Sarah Holden

The Life And Testimony Of Sarah Holden

Gospel Standard 1836:

Sarah Holden is now gone to possess that inheritance which she for many years longed for, and sighed after, but often heard she should never obtain. From the knowledge I have had of her for nearly thirty years, and conversation we have had together upon the work of God in his discrimination acts of grace, manifestatively made known in the heart and conscience by the Holy Ghost, I have the greatest confidence and delightful satisfaction that she is now enjoying the rest promised, with all those whom God the Spirit hath brought through much tribulation, and washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. From what I have head her say, when speaking of the work of God being made known to her at the first, it must have been nearly sixty years ago, and then it was that the Lord convinced her that she was a lost, guilty sinner before a heart-searching God. In this state she travailed long, her distress increasing, and her fears crowding in on every side. She worked hard and long, took no rest, but fasted often, and wept, and prayed, attending all the means of grace that she could get to, but all without hope of the Lord’s mercy ever being made known unto her. Indeed, she often fears her case was so bad that the Lord could not save her, without being unjust, she felt herself so awfully vile and wretched. At length, however, the set time being come, the Lord sent deliverance. One Lord’s Day, at church, the minister took for his text these word: “Arise, shine, for they light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” The Holy Ghost brought this with great power and sweetness to her soul, and she felt her burden gone, her soul was set at perfect liberty, and her heart filled with unspeakable joy. She could then say, “Thou art my God, and I will praise thee; for thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortest me.”

She continued with the Arminians about forty years; but the Lord having cleaned her conscience by his Spirit, kept her little in her own eyes, so that she could never get on so fast as those with whom she associated. It is now about twenty years since the Holy Ghost opened her understanding more fully into the discriminating doctrines of free grace. About this time, she began to hear Mr. Gadsby, and she often said that his preaching suited her so well, because he spoke so much her experience, and brought to her remembrance many joys and sorrows that she had passed through. She travelled much in the dark, and often concluded she had no part in the precious things of God. She was one that read her Bible much, and thirsted for a feeling enjoyment of the precious truths it contains.

A short time before her last illness, I called to see her, when she appeared to be very low in her mind. As she was always very free in conversing with me, we spent some time together, pondering over the best things. She said she had not so many joys now as she had in former years. I quoted this text, “The flocks shall pass again under the hand of him that telleth them, saith the Lord.” The Holy Ghost was pleased to make this a great blessing unto her soul, not only then, but on after occasions, and she never lost sight of it, though she had not always a feeling enjoyment of it.

Her last sickness was very short. The Lord’s Day before she died I called to see her. She said but little, but wept much, squeezing me by the hand. The Tuesday following I called, and found her very low in mind, and on the day following she was confined to her bed. I spoke to her very freely, but most of her reply was, “I am a poor, helpless, lost sinner; unless the Lord save me I am undone.” On Thursday I called again, and again spoke upon the things of God. She was very low both in body and mind, and said, “I am a poor helpless sinner; will the Lord save such a sinner as I am?” On Friday I found her fast hastening to an eternal world. I spoke freely upon the faithfulness of God to those whose he once loved, and made it manifest in their heart; and the Holy Ghost was pleased to bedew her soul with a feeling sense of his faithfulness and love, when she raised her head from the pillow, and with tears said, “O bless the Lord, for he hath loved me with an everlasting love.” This she repeated several times. I called on Saturday, and found her fast going. I asked her if she knew me, and she feebly said, “Yes.” This was the last word she uttered on earth. I spoke to her freely upon the precious love of the Lord Jesus, and though she could not speak, her sighing and breathing showed that the Lord was precious unto her, and while I was engaged in prayer, she seemed to go with every sentence.

This was the last time I saw her alive, for on the following morning, about three o’clock, the Lord called her home, in the 82nd year of her age, thus proving the verity of his promise, that he would be her guide even unto death.

Sarah Holden (1754-1836) was a sovereign grace believer. She was converted to Christ in the year 1777, at the age of twenty-three. For the next forty years, she remained under the teachings and in fellowship with Arminian churches. She was introduced to the doctrines of grace in the year 1816, at the age of sixty-two. She remained thereafter a faithful hearer of gospel preachers such as William Gadsby.