By Aaron Hills
Conditions Of Obtaining The Holy Spirit Continued -- Faith
VIII. The last condition that I will name of receiving this great blessing of sanctification is faith. That it is absolutely essential the following texts show: Acts:xxvi. 18: "Sanctified by faith that is in me." Gal. iii. 14: "That we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." Gal. iii. 3: "Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith?" Ezekiel xxxvii. 27, 37: "1 will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall hear my judgments and do them. ..... Thus saith the Lord God: I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them." James i. 6: "But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering." Acts xv. 8, 9: "Giving them the Holy Ghost, . . . cleansing their hearts by faith." And we couple I. Thess. iv. 3 and I. John v 14, 15. United the passages read as follows: "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification; if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."
In the last chapter we considered the condition of consecration; what it was to be utterly surrendered to God. But a seeker after the Baptism with the Spirit and sanctification can take all the steps hitherto mentioned and still not reach the blessing. There are those who have consecrated all, and hungered and thirsted and yet have missed the blessing for years, simply because the last step was not taken. It is like marching across the desert toward Canaan, and halting on the wrong side of the Jordan. The swollen river was crossed by faith. Faith is the last step that brings the seeking soul to the "fullness of blessing" of this Canaan of sanctification. If this step is not taken, the promise is not realized in our hungry souls. This shows the utter folly of confounding consecration with sanctification, one being, as we have already shown, only the antecedent condition of the other. Now I remark:
I. After the soul has been "convicted of want," and felt the importance of having the "old man" of sin crucified, and accepted the fact that the promise of the Holy Spirit was to him, and has obeyed and surrendered and consecrated all, it is both his privilege and duty to believe that God hears his cry and enters into the surrendered heart. Dr. A. J. Gordon states this truth in varying words repeatedly: "It seems clear from the Scriptures that it is still the duty and privilege of believers to receive the Holt Spirit by a conscious, definite act of appropriating faith, just as they received Jesus Christ. We base this conclusion on several grounds. Presumably, if the Paraclete is a person, coming down at a certain definite time to make his abode in the church, for guiding, teaching, and sanctifying the body of Christ, there is the same reason for our accepting him for his special ministry as for accepting the Lord Jesus for his special ministry. To say that in receiving Christ we necessarily received in the same act the gift of the Spirit seems to confound what the Scriptures make distinct. For it is as sinners that we accept Christ for our justification, but it is as sons that we accept the Spirit for our sanctification. 'And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts' (Gal. iv. 6)" (Ministry of Spirit, pp. 68, 69) "Again: "The gift of the Holy Spirit is grounded on the fact that we are sons by faith in Christ. The Scriptures show that we are required to appropriate the Spirit as sons, in the same way that we appropriated Christ as sinners. Let the believer receive the Holy Ghost by a definite act of faith for his consecration, as he received Christ by faith for his justification, and may he not be sure that he is in a safe and Scriptural way of acting? We know of no plainer form of stating the matter than to speak of it as a simple acceptance by faith, the faith which is An affirmation and an act Which bids eternal truth be present fact.
It is a fact that Christ has made atonement for sin; in conversion faith appropriates this fact in order to our justification. It is a fact that the Holy Ghost has been given; in consecration faith appropriates this fact for our sanctification" (Ministry of Spirit, pp. 94, 95).
F. W. Meyer says: "Let us not try to feel that it is so [that we have received the Spirit for sanctification], but BELIEVE that it is so, and reckon on God's faithfulness."
Torrey says: "You may not have the enjoyment of the great blessing at once. A man deeds me a piece of property in Boston. It is mine as soon as the deed is recorded. I may not see it for a week. I may not move into the mansion for a month, but it is mine. If we seek this blessing with all our hearts, believingly, complying with the conditions, it is ours, though we do not have the full enjoyment for weeks or months. We have a right on the promise (I. John v. 14, 15) to claim this blessing in faith; and, with or without feeling, reckon it our own."
Bishop Taylor says: "The essential Prerequisite to Christian perfection, and characteristic of it throughout, is perfection of faith. It implies perfect confidence in God confidence in his wisdom, his goodness, his will (that you be sanctified); confidence in his gospel provisions and promises; confidence in the efficacy of Christ's atonement, his all-cleansing blood, and intercessions; confidence in the good will and effectiveness of the personal Holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father for the very purpose of saving poor sinners from all their sins. . . . . Perfect faith is a simple, reasonable thing, yet thoroughly effective. Give no quarter to accursed unbelief. War against it, through all God's available provisions, as you would against a serpent in your house. Submitting perfectly to God's will you must dare to believe. Your duty is to establish and maintain the fact of your acceptance of Christ, for all that he hath engaged to do for you. You must repose perfect confidence in your Holy Sanctifier." He that "thus believeth shall never be confounded" (Infancy and Manhood Chapter 4). "Right here, in this supreme moment, as you are about to seize the prize, do not let the devil cheat you out of it. Do not permit him to induce you to put faith in your own doings -- your past hungering and thirsting and tears and prayers and vows of consecration, or in anything but Jesus. It must be simply and solely faith in the sanctifying God, not faith in your poor doings." This is the way good Bishop Taylor states this danger and then tells his own experience: "Well, just at the altar of consecration, where you so often prayed, confessed, consecrated yourself, and renewed your covenant, stood your Almighty Saviour, waiting to impart salvation, free and full, to your aching heart; but at the moment of your entire submission, when you should have believed, what did you do? Why, you renewed your covenant, which directed your longing eyes away from Jesus to a future fulfilment of your vows; and it was implied i n your mind, 'then I will be brought into the sweet union with God I so much desire.' You substituted a renewed covenant for present believing, nay, for a present Saviour; you arose and went away, and left Jesus 'standing there at the door knocking for admission.' Instead of opening the door to admit him in all the fullness of his saving power, without which it was impossible for you to do better, with a pious vow in your mouth you retired through a backway, to your own dreary work, as weak as before." ... "As you are running on the gospel track, under the pressure of this heaven-wrought desire, into the depot of full salvation, look out! just at the entrance of the depot the devil adjusts a very ingenious 'switch,' and if you are not careful, you will be caught on this Satanic 'switch,' and carried off the direct and only track leading into this glorious depot, on to the old circuitous Jewish track of 'going about to establish your own righteousness, instead of submitting yourself to the righteousness of God'; and round and round you will go, and wonder why you did not get in. 'Almost in,' you say to yourself; 'I can see in. Surely, I will get in soon.' Surely you never will get in on that track. It don't lead in at all. It is the wrong road. I spent several years on that road, and have thoroughly threaded on my knees this dark labyrinth of legal complications, and am, hence, from experience, somewhat prepared to give advice to my young friends and profoundly sympathize with them in their struggles.
"When I got light on this subject I changed the order of the arrangement at once. I said, 'O lord, I have been very unfaithful and I am very sorry' (not that I had yielded to known sin. I had been struggling to be holy from the night I was converted to God, and had been preserved from any wilful departures from God). 'I have tried a hundred times to be holy and failed every time. I am very sorry; but, O God, I have no more confidence in the flesh, or in any efforts of my own. I have tried and tried till my heart is sick. I know I will never be any better, nor do any better, unless my heart is made better. However much I may desire it, and however sincerely I may try, I am sure I can never be any better than I have been, nor do any better than I have done, unless renewed in the spirit of my mind.' I was indeed stripped of all hope from anything I had done, or could do. Not a peg in all the future of my life, no more than in the past, on which to hang a hope, or furnish ground for a postponement. T hen the crucifixion of the flesh, with its fallacious hopes and plans of reformation, dressed up in the most pious phraseology as they are, was fully accomplished. My conscience was purged of dead works, and I was let down into the vale of self-abasement and self-despair, and down in that vale of self-conscious impotency my feet rested firmly on the Rock of Ages, and Jesus was made unto me wisdom and righteousness and sanctification. I did not attain to the beatific altitude of Mount Nebo, and exult in visions of heavenly glory, but I received a baptism of fire that consumed those dead works and fallacious hopes; and in utter self-conscious helplessness I learned to cling to Jesus in all the simplicity of a child, saying: 'Every moment, Lord, I need the merit of thy death. If left to myself for one moment, that very moment I will sin against thee.' The purified heart feels as no other heart can its utter helplessness. 'Our sufficiency is of God.' Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me.' I learned the happy art of living by faith in the Son of God" (Infancy and Manhood, pp. 70-76).
Rev. Isaiah Reid, in his little book, "The Holy Way," states the place of faith in sanctification as follows: "When the act of consecration is complete, this is a conscious fact in the soul's experience. On this it can rely with certainty. What next it needs is, to reckon that it can rest on some of the revealed words of God about a soul that came so far at the call of God, and by way of conscious experience. In other words, believe what God says of a soul thus consecrated, 'The altar sanctifies the gift.' Believe what God says because he says it. Leave it all there, wholly, at once, and forever. What God says is truer than your feelings. Believe him and have feeling. Confess your faith in him. Confess your part of the work done. Rest there till the Holy Ghost reports the work done within, all the time owning that since you have complied with the terms, he is doing it for you. Not yet because you feel it, but because he hath said it. Having turned all over to God forever, you may reckon yourself dead unto sin and alive unto God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. You have complied with the terms laid down so far, but it is not by works, but by faith. There is still the great thing for you to do, that is believe. Believe that God is, at least, as faithful as you are, and is doing his part, though you do not see him, or feel him -- believe he is now sanctifying you. You can believe (know) you are consecrated, and you can believe what God says a believing, consecrated soul receives. God can not bear false witness. He honours such faith and does the work."
Now the reader will let another speak on this vital point. It is by the repeated statements of various persons that this all-important matter will become clear to you and you will learn how to secure the filling of the Holy Spirit -- the sanctifying baptism. Dr. Carradine states this condition with great clearness thus: "I wanted to be able to turn upon sin and the world the eye and ear and heart of a dead-man. I wanted perfect love to God and man, and a perfect rest in my soul all the time. This dark 'something' that prevented this life I laid on the altar, and asked God to consume it as by fire. I never asked God once at this time for pardon. That I had in my soul already. But it was cleansing, sin-eradication I craved. My prayer was for sanctification. After the battle of consecration came the battle of faith. Both precede the perfect victory of sanctification. Vain is consecration without faith to secure the blessing. Hence men can be perfectly consecrated all their lives, and never know the blessing of sanctification. I must believe there is such a work in order to realize the grace. Here were the words of the Lord that proved a foundation for my faith: 'Every devoted thing is most holy unto the Lord' (Lev. xxvii. 28). 'The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.' Still again: 'The altar sanctifies the gift' (Matt. xxiii. 19 and Ex xxix. 37). In this last quotation is a statement of a great fact. The altar is greater than the gift; and whatsoever is laid upon the altar (in faith) becomes sanctified and holy. It is the altar that does the work. The question arises: Who and what is the altar? In Heb. xiii. 10 -12 we are told: 'We have an altar ..... Wherefore Jesus also that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered without the gate.' Dr. Clark, in commenting upon the passage, says the altar here mentioned is Jesus Christ. All who have studied attentively the life of our Lord can not but be impressed with the fact that in his wondrous person is seen embraced the priest, the lamb and the altar. He did the whole thing; there was no one to help. As the victim he died; as the priest he offered himself, and his divine nature was the altar upon which the sacrifice was made. The Saviour, then, is the Christian's altar. Upon him I lay myself (in faith). The altar sanctifies the gift. The blood cleanses from all sin, personal and inbred. Can I believe that? Will I believe it? My unbelief is certain to shut me out of the blessing; my belief as certainly shuts me in. The instant we add a perfect faith to a perfect consecration the work is done, and the blessing descends. As Paul says: 'We which have believed do enter into rest' (Heb. iv. 3). All this happened to the writer. For nearly three days he lived in a constant state of faith and prayer. He believed God; he believed the work was done before the witness was given. On the morning of the third day the witness was given" (Sanctification, pp. 19-21).
"Is everything upon the altar? If so, who is the altar? Paul tells you it is Christ. What does the altar do? Glory be to God, it sanctifies the gift. . . Thus it is we become holy if we are on the altar Christ; if, in a word, we are perfectly consecrated. The Word of God says that 'every devoted thing is most holy unto the Lord.' Will you believe that? Will you take God at his word?" (p. 140). " You must believe that Christ makes you holy right now. Will you take that step and receive full salvation? If you can and will believe that the blood of Jesus Christ sanctifies you NOW, the work of sanctification will be done, and the glory of God will come upon you. Plant yourself on God's own word; he says that the altar sanctifies you, that the blood cleanses and makes you holy. You do not say this; the preacher did not originate the speech; it is the word of the Lord! Then believe that word; receive it in your heart; say, 'I am sanctified by the blood, because Christ says so,' and hold on with unmoved confidence till the witness comes. The witness will come when the soul is consecrated and the heart exercises a present appropriating faith. It is bound to come because of the divine faithfulness and in fulfilment of the divine promise" (p. 41). "Millions are ready to say: 'If God gives certain emotions or experiences declaring his work, then will we believe.' But where appears the faith in such salvation? Don' t we see that then it is no longer faith but knowledge? Don't we see that the demand here to God is, 'Let me know and I will believe,' while God says, ' Believe and ye shall know'? Some one says of Abraham that 'he walked out into empty space on the naked promise of Almighty God.' Such a faith the centurion had when he asked Christ to heal his servant" (pp. 154, 155). "My faith rests not upon any mental condition of my own, or any play of emotion, but upon the simple statement of God that I am sanctified" (p. 158).
"In a recent visit to Georgia I was informed of a case strikingly illustrative. It was that of a young man who, after having made the perfect consecration demanded by the Bible, believed that the blood of Christ did then and there cleanse him from all sin. He was without feeling; but he remembered that we are not saved by feeling, but by faith; and so he lived on the first day, clinging to God's word about the matter, as a man in midocean would cling to a spar. Some one saw him shake his head in a peculiar, positive way in church. One sitting near him heard him say at the same moment: 'The blood of Christ does sanctify me.' Later in the day he was approached by a friend, who asked: 'Brother, how are you feeling?' His reply was: 'I have no feeling, but I know that Jesus sanctifies my soul, because he said so.' Next day he saw an unfriendly critic observing him in the congregation; again came the positive movement of the head with the murmured words: 'He does cleanse me from all sin.' To sympathetic and anxious Christian friends his constant statement was: 'No feeling; but perfect faith that the blood cleanses me NOW.' Thus he walked for several days by 'dry faith,' when one morning, as a friend started to put the usual question, suddenly he cried out in tones that thrilled beyond all description: 'O glory! glory! my soul can not contain the joy and blessedness it feels.' The witness had come, as indeed it always will come to the man who takes God at his word. Why is it that so many seek the blessing for months without attaining it? Because they put the work in the future. They place the fulfilment of the promise to some remote time, when God says Now! and demands that our faith shall say now " (pp. 160, 161).
Dr. Keen says: 'Faith being the exercise of the power we possess to believe God's Word, it is a voluntary act. The soul must recognize that it can believe; must choose to believe must say, 'I will believe,' and persistently reckon pardon or purity its own on God's word, in the face of every temptation to doubt, arising from any source whatever. ... At every stage in seeking the Lord there is either defeat in believing Satan or victory in believing Jesus" (P. 34, Faith Papers).
He further on gives this illustration: "A Professor in a University on the Pacific Coast had been for ten years a seeker of full salvation, but did not come into its enjoyment. One day an aged minister, travelling in the interest of the American Bible Society, was stopping at his home. They fell into conversation on Christian experience. This aged minister told how many years since he had found, and been able to walk in conscious cleansing from all sin. The Professor listened with interest, and when the old saint was through, he said to him: 'Father, I have been seeking that blessing for ten years. I believe I have put all on the altar; but I haven't received the power of sanctifying grace in my soul.' Said the aged brother: 'Do you want to receive it now?' The Professor replied: 'Yes.' 'Well,' said the minister, 'let us kneel down right here, and you may receive it now.' They had been sitting side by side in the Professor's parlour. The Professor was a little reluctant to believe that the struggle o f ten years could end right away. He doubtless thought the old man was very sanguine, but they knelt together. 'Now,' said the minister, 'Professor. are you wholly given to God?' and with much tenderness and honesty of heart, he said, 'I believe I am.' 'You have put all on the altar?' 'Yes.' 'Well, Professor, the Lord says, "The altar sanctifies the gift"; is it true or not?' He dare not tempt God and say it is not, and with a faltering and almost coerced faith, he said, ' It is true,' and instantly the refining fire went through his soul" (pp. 48, 49).
I will introduce some more testimony that in the mouth of many witnesses every word may be established. I want to make this book so plain that any seeker after the baptism with the Holy Spirit and the sanctification and power that attend it, need not miss the way. I am ambitious to make such a book as would have brought me light and help twenty-five years ago. I was then seeking this blessing. I needed instruction. I went to President Finney, and the dear old saint knelt beside me and placed his hand on my head and prayed for me. That was itself a benediction. But how to take the blessing which God wanted to give me I did not know, and he did not tell me. Had I been properly instructed then my whole ministry would have been changed. I long to tell others now what I then longed to know. There is no plainer way of teaching than by these illustrations from real life. This is my excuse for giving them so abundantly.
Dr. Daniel Steele testifies: "I found that my faith had three points to master: the Comforter, for me, now. Upon the promise I ventured with an act of appropriating faith, claiming the Comforter as my right in the name of Jesus. For several hours I clung by naked faith. Suddenly I became conscious of a mysterious power exerting itself upon my sensibilities, . . . melting my heart into a fiery stream of love. Christ became so unspeakably precious that I instantly dropped all earthly good, reputation, property, friends, family, everything, in the twinkling of an eye; my soul crying out:
but Christ to me be given,
Rev. Dr. Lowrey writes thus: "I had lived a devout and holy life during all these preparatory years, and especially so during the year preceding my ordination to the ministry, and yet I had not obtained the evidence of entire sanctification. Indeed, I was painfully conscious of remaining sin, and strove against it all the year by fasting and prayer. Still I went to Conference, and finally stood before the alter of ordination, unhealed of sin. But notwithstanding all my defects, I am persuaded a more sincere and conscientious soul never stood before such an altar. As every candidate is required to do, I answered all the test questions in the affirmative: 'Have you faith in God? Are you going on to perfection? Do you expect to be made perfect in love in this life? Are you groaning after it?' I had some misgiving about my positive response to the last question, whether I so intensely desired perfection that I was 'groaning after it.' The language of my soul immediately was, 'If I do not I will till t hat grace is obtained. I will pursue it with travailing pangs. I will never relax my efforts nor ungrasp my hold.' ... About three months after this date, God, in his love, gave me the evidence of full salvation. Observe, I did not approach it gradually by any sensible increase of joy or power. My soul did not flower up into it by successive blessings. I remained as far from the actual grasp of the great salvation, an hour before it came, as I had been for nine years. And I suppose it would have continued so but for one mighty resolve, and that was to bring on a crisis. I found I must fix a time and limit my faith to it! Therefore under the conviction that it must be now or never I dismissed every other subject, suspended every pursuit, and retired into a room, bowed all alone before God, and pleaded for immediate redemption, immediate deliverance, immediate cleansing from all sin, the fullness of the Spirit and perfection in love. I soon realized the unfailing truth of these words: 'Faithful is he that calls you who also will do it.' Somehow I was moved and inspired to trust. ... In conjunction with this trusting and praying, a joyous impression, evidently a divine conviction amounting to an evidence, came upon my mind to the effect that God had graciously granted my request -- that I was healed of all sin; that I had entered into rest from sin; that its corrodings had ceased. I was happy, but not ecstatic. The prevailing feeling seemed to be that of rest, satisfaction, great peace, and a consciousness of cleansing and sanctity. My joy was more solemn and sacred than ever before. My soul seemed hushed into silence before the Lord, on account of his nearness and realized indwelling, and the overshadowing presence of the Holy Spirit " (Possibilities of Grace, pp. 463-465).
We return now to the case of Hannah Whitall Smith, whose strivings and hunger we considered in another chapter: "I began to long after holiness; I began to groan under the bondage of sin in which I was still held. My whole heart panted after entire conformity to the will of God and unhindered communion with him. But so thoroughly convinced was I that no efforts or resolutions or prayers of my own would be of any avail, and so ignorant was I of any other way that I was almost ready to give up in despair. In this time of sore need (1863) God threw into my company some whose experiences seemed to be very different from mine. They declared that they had discovered a 'way of holiness' wherein the redeemed soul might live and walk in abiding peace, and might be made 'more than conqueror,' through the lord Jesus Christ. I asked them their secret, and they replied: 'It is simply in ceasing from all efforts of our own and in trusting the Lord to make us holy,' Never shall I forget the astonishment this answer gave me. 'What!' I said, 'do you really mean that you have ceased from your own efforts altogether, in your daily living, and that you do nothing but trust the lord? And does he actually and truly make you conquerors?' 'Yes,' was the reply, 'the lord does it all. We abandon ourselves to him. We do not even try to live ourselves; but we abide in him and he lives in us. He works in us to will and to do of his good pleasure, and we hold our peace.' Like a revelation the glorious possibilities of a life such as this flashed upon me. That Jesus should now live in my life in the same way as he first gave it to me without my being able to do anything except to believe and receive, surpassed my utmost conceptions. . . . At last I saw clearly that I was indeed truly nothing; that I needed the Lord just as absolutely for my daily living as I had needed him in the first place to give me life. I discovered that I was just as unable to govern my temper or my tongue for five minutes as I had been long ago to convert my soul. I found out, in short, the simple truth which I ought to have learned long before, that without Christ I could do nothing; absolutely nothing..... The Lord showed himself to me as a perfect and complete and present Saviour, and I abandoned my whole self to his care; I trusted him utterly and entirely. I took him for my Saviour from the daily power of sin with as naked a faith as I once took him for my Saviour from its guilt. I believed the truth that he was my practical sanctification, as well as my justification, and that he not only could save me, and would save me, but that he did. The Lord Jesus Christ became my present Saviour, and my soul found rest at last -- such a rest that no words describe it. The secret of holiness was revealed to me, and that secret was Christ -- 'made unto me sanctification.' At first my faith was but a weak and wavering one. Almost tremblingly I hung on to Christ moment by moment, saying continually in my heart: 'Lord, I trust thee. look, Lord, I am trusting thee.' But I found to my astonishment that it was a practical reality" (Forty Witnesses, pp. 148-153).
We gave the account of Mrs. Osie M. Fitzgerald's consecration in the previous chapter. We will now see how she secured the blessing by faith: "When my surrender and consecration were complete, I said, 'What now, Lord?' The Spirit said, 'What things soever ye desire, when ye pray believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them' (Mark xi. 24). I saw clearly I must believe before I could receive. The tempter said, 'How can you believe without any evidence?' I replied, 'I have God's word, and I believe the work is done if I never have any more evidence till I meet him at his bar!' 'But,' said the tempter, 'you may find yourself mistaken.' I said, 'I will take that promise with me to the bar of God, and I will tell him that I have been trusting him (on his word) for a clean heart without any evidence.' Some time afterward a good brother said to me: ' You do believe that God cleanses you now from all sin?' If I had had a thousand bodies and souls I could have thrown them all into that 'Yes.' The moment I confessed it, the Holy Ghost came with lightning speed into my heart, and cleansed it from all sin and took up his abode in my heart, and filled me with such unspeakable joy that for three days I scarcely knew whether I was in the body or out of it', (Forty Witnesses, pp. 169, 170).
She thus describes the thirty-one years of Christian life that followed: "God cleansed my heart from all sin and the Holy Ghost sanctified me wholly, I think. Mr. Wesley says it is next to a miracle for any one to receive that blessing and never lose it. Then I surely am next to a miracle of grace, for I have never lost it, and I have no recollection of ever feeling the stirrings of anger, jealousy, pride, self-will or bitterness since the day God cleansed my heart from all sin, and the Holy Ghost came in and filled me. He has been the door-keeper of my heart ever since."
Phoebe Palmer, of blessed memory, when seeking the baptism with the Holy Spirit had her battle as most others do about this matter of faith: " 'Must I believe God will receive me simply because it stands written in the Holy Word, "I will receive you," without any other evidence than the word of God?" I exclaimed. 'And,' said the adversary, 'suppose after you have believed you don't feel any different, what will you do? Suppose you are called to live a long life without any of these manifestations which others enjoy?' I now saw what faith was in all its simplicity, and I replied, 'I will come up before my Judge and in the face of an assembled universe say, "The foundation of my faith was thy immutable word." ' The moment I came to this point, the Holy Spirit whispered, 'This is just the way in which Abraham walked: "By faith he journeyed, not knowing whither he went." ' My faith was at once put to the test. I had expected that some wonderful manifestation would follow. But I was shut up to faith -- naked faith in a naked promise. I then took the advanced ground of confession. Giving God the glory due to his name I exclaimed: 'Through thy grace alone I have been enabled to give myself wholly and forever to thee. Thou hast given thy word, assuring me that thou dost receive. I believe that word! Alleluia! Glory be to the Holy Spirit forever! Oh, into what a region of light, glory and purity was my soul at this moment ushered! I felt that I was but as a drop in the ocean of infinite love, and Christ was all in all" (Forty Witnesses, pp. 302-305).
No body of believers today so constantly preach, or so successfully teach, holiness and sanctification as does the Salvation Army. There is not a church in the land that would not be blessed and spiritually improved by sitting at General Booth's feet. This is what he teaches concerning the relation of faith to sanctification by the Holy Spirit: "What is the faith that sanctifies? It is that act of simple trust which, on the authority of Christ's word, says, 'The blood of Jesus Christ does NOW cleanse me from all inward sin, and makes me pure in heart before him, and I do here and now commit myself to him, believing that he receives me, and that he will evermore keep me holy while I thus trust him.' When a soul thus trusts God, will he be, in every case, made clean? Yes, always -- that is, if a soul having the assurance that he does fully renounce all known and doubtful wrong doing, and gives himself up to the doing of the will of God in all things, thus trusts God for full cleansing, he has the authority of God's word for believing that the work is done, no matter how he feels,. and he must hold on to this faith till the feeling comes. If we confess our sins, he is faithful (to his own promise) and just (to the suffering and agony of his Son, which purchased the blessing) to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I. John i. 7).
"What is meant by holding on till the feeling comes? Sometimes God tries faith for a little time, and, although the soul has the witness that he has put his sacrifice on the altar -- that he is fully consecrated, and has the witness in himself -- that he believes that God accepts it; still, he may have, like Abraham of old, to wait for the fire, which makes him inwardly feel and know that God cleanses his soul; but, if he watches his sacrifice, and waits a season, the fire will assuredly come.
"But do not many stumble at the simplicity of faith? Yes! Doubtless many, whom we have every reason to believe really do give up all, and are willing to follow the Lamb, withersoever He goes, can not, or will not, or dare not believe that God does, then and there, cleanse them. They are always coming up to the edge of the cleansing wave, stripped and ready for the sanctifying plunge, but alas! they do not step in. They say they believe, and they do believe some things about God's willingness and ability; but they do not believe that God does, really and truly, now cleanse. You must press them to this, drive them up to it; and when they do really trust God for a full salvation you will see the difference in them. It is important that the soul should distinctly apprehend the fact that it is God that cleanses, and that faith and consecration are only the conditions on which God's saving, sanctifying grace is given" (Holy Living, pp. 22, 23).
Rev. William Jones, D. D., LL. D., quotes Adam Clark as saying: "In no part of the Scripture are we directed to seek remission of sins seriatim, one now, and another then, and so on. Neither in any part of the Bible are we directed to seek holiness by gradation. Neither a gradation pardon nor a gradation purification exists in the Bible." "It is God's work, and is wrought by the Holy Ghost, and is done AT ONCE" (Elim to Carmel, p. 183).
The place of faith in God's plan of giving the Holy Spirit in sanctifying power is, after the other preliminary conditions are complied with, to claim the blessing now, now, NOW, and then to take it for granted that the blessing has been obtained according to divine promise. Says Dr. Lowrey: ''Faith is to full salvation what the touch is to a jar charged with electricity -- the medium of communication. It is the touch of faith alone that brings the healing virtue out of Christ by which the believer is made every whit whole. Preceding acts are conducive to faith, but faith alone brings salvation. Like the link that couples a train of cars to the locomotive, all the preceding links are necessary to make the train a unit and secure the advantage of the moving force, but it is the last link only that joins the train to the power of transportation. Until this connection is made there can be no motion. The track may be perfect, the cars laden and all put together, the officers on board, the time for starting arrived, but the train can not budge an inch until the king-bolt drops through the last coupling, and makes the coaches fast to the locomotive. In that moment weakness is joined to power and immobility to motion" (Possibilities of Grace, p. 311). Dear reader, your faith is that king-bolt; let it join you to Christ right now, now for the sanctifying Spirit and a full salvation. Dr. Keen, the great Pentecostal evangelist of the M. E. Church, writes: "Consent to receive the Holy Spirit now. Said a venerable minister, 'After I had given myself wholly to God, and was willing to do or to suffer for him, the hardest thing to consent to was to be holy right then and there -- to receive the Holy Ghost now.' Yet it is just when the soul consents to receive the Holy Spirit now that it is filled. The soul must in faith say NOW to the Holy Ghost" (Pentecostal Papers, p 92).
Andrew Murray said in an address at Moody's Institute in Chicago: "It is indeed a solemn, precious thought -- God's Holy Spirit can make all God's promises and provisions in Christ our experience. Who are ready to come into this life tonight, and claim the heritage as the child of God? Who will cry, 'I am going to ask that Rom. viii. 1-16 shall be literally fulfilled in my life.' Let me suggest four single steps;
"1. Say tonight, I must be filled with the Spirit. God commands it. My soul needs it. The Spirit longs for it. Christ will do it. The world needs it. I can not live aright without it. I must be filled with the Spirit.
"2. I may be filled with the Spirit. God does not give a 'must' without a 'may.' God does not say you must live holy without saying you may. You can live holy. Say 'I may.' God has promised it, Christ has purchased it, the Word reveals it, thousands have experienced it. I may be filled with the Spirit.
"3. I would be filled with the Spirit. Say, Lord, my heart longs for it. Begin to say, I give up everything, O God, self, sin, self-will, self-confidence, the flesh; I give up everything. I would be filled with the Holy Spirit. Lord God, set thy mark upon me; I am an empty vessel waiting to be filled. I would be filled with the Holy Spirit, I am ready.
"4. I shall be filled with the Holy Spirit God has promised it to me. I have a right to say, I shall be filled with the Spirit. Say that tremblingly, and very, very humbly. I confess I am carnal. I have felt my sinfulness. I confess my sin. My heart is willing for it; I am going to trust God for it. O God, thou doest above what I can ask or think; I give myself to thee entirely; I trust thee forever; I give myself up fully, and I claim the filling of the Holy Spirit. Thou give it" (Spiritual Life, pp. 27, 28).
Dear reader, such language means instantaneous sanctification by faith, for you now.