Finally, James assures us that the "prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up." And not only physical but spiritual blessing may be received in the same way for "If he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." His conclusion is that "The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working," R.V., but I prefer to regard the Greek participle in the original as in the passive voice, and then the meaning would be, as suggested by Dr. S.A. Keen in his Faith papers, "The prayer of a righteous man being energized" (by the Holy Ghost) "availeth much."
I should understand the "prayer of faith," therefore, to be a prayer begotten in the heart of the believer by the Holy Ghost, and with the prayer is communicated also the corresponding faith, and when this is the case, the answer is sure. Faith, in this use of the word, is a special gift, and may be given to some and withheld from others, also given at one time and withheld at another, just as God in His infinite and unerring wisdom may decide. This kind of faith is one of the special gifts of which we have an account in the 12th of 1st Corinthians, and differs, therefore, from the grace of faith or the power of believing the gospel unto salvation when it is presented, which is given to all men, and for the exercise of which, by actually believing, all are held responsible. "He that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be condemned."
And it is Jude, the brother of James, who exhorts his readers to pray in the Holy Ghost, the very same kind of praying which James calls the prayer of faith, and about which Paul also declares that "the Spirit Himself also helpeth our infirmities, for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for with groanings which cannot be uttered. And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God."
A Holy Ghost prayer, therefore, such as Jude alludes to, is a prayer that is energized by the Holy Ghost. It is not the Holy Ghost who does the groaning, but He causes the heart of the consecrated believer to groan, by kindling those intense desires after some specific blessing, which often are, indeed, too deep for clear expression by utterance, and with the groanings, also, the faith is given, which takes hold of God's Almightiness for the answer. Such prayers do, indeed, move the hand that moves the world, and whether it be for the healing of the sick, or the conversion of sinners, or the entire sanctification of believers, or the supply of temporal needs, or anything else which the Holy Spirit may suggest, the blessing is sure to come.
I am not forgetting that the assistance of the Holy Spirit is needed, and that it is obtainable in all true prayer, but ordinary prayer must be founded upon the promises of God and an exercise of will power to believe those promises, and therefore, it must be accompanied, in order to be effectual, by ordinary faith, the act of believing. Extraordinary prayer must be inspired directly by the Holy Spirit, and the gift of faith must come directly from Him. So that we have ordinary prayer, ordinary faith and ordinary results in the one case, while in the other, we have extraordinary prayer, extraordinary faith and extraordinary results. Praise the Lord.
Jude tells us that as Christian believers we are to "hate even the garment spotted by the flesh," that is, to keep entirely clear of all the pollutions of sin, symbolized by the garment of the leper which was regarded as unclean, and which passage, when spiritually interpreted, must mean the unspotted holiness of the true Christian. And as to the question of one's ability to live without sin, he commits us to the care of Him who is "able to keep us from falling," the very thing we need and which we cannot do for ourselves, and "to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy." First, then, we are to be sanctified wholly, then kept from falling by the power of Christ through the indwelling Spirit. Finally, presented without spot, blameless and faultless in the presence of God's glory in heaven. And this is the gospel according to Jude.
SANCTIFIED BY GOD THE FATHER.
There is one expression in the epistle of Jude, which I purposely omitted in the preceding chapter, that it might have a more prominent place in the present one.
Nowhere else in the Bible are we expressly declared to be "sanctified by God the Father." It is cause of rejoicing, however, that every person of the Godhead, every member of the adorable Trinity, is concerned in the sanctification of a human soul. And this fact, like many others, points to the extreme importance of the subject on which we are treating; for if the working of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is required, and is brought into active operation in order to cleanse our hearts from the pollution of sin, and fit us for heaven, then it must be in the estimation of the triune God, a matter of prime necessity that we should be thus cleansed. If God, therefore, regards it as an essential that we be sanctified wholly, let us beware of the thought that it is only optional, that it is possible, if possible at all, only for the few and not for the many, and that it can be done without, or what is practically too nearly the same thing, postponed until we see, or think we see, the near approach of death. What every person of the Godhead is urging upon our acceptance now, let us not dare either to reject or postpone. "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."
Paul said to the Ephesian elders at Miletus, "And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified."
Ah, beloved reader, we can never estimate the debt we owe to the unbounded grace of God. Grace means unmerited favor. Grace is God's infinite love in active working for the salvation of man. And, the source of our sanctification, just as of our justification, and indeed of every gospel blessing provided for us, is the grace of God. And when our souls are stirred up to ecstatic gratitude and love, by the thought of the "unspeakable gift" of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of the unspeakable blessings derived from and through Him, let us not forget that behind it all and over it all, is the broad and incomprehensible declaration, "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son."
Absolute sovereignty, authority, supremacy and paternity belong to God the Father. The Father sends the Son. The Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit. Neither the Son nor the Spirit, nor both together, ever send the Father. The Father "created all things by Jesus Christ." Jesus Christ cast out devils "by the Spirit of God." The Son reveals the Father, for "no man knoweth the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him." And the Holy Spirit reveals Jesus, for "no man can say that Jesus is Lord but by the Holy Ghost." "He shall testify of Me." "He shall take of Mine and show it unto you." "He shall not speak of Himself; but what He shall hear" (from the Father and the Son) "that shall He speak."
Thus the greatest gift that God the Father has given or could give to His creature man is the gift of His Son. The greatest gift that God the Son has given to man after He gave Himself for us is the gift of the Holy Ghost, for it is not only said, "I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter," and "whom the Father will send in My name," but also, "If I depart I will send Him unto you," so we may say in general terms, that the Holy Ghost as a personal sanctifier, energizer and Comforter, is the promise of the Father and the gift of the Son. And it may be added that the greatest gift of the Holy Spirit to man is the gift of entire sanctification or perfect love. Glory be to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. Amen.
And thus when Jude tells us that we are sanctified by God the Father, He means not only that we are separated unto the gospel of life and salvation, set apart to God and His service, but, also, that God the Father has made ample provision in the death of His Son for all Christian believers to be cleansed from every stain of moral defilement, delivered from inbred sin, sanctified wholly, made perfect in love, and filled with the Spirit. We repeat, therefore, that it will be a matter of eternal thankfulness and gratitude to the redeemed soul, that the source of all these unspeakable blessings is in the infinite grace and love of God.
Everywhere throughout the Old Testament, the holiness of God is brought prominently forward and insisted upon. And His own holiness is presented as a sufficient reason why His people should be holy also. "Be ye holy, for I am holy," which command and declaration are repeated and endorsed by the Apostle Peter in his first epistle, "But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation, because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy."
As God the Father, therefore, is Himself infinitely holy, and He requires all His children to be holy even in the present life, it goes without saying, as already shown, that He makes provision in His gospel for them to be made and kept holy. And it is precisely the standard of God's holiness which is set before us by the Saviour as the mark at which we also are to aim, and aim not vainly nor unsuccessfully. "Be ye perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect." Not that our perfection or our holiness can be equal to His in degree. That would make the finite equal to the infinite, and would be an impossibility and absurdity, but that we are to be perfect in our sphere as He is perfect in His, that we are to be holy with the same kind of holiness that appertains to Him, in a word, that we are to be perfect in love as He is perfect love, and that we are to be delivered from all sin, not by any effort or any merit of our own but by His unmerited grace in Christ Jesus. Let us rejoice and praise His name that we are sanctified by God the Father.
SANCTIFIED BY GOD THE SON.
As the source of our entire sanctification is in the unmerited love and grace of God the Father, so the ground of it is in the blood of Christ the Son. Justification and Sanctification are by no means identical, but as regards the origin, the ground, and the means, they are precisely parallel. We are told that justification is by grace, and, again, that it is by the blood of Jesus, and, still again, that it is by faith. It is, therefore, God's grace, it is Christ's blood, it is man's faith by which we are justified. The originating cause of our justification is the grace of God. The procuring cause is the blood of Jesus Christ. The instrumental cause is our own faith.
And all this is equally true of our entire sanctification. We are not justified in one way and sanctified in another. We are sanctified as well as justified by the grace of God. We are sanctified as well as justified by the blood of Christ. We are sanctified as well as justified by our own faith.
All gospel blessings are founded upon the vicarious sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. He "of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness, (justification) and sanctification and redemption."
And sanctification, no more than justification, releases us from our dependence upon the atonement. If we are either justified or sanctified today it is not because we deserve it, but because Christ died for us. If we shall be either justified or sanctified at any future period of our eternity, it will not be because we deserve it but because Christ died for us. And so forever and forever we shall need the merit of His death, and we shall rejoice to join in the song of redemption "unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." We are everlastingly linked to the atonement of Jesus Christ, and this both for the pardon of past sins, and the entire cleansing of the heart.
"Thou shalt call His name Jesus because He shall save His people from their sins," which signifies, I apprehend, both the forgiveness of sins already committed and saving them from the commission of sins in the future. Here, then, we have justification and regeneration. "Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world." This must mean the sin of our nature, the sin that dwelleth in us, the sin that doth so easily beset us, in a word, inbred sin. And to have the inbred sin taken away means nothing more and nothing less and nothing else, than entire sanctification. Yes, beloved, we are sanctified by God the Son.
"The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin." Here we have a positive statement that upon certain conditions to be fulfilled by us, we shall experience a cleansing from outward sin, and inward sin, and sin of ignorance, and conscious sin, and open sin and secret sin, and all sin. There is no mistaking the length and breadth and all comprehensiveness of this glorious promise. Beloved, let us walk in the light as He is in the light, and so know, for ourselves, that this wondrous declaration is divinely true.
And this is a result of His atoning sacrifice, which result He had in view, no less than the removal of our guilt when He laid down His life for us. "Wherefore, Jesus, also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate." Glory to His Name.
He died, therefore, not alone that we might be saved from guilt and condemnation and penalty, but that we might be saved from sin, or sanctified wholly. And I would that every one of my Christian readers might unite in the hymn.
"The cleansing stream I see, I see, I plunge and oh, it cleanseth me. It cleanseth me. Yes, cleanseth me."
SANCTIFIED BY GOD THE HOLY GHOST.
As already intimated all the persons of the adorable Trinity are concerned in the work of entirely sanctifying a human soul. And this is naturally to be expected, because God is one Trinitarianism is not Tritheism. In essence one, in personality three, such is the revelation of Holy Scripture in regard to the eternal Godhead. The Bible reveals the fact, but does not reveal the how. We bow in adoring gratitude and love before an incomprehensible mystery, and rejoice in believing even without understanding.
Now the Holy Spirit is regarded by nearly all Christians as distinctively and specially the Sanctifier, "The renewing of the Holy Ghost which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Saviour," is spoken of in the epistle to Titus in direct connection with the "washing of regeneration," and seems intended to be experienced just after it. Possibly the renewing here spoken of, may signify only the change of heart wrought by the Holy Ghost at the new birth, but possibly, also, the apostle had in mind the entire cleansing of the heart from sin. And in that case the renewing need not be any more gradual or progressive than the washing, which all admit to be instantaneous.
Peter, in describing, to the Church at Jerusalem, the occurrences which he had witnessed at the house of Cornelius in Cesarea, used this language: "And God which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us, and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith." Evidently here the chief of the apostles gives us to understand that the giving of the Holy Ghost, and the purifying of the heart by faith, are co-instantaneous and identical experiences. And if this be so, the Holy Ghost, who is a Divine person, and not a mere influence, must be the effective agent in purifying the heart, that is to say, it is He who by His Divine energy sanctifies us wholly.
And with this agree the words of John the Baptist: "I indeed baptize you with water, unto repentance, but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear. He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." For what purpose is this fiery baptism with the Holy Ghost? Most certainly that it may consume the inbred sin of our nature, as fire consumes the chaff, or destroys the alloy that the gold may be left pure.
Paul in his epistle to the Romans uses the following language, viz: "That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost." This great apostle was the first to clearly understand the perfect equality between Jew and Gentile in the gospel of salvation, and as he made hundreds of Gentile converts in His extensive missionary journeys, and offered them up with their own consent and co-operation in entire consecration to God, they were sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
The same apostle says to the Thessalonians, "We are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." This is the true election and the true salvation, a salvation from sin, through sanctification of the Spirit and this is to be obtained by faith.
And the apostle of the circumcision uses language very similar in addressing the Jewish Christians who are scattered abroad, and whom he addresses as "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." Comparing these two citations we observe again, that the blood of Jesus Christ is the ground of our sanctification, and by a continuous sprinkling we may have a continuous cleansing, and also that the Holy Spirit is the effective agent in applying that precious blood, and in sanctifying our souls, on condition that we believe the truth. God help all Christians to be not faithless, but believing.
SANCTIFIED BY THE TRUTH.
We have just seen that the Spirit operates in the work of sanctification in connection with belief of the truth on our part. And with this agree the words of our Lord in His intercessory prayer. "Sanctify them through Thy truth. Thy word is truth." The word here is not the eternal Logos, but God's revealed truth as given in Holy writ. And it is a statement of the highest importance, made by Him who is the truth, that the medium or means of our sanctification is in the truth of God as made known to us in the gospel of His Son. Here, again, the Apostle Peter gives expression to the same sentiment when he says: "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." If we are favored to escape the corruption that is in the world, we are sanctified wholly, and this is effected, Peter says, not by works of righteousness, not by resolutions or penances, not by striving to do holiness, before we seek to be holy, but by faith in the promises of God. These promises are very numerous, and varied in character on the pages of the Bible. By seizing upon them as written specially for us, we make them our own, and they become in and by Jesus Christ yea and amen, that is to say, we realize them in our own experience to be the truth, and thus when we read "This is the will of God even your sanctification," or, "The very God of peace sanctify you wholly," or, "I will circumcise your heart," or "I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes," immediately the truth is impressed upon our hearts as a glorious reality, and we are enabled to reckon ourselves dead, indeed, unto sin, and alive unto God, and to realize that the Saviour's prayer is answered and we are in His own blessed words, sanctified "by the truth." If any reader will take a concordance and look for the word truth, and search out the passages containing it, he will be convinced that, however men may look at it, we have to do with the Lord God of truth, and that His estimate of truth is so high that He will by no means countenance any person or anything that liveth or maketh a lie. And if we would honor Him, we must honor His truth, the truth that is to make us free from the bondage of inbred sin, the truth which we are commanded to buy, whatever may be the price, and sell it not, the truth which the Lord desires in the inward parts as well as upon the lips, the truth of God, the truth of holiness, the truth by which we are sanctified, the truth of the word.
And then we shall find in our own experience that "A God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He," that He will send out His light and His truth that they may bring us to His holy hill and to His tabernacle, that He has given us a banner, even the banner of holiness to the Lord, to be displayed because of the truth, and we must never let it trail in the dust, that His truth shall be our shield and buckler, and that while the law was given by Moses, grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
Glory be to His precious name forever, who is the truth.
SANCTIFIED BY FAITH.
The faith-faculty was given to man at His first creation. Adam believed God and was obedient and happy, and the first thing that the wily tempter attacked, and, alas, with too much success, was man's faith. "Yea," hath God said, and "Ye shall not surely die." First, a question. Then, a doubt of God's truth; then, a doubt of His love, and the rest was easy. Man stood so long as he did stand by faith. He fell when he did fall by unbelief.
God could not be God if He did not have faith in Himself. Man could not be the child of God if he did not have faith in God. Faith binds us in the closest spiritual union with our Father in heaven. Unbelief severs this bond of union and separates us from our Creator and Redeemer. Beloved, let us have faith in God.
"Ye are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ." This is the Christian's pedigree. It is true that in a broad and subordinate sense all men are the children of God since He created them all. And this was known even to a Greek poet, as quoted by Paul at Athens, "For we are also His offspring." But we must not fail to remember that in John's gospel we have this statement, viz: "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." So that it is through faith that we become the children of God, not only by creation, not only by adoption, but by birth, "Ye must be born again." "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." Now, the faith-faculty, or the grace of faith, or the power of believing God's truth, when it is presented, is given to all mankind. But the exercise of that power which is actual and saving faith, often requires the cooperation of the human will. And, therefore, God commands us to believe, and holds us responsible for obedience to that command. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned." R.V.
Thus, it is that we are saved by faith. And this is true not only in religion, but in science as well, and not in science only, but in daily life and daily business as well. Many of the well-established truths of science are matters of faith, and not of demonstration. All intelligent people believe that there is a hidden force which they call the attraction of gravitation. Nobody can tell what it is, nobody can prove its existence. It is received and adopted by faith, and serves as an excellent working hypothesis. That is all. Those who accept the undulatory theory of light are necessitated to believe that all space is pervaded by an exceedingly tenuous fluid which is called ether, and that it is in this medium that the waves of light from self- luminous bodies are produced. Nobody has demonstrated the existence of this ether. It is, for the present, accepted by faith, and explains the phenomena of light better than any other hypothesis propounded. Science is saved by faith. The home is saved by faith. If want of confidence comes between the husband and wife, or between parents and children, farewell to all the enjoyment of home life.
Finance, commerce, trade are all saved by faith. When business men, manufacturers or merchants lose faith in one another, or in their government, investments cease, machinery stops, panics occur, and hard times are complained of. As faith is the bond that binds men to God, so it is the bond that binds men one to another. When confidence is lost, all is lost. Even a solvent bank may be broken, from a sudden run upon it, caused by want of faith. Now, as faith is the substance of things hoped for, because it makes them real, as it is the evidence of things not seen, because it convinces the mind of the actual existence of the invisible, let us apply this thought to the matter in hand that, namely, of entire sanctification.
Paul in his valedictory to the Ephesian elders said to them, "And now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified," and in the commission to Paul himself the Saviour says, "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me." And as mentioned elsewhere, sanctification of the Spirit is used by the apostle in direct connection with belief of the truth. There can be no doubt, therefore, that the instrumental means of entire sanctification is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. "This is the confidence," says the beloved John, "that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us, and if we know that He hear us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him."
Let the consecrated believer, then, ask for a clean heart, ask for perfect love, ask for entire sanctification, ask for the baptism with the Holy Ghost, and he knows he is asking according to the will of God. Then, according to John, he knows that he is heard, and knows also by faith, because it is God's promise that he has the petitions he desired of Him. That is to say, when he thus prays, he is to put forth the act of faith, by an actual volition and will to believe that he has the clean heart, the perfect love, the entire sanctification, the Holy Ghost baptism, which he asked for. And this will be honoring God by taking Him at His word. It will be the first evidence that he is sanctified wholly, the evidence of faith, and the other evidence, the witness of the Spirit may be prayed for and waited for, but, in the meantime, he can and must rely with unwavering confidence upon the evidence or witness of faith alone. God never sends the witness of the Spirit till we honor Him by accepting the witness of faith.
I said we must believe by an act of the will. And some reader may object to this statement by asserting that faith or belief is not a matter of volition, but a matter of evidence. But I am not asking any one to believe without evidence. I am asking him simply to give its rightful force to the evidence. It is not for want of evidence that any earnest, consecrated seeker is failing to believe that Christ is able and willing to sanctify him wholly, and to do it now. He asserts it in many forms and repeats it again and again as His Divine will that His people should be holy, and if He is not able to make them holy here and now, His omnipotence is impugned, and if He is not willing to make them holy here and now, He must desire them to continue longer in sin, which thought would impugn His own holiness.
No, it is not for want of evidence, but because the faith-faculty has become weakened and paralyzed by sin, and now we must determine to believe, by putting our will on to the side of faith, and allowing it, no longer, to remain on the side of unbelief. Many a seeking soul has come out into the fullness of salvation by singing the hymn:
"I can, I will, I do believe That Jesus saves me now."
The man who came to Jesus with his right hand withered, was told to stretch it forth. He might have said where is my evidence that it will do any good to try? But he put his will into the obedient attitude. He willed to stretch it forth, and made the effort, and with the obedient will the power came from Jesus, and he stretched it forth and was restored. To every one of weak and paralyzed faith, I say, nay, Jesus says, "Stretch forth thy hand of faith, I am here to be responsible for the result." Believe and receive and confess and rejoice. Beloved, we are sanctified by faith. Glory to the Lamb.
I trust it has been sufficiently demonstrated that the doctrine and experience of entire sanctification are fully and clearly taught in Holy Scripture. All the way from the patriarchs to the apostles in the law, in the types, in the Psalms, in the prophets, in the history, in the gospels, in the epistles, we find that God requires His people to be holy and to be holy now, that He makes it, therefore, their privilege to be holy, and that He has made ample provision, in the sacrificial offering of Christ, for them to be made holy.
"For their sakes," says the blessed Saviour, "I sanctify Myself that they also might be sanctified through the truth," or as the margin, "truly sanctified," or as the Revised Version, "that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth." The Lord Jesus Christ most assuredly did not need to be made holy, but all His redeemed children being subjects of inbred sin do need it. As for Him, He was the "holy thing" that was to be born of the Virgin Mary. "He knew no sin," He "did no sin," He was "holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners," and, therefore, when He says "I sanctify Myself," He means nothing more nor less than I consecrate Myself, or I set Myself apart, but in the other clause where the term sanctify is used in reference to His people, it must mean that they may be cleansed from all sin entirely sanctified, made holy or pure in heart. He sets Himself apart, therefore, to the work of redemption and salvation that He may have a holy people on earth, as without controversy He must and will have a holy people in heaven.
We have shown that entire sanctification is coetaneous with the baptism with the Holy Ghost, in fact, that the two experiences are in an important sense identical, or, at least, so related to each other that whoever has one has the other. It is Christ and none other who baptizes with the Holy. Ghost. "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire," not as some imagine, I think erroneously, that there are to be two baptisms, first that of the Holy Ghost, and afterwards that of fire in the way of affliction or persecution, though plenty of these are promised and experienced by those who would live godly in Christ Jesus, but simply that He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost under the similitude of fire, that is, that dross and tin and reprobate silver, or, in a word, all inbred sin may be consumed.
Nor is it correct to say that there are "many baptisms" of the Spirit. The Holy Ghost baptism is received by the consecrated believer once for all, and is never repeated unless by unfaithfulness or backsliding he falls from the precious grace which this baptism confers upon him, from Christ through the Spirit, and again comes in repentance and confession to do his first works, and again to be filled with the Spirit and cleansed from all sin. And even in that case the Holy Ghost seldom or never repeats Himself, by giving the same emotional experience as at first, but may and must be received and retained by faith, and the amount of feeling and the kind of feeling which He will arouse must be left to Himself entirely, I mean to say that the experience may be lost and may be regained, but seldom with the same phenomena of consciousness as at the first. Do not speak, then, of having had many baptisms of the Spirit, but seek and find the one baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire. Do not say that you are desiring or that you have had a fresh baptism with the Holy Ghost, but let your thoughts and prayers be directed to the one baptism which cleanseth and endueth and anointeth.
But I would not be misunderstood on this point. The Psalmist says, "I shall be anointed with fresh oil," and to every sanctified child of God, there may and do come seasons of refreshing, also of girding and filling, and fresh anointing for particular services, which are sometimes called fresh baptisms, but which are not to be confounded with the one true abiding Pentecostal experience. These blessings are not to be undervalued or lightly esteemed, but they come because we already have the Blesser Himself as a personal indwelling Presence and Power.
Many teachers of holiness inculcate the doctrine that we are first sanctified by the blood of Jesus, and afterwards filled or baptized with the Holy Ghost. This opinion would necessitate three separate experiences, where, I think, the Scripture only speaks of two. We should have (1) pardon, (2) entire sanctification by the blood, and (3) the filling of the Spirit. There would thus be a separation between the removing of inbred sin from the heart, and the baptism with the Holy Ghost. This baptism would, then, be only a qualification for service. It is regarded by these teachers, as only given for an enduement of power, to do the work to which we are called. And the practical result of this error, for such with due deference I must regard it, is that some will be very anxious to obtain the baptism with the Holy Ghost to make them strong or powerful in their work, but will ignore, or even deny, the doctrine of entire sanctification. Dr. S. A. Keen tells us of a minister who wrote to him that he did not take much stock in sanctification, but that he was very desirous of the Holy Ghost baptism, in order that he might have increased power in the ministry of the word. And, indeed, this seems to be a very prevalent idea, that we are to be baptized for service, but not for cleansing.
I trust that no reader who has followed me through the different chapters of this book will imagine, for a moment, that I under-value, in the slightest degree, the precious blood of Christ, nor do I forget that it is that blood which, as we walk in the light, cleanseth us from all sin. I think I have sufficiently stated elsewhere that the blood of Jesus is the procuring cause of our sanctification, as well as of our justification, and that we are forever dependent upon the atonement for the one blessing as well as the other. The blood of the Son of God is the ground of our sanctification, but it is the Holy Spirit who is the effective agent in destroying the depravity of our hearts.
It is true that our Saviour received the Holy Ghost, and that God anointed Him for the great work of redemption. And in His case, the word used is anointed or descended, and not in any place baptized. He needed not the work of entire sanctification, and, therefore, He is not said to have been baptized with the Holy Ghost. As a man, He did need the energizing for His work, and, therefore, He is said to have been anointed. Beloved, let us not separate what God has joined together. The entire sanctification of the heart and the Holy Ghost baptism are coetaneous experiences, and must not be divorced.
And now, beloved reader, I have accomplished my task. I have shown that like a golden thread the doctrine of entire sanctification runs through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. It is found in patriarchal times, it is in the law and the prophets, the types and the ceremonies, the gospels and epistles, everywhere showing us that we have to do with a Holy God, and that we as His children are required to be holy men and women.
To all who shall read this book, I testify that by the grace of God, and the blood of Christ, and the sin-consuming baptism with the Holy Ghost, this poor man, the chief of sinners, is saved to the uttermost. Glory to His name.
And to you, my readers, I bid farewell, and say, May He "make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." Amen.