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â€śAfter that the kindness and love of God our Savior appearedâ€ť unto me, in removing the veil of ignorance and deep prejudice from my heart; enabling me to see and appropriate Christ as my sanctification, all the longing of my heart seemed to center in a desire that all Godâ€™ dear children should enter this â€śvalley of blessing so sweet.â€ť
I wondered that we should have tarried so long in the â€śfirst tabernacle,â€ť when, but a thin veil, and that rent by the death of Christ, separated between us and the â€śholiest of all:â€ť where the glory of God forever dwells, even that glory which Christ has given to the church â€śthat they may be oneâ€ť (John 17:22).
I soon perceived that it was for want of someone to â€śgive the trumpet a certain sound,â€ť or set forth perfect holiness as the privilege of all Christians, attainable now, by a definite act of faith. In order to experience either justification or entire sanctification these blessings must be presented to the eye of faith as a definite object of pursuit.
Hence under the pall of formalism, where the change of heart is but vaguely and indefinitely taught, it is rarely experienced.
Hence, also, the great mass of the church who have actually came out of spiritual Egypt are yet with the murmuring host in the wilderness; battling with their inbred evil nature because, under the generalizing preaching of the present day, no further application of the blood of Christ is pointed out to meet the deeply left want of perfect heart purity. And the great day of reckoning will disclose the solemn fact that thousands have turned back to the double bondage of Egypt and are now eternally lost who, with definite teaching in the way of holiness, would have been washed in the Redeemerâ€™s blood, had their â€śfruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.â€ť
The church is Godâ€™s appointed means of saving the world. But perfect holiness is her normal condition. And holiness is only attained by a definite grasp of faith and it cannot be thus appropriated until presented to the mind in a definite form.
Having, therefore, a clear conviction that upon the preaching and testimony of entire sanctification as a distinct experience subsequent to justification, more than upon all else besides, depends the salvation of immortal souls, the safety of converts, the purity and consequent power, peace and prosperity of the church, and the glory of God: and perceiving that this â€śsecond graceâ€ť is the ultimate end of Christâ€™s death and the great burthen of the apostolic ministry, I was constrained to dedicate for ever unto the Lord all the energies of my being for the promotion of this great salvation.
The ordinary indefinite way of preaching holiness never leads to its blessed fruition nor provokes opposition. But, I soon discovered that the old adversary â€śthe accuser of the brethrenâ€ť regards this definite work as entirely ignoring the compromise into which he has so generally seduced the church. Therefore his wrath is greatly stirred against all who hold up this pure light so fatal to his kingdom of darkness.
â€śBut, having obtained help of God, I continued unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things, than those which Moses and the prophets did say,â€ť â€śthat the blood of Christ Godâ€™s Son cleanseth us from all sin.â€ť
To assist in removing the false and extravagant notions respecting the holiness work with which Satan has so generally prepossessed the minds of the people; I was induced to write these pages, knowing that this most blessed theme can never be exhausted; besides each writer having a circle of friends who are most apt to procure and read his productions it is quite probable that this work may find its way into the hands of some who would not be reached by any of the excellent works on the subject.
A mingled feeling of gratitude to God and love for all his dear children; a clear conviction of duty, and yet a deep sense of self insufficiency, has humbled the writer before the Lord in prayer for the â€świsdom that cometh from above,â€ť even the â€śSpirit of truth;â€ť to aid in this vindication the perfect â€śsalvation that is in Christ Jesus.â€ť
I have not written, particularly, for those who already dwell in the Canaan of perfect love. They have an experience that fully satisfies them; an experience that is better than all theory and excludes every shadow of doubt. For a soul in which the Holy Ghost bears definite witness to either pardon or perfect purity needs no super-added testimony; in fact, cannot receive additional evidence, for Infinity cannot be supplemented. The concurring testimony of all the angels in heaven could add nothing to the certainty of that which God, but the Holy Spirit had clearly spoken to our spiritual consciousness.
Neither do I presume to convince such who are not anxious to know the full extent of purifying grace; but are satisfied to continue in their â€śfilthiness of the flesh and spirit. The proud and self-righteous Jews did not receive the â€śspeechâ€ť of Jesus, because, as he says, â€śye cannot hear my wordsâ€ť(John 8:43). No more can we expect to show sensual, worldly and self-willed professors the pure and sublime way of holiness; for, as Job hath said, â€ťit is a path which the vultureâ€™s eye hath not seen.â€ť I may not be able, therefore, to prove the â€śhighâ€ť and â€śmore excellent wayâ€ť to those whose sympathies with indwelling sin incline them not to walk therein.
But for all those, I have written, â€śThe humble, they shall hear thereof and be glad.â€ť â€śThe willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land.â€ť Yea, â€śblessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.â€ť Such are anxious to love God with a pure heart fervently. They have made no compromise with inbred Canaanites: but wish the extermination of every evil from the heart. Hence they are willing to receive the most humiliating and sin killing truth. They not only suffer the loss of â€śright eyeâ€ť and â€śright hand,â€ť but for Christâ€™s sake, freely bring the â€śold manâ€ť to the cross that the whole body of sin might be destroyed.
Dear reader, if with this class you have come to Jordan â€™s brink, fear not to â€ślaunch awayâ€ťâ€”yes, away from self, the world and unbelief; step forth upon the promises of God: how can they fail? Cannot Omnipotence sustain his word? O tarry not my brother, seize upon the present moment and launch away into the ocean of redeeming love: remember, it is perfectly safe to be swallowed up and lost in God.
There are others for whom I cherish a hope of benefiting by these leaves. A numerous class of undoubted piety and commendable zeal but who are laboring under deep, though honest, prejudices against the second work of grace. For all such I have indeed special sympathy. Having myself stood in your rank, dear brethren, it is but natural that I should long to see you enter the hallowed rest of faith.
It is true, beloved, that we may have seen and heard many things of this way which, viewed from our stand point, had the effect of hiding from our eyes the â€śbeauty of holiness:â€ť but true holiness does not always exist under its assumed garb. We have, however, greatly erred in presuming to measure the ocean of God â€™s love and abounding grace with the plummet of manâ€™s weakness and ignorance. It is a beautify thought that â€śChrist has gone to heaven to represent His disciples before the Father and holy angels, while the church is left here to represent Christ to the world.â€ť This, we believe to be the duty and exalted privilege of the church. Nevertheless, to secure the utmost safety of our souls, Jesus says to each individual â€śfollow thou me;â€ť if you wish a model of perfect humanity, â€ślearn of me;â€ť study my character, â€śI am meek and lowly of heart.â€ť
O my brother, my sister, self interest requires that you now drop every body else out of this account and, for the present, lay aside all theory and stand up thyself alone by the side of our Elder Brother and his holy word; and tell me, does your experience measure up thereto?
Are you â€śfree from sin,â€ť â€śrighteous even as he is righteous?â€ť You claim the Christianâ€™s hope founded upon the knowledge of pardon and adoption. That is glorious, but he that already â€śhath this hope in him purifieth himself even as He is pure.â€ť Have you done this? No. You do not profess this? Then come to the fountain at once. A want is discovered in your heart: â€śIn Christ all fullness dwells,â€ť and â€śHe is able also to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by Him.â€ť Do you say that you have not light enough upon this work to seek it? For this you need not delay for Christ, who is our â€śsanctificationâ€ť is also the â€ślight.â€ť Therefore in seeking the former, you obtain the latter also. Neither can you otherwise receive it. As you need not take a lantern to see the sun rise, so the experience of entire sanctification brings its own glorious light into the soul. Therefore, beloved, throw away the faint deceptive light of thy own wisdom; steadfastly fix your eyes upon the point from whence emanates the â€śtrue light,â€ť even â€śthe light of the world.â€ť Now walk right out through the darkness of thy remaining sin and unbelief, and soon thou shat see â€śthe Son of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings.â€ť The glorious morn of a new day now breaks in upon thy tranquil soul. And if you continue
To walk in heavenâ€™s own light,
Above the world and sin,
With heart made pure and garments white,
And Christ enthroned within:
then â€śthy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and they God thy glory.â€ť
This work, having commenced two years ago, was mostly written in spare hours during evangelistic labors. My heart is filled with humble gratitude to God for the inestimable blessing these labors have proved to me. Having but a short time before experienced the grace of a pure heart: in the prayerful investigation of the holy Bible, under the clear light of the â€śanointing that abideth and teacheth of all things;â€ť my soul has been continually surprised and feasted with new beauties, and blessed unfoldings of divine truth. When the fully sanctified looks into the luminous heavens of divine revelation through the all searching telescope of the Holy Ghost, many texts that before seemed dim and of doubtful application to purifying grace are raised to their true magnitude of absolute authority. And where, to the unanointed eyes all was vague and dark, now one beautiful blazing constellation of Bible truth after another appears in view until the adoring soul sees no end to the divine evidences of the higher perfecting grace, save the end of revelation itself: and even there the Spirit takes up the eternal theme and writes it all over the soul on the tablet of the heart and every fiber of our being: on all the â€śmerchandiseâ€ť of the saints: yea upon all the universe of Godâ€™s creation and every surrounding object, even â€śupon the bells of the horses shall there be HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD.â€ť Amen.
In the name of Jesus Christ, I now send forth these pages into the world with fervent prayer to the â€śGod of all graceâ€ť that His Spirit, which so much assisted in their preparation, will make them effectual in helping many precious souls into that â€śholiness without which no man shall see the Lord.â€ť
We have thought it best to write out most of the Scriptures used to avoid the trouble of referring to the Book. Endeavoring to adhere closely to the Word, and the object before us, some repetitions have been unavoidable. May even these be blessed to the hungry soul, who often needs line upon line, and especially promise upon promise.
I do not collect this multitude of proof texts because I think them necessary to establish the point. One clear, unequivocal passage of Scripture is sufficient to establish any doctrine; and such are the most of them that are herein cited. But, so deep and strong are the prejudices of some that they will never yield their all to God until they are overwhelmed with the fact that this deeper rest of the soul in God is the cardinal and all pervading truth of the Bible. Besides, I think the work will aid holiness teachers and all who are in the light of full salvation by presenting, in a classified form, most of the Scripture on the subject.
All literary defects, I hope, will be passed in the spirit of Christian charity. I have written in the fear of the Lord: yea, in the very presence of God with holy reverence for His word, and, I trust, a due regard to the account I must give to God for the use I have made of it. Nevertheless I may have written error, which the kind reader will please attribute to an imperfect judgment, the common lot of all men in the present life.
With a sweet, and peaceful assurance that, in my limited ability, I have done the will of my Heavenly Father: I leave all the results with Him, who discerns the intentions of every heart, and can make even the weak and imperfect things of his children to praise Him.
The things of Christ the Spirit takes,
And to our heart reveals,
Our bodies He His temple makes,
And our redemption seals.
Almighty Spirit! Visit thus,
Our hearts, and guide our ways,
Pour down thy quickening grace on us,
And tune our lips to praise.