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CHAPTER I.

STATEMENT AND DEFINITIONS.


The saintly Fletcher says:

It is excessively wrong to conclude that all these burdens, infirmities, appetites, passions, and aversions are those sinful workings of our corrupt nature, which are sometimes called the 'flesh.' You cannot continue a whole day in deep prostration of body and soul, nor perhaps one hour upon your knees; your stomach involuntarily rises at the sight of some food which some persons esteem delicious; your strength fails in outward works; your spirits are exhausted; you faint or sleep, when others are active and toil; you need the spiritual and bodily cordials which others can administer; perhaps also you are afflicted with disagreeable sensations in the outward man, through the natural necessary play of the various springs which belong to flesh and blood; your just grief vents itself in tears; your zeal for God is attended with a proper anger at sin; nay, misapplying what the apostle says of the carnal man under the law, you may declare with great truth, The [extensive] good I would, I do not; and the [accidental] evil I would not, that I do; I would convert every sinner, relieve every distressed object, and daily visit every sick bed in the kingdom; but cannot do it. I would never try the patience of my friends, never stir up the envy of my rivals, never excite the malice of my enemies; but I cannot help doing this undesigned evil as often as I strongly exert myself in the discharge of my duty.


The reasons why so many fail to comprehend the experience of entire sanctification are as numerous and varied as are the dispositions of the numberless persons who are concerned; and, as a consequence, it is impossible that any line of instruction should fit all, and concrete examples must be advanced in order that definite instructions may be given, but, in the absence of such examples, we must either be content to confine ourselves to some general rules which are capable of specific application, or suppose examples which will illustrate certain classes of individuals. What we have to say will be a blending of these two methods.

Many persons make the mistake of observing their own experience, and sometimes the observation is very superficial indeed, and thus reach certain conclusions which they form into universal rules and proceed to apply to one and all without respect to character, surroundings, make up, degree of light, or physical or mental conditions. By such a course souls are utterly confused; and are unable to reach satisfactory conclusions as to their duty and standing.

Remember, my brother, that the only test of holiness is deliverance from sin, and not certain peculiar manifestations which you observe in your own experience. These manifestations have to do with your own peculiar temperament and not with your heart conditions.

This brings out the thought that if the experience of holiness were stripped of the human element it would be the simplest thing in the world, but, owing to the presence of this complex element, the manifestations, both inward and outward, for which we can look when one professes the experience, become so exceedingly complex, that at times we almost despair of clearing up the fog with which, even by well-meaning people, the doctrine is surrounded.

Let us draw the distinction between the two works of grace: Many theologians teach that justification and sanctification are the same in kind, and that they differ only in degree, that is, holiness is only a bigger blessing. To us this seems to be a fundamental mistake, tending only to foster error and to befog the real point at issue — deliverance from the carnal mind.

When a person is justified (and we here use the word "justified" in its broad sense, including all the accompaniments of initial salvation,) first, all his sins are forgiven, and all his moral relations with both God and men, and the universe are changed. God reveals, by the witness of the Spirit, the fact of forgiveness, translates the recipient into the kingdom of Christ, and adopts him into the family. He also fills this newly saved one with joy as a result of his deliverance from sin and condemnation, and gives a deep and blessed consciousness of divine favor. But in addition to all this, God introduces into his moral faculties a new vigor, by which he is enabled to hold under control the sinful tendencies which still characterize the essence of the soul, and to defeat the temptations of the devil. New "lamps are hung through his intellect" by which he is enabled to discern the presence of moral evil, and the will of God. God puts new quickness, tenderness and control into the renewed conscience, new intensities into all the good sensibilities, and new energy into the will.

The additional work which is accomplished in sanctification is the removal of inbred corruption and the intensification of the graces already received; this intensification coming more from the removal of remaining and hindering depravity than from the addition of new measures of grace.