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

Sanctification Instantaneous and Entire.

HE Wesleyan doctrine of evangelical perfection is assailed at three special points — its entireness, its instantaneousness, and its certification. These are so related that they stand or fall together. The proof of any one of these points strongly supports the other two. The demonstration of two makes the third a necessary inference. While our theologians differ on minor points, there is a complete unanimity as to the possibility of instant and entire purification in this life, in answer to a faith fully developed and adequate. We present the following conspectus and consensus of all our standard theologians on two of these points:

Mr. Watson says: "The general promise that we shall receive 'all things whatsoever we ask in prayer believing,' comprehends, of course, 'all things' suited to our case which God has engaged to bestow, and, if the entire renewal of our nature be included in this number, without limitation of time except that in which we ask it, in faith, then to this faith shall the promises of entire sanctification be given, which, in the nature of the case, supposes an instantaneous work immediately following upon our entire and unwavering faith."

Dr. Raymond: "It is obvious that the work of complete sanctification is both progressive and instantaneous. The Spirit may take time in preparing a holy temple for a habitation of God, but he enters and takes full possession — fills the temple with his presence in a single instant of time. The work may be long in the doing, but there is an instant when it is done, completed, finished."

Dr. Summers, in his special treatise -on
Holiness, says that indwelling sin, "when it exists in the heart of the regenerate, is a hated and subdued principle which, by gradual mortification or by an instant and powerful exercise of faith, is entirely destroyed."

Dr. Pope: "There is no restraint of time with the Holy Ghost. The preparations for an entire consecration to God may be long continued or they may be hastened. Whenever the seal of perfection is set on the work, whether in death or in life, it must be a critical and instantaneous act."

Dr. Ralston: "Whenever we comply with the conditions prescribed in the Gospel — that is, whenever we exercise the requisite degree of faith, be it one day or ten years after our conversion —
that moment God will 'cleanse us from all unrighteousnes.'"

Dr. Miley: "Through the divine agency the soul may be as quickly cleansed as the leper, as quickly purified in whole as in part. We admit an instant partial sanctification in regeneration, and therefore may admit the possibility of an instant entire sanctification. Such a view of sanctification does not mean that there need be no preparation for its attainment. The necessity of such a preparation is uniformly held, even by such as hold strongly the second blessing view. . . . Let it be recalled that the question here is not the maturity of the Christian life, but the purification of the nature. For the attainment of the former there must be growth, and growth requires time. But while the subjective purification may be progressively wrought,
it is not subject to the law of growth; it is so thoroughly and solely the work of God that it may be quickly wrought."