Phoebe Palmer



XVI.

SANCTIFICATION RETAINED.

HOW ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION IS TO BE RETAINED


It is only by an entire and continual reliance on Christ, that a state of entire sanctification can be retained. The sacrifices under the old dispensation were sanctified by the altar upon which they were laid. Had the offerer resumed the sacrifice, to the degree he resumed it, to that degree it would have ceased to be sanctified; for it was the
altar that sanctified the gift. Thus, under the Christian dispensation, the entire sanctification of spirit, soul, and body takes place the moment the entire being is laid believingly upon the Christian altar. And when the entire being touches Christ, that moment it is holy. For "whatsoever toucheth the altar shall be holy." As many as touched Jesus, when on earth, were made whole by the virtue that went out of Him.

The only way to
retain the grace of entire sanctification is by keeping all upon the altar. As the soul progresses, increased knowledge and strength involve higher responsibilities. Proportionate to the light are the responsibilities, bringing in to requisition yet more and more of the spirit of sacrifice. In order to retain a state of entire sanctification, these responsibilities must be met. And through Christ, who strengtheneth, they can be met. The strength of Christ is imparted to the soul that relies wholly on Him. The soul that thus relies, has only to ask, "Could my Saviour have endured under such a trial? such a cross? or under any circumstances, however varied, in which I may be placed? — then I may endure." "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me;" not only who did strengthen, or can strengthen, but who strengtheneth just now, and continually, for every emergency as it occurs. It is only by a careful, constant, and entire reliance on Christ, that holiness can be retained.

It is an important consideration, that the entire way to Heaven is narrow. It is the way of the cross. We sometimes hear persons speak of going
around the cross; but those who speak thus have not carefully acquainted themselves with the chart leading from earth to Heaven. The cross covers all the way to Heaven. He who would be a disciple begins to lift it, in the strength of Christ, the first step he takes in the heavenward course. Before he entered upon the way, the Spirit presented the terms of discipleship, and never could he have become a follower of Christ unless he had resolved on entire compliance with the conditions of discipleship, which, in the Saviour's own words, stand recorded thus: "IF ANY MAN WILL BE MY DISCIPLE, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, TAKE UP HIS CROSS, AND FOLLOW ME." Yet we would not have it inferred that the soul will have occasion to say, "The burden of the Lord," while enduring the needful cross, in order to retain a state of entire sanctification; for love knows no burdens. Christ's yoke is easy and His burden light. The strength of Christ being imparted to the soul that trusts wholly in Him, how can the burden be otherwise than easy, and even delightsome, when borne in almighty strength, and with the soul filled with the constraining love of Christ?

Yet we would have it known that the blessing of entire sanctification cannot be understandingly retained otherwise than by the most careful circumspection in
all things. The walk of those professing this grace must not be such as rightfully to provoke the inquiry, "What do ye more than others?" The pursuits, the equipage, and the whole exterior, serve as an index to the mind; and to the degree conformity to this world is practiced, is the default in regard to worldly renunciation evident; and to a proportionate degree would a profession of entire sanctification be questionable and uninfluential.

Perhaps some may say, "When I received the blessing of entire sanctification, my mind was not convinced that exterior things stand in such close connection with deep internal piety." We would not suspect the sincerity of such, but would ask, Have you been faithful to all the convictions you have
since had in regard to these matters? As you have been going onward in the highway cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in, has not clearer light been given, discovering further responsibilities and sacrifices, as connected with your vows of entire devotion? Did not the Spirit in gentle whispers tell you, that you might be more useful, if more evidently cross-bearing and self-sacrificing in your spirit? Now let me assure you before God, that unless faithful to this increase of light, you cannot retain a state of entire sanctification. Increasing light brings increasing responsibilities. You have already made the sacrifice of your time, talents, reputation — your all — to God. Unless you take your sacrifice from off the hallowed altar, you must conclude to be obedient in these higher duties. You were not insincere when you made the surrender of your whole being to God through Christ; but you may now see that more was involved in that sacrifice than your perceptions at that time apprehended; and surely you will not be guilty of the sacrilegious act of removing an offering from off God's altar; for it was indeed the Lord's altar upon which you laid your offering; and it became His property the moment you laid it there. If you shrink from any duty, you will take the offering from off the altar, and then you will fall from a state of entire sanctification. If you begin to fall, the Lord only knows how low your fall may be. It will not avail you that you have had a high experience. The greater the height from which an object falls, the greater the velocity and the lower the depth to which it sinks! Think of Lucifer, how exalted his height, yet how sudden and rapid his fall! — as lightning he fell from Heaven! It was because he was so high that he fell so low. Then keep all upon the Lord's altar, if you would retain a state of entire sanctification; keep ever in the spirit of sacrifice, and you will ever enjoy the transforming, soul-cheering presence of the Sanctifier. The Father Himself will love you, and come and make His abode with you, and, with the sustainings of Christ's blissful, hallowing communings, as your indwelling Saviour, you will prove His infinite ability to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy!