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…]
aiting” is no uncommon experience, and yet it is not always easy to wait. It is easier far to go, than to wait. To be laid aside, and stay inactive, and hampered at home by an aching, worn-out body, or by a lingering sickness, requires a measure of grace unknown in the rush of life’s battle and the stirring swing of a glorious campaign. Soldiers say the severest test is courage to stand under fire. May it not be, then, that we much need waiting hours, even if there should be in them a measure of real trial? While to want to go, and yet not be able, may be harder than the going, it is not certain that the easiest thing is the best. [click to continue…]
“And I went in the heat of my spirit.”
“My heart was hot within me;
while I was musing the fire burned.
Then spake I with my tongue….”
“But His word was in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones,
and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.”
have found that inward tone and temper of spirit is much more precious than the condition of the outside weather. A sensitive spirit is a heritage indeed, if only it is sensitive to spiritual things. But woe to that soul whose nature is at the call of every outside annoyance. What an easy time Satan has in keeping such in hot water! If untoward environment meets inward distractions, and tumult of feelings, and unsettled disputes between right and wrong in the home of conscience, peace does not come to rest. On the other hand, if outside disturbances find at the front door of entrance the blessed quiet that the peace of God brings, the battle is all but won. Satan flees at the sight of real inward joy and present consciousness of the applied atoning blood. The peace of a fully saved soul abiding in the light furnishes Satan no ground of entrance. The “way in the way” 1 has no ground upon which Satan can place his feet for any advantage. It is rather in the midst of tumult and inward commotion, when the very floodtide is in by reason of outward commotion and storm-beat, that the tempter seeks occasion to come in on some unsuspected and unrecognized driftwood. [click to continue…]
26Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
27And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Romans 8:26-27 kjv
his passage points out some important items for the daily needs of life’s journey. All travelers in the King’s Country are furnished with a most excellent tourist’s guide. Attention to the truths in the above-mentioned verses would save from much needless mistake, regret, blunder, and falling, it may be. God would have us all real students. He expects us to read and think for ourselves. He arranges place and time for us to sit in His library and feast on its treasures, and learn for ourselves the wonders of His kingdom that now is, and that which is to come. He wants us to look into His textbooks, to walk with Him amid the beauties and glories of the natural world. The seas are His [Psalm 95:5], the stars in heaven are His. The secrets of air and ether 2 are His. The generative forces of nature are all His. We are His children. He made this world for us. The world of mind and spirit are His. They are a step nearer Himself than the material universe. It is more to find, see, and understand God in the hidden spheres of spiritual life, than in the world of material things. [click to continue…]
Resting in Past Achievements
common cause of delay and hindrance is the constitutional trait of wanting to stop and tent in good places we are brought into. There must be a coming time for crown wearing, and coronation days, but it is after the work is done, and the call has been made “Come up higher.” 1 Now is our field of battle. The watchword is “Go work today in My vineyard” (Matthew 21:28ff). “Over there” we may have our harvest home, and sit down in quiet by the side of the river of life and sing the song of Moses and the Lamb. 2 [click to continue…]
“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols,
even as ye were led.”
1 Corinthians 12:1,2
There is a difference between a “natural” gift and a “spiritual” gift.
- A “natural” gift is born with the individual, and thus is “natural” to him, or part of his nature. It is included in his ordainment and the constitution of his individual spirit, and causes him to differ from all other individualities. It is a gift from God in the same way that sight or speech or hearing is; but as such it is a gift of ordainment in his creation, and not an added endowment coming later in life. Natural gifts are cotemporaneous with the creation of each individual spirit. All natural gifts are essential to each personality, and are therefore involuntary, so far as man is concerned, and never subject to his choice as is the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
- The term “natural” as applied and as used in the New Testament may also mean all that comes by creation, including the perishable, and all material life; or, it can mean man’s material life, as distinct from his “immortal” life. It is that “natural man” of which Paul speaks, which does not know the things of the Spirit. 1
- A “natural gift” may become a spiritual gift, or appear as such, when the natural gift is freely given up to God and becomes filled with the Holy Ghost. Natural eloquence seems thus changed under the ministration of the Spirit. David’s poetical and musical talents, under the higher inspiration of the Holy Ghost, became a spiritual blessing for all ages and times. Paul’s logical mind, and his sharp psychological and philosophical discriminations under the Spirit’s power, made him a blessing to the end of the world.
- A “spiritual gift” is that which pertains to things spiritual rather than that which is natural. It is something added or manifested later than any natural gift. It is a gracious enablement of the individual to do that which by way of his natural gifts he was unable to accomplish. It is a gift, not in a general sense, but as a real secondary bestowment coming “from above.” Before this enablement of the man, he could accomplish many natural things, he could understand moral things, he could become strong in the realm of reason; but he was unable either to understand or accomplish anything in the spiritual realm. That is the “spiritual” properly so called, or as Paul unfolds and uses the word in this epistle, where he associates the spiritual in man with the Spirit of God.
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“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.”
anctification is a very common word in both the Old and the New Testaments. It is also a subject treated more or less in all complete systems of theology. In nearly all catechisms the question is asked, “What is sanctification?” and some answer is given. It is a libel on the intelligence of the evangelical Christendom of the age to deny knowledge of the doctrine and faith in it. The fact is, all Christians believe in it, only they have their way about receiving it. Indeed, after all, the question is not about the truth of the doctrine, but about the obtainment of the grace. Nobody wants other than a holy heaven; for this reason all men want some way of being made holy, though naturally few at first prefer God’s way. [click to continue…]
There are many problems that come up every day in the ordinary affairs of life, but the great problems are the soul problems. These deal directly with character and destiny. In this book some of these, in a natural, familiar way, are taken up and discussed for the benefit of the common reader. Longer and more philosophic papers might with this class of readers lose their interest. Briefer articles might not sufficiently carry the information. A book of a different character might teach you how to make more money. The writer of these pages would rather help you to build more stately soul-mansions. Every soul has its Tarshish ships and its St. Bernard passes. 1 The sidelights of those who have been over the road may help the reader in finding his way. With the hope that such will be the case with every reader of these pages, this little book is committed to the great book-reading world, wherever it may go. It is the hope of the writer that sometime in the Sweet By and By, both writer and reader shall meet and find joy and blessing in former acquaintance, though it be only by way of a book. Till then, goodbye.
Des Moines, Iowa 1904 [click to continue…]