A Compendium of Christian Theology

By William Burt Pope, D.D.,

Volume Three

Chapter 2

Christian Sanctification



               Purification, Consecration, Holiness


               Progressive in Every Aspect.


               Purification from Indwelling Sin:

               Entire Consecration or Perfect Love;

               Christian Perfection.


               Theories of Christian Perfection;

               The Early Church;

               Fanatical and Ascetic;







A very extensive class of terms—perhaps the most extensive—exhibits the Christian estate as one of consecration to God. This entire range of phraseology has been transferred from the ancient temple service to the use of the new temple or church. It embraces all aspects of the Christian privilege as one of dedication to God, whether the dedication be external or internal, effected by the Spirit or presented by the believer. But Sanctification is here viewed as a blessing bestowed freely under the covenant of grace; and we must therefore to some extent, though not altogether, omit its ethical relations. As a privilege of the covenant, its principle is twofold: purification from sin, consecration to God; holiness being the state resulting from these. As a gift of grace, it is declared to be perfect in the design of the Spirit; and full provision is made for the Entire Sanctification of the believer in the present life, even as full provision is made for his finished Righteousness and perfect Sonship

The terms which belong to this branch of Christian theology are abundant: they constitute the largest class of homogeneous phrases in the New Testament; including almost every word pertaining to the Levitical economy. In their range they embrace the entire vocabulary of the Altar, its sacrifices, oblation, and priesthood, Divine and human; sanctification, dedication, presentation, hallowing, consecration; sprinkling, washing, and putting away sin; purity, sanctity, love and holiness, and the opposites of these, with all their shades; sealing, anointing, and therefore the very word Christian itself. The original terms form a wide and sacred assemblage for the department of Biblical theology; and the careful discrimination of their meanings, in the light of the Old Testament and of classical Greek, is the best method of studying this whole subject. They may be distributed, however, into two groups: first, those which signify the process of sanctification, as it is negative and positive, that is, as purification from sin and consecration to God; and, secondly, those which define the state of holiness, as it is imperfect and perfect, or partial and entire, sanctification. In considering these, it must be observed that we have not yet to do with ethical sanctification, but with the imparted blessing of the covenant of grace: man's efforts and attainments being subordinate. Of course the corresponding duties cannot be altogether omitted; but the distinction is important, and it must be remembered throughout our discussion of this privilege of the new covenant


Sanctification, negatively considered, is purification from sin; considered positively, it is the consecration of love to God: both being the direct and sole work of the Holy Ghost, and their unity holiness

I. Purification or cleansing from sin has in the whole Bible, but especially in the New Testament, two meanings: that of a removal of the bar which prevents the Divine acceptance of the offerer at His altar, and of the defilement which renders his offering unfit to be presented. The two meanings are in fact scarcely ever throughout the entire Scriptures disjoined

1. Christians are sanctified from guilt. This may seem a strange collocation of phrases

But guilt, or the consciousness of sin as our own, is not a forensic word only: it has that meaning in court, and household, and temple. It is before the Divine altar the conscience of sins1 which would keep the offerer from approaching. How much more shall the blood of Christ, Who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works?2 Here the term kathariseín is equivalent in the temple to St

Paul's dikaioun in the forum of the gospel: to be purified is to have our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience,3 from the conscience or guilty consciousness of evil

1 Heb. 10:2; 2 Heb. 9:14; 3 Heb. 10:22

2. They are sanctified also by the purification from their sin viewed as defilement. But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified:1 here the middle term seems to unite the two others in itself. The Old-Testament illustration of this was the purifying of the flesh,2 which was the outward symbol of deliverance not from guilt but from impurity. In fact the word washing is one of the widest terms of the class: it includes all processes for the putting away of sin whether in its guilt or in its defilement, even to the uttermost; and in this large sense the penitent Psalmist cried out for it: wash me throughly from mine iniquity,3 where iniquity stands for the defilement of which it was the cause

But guilt and defilement may be here viewed as one: since the stain or MACULA of sin is its offensiveness in the sight of God, blotted out or removed when the shiner is accepted

1 1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Heb. 9:13; 3 Psa. 51:2

3. These two are sometimes combined and shown to correspond, in the temple service of Christianity, to the blessings of justification and regeneration in the court mediatorial and the household of faith. Mark the following striking passage: for by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified:1 made provision for their perfect pardon and holiness. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that He had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. In these sentences we have justification, regeneration, and sanctification united: remission of sins, the new law in the heart, and both introduced to illustrate the Spirit's perfect sanctification. So in regard to the first Gentiles: purifying their hearts by faith,2 which must include the whole work of the Gospel on them and in them. Though the distinction should not be pressed, it may be said that the purification from guilt is effected by sprinkling as the more external and as it were imputative application of what in washing is more internal, the two however being really the same. We read in St. Peter: elect . . . through sanctification of the Spirit,3 which is divided into two branches: unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. From the defilement and internal corruption of sin Christians are cleansed or washed: that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.4 The washing, however, sometimes must include both, as in the doxology unto Him that loved us and washed us from, our sins in His own blood:5 here the reading loúsanti is in some texts significantly changed into lúsanti Whichever reading is right, the corrector has not introduced a theological error; for the washing is equivalent to release from guilt, the loosing and the cleansing being the same

Both ideas are found in some of the synonyms employed, such as the putting away or taking away6 of sin. Sanctification has the double meaning in another passage: Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood;7 and also in such as speak of Christians as sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints.8

1 Heb. 10:14-18; 2 Acts 15:9; 3 1 Pet. 1:2; 4 Eph. 5:26; 5 Rev. 1:5; 6 Heb. 5:4,11; 7 Heb. 13:12; 8 1 Cor. 1:2

II. The positive element of sanctification is the Holy Spirit's consecration to God of what is dedicated to God by man. In the New Testament this is the love of God which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us:1 the Divine love as the principle of consecration awakening our love as the principle of our personal dedication

1 Rom. 5:5

1. There is a lower, wider, and, as it were, improper sense of the term throughout the Scriptures. (1.) What is already holy is sanctified by the acknowledgment of its holiness

Hallowed be Thy name!1 Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts.2 Let him be holy still,3 signifying that the holiness of the saint is to mark his character until ratified and accepted in heaven. The idea here is that of absolute separation from all unholiness; and the term is always hagiazein: the recognition of an existing sanctity. (2.) What is common, and in that sense unsanctified, but without connoting so far as that is possible any moral character in the object, is made holy: the opposite of koinon hgeisthai. The temple that sanctifieth the gold.4 It is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.5 (3.) The term in these last instances refers to things; but everywhere else in the New Testament it is, used of persons, and this personal consecration may be said to absorb into itself all other meanings. It will be useful, however, to remember the distinction when we come to consider more fully the imputative character of sanctification

1 Mat. 6:9; 2 1 Pet. 3:15; 3 Rev. 22:11; 4 Mat. 23:17; 5 1 Tim. 4:5

2. Consecration proper of persons is to be viewed as twofold: it is to God's possession and to God's service

(1.) The leading, or at least the most important, idea is that of possession. All men belong to God by creation; but the bestowment of the virtue of redemption makes them His in a special sense; and if they are His then all that they have becomes His: consecration in detail follows from and is a part of the general consecration. The believer is supposed to DEDICATE himself, and the Spirit SANCTIFIES him to God. CONSECRATION is a term in English synonymous with both, common therefore to the believer and the Spirit, as in many passages. That He might sanctify and cleanse it . . . that He might present it to Himself a glorious church,1 where consecration and presentation are united as the Divine act. Here we have the sanctification following on the purification, hína auteén hagiásee katharísas, and the word dedicate or present, used of Christ Himself, even as St. Paul limits it to the believer: that ye present your bodies,2 or yield yourselves unto God.3 Both ideas are in the words and purify unto Himself a peculiar people:4 teaching also as a significant addition that the consecration is to Christ as Divine; for none but God receives the consecrated object. The possession, however, is the same as union and fellowship

The souls that are dedicated and consecrated to God are not merely His; they have also the most intimate union with Him. Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ:5 a fellowship of sanctification dependent on our being cleansed from sin. It is the glory of the believer's relation to God in the new covenant that it is more than being simply His property. It is a transcendent and mystical communion: sanctify them through Thy truth; and I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one.6

1 Eph. 5:26,27; 2 Rom. 12:1; 3 Rom. 6:13; 4 Tit. 2:14; 5 1 John 1:3,7

(2.) Then follows consecration to the service of God. The Divine temple and the Divine service are correlative terms. The whole life of the Christian is spent in a sanctuary. The people are the house of God: ye are the temple of the living God;1 their life is their worship: to offer up spiritual sacrifices;2 and He is Himself the temple in which we live, and move, and have our being:3 for he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God.4 Hence the spirit of consecration is that of entire devotion to the Divine service. Christians are vessels unto honor, sanctified and meet for the Master's use.5

1 2 Cor. 6:16; 2 1 Pet. 2:5; 3 Acts 17:28; 4 1 John 4:16; 5 2 Tim. 2:21

3. The Holy Ghost is the seal and the power of this consecration; and these as it were in one, yet with a distinction: He is the SEAL1 of God's possession, and the POWER of dedication to God's service. After that ye believed2—or on believing, ye were sealed, pisteúsantes, with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession: here God's possession is sealed till He finally redeems it; and the seal that sets apart His people is the beginning of their own experience of religion, which is the possession of God as their inheritance. The mere contact with the altar sanctified the gold, but the spirit of man is sanctified by no less than the indwelling Spirit. The consciousness of the presence of the Holy Ghost within is the testimony to the Christian that he is sanctified to God: as to his pardon and adoption the Spirit as it were speaketh expressly; but his sanctification is silently declared by His very presence and indwelling. So much for the former, the Seal; as to the latter, the Power, the Holy Ghost is the energy of the soul's consecration to the will and service of God

The faith which worketh by love3 is the faith which is the fruit of the Spirit.4 It is the strength of all obedience, and resignation, and devotion. The Spirit whose indwelling assures of acceptance is the power of a final consecration of every faculty to God: entire sanctification—to anticipate—is this, whatever else. It is the full, unhindered, unlimited, almighty energy of the power of His presence in the soul

1 Eph. 1:13,14; 2 Eph. 1:13,14; 3 Gal. 5:6; 4 Gal. 5:22

III. The unity of these is HOLINESS. Those who are purged, or sprinkled from sin, which is separation from God, and who are consecrated to Him, are holy or saints, hagios

Christ is their hagiasmos: the ground or principle or source of their sanctification as in process, in every sense negativing their sin. The state in which they live is that of Hagioosúne, or holiness

1. It is a relative sanctity: not of course forensic, but corresponding nevertheless to the imputation of righteousness. As there is a holy day, a holy church, a holy city; and as whatsoever toucheth the altar shall be holy,1 be accounted holy, so Christians are an holy nation.2 The holy city3 was most impure when so called, in remembrance of its past, and as yet not altogether forfeited, sanctity; and the congregation of Corinth were addressed notwithstanding their partial unholiness as sanctified in Christ Jesus.4

1 Exo. 29:37; 2 1 Pet. 2:9; 3 Mat. 27:53; 4 1 Cor. 1:2

2. But this last quotation indicates that it is also an internal holiness: not only called saints but called to be saints: the addition in the translation precisely expresses the double truth, that all who are called saints are called to become such. These same Corinthians termed holy are exhorted to attain moral sanctity: let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God,1 pneúmatos epiteloúntes hagioosúneen. As the soul is one and indivisible, its leading principle of consecration to God gives it its character, though that is not yet perfect. The daily, habitual washing cleanseth us from all sin,2 katharízei, as a fountain continually sending its streams over the soul

1 2 Cor. 7:1; 2 1 John 1:7

3. The external and internal holiness are always combined in the purpose of God. No sanctity possible to man, even at the foot of the throne, is perfect without imputation. The past sin is regarded as for ever sprinkled away: it remains as a fact of history, but a cancelled fact; as defilement that once was, but is now effaced. But no imputation of sanctity as belonging to the church will avail without the reality. In the attainment of Christian perfection the external and the internal are one

4. Many other terms are used to denote the estate of holiness under each of the two aspects of purification and consecration. It is described rather with reference to the Divine act in hagiasmós, SANCTIFICATION. Christ is made unto us sanctification;1 The will of God, even your sanctification;2 Chosen unto sanctification of the Spirit:3 thus referring to each person of the Trinity. Purification results in PURITY: besides the more limited agneia the term agnoths, pureness,4 is used. He that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.5 Katharismos includes deliverance both from guilt and from pollution: objectively, when He had by Himself purged our sins;6 subjectively, hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.7 Though the distinction is not absolute, positive consecration to God is generally expressed by the word sanctification itself

Our Lord first spoke of His own as sanctified through the truth:8 this, following I sanctify Myself, must refer to a positive consecration to God. There is no other term which in the Greek Testament expresses the positive side of dedication to God. But the consecrated state is variously viewed. He maketh intercession for the saints:9 the word saints here refers to the high ideal character of those who love God, and of whom the whole process of salvation is affirmed. Sanctified in Christ Jesus:10 Christ is the scene, and sphere, and region, the temple, and shrine, and holiest, in which believers are consecrated and set apart. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all:11 here the term is heegiasménoi, ideally and completely sanctified in virtue of the one perfect offering. For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified: here the word is hagiazoménous, in course or process of sanctification, and ideally perfected or rendered independent of any other sacrifice. In the purpose of redemption they are the Lord's for ever

1 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 1 Thes. 4:3; 3 1 Pet. 1:2; 4 2 Cor. 6:6; 5 1 John 3:3; 6 Heb. 1:3; 7 2 Pet. 1:9; 8 John 17:19; 9 Rom. 8:27,28; 10 1 Cor. 1:2; 11 Heb. 10:10,14

5. It is worthy of remark that consecration to God as a state is predicated of man's nature in all its constituent elements. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless.1 " Hence it is said, Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost;2 and the exhortation is to present your bodies,3 that the Spirit may consecrate and sanctify them to God. This is the characteristic distinction of sanctification: it is of the whole man viewed in all the constituents of his nature. It cannot be said of justification, as the body of the justified person is dead because of sin,4 and not yet released from the executioner; nor, as yet, of adoption, which includes the whole man only at the last day, as the sons of God will be altogether such only when they become the children of the resurrection.5

1 1 Thes 5:23; 2 1 Cor. 6:19; 3 Rom. 12:1; 4 Rom. 8:10; 5 Luke 20:10


While there is a sense in which sanctification is a permanent and unchangeable principle, it is also a process which reaches its consummation, according to the provisions of the New Covenant and the testimony of the Spirit, in the present life

1. It is obvious that wherever the term is used to signify that in the temple which justification means in the lawcourt of Christianity it admits of no change. The worshippers, once purged, should have had no more conscience of sins.1 The term purged is afterwards varied into sanctified, kekatharisménous becomes heegiasménoi: by the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.2 Like justification this sanctification is a definitive act; and the sanctified, like the justified, live without the consciousness of sin as an obstacle to entrance into the holiest having their hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.3

1 Heb. 10:2; 2 Heb. 10:10; 3 Heb. 10:22

2. The positive consecration also knows no change as a principle. Whatever is on the altar that sanctifieth the gift1 is, in virtue of being on it, the Lord's: nothing can be at one and the same time both sanctified and not sanctified. The Holy Spirit—Who is the Lord and Giver of holiness as well as of life, these two being the same—is once bestowed, and once for all, on believers who were sealed as His until the redemption of the purchased possession.2 All who are born of God in the New economy enter into the privileges of the firstborn under the Old. The adopted children of the house are sanctified in the temple: sanctify unto Me all the firstborn.3 The consecrating principle of love is the first grace of the new birth. It is in all its degrees the permanent instrument of the Spirit's sanctification of the regenerate soul

1 Mat. 22:19; 2 Eph. 1:13,14; 3 Exo. 13:2

3. Holiness as a state is also in the usage of Scripture unchangeable. The New Testament speaks of that state as ideal, and as virtually perfected in all who belong to Christ. In this sense also, He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one.1 They are seen by anticipation, which to God is not anticipation, as sanctified in Christ Jesus.2 In the backward perspective of St. Paul, they are already conformed to the image of His Son,3 which is once more sanctification in terms borrowed from Christian sonship

1 Heb. 2:11; 2 1 Cor. 1:2; 3 Rom. 8:29


In His administration of sanctifying grace the Holy Spirit proceeds by degrees. Terms of progress are applied to each department of that work in the saint; or, in other words, the goal of entire sanctification is represented as the end of a process in which the Spirit requires the cooperation of the believer. This co-operation, however, is only the condition on which is suspended what is the work of Divine grace alone

I. The negative side of sanctification as the removal of sin is described as a process; but chiefly in terms of the regenerate life

1. The most familiar is that which represents the sinning nature as under the doom of death. Our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away, that henceforth we should not serve sin:1 crucifixion is a gradual mortal process, disqualifying the body from serving any master, and as such certainly tending to death. So in the parallel to the Galatians: they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts.2 And elsewhere they are said to put off the old man and put on the new man.3 Moreover, in the last passage the Apostle bids us mortify therefore your members by killing, or weakening down to extinction, every individual tendency or disposition to evil

Not only is the old man to be destroyed by the doom of crucifixion, but every specific member of his sin is to be surrendered to atrophy: Make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.4 Crucifixion is of the whole body: mortification is of each member. Now, while all these passages refer to the earnest self-discipline of the believer, entering into the design of redemption, they represent only the submission of faith which brings into the soul the virtue of the lifegiving and deathgiving Spirit. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit:5 walk in the way of sorrow, the via dolorosa, that leads to death, the death of sin. If ye THROUGH THE SPIRIT do mortify the deeds of the body ye shall live.6 It is the Holy Ghost who does what we do through Him

1 Rom. 6:6; 2 Gal. 5:24; 3 Col. 3:5,9,10; 4 Rom. 13:14; 5 Gal. 5:25; 6 Rom. 8:13

2. From this we may deduce two principles. First, the general bias, or character of the soul, becomes positively more and more alienated from sin and set upon good; and, proportionally, the susceptibility to temptation or the affinity with sin becomes negatively less and less evident in its consciousness. There is in the healthy progress of the Christian a constant confirmation of the will in its ultimate choice, and a constant increase of its power to do what it wills: the vanishing point of perfection in the will is to be entirely merged in the will of God. There is also a perpetual weakening of the susceptibility to temptation: what was at first a hard contest gradually advances to the sublime triumph of the Savior, Get thee hence, Satan!1 Every active and every passive grace steadily advances: and sin fades out of the nature. Every habit of evil is unwound from the life; until at length the Christian can say, like his Master, The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.2 This gradual and sure depression of the sinful principle down to its zero or limit of nonentity is progressive sanctification. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness:3 by a beautiful confusion of figures the obliquity remaining in the soul is a defilement which is in process of being entirely cleansed away. This refers to particular sins: more generally, the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.4

1Mat. 4:10; 2 John 14:30; 3 1 John 1:9; 4 1 John 1:7

II. The positive side—that of consecration by the Spirit of love—is also a process, a gradual process

1. The Spirit Himself is given by measure1 to us, though not to the Incarnate Son for us

Of this great gift it holds good: unto every one which hath shall be given.2 The exhortation is to be filled with the Spirit.3 Of the first Pentecostal Christians it is said that they were filled with the Holy Ghost;4 but we afterwards find variations of gift and fluctuations in faithful use of the gift down to the lowest point of declension: sensual, having not the Spirit.5

1 John 3:34; 2 Luke 19:26; 3 Eph. 5:18; 4 Acts 2:4; 5 Jude 19

2. Hence the shedding abroad of the love of God by the Holy Ghost admits of increase. It is enough to cite the Apostle's prayer: that your love may abound yet more and more.1 This, in harmony with the uniform tenor of Scripture, refers to the growth of love towards God and man. It is more important to show that the love of God towards us, or, as St

John calls it, love with us,—where the love of God to us and our love to. Him because He first loved us,2 are the same—is a progressive and ever-strengthening principle. St. John in his first Epistle proves this. Once he uses an expression which indicates that the love of God attains a perfect operation in us. En toútoo teteleíootai hee agápee meth heemoón: herein is our love—or love with usmade perfect.3 St. Paul says, the love of Christ constraineth us:4 meaning that love in us which constraineth Christ Himself: How am I straitened till it be accomplished!5 The term sunéchomai points to a gradually deepening pressure, and, as in the Lord Himself so in His servants, the power of love drives every impediment before it. In His servants, but not as in the Lord Himself, it gradually, surely, and effectually gathers itself within closer and closer bonds until its force becomes irresistible. And of that same love the Ephesian prayer asks: that ye being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height; and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge.6

1 Phil. 1:9; 2 1 John 4:17,19; 3 1 John 4:17; 4 2 Cor. 5:14; 5 Luke 12:50; 6 Eph. 3:18,19

III. Holiness as an estate is also described as progressive: first, as a goal to be attained; to be attained, secondly, through human effort; but, lastly, only as the bestowment of the Holy Ghost, the Supreme Agent of all good

1. Once we have the expression perfecting holiness,1 epiteloúntes, where the word indicates an end to which effort is ever converging, whether that end be fully attained or not: in any case it is a progress. Again, St. Paul prays, The very God of peace sanctify you wholly,2 where the gradual perfecting of body, soul and spirit is obviously referred to

Again, a still higher prayer, Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth!3 truth, however, which the Lord always speaks of as gradually imparted, He will guide you into all truth;4 and of which He says, If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.5 But the clearest evidence is in the tenor of the language used on the subject, of which this is a specimen: For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one.6 The brethren, whom the High Priest gradually succors and saves, are hoi hagiazómenoi, those who are in process of sanctification: parallel with toús soozoménous, such as were in process of salvation.7 It is important to remember the form of the present participles in these passages: in the latter it is not sesosmenous, such as were effectually saved, nor sothmsomenous, such as should be saved; in the former it is not hagiasmenoi, such as were once for all sanctified

1 2 Cor. 7:1; 2 1 Thess. 5:23; 3 John 17:17; 4 John 16:13; 5 John 8:31,32; 6 Heb. 2:11; 7 Acts 2:47

2. The sanctification administered, effected, imparted as the free gift of the Holy Ghost is also conditional on the effort of man. Here the blessing of the Christian covenant enters into the ethical region. It is exceedingly difficult to keep the two apart. Reserving for Christian Ethics the consideration of much that belongs to the subject, we note that the process of sanctification keeps pace with the fulfillment of certain conditions. A few illustrations, referring to each department, will be enough

(1.) We are exhorted as Christians to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit:1 this is remarkable as being one of the few passages in which the Levitical cleansing of the Holy Ghost is actually made a human work, katharísoomen. Such passages, the force of which can be felt only in the original Greek, ought to be carefully studied, as shedding a rich light upon the whole doctrine of human co-operation with Divine grace. The same things are true in Him and in us. St. James says: Katharísate, cleanse your hands, and hagnísate, purify your hearts.2 And St. Paul uses the strong expression mortify therefore your members:3 Nekroósate, a word which seems to appropriate the special office of the Holy Ghost, who alone in this sense can say, I kill and I make alive.4 Christians are said to put off the old man and to put on the new man

No one understands all these passages aright who does not see that they all hang upon one principle, that the Spirit's work in us is made our own. Having these promises5 governs them all. But, on the other hand, such passages would not be found were it not the intention of the Spirit to impress on us a high estimate of our own responsibility

1 2 Cor. 7:1; 2 Jas. 4:8; 3 Col. 3:5,9,10; 4 Deu. 32:39; 5 2 Cor. 7:1

(2.) Nothing is more constantly declared than that the effusion of the Spirit of consecration keeps pace with the co-operation of the believer. Whether he regards love as that of God to us, or as the response in us to Him, St. John inculcates the need of our compliance with conditions. But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him.1 Not by the sovereign and arbitrary despotism of grace, but as the blessing resting on earnest and universal obedience, which itself is of God, is love made perfect. Again: If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in Him and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit.2 The Spirit of our union with God is a Spirit of consecration perfectly sanctifying those who abound in self-sacrificing devotion to others. Once more: God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world.3 Though the perfect copying of the Lord's example is not exactly a condition, it is a close concomitant, of the perfect effusion of the consecrating Spirit. In all three cases the indwelling of God by the Spirit is the efficient cause, while OBEDIENCE, CHARITY to man, and the IMITATION OF CHRIST are the three-one condition. Love is the channel for imparting and the instrument for producing love: FROM LOVE TO LOVE answering here to St. Paul's from faith to faith.4 We have, however, to do simply with the evidence afforded, that the consecration of love is a conditional process

The spirit of devotion to God becomes stronger in proportion as these conditions are kept in dependence on the Spirit who imparts that love

1 1 John 2:5; 2 1 John 4:12,13; 3 1 John 4:16,17; 4 Rom. 1:17

(3.) As to the state of holiness it is a goal to the attainment of which Christian men are habitually required to bend their effort. It is the object of their own aspiration. This is generally and. universally true: it is the secret and strength of the command, perfecting holiness.1 Here we may combine the idea of holiness with those of righteousness and sonship: the three are one in the perfection which they require the Christian to keep in view. As to righteousness: that the requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us,2 in whom love is the fulfilling of the law.3 The word fulfilled here must have its full force; it refers to the gradual accomplishment of a design. But it must be carefully noted that the Divine power in this accomplishment has the pre-eminence. Indeed the word pleerooma belongs strictly only to God, for it is He who fulfils the demands of righteousness; while the addition in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit sufficiently vindicates our use of the text: the Divine grace in our lives gradually and surely works out the requirements of the new evangelical law interpreted by grace. And this new law defies the criticism of man: it is the righteousness of God,4 who is the only Lawgiver. As to sonship: The Father did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son5 children who are changed into the same image from glory to glory.6 The decree that every child of God shall be like that Holy Child,7 the Eternal Son made flesh, is revealed in the inmost soul; and the Spirit of adoption within us seeks the form of the Pattern in His word, and for ever contemplates it with a transforming love. As to holiness: Be ye holy; for I am holy.8 To all these the Savior refers in the benedictions of the Sermon on the Mount

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled:9 this is the blessing of the evangelical law. It is the benediction pronounced, as we believe, by anticipation, on the diligent pursuit of the new righteousness of faith, the deep meaning of which was not yet revealed. Hence the force of the future, they shall be filled

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God:10 this is the blessing of entire consecration, which is, negatively, that of the pure or the sanctified from sin, and, positively, that of the pure in heart, or those whose heart and inmost personality are inflamed with the love of all holiness. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God:11 this is the blessing promised to the future Christian household, one in perfect brotherly love and in the diffusion of its peace. But these and all other blessings are promised to those who by patient continuance in well-doing seek them. Christian perfection is the exceeding great reward of perseverance in the renunciation of all things for God; in the exercise of love to God, as shown in passive submission and active devotion, and in the strenuous obedience of all His commandments. The heirs of the Christian inheritance are led and not rapt into the land of uprightness:12 there is no suspension in their case of the general law which governs all the Divine dealings with man. As there is a preliminary grace which leads to the perfect life of regeneration, so there is a preliminary regenerate grace which leads to the perfection of consecration to God. For whosoever hath to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance:13 a word of our Lord which has a wide application throughout the entire range of Christian theology

1 2 Cor. 7:1; 2 Rom. 8:4; 3 Rom.8:10; 4 Rom. 3:21; 5 Rom. 8:29; 6 2 Cor. 3:18; 7 Acts 4:27; 8 1 Pet. 1:16; 9 Mat. 5:6; 10 Mat. 5:8; 11 Mat. 5:9; 12 Psa. 143:10; 13 Mat. 13:12

3. Is then the process of sanctification ended by an attainment which rewards human endeavor simply? Assuredly not: the Holy Spirit finishes the work in His own time, and in His own way, as His own act, and in the absolute supremacy if not in the absolute sovereignty of His own gracious power

(1.) Every act and every habit of holiness is of the Spirit. Though those who are Christ's are said themselves to have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts,1 this is a union with the mystery of the cross in the fellowship of Him Who died, unto sin once,2 which only the Spirit can effect: hence it immediately follows, If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Whatever is done by man in the mortification of his sin is really done by the Holy Ghost in him. Self-crucifixion is abhorrent to human nature, and to human nature impossible. Approaches to it may be found in human ethics; but its inmost secret is never reached save as the mystical teaching of the Cross. When our Savior commanded His follower to hate yea his own life also,3 He first illustrated His precept by His own self-sacrifice, and then left His Spirit to teach the stern lesson to His people. He alone can teach it. No man ever yet hated his own flesh:4 applying this to his sinful flesh,5 we may say that what no man ever did by nature the grace of God can make him do. So also the highest term for the consecration of the purified is reserved for the Spirit: while all but the highest are given to the believer. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified:6 ekkatharee heauton, his own work; heegiasmenon, the Divine work in him. While the Christian keeps his evil nature impaled on the interior cross, it is the sword of the Spirit from on high that takes its life away; and when he is entirely swayed by Divine love, this is the law of the Spirit of life7 within him

1 Gal. 5:24,25; 2 Rom. 6:10; 3 Luke 14:26; 4 Eph. 5:29; 5 Rom. 8:3; 6 2 Tim. 2:21; 7 Rom. 8:2

(2.) There is a consummation of the Christian experience which may be said to introduce perfection, when the Spirit cries, IT is FINISHED, in the believer. The moment when sin expires, known only to God, is the Divine victory over sin in the soul: this is the office of the Spirit alone. The moment when love becomes supreme in its ascendancy, a moment known only to God, is the Spirit's triumph in the soul's consecration: this also is entirely His work. And whenever that maturity of Christian experience and life is reached which the Apostle prays for so often, it is solely through the operation of the same Spirit. It is being filled into all the fullness of God,1 and that through being strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man

1 Eph. 3:16-19

(3.) While, therefore, the tenor of the New Testament represents entire sanctification as the result of a process, it is also ascribed to the result of the constant effusion of the Holy Ghost, crowned in one last and consummating act of His power. Of this resurrection also we may ask, as the Apostle asked concerning another, Why should it be thought a thing incredible?1 And with the same emphasis: ti; what? a thing incredible that GOD should raise the dead! should raise a dead soul to perfect life! 1 Acts 26:8

(4.) But, lastly, it must be remembered that this final and decisive act of the Spirit is the seal set upon a previous and continuous work. The processes may be hastened and condensed into a short space; they must be passed through as processes. Yea, we establish the law1 was the Apostle's vindication of the doctrine of faith counted far righteousness:2 and the same vindication is necessary for the process of sanctification. The justified have their fruit unto holiness.3 Uniting the life of justification with that of sanctification our Lord said: I am come that they might have life,4 and that they might have it MORE: the same gift expanding unto perfection for ever. There is no new dispensation of the Spirit in any such sense as there was a new covenant superseding the old: the Spirit of entire sanctification is only the Spirit of the beginning of grace exerting an ampler power

Never do we read of a HIGHER LIFE that is other than the intensification of the lower; never of a SECOND BLESSING that is more than the unrestrained outpouring of the same Spirit who gave the first. Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?5 means, Did you receive the Holy Ghost on believing? elabete pisteusantes and cannot refer to a reception of the higher gift superinduced on a lower gift which was without the Spirit of entire consecration. The only instance in which Christians are said to be without the Spirit6 is that one in which St. Jude describes the fallen state of men who, to use St. Paul's words, having begun in the Spirit were now made perfect in the flesh:7 had reached the most lamentable issue of being sensual again. Moreover, this was said to a portion, though an ignorant portion, of the same Ephesian congregation to whom St. Paul wrote: After that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,8 pisteusantes esfragisteete, believing ye were sealed. 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; possibly known to God alone, or, if revealed in the trembling consciousness of the believer, a secret that he knows not how to utter. But this leads us from the Sanctuary to the Most Holy Place

1 Rom. 3:31; 2 Rom. 4:5; 3 Rom. 6:22; 4 John 10:10; 5 Acts 19:2; 6 Jude 19; 7 Gal. 3:3; 8 Eph. 1:13


Provision is made in the Christian covenant for the completeness of the Saviour's work as the perfect application of His atonement to the believer. This may be viewed as the complete destruction of sin, as the entireness of consecration to God, and as the state of consummate holiness to which the character of the saint may be formed in the present life. These privileges may be regarded respectively as Entire Sanctification, Perfect Love, and Evangelical Perfection: these being one as the finished application of the Saviour's Finished Work, so far as its consummation belongs to time and to grace

It is not meant that these three are distinct branches of Christian privilege. Each implies the other; and neither can be treated without involving the rest. Nor are the terms exact as indicating each its particular department: for instance, sanctification is as much positive consecration to God as negative purifying from sin. But the distinction is convenient as giving opportunity for a methodical, and, if the term may be admitted, scientific view of all sides of a deeply important question. Controversy will be excluded as out of harmony with this most sacred subject: what polemical reference may be necessary will be reserved for the Historical Review


The virtue of the atonement, administered by the Holy Spirit, is set forth in Scripture as effecting the entire destruction of sin. This is everywhere declared to be the design of redemption: and it is promised to the believer as his necessary preparation for the future life. The entire removal of sin from the nature is nowhere connected with any other means than the word of God received in faith and proved in experience

I. The work of Christ has for its end the removal of sin from the nature of man: from the nature of the believer in this present life. No end is kept more constantly before us

1. Generally viewed, this is an uncontested truth. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested) that He might destroy the works of the devil:1 words which refer to evil in Christian individuals, and not only to the whole empire of sin and Satan, as the scene of active rebellion, in the history of our race. The words are introduced between two others which give them a deep and unlimited meaning. He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.2 Sinless Himself He makes His people sinless. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin3 in outward act; he cannot sin because he is born of God, in inward principle. And this is said of the final and distinguishing mark of those who are thus approved, in the highest ideal sense made real, as the children of God: in this the children of God are manifest and the children of the devil. The manifestation is here the full and finished revelation of their internal birth of God. He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself:4 atheteesai, to abolish, a term which goes beyond the sacrificial terminology of the Epistle, like that of the Baptist: Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.5 Our Lord gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works:6 here is every term of sanctification applied to the design of Christ's death as it regards those who, being capable of good works, must of course be regarded as still living upon earth. Hence St. John testifies that the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth from all sin:7 both in the Levitical and in the moral sense, FROM ALL SIN, from all that is called sin, whether it be its guilt before God or its power in man. And St. Paul declares it to be the design of our crucifixion with Christ, that is of our union by faith with Christ's death to sin, that the body of sin might be destroyed:8 that sin actuating our mortal bodies, and making it its servant, might be deprived of us as its slaves, the body of our service being abolished. He that is dead is freed9 or justified from sin; so the earthly instrument of service is destroyed that we henceforth should not serve sin. It is not merely that the slavery of sin is ended; but the body that serves is to be altogether abolished

There cannot be service if there is nothing wherewith to serve. Therefore, finally, these Apostles unite in exhorting Christians to regard themselves as altogether delivered from the law of sin. St. John says: these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.10 St. Paul, yet more comprehensively, reckon ye also yourselves [to be] dead indeed unto sin:11 a moral imputation in ourselves answering to God's forensic imputation. St. John evidently refers to God's purpose that the cleansing efficacy should deliver from sin; and his qualification if any man sin12 only puts the case as one not contemplated as of necessity but provided for us in mercy. St. Paul bids us make a generous use of the doctrine of imputation; and rejoice in the consciousness that we may be, and shall be, saved from all connection with evil. These several passages in their combination establish generally the whole doctrine of a purification provided for all sin

1 1 John 3:8; 2 1 John 3:5; 3 1 John 3:9; 4 Heb. 9:26; 5 John 1:29; 6 Tit. 2:14; 7 1 John 1:7; 8 Rom. 6:6; 9 Rom. 6:7; 10 1 John 2:1; 11 Rom. 6:11; 12 1 John 2:1

2. More particularly, we have to do with Original Sin. This has two meanings here: it is the individual portion of the common heritage, and it is the common sin that infects the race of man during the whole evolution of its history in time

(1.) As to the latter, it is not to be doubted that original sin, or sin as generic and belonging to the race in its federal constitution on earth, is not abolished till the time of which it is said, Behold, I make all things new:1 as something of the penalty remains untaken away, so also something of the peculiar concupiscence or liability to temptation or affinity with evil that besets man in this world remains. The saint delivered from personal sin is still connected with sin by his own past: the one forgiveness is regarded as perpetually renewed until the final act of mercy. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves:2 we are numbered with the transgressors in one sense still, though not reckoned with them in another. There is no man who must not join in the prayer: Forgive us our trespasses.3 Hence it is not usual to speak of original sin, absolutely, as done away in Christ. The race has its sin that doth so easily beset,4 its euperistaton hamartian; and we must cease to belong to the lineage of Adam before our unsinning state becomes sinlessness

1 Rev. 21:5; 2 1 John 1:8; 3 Mat. 6:12; 4 Heb. 12:1

(2.) But original sin, as in the unrenewed, sin that dwelleth in1 the Me of the soul, as the principle in man that has actual affinity with transgression, or the source and law of sin which is in my members,2 or the animating soul of the body of this death,3 and, in believers, the flesh with its passions and lusts,4 is abolished by the SPIRIT OF HOLINESS indwelling in the Christian, when His purifying grace has its perfect work

1 Rom. 7:17,20; 2 Rom. 7:23; 3 Rom. 7:24; 4 Gal. 5:24

3. And certainly the scene of our Saviour's atoning sacrifice is always set forth as the scene of His redeeming power. There is only one redemption which is reserved for His second coming: the redemption of our body.1 But there is no other. The argument is complete in itself, and scarcely needs further corroboration. The counteraction of sin must needs be entire and complete in man and upon earth: the other world is the sphere of fruition and judgment. There is no hint given in the Scriptural history of redemption that the finished triumph of the Deliverer from sin is never to be known in this world. But this leads us onward

1 Rom. 8:23

II. Full deliverance from sin is both required and promised as the preparation for final admission to the presence of God

1. We are exhorted to holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:1 with this declaration may be connected the command, remembering its solemn relation to the day of Him who judgeth according to every man's work, quoting from the Old Testament, Be ye holy; for 1 am holy.2 But both warning and command had been anticipated by the promise: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,3 a Benediction not reserved, any more than the others which surround it, for the world to come

1 Heb. 12:14; 2 1 Pet. 1:16,17; 3 Mat. 5:8

2. Prayer—especially that of our Lord and His servant Paul— is used as the vehicle of teaching this. Sanctify them through Thy truth ! . . . that they all may be one, as Thou Father art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us.1 The unity in one mystical body, and that one mystical body united to God in Christ as the Persons of the Trinity are internally united, is simply and only the perfection of Christian sanctification: in this world, for men are thence to believe that Thou hast sent Me. Higher than this language cannot go, but St. Paul's Prayers do not fall below it. He has in every Epistle save one a petition for the entire sanctification of those to whom he writes, and sometimes with an express reference to the presentation of this sanctity to Christ at His coming. The first of them says: to the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.2 And this follows a prayer for their abundance of brotherly love and universal charity. The prayers found in the Epistles to the Ephesians and to the Colossians disdain or leave far beneath them any interpretation lower than that of the attainment of perfect sanctity. Purification from all sin, entire consecration to God, and a state of holiness leaving no room for imperfection, are all found in the central and supreme prayer of St

Paul: and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled into all the fullness of God.3 Its doxology makes this sure: Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think It also shows why the doctrine is so much misapprehended: neither the ASKING nor the THINKING of the Church—especially the latter—has kept up to the high standard of Gospel privilege

1 John 17:17,21; 2 1 Thes. 3:12,13; 3 Eph. 3:14-21

3. Scripture presents a sinless state as actually attained in this life. Perfect love casteth out fear:1 mark hee teleia agapee, which is certainly love in the human soul; the casting out of fear, which is the casting out of sin, the only cause of fear; and the whole context

There is nothing plainer in the Bible than this its last testimony concerning the privilege of Christian experience. I am crucified with Christ; yet I live; though no longer I, but Christ liveth in me:2 here St. Paul with the profoundest humility declares at least the possible suppression of the self of sin. Though in the contest of a later chapter the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, it is only that ye might not do the things that ye would.3 The victory is complete in the final echo of the same words: by Whom the world is crucified unto Me. and I unto the world.4 The triple crucifixion, to the law, to sin itself, and to the world, is unto death, perfect and absolute death

1 1 John 4:18; 2 Gal. 2:20; 3 Gal. 5:17; 4 Gal. 6:14

III. No instrumentality in the impartation of this grace is ever referred to but the Gospel and its agencies consciously received

1. The discipline of affliction is among the instrumentalities of grace, which transforms all the sorrows of the believer in Christ into the fellowship of His sufferings, the being made conformable unto His death.1 But this is conscious discipline. Physical dying is not so: that death is not the putting off of the old man or the body of sin. The notion that we are not finally separated from the evil adhering to our nature until we are separated from the flesh is a subtle relic of Gnosticism. The only BODY OF SIN2 in Scripture is, first, the physical body as the instrument of the sinning soul, and, secondly, the figurative old man regarded as living simultaneously with the new, though only as a doomed and superfluous offender. But it is the privilege of the believer to cease from both before physical or natural dissolution. There is no virus, no substance of evil, no added element infused by it, that requires the disintegration of death for its removal. Sin is in one sense only a negation: it is the disorder of the soul which the restoration of the will to its unity with the Divine will perfectly repairs. Nor is there any Scriptural trace of a Purgatorial purification after death. Even those who believe in such an intermediate discipline, as necessary for the consummation of the work only begun on earth, do not profess to think that it is absolutely necessary in all cases

1 Phil. 3:10; 2 Rom. 6:6

2. The only outer court of preparation is the present life. The Scripture speaks of no waterpots after the manner of the purifying of the Jews1 set at the threshold of the eternal temple, of no final baptism at the gate of heaven. We read everywhere, especially in the Apocalypse, of the final gratification of all unsatisfied hope: save that of deliverance from sin, which is never included. We hear beforehand the rejoicings of Paradise: they do not exult over this evil as at length destroyed. Among the prophecies concerning the final blessedness we find that there shall be no more curse2—the penalty of sin—but not that there shall be no more sin. Christ will come at His final appearing without sin, unto salvation: without provision for its removal, for He hath already put away sin, by the sacrifice of Himself,3 at His first appearing. As to His visible Church His second coming will put away its indwelling evil by casting out whatsoever offends. It will not be so as to His individual saints: in each of them the indwelling sin must at that day be searched for and not found

1 John 2:6; 2 Rev. 22:3; 3 Heb. 9:26-28


The Spirit is imparted in His fullness for the entire consecration of the soul to the Triune God: the love of God, having its perfect work in us, is the instrument of our deliverance from indwelling sin; and the return of our love made perfect also is the strength of our obedience unto entire holiness. This is abundantly attested as the possible and attained experience of Christians

I. The commandment of the entire Scriptures, from beginning to end, is that of perfect consecration to God; and the spring and energy of that consecration is love

1. The love of God is the same in the Old Testament and in the New. It is not a sentiment of the mind alone, nor an affection of the sensibility alone, nor an energy of the will alone; but it is the devotion of the man, in the integrity of all these, to God as the one Object and Rest and Centre and Life of the soul. What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul?1 Here perfect love stands between perfect fear and perfect service as the bond and complement of both. Our Lord has not even changed the words, which He quotes; He has not said of this: a new commandment I give unto you.2 It is the old commandment which ye had from the beginning,3 the universal law of all intelligent creatures: to make God their only Object, the Supreme End of their existence; the neighbor and all other things being objects of love only in Him, hid with Christ in God.4 This commandment is the measure of Evangelical privilege, which the believer has only to accept, and wonder at, and believe, and attain

1 Deu. 10:12; 2 John 13:34; 3 1 John 2:7; 4 Col. 3:3

2. Its perfection is simply its soleness and supremacy. It is not in the measure of its intensity, which never ceases to increase throughout eternity until it reaches the maximum, if such there be, of creaturely strength; but, in the quality of its unique and sovereign ascendancy, it has the crisis of perfection set before it as attainable. In the interpretation of heaven that love is perfect which carries with it the whole man and all that he has and is. Its perfection is negative, when no other object, that is no creature, receives it apart from God or in comparison of Him; and it is positive when the utmost strength of the faculties, in the measure and according to the degree of their possibility on earth, is set on Him. Thus interpreted no law of the Bible is more absolute than this of the perfect love of God. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.1 Omitting the last, with all thy mind,2 this was the ancient law, concerning which the promise was: The Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God.3 The quaternion of attributes— or the heart as the one personality, to which the understanding and affections and will belong—as our Lord has completed it, leaves no room for imperfection. However far this may go beyond our theories and our hopes and our attainments, it is and must be the standard of privilege. We are now concerned only with the privileges of the covenant of redemption as administered by the Holy Ghost

1 Luke 10:27; 2 Deu. 6:5; 3 Deu. 30:6

II. The Spirit of God, as the Spirit of perfect consecration, is poured out upon the Christian Church. And He discharges His sanctifying office as an indwelling Spirit: able perfectly to fill the soul with love, and to awaken a perfect love in return

1. The last document of the New Testament gives clear expression to the former. We love [Him] because He first loved us.1 The Divine love to man in redemption is revealed TO the soul for its conversion; and it is shed abroad IN the regenerate spirit as the mightiest argument of its gratitude. We have known and believed the love that God hath in us:2 this revelation received by faith was the secret of our return to God. But St. John again and again speaks of this love as perfected in us:3 that is, as accomplishing its perfect triumph over the sin and selfishness of our nature, and its separation from God, which is the secret of all sin and self. In him verily is the love of God perfected:4 this ensures its being individual, and contains the very utmost for which we plead. The love of God, as His mightiest instrument for the sanctification of the spirit of man, is declared to have in him its perfect work. The Verily rebukes our unbelief and encourages our hope

1 1 John 4:19; 2 1 John 4:16; 3 1 John 4:12; 4 1 John2:5

2. He also speaks most expressly of the return of love to God in us as perfected. This expression occurs but once in the Scripture in so absolutely incontestable a form

Whereas in the previous instances the Apostle meant that the love of God is perfected in us, in the following words he can have no other meaning than that our own love is to be, and is—for these are the same, in our argument—itself perfected, teteleioomenee. It is of course the same thing whether God's love is perfected or ours made perfect in return; but the combination gives much force to the statement of privilege: Perfect love casteth out fear. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.1 As St. John is the only writer who says that God is love,2 so he is the only one who speaks of a Christian's perfect love.3 This solitary text, however, gives its meaning to a multitude. It is the last testimony that glorifies all that has gone before

1 1 John 4:18; 2 1 John 4:19; 3 1 John 4:18

3. The Holy Ghost uses the love of God as His instrument in effecting an entire consecration. This is that unction from the Holy One1 which makes us all partakers of the Saviour's consecration, Who received the Spirit not by measure2 for us. As the Supreme Christ was perfectly consecrated in the love of God and man, so it is the privilege of every Christian, who is by his name an image of Christ, to be perfectly consecrated. And there is no limitation of the Spirit's office in the reproduction of the Christly character in us. This was the lesson of that great and notable day of the Lord, the Pentecost. On the morning of that day the Spirit's elect symbol was fire. First He appeared as the Shekinah glory, without a veil, diffused over the whole Church, and then resting upon each. The light which touched every forehead for acceptance entered as fire each heart, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost:3 filled literally for the time being; and, if we suppose that indwelling permanent, we have our doctrine substantiated. That in this there may be continuance we are taught by St. Paul: be filled with the Spirit.4 Lastly, as a tongue, the symbol signified the sanctification of the outward life of devotion to God and service to man. Hence there is no limit to the Spirit's consecrating grace. I sanctify Myself that they also might be sanctified.5 This is the Saviour's example where it is perfectly imitable: the methods of our sanctification, and its process in the destruction of alien affections, find no pattern in Him; but the result shines clearly in His example. Receiving as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.6 We receive unto perfection the glory which we reflect

1 1 John 2:20; 2 John 3:34; 3 Acts 2:4,5; 4 Eph. 5:18; 5 John 27:19; 6 2 Cor. 3:18

III. All this may be said to be the high ideal of Christianity, which has never been realized. But the tenor of the New Testament forbids this method of interpretation in every form. An unbroken, perfect, uninterrupted concentration of all the faculties on God is possible in itself, and it is possible on earth

1. The honor of the Spirit's office requires this. His dispensation is for man in this world; when Christ returns it ceases; and if His perfect work is accomplished it is in the present life. We hear of no operation of His grace save in this world. And the things concerning Him also HAVE AN END.1 He administers to perfection a perfect atonement. On this argument may rest with all its weight the doctrine of the entire destruction of sin from human nature and the full operation of Divine love in the heart. This also is our warrant for introducing the subject in this place. The entire sanctification of believers is deeply connected with Ethics; but it is still more inseparably bound up with the Spirit's Administration: like righteousness and sonship, a gift of grace

1 Luke 22:37

2. The prayers of St. Paul invariably supplicate for Christians in the present state the most abundant outpouring of the love that consecrates. In this they only echo the Lord's own prayer for His people. But they are peculiar, and stand alone in Scripture, as a series of intercessory supplications which set no limits to the Christian privilege. They have been considered in this light already. It is sufficient now to point to the Ephesian Prayer, for instance, containing every element of our doctrine. The Spirit's strength poured into the inner man1 must needs give victory over all sin and be the energy of an entire consecration, and infuse the power of a perfect holiness. The petition that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, and that the soul, rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, can have no lower aim. And to be fitted into all the fullness of God is perfect holiness. The only question is whether the Apostle prays as for an attainable blessing: a question that ought not to be asked

1 Eph. 3:16-21

3. The nature of man confirms this, and illustrates its possibility. The constitution of the human mind is made for unity, and unity is perfection. But that unity is love: that is, the supreme aim or pursuit of the will is the love which is the bond of perfectness.1 When the faculties of the soul are withdrawn from every other distracting object, and shut up in their concentrated force to one, there remains nothing beyond. For that the Psalmist prayed: Unite my heart to fear Thy name!2 where unity in fear is unity in love; for its Object is the Only Being: Thou art God alone! The ONLY God feared and loved ALONE!

1 Col. 3:14; 2 Psa. 86:10,11

4. The example of our Lord is so presented as to assure us of the possibility of a perfect love to God and man. In the exercise of that twofold love—one in Him as in no other— He accomplished our redemption. And of this He said: I have given you an example that ye should do as I have done to you.1 The only time our love is spoken of as literally perfect, it is connected with this Supreme Pattern: because as He is, so are we in this world.2 1 John 13:15; 2 1 John 4:17

5. The aspiration of the renewed soul is confirmatory evidence. The argument from aspiration generally is one of the strongest that can be used to move a reasonable mind; it is valid in many departments of theology. In this case it is especially strong. As newborn babes, they long for the spiritual milk;1 and so they desire to love God supremely. No spirit touched with the love of God is content with any hope lower than a perfect love; nor can we believe that the Spirit kindles this fervor in vain. He will satisfy its desire; and that not in the future world but in this. Many of those who most unlovingly oppose this teaching have in their hearts the secret rebuke of their opposition

1 1 Pet; 2:2

6. The honor put upon faith is such as to warrant the utmost expectation and sanction the highest doctrine. Thrice did our Lord speak of its unlimited power as a principle living and being enveloped from within like the life of the mustard-seed. As to the uprooting of sin He told His wondering disciples, who prayed for increase of faith, that they might not only overcome un-charitableness, but have its principle extirpated: Ye would say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; it had obeyed you!1 As to the performance of supernatural duty, represented by the casting out devils, He said on another occasion: Ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.2 Both are united in the last instance, and something is added: Verily I nay unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but even if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.3

1 Luke 17:6; 2 Mat. 17:20; 3 Mat. 21:21,22

7. The recorded experience and character of the saints should have its weight: their experience; not their testimony, which in the nature of things is not to be expected, as there is no mystery more deeply hid in God, no consciousness more unconscious of self, than that of perfect holiness and love. As to Scriptural examples the express references are few. Not biography, nor delineation of character—save that of One—is to be sought there; men are described only in their relation to the kingdom of God, and their holiness appears only in their lives of devotion. But in every dispensation some names are found to whom the Searcher of hearts bears testimony that they wholly pleased Him. In the judgment of the Christian Church many in almost every community and in every age have been saints made perfect in holiness, and self-renunciation, and charity, whose record is with God. But we are not careful to establish this argument. It is the privilege of the covenant, and not the avowal of it, with which we are here concerned


The maturity of the Christian privilege is set before believers as the goal of all Evangelical aspiration. This perfection, as Evangelical and the effect of Divine grace, is estimated according to a gracious interpretation of the law fulfilled in love; moreover, it is limited, and in all respects accommodated to a probationary condition; while it is universal, as extending, under these conditions, to the entire relations of Christian man

I. That Perfection is the goal of a possible estate is undeniable

1. It is too common, however, to represent the Spirit as setting before Christians an ideal unattainable in the present life. On this much has been already said, and more will be said hereafter. Suffice to reiterate that no desire of holiness can be vain

2. It is a more reasonable argument to point to passages in which the word has a less intense meaning, though, even when these are given up, there is a large and sufficient residuum of clear testimonies. Doubtless some are incorrectly applied in the discussion: referring rather to the perfection with which Christianity begins than to that with which it ends. Let us, therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded.1 We speak wisdom among them that are perfect.2 These, and some others, refer to the perfect beginning or initiation of the soul into Christian mystery, in contrast with the preliminary knowledge of babes: leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection.3 They do not touch our point: that perfection is a promised goal. Similarly Be perfect!4 kataritzesthe, may refer to ecclesiastical integrity. And of this ambiguous nature are some other applications of the term in the English translation especially: for instance, He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified,5 which refers rather to the objective perfection of the atoning provision, and is language that anticipates the eternal future

1 Phil. 3:15; 2 1 Cor. 2:6; 3 Heb. 6:1; 4 2 Cor. 13:11; 5 Heb. 10:14

3. Injunctions to seek perfection and corresponding promises are few but very distinct

Were there no other the Redeemer's would be enough: Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.1 This, like many other words of our Lord, has a present limited signification which must be fearlessly expanded into the largest generality

1 Mat. 5:48

II. This perfection is Evangelical: that is, it is distinguished from every kind of perfection that is not of pure grace; and it bears, like everything pertaining to the estate of humanity, the impress of the condescension and lovingkindness of God. It is, however much the thought may be disapproved of men, a perfection accommodated to our fallen condition: not lowered but accommodated; a distinction this which is not without a difference. There is a consummation here as well as hereafter

1. It is not absolute perfection; nor the perfection of Adam's estate, who had not fallen; nor the perfection of sinlessness, which can never be predicated of those who will bear in them the consequences of sin until the end. Those who are unsinning in the gracious estimate of God, neither think themselves, nor desire to be thought, sinless in the utmost meaning of the word

2. It is the perfection of that estate to which men are called by the Gospel of glad tidings: glad tidings, not only as to the remission of past sins, but also as to the acceptance of future service. Applying this to the threefold division of that estate, we may note: (1.) The righteousness of God, which He accepts, is regarded as a fulfillment of the law, as that is fulfilled in love: love is the fulfilling of the law;1 (2.) we are children of God and conformed to the image of His Son,2 though many infirmities are in us which could not be in Him; (3.) we are described, in the prayer of the Apostle, as sanctified wholly throughout spirit, and soul, and body, and preserved blameless;3 though the spirit is still beclouded with ignorance and weakness, the soul is under the influence of sensible things, and the body is on the way to dissolution. Such a threefold perfection may be traced elsewhere

1 Rom. 13:10; 2 Rom. 8:29; 3 1 Thes. 5:23

3. This being understood, the doctrine is not disparaged by the use of the expression itself. The word PERFECTIONISM is sometimes applied satirically to those who hold the doctrine we here maintain: they who bear it bear in it the reproach of Christ. The term Perfection, being alone, should not be adopted without qualification; but with its guardian adjectives CHRISTIAN or EVANGELICAL it is unimpeachable. It is the vanishing point of every doctrine, exhortation, promise, and prophecy in the New Testament

III. Christian perfection is relative and probationary, and therefore in a certain perhaps undefinable sense limited

1. This may be viewed with reference to the final consummation. In the hope of that last teteleseai all Christians unite: when HOLINESS TO THE LORD1 shall be the eternal law of the glorified man in his integrity. In this life, the body is dead became of sin:2 it not only perisheth itself, but, in the language of the Apocryphal Wisdom, the corruptible body presseth down the soul, and the earthly tabernacle weigheth down the mind that museth upon many things. Christian perfection is the estate of a spirit every whit whole, but still in a body the infirmity of which is the main part of its probation. Each has its own order

With regard to physical resurrection St. Paul says: That was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural.3 This order is inverted as to the resurrection of the soul: first that which is spiritual. But when the perfection of the soul is reached, the body has still to submit to the dust: the spiritual eye sees the King in His beauty4... in the land that is very far off; the natural eye goes down to see corruption.5 And the body on its way to dissolution impairs in ten thousand ways the absoluteness of the deliverance of the spirit

Perfection under this and every aspect is relative

1 Zec. 14:20; 2 Rom. 8:10; 3 1 Cor. 15:46; 4 Isa. 33:17; 5 Psa. 16:10

2. Christian perfection at the best is that of a probationary estate. There is no reason therefore why it may not be lost again, and utterly lost, even after the fruition of the result of long years of heavenly blessing on earthly diligence. The principle of sin extinct in the soul may be kindled into life as it was kindled in Eve. There is no reason why it should not; but there is every reason why it need not and ought not. Such a second fall would be a fall indeed. It is not probable that it was ever witnessed. It is only our theory that demands the admission of its possibility

3. It is that of the individual person whose relation to the race remains. Though personally in Christ, and altogether in Christ, during probation he is still under the generic doom of original sin, with a concupiscence which is not sin but the fuel of it always ready to be kindled, and generally under that law of probation which is peculiar to our race. Hence he is also a sinner among sinful men to the end of his continuance in the flesh: the inheritor of a sinful nature which, cleansed in himself, he transmits to his own children uncleansed. He does not altogether lose his connection with the line of sinful humanity. We never read of an entire severance from the first Adam as the prerogative of those who are found in the Second. The entirely sanctified believer may be, as touching his relation to Christ and in Christ, without spot and blameless; at the same time that in relation to Adam and in him he is only a sinful man among sinful men

4. Once more, it is a probationary perfection inasmuch as it is always under the ethical law. Christianity is the perfect law of liberty:1 its perfection is that it is the liberty of law, the freest possible obligation and the most bounden and necessary freedom, It is a state to be guarded by watchfulness, which is subjected to an infinite variety of tests, and must be maintained by the habitual and, by Divine grace, perfect exercise of all the virtues active and passive. On the one hand it is a state of rest: filled with the Spirit2 the Christian can say, I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.3 On the other it is a state in which the soul is safe only in the highest exercise of the severest virtue. To its safety its sedulity is required. In this respect it is very different from the perfection of heaven or even of paradise

1 Jas. 1:25; 2 Eph. 5:18; 3 Phil. 4:13

5. Hence this perfection needs constantly the mediatorial work of Christ: it demands His constant influence to preserve as a state what is imparted as a gift. The mediatory intercession is never so urgently needed as for those who have so priceless a treasure in earthen vessels: the higher the grace and the more finished the sanctity, the more alien it is from the surrounding world, the more hateful to the tempter, and the more grace does it require for its guard. Our Lord's rehearsal of His abiding intercession tells us this: I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil.1 1 John 17:15

6. With all these conditions and limitations the word perfection—teleiotees, integrity— extends to all the blessings of the covenant of grace as they are provided for man in probation. In other words these several blessings are perfect in their imperfection: imperfect, when viewed in relation to the eternal requirement of the Supreme Lawgiver; perfect, when viewed in relation to the present economy of grace. (1.) In the judicial court of the Gospel the believer is or may be perfect in his relation to the law. By one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified:1 absolution from guilt is as complete as it could be in heaven: FOR EVER.2 And so is the requirement of the law fulfilled3 that believers may have boldness in the day of judgment,4 boldness that will never be experienced at the awful bar unless it is carried thither. (2.) As children of God their state lacks nothing: though waiting for the adoption as to its final declaration and prerogative, now are we the sons of God: and they are conformed to the image of His Son,5 being blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke,6 in the theory, and why not in the practice, of religion? (3.) And in the temple of God, of which it is said that holiness becometh Thine house, 0 Lord,7 the perfection of Christianity requires and reaches such a purity and simplicity as can endure the scrutiny of the Searcher of hearts. Thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing.8 This is the sixth benediction, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.9 The vision of God belongs to the consummate sanctity of the temple, whether on earth or in heaven; and the Savior makes no such distinction as we in our unbelief are too much disposed to make

1 Heb. 10:14; 2 Rom. 8:4; 3 1 John 4:17; 4 1 John 3:1; 5 Rom. 8:29; 6 Phil. 2:15; 7 Psa. 93:5; 8 Psa 17:3; 9 Mat. 5:8


 Though the specific doctrine thus laid down is very generally condemned among the Churches, some kind of Christian Perfection has been held in every age: held not only by the orthodox, but also by many heretical sectaries. The diverse principles which have contributed to mould opinion may be very profitably studied as shedding light upon the Scriptural doctrine. Indeed their respective views on this subject may be regarded as among the most searching tests which can be applied to the various systems. Every great theological tendency of the Christian world has had its own peculiar exhibition of it. As there is no consecutive history of the doctrine—it has no place in Histories of Doctrine generally—it may be well to adopt a method not chronological in this brief review: considering the theories of Christian Perfection which may be distinguished as the Fanatical, the Ascetic, and the Pelagian, the Mystical, the Romanist, the Imputationist, the Arminian, and finally the Methodist: this last returning to that which we shall place first in order as the continuation in the Church of the Scriptural doctrine. These, however, will be given merely in outline, and with the proviso that Christian Ethics is the more appropriate place for some of them, especially of the earlier members of the series

I. The Christian Perfection taught in the Scriptures has descended as a sacred uninterrupted tradition through all Christian ages. Testimonies might be gathered from the writers of every period—a true CATENA AUREA—proving that the Spirit of finished holiness has never left Himself without witness. The essentials of the doctrine have been preserved, though with many minor differences, from the beginning, clearly discernible through all the ascetic, fanatical, ultra-mystical, semi-Pelagian veils which have obscured them

1. The Apostolical Fathers, the common heritage of Christianity, continued the strain of the New Testament, and taught their successors not to shrink from the application of the term. So Clemens Romanus: " Those who have been perfected in love, through the grace of God, attain to the place of the godly in the fellowship of those who in all ages have served the glory of God in perfectness." Similarly, Polycarp, speaking of faith, hope, and charity, says: "If any man be in these, he has fulfilled the law of righteousness, for he that has love is far from every sin." Such words as these contain the germ of what may be called the doctrine of Christian Perfection: it is the perfection of love through grace accomplishing the righteousness of faith. The Epistles of Ignatius again and again speak of a perfect faith, of a perfect mind and intention, and of the perfect work of holiness: teleioi ontes, teleia kai phroneite• Thelousi gar uooin eu prattein, kai ho Theos etoimos estin eis to paraschein. With these we may connect Irenaeus, who says that "God is mighty to make that perfect which the willing spirit desires," and "the Apostle calls them perfect who present body, soul, and spirit without blame before God: who not only have the Holy Spirit abiding in them, but also preserve faultless their souls and bodies, keeping their fidelity to God, and fulfilling their duties to their neighbor." 2. But it soon became evident that the high tone of New-Testament teaching was more or less lowered in Christian literature. For this three reasons may be assigned: first, the recoil from the assumptions of the Gnostics, and other fanatics; secondly, the introduction of an undue asceticism; and, thirdly, the spread of Pelagian error. The effect of these three causes respectively will be given in their order of development

II. From the Ascetic must be distinguished the fanatical theories of Perfection which have been among the saddest developments of Christian error. The adage, Corruptio optimi pessima, has here one of its most deplorable illustrations

1. Gnosticism led the way, and found its best opponent in Clemens Alexandrinus. He lays down a high doctrine of Christian Perfection, but recoils from the pride of these Fanatics: "I cannot but sometimes wonder that some men dare to call themselves perfect and Gnostics, thinking of themselves more highly than the Apostle did." He refers here the pride of knowledge. But elsewhere he says: "A man may be perfected, whether as godly, or as patient, or in chastity, or in labors, or as a martyr, or in knowledge. But to be perfected in all these together I know not if this may be said of any who is yet man, save only of Him who put on humanity for us. Who therefore is the perfect man? He who professes abstinence from all evils." This negative abstinence from sin he, however, strengthens into positive fulfillment of righteousness: "It is a thing impossible that man should be perfect as God is perfect; but it is the Father's will that we, living according to the Gospel in blameless or unfailing obedience, should become perfect." This wavering language, holding fast the doctrine of Scriptural Perfection and yet shrinking from the full statement of it, may in Clement, Irenaeus, and others, be fairly ascribed to a certain failure of their faith in their own principles. The Gnostics claimed to be the spiritual and perfect, as being redeemed from the bondage of matter and the flesh. The answer to them should have been that believers are, or may be, sanctified in the flesh as well as from the flesh. But this grand principle was surrendered, and Christian men were content to write as if sin was a necessary concomitant of the body

2. Montanism in the second century was a system based on the delusion that the Holy Ghost, as the Paraclete, was not given to the Apostles but was reserved for a third dispensation. Montanus claimed, to be the prophet or apostle of this new revelation, which raised the Church to a higher perfection, and made its true members the Spiritales or Pneumatici, whereas before they were only Psychici, or the Carnal. This enthusiast aimed rather at a stricter external discipline than at the establishment of any systematic doctrine of personal sanctification, and therefore his fanaticism only in an indirect way concerns our present subject. But its fundamental principle, that the Spirit may be expected to descend for a fuller and deeper baptism than on the Day of Pentecost, has from time to time reappeared in theories of the perfectibility of Christian faith and Christian experience

3. Montanism was the first development of a principle which has reappeared at various times under other influences. Many of the fanatical sects of the Patristic and Middle Ages boasted of a plenary outpouring of the Spirit vouchsafed to themselves alone. Adopting the language of Scripture which speaks of the teleioi, or the Perfect, some of the Catharists of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries termed themselves the PERFECTI in contradistinction from the general body of Credentes or believers. They were wont to speak of their company as the Boni Homines or Consolati. But it has always been found that those who have perverted the term Perfect into a designation of themselves have been Antinomian in their spirit and practice. The Fraticelli, the Brethren of the Free Spirit, in the Middle Ages, the Catharist Perfecti, the Fanatics who were known during the Commonwealth as Perfectionists and more recently in America, have all been under the delusion of a principle which elevated them above the moral law. The fanatical abuse of the term has tended to bring the phrase Christian Perfection into discredit. The assumption of a claim to this perfection, and especially the use of the name, the healthy sentiment of Christianity condemns. But this should not be used in argument against the doctrine itself of a possible deliverance from sin. And the honest opponents of the doctrine ought to be cautious of branding those who hold it, but not claiming the title, with the name of Perfectionists

4. There has been a tendency among some teachers of religion in modern times so to speak of Christian perfection as to seem to make it the entrance into a new order of life, one namely of higher consecration under the influence of the Holy Ghost. That this higher life is the secret of entire consecration there can be no doubt. But there is no warrant in Scripture for making it a new dispensation of the Spirit, or a Pentecostal visitation super-added to the state of conversion. Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? means Did ye receive the Holy Ghost when ye believed?1 In other words entire consecration is the stronger energy of a Spirit already in the regenerate, not a Spirit to be sent down from on high. This kingdom of God is already within, if we would let it come in its perfection. Neither SINCE in this passage, nor the AFTER in after that ye believed,2 has anything corresponding in the original Greek. The teaching tends to diminish the value of regeneration, which is itself a life hid with Christ in God;3 and it undoubtedly has some affinity with the ancient principle of Montanism; just as, on the other hand, the assertors of a necessary inherence of sin until death betray a lurking and most subtle affinity with Gnosticism. But the spirit of the teachers to whom reference is made is far from being fanatical; they have the highest and the purest aims, and need only to guard their doctrine more carefully

1 Acts 19:2; 2 Eph. 1:13; 3 Col. 3:3

5. A certain fanaticism of devout ignorance has in every age led enthusiasts to mistake transient effusions of heavenly influence for a finished work of holiness. This error, venial in one sense but very hurtful in another, is the result of a too prevalent separation between the sanctification of Christian privilege as a free gift and the ethical means appointed for its attainment. Sometimes it springs from forgetting that the present posture of the soul is a very different thing from its abiding character. Opponents of the Scriptural doctrine make much use of a fact which must be admitted, that religious enthusiasm often outruns discretion. But the fact, however lamentable, has no force as argument

III. Asceticism is a development of the religious tendency in man that has been almost universal and has the highest sanction

1. Its definition is given by St. Paul in words which at once recommend it and guard it and promise its genuine fruit: Exercise thyself rather unto godliness.1 (1.) Timothy is exhorted to make his religion matter of personal thought, care, discipline: gumnaze de seauton. Therefore the soul must not be surrendered to Divine influence with a passive quietude. Neither at the outset, nor during the continuance, nor in the highest reaches, of the religious life is the careful study of the arts of perfection needless. (2.) Asceticism is guarded and protected from every error: pros EUSEBEIAN, unto godliness. Bodily exercise profiteth little: there are advantages in the rules of religious life; but they must be such as tend to godliness, which includes and indeed is the total suppression of pride, vainglory, personal sense of meritoriousness, exultation in external religion, and morbid selfanatomy

(3.) Godliness is the reward of this discipline, even as it must be its end

Therefore Christian perfection, which is the perfect operation of the Holy Spirit in the heart and life, requires on its human side a certain askoosis, or personal strenuous exercise. St. Paul said of himself, I exercise myself to have always a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men.2 The word is different, autos askoo, but the thought is the same as in the injunction to Timothy. In both a pure asceticism is commended

1 1 Tim. 4:7; 2 Acts 24:16

2. "What may be called ascetical theories of Perfection are to be traced in every age. As they have expressed the most intense strivings of the Christian devotion they must be treated with respect. But in their general tendency they have declined from the spirit of the New Testament, and that in two ways: (1.) They have laid too much stress on the human effort, thereby dishonoring the supremacy of the Holy Ghost, Who carries on His work without the instrumentality too often adopted by asceticism, and is after all the sole Agent in the spirit's sanctification

Doubtless, many of those who abstracted themselves from the world for the attainment of perfect holiness depended on the grace of the Gospel for acceptance, but many more sought by the merit of their works to win that grace. And, generally, the direct influence of the Spirit in the extinction of sin through the shedding abroad of the love of God was not the prime element in their ascetic discipline

(2.) They have too carefully distinguished between common and elect Christians by adopting the Saviour's so-called COUNSELS OF PERFECTION as the guide to a higher life interdicted to those who do not receive these counsels. CHASTITY, POVERTY, and OBEDIENCE are the three-one estate of perfection, as exemplified by our Lord Himself, to which, it has been assumed, He called the more elect among His followers. But our Lord did not summon some men to a perfection denied to others, though He did summon some men to duties not required in all cases of others. To all His disciples the injunction came to aspire to another three-one perfection: if any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.1 These three are imposed on every Christian without exception

1 Luke 9:23

3. The noblest testimonies to the grandeur of the Christian vocation are found in the writings of the early anchorets; but the influence of an undue stress upon human effort qualifies the value of the best even of those who do most honor to the Spirit's work. The thought for ever lingers in their pages that something must remain for human vigilance to watch and keep down, without which humility would not be perfect

(1.) Macarius, of Egypt, is a typical example. One extract will show his precise relation to the question: " Such souls as burn with ardent and inextinguishable love to the Lord are worthy of eternal life. Hence they are thought meet to be free from such motions of the mind, and to attain perfect enlightenment, and the hidden Communion of the Holy Ghost, and the mysterious fellowship of the fullness of grace." " It is the Spirit who gives him this, teaching him true prayer, true meekness, which he had long sought and labored for; and then he grows, and becomes perfect in God, and worthy to be an heir of the kingdom." Here the note of worthiness is a subtle fall, if not from the language yet from the spirit of Scripture. Again: " Every one of us must attain blessedness through the gift of the Holy Spirit. But he may in faith and love and the struggle of the determination of his free will reach a perfect degree of virtue, that so he may both by grace and by righteousness win eternal life. Thus not alone by the Divine grace and power, without the diligence of his own labor being added, is he counted worthy of perfect growth. Nor again only through his own diligence, as if not laying hold of the Divine hand from above, does he reach perfect freedom and purity." And what is that purity? " Answer: the perfect cleansing from sin, and freedom from base passions, And the attainment of the highest reach of virtue,' that is, the sanctification of the heart, which takes place through the indwelling of the Divine and perfect Spirit of God in perfect joy" And even this is not the highest pitch of Macarius; but he descends again: " Never have I seen a Christian man perfect and entirely free. For though one may be resting in grace, and may attain to mysteries and revelations, and to much and deep sweetness of grace: nevertheless, he has sin within him. They think through the abounding grace and light they have that they are free and perfect: deceived by inexperience, even while they receive much grace. I have yet seen no man entirely free. I myself may have reached that point sometimes, but have learned still that no man is perfect." " In the case of a man that is sick, it may be that some members are sound; for instance, the sight or other organs. So is it in spiritual things. For it is probable that some may have all the three members of the spirit sound, but not on that account is he perfect." It is obvious that the central idea is here wanting, that the Spirit's operation is within the various elements of our nature, mighty in the personality itself, and that His supreme prerogative is to kill that body of sin the members of which we are to mortify. The Ascetic theory has always rested in the contest between the human spirit and the flesh: too often forgetting that the Divine Spirit is not merely the umpire and witness but the Almighty Agent also in the destruction of sin

(2.) Many high testimonies were borne to the Saviour's power in the inner man by Nilus, a Greek disciple or representative of Asceticism in the fifth century. " Our Lord Christ can not only scatter and make powerless the temptations which come upon us through Satan from without, but He can also restrain and still the motions and impulses which lie deep in our corrupted nature." His teaching is, that if we give heed to purity of heart, and watch its bias, by grace "all its lusts and abominations shall be extirpated from the soul by its very roots; and joy, confidence, knowledge of ourselves and of sin be brought in, with true humility and great love to God and man." But Nilus knows nothing of a perfect destruction of sin in the heart: " When thou art assailed by evil lust, fall down before God and cry, O Son of God, help me! But do not over mightily trouble thyself, for we fight only with affections, but cannot entirely root them out." Marcus Eremita speaks for the whole class when he says: " There may have been unspeakable heavenly glories enjoyed

It might seem that a perfect stage had been reached, and that the man was pure and free from sin itself. But afterwards that special grace was withdrawn, and the veil over the deadly evil removed, though the man still remained in a lower degree of perfection." As also Maximus: " Devotion indeed sets the will free from lusts, yet so that its nature, as will, does not fail. Think not that thou hast an entire deliverance from concupiscence, because the object is not now present: that would only be if thou shouldst remain immoveable on the remembrance or at the presence of the object. But even so thou must not be too secure, because devotion may for a long season kill the desires which yet afterwards rise again if strong devotion is suspended." This is in harmony with the uniform tendency of Ascetic writers of every age to regard concupiscence as a secret enemy in the soul left there for the discipline, humiliation, and caution of the spiritual athlete. Two sentences of the same saint may be collated: " No man may make the weakness of the flesh the patron of his sins because union with God the Word has abolished the curse, and made it inexcusable if we still, with evil concupiscence, cling to sinful objects. For the Divinity of the Word, always present by grace with the believer, makes weak the law of sin in the flesh." With this compare: "The end of godliness is the union of human weakness with Divine strength through the true wisdom. Now he who through the weakness of nature limits himself does not reach the goal of virtue, but lets his hands fall short of the strength that is afforded to our weakness. He has only his own sloth to blame that he is not better than he is." There is but a step between such views as these and the Scriptural truth that the Divine strength not only aids but is perfected in our weakness. That step, however, was never taken by the Ascetic theory

(3.) Cassian, in his Conferences on the Holy Life, gives perhaps the best examples of the dignity and the defect of the Ascetic aspiration. These must be consulted by the student himself

IV. The most radical error of ancient times in relation to grace, in its perfection as well as in its processes, was Pelagianism. What the heresy of Arius was to Christ's Person, that of Pelagius was to His work 1. No tenet was more logically necessary to the system than that of a possible perfectibility of human nature: the strongest argument was that no reason existed to the contrary. It taught that man's free will might be educated, and had been educated in many instances, up to such a pitch of conformity with the moral law as would satisfy the merciful Governor of mankind. But the highest law was low in a theory which made forgiveness possible without expiation; and regarded sin merely as the temporary and accidental condition of the mind, resulting from bad example, which a strong exercise of will could at any time correct The importance of the Pelagian controversy in its bearing on this subject will justify a fuller statement of the views of the heresiarch and of his opponent Augustine

(1.) The following gives the pith of the doctrine of Pelagius as to human perfectibility: " Ante omnia interrogandus est qui negat hominem sine peccato esse posse, quid sit quodcunque peccatum, quod vitari potest, an quod vitari nori potest. Si quod vitari non potest, peccatum non est; si quod vitari potest, potest homo sine peccato esse quod vitari potest . . .. Iterum quaerendum est peccatum voluntatis an necessitatis est. Si necessitatis est, peccatum non est; si voluntatis est, vitari potest . . .. Iterum quaerendum est, utrumne debeat homo sine peccato esse. Procul dubio debet. Si debet, potest; si non potest, ergo nec debet; et si nec debet homo esse sine peccato, debet ergo cum peccato esse; et jam peccatum non erit, si illud debere constiterit. Aut si hoc etiam dici absurdum est, confiteri necesse est debere hominem sine peccato esse, et constat eum non aliud debere quam potest . . .. Iterum quaerendum est quomodo non potest homo sine peccato esse, voluntate an natura. Si natura, peccatum non est; si voluntate, perfacile potest voluntas voluntate mutari." Here the possibility of Christian perfection is based on the broad ground of the essential power of the human will. Hence Pelagius boldly asserted that through the use of their natural faculties, and the natural means of grace, men might attain unto a state of perfect conformity with the law of God, Who prescribes nothing impossible. But his denial of original sin, and of the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost applying the provision of the Atonement, robbed his theory of entire sanctification of any essentially Christian character (2.) The views of Augustine on this subject deserve careful consideration. It will appear from the following extracts that he was not an opponent of the doctrine of entire sanctification, and that his statements on this subject were much more faithful to Scripture than those of his followers in the maintenance of what are called by them the Doctrines of Grace. He admits, in fact, that through a supernatural operation of grace the will might be so influenced as to concur with the will of God in all things. He asserts that a supreme delight in God might overcome every opposite tendency: this being the doctrine of Perfect Love which we have maintained. That he afterwards denies the fact, or seems to deny the fact, that God has given this grace to any, does not weaken his admission; since he arbitrarily attributes the restraint to the secret wisdom of the Divine procedure, a principle to which we shall return. " Et ideo ejus perfectionem etiam in hac vita esse possibilem, negare non possumus, quia omnia possibilia sunt Deo, sive quae facit sola sua voluntate, sive quae co-operantibus creaturae suae voluntatibus a se fieri posse con-stituit. Ac per hoc quicquid eorum non facit, sine exemplo est quidem in ejus operibus factis; sed apud Deum et in ejus virtute habet causam qua fieri possit, et in ejus sapientia quare non factum sit." Here are the two factors in entire sanctification, plainly stated, " the power of God in accomplishing whatsoever He has determined to do with the co-operation of His creatures' faculties." If there is any bar to the finished holiness of the believer, it must be found in the "wisdom of God." In the next passage we receive in Augustine's striking antithetical phrases, a luminous statement of our doctrine. It is the " revelation of all that belongs to righteousness," and " the victory of the soul's delight over every impediment." But here the wisdom of God's appointment, which might forbid perfect holiness, becomes His "judgment." "Ecce quemadmodum sine exemplo est in homini-bus perfecta justitia, et tamen impossibilis non est. Fieret enim si tanta voluntas adhiberetur quanta sufficit tantae rei. Esset autem tanta, si et nihil eorum quae pertinent ad justitiam nos lateret, et ea sic delectarent animum, ut quicquid aliud voluptatis dolorisve impedit, delectatio ilia superaret: quod ut non sit, non ad impossibilitatem, sed ad judicium Dei pertinet." In the quotation now to be added an element is introduced which was wanting before, the extinction of the law of sin in the members: " Sed inveniant isti, si possunt, aliquem sub onere corruptionis hujus viventem, cui jam non habeat Deus quod ignoscat . . .. Sane quemquam talem, si testimonia ilia divina competenter accipiant, prorsus invenire non possunt; nullo modo tamen dicendum, Deo deesse possibilitatem, qua voluntas sic adjuvetur humana, ut non solum justitia ista quae ex fide est, omni ex parte modo perficiatur in homine, verum etiam ilia secundum quam postea in aeternum in ipsa ejus contemplatione vivendum est Quandoquidem, si nunc veiit in quoquam etiam hoc corruptibili induere incorrup-tionem, atque hic inter homines morituros eum jubere vivere minime moriturum, ut tota penitus vetustate consumpta nulla lex in membris ejus repugnet legi mentis, Deumque ubique praesentem ita cognoscat, sicut sancti postea cognituri sunt; quis demum audeat affirmare, non posse ? Sed quare non faciat quaerunt homines, nee qui quaerunt se attendunt esse homines." The substance of this is, that no one should dare to say that God cannot destroy the original sin in the members, and make Himself so present to the soul that, "TOTA PENITUS VETUSTATE CONSUMPTA," the old nature being entirely abolished, a life should be lived below as life will be lived in the eternal contemplation of Him above. But then the Saint once more draws back from the legitimate conclusions of his sagacious faith, and he adds, that those who ask why it is not so do not remember that they are men. The arguments relied on by Augustine to confirm to himself the conviction which he reluctantly held, are those which have been urged by many from his time to our own. First, he repudiates the thought that perfect holiness is in man's power, and asserts "MUNUS esse Divinum," and therefore "OPUS esse Divinum:" in this all confessions agree. The doctrine we have laid down from Scripture makes entire sanctification a WORK of the Holy Ghost, whose FUNCTION is this in the administration of grace. Secondly, he refers to the consentient testimony of all saints, who in their humility confess that they are sinners. But he overthrows his argument by a certain hesitation about the Virgin Mary; and forgets, as all his followers forget, that the wholly sanctified still bear in their mind before God their sinful character by nature and practice, and confess their forgiven sins to the end. Thirdly, he insists much upon the undoubted truth that humility is part of the very perfection we speak of. "Ex hoc factum est, virtutem quae nunc est in homine justo, perfectum hactenus nominari, ut ad ejus perfectionem pertineat etiam ipsius imperfectionis et in veritate cognitio, et in humilitate confessio. Tune enim est secundum hanc infirmitatem pro suo modulo perfecta ista parva justitia, quando etiam quid sibi desit intelligit, Ideoque Apostolus et imperfectum et perfectum se dicit." These last words which make St. Paul confess his imperfection have nothing to do with the matter, for he spoke only of his aspiration towards his perfect consummation in soul and body, when he should in the resurrection win and apprehend Christ in all His fullness. As to the argument that a sense of imperfection is part of entire perfection none can deny that, against Pelagianism, it holds good for ever; but, standing alone, the assertion is not true: the saints in heaven will have no sense of imperfection. True it is however that human perfection is based upon humility, and clothed with it as a garment; and that the entirely sanctified ascribe all to the grace of God and nothing to themselves, never professing that they are perfect, though daring to glory in the perfecting of Divine grace in themselves. But, lastly, the strength and the weakness of St. Augustine's argument is this, that the will of God permits and appoints the continuance of sin for the discipline of the soul. "Idcirco etiam sanctos et fideles suos in aliquibus vitiis tardius sanat, ut in eos minus, quam implendae ex omni parte justitiae sufficit, delectet bonum." This tremendous plea sounds Very much like continuing in sin that grace might abound; against which the Christian sentiment protests with its GOD FORBID! He whose will is our sanctification cannot " cure our sin slowly so that the delight in good should be less than sufficient for all righteousness." The argument rests upon St. Augustine's general theory of sin, which he regards, as we have seen elsewhere, as a defect that in the Divine scheme works a greater good. Its force in relation to our present subject is arrested and almost neutralized by words which follow: " nec in eo ipso vult nos damnabiles esse sed humiles." Carried out to its strict conclusion, this admission establishes one of the cardinal points of our doctrine, that the infirmities of the saints, into which their will enters not, are not counted for condemnation, though they ensure and deepen true humility. On the whole it will be evident that the Father of the predestinarian system of Grace approved with his mind the highest doctrine of Christian perfection as a privilege of the Christian covenant, but that he was fettered by a false interpretation of certain sayings of Scripture, and by an excessive dread of Pelagianism which gave the law to that interpretation

(3.) Some modern tendencies, originating in America, may be alluded to, which belong partly to the Pelagian and partly to the semi-Pelagian school. They are represented by the Oberlin doctrine of entire sanctification: " a full and perfect discharge of our entire duty, of all existing obligations to God, and all other beings. It is perfect obedience to the moral law." Hence on this theory the moral law is relaxed, though the expression is demurred to, in sheer justice. We cannot love God as we should have loved Him had not sin entered the world and diminished our power. But God expects from every man only the best he can do with his impaired faculties. It is obvious that on this theory Christian perfection is too much a subjective matter, and varies with every individual. Moreover, the view of original sin on which it is based is one that does not permit the thought of such an innate bias to evil as must be negatively eradicated. Its active and positive principle of perfection is that of perfect disinterested benevolence, or the ultimate choice of the welfare of all being. This, perfect at any moment, makes the man perfect. But the character profoundly impressed on the soul is not taken enough into account. And, to sum up, the essential Pelagianism of the Oberlin teaching on original sin, as exhibited in Finney's System of Theology, counteracts the good in its semi-Pelagian enforcement of the necessity of Divine grace

2. Semi-Pelagianism, the main error of which was its ascribing to human nature, notwithstanding the Fall, the power of seeking God and thus claiming Divine help by a kind of meritum de congruo, did not teach a subsequent Christian perfection attainable without special grace. Its first representatives were men who set up a very high standard of Christian perfection as attainable through the help of the Spirit. They were confused as to the relation of Divine grace to the freedom of the will in man before conversion, laying the stress rather on the power of human co-operation than upon the universal prevenient grace of the Holy Ghost, restored in virtue of redemption. That error was partially, though only partially, corrected in the Synergism of one section of Lutheran theology; it was entirely removed in later Arminian and Methodist teaching. Mediaeval discussions, and the Romanist standards shaped by them, retained the confusion as it respects the first accesses of grace. That was ascribed to the remainder of good left in the Fall which ought to have been ascribed to the influence of the Holy Ghost given back to the race. If we suppose this error corrected—an error rather of phraseology than of fact—then semi- Pelagianism differs little from the truth taught by all who hold a universal redemption

And its teaching as to Christian Perfection flows into the general stream of the Mystical and Roman Catholic doctrine to which we now pass

V. The central idea of Mysticism in all its varieties has been the entire consecration of the spirit of man to God, in absolute detachment from the creature and perfect union with the Creator

1. In its purest form, Mysticism proper has in every age moulded an interior circle of earnest souls, seeking the innermost mysteries of the kingdom of grace by the most strenuous ethical discipline. Its methods have been from time immemorial described as, first, the way of PURIFICATION; secondly, the way of ILLUMINATION; thirdly, the way of UNION. These may be considered as answering respectively to the Evangelical doctrines of Purification from sin, the Consecration of the Spirit, and the estate of Holiness in abstraction from self and earthly things in fellowship with God. A careful study of St

John's First Epistle will find in it laid the sure and deep foundations of this better Mysticism. It gives the three principles in their order. The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin:1 this is the mystical Purgation. Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things,2 that is, for the practical regulation of the life: this is the mystical Illumination. He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him:3 this is the perfect Union. A true Mysticism may be traced in almost every community; and, wherever found, has taught directly or indirectly the perfection to which the Spirit of God raises the spirit of man, blending in its pursuit contemplation and action: contemplation, which is faith waiting passively for the highest energy of the Holy Ghost; and action, which works out His holy will. How high its doctrine, scarcely falling below the highest, might be proved by examples taken from the leading Mystics of every type and of every community

1 1 John 1:7; 2 1 John 2:20; 3 1 John 4:16

2. Mediating between this highest type and its subsequent perversions is the doctrine of the Quakers, who are among the best representatives of modern Mysticism. It is thus stated by Barclay: "For though we judge so of the best works performed by man, endeavoring a conformity with the outward law by his own strength, and in his own will, yet we believe that such works as naturally proceed from this spiritual birth and formation of Christ in us are pure and holy, even as the root from whence they come; and therefore God accepts them, justifies us in them, and rewards us for them in His own free grace . . .. Wherefore their judgment is false and against the truth who says that the holiest works of the saints are defiled and sinful in the sight of God. For these good works are not the works of the law excluded by the Apostle from justification." In the following extract the new birth is regarded as a developing process, and is not sufficiently distinguished from the sanctification of the life that is imparted in it. This may, however, be conformed to St. John's doctrine of a birth of God, with which all sin is incompatible

For the rest, the true teaching of Scripture is clearly stated. " In whom this pure and holy birth is fully brought forth, the body of death and sin comes to be crucified and removed; and their hearts united and subjected to the truth; so as not to obey any suggestions or temptations of the Evil One, and to be free from actual sinning and transgressing of the law of God, and in that respect perfect. Yet doth this perfection still admit of a growth; and there remaineth always in some part a possibility of sinning, where the mind doth not most diligently and watchfully attend unto the Lord." "Although this gift and inward grace of God be sufficient to work out salvation, yet in those in whom it is resisted it both may and doth become their condemnation. Moreover, they in whose hearts it hath wrought in part to purify and sanctify them in order to their further perfection, may by disobedience fall from it, turn to wantonness (Jude 4); make shipwreck of faith (1 Tim. 1: 19); and, after having tasted of the heavenly gift, and been made partakers of the Holy Ghost, again fall away (Heb. 6: 4, 5, 6). Yet such an increase and stability in the truth may in this life be attained, from which there can be no total apostasy." The Apologist can adduce no passage for this last statement, which however is a venial one. Although he nowhere expressly teaches that the evil of our nature may be absolutely eradicated, yet his general principle leads that way; for instance, in another place we read: " The first is the redemption performed and accomplished by Christ for us in His crucified body without us; the other is the redemption wrought by Christ in us, which no less properly is called and accounted a redemption than the former. The first, then, is that whereby a man, as he stands in the Fall, is put into a capacity of salvation, and hath conveyed unto him a measure of that power, virtue, spirit, life and grace that was in Christ Jesus, which, as the free gift of God, is able to counterbalance, overcome, and root out the evil seed wherewith we are naturally, as in the Fall, leavened." This is a noble testimony, which, in its last sentence, goes beyond the general strain of Mysticism, and anticipates the doctrine we have maintained

3. False or impure Mysticism, which came from the East through Neo-Platonism and ran into the Middle Ages, stimulated the trembling spirit to seek an uncreaturely identification with the Uncreated, after the manner of the Buddhist Nirvana; or an absorption of the finite into the Infinite Essence whose Name cannot be uttered, of Whom no attribute can be predicated, Who is beyond human thought, and of Whom our highest conception is that He is at once ALL and NOTHING. Hence the semi-Pantheism of one branch, the German; the Quietism of another, the French and Italian; the Antinomian Illuminism of a third, the Spanish. The end of perfection is such oneness with God as excludes or suppresses the consciousness of individuality and of a phenomenal universe on the way to Him; and, when that goal is reached, destroys all distinction between Him and His creature for ever. The means are abstraction and contemplation, to the exclusion of most of the processes of the Christian life

VI. The Roman Catholic doctrine, or rather varieties of doctrine, concerning Christian Perfection, combines the results of most of the theories already referred to, and adds some elements common to it and Arminiamsm. Here we refer to the standards of Romanism; but it must be remembered that this most comprehensive of all theological systems includes a Jansenist teaching, which modifies the doctrine in the spirit of St

Augustine and of modern Calvinism. It may be said that in Roman Catholicism there may be found statements of the subject conformed to every one of the theories of our present sketch. But we have to do with the sanctioned dogma alone; first, in its bases of truth, and secondly, in its erroneous superstructure

1. The Council of Trent determined with reference to the perfection of possible obedience, that, negatively, there is no bar to an entire conformity with the law; and, positively, that a complete satisfaction of its requirements is necessary to salvation. " Nemo temeraria ilia voce uti debet, Dei praecepta homini justificato ad observandum esse impossibilia. Licet enim in hac mortali vita quantumvis sancti et justi in Iaevia saltem et quotidiana, quae etiam venialia dicuntur, peccata quandoque cedant, non propterea desinant esse justi." But the necessity of even venial sin is by implication denied: "Si quis in quolibet bono opere justum saltem venialiter peccare dixerit . . . anathema esto." This high doctrine of the satisfaction of the Divine law requires as its foundation that its demands are relaxed to meet the fallen estate of man: it is the law PRO HUJUS VITAE STATU that believers may and must fulfill. Hence venial sins, sins of mere infirmity or unpremeditated sin into which the will does not enter, are no deduction from the estate of perfection in the righteous estimate of God. But on this subject the Council did not speak at length. Bellarmine expands its doctrine thus: " The defect of charity, for instance, our not performing good works with as much fervor as we shall exhibit in heaven, is indeed a defect, but not a fault, and is not sin. Whence our charity, although imperfect in comparison of the charity of the blessed, yet may absolutely be called perfect." "If the precepts of God were impossible, they would oblige no man, and therefore would not be precepts." So also Mohler, a more modern expositor of Roman Catholic doctrine, says: " Either it is possible for man, strengthened and exalted by Divine aid, to observe the moral law, in its spirit, its true inward essence, or it is impossible to do so. If the former, then such observance cannot be too strongly urged; and everyone may find a proof of its possibility in the fact that, on every transgression, he accuses himself as a sinner: for every accusation of such a kind involves the supposition that its fulfillment is possible, and even, with assistance from above, not difficult. But, if the latter, then the cause must be sought only in God: either He has not framed human nature for the attainment of that moral standard which He proposes, or He does not impart those higher powers which are necessary to the pure and not merely outward compliance with His laws. ... If it be urged that reference is had exclusively to man's fallen nature, we reply that God in Christ Jesus has raised us from the Fall; and it was justly observed by the Council of Trent that, in virtue of the power of Christ's Spirit, no precept was impracticable to man. For to the heritage of corruption a heritage of spiritual power in Christ has been opposed, and the latter can in every way be victorious over the former. Or, do we believe that the moral law was framed merely for the nature of Adam, for his brief abode in Paradise, and not for the thousands of years that humanity has to endure?" 2. But there is much error connected with the sound truth and vitiating it. The error is twofold: it undervalues the Scriptural teaching as to the extinction of sin, and it exaggerates the operation of sanctifying love

(1.) There is no provision for the suppression of the principle of sin in the regenerate; without which every doctrine of sanctification must be imperfect. The remains of original sin, or Concupiscence, baptismal grace does not remove; but, all condemnation being removed from the justified, God does not regard the fomes or fuel of sin to be sin itself

Here there are two things to be noted. First, the theory which so strongly protests against the forensic imputation of righteousness nevertheless resorts, though without avowing it, to a reckoning of the Divine estimate which beholds no evil in what is undoubtedly " of the nature of sin." Holding that in the regenerate this remainder of the carnal mind is not accounted for guilt, we insist that it is sin, and pardoned only through habitual faith and in prospect of its entire removal. Secondly, the inconsistency of the doctrine appears in this, that such concupiscence is a root of evil which, though not sin in itself, yet requires to be utterly removed by discipline. If removed in the present life, then the Romanist doctrine is imperfect in not making provision for this. If removed in another state, the error of purgatorial grace is introduced. Once more let Mohler be heard, who makes the best of his cause in the context: " Hence, the question recurs: how shall man be finally delivered from sin, and how shall holiness in him be restored to perfect life? Or, in case we leave this earthly world, still bearing about us some stains of sin, how shall we be purified from them? Shall it be by the mechanical deliverance from the body, whereof the Protestant Formularies speak so much? But it is not easy to discover how, when the body is laid aside, sin is therefore purged out from the sinful spirit. It is only one who rejects the principle of moral freedom in sin, or who has been seduced by Gnostic or Manichsean errors, that could look with favor on a doctrine of this kind. Or are we to imagine it to be some potent word of the Deity, or some violent mechanical process, whereby purification ensues? Some sudden, magical change the Protestant doctrine unconsciously presupposes; and this phenomenon is not strange, since it teaches that by original sin the mind had been deprived of a certain portion, and that in regeneration man is completely passive. But the Catholic, who cannot regard man other than as a free, independent agent, must also recognize this free agency in his final purification, and repudiate such a mechanical process as inconsistent with the whole moral government of the world. It God were to employ an economy of this nature then Christ came in vain. Therefore is our Church forced to maintain such a doctrine of justification in Christ, and of a moral conduct in this life regulated by it, that the Redeemer will at the day of judgment have fulfilled the claims of the law outwardly for us, but on that very account inwardly in us

The consolation, therefore, is to be found in the power of the Redeemer which effaces as well as forgives sin: yet in a twofold way. With some it consummates purification in this life: with others it perfects it only in the life to come. The latter are they who by faith, love, and a sincere penitence, have knit the bond of communion with the Lord, but only in a partial degree, and at the moment of their quitting life were not entirely pervaded by His Spirit: to them will be communicated the saving power, that at the day of judgment they also may be found pure in Christ. Thus the doctrine of a place of purifying is closely connected with the Catholic theory of justification." This is followed by a vigorous exposure of the inconsistencies of the Lutheran Formularies, in much of which we must concur but far greater is the inconsistency of " the mechanical process " that separates sin from the nature after its departure from the body. Surely the original sin, which is the fleshly mind, cannot be the object of sanctifying grace in the pure spirit. It may be replied that it is not the principle of sin, but the stain of it, that purgatorial discipline removes

Then we fall back on the charge, that the Romanist doctrine, strong as against those who insist that death is the destruction of sin, is weak in making no provision for the suppression and extinction of concupiscence

(2.) The love which is the strength of entire consecration in all who believe is made by the Romanist teaching a power that may more than fulfill the law. With what subtlety this erroneous principle glides into the theology of Rome may be seen in the following words of Mohler: " Some men of late have defended the old orthodox Lutheran doctrine by assuring us that the moral law proposes to men an ideal standard, which, like everything ideal, necessarily continues unattained. If such really be the case with the moral law, then He who comes not up to its requirements can as little incur responsibility as an epic poet for not equaling the Iliad." So far well; but here follows the unevangelical notion that love may achieve Works of Supererogation, by keeping the Counsels of Perfection recommended though not imposed by our Lord; and thus adding to the general meritoriousness of all good works the special Merits of an obedience above law. " More rational, at least, is the theory that the higher a believer stands in the scale of morality, the more exalted are the claims of the moral law upon him: so that they increase, as it were, to infinity with the internal growth of man, and leave him ever behind them. Now, when we contemplate the lives of the saints the opposite phenomenon strikes our attention. The consciousness of being in the possession of an all-sufficing, infinite power, discloses more and more the tenderer and nobler relations of man to God, and to his fellowcreatures; so that the sanctified in Christ, filled with His Spirit, ever feels himself superior to the law. It is the nature of heavenborn love, which stands so infinitely far above the claims of the mere law, never to be content with its own doings, and ever to be more ingenious in its own devices; so that Christians of this stamp not unfrequently seem to others of a lower grade of perfection to be enthusiasts, or men of distempered mind. Only in this way that remarkable doctrine can be satisfactorily explained, —which, like every other that has for ages existed and seriously engaged the human mind, is sure to rest on some sure foundation, —the doctrine, namely, that there can be works which are more than sufficient (OPERA SUPERERO-GATIONIS), the tendency and delicacy of which eluded the perception of the Reformers." If this doctrine meant only that love in the regenerate soul aspires to a perfection which cannot be measured by the standard of any positive precepts, it would be unimpeachable: so stated, it would be only another form of the Lutheran and Calvinistic assertion that the external law is abrogated in Christ, being exchanged for the internal law, by which believers may render obedience in a higher and nobler spirit. All that is noble in the theory of supererogatory works is maintained by all sound Protestants; but they make it consistent with the Evangelical covenant by declaring that no such works can be above the requirements of the law interpreted by love, that even these are accepted as wrought by the believer because their imperfection is constantly forgiven for the sake of the Atonement, and that their absolute merit is utterly excluded by our Lord when He bids such as are supposed to have performed them call themselves unprofitable servants who have done only that which it was their duty to do

The attempt to separate between law and love is a hopeless one: love is said to be the fulfilling of the law, and in maintaining that everlasting principle against their opponents the Romanist divines had Scripture on their side; but in establishing it as a higher standard than the moral law which it only interprets, and in linking it with special and arbitrary counsels which are made into statutory laws binding on a particular class, and, above all, in assigning specific merit, the merit of satisfaction, to the acts of this Estate of Perfection, they are contradicted both by the spirit and the letter of the entire New Testament. But this subject carries us onward to Christian Ethics

VI. The theory of Imputation may serve to designate the doctrine of Christian Perfection as taught in the Standards of the Reformation, both Lutheran and Reformed, and especially in modern Calvinism. It assumes that the Christian's entire sanctification as well as complete justification is provided for the believer, and applied to him, as a free gift of the covenant of grace. The three following texts may be regarded as summing up, in their unity and their order, the essentials of this doctrine. Ye are complete in Him.1 By one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.2 Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.3 These passages are not absolutely misunderstood, but they are very partially applied. Our Lord is not in the same sense our sanctification, with the meaning of moral perfection, as that in which He is OUT righteousness. It has been seen that He is our sanctification without any cooperation of ours, so far as sanctification is the cleansing from guilt. But sin itself cannot be done away by imputation of righteousness or non-imputation of guilt. Hence the Calvinist teaching denies that it is done away; at least, in what is strictly speaking the state of probation: in the present age it is never abolished as a principle and power within, but vanishes by being reckoned to the believer as non-existent, by being hidden under the unsullied robe of the Redeemer's holiness. The people of Christ are that Israel of whom it is said, He hath seen no iniquity in Jacob. It insists that the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh to the end, so that ye CANNOT do the things that ye would.4 But these words, soundly interpreted, say no more than that ye MIGHT NOT do the things that ye would. The flesh itself is crucified once for all, with the affections and lusts, not by imputation but by the act of those that are Christ's, who while they wait to see the end of the body of sin, expecting till the sword from on high smite it with the last stroke, also mortify, or put to death, their members which are upon the earth.5 This method of stating the doctrine tends to three issues in three different classes

1 Col. 2:10; 2 Heb. 10:14; 3 1 Cor. 1:30; 4 Gal. 5:17,24; 5 Col. 3:5

1. In some it leads to Antinomianism. The pursuit of an independent perfection, such as shall crown the individual's own character, is regarded as a superfluity, not indeed of naughtiness but of goodness. It is thought to be the glory of Christ to defy or negative, in the name of His own, both the condemnation and the demands of the law. For this, however, neither Augustinianism, nor Calvinism is responsible: it is sui generis, a heresy apart, Antinomianism proper; and, as such, is condemned of itself, autokatakritos, the object of reprobation to all true theology, and, in fact, the common enemy

2. But even in orthodox systems which make Christ too absolutely the Substitute of the believer, the thought of a perfection already belonging to His people, and ready to be revealed, must needs in some measure tend to check the ardor of desire for a personal and inwrought holiness, affording subtle encouragement to the thought that any remainders of sin serve only to feed humility and glorify the grace of God. The warnings of Scripture, and the confessions of the saints themselves, give evidence that this witness is true and that this danger is real

3. It is in its noblest representatives a most mighty stimulant to the pursuit of personal perfection. Union with the Lord is the soul of their doctrine, and of their ethics, and of their hopes; and, where the aspiration towards fellowship with Christ has its full unhindered influence on the soul, it excites an unbounded horror of sin and thirst for holiness. It is the more Christian form of that union with God which was the goal of perfection to the more ancient Mystics

VII. The early Arminians wrote much on Christian Perfection: but laid down no very determinate principles on this subject. Their statements, however, contain the germ of the doctrine which Methodism has developed. They were led by their theological convictions to the truth that such holiness as God reputes perfect may be attained in the present life

They dwelt upon a first perfection of the beginning of Christianity; a second perfection of the unimpeded progress of regenerate religion; and a third perfection of an established maturity of grace: a triple distinction which is in harmony with the teachings of the Gospels and Epistles. They did not however speak very positively about the means, the assurance and the limitations of the last stage. Episcopius says: "The commandments of God may be kept with what He regards as a perfect fulfillment, in the supreme love which the Gospel requires according to the covenant of grace, and in the utmost exertion of human strength assisted by Divine help. This consummation includes two things, (1) A perfection proportioned to the powers of each individual; (2) A pursuit of always higher perfection." Limborch describes it as " perfect, in being correspondent to the provisions and terms of the Divine covenant. It is not sinless or an absolutely perfect obedience, but such as consists in a sincere love of piety, absolutely excluding every habit of sin. It has three degrees, that of the truly perfect being the entire suppression of every habit of sin." The Remonstrant divines exhibited their doctrine rather in its opposition to Romanist works of supererogation, on the one hand, and Antinoimanism on the other. They did not pursue it into its deep relation to sin, and to love, and to Evangelical perfection. But the following extract from Arminius himself will show their true position in relation to this subject. " Besides those doctrines which I have treated, there is now much discussion respecting the Perfection of Believers in this life; and it is reported that I hold opinions allied to those of the Pelagians, viz., that it is possible for the regenerate perfectly to keep God's precepts. To this I reply that, though these might have been my sentiments, yet I ought not on this account to be considered a Pelagian, either partly or entirely, provided I had only added that they could do this by the grace of Christ, and by no means without it

But, while I never asserted that a believer could perfectly keep the precepts of Christ in this life, I never denied it, but always left it as a matter to be decided. For I have contented myself with those sentiments which St. Augustine has expressed on this point

He marks four questions which claim our attention. (1) Was there ever a man without sin, one who from the beginning of life never committed sin 1 and he decides that such a person never yet lived, nor will hereafter come into existence, with the exception of Jesus Christ. (2) Has there ever been, is there now, or can there possibly be, an individual who does not sin, that is, who has attained to such a state of perfection in this life as not to commit sin, but perfectly to fulfill the law of God? and he does not think that any man has ever reached this. (3) Is it possible for a man to exist without sin in this life? and he thinks that this is possible by means of the grace of God and free will. (4) If it be possible for a man to be without sin, why has such an individual never been found I and he answers, that man does not do what is possible to him by the grace of Christ to perform: either because that which is good escapes his observation, or because in it he places no part of his delight. Besides this, the same Christian Father says, 'Let Pelagius confess that it is possible for a man to be without sin in no other way than by the grace of Christ, and we will be at peace with each other.' The opinion of Pelagius, however, was to Augustine only this, that man could fulfill the law of God by his own proper strength and ability; but with still greater facility by means of the grace of Christ. I have shown abundantly the great distance at which I stand from such a sentiment." But the vital question of the abolition of original sin was never, either by Arminius or his successors, decided upon

The following exposition of the general doctrine of Sanctification will put this in a clear light. It is abridged from the Private Disputations of Arminius, which contain the principles of his uncompleted system of theology: " (1) The word Sanctification denotes an act by which anything is separated from common, and is consecrated to Divine, use

(2) Common use is either according to nature itself, by which man lives a natural life; or according to the assumption of sin, by which he obeys it in its lusts. Divine use is when a man lives unto godliness, in conformity to the holiness and righteousness in which he was created. Therefore this Sanctification, with respect to the terminum a quo, is either from the natural use or from the use of sin; with respect to the terminum ad quern, it is the supernatural and Divine use. (3) When we treat of man as a sinner, Sanctification is a gracious act of God by which he purifies man who is a sinner, and yet a believer, from ignorance, from indwelling sin with its lusts and desires, and imbues him with the spirit of knowledge, righteousness, and holiness; that, being separated from the life of the world, and being made conformable to God, he may live the Divine life. It consists in the mortification or death of the old man, and the quickening of the new man. The Author of Sanctification is God the Holy Father Himself, in His Son, who is the Holy of holies, through the Spirit of holiness. The External Instrument is the Word of God; the Internal is faith in the Word preached, (4) The Object of Sanctification is man, a sinner and yet a believer; a sinner, because his sin has made him unfit to serve the living God; a believer, because he is united to Christ, died to sin and is raised in a new life. (5) The Subject is properly the soul of man: the mind, first, and then the affections of the will, which is delivered from the dominion of indwelling sin, and filled with the spirit of holiness. The body is not changed; but, as it is a part of the man who is consecrated to God, and removed by the sanctified soul from the purposes of sin, it is employed in the Divine service. (6) The process lies in purification from sin, and conformity with God in the body of Christ through the Holy Ghost. (7) As, under the Old Dispensation, the priests, approaching the worship of God, were sprinkled with blood, so the blood of Christ sprinkles us, His priests, to serve the living God. In this respect, the sprinkling of the Redeemer's blood, which principally serves for the expiation of sin, and is the cause of justification, belongs to sanctification also. For, in justification the sprinkling washes away the guilt of sins that have been committed; but in sanctification it serves to sanctify those who have received remission, that they may be enabled to offer spiritual sacrifices to God through Christ. (8) This sanctification is not completed in a single moment; but sin, from whose dominion we have been delivered through the cross and death of Christ, is weakened more and more by daily detriments or losses, and the inner man daily renewed more and more, while we carry about with us in our bodies the death of Christ, and the outward man is perishing. (9) COROLLARY. We permit this question to be made the subject of discussion: Does the death of the body bring the perfection and completion of sanctification; and how is this effect produced?" With this unsatisfactory conclusion does the Remonstrant theology leave the question. It was the hard necessity of its first representatives to maintain the truths committed to them in the face of persecution and obloquy almost unparalleled. Arminius himself transmitted only the lineaments of a system of theology; he was early taken away; but his protest against ultra-Calvinism was taken up by the Pietists of Germany, and in a still purer form by the English Platonists, who in the exposition and enforcement of Christian Perfection paved the way for the Methodism of another century

VIII. The Methodist modification of this Arminian doctrine, and of all other congenial exhibitions of it, may be gathered from the writings of John Wesley, dogmatic and defensive, from the Methodist Hymn-book, which sings a higher strain on this subject than any other psalmody in Christendom, ancient or modern; and in the commentaries and monographs which treat the question, whether in England or in America. A clear view can be gained only by dividing between the essentials of the doctrine believed by the entire community, and certain non-essential aspects of it which appear different to different eyes

1. The doctrine of Christian Perfection which the Wesleys taught was very early embraced, and in its main elements was consistently maintained throughout their career

It was presented to them at first in its mystical and ascetic form, as an object of ethical aspiration; it never afterwards lost this character; the grandeur and depth of Thomas a Kempis, and the best Mysticism of antiquity, are reflected in the hymns of Charles Wesley, and in all the writings of John Wesley, even the most controversial, on this subject. To this preparatory discipline the Methodist doctrine owes much: the foundations of its future highest teaching were laid before the first elements of it were clearly understood

From the very beginning it had this burden committed to it; the clear views of its Founders as to the acceptance of the believer, and his assurance of acceptance, were connected from the very outset with clear views as to his privilege of being filled with the love of God and delivered from indwelling sin, and attaining, as the result, a state of Evangelical perfection. This doctrine was not the slow result of reflection and study of the Scriptures. It was indeed confirmed by these; but it was most assuredly a truth bound up with the Methodist commission from the very first. It was simply the doctrine of former ages with one element, formerly indistinct, cleared up; that, namely, which made the entire sanctification of the believer a provision of the new covenant directly administered by the Holy Spirit to faith: to faith working by love and preparing for it, to faith making this blessing its express object, and to faith as retaining it through constant union with the risen Savior. A few extracts from the last testimonies of John Wesley will establish all these points, and at the same time give a fair epitome of the Methodist doctrine in its relation to the work of the Spirit and the co-operation of man. They are taken from "A Plain Account of Christian Perfection, as believed and taught by the Reverend Mr. John Wesley, from the year 1725 to the year 1777," found in the eleventh volume of his works: a tract which deserves most careful study, not only as a defense of the doctrine, but as containing one of the noblest collections of Spiritual Exercises in the English language. The selections are chosen with reference to the three points mentioned above, but they fairly exhibit the spirit of the whole

(1.) Christian Perfection was taught by early Methodism as the seal of the Holy Ghost set upon the earnest striving of the regenerate will: "This great gift of God, the salvation of our souls, is no other than the image of God fresh stamped on our hearts. It is a 'renewal of believers in the spirit of their minds, after the likeness of Him that created them.'" From this it appears that entire sanctification was regarded as in reality the perfection of the regenerate state, a view confirmed as follows: "The more care should we take to keep the simple Scriptural account continually in our eye. Pure love reigning alone in the heart and life—this is the whole of Scriptural perfection. Q. When may a person judge himself to have attained this? A. When, after having been fully convinced of inbred sin, by a far deeper and clearer conviction than that he experienced before justification, and after having experienced a gradual mortification of it, he experiences a total death to sin, and an entire renewal in the love and image of God, so as to rejoice evermore, to pray without ceasing, and in everything to give thanks. Not that ' to feel all love and no sin' is a sufficient proof. Several have experienced this for a time, before their souls were fully renewed. None therefore ought to believe that the work is done, till there is added the testimony of the Spirit witnessing his entire sanctification as clearly as his justification

Q. But whence is it that some imagine they are thus sanctified, when in reality they are not? A. It is Hence; they do not judge by all the preceding marks, but either by part of them or by others that are ambiguous. But I know no instance of a person attending to them all, and yet deceived in this matter. I believe, there can be none in the world. If a man be deeply and fully convinced, after justification, of inbred sin; if he then experience a gradual mortification of sin, and afterwards an entire renewal in the image of God; if to this change, immensely greater than that wrought when he was justified, he added a clear, direct witness of the renewal; I judge it as impossible this man should be deceived herein, as that God should lie. And if one whom I know to be a man of veracity testify these things to me, I ought not, without some sufficient reason, to reject his testimony

" Q. Is this death to sin, and renewal in love, gradual or instantaneous? " A. A man may be dying for some time; yet he does not, properly speaking, die, till the instant the soul is separated from the body; and in that instant he lives the life of eternity

In like manner, he may be dying to sin for some time; yet he is not dead to sin, till sin is separated from his soul; and in that instant he lives the full life of love. And as the change undergone, when the body dies, is of a different kind, and infinitely greater than any we had known before, yea, such as till then it is impossible to conceive; so the change wrought, when the soul dies to sin, is of a different kind, and infinitely greater than any before, and than any can conceive till he experiences it. Yet he still grows in grace, in the knowledge of Christ, in the love and image of God; and will do so, not only till death, but to all eternity. Q. How are we to wait for this change? A. Not in careless indifference, or indolent inactivity; but in vigorous, universal obedience, in a zealous keeping of all the commandments, in watchfulness and painfulness, in denying ourselves, and taking up our cross daily; as well as in earnest prayer and fasting, and a close attendance on all the ordinances of God. And if any man dream of attaining it any other way, (yea, or of keeping it when it is attained, when he has received it even in the largest measure) he deceiveth his own soul. It is true, we receive it by simple faith: but God does not, will not, give that faith, unless we seek it with all diligence, in the way which He hath ordained." (2.) This extract has anticipated the second point: that the destruction of "inbred sin/' which is to the individual what " original sin " is to the race of which he is a member, is to be made the object of faith; and therefore to be followed by assurance; and evidenced in confession. Faith, its assurance and its profession, generally go together in John Wesley's writings; but the two latter are kept in their distinct and subordinate place

With regard to the first, a simple extract will be enough. It refers to the decisions of an early Conference as to certain points of discussion: " Q. How much is allowed by our brethren who differ from us as to entire sanctification? A. They grant (1) That everyone must be entirely sanctified in the article of death. (2) That till then a believer daily grows in grace, comes nearer and nearer to perfection

(3) That we ought to be continually pressing after it, and to exhort all others so to do. Q What do we allow them? A. We grant, (1) That many of those who have died in the faith, yea, the greater part of those we have known, were not perfected in love, till a little before their death. (2) That the term sanctified is continually applied by St. Paul to all who were justified. (3) That by this term alone, he rarely, if ever, means, ' saved from all sin.' (4) That, consequently, it is not proper to use it in that sense, without adding the word wholly, entirely, or the like. (5) That the inspired writers almost continually speak of, or to those who were justified, but Very rarely of, or to those who were wholly sanctified. (6) That, consequently, it behooves us to speak almost continually of the state of justification: but more rarely, 'at least in full and explicit terms, concerning entire sanctification.' Q. What then is the point where we divide? A. It is this: Should we expect to be saved from all sin before the article of death? Q. Is there any clear Scriptural promise of this, —that God will save us from all sin? A. There is: 'He shall redeem Israel from all his sins.'" Then follow a number of passages from both Testaments, containing promises and commandments which declare the believer's privilege, and indirectly make the destruction of inbred sin the object of personal faith. Indirectly: for it is never asserted that a specific promise to this effect is given. At a later time these distinct words occur: "(1) That Christian perfection is that love of God and our neighbor which implies deliverance from all sin; (2) that this is received merely by faith; (3) that it is given instantaneously, in one moment; (4) that we are to expect it, not at death, but every moment; that now is the accepted, time, now is the day of salvation." But again: " As to the manner. I believe this perfection is always wrought in the soul by a simple act of faith; consequently in an instant. But I believe a gradual work, both preceding and following that instant. As to the time I believe this instant generally is the instant of death, the moment before the soul leaves the body. But I believe it may be ten, twenty, or forty years before. I believe it is usually many years after justification; but that it may be within five years or five months after it, I know no conclusive argument to the contrary

If it must be many years after justification, I would be glad to know how many. Pretium quotus arroget annus?" " But in some this change was not instantaneous. They did not perceive the instant when it was wrought. It is often difficult to perceive the instant when a man dies; yet there is an instant in which life ceases. And if ever sin ceases, there must be a last moment of its existence, and a first moment of our deliverance from it." As to the assurance following this faith Mr. Wesley's doctrine was once more a general deduction from the principle that in things pertaining to the Christian salvation perfect faith is attended by its interior evidence. The following observations are very suggestive on this subject generally. " Q. But does not sanctification shine by its own light? A. And does not the new birth too? Sometimes it does; and so does sanctification; at others it does not. In the hour of temptation Satan clouds the work of God, and injects various doubts and reasonings, especially in those who have either very weak or very strong understandings. At such times there is absolute need of that witness . . .. Q. But what Scripture makes mention of any such thing, or gives any reason to expect it? A. That Scripture, ' We have received, not the spirit that is of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we may know the things that are freely given us of God.' (1 Cor. 11: 12.) Now surely sanctification is one of 'the things which are freely given us of God.' . . . Consider likewise 1 John 5: 19: 'We know that we are of God.' How? 'By the Spirit that He hath given us.' Nay, ' hereby we know that He abideth in us.' And what ground have we, either from Scripture or reason, to exclude the witness, any more than the fruit, of the Spirit from being here intended? Not that I affirm that all young men, or even fathers, have this testimony every moment. There may be intermissions of the direct testimony that they are thus born of God; but those intermissions are fewer and shorter as they grow up in Christ; and some have the testimony both of their justification and sanctification without any intermission at all; which I presume more might have, did they walk humbly and closely with God." As to the profession of this experience the general language of Mr. Wesley was guarded: on the one hand, he was anxious to do justice to the New-Testament principle that confession is made unto salvation by all who believe; while, on the other, he was an enemy to enthusiasm, and was deeply impressed with a sense of the self-renunciation and essential humility that belong to the state of perfection. " Q. How shall we avoid setting perfection too high or too low? A. By keeping to the Bible, and setting it just as high as the Scripture does. It is nothing higher and nothing lower than this, the pure love of God and man; the loving God with all our heart and soul, and our neighbor as ourselves. It is love governing the heart and life, running through all our tempers, words, and actions. Q Supposing one had attained to this, would you advise him to speak of it? A. At first perhaps he would scarce be able to refrain, the fire would be so hot within him: his desire to declare the lovingkindness of the Lord carrying him away like a torrent. But afterwards he might; and then it would be advisable not to speak of it to them that know not God (it is most likely it would only provoke them to contradict and blaspheme), nor to others, without some particular reason, without some good in view. And then he should have especial care to avoid all appearance of boasting; to speak with the deepest humility and reverence, giving all the glory to God.... Men do not light a candle to put it under a bushel; much less does the all-wise God. He does not raise such a monument of His power and love to hide it from mankind." 2. But the spirit of Mr. Wesley's teaching on this subject may best be discerned in the wise cautions which he threw around the profession of their experience. A few of these may be quoted, not only as showing his moderation on this point, but also as containing a noble defense of the doctrine itself, and its strict connection with faith working by love

The constant necessity of the virtue of the Atonement is strongly insisted on: " The best of men need Christ as their Priest, their Atonement, their Advocate with the Father: not only as the continuance of their every blessing depends on His death and intercession, but on account of their coming short of the law of love. For every man living does so." " Bat even these souls dwell in a shattered body, and are so pressed down thereby, that they cannot exert themselves as they would, by thinking, speaking, and acting precisely right

For want of better bodily organs, they must at times think, speak, or act wrong; not indeed through a defect of love, but through a defect of knowledge. And while this is the case, notwithstanding that defect, and its consequences, they fulfill the law of love. Yet as, even in this case, there is not a full conformity to the perfect law, so the most perfect do, on this very account, need the blood of atonement, and may properly for themselves, as well as for their brethren, say, ' Forgive us our trespasses/" Consequently, the highest state of earthly perfection is a gift that may be withdrawn: " it is admissible, capable of being lost; of which we have numerous instances. But we were not thoroughly convinced of this, till five or six years ago." There is no tolerance of the Antinomian spirit in this doctrine. " We are ' dead to the law by the body of Christ/ given for us (Rom. 7: 4): to the Adamic as well as Mosaic law. But it does not follow that we are without any law; for God has established another law in its place, even the law of faith. And we are all under this law to God and to Christ." Love is the fulfilling of every law. " The whole law under which we now are is fulfilled by love. Faith working or animated by love is all that God requires of man. He has substituted (not sincerity, but) love, in the room of angelic perfection." There is no limit to the stern cautions everywhere administered to professors of entire sanctification. " Beware of that daughter of pride, enthusiasm. 0 keep at the utmost distance from it! Give no place to a heated imagination. Do not hastily ascribe things to God. Do not easily suppose dreams, voices, impressions, visions, or revelations to be from God. They may be from Him. They may be from nature. They may be from the devil. Therefore ' believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God.' Try all things by the written Word, and let all bow down before it. You are in danger of enthusiasm every hour, if you depart ever so little from Scripture; yea, or from the plain, literal meaning of any text, taken in connection with the context. And so you are if you despise or lightly esteem reason, knowledge, or human learning; every one of which is an excellent gift of God, and may serve the noblest purposes." " One general inlet to enthusiasm is, expecting the end without the means; the expecting knowledge, for instance, without searching the Scriptures, and consulting the children of God; the expecting spiritual strength without constant prayer, and steady watchfulness; the expecting any blessing without hearing the Word of God at every opportunity." But everywhere, in common with the strain of the deepest theology of all ages, love is made the safeguard as it is the strength of perfection. "Another ground of these and a thousand mistakes is the not considering deeply that love is the highest gift of God: humble, gentle, patient love. The heaven of heavens is love. There is nothing higher in religion; there is, in effect, nothing else; if you look for anything but more love, you are looking wide of the mark, you are getting out of the royal way. And when you are asking others, * Have you received this or that blessing?' if you mean anything but mere love, you mean wrong

Settle it then in your heart, that from the moment God has saved you from all sin, you are to aim at nothing more, but more of that love described in the thirteenth of the Corinthians. You can go no higher than this, till you are carried into Abraham's bosom." " Fire is the symbol of love; and the love of God is the principle and end of all our good works. But truth surpasses figure; and the fire of Divine love has this advantage over material fire, that it can reascend to its source, and raise thither with it all the good works which it produces. And by this means it prevents their being corrupted by pride, vanity, or any evil mixture. But this cannot be done otherwise than by making these good works in a spiritual manner die in God, by a deep gratitude, which plunges the soul in Him as in an abyss, with all that it is,' and all the grace and works for which it is indebted to Him: a gratitude whereby the soul seems to empty itself of them, that they may return to their source, as rivers seem willing to empty themselves, when they pour themselves with all their waters into the sea. When we have received any favor from God we ought to retire, if not into our closets, into our hearts, and say: 'I come, Lord, to restore to Thee what Thou hast given; and I freely relinquish it, to enter again into my own nothingness. For what is the most perfect creature in heaven or earth in Thy presence, but a void capable of being filled with Thee and by Thee; as the air which is void and dark is capable of being filled with the light of the sun, who withdraws it every day to restore it the next, there being nothing in the air that either appropriates this light or resists it? 0 give me the same facility of receiving and restoring Thy grace and good works! I say THINE; for I acknowledge the root from which they spring is in Thee, and not in me." 3. Reviewing the whole, we may conclude that, while the substance of the Methodist doctrine of Entire Sanctification is the same which has been aimed at in all the purest types of practical theology, it has some points of difference, or specific characteristics of great importance

(1.) It connects the fulfillment of the Evangelical law with the effusion of Divine love in the heart more strictly and consistently than any other system of teaching. The Mystical and Ascetic teachers of perfection have generally made love, and that the love of God, their keynote. But they seldom gave a good account of the relation of that love to the obedience which is essential to perfection. Some of them erred by making the absolute moral law the standard; and then the highest result was a striving towards a perfection which death only could introduce. Others lost all thought of law in the contemplation of the holiness of Christ, and their perfection was the gradual transformation of the character into His image. Others rightly viewed love as the fulfilling of the law; and supposed that its value in the sight of God was such as to obtain a meritorious acceptance beyond that of mere obedience to any law: forgetting, meanwhile, that the preciousness of love as a grace springs from its faith in the Merit and Strength of the Redeemer. Others separated between the righteousness of the law which is unattainable, and must be reckoned to the believer, and the perfection of love which he may attain in his own person: thus dividing what the Scripture joins But the Methodist doctrine boldly declares that the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in believers, that is the righteousness of the new law of faith; and that as faith is reckoned for righteousness, so faith working by love is reckoned for perfection

(2.) The Methodist doctrine is the only one that has consistently and boldly maintained the possibility of the destruction of the carnal mind, or the inbred sin of our fallen nature

It is true that certain of the Mystics held, as we have seen, something almost equivalent to this doctrine; and that the Pietists of the school of Spener included the annihilation of the old Adam among the privileges of God's children. But the utmost contemplated by them was the gradual suppression of the evil nature through the ascendancy of love. Now it is undeniable that a very large portion of the Methodist teaching takes that ground. On the same principle that the shedding abroad of love is made the spring of regeneration, its perfect effusion is made the strength of entire sanctification. In many passages of Sermons and Hymns the Wesleys expressly taught this. But they failed not to look deeper into the heart than the region of its affections. They knew that life is more even than love; and that, as the regeneration of the Spirit is the gift of a new life capable of loving God, so the perfection of that love towards God is possible only where the original death of the soul is altogether changed into life. Hence the fervor with which the Hymns appeal to the Holy Ghost for the destruction of inbred sin, and the almost equal earnestness with which the Sermons urge on believers the prayer for faith in the omnipotent power of God, not only to shed abroad His perfect love, but to finish the death of the body of sin. The combination of the two elements, the negative annihilation of the principle of sin and the positive effusion of perfect love, is, it may be said, peculiar to Methodist theology as such

(3.) The original teaching of Methodism was peculiar also in its remarkable blending of the Divine and human elements in the process of entire sanctification. It invariably did justice both to the supreme Divine efficiency and to the co-operation of man. The charge brought against it, sometimes malevolently, sometimes thoughtlessly, that it stimulates believers to expect this supreme and most sacred blessing at any time, irrespective of their preparatory discipline, is contradicted by the whole tenor of the authoritative standards of this doctrine. Wesley's Sermon on " The Scripture Way of Salvation " contains an elaborate discussion of this point; and it must be taken as a whole by those who would understand the subject. The sum of all is in the following sentences: " Experience shows that, together with this conviction of sin remaining in our hearts, and cleaving to all our works and actions, as well as the guilt which on account thereof we should incur were we not continually sprinkled with the atoning blood, one thing more is implied in this repentance, namely, a conviction of our helplessness.”..." But what good works are those the practice of which you affirm to be necessary to sanctification? First, all works of piety: such as public prayer, family prayer, and praying in our closet; receiving the Supper of the Lord; searching the Scriptures, by hearing, reading, meditating; and using such a measure of fasting or abstinence as our bodily health allows

Secondly, all works of mercy . . .. This is the repentance, and these the 'fruits meet for repentance/ which are necessary to full sanctification. This is the way whereon God hath appointed His children to wait for complete salvation." " Yet they are not necessary either in the same sense with faith, or in the same degree. This repentance and these fruits are only remotely necessary, necessary in order to the continuance of his faith, as well as the increase of it, whereas faith is immediately and directly necessary to sanctification." " To this confidence, that God is both able and willing to sanctify us now, there needs to be added one thing more, —a Divine evidence and conviction that He doeth it. In that hour it is done; God says to the inmost soul, 'According to thy faith be it unto thee!' then the soul is pure from every spot of sin; it is clean ' from all unrighteousness.' The believer then experiences the deep meaning of these solemn words: 'If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.'" The intense, absorbing, patient, human preparations of the heart in man are from the same Spirit who at length gives the Divine evidence of the unspeakable power of God to save from all sin. Here it is to be observed that Mr. Wesley passes from the perfect shedding abroad of love in the heart to the application of the supreme efficacy of the Atonement to take away the evil of the nature: it is " the moment wherein sin ceases to be." It is more, therefore, than the spirit of entire consecration to which many of those who have received his teaching limit it; it is more even than the abundant effusion of love which may fill the heart's sensibilities without purifying its hidden depths: a distinction which his own words refer to: " How clearly does this express the being perfected in love! How strongly imply the being saved from all sin!" (4.) Finally, the doctrine which runs through the works and the whole career of the Wesleys is marked by its reasonableness and moderation as well as its sublimity. The far greater part of the definitions of it are taken up with defining what it is not. It is not absolute perfection, nor the perfection of angels, nor even that of unfallen Adam: it is a perfection which has come up from much tribulation, and bears the scars of infirmity to the end. It is not immunity from temptation, and the possibility of falling, and the remainders of ignorance and shortcoming in the presence of the perfect law the rigor of which is not applied to it in Christ. It is a perfection which is no other than a perfect selfannihilating life in Christ: a perfect union with His passion and His resurrection, and the perfect enjoyment of the value of His name of Jesus, as it is salvation from sin. It is the perfection of being nothing in self, and all in Him. It is a perfection for which the elect with one consent have longed, from the Apostles downwards: neither more nor less than the unuttered groaning desire of the children of God in every age; the common deep aspiration, with only one note more emphatic than has been always heard, though even that has not been always wanting, the destruction of the inbred sin of our nature. He who searcheth the-heart hath always known the mind of the Spirit, even when its deepest desire has not been clearly uttered. And He will yet, we dare to believe, remove the last fetter from the aspirations of His saints, and give them one heart and one voice in seeking the destruction of the body of sin as well as the mortification of its members