Rees Howells

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple” (Isa 6:1).

Seeing the Lord is a two-edged sword. You cannot see the Lord and not see yourself. We see a reflection of our old self on His face. When you see someone who is full of himself, and judges and criticises a fellow believer you can tell immediately he hasn’t seen the Lord. This was the experience of Isaiah: “So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.” (Isa 6:5)

Like Isaiah, Rees Howells saw the holiness of God. He said, “and seeing Him, I saw my own corrupt nature. It wasn’t sins that I saw, but nature touched by the Fall. I was corrupt to the core. I knew I had to be cleansed; I saw there was as much difference between the Holy Ghost and myself as between light and darkness.”

“Nothing is more real to me than the process I went through for that whole week,” he continued. “The Holy Spirit went on dealing with me, exposing the root of my nature which was self, and you can only get out of a thing what is in its root. Sin was cancelled, and it wasn’t sin He was dealing with; it was self — that thing which came from the Fall. He was not going to take any superficial surrender. He put His finger on each part of my self-life, and I had to decide in cold blood. He could never take a thing away until I gave my consent. Then the moment I gave it, some purging took place (Isaiah 6:5-7), and I could never touch that thing again. It was not saying I was purged and the thing still having a hold on me: no, it was a breaking, and the Holy Ghost taking control. Day by day the dealing went on. He was coming in as God, and I had lived as man, and ‘what is permissible to an ordinary man,’ He told me, ‘will not be permissible to you.'”

This “Llandrindod experience” was the crisis, which was followed by the process of sanctification during which the Holy Spirit, on the basis of his initial surrender, step by step replaced the self-nature with His own divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). First there was the love of money, that “root of evil” which had formerly taken Rees to America. The Lord told him that He would take out of his nature all taste for money, and any ambition for the ownership of money. “I had to consider what that meant,” Rees said. “Money would be no more to me than it was to John the Baptist or to the Saviour. To an extent this was dealt with in my new birth, but now the Holy Ghost was getting at the root.” The dealings on that lasted a whole day, and by the evening his “attitude towards money had entirely changed.”

Then there was the fact that he would never have the right to a choice in making a home. “I saw I could never give my life to another person to live to that one alone. Could the Saviour have given His life and attention to one person, instead of to a lost world? Neither could the Holy Ghost. He took plenty of time to show me exactly what it would mean: the life He would live would be for the world. Was I willing for that?”

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