The figures in the parentheses at the left hand of the dash denote the page; and the figures at the right hand of the dash, the section.
CHAPTER I - Scriptural Holiness: From p. 13 §1 to p.37, §25. - - Importance of Holiness (13-1). Holiness Defined (13-2). All Commanded to be Holy (14-3). Divine and Human Side (14-4), The Christian's Privilege (115-5). The Beauty of Holiness (16-6). What is Christian Perfection? (16-7). How to be flied with the Spirit (15- 8). The Change when Filled with the Spirit (20-9) The Perfection is in the Will (21-10). How to Secure a Perfect Heart (21-11). Christian Growth (22-12). The Fruit of a Pure Heart (24-13) Objection to the Doctrine (25-14). ''Inbred Sin'' (28- 15). The Law of the Spirit Controlling (31-16). Can Sanctifed Parents Transmit Inbred Sin to their Children (32-17). Mrs. Booth's Statement (33-18) Charles C, Finney' s Statement (33-19). Condition when Under Divine Control (33-20) Special Importance of Holiness (34-21). Example of Consecration (34-22). Good Rules (36-23). My Choice (37-24). Covenant (37-25).
CHAPTER II - Holiness Questions: From p.39, §27 to p. 42, §28. Answers to Holiness Questions: From p.42, §28 to p.43, §28.
§ 1. The Scriptures clearly teach that those who wish to be saved should give special attention to the subject of holiness. Peter says: "It is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy.''[1 Pet. 1:16] Turning to Leviticus, we find the scripture to which he refers, as follows; ''I am the Lord your God; ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy."[Lev. 11:44] The prophet Daniel was instructed to say: ''The saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever."[Dan. 7:18] ''Saint'' and ''holy'' are translated from the same word. The sacred Scriptures are unanimous in teaching that only holy people will enter and possess "the kingdom of God." Then it is quite proper that a few words should be offered on this subject at the opening of this book.
§ 2. Holiness may be defined as wholeness; that is, lacking nothing required for its completeness for the situation to be occupied; being just what a Christian should be while living in this world. A holy man is one who manifests all the fruits of the Holy Spirit in his daily life. It is not proper to call any one holy, unless he is free from sin Paul says: "Being now made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.'' [Rom 6:22] John says of Jesus : " And ye know that he was manifested to talk away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not. . . . He that doeth righteousness is <page 14> righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil. . . . In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil."[1 John 3:5-10] Here we are most plainly taught that sin is what makes the difference. between the Lord's children and the devil's.
§ 3. The command to be holy is alike to the rich and poor, the learned and unlearned, from the king on the throne to the beggar by the wayside; to all who wish to be saved and receive eternal life. The Scripture reads : "Sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy ; " then it follows that if we do not sanctify ourselves, we shall not "be holy." Again we read: " let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord.''[2 Cor. 7:1] John says: "Every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure."[1 John 3:3] Why is not every one holy? Is it the Lord's fault? Certainly not; "for this is the will of God, even your sanctification."[1 Thess. 4:3] The word rendered "sanctification'' is the same that is translated holiness. The original word occurs ten times, and is rendered sanctification five times, and holiness five times.
§ 4. It should be carefully noted that there is a divine and human side connected with sanctification; and that the divine work follows the human, The Lord can not sanctify us, till we have sanctified ourselves to him. In a Bible sense, to sanctify means to set apart for a holy use. Any object, animate or inanimate, may be sanctified, to the Lord. Moses was commanded to sanctify Mt. Sinai before he went up there to receive the Law and the Covenant. When the altar was sanctified, it was said to be holy. Men and things are not holy till they are devoted to a holy service. When we have sanctified ourselves to the Lord, then he can sanctify us, or use us as he pleases, to do any work in his vineyard. The first time we refuse to obey him, our sanctification is at an end, till we again become obedient to his will. He convinces us it is best to submit entirely to his guiding hand; but it is for us to decide whether we will fully sanctify ourselves to his service. No one is really satisfied till he can say to the Lord, ''Thy will be done;" and say it too <page 15> without any reserve. This is the very best condition a moral being can possibly occupy; and whosoever will, can enjoy the happy privilege. When we have thus made a complete consecration, we can say in truth we are all the. Lord's; and may be sure that he will fill us with his Holy Spirit, thus causing us to love him with all the heart, and our neighbor as ourselves. We are then ready to work for him, and do it cheerfully and constantly. Like Paul, we can then glory in the cross of Christ. Self denial for his sake becomes a pleasure.
§ 5. It is the privilege of every Christian to be "filled with the Spirit;'' [Eph. 5:18] but he must first submit entirely to the Lord, with a firm purpose to obey him in all things according to the best of his ability. We should esteem it a precious privilege to put our all into the hands of a Savior for safe keeping; letting our own wills be absorbed in the will of our divine Redeemer, being thankful that we can have a heavenly Guide through this world of perpetual dangers. Having done this, all doubts and darkness are removed, and our peace becomes "like a river," flowing continually, and increasing in fullness. We can then feel like singing,
''The half was never told."
Our peace, our rest, our assurance, have an ocean-like breadth and depth, inexhaustible. We can then adopt the language of Paul : ''We know that all things work together for good to them that love God." [Rom 8:28] The heart, the will, or the motive is then "perfect," because it is under the control of the perfect Holy Spirit. Then there is no desire to do wrong. Everything unholy is specially loathsome; and holiness seems beautiful and all-inviting. All holy ones love each other, because they have partaken of the divine nature. Whosoever abides in holiness must have a fixed will or purpose to please the Lord in all things, so far as he knows. He cannot cheat in trade in the least degree knowingly, and continue to be a perfect Christian ; neither can he fret and scold in his family, backbite, <page 16> joke have hatred, or variance, covetousness, or allow evil imaginations, or practice anything else forbidden by the Lord, and retain a perfect heart; but he may make thousands of honest mistakes without soiling his peace or marring his harmony with the most High.
§ 6. We read: '' Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.''[1 Chron. 16:29] No unholy one can be either lovely or beautiful in the sight of the Lord. Holiness adds a special charm to its possessor, which no other accomplishment can supply. The Lord delights in holiness, because it is inseparably connected with happiness. The unholy are utter strangers to true enjoyment. So long as holiness remains, happiness abounds. This is the Lord's wise arrangement. When moral intelligent beings are called holy by the Lord, no more is meant than that they are free from sin; and consequently free from condemnation, and act in harmony with him, according to the best of their ability. Holiness is the normal state of all who are in a condition to be saved.
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." - MATT 5:48.
§ 7. This precept is enjoined upon all people who wish to be the Lord's friends. This teaching will be found to run through the whole Bible as a golden cord. The first look at Matt. 5:48 might lead one to exclaim: "It is impossible for any man living in this world to be 'perfect even as' our Father which is in heaven is perfect.''' But these are the words of Jesus. Will any one presume to charge him with teaching his disciples to attempt impossibilities?
Mr. Webster defines ''perfection" as follows : ''The quality or state of being perfect or complete, so that nothing requisite is wanting." Can a man be as perfect in his place, as is the statue on its pedestal, the picture in its frame, the rose on its <page 17> stem, the fruit on its branch or the cedar of Lebanon as Daniel in the den of lions, Joseph in the dungeon, Paul a prison, the martyr Stephen, John the Revelator, Jesus, and ''even as your Father which is in heaven?" We prefer perfect rather than imperfect things. They are of more value.
Let us consider a few passages from both the Old and New Testaments, which speak of perfection, according to the Lord's standard. "Noah was a just man and perfect.''[Gen. 6:9] ''Job . . . was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.''[Job 1:1] ''The Lord said to Abram, . . . I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect."[Gen. 17:1] Says Paul: "We speak wisdom among them that are perfect.'[1 Cor. 2:6] How could that be done if there were no perfect ones in the world? Jesus says:
''Every one that is perfect shall be as his Master.''[Luke 6:40] Would he have spoken thus unless there were some who were perfect? He does not say, every one that shall be, but "every one that is perfect." ''The man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."[1 Tim. 3:17] It is certain that some kind ot perfection is taught in the Bible "Warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."[Col. 1:28] This should be the aim of every minister of Christ. '' The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way."[Prov. 11:5] ''Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded.''[Phil. 3:15] These are a few samples of what may be found on this subject in the good Book. No one can say that it does not teach the doctrine of perfection.
It may be time to inquire, in what does this perfection consist?
1. It does not consist in DEEDS.
2. It does not consist in WORDS.
3. It does not consist in THOUGHTS.
The reader may look astonished at these propositions, and say I am making out a very low standard of Christian perfection. Wait a little, my friend, I think you will say it is high enough when rightly understood.
Perhaps a brief explanation of these propositions should be given before I proceed any further, in order to remove some of the astonishment that may have been awakened. Why are we not required to be perfect in deeds? Because of our lack of knowledge. Perfect deeds admit of no mistakes. A while since, I concluded to keep an account of the number of mistakes I might make in a day. The first day I made so many before breakfast, that I gave it up for that day and began with fresh zeal the next morning to meet with a similar result. I have not tried since. When I say mistakes, I do not mean sins. A word misspelled, figures wrongly added, are mistakes; but mistakes are consistent with Christian perfection. The same is true of words and thoughts. We say things we would not have said had we known how they would have been understood. We said the best we knew at the time, but afterwards learned we were mistaken; consequently, the words were not perfect; so we are often mistaken in our thoughts, thus placing them among the imperfect things. No one in this world is absolutely perfect, because every one makes mistakes. Absolute perfection is peculiar to the Lord who knows all things, and therefore never makes any mistakes.
§ 8. Each one must decide for himself, whether he will be perfectly honest, truthful, and virtuous; whether he will submit unreservedly to the Lord, and be perfectly obedient to all his will, so far as he is informed, and seek to please him in all things forever, at any cost. If he will consent to do this, he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and be kept in "perfect peace"[Isa. 26:3] perpetually, no matter what may be his surroundings. There is no other situation in which one can live so easily, or with so little friction. It is the only normal condition for a disciple of Christ. Any other is unsatisfactory and uncertain. In this he is free from all doubts of his acceptance, or worry about the future. He has a calm, quiet rest of mind, while storms may be raging around of fearful character. He can say: "The eternal God is my <page 19> refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms,"[Deut. 33:27] and heartily sing in the tempest,
"Sweetly I'm resting in Jesus."
His peace is like the deep waters of the ocean, where wind and waves never disturb.
Dear reader, do you know this by happy experience? If not, make no delay, but come at once to the all-cleansing fountain. Surrender all to Jesus now, and be wholly his eternally. You will be delighted, charmed, fascinated, with the glorious results. He is waiting for your decision. Say yes, and let him fill your heart with his Spirit, and make it his home; then you will rejoice to learn that the time has arrived to look for his second coming, to set up "the kingdom of heaven." The voice of song will burst forth,
"0 hail, happy day."
By the aid of his Holy Spirit, freely offered, any Christian can be as honest, truthful, kind, gentle, meek, patient, long-suffering, merciful and pure-hearted, as was Paul, or any other apostle, patriarch, or prophet. The grace, or power of God, "is sufficient"[2 Cor. 12:9] to keep us in all situations from yielding to the temptations of Satan. No man is dishonest, untruthful or sinful in any way, till his will submits to what he knows is not right. When he is filled with the Holy Spirit, he has within him the divine power, by which he may be "preserved blameless "[1 Thess. 5:23] amidst all the trials and temptations, through which he must pass while in this world. To say the Lord is not able to keep us from falling is to impeach his omnipotence, and the whole plan of salvation. We read: "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."[Jude vs. 24, 25] This corresponds with the entire teaching of the sacred Scriptures. Our full submission to the Lord must precede the <page 20> keeping. The books, the money, the jewels, must first be placed in the safe, before the safe can protect them. Then the safe becomes responsible; but no praise belongs to the objects in the safe because they are not stolen ; so the Christian can claim no honor for being kept by the power of God. The Savior should have all the glory for such a wonderful plan by which the unholy can become holy, and thus secure eternal life.
§ 9. When sinners become saints they do not receive any new physical, mental, or moral faculties; but they are placed under divine control, to be used for holy instead of sinful purposes. Sin results from a wrong use of our faculties ; and holiness consists in their right use, which is only when we submit to be led by the Spirit of God, and consent to let him be in us "both to will and to do of his good pleasure."[Phil. 2:13] This is scriptural holiness. A man is not whole spiritually, till he is in harmony with his Creator. Sin and misery are constant companions; as are holiness and happiness. They cannot be separated. Have reason to be thankful for this wise and benevolent arrangement. When one touches hot iron, pain at once follows, as a caution to let it alone, to avoid physical injury. Had the sensitive skin been placed next the bones, and the outer surface been made insensible, then we might have ruined ourselves before we were aware of danger. A similar law is found in spiritual things. When we do wrong, condemnation follows, our peace departs, and doubts takes the place of light and confidence, because we have grieved the Holy Spirit of God. These are kind warnings from him to keep us from doing such things any more; but if we persist in the wrong doing, we become hardened and insensible to the loving rebukes of our dear Savior, causing him to cut us off as worthless branches of the vine. If he were to continue to smile upon us in our disobedience, of course, we should be most likely to continue in the wrong doing. Let us praise him for chastisement, as an act of special kindness for our spiritual benefit. But the best way is <page 21> to abide in him, that we may walk with him in constant light as loving friends and thus avoid the chastisement.
§ 10. The question now arises In what does Christian perfection consist if not in deeds words or thoughts? In the heart, will, motive, intention, or choice. We read "Asa's heart was perfect with the Lord all his days."[1 Kings 15:14] No doubt King Asa made mistakes like other men, but he had the right motive by which he was governed, called a perfect heart. King Hezekiah said: "I have walked before the [the Lord] in truth and with a perfect heart."[Isa. 38:3] The moral quality of all actions is in the will. We do not sin until the will consents to that we know is not right. Hezekiah had a perfect will. "Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God." [1 Kings 8:61] We are nowhere taught to be perfect in knowledge or wisdom. The following is a text that every one will do well to commit to memory; It reads thus: "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him."[2 Chron. 16:9] The Lord looks up those who have perfect hearts. Said Jesus: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." [Matt. 5:8] A pure heart and a perfect one are the same.
§ 11. The next important question is, How may we secure a perfect heart? The secret is expressed by Jesus, when he says: ''I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one." [John 17:23] This is the only way of success.
Now let us turn again to that startling text: ''Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."'[Matt. 5:48] Perfect does not mean equal. A green apple in June, if it has no defects, is just as perfect, what there is of it, as it will be when ripe in September. A child may be as perfect bodily as a man. What strength he has is just as perfect as the same amount of strength in the adult. The gold in a gold dollar is just ase perfect as the gold in a twenty-dollar gold piece; so honesty in a man may be as perfect as honesty in an angel.
§ 12. It is sometimes objected, that the doctrine of Christian perfection is opposed to growth; whereas, the opposite is the truth. The fact that all the parts of the green apple are perfect, affords the assurance that it will continue to grow and advance to maturity. If it was imperfect, then it would fail to become a perfect ripe apple. There is a wide difference between purity and maturity. There is no limit to Christian growth in this world, provided the heart is kept pure. The child that is physically perfect grows to be a perfect physical man. So, only "the pure in heart '' can continue to grow up into Christ, their living head. We read about "perfecting holiness."[2 Cor. 7:1] Some get the idea that this means approaching nearer to holiness. But it reads: ''perfecting holiness;" not working up holiness into holiness. But the question is asked, is not holiness perfect in and of itself, and can it be called holiness if it is not perfect? And if it is perfect, can it be afterwards perfected? Certainly, just as the perfect green apple and the perfect child are perfected by growth. The little oak is perfected into a large oak by yearly additions of more oak, not of some other kind of wood. So "perfecting holiness'' is adding more holiness, and not allowing any unholy thing to be incorporated. The faith, love, patience, meekness, brotherly kindness, gentleness, and all the other graces that make a Christian, continue to grow stronger from year to year; thus holiness is perfected.
The heart of the young convert may be as perfect as that of the oldest saint; but he is not as strong. The oak wood in the little tree may be just as perfect as that in one a hundred years old; but the young one could be pulled up very easily, while it would require much labor to dig up the aged tree. The young Christian should be as honest, truthful and virtuous, as he will be after he has been in the Lord's service forty years. He does not grow more honest, but grows stronger in honesty. He cannot start in the service of the Lord till he becomes honest, truthful and virtuous; nor remain in Christ after he has become dishonest, untruthful, or licentious.
<page 23> When a thing is perfect, it cannot be any more than perfect; when a body is round, it cannot be any rounder; so, when the heart is perfect, it cannot be any more perfect; but perfect additions may he continued indefinitely. If a person is as honest and truthful as he knows how to be, with the help of the Lord, is he not perfectly honest and perfectly truthful? Can an angel do more?
This brings us back again to the question, How can we have a perfect heart? All must admit that the Holy Spirit of God is perfect and that it is the privilege of the Christian to be ''filled with the Spirit."[Eph 4:18] Says Paul: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.''[2 Cor. 3:16-17] The Holy Spirit when in man is just as holy as when in Christ. When men become holy temples, because of the presence of the Holy Spirit, they are then said to be ''partakers of the divine nature,"[2 Pet. 1:4] which is a holy nature. The Holy Spirit filling the heart of the Christian will lead him to be as honest as God is honest from whom the Spirit proceeds, and as truthful; thus he becomes perfect, even as his ''Father which is in heaven is perfect.'' It is not the man's perfection, but God's perfect Spirit in the man. The man deserves no praise for being perfect, but the glory all belongs to the Lord for devising such a plan, by which man can have a perfect heart, will, or motive; because the Lord abides in him by the power of his perfect Spirit.
Then the man is as perfect in his sphere as any other object or being can be in his. He is then up to the plane which the Creator designed man to occupy in this world, as a farmer, mechanic, sailor, merchant, or any other relation in life; in short, be should do in his situation just as he thinks the Lord would do, if engaged in the same business. The moment a man wills to cheat to the value of one single cent, or to say one word he knows is not true, his heart ceases to be perfect. All <page 24> must admit that men can be honest and truthful if they thus will. The man who makes a hundred mistakes in a day may have a heart, or will, as perfect as the one who makes none. He made his mistakes because he lacked knowledge. Both are alike free from condemnation. When God said to Abraham :
''I am the Almighty God, walk before me, and be thou perfect," [Gen. 17:1] it was only saying, Obey me, Abraham, according to the best of your ability, assisted by heavenly power. A perfect heart practices no cheating, no lying, no stealing, no licentiousness, nor any other known evil.
Will any one presume to say that men should sometimes be dishonest, deceitful, untruthful and licentious? He would thereby show beyond all controversy that he had an impure heart, and could not be trusted. The Lord only requires men to come up to the standard that every good being loves and admires. Would any respectable person desire a life companion who was dishonest, unchaste, untruthful, cross and full of selfishness? Certainly not. The Lord has not forbidden one thing desired by a holy being.
§ 13. A person who has a pure heart is willing everybody should know why he performed any action. No one with a perfect heart is ashamed of his motive. If he is mistaken he loves to be corrected. It is his delight to be as near right as possible. It is only the impure who try to conceal their motives. Purity never seeks concealment. A man with a perfect heart loves to obey God. It is no burdensome task. He would not have one commandment changed. He chooses to do the will of the Lord at any cost, under all circumstances, and in every situation. Obedience is a pleasure. In a "perfect heart" will be found no anger, pride, impatience, strife, envy, covetousness, hatred, jealousy, unbelief of God's word, variance, emulation, peevishness, lasciviousness, or other wickedness.
The man having a "perfect heart" is filled with "perfect love," "perfect peace," perfect patience, perfect honesty, perfect obedience, perfect trust in the Lord, amid full assurance of <page 25> acceptance by him. He always speaks the truth so far as he knows, and is perfectly virtuous. David asks the question : "Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle, who shall dwell in thy holy hill?" Ans. " He that . . . speaketh the truth in his heart." [Ps. 15:1-2] All who have perfect hearts, like the Lord, say what they mean and mean what they say. If anyone should undertake to live a perfect life without the help of the Lord, his effort will prove an utter failure; for if he could do it in his own strength, he would not need the aid of the Holy Spirit. The secret of having a perfect heart consists in perfect submission to the will of the Lord, so far as he makes it known to our understanding, when he will fill us with the Holy Spirit, causing us to love him with all our hearts, and our neighbor as ourselves. Such is the fruit of the true Christian religion.
Perfect hearts make martyrs. Because Daniel had a perfect heart he was thrown into the lion's den; and for the same reason the Lord preserved him from all harm. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were bound and thrown alive into the midst of the burning fiery furnace, because they would not bow down and worship the image set up by Nebuchadnezzar; but the Lord gave them a wonderful deliverance, because they had perfect hearts, causing them to refuse at all hazards to do wrong. Perfect-hearted men are bold defenders of the word of the Lord, and all righteousness. They do not seek the praise of men and the honors of this world, but their chief aim is to please the Lord in all things. Being joined to Christ they bear the same kind of fruit that he would if in their places. They forget themselves in order to be a benefit to others. Theirs is a sunny life amid the surrounding darkness. Jesus said of such : "Ye are the light of the world."[Matt. 5:14]
§ 14. There are two or three texts which most people can. quote who do not believe in heart purity, thinking they have put to silence all its advocates. One is as follows : " If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."[1 John 1:8] It is always well to examine the context of a passage <page 26> of Scripture before we make a full decision as to its meaning Let us do so in this case. Verse seven reads : ''If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." Verse nine reads : "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
When a person is cleansed from all sin, how much sin is left? Only one reasonable answer can be given, - not any. Again he says, " All unrighteousness is sin ."[1 John 5:17] When one is cleansed from all unrighteousness, how much sin is there left? Not any.
And yet verse eight, in between these two plain statements, reads : ''If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." Is it the design of the apostle to teach us that when we are cleansed from '' all sin,'' it still remains in our hearts? Such an idea is absurd. It would be like saying to one who had a violent pain removed, that he was deceived if he believed it was gone. The tenth verse reads : "If we say we have not sinned. we make him a liar, and his word is not in us;" that is. if we say, as some do, that ''we have not sinned," and therefore need no cleansing, we are self-deceived. This makes all plain in verse eight, which teaches the same thing as verse ten ; that is, ''If we say. we have no sin,'' from which to be cleansed, and therefore need no Savior to forgive our sins, ''we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us, "for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."[Rom. 3:23] Thus it is clear that 1 John 1:8 does not teach that men must necessarily live in sin. Christ "was manifested to take away our sins, and in him is no sin.[1 John 5:3] It was promised to Mary that she should have a Son, and call him Jesus, because he should ''Save his people from their sins."[Matt. 1:21] ''Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not.'' [1 John 3:6] Jesus says: "Abide in me, and I in you.''[John 15:4] Would he have spoken thus if no one could abide in him? But " whosoever <page 27> abideth in him sinneth not." ''Hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us."[1 John 3:24] Again : "Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.''[1 John 4:13] Paul says : ''But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life."[Rom. 6:22] The Scriptures are very emphatic that it is the duty and privilege of the Lord's children to be free from sin. It is certain that one cannot live in sin without condemnation but Paul says: ''There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."[Rom. 8:1] ''He that committeth sin is of the devil. . . . whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin . . . In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil.''[1 John 3:8-10] The only difference between ''the children of God" " and the children of the devil," is in relation to sin. One is "free from sin," and the other is full of sin. Sin is the only thing that will keep a man out of the kingdom of heaven.
There are two other passages sometimes quoted to prove that no one is free from sin, one is in Solomon's prayer at the dedication of the temple. The first reads . ''If they sin against thee (for there is no man that sinneth not).''[1 Kings 8:46] Some of the best scholars render this : ''For there is no man that may not sin." All are liable to sin, hence we read : ''if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."[1 John 2:1] Dr. Adam Clarke renders it : ''For there is no man that may not sin." He says : "This is the true meaning of the phrase in various parts of the Bible, and so our translators have understood the original." ''if there be no man that sinneth not it is useless to say IF they sin." ''This text has been a wonderful stronghold for all who believe that there is no redemption from sin in this life; that no man can live without committing sin, and that we cannot be entirely freed from it till we die. <page 28>
§ 15. "INBRED SIN."
The subject of "inbred sin" demands a passing notice. It is claimed by many good men, that when a sinner is pardoned, all actual sin is forgiven and removed, but that "inbred sin'' will remain till he is sanctified, when it will be taken away. It is most certainly true that when the Lord pardons a sinner, at that time all his sins are forgiven. The Scripture reads: " If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."[1 John 1:9] Of course when one is cleansed "from all unrighteousness," there is none left. But it is said "inbred sin" will remain till we are sanctified, or filled with the Holy Spirit. There is not one word in the Bible about "inbred sin." This is an uninspired term. It is freely admitted by those who use it that we are not required to ask pardon for the existence of "inbred sin," because we are not to blame for its presence, it being something inherited from the first Adam. When does one become a sinner? Not till his will consents to something which he is satisfied is not right. Then it follows that it is not possible for a man to inherit any sin. In harmony with this we read, the son "shall not die for the iniquity of his father."[Ezek. 18:17] Again: "The son shall not bear <page 29> the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son."[Ezek. 18:20] This is certainly reasonable and just.
Is it a fact that there is any such thing as "inbred sin? " As there is not a word about it in the Bible, such a theory should be received with much caution. We are taught to "hold fast the form of sound words."[2 tim. 1:13] That cannot be a "form of sound words" which conveys a false idea. Let Paul speak on this subject: "There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."[Rom. 8:1-2] While it is not true that we have inherited any sin from the first Adam, it is true that we have inherited a law, which will produce sin when the will allows it to act in a wrong direction. For instance, it us a common animal law to return evil for evil. If a horse kicks his fellow, he must expect a kick to be returned. If a man strikes another in anger, he may look for a return blow. But "the law of the Spirit" is the opposite. That leads us to return good for evil, blessing for cursing, and leads us to even love our enemies. This is the natural fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Paul says: "I find then a law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me."[Rom. 7:21] And in verse twenty-three, he says: "I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." Here Paul gives the common experience of all mankind who try to live a righteous life, or to keep the commandments of the Lord, in their own strength. The drunkard and the licentious person, the fighting man will admit that temperance, virtue, and kindness are right and best. The law of conscience thus affirms, but the law of the flesh has gained such a controlling power that he is brought "into captivity to the law of sin which is in" his "members"; and every time he yields "to the law of sin," he is growing weaker and more liable to yield again, till his will becomes so prostrated he cannot be persuaded to make another effort to escape from his sinful bondage. <page 30> While it is a fact that no law can be destroyed till the body is destroyed in which the law exists; it is also a fact that we may be so filled with the Holy Spirit that "the law of sin "will be employed to do holy instead of wicked work. It is the same law, but under divine direction instead of devilish. The laws in our members were all made by our Creator. There is no sin in any law. Sin begins when the will consents to let the law act in a wrong direction.
After conversion, when all sin is pardoned, the young convert may go on for weeks, and even months, without yielding to temptation; but in an unguarded moment some sharp insult or abuse may get him out of patience, when he loses his peace and joy, and is brought into condemnation. This is said to be the fruit of the "inbred sin," "birth sin," "original sin," or "depravity;" whereas, it should be said to be the fruit of an inbred law, which had been controlled since his conversion, by the power of the Holy Spirit. This young convert prays for pardon, is forgiven, and his sweet peace is restored. All is well again, and the "law of sin" is once more under divine control. He may go on for weeks before he is again overcome, but the time arrives when Satan gains another victory, by some special assault, and the young Christian is again a victim to impatience or some other sin, and consequently brought into condemnation. As before, he seeks and obtains pardon, when his peace returns to cheer his heart. These experiences may be repeated many times, occurring more or less frequently, till he becomes discouraged over his many failures. After all these failures and victories he may learn that it is his privilege to be so filled with the Holy Spirit as to have a perpetual triumph over all his besetting sins; be filled with continual, perfect peace; full assurance, complete rest in Christ, and be freed from all worry and perplexing anxiety about the future. He is informed that the only way to secure this delightful condition is by an unconditional surrender of himself to the Lord, so that he can honestly and sincerely say, "Thy will be done."[Matt. 26:42] He sees this is reasonable <page 31> and proper, and gives himself unreservedly to the Lord, with a firm purpose to please his Savior in all things according to the best of his ability. Observe what is called "inbred sin" has had a place in his heart up to this time of entire surrender. Now what follows? Because of his full submission, the Lord fills him with the Holy Spirit, or as expressed in the Scriptures, he receives " the gift of the Holy Spirit,"[Acts 2:38] or, as others would say is "sanctified," or receives "the blessing of sanctification," or ''full assurance,'' or '' the rest of faith,'' or '' the baptism of the Holy Spirit," or is "sealed by the Holy Spirit" ; all meaning the same thing. What follows? Then the Lord abides in him, and he in the Lord. And remember. "Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not."[1 John 3:6] He is then " kept by the power of God "[1 Pet. 1:5] and "preserved blameless."
§ 16. But what has become of that " law of sin ?" It is now under the control of "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus,"[Rom. 8:2] being turned to holy uses. For instance, the law of combativeness, which is in the natural man, leads him to fight with carnal weapons, but now it leads him to fight against sin in all its forms. This is the healthy, holy use of combativeness. It is now under the control of holy power; because the man has become a "partaker of the divine nature."[2 Pet. 1:4] He is "kept by the power of God."[1 Pet. 1:5] The gift of the Holy Spirit, which is after pardon, endues the receiver with power sufficient to prevent the natural laws from acting in a sinful direction. As the man is under holy control, all the laws of his being, mental, physical and spiritual, are used only for holy purposes. He is then up to the standard of a perfect man in Christ Jesus. He has a perfect heart. But let that same man backslide from the Lord, then that "law of sin," may be as active as ever for Satan, and become even worse. If the man was very quick tempered before he became a holy man, when he backslides he will have the same quick temper as before ; thus demonstrating that when he backslides he does not receive a new "law of sin," or a new <page 32> Adamic nature, but it is the one born in him, and which will continue to be a part of his constitutionality till this mortal puts on immortality.
§ 17. If it be claimed that "inbred sin" remains in all converted persons from the time they are justified till they are sanctified, when the "inbred sin" is said to be eradicated; how does that " inbred sin" get back into the man when he backslides from his sanctification? All admit that the " inbred sin," as it is called, is received from our parents, by the law of heredity, and in no other way. Then it follows, whenever it is taken out, it cannot get back into the man again, unless he again inherits it from his parents by another birth, which is impossible. And yet it is a fact, that sanctified persons do backslide and manifest again the fruits of what is called ''inbred sin," the same as they did after they were justified, and before they were sanctified, or filled with the Holy Spirit.
But all is plain when we admit that an inherited "law" is brought under full divine control, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit; so that this law is used to do holy work, instead of unholy; but when one turns from the highway of holiness, then the same "law" is again under human and devilish control, and bad fruit is the result. If the same person should again surrender all to Christ, and again be filled with the Spirit, then the same law would produce only holy fruit; or "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" would become the ruling power in the man, thus keeping all the inherited powers in full harmony with the divine nature, making the man a ''new creature," or a holy person.
When filled with the Holy Spirit, and abiding in Christ, "that wicked one toucheth him not."[1 John 5:18] Satan may howl around, and make it look very dangerous, but the Lord is our sun and shield, and Satan cannot reach us, unless the Lord permits him for some wise purpose; and even then, the victory is ours, as in the cases of Job, Joseph, Daniel, and the three men who were cast into the fiery furnace. When illustrating this subject, the <page 33> Savior said: ''Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man, then he will spoil his goods."[Matt. 12:29] He does not say kill the strong man, but bind him. His subject was the casting of demons out of men. So, when the Lord takes full possession of the heart, by the power of the Holy Spirit, he binds "the law of sin;" or puts it under his own control, so that the natural law, which once led the man to seek the approbation of man, now leads him to seek the honor that comes only from God. The tongue that scolded, swore, and lied, when under the control of "the law of sin" in its natural state, now speaks the truth in kindness, and is used for prayer and praise, because it is under divine control. In short, it is the same man under the control of the Lord's spirit instead of the devil's.
§ 18. Mrs. Catherine Booth, wife of Gen. Booth, has well said: "We do not believe that when God makes a man or woman holy, he bestows any new faculties, or destroys any old ones. . . . We believe that God simply restores our faculties to their original uses, bringing them back into harmony with each other and himself."[London Sermon, quoted in "the Christian Witness", May 1, 1884]
§19. Said Prof. C. G. Finney: "In my estimation, the church, as a body, . . . have entirely mistaken the nature and means, or conditions of sanctification. . . . They have regarded sanctification as consisting in the annihilation of the constitutional propensities, instead of controlling them."["Systematic Theology", Vol. II., p. 317.]
§ 20. When the Christian is under divine control, he is in the condition described by Paul: "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."[Rom. 6:6] Observe, it is "the body of sin" that is destroyed, or "done away," as in the New Version. The old man is put off. The body is no longer used for sinful purposes. The man has the same tongue, the same hands and feet, the same mental and physical faculties, also <page 34> moral, but they are all under divine control, when he is filled with the Holy Spirit; therefore "the body of sin " no longer exists. It is changed, and become "a holy temple." When a drunkard becomes a temperance man, the drunkard is destroyed. So when a sinner is changed to a saint, the sinner is put away and cannot he found; but if the temperance man returns to the intoxicating cup, and the saint to sinful practices, then both the drunkard and sinner are again in actual existence, and the temperance man and the saint would be destroyed. It is impossible for a person to be a temperance man and a drunkard, a saint and a sinner, at the same time. So long an one abides in Christ, he is free from sin, for we "know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not."[1 John 3:5-6]
It is the privilege of all who abide in Christ to be free from fretting, pride, impatience, hatred, evil speaking, backbiting, dishonesty, lasciviousness, and every other unholy thing. The standard of true scriptural holiness will not allow any of these evils. They are all absent from a pure heart. But the standard is placed too high, when it is claimed that men should be perfect in judgment, wisdom, strength, knowledge, deeds, words, or thoughts; or that we get beyond temptation, while on probation.
§ 21. We have reached a period when the subject of holiness demands special attention, because we must be very near the second coming of Christ. The Scriptures teach its plainly that holiness is essential for salvation. It is a noted fact that about all true Christians are being impressed that they should consecrate themselves wholly to the Lord. This is the way to obtain the gift of the Holy Spirit, and to be ready for the coming of the Son of man. The bride is preparing for the coming of her heavenly bridegroom. She is putting away all unholy things, and clothing herself in the beauty of holiness, in order to be ready for the marriage of the Lamb.
§ 22. The following is worthy of a careful reading and a hearty adoption : "Lord Jesus, I believe that thou art able and willing to <page 35> deliver me from all the care and unrest and bondage of my Christian life. I believe thou didst die to set me free, not only in the future, but now and here. I believe thou art stronger than Satan, and that thou canst keep me, even me, in my extreme of weakness, from falling into snares, or yielding obedience to his commands. And, Lord, I am going to trust thee to keep me. I have tried keeping myself, and have failed, and failed most grievously. I am absolutely helpless. So now I will trust thee. I gave myself to thee. I keep back no reserves. . . . I present myself to thee, a worthless lump of clay, to be made into anything thy love and thy wisdom shall choose. And now I am thine. I believe thou dost accept that which I present to thee; I believe that this poor, weak, foolish heart has been taken possession of by thee, and that thou hast even at this very moment begun to work in me to will and to do of thy good pleasure. I trust thee utterly, and I trust thee now."["The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life", pp. 49, 50.]
Here is a nice place for the reader to say, Amen. Let the will give full consent to the foregoing, and the result will be blessed beyond description. The one who makes this consecration and keeps it, will surely be filled with the Holy Spirit, producing perfect love, perfect peace, and full assurance of faith and hope. Then he can sing as never before:
"The half was never told."
If you doubt this, try it.
The following is an interesting example of consecration. It is the statement of Wm. Hill, a preacher of the gospel. He says he made "a personal consecration of all to God," . . . to "be wholly and forever his." He goes on to say: "This I made intellectually without any change in my feelings, with a heart full of hardness and darkness, unbelief and sin, and insensibility. I . . . laid all upon the altar, . . . to the best of my ability. . . . After I rose from my knees, I was conscious of no change in my feelings. I was painfully conscious there was no change. . . . But I was sure that I did, with all the . . . honesty . . . <page 36> of which I was capable, make an entire and eternal consecration of myself to God. . . I engaged to abide . . . a living, perpetual sacrifice. . . . I knew that I must believe that God did accept me. . . . I was conscious I did not believe this, yet I desired to do so. . . . I was sensible that my heart was full of evil. I seemed to have no power to overcome pride, or to repel evil thoughts, which I abhorred. . . . I was convinced of unbelief, that it was voluntary and criminal. . . . the Lord brought before me my besetting sins. . . . I was enabled to make myself of no reputation. . . . Satan struggled to beat me back, . . . but . . . I finally hit upon the method of living the moment, and then l found rest. . . . I saw that all I had to do was to look to Jesus . . . to . . . keep me from sin at the present moment. . . . I would not permit the adversary to trouble me about the past or future. . . . Since that time the Lord has given me a steady victory. . . . My feelings vary; but when I have feelings, I praise God . . . . and when . . . my feelings are gone , I do the same."["Christian's Secret of a Happy Life", pp. 79-81.]
§ 23. GOOD RULES.
"Say nothing you would not like God to hear."
"Go to no place where you would not like God to find you."
"Read no book of which you would not like God to say, 'Show it me.'"
"Do nothing you would not like God to see."
"Write nothing you would not like God to read."
"Never spend your time in such a way that you would not like God to say, 'What art thou doing ?' "
Can the reader say Amen to the following? "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."
Read the following with special care, and then adopt it without the least reserve. Do it now. Let it be final and eternal. <page 37> Then you may know what it is to "worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness;"[Ps. 29:2] and to feel all ready to meet him at any moment. Let your motto be, " Thy will be done." "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God."
§ 24. MY CHOICE.
I take the Lord to be my God, the Son to be my Savior, the Spirit to be my teacher, the Bible to be my guide; the people of God to be my brethren ; and I humbly dedicate myself to the Lord - my hands to work for him, my feet to run for him, my tears to flow for him -deliberately, sincerely, freely and for ever. I also make the following
§ 25. COVENANT.
HOLY LORD, - By thy help, I here vow and promise to thee surely, that all which thou willest, I also will. Come sickness, come health, come pleasure or pain, sweet or bitter, cold or heat, wet or dry, whatever thou willest, that do I also will; and desire altogether to come out from my own will, and to yield a whole and willing obedience unto thee, and never to desire aught else either in will or thought; only let thy will, dear Jesus, be accomplished in me in time and in eternity.
Into thy hands, 0 God, I gladly fall,
And give to thee my life, my will, my all;
Do as thou wilt with me, for I am thine;
Whatever is thy will is also mine.
Does the heart respond, Amen? <page 37>
§ 26. THE CHRISTIAN ECHO.
Charity produces love to God and man,
Say, Echo, is not this the gospel plan?
''The gospel plan."
Must I my faith and love to Jesus show,
By doing good to all, both friend and foe?
"Both friend and foe."
But if they daily hate and treat me ill,
Must I return them good and love them still?
''Love them still.''
What if they watch my failings to reveal,
Must I their faults as carefully conceal?
But if my peace and character they blast,
And let their cruel malice long time last;
Or when I sorrow and affliction know,
They seek to add unto my cup of woe ;
In this uncommon, this peculiar case,
0 must I surely then still love and bless?
" Still love and bless."
But, Echo, how is this? thou surely art a dove,
Thy voice can teach me nothing else but love.
''Nothing else but love."
With all my heart and mind then be it so,
Such is the truth, 'tis just and good I know;
To practice it I will directly go.
Henceforth on Christ I'll rest my every care,
And then both friend and foe embrace in prayer.
"Embrace in prayer."
But after all those duties I have done,
Must I in point of merit then disown,
And life eternal seek through Christ alone?
"through Christ alone."
Echo, it is enough. Counsel so very dear,
Sounds sweetly soft, and dries the falling tear ,
Thy heavenly wise instructions please me well,
I'll quickly go and practice them. Farewell.
"Practice them. Farewell."
Does the heart of the reader "echo" "I'll quickly go and practice them"? It will please Jesus, and afford a rich harvest.
For answers to the following questions see p.42.
1. How know when we are pardoned?
2. When is one first holy in Christian experience?
3. Are any mental or moral faculties removed at conversion or sanctification?
When a filthy pail is made clean, it is the same pail; so when a vile sinner is cleansed from all sin, by faith in the blood of Christ, he has the same mental, moral and physical faculties as before the cleansing; but they are "free from sin,"[Rom. 6:18] and turned to a holy use; being as active in the service of the Lord, as they were before for the devil.4. Are all justified persons holy?
5. Will all justified or pardoned persons be saved?
6. How know when we are all the Lord's?
7. Is there an intermediate state between sin and holiness?
8. Do we have all the fruits of the Spirit at pardon?
9. Does the Holy Spirit always produce holy fruit?
10. Can a person be holy before he is "filled with the Spirit?"
11. Can one sanctify himself before he is pardoned?
12. Is there more than one kind of holiness?
13. What is meant by "perfecting holiness "?[2 Cor. 7:1]
14. Why is there good and bad fruit from the same person?
15. Is there any sin in a natural law?
16. Is any natural law destroyed at conversion, or sanctification?
17. Does the gift of the Holy Spirit correct our doctrine?
18. Is it right to do anything for the praise of men?
19. Can there be spiritual life without the aid of the Holy Spirit?
20. Is a holy person conscious of an effort, in order to be kept by the power of God?
21. Is human nature removed at pardon, or when sanctified?
Says Bro. J. N. Short: "God did not take away the lion; nor did he take away the temper; but he took the devil out of these. . . . I find there is just as much spring in me as before, but it is very different, and not of a sinful kind." ["Christian Witness, and Advocate of Holiness", Dec. 6, 1888.]22. Was there any difference between the innocence of Adam before he sinned, and that of a babe?
Compare the foregoing statement of Bro. Short's with the following from the Westminster Confession of Faith: ''This corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself, and all motives thereof, are truly and properly sin." [Chap. 6, sec. 5, p. 24.]
In the Bible we read: "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin;''[1 John 1:7] and ''whosoever abideth in him sinneth not;"[1 John 3:6] "and hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us."[1 John 3:24] These, and many other scriptures, teach very plainly that it is our privilege to abide in Christ, and be free "from all sin."
23. Was the human nature of Mary, the mother of Jesus, any better than that of any other pure woman ?
24. Can a nature, not susceptible of the two contraries - sin and holiness - be susceptible of either?
25. Was Adam holy* when first created? [*Mr. Webster defines holy: "Spiritually whole or sound; of unimpaired innocence and virtue; free from sinful affections; pure in heart; godly; pious; irreproachable; guiltless; acceptable to God]
26. Can one be a saint and a sinner at the same time?
27. What is the difference between justification and sanctification?
28. What is meant by the "gift of the Holy Ghost"? [Acts 2:38]
29. How know when we are "filled with the Spirit"? [Eph. 5:18]
30. Why seek to be "filled with the Spirit "?
31. When is one perfect?
32. Does the seventh chapter of Romans describe a Christian experience?
33. How tell whether bad thoughts come from within or from without?
34. How does the devil put bad thoughts into our minds?
35. Does growth and culture change character?
36. What produces love for God?
37. How soon after pardon may the gift of the Spirit be received?
38. When do we love God with all the heart?
39. How keep the thoughts pure?
40. How does God answer prayer? .
41. Is there any merit in works?
42. How can our love for God be increased?
43. What is the difference between righteousness and holiness?
Dr. Geo. H. Steele answers: "Righteousness is conformity to the divine law of God;" and "holiness is conformity to the divine nature of God." ["Antinomianism", pp. 148, 149.]44. Can an unholy person be "filled with the Spirit"?
45. Will unholy people be saved?'
46. Do we partake of the divine nature in this life?
47. Does the gift of the Spirit add any new fruits not received at pardon?
48. Does a resolution add any new strength?
49. What is the medium of communication with God?
50. How does Christ strengthen us?
51. Are there any who do not have any unholy thoughts presented?
52. Is it right to joke?
53. How obtain a complete victory over self?
54. Can we love God and be conformed to this world?
55. Will any be saved who have not heard the gospel of Christ?
56. What shall we do to be "filled with the Spirit"?