William Clowes, The Spiritual Mountaineer

Updated: Oct 10, 2018


This man of God was one of the founders of the Primitive Methodist denomination Rev. George Lamb, in his memorial of him, says:


William Clowes

“On a certain missionary tour he walked one day twenty-four miles, and while on the road, he says: "I fell into a profound meditation on the fall of man, his departure from original holiness, the depth of iniquity into which sin had sunk him, and the impossibility for any power but that of God to restore him. These reflections I pursued in my mind until I was brought into great sorrow, and distress of soul. I felt the travail in birth, and experienced an internal agony on account of the millions of souls on the earth, who were posting on in the way of death, whose steps take hold on hell. I wept much, and longed for some convenient place on the road, where I might give vent to my burdened soul in prayer. In a short time I arrived on the borders of a wood; and then I gave way to my feelings, poured out my soul, and cried like a woman in the pangs of childbirth. I thought the agony into which I was thrown would terminate my life.


“This was a glorious baptism for the ministry; the glory of God was revealed to me in a wonderful manner; it left an unction on my soul which continues to this day; and the sweetness which was imparted to my spirit, it is impossible for me to attempt a description of."


Space will not allow us to follow this apostolic man as he went through the principal counties, and cities, and towns of England; nor to detail the wonderful displays of Divine power which took place under his ministry. Persecution raged against him, his name was cast out as evil, and he had to endure many and severe hardships. But wherever he went the work of God broke out in power, sinners were converted, believers sanctified, and classes organized. At every session of their Annual Conference, for years, their net increase amounted to four or five thousand, and not unfrequently the annual increase was ten thousand.


“Mr. Clowes was very remarkable for his power in prayer. He abounded largely in ‘the grace of supplication.’ It has never fallen to my lot to experience such baptisms, as I never failed to feel, while kneeling with him before the mercy-seat. Perhaps it will be seen, in the light of eternity, that much of the success which has crowned the labors of the Connexion was graciously vouchsafed in answer to his fervent and effectual prayers.’ The results of the midnight devotions which he rendered to God, and of his wrestlings ‘until break of day,’ when; ‘as a prince, he had power with God and prevailed,’ are yet to be revealed; the witness of these holy exercises is in heaven, and their record on high.


“Streaming eyes, broken hearts, cries for mercy, and joyful deliverances, were ordinary effects produced when he drew nigh to God in public prayer. I was present at a love feast conducted by him and his friend, the Rev. I. Holliday, in Mill Street chapel, Hull, at the conclusion of which about forty souls were professedly converted to God.


“Great as Mr. Clowes was in the pulpit, and mighty as he was in prayer, he was equally conspicuous for his strong and unwavering faith. ‘ I have believed, I do believe, and I will believe,’ he would say; and he soared to what he called the ‘mountains of frankincense, and the hills of myrrh,’ and regaled himself with fruits and flowers in the garden of the Lord; bathed in its crystal fountains of purity; and basked in its blissful bowers of holy serenity and heavenly joy. His strong faith enabled him to make his constant abode where only a few of even good men pay an occasional visit; he lived at a great spiritual altitude, a sort of Pisgah’s mountain-life, on lofty banks of high and holy regions. If ever he pitched his tent, he shifted it higher still; he was a spiritual mountaineer.


‘His religious life appears to have been one rapid ascent from grace to grace.’ No wonder that one who the walked with God in spiritual climes, where peace sheds its balm, hope bends its rainbow, and the soul dwells at ease," should be able to say, as did he, and to the honor of grace and the glory of God, be it recorded: "‘I have never had a doubt for forty years."


“In the social circle he was serious without gloom, cheerful without levity; and perhaps no man could have passed half an hour in his fellowship without feeling-that he was breathing in an atmosphere of holiness, in contact with a spirit near of kin to just men made perfect,’ and living for the time on the verge of heaven

“John Nelson, in describing his introduction to Clowes, says :


"There was a most impressive gravity in his demeanor when he received me. His eyes were devoutly lifted up to heaven, while he implored a blessing upon me. "Let us pray a minute," said he; and the next moment he was upon his knees, pouring out the desire of his soul for me, in a manner which I cannot fully describe, nor shall I ever forget. Among other things which he fervently asked, this was one-that the Spirit which used to come upon Samson at times in the camp of Dan, might, in all its energy, come upon me; and that, aided by that power, I, too, might so smite the Philistines, that they might fall before me, heaps upon heaps. While he thus pleaded, the fire of the Holy Ghost fell upon me, and I was more fully endued with a power which, to a greater extent, prepared me for the work for which I was ill-fitted, and from which I had shrunk with trembling apprehensions."


“Mr. Clowes had several prominent characteristics; but the most prominent of all was his constancy and power in prayer. In all things through which he was called to pass, he had one never-failing resource, and that was prayer. -- Shining Lights


Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer - 1893

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