From the Preface:
What is faith? This is a question, which by the pious of all ages has been regarded as preeminently important. And surely the magnitude of the inquiry cannot be estimated beyond what its merit demands. What question can be more momentous to one who would secure the divine approval, since without faith it is impossible to please God? Yet the subject of faith has been so ably discussed by theologians of deep piety, that the author of this work has no intention of entering upon this ground as the revealer of any new theory. She may not speak of a higher anticipation than that of bringing forth truths as old as the Bible, with the humble hope that the Holy Spirit may cause them to be presented to the reader with vitality and freshness.
And why write a book, if nothing new to communicate? We answer, with the hope that some sincere inquirer, who may have been long looking for some new revelation, or that some great thing be wrought, may cease the vain endeavor, and in lowliness of mind ask for the old paths.
Few, perhaps, have been more perplexed in relation to faith than the writer was in early life. She has since discovered that the religion of the Bible does not require great powers of mind to reach it, but deep humility of spirit to come down to its simplicity. That the Bible is the word of God, is a truth with which from infancy she had been familiar, yet from a want of a proper realization of this fact her difficulties mainly arose. For years past she has in experimental verity apprehended the Divinity of the Word, and consequently her difficulties about faith have all vanished.
Meeting with many who inquire the heavenly way, and yet have been hindered by similar perplexities, the author, in her frequent communications with such, has in her directions pointed to the law and the testimony as an infallible guide, and a sufficient rule for faith and practice.
Her endeavor has been to meet these diversified cases, (which have ranged from the unawakened sinner to the traveler in the way of holiness,) on the ground of Bible truth; and it is hoped that something which has been presented may instruct and interest a few in each class of experience.
If the work may be in any degree instrumental in the awakening and ultimate salvation of souls, the author's highest ambition will have been reached, and the glory shall be ascribed to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
About the author:
Phoebe Palmer (1807-1874) is often referred to as the mother of the holiness movement. She ministered all over the world. She came from a deep Christian heritage, and her parents received fellowship in the Methodist church from John Wesley himself. No doubt, this had an impact on her spiritual life, despite many sufferings that she had to endure, to include the loss of three children.
She spent the greater majority of her life in the United States and Canada, and was instrumental in the Third Great Awakening in 1857.
She authored many books, including 'Incidental Illustrations of the Economy of Salvation; Its Doctrines and Duties,' 'Entire Devotion to God,' 'The Way of Holiness, with Notes by the Way,' 'Faith and Its Effects,' 'The Promise of the Father,' and 'Four Years in the Old World.'