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CHAPTER - SANCTIFICATION A CHRISTIAN OBLIGATION What I wish to say in this chapter, in a general way, as an introduction to the reception of the baptism with the Holy Spirit, is suggested by the following passages of Scripture: “Be filled with the Spirit” ( Ephesians 5:18). “Though it tarry wait for it, because it will surely come; it will not tarry” ( Habakkuk 2:3). “The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple” ( Malachi 3:1). “Ye are the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you “ ( 1 Corinthians 3:16).
These passages suggest to me these great facts:
I. It is the universal obligation of all Christians to become sanctified. This is not supposed to be the case. I have no doubt these words will be a surprise to many readers. But there can be no question whatever about it. The ringing exhortation of the Bible is, “Let us cease to speak of the first principles of Christ and press on unto perfection” ( Hebrews 6:1). Who shall say that this command, “Be filled with the Spirit,” is not as imperative as the command not to steal? Bishop Taylor, one of the most effective Christian workers of the century, who has girdled the world with his undying influence and has personally labored in America, Australia, India and Africa, says: “It is not optional with a believer to ‘go on to perfection’ or not. It is his imperative duty, just as fast as the Holy Ghost gives him light and applies the command to his conscience. After the soul is somewhat established in the grace of pardon wherein it stands, then the Holy Sanctifier sheds increasing light into the heart of th e young believer, and reveals its inherent depravity to an alarming degree. This is an occasion of great temptation. Our only safety is to obey God, walk after the Spirit and ‘go on to perfection.’ The neglect to obey God’s positive command, ‘Be ye holy,’ involves a risk of forfeiture of the justified relation, and soul distraction that no person should take. “But this is not merely a question involving the personal salvation of the Christian professor, but one on which hangs conditionally the salvation of the world. Whatever may be the organic strength of the church, the number and grandeur of her institutions and appliances, her real spiritual effectiveness in the prosecution of her great mission of preaching ‘the gospel to every creature.’ will be proportionate to the holiness of her individual members. A church composed of spiritual dwarfs, instead of perfect men,’ must be a dwarfish, ineffective church. When we remember that the provision of salvation in Christ embraces every sinner on the globe, and that God the Holy Ghost hath been sent down to ‘abide with us,’ and administer this provision to the salvation of the whole human family, we see at once the appalling fact that there is a dreadful miscarriage somewhere. “Why is it that we grapple so feebly and ineffectively with Mohammedanism and the various forms of heathenism? Why is it that, even in Christian countries, comparatively so few even profess to be loyal to God? Why is it that the large majority of our children, brought up at our family altars, and trained in the nursery of our churches — the Sunday-school — go out into the world unblushing rebels against God?
Why is it that the Christian Church, instead of pushing a bold, aggressive warfare, under the leadership of her divine Teacher, the Holy Spirit, for the conquest of the world, is in the main quietly reposing in her trenches, barracks, and spiritual hospitals, maintaining a feeble defensive, unable to resist the innovating forces of worldliness and sin, and the corrupting tide of infidelity itself? In searching for the grounds of this dreadful deficiency, involving the loss of millions of souls, we will find them not so much in organizations and ordinances, and institutions, as in want of entire hear t purity in her individual members” (Infancy and Manhood, pp. 7-13). “We have a sickly, dwarfish type of Christianity, which is proving itself to a demonstration quite inadequate to meet the demands of her great mission of mercy in saving the whole world” (p. 14).
Rev. F. B. Meyer, of London, says in the same strain: “How little power average Christians have. They wave the censer between the living and the dead, but the plague is not stayed. Like Gehazi, they lay the staff on the face of the dead child, but life does not return. Like the disciples at the foot of the mount, they speak the healing words, but the devil-possessed are not relieved. They pray; but prayers are unanswered. The life-giving power must be in us, or we shall not see dead sinners come to life through our words.” Just here is the weakness of the church of our time. There are many members; but too many of them are Gehazis and faithless disciples.
Until more believers are filled with the sanctifying and power-giving Holy Spirit, even the children of the church households will remain dead and devil-possessed. Mrs. E. M. Whittemore, of the Door of Hope Mission for fallen women in New York, said in an address in Boston: “Of two hundred girls taken into the mission, one hundred and ninety-nine w ere from Christian homes (so called). I rarely if ever meet a grown up girl born in the slums in sin, down there still; and I mean, too, those whom we have reached.” It is safe to say those girls had parents who were easy-going, indifferent, worldly church members, but strangers to the Baptism with the Holy Ghost. They did not have religion enough to make their children respect it and want it. Their Sabbath-school teachers probably had the same kind of piety, and perhaps their pastors preached to them without a touch of Spirit power. And all these representatives of lukewarm piety, all unfilled with the Spirit, simply conspired to send these girls to the street, and sent five times as many young men to be their companions.
Hear Mrs. Catherine Booth, in one of her magnificent addresses on The Holy Ghost: “What a tide of lamentation and mourning reaches us all round the land as to the deadness, coldness and dearth of Christian churches! We can not help feeling that there is a great want somewhere!
This is not only my opinion, but it is almost universally admitted, that with the enormous expenditure of means, the great amount of human effort, the multiplication of human instrumentalities during the past century, there has not been a corresponding result. People say to me, on every hand, we have meetings without number, services, societies, conventions, conferences, but what comes of them all, comparatively? And I may just say here that numbers of ministers and clergymen in private conversation admit the same thing. When talking behind the scenes, they say: ‘Yes, it is a sad fact; I think I preach the truth, I pray about it, I am anxious for results, but alas! alas! the conversions are but few and far between, and even those few are superficial.’ Now I say this is universally admitted, and it behooves us to ask before God, Where is the lack? Now note, this want is not the truth. O, what a great deal of talk about the truth, and not any too much. But there will be thousands of sermons preached today — the truth and nothing but the truth. Nobody will pretend to say they were not in perfect keeping with the Word of God; and yet they will be perfect failures, and nobody will know it better than they who preach them. These are facts. “I was talking on this point a while ago with a good man who said: ‘Ah, yes; I have not seen a conversion in my church these two years.’ Now what was the reason? There was a reason, and I am afraid many might say the same. Yet there are the unconverted. They come to be operated on. They are not lifted into salvation. What is the matter? There must be something wrong. God is not changed. Human hearts are not changed; they are depraved, vile, devilish, just the same as ever. The gospel is the same power that it ever was — the power of God unto salvation. Where is the lack? I say most unhesitatingly that the great want is the Power of the Holy Ghost. The masses come to the churches Sunday after Sunday, come and go, like a door on its hinges, neither better nor worse? — nay, God grant it might be so, but they are worse. They get enough light to light them down to damnation, but they do not get enough power to lift them into salvation.
This power is as distinct, and definite, and separate a gift of God, as was this Book, or God’s Son, or any other gift which he has given us! We can not explain this gift, but it is the power of the Holy Spirit of God in the soul of the speaker, accompanying his word, making it cut and pierce to the dividing of soul and spirit. “Oh, what numbers of ministers, elders, deacons, leaders, Sabbath-school teachers and the like have come to me confessing that they have been working with little results. They want the Holy Ghost to accompany their testimony. This is how I account for the want of results — the want of the direct, pungent, enlightening, convicting, restoring. transforming power of the Holy Ghost. And I care not how gigantic the intellect of the agent, or how equipped from the school of human learning. I would rather have a hallelujah lass, a little child with the power of the Holy Ghost, hardly able to put two sentences of the Queen’s English together, to come to help, bless, and benefit my soul, than to have the most learned divine in the kingdom come without it; for ‘it is not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit.’ Oh, that you would learn it! When you have learned that you will be made. When you experience it you will lay hold on God. It is not by might of intellect or learning or eloquence or position or influence — man’s power of any sort, but by my Spirit. That is as true as it ever was.
Here is the secret of the Church’s failure. She is like Israel of old: ‘She hath multiplied her defenced cities, and her palaces, but she hath forgotten the God of Israel, in whom her strength is’” (Aggressive Christianity; Address, The Holy Ghost). In view of these solemn facts that individual Christians are weak and worldly and joyless, and churches are barrer and lifeless without this filling of the Spirit, is it any wonder that God commands all believers to obtain this blessing.
Furthermore, reflect on the account we must meet if we do not seek and obtain the Baptism with the Spirit. Finney said: “If we are not filled with the Spirit our guilt amounts to disobedience of God. It amounts to all the good we might do if we had the Spirit of God in as great measure as possible — but good which is now all undone because we are without this power. Our guilt is farther measured by all the evil you do in consequence of not having the Spirit.” I read this awful thought something more than a year ago, and it made a profound impression on my soul. Prior to that time I reviewed my ministry with great satisfaction, because I had been blessed with the privilege of leading perhaps twenty-five hundred souls to Christ.
But I had consciously worked with a very limited enduement of spiritual power, compared with what God was willing to give. And when I thought what I might have done for God and his cause had I sought with all my soul and obtained the divine anointing for service twenty years ag o, my heart sank within me. I look upon my past ministry now with sadness, and plead that the tears and blood of Christ may wash out the stains and guilt of my imperfect service.
In the same feeling Mrs. Booth said: “Let me remind you — and it makes my own soul almost reel when I think of it — that God holds us responsible for all the good we might do if we had this Holy Spirit power.
Do not deceive yourself. He will have the five talents with their increase.
He will not have an excuse for one, and you will not dare to go up to the throne and say: ‘Thou wast a hard Master. Thou biddest me to save souls when thou knewest I had not the power.’ What will he say to you? ‘Wicked and slothful servant, out of thine own mouth will I judge thee.
You knew where you could have got the power. You knew the condition.
You might have had it. Where are the souls you might have saved? Where are the children that I would have given you? Where are the fruit? ‘ Oh, friends, these are solemn and awful realities. If I did not believe them I should not stand here. Oh, what you might do! Who can tell? Who would ever have thought, twenty years ago, when I first raised my voice, a feeble, trembling woman, one of the most timid and bashful the Lord ever saved, the hundreds of precious souls that would be given me? Let me ask you, supposing I had held back and been disobedient to the Heavenly Vision, what would God have said to me for the loss of all this fruit? Thank God, much of it is already gathered into heaven. My brother, my sister, he holds you responsible.”
II. I observe, because God has commanded us all to have this blessing, and it is so infinitely important, it is reasonable to conclude that each true Christian may seek this blessing with full assurance that he may obtain it.
Whatever is obligatory upon believers each believer may realize in his own life. Only be sure at the outset that you are a son or daughter of God in a justified state. Have the witness of the Spirit that you are born again as an absolutely essential preliminary condition to all seeking of sanctification.
Then after that never entertain a doubt that you are an heir of all the covenant blessings and promised grace of God. Only keep your sonship clear as a truly regenerate man, then cling to your title to all the revealed privileges of the sons of God, the best of which is the Baptism with the Holy Ghost, and go on to the conquest of the blessing. Be fully persuaded that this blessing is for you, on the simple ground that you are a child of God, and that he commands you personally t o obtain it, and says “the promise is unto you.” He has told each one of you that “this is the will of God, even your sanctification.” “For God hath called you unto sanctification “ ( 1 Thessalonians 4:3,7). It is no vain presumption, therefore, to plead your claim and title with all boldness at the throne of grace.
III. It would logically follow from the above that Christians of any age or degree of Christian experience may hopefully seek the blessing. This is literally true. It is not a question of education or culture. Christians scarcely able to read the Bible readily have had a marvelous anointing of the Spirit, while profound scholars and theologians utterly miss the way. Again, it is not at all a question of years in Christian service. I have known a child just entering the teens to receive the filling of the Spirit unto sanctification, while church members of two score years’ standing, and gray in honors and service, were as far from the great prize as when they themselves were beginners in the Christian life.
Hear John Wesley: “I have been lately thinking a good deal on one point wherein, perhaps, we have all been wanting. We have not made it a rule as soon as ever persons are justified, to remind them of going on to perfection.WHEREAS THIS IS THE VERY TIME PREFERABLE TO ALL OTHERS. They have then the simplicity of little children; and they are fervent in spirit, ready to cut off a right hand or pluck out the right eye.
But if we once suffer this fervor to subside, we shall find it hard enough to bring them again even to this point. Every one, though born of God in an instant, yea andSANCTIFIED IN AN INSTANT, yet undoubtedly grows, by slow degrees, both after the former and the latter change. But it does not follow from thence that there may be a considerable tract of time between the one and the other. A year or a month is the same with God as a thousand. It is therefore our duty to pray and look for full salvation every day, every hour, every moment, without waiting until we have either done or suffered more” (Perfect Love, pp. 50, 55). Wesley’s Journal, August 4, 1762, records: “The next morning I spoke severally with those who believed they were sanctified. There were fifty-one in all — twenty-one men, twenty-one widows or married women, and nine young women or children. In one, the change was wrought three weeks after she was justified; in three, seven days after it; in one, five days, and in S. L., aged fourteen, two days only.”
Two days afterwards, he records: “Many believed that the blood of Jesus had cleansed them from all sin. I spoke to these, — forty in all one by one.
Some received the blessing in ten days, some seven, some four, some three days after they found peace with God, and two the next day” (Love Enthroned, p. 103). He also gives a remarkable instance of Grace Paddy, who was “convinced of sin, converted to God, and renewed in love, with in twelve hours. Yet it is by no means incredible, seeing one day is with God as a thousand years.” “Although, therefore, it usually pleases God interpose some time between justification and sanctification, yet we must not fancy this to be an invariable rule. All who think this must think we are sanctified by works, or which comes to the same, by suffering; for otherwise, what is time necessary for? It must be either to do or to suffer. Whereas if nothing be required but simple faith, a moment is as good as an age” (Christian Perfection, pp. 49-52).
Any one who has read thoughtfully the Autobiography of Charles Finney must have noticed that within twenty-four hours of the time that he went into the woods to give his heart to God, he was converted, baptized with the Holy Ghost, sanctified and endued with such matchless power that he was then, and has been ever since, in that respect, the marvel of the century.
Dr. Steele exclaims: “What a revolution would be wrought in the Church — what a resurrection to spiritual life — what a girding with power if preachers insisted on the duty of all believers imitating their Master in the Spirit baptism as in the water-baptism, in the reality as in the shadow, in the thing signified as in the symbol! O blessed Jesus, hasten that day — the day of power in thy Church, as it was when it was the first inquiry of the preacher, ‘ Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?’ Then would he who writes these words for thy glory, O adorable Saviour, joyfully drop his pen, and exclaim with good old Simeon: ‘Nunc dimitts.’ ‘ Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace!’” (Love Enthroned, p. 106).
IV. We draw another inference from the passages of Scripture at the head of this chapter: None should be discouraged at the time occupied in the preparatory process. We have seen that the process may be cut short and lessened to hours only. It may take days or weeks or months or years, according as we are apt pupils of the Master — as we are in earnest, as we yield to the Spirit in absolute submission, and are quick or slow in receptive faith. Brother Torrey, at the head of Moody’s Institute in Chicago, tells us in some one of his addresses that he got weary of blustering about in most zealous inefficiency, and he stopped short and vowed that he would not, God helping him, enter his pulpit again until he knew he was baptized with the Spirit. He shut himself up with God, and sought with full purpose of soul the great prize; and kept his vow — for the Spirit came.
Dear Dr. Keen and his wife sought together the enduement of “power from on high” for seven days, and that great outpouring came that never left him until he was glorified after a quarter of a century of triumphant service.
The disciples at Pentecost shut themselves up in the Jerusalem chamber for ten days, and sought with “strong crying and tears” for the “Promise of the Father.” The Spirit’s memorable coming introduced a new era in the visible kingdom of God.
Dr. Daniel Steele says: “Six months ago I made the discovery that I was living in the pre-pentecostal state of religious experience — admiring Christ’s character, obeying his law, and in a degree loving his person, but without the conscious blessing of the Comforter. I settled the question of privilege by a study of St. John’s Gospel and St. Paul’s Epistles, and earnestly sought for the Comforter. I prayed, consecrated, confessed my state, and believed Christ’s word. Very SUDDENLY, after about three weeks’ diligent search, the Comforter came with power and great joy to my heart” (Half Hours, p. 306).
Moody sought for three months with great longings of soul for the enduement of power. “Then the blessing came upon me SUDDENLY, like a flash of lightning.” According to the dates in A. B Earle’s Rest of Faith nearly five years elapsed between the date of the solemn consecration for the blessing and the witness of the Spirit to his purifying. It was a needless delay, all caused by the tardiness of his soul to die to self and surrender to the filling of the Spirit.
Remember, God will wait no longer than you make it necessary for him to wait by your own failures in surrender or consecration or faith. Only seek him with “all your heart” and all your soul, and with all “patience and perseverance.” “If the blessing tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come; it will not tarry.”
V. Avoid forming any preconceived opinion or plan as to what your experience shall be when the blessing comes upon you. Some souls have a marvelously thrilling, overwhelming experience when the Sanctifier comes.
These are the experiences that are most likely to find their way into print, and they sometimes produce discouragement to other seekers, to whom God is not pleased to send such an emotional experience. When Paul was converted he was given a vision of Christ and heard his Voice and was knocked off from his horse and made blind. But most men have no such conversion. John Wesley writes: “It was not long after conversion before the enemy suggested: This can not be faith, for where is thy joy? Then I was taught that peace and victory over sin are essential to faith in Christ; but that as to the transports of joy that usually attend the beginning of it, especially in those who have mourned deeply, God sometimes giveth, sometimes withholdeth them, according to the counsels of his own will.” It is precisely so in the experience of sanctification. Mrs. Jonathan Edwards and Finney and Moody and Carradine and others have had an excess of glory pour through their beings that overwhelmed them. Moody had to cry to God to stay his hand. He was receiving more than he thought his physical nature could endure. Some have a prostration, some laughter, some tears, some a heavenly calm, like the hush of the sea when Jesus said, “Peace, be still.”
Dr. Carradine says this of his wonderful blessing “In another minute I was literally prostrated by the power of God. I called out again and again, ‘O, my God! my God! Glory to God!’ while billows of fire and glory rolled in upon my soul, with steady, increasing force. The experience was one of fire. I recognized it all the time as the baptism of fire. I felt that I was being consumed. For several minutes I thought I would certainly die. I knew it was sanctification” (Sanctification, p. 21). Yet he sweetly writes, lest such an experience should stumble others: “It is not a necessary feature of sanctification that a person should be overwhelmed. Some may be; but the majority are not. It is a purifying and filling rather than an overwhelming, a filling of the soul rather than a falling of the body. I grant that some have been perfectly prostrated for minutes; but many have not this torrent-like baptism, and yet are as soundly sanctified as the other class” (p. 39).
There was no intellectual excitement, no marked joys when I reached this great rock of practical salvation; but I was distinctly conscious when I reached it.” Banish, then, all plans as to how the Spirit shall be given, and what shall be the effects. Banish philosophy and conjecture from your mind, and give yourself to searching of heart and prayer, and consecration and faith, and the Spirit will come.
VI. “The Lord whom ye seek shall SUDDENLY come to his temple.” As early as 1749, John Wesley had reached these correct principles on this great subject: 1. Christian Perfection implies deliverance from all sin. 2. It is received merely by faith. 3. It is givenINSTANTANEOUSLY, in one moment. 4. We are not to expect it at death, but every moment. “Inquiring (in 1761) how it was that in all these parts we have so few witnesses of full salvation, I constantly receive one and the same answer:
We see now, we sought it by our works; we thought it was to come gradually; we never expected it to come in a moment, by simple faith, in the very same manner as we received justification. What wonder is it, then, that you have been fighting all these years as one that beateth the air?”
Again Wesley said: “You may obtain a growing victory over sin from the moment you are justified. But this is not enough. The body of sin, the carnal mind must be destroyed; the old man must be slain, or we can not put on the new man, which is created after God (or which is the image of God) in righteousness and true holiness; and this is DONE IN A MOMENT. To talk of this work being gradual would be nonsense, as much as if we talked of gradual justification” (Christian Perfection, pp. 54, 55).
The truth seems to be this, — that the conditional preparatory work done in the soul under the guidance of the Spirit may be a process more or less lengthy, according as the seeker after sanctification is more or less receptive and yielding to the Spirit’s influence. But when that preparatory work is all completed, and the soul is submissive and open to God, “suddenly the Lord whom ye seek will come to his temple “ — your heart, your whole being, and fill you with himself and reign there without a rival. “Come in, come in, thou heavenly Guest!
Nor hence again remove; But sup with me, and let the feast Be everlasting love” (Wesley).
CHAPTER - CONDITIONS OF RECEIVING THE BLESSING — “CONVICTION OF WANT” — FEEL ITS IMPORTANCE — BELIEVE IT IS FOR YOU — HUNGER AND THIRST Mrs. Amanda Smith, a negress, was very definitely converted when a slave in 1856. Twelve years later, under the labors of Dr. Inskip she received the second blessing of sanctification. She has since then been a wonderfully successful evangelist, laboring with the enduement of Spirit-power, in the United States and England and Africa, turning thousands to righteousness, and leading multitudes of others into the sanctified life. She often speaks with fifty ministers and learned doctors of divinity and Bishops on the platform behind her, and she is the peer of any of them in spiritual power.
I quote the following brief extract from a speech of hers delivered in England: “I had now begun to seek entire sanctification. I asked an elder what was meant by being ‘pure in heart’ ‘Oh child,’ he said, ‘that means you must come as near to it as you can.’ I went home, but oh, this hunger and thirst after righteousness was not satisfied. When I was convicted for holiness I was in a clearly justified state. I had no doubt about my acceptance with God. When I was converted it was conviction of guilt, now IT WAS CONVICTION OF WANT. As the heart panteth after the water brook, so my soul panted after God, the living God. ‘That comes to me what I want,’ I said, ‘it’s God!’ The elder said, ‘You must come to it as near as you can.
What is the use of fretting yourself. Do all you can. Visit the sick, sing, pray!’ But the hunger went on, and when I read, ‘Rejoice when men persecute you,’ I felt that was not my experience; there was a feeling of retaliation. And when they spoke about me and blamed me, I wanted to justify myself instead of leaving it all with God. Then I read, ‘ This is the will of God, even your sanctification.’ I went to the old deacon and asked, ‘What’s the meaning of this?’ ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘ that’s the blessing people get just before they die.’ Well, I didn’t want to die; I wanted to live and work for God; and when they told me, ‘you’ll never live this life till you die,’ I wanted to live and not to die.”
This quaint address leads me to say:
I. That this dear black saint’s “CONVICTION OF WANT” is usually the first condition of receiving the Holy Spirit. “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”
People who think they are spiritually “rich and increased in goods and have need of nothing, and know not that they are miserable and poor and blind and naked” will heed no counsel to seek the “white raiment” of holiness.
The consciously “poor in spirit” are “those who seek and gain the treasures of the kingdom of heaven. Those who want and seek, receive. Those who are satisfied to be puling babes, chronic spiritual weaklings, desiring just enough religion to act as a “fire-insurance policy,” will not care to hear about any higher spiritual attainments. A deacon of the writer’s church once said in prayer-meeting. he would be abundantly satisfied if he got into heaven. Evidently he was not “coveting earnestly the best gifts,” or seeking “the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ,” or longing for an “abundant entrance,” or desiring the reward of “t hose who turn many to righteousness.” No; he was satisfied with the least amount of religion that would get him through, as a brand plucked from the burning, even though the “wood, hay, and stubble “ of his unworthy life were all consumed!
Fire-insurance religion! Such people will never become sanctified, till they have a conviction of want.
Dear Mother Booth said in Exeter Hall, in an address on holiness: “I think it must be self-evident to every one present that it is the most important question that can possibly occupy the mind of man. How much like God can we be? — how near to God can we come on earth preparatory to our being perfectly like him, and living, as it were, in his very heart for ever and ever in heaven?…. The mystery of mysteries to me is how any one, with any measure of the Spirit of God, can help looking at the blessing of holiness and saying, ‘Well, even if it does seem too great for attainment on earth, it is very beautiful and very blessed; I wish I could attain it.’... And yet, alas! we do not find it so. In a great many instances the very first thing professing Christians do is to resist and reject this doctrine of holiness, as if it were the most foul thing on earth. “I heard of a gentleman saying, a few days ago — a leader in one circle of religion — that for anybody to talk about being holy showed that they knew nothing of themselves and nothing of Jesus Christ. I said: ‘Oh, my God! it has come to something if holiness and Jesus Christ are at the antipodes of each other. I thought he was the center and foundation of holiness. I thought it was in him only we could get any holiness, and through him that holiness could be wrought in us.’ But this poor man thought this idea to be absurd.”
Now Amanda Smith and Catherine Booth were right. It was the religious leader who was utterly wrong — densely ignorant of himself and of Christ.
These two women had been convicted of a great want, which regeneration did not meet, and they knew Jesus as the full supply of their want: a “sanctifying,” “uttermost” Saviour. Let us hear the cry of want of two other great souls whose writings have been as “precious ointment poured forth.”
Hannah Whitall Smith writes: “I was converted in my twenty-sixth year, in Philadelphia. Never since that time have I doubted my conversion, or had a moment’s fear about my acceptance with God, or my present possession of eternal life. My guarded education in the Society of Friends had separated me from the vain fashions and amusements of the world, and my chief interests were all centered around the religion of Jesus Christ as the only object really worthy of serious thought or attention. “But my heart was ill at ease. That I grew in knowledge I could not deny; but neither could I deny that I did not grow in grace; and, at the end of eight years of my Christian life, I was forced to make the sorrowful admission that I had not even as much power over sin as when I was first converted. In the presence of temptation, I found myself weakness itself. It was not my outward walk that caused me sorrow, though I can see now that was far from what it ought to have been; but it was the sins of my heart that troubled me — coldness, deadness, want of Christian love, intellectual apprehension of truth without any corresponding moral effects, roots of bitterness, want of a meek and quiet spirit — all those inward sins over which the children of God are so often caused to mourn. I could not but see that sin still had more or less dominion over me, and I did not come up to the Bible standard, The Christian life contemplated there was a life of victory and triumph; my life was one of failure and defeat. The commands to be holy and blameless, the sons of God without rebuke, seemed almost a mockery to me. At times I went through agonies of conflict in my efforts to bring about a different state of things. I resolved, I prayed, I wrestled, I strove; I lashed myself up into the belief that all I held most dear in life could continue to be mine only as I attained to more faithfulness and devotedness of walk. But all was vain, and it seemed worse than vain. ‘When I would do good evil was present with me.’ I could see no hope of deliverance but in death. At times a new discovery of truth would seem to carry me above temptation, and my heart would rejoice at the thought that now at last I had found the secret of living. But after awhile, as the truth became familiar, I found to my bitter sorrow, that it seemed to lose its power, and I was left as helpless as ever. … I would redouble my efforts, and go through the same weary round of conflicts and struggles again, only, of course, to meet with the same bitter defeat. I felt that my life, in spite of earnestness and devotedness, was a failure. Often I said to myself that if this was all the gospel of Christ had for me, it was a bitterly disappointing thing.” (Forty Witnesses, pp. 144-148).
Here was the “conviction of want,” which drove this dear soul to Christ for complete salvation — the sequel to which we will give later.
Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote: “For some three or four years past there has been in my mind a subdued undercurrent of perplexity and unhappiness in regard to myself in my religious experience. I have often thought when sifting myself, ‘Why am I thus restless? Why not at peace? I love God and Jesus Christ with a real and deep devotion, and in general I mean to conform my life to him. I am as consistent as many Christians, more; then why not satisfied? I could conceive of a style of Christian devotion as much higher than my present point, as my present position is above that of the world. The more I groaned in spirit, and longed and prayed, the more inveterate and determined and unsubdued seemed every opposing desire ….. ‘Am I then not a Christian?’ thought I. Then why do I, why have I, loved Christ — loved him so deeply as I know I have, nay, as I know I do? I can not tell. I think I love him above all; yet certainly my will is at best only in a small degree subjected to his. ‘Well, then,’ I thought, ‘if you see that entire union and identity of your will with Christ is the thing, why do you not have it? Just, give up all these separate interests.
Unite your soul to him in a common interest. Why not? Ah! why not?
Words of deep meaning to very one who tries that vain experiment! Every effort breaks like a wave upon a rock. We reason, reflect, resolve, and pray, weep, strive, love — love to despair; and all in vain. In vain I adjured my soul. ‘Do you not love Christ? Why not, then, cut wholly loose from all these loves, and take his will alone? Is it not reasonable, since you can be blessed in no other way? What else can you do? Something said to me, ‘You are a Christian, perhaps, but not a full one.’ ‘Learn of me,’ said Christ. ‘and ye shall find rest.’ I perceive that the New Testament ideal of a Christian was different from and higher than what I ever tried or purposed to be; that I was only trying at parts, and allowedly in some things living below. … The question was distinctly proposed to me, ‘Will you undertake and make a solemn and earnest effort to realize the full ideal of Christ’s plan, though not one other Christian should?’ The obstacles were many. ‘It will do no good to try. With a lower standard have I striven, wept, prayed, despaired in vain; and shall I undertake this? I shall never do it.’ “This was my discouragement. ‘How can I see God clearer than I have seen him? Can I ever be searched and penetrated and bowed by a deeper love than I have known, and which yet has been transient, has never wholly subdued me? Can I make deeper, sincerer resolutions? No. Can I have more vivid views? No. What then?’ I thought of this passage: ‘I will love him, and my Father will love him; and we will come unto him and make our abode with him.’ ‘That is it,’ I thought. ‘Christ has been with me by visits and intervals; this permanent abode is what I have not known.’ Again: ‘Abide in me and I in you.’ A steady, ever present Christ within, who should exert an influence steady as the pulse of my soul. This I needed. I copied that class of texts. I prayed with prayer unceasing that Christ would realize them. I despaired of bending my will; I despaired of all former and all present efforts; but at his word I resolved to begin and go for the whole …..
What was the result? When self-despair was final and I merely undertook at the word of Christ, then came long-expected and wished-for help. All changed. Whereas once my heart ran with a strong current to the world, now it runs with a current the other way. What once it cost an effort to remember, now it costs an effort to forget. The will of Christ seems to me the steady pulse of my being, and I go because I can not help it. Skeptical doubt can not exist. I seem to see the full blaze of Shechinah everywhere. I am calm, but full, everywhere and in all things instructed, and find I can do all things through Christ.”
That has all the ring of a genuine soul experience. What all the excellent religious training of her father’s household, and early piety, and regenerating grace, and visions of truth, and solemn vows, and agonizing prayers, and many tears could not effect, must still be wrought in her. An indwelling, sanctifying Christ must come in and “abide” in her to cast out the “old man” of sin and be her very life, the steady pulse of her being.”
Dr. Carradine tells of an aged minister who had steadily opposed holiness for three years, as many a younger minister does; but he came into the meeting for holiness and suddenly and unexpectedly arose and said:
You all know me to be a Christian man, and so I am. I walk with God, and yet I feel that there is something here in my heart that needs to be taken away, a something that is not right.” Says Dr. Carradine: “I will never forget the solemnity of the face and attitude, and especially the way in which the old man of God placed his long, bony finger on his breast, working it as he spoke, as if he would penetrate his heart and extract that dark, disturbing, worrying something within.”
Andrew Murray says: “The believer must be convicted, and brought to the confession of his being in the carnal state. You know that before a sinner can be converted, he must be convicted of sin; he must know and confess his transgressions and his lost estate. Just so, believers must see that they are in a wrong state; before they get into the spiritual life they must be brought under conviction of the shame and evil of this carnal state ( <460301> Corinthians 3:1-3). There is a great difference between conviction before conversion and this. Then, that which principally occupied the mind was the thought, ‘I am lost, I am under condemnation’; the great idea was the greatness of his transgressions, and the desire to have them pardoned.
There were two things that he was not convicted of: that his nature is utterly sinful, the other that there are many heart sins, that he has never known. This is the reason why God brings a believer in to what might be termed a SECOND, CONVICTION. It is most needful that he be fully convicted of two things — the utter impotence of the flesh to do any good, and the mighty power of the flesh to work evil. The flesh is ruling him. He has the Spirit of God in him, and why does he yet do these things? It is just the seventh of Romans: ‘I am struggling to do right and I can not.’ Oh, friends, it is when a man is brought under conviction of the utter impotence of the flesh to do good, its helplessness, that he will understand why he lost his temper, and why pride comes up, and why he speaks wrong words. The Holy Spirit convicts of pride as being of the flesh; unloving thoughts toward wife or child or servant; self-pleasing before God and man. And so he needs an entire deliverance different from that at conversion. Then he was delivered from the curse of sin; now he wants deliverance from the power of sin” (Spiritual Life, pp. 9, 10).
When the readers of this book get over their serene satisfaction over their religious condition, and, feel their grave need of riddance from the “sin that dwelleth in them,” and of the consequent “purifying of their hearts by faith” — that “conviction of want” will be the first condition of receiving the “Baptism with the Holy Ghost.”
II. The second condition of receiving the blessing is repentance for having kept the sanctifying Saviour out of his full possession of your being so long, and for the resulting failures of your life. A lady who had been a church member and Christian for many years said not long ago in one of my revival meetings: “How can God ever forgive my past?” “ Blessed are they that mourn,” with such a sorrow. “For wrong words spoken, questionable deeds done, evil thoughts harbored, duties neglected, enjoyment lost, usefulness impaired, cleansing deferred, holiness hindered, and perhaps souls lost because of this ‘keeping out’ of the King from his rightful place in the heart, there must be deep, heartfelt contrition and besides this the foul indignity offered him by compelling him to either wait or go away, when for long months, or perhaps longer years, with kingly robes, he stood knocking and waiting admittance, demands repentance in ‘sack-cloth and ashes,’ and even then none but he would forgive so unprovoked an insult” (Christ Crowned Within, p. 172).
III. If you would have this great blessing that renovates the soul and brings it into the image of Christ, you must feel its importance. Take that group of one hundred and twenty disciples in the upper chamber. Their Lord has left them a charge to be his representatives — the “salt of the earth,” the “light of the world,” to “go and disciple all nations.” There they are gathered in secret, so far as we know not a rich or educated or influential person among them. Represent Jesus! disciple all nations! How would they feel about it? Peter would remember his fickleness and lying and blasphemy and cowardice. Thomas would remember his doubting, and John and James — the hot-headed sons of thunder — would remember their passion and ambition, and all would remember the shouts of the mad rabble that raged about the cross of their divine Lord, before which they trembled and fled, and which they still must face. They would be sadly conscious that everybody and everything — even their own hearts — were against them.
We can imagine they would fall on their faces in prayer and cry: “O Lord, we are not like thee; as we are, we can not represent thee before men, and in our helplessness we can not face our enemies and thine, and overcome them. We might as well die here and now as to attempt to confront the world as we are. Take all sins out of our hearts, make us like thee, and equip us for service. Give us the enduement of power.” Thus they would go down on their faces and wait before God day after day in utter self-abasement. They appreciated its importance. “They wanted this one thing, and they were there to get it. They cared for nothing else but that.
They cried for it as hungry children cry for bread. They wanted it,” and sought the blessing as if determined to have it. Mrs. Booth says: “God never gave this gift to any human soul who had not come to the point that he would sell all he had to get it. Oh, it is the most precious gift he has to give in earth or in heaven — to be filled with the Spirit, filled with himself, taken possession of by God, moved, inspired, energized, empowered by God, by the great indwelling Spirit moving through all our faculties, and energizing our whole being for him. That is the greatest and most glorious gift he has. He is not likely to give it to people who do not highly appreciate it, and so highly that they are willing to forego all other gifts for it — everything else, creature love, creature comfort, ease, enjoyment and aggrandizement for this one thing” (Aggressive Christianity; Filled with the Spirit, p. 8).
Brother Torrey says: “No man ever got this blessing who thought he could get along without it.”
IV. Another condition is: Believe that the promise is for you. General Booth very wisely observes that a person must be convinced that if he seeks deliverance from sin, and power to serve Christ, with all his heart he will find it. Unless a man believes the blessing to be attainable, he will not seek it with all his heart. Unbelief concerning the possibility of securing the prize would paralyze effort and make the prayer of faith impossible.
Believe and strive, as for a goal actually within sight and reach.
Dr. Daniel Steele, speaks of his receiving the blessing as follows: “I was then led to seek the conscious and joyful presence of the Comforter in my heart. Having settled the question that this was not merely an apostolic blessing, but for all ages —’He shall abide with you forever’ — I took the promise: ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.’ The ‘verily’ had to me all the strength of an oath. Out of the ‘whatsoever’ I took all temporal blessings, not because I did not believe them to be included, but because I was not then seeking them. I then wrote my own name in the promise, not to exclude others, but to be sure that I included myself. Then writing underneath these words, ‘Today is the day of salvation,’ I found that my faith had three points to master — the Comforter, for me, NOW. Upon the promise I ventured with an act of appropriating faith, claiming the Comforter as my right in the name of Jesus.” That preliminary settling of th e question that the blessing was not merely for the apostles, but for all Christians of all ages, according to Scripture — “Ye shall receive the Holy Ghost, for the promise is unto you and to your children and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call “ -made it possible for Dr. Steele’s faith to claim the Comforter as the right of a son of God. The filling of the Spirit belongs to us as a covenant privilege,” says Dr. A. J. Gordon. When every Christian settles that fact beyond all doubt or question, that, in addition to the spiritual blessing received at conversion, “there is another blessing corresponding in its signs and effects to the blessing received by the apostles at Pentecost — a blessing to be asked for and expected by Christians still, and to be described in language similar to that employed in the book of the Acts,” he will be ready to hear how to obtain the Baptism with the Holy Ghost, the filling of the sanctifying Spirit of God. “To bring yourself,” says Dr. Lowrey, “under the conviction that holiness is for you is a prime necessity. How is this to be done? First, consider the power by which it is to be accomplished, the unlimited power of God, which reaches you through the unlimited merit of Christ. We admit that to create a clean heart in a sinner is a greater work than to create a world or light up a sun.
Whatever does not involve sin, nor imply a contradiction, God can do.
And, certainly, to save a man from all moral wrong (with his consent) is not committing sin; nor does it contradict any known truth, much less clash with any attribute of God. Second, consider the fact that the atonement provides for (your) personal holiness. Inspire your drooping spirits by the recollection that this was the chief purpose of Christ’s mission. Again stimulate your faith by the truth that God has promised full redemption in the most positive and explicit manner: ‘Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you’” (Possibilities of Grace, pp. 294-296). Let these truths of Holy Writ burn into your mind a deep conviction that this unspeakable blessing is FOR YOU.
V. A still further indispensable condition of receiving this crowning gift is a hunger and thirst for it. To all who have that holy longing described by such figures of speech God sends special promises. “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty.. I will pour my Spirit “ ( Isaiah 44:3). “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled” ( Matthew 5:6). Ah, we must hunger and thirst for this blessing. We feel that as parents, teachers, Christians, preachers, we can not get along without it. I said to an audience not long ago: “You may pray for the Holy Spirit till your tongues are tired, but as long as you fight holiness he will not come to your souls.” At the close of my address a lady came forward and said: “Ah, I see my mistake. For years I have been pleading for the baptism with the Holy Spirit, but all the time I have been rejecting and fighting the doctrine of holiness as a possible experience of God’s people. I now see that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit o f Holiness.” That is precisely it; that truth was never stated better. “THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE SPIRIT OF HOLINESS.” When he comes he brings holiness to the heart. God could not safely bestow such a mighty power upon people who will not accept holiness. To pray for this baptism while fighting sanctification or holiness is a waste of breath. “I can not take another step in Christian service,” said Torrey, “till I know I am baptized with the Holy Ghost.”
Here was his sharp appetite crying out for God. The feast of grace is provided only for appetites, not for dainty, sated dyspepsia. Dr. Lowrey writes: “The proposition of the Saviour is equally true in nature and grace.
A man who does not relish food can not receive it. He will grow lean and die in the midst of plenty. The same may be affirmed of the Christian. No appetite means no fatness, and soon no life. He may read and sing about holiness, and hear it preached, and even ask its bestowment in the words of prayer, and yet if there be no soul hunger for it not a single step can be taken towards its realization. If the human stomach be charged with food which it loathes, it will be found impossible for the organ to assimilate it. It may be good and nourishing matter, but the absence of a corresponding appetite will prevent the system from taking in and appropriating its nutritious quality. It is so with the mind. It may be crammed even to satiety with the most exalted truths, and the soul may be practiced in all devout recitals of worship, and still if there is no craving for spirituality, signified by the outward forms, the richest truth and sublimest service will be nothing more to the worshiper than ‘sounding brass and tinkling cymbals.’
Unless he ‘hunger and thirst after righteousness’ he will come and go unfilled.” “But the reader may say, ‘I find myself destitute of this indispensable hunger, and consequently, according to the argument, holiness is not attainable to me.’ But this does not release you from responsibility, for yon can command hunger and thirst. Appetite itself is created by healthy conditions, whether physical or spiritual.. .. Let the Christian’s reading, conversation, habits of life, and associations, be irreligious, and he will find in himself a disrelish for spiritual things. I do not think it possible for a man to love holiness who loves novels, or craves the staple matter of our secular newspapers. Nor is it possible for a man to find zest in sanctified and sanctifying literature who frequents the theater and other common resorts of worldly men. The same may be said of those who participate in popular amusements or mingle in the hilarities of fashionable society. Such frivolities and vices create revulsions to holiness. And wherever Christians make worldly customs and tainted literature the irelement, soul-hunger for purity is sure to die out. A candle can not burn in foul air that settles in old wells and cisterns. No more can a flame of holy love exist in an atmosphere of unchristian habits, though not grossly wicked” (Possibilities, pp. 298-303).
For proof of all we are saying let us read some of God’s living epistles, written in human hearts. Here is the testimony of the sainted Friend, David B. Updegraff: “I hated pride, ambition, evil tempers, and vain thoughts, but I had them, for all that, and they were apart of me. Not as acts to be repented of and forgiven, but as dispositions lying behind the acts, and promptings thereto, natural to the ‘old man’ and inseparable from his presence in my being. I began to ask God, with a measure of faith, to ‘cast him out.’ Along with this desire there came A GREAT HUNGER AND THIRST to be ‘filled with all the fullness of God.’ I longed for a clean heart and constant spirit.”….. “I went upon my knees with the resolute purpose of ‘presenting my body a living sacrifice to God.’ There passed quickly before me the obstacles in the way, and the things to be suffered for Jesus’ sake — the misapprehensions, suspicions, and revilings of carnal professors, as well as the conflicts with the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Selfishness, pride, and prejudice joined forces and rose in rebellion, while the ‘Old man’ pleaded for his life. But I could not, would not, draw back. ‘Vile affections’ were resolutely nailed to the cross, and those things that ‘were gain to me ‘denominational standing, friends, family, business, possessions, time, talent, and reputation — were irrevocably committed to the sovereign control and disposal of my Almighty Saviour. With my all upon the altar, I had no sooner reckoned myself ‘dead indeed unto sin and alive unto God,’ than the ‘Holy Ghost fell ‘ upon me. Instantly I felt the melting and refining fire of God permeating my whole being. I had entered into rest” (Forty Witnesses, pp. 29, 30).
Anna M. Hammer, the famous temperance worker, gives her experience as follows: “Finally a great HUNGER OF SOUL came upon me. I knew there were in the corners of my heart things known only to myself and God, and I realized that nothing short of ‘the anointing that abideth’ would satisfy my soul and fit me fully as a worker for God. In July, 1880, the first assembly of the Woman’s Holiness Camp-meeting was held at Camp Tabor, N. J. I went there with the fixed intention to get all the Lord had in reserve for me. I was under deep conviction of soul, and for three days I was in an agony of tears, as one friend said, ‘dying hard.’ I held out on points which now seem very ridiculous, but then they assumed proportions which appeared serious enough. But all this time the HUNGER and the ACHING increased till I could no longer resist the pleadings of the Spirit, and then came my second consecration. I said, ‘Lord, all I have and all I ever will have; all I am and all I ever may be; all I know and all I ever m ay know, I put now upon the altar.’ I knew the altar sanctified the gift, and I bound my offering to the ‘horns of the altar’ and ‘waited for the fire.’ For hours I was prostrate; my soul was in quiet communion with God. The thought of the Fatherhood of God peculiarly struck me, and I raised my head to confirm the thought, when with the action the anointing came” (Forty Witnesses, p. 138).
Hannah Whitall Smith says: “I began to long after holiness. I began to groan under the bondage to sin in which I was still held. My whole heart panted after entire conformity to the will of God and unhindered communion with him.”
Moody said: “Let it be the cry of your heart day and night. … Young men, you will get this blessing when you seek it above all else. For months I had been HUNGERING and THIRSTING for power in service. I had come to that state I think I would have died of I had not got it. I remember I was walking the streets of New York. I had no more heart in the business I was about than if I had not belonged to this world at all. The blessing came upon me SUDDENLY like a flash of lightning, right there on the street.
The power of God seemed to come upon me so wonderfully that I had to ask God to stay his hand. I was filled with a sense of God’s goodness, and felt as though I could take the whole world to my heart. “I remember I used to take a pride in having the largest congregation in Chicago on a Sunday night. Two godly women used to come and hear me.
One of them came to me one night after I had preached very satisfactorily, as I thought. I fancied she was going to congratulate me on my success; but she said: ‘We are praying for you.’ I wondered if I had made some blunder, that they talked in that way. Next Sunday they were there again, evidently in prayer while I was preaching. One of them said: ‘We are still praying for you.’ I could not understand it, and said: ‘Praying for me! Why don’t you pray for the people? I am all right.’ ‘Ah,’ they said, ‘you are not all right; you have not got power; there is something lacking, but God can qualify.’ I did not like it at first, but I got to thinking it over, and after a little time I began to feel a desire to have what they were praying for. They continued to pray for me, and the result was that at the end of three months God sent this blessing on me. I want to tell you this: I would not for all the world go back to where I was before 1871” (Forty Witnesses, pp. 269-270).
Rev. J. O. Peck, D. D., writes: “God never left me a single year without a gracious revival, in which many souls were given as the seals of my ministry. Never had my pastorate been more favored with the divine blessing than at Springfield; but in the summer of 1872, a deep HEART HUNGER that I had never known began to be realized. I had not lost spirituality, as far as I could judge of my condition. I longed for, I scarcely knew what. I examined myself and prayed more earnestly, but the hunger of my soul grew more imperious. I was not plunged in darkness, or conscious of condemnation; yet the inward craving increased. The result of these weeks of heart-throes was a gradual sinking of self, a consuming of all selfish ambitions and purposes, and a consciousness of utter emptiness.
Then arose an unuttterable longing ‘to be filled.’ I had been prejudiced against the National Camp-Meeting Association. But a conviction was borne in upon me, as clear and unmistakable as my identity, that if I would go to th at meeting, and confess how I was hungering, I would be filled with the Holy Spirit. I went, frankly told my errand there, and sought the prayers of all. I told them I wanted ‘the fullness’ that night, and felt it was the divine will to give it that hour. I then descended to the altar and knelt before the Lord. By simple faith I was enabled to take Christ as my sufficiency to fill and satisfy my hungry soul. The instant I received Christ as my ‘wisdom, righteousness and sanctification,’ the stillness and emotionlessness of absolute quiet permeated my whole being. The tempter seductively suggested: ‘The Spirit is withdrawn, and you are doomed to disappointment.’ As quick as thought came my reply: ‘with or without feeling, I here and now take Christ as my all in all.’ I knew that moment he was my complete Saviour. At once the most delicious experience was mine that I can conceive! No joy, no rapture; but something sweeter, deeper than anything before known —’the peace of God that passeth all understanding!’ It settled in upon me deeper and deeper, sweeter and sweeter, till I seemed ‘filled with all the fullness of God’” (Forty Witnesses, p. 296).
Reader, have you ever felt this hunger and thirst of soul for the Holy Spirit’s coming with his sanctifying power? If not, by deliberate withdrawal from the world, and by shutting yourself up with the Word and with God in prayer develop an appetite for holiness — a heart hunger for God. It is the antecedent of the Baptism with the Holy Ghost.
CHAPTER - CONDITIONS OF OBTAINING THE HOLY SPIRIT CONTINUED OBEDIENCE — CONSECRATION VI. The next condition of receiving the great blessing which must be named is OBEDIENCE. Acts 5:3: “The Holy Ghost whom God hath given to them that obey him.” This is a fundamental condition which never can be changed or disregarded. It is true that men in securing pardon and justification must obey up to their light at that time. But as a practical fact, the sinner “dead in trespasses and in sins,” has no such conception of life and duty when seeking pardon, as he will afterward have when, as a son, he is seeking the fullness of the blessing, — perfect purity of heart. Oh, what a searching of soul there will then be, the like of which the sinner knows nothing about.
Obedience means not doing some things, but absolute surrender of the will to the Lord about all things, for Jesus to take you and do what he pleases with you and yours. Mrs. Catherine Booth says of the disciples before Pentecost: “They waited in obedient faith. How do we know? Because they did as he bid them. That is the evidence. He said, ‘Tarry in Jerusalem.’
Peter might have said, when he had seen his Lord off to heaven, ‘Well what am I going to do now? I have been a long time running after the Lord in Palestine. I must betake myself to the fishing. I can wait as well at the sea-beach as in Jerusalem. I wonder why the Lord told me to go to Jerusalem. I think it was rather unreasonable. He might have thought of my old father and mother at home. I think I shall go back to my fishingnets.’
No, no; they had been cured of their unbelief by the last few days’ experience. They had learned better than to dictate to their Master, and they knew he had a good purpose in sending them to Jerusalem, and so they went there and did as he bade them straight back to that upper room they went. Mary might have said, ‘I have been running about ministering to the Saviour a long time. I must attend to the home and the claims of old friends. I can wait there as well as at Jerusalem for the Holy Ghost.’ But Mary had learned better. They obeyed and waited. ‘Obedient faith that waits on Thee, Thou never wilt reprove.’ It is the disobedient faith that is sent empty away. You will have to come to God’s conditions at last, or you will never get it. Obedient faith! While there is a spark of insubordination or rebellion or dictation you will never get it. Truly submissive and obedient souls and loyal souls enter his kingdom. This is one of his choice gifts that he has reserved for his choice servants, those who serve him with all their hearts. Obedient faith! “ …..
The condition of holiness is: ‘ Present your bodies a living sacrifice unto God, and be not conformed to the world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ Oh! if you could be transformed to him and conformed to this world at the same time, all the difficulty would be over. I know plenty of people who would be transformed directly; but to be not conformed to the world — how they stand and wince at that! They can not have it at that price. As dear Finney once said: ‘My brother, if you want to find God you will not find him up there amongst all the starch and flattery of hell; you will have to come down for him.’ That is it, Be not conformed to the world.’ “Oh! this is the secret — they will not come down from their pride and high-mindedness. But God will not be revealed to such souls, though they cry and pray themselves to skeletons, and go mourning all their days. They will not fulfill the condition —’Be not conformed to the world’; they will not forego their conformity, even to the extent of a dinner party. A great many that I know will not forego their conformity to the shape of their head-dress. They won’t forego their conformity to the extent of giving up visiting and receiving visits from ungodly, worldly, hollow, and superficial people. They will not forego their conformity to the tune of having their domestic arrangements upset — no, not if the salvation of their children and servants and friends depends upon it. The sine qua non is their own comfort, and then take what you can get on God’s side. We must have this, and we must have the other, and then, if the Lord Jesus Christ will come in at the tail end and sanctify it all, we shall be very much obliged to him; but we can not forego these things. “People come to these meetings, and they groan and cry and come to us for help, and we exhaust our poor brains and bodies in talking to them and giving them advice, telling them what to do, and when it comes to the point, we find: ‘Oh! no; don’t you be mistaken; we are not going to sacrifice these things. We can not have the Lord if he will not come into our temples and take them as he finds them. We could not forego these things.’ Oh! friends, friends. I tell you this will never do. “Then there are your habits. How ashamed some of you will be who have made the mere Paris-born frivolities of society stand in the way of your sanctification; and yet people who do this say they are Christians. I don’t know; I can’t believe it. There is drinking; they will have a glass of wine.
Very well, you can have it; but you shall not have the wine of the kingdom.
Professors will dress like the prostitutes of Paris. Very well; but they shall not be the bride of the Lamb. You can go to parties where it is said there are only religious people, but where you know all manner of gossip and chitchat is going on, which you would be awfully ashamed the Master should hear, and from which you retire with no appetite for prayer. You can go to all this; but I defy you to have the Holy Ghost at the same time. I won’t stop to argue it. I only know you can not do it. All that will have to be put aside and given up.”
I have made these lengthy quotations from three addresses of this saintly woman, who was so wondrously used by God to lead multitudes into the life of holiness. Obedience and nonconformity to the world were the burden of her messages, as the indispensable conditions of the coming of the Holy Ghost.
Mr. Torrey, of the Chicago Bible Institute, tells of a woman who prayed and struggled for this blessing till people thought she would go crazy in the intensity of her desire. Every time she prayed some little gewgaw in her hair was the sticking point with her. She prayed and prayed, and that would come up every time. At last one day, as she was praying, she put her hand to her head, and tore them from her hair, and threw them across the room. In an instant the Holy Spirit came upon that woman. She now had the spirit of obedience.
Dr. Wilbur Chapman, the famous evangelist, tells how he reached this great blessing after long seeking “I had been struggling for five years. I had had visions of this power, and glimpses of what I might be, if I were ‘filled with the Spirit,’ but all this time, as it was with the disciples at Ephesus, there was a great lacking. At last, I reached the place where I felt I was willing to make a surrender. I reached it by the path marked out by Mr. Meyer, when he said: ‘If you are not ready to surrender everything to God are you ready to say, I am willing to be made willing about everything?’ That seemed easy, and alone before God I said: ‘Lord I am willing to be made willing.’
I was given an incident this week concerning Mrs. Maggie Van Cott, the Methodist evangelist, who has seen seventy-five thousand converts under her labors in thirty-one years. She was originally an Episcopalian, but had not been converted. She was very showily dressed, and was an excellent singer. She was asked by a friend to attend a Methodist class-meeting and lead the singing, which she did. In that meeting she was deeply convicted, and the sanctified leader lovingly pointed her to the Lamb of God, and by faith in Christ she was born again. She immediately laid aside most of that jewelry that had adorned her person, and put on the adornment “of a meek and quiet spirit.” But she had a ring given her by her husband, who when he was dying took it from her finger, kissed it and put it back. She retained it for his sake. She became an effective evangelist, and often sought sanctification: but as often the Spirit said, “Put away your ring.” She held to it because of its precious memories, and did not get the blessing. One day the altar was crowded with inquirers, and she knelt before them, her hand with the ring dropping over the altar rail. It attracted the attention of a child at the altar who began to admire it, and finger it. She noticed it, and Christ seemed to say to her: ‘ Will you not now take the ring off for my sake?” She immediately reached over the altar-rail, pulled off the ring and put it in her pocket. Instantly the Baptism with the Spirit came in power upon her soul. She had at last settled it that she would obey the slightest whisper of God.
I have two friends in Massachusetts, Brother M____ and Brother P_____.
They were at a holiness camp-meeting together. M_____ had already entered into the rest of perfect love. P_____ was seeking it. They were in the woods together in prayer, praying that P_____ might receive the Baptism with the Holy Ghost. After an hour of earnest consecrating, pleading prayer, P_____ began to shout at the top of his voice: “I’ll do it!
I’ll do it!” and the blessing came. M_____, by his side, was entirely ignorant of what it was that the Spirit wanted. But P_____ was a general merchant and among other things sold tobacco, and the sticking point was — whether he would give up selling tobacco. He immediately telegraphed to his clerks to sell no more tobacco. He took three hundred dollars worth out into the street, when he reached home, and made a bon-fire and burned it up. Obedience to the Spirit! I have never known a person to receive this blessing who used or sold tobacco. It is too vile to be tolerated by the Spirit in a body which he proposes to make a temple of the Holy Ghost.
Whatever in habit or life the Holy Spirit condemns must be abandoned in the spirit of implicit obedience or it is useless to seek this sanctifying work of the Holy Ghost in the heart. No agony of prayer can reach it while the will is not joyfully obedient.
VII. Another condition is FULL CONSECRATION. God’s word is: “Present yourselves unto God as alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” ( Romans 6:13). “Ye are not your own; for ye were bought with a price; glorify God therefore in your body” ( 1 Corinthians 6:19,20). “They first gave their own selves unto the Lord” ( 2 Corinthians 8:5).
Consecration is the actual present surrender to God of the whole man and all we possess. We have shown, in Chapter III., how some strangely confound consecration and sanctification. Please recall what we then said: “Consecration is the antecedent condition of sanctification, but not the thing itself. Consecration is man’s work; sanctification is God’s work.” “God never consecrates for us, and we never sanctify for God. It is true that the acts of consecration and sanctification are both combined in the work that produces the experience of holiness, yet they are forever separate and distinct. We consecrate; God sanctifies. We step on the altar; the blood cleanseth. Ex. 32:29: ‘Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord.’ 2 Thessalonians 5:23: ‘The very God of peace himself sanctify you wholly.’
In justification we surrender, repent, and believe for pardon, but ‘it is God that justifieth.’ In sanctification we consecrate and trust the blood to cleanse from all sin, yet it is God that sanctifieth. Consecration is but putting ourselves in readiness for God to sanctify us. The bundle of clothes we take to the laundry must be presented and turned over before they can be washed; but it is no part of the laundryman to surrender and turn them over. He receives, we give over. In the process of our cleansing we present and turn over consecrate, and God sanctifies” (The Holy Way, p. 22.)
General Booth observes: “Adam forsook a life of entire and constant service of God, and set up to be independent of him. He ceased to be a servant of Jehovah, and went into business, so to say, on his own account.
He gave up living to please God in everything and started to live to please himself. To get back to God’s favor, Adam’s son must now give up being his own master and go back to God with all he possesses and lay himself at Jehovah’s feet to live evermore for him” (Holy Living, p. 18).
The mistake made by many in regard to consecration is, it is not a reality.
They pretend to give God their all — their children, money and possessions, their time and reputation; but it is only in imagination, in sentiment. It is not real. God and his cause are no better off after it than they were before. They pretend to give all at the altar, and they live the next day as if all were their own. If God asks for a liberal donation for missions the money is not forthcoming. If God asks for a child to be a minister or a missionary they throw up their hands in horror at the thought, and cry out indignantly, “No!” Sentimental consecration only!
General Booth gave this striking illustration of what consecration really means: “A long time back in this country there was a war between the king and the parliament, and the greater part of the nation took the side of the parliament, and the king was sorely pressed. It was then no uncommon thing for some nobleman or rich person to come to the king and say, ‘I am sorry and ashamed that your majesty should be driven from your throne and be suffering all this indignity and disgrace, and I want to help your majesty to get your rights again, and I have come with my sons and my servants to place our swords and our lives at your disposal. I have also mortgaged my estate and sold my plate, and brought the proceeds to help your majesty to carry on the war.’ Now that was a real surrender or giving up to that king — it was the laying of life and substance at his feet. If things went well with the king it would be well with them; but if not, if the king lost all, they lost everything with him. “Now that is just the kind of consecration God wants; only one that goes deeper down still. He has been driven from his throne in the hearts of men everywhere. His name is cast out as evil, and men universally refuse to have him reign over them. Now Jesus Christ wants to secure the kingdom for his Father, and appeals for truehearted soldiers who will help him to succeed in this great undertaking, and he wants you to come into the camp in the same spirit, saying: ‘I bring my goods, my influence, my reputation, my family; aye, my life. I will have no separate interests. Use all I have and am to promote the war, so that my King shall have his own, and his throne shall be established.’ That is consecration in reality, and that only. This is what Jesus Christ taught when he said, ‘Seek first the kingdom of God.’
This is what Jesus Christ exemplified in his life and death. This is what Paul and the first apostles did; and if you are to be a thorough Christian you must be consecrated in the same way” (Holy Living, pp. 19, 20). 2. Notice what is the difference between this consecration and that which the sinner makes when seeking salvation. (1) It is far more intelligent than that which the sinner makes. As a penitent, he practically knew little about the details of Christian experience and duty. But having had a regular course in the school of Christ, the Christian reaches a standpoint from which he has a vastly higher conception of duty and service and surrender to God. His consecration in seeking sanctification is, therefore, far more comprehensive and complete. (2) It is based on different motives. The uppermost thought in the sinner’s mind is relief from the burden of guilt, pardon of sin, escape from penalty. He is like an ancient Israelite fleeing to the City of Refuge. But the Christian comes as a son, longing to be more for his Saviour and enjoy more of his companionship and love. He devotes himself to complete obedience with joy of heart, moved by love instead of fear. (3) When we come for pardon we mass our offering — “Here, Lord, I give myself away” — little comprehending the meaning of our own words.
When we consecrate for sanctification, having more light, we are more definite and specific — hands, feet, eyes, lips, memory, affections, ambitions, time, reputation, friends, possessions, influence, family, all. As one said: “I give thee all I know and all I do not know.”
The ground of such a wonderful consecration is Christ’s ownership. He has redeemed us, purchased us. As a master, buying slaves in a slave-market, got their talents, service, earnings, So are we the slaves of Jesus Christ.
The old masters often branded their names, or pricked in their initials, on the arms or limbs of their slaves. Paul subscribed himself “the slave of Jesus Christ,” and in one place says, “I bear about in my body the brands of the Lord Jesus.” It was something that the great apostle gloried in that he was the slave of Jesus Christ, whose absolute ownership he gladly acknowledged. 4. The act of consecration is to recognize Christ’s ownership and to accept it. Say to him with the whole heart, “Lord, I am thine by right and I wish to be thine by choice.” The ancient Israelites came to David, their heaven-appointed but uncrowned king, and said: “Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse.” So should we come to Jesus and gladly say, “Thine we are, O Christ.” Paul said of Jesus: “Whose I am and whom I serve.” “Just as I am, thy love unknown, Hath broken every barrier down.
Now to be thine and thine alone, O Lamb of God, I come.” Notice, consecration is not an act of feeling but of will. F. B. Meyer says: “Do not try to feel anything nor to be good and meritorious and deserving of the baptism with the Holy Ghost.” The blessing is not earned, or deserved. It is God’s wondrous grace, conferred gladly when we comply with the conditions, one of which is the absolute surrender of our WILL about EVERYTHING. Anything else would be like surrendering the whole body to the doctor — all but one limb, which had a cancer. Ask Jesus to take possession of all. Dr. Lowrey says: “A willing mind to be all the Lord’s sweeps in everything. Such a purpose, formed and fixed in conscious sincerity will, no doubt, be accepted of God as the sanctification (consecration) of yourself to him. When we give all to God we make a summary transfer of ourselves to him. As a piece of land is sold and the lot is bounded, measured, and described, as so many acres and rods, ‘more or less,’ ‘with all the appurtenances thereto belonging,’ in like manner, sign, sea l, and deliver yourself over to God. And do it so really that ever after it would strike you as an act of trespass and breach of faith to use any member of your body, or faculty of your mind, or affection of your soul, or portion of your possessions against God, apart from God, or for any selfish motives, that would offend God, and take you or yours in any way out of his hands” (Possibilities, p. 310).
Mahan says: “The revealed condition of the indwelling of the Spirit is a full and complete surrender, on our part, of all the powers and susceptibilities of our being, to the divine occupancy and control.”
Says Rev. A. B. Simpson: “A sanctified spirit is a dedicated spirit. Its powers of APPREHENSION are dedicated to know God, and to count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ. His word is the object of its deepest study and meditation. Its WILL is dedicated to God. It chooses him deliberately as its portion and its sovereign Lord, and delights to abandon itself to his entire possession, and to his perfect will. Its power of TRUSTING is dedicated. It is determined to trust God under any circumstances and in spite of all feelings, as an act of will that chooses to believe his word, notwithstanding every discouragement and temptation. Its LOVE is dedicated and its power of loving. It chooses to love God supremely, and to love all as God would have us love, regarding every human being in the light of God and his will, and adjusting itself to every relationship in such a manner as to please God.
And further, it is dedicated to ENJOY God. It chooses him as its portion, its happiness, all in all, and consents to find all its satisfaction in him and him alone. A dedicated Spirit is thus wholly given to God, to know him, to choose his will, to resemble his character, to trust his word, to love him supremely, to glorify him only, to enjoy him wholly, and to belong to him utterly, unreservedly and forever. All its senses, susceptibilities and capacities are dedicated to him. It chooses to hear only what he would speak, to see only what he would have it behold, to touch only at his bidding, and to use every power and capability in and for him only. It regards itself henceforth as his property, subject to his disposal and existing for his great purpose regarding it. It is consecrated not so much to the works, or the truth, or the cause, or the church, as to the LORD. And this is done gladly, freely, without fear or reservation, but as a great privilege and honor to be permitted thus to belong to so great and good a Master, and have him undertake so uncongenial a task as our sanctification. Even when so dedicated, it is but an empty vessel. It is he who fills it for the supply of the needs of others” (Wholly Sanctified, pp. 50-58).
Let me now give some leaves from the ‘living epistles “ — God’s word written in the lives he has sanctified. Jennie F. Willing, when seeking the Baptism with the Holy Ghost made this consecration: “O Lord, I give thee all I know to give, just as well as I know how. When I come to know and have more I will give more. There, that consecration must be as complete as I can now make it. Satan had driven me so many times from that point in the ten long wilderness years, he did his best to drive me now from this position. I held my position. I am honest. I purpose to be wholly the Lord’s at any cost. If I do not give all it is because I do not know how; and Christ can not hold me responsible for what I do not know” (Forty Witnesses, p. 70).
Captain Kelso Carter says: “Kneeling alone in my mother’s room in Baltimore, I made a consecration that covered everything. I have never been compelled to renew it, for it covered all. To die at once — a young man; to live and suffer; to live and recover; to be, to do, to suffer anything for Jesus — this was my consecration. All doubtful things were swept aside and a large margin left on God’s side” (Forty Witnesses, p. 123).
Rev. B. K. Pierce, D. D., writes: “On my knees, I wrote out an entire surrender of myself, body, soul, and substance, and all pertaining to me, and sought to weigh every word before I solemnly signed my name to it.
Now I said: ‘If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ I grasped the simple, all-embracing truth as never before. In tearful trust I cried: ‘Lord, I am lost, but Jesus died.’ Unconscious of the passage of time, and still on my knees, in sweet and blissful iteration, I said over and over again: ‘He forgives; he cleanses from all unrighteousness!’ I hardly knew when I left the kneeling posture, but I found myself walking the room in the early morning hours, saying: ‘He cleanses from all unrighteousness!’ while an indescribable calmness and peace pervaded my whole being” (Forty Witnesses, p. 142).
Mrs. Osie M. Fitzgerald thus describes her experience: “Then it came to me, ‘Will you give your children to the Lord?’ It was suggested, ‘If you do, he will take them out of the world.’ At last I surrendered them to God.
Then came a still greater struggle. The Spirit said, ‘Will you give up your husband to me?’ I said, ‘Lord, I will die willingly if thou wilt let him live. I am not of much account, but I can not live and let him die, for my health is so poor I will be unable to take care of my family.’ It was also suggested that we might lose all of our property, and I would at last have to go to the alms-house. That struggle lasted for two days or more. Then it was whispered to me, ‘You may be the means of saving some soul in the alms-house.’ Then came the passage, ‘No good thing will I withhold from them that walk uprightly.’ I yielded all to God. Saturday night came. I went forward for prayers. The Spirit said to me, ‘If I give you a clean heart and sanctify you wholly, will you speak before this people, and tell them what I have done for you?’ Having been brought up a Presbyterian, I was very much opposed to women speaking in the church. I thought no one but a bold Methodist woman would speak in church. Consequently I said: ‘No; it is not the place for a female to speak.’ My agony of soul increased, and as I continued to plead, the question continually recurred. My agony of soul was so intense that it seemed to me it must soon be victory or death, and I cried out, ‘Yes, Lord, though it be before a thousand people’” (Forty Witnesses, pp. 168, 169). Here at last the will surrendered and the consecration of life, children, husband, voice, reputation, — all was complete.
It is well to make this act of consecration a very definite one in our spiritual history. George Whitefield did it in his ordination service. “ I can call heaven and earth to witness that when the bishop laid his hands upon me, I gave myself up to be a martyr for Him who hung upon the cross for me. I have thrown myself blindfolded and without reserve into his Almighty hands.”
Doddridge gives the following form of covenant:
This day do I, with the utmost solemnity, surrender myself to thee. I renounce all former lords that have had dominion over me; and I consecrate to thee all that I am, and all that I have; the faculties of my mind, the members of my body, my worldly possessions my time and my influence over others; to be all used entirely for thy glory, and resolutely employed in obedience to thy commands, as long as thou continuest me in life; with an ardent desire and humble resolution to be thine through the endless ages of eternity; ever holding myself in an attentive posture to observe the first intimations of thy will, and ready to spring forward with zeal and joy to the immediate execution of it. “To thy direction also I resign myself, and all I am and have, to be disposed of by thee in such a manner as thou shalt in thine infinite wisdom judge most subservient to the purposes of thy glory. To thee I leave the management of all events, and say without reserve, not my will but thine be done” (Rise and Prog., Ch. 17).
Rev. A. B. Earle, the great Baptist evangelist, says: “I first procured a blank book which I called my ‘Consecration Book,’ and slowly and solemnly, on my knees, wrote in it the following dedication: “ANDOVER, Feb. 10, 1859. “This day I make a new consecration of my all to Christ Jesus, I now and forever give myself to thee; my soul to be washed in thy blood and saved in heaven at last; my whole body to be used for thy glory; my mouth to speak for thee at all times; my eyes to weep over lost sinners, or to be used for any purpose for thy glory; my feet to carry me where thou shalt wish me to go; my heart to be burdened for souls, or used for thee anywhere; my intellect to be employed at all times for thy cause and glory. I give to thee my wife, my children, my property, all I have, and all that ever shall be mine. I will obey thee in every known duty.
A. B. E. “I then asked for grace to enable me to carry out that vow, and that I might take nothing from the altar” (Rest of Faith, pp.67, 68).
Rev. Isaiah Reid recommends the following FORM FOR CONSECRATION FOR HOLINESS Text, Romans 11:1,2. O Lord, in view of this thing thou hast besought me to do, I hereby now do really consecrate myself unreservedly to thee for all time and eternity. My time, my talents, my hands, feet, lips, will, my all. My property, my reputation, my entire being, a living sacrifice to be and to do all thy righteous will pertaining to me. Especially at this time do I, thy regenerate child, put my case into thy hands for the cleansing of my nature from the inherited taint of the carnal nature. I seek the sanctification of my soul.
Then he added the following:
PLEDGE OF FAITH Now, as I have given myself away, I will, from this time forth, regard myself as thine. I believe thou dost accept the offering that I bring. I put all on the altar I believe the altar sanctifieth the gift. I believe the blood is applied now as I comply with the terms of thy salvation. I believe that thou dost now cleanse me from all sin.
Name Date Professor Dougan Clark says: “The essence of consecration is in the sentence, ‘Yield yourselves unto God.’ When you yield yourselves you yield everything else. All the details are included in the one surrender of yourself. ‘Yield yourself unto GOD.’ Consecration is not to God’s service, not to his work, not to a life of obedience and sacrifice, not to the church, not to the Christian Endeavor, not to the missionary cause, nor even to the cause of God; it is to GOD HIMSELF. ‘Yield yourselves unto God.’ Your work, your service, your obedience, your sacrifice, your right place and your allotted duty will all follow in good time. Consecration is the willingness and the resolution and the purpose to be, to do, and to suffer all God’s will. Consecration being a definite transaction, and made once for all, does not need to be repeated unless we have failed to keep it. We consecrate just as we are married. The vow is upon us, and in the force of that vow we walk all our days. Consecration does not mean the giving up of all our sins, or vices, or depraved appetites, or forbidden indulgences.
We can not consecrate our alcohol, or our tobacco, or our opium, or our card-playing, or dancing, or theater-going to God. He wants none of these things. All actual and known sins must be abandoned, at conversion. Our consecration is for a deeper work, that is to say, for the removal of inbred sin, which, after all, is not accomplished by our consecration though that is an essential preliminary, but by the ‘Baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire.’
Many years ago I saw a form of consecration in an English periodical which is here given. Let all my readers unite with the author in this personal yielding to God: ‘I am willing To receive what Thou givest, To lack what Thou withholdest, To relinquish what Thou takest, To suffer what Thou inflictest, To be what Thou requirest, To do what Thou commandest, Amen.’ When such a consecration is complete it becomes, comparatively, an easy thing to believe for entire sanctification, which, after all consecration, must be received by faith” (Theology of Holiness, pp. 102-104).
Some one has said that in our preparatory work to secure full salvation “self dies in the last ditch.” This thought has been put in verse by some thoughtful soul, who had entered into perfect love: “There is a foe of hidden power The Christian well may fear, More subtle far than outward sin, And to the heart more dear, It is the power of selfishness, The proud and willful I, And ere my Lord can reign in me My very self must die.” This thought took such a profound hold upon the patriarchal Dr. Morgan, of Oberlin, whom President Finney so deeply loved, that he once expressed his aspiration for holiness and the death of self in the translation of a little poem from the German of John Augelus, entitled “A Burnt Offering” “Highest Priest, who didst for me Thyself offer on the tree, Grant Thou me that as my offering, Self I may be ever proffering:
That, O Thou loveliest, dearest One.
In me there may be Thou alone.” This death of self, this absolute surrender of will and consecration of all to God, must precede the coming of the sanctifying Saviour to the throne of the soul, to be all in all. Dear, black Amanda Smith tells her audiences who are seeking the Spirit for sanctification: “You must make your consecration complete, and you must make it eternal. No experimenting by a temporary consecration will answer. It must be complete and eternal. I gave everything to God. All I had was my black self and my wash-tub and my wash-board; but I gave all, and the Spirit came and sanctified my soul.”
Dear saint, she had little to give, but she gave it all. Her consecration was genuine. And God took those black hands that had industriously rubbed the wash-board, and lifted them in benediction above countless audiences in America, Europe and Africa; and that voice — made pathetic by the sorrows of her race — he has used to inspire multitudes to a life of holiness which, but for her, they would never have known. God can fill people with himself and use them, when they are willing to be emptied of self, and consecrated to him. This is the great need of the Christian Church today.
Numbers, wealth, resources and facilities without limit; but the consecration of the great mass is exceedingly limited; Missionary boards and all benevolent enterprises languishing for support, while the tides of fashion and worldliness, foreign travel and expensive habits and follies, sweep on over the churches, and professors of religion vie with each other and with the world in luxurious self-indulgence! A band of people who believe in holiness and consecration met at Old Orchard Beach, Maine, last year at the call of the Christian Alliance. Dr. Simpson preached a missionary sermon and a collection was taken out of that one audience of sixty-seven thousand dollars for foreign missions. This year at a similar meeting there, a collection was taken of over one hundred and one thousand dollars. And still later this autumn, there was another coll ection taken by Dr. Simpson from one audience in New York of one hundred and twelve thousand dollars.
The Chicago Advance spoke of it as follows: “A few months ago Presbyterians held a great meeting in Carnegie Music Hall to raise money for missions, with President Cleveland and Dr. Talmage as the chief attractions. The amount given and pledged was about six thousand dollars.
A few days ago the Christian Alliance held a meeting:n the same building under the lead of Dr. A. B. Simpson and raised one hundred and twelve thousand dollars for missions. How can the difference between the results of the two meetings be explained?”
The answer to the question is easy. If every minister in the land had received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost as Dr. Simpson has, and preached sanctification as he does, and all audiences believed in holiness and were as consecrated as that audience, there would be ten million dollars in the treasuries of our Mission Boards within a week. The heathen nations are pouring like a Niagara tide through the gates of death. Perishing sinners jostle our elbows hourly, and the whole world is groaning in the bondage of sin. It needs true representatives of the Saviour — our churches filled with men and women who are clothed with holiness and power. We shall not see such ministers and such Christians till self is slain that Christ may reign. Not till, like the Apostle Paul, we are crucified, and are dead to self, and dead to sin, and dead to the world, and alive unto righteousness and God, and the Spirit sanctifies us, and Christ lives in us, and rules over us, and works through us, will we be clothed with power to lead the multitudes to him. 1. O God, my heart doth long for thee, Let me die, let me die; Now set my soul at liberty, Let me die; let me die To all the trifling things of earth.
They are to me of little worth, My Saviour calls, I’m going forth, Let me die, let me die. 2. Thy saving power in me display, Let me die, let me die; I must be dead from day to day, Let me die, let me die.
Unto the world and its applause, To all the customs, fashions, laws, Of those who hate the humbling cross, Let me die, let me die. 3. Oh, I must die to scoffs and jeers, Let me die, let me die; I must be free from slavish tears, Let me die, let me die, So dead that no desire shall rise To pass for good, or great, or wise, In any but my Saviour’s eyes.
Oh, suffer not my heart to fail, Let me die, let me die.
Jesus, I look to thee for power, To help me to endure this hour, When crucified by sovereign power, I shall die, I shall die. 5. Now I am dead; then, Lord, to thee, I shall live, I shall live; My time, my strength, my all to thee I do give, I do give.
Oh, how the Son doth make me free!
CHAPTER - CONDITIONS OF OBTAINING THE HOLY SPIRIT CONTINUED — FAITH VIII. The last condition that I will name of receiving this great blessing of sanctification is FAITH. That it is absolutely essential the following texts show: Acts 26:18: “Sanctified by faith that is in me.” Galatians 3:14: “That we might receive the promise of the Spirit through FAITH.” Galatians 3:3: “Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law or by the hearing of FAITH?” Ezekiel 37:27,37: “1 will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall hear my judgments and do them. ….. Thus saith the Lord God: I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them.” James 1:6: “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.” Acts 15:8,9: “Giving them the Holy Ghost,... cleansing their hearts by FAITH.” And we couple 1 Thessalonians 4:3 and 1 John 5:14,15. United the passages read as follows: “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification; if we ask anything according to his will he heareth us. And if we know that he heareth us, whatsoever we ask we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”
In the last chapter we considered the condition of consecration; what it was to be utterly surrendered to God. But a seeker after the Baptism with the Spirit and sanctification can take all the steps hitherto mentioned and still not reach the blessing. There are those who have consecrated all, and hungered and thirsted and yet have missed the blessing for years, simply because the last step was not taken. It is like marching across the desert toward Canaan, and halting on the wrong side of the Jordan. The swollen river was crossed by faith. Faith is the last step that brings the seeking soul to the “fullness of blessing” of this Canaan of sanctification. If this step is not taken, the promise is not realized in our hungry souls. This shows the utter folly of confounding consecration with sanctification, one being, as we have already shown, only the antecedent condition of the other. Now I remark:
I. After the soul has been “convicted of want,” and felt the importance of having the “old man” of sin crucified, and accepted the fact that the promise of the Holy Spirit was to him, and has obeyed and surrendered and consecrated all, it is both his privilege and duty to believe that God hears his cry and enters into the surrendered heart. Dr. A. J. Gordon states this truth in varying words repeatedly: “It seems clear from the Scriptures that it is still the duty and privilege of believers to receive the Holt Spirit by a conscious, definite act of appropriating faith, just as they received Jesus Christ. We base this conclusion on several grounds. Presumably, if the Paraclete is a person, coming down at a certain definite time to make his abode in the church, for guiding, teaching, and sanctifying the body of Christ, there is the same reason for our accepting him for his special ministry as for accepting the Lord Jesus for his special ministry. To say that in receiving Christ we necessarily received in the same act the gift of the Spirit seems to confound what the Scriptures make distinct. For it is as SINNERS that we accept Christ for our justification, but it is as SONS that we accept the Spirit for our sanctification. ‘And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts’ ( Galatians 4:6)” (Ministry of Spirit, pp. 68, 69) “Again: “The gift of the Holy Spirit is grounded on the fact that we are sons by faith in Christ. The Scriptures show that we are required to appropriate the Spirit as sons, in the same way that we appropriated Christ as sinners. Let the believer receive the Holy Ghost by a definite act of faith for his consecration, as he received Christ by faith for his justification, and may he not be sure that he is in a safe and Scriptural way of acting? We know of no plainer form of stating the matter than to speak of it as a simple acceptance by faith, the faith which is An affirmation and an act Which bids eternal truth be present fact.
It is a fact that Christ has made atonement for sin; in conversion faith appropriates this fact in order to our justification. It is a fact that the Holy Ghost has been given; in consecration faith appropriates this fact for our sanctification” (Ministry of Spirit, pp. 94, 95).
F. W. Meyer says: “Let us not try to feel that it is so [that we have received the Spirit for sanctification], but BELIEVE that it is so, and reckon on God’s faithfulness.”
Torrey says: “You may not have the enjoyment of the great blessing at once. A man deeds me a piece of property in Boston. It is mine as soon as the deed is recorded. I may not see it for a week. I may not move into the mansion for a month, but it is mine. If we seek this blessing with all our hearts, believingly, complying with the conditions, IT IS OURS, though we do not have the full enjoyment for weeks or months. We have a right on the promise ( 1 John 5:14,15) to claim this blessing in faith; and, with or without feeling, reckon it our own.”
Bishop Taylor says: “The essential Prerequisite to Christian perfection, and characteristic of it throughout, is perfection of faith. It implies perfect confidence in God confidence in his wisdom, his goodness, his will (that you be sanctified); confidence in his gospel provisions and promises; confidence in the efficacy of Christ’s atonement, his all-cleansing blood, and intercessions; confidence in the good will and effectiveness of the personal Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father for the very purpose of saving poor sinners from all their sins..... Perfect faith is a simple, reasonable thing, yet thoroughly effective. Give no quarter to accursed unbelief. War against it, through all God’s available provisions, as you would against a serpent in your house. Submitting perfectly to God’s will you must dare to believe. Your duty is to establish and maintain the fact of your acceptance of Christ, for all that he hath engaged to do for you. You must repose perfect confidence in your Holy Sanctifier.” He that “thus believeth shall never be confounded” (Infancy and Manhood Chapter IV.). “Right here, in this supreme moment, as you are about to seize the prize, do not let the devil cheat you out of it. Do not permit him to induce you to put faith in your own doings — your past hungering and thirsting and tears and prayers and vows of consecration, or in anything but Jesus. It must be simply and solely faith in the sanctifying God, not faith in your poor doings.” This is the way good Bishop Taylor states this danger and then tells his own experience: “Well, just at the altar of consecration, where you so often prayed, confessed, consecrated yourself, and renewed your covenant, stood your Almighty Saviour, waiting to impart salvation, free and full, to your aching heart; but at the moment of your entire submission, when you should have believed, what did you do? Why, you renewed your covenant, which directed your longing eyes away from Jesus to a future fulfillment of your vows; and it was implied i n your mind, ‘then I will be brought into the sweet union with God I so much desire.’ You substituted a renewed covenant for present believing, nay, for a present Saviour; you arose and went away, and left Jesus ‘standing there at the door knocking for admission.’ Instead of opening the door to admit him in all the fullness of his saving power, without which it was impossible for you to do better, with a pious vow in your mouth you retired through a backway, to your own dreary work, as weak as before.” … “As you are running on the gospel track, under the pressure of this heaven-wrought desire, into the depot of full salvation, look out! just at the entrance of the depot the devil adjusts a very ingenious ‘switch,’ and if you are not careful, you will be caught on this Satanic ‘switch,’ and carried off the direct and only track leading into this glorious depot, on to the old circuitous Jewish track of ‘going about to establish your own righteousness, instead of submitting yourself to the righteousness of God’; and round and round you will go, and wonder why you did not get in. ‘Almost in,’ you say to yourself; ‘I can see in. Surely, I will get in soon.’ Surely you never will get in on that track.
It don’t lead in at all. It is the wrong road. I spent several years on that road, and have thoroughly threaded on my knees this dark labyrinth of legal complications, and am, hence, from experience, somewhat prepared to give advice to my young friends and profoundly sympathize with them in their struggles. “When I got light on this subject I changed the order of the arrangement at once. I said, ‘O Lord, I have been very unfaithful and I am very sorry’ (not that I had yielded to known sin. I had been struggling to be holy from the night I was converted to God, and had been preserved from any willful departures from God). ‘I have tried a hundred times to be holy and failed every time. I am very sorry; but, O God, I have no more confidence in the flesh, or in any efforts of my own. I have tried and tried till my heart is sick. I know I will never be any better, nor do any better, unless my heart is made better. However much I may desire it, and however sincerely I may try, I am sure I can never be any better than I have been, nor do any better than I have done, unless renewed in the spirit of my mind.’ I was indeed stripped of all hope from anything I had done, or could do. Not a peg in all the future of my life, no more than in the past, on which to hang a hope, or furnish ground for a postponement. T hen the crucifixion of the flesh, with its fallacious hopes and plans of reformation, dressed up in the most pious phraseology as they are, was fully accomplished. My conscience was purged of dead works, and I was let down into the vale of self-abasement and self-despair, and down in that vale of self-conscious impotency my feet rested firmly on the Rock of Ages, and Jesus was made unto me wisdom and righteousness and sanctification. I did not attain to the beatific altitude of Mount Nebo, and exult in visions of heavenly glory, but I received a baptism of fire that consumed those dead works and fallacious hopes; and in utter self-conscious helplessness I learned to cling to Jesus in all the simplicity of a child, saying: ‘Every moment, Lord, I need the merit of thy death. If left to myself for one moment, that very moment I will sin against thee.’ The purified heart feels as no other heart can its utter helplessness. ‘Our sufficiency is of God.’ Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.’ I learned the happy art of living by faith in the Son of God” (Infancy and Manhood, pp. 70-76).
Rev. Isaiah Reid, in his little book, “The Holy Way,” states the place of faith in sanctification as follows: “When the act of consecration is complete, this is a conscious fact in the soul’s experience. On this it can rely with certainty. What next it needs is, to reckon that it can rest on some of the revealed words of God about a soul that came so far at the call of God, and by way of conscious experience. In other words, believe what God says of a soul thus consecrated, ‘The altar sanctifieth the gift.’ Believe what God says because he says it. Leave it all there, wholly, at once, and forever. What God says is truer than your feelings. Believe him and have feeling. Confess your faith in him. Confess your part of the work done.
Not yet because you feel it, but because he hath said it. Having turned all over to God forever, you may reckon yourself dead unto sin and alive unto God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. You have complied with the terms laid down so far, but it is not by works, but by faith. There is still the great thing for you to do, that is BELIEVE. Believe that God is, at least, as faithful as you are, and is doing his part, though you do not see him, or feel him — believe he is now sanctifying you. You can believe (know) you are consecrated, and you can believe what God says a believing, consecrated soul receives. God can not bear false witness. He honors such faith and does the work.”
Now the reader will let another speak on this vital point. It is by the repeated statements of various persons that this all-important matter will become clear to you and you will learn how to secure the filling of the Holy Spirit — the sanctifying baptism. Dr. Carradine states this condition with great clearness thus: “I wanted to be able to turn upon sin and the world the eye and ear and heart of a dead-man. I wanted perfect love to God and man, and a perfect rest in my soul all the time. This dark ‘something’ that prevented this life I laid on the altar, and asked God to consume it as by fire. I never asked God once at this time for pardon. That I had in my soul already. But it was cleansing, sin-eradication I craved. My prayer was for sanctification. After the battle of consecration came the battle of faith. Both precede the perfect victory of sanctification. Vain is consecration without faith to secure the blessing. Hence men can be perfectly consecrated all their lives, and never know the blessing of sanctification. I must believe there is such a work in order to realize the grace. Here were the words of the Lord that proved a foundation for my faith: ‘Every devoted thing is most holy unto the Lord’ ( Leviticus 27:28). ‘The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.’ Still again: ‘The altar sanctifieth the gift’ ( Matthew 23:19 and Exodus 29:37). In this last quotation is a statement of a great fact. The altar is greater than the gift; and whatsoever is laid upon the altar (in faith) becomes sanctified and holy. It is the altar that does the work. The question arises: Who and what is the altar? In Hebrews 13:10 -12 we are told: ‘We have an altar ….. Wherefore Jesus also that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered without the gate.’ Dr. Clark, in commenting upon the passage, says the altar here mentioned is Jesus Christ. All who have studied attentively the life of our Lord can not but be impressed with the fact that in his wondrous person is seen embraced the priest, the lamb and the altar. He did the whole thing; there was no one to help. As the victim he died; as the priest he offered himself, and his divine nature was the altar upon which the sacrifice was made. The Saviour, then, is the Christian’s altar. Upon him I lay myself (in faith). The altar sanctifies the gift. The blood cleanses from all sin, personal and inbred. Can I believe that? Will I believe it? My unbelief is certain to shut me out of the blessing; my belief as certainly shuts me in. The instant we add a perfect faith to a perfect consecration the work is done, and the blessing descends. As Paul says: ‘We which have believed do enter into rest’ ( Hebrews 4:3). All this happened to the writer. For nearly three days he lived in a constant state of faith and prayer. He believed God; he believed the work was done before the witness was given. On the morning of the third day the witness was given” (Sanctification, pp. 19-21). “Is everything upon the altar? If so, who is the altar? Paul tells you it is Christ. What does the altar do? Glory be to God, it sanctifies the gift...
Thus it is we become holy if we are on the altar Christ; if, in a word, we are perfectly consecrated. The Word of God says that ‘every devoted thing is most holy unto the Lord.’ Will you believe that? Will you take God at his word?” (p. 140). “ You must believe that Christ makes you holy right now.
Will you take that step and receive full salvation? If you can and will believe that the blood of Jesus Christ sanctifies you NOW, the work of sanctification will be done, and the glory of God will come upon you. Plant yourself on God’s own word; he says that the altar sanctifies you, that the blood cleanses and makes you holy. You do not say this; the preacher did not originate the speech; it is the word of the Lord! Then believe that word; receive it in your heart; say, ‘I am sanctified by the blood, because Christ says so,’ and hold on with unmoved confidence till the witness comes. The witness will come when the soul is consecrated and the heart exercises a present appropriating faith. It is bound to come because of the divine faithfulness and in fulfillment of the divine promise” (p. 41). “Millions are ready to say: ‘If God gives certain emotions or experiences declaring his work, then will we believe.’ But where appears the faith in such salvation? Don’ t we see that then it is no longer faith but knowledge?
Don’t we see that the demand here to God is, ‘Let me know and I will believe,’ while God says, ‘ Believe and ye shall know’? Some one says of Abraham that ‘he walked out into empty space on the naked promise of Almighty God.’ Such a faith the centurion had when he asked Christ to heal his servant” (pp. 154, 155). “My faith rests not upon any mental condition of my own, or any play of emotion, but upon the simple statement of God that I am sanctified” (p. 158). “In a recent visit to Georgia I was informed of a case strikingly illustrative.
It was that of a young man who, after having made the perfect consecration demanded by the Bible, believed that the blood of Christ did then and there cleanse him from all sin. He was without feeling; but he remembered that we are not saved by feeling, but by faith; and so he lived on the first day, clinging to God’s word about the matter, as a man in midocean would cling to a spar. Some one saw him shake his head in a peculiar, positive way in church. One sitting near him heard him say at the same moment: ‘The blood of Christ does sanctify me.’ Later in the day he was approached by a friend, who asked: ‘Brother, how are you feeling?’
His reply was: ‘I have no feeling, but I know that Jesus sanctifies my soul, because he said so.’ Next day he saw an unfriendly critic observing him in the congregation; again came the positive movement of the head with the murmured words: ‘He does cleanse me from all sin.’ To sympathetic and anxious Christian friends his constant statement was: ‘No feeling; but perfect faith that the blood cleanses me NOW.’ Thus he walked for several days by ‘dry faith,’ when one morning, as a friend started to put the usual question, suddenly he cried out in tones that thrilled beyond all description: ‘O glory! glory! my soul can not contain the joy and blessedness it feels.’
The witness had come, as indeed it always will come to the man who takes God at his word. Why is it that so many seek the blessing for months without attaining it? Because they put the work in the future. They place the fulfillment of the promise to some remote time, when God says Now! and demands that our faith shall say now “ (pp. 160, 161).
Dr. Keen says: ‘Faith being the exercise of the power we possess to believe God’s Word, it is a voluntary act. The soul must recognize that it can believe; must choose to believe must say, ‘I will believe,’ and persistently reckon pardon or purity its own on God’s word, in the face of every temptation to doubt, arising from any source whatever. … At every stage in seeking the Lord there is either defeat in believing Satan or victory in believing Jesus” (P. 34, Faith Papers).
He further on gives this illustration: “A Professor in a University on the Pacific Coast had been for ten years a seeker of full salvation, but did not come into its enjoyment. One day an aged minister, traveling in the interest of the American Bible Society, was stopping at his home. They fell into conversation on Christian experience. This aged minister told how many years since he had found, and been able to walk in conscious cleansing from all sin. The Professor listened with interest, and when the old saint was through, he said to him: ‘Father, I have been seeking that blessing for ten years. I believe I have put all on the altar; but I haven’t received the power of sanctifying grace in my soul.’ Said the aged brother: ‘Do you want to receive it now?’ The Professor replied: ‘Yes.’ ‘Well,’ said the minister, ‘let us kneel down right here, and you may receive it now.’ They had been sitting side by side in the Professor’s parlor. The Professor was a little reluctant to believe that the struggle o f ten years could end right away. He doubtless thought the old man was very sanguine, but they knelt together. ‘Now,’ said the minister, ‘Professor. are you wholly given to God?’ and with much tenderness and honesty of heart, he said, ‘I believe I am.’ ‘You have put all on the altar?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Well, Professor, the Lord says, “The altar sanctifieth the gift”; is it true or not?’ He dare not tempt God and say it is not, and with a faltering and almost coerced faith, he said, ‘ It is true,’ and instantly the refining fire went through his soul” (pp. 48, 49).
I will introduce some more testimony that in the mouth of many witnesses every word may be established. I want to make this book so plain that any seeker after the baptism with the Holy Spirit and the sanctification and power that attend it, need not miss the way. I am ambitious to make such a book as would have brought me light and help twenty-five years ago. I was then seeking this blessing. I needed instruction. I went to President Finney, and the dear old saint knelt beside me and placed his hand on my head and prayed for me. That was itself a benediction. But how to take the blessing which God wanted to give me I did not know, and he did not tell me. Had I been properly instructed then my whole ministry would have been changed. I long to tell others now what I then longed to know. There is no plainer way of teaching than by these illustrations from real life. This is my excuse for giving them so abundantly.
Dr. Daniel Steele testifies: “I found that my faith had three points to master: the Comforter, for me, now. Upon the promise I ventured with an act of appropriating faith, claiming the Comforter as my right in the name of Jesus. For several hours I clung by naked faith. Suddenly I became conscious of a mysterious power exerting itself upon my sensibilities,... melting my heart into a fiery stream of love. Christ became so unspeakably precious that I instantly dropped all earthly good, reputation, property, friends, family, everything, in the twinkling of an eye; my soul crying out: ‘None but Christ to me be given, None but Christ in earth or heaven’” (Rest of Faith, p. 28).
Rev. Dr. Lowrey writes thus: “I had lived a devout and holy life during all these preparatory years, and especially so during the year preceding my ordination to the ministry, and yet I had not obtained the evidence of entire sanctification. Indeed, I was painfully conscious of remaining sin, and strove against it all the year by fasting and prayer. Still I went to Conference, and finally stood before the alter of ordination, unhealed of sin. But notwithstanding all my defects, I am persuaded a more sincere and conscientious soul never stood before such an altar. As every candidate is required to do, I answered all the test questions in the affirmative: ‘Have you faith in God? Are you going on to perfection? Do you expect to be made perfect in love in this life? Are you groaning after it?’ I had some misgiving about my positive response to the last question, whether I so intensely desired perfection that I was ‘groaning after it.’ The language of my soul immediately was, ‘If I do not I will till t hat grace is obtained. I will pursue it with travailing pangs. I will never relax my efforts nor ungrasp my hold.’ … About three months after this date, God, in his love, gave me the evidence of full salvation. Observe, I did not approach it gradually by any sensible increase of joy or power. My soul did not flower up into it by successive blessings. I remained as far from the actual grasp of the great salvation, an hour before it came, as I had been for nine years.
And I suppose it would have continued so but for one mighty resolve, and that was to bring on a crisis. I found I must fix a time and limit my faith to it! Therefore under the conviction that it must be now or never I dismissed every other subject, suspended every pursuit, and retired into a room, bowed all alone before God, and pleaded for IMMEDIATE redemption, IMMEDIATE deliverance, IMMEDIATE cleansing from all sin, the fullness of the Spirit and perfection in love. I soon realized the unfailing truth of these words: ‘Faithful is he that calleth you who also will do it.’
Somehow I was moved and inspired TO TRUST. … In conjunction with this trusting and praying, a joyous impression, evidently a divine conviction amounting to an evidence, came upon my mind to the effect that God had graciously granted my request — that I was healed of all sin; that I had entered into rest from sin; that its corrodings had ceased. I was happy, but not ecstatic. The prevailing feeling seemed to be that of rest, satisfaction, great peace, and a consciousness of cleansing and sanctity. My joy was more solemn and sacred than ever before. My soul seemed hushed into silence before the Lord, on account of his nearness and realized indwelling, and the overshadowing presence of the Holy Spirit “ (Possibilities of Grace, pp. 463-465).
We return now to the case of Hannah Whitall Smith, whose strivings and hunger we considered in another chapter: “I began to long after holiness; I began to groan under the bondage of sin in which I was still held. My whole heart panted after entire conformity to the will of God and unhindered communion with him. But so thoroughly convinced was I that no efforts or resolutions or prayers of my own would be of any avail, and so ignorant was I of any other way that I was almost ready to give up in despair. In this time of sore need (1863) God threw into my company some whose experiences seemed to be very different from mine. They declared that they had discovered a ‘way of holiness’ wherein the redeemed soul might live and walk in abiding peace, and might be made ‘more than conqueror,’ through the Lord Jesus Christ. I asked them their secret, and they replied: ‘It is simply in ceasing from all efforts of our own and in trusting the Lord to make us holy,’ Never shall I forget the astonishment this answer gave me. ‘What!’ I said, ‘do you really mean that you have ceased from your own efforts altogether, in your daily living, and that you do NOTHING but trust the Lord? And does he actually and truly make you conquerors?’ ‘Yes,’ was the reply, ‘the Lord does it all. We abandon ourselves to him. We do not even try to live ourselves; but we abide in him and he lives in us. He works in us to will and to do of his good pleasure, and we hold our peace.’ Like a revelation the glorious possibilities of a life such as this flashed upon me. That Jesus should now live in my life in the same way as he first gave it to me without my being able to do anything except to BELIEVE and RECEIVE, surpassed my utmost conceptions....
At last I saw clearly that I was indeed truly nothing; that I needed the Lord just as absolutely for my daily living as I had needed him in the first place to give me life. I discovered that I was just as unable to govern my temper or my tongue for five minutes as I had been long ago to convert my soul. I found out, in short, the simple truth which I ought to have learned long before, that without Christ I could do nothing; absolutely nothing….. The Lord showed himself to me as a perfect and complete and present Saviour, and I abandoned my whole self to his care; I trusted him utterly and entirely. I took him for my Saviour from the daily power of sin with as naked a faith as I once took him for my Saviour from its guilt. I believed the truth that he was my practical sanctification, as well as my justification, and that he not only could save me, and would save me, but that he did.
The Lord Jesus Christ became my present Saviour, and my soul found rest at last — such a rest that no words describe it. The secret of holiness was revealed to me, and that secret was Christ —’made unto me sanctification.’
At first my faith was but a weak and wavering one. Almost tremblingly I hung on to Christ moment by moment, saying continually in my heart: ‘Lord, I trust thee. look, Lord, I am trusting thee.’ But I found to my astonishment that it was a practical reality” (Forty Witnesses, pp. 148-153).
We gave the account of Mrs. Osie M. Fitzgerald’s consecration in the previous chapter. We will now see how she secured the blessing by faith: “When my surrender and consecration were complete, I said, ‘What now, Lord?’ The Spirit said, ‘What things soever ye desire, when ye pray believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them’ ( Mark 11:24). I saw clearly I must believe before I could receive. The tempter said, ‘How can you believe without any evidence?’ I replied, ‘I have God’s word, and I believe the work is done if I never have any more evidence till I meet him at his bar!’ ‘But,’ said the tempter, ‘you may find yourself mistaken.’ I said, ‘I will take that promise with me to the bar of God, and I will tell him that I have been trusting him (on his word) for a clean heart without any evidence.’ Some time afterward a good brother said to me: ‘ You do believe that God cleanses you now from all sin?’ If I had had a thousand bodies and souls I could have thrown them all into that ‘Yes.’ The moment I confessed it, the Holy Ghost came with lightning speed into my heart, and cleansed it from all sin and took up his abode in my heart, and filled me with such unspeakable joy that for three days I scarcely knew whether I was in the body or out of it’, (Forty Witnesses, pp. 169, 170).
She thus describes the thirty-one years of Christian life that followed: “God cleansed my heart from all sin and the Holy Ghost sanctified me wholly, I think. Mr. Wesley says it is next to a miracle for any one to receive that blessing and never lose it. Then I surely am next to a miracle of grace, for I have never lost it, and I have no recollection of ever feeling the stirrings of anger, jealousy, pride, self-will or bitterness since the day God cleansed my heart from all sin, and the Holy Ghost came in and filled me. He has been the door-keeper of my heart ever since.”
Phoebe Palmer, of blessed memory, when seeking the baptism with the Holy Spirit had her battle as most others do about this matter of faith: “‘Must I believe God will receive me simply because it stands written in the Holy Word, “I will receive you,” without any other evidence than the word of God?” I exclaimed. ‘And,’ said the adversary, ‘suppose after you have believed you don’t feel any different, what will you do? Suppose you are called to live a long life without any of these manifestations which others enjoy?’ I now saw what faith was in all its simplicity, and I replied, ‘I will come up before my Judge and in the face of an assembled universe say, “The foundation of my faith was thy immutable word.”’ The moment I came to this point, the Holy Spirit whispered, ‘This is just the way in which Abraham walked: “By faith he journeyed, not knowing whither he went.”’ My faith was at once put to the test. I had expected that some wonderful manifestation would follow. But I was shut up to faith — naked faith in a naked promise. I then took the advanced ground of confession. Giving God the glory due to his name I exclaimed: ‘Through thy grace alone I have been enabled to give myself wholly and forever to thee. Thou hast given thy word, assuring me that thou dost receive. I BELIEVE THAT WORD! Alleluia! Glory be to the Holy Spirit forever! Oh, into what a region of light, glory and purity was my soul at this moment ushered! I felt that I was but as a drop in the ocean of infinite love, and Christ was all in all” (Forty Witnesses, pp. 302-305).
No body of believers today so constantly preach, or so successfully teach, holiness and sanctification as does the Salvation Army. There is not a church in the land that would not be blessed and spiritually improved by sitting at General Booth’s feet. This is what he teaches concerning the relation of faith to sanctification by the Holy Spirit: “What is the faith that sanctifies? It is that act of simple trust which, on the authority of Christ’s word, says, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ does NOW cleanse me from all inward sin, and makes me pure in heart before him, and I do here and now commit myself to him, believing that he receives me, and that he will evermore keep me holy while I thus trust him.’ When a soul thus trusts God, will he be, in every case, made clean? Yes, always — that is, if a soul having the assurance that he does fully renounce all known and doubtful wrong doing, and gives himself up to the doing of the will of God in all things, thus trusts God for full cleansing, he has the authority of God’s word for believing that the work is done, no matter how he feels,. and he must hold on to this faith till the feeling comes. If we confess our sins, he is faithful (to his own promise) and just (to the suffering and agony of his Son, which purchased the blessing) to cleanse us from all unrighteousness ( 1 John 1:7). “What is meant by holding on till the feeling comes? Sometimes God tries faith for a little time, and, although the soul has the witness that he has put his sacrifice on the altar — that he is fully consecrated, and has the witness in himself — that he believes that God accepts it; still, he may have, like Abraham of old, to wait for the fire, which makes him inwardly feel and know that God cleanses his soul; but, if he watches his sacrifice, and waits a season, the fire will assuredly come. “But do not many stumble at the simplicity of faith? Yes! Doubtless many, whom we have every reason to believe really do give up all, and are willing to follow the Lamb, withersoever He goeth, can not, or will not, or dare not believe that God does, then and there, cleanse them. They are always coming up to the edge of the cleansing wave, stripped and ready for the sanctifying plunge, but alas! they do not step in. They say they believe, and they do believe some things about God’s willingness and ability; but they do not believe that God does, really and truly, now cleanse. You must press them to this, drive them up to it; and when they do really trust God for a full salvation you will see the difference in them. It is important that the soul should distinctly apprehend the fact that IT IS GOD THAT CLEANSES, and that faith and consecration are only the conditions on which God’s saving, sanctifying grace is given” (Holy Living, pp. 22, 23).
Rev. William Jones, D. D., LL. D., quotes Adam Clark as saying: “In no part of the Scripture are we directed to seek remission of sins seriatim, one now, and another then, and so on. Neither in any part of the Bible are we directed to seek holiness by gradation. Neither a gradation pardon nor a gradation purification exists in the Bible.” “It is God’s work, and is wrought by the Holy Ghost, and is done AT ONCE” (Elim to Carmel, p. 183).
The place of faith in God’s plan of giving the Holy Spirit in sanctifying power is, after the other preliminary conditions are complied with, to claim the blessing now, now, NOW, and then to take it for granted that the blessing has been obtained according to divine promise. Says Dr. Lowrey: “Faith is to full salvation what the touch is to a jar charged with electricity — the medium of communication. It is the touch of faith alone that brings the healing virtue out of Christ by which the believer is made every whit whole. Preceding acts are conducive to faith, but faith alone bringeth salvation. Like the link that couples a train of cars to the locomotive, all the preceding links are necessary to make the train a unit and secure the advantage of the moving force, but it is the last link only that joins the train to the power of transportation. Until this connection is made there can be no motion. The track may be perfect, the cars laden and all put together, the officers on board, the time for starting arrived, but the train can not budge an inch until the king-bolt drops through the last coupling, and makes the coaches fast to the locomotive. In that moment weakness is joined to power and immobility to motion” (Possibilities of Grace, p. 311).
Dear reader, your faith is that king-bolt; let it join you to Christ right now, NOW for the sanctifying Spirit and a full salvation. Dr. Keen, the great Pentecostal evangelist of the M. E. Church, writes: “Consent to receive the Holy Spirit NOW. Said a venerable minister, ‘After I had given myself wholly to God, and was willing to do or to suffer for him, the hardest thing to consent to was to be holy right then and there — to receive the Holy Ghost NOW.’ Yet it is just when the soul consents to receive the Holy Spirit now that it is filled. The soul must in faith say NOW to the Holy Ghost” (Pentecostal Papers, p 92).
Andrew Murray said in an address at Moody’s Institute in Chicago: “It is indeed a solemn, precious thought — God’s Holy Spirit can make all God’s promises and provisions in Christ our experience. Who are ready to come into this life tonight, and claim the heritage as the child of God? Who will cry, ‘I am going to ask that Romans 8:1-16 shall be literally fulfilled in my life.’ Let me suggest four single steps; “1. Say TO NIGHT, I MUST BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT. God commands it. My soul needs it. The Spirit longs for it. Christ will do it.
The world needs it. I can not live aright without it. I must be filled with the Spirit. “2. I MAY be filled with the Spirit. God does not give a ‘must’ without a ‘may.’ God does not say you must live holy without saying you may. You can live holy. Say ‘I may.’ God has promised it, Christ has purchased it, the Word reveals it, thousands have experienced it. I may be filled with the Spirit. “3. I WOULD be filled with the Spirit. Say, Lord, my heart longs for it.
Begin to say, I give up everything, O God, self, sin, self-will, self-confidence, the flesh; I give up everything. I would be filled with the Holy Spirit. Lord God, set thy mark upon me; I am an empty vessel waiting to be filled. I would be filled with the Holy Spirit, I am ready. “4. I SHALL be filled with the Holy Spirit God has promised it to me. I have a right to say, I shall be filled with the Spirit. Say that tremblingly, and very, very humbly. I confess I am carnal. I have felt my sinfulness. I confess my sin. My heart is willing for it; I am going to trust God for it. O God, thou doest above what I can ask or think; I give myself to thee entirely; I trust thee forever; I give myself up fully, and I claim the filling of the Holy Spirit. THOU GIVEST IT” (Spiritual Life, pp. 27, 28).
Dear reader, such language means INSTANTANEOUS SANCTIFICATION by faith, for you NOW.
CHAPTER - ENTERING IN In this chapter I propose to name no new conditions of receiving the Baptism with the Holy Ghost and entering a life of sanctification. It is my purpose rather to give a summary of what has already been said in a more general way, and if possible to lead the reader to at once enter into his promised inheritance. Some three years ago a minister led a consecration meeting at the Y. P. S. C. E. convention, at Montreal. The writer was not there, but a year ago he read, while laboring in Massachusetts, a report of that address, and it proved a great blessing to his soul. The points then made will be used in this chapter, and some of his noble words, along with other material, in the hope that it will help others as it helped the writer. If I were to have a theme and Scripture texts, as if preaching a sermon, it would be something as follows:
SANCTIFICATION — THE WILL OF GOD 1 Thessalonians 4:3,7: “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification.... For God called us not for uncleanness but in sanctification.” Romans 15:16: “Being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.”
Here is a distinct declaration that it is God’s will and purpose that we should be sanctified. And we are informed by whom the great work is to be wrought in us — by the Holy Ghost. Now, how may God’s blessed will be done in us? How may we have the “fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ” I. Believe it is God’s will. Do you, reader, believe that what God says is true? He says: “The promise [of the Spirit] is unto you and to your children, and to all, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” He says your sanctification by the Holy Ghost is his will. Do you believe it? He says he hath called you to sanctification. Do you believe it? Do you hear the call of the Holy Spirit in your heart now? Will you respond to it, and rise up and claim the blessing? Is this inestimable blessing for one man out of thousands — for Edwards, and Finney, and Moody, Fletcher, Bishop Simpson, and a few other favored souls, or is it for every regenerated child of God, and so for you?
He said in his address: “I feel like lifting up my heart and my soul and saying: ‘Lord God, I believe it is for me.’ Will you say that now? ‘I BELIEVE IT IS FOR ME.” After a solemn pause many in the audience said: “I believe it is for me.”
I wish the readers of these lines would pause a moment and think. Don’t hurry. Can you solemnly say with a prayerful heart, “My God, I believe this Baptism with the Holy Spirit is for me?” 2. Be willing that God’s blessed will should be done in you — to your sanctification and holiness. Are you willing to pray the Lord’s prayer and mean it? “Thy kingdom come (in my heart), thy will be done in earth (in me, and by my will), as it is in heaven (by the angels of God).” Or are you “willing to be made willing about everything,” as F. W. Meyer puts it, “at any cost to yourself?” This thought is beautifully expressed in a poem: Laid on thine altar, O my Lord divine, Accept this gift today, for Jesus’ sake.
I have no jewels to adorn thy shrine, Nor any world famed sacrifice to make; But here I bring, within my trembling hand, This will of mine — a thing that seemeth small, And thou alone, O Lord, canst understand How, when I yield thee this, I yield mine all.
Hidden therein thy searching gaze can see Struggles of passion, visions of delight, All that I have, or am, or fain would be — Deep loves, fond hopes, and longings infinite; It hath been wet with tears and dimmed with sighs, Clinched in my grasp, till beauty it hath none.
Now from thy footstool where it vanquished lies, The prayer ascendeth, May thy will be done!
Take it, O Father, ere my courage fail, And merge it so in thine own will, that e’en If in some desperate hour my cries prevail And thou give back my gift, it may have been So changed, so purified — so fair have grown, So one with thee, so filled with peace divine, I may not know or feel it as mine own, But, gaining back my will, may find it thine.
Dr. Chapman said: “Lord, I am willing to be made willing about everything.” Reader, pause a moment and think. It is a matter between you and God. Are you “willing to be made willing” that God who willeth your sanctification shall have his will done in you? 3. Said an evangelist: “We should be willing to forsake every sin that we know, and also the sin that we do not know. I believe God ‘means what he says when he calls us to be, as Jesus was, ‘separate from sinners, holy, harmless and undefiled.’ ‘If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ But God never forgave a sin, and God never took away a sin, until men and women were willing that he should. O friend, no matter what it may be, if there is a touch of sin about it, will you not abandon it now? As God searches your heart, if he shall show you anything sinful and impure will you not make this pledge to him, as though you stood in the white light of the judgment, that you will give it up? Can you, reader, say, ‘I will’?” 4. We should be willing to give all our good things to God. A soul-winner said: “I believe a man may forsake every known sin, and pledge himself to give up every unknown sin as well, and still not be qualified for the filling of the Holy Ghost. There are the good things to be given to God. Oh, so many fail here. There are what we call the neutral things, — the friends, and the ambitions, and the money, and the time, and the talents, — all to be turned over unto God. Here many fail. When God calls to bring out Isaac, there they hesitate. Let us bring out the last good thing and lay it on the altar of God. I preached six years before I was willing to consecrate the things that were good. Are you willing to do it — to give him the known things and the unknown? the things that are good, — the money and the time, the talents and the friends, the husband or wife; or child, the wisdom and the ignorance, the wealth and the poverty, the strength and the weakness, all that you know or may know, all that you have or may have, and turn it all over and say, Lord God, it is mine no longer.’” General Booth says: “This consecration has in it the nature of a REAL SACRIFICE. It is the presentation or giving away of all we have to God; a ceasing any longer to own anything which we have hitherto called our own, but all going over into God’s hands for him to order and arrange, and our taking simply the place of servants, to receive back again just what he chooses. This is no easy task, and can only be done in the might of the Holy Ghost; but, when it is done. when all is laid on the altar — body, soul, spirit, goods, reputation, all, all, ALL — then the fire descends and burns up all the dross and defilement of sin, and fills the soul with burning zeal and love and power. Consecration is a being crucified with Christ; it means dying to all those pleasures and gratifications which flow from the undue love of self, the admiration of the world, the ownership of goods, and the inordinate love of kindred and friends which go together to make up the life and joy of the natural man. This may be painful but we must be crucified with Christ if we are to live with him.”
Mrs. Catherine Booth said in an address on “Hindrances to Holiness”: “A lady a short time ago was brought to the very edge of this blessing, but there was something she felt she ought to do. She had a sum of money which she felt ought to be given up to a certain object. She prayed and struggled and attended prayer-meetings, and prayed long into the night; but, no, she would not face the difficulty. She said, ‘Oh! no; I am not satisfied in my own mind. How do I know God wants it for that purpose?’
She might have struggled till now if she had not made up her mind to obey; but, the moment she did, alone, up in her bedroom, the blessing came. A gentleman came to the penitent form, after one of my West-end services, last season, and told me ‘I am a preacher; I have been laboring in the gospel for eight years, but I know I am utterly destitute of this power.’ ‘ Do you want it?’ ‘ Oh,’ he said, ‘I do,’ and he looked as though he were sincere. ‘Then,’ I said, ‘what is it? There is a hindrance. It is not God’s fault. He wants you to have it. He is as willing to give you the Spirit as he was Peter or Paul, and you want to have it. Now will you have it? Have you understood the conditions? ‘ ‘Ah!’ he said, ‘that is the point.’ ‘Now you know I should be a false comforter if I were to try to make you believe you were right when you had not yielded that point.’ ‘Well,’ he said, ‘you see it would be cutting loose from one’s entire circle.’ Ah he was led, you see, by Christian friends. I said, ‘Did not the Lord Jesus cut loose from his circle to save you? and, if your Christian friends are such that to live a holy life you must cut loose from them, what are you going to do — stop in that circle, ruin your own soul and help to ruin them, or cut loose and help to save them? Oh! there is no profounder philosophy in any text in the Bible than that — “ How can ye believe who receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” You will have to come to God not caring what anybody thinks’” (Godliness, p. 147).
Dr. Daniel Steele tells a story which is a remarkable illustration of this point: “A friend of the writer became sick in Paris. He sent for the most eminent physician in the city, who, after a careful diagnosis, informed his patient that he was attacked with a fatal fever then prevailing in the French capital. Said he to him: ‘You will soon lose your reason, and then sink into a state of insensibility from which it is not certain that you will rally. But I will do my best to carry you safely through the deadly disease. Make your will and deposit it with me. Put into my hands your trunk and its key, your watch, your purse, your clothes, your passport, and everything else which you prize.’ The sick man was thunderstruck at such demands by an entire stranger, who might administer a dose of poison and send the patient’s body to the potter’s field, and appropriate the surrendered treasures to his own use. A moment’s reflection, however, taught him that the demand was made out of pure benevolence, and th at it was more safe to trust himself and his possessions to the hands of a man of high professional repute than to run the risk of being plundered by a hungry horde of hotel servants. He surrendered all the goods and himself into the charge of the physician. He sat by his bedside, saw his prophecy fulfilled, reason go out in delirium and intelligence sink into stupor. He watched the ebbing tide of life with all the solicitude of a brother At length he saw the tide turn, and detected the first refluent wave which was to bring the sick man back to the shores of life.
He recovered and found his purse and all his treasures restored to him.
Thus must you do if you would avail yourself of the all-healing Physician, Jesus Christ. Make your will and give it to him. Commit your purse to his keeping. A consecrated pocket-book always attends a sanctified heart.
Without this attendant the heart work is not real and genuine. Put yourself, your possessions, your reputation, your future, into Christ’s hands by all act of consecration, and then believe that he will do his work without any assistance from you. You can not improve your own condition. Yon can not expel the dire disease of sin from its hold upon your very vitals. Jesus only can free you” (Love Enthroned, pp. 373, 374). Are you, who read these lines, willing thus to consecrate all to belong to God? Can you say, from the depths of your soul, to God in prayer, “I will make the sacrifice”? 5. There is just one thing more. The Lord says. “Ye receive the Spirit through faith.” “I believe,’ said one to the great convention, “if we have been honest before God in these acts, every one of us has a right to rise up and say, ‘I am going out now as one filled with the Holy Ghost.’ ‘Lord, I do receive the Holy Spirit now.’” Reader, will you say in faith, “Yes, Lord, I do receive the Holy Spirit for my sanctification now Do not turn away from this blessing and make yourself a legalist and say: “I will be sanctified by WORKS, SOME FUTURE TIME, WHEN I HAVE MADE MYSELF BETTER.”
God would have you say, I will be sanctified; nay, he would have you say in faith, “I AM SANCTIFIED BY MY SANCTIFYING SAVIOUR AND HOLY SPIRIT, NOW, AS I AM.”
President Mahan says: “The Scripture reveals Christ as an ‘uttermost Saviour,’ who has made provision for our complete ‘redemption from all iniquity,’ and our perfect moral and spiritual cleansing. Sanctification, complete and entire, therefore, is the object of rational faith and prayer and hope. Both blessings, justification and entire sanctification, stand distinctly revealed in the Word of God as available on the same condition, and as, for the same identical reasons, objects of faith and expectation, and the individual who professes to have received the one blessing makes a no more incredible profession, than he does who professes to have received the other. Through faith it is the revealed privilege and duty of every believer to be ‘saved unto the uttermost,’ ‘sanctified wholly,’ and in ‘his spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless,’ and after regeneration there awaits the faith of the believer ‘the promise of the Father,’ for which he is to tarry in prayer and supplication until he is ‘ filled with the Holy Ghost.’” By faith, dear reader, be “filled “ NOW.
F. B. Meyer says: “As once you obtained forgiveness and salvation by faith, so now claim and receive the Spirit’s fullness. Fulfill the conditions already named, wait quietly but definitely before God in prayer; for he gives the Holy Spirit to them that ask him: then reverently appropriate this glorious gift, and rise from your knees, and go on your way reckoning that God has kept his word, and that you are filled with the Spirit. Trust him day by day to fill you and keep you filled. There may not be at first the sound of rushing wind, or the coronet of fire, or the sensible feeling of his presence. Do not look for these, any more than the young convert should look to feeling as an evidence of acceptance. But BELIEVE in spite of feeling that YOU ARE FILLED. Say over and over, ‘I thank thee, O my God, that thou hast kept thy word with me, though as yet I am not aware of any special change.’ And the feeling will sooner or later break in upon your consciousness, and you will rejoice with exceeding joy, and all the fruits of the Spirit will begin to show themselves.”
This is a fair description of the author’s experience, and so he might as well take the witness stand and testify here. As far back as when I was a student in Oberlin College, my beloved class-mate, the now well known faith-missionary in Bulgaria, Mrs. Anna V. Mumford, had received the baptism with the Spirit, and urged me to seek it. She presented me a volume of President Mahan’s “Baptism of the Holy Ghost.” The book has inspired many another to seek and find the blessing, but somehow it did not make the matter plain to me how to take the blessing in simple faith. As already stated, I went to President Finney, who tenderly prayed with me, but gave me no light. I was thoroughly persuaded that there was such a blessing for men, and, indeed, all these years I have felt that a dozen unanswerable arguments could be made that would satisfy any logical mind of the attainability of holiness. I soon after went to Yale Seminary to study theology, and there, I confess it now with shame and sorrow, like many an other theological student does, I suffered a decline in spirituality and lost much of the heart-hunger for holiness. I have deserved all I have received, and much more, of sorrow and disappointment at the hands of a grieved and patient God, who lovingly chastised his child, that he might become a partaker of the divine nature. God gave me revival after revival in my pastorates, gracious harvests of souls, and I had more calls to help pastors in revival work outside of my own pulpit than I could fill. But I was a slow, dull pupil of grace, and God permitted my pride to be wounded, and my ambitions to be crushed, till I cried out in agony, “Oh, my Father, dost thou not care for thy child?” But through it all, he was bringing me to himself, driving me, I might say, by a whip of love, to his very bosom, and awaking again the deep and abiding heart-hunger for holiness and Spirit-power.
After two long pastorates, lasting sixteen years, followed by two short pastorates — short, as a Doctor of Divinity kindly wrote me, through no fault of mine — and nearly two years’ service as State Evangelist of Michigan, I moved to Oberlin to enter general evangelistic work, with my humbled, chastened soul hungering for God. My constant reading, outside of the busy work of preaching fifteen times a week and writing “The Life and Labors of Mary A. Woodbridge,” was all on the precious theme of The Holy Spirit. In such a frame of mind I was invited to lead a revival in Oberlin in January of 1895. 1 preached in the afternoon meetings a full salvation; I dare not preach anything else. Months afterward the leader of the holiness band of Oberlin, who has prayed over this theme for a quarter of a century, and is better acquainted with the literature of it than any minister I have ever met, loaned me some books of Wood and Garrison and Steele and Mahan that fed all the more the consuming flame of my soul. I was providentially invited to assist Rev. G. S. Butler of Three Rivers, Mass., who with his wife had received the baptism with the Spirit, and who had much literature on the subject in his library. Among other things I there found an address by Brother Torrey, of Chicago, and the address of the man already referred to. I took down the outlines of them in my note book. On the famous hilltop back of the parsonage, overlooking eleven cities and villages, under a tree I knelt in prayer and gave myself away to God anew for the baptism with the Spirit. and wrote in my book, “Oh, my God, Saviour, sanctifying Spirit, I receive Thee. Come in now and fill my soul. — A. M. Hills, May 29, 1895.”
The influence of that act was a refreshing blessing to my soul all the summer through, and had I then believed with all my heart, I might have received the blessing at once; but I retained a lingering doubt. But in the month of December in that same dear parsonage, I read an address of Varley on The Sin of Unbelief, that went to my heart. I determined not to be shut out of the blessing any more by a wicked unbelief so cruel and so dishonoring to Jesus. I went to the Thursday evening meeting and publicly confessed my sin, and declared I would take God for a full salvation. I had read previously in Keen’s “Faith Papers”: “Are you a child of God seeking FULL SALVATION? Seize upon some declaration of God’s Word, such as ‘The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth from all sin’; apply it to your own heart; confess to yourself, to Satan, and to God, that it is true to you, even you, because the Lord hath spoken it; refuse to listen to the lying voice of Satan that it is not so. Let no inward feeling or outward sign dissuade you from your voluntary choice to count God’s Word true to yourself. And according to such a faith it shall be done unto you. Have you given all to Christ? Are you now longing to be fully saved? Are you persuaded that ‘Tis the promise of God full salvation to give.
Unto him who on Jesus, his Son, will believe’?
At night I walked the park in the darkness, saying: “I CAN, I WILL,, I DO believe, That Jesus saves me NOW.” With such a persistent determination of faith I retired. The next morning (December 7th) before I rose it occurred to me to thank God for the blessing as a thing received, just as F. B. Meyer advises. I began to do it, when speedily the Spirit came to bring the witness that God is true. A tide of joy swept into my soul, and I cried out, “O bless the Lord! praise the Lord! he does come and fill my soul!” From that hour my life has been consciously changed. O, that Christians would learn this simple lesson of believing, of simply taking God at his word without evidence! We should soon have “the oil of joy for mourning; the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness,” and the church, no longer bowed down in weakness and sorrow and doubt and sin, would “arise and shine, her light having come, and the glory of the Lord having risen upon her.” “The method of faith,” says Dr. Keen, “is for the soul to recognize that it can believe God’s word, then choose to believe it, which always carries it over to the consciousness: ‘I do believe.’ Believing is our part, and is antecedent; saving is God’s part, and is consequent. All the blessed effects of faith — pardon, adoption, entire sanctification — are the Lord’s doings, and are marvelous in our eyes; and they are all possible to him that believeth on the Son of God, Dear reader, as you lay down this paper, say: ‘Lord, I believe.’
Thou dost this moment save, With full salvation bless’” (Faith Papers, p. 4’).
My faith LOOKS Up to Thee, My faith, so small, so slow, It lifts its drooping eyes to see And claim the blessing NOW, Thy wondrous gift it sees afar; And doth not, can not fear. “My faith TAKES HOLD on Thee, My faith so weak, so faint.
It lifts its trembling hands, to be Trembling but violent.
The kingdom NOW it takes by force, And waits till Thou, its last resource, Shall seal and sanctify.
My faith HOLDS FAST on Thee, My faith, still small, but sure, Its anchor holds ALONE to Thee, WHOSE PRESENCE KEEPS ME PURE, And Thou alway, to see and hear, By night, by day, art very near Art very near to me” (W. B.).
If so you need not go without the blessing one hour. On your knees claim the Holy Spirit as the promise of the Father to you; reverently appropriate the glorious gift and rise from your knees and go on your way reckoning that God has kept his word, and that you are filled with the Spirit. Thank God for the blessing, and confess it the first occasion that offers; and you will find God true to his promise. Remember, “the will of God is your sanctification,” for “he has called you unto sanctification.” There is, however, a sense, and all important sense, in which sanctification must be your will, too; and if it is not your will, the divine will can never be accomplished in you. You must will to be sanctified, as God is willing that you should be sanctified. Remember, the plan of redemption was instituted to restore man to holiness. To this end the “promise of the Father,” the Holy Spirit, was given to convict the sinner and lead him to justification, and to whisper to the believer, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost,” and “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” It is the will, the desire, the longing, the command, of the triune God that every moral being in the universe should be holy. All the work of the atonement for man, and all the promptings of the Holy Spirit, move to this end. Holiness is the great object of God’s revelation to man, and not a line in the Bible teaches the necessity of your being without the Baptism with the Spirit unto holiness one hour. Bishop Foster says: “It breathes in the prophecy, thunders in the law, murmurs in the narrative, whispers in the promises, supplicates in the prayers, sparkles in the poetry, resounds in the songs, speaks in the types, glows in the imagery, voices in the language, and burns in the spirit of the whole scheme, from the alpha to the omega, from its beginning to its end. Holiness! holiness needed, holiness required, holiness offered, holiness attainable, holiness a present duty, a present privilege, a present enjoyment, is the progress and completeness of its wondrous theme. It is the truth glowing all over, welling all through revelation — the glorious truth which sparkles and whispers and sings and shouts in all its history, and biography, and poetry, and prophecy, and precept, and promise, and prayer — the great central truth of the system” (Inheritance Restored, p. 234).
The fact is, God’s heart is set on holiness. He has provided an uttermost salvation for you NOW. The Saviour, “able to keep you from STUMBLING,” even “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that you ask or think,” is waiting for you NOW. The “Baptism with the Spirit and with fire” that will “purify your heart” and “endue you with power” for service, is ready for you NOW. He wills that you end this wretched waiting in prolonged weakness and sin, and have the Spirit NOW. Does your will also say to God: “Come in and fill me NOW and sanctify me, and clothe me with power”? Or do you say: “No, Lord, not by thyself, and not now, but by myself and some time in the future”?
Oh, let the words of this consecration hymn of the Salvation Army be the language of your heart: Yes, Lord, Waiting long to give me freedom From my doubts and fears within; Jesus, in his mercy, asks me, Shall I free you from all sin?” CHORUS “Yes, Lord.” This voice did answer, “Yes, Lord.”
Will you trust my blood to cleanse you From the deepest stains of sin; And that I a peace will give you, Flowing undisturbed within?” “Yes, Lord.” “Will you I should snap those fetters Binding you to doubts and fears?
Make your soul a perfect Eden?
Bring you sorrow, tears and trouble, And your happiness o’erthrow?” “No, Lord.”
By thy gifts so great and precious; By that blood you shed for me; By the sacrifice of Jesus, Now I claim the blessing free.
Now, Lord, This voice did answer, “Now, LORD.” Dear friends,” said Andrew Murray in Chicago, “let us bow very low and very humbly in the thought that the great Spirit of God is waiting to get complete possession. Oh, the mystery; Oh, the blessing! The great Spirit of God is waiting to get full possession, and I can not force him. I can not grasp him, but I can lie down at the foot of my God and say, ‘Father, fill me with thy Spirit.’ Oh, give up yourself in emptiness, in surrender, as Jesus gave himself unto death and the grave, and remember that God raised him to the throne of glory and gave him the Holy Spirit to give to us. Sink down into your nothingness and helplessness in the grave of Jesus and God will lift you up and fill you with the Holy Spirit. Often he has done it. Let us then cultivate an intense longing after righteousness. Let us fall down very low and humble ourselves before God. Never mind if there are difficult questions, there is God’s promise, God’s gift and God’s power.
Wait upon God and he will give you the filling of th e Holy Ghost. Lastly, believe! believe! believe! with a desperate faith. I am convinced God means me to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Say it. TRUST GOD FOR IT. Sink low down, first, with your whole heart, and look to God, and he will fill you. May it be the blessed experience of every one” (The Spiritual Life, p. 128).