f you are expecting something so great and so essential to heaven itself, you ought to have good reasons for your expectation. And what are these reasons? Did you ever see any soul get sanctification at death? Is there any provision in the economy of grace which is only available at death’s door? These are some plain questions. But let us look at the matter a little more in detail.
1. Sanctification will be possible at death
if the conditions are complied with.
But because that is so, owing to the mercy of God, is no more a valid reason for delaying the matter, than it is for a sinner to put off till the day of his death his compliance with the terms of salvation, simply because those terms may be complied with at that time. [click to continue…]
The Nature of Spiritual Growth
It is not growing like a tree
In bulk, doth make man better be:
Or standing long an oak three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald and sere:
A lily of a day
Is fairer far in May,
Although it fall and die that night—
It was the plant and flower of Light.
In small proportions we just beauty see:
And in short measures life may perfect be.
God gave the increase.
1 Corinthians 3:6
Not of the will of the flesh.
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
It is the gift of God.
While there is no growing into holiness, there is, praise the Lord, a blessed growth in it. [click to continue…]
“The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart;
and merciful men are taken away, none considering
that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.”
ooking at life as we do, and clinging to it as we must while we stay, we fail to catch this cheer and comfort, that a righteous and merciful man in dying does not meet a calamity, but has a release from further continuance in the school of adversity, and from contact with the evils and all the sorrows of life. God has said, “To the merciful Thou will show Thyself merciful,” 1 and good as His word, the Lord, out of His loving and tender mercy, excuses some from further service where even after “threescore years and ten,” the strength of life is but “labor and sorrow.” 2 [click to continue…]
The Holy Way
What It Is, How It Is, and How to Keep It
Practical Suggestions for Seekers, Possessors, and Opposers
“Stature of a Perfect Man”
Mark the perfect man,
and behold the upright:
for the end of that man is peace.
— Psalm 37:37 —
The Holy Way is now available as an e-book in the Kindle, Nook, and Kobo formats.
The Word of God recognizes a “perfect man” as the standard. We are told to “mark” him. Jesus told us to “be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Paul classed himself with those who were perfect (Philippians 3:15), though he did not claim resurrection perfection (Philippians 3:12). The word provides that the “man of God may be perfect” (2 Timothy 3:17). James 3:2 tells us, “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man.” So it must be that there is a kind of perfection that belongs to a man. What is it? How can it be gained? [click to continue…]
Growth, Not Mere Self-Assertion
“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,” saith the Lord of hosts.
Which were born [begotten], not of blood, nor of the will of man,
nor of the will of the flesh, but of God.
The branch cannot bear fruit of itself.
“Apart from Me, you can do nothing.”
rowth in grace must not be confounded with what may be termed the doctrine of “self-assertion of the human spirit.” In certain prominent philosophical teachings of the day, there is that which would gladly “de-Christianize” society; and in much of Auguste Comte’s teachings, 1 there is that which amounts to a deification, or a worship, of the human nature. At least, to the human spirit is attributed latent forces by which, if allowed to arise and assert themselves, man can evolutionize and redeem himself, and as such needs no Redeemer and Savior. [click to continue…]
“But the more they afflicted them the more they multiplied and grew.”
here is a certain cost to all growth. It cannot be ours except we pay the price. He who “will not plow by reason of the cold shall beg in harvest, and have nothing,” said the writer of Proverbs. 1 Pain is a very essential part of our advance. The “growing pains” of aching limbs in early school days are only prophecies of that which is to be in all later life wherever the soul keeps the upward path. In those days, my crying before mother was because of aching knees in early boyhood in the old home among the hills; 2 the crying has not ceased, though mother is here no more, the old hills are out of sight, and the pain is no longer so much physical. I cry yet as I go. I cannot get on without painful cost. There is nothing without toil. “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.” 3 [click to continue…]
e are at Eastertide. About this time we reach the spring frost line. Winter loses his grip and gives up the contest. The ice goes out of the river and streams. The sun shines warm. The fields are lined and seamed with the marks of the plow, and mellowed with the harrow. The lawns show the tender green of a new carpet. Already the maples have cast their blooms, and the wide world seems awake. New life is apparent everywhere. Things apparently dead for months are breaking the confines of their winter quarters, if not what actually was their graves. The sealed buds burst the encasement of their winter tombs. Life, life, echoes from every side. The clouds go sailing past and the sky seems deep and far away. We shall soon look for the early flowers blooming along the streams and in sheltered nooks, and later breaking in on the vision from every quarter. [click to continue…]
great many people have denominational holiness. They believe in it because it is “a doctrine of their church.” Doctrinally, or in a theoretical way, they advocate it and may be said to favor it. Practically, there is usually a great gap between this class and those who believe in it as an experience, and who hold special meetings for its promotion.
We have taught and do still that holiness is not denominational; that is, it is not the birthright or special heritage of any one denomination. No church has any more right to be holy than another. No one has been singled out by heaven’s order to be holier than the rest; no one has a right to claim it as their special doctrine to the setting aside of any other church order. In this sense holiness is as undenominational as sunlight, or air, or water, or free grace. For us Presbyterians to preach that it is our duty to be holy is right and our bounden duty. But it is equally so for our Methodist brethren, or any other properly constituted church order. Yet we have always thought it in bad taste to go over to some of our sister churches, whose people are not in the experience of holiness, and say to them, “You ought to be holy; it is a Presbyterian doctrine.” We do not think this the right way to preach holiness to the people at large as we find them in our conventions and camp-meetings. As we come in contact with their prejudices, they justly come to think that we seek to make Presbyterians out of them. [click to continue…]
What Doth Hinder?
Who did hinder you?
Be ye also enlarged.
2 Corinthians 6:13
e usually hear it said that growth moves forward with great success after entire sanctification. That is, after the seed of sin, that root of bitterness, the carnal mind, is destroyed, the great hindrance to growth is removed. This is true in the main, and yet we find that many who certainly have that experience have not advanced very rapidly. Yes, we find that hindrances have impeded our own progress in many directions even while we have evidence of full sanctification. When we inquire into the cause of this, we see that probation is by no means ended. The carnal mind being destroyed does not destroy or put an end to all things that hinder us. There are real temptations; there are false teachings of various kinds; there are actual enemies in the field. We find ourselves under pressure. We feel the need of more power. We find much in us that stands in the way of the greatness and richness our souls crave. We see where we have failed. We diagnose our moral tempers better, and see new difficulties. We detect our preference of ourselves and our love of personal ease, and we find little eddies where life easily drops back into old ways unless watched and met with a resolute will and set faith in God. This is not all; the very sources of the human spirit seem to fail at times, and drop into such discouragement, and weakness, and dryness, that we cry out of our very depth for more of God, more of sinking into His will, and less of our own ways. [click to continue…]
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul?
And why art thou disquieted in me?”
e may not desire discouraged days. We cannot wholly control them, but we may limit their duration. Their spell may be broken. In them we are never at our best. They interfere with progress of all things desirable, at least for the time. We may get out from under them as good as we went in; or we may be worsted by their oppression; or we may learn in their school a new road to new victories. Just now we do not desire to inquire how we came into them, so much as how to get out of them or get on through them. [click to continue…]
erhaps we have read the old account as something in the past only. It was for the past, and is for the past, but there is a present sense in which it is more true to us than the mere historical record. We too much read the Bible as an old book. If people would try to read it as a present message, having special reference to the individual life and needs, the “higher criticism” business would largely go out of fashion. Just as a present Christ removes all fear about the second coming of Christ as a Savior, a life in which the world has ended never has trouble about the end of the world. A soul who has found out that the deserts of which the Bible speaks are not so much studies of physical geography as lessons on the inward spiritual soul is not much entertained with mementos of the holy land and bottles of sand from her deserts. In the same way, while one may be properly curious as to the real location of Sinai, the greater question is, Have I ascended my Sinai? [click to continue…]
dear brother and schoolmate, who is not in the experience of holiness, wrote not long since, inquiring if I “believed in ‘sinless perfection.’ ” As I understand him, he means by this term just what thousands of other misinformed people mean by it, namely, “You claim to get to a place where you can’t sin.” This is what a great many have charged us and others with holding and teaching, and yet scarcely a month has passed since we began to publish, in which it has been declared and shown that we do not. Now we hardly know how to tell any more plainly than we have in the past four years in our publication that we NEVER HAVE and WE DO NOT NOW teach such a thing; and yet, since so many are dull of hearing, 1 it seems needful to restate this matter again. [click to continue…]
An Unexpected Source of Hindrance “If the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched and would not have suffered his house to have been broken up.” Matthew 24:43
o the Master taught. There is a long list of things that are of such nature that they cannot be prepared for or provided against, for the reason that we do not know of their approach. It is the same way with things that we do not understand or see into.
“If we had known!” How much lies behind these words? In so many things we are called to go out like Abraham, “not knowing.” How many places in life I see now, as I look back, that I started out “not knowing,” and yet thinking I did. There have been many times when I have been brought into incomprehensible places, but not, as I now see, for the sake of these places themselves so much, nor for the sake of being puzzled as to what was to come in the future. This experience is a common feature of all our trials, or testing times. We had never gone that way before, and of course could not understand it. Because we do not understand the trial, it seems all the harder. We cannot have the experience of a journey till we make the journey, however. The mission of trial and suffering necessarily appears hidden, its “peaceable fruits of righteousness” only being discoverable after it has passed. It is this “not knowing” element that hinders us, perhaps, from discovering a very important law of God’s administration in things spiritual. It is this: [click to continue…]
“The earth is full of heaven,
And every common bush afire with God.” 1
“True spirituality is to see the divinity in common things.”
ower to look, not at, but through, the things that are seen, is the “vision sight.” Have you found days when your soul seemed to have power to transform almost everything about you, and the commonplace was shown in a new light, and the ordinary was all transfigured? Well, have you ever been able to explain how this was? Have you found any way to bring about and retain this vision condition of the soul? [click to continue…]