How to Keep Sanctified
J.O. Mc CLURKAN
Author of “Wholly Sanctified,” “Behold
He Cometh” and “Chosen Vessels.”
“In 1729 my brother Charles and I, reading the Bible, saw we could not be saved without holiness, followed after it, and incited others so to do. In 1737 we saw that this holiness comes by faith. In 1738 we saw likewise that men are justified before they are sanctified.”
“You have over and over denied instantaneous sanctification, but I have known and taught it above these twenty years. I have continually testified for these five and twenty years, in private and in public, that we are sanctified, as well as justified, by faith. . . Within five weeks five within our band received the ‘second blessing.’”
“This morning one found peace and one the ‘second blessing’”
“Insist everywhere on full salvation received now by faith. Press the instantaneous blessing.”
“Let all our preachers make a point of preaching perfection to believers, constantly, strongly, explicitly.”
“If you speak only faintly and indirectly, none will be offended and none profited; but if you speak out, although some will probably be angry, yet others will soon find the power of God unto salvation.”
“Many years since I saw without holiness no man shall see the Lord. I began by following after it, and inciting all with whom I had any intercourse to do the same. Ten years after, God gave me a clearer view that I had before of the way how to attain it – namely, by faith in the Son of God. And immediately I declared to all, WE ARE SAVED FROM SIN, WE ARE MADE HOLY BY FAITH. This I testified in private, in public, in print, and God confirmed it by a thousand witnesses.” – Vol.7, p.38.
How to Keep Sanctified
The conflict is not over when you enter the sanctified life. The enemy within has been cast out, but sin in a thousand different forms lurks about you. To retain a pure heart requires the utmost vigilance. “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
The Israelites did most of their fighting after entering Canaan; but few conquests were made in the wilderness. It takes the grace of entire sanctification to guarantee continuous victory in a land of walled cities, giants and thirty-one kings. You will have endless opposition, keener trials and severer temptations in a life of holiness. But the gift of the Holy Spirit makes every man a soldier, and Christ in the heart causes him to be more than a conqueror. Storms may rage, men scoff, and devils howl, but hid in the pavilion of the Divine Presence you have perfect peace. (Ps. 27:5)
You do the committing; he does the keeping. “I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless. . . Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” (1 Thess. 5:23, 24.) “The Lord bless thee and keep thee” (Num. 6:24.) “He will keep the feet of his saints.” (1 Sam. 2:9.) “He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” (Ps. 91:11.) “He that keepeth thee will not slumber.” (Ps. 121:3.) “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.” (Isa. 26:3,4.) “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me.” (John 17:11.) “Kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” (1 Pet. 1:5.) “Sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, . . . that is able to guard you from stumbling, and to set you before the presence of his glory without blemish.” (Jude 1:24.)
Immediately after our Lord was baptized with the Holy Ghost, he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matt. 3:1.) Temptation is of divine appointment, hence there is no sin in being tempted. You sin only when you yield to the temptation. For instance, Satan may torture you with suggestions of evil thoughts, desires, or feelings. Failing to get you to indorse them, he will turn accuser, saying: “You are a pretty Christian. Ha, ha, ha! Professing sanctification! Why, you hypocrite, it is doubtful if a person having such thoughts as you have been ever justified.” The devil has met many entering the threshold of a holy life and driven them back into the wilderness with just such accusations. First tempting you to sin, but failing as this point, he would persuade you that the temptation itself is a sin. Bear in mind that no thought, feeling, or desire which Satan may present to you can become yours until you will to have it so. As some old writer has quaintly said: “You can’t keep the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building nests there.” You can’t prevent the devil bringing his children and leaving them on your door-step, but you don’t have to bring them in and adopt them as your own. Remember, the key to the situation is this: Evil suggestions do not become yours until you put your endorsement on them.
The holiest people are often the most fiercely assaulted by the devil. He shoots his biggest guns not at the babes in Christ but at those who are pressing on to know the fullness of God. It may be that as we advance in the kingdom of grace, we have to grapple with a class of devils stronger than those we met in the beginning of our Christian life – some genius like a Napoleon or Caesar to intercept us on our march to glory. Paul tells us that we are to wrestle with wicked spirits in heavenly places. This much we know: the nearer we get to God the less we have of temptation on the physical side. Hence in the sanctified life the enemy approaches more under cover, in a subtle, abrupt, intricate, intense way. If he came, as sometimes fancied in childhood, with eyes like balls of fire, huge horns, teeth like those of a thrashing-machine, long tail, and the roar of a Numidian lion, then all would instantly flee from his presence. But instead he often comes as an angel of light in the person of some dear friend, some long established habit, some cherished wish or desire. Then again, he clothes himself in such reasonable, proper, and commendable attire that, if possible, he would deceive the very elect, yet the Spirit-filled man will be able to recognize and resist him. “For we are not ignorant of his devices.” (2 Cor. 2:11.)
The Lord Jesus was long and bitterly assailed by Satan, yet he sinned not. This is a guarantee that he will give you grace to do likewise.
Temptations are a test of character. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life.” (Jas. 1:12.) Yours are not peculiar; others have had similar testings. “There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:13.)
Jesus knows how to sympathize with and deliver you. “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.” (Heb. 2:18.) “For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all things tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15.) “For consider him that endureth such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” (Heb. 12:3,4.)
The Lord defeated Satan with the sword of the Spirit. He met every thrust with a quotation from the Scriptures. (Matt. 4:4-10.) Ask him to do the same through you.
Avoid laying too much stress on your feelings. Many have failed here. Not obtaining such an experience as they expected, they began to doubt, became discouraged, and dropped back into the old up-and-down life. Oftentimes seekers for heart purity become fascinated with some beautiful experience which they hear related, and will not be satisfied unless they obtain one just like it. This is a grave error. As there are no two people alike, so there will be no two experiences exactly the same. The Lord gives to each such as he needeth. Perhaps those who seek certain good feelings have least of them. Fix the eye on Jesus, then the whole body will be full of light. The pleasurable and delightful emotions are the result of obeying God. Seek him rather than his gifts. Having him, all his gifts are yours; While, on the other hand, you might enjoy many of his gifts without having him at all. Madame Guyon said that the Lord sometimes withdrew all her joyous emotions, that she might be drawn closer to him. There is danger of making an idol of your experience, allowing the gift to come between you and the Giver. Sometimes we go home with our arms full of nice things for the children, and they become so absorbed in them that they neglect to climb up in papa’s arms to lavish on him their accustomed tokens of filial devotion. Not much time to hug and kiss the giver while so many pretty things are on hand to be examined. Thus, we may treat our Heavenly Father until he will withdraw the gift for a brief season that we may get our eye, faith, and love all centered on him again.
Rev. A.B. Simpson says that in seeking sanctification for quite a while he sought an “it.” He would pray and pray until he had a certain good feeling. Then he would exclaim, “I have it!” when lo! It would fade as a morning cloud. Then the Lord showed him that it was not an “it” which he needed, but Himself. Then he appropriated Christ as his Sanctifier, and the “its” or blessings followed. The difference between the justified and sanctified life is clearly set forth in the following hymn:
Once it was the blessing, now it is the Lord;
Once it was the feeling, now it is his Word;
Once his gifts I wanted, now the Giver own;
Once I sought for healing, now himself alone.
Once ‘twas painful trying, now ‘tis perfect trust;
Once a half salvation, now the uttermost;
Once ‘twas ceaseless holding, now he holds me fast;
Once the constant drifting, now my anchor’s cast.
Once ‘twas busy planning, now ‘tis trustful prayer;
Once ‘twas anxious caring, now he has the care;
Once ‘twas what I wanted, now what Jesus says;
Once ‘twas constant asking, now ‘tis ceaseless praise.
Once it was my working, his it hence shall be;
Once I tried to use him, now he uses me;
Once the power I wanted, now the Mighty One;
Once to self I labored, now to him alone.
While a life of holiness is peculiarly noted for its joy, peace and rest, there may be brief seasons, especially at its beginning, of heaviness through manifold temptations. (1 Pet. 1:6.) The devil may take advantage of ill health and bring about strange and unaccountable feelings of depression; but in the midst of these tunnels continue to rejoice in the Lord, for he abides just the same, and out of it all he will bring you into a sweeter and richer union with himself. Live only in him, and all will be well.
You entered the sanctified life through consecration and faith. It is retained the same way. Remember that the gift must stay on the altar. You have irrevocably yielded all to God, Never take it back. It is so easy to compromise a little here and there – the world creeps in and Jesus goes out before you are aware of it.
Take an inventory once in a while to make sure that property, Church, family, plan of life, likes and dislikes, are all kept on the altar. This little verse expresses it all:
“I am willing
To receive what thou givest,
To lack what thou withholdest,
To relinquish what thou takest,
To be what thou requirest,
To do what thou commandest.”
Should you find at any time that you have taken something off the altar, put it back instantly. Whatever he tells you to do, do it; don’t try to dodge it, nor postpone it, nor excuse yourself from it, but do it at once. “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (John 15:14.) “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him.” (1 John 3:24.)
O sacred union with the Perfect Mind!
Transcendent bliss, which thou alone canst give,
How blest are they, this pearl of price who find,
And, dead to earth, have learned in thee to live.
Thus in thine arms of love, O God, I lie,
Lost, and forever lost, to all but thee,
My happy soul, since it hath learned to die,
Hath found new life in thine infinity.
Oh, go and learn the lesson of the Cross,
And tread the way which saints and prophets trod,
Who, counting life and self and all things loss,
Have found in inward death the life of God.
- Prof. Upham.
“Thou art the sea of love
Where all my pleasure roll;
The circle where my passions move,
And center of my soul.”
You have all on the altar for time and eternity. The Bible says that the altar sanctifies the gift (Matt. 23:19), that it maketh everything holy that thoucheth it (Ex. 29:37). Christ is your altar. You have laid it all on him, and his blood cleanses you from all sin. (1 John 1:7.) When your faith appropriated these promises he sanctified you. Keep on believing them, and he will keep you free from sin.
There may be times when your feelings and the seeming say that you are not sanctified, but cling to - yea, rest on – the Word. The altar sanctifies the gift: “I am the gift, therefore it sanctified me.” Confess it over and over to yourself and to God, and the tempter will not tarry long. Cultivate the habit of trusting regardless of emotions. You doubt God just in proportion to what you require apart from the Word to make you believe it. To say that you are consecrated, and yet refuse to believe that he sanctifies you, simply challenges his veracity. The devil would delight in making you afraid to believe, but you had better be afraid not to believe.
The dear Savior says that if you keep his commandments he and the Father will come into your heart and make their abode there. Don’t look in to see if he is there, and don’t try to see him there, but believe that he is there because you are complying with the conditions on which he promises to dwell in you. He dwells in your heart by faith. (Eph. 3:17.) If you look to see if he is there, the if is the door through which he goes out.
Someone asked Mr. Müller the secret of his strong faith. He replied: “By standing firm amid severe testings.” Abraham staggered not at the promises, and he became the father of the faithful. There would be more Abrahams if there were more who would stand such testings. “Faith is nothing apart from its object.” It is hard to believe, looking at the difficulties; the longer you look the bigger they become. But when your eye and heart rest on Jesus, faith follows as a natural result. Peter did not begin to sink until he got his eye off Christ on the waves. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.”
A friend of the writer so often closes her testimony with the beautiful and scriptural sentence: “I believe is because he says so.” Ah! dear reader, here is the secret of victory. Believe it, not because things seem so and so, or you have or don’t have certain emotional evidence, but because he said so. “The just shall live by faith.” (Heb. 10:38.)
“My faith looks up to thee,
My faith, so small, so slow,
It lifts its drooping eyes to see
And claim the blessing now.
Thy wondrous gift it sees afar,
And doth not, cannot fear.
My faith takes hold on Thee,
My faith so weak, so faint,
It lifts its trembling hands to Thee;
Trembling, but violent.
The kingdom now it takes by force,
And waits till Thou, its last resource,
Shall seal and sanctify.
My faith holds fast to Thee,
My faith, still small, but sure,
Its anchor holds alone to Thee,
Whose presence keeps me pure,
By night, by day, art very near –
Art very near to me.”
“Ye are my witnesses, said the Lord.” “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.” (Rev. 12:11.)
In a meek, humble, joyful spirit, tell what the Lord has done for you. Don’t shun the word “sanctification,” nor any other term that the Spirit uses in designating this great work. It is God’s term, and cannot be improved by us. At the same time don’t be in bondage to any particular one of the many phrases which abound in the Word. “Perfect love,” a “pure heart,” “holiness,” the “single eye,” “life more abundant,” the “gift of the Holy Ghost,” and “sanctification,” are a few of many Bible terms which may be used in testifying to the “second work of grace.” It is better, however, for the benefit of those to whom you speak, to use the word “sanctification” than these others, because it is generally understood to embrace the system of truth emphasized by the holiness movement. The devil seems to hate it more than all the rest, and as the “offense of the cross” has shifted to this despised doctrine, there is a peculiar blessing attending the clear, definite testimony to sanctification. The writer has observed that in meetings held for the promotion of holiness, where this word was studiously avoided, there was lack of the deep, probing, heart-searching power which is so plainly manifest when the truth is preached boldly and definitely.
Hence watch, for an insidious fear of criticism may lead you to avoid this important word even before you are aware of it. Frances Willard received the blessing in Evanston, and soon after went to Lima, N.Y, to become preceptress of Genesee Wesleyan Seminary. She was advised to keep still about sanctification because of the Free Methodists in those parts. It was cruel advice. She writes: “I kept still until I soon found that I had nothing to keep still about. The experience left me. . . . That sweet pervasiveness, that heaven in the soul, of which I came to know in Mrs. Palmer’s meetings, I do not feel.” (“Holiness and Power,” page 350.)
Doubtless much of the effect of this sanctifying work lingered with this “uncrowned queen of America,” and contributed to the phenomenal success of her life-work. However, the fullness of joy departed when she ceased to testify to it. Some years later she attended A.B. Simpson’s meeting at Old Orchard, Me., where she received another great spiritual uplift, possibly entered again into the fullness of the sanctified life.
The sainted Fletcher lost this blessing four or five times by not testifying to it. Dr. Sheridan Baker says: “Clear testimony to full salvation is so opposed by Satan, is so distasteful to a Church, and is so much discouraged by many who are reputed wise and good, that more lose the blessing of entire sanctification by ambiguity and indefiniteness in testimony than by any other and perhaps by all other causes put together.” (“Hidden Manna.”)
Dr. Carradine says: “Very long and sorrowful is the list of preachers and laymen, men and women, who possessed the blessing of sanctification, hid the talent in a napkin, tried to live the experience, toned it down in various ways to suit family, friends, and Church, until at last they awoke to see that the star had disappeared, the angels had vanished into the skies, and the glory had departed. If we follow faithfully the divine plan of witnessing, not only with the life but the lips, certain gracious and blessed results will be felt at once to arise and increase as the days go by. One will be a sense of increased light and gladness with every occasion of witnessing. Each time the duty is performed the Spirit will smile upon the soul well pleased. Another result will be a growing freedom, or sense of religious liberty. A third effort will be a consciously increasing strength. A fourth will be the arousing of conviction on the subject all about you. The testimony may be modestly and simply given; but if uttered clearly and unctuously, it will never fail, but hearts will be stirred and souls set to panting after this great grace of God. The song will reach the heart, the arrow will strike the mark; the testimony, in a word, will never fall to the ground. God will take care of it.” (“Sanctified Life.”)
When family, pastor, and Church are grieved at a definite testimony, it is so natural to evade a little until the heart grows cold and the lips silent.
When the high priest entered the holy of holies, he wore a garment on the borders of which hung pomegranates and bells, twelve of each alternating, the former typifying the fruitful life, the latter the testimony. First, the pomegranate of holy living, then the clear ring of the bell in witnessing. The two go hand in hand. When the bells ceased to ring the people knew that the high priest was dead. Keep the bells ringing.
Now just a word as to the manner of your testimony. The effect of a truth upon others depends largely upon whether it is wisely or unwisely stated. Therefore, instead of saying, “I am holy,” say, “God has in great mercy given me a holy heart.” It is preferable to say, “The very God of peace has sanctified me wholly,” rather than to say, “I am sanctified.” A testimony like the following will always grate on the ears and hearts of the best people: “I have not sinned in five years.” How much better it would be to say: “Through the abundant grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, I have been enabled to walk before the Lord five years without condemnation!” Instead of saying, “I am perfect,” say, “Be it said to the glory of God that he has perfected me in love.” Direct the attention always on Jesus.
Observe regular seasons for Bible study and secret prayer. Notwithstanding the busy toils and cares of the day, keep in close touch with God through these stated interviews, and by living constantly in the spirit of prayer. Some people rush to their knees without taking time to read the Bible, thereby losing the most effective preparation for prevailing prayer. A reverent study of the Word opens the way for the mightiest prayer. God speaks to you through the Scriptures. You speak to him through prayer, then the blessed Holy Spirit witnesses to the word in the palace of the soul.
Take time to be alone. Make much of the still hour. Get right quiet before God. Bid all other voices be silent that he may speak to you. Sometimes we talk so hurriedly to him that he has but little chance to speak to us. Elijah did not hear the “still small voice” (or voice of gentle stillness, as it is sometimes translated) until the fire, storm, and earthquake had passed away.
“Prayer requires retirement at least of heart. Have a private place if possible, but at any event retire to the private chamber of the heart. Our closet must be in us, as well as we in our closet.” Jeremy Taylor said: “A good man could build a chapel in his heart.”
Abraham was closeted with God under the oak at Marme, Jacob by the brook side, David in his bedchamber, Daniel with his window open toward Jerusalem, Peter on the housetop, and the Lord on the mountain. “Only when the heart is shut toward the world can it be open toward heaven.”
Many live is such a rush that they miss that delicate finish of character, that far-reaching view of God, the massive strength, the fervid piety, the unutterable depth of love and tenderness of spirit, the triumphant faith and profound repose which are the result of frequent interviews and long communings with God. Men like Knox, Luther, Wesley, Elijah, and John the Baptist, owed much of the heroic grandeur of their ministry to the long seasons spent in retirement with God.
Mr. Moody says that the Bible read without much prayer makes as intellectual Christian, while a great deal of prayer with but little study of the Scriptures will produce fanatical Christians. This is true. Have your own Bible, study it consecutively – that is, read it through over and over again – alternating with the study of special themes, as love, faith, joy, etc. Keep yourself prayed full. There is the gift of the Holy Spirit which you received in your sanctification, then there are many fillings of the Spirit which are to be sought in earnest prayer from time to time and received by simple faith. These effusions are not to be confounded with the baptism of the Holy Ghost, but are among the graces of the Spirit which are to be sought as the Lord reveals our need of them. Hence stay on your knees until you have victory. Go on to know the fullness of God. The Lord will lead you into periods of protracted, agonizing, importunate prayer. This is what the apostle calls praying in the Holy Ghost. The Spirit wrenches your soul until the cry goes up from the very marrow of your being, like a woman in travail. These are priceless occasions for then God is breathing his mighty cry through yours, and great things will follow. For the fervent, effectual prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (Jas. 5:16.)
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.” (Ps. 19:14.)
Beware of a gossipy, chaffy, trashy talk. A careless, slipshod, worldly conversation will sap any one’s piety. If the utterances of a single day were all written and read once in a while in connection with the evening devotions, they would furnish food for sober reflection, repentance, and prayer. Suppose that all the words you ever uttered were published in one large book. How would it read?
Society abounds in coarse, foolish, shallow, wicked conversation, which you cannot indulge in without a blight on your own spirit. Then how idle and empty some people’s words are! They talk, talk, talk without saying anything. All the real good in some such conversation could be entombed on the point of a cambric needle.
Let your words be seasoned with salt. Determine that through an indwelling Christ your language shall be chaste, discreet, tender, and helpful. What marvelous good can flow from a single tongue! Let your words, like the gulf stream, flow through the ocean of a wicked world only to cheer, comfort, strengthen, and bless; then the Lord will make your speech like “apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
The following selection contains the gist of all that need to be said on this subject:
THE ART OF GOVERNING THE TONGUE.
“In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin.” (Prov. 10:19)
“The heart of fools is in their mouth; but the mouth of the wise is in their heart.” (Apocrypha.)
“By thy words shalt thou be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (Matt. 12:37.)
Choose to listen rather than to talk;
For silence is preferable to speech.
It is wiser to talk too little than too much;
And to speak well than to say many things.
Aim at speaking rather to the purpose than often.
Reflect before speaking.
Know how to speak by silence.
Restrain the tongue when the heart is agitated.
Be silent when you feel too great a desire to talk.
Speak after others:
Never against others;
Always well of others; . . .
Always with modesty;
Never against the truth;
Always with discretion: . . .
When vanity has found entrance, purify the intention.
Let your tone of voice be neither too loud nor too low. . .
Never seek information through curiosity.
Leave it to the world to talk of the world.
Complain of nothing, neither of persons nor of things.
Do not speak much of yourself not of your affairs.
Say little of your works, less of your troubles;
Confide these to very few persons.
Utter no useless words;
But harmless trifles may serve you as recreation if spoken in God’s presence and for him.
By no means indulge in the unseemly, uncleanly, unnatural, unnecessary, unhealthy, and unpleasant habit of using tobacco. Five hundred million of people are bowing their knee to this lust of the flesh. What a shame to see among this crowd so many followers of Jesus! A little boy standing among some loafers who were spitting tobacco juice on the sidewalks was heard to say: “My father is a Methodist minister, but he chaws tobacco.” Scores of boys will dodge behind such a preacher. A friend of mine said to me that she had pleaded with tears in her eyes with the fifteen-year-old boy in her home to desist from the use of tobacco, but he would retreat behind his pastor.
It is remarkable how fertile people are in assigning reasons why they use the filthy weed. One takes it for a bad breath, another for poor digestion, another to preserve his teeth, another as an anti-fat, and still another because he can’t quit. Pshaw! The chief reason is that they, like the opium-eater, are slaves to the flesh. All honor to those branches of the Church which require candidates to be free from this sinful practice. Imagine the apostles walking the streets of Jerusalem spitting ambeer all over the streets, or St. Paul dictating his Epistles with a cigar in his mouth.
The following quotation from Adam Clarke, the celebrated scholar and great Methodist commentator, is unanswerable:
1. Every medical man knows well that the saliva which is so conspicuously drained off by the infamous quid and the scandalous pipe is the first and greatest agent which nature employs in digesting the food.
2. A single drop of the chemical oil of tobacco, being put on the tongue of a cat, produced violent convulsions, and killed her in the space of one minute. A thread dipped in the same oil and drawn through a wound made by a needle in an animal, killed it in the space of seven minutes.
3. That it is sinful to use it as most do I have no doubt. If destroying the constitution, and vilely squandering away the time and money which God has given for other purposes, may be termed sinful, can any who call themselves Christians vindicate their conduct in this respect?
4. The impiety manifested by several in the use of this herb merits the most cutting reproof. When many of the tobacco-consumers get into trouble or under any cross of affliction, instead of looking to God for support, the pipe, the snuff-box, or the twist is applied to with quadruple earnestness; so that four times – I might say in some cases ten times – the usual quantity is consumed on such occasions. What a comfort is this weed in time of sorrow! What a support in time of trouble! In a word, what a god!
5. I am sorry to have it to say that this idle, disgraceful custom prevails much at present among ministers of most denominations. Can such persons preach against needless self-indulgence, destruction of time, or waste of money?
6. The loss of time in this shameful work is a serious evil. I have known some who, strange to tell, have smoked three or four hours in the day, by their own confession, and others who have spent six hours in the same employment. How can such persons answer for this at the bar of God?
7. Consider how disagreeable your custom is to those who do not follow it. An atmosphere of tobacco effluvium surrounds you whithersoever you go. Every article about you smells of it, your apartments, your clothes, and even your very breath.
To those who are not yet incorporated with the fashionable company of tobacco-consumers I would say never enter. To those who have entered I would say desist: first, for the sake of your health, which must be materially injured, if not destroyed, by it; secondly, for the sake of your property, which, if you are a poor man, must be considerably impaired by it; thirdly, for the sake of your time, a large portion of which is irreparably lost, particularly in smoking; fourthly, for the sake of your friends, who cannot fail to be pained in your company for the reason before assigned; lastly, for the sake of your soul. Do you not think God will visit you for your loss of time, waste of money, and needless self-indulgence?” – Theology, p.405.
Finally, the tobacco-user is liable to transmit to his posterity some hereditary taint which will break out in some abnormal way, sending them to the saloon or brothel. Let no man who professes holiness indulge in such a habit. If you are now enslaved by it, look to God for help; quit right off, once forever (not by piecemeal), and the Lion of the tribe of Judah will deliver you. Quit for him, and his strength will be given to free you.
LIVE A MOMENT AT A TIME
Sydney Smith said: “If you would be happy, take short views of life.” A greater than he said: “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be make known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6,7.)
We borrow most of our trouble. A quaint old writer has said that God would not give grace for borrowed trouble. We are constantly climbing mountains that we never reach, crossing swollen streams which we will never see, and fearing things that will never happen. Bishop Foster says: “Acquire the habit of living by the minute. Let it not be supposed that you are not to act for the future, but act by the minute. Take care of this moment now, while you have it, and the next when it comes; you will not then neglect any. You can live this minute without sin. Is it not so? [By the help of God] do it, then. Never mind what is before you. [With the help of Jesus] do not sin now. When each successive minute comes do likewise. If you will do this, you will not sin at all. Days are made up of minutes; if each one is sinless; the day will be so. Now try this; nothing is easier, nothing is more wise. Live by the minute. Carry on your business, trade, labor, study and plan for the future by the minute. Trust in God now; do God’s will now; do not offend God now. If you will observe this simple rule, you will not fail.” (“Christian Purity,” p. 262.)
A.B. Earle tells us of a great merchant in New York City, with several thousand clerks, and doing an immense amount of business, who was exceedingly happy in Jesus. He was a Methodist, and had received the sanctifying Holy Ghost. Some thought he was a hypocrite on the ground that no one could do so much business and yet live so near Jesus as he appeared to do. A number formed themselves into a committee to go to his business house and watch him, that they might find some fault with his Christian life. When the clock struck he said to all who were with him, “Excuse me a minute;” and he would go into a private office, and then come back and go on with his business. The clock struck again and the act was repeated. They finally asked him what it meant. He told them that he went into that room for a word of prayer each hour. He prayed: “I thank thee, O God, that thou hast kept me another hour without sin; now give me grace for the next hour.” “Brethren, I serve God by the hour.”
ATTEND HOLINESS MEETINGS
It May be said that all gospel services ate holiness meetings. To a certain extent this is true, but it is needful to have special services where the deeper phases and experiences of Christianity can be studied, discussed, and taught – a place where kindred spirits may talk together of the precious truths which would be offensive to many in the promiscuous assemblies.
Should there be no such meeting in your vicinity, start one, even if you have to begin in your own home. The way will open to go elsewhere. Where there are but few interested, the cottage meetings will do more good than if conducted in public buildings. Don’t get the idea that you must begin with a big crowd. It is better to have a few kindred spirits than a mixed multitude. Two can claim the promise recorded in Matthew 18:19. Don’t be discouraged at the indifference manifested by your brethren and sisters in the Lord, but pray right on, and God will sooner or later answer by fire. Hallelujah
READ HOLINESS LITERATURE
Keep supplied with a variety of the many excellent papers and books devoted to holiness. Merely skipping over them will not yield much profit, but thoughtful, prayerful study will find something new, stimulative, and helpful in each. If you can purchase but one book, let that be “The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life.” Next to the Bible, it is the best book that I can recommend. The gifted authoress is not so clear and radical in her doctrinal statements as some, yet it is the best book that I know of, except the Bible, to strengthen, settle, and establish you after you are sanctified. It is not the best book to lead you into the experience, but it will throw a flood of light on how to keep it.
Neal Dow said that Maine was carried for prohibition by slowing it down knee-deep with prohibition literature. By careful reading and wise distribution of the best holiness books and papers you can remove much of the woeful ignorance now afflicting the people on this subject.
MIND THE CHECKS
Walk in the Spirit. When you start in the wrong direction, He will gently pull the bit. You are indulging in certain conversation; suddenly there is a gentle pressure on your spirit to refrain. Mind the checks. You are pursuing certain lines of thought; there comes a mild pressure on the heart to desist. Mind the checks. You are engaged in certain transactions, when lo! “the still small voice” whispers, “Stop! Mind the checks.” By this means God will keep you from sin. Know his voice and instantly obey. Here is the entering wedge for so many failures. When these tender admonitions are given by the Spirit you disregard them, and backsliding begins. God grant you may follow on to know all his fullness!
Avoid extremes. Shun the gay worldly attire so conspicuous nowadays, on the one hand, and the slovenly garb on the other. Seth C Rees expresses my convictions in the following paragraph:
Women lose their spiritual force over fashion-plates. We grant you that a few people have gone to an unwarrantable extreme in harping on dress and outward adornments, but shall this be given as a reason why the great body of holiness people should give little or no attention to the extravagances in dress and jewelry which are flooding our churches? True, the gospel strikes first at the heart, and when the heart is right and the Holy Ghost permitted to come in and is given the right of way, he will regulate everything in outward as well as inward life. But he will not go contrary to the Word. He guides according to his written Bible. Thousands grieve the Spirit by failing to listen to him in this matter. Many who have laid off their jewelry and adorned themselves in modest apparel under the clear conviction of the Spirit have come to disregard this conviction and again rigged themselves out in the trappings of the world. We have been astonished even in holiness and Christian Alliance camps and conventions, to see the dead birds, rag followers. Pittsburg glass, and cheap paint so conspicuous. – The Ideal Pentecostal Church.
“Whose adorning, let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel. But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” (1 Pet. 3:3,4.) “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly with array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” (1 Tim. 2:9-10.)
Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek. (Gen. 14:15-24.) Jacob gave one-tenth to the Lord, (Gen. 28:20-22.) Schaff’s Encyclopedia says: “Not only the Hebrews, but other ancient people devoted the tenth part of their produce, cattle, as booty to sacred purposes. . . . These, however, were voluntary rather than obligatory offerings. The Mosaic law of tithes was not an innovation, but a confirmation of a patriarchal practice.” The Jews, besides contributing one-tenth of their income to the support of the Church, also gave to the poor and for other causes so generously that it is thought they gave altogether three-tenths of their income. What an amazing contrast between their offerings and those of the modern Church! Their magnificent temple, the finest structure ever erected, was built by offerings not included in the regular tithe. The marvelous sum of over four hundred million of dollars was not only willingly but gladly given as a free-will offering for this purpose. Surely in the face of such thrilling examples we cannot afford to pay less than one-tenth of our income. Then whatever we contribute beyond this becomes a free-will offering. Most folks give in a slipshod, careless, miserly way, flattering themselves that they pay a great deal more that they really do.
To avoid this, keep a strict account with yourself, putting the tithe, which is one-tenth of your entire income, into the Lord’s treasury, then making free-will offerings as you can from time to time. Carefully enter in a book kept for that purpose your income from every source; then take the Lord’s tenth and use it as he may direct. By so doing you will always have something to give, and, after contributing to the beneficences, many of you can devote at least enough to foreign missions to support a “native worker.” We should devote as much to witnessing to the heathen as we give for all purposes in the home field. The Lord stir your hearts as you read these lines and cause you so to do!
Men active and prominent in lodges are seldom very spiritual. As a rule, when the lodge goes up Christ goes down in their devotion. The writer has a friend who belongs to nearly a score of them. It is needless to say that he is badly backslidden. Steer clear of these things. While an occasional benefit is derived from them, they weigh heavily against the soul’s highest interest.
You will find it difficult to retain sanctification and affiliate with the old rum-soaked, Godless political parties. Be a Prohibitionist. It is the only way you can keep out of the whisky business. If you vote with any license party, you are in the business. Quit it. Pay no attention to the popular cry that “You can’t elect anybody.” We have nothing to do with results. Our part is to do right. Results belong to God.
WALK IN THE LIGHT
Things will be constantly coming up that you must lay aside. Possibly you did things yesterday that you can’t do to-day without condemnation. Keep under the search-light of the Holy Ghost. Seek to see yourself more and more as God sees you.
You will only keep the grace you now have by going on and seeking more. There are heights, depths, and breadths in the great Father’s heart that you know but little about. Press on to be filled with all his fullness. (Eph. 3:19.) If I had but one message to holiness people, it would be, go deeper – press on to know him in all his preciousness. Exalt him more and more until your heart is a sea of glory – a garden where all the rich graces of the Spirit bloom, a temple filled with his beauty – yea, the palace from which the royal wealth of heaven’s King shall go forth to bless this old world in a thousand ways.
THE TIME IS SHORT
Do what you do quickly. Soon you will stand before the Lord. “Shall the record be, found wanting?” O beloved, let your life tell mightily for God. Do your best through his strength for this poor, blind, wretched, sinful world. God grant it may be so. Amen.
I knew that God in his Word had spoken
That the power of sin could all be broken,
The soul held captive, yet be free:
Lord, is this blessing not for me?
Must I go on in sin and sorrow.
Clouds to-day, sunshine to-morrow?
First I’m sinning, then repenting;
Now I’m stubborn, then relenting.
With anguish wrung I cried, “My God!
Is there not power in Jesus’ blood
To work in me a perfect cure,
To cleanse my heart and keep it pure?”
O yes, my love will take you in;
The blood will keep you pure within;
Will wash away your guilty stains,
And cleanse till not one spot remains.
And there I stand this very hour
Kept by almighty keeping power;
Temptations come, the blood’s my plea,
The precious blood now cleanseth me.