that I had served God with zeal and enjoyed much of his spiritual favor. 'How can it be,' I asked myself, 'that I must give up the past, and be converted again?' It may be useful to present an outline of the reasonings which removed my difficulties on this point. I perceived that there are three distinct states of the heart, viz: 1. A state in which a preponderance of the affections is toward the world; this is irreligion 2. A state in which, a preponderance of the affections is toward God, though more or less attachment to the world still remains. This is ordinary sinful religion In this state, the subject may be conscious that he loves God more than any other object, and that in case of a direct, palpable conflict between his allegiance to God, and his affection for any other object, he would sacrifice the latter. Yet he may sin from time to time, because his love of God is not the affection of his whole heart, but only a 'supreme or governing purpose,' which is consistent with other and opposite affections; and in multitudes of ordinary cases, he may be deceived by these sinful affections, without consciously sacrificing his allegiance to God. This I called the 'double-minded' state.
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE 15
(See James 4:8.) 3. A state in which all the affections of the heart are given to God. In this state there is no seditious minority of the affections to embarrass and occasionally defeat the 'governing purpose.' Of course there is no sin. This is certainly the state of the saints in heaven; and I was satisfied that it is attainable on earth, and that there were some in the primitive church who did attain it. I saw that the second of the states above described, though it may be very valuable as a preparation for ultimate holiness, is no more conformable to the law (which requires the whole heart) than the first. It was evident to me also that the transition from the 'double-minded' state to perfect holiness, requires a radical conversion, as really as the transition from impenitence to the 'double-minded' state. Thus I learned to turn my back on my first conversion, and press toward a second.
Still the question would arise, 'How shall I dispose of my blessed experience of God's love? Has he been approving me as a sinner, or has my supposed communion with him been a delusion?' I found a satisfactory answer to these queries in the following passages: 'He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.' Matt. 5:45. 'Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?' Rom. 2:4. I discovered that the principle involved in these sayings, is as applicable to spiritual as to physical blessings - that I had no more right to infer God's approbation of my moral state, from the fact that he had sent the sunshine and the rain of his Spirit upon me, than the wicked of the world have to infer his approval of them because he gives them literal sunshine and rain. I saw that in my case as well as in theirs, the design of the 'goodness' of God' was not to establish self-contentment, but to 'lead to repentance.' As he had given me temporal blessings when I was wholly a worlding, that he might effect my first conversion, so he had given me spiritual blessings in my sinful-religious state, that he might prepare me for conversion to perfect holiness.
In connection with these reasonings I became much interested in a theory
of a twofold Christian experience, which I discovered in the 16th chapter of John, from the 23d to the 27th verse. The reader will perceive there that Christ intimated to his disciples that previous to that time they had not had access to the 'Father, but had prayed to himself; and he had prayed tho Father for them. But he assured them that in a future stage of experience, they would, come directly to the Father, without his intervention, i.e. they would not pray to him, but to the Father, in his name, as being members of him. I inferred from this that believers in their primary state are not in Christ, but stand in an external relation to him, so that he stands between them and the Father, and their prayers are directed to him, and by him presented to the Father; whereas in a higher stage of experience, they become one him, and in him have immediate access to the Father. I noticed also Christ represented the transition from the first to the second of these states as a sorrowful agony, like that of child-birth. (See verse 20-22.) The disciples, though they had forsaken all and followed Christ, and though they had enjoyed much of his presence and instruction; and had partaken of his spiritual power, were yet only with him, not in him, and had yet the trav-
16 RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.
all of the second birth to go through, before they could pray in his name and have open access to God. The reader will easily understand how this view reconciled me to the idea that after all my experience, the strait gate of true regeneration was yet before me.
At fast the pressure of conviction became so great, that I lost all relish for the revival labors in which I was engaged; not because I cared less for souls, but because I felt that it was folly to try to save others, while I myself was not saved. At one of the meetings I stated, with all sincerity, my views of my case, and remarked that the 'sinners' to whom I had preached, if they could know my situation, might fairly say to me-' Physician, heal thyself,' 'first cast the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother's eye.' From that time I withdrew from public effort, as far as I could consistently with my positive engagements, and gave myself up to prayer, searching the scriptures, and inquiry after salvation from sin. My appetite forsook me, and for a week before I found peace, I took but very little food. (See Appendix C.)
The law-' Thou shalt love the Lord thy God WITH ALL THY HEART' - ever before my mind as the only standard of righteousness-the very beginning of all virtue. In the blaze of that law, all my works and experiences and hopes faded into vanity. Without that law I had been alive, but now the commandment had come, sin had revived, and I was dying. The depths of my heart disclosed themselves. I saw immeasurable wickedness within me. Considering the light and privileges I had enjoyed, it seemed to me that I was indeed the very 'chief of sinners,' blacker with guilt than even the devils in the lowest hell. I loathed my life, and desired rather to die and go to judgment at once, even if I were to be damned, than go on in sin, treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath.
The question with me was not, How shall I get relief from this distress? or how shall I be saved at last from hell? but, How shall I now fulfill the righteousness of the law? The solution of this question, though now it seems very ,simple, was then a matter of great difficulty. The ideas of faith ,which were circulating in the religious community in that day were very few and meagre. My attention had never been directed to the subject as one of fundamental interest in relation to salvation from sin. I had been trained in the new measure doctrine about 'submitting the will to God,' making benevolence the 'governing purpose,' &c., and it was long before I died to those doctrines and awoke to a clear conception of the nature and power of faith as a medium of righteousness.
The circumstance which finally fixed my eye on this subject, was this:- Dutton, who had gone hand in hand with me into the 'dark valley' of conviction, was telling me one day something about the Albany Perfectionists, and, among other things, mentioned that they made great account of faith. The remark caught my attention, and I immediately took the New Testament, and went through it, noting all I found on the subject of faith. At the end of the examination I was greatly astonished at the magnitude of that subject, as exhibited in the Bible, and at my own ignorance of it hitherto. In the gospels, I found Christ always speaking to those who sought his help, in this manner: 'If thou canst b~elieve, thou shalt be made whole.' 'Accor
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 17
ding to thy faith be it unto thee.' ' Thy faith hath made thee whole. 'O woman, great is thy faith.' In all the epistles I saw the same idea of the agency of faith, transferred from bodily to spiritual therapeutics. In a word, I was convinced that faith occupies the, same central place in Bible theology, as 'governing purposes' occupy in the system of the New School and new measure men. This was the beginning of daylight to my soul.
But it was only the beginning. Though I had thus found the clue of faith, I had not yet reached the resting place to which it leads. It is one thing to know that faith~ is the medium of salvation, and it is another to actually believe. My heart still anxiously pondered the question- 'How shall I get this faith?' I felt like one groping for a door, in the dark, without a guide. Sometimes I looked wistfully toward Albany, and almost resolved to go and see John B. Foote or some other person, who, I supposed, had experience of faith. In this state of mind Dutton and I sought out an old woman whom I had met under singular circumstances some time before in a morning prayer meeting. She was reported crazy, and Dutton thought this a sign in her fervor, as the western Perfectionists were generally accounted crazy. Our interview with her was not very satisfactory. She appeared to be really deranged. Her remarks about believing, however, had a good effect on my mind. She would enter into no explanations, but treated our difficulties as contemptible. 'Oh (said she) if you cannot believe what God says, you cannot expect any thing.' This was the right answer to our inquiries, whether the credit of it is due to her sagacity or not. The difficulty of believing is certainly not to be removed by philosophical instructions. It is so easy and simple a thing to take God's word, that the babes and sucklings whom he has taught to believe, may well regard the difficulties of inquiring unbelievers as contemptible.
On the evening of the same day I was under the necessity of attending an inquiry meeting at Mr. Benjamin's in Orange street. I had no heart for the appropriate labors of the meeting. I was an almost despairing inquirer myself, and it was misery to attempt to instruct others. As I sat brooding over my difficulties and prospects, I listlessly opened my Bible, and my eye fell upon these words: 'The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.' The words seemed to glow upon the page, and my spirit heard a voice from heaven through them, promising me the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the second birth. I opened the Bible again, in the spirit of Samuel when he said, 'Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth,' and these words were before me:- 'At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.' Again my soul drank in a spiritual promise, appropriate to my situation, - an assurance of everlasting victory. Once more I opened the book, and these words met my view. 'Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words
18 RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.
of this life.' I closed the book and went home with hopeful fee1ings,- believing that I had conversed with God, that my course was marked out, that I was on the verge of the salvation which I sought. Insignificant as these facts may seem to some, they will be interesting to others, as showing the method which God, in his all-directing providence, took to raise my faith above the letter of the Bible into his spiritual word, and assure me of his personal presence, and minute attention to my case.
Faith, as a grain of mustard seed, was in my heart; but its expansion into full consciousness of spiritual life and peace, yet required another step, viz. confession. The next morning I recurred to the passage which had been my guide in my first conversion, viz. Rom.10:7-10, and saw in it-what I had not seen distinctly before-the power of Christ's resurrection as the centre-point of faith, and the necessity of confession as the complement of inward belief. As I reflected on this last point, it flashed across my mind that the work was done, that Christ was in me with the power of his resurrection, and that it only remained for me to confess it before the world in order to enjoy the consciousness of it. I determined at once to confess Christ in me a Savior from sin, at all hazards; and though I did not immediately have all the feelings which I hoped for, I knew I was walking in the truth, and went forward fearlessly and with hopeful peace.
It fell to my lot to preach that evening at the free church. I prepared myself during the day for an unflinching testimony against all sin. When I announced from the desk my text - 'He that committeth sin is of the devil' - I felt, and I doubt not the audience felt, that I was entering upon a new field of theology. I insisted upon the literal meaning of the text, and did my best to prove that sinners' are not Christians. I said nothing about my own state, but I knew that my testimony would be thrust back upon me, and that I should consequently be obliged to confess myself saved from sin. So in fact it proved, as will be seen in the sequel.
I went home with a feeling that I had committed myself irreversibly, and, on my bed that night, I received the baptism which I desired and expected. Three times in quick succession a stream of eternal love gushed through my heart and rolled back again to its source. 'Joy unspeakable and full of glory' filled my soul. All fear and doubt and condemnation passed away. I knew that my heart was clean, and that the Father and the Son had come and made it their abode.
The next morning one of the theological students who had heard my discourse at the free church the evening before, came to labor with me in relation to it. He thought it altogether too stringent, and wished to know if I really meant as I said, that a sinner cannot be a Christian. I assured him that I did so mean. Then came the argumentum ad hominen as I expected. 'Well,' said he, 'if this is your doctrine, you unchurch yourself as well as others. Don't you commit sin'?' It was a greater thing to confess holiness in those days than it is now. I knew that my answer would plunge me into the depths of contempt: but I answered deliberately and firmly - 'No.' The man stared as though a thunderbolt had fallen before him. At first he seemed to doubt his own senses, and asked the question again. When I had convinced him that I actually professed to be free from sin, he went away to
tell the news: and within a few hours the word passed through the college and the city - 'Noyes says he is perfect;' and on the heels of this went the report - ' Noyes is crazy.' Thus my confession was made, and I began to suffer the consequences.
Having sketched, in detail, the process by which I became a Perfectionist it may be well now to look back and take a brief general survey of the physical and moral influences which contributed to this result.
1. I was quite young when I went through the experience which I have recorded, being but twenty years of age when I was first converted, and little more than twenty-two when I embraced holiness.
2. Previous to my first conversion, while I was at college and in the study of law, the energy of my heart, and mind had never been drawn out - I was a bashful boy, without any clear, strong purpose of life. Though I studied diligently, and obtained some honors, my ambition was never awakened by college emulation. It was not till I became religious that I began to feel and exercise the strength of manhood. I brought therefore to the study of the Bible and the other religions pursuits which I have described, the full vigor and freshness of the heart in its first love.
3. The glowing spirit 'of the time when I became religious, and indeed of the whole period between my first and second conversion, (i.e. from 1831 to 1834,) was eminently adapted to sustain and increase the energy with which I entered upon religious life.
4. The zeal naturally engendered by these circumstances, expended itself almost exclusively in the investigation of the Bible. At Andover I was stimulated and directed in this study by Stuart and Robinson, the best biblical critics of the age; and by going to New Haven the second year, I had opportunity to continue the pursuit of it, and at the same time had the benefit of Dr. Taylor's metaphysics, (which were very favorable to the course I was pursuing,) and the free atmosphere of a 'heretical' seminary.
5. During my whole course of biblical study, I had an instinctive aversion to the common practice of committing one's self to the guidance of commentators. Spiritual life, rather than intellectual treasure, was the object I sought; and I found the way to obtain this was to converse with the Spirit of truth about the Bible, in meditation and prayer, instead of running much to human commentators.
6. During the whole of my theological course I was kept by what I now regard as the good Providence of God, from forming any such intimacies with the Professors, and other distinguished men with whom I came in contact, as would have drawn me into adhesion to their systems.
7. The period between my first and second conversion, during which I was exposed to the influence of denominational and school theology, was short. I was first converted in September 1831, and I 'graduated' as a Perfectionist in the latter part of February 1834. If my transition had been less rapid, and I had been allowed to remain long enough in the sanctuary of Congregationalism to 'get fairly settled,' the result might have been very different.
8. My pecuniary circumstances were favorable to my independence. I was not kept in check by fear of losing my living.
20 RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.
The reflecting reader will perceive that the tendency of my circumstances was to impel me forward in a course of biblical investigation with enthusiastic ardor, and at the same time to keep me free from the binding (or as some would say, conservative) influences of human teachers, and associations. - Persons who believe that my course ended in a damnable heresy, ' will think the see in those circumstances the appropriate causes of an erratic course. 'A young and fiery spirit,' they may say, 'inflamed by the revival atmosphere of 1831, spurning the judgment of commentators, and the paternal influence of great men, very naturally broke loose from the standards of established religion, and plunged into insane heresies.' But on the other hand they who believe that the result to which I came was glorious truth, will see in those same circumstances the appropriate causes of that energy and independence of thought which was necessary to the attainment of that result. They may say, - 'In undertaking to introduce the gospel of perfect holiness, God chose the right man, at the right time, and placed him in the right circumstances; for, one whose heart was not in the ardor of youth, who could not be strained up to the highest pitch of spiritual energy, and who had not self-reliance enough to keep him from adhesion to the systems of the schools, would have stuck by the way, and never would have gone through in the face of the wrath of the church, 'into the faith and confession of a perfect salvation. (See Appendix D.)
My first effort, after I reached the shore of peace, was to help Bro. Dutton out of the 'deep waters.' I labored much to convince him of the truth of the saying - 'God hath given to us 'eternal life.' He assented to all I said, but could not realize and confess ' eternal life' in himself. Indeed my exertions to save him seemed only to sink him deeper in despair. He soon left me and went to Albany.
The first person who joined me in the faith of holiness was Abigail Merwin, a member of the free church, and a sister of the young man whose singular conversion was the commencement of the revival. I had no acquaintance with her at the time when I found salvation, but had been informed a short time before, that she was under conviction and wished to have an interview with me. This occurred to my remembrance in the course of the day on which I made my confession as recorded on a previous page, and I immediately called on Mr. Benjamin, her brother-in-law, with whom she resided, and was introduced to her. She appeared to be in perplexity, and eager for the truth. After a very few preliminary inquiries and explanations, I put to her the question- 'Will you receive Christ as a WHOLE SAVIOR, and confess him before the world?' She answered promptly - 'I will.' Immediately a manifest change came over her spirit. Her countenance began to beam with joy. She said afterward that she received at this time baptism of the glory of; God, which so overwhelmed her that she seemed on the point of passing to the other world.
The next morning, at the prayer meeting which she as well as I usually attended, I stood up with a hymn-book in my hand, and remarked to the audience that I was about to read a hymn which we had often sung with the mouth, but never with the heart. I requested that all who could now sing it
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 21
in earnest, realizing and appropriating its sentiments, would stand. up and sing it with me. I then read the following:
"Welcome, welcome, dear Redeemer,
Welcome to this heart of mine:
Lord, I make a full surrender,
Every power and thought be thine;
Through eternal ages thine.
Known to a1l to be thy mansion,
Earth and hell will disappear;
Or in vain attempt possession,
When they find the Lord is near;-
Shout, O Zion!
Shout, ye saints, the Lord is here!"
Abigail Merwin and one other female stood up, and we sung the hymn together. Thus she publicly confessed holiness. From this time she made very rapid advances in the knowledge of Bible-truth. She had a surprising readiness of apprehension, and facility of communication. Her testimony was bold, and yet modest. Her power of argument, and her position as my first convert, placed her with me in the front of the battle, and in the full glare of the public gaze; and she nobly sustained the trial. Even the enemies of the doctrine she advocated, admired the serenity of her spirit and the clearness of her mind. Her influence, more than any thing else, opened for me an entrance into the free church, and ultimately enabled me to overcome the hostility of Boyle. Her brother-in-law, Benjamin, (who was deacon of the free church,) with his wife, and her own brother, ('Dutton's convert,') immediately followed her in the profession and advocacy of holiness. Thus a stand-point was gained, and the doctrine for a time had complete ascendency over the church. Its leading men were taken by surprise; and until they had time to recover themselves by consultation with higher theologians, they were compelled to bow the knee to the truth. Even Townshend, the father of the free church, was among the anxious inquirers; and Cook, the publisher of the Christian Spectator, actually made a partial and temporary profession of holiness. It may well be imagined that such a movement produced much excitement in New Haven, and that the sound of it went widely abroad over the land.
In the meantime I was busily engaged in circulating my new views in other ways. I wrote letters, giving an account of my experience, to an extensive circle of friends with whom I was in correspondence. (The reader will find a specimen in Appendix E.) On the morning of my confession, I received by mail invitations to preach, from three distant places - one from a church which was about to hold a protracted meeting and the others from churches which wished to settle a minister. In reply to these proposals, I defined my new position, and stated that the change of my views was such that the applicants would probably not wish to employ me. I wrote to the missionary brethren at Andover, withdrawing my pledge to go on a foreign mission, and briefly stating my reasons. This drew from Champion (the missionary who afterward went to Africa) an expostulatory reply asking for
22 RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.
more full explanation of my course. I wrote again, stating that I felt bound to withdraw my pledge for three reasons :-lst, because I now knew I was not a Christian when I made it; 2d, because I had discovered that God was my owner and had the right to direct me by his Spirit, and therefore I had no right to let myself unreservedly to the missionary society; 3d, because I saw that I was already on missionary ground, among a people who (though professedly Christian) needed to be converted quite as much as the heathen. This correspondence and other means of report, communicated much of the agitation which existed at New Haven to the theological seminary at Andover.
At the same time I set the press to work in the business of scattering the truth. The Sabbath before my change, I had preached at the Baptist church. Buckingham, one of the firm which afterward printed The Perfectionist, was a prominent member of that church, and was deputed by it to present me a copy of the life of Whitfield, in return for my services. Thus I became acquainted with him, and he became interested in my views. In the heat of the conflict which my confession had brought upon me, I put on paper references to all the texts I could find in the New Testament, going to prove that perfect holiness is the standard of Christianity. While I was considering how I should get this published, I remembered Buckingham, and on applying to him, found myself provided with a friendly printer. He struck off for me within a few days three successive handbills - 500 copies of each. Their titles were - "He that committeth sin is of the devil;' 'The New Covenant;' and 'The Second Coming of the Son of man.' (See Appendix F.) They were scattered through the city, and sent by mail in every direction. Abigail Merwin even despatched packages of them to missionary stations in distant parts of the world.
While these things were passing, I was engaged almost every hour, in answering inquirers and disputing with adversaries. The students of the college' and theological seminary flocked to my room - some to see the 'perfect man,' as they would go to see an elephant or any other curiosity, and others to argue me down, or puzzle me with objections. At last I was weary of being visited as a 'show,' and I told one theological student that he came to 'quiz' me, and refused to talk with' him. The report of this affair increased the belief which many were busily spreading in the city, that I was crazy. Another young man from the college called upon me, apparently to make honest inquiries, but probably from motives of curiosity. After answering his objections to the doctrine of holiness, I began to assail his conscience with the sharpest truths of the word of God. He became serious, turned pale, and at last, when his confidence in his carnal religion failed within him, he staggered back and fainted. On recovering himself; he went away and laid his case before Dr. Bacon, the pastor of the centre church, who helped him to repair his old hope. He never called on me again.
It may be interesting to those who are just entering upon the warfare of faith, to know what the state of my heart and conscience during these first days of my experience in Perfectionism. I certainly did not at this time regard myself as perfect in any such sense as excludes the expectation of discipline and improvement. On the contrary, from the very beginning, my heart's most earnest desire and prayer to God was that I might be 'made
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 23
perfect by full fellowship with the sufferings of Christ;' and from' that time till now, all my tribulations have been occasions of thanksgiving, because I have regarded them as answers to the first prayer, and as pledges of God's faithfulness in completing the work then begun. The distinction between being free from sin on the one hand, and being past all improvement on the other, however obscure it may be to some, was plain to me, as soon as I knew by experience what freedom from sin really is. To those to endeavored to confound that distinction, and to crowd me into a profession of unimprovable perfection, I said - 'I do not pretend to perfection in externals. I only claim purity of heart and the answer of a good conscience toward God. A book may be true and perfect in sentiment, and yet be deficient in graces of style and typographical accuracy.'
The sentiment of Paul, - 'Ye are not under law, but under grace,' was an instinct of my heart, rather than a theory in my head, at this time. I knew that my justification came at first, not by my own obedience to law, but by the infusion of the Spirit; and to the same agency I looked for its continuance. When those with whom I disputed talked about the vast breadth of the law, criticised the minutiae of my outward conduct, and taunted me with sin, if I could not satisfy them, I was content to feel that God's method of dealing with me was not like theirs. I perceived that his eye was on the root and not on the branches of my character; and my own eye instinctively turned the same way; though my previous training had tended to make me exceedingly scrupulous about externals. With the consciousness of his approbation in my heart, I could not stand as a culprit at the bar of the law, or torment myself with doubtful disputations of conscience, however strenuously my adversaries, visible and invisible, labored to bring me into the snare.
Once only, for a moment, I was on the verge of condemnation. The occasion of my trouble, however, was not any apparent breach of the common rules of legality, but an affair of quite an opposite character. I found, from the time when I yielded my whole heart to God, that the Spirit which had taken possession of me, was jealous of the formal machinery of religion in which I had hitherto worked. My old conscience told me to get down on my knees three or four times in a day, and pray by the hour together, as I used to do; But the Spirit manifestly opposed this dictation, and I found myself constrained to refuse going through the usual vocal ceremonies, both in private circles, and in a public meeting. The contention between my old conscience and the dictates of the Spirit, at last came to a crisis, in the following manner. While on my way one evening, soon after my conversion, to attend a meeting, which I was previously engaged to conduct, I was considering what course I should take on the occasion ; and I found myself strongly inclined by my old habits to go through the usual forms, preach to 'sinners,' and try to get up a revival excitement. But something in my heart resisted this impulse: I felt that God was jealous. His Spirit seemed to withdraw, and my heart felt the torture of an infinite void. I realized the meaning of those words - 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me." My body was so weak that I stood still in the street, and almost fainted. But it was but for a moment. My heart looked upward as it sunk, and immediately I found myself again in the keeping of everlasting love. And now my old conscience was
24 RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.
gone. Its questioning no longer interfered with the dictates of my spiritual guide. I conducted the meeting with a simplicity which was evidently mortifying to my old revival friends, took the occasion to confess and preach salvation from sin, and went home with a feeling which a child may be supposed to have, when it is fairly weaned from its mother.
I had in those days, abundant evidence of God's providential care over me; 'good luck,' as the world would call it, met me at every turn. I had also a vivid consciousness of the presence of God in my heart. Paul's testimony - 'I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me,' was mine. With these blessings around and within me, I had very naturally a feeling of buoyancy and exultation, which exhibited itself in my demeanor. Some that watched for evil, said I was proud. I told them 'It was true; I was proud, not of myself, but of God.'
Mr. Boyle was absent at a protracted meeting in Hartford, when I began the testimony of holiness. On his return he set himself to counteract my operations in his church. He preached on the text which I had handled - 'He that committeth sin is of the devil'-and endeavored to subvert the doctrine which I bad built upon it. He prayed against the disturbing influences which were coming in upon his flock. At length I called upon him,. Our interview was to me one of fearful interest. I respected and loved him, and I was afraid he would reject the truth. I knew that he had great influence over his church, and I dreaded his opposition. He treated me with a good degree of politeness, but resisted my testimony. My feelings were especially tender in relation to him, and his cold words were as daggers to my heart. Finally, as I was turning to leave, I asked him if he would examine the subject. A new spirit seemed then to come upon him. He answered 'I will;' and we parted with kind words, and hopes of continued fellowship. Thenceforth he ceased to oppose me, began to advocate the theory of holiness, and after some weeks confessed himself saved from Sin.
Soon after this interview he requested me to visit among his church members, and gave me several of their names and places of residence. I traveled the streets on this business till my feet were blistered. At length Amos Townshend, who at this time had recovered his equilibrium, and was beginning to see the necessity of taking active measures to stop the fire I was scattering, sent me notice of a vote of the church, requesting me to discontinue my communications with its members. I immediately complied with this request.
The flood of contention which poured in upon me from the college' and seminary, kept my intellectual powers in a state of intense energy for several weeks. I never grew faster than at that time. A feeling of fearful responsibility rested upon me. It seemed as though God, in giving me the treasure of the gospel, had placed me in the midst of the keenest and fiercest disputers of this world, that its defensibility might be thoroughly tested. I felt that I must fairly answer every fair objection to the doctrine of holiness, or sink myself. If I did not satisfy objectors, I generally silenced them; and at all events I got hold of the truth for myself in the struggle.
The distinction between the Jewish and Christian dispensations, became clear in my mind, and with it I swept away all difficulties in the Old Testa-
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 25
ment. By extending the Jewish dispensation forward to the day of Pentecost, the sins of the disciples, while Christ was in the flesh, were disposed of. - Then came the tug of war. The sins evidently charged upon the primitive believers, after the day of Pentecost, gave me more trouble than any thing; else. But I soon saw that the apostolic age was a transition period, during which the Old Covenant was going out and the New Covenant coming in; and I took my stand on the latter part of that period. John's epistle, written when the New Covenant was fully developed, was my strong-hold. His saying -'The darkness is past, the true light now shineth -solved many a mystery. And still beyond all this I had a never-failing refuge in the doctrine of the Second Coming. When hard pressed with objections drawn from the sins of the apostolic age, I could always recur to this sweeping answer:- Even if the Bible leaves it in doubt whether any of the saints of the apostolic age were perfect, it still predicts the advent of the New Covenant and everlasting righteousness, at the end of the Jewish dispensation, when Christ came and took the throne. As we live after that era, full salvation is, accessible to us, even if it was not to the primitive church.' I know not whether I should have been able, at that time, to defend the doctrine of holiness without this final entrenchment, though I have no occasion for it now.
Within a week or two after my confession, the question whether perfect holiness is attainable in this life, was brought forward as a subject of debate in the Society of the Theological Seminary. Dr. Taylor was in the chair. - I was specially requested to open the debate by presenting a synopsis of my theory. I read the 10th chapter of Hebrews and commented on it, aiming to clear a path for my doctrine, by showing the difference between the law and the gospel. I dwelt particularly on the 10th, 14th and l6th verses, as proofs of the advent of perfection by the sacrifice of Christ. When I came to speak of objections, I made this general remark: 'Holiness is the manifest object of God in all his dealings with man, and especially in his gift of the Bible. It
ought to be presumed, therefore; that there is nothing in the Bible which by fair interpretation, can be turned against that object, be made a hindrance in the way of men's attaining it. People who go to the Bible for objections to the doctrine of holiness, go to God's own armory for weapons to fight him with.' Dr. Taylor had been growing quite uneasy, and at this point he interrupted me, saying with much heat, that my language was disrespectful, and that he would not sit in the chair, if I was to be allowed to say such things. Much excitement ensued. I stood still till it passed. A motion was made and carried that I should not be allowed to say such things. I submitted to it and then went through with what I had further to say.
I remember nothing of the debate which followed my expose, except the following circumstance. A theological student by the name of Ingersoll, from the State of New York, spoke against the doctrine of holiness, and several times in the course of his remarks, referred to the conduct of John B. Foote and the western Perfectionists, for the purpose of showing the baneful effects of their system In his first allusion to them, he said that they were in a dreadful do-nothing state, and had lost all their influence and moral power. Afterward, when he had probably forgotten this remark, on referring to them again, he said that they were agitating and dividing the churches, and scat-
26 RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.
tering their doctrines far and wide In reply to his speech, I took occasion to bring the two ends of it together, and asked him how it could be, that men who were turning the world upside down, were at the same time in a do-nothing state? - The decision of the debate by Dr. Taylor, and also by the society, was, of course, unfavorable to my views.
Not long after this, Dr. Taylor called at my room to notify me that I was aoon to be tried by the Association which licensed me. He tarried awhile, and we had a dispute of some length. He complained of me for broaching new views in the seminary without consulting him; apprised me that he had dealt with one Perfectionist before, and had convinced him of sin; and intimated that he should serve me in the same way. I appealed to my experience, confessing that I had received the Holy Spirit, and could not be turned from my course by man. He laughed my confession to scorn, asserting that it is physically impossible for any man to feel the Spirit of God. I replied that I certainly had felt the Spirit of God, not only in my soul, but in every fibre of my body. In the course of the conversation, I insisted that his own views of man's perfect ability to obey the law of God, led directly to Perfectionism. His answer in substance was, that while man is perfectly able to keep the law, and God has a perfect right to require him to do so, yet a 'gracious system,' in which perfect obedience is not required, will save a greater number than would otherwise be saved; and God, in his benevolence, has therefore adopted such a system. He said that my system was nothing but the old Wesleyan scheme which had been tried and failed; that I might find a few followers among women and ignorant people, but not among the intelligent. I observed that Boyle was a man of some intelligence, and that he had assented to my views. The doctor denied this, saying that he had conversed with Boyle a short time before, and found him not on Perfectionist ground. In reply to some suggestions of his about my being young and not so wise as himself, I claimed the advantage of him, on the ground that 'he that doeth the will of God, shall know of the doctrine.' He insisted that he had as much interest in that promise as I. Thereupon I asked him if he did not commit sin. He admitted that he did. I then repeated the text - 'He that committeth sin is of the devil.' 'You say then (said he) that I am of the devil, do you?' 'No, (said I;) you said you committed sin, and I only quoted the words from the Bible - 'He that committeth sin is of the devil.' 'Well (said he) you are a sinner now, if you was not when I came in, for you have not treated me courteously.' This I suppose was the way in which he intended to convict Me of sin, as he had done in the other case. But the plan did not succeed. I observed that the best kind of courtesy, in such a case, was plainness of speech. He then went away. This interview was certainly distressing to me, for I had great reverence, and I might say affection, for Dr. Taylor, and therefore dreaded a collision with him. But it left no sting behind. On the contrary I felt more free and peaceful afterward, as a soldier might feel after having passed the deadliest spot in the breach.
At my trial before the Association, I observed at the outset, that I had no objection to being examined in regard to my faith, but that if the object of the examination was to ascertain whether my license ought to be taken away, it was unnecessary, as I had no disposition to avail myself of their license in
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 27
preaching doctrines which I knew they did not sanction, and I would therefore resign. Dr. Taylor objected to my being permitted to resign, on the ground that it was necessary that their record should state the reason of my being silenced.' I observed that a license certainly was not a compulsory commission which they could oblige me to hold against my will. Dr. Bacon spoke in favor of my view of the matter, and it was finally agreed that I should be permitted to resign. Afterward I was requested to state my doctrines before the Association, which I did, in a discourse of considerable length Some questions were asked by Mr. Kirk of Albany, and others, and I was dismissed
The Association remained in session. Boyle sat with them by invitation. On returning to my room I found, just arrived from the press, a quantity' of the tract entitled 'Paul not carnal,' (see Berean,) which I had sent to the printer a few days before. I took a handfull, went back to the Session room, thrust them into Boyle's hand, who sat near the door, and he distributed them among the ministers.
Soon after this, Dr. Taylor called upon me again and signified to me that it was the wish of the Faculty that I should withdraw altogether from the college premises. My room was in the college chapel. My brother, who belonged to the classical department, occupied it with me. I suggested to the doctor that it would be inconvenient for me to remove my things immediately; and as my brother would continue to occupy the room, it might be well to allow me to remain till the end of the term, which was near its close. He assented, and I remained.
I had now lost my standing in the free church, in the ministry, and in the college. My good name in the great world was gone. My friends were fast falling away. I was beginning to be indeed an outcast. Yet I rejoiced and leaped for joy. Sincerely I declared that 'I was glad when I got rid of my reputation.' Some person asked me whether I should continue to preach, now that the clergy had taken away my license. I replied - 'I have taken away their license to sin, and they keep on sinning. So, though they have taken away my license to preach, I shall keep on preaching.
Charles H. Weld was living with a brother at Hartford, at the time when"" I commenced the testimony of holiness. He was a licensed minister, but in consequence of ill health of body and mind, did not attempt regular preaching. I was informed, however, that he labored as an assistant of Dr. Hawes. He was acquainted with Mr. Boyle. They conversed together about the new
doctrine, when the news of it first reached Hartford. Boyle spoke unfavorably, but Weld cautioned him to beware of rash opposition.
Some weeks afterward, Weld came to New Haven, and took lodgings with Boyle. His object was to put himself in communication with me. Boyle introduced us to each other at the close of a meeting, and gave me some account of Weld's experience. We soon became very intimate. There was much in his character that attracted my sympathy. He was profoundly versed in spiritual mysteries, was highly intellectual, and seemed to be filled with the most lovely benevolence. We were never weary of conversing with each other. I respected his apparent wisdom, and was very willing and desirous to profit by it.
28 RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.
I soon found that there was a tendency in him to assume a fatherly relation toward me. He received my communications on the subject of holiness, the Second Coming, &c. with readiness and deference; but criticised my manner of presenting them, as being too abrupt and alarming. He gave me to understand that he had exercised a sort of paternal supervision over Finney, Boyle, Lansing, his brother Theodore, and others: and it was not long before he established himself as privy counsellor to me. In fact it appeared from his account of his experience, that he had in a certain sense preceded me in the truth. I learned from him, that when he was at Andover some eight or ten years before, he passed through a series of singular spiritual exercises, in which full redemption of soul and body was set before him as attainable, and was promised to him on condition of his practising certain austerities for a specific period. He failed to fulfil the condition, and in consequence fell into a state of horrible despair, from the effects of which he had never entirely recovered. This experience however, gave him so much advantage in comprehending and judging my disclosures, that he considered himself as in some sense entitled to take the lead of me. I did not object, for, I certainly had no idea at that time of being a leader myself.
I perceived, however, in process of time, that his plan of softening down my testimony did not work well in his own case. He remained, day after day, a prisoner to condemnation, seeing the glory of the truth, and talking about it with abundant wisdom, but not realizing and confessing it in himself. He was like a sick doctor, under the care of another of the same profession, more healthy, but not so learned as himself. He allowed me to give him medicines, but took upon him to direct how they should be mixed and when they should be administered. He was not fond of strong, bitter doses. When saw that he was not likely to get well under my practice, modified by his directions, I began to fall back upon my own judgment, and proposed more decisive measures.
Boyle was at this time approaching the crisis of his convictions. I had an interview with him, and by a resolute effort succeeded in bringing him to a confession of Christ. The following is, an account of the scene in his own words: "The question was put to me - ' Will you take Christ as a whole Savior?' I answered with all my heart, 'I will.' Instantly, the power of God rushed upon me like a flood: the fire was kindled upon his altar, just dedicated to him, and I felt that I was introduced into a new world. Old things immediately passed away, and all things became new." Perfec. Vo1. I p. 26.
Weld was present at this interview, and was much affected by the truth that was uttered and the events that passed before him. I endeavored to bring him also to a decision, and partially succeeded. But his confession was not prompt and unequivocal, like Boyle's, and was attended with no satisfactory results. He remained some days in his usual doubtful position. At last I told him plainly that his mild method of treating his case would never effect any thing; that he must look the law of God in the face, and submit to the full pressure of the truth that 'he that committeth sin is of the devil,' He assented to what I said, and seemed willing that I should deal with him according to my own judgement.
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 29
This was on the day of the State Fast. Boyle was absent, attending a protracted meeting in a neighboring town, and had requested Weld to fill his place in the services of the day at the free church. After the conversation just mentioned, he conducted the public exercises of the forenoon in the usual manner, but with considerable embarrassment. During the inter-mission he told me that he could not preach in the afternoon, for God had made it clear to him that I ought to take his place. I replied that I had no objection to preaching in the afternoon, if the deacons of the church were willing. He went to Benjamin and Townshend, and obtained their consent. I told him that, if I preached, I should say some cruel things He bid me follow my own heart.
He went into the desk with me, and introduced me to the congregation, with a frank confession of his confidence in the truth of the doctrines I taught, and an exhortation to candor. He then took his seat among the congregation on the right side of the house. I chose for the subject of my discourse these words:- 'I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff. with unquenchable fire.' Matt. 3:11, 12. I had not premeditated at all: but my thoughts were clear, and my utterance free. My aim was to show that the ministration of Christ was far more searching and terrible than any dispensation which went before him; that he came for judgment, and that judgment comes by the spiritual revelation of those fiery truths concerning sin and holiness, which were developed by Christ and his apostles, and which are now again manifesting themselves; that we are living, not in the dispensation of water, but in the dispensation of the Holy Ghost and of fire; that we are on the floor of Christ, and his fan is waving over us; that his Spirit and gospel ar~e among us, separating the chaff from the wheat, and soon we shall be in the garner or in the fire.
In the midst of my discourse I was interrupted by a strange sound. I looked around and saw Weld sitting with his eyes closed, his countenance' black with horror, his hands waving up and down, and his lungs laboring with long and rattling breaths. The congregation was in great agitation; many rose from their seats; some left the house. I spoke to Weld, but he made no answer. His paroxysm grew worse. His breathing became a frightful roar. The waving of his hands increased, till he appeared like one swimming for life. It was the most awful scene of agony I ever witnessed. Many fled from it in dismay. At length a crisis came, and the horrible symptoms began to abate. Weld gradually became quiet, and finally gleams of joy appeared on his countenance. He opened his eyes, and stood up, assuming a most majestic attitude. His face grew brighter and brighter. He gazed slowly around upon the people with an eye of angelic brilliancy. At length he fixed his gaze upon a young man, with whom he had lately disputed about; the doctrine of holiness. He said nothing, but there was a lion in his eye. The young man quailed. In the same way he singled out another opposer of holiness, and, he too quailed. Fina!ly his eye met mine. I looked at him steadily. His countenance softened into a smile, and he dropped his eye.
30 RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.
After this he relapsed partially into his former state of horror. The congregation retired. I remained with a few others till the paroxysm passed off and then conducted him to his room at Mr. Boyle's. He returned soon after to Hartford.
I shall not undertake here to expound the spiritual philosophy of this transaction. I will state however its results, and leave the reader to infer from them the character of its spiritual cause.
1. It did not bring Weld out of his equivocal state, into a clear confession of Christ and salvation from sin.
2. It lifted him up higher than ever in his views of his own spiritual office. He regarded the sufferings he endured as like those of the Lamb of God, vicarious and exalting.
3. The principal revelation which he received in this baptism, was one which infused into him the belief of Universalism.
His own account of the immediate occasion of his distress was this: From the beginning of my discourse, the words of my mouth, he said, were like fire to his spirit. They scorched him more and more, till he could endure no longer, and he thought of rising and smiting me in the pulpit. Instantly upon this, the word came to him - 'Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophet no harm.' Then he began to sink into the fathomless depths of despair.
In the latter part of April, I received an invitation from Mr. Chapman, pastor of the Congregational Church in Prospect, to go and labor among his people, and went An account of the introduction of Perfectionism into that place, and of my agency in the work, is given in Appendix D. On my return from this excursion, I met Charles H. Weld at Bethany. He had been with his brother at Hartford since the affair at the free church. He had continued however to communicate with believers in New Haven, and had not lost their confidence, or his influence over them and me. I was at that time far from being qualified or disposed to pass judgment on his character and exercises. We resumed our former intercourse with all apparent cordiality He had advanced considerably in mysticism, and as I supposed, in true spirituality, since his first visit to New Haven. It was evident he considered liimself honored and exalted by his sufferings, and was more than ever inclined to be a father and leader to me.
The New York anniversaries were approaching. Weld proposed to attend them, and wished to take me with him. The gathering of ministers and religious persons from all parts of the country, expected on the occasion, seemed to offer a grand opportunity for disseminating our views. Weld's acquaintance with the clergy was extensive, and might be of service in introducing me among them. Influenced partly by these considerations, I placed myself at his disposal.
The principal work, however, which I had in view at this time and which I intended to accomplish while in New York, was one which, easy as it seemed then, has since proved to be a labor of many years, and is not accomplished yet. I proposed to myself the task of clearing Perfectionism of the disreputable mysticisms and barbarisms which had begun to discredit it. A multitude of stories were afloat about the fantastic sayings and doings of western
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 31
Perfectionists. Many of those stories, I knew, were true; and conscious as I was that the views which I held, and the spirit which I had received, had no affinity with those sayings and doings, I determined to bear my testimony against them, and, if possible, redeem the character of Perfectionism from the disgrace that was coming upon it,. in consequence of them. I thought then that this could be done immediately by some suitable publications. I was by no means aware of the depth and extent of the evil which I proposed to attack, or of the dreadful experience which was necessary to qualify me to comprehend and overcome it.
The case was this. The spiritual department of religion was then, even more than now, a wild uncultivated region, traversed almost only by fanatics and spiritual 'squatters.' Perfectionism was essentially a spiritual development, and, as such, was exposed, especially in the inexperience of its infancy, to all the diseases and barbarisms of the region to which it belonged. The thing to be done, (though I was not then aware of it,) was not to shield the new colony from the influences which surrounded it, by such partial defensive measures, as disclaimers and acts of disfellowship, but to clear up and civilize the whole spiritual region. This was not to be accomplished by a pamphlet or two, or in any way, by a spiritual novice. The qualifications requisite for the undertaking, were, an experimental knowledge of spiritual philosophy, an acquaintance with the principalities of the invisible world-with the height and depth and length and breadth of spiritual wickedness, practical skill in discriminating between divine and diabolical manifestations and impressions, and a boldness, which rough experience only can give, in facing and exposing spiritual impostors. It will be seen in the progress of this narrative, that God, who was wiser than I, instead of allowing me to do immediately what I intended to do, when I went to New York, put me into a school of terrible experience, where I might gain the needful qualifications for my task. The immediate external effect of the transactions into which I was plunged at that period, instead of diminishing the bad odor of Perfectionism, certainly increased it. But the work which I then proposed to myself has been the steady purpose of my life till this day; and I trust that it will yet be seen that I was then learning the lesson which shall secure its accomplishment.
During our passage to New York, and while we remained there, Weld and I conversed much on spiritual subjects. The turn which he gave to our communications was too imaginative to be healthy. His mind ran on such subjects as the official arrangements of the coming dispensation, the physical enjoyments of the resurrection state, spiritual marriage, &c. Holiness was not the centre of his thoughts; and though it was of mine, I yielded myself, for the time being, to his leadings, not suspecting snares, and thinking him my superior in spiritual judgment.
We took lodgings at Tammany Hall, where we remained till Weld left the city. We had at first but little money, but Weld afterward obtained some from a friend. The exercises of the anniversaries were most of the usual kind, and did not attract much of our attention. The only thing I noticed particulary in the meetings, was the 'fluttering' caused by the report which had gone abroad about New Haven Perfectionism. Several of the speakers alluded to that subject in a manner that indicated ill-suppressed bitterness and anxiety.
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 32
I placed myself under Weld's directions in regard to my personal labors with the clergy and others. He sent me first to an interview with Latourette, with whom he was previously acquainted. Latourette was then called a Perfectionist. I expected to find him far in advance of myself in the wisdom of holiness, and was prepared to yield him due deference. I was disappointed. My interview with him satisfied me that he was a self-conceited, uncivilized spiritualist, of the very class against whose views and practices I was determined to protest. The subject of our conversation was the security of the saints. After considerable discourse, I quoted the text - 'Him that overcometh, I will make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out.' He replied, that he had received that promise; that God' had made him a pillar, and he should go no more out; but he had not thought it expedient to preach the doctrine, lest it should beget carelessness, &c. Afterwards he invited me to attend his meeting, and speak. I said, 'If I speak, I shall preach the security.' He answered, 'Speak what the Lord gives you.' I attended the meeting, and spoke warmly and at length on the text - 'He that sinneth, hath not seen him, neither known him.' While I was speaking, he sealed what I said with an 'Amen,' or 'Hallelujah,' at almost every sentence. After the meeting, there seemed to be no small stir in the minds of the people about my testimony. Directly some began to quarrel with it. One said, 'If that doctrine is true, I am no Christian.' Another said, 'I know the doctrine is not true, for I have been converted and backslidden two or three times.' So the word went round.. Immediately Latourette began to condemn my testimony; and before I had time for argument, roared upon me with a voice of thunder, thus: - 'Your doctrine is from hell! Get thee behind me Satan!' &c. So I left the meeting, overborne not by argument, but by clamor.
After this Weld directed me to call on a clergyman by the name of Ingersoll, who was then officiating in the Chatham st. chapel. This gentleman, when he learned that I was a Perfectionist, commenced an assault upon me in the true New Measure style. 'Young man, (said he,) I know all about your doctrine, and as sure as you live I shall convince you that it is false.' 'Very well, (said I,) if you can do what you say, I shall be very willing to give up my error. You shall have an opportunity to try.' Thereupon we sat down, and disputed about an hour; and then parted, certainly without his having made any headway in fulfilling his boast.
By Weld's suggestion, I next called on Mrs. Finney, wife of Rev. C. G. Finney, who was then absent on a voyage for his health. She lived at Wm. Green's. Rev. J. R. McDowall was at the house when I called, and I had a short interview with him. When I made known to Mrs. Finney my profession and my object in calling, she entered into conversation with me on spiritual subjects with considerable interest. I gathered from what she said, that she and her husband were thinking much on the subject of holiness, but were fearful of the errors and fanaticisms connected with it. One of her remarks was substantially as follows: 'Mr. Finney sometimes tells me that I may be perfect, but says that it will not answer for him, as it would ruin his influence.' She to pray with her children, which I did. I imagined that her object in this was to try my holiness by the New Measure test, i.e., to see
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 33
whether I could pray well. Whether I acquitted myself to her satisfaction, I never ascertained.
Weld engaged me in discourse with several other persons, whose names and conversation it is unnecessary to report. At the end of about a week he returned to Hartford, and I removed to a boarding house in Leonard street, intending to devote myself to writing.
I now come to a period of three weeks in my religious history, which was full of singular events-so full that I find great difficulty in recollecting and arranging its various scenes. If the time of this period were to be measured by the amount of experience through which I passed, by the sufferings which I endured, by the mental progress which I made, and by the revolution of character which was the result, it might deserve to be called three years, instead of three weeks. Before entering upon the narration of details, I will make some general remarks on the causes and character of my strange experience at this period.
According to my interpretation of the matter, (which every one must take for what it is worth,) the design of Him to whom I had committed the keeping of my soul, in exposing me to the temptations, sufferings, and strange adventures which befell me at this time, was, as I have already intimated, to initiate me by rough experience into the mysteries of spiritualism. The transition from a life governed by mere intellectual and moral influences, to one subject to the guidance of the Spirit and awake to the elements of the spiritual world, is somewhat like the transition from every-day life on terra firma, to the changeful experience of the sailor. I was yet in many respects a landsman; for though I had received the baptism of the Spirit, and had the beginning of spirituality in my heart, yet the controversies and other pursuits in which I had been engaged since I embraced the gospel of holiness, had turned my attention to the doctrinal and moral, rather than the spiritual elements of the world on which I had entered. My ideas on the subject of the Spirit's leadings, were not clear and practical. Legality had not been entirely expelled from my intellect, if it had been from my heart. Inward instincts were yet rivalled and crippled by the ordinary external rules of life. The time had now conic when I was to be cut loose from all the moorings of fleshly wisdom, and try the ocean of spiritual experience, with God only for my pilot. It was wisely ordered that I should take my first lesson in practical navigation under the fury of, a merciless storm; and it is not to be wondered at that I was sea-sick, and staggered somewhat in the midst of the wave-tossings and brine-drenchings of the occasion.
In order that the reader may have a correct idea of the spiritual influences which were at work upon me at this time, he must consider, 1, that I was full-charged with the sorceries of Charles H. Weld's magnetism; 2, that I had been exposed to the fury of Latourette's spirit, who was mighty in witchcraft, and who afterward boasted that my sufferings were the consequence of his delivering me to Satan for the destruction of the flesh; 3, that I was in a city where, at all times, there is a vast accumulation of diabolical influences, and where at the time of which I am speaking, there was a gathering and concentration of the entire clerical magnetism of the country - a magnetism intensely hostile to the doctrines and spirit of which I was the represent ; and
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finally, that I had been introduced by Weld's agency to many of the clergy, and so had been placed in contact, at many points, with this concentrated and hostile magnetism. When Mr. Finney asked me, in 1837, to give him some account of my strange experience in New York, I told him that I could not describe the affair better than by saying that I was mobbed, not physically, but spiritually, and that the singularities of my behavior were to be reckoned as the staggering and uncouthness of a man driven along the street by an exasperated crowd, under a storm of brick-bats and rotten eggs. By this I meant that the magnetic influences above mentioned, with all the devils that were back of them, were let loose upon my spirit, and naturally produced some singular results.
It has been stated by several persons (among others, I think, by Mr. Finney) that I have acknowledged that I was crazy at this period. This is not true. What I have acknowledged I will now repeat and explain. My statement has been and is, that I was not crazy, but that I was subjected to all those spiritual influences which make men crazy - all the external impulses of insanity, - and suffered from them all the torture and perplexity which they could inflict, without actually destroying the soundness of my mind. The vessel was not shattered, nor did it leak, but it drifted many days before the tempest, under bare poles. As in regeneration, so in insanity, two conditions are necessary; first, a spiritual influence from without, and secondly, a subjective appropriation of that influence. Men are not born again merely by the baptism of the Spirit. A subsequent receptive and digestive process on their part is necessary. So a man is not made crazy merely by being plunged into the spirit of insanity. That spirit must find in his mind or brain a morbid condition to which to attach itself, before it can produce in him actual derangement. The difference between being baptized with the spirit of insanity and being actually insane, is just the difference between temptation and actual sin. As a man, under temptation, will be affected by it in his feelings, so that it will more or less modify his conduct, though it fails to lead him into sin, and as the baptism of the Spirit produces many appropriate effects on the character of those who receive it, while yet they are not regenerated, so the spirit of insanity may be permitted to beat upon a man, so as to drift him before it more or less for a time, without affecting his subjective soundness of mind. In fact, as the proof of virtue is proportioned to the temptation which it resists, so the strength of a man's sanity may be evinced by the strength of the deranging influences from without which he overcomes; and instead of acknowledging that I was crazy in the affair at New York, I have always asserted, and still assert, that the fact that I came out of that affair without injury, is evidence that my mind is not only sound, but proof against insanity. I am confident that any one who could know what I went through, would assent to this assertion.
It is proper to observe here, that as I was for the most part alone, or among indifferent strangers, during the period under consideration, the material facts of case have come to be known only by my own report. I am the only primary witness, and all second-hand reports depend on me for their verification. Those which exceed, or differ from, my statements, have no vouchers. We have seen that in regard to the matter of insanity, my testimony has
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 35
been misconstrued and enlarged. by persons disposed to put the worst color upon the affair. In like manner what I have reported in relation to my use of ardent spirits, and my preaching at the Five Points, has been magnified by inferences, till it has been made the foundation of a wide-spread belief that I was guilty of drunkenness and licentiousness. As I am commenting on the general character of the whole transaction in question, I will take this occasion to clear it of evil surmises in regard to these particulars. I must tell my own story. If there is no witness to confirm it, there is none to contradict it. It must stand upon the credit of my affirmation, or, if it is demanded, of my oath. I affirm then, that all reports that I was intoxicated, or committed any acts of licentiousness during my sojourn in New York in 1834, are false. In the proper place I shall relate (as I always have freely related heretofore) the facts on which these vile reports are founded. I have nothing to relate that I am ashamed of. Wild as I may be supposed to have been, - it is certain that I did nothing contrary to the laws of God or man. My innocence was carried safely through the storm.
The reader will get an idea of the frame of my mind at the commencement of the period on which this narrative is entering, by turning to a letter in Appendix G. That letter was written on the eve of Weld's departure for Hartford, after I had taken lodgings in Leonard street with the intention of devoting myself to writing.
On sitting down to my proposed task, I found myself very much straitened in spirit and mind. My thoughts refused to take the direction which I had prescribed for them, and I soon became satisfied that God was calling my attention to other subjects than those I had chosen - that the thinking I had to do was to be for myself, instead of for others.
The first subject toward which the instincts of my heart turned, and which soon took possession of my thoughts, was the resurrection. The gospel which I had received and preached was based on the idea that faith identifies the soul with Christ, so that by his death and resurrection the believer dies and rises again, not literally, nor yet figuratively, but spiritually; and thus, so far as sin is concerned, is placed beyond the grave, in ' heavenly places' with Christ. I now began to think that I had given this idea but half its legitimate scope. I had availed myself of it for the salvation of my soul. Why should it not be carried out to the redemption of the body? Heretofore I had had no occasion or time to look at this bearing of my theory; but now I found myself face to face with it. And my attention was riveted upon it, not as a matter of speculation, but as a subject involving tremendous practical obligations. The question came home with imperative force - 'Why ought I not to avail myself of Christ's resurrection fully, and by it overcome death as well as sin?'
The suggestions and spirit of Weld had some agency in turning my mind to this physical aspect of the gospel, and there was doubtless a tinge of legality in the feelings with which I viewed it at this time. There was a mixture and strife of good and evil spiritual influences within me - the good seeking to bring on a new and healthful crisis of faith, and the evil busy with enchantments, hoping to make that crisis an occasion of false imaginations and ruin.
Not in a presumptuous or ambitious spirit, but under a solemn sense of duty
36 RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.
resulting from what I regarded as logical deductions of truth, I summoned all my powers to an act of faith in Christ as the Savior of the body as well as the soul. A spirit of wrestling prayer for victory over death came upon me. It was not so much the act of dying that I wished to be delivered from, as the spiritual power of death which broods over all men, living and dying - that dominion of the 'king of terrors' by which men are 'all their lifetime subject to bondage. I sought that identity with Christ by which I might realize his emancipation from death, as well for my body as for my soul; that I might with him, see death behind me - the 'debt of nature' paid. What I sought I obtained. From that time to this I have acknowledged and felt no allegiance to death. The fear that once hung like a cloud over my life passed away, and has long been a forgotten thing.
As it has been frequently' reported that I have professed a belief that I should 'never die,' I may as well briefly define here my position in relation to this point. The conclusions to which I came at the period under consideration, and which I have always avowed since, are as fallows:
1.As Christ did not scruple to say, 'He that believeth on me shall never die,' and that too with manifest reference of some kind to the body, (see John 11:26, and 8:51,) so the believer need not scruple to apply that language to himself. If then I am pressed to say whether I take the language literally or figuratively, I answer - Neither way, but spiritually. The believer may part with his flesh and blood, but shall never part with his life. His true body - that which is within his flesh and blood - is already risen from the dead by the power of Christ's resurrection, and parting with flesh and blood will be to him no death. He will pass into the inner mansions, not naked, but clothed with his immortal body.
2. The death of flesh and blood, to the believer, is not inevitable. It is not a 'debt' which he owes to the devil, or to sin, or to the laws of nature. His debts to all these tyrants are paid. Christ has bought him out of their hands; and the question whether he shall die in the ordinary sense, will be determined, not by some inexorable necessity, but by the choice of Christ, and of course by the choice of himself as a member of Christ. 'No man taketh my life from me,' said Christ, 'but I lay it down of myself.' John 10:18. The power which he had in respect to his own life, he has in respect to the lives of those who believe on him. As members of him, they may lay down their lives as lie did; but no man or devil takes their lives from them. Accordingly Paul, balancing between the desire of life and of death, said, I wot not which I shall CHOOSE.' Phil. 1:22. This language implies that life and death were at his option. The fact that the saints who lived till the Second Coming (to say nothing of Enoch and Elijah) passed within the vail without dying, proves that the death of flesh and blood is not inevitable - that Christ has power to discharge believers from its bond.
3. It is certain from the predictions of scripture, that the time is coming when death will be abolished both as to form and substance in this world. It is not to be expected that individuals will enter into this last victory of Christ much in advance of the whole body of believers. God is evidently preparing for a general insurrection against the 'king of terrors,' and we may reasonably anticipate the crisis and victory as near. 'They that are alive and re-
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main' till the promised consummation, will not die in any sense, but will pass from the mortal to the immortal state by a change similar to that which is described in 1 Cor. 15:51, &c.
My profession, then, since 1834, has been briefly this: 'If I pass through the form of dying, yet in fact I shall never die. But I am not a debtor to the devil even in regard to the form of dying. No man taketh my life from me. I wot not whether I shall choose life or death. But this I know, that if I live till the kingdom of God fully comes, which I believe is coming, I shall, never die in fact or in form.' (In Appendix H will be found a letter which I wrote to Weld at the conclusion of my exercises in regard to the resurrection.)
The first results of the act of faith which I have described, were delightful. I passed one night in unspeakable happiness. I felt that I had burst through the shroud of death into the 'heavenly places.' But I soon found that the spiritual transition which I had made, had placed me in new relations to evil spirits as well as good - that I had entered a region where the powers of darkness were to be encountered face to face, as I had never encountered them before.
In the course of the day following, a strange, murky spiritual atmosphere began to gather around me. Strange thoughts coursed through my brain, unsuggested by my own reflections, and uncontrolled by my will. I felt with shuddering that the Evil One was near me, and was enveloping me in' the folds of his spirit. But my heart failed not. When at last every thing within and around me seemed to be full-charged, and, as it were, crawling with the dark, nauseous spirit of Satan, I still found refuge in God, and felt that I could defy the universe of evil to injure me.
The multitude of involuntary thoughts which fermented in my mind, finally settled into a strong impression that I was about to part with flesh and blood, either by ordinary death or by an instantaneous change. I prepared myself for an immediate departure. Nor was it merely an impression or imagination, that seemed to summon me away. Ere long I began actually to feel & suffocating pressure on my lungs. However it may be accounted for, the fact is certain, that my breathing became more and more difficult, till death seemed inevitable. This was not the effect of physical disease; for my organs of respiration were healthy before and afterward. Nor was it the effect of excitement; for I had no fear of death, and was entirely calm in heart. I put my room in decent order, and lay down to die. The pressure increased till my breathing stopped and my soul seemed to turn inward for its flight. At this crisis, when I had resigned myself wholly to the consciousness of dying, the pressure was instantly removed, and I arose with the joy of victory in my heart. To my imagination the transaction was as if I had been enclosed in a net, and dragged down to the very borders of hades, and then in the last agony, had burst the net and returned to life. This transaction was repeated several times, and then the pressure passed away.
After this I went through a protracted process of involuntary thought and feeling, which I can describe by no better name than a spiritual crucifixion. All the events of Christ's death were vividly pictured in my mind, and by some moans realized in my feelings. I went through them not as a spectator,
38 RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.
but as a victim. At length came the resurrection, and for a time I was released from suffering.
The following circumstance will show that I was not wild in every sense of the word at this time. A young man by the name of Reese, who had heard my testimony at Latourette's meeting, and had taken sides with me in the controversy which occurred there, visited me while I was passing through' the exercises above described. He was a very' meek, amiable man, but a spiritualist of the Latourette school, and somewhat inclined to fanatical legality. He had an impression that it was his duty to wear his beard, and had actually suffered it to grow several weeks. I took him to task for this folly, and reasoned with him so effectually on the subject, that he soon became convinced that his impression was a suggestion of Satan, and took my razor and shaved himself on the spot. He afterward visited me several times, and his conversation and spirit comforted me much in some of my subsequent trials.
Among the physical effects of the spiritual change which had now passed upon me, the most noticeable were, loss of appetite and aversion to sleep. From this time till I left New York I took but very little aliment at the customary meals, and at times had a special and excessive loathing of all animal food. Indeed I had a strong impression (not derived from any acquaintance with modern physiological theories) that flesh-eating is a barbarism which will be abolished' in the kingdom of God. Grahamites may think that this was not altogether a freak of a bewildered imagination. But I shall probably lose credit with them, when I add, that the aversion and impression alluded to did not extend to marine food. I favored fish at the time when I abhorred flesh.
Sleep also during the same period was for the most part a nuisance to me. It seemed to be the condition in which the powers of darkness had most advantage of me, and I avoided it many times as I would avoid fire. Partly for this reason, and partly because a spirit whose will I could not resist constrained me, I spent many nights in the streets. Oftentimes, after a day of wearisome labor of mind, and perhaps of body, I would retire to my room, hoping for this once to enjoy a night of repose, if not of sleep. But suddenly a horror of sleep would come upon me, and a spiritual impulse would summon me with an importunity not to be denied, to a night journey in the city. When weariness overcame me in these excursions, so that sleep became inevitable, I would lie down on a door-stone, or on the steps of the City Hall, or on the benches of the battery, and forget myself for a few minutes In this way most of my sleep for three weeks was taken.
If I am asked how I account for the imaginations, impressions, aversions, impulses, &c. which have been described, without admitting the charge of insanity, I answer thus: The facts of phreno-mesmerism and neurology have demonstrated that most persons in the magnetic state and some in their ordinary state, are impressible by spiritual influences, so that the touch of the magnetizer's hand will call into supernatural activity any faculty, sentiment, or passion in them at his will, and they will think, feel and act under his influence, like persons beside themselves. Now we do not say that one who is thus impressible is insane, nor do we attribute the singular phenomena of
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 39
mind which he exhibits under the hand of the magnetizer to insanity. But why? Simply for the reason stated on a previous page, viz. that two conditions are necessary to insanity - an external spiritual cause, and a morbid state of the brain to which that cause may attach itself. The irregular conduct of the magnetizee is attributable solely to the external spiritual cause. There is no disease in his brain. He is therefore not insane. Now my judgment (which must be taken, as I have already observed, for what it is worth) is, that by the act of faith with which I commenced my career in New York, I entered into a new relation to the spiritual world, - a relation similar, for instance, to that of the magnetizee when he comes within the aura of the magnetizer; and thenceforth I was in an impressible state, subject more or less to the manipulations (so to speak) of the invisible powers, good and evil. I knew nothing of phreno-mesmerism at that time, but when afterward its wonders were brought to light, many of its facts and principles were not new to me. I had learned by my experience in New York, that individual sentiments and passions may be preternaturally excited by spiritual causes. There was a time, for instance, when my love of order was so excessive that I could not see an article of furniture out of place without distress. So my love of music, calculation, &c. &c. were successively called into the most intense activity. In fact the whole range of my faculties and passions was subjected to a variety of magnetic influences, divine and diabolical; and each faculty and passion in turn sensibly responded to the invisible manipulations. Under these influences, I thought, felt, and acted, not according to the ordinary tendencies of my own nature, but according to the volitions of higher powers. I was just as insane as impressible subjects of magnetism are - and no more. My mind was sound, but was exposed to external disturbing influences. I had the objective, hut not the subjective condition of insanity.
After the spiritual crucifixion which has been described, I received a baptism of that spirit which has since manifested itself extensively in the form of Millerism. My doctrinal views had no affinity with Miller's theory of the Second Advent. I knew that the first judgment took place immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem, and that it was a transaction in the spiritual world. Yet I expected a second judgment at the end of the time of the Gentiles, or rather a second manifestation of the first judgment, i.e. an extension of it to the visible world. The spirit which now came upon me produced an irresistible impression that this manifestation was about to take place immediately. And I looked for the literal appearance of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven. It was a terrible moment, when the red canopy above seemed just bursting for the descent of Christ with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, to take vengeance on the world. In that moment, I thought of the millions who were unprepared for the impending scene, and involuntarily prayed that mercy might restrain judgment. Thereupon the agony of immediate expectation subsided. After several similar crises, the impression wholly left me, and I received in its stead a persuasion that the judgment of the world will be a gradual spiritual operation, effected by truth and invisible power, without any of the physical machinery which alarms the imaginations of most expectants of the great day.
I was next driven by an invisible influence through a course of reasoning
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On philosophical subjects, which entirely broke up all my previous scholastic theories, and reduced me to a condition of universal doubt. My mind was preternaturally active, and ranged with astonishing freedom over boundless regions of thought. I thought I saw with the clearness of heaven, the falsehood of the Copernican system. The earth seemed to be the centre of all things; and I was compelled to believe that the special dwelling place of God, instead of being above the firmament, was in the opposite direction at the centre of the earth. In like manner all my previous conceptions of truth ill other departments of science, were turned topsy-turvy, and on their ruins arose the discarded theories of the ancient world. I was spirit-bound for a time, to a curious doctrine of metempsychosis. I thought that every soul was to appear in this world four times in different persons. For instance I imagined that Adam, Abraham and Christ were the same being, and that that being was to be manifested again in the last period of the world.
When all that the schools had laid up within me had been prostrated and reduced to chaos, I said within myself - 'The Bible stands firm nevertheless.' But soon the destroyer was let loose on that also. Objections to the inspiration and credibility of the scriptures began to force themselves on my mind. With merciless and more than human ingenuity, the spiritual intelligence which directed my thoughts arrayed before me all the apparent inconsistencies and immoralities of the Bible, till at last I cast it from me with abhorrence, as a monstrous imposition.
Still I clung to Jesus Christ. Put ere long this refuge also failed me. His character, on being subjected to the diabolical spirit of analysis which had taken possession of my intellect, was gradually stript of its glory, and at length appeared preeminently hideous. With agony I yielded to the conviction that he was the prince of devils.
Finally I said in my heart-' If all science is a lie, if the Bible is an imposition, if Jesus Christ is the prince of devils, still there is a God in whom I may trust.' Then the cloud of doubt began to gather about the idea of God. Satan took advantage of his own abuses, and turned my thoughts toward the impositions that had been practised upon me by what I supposed to be the Spirit df God The Bible was gone. Nothing but my own experience was left to me; an when that was set before my eyes as a series of deceptions, my belief in a God was overclouded, and the darkness of atheism fell upon me.
In order that my situation at this time may be fully understood, it must be observed that all my confidence in men had been previously taken away. I had seen the corruption of the church and the clergy, and bad rejected them and been rejected by them. I came to New York hoping to find spiritual help and guidance in Latourette, but was miserably disappointed.-John B. Foote, with Dutton and several other western Perfectionists, had visited me, and I had found them, not in advance of me in spiritual wisdom as I had hoped, but in bondage to Latourette and to what I regarded as the follies of a diseased spiritualism. (The reader will find an account of their visit in Appendix D.) I had begun to distrust Weld. Thus I was left alone I knew not a man on earth that I could lean upon or take counsel with. And now all the lights of human wisdom were extinguished, the Bible was gone, Jesus Christ had become the prince of devils, and God was annihilated.
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The net of Satan had completely enveloped my intellect. Yet there was a instinctive consciousness of strength and an imperishable hope in my heart. When the spirit of darkness had done its worst, I said within myself - 'If the universe is a blind chaos without a God, and the destinies of all beings are to be worked out by their own strength, I have as good right to try what I can do for existence and happiness as any body. I will yet wrestle for victory over evil.' Then my heart began to burn with indignation against the spirit which was abusing me. My will lifted itself up apparently with the energy of omnipotence against the adversary. I acted in the spirit of the words of Isaiah - 'I looked and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.' 63:5. The net gave way, and immediately I found myself again in an atmosphere of confidence and peace.
The effect of this mental overturn was permanent. It completely emptied me, for the time being, of all the theories which I had previously stored up. I could hardly tell afterward what I believed on any subject, till I had investigated it anew; and from this time forward I have had a deep sense of the necessity of laying the foundations of my belief below the frosts of spiritual delusion. The rule of mental economy which this passage of my experience led me to adopt, is expressed in the following paragraph from The Perfectionist, Vol. IV. p.47: -
"What we positively know, is all the mental capital we can count upon as safe and available. What we guess, think, believe and hope to be true, in paper capital, that may be genuine or may be counterfeit-redeemable or irredeemable. If there is among it any valuable truth, it is like grain yet mixed up with the chaff, not fit for use till it has been winnowed. It is well enough to have on hand a great heap of guesses. But we must not think of living on them, or using them as winnowed truths. Nor must we allow them to get mixed up with our store of known verities. The true method of mental economy is to look over the whole mass of our thoughts, select out all that we absolutely know, and keep that by itself, accounting it our specie-basis. If it is but a small store, never mind. A little silver and gold is worth more than a bushel of counterfeit bills. Then we may go on to examine and work up our heap of guesses, so as to convert them as far and as fast as possible into known truths, taking good care not to add any of them to our sure treasure, till we have thoroughly tested them. This is the only way to get and keep a sound mind."
It must be observed that the power which the spirit of darkness had over my mind at this time, was owing partly to the fact that I had not yet learned to try spirits, and question the authority of their impressions. I was like a child that has not yet found out the deceitfulness of mankind. My veneration was excited by every influence that came from the internal world. An impression was like the voice of God. Every person has strange flitting fancies from time to time; but a person in the ordinary state does not feel bound to believe them, because he attributes them to nothing higher than his own imagination. But let one enter the aura of the world of spirits, and become conscious that his thoughts originate not in his own imagination, but in the unseen intelligences above him, and, until he has become familiar enough with
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the strange company he has entered, to examine and discriminate its characters, he will feel bound to believe all impressions, and so for the time will be more or less at the mercy of devils.
I was now learning pretty rapidly the 'ways of the world' in which I found myself. The deceiver had gone too far for his own interest in arraying before me my past delusions for the sake of destroying my belief in the existence of a God. That array produced in me a more distinct conviction than I had ever had before of the existence of a devil, and of one too who could thrust himself into the place of God and imitate the influences of the Holy Ghost I began to feel freedom in examining the credentials of invisible powers, and soon arrived at the following conclusion which has been a valuable rule to me ever since 'I am bound to believe and obey the impressions of God, but not those of the devil. I have a right therefore to suspend belief till I can ascertain whether an impression comes from God or from the devil. God does not wish me to do otherwise. His credentials court investigation, and he can wait till they are tested. If any spirit attempts to hurry and drive me into belief and obedience, I may be sure that it is a spirit of darkness.'
One or two circumstances that increased the darkness and desolation of my spirit at this time, may here be added.
I have said on a former page that Abigail Merwin was my first companion in the faith of holiness, and that the boldness of her testimony, and the beauty of her behavior, in the trying period of our first warfare at New Haven, gained much favor for the truth. It was natural that I should regard her with peculiar interest and confidence. I was conscious of no feelings toward her but those of calm brotherly love. The idea of marriage never entered my thoughts. Indeed, it had been my intention to lead a single life, and this intention was not disturbed by my acquaintance with her. Yet, in consequence of the circumstances which I have mentioned, she was undoubtedly the person to whom I was attached more than to any other person on earth. From her too, as well as from all other objects of my previous confidence, I was separated by the spirit of doubt, in my temptations in New York. When every other friend was gone, she was presented to me, in 'the visions of my head,' and her character was subjected to the fearful test which had rent from me even the Bible and its God. I saw her, standing, as it were, on the pinnacle of the universe, in the glory of an angel; but a voice from which I could not turn away, pronounced her title - "Satan transformed into an angel of light.' I gave her up, and cast her from me as one accursed.
In the course of the same series of trials, a persuasion fell upon me that I myself was LUCIFER, the fallen son of the morning. I submitted to this impression with a struggling resignation to the decree which doomed me to eternal perdition. While in this state of mind I was impelled to visit Latourette. I found Harriet Livermore, the celebrated prophetess, at his house. She thrust at me with many sharp words; and both of them, curiously chiming in with the accusing sentence that was upon me, threw hints about Lucifer in my face. I answered nothing, but went home in a depth of sorrow, below which I have never sounded before or since.
In my night-excursions I was sometimes led into the vilest parts of the
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 43
city. I went alone at midnight into streets which I had been told were dangerous even in the daytime. I descended into cellars where abandoned men and women were gathered, and talked familiarly with them about their ways of life, beseeching them to believe on Christ, that they might be saved from their sins. They listened to me without abuse. One woman seemed much affected. I gave her a Bible. To another I gave a Testament. Some times, when I had money, I gave that to the wretches whom I found in those dark places. These were the only dealings I had with them.
Though I spent many nights in this way, and in walking about the whole city, I was never abused or interrupted by any person. The watchmen found no fault with me. I sometimes asked them if they had any objection to my perambulations. They said they had none.
In one instance only I met with an incident which threatened to be disagreeable, though it proved harmless. It was on a dark, drizzling night. I had walked the streets till past midnight, and was weary and sleepy. My boarding house was locked, and I had no money with which to buy a lodging. So I betook myself to the Battery, and laid down on one of its benches, setting my hat beside me, and covering my face with a handkerchief. I was soon asleep. In the course of an hour, I was awakened by the rough voice of a sailor, who seized my hat, and shouting-'Halloo messmate; drunk, ain't you ?' - ran off a little distance. I told him in a very mild way that I should be glad of my hat, if he was not in want of it. He immediately returned it and left me.
The history of my use of ardent spirits is this. During my career in legal religion, I had been a zealous temperance man, and like other such zealots had regarded the use of intoxicating drinks as a sin. When I turned from the law to spiritual life, I necessarily renounced in my heart all such superficial notions of morality. Yet my mind and feelings were still in some bondage to the habits, and influences of my former life. I had come forth from the tomb. but yet had my grave-clothes on. When I had proceeded far enough in my strange experience in New-York, to see that my old principles of morality, however useful they had been in the ways of ordinary life, were not competent to guide me in the new world which I had entered - when I found myself in the hands of mighty and conflicting spirits, whose invisible powers gave direction irresistibly to my thoughts and will, I began to look about me for some new system of ethics on which I might depend for security from defilement I saw that in my circumstances, (whatever might be true of others ) individual free-agency, which is the main-spring of legal morality, was well nigh swallowed up in the agency of superior powers. It was evident that my only hope of safety lay in the fact that God was one of those superior power, and that he was stronger than all the rest. On this rock I could rest secure, but my free-agency had been swept from under me so often that I knew it could not save me from sin and perdition. With these views, I soon found myself in front of this great question - 'Can I trust my passions, desires, propensities - every thing within me which has heretofore been governed by the rules of the world and by my own volitions - to the paramount sway of God's spirit ?' This question more briefly stated, is simply this - Can I trust God for morality?' I had faced and settled the radical prin-
44 RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.
ciple involved in, this question before; i.e. I had transferred the government of my heart from free-agency to God. But now the question came before me in a more practical and external form. That which had been done in the heart was to be carried into the outward circle of passion and volition. This second leap from law to grace seemed as fearful as the first. But I was shut up to it. All hope of safety in any other direction was gone. And at last when I had surveyed the whole matter, I began to loathe the idea of relying in any degree on such a drifting wreck as my own power of will had proved itself to be. I said in my heart, 'God shall save me, or I will not be saved.' I heartily put the keeping of my passions out of my own hands into the hands of God, and vowed before him that I would look to him alone for those conservative influences which had hitherto been supplied by the maxims and agencies of worldly morality.
In this state of mind I felt impelled both by spiritual instinct and by principle, practically to assert my liberty from the rules of my old bondage. The temperance law was only one of those rules, but it had fixed itself in my conscience more firmly perhaps than any other, and was therefore the representative of all legality. Luther said to his followers, "If any where, any one sets up the Sabbath on the Jewish foundation, making the day holy for the mere day's sake, then I order you to ride on it, to dance on it, to feast on it, to do any thing that shall reprove this encroachment on the Christian spirit of liberty." In the spirit of this exhortation, I drank ardent spirits, that I might reprove the spirit of legality which still hovered about me, and that I might practically transfer the keeping of my soul, from the temperance pledge to the Spirit of grace. I knew that Christ appointed the use of an intoxicating drink, in the supper which he instituted in commemoration of his death, and I had no doubt that the very property of wine which he had in view in choosing it for the symbol of his blood was its power of exhilaration. By fasting, sleeplessness, wearisome labour of mind and body, and unutterable suffering, I was much reduced in flesh, and I thought it no sin to follow the only medical prescription contained in the Bible, viz.; ' Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that 'be of heavy hearts.' These considerations neutralized the poison of the accuser, and I received stimulants as from God, 'with gladness and singleness of heart.' To the charge of intoxication, from the nature of the case I can only oppose my own absolute denial.
The effect of the course I pursued on my spirit was such as I anticipated. It loosed me from my grave-clothes. It established me in a freedom from the petty tyranny of fashionable morality, which no pressure of public opinion has since been able to subvert. I have found, as I expected, that God is able to keep me from intemperance, and all other evil, without the help of or the influences of human combinations.
In connection with my use of ardent spirits, I went through what may be course of medical treatment, differing from Thompsonianism, Homeopathy, Hyropathy, and other popular systems, in this respect, viz. its prescriptions were the orders of instinct instead of a doctor. I ate and drank, what I craved. The strongest stimulants, such as cayenne pepper, suited, my appetite best, and I used them for a time very freely. The consequence
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE 45
was a permanent and highly favorable change of the tone of my system. I had been previously, for a long time, dyspeptic in my habits, and necessarily scrupulous about the quality of my food. After the tanning process which I have sketched, my stomach became a very peaceable member of the corporal community, and I have never bad occasion since, to ask questions about 'those things which are set before me,' either for conscience' sake or for stomach's sake.
It may not be superfluous to suggest that it would be as unwise for any one to attempt an external imitation of the course I pursued, without reference to the circumstances and influences in which I acted, as it would be for one to take medicine by another's example, without regard to his own condition.
I have already extended the narrative of my experience in N. York much farther than I intended. My object has been to disclose what may be considered the worst of it, that the simple truth of the case may take the place of indefinite and exaggerated rumors. I think enough has been related to give the reader, on the whole, a true idea of the affair. Yet the history is far from being complete. I went through a course of thought and spiritual discipline with reference to the presence and agency of the primitive church, the sexual relation, the physiology of human nature, the coming events of God's administration, &c. of which I'll not now attempt to give any account, except that the views then presented to my mind on these subjects, and a variety of others, were tile seeds of the system of truth which I have since labored to develop.
If I have failed in any part of the outline which I have attempted, it has been in not conveying an adequate idea of the sufferings which I endured. It seemed to me (though probably it was not true) that no human being ever drank so deeply of 'the dregs of the cup of trembling.' I was led gradually on from stage to stage of endurance, enjoying intervals of rest and comfort, and hoping that each attack of the powers of darkness would be the last.- If I had foreseen from the beginning the whole course before me, I know not whether I should have had fortitude to face it. But blindfolded to the future, I rejoiced, at every breathing-time, that I had escaped the past, and hope proved elastic enough to rise from every fall. The book of Isaiah was much in my mind; and many times its beautiful promises were applied to my spirit with the healing and consoling power of the Spirit of grace. The 54th chapter was my favorite resort when sorrow encompassed me. Often in the darkest hour, the voice of God would come to my heart, saying, 'O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted: . . . . in righteousness shalt thou be established; thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come nigh thee.' The result of all my sufferings was, that when I finally emerged from them I had a' satisfying consciousness that my life was 'fire-proof.' I could say, 'hell has done its worst, and yet I live.'
Toward the close of my time of trouble, I attended a church in the city where I heard Dr. Cox preach. His subject was the righteousness of faith and he took occasion, in the course of his remarks, to speak very severely and contemptuously of the views of Perfectionists. The next day, after some inward conflicts, I yielded to an impulse which directed me to call upon ~
46 RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE
and went to his house. He met me at the door. I introduced myself, by remari4ng that I heard his discourse the day before, on the subject of Perfectionism, and, as I thought he labored under some misapprehension of the doctrines of Perfectionists, I took the liberty to call upon him for the purpose of making explanationa. Hw broke in upon me in a very rough way, with these interrogatories: 'Who are you? I don't know you from Adam. Have you any letter of introduction?' I told him that my name was Noyes; that I had been a student and licentiate at the New Haven Seminary; had recently become a Perfectionist, and consequently had lost my license. 'Well, (said he,) they did right to take away your license. You ought to be silenced, and not allowed to go about disturbing the churches.' ' Proceed, (said I,) I can bear it very well; I am accustomed to abuse.' Thereupon he moderated his tone, and invited me into his sitting room. I found there another minister, whose name I do not recollect. The Doctor introduced me to him, announcing my profession, and we all directly entered upon an animated conversation on the merits of Perfectionism. I explained and defended the views which the Doctor had condemned, and gave him some ideas on several passages of scripture, particularly John 4:14, which seemed to strike him quite favorably. At all events he became very affable and good humored, and when I proposed to leave, he entered my name in his tablets, (in which he said he noted down all the new characters he met with,) and very courteously invited me to call again.
The crisis in which my sufferings came to an end, was marked by the following circumstance. My feet had become very much inflamed. Indeed they were in a state of extensive ulceration, and I could walk only with extreme difficulty and pain. I attributed this partly to my much walking, and partly to the accumulation of the poisonous matter, which, according to' my physiological theory, had been driven down from the rest of my body into my feet. In this condition, I became sensible of a strong instinctive impulse to seek the salt water and bathe. I went to one of the wharves, and sat with my feet in the water about half an hour. On my return I found my-self able to walk quite comfortably: and the next day my feet were entirely well.
My spirit at the same time passed into a state of permanent peace. One of the sorest of my troubles had been anxiety about money-matters. I was boarding at an expense of four dollars per week, and a bill of some twelve dollars was to be met I had no money, and in my desolation, I knew no source from which to expect any. Yet I was spirit-bound to stand still and wait on God for deliverance. At length all my old feelings of reliance on friends, and carefulness about money affairs, were worked out of me. I could trust God quietly and with assurance that he would not fail me. Then I became conscious that my trials were finished, 'and that in some way I was soon to return to New Haven.
Immediately a young man who had occasionally called upon me (being an old acquaintance from Vermont) came to my room, and, after some desultory conversation, observed, seemingly in quite an incidental way, that he thought of writing to my brother in New Haven. I looked sharply in his eyes, and said to him, 'You are trying to deceive me; you think I am crazy, and you
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE 47
have already written to my brother, to come and take care of me.' Then he confessed that he had done so, and, in his wonder at my detection of him, was obliged to give up his notion of my insanity. On the day following, Everard Benjamin of New Haven came to my room, paid my board, and took me with him to New Haven.
Thus closed a series of trials, which, though they seemed grievous while present, and left me long afterwards almost without a remnant of a reputation, nevertheless, manifestly worked the peaceable fruits of righteousness, established me in the liberty of the truth, weaned me from all earthly resources, enlarged my acquaintance with the spiritual world, confirmed the strength of my intellect, and gave to my body a vigorous power of endurance, which it had never possessed before, and which fitted it for subsequent labors and trials. 'It is a small thing that I should be judged of man's judgment' to have been either sinful, foolish, or insane, in the transactions which I have related. I look back upon them, not with shame or self-reproach, but with gratitude to God.
After reaching New Haven, I learned with some surprise, that Abigail Merwin went to New York with her brother-in-law, Benjamin, and returned in the same boat with him and myself. Her reasons for keeping her presence from my knowledge, I never ascertained. The circumstances, however, chimed in suspiciously with the spiritual impressions which I received concerning her in New York, and I began, to anticipate the division which followed.
I remained in New Haven but a few days. The brethren there treated me with much kindness, but seemed to be troubled with some suspicions of my sanity. Much curiosity was manifested in relation to my late experience, and many exaggerated rumors began to be circulated. I related my adventures without reserve, caring very little for the opinions which were formed upon them. I was conscious of a sound mind, and of God's favor and protection. It was a small thing to be an isolated object of ridicule and pity to the whole world.
Early in June I went to Putney. My mother had become a convert to the doctrine of holiness in consequence of letters which I wrote to her when I first confessed salvation. My brother Horatio, who was my room-mate at that time, and soon after professed the same faith, had visited Putney, and had made a very favorable impression on other members of the family, and on the people of the village. I was received therefore not altogether as an alien. I remained at home about two months. My principal business was meditation; and my intercourse with any except my family friends was very limited. I frankly confessed my new faith and experience to Mr. Foster, the Congregational minister, and other members of his church (of which I also was a member,) but I made no attempt to introduce my doctrines into it, or to make proselytes and raise a party in the village. Indeed I attended the meetings and even the ordinances of the church, and did nothing unbecoming a loyal church-member. Yet it was not long before jealousy and war broke forth. At a small conference meeting which I attended, the chairman, Dea. Reynolds, requested me to make some remarks. I complied, but purposely avoided saying any thing on, the subject of perfection. I spoke of the ' exceeding sinfulness of sin,' in terms not unusual in the churches. -
48 RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE
In the midst of my remarks, Mr. Grout, a leading member of the church, arose and interrupted me, saying with much heat, that 'he thought it very improper that Mr. Noyes should introduce his new sentiments among them when he knew they were opposed to them.' I answered that 'I was not aware that the exceeding sinfulness of sin was a new doctrine in the church. Mr. G. appealed to the chairman, and the chairman decided that I was out of order. I sat down quietly. But from that time I considered myself excommunicated. I felt that my obligations to bear witness of the truth were stronger than my obligations to obey the church; (see Acts, 4:19, 20;) and a few
months afterward, on my second visit to Putney, I commenced holding independent meetings - The church afterwards went through the form of laboring with me, and finally excommunicated me. But it was nothing but a form. They had in spirit thrust me out before, and I had denied their jurisdiction. In 1839, five years after this affair, Mr.G. in a private interview, voluntarily confessed to me that he did wrong in his treatment of me at the conference meeting, that it had lain on his conscience, and he had long wished to make this acknowledgment.
While I was at Putney, the dismal tidings came of the apostasy of Benjamin, Abigail Merwin, her brother, and several others, who had been among the foremost converts to holiness from the free church in New Haven. As this defection was, at the time, hailed by our enemies, far and near as the death-blow to Perfectionism, and as it was indeed a stunning disaster to the reputation of the cause, I will give some account of the circumstances which led to it, so far as they have come to my knowledge.
Boyle continued in his pastorship, and the free church converts in their membership, so long as I remained in New haven. At length, while I was in New York, Boyle was dismissed from his charge; and soon after, Benjamin, with the other believers, voluntarily seceded from the free church, hired a public room for Boyle's ministrations, and set up independent Sabbath services. These proceedings were probably premature, and were not entered upon in the best spirit. A reaction of conscience naturally followed, which was one of the influences that brought on the relapse. This, as I understood, was in substance the confession of the seceders, when they were received again into the church. The reports of my insanity, and the discredit which my unfashionable behavior brought upon the cause at this period, doubtless contributed to dishearten the more timid believers. But the worst of the matter was; that a young man named Lowrie, who was of a very enthusiastic temperament, and had embraced the faith under high excitement, undertook a sort of artificial imitation of my proceedings. There was a long story about his 'wild celebration of the fourth of July, the particulars of which I cannot now recall. The consequence of what he did, however, was a severe attack of self-condemnation, and a great increase of scandal. Soon after this, Benjamin quarreled with Boyle, renounced the faith, went to Orange where Abigail Merwin resided, and persuaded her to desert with him. Several other seceders from the free church, Lowrie among the rest, immediately joined the revolt, and all were soon received back to the fellowship of the church, on confession of their fault, with great rejoicing on the part of all who hated Perfectionism. It was reported that Benjamin and his friends privately told
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 49
a story about certain abominations said to have been practised in the meetings of Perfectionists, such as exposing themselves naked, &c. If any such doings ever occurred, it must have been only among those who deserted. I for one, never witnessed or heard of any thing of the kind, till this report came to my ears; and I have never been able to penetrate deep enough into the confidence of any of the New Haven believers, to obtain a hint that they ever made fools of themselves in this way in my absence.
Pecuniary interests were thought to have had some agency in bringing about this revulsion - at least so far as Benjamin was concerned. He was the only substantial householder among the believers at New Haven, and his house naturally became the central rendezvous of the outcasts. Boyle and his wife were quartered upon him, after Boyle was dismissed from his pastorship, and others frequently had a place at his table. I understood that money-matters were the principal subjects of the final altercation between Benjamin and Boyle.
The history of my financial concerns with Benjamin is as follows. By his payment of my bills in New York I became indebted to him to the amount of about thirty dollars. As an offset to this he received of me a patent-lever watch, which had cost me the year before thirty-five dollars. As he was a goldsmith, this was to him disposable property; and when I left New Haven for Putney, I understood from him that my account was balanced. After my return in August, (his defection having occurred in the interval,) he informed me that the watch I had made over to him was worth only twenty-five dollars, and that he should require me to pay what I owed him in money. I made no objection, and though I had at that time no money and no visible means of obtaining any, I promised to pay him soon. A few days after this I received unexpectedly from my father a letter containing fifty dollars, and immediately satisfied Benjamin's claim. I was afterwards informed by my friends at home, that my father, on rising one morning, said that he had been in trouble about me through the night, and was afraid that I was in want of money. So he sent me the fifty dollars.
My pecuniary transactions with Lowrie were somewhat similar to the fore-going. On my return from New York, he was very forward in his professions of friendship - ready to share his all with me. He gave me outright, and of his own accord, an English watch, and loaned me twenty dollars without a note, to be paid whenever I pleased. When I came back to New Haven, after his desertion, he kept himself entirely out of my sight. I thought it belonged to him to seek me, if there was to be any further intercourse between us, as the change of our relations was his doing, not mine. I did not feel bound in law or honor to go out of my way for the purpose of returning the property he had given me. At length he sent me by one of his fellow-workmen, a very reproachful letter, accusing me of fraud, and demanding that I should either pay him the twenty dollars, or send him a note for it, and return the watch. I sent him the money by the bearer, but told him to inform Lowrie that I should bring back the watch myself, as I wished to have some conversation with him. Accordingly, the next day I went to his place of residence, but he was not to be found. I left the watch with the family in which he boarded. Some days afterward I called again at his lodgings,
50 RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.
and found him a' home He was in a state so subdued and miserable, that I gave him not a word of reproof for his abuse of me, but did my best to palliate and comfort him. He said that he was half deranged when he wrote that letter, and knew not what he was about. I never saw him afterward, but was informed that his mental troubles brought on a disease of an epileptic nature, which terminated in his death within a few months.
Near the' close of my visit to Putney, having occasion to call at the shop of Silas Morgan, a prominent Methodist, I was drawn into conversation with him on the subject of holiness. He listened to my reasonings with evident interest, and the impressions which he received resulted in his conversion te the doctrine. He became a subscriber and correspondent to the paper afterwards published at New Haven, and by the circulation of it, as well as by his own testimony, helped much to prepare the way for my subsequent operations in Putney. This was the only inroad I made upon the territories of the churches during this first residence at my father's.
Before we embraced Perfectionism, Dutton, Boyle and myself had talked about starting a paper at New Haven. We had gone beyond the old Revival standard of zeal, and were dissatisfied with the tone of the New Measure papers. After we became Perfectionists, this project was revived, and seemed more necessary than ever. While I was at New Haven in June, we had ascertained that Whitmore and Buckingham, (the printers with whom I had dealt before,) would print for us. In July I received a letter from Boyle, of which the following is an extract:
"We have closed the contract with the printers, Whitmore and Buckingham, for the paper, and are hoping to be able to get out the first number by the first part of next month. You propose to remain where you are, and to do whatever writing may devolve on you, at your present residence. Probably it would~ be best for you so to do for the present; but we hope you will hold yourself ready to come on whenever it may seem necessary in the providence of God. I wish you would write the prospectus or the introduction for the paper."
Ultimately I thought it best to return to New Haven. On my way thither, I stopped a few days at Meriden, and formed a pleasant and lasting acquaintance with David Harrison and his family. Boyle had been there, and the doctrine of holiness had agitated the town, and gained several converts.
On resuming my journey to New Haven, by the stage, I found myself seated by the side of a grave, elderly gentleman, who proved to be Mr. Cogswell, a clergyman, and, I believe, a professor in the East Windsor Theological Seminary. He observed, as we were starting, that he had heard there was a strange sort of people, called Perfectionists, in Meriden, and said he, 'I should like right well to see one of them.' His remark was addressed to me', and I answered that I should be glad to have him see a Perfectionist. Probably I should have disclosed my own profession immediately, had I not been interrupted by a lady on the seat opposite to us, who announced that she was from New Haven and 'knew all about the Perfectionists.' She went on to describe them with much garrulity and bitterness, as monsters of impiety, and concluded with the following home-thrust: 'As for that John Noyes, I know that he is nothing less than a blasphemer, for he said in a public meeting that he was as perfect as God; and my own sister heard him' On hearing this, it struck me, that it would be well to let the lady go on without
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 51
the embarrassment of knowing who I was, and bring out her whole budget of accusations against me and the doctrine of holiness. Accordingly, I answered in a mild, and rather indifferent manner, that I thought she might be mistaken about Noyes; that I was somewhat acquainted with him, and had never heard him say anything of the kind. She insisted that her statement was true,, and continued to inveigh as fluently as ever against Perfectionism and that John Noyes.' Dr. Cogswell, on learning that I was acquainted with Perfectionists, became interested to hear something of their views from me, and as soon as the New Haven lady slackened her fire, engaged me in a conversation on their doctrines. He supposed that they must of course be outrageously self-righteous'. I told him that they explained 'themselves on this point quite plausibly, by saying that holiness is entirely the gift of God, wrought in them by his grace, obtained not by works, but by faith, and therefore no more to be credited to self; than a garment given to a beggar. "Well,' said he, 'if that is their doctrine, I see nothing very frightful about it." In this way he brought forth various objections, and I told him what I bad heard Perfectionists say about each of them. The New Haven lady occasionally broke in upon us with her hard speeches; and I noticed that a young woman who sat by the side of her (who as I learned afterward, was also from New Haven, and knew me,) was continually laughing behind her bonnet. To be brief; the doctrine of Perfectionism, and my of character and proceedings, were pretty thoroughly canvassed, in the course of our ride of 16 miles. Dr. Cogswell was very polite, and appeared candid. His interest in the subject was evidently increased, and he became favorably disposed - at least toward me. As we approached the city, he attempted, by certain conversational maneuvres, to draw from me some information about myself; but I gave him no satisfaction. At length, just as the coach drew 'up before the Hotel, he turned to me and said, 'May I be so bold as to ask your name?' I replied -' My name is Noyes.' 'Ah,' said he, striking his hand on my shoulder with a hearty laugh, 'you are the very preacher we have been talking about, are you?' 'Yes,' said I'; and casting a glance at the New Haven lady, who seemed to be hiding herself in the corner of the coach, I got out and saw them no more.
There was, at the time of which I am speaking, (and probably is now,) a schoolmaster in New Haven, named Amos Smith; a man of very eccentric manners and thoughts, much devoted to his profession, and strongly charged with the peculiar spirit which that profession usually generates. In a word, he was a SCHOOLMASTER in spirit, as well as according to the flesh. He loved, above all things to rule boys; and from ruling boys, naturally came to 1ove to rule every one whom he could bring under him. His spirit was strong; his will unspeakably obstinate; his knowledge of human nature on a small scale, very minute. The mysterious and sometimes hideous rolling o' his eyes, and the strange working of his wide-spread fingers, (his only gesture,) gave an air of half-insanity and half-inspiration to his arguments and exhortations, which immensely increased his power over many minds.
This man had been in habits of intercourse with the free church and was somewhat distinguished for his spirituality. When Perfectionism appeared, he manifested considerable interest in its doctrines. His sister, the wife of
52 RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE
Mr. Chapman, the minister at Prospect, was one of the first ,who professed holiness in that place. This probably had some effect on his course. He, did not decidedly embrace our views; neither did he directly oppose them; but he assumed a sort of paternal or pedagogical care over them. As my will was the nearest match for his, and therefore most likely to give him trouble, it was with no little satisfaction that he saw my supposed shipwreck in New York; and ever afterward he made it his business to fasten upon me, like an iron manacle, the charge of insanity.
While I was at Putney, Boyle and Dutton came into a state of partial dependence on this man. Boyle received his maintenance from him to a considerable extent, after the defection of Benjamin; and Dutton boarded at big house, and lodged in a room belonging to his school-house. Smith of course took advantage of this position of things, to bring them into spiritual bondage to himself. He evaded all their demands on him for confession of holiness, and then, turning upon them, crowded their consciences with the demands of legality. When I arrived at New haven, I found them well wound up in big cobwebs. Dutton especially was completely Smith ridden. The incantations of the schoolmaster had nearly silenced his testimony of faith, and were dragging him back into the old working and praying system. He had submitted himself to Smith's injunctions of voluntary humility, knee-bowing, and mouth-worship, like a school-boy. And Boyle, though less pliable, was making no effectual resistance to these spells of legality. Smith was especially bent on preventing the publication of the paper He insisted that we were only babes in the truth, and that we ought not to think of publishing at present. His authority lay like an incubus on the project.
I took lodgings with Dutton and boarded with Boyle; and soon commenced a warfare with Smith. I pressed him with the naked truth in relation to holiness, and he thrust at me the usual insinuations and accusations of legalists, always adding venom to his missiles by repeating and enlarging upon the proofs of my insanity. There was one charge which he brought against Dutton and myself; which I found it exceedingly difficult to answer. He said that he had studied the mental habits of young men very extensively, and that he plainly perceived that our minds were in a state of dissipation. Now I was distinctly conscious of intellectual habits very different from those to which I had bee' bred in academic life. The tension of mind which had been enforced by classical and legal discipline, was certainly relaxed, and judged by pedagogical standards, I could not but acknowledge that I was in some degree liable to the charge which he brought against me. On a faithful inspection, however, of my internal state, I saw nothing to be censured or regretted in the course I had taken or in the position to which I had come, and I answered him thus: 'We are passing from the schools of human discipline to the school of the Spirit of truth; and, as more or less anarchy always attends revolutions from arbitrary to free governments, so it is not to be wondered at; that our minds in this transition period, are not exactly in that orderly, mechanical state that suits a schoolmaster. It is better to move into a new house even at the cost of some temporary confusion and discomfort, than to live in an old one that cannot shelter us, and is ready to fall on our heads.'
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 53
My struggle with Smith was one of the severest I ever had. Day after day we wrestled as for life. I made no impression on his obstinacy; but I had the satisfaction of seeing Boyle and Dutton loose themselves from his enchantments They soon stood erect again as the witnesses of holiness and liberty; and we girded ourselves for the work of publication, in the face of Smith's entreaties and remonstrances.
I shall give but a brief account of my connection with the publication of the Perfectionist at New Haven; as the principal facts in the case are already generally known.
We had some difficulty in selecting a name for the paper. Several rather equivocal titles were proposed by Boyle and Dutton. I insisted that our true policy was to hoist our colors boldly, and proposed the name Perfectionist. This proposal was objected to at first, but was finally adopted unanimously.
The first number was issued on the20th of August 1834, and thenceforward a number was published on the 20th of each month, till the spring of 1836. We commenced without a subscription-list, but ultimately obtained a list of five or six hundred names. Boyle hired a house in the eastern part of tho city, and I boarded with him, ~occupying a room which I hired in another house at some distance. The receipts for the paper nearly paid the printer's bill; and for the rest of our maintenance we were indebted to the liberality of friends of the cause in New Haven, Prospect, and other neighboring places)Together with some remittances from my father. Boyle was the business-superintendent of the paper. Dutton remained in New Haven only a short time after we commenced publishing. I left at the end of six months, and Boyle then became the sole editor.
That six months was, on the whole, one of the most interesting seasons of my life. My heart was, for the most part, at peace, and well supplied with heavenly food. My mind was busy with glorious and ever-expanding views of truth. The correspondence of the paper, and its growing popularity and success, furnished matter of constant and lively external interest. The meetings and other forms of intercourse of believers in New 'Haven, were refreshing.
In writing for the paper, I took much pleasure and found much profit. The 'dissipation of mind' of which Amos Smith accused me, made it difficult for me to write in the old mechanical; sermonizing way; but I soon learned to follow, instead of forcing the flow of my thoughts; and by waiting for what poets call the 'moment of inspiration,' I wrote with more satisfaction to myself than I ever did under the discipline of the schools. Indeed I have not emerged from this kind of 'dissipation of mind' to this day. Boyle deputed me to write the Introduction for the first paper, and usually chose a discourse from my pen for the leading article in each of the subsequent numbers, so long as I remained in New Haven. The articles which I contributed to the New Haven Perfectionist, were published, together in a small volume called the ' Way of Holiness,' in 1838.
Boyle and I were generally agreed in our views at this time; - or rather I should say, we generally came to an agreement after some debate. As he resisted me fiercely at the beginning, on the subject of holiness, but afterward came over to my views, so he first fought and then embraced my testimony on several other important subjects. In the spring of 1834, while
54 RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.
we were on a visiting together at Prospect, he threatened to forsake me, if I persisted in my heresy about the Second Coming. He said that my doctrine was like that of the Universalists, and that he had written a series of sermons some years before in opposition to it Even at the time when the first paper was published, he stood out against me on that subject. But in the interval between the first and second numbers his mind was opened to the truth, and he became willing that the paper should come out on the Second Coming 'butt end foremost,' as we expressed it. Accordingly I prepared with his consent the article which was published on the first page of the second number, entitled 'The Second Coming of Christ.'
In like manner he stoutly, combated, at first, the new views which I proposed in relation to law. He had preached law so long that it was hard for him to accept the saying of the apostle, 'Ye are not under law, but under grace;' and we had quite a warm dispute about it just before the commencement of the paper. He soon yielded the point, however, and ultimately pushed the anti-legal doctrine a great way beyond my position, and beyond what I believe to be the truth. I may say that in my judgment, this was characteristic of his mind - 'to first repel the truth, and then seize upon it with ultra-enthusiasm, and press it to an illegitimate extreme.
On several occasions, at this period, he gave indications of that tendency to false fellowships, which afterwards led to his alliances with Gates, Beach, and many other haters of holiness, and which finally prostituted his talents to the service of causes wholly foreign to the gospel of Christ. He was continually suffering himself and the cause to be drawn into entanglements with such men as Goldsmith and Bradley-mere antinomian Baptists, sympathizers with us in opposition to the churches, and, in a few other equally negative points, but enemies in heart to our views of holiness, the Second Coming, &c. When such men came among us by his introduction, seeking adulterous fellowship, and spreading their nets of falsehood, I withstood them to the face; and he laughed at me for my combativeness. He has since pursued his policy, ana I have pursued mine. It remains to be seen which is best in the long run.
Notwithstanding these occasional and incipient differences, on the whole we worked well together. I rejoiced much in the service which he did for the cause. Though I could not but be aware that he was in reality following me in the truth, I was very willing that he should have, what his external position and his inclination conspired to give him - the name of being the leader. I knew that if he proved true to God, he would do me no injustice; and if he proved false, that 'a lie would not last forever.' I sincerely loved him, and gloried in his growing influence. There was not a particle of jealousy between us on my part, till he struck a foul blow at Paul.
As the paper proceeded in its development of the Second Coming, the security, &c., New York Perfectionism began to rouse itself against us. Latourette at first subscribed for ten copies; but after receiving a few numbers, withdrew his whole subscription, and called the paper the Delusionist. We heard from time to time reports of the dissatisfaction of the Annesleys and others at the west, with the course of the ' New Haven brethren.' We were accused of worldly wisdom, carnal theorizing, &c. At length the paper was publicly denounced in the Canastota Convention, of which the reader will find some account in Appendix D.
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 55
Just at this time I was placed in conjunction with a prominent representative of New York Perfectionism, and an opportunity was given for a trial of the respective strength of the two forces which seemed to be coming to a collision. Simon Lovett, a spiritualist at that time of high reputation among Perfectionists in New York and Massachusetts, came to New Haven, as a sort of missionary from the Annesleys and Latourette. His business was to set me right. I commenced discussion with him, immediately, and soon converted him to the doctrine of security, of which he became forthwith a forward champion He also adopted the doctrine of the Second Coming at a later period. He discovered, very soon, that with all my theorizing, I could tell some experience; and that my spirit was quite as strong as his. I must say to his credit that he submitted to the influences which he came to resist, with a meek and quiet spirit. Thus he was broken off from his former spiritual connections, and became much attached to me. Thenceforward we were together much of the time for several months.
At the close of my six months service in connection with the paper, I went with Lovett to Prospect. It was high time that my spirit should be loosened from the fixtures which were gathering about it. In the spring of 1834, Perfectionism had encountered a flood of enmity from the clergy and churches; and in the spiritual whirl which that flood occasioned, I had been wrecked and stripped and cast forth to desolation. Now a similar flood was coming upon us from New York Perfectionism, and again I was plunged into a wild whirl of spirits. While Lovett succumbed to the influences of which I was the representative, at the same time he served as a conductor for those of which he 'had been the representative. Through him I was baptized into New York Perfectionism, as I had been, on a previous occasion, baptized into the mad spirits which gathered at the anniversaries of the, clergy. The experience through which I passed during several weeks which I spent at Prospect at this time, was similar to that of which I have given an account in the narrative of my visit to New York. The exercises of my mind were different in many of their details from those of the previous crisis, and on the whole less revolutionary and distressing. But the general resemblance was such, that it would be superfluous to recount them. The turn which my mind took at this time in regard to sexual morality, and to my spiritual relation to Abigail Merwin, had much influence on my subsequent course and deserves more notice. But, as I intend to give an account of this branch of my experience in the second part of this volume, I will emit it for the present. The practical results of this affair were like those of the former. I did nothing of which I had occasion to be ashamed; but I lost reputation with those who saw nothing but externals. My spirit was weaned from all bondage to Boyle and to the paper. I was loosed from all the moorings of ordinary prudence, and sent adrift once more with no pilot or helper but God.
About the 1st of February, Lovett and I set our faces towards Massachusetts. He had previously visited the Perfectionists in Southampton and Brimfield, and had labored more or less among them. The doctrine of Perfection was originally introduced into these places from the State of N. York. There had been however considerable communication between them and New
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Haven, through the paper and other channels; and our views had met a more hearty response from them, than from many other quarters. I was well received. All hearts were open. The drift of my operations was to clear the field of legality and introduce the doctrines of security and the Second Coming. The Annesleys (who I believe first sowed the seed at Southampton) had connected with the doctrine of holiness, that sort of Methodist legality of which Latourette set the pattern. Praying and 'pumping' for spiritual life was the order of the day. The following anecdote may serve as an illustration of the position of things when I went there, and of the course I pursued.
At a social meeting in a private house, it was proposed by some brother that we should 'pray all round.' Accordingly all knelt before their chair and entered upon a series of good old 'new measure' petitions, commencing at one end of the circle, and proceeding in order toward the other. My place was near the end of the series. When my turn came to pray, my words were as follows: 'O Lord we thank thee that thou hast given us all that we need, and we don't want any thing more. Amen.' Thereupon the whole circle burst into a laugh, and arose from their knees. That was the end of formal praying among Perfectionists at Southampton.
After a week or two, Lovett and I went to Brimfield. There I met Tertius Strong, a popular preacher of the 'Union' school, and had a warm, though friendly dispute with him about the Second Coming, which resulted in his conversion to the New Haven views. A more particular account of my visit to Southampton and Brimfield, will be given in my Confession of Social Experience, and may therefore be omitted here.
From Brimfield I came to Putney alone; and here, for the first time, commenced operations on a clear field, without the help of Boyle or New York Perfectionism. During the months of March and April (1835) I preached almost daily in this village and in the neighboring towns. The interest and excitement which attended my testimony, were very great. A sketch of the movement, written at the time, will be found in Appendix I. I may boldly say that in Putney, from that time to this, the truth has had faithful friends, and till recently, a quiet home, when it has been driven out from New Haven, and deserted or disgraced every where else.
During the preaching campaign at Putney, I wrote the article on Faith which was published soon after in The Perfectionist and also in tract form, and may now be found in the Berean. The matter and form of that article were suggested by the practical experiments in which I was then engaged. It embodied the substance of what I presented to the people in my public lectures, and private reasonings with inquirers.
After I had been here some weeks, Lovett came on from Brimfield, and joined me in my labors. About the same time also, I received a letter from Charles H. Weld, saying that he had just returned from a visit to T. R. Gates, whom he had found to be 'pure gold,' and proposing to come to Putney and spend some time with me. In reply I gave him a cordial invitation to come, and he soon made his appearance. 'The burden and heat of the day' in this region, however, was past before these brethren joined me.
Weld was at this time in correspondence with Mrs. Carrington, a lady living somewhere in the State of New York, who had recently been converted
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to Perfectionism by his labor's, and was soaring in the highest regions of extasy and boasting. She maintained for a time a preeminent position, as spiritual critic, but afterwards abandoned the faith and became insane. Her letter at this time were specially spiced with censures of my carnality and worldly wisdom. Weld read them in public and private, as very valuable documents.
Her flight was far above his; for whereas she announced herself as "the Son of God,' 'in the bosom of the' Father,' &c. &c. he could not be brought to any straightforward confession of holiness. lie once attempted to define". his position in a meeting at a private house; but his definition only increased the doubts about his experience. Nevertheless, thus far I loved 'him with much credulous confidence and affection, notwithstanding the occasion which my past experience in connection with him, and my discovery of his character in New York, had given me to distrust him.
At this period (April 1835) I had a warm discussion with my father on the expediency of my tracing out and suppressing the base lies which were in very brisk circulation about me. He insisted that I ought to defend my self. I told him that I had other business to do, and could not stop to obey the dictates of what I regarded as worldly wisdom. The result of the dispute was that I notified him, of my readiness to withdraw, if my course did not please him; and he told me I might go. Accordingly, I instantly removed with Weld to the house of Mr. Cutler, who was at that time a warm friend of the doctrine of holiness. Here we remained till we left Putney. I had no expectation at that time of any further favor from my father. But in the course of a few months, he became reconciled to me, invited me home, and even afterward treated me with much kindness. The calumnies which occasioned this separation, and which were at that time and long afterwards carried to a desperate extent by the church-party in Putney, ultimately killed themselves. The stories told became more and more improbable and foolish, till at last the story-tellers themselves did not believe them. Slander, like a baseless currency, or a soap-bubble, often bursts and comes to an end by its own inflation.
C. H. Weld was confirmed by his visit to T. R. Gates, in the impression (of which there were traces long before) that he was destined to be the President of the dispensation which Perfectionism was introducing. The following extract of a letter from Gates to Boyle, (published in the Perfectionist July 1835,) will give the reader a glimpse of the prophetical flattery which lie had administered to Weld's self-conceit:
"I see by your last number, that you will have all the hosts of antichrist arrayed against you: but when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Lord will lift up a standard against him. If you have been called to do what sonic of us have had to do, they might complain, and pour out abuse, and gnaw their tongues for pain. The more you are abused and suffer, the higher you will rise; and by and by, when the Immanuel child becomes as the mighty God, you will become terrible as an army with banners, and your enemies will flee away. It is my belief, that this mighty power will yet be felt in brother W_-; but first he will have to be like Christ, crucified through weakness, and remain in the tomb for a time."
I did not object to the theory of his spiritual pre-eminence, and had no
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desire about it except to do the will of God. I was confident that God wouId lead me aright; and, if he should place me under Weld's superintendence my heart was ready to say, Amen. In consequence of the relation which was thus established between us, his spirit, at first,' prevailed over mine, in respect to outward leadings. But in process of time, I found myself free to act independently of him, and at length was constrained to cross the bent of his spirit. He was manifestly chafed from time to time, as my emancipation proceeded. We finally came to downright 'cross purposes,' in the following manner. He had taken a meditative jaunt of some days through a circle of towns in Massachusetts, and had come home, full of spiritual mysteries and revelations about the course which was marked out for us. His revelations were founded on certain mystical interpretations of the names the places through which he successively passed. The circumstance of his coming to Northfield, had in some way made it plain to him that he arid I were to take a tour through the Northern parts of Vermont. I felt some involuntary disgust at this nonsense, but I signified my willingness to follow his leadings, if my own accorded with them. A few days afterward, however, I became satisfied that my journey was to be in the opposite direction. Boyle was then proposing to publish an Extra, as a sample of the paper and a comprehensive digest of our doctrines, to be circulated as widely as possible. I thought it my duty to go to New Haven, for the purpose of having some hand in the composition of that Extra. I stated this to Weld, as my impression at first, but finally declared my fixed purpose to go. He wrestled against me by spirit and word for some days. At length, one morning I told him that I should start immediately. He besought me to wait a day or two, or at least to take a trip to a neighboring village with him. I refused. Then be said he would walk with me a mile or two. It was still understood to be his intention to go North. At the end of his proposed walk, as he was about to turn back, I said that I wished he was going with me. That hint suddenly changed his mind, and he concluded at once to go South. I waited while he returned to get his clothes, and commenced our journey toward New Haven together.
At Southampton we stopped a day or two, where we were joined by Lovett. While there, (i.e. in June,) I wrote and sent to Boyle an article on the Resurrection. (See Berean, p. 252.) It was not published till the October following, and was the last of my contributions that appeared in the 'New Haven Perfectionist.
The war of wills which had commenced between me and Weld, continued and increased as we journeyed on together, and after we reached New Haven. There was no external dissension between us, but a conscious antagonism and strife of spirits and intellects - a continual reasoning with each ether, carried on, not by words, but by the direct spiritual language of the heart and brain. My sensations were as follows: A spiritual influence from Weld (sorcery perhaps it should be called) would engage me in a kind of internal debate, similar to that which often occurs in cases of morbid conscientiousness. I would find myself driven to the alternative of either sinking under the oppressive spell, or breaking it by out-reasoning its subtleties. If any one asks how I knew that it came from Weld, I answer, first; because it always in-
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volved in some way or other, the old question of his pre-eminence; secondly, because when I communicated with him externally, I always found him in a process of internal strife parallel with mine. At length, after beating off his enchantments again and again without any lasting relief; and seeing no end to the struggle but in the destruction of one or the other of us, I told him, that I had come to the conclusion that the issue between us was, whether he or I had the, strongest mind; ,and that when that question should be settled one or the other must fall. He assented to this view of the matter. We had no further conversation till the 'winding up.' After a day or two of infinite spiritual hair-splittings, with alternate advantage and defeat, I brought. his spirit into a corner from which there was no retreat. A detail of the suspects and process of the argument would be useless, and perhaps unintelligible,. Then I went to him and told him that I had won the victory. His thoughts were ready for mine. I explained to him in a very few words, the advantage which, I had over him. He perceived it. There was no dispute - no bitterness between us. I went immediately out, with an instinctive apprehension of evil upon me, and for an hour walked the fields south of the city, in an agony such as one may be supposed to have, who in a struggle to escape from a whirlpool, barely succeeds. It was sympathy with his sinking. When I returned, I found, without surprise, that he had suffered a second paroxysm of horror similar to 'that which occurred in the free church the year before. Here was the end of my personal intercourse with Charles H. Weld. Subsequently I wrote him a letter of renunciation, to close my account 'with him, which will be found in Appendix J. This narrative may help the Reader to understand that letter; and that letter will throw some reciprocal light on this narrative and show the subsequent position of the parties.
In the progress of my conflict with Weld at New Haven, Boyle turned against me. Looking only on the outward appearance, he understood not the warfare in which I was engaged, and was offended at the apparent mysticism and fanaticism which attended it. The circumstances in which I was placed, rapidly developed to my view many new and strange principles of spiritual philosophy; and, as is generally the case with beginners, the language in which I spoke of them to others, was probably not very lucid. Boyle took up the cudgels against the new spiritualisms. He denounced openly my 'eternal spinning,' as he called my progress in spiritual novelties He hung up in his room a card enumerating the 'doctrines of devils' against which he, protested. I only remember one of them, viz., 'The fellowship of spirits.', At my first arrival I had prepared an article entitled, 'What we believe,' which Boyle willingly published in the Extra. But afterward he gave out word that he wanted no more of my contributions. He whipped me in the paper as hard as he could, without calling my name. It was well understood at New Haven, that the articles relating to the 'Brethren and Sisters of the Free Spirit,' in The Perfectionist, Vol.11. Nos. 1 and 2, were aimed particularly against me. Finally, at an interview which we had at the house of one of the believers, he declared, in the most vehement terms, 'everlasting separation' from me. I said, 'Amen.'
It was during the period of confusion which I have described, that Edwin Stillinan, a Baptist Theological student at N. Haven, embraced the doctrine
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Of holiness. The manner of his conversion was this. He had conversed with Lovett, and had invited him to call with me on a certain day. I went with Lovett and found at Stillman's room two Baptist clergymen, one, the pastor of a church in N. Haven, and the other a prominent theologian from another part of Connecticut. The latter engaged rne in a dispute about holiness, which soon became very warm. He was very arrogant and insulting. At length I told him in the plainest terms that he was full of priest-craft-that he could not speak the truth - that he was a 'solid lie.' He was so wroth, as he confessed afterward, that he was tempted to strike me. He and his brother minister soon went away, and left Stillman with us. I was a little apprehensive that he would stumble at my rough treatment of the minister. But on conversing with him, it was immediately apparent that the contrary effect had been produced. He saw where the 'bad spirit' was. The scene had fully ripened him for a surrender to the truth. After a little conversation, he knelt down with us, and with tears in his eyes, gave himself up to a full reconciliation with God.
Boyle's rejection of me, and his hostile influence among the believers, left me but little foot-hold in New Haven. I was perhaps never in a more desolate condition, as to outward friendships, than at this time. In September I went to Milford, a town ten miles west of N. Haven, and lived some time with a man whom I had met occasionally before, and who, though not a professed Perfectionist, had been very friendly to me. He was engaged in writing a history of Milford, and wished to publish with it a map of the town. I needed diversion; and with this in view, as well as for the sake of paying for my entertainment, I took a compass, and spent two or three weeks in traversing the town, measuring roads and other distances by pacing~, and noting down the points of compass, situation of houses, streams, &c. Thus, at length, I constructed a tolerably accurate map of nearly the whole town. Whether it was ever published I have never learned. My host had also been formerly an editor of a paper in N. Haven, and had a file of old unpaid subscription accounts. I took them and traveled on foot through a circle of towns in the southern part of Connecticut extending as far as Saybrook, collecting what I could, and in the meantime preaching holiness as I had opportunity, and especially busying myself with much reflection. In these employments my mind recovered from the confusion of my late desolating experience, and took a very favorable turn. I studied Weld's character, and emancipated myself forever from the shackles of his influence. I saw that an independent, and for the present a solitary course, was laid out for me. I had an anticipative view of much of the way in which I have since been led. From this period I date the birth of many of the purposes which I am still pursuing.
By request of my friend and others, I held a meeting at a schoolhouse while I was in Milford. But the doctrine of holiness was very unpopular there, and though some were interested in my discourse, others were irritated; and before the meeting closed, the crowd without dashed several stones through the windows.
From Milford I went to New York city, and after spending a few days there, visited Newark, where I formed an acquaintance with Abram C. Smith, a man who has since done much good service for the cause of holiness and for
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myself, though I have had occasion to break fellowship with him for reasons which it is not. necessary here to detail. He received me at first cautiously, but at last heartily; and my testimony soon made some considerable changes in his views and practice. He had been previously a Methodist preacher, but had stood on higher ground with reference to holiness than the members of that denomination generally. He and several others in Newark had become acquainted more or less with the New Haven doctrine through the paper.
During this visit at Newark, I made a short excursion to Philadelphia for the sake of learning, by personal inspection, something about the character of T.R. Gates. He had been introduced to Perfectionists with high commendations by C. H. Weld, and his writings were becoming staple commodities among them by the help of Boyle's paper, and in other ways. Moreover, Boyle had just before visited Gates, and had returned a favorable report. I introduced myself to him, and was received in friendly style. His wife was especially cordial toward me, and related a dream which she had lately had, in which she represented me as figuring in a very creditable manner. She also insisted upon my receiving from her a five-dollar gold piece as a present. During the first part of the visit, I sat patiently as a listener, while Gates related to inc the strange things which he, had been called to do. He had been driven, he said, among other things, by an irresistible divine impulse, to enter the House of Representatives at Washington, and denounce the judgments of heaven on the national legislators; ,and when he was ordered to keep silence, he had told them he must 'obey God rather than man, and had proceeded with his testimony till he was carried out. After his tales of this kind were all told, I found opportunity to enter upon the business which I had with him. I suggested to him that there were some things in his writings which I did not like. I mentioned and commented particularly on his frivolous and fanciful interpretations, his fondness for dreams, visions and other marvelous manifestations, and his prophetical vagaries. He was very uneasy from the first, and tried to turn the conversation into other channels. Occasionally his eyes flashed fire. While he was gone out on some errand, I observed to his wife that possibly there would be difficulty between me and him, and as in that case she would probably take sides with him I was unwilling to keep the money which she had given me. Accordingly I offered it to her; but she refused to take it back, saying that she entirely approved of the course which I had taken with him - that she was glad I had criticised him - that she had suspected him of something like insanity, and saw that he needed correction - that I was the only person who had dealt plainly with him.' After this I had further conversation with him of the same kind, with the same results; and again I privately requested Mrs. Gates to take back the money, but in vain. At length, in the course of a third conversation, Gates broke all bounds, and denounced me as a blasphemer. He said I was profaning sacred things, and he would hear such stuff no longer. 'You shall leave the house,' said he in conclusion, ' or I will.' I advised
him to be calm, and reminded him that when he was ordered to be still, he told the people that he must 'obey God rather than man.' ' God sent me here,' said I, ' to deliver this message to you; and I too must obey God rather than man. I shall stay, till I have finished.' He was obliged to submit
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to his own rule. I sat quietly, about half an hour, and then took my leave. Mrs. Gates lighted me to the door, and in the entry I took occasion the third time to offer her the money, but she said 'keep it, keep it,' and motioned me away. So I departed.
On my return from Philadelphia, after spending a few days in Newark and New York, I traveled on foot from the latter place to New Haven. My money was exhausted soon after I commenced the journey, and on the second day a cold rain set in which made the traveling bad; so that I was on the road from Monday morning till Wednesday night, during which time I ate not a morsel of food, and slept but a few hours, and that in the, open air. In the course of the first day, the troubles around and before me pressed upon my spirit so heavily, that I was very sorrowful. After battling the temptation to fretfulness an hour or two, I turned aside from the road, and went a short distance across a low isthmus to a beautiful spot on the shore of a headland projecting into the Sound. I stretched myself on the green sward, and resolved in my heart to stay there till I could go forward with a peaceful heart. The temptation receded before the decision of spirit which I now brought to bear upon it, and at length I fell asleep, and rested quietly perhaps an hour. I awoke not merely in peace, but with positive gladness in my heart. My spirit was in blessed harmony with the warm sunshine and, the tranquil ocean. From that time I endured the hardships of the journey cheerfully.
After remaining a few weeks at New Haven, I started for Putney on the 16th of December - a day made memorable to the nation by the 'great fire' in New York city. Many will recollect that it was one of the coldest days ever known in this climate. In fact the immense sweep of the 'great fire' was owing to the impossibility of working the fire engines, which froze up in the firemen's hands. On that day I rode from New Haven to Hartford, a distance of forty miles, in a common stage, with only ordinary clothing, that is, without great-coat, drawers, or over-shoes. The other passengers, who were clothed and furred from head to foot and yet complained of cold, pitied me for, my lack of clothing, and expressed fears that I should freeze to death. I told them that I should get along well enough by help of a theory which I had about cold and heat which was this:- Cold and fear produce the same effect upon the body; i.e. cold, operating from without causes trembling, and fear operating from within causes trembling. It is reasonable, then, to assume that the opposites of these two elements, viz., heat and courage, are also identical in their effects; i.e., that as heat operating from without arms and comforts the body, so courage, operating from within, may warm and comfort the body. One of the passengers admitted that this was a good theory, and that it was available to some extent, but he did not believe that it would 'work down into the feet' on such a day as that. I assured him that I had full faith in it, and would give it a fair trial. By the battling of my heart I kept myself quite comfortable most of the way; but at length my feet began to suffer. At this crisis, nerved as I was by previous discussion and success, I put forth a vehement action of the internal will, in the direction of the quarter assailed, and immediately felt a warm current flowing down into my feet, as distinctly as if it had been a bath of warm water. I had no
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 63
further serious distress from the cold, and probably reached Hartford with less suffering than my fellow travelers 'endured, with all their protectives.
I remained at Putney through the winter of 1835-6. Perfectionism at that time was in its darkest trial. Disorder and dissensions within, and reproach from without, rendered its desolation complete. Though I was separated from the "'sect, yet I felt myself identified with its testimony, and its desolation came upon me like a flood. I spent that winter chiefly in self-examination, and conflict with the spirit of accusation. I was compelled to take a minute measurement of my own responsibility in regard to the disastrous consequences which seemed to be following the career of the doctrines, in the publication of which I had been so deeply concerned. In a substantial sense I stood before the judgment-seat of Christ. My works were tried by fire ; and although the result of the trial was altogether favorable to my peace, my sufferings for several months were very severe. The scrutiny through which I passed, instead of convicting me of sin, purged and healed my conscience; but it deepened my sense of responsibility, and impressed upon my spirit a sobriety and a resolution to resist corruption among professed Perfectionists, which has since been of great value to me. The details of my external movements during this winter are not of special interest; and for the sake of shortening my story I will omit them.
In the spring, under a strong spiritual impulse, I left home suddenly, and traveled on foot to Albany. There I called on the Annesleys, and some other spiritualists, but found little to detain me, and soon began to inquire where I should next direct my steps. As I walked the street, ruminating on this question; a spiritual voice said to me, ' Go South.' Immediately I set my face in that direction and soon passed out of the city, taking the great highway toward Hudson. At a few miles distance from Albany, a young man, walking with a staff and budget, and presenting an appearance half way between that of a vagabond and a gentleman, overtook me. Each of us soon ascertained that the other was traveling without any definite destination; and having naturally concluded to walk together for the day, we fell into various conversation. It was not long before my fellow-traveler, presuming me to be as desperate an adventurer as himself; actually proposed to me to join him in robbing on the highway. I replied that 'I thought we could find a better way to get a living than that.' Soon afterward I introduced the subject of religion. At first he planted himself on Universalist ground, saying that he was not afraid that he should be shut out of heaven.' I said, ' There shall in no wise enter therein any thing that defileth, or worketh abomination, or maketh a lie.' He went on to defend his position, and I answered his arguments briefly, but so effectually, that in the course of half an hour he frankly abandoned Universalism, and with every indication of the deepest anxiety wished me to tell him what he should do to be saved. Then I preached to him Christ. and salvation from sin, by grace through faith. lie listened eagerly, and asked questions in a manner that indicated an active apprehension of the truth which I presented.
In the midst of this part of our conversation, he exclaimed, 'Now I know the meaning of the dream which I had last night. I dreamed,' continued he, 'that I was 'standing in the open air with a crowd of persons, early in the
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morning, and looking toward the east; and we saw a star arise, and the star went into a cloud, and was obscured for a little while, but soon it arose above the cloud; then it began to grow in size, and it became larger and larger, till at last it was a glorious sun. The people wondered, and were in great perplexity and fear, asking one another, What does this mean? Then (said he) an impulse seized me to speak, and I said loudly to the people, That is the sign of the Son of man. I understood not what I was saying, and when I awoke, I wondered what could have put these words into my head; for Bible language has been altogether foreign from my thoughts. But the
dream made a great impression upon me, and I had not got rid of it when I overtook you.'
This dream interested me rather more than dreams usually do, but I said little about it, and soon turned the conversation back to the claim of Christ and his power to save. The young man was now completely subdued and docile, and as' he approached gradually the crisis of heart-surrender, his agony of mind became overwhelming. ' Oh,' said he, 'you know not what a sinner I have been; I am afraid there is no hope for me.' 'But I know,' said I,' that Christ came not to call the' righteous but sinners to repentance.' He persisted in setting up his wickedness as a bar to his salvation, alleging that he had been far worse than ordinary sinners - an outcast from all decent society. I told him that Christ despised not the company of harlots, and even declared that their chance of entering heaven was better than that of the Pharisees. 'But,' said he, 'what if I have been guilty of stealing?' 'Then your case,' said I, 'is no worse than that of the two thieves that were crucified with Christ; and one of them was pardoned by him, and went straight to Paradise with him.' Finally light began to break through his despair. We sat down on a grassy bank, and he covered his face with his hands, and wept in silence. At length he exclaimed, ' I see him! I see him!' 'Who is it that you see?' I asked. ' Christ,' said he, and he put out his arms as if to clasp some visible person. Meanwhile his eyes were closed. lie insisted that Christ in person was before him. I did not inquire particularly into the philosophy of this vision, but I conversed with him about the change in his feelings, and found in him all the signs of a 'young convert' of the most promising stamp. Our communion during the rest of our journey together, was very pleasant.
Soon after the scene just described, he took from his pocket a wallet, several pieces of money, and a hand of tobacco, and threw them as far as he could over the fence into a field of bushes. I asked, with some astonishment, what he meant by that ? 'Why,' said he, 'I stole those articles last night, and it seemed to me that I should take no comfort in using stolen money and stolen tobacco.' Then he went on to give me an account of his life. 'How glad,' said he; 'my mother will be to hear that I am a Christian. She used to pray with me and pray for me, and she taught me to pray and to read the Bible; and she hoped and longed to see me become a Christian. But I was wilful and wild, and at last I ran away from my home, and went on board a vessel, and became a sailor. After several voyages, I began to wander about the country from one city to another, working now and then to support myself, but spending much of my time in idleness, among
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 65
dissolute fellows, and stealing when I had opportunity. At last I thought of robbing on the highway, as I hinted to you. And now I am a Christian. I will write to my mother as soon as I can, and tell her how I am changed. She knows not where I am or whether I am alive or dead, and has not known for many a year.' Thus he opened his heart to me as we traveled on. He told me his name, but I have forgotten it. He said his mother lived in New Jersey.
His plan now was to find a place where he could have steady employment for several months, that he might become settled in his habits, and obtain the means of clothing himself decently and going home. I did not altogether like this plan; for I was unwilling to part with him immediately, fearing that he might soon lose his present impressions, if left to the common influences the world. But neither of us had any money, and probably he did not exactly relish my way of traveling without any certain prospect of food and shelter. Near night, we stopped at a village, where he made inquiries for a place to work, and succeeded in letting himself to a farmer for several months. I gave him the best advice I could, especially enjoining upon him to procure a Bible. Then I notified him that my responsibility for him was at an end, and he must bear his own burden. We parted with many expressions of affection. I went on my way, and never saw him afterwards.
Crossing the river at Hudson, and taking an easterly course, I arrived the next day at Pittsfield, Mass. Here I was hospitably received by Augustus Beach, a Baptist Elder, who had taken the New Haven paper and was much interested in its doctrines. I found him a spiritualist of the amiable sort, reflective, and tender-hearted. We had much pleasant and profitable conversation during the few days which I passed at his house; and the kindness with which he supplied my wants and commended me to God at parting, will ever be a pleasant remembrance to me. He subsequently became a convert to Miller's theory of the Second Advent, and wrote me several. letters of warning in relation to that subject, which were distinguished more for their good spirit than their good sense. In one of them he said
"Dear Bro. Noyes - Have you ever examined whether your Second Advent, embracing the resurrection of those whose graves were opened at the resurrection of Christ, the change of Paul and others, and perhaps the destruction o£Jerusalem, may not he to Miller's as the first fruit to the lump? If it is not, I think you are mistaken, for his is doubtless correct."
I trust Bro. Beach has learned, before this time, that Miller's theory is doubtless not correct, and will in due season acknowledge his mistake in trusting the dates 'at the top of the page in the large Bible,' to which he appealed repeatedly in his argument with me, as if they were infallible. I shall be glad to meet him again in the fellowship of the truth.
From Pittsfield I went to Southampton. There I learned from Sardis Chapman much that was new and alarming to me, about the 'bundling,' and other strange proceedings of Perfectionists at Brimfield and Southampton. I had been prepared by the fiery judgement which I had passed during the preceding winter, to estimate correctly the character of those proceedings, and to take my stand firmly against them, even at the expense of renouncing fellowship with every Perfectionist in the world.
66 RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.
After a short visit at Southampton, I went to New haven, and boarded several weeks at Abiud Tuttle's. Dutton (with his wife) was in the city. He was just then at the turning-point of his career. Not long before, he bad been deeply involved in the foolish proceedings to which allusion has been made and a reaction toward legality had probably commenced. He was becoming a cold Perfectionist, and had returned to the occupation in which he had been engaged before he commenced studying for the ministry, that of a journeyman printer.
Boyle also was at this time preparing to withdraw from the business of propagating the doctrine of holiness. The prospects of the cause were very discouraging, and he was looking toward other fields. He had stopped the paper in March previous, (this was the summer of 1836,) and had gone into mechanical business in Newark. He came to New Haven, however, while I was in that region; and in conversation with him and Dutton, I referred to the case of the disciples, who, in despair of the cause of their Master, after his death, seemed to have turned back to their old employment of fishing; (John 21: 3;) and I told them that whatever they might do, I, for one, should not 'go a fishing.' I felt that the darkest time was not the time for me to desert my post; and I resolved to labor, alone if necessary, to repair the breaches of our cause.
In this spirit, I went, in the course of the summer, to Prospect, at the solicitation of the, brethren there, and labored among them several weeks, 'teaching publicly and from house to house, warning every one, night and day, with tears.' I made an earnest effort to exorcise the death-like spirit of Antinomianism which had fallen on believers there, as elsewhere, and to gather them into unity and order. My heart was burdened with an agony of desire that Christ might be honored in his saints, and that a standard might be lifted up against the flood of iniquity which was coming in. The experiment was not very successful, and I went away at length in much sorrow. But I had cleared my own soul of responsibility, and was not disheartened.
After this I visited David Harrison, in Meriden; found him in much trouble of mind, by reason of bondage to his family and the cares of the world; and after tarrying a week or two at his house, he proposed, without any suggestion from me, to leave his family and go out with me, not knowing whither, as my practice had been in many cases. We went forth, committing our steps to the Lord; and finally came to New Haven. In the fall of 1835, a period when I was almost entirely destitute of friends and money, I had taken board and lodging at the Temperance House in New Haven, under the persuasion that it was the will of God, and that he would enable me as he had done in all cases before, to pay my debts. My confidence in God was not in vain. At my departure, my debts were paid by the unasked liberality of my sister, who was then residing in New Haven. In the spring of 1836, in similar circumstances, I again had taken board at the same place, with the same confidence; and at this time told Mr. Tuttle, the landlord of the house, that I had but little money, but that God had always enabled mo to pay my debts, and that I believed he would in this case. After remaining several weeks, the brethren from Prospect came, requesting me to go home with them; I consented; they paid my board bill, and took me
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home with them, as I have related above. I told Harrison these facts, and said to him, 'I believe it is the will of God that we should have a season of undisturbed communion with each other; God has satisfied me now, as heretofore, that my debts shall be paid. If you will take board with me at the Temperance House, I will pay your bill." He consented; and we took board with a full purpose to remain as long as God pleased, without any regard to the thoughts and doings of men. Accordingly we remained there, in much outward contempt, but in much inward contentment, somewhat more than six weeks. Our conversation with God and with each other during that time was abundantly pleasant and profitable. We perceived much excitement and distress among many who beheld us in these strange circumstances; and especially among Harrison's friends and neighbors at Meriden. Many things were said and done to seduce or frighten us from what we knew to be the will of God. When we had been there four weeks, and had contracted a debt of about thirty dollars, James Boyle came on from Newark with A. C. Smith, and proposed to me to go with him to Newark, and A. C. Smith offered to pay our board. Being alone with Harrison, I said to him - "Here is a fair offer of deliverance from our debt; but have we finished our session? Have we fulfilled the will of God? The Bible mentions cases of those who were 'tortured, not accepting deliverance.' How do we know that this is the time for our departure? The mere fact that we have an opportunity, is no proof. We have many things yet to say; I will not leave this place till God clearly manifests his will." 'To all this Harrison assented~ and Boyle and Smith left us; Boyle saying that 'our faith was beyond his,' and Smith saying that 'he would not urge upon us what he perceived we were not disposed to receive.' We remained two weeks more, waiting on the Lord in full confidence as before. As the end of that time drew near, we perceived that the object of our session was accomplished, and daily expected, though we knew not how, the means of paying our debt, which now amounted to more than forty dollars. It is but justice to say that Mr. Tuttle treated us during all this time with the utmost respect and kindness. A few days before we left, he mentioned to me that he was in want of money, and if I could let him have some. I told him I would take measures to pay my own and Mr. Harrison's board immediately. Though I saw at that time no visible reason to expect that I could fulfil my promise, I knew by experience that God never disappoints those who trust in him; and I took the promised measures by laying our case before God, beseeching him to glorify himself. On the third morning from this time, I went out with a determination never to come back without the needed money. As I walked across the green', it occurred to me for the first time, that I had several years before borrowed fifty dollars of Thomas Trowbridge, a merchant in the city, and a distant relative of mine. Directly I determined to walk down upon the wharf; saying within myself, 'If the Lord throws him in my way, I will make known to him my wants.' At the end of the wharf I met him returning towards the city. I turned and walked with him. Our conversation fell upon some information which he had lately received from my brother, who was engineering on Staten Island. He said that there was a good demand for labor there. I then told him my situation, and said to him - "Now, if you are willing to take my
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debt upon you, I will go to Staten Island, and will, if possible, engage in business with my brother, and pay you as soon as I can raise the money Only mind one thing; I have nothing to do with my father, and you must not look to him for your pay. Do just as you please about this matter. If it is not convenient I shall find some other way." He readily loaned me fifty dollars I gave him my note; and forthwith paid our bill at Tuttle's. Harrison went home, and I went to New York. Not long after, while I was seeking employment with a view to pay Trowbridge, I learned that he had applied to my father. On coming home, I found that he had sent notice of the debt to my father, directly after it was contracted, and the fifty dollars were refunded within a few days. So I had no further trouble about the matter, except that I was not pleased with Trowbridge's mode of dealing in applying to my father, after taking my note, with distinct notice from me 'that he must not look to my father for his pay. However, I thought it not worth the while to complain, as he probably dealt as honorably as most men would have done in such a case; and whilst, by the course he took, I had the name of being a crazy man, I also had the privileges which naturally belong to that unfortunate class of persons - which measure of justice I have not always received.
In September I went to Newark and remained some days at A. C. Smith's house, with whom Boyle was then living. He had concluded to go to Ohio, and I saw that he was about to leave the service of the gospel. I was loth to lose his co-operation, and I opposed his purpose strenuously, urging him to consider that his influence, talents and knowledge of the Bible, eminently fitted him to do good in the testimony of the New Covenant, and ought not to be thrown away. But his face was set toward the west, and be soon went his way. This was the end of my intercourse with him. When I next heard of him, he was lecturing on Temperance, and soon after he became the Agent of an Anti-slavery Society.
While I was at Newark with Boyle, an amusing circumstance occurred, of which I will here give a short account. Certain Methodists, professedly of the more liberal sort, were in the habit of meeting weekly at the house of a Mr. Gould. Their meetings were called 'free,' and it was understood that believers of every name were at, liberty to speak in them. Several of the Perfectionists, including Boyle and myself; attended one evening, and in the course of the exercises I arose and offered my testimony. My name and profession was unknown to the audience. I conformed as well as I could to the manners, of the Methodists; i.e., I spoke in a free, rousing style, with all sorts of gestures and tones, using the word 'glory' pretty frequently. But the matter of my discourse was strongly tinctured with the heresies of Perfectionism. I preached the resurrection of Christ as a power of full salvation for soul and body. As I proceeded, the people became interested and grew warm in their expressions of assent and approbation. 'Amen,' ' Glory,' 'Hallelujah,' 'Bless God,' resounded from all parts of the house. At length one man, more excitable than the rest, arose and walked back and forth before the audience, shouting and clapping his hands and leaping for joy. In short there were abundant indications that my speech was very acceptable to the meeting, and passed for lawful testimony, notwithstanding its ultraisms in relation to perfect holiness, security, &c.
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But after the meeting, and in the course of the following week, the question, 'Who is that young man?' passed around, and the answer was - ' It is crazy John Noyes, the Perfectionist.' This was a damper; and, at the next meeting, a decided change in the spiritual atmosphere was manifest. At the commencement of the exercises one of the leading patrons of the meeting remarked in a bland but significant way, that 'the meetings were called free; and they were free, - free for all to testify - that is, all who would keep within the limits of Methodist doctrine!' Every one knew that this was said for the purpose of 'fencing me out. But before the meeting closed I arose, and after promising to 'keep within the limits of Methodist doctrine,' spoke at some length on topics which I knew belonged to Wesley's theology So far as my speech alone was concerned, there was as much in it fitted to call forth approving Amens and Hallelujahs, as in my performance at the previous meeting. But it was received in blank silence Such is the difference between knowing and not knowing that the speaker is a 'crazy' heretic.
As I have said that the summer and fall of 1836 was the turning-point of Dutton's career, so I may say that It was the turning-point of my own, and of the cause of holiness. It was the time when Boyle's administration came to a close, and when I began to act independently of my former associates, and to take the place which I have since occupied I commenced the war on 'false brethren' and 'false apostles,' while at Newark, by writing to Charles H. Weld the letter of renunciation before referred to. (See Appendix J.) This was in effect a rending of all my previous attachments. Thenceforthmy longing for friends looked forwards, instead, of backwards. The old set was broken up, and my hopes turned toward a new set, to be gained on new principles.
From this time, also, is to be dated the commencement of the change which transferred the centre of operations to Putney. New Haven had been hitherto our rendezvous. There was the birth-place of our cause; there the paper had been published; and there, and in the region adjoining, had been the strongest body of its friends. For two years I had returned from time to time to Connecticut, as to my home. But now the family was scattering and falling away; and ere long, scarcely a remnant of the old set of Perfectionists remained in New Haven. Boyle first moved to Newark, and then to Ohio. I took my final leave of the city at the end of my session with Harrison. Dutton left soon after; and so many of our old friends in that region removed, or abandoned their faith, that in 1837 the chief priests of New Haven doubtless congratulated themselves on the complete extermination of the heresy. But in the meantime matters were in train, as we shall see, for raising again the fallen standard in another field.
I returned from Newark to Putney, and remained at my father's during the following winter. At this time I commenced in ernest the enterprise of repairing the disasters of Perfectionism, and establishing it on a permanent foundation; not by preaching and stirring up excitement over a large field as we had done at the beginning, nor by laboring to reorganize and discipline broken and corrupted regiments, as I had done at Prospect, but by devoting myself to the patient instruction of a few, simple-minded, unpretending believers, chiefly belonging to my father's family. I had now come to regard
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the quality of the proselytes of holiness, as more important than their quantity; and the quality which I preferred, was not that meteoric brightness which I had so often seen miserably extinguished, but sober and even timid honesty. This I found in the little circle of believers at Putney; and the Bible school which I commenced among them in the winter of 1836, proved to be to me and to the cause of holiness, the beginning of better days.
END OF PART I
APPENDIX TO PART I.
Having learned from Prof. Noyes, of Clinton College, that William Curtis Noyes, a lawyer in New York city, had taken pains to search out the genealogical history of the family, I called at his office in December 1847, and requested a copy of the substance of his researches, presenting him a copy of the Berean in exchange. The following correspondence ensued:
No.50 Wall street, Dec.20, 1847.
MY DEAR SIR -You will please accept my thanks for your book, and as a slight acknowledgment receive the accompanying sketch in return. I have referred you to all the sources of information within my reach, and hope they will prove useful. I have not copied out the details, as that would be a work of some labor. At some future day I hope to be able to complete my sketch, and fill up all the details.
The first account I have hitherto been able to find of the family of Noyes is contained in Domesday Book, being the compilation made by William the Conqueror, about 1086. By this it appears that Wm. Des Noyers was one of the military commanders of the Conqueror, and settled (with two others of the same name, though it is spelled 'Noers' and 'Noies,') in the county of Norfolk, where they had large possessions. - Vide Domesday Book, 194 to 199, 116, 135, 117, &c. In Thierry's 'History of the Norman Conquest,' page 113, he is stated to have been one of the Barons of the Conqueror. The family continued in Norfolk and in Suffolk many years; their descendants remaining to the present day
- Vide Bloomfield's 'History of Norfolk.'
One of the family suffered under the reign of Mary, having been arrested and thrown into prison for denying the doctrine of the real presence.-Vide Fox's Book of Martyrs, "John Noyes," vol.2, p.311.
The family emigrated to this country from England in 1634, and settled at Newbury, Mass. There were two of the name, James, the first minister of that town, and his brother Nicholas. James was educated at Oxford.- (Young's Chronicles of the Pilgrims, 2d ed. 402.) Nicholas, a son of the preceding, wrote a poetical 'preface dedicatory' to 'Mather's Magnalia.' He was very active in the Witchcraft trials in 1692. A full list of their descendants is to be found in Farmer's Genealogical Register of the early settlers of New England,' title 'Noyes.' A son of the preceding James was settled at Stonington, Conn., and was one of the founders and a trustee of Yale College. His son was a Tutor in the College, and afterwards pastor of the First Church in New Haven as the successor of Rev. Mr. Pierpont, in 1714. A full account of him and of his ministry will be found in ' Bacon's Historical Discourses,' pp.198-242.
From the account of the family in Farmer, which extends through several
74 APPENDIX TO PART I.
generations, any member of it will probably be able to ascertain the particular branch to which he belongs.
Very truly, yours &c.
MR. JOHN H. NOYES.
WM. CURTIS NOYES.
New York, Dec.21, 1847.
DEAR SIR: I acknowledge the receipt of your memorandum, for which you will accept my thanks. Allow me to add that your account of our genealogy is very different from the impressions I have had. I have always supposed that the Noyeses were Saxons, or at least serfs of some kind in their origin._
I got my impressions of the rank of the family by the following circumstance. While pouring over Espinasse's Nisi Prius (during a year of law study) I espied in the Index a case of 'Noyes vs.' somebody. Thinking that this might be a clue to valuable information about the family, and presuming that the plaintiff must be the most respectable of the litigants, I turned with some eagerness to the report of the case ; but, alas for the pride of ancestry! I found the case stated thus:- 'Whereas the plaintiff was servant to the defendant,' &c. &c.
I will add to your stock of materials for family history, by mentioning that my father, whose name was John Noyes, came from the neighborhood of Newbury, Mass., graduated at Dartmouth College, was Tutor there to the class of Daniel Webster, settled afterwards in Brattleboro, Vt., and was member of Congress for the southern district of Vermont in 1816.
Excuse my liberty, and believe me,
Very respectfully yours. J. H. NOYES.
During the three years of my theological course I kept a journal; but after I became a Perfectionist I burned the greater part of it. The volume however in which I recorded my experience at North Salem, escaped the fire. A few extracts from this memorial will give the reader some idea of my spiritual position as a Taylorite and a New Measure minister: -
August 25th, 1833. - Sabbath. In the forenoon went to the meeting-house at the usual hour for meeting, and found nobody there, I waited more than half an hour, and at last a little handfull collected. I was wickedly discouraged, Preached on the law. It was hard work : the service dragged, and I was ready to give up in despair. Called at Mr. Sanderson's during the intermission, and had a pleasant talk with his wife about missions. In the afternoon a large assembly collected, and I went about my work with more heart and humility. Preached on justification by faith, and found my mouth full. I blundered some, but on the whole was greatly encouraged to hope that I shall yet be enabled to speak boldly and prevailingly for God. After service I tried to have conversation with several of Mr. L-'s children, but found them sullen and silent. I asked one who belongs to the church and seemed a short time ago to be much engaged, but is now to all appearance an apostate, to go to my room with me; but he refused. &c. In the evening preached on the difference between the righteous and the wicked, and again was abundantly encouraged. The audience
APPENDIX TO PART I. 75
was respectable, and my heart was enlarged. I am sure I gave the church a faithful exhortation, and it was to me a solemn and delightful meeting. I re turned to my room much fatigued, but far less so than I expected, and withal happy. For the first time today I have performed the Sabbath duties of a minister. It is wonderful to think how God has strengthened me. A year ago, my nerves were so sensitive and my voice so weak, that an evening meeting would spoil me for the succeeding day; and I had no expectation of ever being strong enough to preach extempore three times in a day. Now it actually does me good to preach: my nerves are quiet, and my voice grows strong by exercise; and I felt better to-day when I had finished, than when I began. Bless the Lord, O my soul.
26th.-Walked over the hills in the morning. Had a very profitable and delightful season of study this forenoon. I fell upon one of the Bible gold mine:, and dug out a precious heap of the shining ore. I ate too much dinner today. The good people who entertain me have been exceedingly solicitous ever since I came here, to stuff me, and today they got the advantage of me. I had maintained the contest with them and my own appetite so well before, that I was of my guard, and was overtaken and overcome. In the afternoon walked over to Mr. D_-'s. On the way I examined a curious rock that stands beside the road, perched upon four or five stone pillars. It is granite, and probably contains 100 cubic feet - a monstrous irregular mass, seemingly pieced with great care on the points of four or five limestone pyramids, which support it at the height of more than two feet from the earth. The surface on which it rests would not exceed half a square foot. It could not have been placed there by men; it is too heavy. It could not have been thrown there by a volcano or any convulsion; for in that case its pillars would have been crushed or dashed in pieces. I can conceive of no way of accounting for its position, unless it came into itss present situation while the soil surrounded and covered its pillars, and afterwards was left on its roosting place by the washing away of the earth from beneath.
27th._After breakfast this morning, Mr. L_- came to my room and gave me a lecture about Taylorism. He says there were some things. in my sermon Sunday afternoon which he feels himself bound as an elder of the church to reprobate. I could but laugh when I remembered that I saw him nodding and drooping, with his eves shut and his mouth open, during that very sermon, to my great annoyance. I was a long time puzzled to think what there could be in my discourse on faith that he could deem heretical. At last, by his help I found out that he disliked my comparing the sinner's condition to that of a drunkard. In illustrating the idea that faith in Christ implies the giving up of all sin, I had taken the case of a drunkard who concludes to give up his cups, but knowing that his bare resolution will never secure him, he makes another man his guardian, puts his property into his hands, and commits himself wholly to his disposal; and his guardian covenants to deliver him from his ruinous habit. Thus he virtually, in the first act of abandonment, gives up the whole habit, because the covenant he then makes covers the whole ground, So the sinner, in putting himself wholly into the hands of God, virtually gives up all sin ; because the covenant which he makes with God covers the whole ground and will certainly rescue him from the power of sin. Mr. L- thought this a poor foundation for the perseverance of the saints.
We had a very warm discussion, or dispute it ought to be called, though I told him before we began that I thought a dispute in any case worse than nothing. I suspect he is almost sorry he sent for me. He is much afraid of the Presbytery; and I think myself from what I can learn, that there is reason to
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expect difficulty. I am in the midst of a domineering set of ministers, I had no idea before that this land of liberty was cursed with bunch spiritual domination. Well, I must keep cool and quiet, and move straight forward as long as Satani will let me, and then I must flee to some other city: but God forbid that I should forbear to declare his whole counsel for the fear of man. The servant of the Lord must not strive, and yet must preach the gospel of God boldly and with
much contention. 1 Thess 2: 1.
Sept. 3d._Spent the morning in studying the mind of Christ, and was permitted to see more of his glory than I have ever seen before. I walked out over the hills, and in the solitude of the forest under the canopy of heaven poured out my soul unto God, and wept for joy,. 'My peace was as a river.' I could only exclaim_' Oh what a glorious Christ is mine!' My hope is that God designs in restoring unto me the joys of his salvation, and upholding me by his free spirit, to help me teach transgressors his ways, that sinners may be converted unto him. I pierced my soul through with many sorrows by ceasing to watch and falling into sin, in a little while after seeing Christ in his glory; and this shows me why I have hitherto found so little of that unspeakable blessedness which I have long sought, and which I know it is the Christian's privilege to enjoy. In the afternoon I called upon Mrs. B-t and Mr. B-n; conversed with one of Mr. B-n's boys about his soul, and found him somewhat accessible and tender. In the evening attended the Bible class, and had a delightful season. It was not till 10 o'clock, P. M. that I remembered that this was my birthday. I trust I shall be more heedful of my second-birth day, the 17th of the present month. I have reason to bless God for his great mercy to me this day. May it be a new era in my life.
4th.-Had another feast in studying the 'mind of Christ' this forenoon. At 11 o'clock walked about two miles over the hills to view a pond in the eastern part of this town. After ascending a long and wearisome hill, and descending a little way on the other side, I came suddenly in view of the object of my journey. The scene was one which I shall long remember. I stood upon a crag, on a steep and rugged hill-side _ a road wound along down the hill among the rocks, in a course as serpentine as that of the road to the New Jerusalem in Pilgrim's Progress. At the bottom of the hill, almost under me, was a cottage, surrounded by orchards, vines, rocks, &c. The part of the valley nearest me was sprinkled elegantly with houses, fruit trees, and little groves; and its grain. fields and meadows spoke well for the farmers' industry and prosperity. Beyond the meadows lay two lakes, beautifully trimmed off with tree-borders: one, stretched away to the north, and hid itself among the mountains; the other seemed like a broad, irregular river, running to the south _ a mile or more of its length was visible, and then it lost itself like the other among the lulls. Beyond the lakes arose a beautiful sloping hill, dotted with trees and divided by fences, and bounded on the north and south by forests. A rich summer sunlight spread glory over the whole scene. I was delighted; nor did I regret my long walk, and the sweat of my brow which the view cost me.
The pleasure of my excursion would have been without alloy, had I not found my conscience whispering occasionally something about Jonah fleeing to Tarshish. My investigations respecting the mind of Christ have opened to me some new doors of duty, and it is becoming a serious question with me - whether I have any time to devote to amusements - whether I could not employ all my time in either studying, or visiting from house to house _ and whether there would not be variety and diversion enough in such employments, to answer all desirable purposes in respe't to my health. It seems to me if I had the whole mind of Christ, I should be 'exhorting and warning every man night and day
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with tears.' I have been asking myself to-day whether I ought not to begin anew. It cannot be that I have fairly taken up my cross yet. I have got one end of it on my shoulder, and I have been dragging and jerking it along, now and then throwing it down in weariness and impatience; but it is time that I stoutly shoulder it, and rise up and march straight and strong to heaven.
As I walk occasionally, I see many pigeons, rabbits, squirrels, &c.; and sometimes when a 'rare chance' presents itself the old man is stirred within me, and I wish for a moment I had a gun, that I might perform some of the feats of my days of folly. But the next thought is, how much better sport the Lord has provided for me! I am permitted to hunt for souls! and not as sportsmen hunt for birds, or as Satan hunts for souls, to kill them, but to pierce them with that truth which, though it cause them to die unto sin, will give them life forevermore.
The great spiritual crisis through which I passed during the week mentioned in the text, was the original from which I drew such pictures as the following in The Perfectionist:
"The period just before the destruction of Jerusalem was remarkable as a crisis of both hopes and fears. The Jewish nation was falling under its enemies. - Devastation and slaughter were at work throughout Judea. Jerusalem was encompassed by the Roman legions, and the utter destruction of the chosen people seemed inevitable. Yet hope kept pace with fear. The Christian part of the population, relying on the promises of Christ, were looking with eager anticipations for his Second Advent in the spiritual world; while the rest of the nation, knowing that the ancient predictions of the coming of their Messiah all centered on that eventful period, were confidently expecting his appearance in outward majesty for their rescue and triumph over the world.
At such a time, there was opportunity and great facility for imposture. Daring and crafty men, taking advantage of the credulity produced by the confluence of hope and fear, could easily find means to proclaim themselves Messiah, and delude multitudes into the belief that they would lead forth the nation into safety. History as well as Scripture informs us that many such impostures actually occurred. Christ, in anticipation of that perilous crisis, said to his disciples - 'Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: Behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.' Matt. 24: 23-27.
We may find a miniature of this great national crisis, in individual experience. When a man who has lived in the sinful, legal religion of the carnal churches, begins to see that His prayers and his fastings, his sabbaths and his ordinances have not saved him; when he learns that 'he that committeth sin is of the devil,' and that nothing less than salvation from sin is the offer of the gospel and the want of his soul, the end of Judaism within him is approaching _ his Jerusalem is about to be destroyed. Then begins the conflict of hope and fear
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"Redemption commences in an individual when he begins to discover the hatefulness and amazing strength of the evil power that enthralls him. While he is content with those partial improvements which are licensed within the devil's dominions, the spirit of sin within him is comparatively dormant. But when his conscience is awakened by the perfect law of God, and he begins to try his strength against the outer circle of Satan's spirit, seeking to break through into actual holiness, sin revives within him and shows its power. At first it infuses into him a deceptive notion of his self-sufficiency, by which it leads him to at tempt holiness in his own strength, under the point-blank batteries of the law. He marches up to the deadly breach, and falls back wounded and discouraged. Again and again he makes the vain attempt, and at every failure sinks deeper in despair and spiritual death. At length dire experience kills, out his false and proud philosophy about free-will, and he discovers that something stronger than his own spirit is concerned in his sinfulness, and that something stronger must help him to holiness. He learns that there is a mighty devil whose spirit envelopes and works in him_that there is a 'law of sin in his members' emanating from a power independent of himself, holding captive his will with inexorable obstinacy, and invincible strength. He is forced to the conclusion _" It Is no more I that do it, but SIN that dwelleth in, me.' If the difficulty were in his own individual will alone, he might have hope. But he' finds that a will far mightier than his holds him in bondage to sin and death. He perceives that the law, acting upon his own understanding and susceptibilities only, and not upon the power which enslaves him, can only torment and destroy him, just as a wheel locked into some mighty machinery and revolving by its power, would only be corroded and broken by being placed in contact with a wheel belonging to a separate machine, and revolving in an opposite direction. He finds that he can be saved only by being detached from the spiritual power of the devil, and that this can be effected only by a SPIRIT stronger than the devil. Experience has taught him that his own spirit is no match for the destroyer, and thus he is brought to look abroad for help. His final cry is _ 'O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? - Who shall detach me from the power of the evil one?"
APPENDIX TO PART I. 79
The following more particular account of the origin of New haven Perfectionism, of its first progress in Connecticut, and of its relations to the New Haven Divinity school and to New York Perfectionism, was originally published in The Witness, (Jan. 1840,) under the caption - 'Secret History of Perfectionism.'
Many Of our readers are acquainted with the history of the famous controversy in New England, between the 'Old School' and the 'New School,' or the Taylorites and the Tylerites. I first heard of their quarrel when I was at Dartmouth College, in 1826 ; and I well remember the boding suspicions which Prof. Shurtleff expressed in relation to the new doctrines of the New Haven Seminary. In 1828 Dr. Tyler resigned the Presidency of Dartmouth College, and, entering the theological field, commenced in earnest the war with Dr. Taylor. After many mighty efforts to convict him of heresy, and procure his condemnation at the bar of New England orthodoxy, Dr. Tyler in 1834 succeeded, not indeed in destroying his adversary, but in establishing himself as the President of a rival theological Seminary, at East Windsor, Conn.
Just at the very crisis of this great struggle, Perfectionism broke out in the New Haven seminary. As soon as the first confusion of the affair was over, and the clergy had time for consultation, it was agreed by them on all hands to regard and treat it as one of the common eruptions of low-born fanaticism. - Viewing it thus, it was natural! that the Old School men, in their wrath against the New School, should do what they could to make it appear that Perfectionism was the natural result of the New Haven heresy. Dr. Taylor and his seminary foresaw, from the first, that the Tylerites would make the most of this occasion against them; and the most frequent charge which they brought against me, at the time, was that I had injured the credit of the seminary. In due time the expected storm burst upon them. Sundry newspaper paragraphs appeared, and letters were circulated, written by the notables of the Old School, (I remember none of their names, except Nettleton's,) in which it was more than insinuated that Perfectionism was the legitimate offspring of Taylorisin. The New Haven professors, of course were as eager to disclaim this disgraceful affinity, as the East Windsor professors were to fasten it upon them. The fact that Perfectionism in Conn. commenced among their students and licentiates, bore hard against them; and, in order to prove successfully that the new theology had nothing to do with its origin, it devolved upon them to show that it was brought among them from abroad. Accordingly they took special pains to make it manifest, that New Haven Perfectionism was not an original development, but merely a branch of New York Perfectionism. The following article, which was published in the Religious Intelligencer at New Haven in 1835, is a specimen of their efforts:-
"About two years ago a young man from Albany, full of the revival ultraisms which have been engendered in certain parts of New York, and having some family relative who were on the very point of becoming Perfectionists, became a member of the theological school of Yale College. There he soon became intimate with another young man of kindred temper and habits, and of a superior though erratic intellect, who had come to complete the studies which he had commenced at Andover. In a few weeks, the first, (C. E. Dutton,) received a letter from a sister of his who had just embraced in full the doctrines and experienced the extacies of Perfectionism. This letter immediately communicated to the other, (J. H. Noyes,) upon whose inflammable imagination it had a great effect. After a protracted season of fasting, (eight or ten days, if we remember rightly,) he became so far deranged in his intellect, that he declared himself perfect, and laid claim to a knowledge of truth by direct revelation. About the
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same time Dutton, having gone to visit his friends, ceased to say with Paul, 'Not as if I had already attained.' A Presbyterian minister (Boyle) who had labored with great eclat as a revivalist in some parts of the country, but whose efforts in this region had not produced much excitement, and who bad just made a desperate but unsuccessful effort to get possession of one or another of the churches of this city, for the purpose of holding a protracted meeting soon fell in with the same views. Among, the members of the Free Church with whom Boyle was then laboring, several were carried away; but with nearly if not quite every one of them, the delusion was only temporary. At Prospect, about fourteen miles from New Haven, a young man (Chapman) of not very discriminating or powerful talents, just licensed to preach, had been employed to labor in the gospel for one year. There Boyle had held a protracted meeting, and all the extravagances which, creeping in from the Presbyterian Church, have begun to make their appearance here and there, in New England, were introduced among a confiding people. Over such a mind as Chapman's the plausibleness of Boyle, and the crazy genius of Noyes, might be expected to have a controlling influence. Accordingly it was soon announced that Chapman was perfect, and by the combined efforts of the whole company, a great movement was made in Prospect, till a considerable part of the little church there were led into the same error. This with the exception of some few sporadic cases in other towns, is all the Perfectionism that we ever heard of in Connecticut.
Now for the connection of this with the theological school in Yale College. Dutton was a member of the school for a few weeks, perhaps from eight to twelve. Noyes we believe, had been at Andover one year, and at Yale College a little more than a year. Chapman had no other connection with the theological department, than that while keeping in this town a boarding school for boys, he attended lectures as he found opportunity. Boyle had no more to do with the theological school or its professors than the Duke of Wellington. Not one who has begun and completed a course of study in the theological school of Yale College, has turned out to be a Perfectionist.
Dutton was never licensed. Noyes was a licentiate of New Haven West; and within thirty days after his becoming perfect, his license was annulled. Chapman never was settled anywhere; he was only a licentiate, and his license was withdrawn, not lately, but eighteen months ago. Boyle was an ordained evangelist of the Presbyterian church; and being encompassed with those signal securities against error, of which we hear so much from some quarters, continued to be a minister in regular standing, till last April, more than a year, when he was suspended. As for the other 'preachers' we know not who they are - but there is no hazard in saying, that if any of them have ever been preachers received as in regular standing among our churches, they are not 80 now.
As this article was evidently written not for historical but for controversial purpose", it is natural that some of its statements should need to be corrected. The following are some of its most important errors:-
1. The time which the writer allows for the transactions which he describes in the first paragraph, is too short.
Connecting the several hints which appear on this point, his description amounts to this:-"A few weeks after Dutton came to New Haven, he received a letter from his sister, which he immediately communicated to Noyes, who thereupon fasted eight or ten days and then became a Perfectionist." From such a statement, most readers would naturally suppose that the whole transaction lay within the compass of four or five weeks, at most. Whereas, it actually occupied four or five months. Dutton came to New Haven as early as October, and it was past the 20th of February when I became a Perfectionist. This correction is necessary in order to make room for two or three facts which the writer in the natural carelessness of controversy, or contempt, omits.
Two or three letters, instead of one, came from Dutton's sister; and after they were communicated to one, notwithstanding their mighty effect on my 'inflammable imagination,' I went to Vermont, remained there several weeks, preached the doctrine which I then held, with acceptance, in not less than four respectable orthodox churches, returned to New Haven, preached the same doctrines in two churches in that city, and pursued my usual studies in the Seminary more than a month before I became a Perfectionist. So that between my perusal of'extatic' letters, and my conversion, I had time for considerable labor,
APPENDIX TO PART I.
reflection and study, as well as for fasting' and other like causes of "derangement.'
2. The writer errs in stating 'that Dutton professed perfection 'about the same time' with myself.' He had not left New Haven when I made the profession. Before he went I had a long labor with him, preaching to him 'eternal life,' and endeavoring 'by all means to bring him to the confession of holiness. But he left in deep despair, went to Albany, confessed his sins to Kirk, was rejected by him, found John B. Foote, journeyed with him and other western Perfectionists some time, and finally 'experienced the 'extasies' and confessed the holiness which was in vogue in those parts.
3. The writer so arranges his statements, as to carry the impression that Boyle was the first of those connected with the free church, who fell in with my views, and that afterwards several of his church members were carried away by his influence. Whereas he was among the very last of those connected with that church who confessed holiness. Nearly all the others came out not only before him, but in spite of him. Of these it may be well to mention, that Stephen Cook, who was then the publisher of the Christian Spectator, the official organ of new divinity, was among the very first. In fact, he joined our ranks and deserted them, before Boyle came out.
4. The account which the writer gives of the origin of the work at Prospect, is materially deficient. Perfectionism was not first introduced there, by the 'plausibleness of Boyle' or by 'the crazy genius of Noyes.' John Dudley, who was then a member of the theological school, and is now a minister or missionary by the license of that school, was one of the first converts to Perfectionism, and first preached the doctrine at Prospect. But being a young man of 'not very discriminating or powerful talents,' his mind was easily swayed by the plausibleness of Dr. Taylor, and he soon fell away. Perhaps it was for this reason that the writer omits to mention his name, as also that of Charles Jones, another temporary convert to Perfectionism, then belonging to the theological seminary. But as the writer, in other cases, thought it proper to mention those whose 'delusion was only temporary,' and especially as he took upon him to give an account of the work at Prospect, which was commenced by Dudley, and remains in some sense a monument of his Perfectionism to this day, he certainly ought to have named him, that credit may be given where credit is due.
After Dudley, Boyle preached at Prospect, and the 'great movement' was made entirely under his ministration. For myself; I must disclaim the agency which the writer attributes to me, in the seduction of Chapman and his 'confiding church.' The simple truth is, Chapman seduced me. After Boyle had done his work, Chapman came to me, in the college chapel, and solicited me to go to Prospect: I expressed some reluctance to go; and fairly forewarned him that my 'crazy genius' would bring him and his church into disgrace. He insisted, and I went. However, I found but little work left for me to do. Not more than two or three proselytes were made after I went there.
In relation to Chapman, it may be added, that lie has since deserted Perfectionism and returned to his former station in the church. I remember seeing a newspaper paragraph some years ago, describing the scene which occurred, when the returning prodigal tendered his recantation to the association of 'New Haven West.' The 'emotion', of his clerical fathers were represented as being truly pathetic. It was not intimated, I presume, on that occasion, that his return was in any measure owing to his lack of 'discriminating" or powerful talents,' He was a Perfectionist long enough to write two serviceable articles for the paper.
5. In giving an account of Perfectionism in Connecticut, the writer, as a faithful historian, should have mentioned the work at Meriden. I have a letter
82 APPENDIX TO PART I.
from David Harrison, in which it is stated that as many as eighteen had embraced Perfectionism there in 1835. These cases could, hardly be called 'sporadic' - i.e. scattering. (See Schrevelius.)
6. In order that the whole truth may be known in relation to my license, the reader should, be informed that 'New Haven West' is that Association which licenses Dr. Taylor's students, or rather endorses Dr. Taylor's licenses; and likewise that my license was annulled, not by the Association, but by myself. They summoned me before them, for the purpose of examining me in relation to the heresies with which I was charged, and doubtless would have proceeded to annul my license, had I not anticipated them by resigning it.
The main argument of the article under correction, is contained in the following emphatic paragraph:
"Now for the connection of this with the theological school in Yale College. Dutton was a member of the school for a few weeks, perhaps from eight to twelve. Noyes we believe, had been at Andover one year, and at Yale College a little more than a year. - Chapman had no other connection with the theological department, than that while keeping in this town a boarding school for boys, he attended lectures as he found opportunity. Boyle had no more to do with the theological school or its professors than the Duke of Wellington. Not one who has begun and completed a course of study in the theological school of Yale College, has turned out to be a Perfectionist."
I shall show in the remarks that follow, that the Writer was more shrewd than honest in this account of the relations which Perfectionism sustained to the New Haven Seminary.
There is but one bad item in the statements on which he founds his italicised conclusion, and that is so dexterously slipped in among three good ones, that like a spurious coin, it may pass with those who count carelessly. Yet that bad item vitiates the whole account, and makes the writer's conclusion null and void. 'Dutton was a member of the school but a few weeks.' -Good. 'Chapman only attended a few occasional lectures.' -Good. 'Boyle had no more to do with the school than the Duke of Wellington.' -Good. Thus far the writer's argument is fairly sustained. But - 'Noyes, we believe, had been at Andover one year, and at Yale College, a little more than a year'. This item must be examined, before it can pass for proof that Perfectionism had no connection with the New Haven school.
'A little more than a year,' in this case, must be understood as meaning a full year and a half. The academical year of Yale College, commenced about the 20th of August, and I became a Perfectionist about the 20th of February, in the second year of my course there. Up to this period I attended the lectures of the Seminary regularly, and I was not formally dismissed until several weeks afterwards. 'A little more than a year,' also means a little more than that particular year of the theological course at New Haven, (viz. the second,) in which Dr. Taylor fully indoctrinates his students. The reader should understand that in the New Haven Seminary, (as in most theological schools, where the period of the regular course is three years,) the first year is chiefly devoted to exegetical studies. The recitations, like those in the classical department of the College, are chiefly grammatical exercises in Hebrew and Greek, and as administered by Prof. Gibbs, have but little more influence in determining the doctrinal opinions of the students, than the lessons of a district school. The second year is devoted to doctrinal studies, under the administration of Dr. Taylor, and is properly the only theological year in the course. - The third year is ostensibly devoted to the study of church history, pastoral theology, pulpit eloquence, &c., under the administration of Dr. Fitch and others, but in fact is chiefly devoted to preaching, and 'candidating.' As the students are licensed at the end of the second year, and have liberty to dispose of their time as they please, they generally prefer the excitement and emol-
APPENDIX TO PART I. 83
ument of actual service among the churches, to, attendance on the tedious exercises of the seminary. Hence the third year is rather a 'transition period,' in which the student becomes a minister, than a part of the regular theological Course. The whole course then, stands thus: -the first is the exegetical year; the second, the theological year; and the third, the 'candidating' year. Let the reader bear in mind then, that when I was at New Haven, (how the case is know, I know not,) Dr. Taylor's lectures constituted almost the whole attraction of the seminary, and he will perceive that the second or theological year there, was virtualy the whole course. Perhaps I should say that the whole course was like three coins of equal size, the first and third of which are copper, and the second gold. The full import of the writer's language, is or ought to be, that I was at New Haven 'a little more' than this golden year In plain language, I attended a full course of Dr. Taylor's lectures, took copious notes of all his prominent ideas, meditated, talked and wrote about them extensively, and at the end of the year was examined on them and licensed. Indeed I have reason to believe that I was as fully a master of the doctrines of Taylorism as most of my classmates.
It appears then that the writer was hardly honest in attempting to pass off my case in the same category with the cases of Dutton, Boyle and Chapman : and the detection of his fraud in this item, defeats his whole argument. His object is to prove that there was no intrinsic connection between Perfectionism and New Haven divinity, by showing that the original advocates of Perfectionism in Connecticut had little or nothing to do with the New Haven seminary. Three of his cases sustain this conclusion - but the fourth, (and that a case of special Importance to his argument, since by his own account it was the first case of Perfectionism at New Haven,) utterly fails; and with it fails his argument. The writer might have made a safer issue by undertaking to show that in embracing Perfectionism, I abandoned Taylorism. But since he has chosen to stake the reputation of the New Haven seminary on the implied denial that I ever was an accredited Taylorite, or in other words, on the representation that my connection with the New Haven seminary was a mere temporary affair, like that of Dutton and Chapman - I feel bound to record the facts, which expose the fallacy of his conclusions. His italicised statement in form is true, but in substance it is false. I did not 'begin and complete' a three years course at New Haven; but I did begin and complete a doctrinal course there; and as it is the doctrinal, and not the exegetical or historical or pastoral or elocutionary character of the New Haven seminary that is on trial under charge of connection with Perfectionism, it is plain that whatever can fairly be deduced from the fact that one of Dr Taylor's fully indoctrinated students has become a down right and permanent Perfectionist, must stand as veritable evidence of the heretical tendencies of 'new divinity.'
It may further be observed, that even admitting the italicised statement to be true in, substance as well as in form, a recurrence to the facts in my case will show that it avails nothing for the real purpose of the writer. What if I did not begin the regular course at New 'Haven? I did begin it at Andover; and unless the writer intended to insinuate that my study of theology was a mere transient affair, without beginning or completion - which is manifestly false - is assertion only shifts the charge of heretical tendency from New Haven to Andover. Will he undertake to maintain that the first year at Andover is less orthodox than at New Haven? If not, my beginning was to all intents and purposes as good as if it had been at New Haven. In fact, it was far better. There is but one golden year at Andover, and that happens to be the first or exegetical year. Stuart is to Andover what Taylor is to New Haven, the central attrac-
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tion of the seminary. And Gibbs is no more to be compared with Stuart in exegesis, than Woods is with Taylor in theology. So that by going to Andover the first year, and to New Haven the second, I had the best part of the course at both seminaries, At all events, whatever New Haven gains by ma king out that I was there but 'little more than a year,' Andover loses; and if the two seminaries have a 'joint stock' in the 'new divinity,' as facts indicate, it is clear that the firm gains nothing by the disclaimer of one of the partners. Andover may say I was there only one year, and New Haven may say I was there only little more than a year, and so they may shuffle Perfectionism back and forth between them; but the fact remains that I was full two years and a half in regular connection with the 'new divinity' firm of Andover and New Haven.
'Still,' the writer may say, 'You did not complete the regular course of three years, and so our italic conclusion holds good.' In respect to this point, let the reader recall what I have said about the third or 'candidating' year at New Haven, and he will perceive that my deficiency of six months occurred, not in the "bona fide' course, but in the 'transition period,' and the only important difference between my case and the cases of my classmates, was that my transition was from the study of Taylorism to Perfectionism, while theirs was from the study of Taylorism to preaching. If I did not complete my course, neither did they, and I doubt whether any of Dr. Taylor's students ever did; certain it is that I remained in regular attendance on the exercises of the Seminary longer than most of them, and longer than I should have done had I followed Dr. Taylor's own suggestion; for he offered me an opportunity of preaching as a candidate, some weeks before I became a Perfectionist. So that if I had left the Seminary for the purpose of preaching, on or before the 20th of February, instead of becoming a Perfectionist, I should have been recommended to the churches at the end of the year, as having completed my course of theological study. So it appears, 1st, that I began and completed a doctrinal course at New Haven; 2d, that what I lacked at the beginning of the regular course there, was supplied at Andover; 3d, that what 1 lacked at the end, was only the common deficiency of my classmates. In view of these facts let the reader judge whether the writer's most important assertion was made in good faith, and even if it was, whether it avails anything for his object of proving that New Haven divinity had no connection with Perfectionism.
The writer was doubtless aware that my case was the weak point of his argument, and intended to relieve it in some measure by so arranging his narrative as to convey the impression that Dutton was the prime mover of Perfectionism at New Haven. His thoughts probably ran thus:- "Noyes, to be sure, was a Taylorite, fully initiated. But then we can so color the matter, that it shall be thought be was only a secondary character in the Perfectionist movement. By placing Dutton and his sister in the foreground of the picture, we shall make it appear that Perfectionism was imported from New York, and so New Haven divinity will be cleared of its alleged connection with the 'perilous stuff' But as it is a notorious fact, and one that may be inferred from the statements of the writer himself, that I came into the profession of Perfectionism first and alone at New Haven, having never seen a New York Perfectionist, and knowing nothing of New York Perfectionism save by the representations of Dutton and the letters of his sister, (a fact which at least authorises a presumption that I was not altogether a secondary character in the affair, or a mere follower of foreign fanatics,) we may well pause and reason awhile, before we give place to the conclusion that Perfectionism at New Haven was an imported article.
If New Haven Perfectionism was identical with New York Perfectionism, or if it was only a modified form of the same thing, we must conclude that it was
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family: Times New Roman">imported. But if it was essentially a different system, we shall have reason to believe, notwithstanding the agency of Dutton and his sister in the matter, that it was an original development, indigenous at New Haven. Any one who will consult the Encyclopedia Of Religious Knowledge on the word Perfectionist, will find a wide distinction made between Wesleyan Perfectionists and that class of Perfectionists which the author describes as a 'modern sect in New England,' evidently alluding to New Haven Perfectionists. That distinction may be stated in an expanded form, thus: Wesleyans hold -1st, that perfect holiness is attainable, but not necessary to justification; 2d, that perfect holiness as well as justification, though attained, may be lost; 3rd, that believers may be partially holy without being perfectly holy. On the other hand, New Haven Perfectionists hold -1st, that perfect holiness and justification are inseparable; 2d, that the life given' to believers in sanctification is eternal; 3d, that 'every being in the universe at any given time, is either entirely holy or entirely sinful.' The difference between the two classes is similar to that which exists in many familiar cases; as for example, between 'temperate drinkers' and 'total abstinence' men; or between Colonizationists and Abolitionists; or between the old sort of 'peace men' and modern Non-Resistants. It is indeed the well known difference between 'moderate' reformers and downright 'radicals.' The same distinction, with some slight modifications, exists between New Haven and Oberlin Perfectionists; -and I may safely appeal to Pres. Mahan to say whether it is not wide enough to entirely separate the two classs. Now I shall show by facts, that this very distinction and others still greater, existed in 1834 and caused war between N. Haven and New York Perfectionists.
Let the reader p'eruse the account of my first interview with Latourette, on the 32d page of my 'Religious Experience.' He will there find that the radical distinction between Methodism and Calvinism, on the point of security, (or in other words, the 'perseverance of the saints,') made at the outset a total breach between me and Latourette, insomuch that he ferociously denounced New Haven - or as it may properly be called, Calvinistic Perfectionism -as 'a doctrine from hell!' Let the reader further understand that in that interview, for the first time, New Haven and New York Perfectionism came in contact. Facts that are already before the reader, show that I was - the representative of New haven Perfectionism; and facts which I will now present, will show that Latourette was the representative of New York Perfectionism.
It will be recollected that Dutton did not confess holiness at New Haven, but went to Albany and came out as a follower of John B. Foote. While I was in New York, soon after my interview with Latourette, Foote, with Dutton and two or three other well known leaders of western Perfectionists, came to the city and spent some time with Latourette. I saw them but little. But I distinctly learned from their conversation that they regarded Latourette as the Emperor of Perfectionists; and Dutton informed me that Foote, in his former visits to Latourette, had often attempted to assert his independence of him, but in every instance had been overpowered and brought into bondage. Latourette then was the leader of Foote, and Foote was the leader of Dutton, his sister, the Annesleys and other co-ordinate illuminati too numerous to mention, and they were the leaders of the whole body of New York Perfectionists. But further, on my return to New Haven, I met with Foote and Dutton again, and then for the first time, the subject of the security came up for discussion, between them and me. Foote objected to my views, not indeed so violently as Latourette, but decisively. While Dutton promptly embraced them, saying to Foote, 'This is 'just what I have wanted from the beginning - Why did you not preach this?' &c. I then "learned from Dutton that his sister, the Annesleys and western Perfectionists
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generally, were like Foote, simply Methodist Perfectionists in relation to the Security. Thus it is shown that in 1834 New York Perfectionists as a body were in a state of fellowship with Latourette as to doctrine, as well as in a state of vassalage to him in spirit. He was therefore their representative; and as such, within three months from the first appearance of New Haven Perfectionism, and on the first occasion of his coming in contact with it, he commenced furious war against it and with thundering anathemas consigned it to perdition.
Furthermore, on the 1st of January, 1835, the distinction between New Haven and New York Perfectionism, was authoritatively proclaimed by the general assembly of N. York Perfectionists, convened at Canastota. Dutton, whose sympathies at that time were with the New Haven Perfectionists, was present, and Hiram Sheldon with the other leading members of the Convention, to use one of Dutton's familiar expressions, 'rode over him rough-shod.' The New Haven paper, with its peculiar doctrines, was condemned in a style little less ferocious than that of Latourette.
Will any one maintain in the face of these facts that New Haven Perfectionism was imported from New York? The gulf between Methodism and Calvinism is not wider than that between Methodist Perfectionism and Calvinistic Perfectionism.
But there is another, and still more decisive mark of distinction between New Haven and New York Perfectionism. I have elsewhere stated that the doctrine of New Haven Perfectionists concerning the Second Coming, is the foundation of their views of the security, and indeed the original nucleus of their whole doctrinal system. Dutton acknowledged the true place of' this doctrine, in the 9th No., first vol. of The Perfectionist. He says,-" I do not suppose that the terms, 'Second Corning,' and 'eternal promise,' have any magical influence to make men holy, or to keep them so: but I do believe that the things meant by those phrases, are absolutely essential, and in Christ Jesus they form the everlasting arms that are beneath us. His second coming was but the completion of the work which he commenced at his first advent - the bringing forth of the capstone in the temple of Redemption - thus finishing triumphantly in the presence of the church universal, the work which he under so much ignominy began. Until this was done, the apostles felt and acted and talked as though something was lacking." &c. New Haven Perfectionists, from the beginning, have referred to this doctrine as the starting point of their theology, and have used it as a sword of defence 'turning every way' against the objections of their adversaries. Dr. Taylor well knows that I based my whole argument for Perfectionism, before him and his seminary, at the beginning, on this doctrine; and I think he must remember how he sneered at me for the constant use I made of it in foiling the cavils with which be and his students assailed me. Now I ask, whence came this wholesale heresy? From Latourette? No: for he stopped his subscription to the Perfectionist on account of this very doctrine. From John B. Foote? No for it is notorious that he never assented to it. From Dutton? No: for it was six months after the original hand bill on the subject was published, before he pretended to understand it. From Dutton's sister? No: for she wrote me a letter soon after I became a Perfectionist in which she prophesied about the second coming, representing it as future. From Boyle? No: for when we were at Prospect together in the spring of 1834, he threatened to dissolve partnership with me, if I persisted in preaching this doctrine, saying that it was just like the doctrine of the Universalists, and he had formerly written me ten or a dozen sermons for the express purpose of subverting it. From Hiram Sheldon or his followers? No: for in the Canastota convention thay they trod The Perfectionist under foot, chiefly on account of this doctrine
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Its origin then cannot be traced to the 'extacies' of western Perfectionism, or to the' revival ultraisms which have been engendered in certain parts of the state of N. York;' Whence then did it come? I answer, it was begotten at Andover by Stewart's exegesis of Math. 24 - was born at New Haven in the summer of 1833 - was soon after presented to Dr. Taylor, and then received his blessings, though it has since been disowned by him.
The distinction, then, between New Haven and New York Perfectionism, is in the first place as wide as that between Calvinism and Methodism, on the point of the security; and secondly, as much wider as the additional difference on the great subject of the second coming, can make it. The insinuation, therefore, that the one was only a branch of the other, is an absurdity on the face of it. What if it be true that New York Perfectionism existed first, and had some incidental agency in the development of New Haven Perfectionism? It is also true that Colonization existed first, and had an important agency in the development of Abolition ; and yet because they are manifestly distinct and hostile to each other, no one thinks of calling Abolition a branch of Colonization. Pres. Mahan doubtless denies that Oberlin Perfectionism was imported from New Haven ; yet New Haven Perfectionism existed before it, and I apprehend its origin might be traced to Finney's perusal of The Perfectionist, and to his interview with me, full as plausibly as the origin of New Haven Perfectionism can be traced to the influence of Dutton and his sister's letters. How then does Mahan prove that he is not a follower of J. H. Noyes? Verily by showing that he holds a totally different doctrine. By the same mode of proof I have shown that I was never a follower of Dutton, or his sister, or any other New York Perfectionist.
If all incidental stimulating influences like those which Dutton and his sister exercised upon me, are to be taken into the account in tracing the origin of New Haven Perfectionism, I must give large credit to several persons of a very different character, as well as to them. I avow that the memoirs of James Brainard Taylor brought me far on the way toward Perfectionism, before I ever saw Dutton or heard of N. York Perfectionism. Moreover, I was actually ushered into the faith, by the conversation of an old lady who was, and I suppose is to this day an inhabitant of N. Haven. If the New Haven professors insist that Perfectionism was imported from New York, I shall sometime tell a story which will prove that the detested heresy originated in Leonard Bacon's church.
The reader must not suppose from what I have said, that I in any wise deny or undervalue the agency of Dutton and his sister in my conversion to Perfectionism. I acknowledge, as I ever have, with gratitude, that I was brought to a decision on the subject by their communications. But I deny that the doctrines by which my understanding was previously convinced, which I then embraced and have since confessed, were communicated to me by them. To use a figure which is perhaps more serviceable than elegant - they only fired the gun, which Prof. Stuart aud Dr. Taylor loaded. New Haven Perfectionism is, and was from the beginning, a doctrinal system, founded on exegetical demonstrations, and defended not by authority or rhetoric, but by dispassionate argument. As; such it could not have originated among New York Perfectionists, for it has ever been ther highest glory to despise and reject all appeals to the decisions of argumentative reason. All that is intellectual in the faith which hold, originated in three respectable heresies of the ' new school.' These heresies, as I have else where stated, are- 1st, Stuart's exegesis of' the 7th of Romans; 2d, his exegesis of the 24th of Matthew ; 3d, Dr. Taylor's favorite doctrine, that man's ability is commensurate with his obligations. These were elements which first operated on my intellect. Dutton and, his sister, with others of similar temperament,
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furnished the elements which operated on my susceptibilities. And as sound Taylorism teaches that the cold convictions of the understanding rarely put the will in motion, without some excitement of the susceptibilities, it was natural that the burning zealof New York 'ultraists' should be needed to give execution to the strong but phlegmatic logic of New England theologians.
I have dwelt thus particularly, and perhaps the reader will think egotistically and tediously, on the false insinuations of the article under consideration, because, in undertaking to give the secret history of Perfectionism,. I cannot proceed a step until I have corrected the impressions produced by that article and others similar, concerning its origin. New Haven Perfectionism suffers odium enough on account of its own essential heresies, without taking upon itself the gratuitous infamy of its supposed relatives. I am determined it shall have the fill advantage of the respectability of its actual birth and connexions. Besides, I am myself so reduced in reputation, that I cannot afford to lose the credit of having received a thorough theological education, for the sake of relieving the reputation of the New Haven Seminary. For an illustration of the circumstances and the spirit in which the preceding facts and arguments have been presented, I point the reader to an approved example. ln the tumult at Jerusalem the chief captain, who had charge of Paul, asked him - "Art not thou that Egyptian, which before these days madest an.uproar, and leddest out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers. But Paul, said, I am a man which am a Jew, of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia; A CITIZEN OF NO MEAN CITY; and I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people." Acts 21: 38, 39.
New Haven, Feb. 24, 1834.
DEAR M.- I begin this letter as I never began ore to you before, with full confidence that I shall be assisted to write something that will be profitable (though perhaps not pleasant) to you. Let me tell you where the Lord has led me, that you may know the reason for any change of style which you may discern in my writing; and that you may not be alarmed or wonder at any unexpected event in my. future course. You doubtless well remember the path my spirit was pursuing when I was with you. The Lord was urging me on from one step to another in the grace of Christ, toward the independent standard of his word, My conviction was growing stronger and stronger, that a necessity was laid upon me, to cut loose from the traditions of men, and give myself wholly to the simple searching of the scriptures, for the mind of the Lord. - You remember I said something about Christian perfection. That subject continually troubled me, and the burden of it accumulated upon my soul, till I determined to give myself no rest, while the possibility of the attainment of it remained doubtful. A revival, as you probably know, was in progress here when I returned. In consequence of my interest and labor in the work, I was led to study the Bible with intensity of application; and the Holy Spirit, (as I know, now,) opened the eyes of my understanding to perceive the requirements of God's law, and his methd of salvation, in a new and wonderful manner. I found myself a sinner, under condemnation of a holy God; not but that I was still conscious of having partaken of the grace of Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, but I saw that I had abused these mercies, and was making Christ a
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minister of sin, serving a God of my own imagination, not that God who ab hors all sin. That you may know the source of my convictions, I beg of you to read carefully and prayerfully, the following passages. 1 John 1: 5-7, 2: 15, 3: 6-0. 1 Cor. 13: 1-7, 10: 1-12. Luke, 12: 45-48. John 8: 30-44.
I felt myself to be under condemnation; and knowing that 'there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus,' I gave up my hope, and commenced a new the work of seeking for the Lord, with fasting and prayer - determined to settle the question respecting my eternal character - to become one with Christ, or perish. The sorrows of death compassed me about. For one week I walked under a heavy curse. At last the Lord met me with, the same promise that gave peace to my soul when first I came out of Egypt. 'If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.' I saw it covered the whole work of salvation - sanctification, as well as justification. By faith, which is the gift of God, I took the proffered boon of eternal life; God's spirit sealed the act, and the blood of Christ cleansed me from all sin. Now I. must honor the Lamb of God, by acknowledging his power. He has given me a conscience void of offense, and full assurance of everlasting glory; an unspeakable gift. For me to live, is Christ; to die, is gain. The battle is fought; the victory is won. I am conqueror and more than conqueror, through him that loved me. I cannot describe the change God has wrought in me; perhaps it would do you no good, if I should. You will think me crazy for what I have already written; but do you know that God's wisdom is the world's folly? I have consented to be a fool, that I might be wise. Oh 'beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the rudiments of the world and not alter Christ.' - If you rest your hopes of heaven on the traditions of men, I tell you they will be swept away. I am amazed when I look now, as it were with the eyes of Him who dwells on high, upon the Christian world. Truly, many will say, Lord, Lord, who will be rejected from the gate of heaven. I say not these things to trouble you, but to warn you.
I know not how the Lord will dispose of me; only he forewarns me that contempt and persecution await me. Let me say, if God calls me to suffer with his Son, 'Weep not for me, but weep for yourself and for your children.' Tho Lord will deliver me from every evil work.'
Yours, &c. . J. H. N.
'The following is the list of references presented in the last of the handbills referred to, and may serve as a specimen of them all, and of my general method of contending for the faith at the beginning. The main point which these references establish, is, that the Son of man came the second time immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem. The reader may find some difficulty in tracing them through; but the result will be worth his labor, if he has never inspected the whole testimony concerning the Second Coming at one view. 'The parentheses which occur in the references, are designed merely to connect those texts which are to be compared with each other:
Matt 4 17, ~0: 23.11: ii, 12.16: 27, 28. (24: entire, comp. Dan. 7: 9.27.) (27 64, comp. 24: 30.) Mark 13: entire, Luke 17: 20.37. 21: 5.36. ,(23: 28-31, comp Matt. 24: 19.22.) John 5: 25. 14: 18-23.21: 22. (Acts 2:' 19, 20, comp. Matt 24 29, &c.) 3: 19, 2,1. (Rom. 13:11,12, comp. Luke 21: 28, &c.) 1Cor, 1: 8. 5: 5. 11: 26. (15: 21-23, comp. John 5:25.) Phil. 4:5. Col. 3: 4. 1 Thess. 1: 10. 2: 19. 3: 13. (4: 13-17, comp. 1 Cor. 15: 51, &c.) (5: 1-10,' comp. Matt.
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24: 36-44. and Rom. 13:,11, 12.) 5: 23. 2 Thess.1: 6, 10. (2: 1.12, compare Matt. 24: 24, and Luke 18: 8. 1 John 2: 18.4: 3, and 2 John 7, &c.) 1 Tim. 6: 14, 15. 2 Tim. 1: 12, 18. 4: 1. Tit. 2:13, comp. Luke 21: 28.) Heb. 9: 26-28, comp. preceding ref.) 10: 5-9, 25-37. James 5: 7-9. (1 Pet. 1,: 5.13, compare Luke 21: 28, &c.) 4:5-7,13. 2 Pet. 1:11, 19. (3:3.14, comp. Luke 21:28 36, &c.) 1 John 2: 28. 3:2. Jude 14, 15, &c. Rev. 1:3. (1:7, comp. Matt. 24: 30.) 2: 25. (3: 3, comp. Matt. 24: 43. 1 Thess. 5: 2. 2. Pet. 3:10.) (3: 10, 11, comp. Matt. 24: 24. Luke 21: 35, &c.) (6: 9.17. comp. Mark 13: 24-26. Luke 23: 28-31. 2 Pet. 3: 10-14.) (11: 15.18', comp. Matt. 16: 27, 28.) (19: 7.9, comp. Eph. 5: 23-32.) (20: 4-6,comp. John 5: 25.) 20: 11. 22: 7. 22: 10-20.
New York City, May 1834.
DEAR M.- As I am for the present a stranger in a strange city, I find refreshment in thinking of distant friends, and gladly seize an opportunity of sending them a token of remembrance. I trust you give yourself no trouble on my account. I am an outcast, but not a prodigal; I am not tending swine or feeding on husks, but feasting at my Father's table. I am in a manner deserted but not alone: God dwells with me, and I am at home even here - nay, the universe is my home. How can I be lonesome, or homesick, or sad? I remained ten days at Prospect; preached every evening, and three times on each Sabbath. B- had been there before, and had shaken the church to its foundations. Truly, the banner of holiness has been unfurled on that hill - the banner that will wave till Christ is acknowledged King of kings. Almost every member of the church was cut down. It was a scene of overwhelming interest: yet all was still and solemn. The best portion of the church abandoned their former hopes, and became obedient to the faith of holiness. Dr. T - said TL might find here and there a simple minded man or a few silly women, to impose, upon. Oh that he and you could have seen God's work at Prospect: but I will not anticipate its wishes, what you will all witness ere long. The time I believe is coming when such scenes will be repeated in every village through our land - yea, through the earth. The Lord will suddenly come to his temple, and sit as a refiner and purifier of silver. All the haughtiness of man shall be brought 1ow, and the Lord alone exalted. I will only say of Prospect that the very best of its inhabitants, men of the first respectability, wealth, and mental acquirements - men who have seemed to be pillars in the church - fell under the sword of God's truth, acknowledged themselves sinners without hope, and pressed into the kingdom of holiness. On Monday of last week I returned to New Haven, and in company with C. H. W._-, of Hartford, took passage for this city. We have spent the past week in attendance upon the anniversaries, seizing every opportunity which Providence has given us, of conversing with the clergy. men who have assembled here from all parts of the country. Many hear the truth with interest and candor, and many turn pale and quake before it ; and many reject it with bitterness and scorn. We are sowing seed, and look for a speedy and abundant harvest. Br. W. will return to Hartford this evening. I shall remain probably some weeks. An effectual door is opened here for the preaching of the gospel in a private way, and I hope soon to find access to public assemblies. Waiting only on the Lord, we have an assurance that he will direct our steps, and, we know he will do for us exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think.
I called upon Mrs. G- last evening, at Mr. U_'s, and asked her about you and the people in Putney. She says all things remain as they were. She
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agreed with me in believing that the church must be overturned and overturned, before He whose right it is shall reign. When will that overturning begin? Is it not time that Christ should take the kingdom? Have not the powers of hell had their day? Do you know that amidst all the light and revivals and temperance societies and improvements of our land and age, the churches are confessedly growing more and more corrupt? Bro. B- says he has long mourned over this truth. As he looked back upon the fields of his labors and of God's grace, he has almost uniformly observed a darker shade of corruption following hard upon every season of refreshing; and he bewailed the fact with hopeless lamentation. There seemed to be no remedy. Now he knows the cause. Why should we not expect that increasing light and the grace of God, should aggravate the wickedness of those who cleave to their sins? Well may we expect a rotten church will putrefy with a rapidity proportioned to the warmth that radiates from the sun of righteousness upon it. Darker and darker will be the prospect in every church, till 'Holiness to the Lord' becomes its watchword. I have had a favorable opportunity within a short time of ascertaining, by conversation with clergymen, and observation in attendance upon the anniversaries, the state of religion in the land; and truly, I wonder at the motley scene. Dr Lansing says ' the foundations of social, civil, and religious order are breaking up. Revolution succeeds revolution, in the moral world, with increasing rapidity. The elements of moral influence are rapidly accumulating; and at the same time corruption and vice are striding on with equal pace.' You would be amazed to see the conflicts which have several times occurred during the past week, between the advocates of Emancipation and Colonization. Both parties as a body bear the name of Christ; and doubtless as they come together in the Missionary or Bible Society, flitter and compliment each other on their mutual harmony and liberality. But when they meet in the battle-ground of slavery, they breathe out threatening and slaughter against each other. Chatham street chapel several times became a Pandemonium. I am sure the spirit of the pit cannot be more malignant than that which was manifested by some who profess to be the temples of the Holy Ghost. They did not cry for the space of three hours, 'Great is Diana of the Ephesians';' but they did worse! I have been accused of slandering the church : but I am sure I have never said worse things of it than I have lately heard charged upon it in the mutual recriminations of its own members. At a meeting of the New York Temperance Society, it was proved that the church has done and is now doing more for the hindrance of the Temperance cause than any other class in this community, &c. On the whole, we have come to an interesting crisis. It is like the time when Jerusalem was approaching its predicted destruction. Wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, signs in the sun, moon, and stars, universal commotion, and universal expectation, seem to characterize the aspect of the moral world. Another coining of the Son of man is evidently at hand. His standard has already been planted in many places. Beacon lights are flashing on many a hill; and I believe his kingdom and glory will soon cover the earth. 'But who may abide the day of his coming? or who shall stand when he appeareth?' He is like refiner's fire and like fuller's soap; he comes baptizing with the Holy Ghost and with fire Do your hearts fail ? if you love God with all your heart, and keep his commandments, you will stand in the evil day. ' Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, so are we in this world.' - 'What shall I say, that I may persuade you to accept the free and sinless salvation of Christ? I will not speak of wrath, for you know God is a consuming fire against sin. Rather, I will say, if you will obey the truth, 'let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God: believe also in Christ who came into this
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world to save sinners. Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin or the world! Reckon yourself to be dead with him, and with him risen from the dead, and it is done; according to your faith be it unto you. Christ has power on earth to forgive sins. I will speak of the joys of this great salvation. Daily I am constrained to cry -' Wonderful, wonderful! glory!' 'Oh the death of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!' You have no conception of the greatness of this love, if you have never yet come to the Father; and none come to the Father but they who are clothed in spotless robes. I cannot but wonder at the insignificance of all, my past attainments in knowledge, when compared with developments which I know are before me. A few months have enlarged my views of God beyond all my previous anticipations even in fancy; and when imagination stretches on millions and millions of years, I ask with trembling wonder, where will all this end? Certainly the treasures of the wisdom and glory of God will not be exhausted. The ocean on which I am afloat, is shoreless and bottomless. The fullness of the Godhead is my inheritance. - When I think or speak of riches, I glory in the wealth of Him who made and owns the universe, and has made me his son and heir. Christ is 'the first-born among many brethren;' we are all heirs of God, and joint-heirs with him. Are these strange and boasting words? My boasting need not excite envy; for the same inheritance belongs to all who will accept it. There is no place for invidious comparisons among the ransomed of the Lord, for each inherits all things. God and the universe are mine: I hold them without a competitor. They are yours too, if you are one with Christ. I am a part' of your inheritance, and you are a part of mine. If 'all things are yours,' to compare your. self with the highest archangel in heaven would be as if a man should compare himself with a little item of his property, or with his own arm. Boasting, then, will do no hurt, where there is no competition. If I boast of my inheritance, I boast equally of yours; nay, I boast Of God. Envy, jealousy rivalry, will forever cease when men become heirs of God. All who love the Lord are one; and what benefits one, benefits all. If you are one with me in Christ, it will do you as much good to read my testimony to the goodness of God, as it does me to write it : so I scruple not to pour forth of the fullness of my soul. If you have not come to him who gives rest to those who labor and are heavy laden, let me tempt you, by recording his faithfulness, to prove him and see if he will not pour you out a blessing so great that there shall not be room enough to receive it. I assure you God is true; my peace is like a river, and my righteousness like the waves of the sea. God has wiped away all tears from my eyes: in Him I shalt live for ever and ever. May he clothe you with immortality. Amen.
Yours, &c.J. H. N.
New York, May 1884.
DEAR BROTHER: The matter I have to communicate, though perhaps different from what you expect, is so interesting to me that I cannot wait for your promised letter. The Lord has been dealing wonderfully with me within a few days past, and I suppose any person but yourself would think me the subject of a double portion of the spirit of lunacy if I should disclose to them a moiety of the exercises through which I have been led. After your departure I set myself to the work I had proposed of writing the tract on Perfection; but I found the work advanced but heavily, and it soon became evident that the Lord led another, way. At the same time I found myself shut out from all intercourse with men. I longed to bear glad tidings to the needy, but was foiled in every attempt. As I looked back upon my way since I made the everlasting covenant with God, I
APPENDIX TO PART I. 93
perceived distinctly the hand Of God continually repressing my desires to proclaim salvation, and shutting me up to what has seemed to me selfishness. In view of this, I began to enquire for the design of this restraint. I determined to cease from out-going effort, and fall back upon the leadings of the Lord. Soon I was led to a distinct view of this truth, that while I have been reproving others for lagging behind their privilege, remaining in Judaism, &c.. I have been unwittingly doing the same thing myself. I have only come up to the ground on which Paul stood, whereas it is my privilege to attain now the resurrection of the dead, and apprehend that for which I am apprehended of Christ. I saw clearly and believingly the truth of your doctrine of immortality. Knowing that the Son of man, the second Adam, -came at the destruction of Jerusalem - that then of course the way into the holiest, even into the third heavens, the paradise -of God, was open and made manifest, - I saw that I had not yet taken Christ for a whole Savior, except prospectively; and immediately my spirit groaned being burdened with unutterable longing for full redemption from the power of death and Satan. I made supplication to God with strong crying and tears, that I might be saved from death and receive the perfect gift of Christ. On Sunday I became assured that within three days I should eat of the tree - of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God. My exercises from that time were much like those through which I passed when I came to Christ some' months ago, except that my soul in all - its agony reposed upon the everlasting arm with confidence of final victory. Words can never describe the hungerings of my soul after God. My very flesh cried out for the living God. It seemed to me that the gift of the universe would have been to me but as a dry morsel to a starving man. God only could satisfy the unutterable cravings of my spirit; I almost yielded up the ghost, and prayed if it was God's will might lay down my life and commend my spirit once and forever naked into his hands, that I might be thus clothed upon with the tabernacle of God. He showed me the Lamb. I saw that he is the way, the truth, ,and the life; that be has the keys of death, and that God required no sacrifice of me. Yesterday in the forenoon the travailing pangs of the final resurrection came upon me. I read the last chapter of Isaiah, and found a peace I never knew before. I wrote in my journal, 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' (Isa. 25: 6.)
In the evening I felt assured the coming of the Lord drew nigh. I even expected to see Jesus face to face. Yet I knew not how, or when he would come. Imagination was very busy, but the Lord helped me to curb its flight. I gathered in all my thoughts and desires upon this one wish - Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. He came; not in bodily or visible shape, but in a manner more satisfactorily demonstrative of the reality of his presence. He entered the secret chamber of my soul, and we sat down together to the marriage supper, I will not attempt to describe to you the glories of that feast; but let me say, the entertainment of the banquet was wonderfully various. At one tune the love of the Lamb seemed like celestial fire rushing through every fibre of my body, and every susceptibility of my soul. At another, it seemed like a bubbling stream of living water. At another, it was like quiet mighty but peaceful river, rolling its pure waves through my bosom. At another, it was like an ocean in which I sunk, and sunk, aud found no bottom, and even my spirit mingled with the very essence of the God-Head. O, then I longed to make heaven, earth and hell ring with, 'Worthy is the Lamb!' I scarcely closed my eyes during the night. This morning I am sick of love, and feel that this mortal must indeed put on immortality, or it would be consumed in the love of God. Now indeed I am married, and will henceforth wait only on my husband. I know he will give me all the desire of my heart. I have no heart to pray - my harp is tuned for an everlasting song of praise. I have eaten of the tree of life. God is the temple of my spirit, I think, brother, we have been but in embryo hitherto. Read the
94 APPENDIX TO PART I.
promises to him-that overcometh, in the first three chapters of Revelataion. We may now over come by the blood of the Lamb, and enter the holiest of all. The cherubim and flaming sword are withdrawn at the gate of Paradise. Adam may return, and eating of the tree of life, become immortal. I long to see you, and talk this matter over again. I was like Thomas the other day - unbelieving; but now I have handled the blessed Savior, I say with Thomas, 'My Lord and my God!' I think this subject is now as clear in my mind as the-general doctrine of holiness: and now I am prepared, if the Lord will, to develop the fullness of his salvation to the world. Will you write me soon, and let me, know" if your faith is as good as your theory. Faith is the key of the door of the third heaven, as well as the door of the outer court. You may enter as soon as you believe from the heart.
Yours, J. H. N
DEAR BRO. BOYLE: I perceive by the almanac that many days have passed nway since I saw your face. My own memory seems to have recorded but half their number. I thank God, I am no longer in a condition to bemoan the strides of time; else I should doubtless here give you a sad saying or two, in the pro. sing preacher's strain, about 'the shortness of life,' 'the fleetness of time,' &c.; but I am no longer cooped up between 'the cradle and the grave' in that narrow, narrow way' which is accounted by many the only right way, under the sun, for the children of men. I am a son of God, an inhabitant of eternity, and ',why as though living in the world,' should I heed the flight of time? Let the sun double his speed, let time outrun himself - immortality asks no favors - mourns no loss.
The Lord is opening before me a wide door for the preaching of the gospel, and is giving me power that prevails against all adversaries. The day of Pentecost has not yet come in our house, but the Lord of peace is here. Soon after I came home I visited my brother and sister in C-, and found the son of peace there also. The _ clergyman of the village called upon me. After a long and interesting conversation with him, he requested me to preach for him on the Sabbath. I accepted his invitation, and preached the righteousness of God to a congregation unusually large. In the evening of the same day, I preached in the hall of a tavern in this place. The place was altogether too strait for us. The hall, though large, could scarcely accommodate more than half of those who assembled. God preached his own gospel through me, and his word shall not return unto him void. This village was never in such a state of agitation as it is now. Publicans and sinners hear me more gladly than the pharisees, and many of them are receiving the truth into good and honest hearts. A general and most intense desire to 'hear more" prevails. - I shall preach as often, and as long as the Lord permits. I shall preach on Thursday evening at D by the urgent desire of several members of Mr. B's- church; and probably at C- again in the course of the week. I converse daily with inquiring individuals, aud have free and welcome access to many families. The Lord has given me an opportunity of testifying concerning his Son to four clergymen, since I have been here, and he has closed their mouths. You see I have full and blessed employment. The fields around me are white unto the harvest, and the Lord says, 'Thrust in the sickle.' He gives me great liberty in declaring his truth, and complete victory over the devil in every encounter. The paper has gloriously prepared the way for the preaching of faith in all this region. Though few have taken it by subscription, multitudes have read it, and many
APPENDIX TO PART I. 95
are constrained to testify that it is the most interesting paper they ever read. I found that M-, who tales the paper here, had several months ago commenced the pure testimony, and had been mightily convincing every body around him of the truth of the doctrine of perfection, He is a member of the Methodist church, but plainly declares to his brethren that their case is worse than that of any other denomination. By him the door is opened for me. I see the fruit of our labors, and the wisdom of God in the publication of that little paper, as I could not while I remained in N. Haven. Truly, we have been scattering the seed of the word of God with a broad cast, and even now the harvest is at hand. Your letter to in the last number, has been read to crowds, in stores, and I had almost said upon the house-tops. Surely the new measure disciples must soon begin the lamentation, 'the harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.' Many complain of the 'sweeping denunciations in your pieces against the nominal church; but I say, 'God speed to you, my brother, in the work of unmasking and proclaiming the shame of the mother of abominations.' Professors of orthodox religion in this day, fill the front rank of the army of hell. Their mouths are 'the gates of hell' I have occasion daily to testify against the leaven of the Pharisees, and the Lord bids me, 'Spare not.' When I meet a self-righteous minister, otherwise a false prophet, I am usually girded for battle. Saul hurls his javelins, but David cannot be hurt. I am in the midst of a perpetual battle, and yet have perpetual peace. Occasionally my spirit finds blessed rest, in fellowship with some sweet believer, whom the Lord throws in my way: but the sons of God are few indeed.
The fourth chapter of Galatians is the weapon by which I have been enabled to drive many a devil from his refuge of lies; and I have found every where, that as Ishmael persecuted Isaac, so the servants of God persecute his sons.
I have thought the Lord would let me send you an article' for the paper, on the distinction between servants and sons; but you know I cannot write on every suggestion, as I once could. I will send you whatever the Lord gives, when he gives it. Grace, mercy, and peace be with you, and with all who love the Lord Jesus Christ. If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed.
Yours in the bond of love, J. H. N.
Newark, N.J., Sept. 1836.
To CHARLES H. WELD:
Our relations to each other, during two or three years past, have been apparently those of sincere Christian affection. On my own part, the appearance corresponded to the reality, until a little more than a year ag. The events of that period, forced upon me the conviction that you was an enemy in disguise. Yet I was not disposed to utter this conviction publicly, until every shadow of doubt had passed away. I have since had full leisure and opportunity to analyze your character. The darkness is past, and I am now prepared not only to assert, but to prove, to you and to all men, that you are 'a child of the devil, an enemy of all righteousness.'
To the end that our relations henceforth may be in appearance what they are in reality, I send you the following statement of facts. Let God and your own conscience be the judges of its truth.
By your own confession, it appears, that previous to our acquaintance, you had suffered under the severest rebuke of God, for drawing back from his call. Yet you had found a way to the highest seat in the spiritual synagogue, and could boast of paternal supremacy over such men as Finney, Boyle, Lansing, Theodore D. Weld, &c. Without holiness, and without a commission from the Most High, you had
96 APPENDIX TO PART I.
assumed lordship over God's heritage; and when at length the doctrine of holiness was developed and the power of the Most High manifested within your dominions, you was ready to take charge of its operations, and make it a stepping stone to a still higher advancement. At first I was too simple to match your subtleties, and for a season submitted to your assumption of paternal oversight; suffering you in a measure to check the boldness of my testimony. At length, however, I asserted the liberty of the Holy Ghost, and you was cast down from your throne, into the horrors of the nethermost hell. I looked for a good result, but behold! you came up from the pit, not with the subdued penitence of a rebuked sinner, but with the dignity of a savior, suffering for the sins of the world! You had won the laurels of the Lamb of God, and thenceforth your title to the throne of universal dominion was in your own imagination fully established. Unskilled as I was in the devices of Satan, I gave place to your pretensions, and fell back into the place of a John the Baptist to you. Soon, however, my eyes were opened. During my sufferings in New York, the snare was broken, and since then I have clearly seen the envious emulation of your spirit. Still I could not condemn you altogether, but hoped for your redemption. In the spring of 1835, you visited me at Putney, and I received you as a brother. At our first interview, you confessed that an unsubdued devil was within you, and predicted your subsequent rebuke. The truth of your confession was soon manifest in the disguised yet perceptible chagrin of your spirit, when I refused to join you in your fanciful schemes of self-exaltation. From that time, a war of wills commenced between us. God is my witness, that in that death-struggle, I fought not for supremacy but for liberty. At length, God gave me the victory at New Haven, by smiting you with a second curse. Again you came up from hell a savior and a conqueror. I was not deceived the second time in respect to the nature of your sufferings.- I knew with certainty, that you suffered not for righteousness sake, but for cruelly oppressing a righteous man. Thus I was compelled to give you up as a reprobate, and to scrutinize you as an adversary. I soon perceived, that from the beginning, your confession of Christ had been only a forced and formal lip-service, submitted to for selfish purposes, as was also your confession of my relative standing. The proofs of your hypocrisy have since been constantly accumulating, until now I can no longer shrink from believing and declaring you to be in very deed, and beyond hope. according to your own confession, a PRINCE OF DEVILS.
God, who pleadeth the cause of his people, now says to me, "Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury, and thou shalt no more drink it again. But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee, which have said to thy soul, Bow down that we may go over, and thou hast laid thy body as the ground and as the street to them that went over." If your will had been done, I should have been the bridge by which you and all the unclean in this world and in hell would have passed over into the Holy City; for the doctrine of universal salvation was evidently the ground of your own hope. But God will ere long remove from your mind as he has from mine, every vestige of such a hope. You must drink the cup you have given me, and that eternally. I have suffered personally more, by the cruelty of your benevolence, than by all other causes together; and the way of truth has been evil spoken of more by reason of the perverse things which have come in through you, than for all other reasons. For God's sake, therefore, and for his elect's sake, I will lay bare your nakedness, till you receive your full portion of everlasting shame and contempt. In conclusion, be it known to you, that in deceiving me, you have deceived yourself; in murdering me, you have murdered yourself. By delusion, you have driven me into certainty; by bondage, you have driven me into liberty; by damnation, you have driven me into heaven.
JOHN H. NOYES.
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Confessions of John H. Noyes Part I : confession of religious experience: including a history of modern perfectionism.
Noyes, John Humphrey, 1811-1886.
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