Here is the experience of Asbury Lowrey.
Note that he states: "Other sinful affections I soon discovered in my heart. I was not backslidden, nor was I without the conscious blessing of God, and much happiness and good fruit.
Here is his example
The Church recognized my call to preach before I did myself. For some time my conviction of duty and sense of incapacity were about equally balanced. When it was proposed, I positively declined to be licensed to exhort. Knowing this, the late Rev. John W. Nevin, of the East Genesee Conference, brought up my case in my absence, and without my knowledge, and then in closed a license to me in a private letter. From that time I shaped my course toward the ministry. Before I went to the Genesee Wesleyan Seminary I had taken a limited course in two academic institutions of high order for those times, both under Presbyterian control. From this last school, in Lima, N. Y., I was induced to enter the itinerancy. Not being fully convinced that I was Divinely called to preach, I resolved to take nothing but the actual conversions of souls through my own instrumentality as a satisfactory proof. Accordingly I commenced a protracted meeting in an obscure neighborhood on my first Sunday on the circuit. I held two such meetings in succession, during which seventy-five souls were converted. This I took as an evidence that I had not made a mistake in supposing I was called to be a minister. Several clear witnesses to entire sanctification came to that meeting from other localities, one an exceedingly intelligent and gifted lady. From this source I received much light and inspiration, and my interest in the subject was augmented. The utter subduction of sinful anger was stated to be the Christian's privilege and duty. This teaching became profoundly interesting to me because of an incident which occurred about that time, revealing angry tempers as unsubdued in me, and capable of being excited by slight provocation. I was riding a skittish horse from one appointment to another on the Sabbath day. Having but few sermons and insufficient preparation to preach, I was developing my text by the way. The horse, however, broke the continuity of my thought by darting from one side of the road to the other. I found myself exasperated at the animal. At once my conscience rebuked me, and I said," Is this consistent? Is this all that grace can do for a man?"
Other sinful affections I soon discovered in my heart. I was not backslidden, nor was I without the conscious blessing of God, and much happiness and good fruit. The service of God was a luxury. I had a perfect passion for saving souls, and yet I found these latent propensities within me. The power of sin was broken, but not destroyed. I was justified by faith, and had "peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," but "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" had not yet "made me free from the law of sin and death. I was, in my own eyes, a contradiction. I was saved, and yet unsaved; holy, and yet unholy; happy, and yet unhappy. I was successful as a revivalist, and yet unable to lead the young convert and Church up to a higher plane, where they would be established unblamably in holiness. The (ultima thule) of religion in my immature condition was the rapture of pardoned sin. If I could keep believers up to the point of testifying that they had been converted and still enjoyed religion, I had reached my goal, and was quite satisfied. Indeed, I seemed to have expended all my resources when I compassed that end. As might have been expected, from the deep impression I received in reading Wesley's Plain Account and other kindred works, I began early to preach on the topic of holiness, though I did not, and could not, confess its attainment. It was, however, even then a sweet theme, and presented itself to me as the marrow of the Gospel and the quintessence of religion. I had the experience of Jonathan Edwards, who testified: "Holiness then appeared to me to be of a sweet, serene, charming nature, which brought an inexpressible purity, brightness, peace, fullness, and ravishment to the soul." In the fall of 1842, nine years after my conversion, and after having traveled eighteen months under presiding elders and three years on probation, the first year in connection with the East Genesee Conference, the other two on trial in the Ohio Conference, I was ordained and received into full connection wit h the latter Conference, and appointed to Piqua, my first single station. I had lived a devout and holy life during all these preparatory years, and especially so during the year preceding my ordination, and yet I had not obtained the evidence of entire sanctification. Indeed, I was painfully conscious of remaining sin, and strove against it all the year by fasting and prayer. Still I went to Conference, and finally stood before the altar of ordination somewhat unhealed of sin. But notwithstanding all my defects, I am persuaded a more sincere and conscientious soul never stood before such an altar. As every candidate is required to do, I answered all the disciplinary test questions in the affirmative: "Have you faith in God? Are you going on to perfection? Do you expect to be made perfect in love in this life? Are you groaning after it?" When this last question was put and answered, I remember to have felt some misgiving respecting my positive response.
The question raised in my conscience was, whether I so intensely desire this knowledge as to justify the strong phrase, "groaning after it." The language of my soul immediately was, "If I do not, I will until that great grace is obtained. I will pursue it with travailing pangs. I will never relax my efforts, nor ungrasp my hold." The words best suited to my case, and often sung, were these:
"But who, I ask Thee, who art Thou?
Tell me Thy name, and tell me now.
"In vain Thou strugglest to get free,
I never will unloose my hold:
Art Thou the Man that died for me?
The secret of Thy love unfold:
Wrestling, I will not let Thee go,
Till I Thy name, Thy nature know."
About three months after this date God, in His love, gave me the evidence of full salvation. Observe, I did not approach it gradually by any sensible increase of joy or power. My soul did not flower up into it by successive blessings. I was being blessed, sometimes more and sometimes less, as I had been for years, but remained as far from the actual grasp of the great salvation, an hour before it came, as I had been for nine years. And I suppose it would have continued so, but for one mighty resolve, and that was to bring on a crisis. I found I must fix a time, and limit my faith to it. My course had been like that of a man traveling on and on to reach a beautiful horizon. It was always lovely, always in sight, but always receding. Therefore, under the conviction that it must be now or never, I dismissed every other subject, suspended every pursuit, and retired into a room, bowed all alone before God, and pleaded for immediate redemption, immediate deliverance, immediate cleansing from all sin, the fullness of the Spirit, and perfection in love. I soon realized the unfailing truth of these words: "Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it." Somehow I was moved and inspired to trust: first, that it would be done; second, that it was being done; and, third, that it was done. Not that my faith was actually divided into three stages. Not that I stopped in mental action at either of these three points; but these three elements seemed to conspire and come together in my belief. It was all very summary and unmethodical. In conjunction with this process of trusting and praying, a joyous impression, evidently a divine conviction amounting to an evidence, came upon my mind to the effect that God had graciously granted my request. -- that I was healed of all sin; that I had entered into rest from sin; that its corrodings had ceased.
I was happy, but not ecstatic. The prevailing feeling seemed to be that of rest, satisfaction, great peace, and a consciousness of cleansing and sanctity. My joy was more solemn and sacred than ever before. My soul seemed hushed into silence before the Lord on account of his nearness and realized indwelling, and the overshadowing presence of the Holy Spirit.
My experience was not only that of victory over sin, but absolute deliverance from it. Its indwelling had ceased. The love of sin and the tendency to it were gone. I had been saved from the guilt and reigning power of sin before, but now I felt that the lurking, hostile, and warring inbeing of sin had been taken away. The usurper had been dethroned and cast out, and perfect love had been enthroned in his stead. The prayer was answered,
"The seed of sin's disease
Spirit of health remove."
I did not feel that I could not sin, but that I would not, on the principle, that I would not put my hand in the fire, or besmear myself with filth, though so unnatural a thing were possible. It was a deliverance from the internal existence of sin, though not from the capability of sinning. The inherent quality of sin and bias to it were gone, but the will-power to originate it again, and the susceptibility to its re-entrance remained. My whole being became averse to sin, so that I could not enter upon its commission without doing violence to my renewed nature. Principles of fixed purity and abhorrence of sin would have to be broken down, before the habit or being of sin could re-assert itself, or receive the slightest indulgence, if by any temptation, infirmity, or surprise, I might be betrayed into it.
The difference between my regenerate and sanctified state seemed to be this: 1. In regeneration my soul was alienated from sin; in sanctification it became hostile to it, and was set as a that against it. 2. In regeneration my hopes were a mixture of assurance and fear; in sanctification my soul rested in unmixed quietness and assurance forever. Perfect love did actually cast out all fear that had torment. The physical suffering in death or other afflictions night be dreaded, but no fearful forebodings found place in the soul. 3. In regeneration the enjoyments of religion were temporary, fitful, and evanescent; in sanctification they became uniform, abiding, deep, rich, and supremely controlling. 4. In regeneration there was a constant obtrusion of worldly, ecclesiastical, or spiritual ambitions, personal to self; they preyed upon the soul and ate out the vitals of its spirituality and power; in sanctification these unholy ambitions became dead and unattractive as a faded autumn leaf. Prominence, official position, and preferment, coming as a spontaneity from esteemed brethren, still seemed desirable, but only so far as they were an expression of confidence, a tribute of respect, or a means of usefulness.