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F. B. Meyer
by Ian M. Randall

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F. B. Meyer: Baptist Ambassador for Keswick holiness spirituality: F. B. Meyer was one of the most prominent English Baptist minister of his period - 1847-1929 - Biography
Baptist History and Heritage, Spring, 2002 by Ian M. Randall

Meyer's position was one of tension. The teaching on the deeper spiritual life had an instinctive appeal, but he could not integrate it into his commitment to evangelism and social action. It was only when Meyer reconciled these elements within himself that he could carry out his ministry as a holiness teacher.

The turning point came on November 26, 1884. C. T. Studd and Stanley Smith visited the rapidly-growing Baptist church of which Meyer was then rise pastor (Melbourne Hall, Leicester). Huge public interest had been aroused when Studd and Smith, who were nationally known sportsmen in England, together with five other Cambridge University students known as the "Cambridge Seven" volunteered to go as missionaries to China with the China Inland Mission.

Meyer no doubt saw the potential for a dramatic event and invited the two famous personalities to speak at Melbourne Hall just before they were due to leave Britain. What Meyer did not realize was the effect this decision would have on him. He observed in Studd and Smith a "constant source of rest and strength and joy" which he did not enjoy himself and which he was determined to possess. It was essential for Meyer to see spirituality at work if it was to be accepted as authentic, and this was exactly what he saw in the two missionary volunteers. Meyer went to Studd and Smith for advice, at 7:00 a.m. on the day after their Melbourne Hall meeting, and they urged him to surrender everything to Christ. Meyer then, "for the first time," or so he asserted, took the will of God as the aim of his whole life. (10) This statement about surrendering to God expressed a crucial element of the spirituality of the deeper life movement.

When Meyer's 1884 experience of surrender became public, the Keswick Convention organizers recognized him as equipped to take his place on the Keswick platform. He was asked to be one of the speakers during the convention week of 1887. Meyer was suffering from nervous depression as a result of a long spell of overwork, and the excited atmosphere among the large crowds of convention-goers when he arrived at Keswick increased his nervousness. During a late-night prayer meeting in which people were seeking the power of the Holy Spirit, the tension in Meyer reached intolerable levels. He hurriedly left the convention tent and fled up the hill. This was to be the scene for what he saw as his reception of the fullness of the Spirit. He said to himself: "As I breathe in the air, so my spirit breathes in the fullness (to my capacity) of the Holy Spirit."