Tuesday, April 27, 2010

William Carvosso: Sealed with the Holy Spirit

William Carvosso (1750–1834) was a layman from England—a contemporary of Wesley—who became a Methodist, so called, with all of his might. Never ordained a minister, Carvosso was a Class Leader of Methodist societies. He loved Wesleys' sermons and the Methodist Hymn-Book. He was just a regular man—except for the fact that he remains one of the greatest soul-winners in Methodist history.

As a saved and entirely sanctified Christian Carvosso left behind Life of William Carvosso, a gripping retelling of this dedicated servant's life in God. (E. M. Bounds mentions Carvosso in his work The Weapon of Prayer, Chapter 11, "Modern Examples of Prayer".)

In his spiritual autobiography Carvosso tells of occasions when God immediately and directly (to use D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones' words) witnessed to his human spirit that he was saved. Consider this Scripture:
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14 KJV)
The word translated, "after" is an acceptable rendering in the Greek though modern translations don't render it so. Modern translations render the sealing simultaneous with salvation while the King James renders it subsequent in nature. The late D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899—1981), for instance, held that our sealing with the Holy Spirit occurs after initial salvation. Lloyd-Jones wasn't a Wesleyan and didn't believe in entire sanctification as Wesleyans do. However, the famed Welsh Calvinistic Methodist held to a post-salvation baptism in the Spirit of God.

From Life of William Carvosso:
I have sometimes had seasons of remarkable visitation from the presence of the Lord. I well remember on one occasion, while paying a visit to my Camborne friends, I was one night in bed, so filled -- so overpowered with the glory of God, that, had there been a thousand suns shining at noonday, the brightness of that Divine glory would have eclipsed the whole! I was constrained to shout aloud for joy. It was the overwhelming power of saving grace. Now it was that I again received the impress of the seal, and the earnest of the Spirit, in my heart. Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, I was changed into the same image from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord. Language fails in giving but a faint description of what I then experienced. I can never forget it in time, nor to all eternity.
Carvosso goes on to relate another experience:
Many years before, perhaps not fewer than thirty, I was sealed by the Spirit in a somewhat similar manner. While walking one day between Mousehole and Newlyn, I was drawn to turn aside from the public road, and under the canopy of heaven kneel down to prayer. I had not long been engaged with God, before I was so visited from above, and overpowered by the Divine glory, that my shouting could be heard at a distance. It was a weight of glory that I seemed incapable of bearing in the body, and I therefore cried out, (perhaps unwisely,) "Lord, stay thine hand!" In this glorious baptism, these words came to my heart with indescribable power, I have sealed thee unto the day of redemption."
His testimony of entire sanctification is very definite:

At length, one evening while engaged in a prayer meeting, the great deliverance came. I began to exercise faith, by believing, "I shall have the blessing now." Just at that moment a heavenly influence filled the room, and no sooner had I uttered or spoken the words from my heart, "I shall have the blessing now," than refining fire went "through my heart, illuminated my soul, scattered its life through every part, and sanctified the whole." I then received the full witness of the Spirit that the blood of Jesus had cleansed me from all sin. I cried out, "This is what I wanted! I have now got a new heart." I was emptied of self and sin, and filled with God. I felt I was nothing, and Christ was all in all. Him I now cheerfully received in all His offices, my Prophet to teach me, my Priest to atone fore me, my King to reign over me.
Carvosso later shared in his book:
Giving glory to my God, I can say to the present moment, I feel the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth me from all sin. I am become a living temple, glorious all within. I can now love God with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my strength. My inward heaven of joy and peace was, I think, never so great as of late. O Lord, help me to make some suitable return of love and gratitude! O stupendous redeeming grace!
How God loves us, saints! How he loves us!