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Smith, Amanda
An autobiograpy



For about three weeks after God had sanctified my soul, he seemed to let me walk above the world.

"I then rode on the sky,
Freely justified I,
Nor did envy Elijah his seat.
My glad soul mounted higher,
In a chariot of fire,
And the moon it was under my feet.
I could not believe
That I ever should grieve,
That I ever should suffer again."

But the Lord knew I must be disciplined for service. He began by degrees to let me down, and the tempter seemed to be let loose upon me. I have said the Devil turned his hose on me, for it was as though a man was washing a sidewalk or carriage, Satan seemed to come at me in various ways, in such power. I settled down in God, I got where I could not make a single effort to pray or do anything. I was helpless--I could not get out of the way. Oh, what temptations! So I said, "Well, fire away, but I will trust in God, though he slay me." It was dark, but it was not long till light broke in and drove the darkness all away.

Why does God permit these fierce temptations? It is, I believe, first, to develop the strength and muscle of your own soul and so prepare you for greater service, and second, to bring you into sympathy with others, that are often sorely tempted after they are sanctified, so that you can help them. For example:

After the dreadful temptation I have spoken of I met two persons that were suffering from the assaults of the old Accuser, as I had. One was at Sea Cliff, the other at Chester Heights Camp Meeting. The lady at Sea Cliff was a very interesting, intelligent lady. She was Assistant Superintendent of a Sabbath School, as well as a school teacher. She had a large Bible class of young persons and had great influence with them, and with the church, where she was a member. She came from Greenpoint or Williamsburg. I don't remember which. She had sought and found the great blessing of full salvation, and had walked in the blessed light and comfort of it for over a year, and was very helpful to many of her friends, and, especially, to her large Bible class of young people, a number of whom had been led to consecrate themselves fully to the Lord, and had come out into the clear light of this experience of perfect love through her instrumentality. Of course Satan would hinder her from such a work as that, so he cast a heavy black cloud over her soul, and she was in dreadful darkness for three months. She went over and over her consecration to see if she had taken anything back in any way. No, she knew she had been true up to all the light God had given her, still Satan accused her and told her there was something wrong or she would not have this cloud hanging over her. She was afraid to tell her young believers for fear she would discourage them, so she had to go on with her work testifying definitely to what God had done for her, but only held on by naked faith. Many times after she would get home from meetings she would spend hours in her room weeping and praying before the Lord, but no help came. The tempter would assail her as being a hypocrite and testifying to what she did not feel in her heart, but God helped her to stick to her facts. She had given herself to the Lord, and she was His, darkness or light, joy or no joy, it did not alter the fact, and she decided to declare it. When she came to Sea Cliff in this state of mind she was obedient. She would testify and tell just her state, then she came forward for help. As she would tell her sad story she would weep bitterly; then different ones would try and tell her what to do, and she said I am willing to do anything; so one and another would say do this or that; then she was asked to come forward. She would be the first one to go and kneel to get help and light. Everybody seemed to be in great sympathy with her and tried to help her. I saw where she was and knew she was under a temptation
of the Devil, but I was a colored woman, I did not like to push myself forward. I heard this young woman's story for three days, so I used to pray for her, but never got a chance to speak to her. One morning Sister Inskip was leading a young people's meeting in a tent on the upper part of the ground. I slipped in and sat down on one of the outer seats. I see now why the Lord seated me there. The tent filled up, and Sister Inskip talked and then asked others to speak. Again this dear young lady got up, and said she had got what she came for, she had got some help, but she had to go home that day, and she would rather die than go home as she was. Mrs. Inskip said, "Well, just give yourself to the Lord."

"Oh," I thought, over and over, "why don't she tell her to shout."

No one ever had intimated that it was a temptation from Satan. When they went to kneel down this young woman knelt right in front of me so that I did not have to move from the seat I had taker and, while Mrs. Inskip was speaking and helping others, I leaned forward and said to this lady, "That is a temptation of the Devil; you praise the Lord and he will bring you out."

She looked up, and through her blinding tears, said, "Oh, Amanda Smith, were you ever so since you were sanctified?"

"Yes, my child, I was. I was shut up in prison for three weeks and only just got out the other day."

"Oh," she said, "I see it. Now Satan has been telling me that sanctified people never had a cloud."

"Don't you mind him," I said, "Praise the Lord."

"Glory to Jesus!" She sprang to her feet and cried, "I have got the victory, I am saved, I can go home, Jesus has set me free, O, Praise the Lord."

"Whom the Son makes free is free indeed." Hallelujah!

Then I saw that my experience in the weeks before, had been made a blessing to her, just as Job's experience was intended to be a blessing to men and women through all coming time.

I went to New Utrecht, to Mr. Roberts' to see my husband, James Smith. His son-in-law, John Bentley, was there when I went. Whatever had gone before, I do not know. I knew this young man. He had been at my house in New York. I had treated him well, and had done my very best for him, and his wife also. But that day he cursed me, and told me I had no business

there. I thought it was strange he should talk so to me, and I believe he incurred the displeasure of God, as did Elymas, the sorcerer, who withstood Paul and sought to turn away from the faith Sergius Paulus, a prudent man who had called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. But this man withstood them. But Paul, being full of the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, and said: "Oh! full of all subtilty and mischief, thou child of the Devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not yet cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold! the hand of the Lord is upon thee. Thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season." "And immediately there fell on him a mist and darkness, and he went about seeking some one to lead him by the hand," (Acts 13:8-12.) So, that day in New Utrecht, John Bentley came in, as I was in the next room talking with James, my husband. I had gone over to see him. My rent was due, and he had not been over for two weeks, and had not sent me any money. I was not well, and my baby was sick, and I was insisting that James should give me some money, at least the sixty cents that it cost me to come over from New York. But he would not. I was crying and talking, for my heart was almost broken. So, when John Bentley cursed and swore at me, I turned to him quietly, and said: "Why, John Bentley, haven't I a right to come where my own husband is?" But he was fierce. I did not know but he was going to strike me. But I went up to him and looked him in the face, and said to him: "When you have been at my house, haven't I always treated you well? I have never laid a straw in your way in my life; and I don't know why you should speak to me in such a way."

He went on talking and abusing me terribly. There seemed to come an indescribable power over me, and I turned and lifted my hand toward him, and I said to him: "Mind, John Bentley, the God that I serve will make you pay for this before the year is out."

He said: "Well, I don't care if He does. Let Him do it."

He had not more than said the words when he seemed to tremble and stagger. There was a chair behind him, and he dropped down into the chair. I never saw him from that day. This was about two weeks before Christmas, and before the New Year came, John Bentley was dead and buried!

I always feel sad when I think of it, but I believe that God was displeased with that man for cursing me that day.


My husband, James Smith, was formerly of Baltimore, Md. He was for many years a leader of the choir of Bethel A. M. E. Church, in that city. Afterward he moved to Philadelphia, and was ordained deacon in the A. M. E. Church. He died in November, 1869, at New Utrecht, N. Y. Since then I have been a widow, and have traveled half way round the world, and God has ever been faithful. He has never left me a moment; but in all these years I have proved the word true, "Lo! I am with you always, even to the end."

"Sometimes 'mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden's bowers bloom,
By waters still, or troubled sea,
Still, 'tis my God that leadeth me."

Amen. Amen.

I had told the Lord I would be obedient and would do all he bade me, so one day while I was busy at work it was whispered to my heart, "You go to Bedford Street on Sunday."

"Yes," I said, "I will." I always liked to go and hear Rev. John Cookman, who was then pastor. Sunday morning came; it was Easter Sunday. My friend, Sister Scott, and I went. Strange to say, but the usher took us up front, in what is or used to be called "The Amen Corner." I shall never forget John Cookman's text and sermon. The words were: "See that ye make all things after the pattern shown you in the Mount."

O, what a congregation, and what power the young man seemed to have in those days. He brought out holiness so clear and definite. I had got wonderfully blest as they sang the old Easter Anthem, as only Bedford Street could sing it in those days. O, how it thrills me now as I think it all over! As Brother Cookman went on with his sermon, increasing in fervor and power, the Spirit whispered to me distinctly, "Raise up your right hand," and I was just going to do so, when the Devil said, just as distinctly, "Yes, you look nice lifting up your black hand before all the people"--and I drew back and did not do it.

Then the Spirit said: "The other day you told the Lord you would do anything He would tell you to do."

"O, yes," I said, "I did. O, Lord, forgive me and give me another chance and I will lift my hand for Thee!"

By-and-by the Spirit said again, "Lift up your right hand,"

and I did, and the power of the Spirit fell on the people and the whole congregation. There were "Amens," and "Amens," and sobs and weeping and "Praise the Lord," heard all over the house, and many were led out of prison by the simple act of obedience to God. He did not tell me to shout, but to lift my hand for Him, and the people shouted, and my own heart then filled with adoring praise. O, I would God I had always obeyed Him, then would my peace have flowed as the river, but many times I failed. Once on the car coming from New Utrecht, where I had gone to see my husband, I had a tract in my hand with a message for a lad that got in. I saw him look at me, and then turn quickly away as if he was afraid I would hand it to him. My heart was prompted to give it to him, but I kept hesitating. First, I said, "I will wait till some of the people get out." Then, I said, "I will wait till I get out." The car stopped, the lad got out and ran away as though I was after him. I looked after him and wanted to call him, but he was gone. Then these words came to me in such force that I have never forgotten them, "His blood will I require at your hand." I did nothing but pray to God for His pardoning and forgiving mercy from that hour till I got home; at last, I felt He forgave me and gave me peace in my heart.

Here I desire to record some things the Lord taught me about what is now called faith, or divine healing.

I think it was in October, 1868, not very long after I had got the blessing of sanctification. It seemed that my faith had increased and strengthened in this short time, so that I did not seem to find it difficult to believe God for anything I really needed. I had never heard of Dr. Cullis, Dr. Bordman, or Dr. Mahan, of Oberlin, Ohio. I had never read a book or paper of any kind. I believed what I read in the Bible about the miracles performed by the Lord Jesus, opening the eyes of the blind, unstopping the ears of the deaf, and healing the sick, but thought it belonged to the days of miracles especially, and it was to prove to the unbelieving Jews the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. I had often prayed for sick people, and asked the Lord to bless means that were used, and so many times He did it, as I believe in answer to prayer; but I never made any time about it, as though it were some especial state of grace, so much higher than entire sanctification or holiness. So I went on claiming promises, quenching the violence of fire, escaping the edge of the sword, out of weakness was made

strong, waxing valiant in fight, and really turning to flight the armies of the aliens. And so found out that there is no want to them that fear the Lord. But I did not feel led to make a special gospel of the great and deep things God had taught me. The Gospel of Jesus was so full and practical, and with good, common sense it seemed to cover all my need. Praise the Lord for that lesson. For I find, no matter what the state of grace attained to in this life, one may ever learn some new lesson. Learn to know one's own self. Learn to know one's weakness. Learn to know the beauty of love and power and sympathy of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. And so on.

It was Saturday. I was very busy, as that is a busy day, especially with a washwoman. After I had swept my room I gave the dustpan to Mazie to carry out to the ash box that stood on the sidewalk. It was when I lived in the rear at 135 Amity street, New York. When she came in, she said, "O, ma, some one has thrown a lot of nice books into the ash box; some of them are almost new." She was very fond of reading, so she said, "May I bring some in?"

"Oh, no," I said, "Mazie; I have little enough room now, and I do not want any old books or trash brought in." But contrary to my orders, the child slipped three of these books into the house, and hid them in the little closet on the shelf behind the smoothing irons. In the bottom of this closet, on the floor, I kept my coal. I could put in about two pailfuls, which was about a half bushel, at a time. So on Monday morning after prayers, Mazie had gone to school, I went to put some coal in the stove and then was going to gather my clothes. But I noticed that my irons were not back on the shelf in their place properly. So I went to arrange them, and found these books.

"There," I said, "I told Mazie not to bring any of these books in; she has not obeyed me." But as I looked at them I said, "Perhaps I should not have told her 'no' until I saw them; for they really are almost new." I don't remember what the two were, but the third was a small-sized book, entitled, "Child's Book on Physiology." So I began to read it. I looked through it. As I read on, its explanations, simple and so beautiful, of the human body in all its parts, in a way that any child could understand it, I got so interested that I sat down, though I was in such a hurry. After reading and thinking, I turned to the first page.

There was a cut of the human frame on the fly leaf. As I looked at it and studied it, I said, "Surely, as the Psalmist says, 'Man is fearfully and wonderfully made.'" Now, in my imagination, I covered that frame with flesh, and skin, and sinew, and blood, and pulse, and life. Then I got a pain, or rheumatism, in the left arm or back; and I said, "Now, there is a man suffering pain in his arm and back. I give him medicine in his mouth, and it must go all this round to reach that spot; when God, who made him, knows how to reach the difficulty direct." Now, all this was as I imagined. There was not a soul in the house but myself. So I said, lifting my eyes to heaven, "Oh! Lord, I will never take another bit of medicine while I live without you tell me to." And I got up and threw out all my medicines--I had a few simple remedies in the house--and for a year and eight months I never touched anything. Oh! what wonderful lessons the Lord taught me in that time. It did seem that He watched as a father would watch his child. Sometimes I would bring in a basket of clothes, and it would be so warm I would sit down between the window and doors so as to get the breeze quickly, and I would hear the Spirit whisper, as distinctly as a man, so gently, but clearly: "You are sitting in the draught." Often I have looked around to see if there was not really a person speaking. If I was prompt and moved, it was all right. But sometimes I would say, when the whisper came, "Oh, yes, but I'm so warm;" and I would forget, until I would feel a pain in my back, or neck, or somewhere. Then I would at once look up to God and say, "Now, Lord, teach me the lesson you want I should learn; and then do please relieve me of this pain." Can you understand the patience and forbearance of God? I cannot. Sometimes He would bless me so; I would be so happy, I would whirl round and round and laugh and say, "Oh! Lord, how beautiful. I will never have to take any more medicine, and I can save the money that I spent for medicine for other purposes." But the Lord knew how to teach me, praised be His name. So at the expiration of a year and eight months, it was in November, I think, I took a severe cold. I never knew how I got that cold, and if the grippe had been known then, as now, I would have said I had it in its severest form. I never thought of medicine. The Lord was my physician, and had done everything I had asked for myself and my child for a year and eight months, so of course He would now. So I prayed as
aforetime, but still grew worse. Oh! how dreadfully ill I was. But I held on. Oh! how I did cry to God for deliverance. For three days and nights I could not lie down, my cough was so bad. I had a raging fever. My head ached, and every bone in my body ached. I still grew worse, until the morning of the fourth day. I tried to get my clothes on, but could not stand up long enough. "Oh! what shall I do?" I went in my bedroom and knelt down by a chair. Oh! how I cried and prayed. "Oh! Lord, what is the matter? What have I done? Thou didst always heal me when I asked thee; and now Thou seest I can hardly hold my head up, I am so sick. Oh! Lord, show me if I have done anything to displease Thee; make it clear to me, and forgive me, for Jesus' sake. Now, Lord, I will just be quiet till Thou does speak to me and tell me what I have done, and why thou dost not heal me as Thou usest to do."

So I waited a few minutes; I don't know how long; then it seemed as though the Lord Jesus in person stood by me; such a peaceful hush came all over me, and He seemed to say, so tenderly, Oh! so tenderly, "Now, if you knew the Lord wanted you to take medicine would you be willing?"

"No, Lord, you always have healed me without medicine, and why not now? What have I done?"

Then it seemed just as though a person spoke and said, "No, no, but if you knew it was God's will, would you be willing?" I said, "No, Lord; you can heal me without medicine, and I don't want to take it." Then the patient, gentle voice said the third time, "No, no," and putting the question a little differently, said, "If you knew it was God's will for you to take medicine would you be willing to do God's will? "

Oh! how I cried. I saw it, but I said, "No, Lord, I don't like medicine; but Thou canst conquer my will. I do not want to live with my will in opposition to Thy will. Thou must conquer."

Oh! what a battle. It took me one whole hour before my will went down. I held on to the chair, for I felt I must get up, but I said, "No, I will die right here." But I held right on to the chair. I said, "I will never rise from here until my will dies." And I knew when the death was given and when the victory came. I remained quiet, and thought it all over. And I said, "Lord, I thank Thee. Now tell me what I must do." For I felt if the Lord had said, "Now, you go over there on Sixth avenue to

the drug store, and take all the medicine, bottles and all," I was willing! Oh! I was willing all through! It seemed wonderfully sweet to die to my own will, and sink into God. So just then it came to me to use a simple remedy that I had used a thousand times before, and in twenty-four hours I was as well as ever. I never got over a cold like that before in my life in so short a time; a cold like that would always be a three weeks' siege. But I seemed to see what it all meant. God showed me. I was worshiping my will.

Sometimes when I have told this strange experience to some of the good people in these days, they throw up their hands in holy horror and say, "Oh! I don't see how you could dare to say so." But I see the same spirit of will-worship in many of those who profess what they prefer to call "Divine healing;" the same spirit of will-worship that I had. But I do not think they know it. I am at no controversy with anybody on these lines. But, Oh! how I do thank and praise God for opening my eyes to see, and I think, understand His will concerning Amanda Smith. I do not believe in calling the doctor for every little thing, or making a drug store of one's self; but I believe it right when you need medicine or doctor, to use both, prayerfully, and with common-sense, with an eye single. But to say the use of means in sickness is contrary to the will of God, and that all Christians should have faith and trust the Lord to heal them without the use of means at all, even though their common-sense, which is as much God's gift to us as any other blessing, tells them to use the means, but must close their eyes, ignore all symptoms, and by the force of will, which they must call "faith," ride over everything;--now this is where the tug of war comes in, with Amanda Smith. My neighbor prays, and is wonderfully healed; she is a Christian; so am I; we have both been blessed of God; I pray, and am not healed; someone tells me it is a lack of faith on my part, or there is something wrong in my consecration, or there is something wrong in me somewhere, and that is the reason I am not healed. Now comes the question: "How do you know that? Who told you so?" So that I must either stand judged, or else I must judge, and where do I get my authority for so doing? The Lord help me. Amen.

The days of miracles are not past. God has healed without the use of means of any kind, as well as with; and why He does not now heal every case as He used to do, I do not think I have any

right to say is because of a lack of faith on the part of some poor, weak child of God; and so consign them to perdition. Then there are some things God would have us do for ourselves. Not long ago I was at the home of a good minister, a man that knew the Lord, and for years had walked in the light and blessedness of full salvation. He had begun to get deaf in his right ear; it came on gradually; sometimes worse than at other times. So he prayed earnestly, and believed God, and held on about a year. Finally he seemed to grow worse. His wife, a good, saved, orthodox, levelheaded woman, had often said to him he ought to see a doctor about it. But he had a pretty strong will of his own, and did not yield easily to her persuasions. But she was gentle and patient. One morning as he was sitting in the room talking with me, she came in and said, "Now, my dear, you must really go and see the doctor this morning about your deafness; let him examine it; you are getting worse all the time, and it will never do to have you going around deaf."

The good man looked at his wife, then he turned to me and said, smilingly, "Sister Smith, my wife is generally pretty clear when she decides upon a thing."

"Yes, Sister Smith," she said, "it would do no harm to go and see about it, anyhow."

"Sister M.," I said, "you are quite right; just what I say."

So off he went. He was gone about two hours. When he returned, I said, "Well, Brother M., what did the doctor say?"

"Oh! praise the Lord," he said, "I am all right; clear as a bell." So he told the story, and laughed heartily. I said, "What did the doctor do?"

"Oh," he said, "he told me to sit down and he would examine my ear; he said there was nothing serious the matter; the wax was very dry. So he took his instruments and took out about a thimbleful of wax, and put a little sweet oil or something in it, and it is all right."

"Yes," I said, "praise the Lord. Some people would have teased the Lord to have Him clean out their ears, when they might do it themselves, or get someone to do it to whom God had given the sense and ability."