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pray without ceasing, keep up the prayer-meetings, and attend our classes as we ought, God will speedily make us a thousand times as many more as we are, and bless us, as he has promised.
AN IMPORTANT INQUIRY RESPECTING THE DOCTRINE
OF SANCTIFICATION. Rev. AND DEAR SIR,-I have lately been reading the “Life of the Rev. R. Waller,” edited by yourself, and have been highly pleased with it, especially the lecture on “Entire Sanctification," in which he sets forth the doctrine on a scriptural foundation. But I regret that there is one part that he, in common with all other writers and preachers on the subject I have read or heard, seems to pass over unnoticed, viz., the state of a Christian betwixt justification and sanctification.
It is confidently and distinctly declared in Holy Writ, that "nothing that defiletb or worketh abomination shall enter heaven," and “without holiness no man shall see the Lord;" and yet, after justification, the Christian, at times, feels many evil propensities, desires, and thoughts remaining, which want destroying. Now, sir, it is as to the safety of such a one, in the event of his dying suddenly, that I feel extremely anxious.
I have conversed with several on the subject, and heard a few sermons on “ Sanctification;" yet my mind has never been fully informed and convinced.
I, therefore, beg of you to give me, through our large Magazine, a clear definition of the intermediate state alluded to, that, in future, I may not be shaken with every wind of doctrine; but be enabled, by the grace of God, to press on until I attain unto that blessed state, viz., entire sanctification. I am, your very humble and obedient servant,
A SABBATH-SCHOOL TEACHER. Haxey, June 20, 1832.
ANSWER.–We think we have penned and published a few thoughts which answer the inquiry of our correspondent, and we shall take the liberty of laying them before him and our readers in general.* Having noticed the fact that the word “to sanctify,” in its original and primary meaning, includes two leading ideas--separation and dedication that is to say, to separate an object from a common, profane, and sinful use, and to devote that same object to a holy, sacred, religious use, we remark
“The term thus used in a ceremonial sense, is applied, in a high spiritual sense, to believers; and here its original ideal meaning is still retained-though refined and heightened - made to express a state intrinsically and really holy; for believers are separated from the world and sin, and actually devoted to the service and glory of God. The word being thus expressive of the gracious change accomplished in the hearts and lives of God's people, is extensively applied to them in the Holy Scriptures. St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, speaks of them as sanctified. “Unto the Church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours. In referring to the divine transformation which they had realized, he says,
Ye are washed, ve are sanctified, ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. The design of the gospel ministry is declared to be, that men may receive an inheritance among
* Christian Theology Explained and Defended, page 448, &c., &c.
them that are sanctified. The same Apostle, addressing the Thessalonian believers, recognizes them as sanctified, and offers up the following devont and earnest prayer in their bebalf: The very God of peace sanctify you wholly, and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thess. v. 23.)
“The passage just quoted is of special importance in the subject of our inquiry; for, while it implies that all believers are sanctified to a considerable extent, it teaches that it is their privilege to be sanctified in a higher degree-to be 'wholly sanctified, and to be preserved in this state until the coming of the Lord. The doctrine so clearly taught in this passage is embodied and set forth in every part of the Scriptures.
“That the believer is already sanctified in an important degree is manifest from his being born again, and made a new creature in Christ Jesus. He is separated from the practice of sin, that is, from wilful and overt acts of transgression; he has put off the old man, which is corrupt, according to the deceitful lusts; he has come out from the ungodly, and is separate, not touching the unclean thing. He has no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but, by his life and conversation, reproves them. He is separated, too, from the love of sin. This is manifest from his repentance of it. He forsakes sin because he hates it, and abhors himself in the dust for having committed it against a God of love. He is separated also from the guilt of sin. Having fled to the blood of sprinkling, his conscience is purged from dead works, and he has peace with God. This state of pardon is properly called justification; but sanctification is a comprehensive term, and includes the whole of that spiritual change in our state and character which the grace of God accomplishes for every believer,
“But the word to sanctify expresses dedication as well as separation, and thus it expresses the fact, that while the Christian is separated from the love, the dominion, and the guilt of sin, he is dedicated to God. His religion is not of a negative character, implying merely a freedom from sin, but the positive possession and actual exemplification of holiness. It is experimental and practical devotedness to God. His understanding, will, memory, affections, all the powers of his soul, are given to God. His body also is consecrated to his service. Indeed, this is implied in the fact that his soul is devoted to God. As the body is a piece of material mechanism exquisitely adapted to carry out the desires and intentions of the mind, it inevitably follows that when the soul, the superior part of our nature, the source of thought, intelligence, and feeling, is sanctified to God, the body, as the servant of the mind, must obey its dictates, and act out its holy principles and affections. Thus, the believer presents his whole nature to God as his reasonable service. He lives not to himself, but to Christ, who loved him and gave himself for him. He glorifies God in his body and in his spirit, which are God's.
“ Thus far, then, every believer is sanctified at the moment of his justification; and this state is inexpressibly great and glorious. The love of God is shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto him; and, as Mr. Wesley observes, so long as he walketh in love (which he may always do), he worships God in the spirit and in truth. He keepeth the commandments of God, and doeth those things that are pleasing in his sight: 80 exercising himself as to have a conscience
void of offence toward God and toward man.' And he has power both over outward and inward sin, even from the moment he is justified.'
“But great and glorious as this state is, it is not perfect. We speak not of absolute perfection, for absolute perfection belongs to none but God. We mean it is not so perfect a state as that which man may realize even in the present life. In freedom from evil, and in the acquisition of good, it is not so perfect as the believer may, through the grace of God, realize, while in the present life. This is implied in the Apostle's prayer for the Thessalonian believers. They were already sanctified, in a high degree, as the regenerated people of God; but when the Apostle prays that they may be wholly sanctified, his language clearly implies that their present state was not perfect, but that there was a state denominated 'sanctified wholly,' which was attainable even in the present life. He prays that they might realize this.
“Already these believers were, in Christ Jesus, partakers of his grace and salvation; but as yet many were only babes in Christmhis little ones, whose sins were forgiven them. A babe has all the parts and properties of human nature, but not the wisdom, the strength, the maturity of manhood; so it is in spiritual things. The babe has to grow by the sincere milk of the word, and advance from a babe to a young man, and from a young man to a father in Christ Jesus. In the heart of the youngest convert there are all the elements of true religion; but, in the nature of things, these divine qualities cannot, as yet, be fully developed and perfected. He possesses all the graces of the Holy Spirit, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance;" but they need maturity and strength. These plants are of the Lord's own right hand planting, the produce of wholly a right seed; but they must be cultivated by fervent prayer, and a holy diligent use of scriptural means; and they must be refreshed with showers of divine influence, in order to expand, and grow unto perfection, and bear abundant fruit to the divine glory.
"In reference to such a believer in Christ, it naturally follows that his graces being immature, he is proportionably liable to sin. I say not that he is under any physical necessity of sinning, but that he is liable to it, and in danger of it, in proportion to the weakness and immaturity of his spiritual state. For in our physical constitution, in our natural temperament, in our animal passions and propensities, in the temptations of the enemy, and in the allurements of the world around us, there are incitements and influences which constantly expose us to sin; and just in proportion to the strength and activity of our graces, and the maturity of our holy affections and habits, will those influences be resisted and overcome. Where grace is weak, there is the greater susceptibility of evil, and the greater liability to sin. Where grace is strong-where love, faith, and all other virtues are vigorous and well-established, there is, of course, the less susceptibility of evil, and the less liability to sin, in either temper, word, or deed. Hence, says the Apostle, It is a good thing that the heart be ESTABLISHED WITH GRACE.' (Heb. xiii. 9.) But Christians in the most matured and advanced state of religion are equally dependant upon Christ for strength and victory.
* It is to be lamented that so few Christians live up to the high standard of their privileges and enjoyments. Hence the imperfections of professors in general, and the occasional manifestations of unholy tempers, and the exhibition of faults and sins, both in their spirit and conduct: proofs that they are not ó sanctified wholly,' not bringing forth the rich fruits of grace to perfection-evidences that they are yet only babes in Christ, and in a measure carnal, and walk as men.
"A just and careful distinction must, however, be made between wilful sin and those infirmities of temper to which even good men are subject. For in every instance in which sin is wilfully committed, or plain and positive duty neglected, condemnation is incurred, our covenant broken, and our union with Christ dissolved; nor can our recovery be effected without coming to God as we came at first, by true repentance, and faith in the atoning blood. And though even a good man may, in a moment of unwatchfulness, be overtaken in a fault, may stumble and fall, yet a state of habitual sinning is totally incompatible with the Christian character. For he that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.' (1 John iii. 8, 9.)
"But while wilful and actual transgression thus severs our union with Christ, and strikes at once a deadly blow at the vitality of our religion, there is a difference with regard to those sudden scintillations of evil, such as pride, envy, resentment, &c., which, like sparks from the smitten steel, rise spontaneously and involuntarily in the mind. These evils, if not predominant and habitual, if not cherished and indulged, but, on the contrary, resisted, lamented and abhorred, do not break the bonds of our covenant with God, nor deprive us of our interest in Christ. Sins they are, but not having the concurrence of our will, nor the approval of our affections, they do not destroy our confidence in Christ, nor rob us of our title to claim the relation of the sons of God. For the believer is not under the condemnatory power of the law, is not subject to the stern and inflexible exactions of justice, as Adam in his first estate ; but is under the mild and merciful economy of grace—the sum of whose requirements is love. He was not justified at first by virtue of his fulfilling the law of works, nor does he retain his justification by virtue of a perfect obedience to the law of works. He was at first justified by virtue of an humble penitent reliance upon the atonement of Christ, and he retains his sonship by the exercise of the same principle. So that although his obedience be imperfect, yet while it is sincere; though his love be defective as to the measure of his obligations, yet while that love makes God its supreme object; and though his faith be weak, yet while that faith clings to the Saviour alone, struggles to hold the hem of his garment-he continues justified, he retains his interest in the atonement, and the blessings it has secured. Imperfect though he be, and conscious as he is of it, he knows and feels that he is accepted through the Beloved, and is an heir of everlasting blessedness. We say these things not to flatter the hypocrite, or encourage the presumptuous, or apologize for sin. God forbid. But we thus speak to comfort the feeble-minded, to support the weak, and to give an explicit view of the doctrines of grace-showing that a man may be justified, thongh he be not 'wholly sanctified-- may be accepted through Christ, thongh he be not wholly free from inward sin.
“But though such involuntary sins as we have just described do not exclude the believer from the Divine favour, and consequently should not engender despondency, they should nevertheless produce abasement before God, and urge us to seek with unceasing importunity for a deeper work of grace, for entire deliverance from these incipient forms of evil-for that fulness of love which at once casts out all slavish fear, and counteracts and destroys every antagonistic principle. In a word, we should seek to be 'sanctified wholly'-'to perfect holiness, in the fear of the Lord.'"
MISCELLANEOUS ARTICLES, ANECDOTES, &c.
WHAT IS WANTED FOR THE WORLD'S CONVERSION ? The one thing wanted for the sal. their talent, the noble their distincvation of the world is the preparation tions, and kings their authority. On of the Church. She must awake to every volume, on every ship, on every a sense of her position and her re- sanctuary, and on every habitation, sponsibility. She must appreciate and on every heart of the redeemed the work to be accomplished, and must be the one living inscription, the part which she is to bear in it. “Holiness to the Lord !" And the She must sympathize with the will whole Church, as the sacramental of the Saviour, and burn with desire host of God's elect, must arise in her to see it fulfilled on earth as in strength and beauty, placing her feet heaven.
on the weapons of earthly warfare, Worldly patronage and worldly and lifting her hands to heaven; and conformity, lifeless formalities and the ONE CRY must go up like the corrupt superstitions, selfish indiffer- sound of many waters, and reverence and angry dissensions must be berating on every shore, “ The world the subjects of inward, public and for Christ—the world for Christ!" universal lamentation, and all the Church of the living God, awake, redeemed must be resolved to come awake! when wilt thou awake, if not into a state of visible union and fra- now? Is it not enough that thou ternal fellowship and co-operation, hast slumbered long already, while
the Saviour has been waiting for that he may graciously mould them thee, and millions have perished to this issue by the Spirit of love. without thine aid? Is it not enough
There must be the unreserved and that by negligence, strife, and carnal cordial surrender of ourselves, and of indulgence, thou hast been long the all that we possess, to the proposed scorn and not the terror of thine adend. The work is great-inconceiv- versaries? Is it not enough that ably great-and it demands all that thou hast wandered long, miserable we can offer. Our talents, time, life and disconsolate, in the homeless anil person must all be devoted; it wilderness? Lift up thine eyes! must live through all our occupa The land of rest, and peace, and protions, and breathe through all our mise is before thee! Providence desires.
calls thee, occasion waits on thee, As all of individual life must be the wide world solicits thee! Old given, so all of the whole Church is dynasties and old idolatries which to be presented. The act of conse- bathed their heads in heaven are cration is to be as extensive as the mouldering at thy feet; and all things act of redemption. None-not the invite thee to universal empire and least-is to be exempted from the supernal glory. duty, or deprived of the privilege. O Spirit of the living God! wait Youth is to come with its enthu. not for the dilatory Church, but grasiasm, and maturity with its sagacity. ciously now prepare her for supple Babes and sucklings are to find their mentary and consummate grace. hosannas, and the hoary head is to Awaken her to a conception of thy find its crown of glory in this ser- mind and sympathy with thy designs. vice. The poor is to present his Give her the heart of penitential love mite, and the rich to pour forth their and perfect devotedness. Heal all treasures. The learned must yield her strifes by the waters of the sanc.