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A Criticism of Dr. James Mudge's "Growth in Holiness Toward Perfection"

All the Saved are Sanctified.

"THAT all the saved are sanctified and that there are no unholy children of God ought to be rung out constantly from the pulpit and prayer meeting." The writer of these words was not oblivious of Paul's words to the "brethren," "babes in Christ," in Corinth, whom he was sorely puzzled to classify in either of the two characters that he had just described, the natural man and the spiritual man. He cannot call them natural, because they have life as babes in Christ; and he cannot call them spiritual, because they are so largely carnal. "But," says Dr. Mudge, "they are for all that, in the main, spiritual and saintly and sanctified; that is, set apart for the service of God." What a pity that Paul did not have the wisdom to say these complimentary words to his converts, "in the main spiritual." It would have relieved our good brother from the necessity of flatly contradicting the great apostle who cannot call them spiritual, and who strongly intimates that his Galatian converts also have in them "the flesh lusting against the Spirit," whom he exhorts to go forward to the point where the flesh is crucified with the passions and lusts (Gal. v, 17, 24). Says Dr. Whedon:
The class so severely reprehended and even menaced by Paul in the First Epistle to the Corinthians are held by him Christians, but faulty Christians, who needed to ascend into a higher level of holiness. From this it follows that there may be 'sin in believers.' Not every sin forfeits regeneration, but it dwarfs the spiritual stature and lessens the glorious reward.
The advice, "To ring out from the pulpit and prayer meeting that all the saved are sanctified and that there are no unholy children of God" is rather difficult advice to follow, because we do not know who are saved and who are holy children of God among those who have been baptized at our altars and members of the Church, all of whom imagine that they are saved. I should prefer to sort out those whom I am to pronounce sanctified, fearing lest if I should tell this to all Church members I should get such a reply from some of them as a zealous Plymouth Brother received when he asked a rough-and-ready sinner, "Do you believe the Bible? Yes." "Do you believe that Jesus died for you? Yes." "Then you are saved." The wicked fellow had the good sense to reply, "Don't tell it around here, for the folks will think you are lying." I think we should constantly remind our members that they are by profession following the holy Christ, have received holy baptism, and if truly born of the Holy Spirit they have begun a holy life, and that they should, by a constant use of all the means of grace, be pressing on unto perfection, and that it is their glorious privilege, just as much as that of all itinerant Methodist preachers, "to be made perfect in love in this life." Our author's purpose of promoting holiness would have an excellent safeguard if he would accept the distinction hinted by Miley, and Elaborated by Professor Beet, that the holiness to which the justified are called is objective, and that which they have realized is subjective. Hence the need of urging Christians to that real, inherent, and personal holiness to which the word "saint" points.