A Preacher of Holiness
The attainment of the experience of perfect holiness led Brother Warner into a new and enlarged field of ministerial activity. Since the time had come for a reformation along the line of holiness, when it was the divine plan that the subject be made prominent, we should expect Brother Warner, as one of God’s ministers, to make sanctification his principal theme and at once to begin preaching it. He began writing articles on sanctification for The Church Advocate, the denominational organ. Also he began writing with a view of publishing a tract or booklet on the subject of sanctification. He was thus placed in a new field, with a new issue to defend. New lines were drawn in his ministerial relations, as there was opposition from many along a line that had not existed before.1
[His profession of holiness soon brought him to conflict with the leaders in the church. Speaking of the period of 1875-1880, Dr. Forney says in his History of the Churches of God: “During several of these years the Eldership was contending against inroads of heresies advocated by D. S. Warner. It had finally to resort to the old remedy of excision in order to prevent the spread of the disease and restore the body to good health.”]
As his diary covers the events of his life at this point we will let him again speak for himself. The reader will remember, of course, that these are but selections, as he wrote something for every day, and the accounts are too full to quote in their entirety. He was at this time on the Ashland circuit, with his home in the Vermillion College building, near Hayesville. He had been taking a special course of study at the College, but as he beheld the need of the evangelistic field in greater proportion than ever, he felt it his duty thereafter to give less attention to study and more to his ministerial calling.
July 14, 1877. Wrote, meditated, and prayed most all day with only the Lord present. Commenced article for the Advocate on sanctification.
15. Quite sick this morn. As the holiness meeting [near Upper Sandusky] was interrupted by an appointment by a Dunker preacher this A.M., we all went to Rock Run to hear Brother Smith, but he absolutely required of me that I preach for him. I was very weak; but thinking it was of the Lord I committed all to God and expected his aid. Text: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 65:25) The Lord helped me to show the dear people some of the Scripture and reasons for the second work of grace, and that as soon as we merged up into the holy mountain, love, union, and peace prevailed without alloy. May God bless the truth. There was great attention. Some questions were asked at the close of discourse, all pleasantly, however. Oh, that God would lead the dear people on to perfection!
20. The Ohio State Holiness Convention met last night in Marion on the fair ground. Will continue several days. I should be happy to attend, but the Spirit seems to direct us to return and lift up the banner of holiness on our field of labor. Hence we started this morn for home, the weather pleasant. Having brought feed and dinner we stopped under a shade tree and ate our dinner and enjoyed a pleasant rest and communion with God.
25. [At Hayesville] School begins today. Busy at domestic duties.
26. Wrote, read, and communed with the Lord.
27. Still writing on sanctification. The Lord is giving me much light. Praise his name! Met with the Excelsior Society. Read a lecture on pneumatics.
28. Finished my second article on sanctification.
29. Sabbath. Arose as soon as daylight. Spent some time with the Lord. Started about seven for Mansfield. Met a few hungry souls. The Lord wonderfully baptized my soul from the time I entered his house. Glory! glory! glory! Oceans of love flow through my soul. Oh, how inexpressibly sweet and joyful! Read part of Acts 21. After giving myself anew into the hands of God I proceeded to talk from Acts 21:14. The Lord so greatly led me out on his work in us that I did not get to the last two points, namely, his will done with us, and his will done by us. Praise the Lord, he so abundantly fills my mouth with holiness that I cannot get to anything else to say.
Had a long talk with a sister of the Church of God who was mortified over my going to the altar to seek sanctification. She thought I must have been backslidden or something. I told her that something was wanting, but I knew very well what ailed me. I had been in need of the sanctifying power of God and, glory to Jesus, I have found it. She thought that she was fully sanctified when she was converted. I replied that if that were so her experience differed from that of the first converts to Christ, as well as that of the Corinthians, the Ephesians, the Thessalonians, etc. To this she could make no reply but that it was to be attained by growth, but I reminded her that God was to do the work.
August 3, 1877. This morn went into the Lord’s camp. Dr. Steele, from New York, was reading his interesting Bible lessons, giving the benefit of the Greek and Dean Alford. Very instructive. Was happy to meet several brethren of my acquaintance from Crawford County and elsewhere. Thank God, they are on the holiness line.
4. Went out to camp at 5:30 A.M. Prayer meeting in the tabernacle. Stayed all day on the ground, or until afternoon preaching by Brother Rice, who (probably unknown to the Methodist Episcopal ministers) had his license taken from him two days before by the Northwest Ohio Conference for preaching holiness. He gave us a straight, close-hewing sermon on sanctification. He did not preach holiness for the glory of Methodism, as some others seemed somewhat inclined to do. Some were much displeased at his exposure of the opposition to holiness in the Methodist Episcopal Church. Came home this eve. Found dear Wife and child well.
8. Sister Ella Snyder called on us. She was visiting at Brother McKey’s, who, by the way, is a strong opposer of entire sanctification. Ella soon began talking on the subject and talking somewhat differently from what she did on last Sabbath. We think it probable that she had just been receiving the teaching of someone outside of the second work, She treated the subject with much lightness. Before she left we bowed in prayer, at the close of which she fell powerless on the floor. I raised her head, asked her if she was sick. She said not. Looked strange and confounded. Prayed some and confessed that the hand of God was upon her. Wife asked her if she was now sanctified. She replied that she knew not where she was. She grasped my hand very firmly. I raised her up, asked Sarah to support her; but she would not loosen her hold. As I endeavored to give her over to Wife, she gripped my hand the harder. We raised her up but she could not stand. We dropped her into a rocking chair and soon kneeled again in prayer. She prayed constantly to God for a “clean heart,” “sanctification,” etc. Her full consciousness had hardly recovered when she said she had to go, as her party were waiting on her. Sarah accompanied her a piece and left her looking very solemn. I pray God to lead her to the cleansing fountain.
12. Sabbath. Beautiful morn. Was up early and in counsel with the Lord. Soon received my text, 1 Thessalonians 5:24. Observed that this text forever took away all excuse of inability; that it laid down a principle which converted all the commands of God into promises; that everything unto which the Lord called us he would work in us. Applying the subject, as the apostle did, to entire sanctification, I defended the distinct work by experience, reason, and “thus saith the Lord.” The Lord powerfully blessed the testimony of my dear wife before preaching, and I believe that seed of truth has been sown in the hearts of the people. Went home with Bro. Jacob Freed, Brother and Sister Long, and others. We talked some on holiness. Brother Long opposed it by denying inherited depravity, which he did after my discourse today in the pulpit. Much of the afternoon was spent in the closet and private walks with the Lord. Oh, how much I prefer the company of the Lord to any other!
16. [At Eldership convention. Place not stated.] Met at half-past eight. Half hour devotion. Topic: Proper Home Influence; Duty of Parents to Their Children. The Spirit of the Lord deeply impressed this subject upon the minds of all. Hearts were melted. Tears flowed for unsaved children of ministers and members. Unconverted souls and backsliders were deeply affected. The Lord converted the convention wholly into an effort to save souls. Fervent prayers were offered, exhortations and tears, invitation hymns were sung (the organ was forgotten), and all the congregation was deeply stirred. A few souls arose and asked prayers. The unconverted children of Brothers… were especially prayed for. Oh, how I praised God that the dear brethren were willing to let the Spirit lead the meeting! The whole forenoon was given to devotion.
18. Spent the day in writing, reading, and prayer. P.M., long talk with Brother Mitchell and Sister Shriner on sanctification. Brother M. talks reasonably; Sister S. is hostile to the blessed truth, but of course it is through ignorance. She thought I should leave the Church of God at once and not destroy it by my doctrine of holiness, having actual fears of holiness. Oh, I hope and pray to God to lead my dear brethren on to this heart perfection. Would to God they understood this blessed full salvation! Nothing but wrong notions of perfect holiness or an evil spirit can oppose entire sanctification, as it does not in the least disturb or conflict with any doctrine of the church. It allows all that the Bible or any man attributes to regeneration. Instead of depreciating, it has greatly magnified justification.
19. Sabbath. At ten a funeral procession arrived from Rome, bringing a sweet little angel form, Bertha Estella Curtis, the only child of Z. H. Curtis, of Van Wert County. As their parents reside at Rome, they brought the child back there for burial. Brother Wilson preached an impressive discourse from Job: “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.” (Job 14:1) We laid the little form away and tried to comfort the young parents and friends.
Came to Shenandoah. Brother Burchard preached from: “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” (1 Peter 2:21) With his usual earnestness he urged all to live a whole-hearted Christian life. I wish the dear brother would learn to bring dear souls to the blood that cleanses from all sin, instead of infusing strength and zeal to fight inbred corruption. Recently I talked with this brother on the subject of sanctification. I had a conviction of mind that he knew something about it. He confessed that after seeking for mercy for three days the load of guilt and condemnation fell from his heart and he testified to the pardon of his sins. (This I remember myself.) But soon he found himself wanting before God. Then began another struggle for deliverance from something (he knew not what, as he felt no more guilt) that greatly disturbed his peace and shut out the smiles of God’s face. After one week’s prayer, and dedication of self and all he had to God, he “sank down in all the depth of humility and nothingness that was possible for him to conceive of.” God wonderfully blessed him with perfect light peace and love. What was this but entire sanctification? But for want of being better taught he calls this his conversion. Strange confused theology. The idea of pardon one week before conversion! I pray God to show this brother his mistake and renew him in the blessing of perfect holiness.
21. Sent out about twenty-five cards of invitation in the mail. People began to come in to the reunion here at the College.
22. College yard filled. Some good speakers, but about all chaff and vainglory, ministers and lawyers alike using their brains to evolve some trashy nonsense to tickle the ears of the foolish. I was quite unwell. Eve, much reduced, but went out to Vermillion, where I met a few precious souls and preached that men should “trust in the Lord,” and in trying to do so myself I was blessed with strength to preach about forty minutes.
26. Sabbath. The Lord helped me to set forth his great power to save from all sin in this life. Went home with Brother David Donelson. Conversed on holiness, spent much time in secret prayer. Was impressed to preach on holiness, yet felt sure that the church did not want to hear it; but I knew there was some hungry soul there that did want it…. The church here is quite strong numerically and there is much good material. Oh, that all these vessels of the Lord would be purged, sanctified, made fit for the Master’s use, prepared unto every good work! Drove home, arriving at nearly one o’clock.
27. Arose in good time, feeling greatly refreshed in the Lord. Helped to get ready to go to Shenandoah.
28. Sister Shriner is boiling over with railing toward God’s pure little ones. Glory to God! He has saved me “from the strife of tongues.” (Psalm 31:20) Christ kept me, in imitation of his own example, from answering a word. It were folly indeed to try to talk holiness where there is no appetite but for carnal contention. Thank the Lord for this wisdom.
29. Fasted and prayed today. Father N—— seems very cold and unsociable toward us. Probably the enemy has put something in his heart. I sank very deep down in the great ocean of God’s love and goodness this morning. Had inexpressible conception of the wonders of salvation. Visited at Brother Kline’s. I spent about all the time on my knees in prayer, which I love most to do.
30. Sold my mare and colt to Mother Wolf for $130.
September 1, 1877. Elmer Wolf took me part of the way to Mansfield. I gave up the faithful Mattie and little Billy to him. Walked a few miles and was overtaken by a kind man who took me in his buggy to town. Called at a few places. Spent much of the time in prayer. Eve, preached the gospel of perfect salvation.
2. Met in a holiness prayer meeting at 5:30 A.M. Took some breakfast. Stayed much on my knees before God. At 10:30 A.M. met, and tried to talk to the people from Ephesians 3:20. Then we went to a small stream at the west side of the city and had the happy privilege of immersing…. They all enjoy entire sanctification. Never before did I feel the solemnity of the ordinance as now. How unworthy I regarded myself to imitate my blessed Master, especially in immersing those whom he had led far out into the ocean of his perfect love! We sang a hymn, then knelt down upon the green sod and called upon the Lord, who was so very sensibly near to us. The day had been very dark and dreary, the sun not having shone through the clouds since early morn. But now the gentle hand of God brushed the clouds aside and sent down upon us the most glorious and brilliant streams of light that I ever witnessed. Sister F—— was the last of the three. She has been walking with God upon the strait highway of holiness for some years and her whole life is swallowed up in God alone. Though the sun was shining brilliantly, yet as she arose from the water I was impressed that a light shone upon us “above the brightness of the sun.” (Acts 26:13) She stood calmly gazing upward for a moment, with the light of God beaming from her face. I gave way to the impression that the occasion and circumstances had made on my mind and spoke of the heavenly light, which I still supposed was natural; but she afterward informed me that it was more than sunshine—rays of glory. The whole assembly was awed into reverence, and a strange feeling of sacredness pervaded all our minds. How applicable the words of the prophet: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee” (Isaiah 60:1)!
3. Took train for Perryville to begin a holiness meeting at the Brubaker Bethel. A pretty good crowd assembled. I tried to teach them their rights in the gospel, taking special pains to admonish the brethren and sisters not to allow the enemy of their souls to stir up bitterness and hatred in their hearts against the way of perfect holiness, assuring them that this way was so hated by the devil that if possible he would overthrow the best of Christians and set them foaming and raging mad against the pure in heart and true holiness. I was surprised to learn that since my last visit here the enemy had already begun to work, fearing the destruction of his kingdom.
6. Meeting nearly all day. Satan still angry. Small stones were thrown into the house from the door and windows. Two brethren ventured to speak. The first took occasion to unload his mind of many grievous objections and charges against the holiness work, and sat down much humiliated when he saw that his harsh speeches only elicited pleasant smiles and kind words from the sanctified. The second said he did not endorse what his brother had said but still could not see this second work. Both asked for “thus saith the Lord.”
7. Fasted and worshiped God all day. Met at 10 A.M. and continued until 4 P.M. Just before closing we engaged in prayer to God for my perfect healing. I was wonderfully strengthened both in body and faith. Walked about one mile over hills to find places for God’s little ones, then drove to Loudonville and Brother L—— and I ate some refreshment, about 5 P.M., at the baker’s, I not having eaten anything since the day before at noon. Glory to God, I felt no weakness.
8. Drove back to the Ridge. Found God’s little ones there at noon and no food, and no encouragement to go anywhere for dinner. We sent to Perryville and got some provisions, but before it came we had begun afternoon meeting, and cared but little for the bread that perisheth.
9. Sabbath. In the saving strength of the Lord, Wife, child, and I walked to Vermillion. Went the two and one half miles with scarcely any fatigue. Now began the eruption of a volcano in the form of a preacher, even my beloved colleague [W. H. Oliver]. The red-hot lava of scorn, scoff, and persecution, yea, words of slang fit only for the worldly rabble, poured forth about two hours, all against those whom the blood had washed whiter than snow. Glory to God, I only added that I thanked my holy Savior I was counted worthy to suffer persecution and reproach for his name’s sake. Praise God, he keeps me in a storm as well as in the calm. We came to Brother Ford’s. Sister Ella Snyder came along, and after she and Sarah had a good talk, we prayer together, and, praise the Lord, he sanctified her soul and body.
I came to Hayesville, where an appointment had been announced for me at 3 P.M. By the help of the Lord I talked from 1 Thessalonians 5:24. Glory to God, the truth went home to the heart. Rode most of the way back with Father M——. Poor old man tried to pick a quarrel with me on baptism. I finally calmed his nerves by singing “The Precious Blood Has Reached Me.” Shut myself up with God until meeting. Found the church mostly displeased with the harangue of the forenoon. Good speaking meeting. Wife testified boldly to the second work and admonished the church. Sister Snyder, whom the Lord smote down in my room some time ago, and who entered into rest this day, also testified to her entire sanctification. I talked to the people about twenty minutes from Acts 5:28-39. Oh, how sweetly the Spirit led me and talked through me! Some shouting.
10. My soul was very happy today. It appears that I only begin to realize the glorious work that God has done for me. I do thank God for the test of yesterday. O Lord, try me in every way and see if there is any evil way in me! I do praise the Lord that I cannot feel the slightest ill will in my heart against the persecutor. May the Lord enlighten, humble, and save him. I suppose he really thinks like Paul, the persecutor, did, that he is doing God service.
13. I walked over to Sister Smith’s and called to invite her to the meeting. Had a season of prayer with her and family. As I was about to start she asked if I did not wish to sell my buggy. I told her I did. So she gave me a beast to ride to Shenandoah and bring the buggy back on my return. Thank the Lord, this is his kind dealing with me. Eve, abstained from supper, as I commonly do when I have services. Good full house. Delivered my farewell discourse to the people of Shenandoah. Acts 20. Brother Oliver was present, and was so much annoyed when I addressed the few little ones whom the Lord has perfected in love that he could not compose himself and sit in one position three seconds. God pity any one thus mad against the work of God.
14. Met a Brother and Sister Daily, from Morrow County. I enquired of that country as a missionary field and heard of some destitute localities, where the Lord may send me to win souls for Jesus. Came to Shenandoah, thence to Brother M. Bell’s, south of town. Visited until 5 P.M. Poor man thinks it impossible to get rid of the Adamic nature while we live. So “entered not in because of unbelief.” (Hebrews 4:6) Had a season prayer with the family and twice interviewed the Lord in the pleasant woods near by. Glory to Jesus, he is near, yea, reigning in me most preciously today. Came over to Paul’s. Found that they had been in expectation of me all day. Prayed with and encouraged them to stedfastness.
15. Ate some breakfast this morn with the design of fasting the rest of the day. Desired much to visit some, but felt the importance of shutting myself up with the Lord, so I did, and was greatly blessed. At 2 P.M. we met in the grove and had a profitable little meeting. Brother Oliver, by my request, again preached.
16. Sabbath. Early this morn I went to the beautiful grove prepared for services. Spent a long time upon my knees there in prayer and reading His Word. At ten people convened. Had a good speaking-meeting. Then Brother Oliver preached on Ephesians 3:14-15. Preached over an hour on Christian union. I am sick of hearing union thrown at the people with the sling of depravity. Might as well go into a drove of sheep and expect to get them all into a solid mass by pounding them around with a club. It can but scatter more.
I took dinner with Brother and Sister Ferguson on the ground, then went off into the woods nearly a half mile and stayed with the Lord alone until 2:30 P.M., the time for preaching. The Spirit directed me to read and talk upon 1 Corinthians 13. Though I said scarcely anything but what every true Christian can endorse, yet Brother Oliver took occasion to put in about a half hour opposing holiness as a distinct work of God. Poor soul, he is greatly disturbed with the subject of perfect love. Went home with Brother and Sister Tomlinson and Brother and Sister Crum. They were anxious to learn of the way of holiness. Had prayer together and some supper. I walked to the Bethel, found it full and Brother Oliver preaching.
Brother O. took me in hand on holiness; asked me many questions, made grievous charges, and wanted me to leave what he termed “my theory.” Asked me if I was going to continue preaching as I have for the past month. I told him that I would continue to teach all the light I had received and as much more as the Lord would give. I patiently heard his long heckling and thanked him. As he finished he drew from his pocket a paper and handed it to me. My first impression was that it was a note that someone had sent to me, but as soon as I took it I felt the Spirit of God go through my whole being and I knew that it was something from which God would bring great good to my soul and his cause. I thanked him and put it in my pocket. Came to Brother Stoner’s and got my beast and buggy and drove to Brother Wolfe’s. Stopping for some things there I took a moment to read the portentous paper I had received. I read as follows:
September 15, 1877.
The following charges are preferred against Elder D. S. Warner:
First. For inviting a sect of fanatics calling themselves the Holy Alliance Band to hold meetings in the local Churches of God without consulting the elders or trustees or myself.
Second. For joining in with these said band and bidding them God speed and thereby bringing schism and division among those churches.
Third. For the accommodation of this professed holy band that he invited to hold a meeting of ten days in the Church of God chapel in Mansfield. Elder D. S. Warner did on the evening of the 8th of July in less than one hour hold the ordinances of washing the saints’ feet and the Lord’s Supper attended to.
Fourth. For stating publicly in Shenandoah, about the 26th of August, that he had been preaching his own doctrine prior to seeking his so-called holiness.
W. H. Oliver.
I thanked God and put the paper away without saying a word. Bid all farewell, including Della Oliver, whom I invited to come and visit us. I drove to Sister Smith’s, twelve miles. The night was beautiful and light, and my soul was happy. I praised God all the way and was too happy to sleep when I retired about 12 o’clock. Of these charges I feel as Joseph told his brethren: “Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” (Genesis 50:20)
To the first charge I say: Thank God that calling people hard names does not make them such, but only shows the depravity of the accuser. No band was invited, but simply persons from different localities who enjoyed holiness.
Second. The charge of schism is without the least shadow of foundation. Through the mercy of God a few souls have been sanctified from their pride, etc., and qualified to be useful in the church.
[The answer to the third charge is omitted from the journal. Perhaps an oversight.]
Fourth. This is a mistake. I simply said that on sanctification I used to preach what I believed, but now I am able to testify that I know.
21. [At Canton camp-meeting.] A.M., Brother Oliver tried to preach, being very hoarse. After preaching a brother presented a call for money for Brother Oliver’s horse. I joyfully took a paper and solicited for him with his paper of charges in my pocket. Thank God for entire sanctification. P.M., I addressed the people from 1 Thessalonians 4:1. By the help of God a portion of the discourse was given to testifying and teaching entire sanctification. Brother Petra followed in German with a crossfire. Brother James followed him with his mixed talk, part of the time seeming to endorse me and the other Brother P. Oh, how much waste of time for the want of seeking a definite experience and then being able to “give the trumpet a certain sound!” Brother James announced that in the evening he would preach from, “This is the will of God, even your sanctification.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3) I prayed God to keep him from opposing the truth and, thank His name, he talked only to sinners and said little on the text.
24. [Canton camp meeting.] I thank God that I came to this meeting. I have never in all my life met so much good, old-fashioned, plain, humble, Holy Ghost religion. What a kind-hearted people! God bless them. After long time was spent in sobs and farewell greetings around a large assembly of people who were solemnly touched by the deepness of the feeling, we marched around in single file again singing, “We are traveling to the New Jerusalem.” Then we gathered in front of the stand, and as we stood singing, the Holy Spirit came upon us and there was wonderful shouting in the camp by sisters, about all young, single ones, who were carried entirely off in the Spirit. We did not get away from the sacred altar until about 2 o’clock at night, so greatly did the Spirit rest on the camp of the dear saints.
25. Arose greatly refreshed. Went to the camp for breakfast once more, after we all bowed in the tent to worship God. Had a precious stroll and season of prayer out on the campground. Returning, met Bro. Milton S——, a very faithful young man. I read in his face some very unfortunate misgivings, and told him the same, to his surprise. I gave him nearly an hour’s lecture on the evils of violating and perverting physical laws, also on self-culture and mental improvement. The dear brother was lost for language to thank me for the favor. He was wonderfully teachable, and urged me never to miss an opportunity to instruct and admonish persons in his condition.
Brother James and I started for Middle Branch, where I had an appointment. We stopped with Sister Lucy, ate a dish of peaches and cream, and had a season of prayer. Rather small congregation, and they rather sleepy from having been up so late last night at camp meeting.
On the 27th Brother Warner went to attend the Eldership meeting at Smithville. He says that on account of insufficient pure air in the house he did not remain in much of the time. He also says, on the 28th, that “Brother James was taken into the ecclesiastical mill today.” On the third day of the session Brother Warner was called upon for his report of the year’s work. He reported 203 sermons, 68 converts, 66 accessions, 40 immersed. There were 164 members in good standing, whereas there were 75 when he took charge two years previous. Proceeding in his journal, for the 29th he says:
Reported that God had fully saved and sanctified me, and that I was under the necessity to preach that precious truth to the glory of Jesus; that I desired to cooperate with the Church of God; could not exchange truth for truth but must walk in all the light of God. The Holy Spirit rested on me in power, and tears flowed freely all over the congregation. Praise God for his power and presence! Brother Oliver then arose and made known to the body that he had charges against me. The speaker appointed… a committee to investigate my case. Brother O. subpoenaed a large number of witnesses, many of whom knew absolutely nothing about the case. I told the body that I had never informed but three persons about the charges against me, had asked no witnesses but had committed my whole case to God; however, if anyone felt directed by the Spirit to appear in defense of the cause of God and holiness they should meet with us. We went at once to Brother Z——’s office and began the investigation.
I felt greatly impressed with the need of prayer and hoped these dear old saints would not begin such a solemn work without invoking the Holy Spirit’s guidance. But I was disappointed, as they opened the business at once. Even after investigation began I felt that I must go to God on my knees; but I did not, as I had no control of business. Yet I did wrong in not demanding the right of prayer. I also lost power to conduct myself with that calmness and sweetness that I had been so ardently wishing from the Lord, though I felt no such thing as a roiled temper for one second for all the hard aspersions and carnal accusations thrown at me. Yet I did sometimes speak when I should have kept silent, as my blessed Master did.
What was my astonishment when Elder O. read letters from Vermillion and Brubaker’s signed by about all the church, charging me with insanity whenever I touched on sanctification, also with causing division and schism in the churches and every work imaginable! As I heard the names of the dear brethren read over that were appended to those letters I had strange feelings. I truly felt myself in a queer world. Never in my life did my reasoning powers receive such a dreadful shock. I felt myself sinking, then looked to Jesus and all was calm and peaceful again. I asked Brother O. who had got up those letters. “They are headed respectively from the Vermillion and Brubaker churches to the Eldership. Please tell the Committee whether the elders have written them or who.” Brother O. looked very much confused and refused to answer. I demanded an answer. The Committee sustained me. Then with shame he confessed that they were both written by him. I told him that it was all right and thanked him for his trouble.
Brother Roller, elder from Vermillion, who confessed to me that at the ordinance meeting he was ashamed of Elder O’s two-hour harangue of abuse against the work of “perfecting the saints,” being present, was then called to the witness stand. After he stated in direct examination that I was insane on sanctification, I asked him to inform the Committee what the manifestations of my insanity were. He gave the following three points, which I record to his shame:
First. “You hesitated to proceed to preach once at Vermillion, stating that you wished to be led by the Spirit in the selection of a subject and that if the Spirit wished you not to preach you would read the Word, talk experience, or be silent, as the Spirit directed.”
Second. “You do not act as you used to. At our ordinance meeting you sat back, and I believe Brother Oliver had to invite you forward.” Brother O. concurred in this remark. But I then appealed to them if it was not a fact that I came down from the pulpit immediately after closing my remarks and led in the preparation and observance of feet-washing. Then he remarked that it was at the Brick, on Brother Lynn’s charge, and Brother O. was not there at all, and that it was after feet-washing Brother Lynn stepped to me and asked me to assist in the Lord’s Supper (which was perfectly proper for me—to wait for an invitation).
Third. “You do not preach as loud on sanctification as you used to preach, but you are more low and calm.”
These were his only reasons for the assertion of my insanity.
Brother Mitchell only stated that some young people asked him “what ails Brother Warner, he does not preach as heretofore,” hence concluded that I was partly insane. Brother O. said all he could to taint the character of the holiness workers. Many of his aspersions were never answered. It is of no use to give particulars, only this, that I was grateful to God for these fiery ordeals, and though the Lord kept me from an evil thought, yet I was conscious of great weakness and must say to my shame that I did not keep that perfect calmness and sweetness in the midst of the storm of unexpected accusation. However, I came out with another perfect evidence that “the very God of peace had sanctified me wholly.” I was entirely free from the least hard feelings against any of my brethren. Glory to God, I felt good toward them all. Looked upon their efforts to condemn me and the holiness cause as springing entirely from ignorance, sin within, and a blind zeal to protect the church. I went to my room a happy soul. Related a few points of the many wonderful things developed before the committee and then we concluded that it did not minister grace to talk about them, hence we had a sweet season of worship and lay down and slept sweetly until morn.
30. Sabbath. Arose early and sought the Lord. Spent about all my time with God and my Bible until 10 A.M., then went up to the Bethel to speaking meeting, and heard Elder T. Hickernel make a long speech of caution to brethren who seemed to have been flinging at sanctified ones. He made this sensible remark: “You who claim to have been fully sanctified at conversion, be careful that you do not prove your claims false by picking and persecuting those who have the second experience.” At half past ten went to the Methodist Episcopal house of worship, where a large congregation had assembled to hear me speak on perfect holiness. I felt more like keeping quiet in some small corner. A number of the brethren were present, some to sit back and try to criticize. Yea, these were preachers, and about all of them left before the sermon closed. But there were several others who came to learn and who gave close attention and were compelled to sanction the truth. The Lord wonderfully baptized my soul and all the lovers of truth and holiness. I believe I never before spoke with such power and liberty. Glory to God, he so freely poured his Spirit upon us that it filled the whole house. After services, Brother Oliver’s daughter came forward and told us that she enjoyed the blessing of entire sanctification. She said she was wonderfully strengthened and wished that her father were fully saved.
We went to Brother Baker’s for dinner. Brother Torbet, the Methodist minister, was also with us. We enjoyed a good season in reading some good holiness works, such as Dr. Steele’s Love Enthroned, and prayer, then came to meet at the Bethel at 2:30 P.M. Went to the home of Brother Oliver’s daughter. Her father was to come also, but seeing us go there, or for some other cause, went elsewhere. The poor woman is very unfortunately married, but Christ is her only true companion. Eve, Brother Updike preached with all his might (his usual style) on Christ a teacher. We then observed the ordinances.
October 1, 1877. Committee on my case reported “charges sustained,” but recommended me favorably to the body for license with this restriction only, that I do not bring holiness workers or any outside elements to hold a meeting anywhere in the Churches of God without their consent. This I readily consented to, as a meeting thus appointed could do no good, or but little. I also, unsolicited, apologized for the appointment of some meetings in the past which to my surprise proved offensive to the churches.
The report was adopted and my license renewed. Thank the Lord! However, I had perfect peace on the whole matter, and had my license been withheld I would equally have given God thanks. Glory to Jesus!
Was out much of the day talking with brethren on perfect love, etc. The brethren from Stark circuit again called me out and consulted me about taking their circuit. I told them if they could stand perfect holiness and all the counsel of God preached, they might apply for me, and I would leave it all with the Lord and the Eldership. This eve I gave a concise account of my experience of justification and sanctification. At a late hour the Eldership closed with a report of the Stationing Committee. I was assigned to the Stark circuit, consisting of Canton, New Berlin, Middle Creek, and Stump’s Bethel. Thank the Lord! His ways are not our ways. I had built much on free missionary work, but he knows best. I committed it all to him, besought him to prevent my appointment to a circuit if he did not wish me to take one, even by cutting off my license if no other way; and now I receive this appointment of the Lord, and by his blessing and power I hope he will make his Word to run and be glorified in the salvation of hundreds of souls.
Following this decision of the Stationing Committee, Brother and Sister Warner had the task of changing their place of abode, which in their work they had so many times to do. Their belongings were certainly not many; nevertheless the work of packing and the obtaining of some means of conveying their goods to the station was left generally for them to attend to. His literary society about this time gave an entertainment at the College, but he with Sister Warner preferred to attend a holiness meeting about four miles distant. Of this meeting he thus speaks:
3. Met Brother Ackers, from Bucyrus, whom I had not met before. He is a wonderful specimen of God’s great salvation, raised from the delirium tremens to perfect holiness and mighty faith.
7. Brother Ackers testified for God that the happiest moment he ever saw was when he found he had lost all his property and had not a dollar left, though he had been a wealthy merchant in Bucyrus. I was led to testify how the Lord had taken me through some storms in great calmness. Eve, the church and the large schoolhouse on the same corners were both filled. I delivered a short sermon in the former on perfection, then went over to the other house and gave an exhortation to sinners.
Before leaving for Canton, Brother and Sister Warner decided to visit the latter’s former home near Upper Sandusky. From that place he went to visit his father, at Bridgewater, Williams County.
11. This morning arose before daylight, started quite early to Loudonville. Brother Eyer came to the station and brought a quilt for us and a small one for Levilla, which the sisters of the Brubaker Church had got up for us. I spent some hours in packing things more securely to ship. Took train at 2:16 P.M. for Upper Sandusky. Reached there after seven. Walked out to Father Keller’s. They had about given me up and were engaged in family worship. With reverence and admiration I stood at the window and looked in at that dear, affectionate family, all made perfect “through the blood of the everlasting covenant,” (Hebrews 13:20-21) while bowed together in evening devotion. Father was praying with a beaming face toward me. It appeared that the whole house was illuminated with the presence of God. My heart was made to burn with love and the Holy Ghost. When through with prayer, I entered, and then we had a moment of joyful greeting in the name of the Lord Jesus. My full heart then suggested that we bow again in praise and thanksgiving to God, which we all did. Oh, how my poor heart tried to find utterance for its weight of gratitude to our God of wondrous love and salvation! Until quite late we talked of the kind dealings of God to our souls. I praise thee, O my God and Father, that thou hast ever connected me with this family. Through thy blessings, we have been wonderful helps to each other.
13. I took train at about half past five for my father’s in Williams County. Lay over about an hour at Toledo. Reached Bryan about half past one. Went up in the town and soon found a man by the name of Faith, who could take me within one and three fourths miles from Father’s. Talked with the poor man about his soul; but he had taken an oath to stick to the Lutheran Church as long as he lived, and that oath must be kept if he violates every obligation to Christ and loses his soul. Called at Brother Dean’s. Found the poor man much cast down over the death of his dear wife. He wept as I alluded to her. Came on home. Found Father pretty well and happy to see me.
As I came from Brother Dean’s, I passed the old schoolhouse where I surrendered to Jesus. It is no more used. I revered the sacred spot. Approached the door and found that it was not locked. I entered and kneeled as near as I could where I bowed at the altar a penitent sinner twelve years ago last February. I poured out my full heart of gratitude to the Father of mercies that he ever sent his spirit to convict me of my sins and show me my awful doom if I continued in sin. I truly thanked God that he had there prevailed upon me to repent of all my sin. I praised the great Shepherd of my soul that his grace had kept me those years from the power of an enraged foe. My thanks ascended to God for all the good he had done through this lump of unworthy clay. There I reconsecrated to God, after a careful examination of myself before him.
After some talk with Father, we bowed down together and I earnestly prayed God to save my poor father from the dreadful end of the wicked. For some time I have been unusually burdened in heart for my poor old father. I trust God in his infinite mercy will yet save him ere he goes to his long home. Before retiring, in my bedchamber I continued long in prayer with my blessed Savior.
14. Sabbath. Brother Joseph Neil and I went to Madison Bethel, where Brother Coblen (recently from the German Baptists) had an appointment to preach. Brother C. spoke about thirty minutes on Hebrews 2:2. Did well. I then talked over thirty minutes, mostly on the perfect escape from sin.
The church here are living in a high state of justification and spirituality. They all sanctioned entire sanctification. We then had a good speaking meeting, when some of them acknowledged their need of full salvation. Oh, what a pity this church could not be led into the blessed land of perfect rest! But perhaps the next preacher that comes along will try to turn them against the truth. What a dreadful thing is an unsanctified minister! O Lord! make haste to “purify the sons of Levi.” (Malachi 3:3) Took dinner with Brother Troxel. As soon as we arrived, Brother Neil began to entertain some young people on the porch with stories, while the disgraceful pipe protruded from his unsanctified lips. I withdrew at once to the room, read a few chapters, then to the bedroom and communed with my God until dinner was about ready. After eating, the pipe presented itself again. The Lord led me to rebuke such filthiness of the flesh. I told them that the use of tobacco was positively a sin: First, because it was the gratification of an unnatural and unholy appetite; second, it was offensive to all who were not therewith corrupted; third, it was a sinful appropriation of the Lord’s means; fourth, it disqualified for refined and pure society by its extreme filthiness. Brother Neil then hitched up his beast, drove to the front, and called for me. I told him to come in. I read a portion of God’s Word and then engaged in prayer. The Spirit led me into some very solemn requests for my brethren, and I trust they will hereafter have a more sacred conception of what it is to be holy in life, heart, and “all manner of conversation.” (1 Peter 1:15) Came to Father’s. Had a long season of prayer in the chamber where I dwelt so much with God at the beginning of my ministration of the Word. Then for exercise and meditation I chose to walk to the meetinghouse, about one and one half miles. The house was densely crowded. I was astonished that the word had spread so rapidly to such a great distance in every direction. The Lord gave me glorious liberty and power. 1 Thessalonians 4:1. Touched on sanctification, and I saw in a moment that I had some hearers who were in the land and others seeking the crossing, all members of the Church of God. The Lord gave me a very solemn appeal to the sinner. Many wept. My father was greatly melted down.
15. Father and I drove to Brother Joseph’s. I walked to the cemetery and communed with God beside the grave of my beloved and revered mother. I knelt down there and thanked God for having been brought into the world by such a pure and beloved mother; for her tender and never-failing care for me when in sickly childhood and youth; for the hallowed influence of her constant life of love and patience and humble trust in God in the midst of constant wickedness in this world; for her triumphant death and the hope of meeting her in heaven. Though I began in secret I soon forgot my surroundings and called loudly upon my blessed Jesus, not only in thanksgiving, but for the salvation of Father, Brother and friends.
16. Arose early. Communed with the Lord. Bathed, as my custom is each alternate morning. Read a little tract on Joshua’s stopping the sun and moon, written by D. M. Bennett. While reading the little bit of corruption the Lord gave me wonderful light to expose it to my father. These facts flashed across my mind: 1. The world was lost in ignorance of God and debased in sin. 2. The first thing necessary in human salvation was for God to make man sensible of His existence and power. 3. He had to take mankind in the condition sin had placed him. 4. Man, possessing very little mental and less moral elevation and energy, would not have been impressed with awe and reverence before God had he manifested his perfections of wisdom and holiness, any more than a base society would entertain peculiar respect for a man who appeared among them with superior intellect and morals. 5. As man’s chief ideal of greatness consisted in valor, heroism, and physical achievements, it is a fact that on this low plane only could man be led to recognize the true greatness and actual existence of God, by the manifestations of his power in the manner he used in destroying those idolatrous nations.
P.M., Father and I drove to Montpelier on a little business. Father gave me five dollars, and one dollar in silver for Levilla. He also gave me a small package of some of my revered mother’s clothes. How blessed her memory! Eve, Mr. Frisby (married to my niece), my brother, and a large wagonload accompanied me to Madison, where I spoke to a full house. About the whole church received the light of holiness.
On the 19th he took train on his journey toward Canton. He stopped at Loudonville and visited the church. Arrived at Canton on the 20th and proceeded immediately to visit congregations on the circuit. Sister Warner and child arrived on the 23d. The search for a house in which to live extended over a period of several days. There were good, faithful brethren who assisted them with provisions, but yet to a considerable extent they were left to provide the necessaries of life themselves. Of his effort to procure wood and hay we observe, for November 6:
Cold. Snowed some last night for the first. Went to hunt wood and hay. Found no wood or hay to spare. It seems hard that a poor messenger of God must expose himself to drive about sixteen miles through mud and very raw air to hunt those necessaries. It seems a light thing nowadays to sow to the people spiritual things, but a heavy thing to reap a few temporal things, even when we try to live more simple and cheap than our poor. Oh, how good it would have been for me to have had this day in the warm with the Lord in my library! But glory to Jesus, we still joy in sustaining sacrifice for his sake and feel content with our lot. Only, dear Lord, give us a good supply of the spirit of love, zeal, wisdom, and power.
Meetings in town were held from house to house until a permanent place of worship could be opened. It was not long, however, until they both felt the Lord leading them to resign the circuit. Brother Warner had accepted with submission and good grace the charge given him (which, after all, was of man’s appointment), but as a preacher of holiness with an ever increasing interest in a wider field, he doubtless felt that God wanted him to be free to go and do as the Spirit directed. The following is his entry for November 23:
This morn before daylight, when having morning devotion, the Spirit of God spoke to both Sarah and me to fast today. Thank God for such a precious Leader. Who would not obey such a wise Counselor? Spent most of the day in reading the Word, singing, and prayer. At ten A.M. we were both before the Lord in silent prayer when we were both directed by the Spirit to resign this circuit. Still on our knees, we made known the orders received. We could but say amen, and the refreshings from the presence of the Lord came upon our hungry souls. We engaged in prayer and praise, when I was directed to proceed at once to write my resignation.
This tried me, as I had never before been thrown among such very kind brethren and sisters. It seemed hard that I must throw up the circuit without as much as consulting them. But we dared not disobey God, as some hesitancy to obey in the past had cost me much power and sweet rest in God. Praise God, our hearts were much lightened and we felt that we had now got back at the beginning of the highway of holiness, which we had to some extent missed. We could now sing, “He leadeth us.”* Eve, went up to the office and received a card earnestly calling for our services at Columbiana. Of this call I had an impression before I went to the office, and believe it of the Lord. Glory to God! My way has been hedged up ever since we came on the circuit.
At Columbiana he found a number whose hearts were open to sanctification. His work there resulted in ten persons receiving the experience and one sinner being converted. Returning to his house in Canton on December 6, he became impressed with the idea of writing out in somewhat itemized form the solemn covenant that constituted his consecration to God.
8. I fasted today. Remained up with the Lord until after 11 o’clock at night. I was led by the Spirit to a deep self-examination. I found myself utterly nothing in the sight of God. I read with great interest the experience of Brother R. Yeakel, in the Living Epistles of 1873. As I read over the solemn written covenant that this holy man entered into with God, I was much impressed to do likewise, but feared that my impressions came from a wish to imitate one of God’s holy men rather than to follow the Spirit.
Went to the office this eve and received a letter from Brother Chambers, chairman of the Ohio Holiness Alliance. As soon as I saw his name on the envelope the conviction of last Sabbath that I should give myself up to be a holiness evangelist came strongly to my mind, and as I walked home I promised God that I would not lie down until I had reported myself to Brother Chambers for this work. The Lord helped me to do so, and as I wrote down my convictions and surrendered to the Lord, the Holy Ghost graciously fell upon my soul.
13. The day was mild and fair. Took a walk in the woods to commune with God. Thought much of the words of God, “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel.” (Jeremiah 31:31) In Hebrews 8 and 10 I read that this covenant related to the new dispensation, and the apostle, in Hebrews 10, actually connects it with sanctification. I felt like entering more personally and formally into this covenant with the Almighty. But I thought, Can such a worm enter into an everlasting covenant with the Holy God of the universe? God makes the proposition, and with solemn reverence I venture to step out upon it. And this I do in the name of the Lord Jesus, my only righteousness.
A covenant is an agreement of two parties in which both voluntarily bind themselves to fill certain conditions and receive certain benefits. God is the party of the first part of the contract and has bound himself.
1. “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts.” (Hebrews 8:10)
2. “I will be to them a God.” (Hebrews 8:10)
3. They “shall know me, from the least to the greatest.” (Hebrews 8:11)
4. “I will be merciful to their unrighteousness.” (Hebrews 8:12)
5. “Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” (Hebrews 8:12)
O thou Most High God, thou hast left this covenant in thy Holy Book, saying, If any man “taketh hold of my covenant.” (Isaiah 56:6)
Now, therefore, in holy fear and reverence I present myself as the party of the second part and subscribe my name to the holy article of agreement, and following thy example will here and now write down the conditions on my part.
“They shall be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:33) Amen, Lord, I am forever thine.
The vow is passed beyond repeal,
Now will I set the solemn seal.
Lord, thou hast been true to thy covenant, though I have been most unfaithful and am now altogether unworthy to take hold of thy most gracious covenant. But knowing that thou hast bound thyself in thy own free offer to “be merciful to their unrighteousness,” I take courage to approach thee and would most earnestly beseech thee to fulfill thy wonderful offer to be my God; and I do most joyfully yield myself entirely to be thine.
Therefore this soul which thou hast made in thine own image is placed wholly in thy hands to do with it as seemeth good.
This mind shall think only for thy glory and the promotion of thy cause.
This will is thy will, O God!
The spirit within this body is now thine; do with it as thou wilt, in life and death.
This body is thy temple forevermore.
These hands shall work only for thee.
These eyes to see thy adorable works and thy holy law.
This tongue and these lips to speak only holiness unto the Lord.
These ears to hear thy voice alone.
These feet to walk only in thy ways.
And all my being is now and forever thine.
In signing my name to this solemn covenant I am aware that I bind myself to live, act, speak, think, move, sit, stand up, lie down, eat, drink, hear, see, feel, and whatsoever I do all the days and nights of my life, to do all continually and exclusively to the glory of God. I must henceforth wear nothing but what honors God. I must have nothing in my possession or under my control but such as I can consistently write upon, “Holiness unto the Lord.” (Zechariah 14:20-21) The place where I live must be wholly dedicated to God. Every item of goods or property that is under my control is hereby conveyed fully over into the hands of God to be used by him as he will and to be taken from my stewardship whenever the great Owner wishes, and it is not my business at all.
She whom I call my wife belongs forevermore to God. Use her as thou wilt and where thou wilt, and leave her with me, or take her from me, just as seemeth good to thee and to thy glory. Amen.
Levilla Modest, whom we love as a dear child, bestowed upon us by thy infinite goodness, is hereby returned to thee. If thou wilt leave us to care for her and teach her of her true Father and Owner, we will do the best we can by thy aid to make her profitable unto thee. But if thou deemest us unfit to properly rear her or wouldst have her in thy more immediate presence, behold, she is thine, take her. Amen and amen.
And now, great and merciful Father, thou to whom I belong, with all that pertains to me, and thou who art mine with all that pertains to thy fullness and richness, all this offering which I have made would be but foolishness and waste of time were it not for what I have in thee obtained to confirm the solemn contract. For were it not that thou art my God, my promises would be but idle words. I could fulfill nothing which my mouth has uttered and my pen has written. But since thou, Almighty, Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Eternal God, art mine, I have a thousandfold assurance that all shall be fulfilled through thy fullness.
My ignorance is fully supplied by thy own infinite wisdom. My utter weakness and inability to preserve myself from sin is abundantly supplied by thy omnipotence, to thy everlasting praise.
Glory to thy holy name! Though I have solemnly pledged all things to thee, yet, as thou art my “all and in all,” I have nothing to fear. Now, O Father! my God and Savior, I humbly pray thee so to keep me that all my powers of soul, body, and spirit, my time, talents, will, influence, words, and works, shall continually, exclusively, and eternally glorify thy holy name through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen and amen.
In covenant with the God of all grace and mercy, who has become my salvation, my all, and whose I am forever, to the praise of his glory. Amen.
Entered into by the direction of the Holy Spirit and signed this Thirteenth day of December, in the year of our Lord Eighteen Hundred and Seventy-Seven.
—Daniel Sidney Warner
I realized much strength by obeying the impressions of the Spirit in writing out the foregoing covenant. God seemed present as though I was making an agreement with a person whom I could see by my side.
Eve, Romans 12. The Lord was there to make truth effectual, and after preaching succeeded in getting about all the members in the altar, and we had a solemn, heart-searching time. Then we had speaking meeting. I urged the brethren and sisters to confess what they felt to be their true condition and their wants. About all confessed: “I have an evil nature within me which I would like to get rid of if that can be.” “I confess I have sin in me.” “Have carnality yet in me.” Glory to God, this brought the Lord very near. My soul seemed in heaven. Everything seemed melting down before God and yielding to his constraining love and sinners were serious.
16. Sabbath. Preached on Hebrews. Had a talk with Brother William Fuller on sanctification. He was critical and talked for argument. The Spirit bade me leave him, but I did not obey for some time, wishing to show my regards for the young brother. I have learned, however, never again to disobey God out of deference to man. When God says cease an argument, the cause of holiness can only suffer by disobedience. I finally withdrew to the closet and confessed my disobedience to the Spirit. After coming out, Mr. W——, a poor sinner, attacked me, using some insulting language. I read a little Scripture and left him.
Eve, read 1 Thessalonians and 1 John on perfect love. The Lord’s Spirit was there to melt hearts. Opposition began to give way. Brother Fuller, after meeting, confessed that his eyes were being opened to the truth; hoped I would return. Brother Abraham Whitmire confessed his convictions that unless this community accepted holiness the cause of religion would greatly suffer here. Others with tears asked our prayers. Glory to God, good seed is sown here which will bring forth in the future.
On the 19th Brother and Sister Warner began packing their goods to move to Upper Sandusky, the home of the latter’s parents. They had received word that a holiness revival was desired in Findlay, where the seed had already been sown. On arriving at Upper Sandusky they found that they were already engaged for Findlay and were to go there the following Monday. Of their work in Findlay, in which they were assisted by Father and Mother Keller, a few selected notes from the diary will give a sufficient account.
24. Reached the Bethel in Findlay before preaching. Found that God was wondrously at work here. Twenty-three sanctified. Some of the old members fighting the work. The Lord blessed me in preaching full salvation. His power rested on the people and some came to the altar. Father and I went home with Father Sherick. He had been opposed to holiness but, thank God, he is now yielding and begins to confess his need of full salvation. He is eighty years old and probably fifty years a Christian—but has never grown out of depravity.
25. Today we celebrate the birth of Christ. Arose before daylight, as usual, and after my daily bath Father and I had a precious season of prayer and praises. Met at ten at the Bethel. Had a prayer and general experience meeting. The “little ones” testified straight and strong. Eve, house full. Was asked to preach again. Felt much straightened. The elders were to let us know about our having the Bethel for a holiness meeting, and it was expected that tonight the meeting should be conducted for sinners; but last night God showed me after preaching that this must be a holiness meeting. So I was hedged up by the church on one side and God on the other. Tried to preach some time to sinners, but was absolutely abandoned to myself. Oh, how empty and hollow all I said! I saw that this would not do, so I proceeded to full salvation for believers. Glory to God, I had some unction then, but felt the displeasure of some of the church. Two mourners and three believers presented themselves at the altar. One soul sanctified. After meeting a very intelligent and pleasant sister came forward and said, “God gave me the wonderful Christmas gift of entire sanctification while you were preaching.” Glory to God forever! We announced meetings in the future on the holiness line.
26. Up before the family, bathed and prayed. A.M., wrote, occasionally talked holiness to persons coming in seeking light. All the city is in an uproar on holiness. Hallelujah! At half-past two met at the Bethel. Brother Linsey led the meeting. Satan made a dreadful rally today. All the old cold members got in the back part of the house. Bro. Samuel Ferguson acted as spokesman for the devil. He set out in a raging storm. Called this work the judgment of the whore, the abomination that maketh desolate. Called God to rebuke it, to smite it in the mouth until the blood should fly out. He hollowed and stamped and foamed like a madman. Glory to God, who kept his little ones in perfect peace. God gave me great peace, and I could but say thank God for the trial of his holy cause. I proceeded in a calm spirit to show the people some of God’s sacred truth that they were rejecting. Brother Wilson arose on the opposition side and asked some questions, threatening a call of the Standing Committee. May the Lord help him to seek the cleansing blood.
A young man, member of the church, by the name of Teams stepped out in the aisle and began to yell and stamp and walk to and fro. He consumed about fifteen minutes in silly harangue against perfect holiness by the blood of Christ. There was no reason, sense, Bible, or even apparent civilization in his aspersions. All the little ones were kept in perfect peace. Eve, Brother Updike preached his farewell sermon to the church. He felt so directed because of the recent abuses of his wife by some of the church and because of the wicked opposition of the leaders of the church to holiness. He declared his withdrawal from this charge. The old and formal part of the church were aroused most furiously. I followed by some remarks. A few came out to seek purity.
27. Had meeting at 2 P.M. in the courthouse, whither we have moved because of the constant disturbance in the Bethel. Eve, tried to preach to a good congregation at the courthouse. The Lord was with us in sweet peace and power. We felt we were in a purer spiritual atmosphere.
30. Sabbath. Met at ten. Hebrews 13:20-21. The Lord helped me to show the people that perfection is commanded and attained now; what it is and is not; that it is not attained in conversion, but by a second work. At 2.30 P.M. met in the courthouse in a temperance meeting. Brothers Linsey and Ackers both glorified God by testifying to their wonderful salvation from drink and tobacco, both having had delirium tremens several times. Brother A. called the tobacco habit a twin sister to strong drink and claimed that it was the cause of his becoming a drunkard. After they spoke, a Lutheran minister arose and deprecated the springing of tobacco in the meeting and palliated this abomination as consistent with perfect consecration to God and piety. Shame! Shame!
A brother asked concerning our holiness. So we bowed together and had a season of prayer, and as we afterward began to talk he constantly interrupted me, would not let me finish a point, or connect the Scripture proofs of the two works. We bowed again in prayer and he led. He asked God to purify his heart and take all the evil nature out of him. After arising I remarked that as he would interrupt all my efforts to give him instruction I would now ask him some questions and learn. I asked him what things we were allowed of God. Answer, “Such things as he promises.” Do you always pray for such only? “Yes.” Do you receive them? “Yes.” Then you have just now been sanctified, made pure, is it not so? “Yes.” Then you should hereafter not ask God to do what he has done! But he contended that he should keep on making the same prayer. Brother Larcomb suggested the equal propriety of continuing to pray to God to convert him. Oh, what confusion and ignorance! Still they thought we had gone astray.
31. A.M., wrote. Eve, met at seven and continued the meeting until after twelve. The house was crowded, the isles standing full of people to the close of the meeting. Pretty good order for the throng. Brother Updike preached. After some altar work, we had good testimony meeting. I then preached a short discourse on Ephesians 4:22-24. A few minutes before twelve the altar was again filled with seekers and little ones. I read the Christian consecration, and all said amen. The power of God came upon us. Many shouts. A Mother Goodwin, of the M. E. Church, was the subject of a wonderful work of grace tonight. For eighteen years she had sought for this experience. She had a dreadful death, turned perfectly white and shook like a leaf. She hesitated to believe through the temptation of unworthiness. I asked her if Christ was not worthy. Told her to believe for the glory of his name. Then she took hold. She soon fully overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of her testimony. It was a wonderful work wrought by the power of God in one of the most intelligent and pious ladies of Findlay, of about fifty years of age. She was filled with wonder at the great change and testified with a halo of glory beaming from her countenance. How can such a marked work be doubted? What a reproach upon the ministry that this dear saint should be kept eighteen years in the wilderness longing for some Joshua to lead her over to the land of perfect rest of soul from all sin!
January 1, 1878. Praise God for the mercies of the past year. I am so thankful that the old year witnessed the final death of the old man in me, and now for the first time I enter upon the New Year all renewed in the image of God. Glory to his name in the highest! I am redeemed and washed in the blood of the Lamb. O Canaan, sweet Canaan, surely here flows milk and honey! God is my everlasting all, my satisfying portion. Oh, wonders of redeeming love! Can it be that through the precious blood of Christ I have “[entered] into the holiest” (Hebrews 10:19) and am forever shut in with God, and dead to the world! O God, I feel that I can stand in thy holy presence! I tremble with awe and reverence. O my God and Redeemer! Keep me on thine altar and in spotless purity lest I offend thy Holiness and die. I shall forever dwell with thee, and through the riches of thy boundless grace my whole being, every thought, word, feeling, emotion, appetite, desire, wish, purpose, and action, yea, my whole life, shall be a continual offering to God, in the flames of his love. Amen. Almighty, All-wise, and ever present God, fulfill this thy pleasure in me. I am in thy hands. Amen and amen.
A.M., wrote some. Met at 10 A.M. and held meetings until 4 P.M.; the power of God rested upon us. Four, I believe, were sanctified. The Lord gave me much light on the sanctuary as setting forth the different degrees of grace (Hebrews 10:19, 22). In chapter 8 the apostle compares the sanctuary and the temple service with the present spiritual house or church. 9:9 shows that the former temple service was typical of the church, also 10:11. Now, as the temple all through the Bible typifies the church, so also the tabernacle. We must make some application of its departments. This the apostle does for us. The court represents penitence or approach to the church, the sanctuary or “holy.” From this we have access into the “holiest.” In the sanctuary they are “brethren” and (v.22) have “[their] hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.” (Hebrews 10:22) Were justified when they came into the holy, and now are invited into the holiest, not into heaven but into a state of purity through the blood of Christ.
2. Wrote some. Brother Doty came today. Thank the Lord. Eve. Brother Doty preached on the difference between justification and entire sanctification. (1) Inbred sin is not cognizable to our consciousness when actual sin and guilt crowd the conscience. (2) We need not lack wisdom, for such is Christ to us; but may greatly lack knowledge. (3) Entire sanctification takes away all vain curiosity. (4) Makes us simple in giving, etc. (5) Leaves natural appetites the same, but removes unnatural.
Two were most gloriously sanctified, one an old mother over eighty years of age. Oh, how wonderfully God blessed her! She ran around as spritely as a young girl. The house, as usual, was greatly crowded, the space on the floor about all occupied bystanders. The whole city is stirred. All the protracted efforts in the place are without interest. All the elements are attracted here. Sinners want this kind of religion that saves from all sin. Glory to God forever! Some of the county officials, I presume, are getting uneasy, hence concluded that we could no longer have the pure courthouse. Received the promise of the Reform house, at least for the next evening.
3. God’s power was with us. Three souls were sweetly sanctified, one of whom, a sister Miller, was converted to God from Catholicism last winter. They say her conversion was among the most bright of the 150 converts and her life has been true. Oh, how calm and clearly she came out! Her testimony was sublime and more than human. It was spoken by the Spirit. Praise God! Another meeting was held in East Findlay. The Lord was also there in power. A brother in the Church of God who had rashly denounced holiness was sanctified at this meeting.
Eve, the promised house was not opened. The little ones were scattered, each not knowing where to meet the rest, and yet we felt a great desire to be together. One company gathered and we went to a United Brethren Church. As we passed along, crowds gathered after us and asked where we were going to have meeting. The people were much disappointed. Brother Engle, the pastor, preached an earnest sermon to sinners from, “The way of transgressors is hard.” (Proverbs 13:15) I felt that the church was an iceberg between this sanctified preacher and the sinners. We all prayed fervently for the efficacy of the word. Some twelve arose for prayer, among the number was Sister Wert’s son, a very intelligent young man with whom I called today. When I asked him concerning his soul’s interests, he said that he did not “go much on religion.” I calmly replied that I presumed he had none to go on. I added that I did not go on religion either before I had any to go on. This was God-sent, and he knew not how to express himself again. I waited a few seconds then proposed prayer. We all kneeled and I presented him to the mercy of God. After holding his hand and giving him a few words I left him, praying to God to bring him down to the cross. Praise God, I saw him rise in the congregation.
Brother Linsey and I stayed up all night in prayer to God for Findlay. God rolled upon our hearts a dreadful agony for souls and gave us an awful sight of the wicked apostasy of the churches. Like the old prophets, we groaned and cried to God for salvation to come out of Zion.
27. Sabbath. Met at the United Brethren Church. Good testimony meeting. One sister said, “I do not believe in a second work; would as leave you would hit me in the face as to speak of it; it is like a dart to my heart to hear it.” Just so the “pure testimony put forth in the Spirit cuts,” etc. Brother Engle read a very interesting chapter of United Brethren history showing the holiness revival in that church. Otterbein, Bishop Edwards, Wilson, and many others of the most eminent ministers professed and taught holiness as a distinct work.
At this point in his diary Brother Warner tells of his expulsion from the West Ohio Eldership, and gives the subject a special heading.
Trial and Expulsion from the West Ohio Eldership of the Church of God for Preaching Full Salvation; for Following the Holy Spirit; for Helping to Save Over 150 Souls in This Place
30. Standing Committee met in Findlay today. Principal business to attend to was charges preferred by Bro. G. W. Wilson against Bro. J. V. Updike and me—against him for maladministration of the church here, deserting it, and turning church interests over to the Holiness Alliance, etc.; against me for (1) transcending the restrictions of the Eldership, (2) violating rules of cooperation, (3) participating in dividing the church.
As to the first, it relates to an action of the body last Eldership in which I was prohibited from springing the holiness meeting on any church where they did not wish it. This charge was not sustained by a single proof. The facts are as follows: Father Keller was led by the Spirit to go to Findlay to procure a place for a holiness meeting. He found a meeting in progress in the Church of God, tried to get the house to begin as soon as they were through, but they refused. He then engaged the Reformed house, but left an offer still with the Church pf God to occupy their house if they concluded to let us have it. When we received word that the meeting was about to close we went up and found it still in progress, and as the holiness workers were there, we wished to begin a meeting on the holiness line. We gave the church the first offer to use their house, and they consented to our using the house. However, this I think they did because they knew that if we went to another house we would carry all the interests from their house. And when the whole counsel of God was presented they could not stand it, but gathered in the back end of the house with wicked men and fought the work of God, so that we soon saw that nothing could be done there, hence we removed to the courthouse. I had nothing at all to do with the appointment of the meeting there and only did some of the preaching after Father Keller and Brothers Ackers and Linsey had got the use of the house from the elders and trustees, or a majority of them.
Second charge, “Violation of rules of cooperation.” The rule cited was like this: No person shall go upon another’s field of labor to hold meetings, etc, without the consent of preacher and church. When we announced meeting at the courthouse, one of the elders announced preaching there at the Bethel the next night. Brother Wilson filled the pulpit and continued some four or five nights with no success and small congregations. Now, because I assisted in the meeting at the courthouse while these church services were continued in the same town, I am thus charged, when these meetings were really appointed after and in opposition to the real work of the Lord, where souls were daily being saved.
Third charge, “Dividing the church.” I showed that the only results of the holiness meeting were fifty-three sinners converted and 118 believers sanctified, and that all the division and confusion was caused by the carnal and wicked opposition on the part of the rest of the church, just like the envious Jews stirred up the people at Thessalonica and Berea (Acts 17), and interrupted the apostles in their peaceable work of leading souls to Jesus, as well as disturbed the peace of the city. The apostles, of course, had to bear the blame, and like everywhere else they went, bonds and prisons awaited them; and I, too, was ready to suffer affliction with the people of God for the sake of Christ. All Adam became aroused, so that I was stopped from reading other Scriptures. [He had been reading and speaking from Isaiah 32:15.] When for the sake of the dear people calling themselves the Church of God I was studying how to compromise the two elements in the church here, the Lord gave me this text, and the Spirit led me to preach it straight, although it conflicted with what I had cherished, that is, a hope of fraternizing the sanctified and the unsanctified.
Eve, Brother Updike’s case was adjusted by the Committee, the elders, and himself. They tried hard to bind him down to abandon holiness as a definite work and to have no communion with holiness workers. He agreed to some restrictions about preaching holiness where it was not wanted. Received his license and was placed on McComb circuit. Evidently they have some hopes of leading him to a recantation. May the mercy and grace of God keep him from coming down from the highway! Brother Chambers was at our meeting in North Findlay this eve.
31. Was brought to the depot this morn in sled. Heavy snow falling. After I had been riding some time in the train with him in conversation, Brother Cassel, one of the Committee, seeing that I was not enough concerned to ask him what disposition they had made of my case, informed me that the Committee had decided that the charges were sustained, and that they had withheld my license.2 I thanked him for their decision and assured him, that if I were to look upon the matter from the mere human standpoint and consider my attachment to the Church of God and her principles, I should regard their action a dreadful calamity and intolerable to bear; but that I had now that charity which “believeth all things [and] endureth all things,” (1 Corinthians 13:7) and therefore I calmly rested in the promise of God that “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28) to me, and the sweet assurance that my dear Father, to whom I belonged, would turn this and everything else (as long as I stay on the altar) to my good and his glory. Praise his holy name! Reached home about 2 P.M.
[This trouble came up at the Eldership meeting the following September. “The Warner case was indirectly revived when the Committee on Resolutions adopted the following: ‘That any minister of this body that may presume to preach the dogma of a second work for sanctification shall be deemed unsound in the theology of the Church of God, and should not hold an ecclesiastical relation as a minister in this Eldership.’ ” (From Dr. Forney’s History of the Churches of God.)]
Up to the time of leaving Findlay there were 53 converted, 118 believers sanctified, including about all the 53 converts. Many of them were sanctified at the next meeting after converted, and a few the same meeting. Glory to God for full salvation!
Following the effort at Findlay, a series of holiness meetings was held at Upper Sandusky in the early part of February. Brother Dunbar and others assisted. On the 9th, Brother Warner was called to spend Sunday at Dunkirk, and was kept there for several days. While at Dunkirk he was impressed by the Spirit to announce that if any sick in the town would send for him he would go in faith to pray for them to recover. A sister who had been afflicted for years with catarrh in the head, which had spread to the throat and lungs so that she was consumptive, thought much about being healed. She had strong faith and came to meeting the next day, and in answer to prayer was gloriously healed, perfectly sound. Another, a blacksmith in Dunkirk, was impressed to go and pray for the healing of a young colored sister on the verge of death from consumption. She was wonderfully benefited, as for six weeks she had to be lifted from her bed, but now was able to arise and, assisted by the hand of a sister, walk across the floor. She had been able only to whisper, but now could sing praises to God.
Brother Warner felt that he should return to Upper Sandusky to assist in the meetings that were being held there. In a day or two after returning he was called back to Dunkirk to preach the funeral of the young colored sister. The brother who had prayed for her and a sister who had strong faith believed that God would raise the departed sister from the dead in answer to their prayers. Brother Warner announced the funeral for 10 A.M., if the Lord did not direct matters otherwise. He prayed and examined the scriptures relative to miracles and found that (1) Christ aroused and inspired faith and admiration in the people by miracles, (2) the final commission teaches miracles, (3) they were the means of the success of the apostles, (4) the gift is set in the church. Hence, he concluded that miracles were to be a permanent factor in the system of salvation. He does not say that he was particularly impressed that God was going to work a miracle in this case. He rather fell in with the idea as urged by the sister who felt so impressed. At her home she and her husband and Brother Warner waited in prayer for some time, then went to the house where the corpse lay. The two brethren kneeled in prayer while the sister uncovered the body and commanded the departed to arise in the name of Jesus. Their faith for some time was wonderfully strong and they confidently expected to see her arise. They held on with unwavering faith for half an hour, when they all felt relieved and that the will of the Lord had been done. Brother Warner preached the funeral the next day. He writes that this incident seemed only to increase their faith and that he believed that God was well pleased with the effort to exert this faith; that if not through them, God would through some one else revive this element of apostolic power.
There was a report, intended to ridicule, and published by some who opposed Brother Warner, that he with others tried to bring a dead body to life by standing it on its feet and commanding it to walk, etc. This of course was untrue.
Remaining in Dunkirk for a few days, he held meetings which resulted in about twenty conversions. He found himself much attached to the brethren and sisters here. They had come out of the United Brethren and Methodist Episcopal denominations and had formed themselves into a Wesleyan body. Many of them, however, were not satisfied with a human church and creed and there was a strong tendency to come to the apostolic faith. Returning to Upper Sandusky he assisted in the meetings there. In company with Father and Mother Keller he visited the jail and prayed with the convicts. One of those, by name, John Bristol, was gloriously converted. Bristol said he did not care a cent to get out of jail so long as Jesus stayed with him. He had been badly abandoned, and had followed shows, drinking, balloon ascensions, etc. He once fell sixty feet from a balloon, breaking an arm, a leg, splitting a hip socket, etc. The sparing of his life was only by the mercy of God.
For the 7th of March 1878 we quote the following:
Fellowshipped some fourteen souls in the Church of God formed on a congregational basis, with holiness the principal foundation-stone. On the 3lst of last January the Lord showed me that holiness could never prosper upon sectarian soil encumbered by human creeds and party names, and he gave me a new commission to join holiness and all truth together and build up the apostolic church of the living God. Praise his name! I will obey him.
In March an evangelistic effort was made in Tiffin, but with difficulty. The denominational houses seemed to be closed to holiness. A few meetings were held in a private house and in a rented room. He states that at this place Sister Warner was called to go to Mansfield to assist in a holiness meeting. This was a peculiar test and he thus speaks of it:
23. Sarah left today. The Lord tested our loyalty by requiring us to labor apart. At first I disbelieved that it was the order of God and was decidedly opposed to her going. So were Father and Mother Keller. I thought it would give place to the devil and hurt the sacred cause and endanger our domestic happiness. But this morn I arose early and consulted the Lord. I laid down all my understanding and the many seemingly plain reasons for her not going and besought God to direct the matter, and to my astonishment the Holy Spirit confirmed Sarah’s call by reminding me of my solemn covenant with God, that there I had laid her on the altar and given her back to God to use her where and as he saw fit. At the same time all unwillingness vanished from my mind. In fact, a desire was at once created within me for her to go.
God, thy ways are not our ways, but we will walk in thy ways all the days of our life. Season sad. Here she is greatly needed; there is a strong old hand. How would it look for me to work for God here and she whom the Lord had joined to me go elsewhere? Were I at home, not at all in a meeting, then there could be no appearance of evil in her going. But, ah! I now see there would then be no test, which is just the thing God intended. Abraham’s faith would not have been half so much tried and proved had not Isaac been the heir of the promise. Father and Mother still strongly opposed her going, so that doubtless she would have shrunk with a burdened heart from the call had not God raised help in me.
On the 4th of April he received a letter from her stating that the meeting at Mansfield was excellent for the establishing and strengthening of God’s little ones, and that she had gone home.
During this time Brother Warner was getting much light on the Scriptures concerning holiness and was writing with the view of publishing a tract on the subject. The matter he was accumulating, however, proved to be enough for a book, which, as we shall see, was published two years later. Also, he speaks of an effort at this time to obtain more of the manifestation of God in his soul.
25. I set out this day to seek a more full and conscious manifestation of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost in my heart. Spent much time in the closet. Visited and prayed with a few families.
30. Prayed much for a more perfect, full, constant, and conscious manifestation of God in my soul. Had a glorious victory. Yesterday Brother Lee was about to start to walk home to Nevada, twenty-two miles. I thought it was too hard a task with such muddy roads. How I wished for the means to send him home by railroad! Recently, being without means to send a letter, I took it to the Lord, and before I had the letter written a kind sister gave me fifty cents. I had a quarter left and I thought of giving it to Brother Lee if others would make up the remainder. But then the tempter said, “You are dependent yourself and should not give to others that which the Lord has sent to meet your wants.” I took it to the Lord and the Spirit said, “Give, and it shall be given.” (Luke 6:38) I gave the quarter to Brother Lee. The dollar needed by him was soon made, and he was able to stay until this morn. Praise God, this morn a kind sister called and said the Lord had sent her to give me a dollar. The Spirit kept his promise and gave four-fold.
April 3, 1878. God is daily giving me more of his great fullness and conforming me more and more to his glorious Image. This is because I am earnestly endeavoring to consecrate more perfectly every moment of my time to him and because I spend more time with God alone in the closet. I have on several occasions besought God to conform me more perfectly to his nature, and without any particular emotions that might indicate the answer I claimed the desire of my heart and by faith thanked Father that he had granted my petitions. To the glory of God I can say that as I went on my way I found from hour to hour that as my faith was so was it meted out to me. Oh, how sweet it is to go to our heavenly Father for all our heart’s and soul’s need, and in the name of Jesus ask for it rejoicing that we know we have the desire of our heart! Surely “happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.” (Psalm 144:15)
On his return to Upper Sandusky on April 9 he found some urgent calls to go to Indiana, and he felt that the Lord was in it. On Sunday the 14th, he conducted the services in Upper Sandusky. The theme in the evening was, Salvation from Church, using 1 Peter 1:18-19 and 2 Peter 1:3-4—deliverance from all that is human and the reception of all that is of divine origin.
The Lord blessed me and greatly awakened my own mind, and I think opened the eyes of others to the importance of abandoning all human and party creeds, party names, party spirit, and party interests in order to maintain a life of perfect holiness, as well as to the duty of returning to the “faith… once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3) in its entirety.
It is interesting to note that at this time, coincident to his receiving the call to Indiana, there came to his mind the idea of using the printing press as a means of publishing the gospel truth he was so burdened to promulgate.
Recently I asked my heavenly Father to send means to meet our wants, pay debts, and as soon as I was ready to print my work on holiness, to furnish the means. I received gracious answers by the Spirit, and the following night while lying in meditation how I could better honor God in publishing full salvation, the Lord opened a new field for me. The Spirit suggested that my heavenly Father would provide me with a small hand printing press by means of which I could print my book myself and scatter many holiness tracts as leaves of salvation.
Praise God, today I received a most cheering letter from Elder W. W. Roberts, of Missouri. He is in the land of Canaan, and having seen my articles and the Standing Committee’s action in the Advocate he writes to encourage me in the good work; and though he knows nothing of my circumstances he offers to furnish me some money if I need it. Praise God, who is faithful and always heareth his poor and needy little ones that cry unto him.
Returning to Tiffin with his father-in-law, Keller, he found the little ones in good spirits. All testified definitely and boldly. He held three services there on the following Sunday. He found there had come to be a wonderful awakening in Tiffin among the denominational churches on the subject of perfect holiness.
On the 22nd he took train for New Washington, the place of his childhood home. Here seven years previous he labored alone in a revival that resulted in the salvation of about fifty souls. For one year they did well. A good house of worship was built and twice a week it was filled at prayer meetings that were very lively and interesting. But adversity came and there now remained but a small force of faithful ones to tell the story of salvation. Elder Oliver, who had preferred charges against him for the preaching of holiness, was in charge of the work here and of course had greatly prejudiced the people against holiness. Two of the flock, however, had received the experience.
At this place, through his brother Lewis, who lived in the vicinity, he learned that his father was very poorly and he at once became much burdened for his father’s soul.
May 5, 1878. Sabbath. Met about 10 A.M. All the little ones testified boldly in the Spirit to sanctification. Brother Oliver and wife were much annoyed at the same. Brother O. preached from Revelation 21:27. A good text to enforce holiness, but alas, the time and opportunity were wasted in attacks upon the Lord’s work of full salvation. How my heart was grieved that the dear brother was not led by the Spirit of God! What a favorable opportunity and text to set forth the necessity of holiness and the all-cleansing blood! But alas, how few unsanctified preachers know what spirit they are of! Oh, how little they value the worth of souls! How indifferent to the solemn responsibilities of the ministry!
16. [At Upper Sandusky.] Preached the funeral of a poor sinner who was accidentally shot dead with a revolver. He died in fifteen minutes, calling upon God for mercy. He was married one week ago today. Life is but a vapor.
On the 16th he left for Indiana. He reached Silver Lake, Kosciusko County, the next day and was met by Brother F. Krause and conveyed seven miles through a heavy rain to Beaver Dam. In spite of bad weather a fair congregation assembled that evening to hear him peach. About all manifested their desire for sanctification by rising to their feet. In his sermon on Sunday he identified the inheritance in sanctification with the promise made to Abraham. At the afternoon service about fifteen were at the altar seeking full salvation.
In this section of the country Brother Warner found many warm hearts. They had read his articles on holiness in The Church Advocate, and had doubtless heard of his rejection by the Ohio Eldership. He held meetings at Beaver Dam, Yellow Lake, and Silver Lake. His diary gives the following account for Sunday, May 26, at Yellow Lake.
Sabbath. This day was put in for God. From my waking moments this morn I began to plead with God for the salvation of the people. Had gracious answers to prayer. Was sure God would save a number of souls. We had announced a fast all day, and meeting to begin at 10 A.M. and continue until 4 P.M. The house was filled. Had a lively testimony meeting. Preached on the tabernacle (Hebrews). Several at the altar. But there seemed to be a dullness. None grasped the blessings. We had speaking meeting, but the interest seemed to be moderate. I was impressed that the dear little ones were hungry, and Satan said we had better close. But, glory to God, I knew that God would yet come and save souls, as he impressed me in morning, hence I held on to him. Preached a short discourse on faith and gave another invitation. Several came to the altar for sanctification and soon the holy fire fell on us from heaven, and all were sanctified. Some that were not at the altar received the blessing. The Holy Ghost filled the house, and there was great rejoicing. A fellowship meeting resulted from following the Spirit; and as the dear ones went about shaking hands many, yea, about all in the house, were melted to tears. I gave another invitation and then friend Yocum came out, also Brother Bear’s daughter, and another young lady for sanctification. She soon received a glorious baptism, and Sister Bear was converted. Came home with Brother Bear. We did not get to close until nearly five o’clock. Spent much of the time until eve on my knees.
Eve, house crowded. People were there from a distance of six and eight miles. I preached mainly to sinners. I had announced a few nights ago that I had an impression to preach to the unconverted, but I now see my mistake. I should have made no such announcement. The Spirit seemed to be baffled in giving me a subject. I did more preaching myself tonight than I have for a long time, was conscious that Christ Jesus was not preaching as much as usual. Thank the Lord for the lesson learned. Three at the altar. Brother Yocum was greatly smitten down by the Spirit; all physical strength was gone. About 9:30 P.M. we dismissed the congregation, but Brother Y. would not leave the altar. Several of us stayed until after eleven. He was measurably blessed. He has been a very good moral, benevolent, and honorable man, and thought heretofore that he had but little sin and could easily get salvation when he once came for it; but he found himself a great sinner under the searching light of the Spirit.
Glory to God for this day’s work! It was a high day for my soul. Among the fourteen sanctified were two very fine young men by the name of Smith. They are brothers, both schoolteachers, and I pray that God will make them both very useful.
He found a widespread awakening for holiness in this part of Indiana. The time for the annual Eldership Meeting of the Church was at hand, and he asked the Lord whether he might not stay and attend the meetings instead of going to the Eldership. As there were others who could continue the meetings the Spirit seemed to relieve his mind of all burden for that place, and he felt it his duty to attend the Eldership.
June 1, 1878. Came home today. Found family well. At the General Eldership I found that the leaven of full salvation was working. Had many private talks. Found some in the experience, but rather mute. Strengthened them. Many spoke of my articles in the Advocate and said they were seeking light. But the Eldership possesses little of the power of godliness. The first night it made me mourn for Jerusalem. Here were assembled the best elements of the whole church, and yet I could feel no God in her. There was no spirit of devotion, no communion with God. Pride and nearly every other manifestation of carnality were manifest. God save the Church. Thank God for the blessing of home and family. Dear Wife met me at the train.
9. Sabbath [at Findlay]. Awoke before day. Was much pressed in spirit for Brother Burchard. Arose early and had a gracious season of prayer. Was led out much for Brother B. At 10:30 A.M. heard him preach. A dreadful death reigned over the congregation. He spoke with a good deal of energy, according to his pathetic temperament, but he surely had not help by the Spirit. But I think he is honest, and if he had the cloud of prejudice removed from his mind he would want full salvation and would be useful. Oh, that God would lead him into the light!
Feeling that he should visit his father, in Williams County, he took train for Bryan, Ohio, on the 10th, arriving there late in the evening. The account of the death of his father and of the events that followed are here given.
June 11. Arose early. After devotion and my usual morning bath, I paid for lodging, went to the baker’s and got a loaf of graham bread, and started on my way. Got to ride about five miles and footed the rest. Reached Father’s about half-past ten. Found him very weak, and failing. He was overcome by emotion when I came in. His breathing is difficult. I soon sought a private room and poured out my heart for his salvation. Brother Joseph is staying with him all the time. Father cannot last long. Oh that God would be pleased to have mercy upon his poor soul!
14. Father still failing.
15. Brother Lewis reached here about 5 P.M. Eve, went to the Cogswell Schoolhouse to hear Bro. Henry Barckley, but he having gone from home did not appear. I was asked to improve the time. After prayer I began to look to the Lord for a message, but nothing came to hand. Soon young Brother Wallace came in. He came by request to fill the appointment. He had only once before tried to preach. He was indisposed to go ahead; but I told him that I thought it was the order of the Lord. He consented. Did well enough, but needs the special unction of the Holy Ghost. I talked some.
16. Sabbath. L. W. Guiss came at four o’clock this morning. Father failing very fast this morning. At 10:30 A.M. met a congregation at the Cogswell Schoolhouse. Hebrews 7:25. God blessed his precious word. Mr. Guiss, my brother-in-law, who has become a bold infidel, was much affected by God’s truth. Some wept for clean hearts. I asked all who knew they were children of God to hold up their hands. A good number responded. I then asked all who could testify to perfect salvation from all sin to hold up their hands, but there was no response. But when I asked all who wished to be wholly the Lord’s to hold up their hands, a number responded, some with tears. Time would not permit altar exercise.
Took dinner at Brother Joseph’s and came back. Found Father declining very fast. Poor man, he is near his end, yet unsaved. O my God, must my poor father go into eternity bearing all the sins of his past life! Oh, the death of an immortal soul! Since God has converted my soul and called me into the ministry, I have often seen Father’s heart touched by divine truth and the Holy Spirit. Tears flowed freely, but he would not yield. When I began to preach, twelve years ago, I spent a summer at home, and he afterward told Mrs. Rang that my constant praying gave him much trouble and that he was glad I was gone. I marked the deep convictions that followed him all that summer and hoped he would soon be brought to God, but he wore them away. Two years ago this coming July my beloved mother passed away gloriously saved. She held his hand and exhorted him until he trembled. Not long after, I came home and spoke in the Dean Church, when he was greatly melted down. I gave an invitation to come to God, but again he refused Christ. Since his last illness, I have daily implored the mercy of God upon his poor soul. Since I have been with him I have talked to him about his soul, but do not see that he was awakened to his condition. I felt that all depended upon the blessed Holy Ghost to discover to him his sin and awful danger. He asked my prayers and songs of salvation. He shed tears over the wicked infidelity of G., my brother-in-law; but when he made any reference to his hope he based it all upon his principles of honesty and doing right, and that he had favored a good many persons in his life, etc. He confessed some misgivings of conscience for not having been confirmed in the Lutheran Church as he had promised his parents he would when married; but said he, “I always felt some way that I could not get religion.” When conscious of much distress he would wish he might die. Once he feared that he might have to lie a long time, and when on a certain occasion his throat seemed to be closed against food, he said, “I just believe that it is my doom to lie here and waste away; that there is nothing grown for me to eat any more.” Frequently he expressed a strong desire to get well; but I never heard him say that if he did he would live a different life.
I went alone into the woods where so often I sought God and his grace when a young convert. I had a long and precious communion with God. Returned. Father is very rapidly approaching his end. He cannot live through another night. Once while I was wetting his lips he looked very pitifully at me and said, “If you could only give me something that would make me well!”
O my God, how hard it is to close a life that was not given to thee! But “it is appointed unto men once to die, [and] after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) Joseph feels this stroke very much. I thought it best not to go to the schoolhouse this eve.
9:30 P.M. Father is gone. He passed off with no struggles or convulsions. His spirit has left the body. Probation is ended, and a lifeless corpse only remains. I sensibly feel the cords of love that bind my heart to my last earthly parent, but the gentle breathings of the Spirit of God seemed so graciously to sustain me that all was calm within. I felt a perfect loyalty to God and all his providence that so sweetly over all prevailed and gave me such perfect peace that I could not even weep. Oh, how tranquilizing to my soul was the deep assurance that God doeth all things well!
17. Brother Joseph is almost down sick with sorrow and loss of rest. Poor father lies a corpse. Two brothers, L. W. Guiss, and I wore away the long, melancholy day as best we could.
18. Last night at twelve o’clock Mr. Double awoke me and said there were some gentlemen without that had a telegram for me. I arose and dressed, feeling a very calm peace keeping me. The Holy Spirit brought these words to me: “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings.” (Psalm 112:7) The following was the dispatch: “Come home, your child is very sick. L. W. Keller.” I came in, examined the papers and my railroad guide. Found that a train left Bryan at 8 A.M. that made connection at Toledo, bringing me to Upper Sandusky at 1 P.M., but if I waited for a later train I should not reach home until late at night. What shall I do? Here lay my father cold in death, to be buried this A.M., and should I stay or not? I had a season of communion with the Lord, and the Spirit seemed to say go. I took my usual morning bath, packed my valise, and started to my brother Joseph’s, bidding adieu to my brother Lewis and my lifeless father, the latter of course to see no more until the heavens cease to be and the earth shall flee away before the approach of the great Judge of the human family.
I was conveyed to Bryan by David Warner, my nephew. Improved the time in meditation and prayer. I recalled the feeling that had rested upon me for some days, a deep solicitude for my family. Both on Sabbath and yesterday I went out into the woods where I used to seek the Lord when a convert and besought God to preserve my dear family. I also felt led to ask God to try us in any way he wished to. I felt the need of some trial of our faith and loyalty to God.
In my deep meditation and fervent prayer to God the time passed off swiftly with the fast gliding train, and at 1 P.M. we reached Upper Sandusky. Leaving my valise, I walked out at once and found the dear child very sick, having first taken down with a sick stomach and then with the affliction developing in the brain. The precious creature recognized me and made an effort to embrace me with her loving little arms. Her sweet little lips could responsively receive a father’s kiss, but they were silent for want of sufficient strength to articulate. A good number of kind neighbors were in attendance, and I at once saw what was threatening the very life of the poor little sufferer. She was exquisitely fine in the texture of brain and her head measured nineteen inches in circumference around her forehead, and she had a very sensitive nervous temperament. Hence it was extremely important that the most perfect silence should be maintained in her presence, and with this strong nervous action, with any sickness or weakness, much talk and noise would necessarily draw the disease to the brain. I had her removed from the room where the family mostly stayed and everybody came in, to a more retired room; demanded silence and forbade more than two at a time to be in the room. Sarah had seen the necessity of such regulations, but many dear good old sisters, not knowing their importance, were much inclined to sit around the lounge and talk, and not being in her own house she had not been able to enforce them.
19. Dear Levilla still low, but I had good hopes of her recovery. Spent as much time as I could with the Lord. Left all with him.
20. Dear child still dangerous, but we trust some better.
21. The doctor could see no improvement.
22. Wife and I thought Levilla better and still clung to the Lord for her life if it be his will to restore her; but all others had given up hope. We thought it impossible that we should do without the company of this sweet little creature.
23. Sabbath. The doctor did not come as usual this morning. I presume from the report last eve he supposed she was dead; but all day she seemed better. P.M., sent for doctor. He thought she had some symptoms for the better, which raised our hopes. Eve, a number came in and despite our efforts to keep them away they would crowd around the dear child. She grew worse. She had had very light spasms all day but they did not seem to hurt her; but now she began to fail fast. Phlegm began to accumulate in her little throat, making it difficult to breathe.
24. Toward morning the poor little sufferer was compelled to struggle hard to get her breath, and it became apparent that unless God miraculously interposed, her suffering must soon end in death. While we sorrowed for her suffering, we felt a calm and sweet resignation to the will of God, to whom the dear child belonged. We could say in truth, “Thy will be done.” (Matthew 26:42) At five o’clock in the morning her redeemed spirit was freed from its earthly abode and taken away to be with Jesus and holy angels.
Now remained only the poor little emaciated body. As we recalled the large, active, plump, and rosy-checked Levilla, we could scarcely help but exclaim as we looked upon the reduced and colorless form, “Is this Levilla? Can it be that this is our child?” Since my return I had anxiously cherished a hope that ere long I should hear those sweet lips utter words again; but they are now silent in death, or rather the sweet and dreamless sleep that shall pass off when the Lord comes to call us forth from our earthly repose.
25.… Brother Leay conducted services. We looked for the last time upon our beloved child, whose sweet and innocent little form was robed in its little white dress and skirts, with a beautiful little bouquet of flowers protruding from her little hands folded upon her heart. As my dear wife was deeply afflicted with her departure, her sweet little face seemed to speak forth from its little white coffin and say, “Weep not, dear mother, for though your loss seems to be great, my gain is infinitely greater. I have gone to the better land, where sickness, sorrow, pain, and death never, never come.”
We laid the dear and only child in the Mission Cemetery at Upper Sandusky, near the road at the west side, between two evergreens. There with sad, yet resigned, hearts we left her to sleep beneath the angels’ care until called forth at the last day.
Levilla Modest was born March 18, 1875, near Seward, Nebraska. She passed from suffering to the society of angels June 24,1878, and was therefore three years, three months, and six days of age. She was a child of more than ordinary mental ability. Her organic quality was the very finest. Her temperaments were sanguine and mental. Her brain measured nineteen inches. Though of such great nervous activity, we had by careful diet imparted to her a good, large physical structure. She measured three feet five inches. She was very knowing about all kinds of work, and ever eager to assist. For some months past she would stand upon a chair beside her mother and wipe knives, forks, spoons, saucers, etc., with the utmost care and perfection. She would do the most of her dressing and undressing, and never failed to hang up or put away every garment and everything she handled. She seemed to have very fine taste and perfect order. Her causality was wonderfully developed for a child…. She daily astonished us with questions concerning everything she saw, and her remarkable ability to anticipate what next was wanted, and with what eagerness those little feet ran errands for mother and father, and grandmother and grandfather. Since eighteen months old she would sing parts of familiar tunes and hymns. I believe her first was “O Happy Day.” For some time past she would tread the organ with one foot, place her little fingers upon the keys, and sing loudly, “Hallelujah, ’Tis Done!” “I am washed in the blood of the Lamb,” etc. She had a remarkable tendency to imitate all that was pure and religious. She often had her little prayer meetings by herself, and would teach older children to engage with her in her childish prayers and songs. After attending an ordinance where she paid marked attention to the saints’ washing feet, the next day she called for a washbowl of water and washed her feet, then took off her mother’s shoes and stockings and washed and wiped her feet and gave her a kiss. Every evening she kneeled at her mother’s knee and said her little prayer. At the sight of the picture with raised hands she was sure to say. “Man lift up hands and praise the Lord.” In her sickness she would sometimes sigh out, “0, praise the Lord!”… She excelled all other peculiarities in the wonderful depth and fervency of her affections. Her love seemed to possess the purity and strength of one fully renewed in the image of God and yet the innocence and simplicity of a child. As she placed those precious little arms around our necks and gave the warm kiss, we could not help but feel that this was real and not mere child’s play and those embraces were free for all who sought them. This is my birthday; a sad one: but still in the midst of all the Lord supports me and comforts. Though we cannot understand this bereavement, yet God knows all about it and will doubtless bring our highest good and his own glory out of it. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. “Blessed is the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21)
26, 27. Spent the time largely in communing with God. Wrote some letters.
29. Wife and I drove to Tiffin. When about one mile from the city, our beast, that we thought very safe and quiet, began to make efforts to’ run off. I held her, when she began to kick desperately. I turned her to the side of the way and got her stopped. Before this I was out. I told Sarah to get out behind if she could. We had a top-buggy. The curtain was rolled up, but she could not get out. The beast was loose from the buggy all but the holdbacks. Sarah got out and stood a moment, when she found that she was hurt. Some friends came up just then. I gave the mare to one to hold and I helped Sarah to the fence, where she sat upon a stone. We found that she had been hit upon both limbs. On one the mare’s hoof (she had no shoes) cut through linen duster, dress, skirt, and stocking, and cut a small wound to the bone. She had much pain. Three or four men kindly tendered all the help they could. They took us in a one-horse wagon to Tiffin, having fastened our buggy behind, and one led the mare. We came to Sister Lewis’. A small congregation gathered and I preached a short discourse, of course on holiness.
July 2, 1878. Got a crutch for Sarah. She concluded that she could go home by railroad. Took her to the train and committed her to the care of the Lord. I drove the mare and buggy, trusting in God for his protection from all harm by the way. The Lord preserved me from harm. Found dear Wife had safely made the trip.
4. Spent much of the day picking berries all alone with the Lord. Meditated upon the goodness of Cod in continuing our national blessings.
6. Spent the day in prayer, meditation, and reading. Impressed with the duty of preaching against the enormous sin and galling yoke of sectarianism.
7. Sabbath. God helped me and blessed me in exposing the yokes of Satan by which God’s children are brought under bondage.
On the 12th of July 1878, Brother Warner, accompanied by his wife, made a second trip to Indiana. He stopped in Goshen with Mr. Guiss, his brother-in-law, on the 18th. As the latter was a bold and reckless infidel, he did not enjoy his visit there. He felt that he was staying where the Savior was excluded and that he could be admitted only apart from him.
He reached Yellow Lake on the 20th, and found that the meetings had been carried on for a few evenings after he left in May. Several had been saved. On the 23rd his wife returned home to Ohio, while he went on to Auburn, to Brother Lowman’s, whom he found firmly established in holiness. When he and Brother Lowman began to open their minds to each other he found that both had been impressed with the idea of together printing a holiness and church paper, Brother Warner to edit the former and Brother Lowman the latter department.
After discussing the publishing project with Lowman he returned to Ohio, to Wood County, where he held a number of meetings and assisted in a camp meeting near Rising Sun, and also attended a United Brethren camp meeting at Portage. He speaks thus of a manifestation in his meetings at Rising Sun:
August 22, 1878. Mr. Gay, a spiritualist, or rather a mesmerist who possesses a superior mind and is believed to be possessed by evil spirits, was present. He has attended for some time and has at different times attempted to mesmerize me while preaching. At a few of the last meetings his wife has been seeking sanctification, and he has made some good speeches in favor of the gospel. Today from the beginning of the meeting he began to maneuver his spiritism. He made many strange motions; walked the floor once and tried to dance. It is probable that this was all involuntary on his part. But we all kept our minds on Jesus and God through the Holy Spirit to take care of him. He began to show signs of distress, got upon the floor, wept and cried out. A stronger power than the indwelling one had taken hold of him. His suffering became more intense. His wife brought him water and he drank some. She fanned him for a long time, and he became speechless and seemed nearly suffocated.
In September, Brother Warner attended the Ohio Holiness Camp Meeting held on the fairground at Marion. Of his experience there he records the following:
September 8, 1878. Sabbath. I began to fast on Friday. Ate but little yesterday and nothing this forenoon. The Lord came very near to me. Oh, how he let me down to nothingness! I saw and felt ashamed of the trouble the Lord has had with me. I sank down into the dust before him, and instead of wondering why God did not give the greater measure of power that the Spirit impressed me I should have, I was led to wonder that he had entrusted me as much as he had. Oh, what shameful weakness and many errors were disclosed by the more perfect light that God has flashed into my soul! O God, let me be buried deeper and more perfectly hid away with thee.
12. Came home. An incident in this camp meeting should be recorded to the glory of God. Brother Rudic took sick not long after he came here. After lying in camp a few days he was taken to Brother Kennedy’s. Prayers were being offered for him, still he grew worse. Last Saturday night he sent word to camp that after meeting a few believers should get together and ask God in faith for his recovery. They did so, and great power and strong assurance came upon them. They claimed the answer to their prayer, and some of the number were able to praise God for the brother’s restoration just as if he had been raised up before their eyes. Sister Lea, who had taken violently sick that eve, was also taken to the Lord with much assurance. The next morn both were in camp perfectly healed. Brother R. suffered so much during the night and was so reduced that he thought he surely must die, and made some arrangements for his departure. But early in the morning he began to look to God once more, when his faith joined that of the party in the camp at eleven in the night, and he arose, instantly made whole. All glory to God!
Following the part just quoted there is a gap in his diary until October 2, the entry for which will explain. In this, one observes his humility, his deep self-examination and his desire to exalt God alone.
October 2, 1878. Today I resume my pen again, with an earnest endeavor to record some of the mercies and blessings of God upon my poor soul. After I returned from camp meeting, the Lord saw fit in his tender love to suffer affliction to befall me. Yea, “I was brought low, and he helped me.” (Psalm 116:6) I had bilious remittent fever and an attack of hemorrhage of the lungs. Friends and even a physician were much alarmed and felt my work was done. As soon as taken down, I ordered cards sent to the “little ones” at different places to pray for me. I put my case in the hands of the Lord and wished only his will. Dear Wife was kept in great tranquility of mind through an unwavering faith in God that he would raise me up again. My rest in God was so deep and perfect that I hardly knew anything of my physical condition. I thought myself but slightly ill, when others despaired of my life. For a few days I talked only in a whisper, and when I began to recover I was astonished to find myself reduced to a mere frame and unable to stand.
During my afflictions, the Lord not only kept my mind in perfect peace, but also taught me many precious lessons of my littleness and his exalted greatness. Oh! let us praise and magnify the name of the Lord. I saw myself but a speck of dust resting upon an invisible grain of sand. Oh, how the eye of God scrutinized my past life and showed me yet more than at the camp meeting my weakness and unworthiness! Oh, how vile I had been in the sight of God! How many times Satan had succeeded in resurrecting some self in me! The Spirit has plainly shown me that I should never speak of having prayed for certain persons in connection with their conversion, etc. Oh! I am so ashamed of my folly and weakness in often relating such things. I thought I was doing it all to the glory of God, but now I can see that there was some self in it. O Lord! save me in the future from such presumption and sin. I thank thee for this affliction, for I know it is all for the good of my soul. Thou hast also shown me that I have boasted too much of my health and ascribed it too generally to my knowledge of and prudence in observing natural laws. O God, forgive me of this offense. I thank thee that thou hast such a constant supervision over all thy works that every good must be ascribed to thee and thanks be given to thee just the same as if no means were used at all to convey them to us. Blessed God, let me sink down forever out of self. “I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me. O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness” (Psalm 30:2-4)!
3. I have had a desire to attend the Northern Indiana Eldership, which convenes tomorrow eve. But Wife and friends all entreated that I should not venture from home in my present weak condition, so this morning I went to my study to write a letter to that body; but before doing so I consulted the Lord, when he gave me a strong baptism of the Spirit to go, and a strong assurance that he would abundantly support me and strengthen me. I said: Lord, I will go in thy name. I firmly declared my intentions. Wife began to take the matter to the Lord and soon felt resigned. Oft through the day as I thought of going the Spirit would come upon me, and I increased in strength with wonderful rapidity.
On the morning of the 4th he was conveyed to town to take the train. The weather was unfavorable and there was some rain, but he felt he was carrying out the Lord’s purpose and the Lord sustained him. From Ada, Ohio, to Fort Wayne, Maryland, he had the company of Brothers S. Rice and C. E. Rowley, two prominent holiness evangelists. He reached Silver Lake in the evening and was conveyed to Beaver Dam, the place of the Eldership meeting.