Editors: Edwin F. Harvey & Lillian G. Harvey
DEEPER TRUTHS FOR CHRISTIANS, No. 8
I used to go to the Methodist altar and would think that I got this second blessing and would write in my Bible the time when I received it, to be sure to remember just when it was. Brethren, it is not necessary to write the date down in your Bible, because the Lord says He will put the sanctification right in your heart and then you will not forget it.
He will brand you the same as a farmer brands his cattle. A farmer takes the animal, throws him, ties his feet together and burns the initials right into him. That animal will not forget it, and it will not wash off. That is the way God put the blessing of sanctification into my heart. But He had to throw me and tie my front and hind feet, as it were, and put the hot iron on to burn the mark in.
It was some years ago, on the twenty-eighth of November, that Jesus did it, and it has stayed there until this very hour. I have not yet had to go to Him and ask Him to do it over again. Before I was sanctified I used to give the Lord five per cent of my income and then ten percent and then fifty per cent, but before I could get sanctified I put everything on the altar, and the Bible says in Exodus, that whatsoever touches the altar is holy. Be sure that you put everything on the altar before you profess you have this experience.
Our Altar is Jesus, and we have to come to Him with everything. With one person, to put one thing on the altar may be the most difficult, while with another person a different thing may be the most difficult. No doubt the dearest thing in Abraham’s life was that boy Isaac. Abraham did not care about the camels, the sheep or the land, but O, how he loved that boy! He was the son of promise. It had taken Abraham until he was one hundred years old to pray him in, and I suppose that absolutely the hardest thing in the world for him to do was to give up that boy.—From Sermons on Bible Characters.
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The writer of this brief testimony was the uncle of the present editor of the Message of Victory. Edwin Lawrence Harvey was a successful business man in the mid-western city of Chicago in the United States. He was also an active worker in the Methodist Church when the light on holiness suddenly changed everything. The “branding” to which he testifies was a radical moment in his life. From that point on he and his were absolutely and irrevocably the Lord’s property. He left his business for the ministry and received a mighty manifestation of the living God which remained throughout his entire life.
The editor remembers two outstanding qualities in his uncle’s Christian character—a forthrightness which made sinners uncomfortable in their sins when he proclaimed the Gospel, and a compassion which often caused him to drop everything in order to take some struggling man by the hand and lead him to the Great Deliverer in prayer and counsel.
A memory which has remained for fifty-three years is that of a scene at the funeral of his uncle. Although only eighteen at the time, he can still see that broken-hearted Negro, stretched out full length beside the coffin, sobbing out his heart. “No one ever loved me like that man,” he said between heaving sighs. Mr. Harvey had been the instrument of seeing this man reprieved from a death sentence for murder because he knew he was innocent of the crime.—Editor.
Lord, brand me again with the marks of Thy dying—
The old marks are hidden by the dust of the way;
Lord Jesus, just now, as I wait in Thy presence,
Burn deeply Thy brand-marks on me now, I pray.
Oh, burn all the bonds that are earthly and selfish,
Oh, burn all the germs of inherited sin;
Oh, burn up for ever unholy ambition—
Then brand me without, and brand me within.
Lord, brand me again for the conflict before me;
Yes, brand me again for the life yet to be;
And, oh, hold me safe for Thy service most holy;
Oh, brand with Thy dying, Lord Jesus, in me.
—Mary Warburton Booth.
THE THREE FALSE GOALS
Had Jeremiah the prophet been speaking today in London, Washington or Paris instead of two thousand, five hundred years ago in Jerusalem, his message concerning the folly of pursuing perishing values would doubtless have been the same as it was when Nebuchadnezzar seemed to be attaining all of the three goals mentioned by the prophet.
Listen to Jeremiah. “Wise Twentieth Century man, do not boast of your wisdom and education. Do not spend your brief days on earth striving to be known as a great source of information and human ‘know how.’ It is folly, because it is not going to last. Get to know God. For life eternal, as Jesus said, is getting to ‘know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent.’”
Let us hear more from the same source. “Man of might, do not be proud of how you can throw your weight about, whether it be on the shop floor, in the House of Commons or in the field of sport. But when you breathe your last in this poor perishing world, may it be just an exit into that everlasting sphere where ‘knowing God,’ which is eternal life, is just beginning and where it will never end.”
And once more let the weeping prophet speak. “Man with money, goods or lands, do not feel smug because you are financially comfortable for a few more short years, but go after true wealth—that is to know God throughout future ages that will open to you more and more from the bank of Heaven in which you have begun laying up your treasures while down here.”
Education, power and wealth, the earthbound trio which has enslaved humanity ever since Adam and Eve, in the greatest trade fiasco of all time, threw away communion with God. One or more of these three culprits has been the cause of every crime, the fountain of every tear drop, the disturber of every man’s peace ever since that fatal day.
Let us read Jeremiah’s advice as it appears in God’s Word—the advice we have been discussing: “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercises lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord” (Jer. 9:23-24).
The wise old Benjamite from Anathoth had had revealed to him the world-wide driving motives of every child of Adam. After these three things have we all striven since we were mere infants. What child does not puff out his little chest and shout one or all of the three following: “I know,” the declaration of pursuit of wisdom; or “Listen to me,” the declaration of claim to power; or “That’s mine,” which reveals the crazy clamor for money and things? And it is only when a human being is born of God that he gives up these three earthly pursuits and seeks God, His loving mercy, His judgment and His righteousness.
Every political or social problem is the fruit of this universal, carnal, triple urge. Indeed, many people are grasping for all three. We have time and space to look at only a few problems met disastrously because of these false urges.
Family and home situations. Husband and wife are today rarely content to be permanent family and home builders, relying for assistance on the control of the Divine Author of the home—God. They must work frantically and at the cost of all else so that sufficient finance comes in to “keep up with the Jones’s.” Or they must have more education at any price. Mother must work so as to help keep the money rolling in. Johnnie, therefore, comes home to an empty house. Dad and Mom now each strive for power, and divorce follows. No family altar exists because seeking God and His favor and help are very secondary as compared with the twentieth century contest for money, power and prestige.
Let us look next at the Church. The boys on the street sneer at the Church. “It does not cut any ice any more,” is their slangy observation. Ministers and officials try to overcome this lack of respect resulting in church boycott, by bringing in every type of entertainment. When that does work, it creates a Church that seems a success, but one which more than ever is chasing those destructive goals.
The Church is barren and powerless because it has forsaken the pursuit of God at all costs. How different have been the days of revival! Members sought God for hours in prayer and repentance. Minister, deacon and member have valued paramountly the coming in of the Holy Spirit. No sacrifice has been too great; no humbling too costly; no effort has seemed too demanding if God would only once again come in and be the life and center of the Church that was named after Him.
It is time to seek the Lord. Let self-effacing take the place of ambition. Allow the desire to build each other up in righteousness, banish the desire for personal promotion. May words of kindness and faithfulness in exhortation replace back-biting. Every modern substitute for the old reality is a fruit of the unholy trio of ambitions. Oh that the sound of the mourning penitent, the praise of the victorious seeker, and the pleading with the lost to come to Christ would take the place of lightness and frivolity!
In the field of economics we find the power crisis is caused by a rush of the oil producers for wealth; the oil companies are after the same thing, and everyone wants the biggest piece of the cake. There is just not enough wealth to go around, and so the consumer pays the bill and in turn he must have higher pay regardless of where he works or what bad results will come from the stepping-up of his income at the cost of others.
Politics cater to the same trio of unholy goals. The false optimism that sometimes lulls the masses in every nation asleep, explodes very shortly because God is left out. Jesus was heralded as the Prince of Peace. But He is not invited to the summit conference. Seeming loyalties of one nation to another are on a shaky foundation. What nation will not sell out the other if its home economy is dependent in some way upon the good-will of another nation inimical to its erstwhile friends? Lack of space prevents further application to every disturbing problem of the day.
“After all these things do the Gentiles seek. . . but seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:32-33).
THE OBTAINING STAGE
By Dudley Kidd
“Who through faith . . . obtained promises” (Heb. 11:13).
To believe that you will obtain a promise, and enjoy its fulfillment, is by no means the same thing as obtaining and enjoying the thing promised. There is a great danger of our never getting beyond the claiming stage of faith. But faith obtains, as well as claims.
To see God’s plan of salvation intellectually is not the same thing as to possess salvation. I may have the clearest views as to the conditions on which God will give me salvation, but I need more than to merely claim it by faith. There is a great danger of never getting beyond the claiming stage. For instance, suppose you ask a person whether he is in the enjoyment of God’s salvation, or sanctification, and merely receive the answer that your friend is claiming it by faith, you would go on to ask whether he did not get possession of it as well. I may claim some privilege that is mine by right but I must go on to possess it also.
It is possible that some of us have never arrived at the point where we can say we know we have received God’s salvation. I have often asked people who have been supposed to be converted at a mission, “But how do you know you are actually saved?” The only answer in very many cases is that they have trusted God with their soul’s salvation and have claimed it as their right, in virtue of the blood of Christ. When pressed as to whether they have no experimental knowledge that a work of God is actually done in their souls, they say that this is all vague to them. The only reason they can give is that certain promises are written in the Bible. Is there then, no such thing as the witness of the Spirit with our spirit that we are sons of God? There used to be! For myself I could never rest, till, like the woman who was healed by Jesus, I could say I felt within myself that I was whole of the plague that I had.
There is the claiming stage in salvation, such as we see in the dealing of Jesus with the Centurion, who had to go away with the bare word of Jesus. But things did not stop there, for he had the experimental proof of his daughter’s deliverance afterward. This claiming stage is always intended to lead on to the obtaining stage. Have you stopped short? Then press on, and you too shall know the joy of obtaining.
How then do we obtain promises, so that we can enjoy the possession? To start with, “A man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven.” The impartation of the blessing promised is God’s work. Every good and perfect gift comes down from above. And God will only give blessing on our fulfillment of very clear conditions. It is no use to try and cut off corners in this race. There are no short cuts into blessedness. We may persuade ourselves that God ought to bless us on easier conditions, and we may even deceive ourselves and others that He has done so for us, but we cannot persuade God to alter His terms.
Have you not seen people who are classified as inquirers, who for months seem to be unable to get any peace of mind? They speak as if God were to blame in not answering their importunate demands. But they get no real blessing for all that. The truth of the matter is that they are unwilling to comply with God’s conditions, and for months they try to get God to give them peace, while they hold out against His terms. Salvation is only for those who repent and turn from sin. They cling to sin and beg God to give them peace. It does not come, however, for God will never give His peace to the soul that clings to sin. And some instructors in the inquiry room help the soul to thwart God, and, blind guides as they are, they do but lead themselves and their victims into the ditch of antinomianism.
These inquirers are taken thus through a piece of mental arithmetic, as it were, and their consent is asked to certain formulae. When this is done, they are told that they are saved. God does not give blessing thus. A false peace may fill their soul, but it will but prove to be the fatal lull before the storm of God’s righteous indignation.
But the same thing is seen with regard to sanctification and Divine healing sometimes. There are souls who never get beyond the claiming stage, and who do not wait before God till He sends them away blessed. They are told to yield all to God—to place all on the altar—and then to go away and think that all is done. If you ask them what makes them think that all is done, and that they are sanctified, they too can only talk about something written in the Bible. The work has not been done in their souls. They cannot sing:
“And deep within my heart I know
The consciousness of cleansing.”
How, then, can we actually and experimentally obtain and enjoy the things promised? This first step is faith, “Who by faith . . . obtained promises”; note this: They obtained promises, and not merely claimed them. Faith appropriates. Faith gets actual possession of things. Have you such faith in God? Suppose all your thoughts about religion were suddenly taken from you, suppose you woke up one fine morning and found that you had forgotten all your head knowledge about Christ, would you still possess His salvation?
Secondly, we obtain promises by waiting, by patience. And there is a needs-be for this. Faith is necessary, as it alone will give God His right place. The creature can do nothing higher than set to its seal that God is true. Faith ceases from man, whose breath is in his nostrils, and lets God be God. Patience is needed, not from its God-ward relation but from the man-ward. Faith is needed because we have to do with God, and patience is needed for God has to do with man.
Do we wish to know the road to perfection? Here it is: “Let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” If we will only rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him, He will give us the desires of our heart. This is a small matter, for He will also give us the desires of His own heart too.
Thus we become “followers of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Of such was Abraham, who trusted God and waited God’s time for the fulfillment of the things promised. “After he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.”
Here lies the greatest cause of disappointment amongst searchers after holiness. We are too impatient, and will not give God time to work. When you have claimed the blessing your soul hungers for, wait in great lowliness before God, till He blesses you above all you ask or think.—Bright Words, 1897.
WHAT IS YOUR NUMBER? “666” OR “777”
By Rev. Max Morgan
“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six” (Rev. 13:18).
I am sure you have all heard the old saying that fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Whenever I am led to take a text from the book of Revelation, I always feel this way because I share with Dr. Adam Clark the same concern and attitude about this book in the Bible.
Every time I read it, I get a different view of it. Therefore, I am hesitant to face into this verse, but I feel that there is a message here for us. I am indebted to Samuel Chadwick for the idea I want to bring out in this message.
Now at the outset, I want to have it understood that I have no idea who “666” is—if this is a particular man. Several have been named down through history as the man, “666”, and the sad and embarrassing part is, time has a way of showing up whether these things be true or not. Time keeps pecking away at the date and sooner or later it arrives. Men have said “666” is “so-and-so” and the man passed off the scene and he was not “666”.
Nero was the one in the early days of the Church. No wonder! Here was a man burning the Christians to light his garden. They said, “He is ‘666’.” Vespacian was named after him and later followed Mohammed, Napoleon and the Popes of Rome.
I remember in my time when Mussolini was numbered “666”. Mussolini died and is gone. There were some who said Franklin D. Roosevelt was “666”. There were Calvinists in Chadwick’s day who said Wesley was “666”. Today there is already a pamphlet being distributed maintaining that one of our high ranking diplomats is “666”. He won’t be, because I don’t believe it is going to be that way at all.
Now I want to show you first of all the explanation of how we approach this book. There are two differing schools of thought. One is called the historic or prophetic; the other is the mystic or symbolic. The former think that these things are actually history and will come to pass and that everyone that is talked about in there, lived or will live. The symbolic school believes that these things are signs and symbols and have a hidden, spiritual message rather than referring to literal people.
After reading this book for some years, I lean in that direction. The signs and symbols will apply to our lives at every stage because they are generally true to life. You can follow that safely.
I want to move into some kind of interpretation of this “666”. Bible numbers mean something. Three is the number of mysterious sanctity or deity. Four represents the earth in all of its four directions. You know the Bible talks continually about the earth and the four corners of the earth. Six is everywhere the unlucky number. According to Chadwick, the Jews dreaded it, and to this day there lingers superstition concerning “six”. People worry about the sixth day, the sixth hour, etc., and the reason given is this, that six falls just one short of perfection. To reach six without reaching seven is to fail completely.
In chapter twelve, John gives us this account of the great red dragon in Heaven. He talks about the birth of the Man-child. This dragon is waiting to devour the Child as soon as He is born. Then he goes back up into Heaven and he speaks of a great war that is carried on in Heaven. This great red dragon fought against Michael and the angels. To the glory of God, he was overcome and one man has said, “thrown over the battlements of Heaven.” He came down to earth and the Bible says, “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”
There was a day when the devil went right up to Heaven and challenged God. He was going to be God and he carried on a rebellion and he was cast out and since he can’t rule in Heaven, he is determined to rule here. Jesus calls him, “The Prince of the Power of the Air,” and “The Prince of this World.” Now we have no question in the Bible as to who this first beast is because it tells us. It says,
“Behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads . . . And there was war in heaven . . . And the great red dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
Now in chapter thirteen we have another beast rising out of the sea. Usually in the book of Revelation when it talks about the sea, it really means the sea of humanity.
“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”
This beast is commonly interpreted to be a great political power made up of several political powers who have united to make one great political power. I feel that this leopard and the bear and the lion represent those people who will come under the yoke of Communism and be used in the last days against the people of God.
This beast was given power to make war against the saints and overcome them. Now it doesn’t mean to overcome them spiritually but to overcome them physically. All down through the ages, a great many saints have been martyred and have paid the price and were not delivered. There is going to be a great slaughter and I’m sure its going to rise out of the Communistic countries. It is going to come!
In China they murdered 30,000,000. I don’t know how many were murdered in Russia. I tremble and am amazed and taken back and I’m shocked and I’m everything else when I think of how foolish we are to play into their hands and make deals with them when we know good and well they have never changed. Lenin said, “We will carry on a peace offensive and say, ‘Peace, peace, peace’ until the Americans drop their guard. Then we will smash them in the face with the mailed fist.” Brother, that’s coming. I don’t have any fear that I am going to miss that.
Then it says again in chapter thirteen, “I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spake as a dragon.” It’s very interesting to note that he had two horns like a lamb but he spake like a dragon. So who is he coming like a lamb but speaking like the devil? He is a false Christ or a false prophet. You see we have an unholy trinity opposed to a holy trinity and everyone of us are throwing in our lot with either the unholy trinity or the Holy Trinity. Don’t you forget it. The day is going to come when you and I are going to be called upon to stand and be counted with one or the other. We will take the mark of the devil unless we stand with the Holy Trinity.
This unholy trinity is made up of the devil, the political power and the false church or the false prophet. What you are going to have here is a political system with the devil behind it and the backslidden apostate church which supports it all. It says this lamb that spake like a dragon did everything to bring glory to the beast and he made the people worship the beast and gave authority to the beast.
What is going on today? What is supposed to be the duty of government? It takes care of people’s health, sees that they are defended, etc. Mainly the Church has stopped preaching the Gospel and gone into social affairs—housing, poverty, pollution, etc.
Now this lamb had power “to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads.” And then he says this number is 666.
I feel that what this “666” means is that you sum up everything that is taking place in this evil world and the best it can do is “666”. With all of its promises, with all of its power, with all of its people, the best it can do is “666” which is to fail, fail, fail. What we must have and what every man must have, if we ever are to be what we ought to be, is the touch upon us of “777” which is the number of the Holy Trinity.
I have to be washed in the blood of Jesus. I have to be baptized by the Holy Ghost and fire. I have to be filled with the fullness of God and if I ever am to amount to anything it will take “777” to do me any good. I want to face the “666” down here where you and I live. I am going to stop calling it “666”, and just call it “6” and “7”.
I must not and you must not settle for a “six” Christianity. I want you to listen as you’ve never listened before because this is absolutely essential to you. If I were the devil, what tool would I use more effectively than anything else? I wouldn’t come to you and say, “There is nothing to Christianity.” I would say, “Yes, this is true; that is true.” But how far would I want you to miss it? Just far enough to land you in hell. I would give you a “six” Christianity.
There are a great number of deluded souls who believe with their heads and have believed with their head; and did believe with their heads and did make a head commitment. All they have is what they have in their heads. They have not had a genuine new birth from God that touched their hearts, that they absolutely know in their soul that, “I have been born again.”
They are in the land by the thousands, those who have just sat down with some so-called worker and have left the Holy Ghost completely out of it. They were taken down through the steps and asked, “Do you believe this and this?” They said, “Yes,” and then the adviser said, “You are a Christian.” And they are not Christians at all! It is number “six” religion, and it will land them in hell.
I want to go further and say that this “six” Christianity is most dangerous because it deludes the one who has it into thinking he has the real thing when he has nothing. These people believe the Bible is the Word of God, that Christ is virgin born and that “ye must be born again” and they believe in Heaven and hell, but it is all “six”.
Friends, I feel that I am preaching to somebody that had better get this point clear before it is too late. Jesus said, “Not everyone that saith, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils?”
To these people who have preached even in the Name of Jesus and cast out devils in His Name, Jesus will say, “I never knew you: Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” They thought they were Christians. I don’t know your experience, but if you sat down with somebody and they led you through a little intellectual process and that’s all you had, you only have “six” and it will land you straight in hell.
Men can do a lot in their own strength. “When he (Jesus) was gone forth in the way there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but God. Thou knowest the commandments. And he answered and said unto him, Master all these have I observed from my youth.” Listen that’s a pretty good life. Some say to me, “Brother Morgan, I don’t drink. I don’t smoke and I don’t do this.” Friends, you could do all of that and have not an ounce of grace in your hearts.
The rich young ruler said, “I do all this.” What did Jesus say to him? “Jesus beholding him loved him and said unto him (One thing—ah! just one thing!) One thing thou lackest; Go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast and give to the poor . . . and come and take up the cross and follow me.”
What did he do? He went away sorrowfully because he had great possessions. That’s all “six”. The highest possible attainment apart from God is “six”. We are so duped. People say, “I must be living right; God is blessing me financially.” Not necessarily! This thing is of the heart. We can do a lot in the churches without God. Samuel Chadwick said this, “Crowded churches and overflowing coffers are no infallible sign of God’s blessing. Filling churches is a matter of business capacity not piety. If the church is empty it just evidences a lack of capacity rather than piety.” In other words, you just don’t know how to do it. If you give away enough teddy bears, enough horsey rides, enough tickets on the raffle, you could fill the church. Give the young people a ticket at the door and let them have a jalopy.
We must not settle for a “six” conviction.
Here’s our point. This is the basis of it all. If you were not convicted in your heart that, “I’m absolutely the worst sinner that ever lived,” you have a “six” conviction. I know of absolutely model, moral people who when they were convicted of the Holy Ghost, said, “Woe is me. I’m undone.” They thought they were the worst people that ever lived.
You don’t have to rob banks to get under conviction. If your heart is not right; if you’ve lived for yourself all your life, you ought to be under conviction. “Six” conviction is selfish sorrow for getting caught, or sorrow for suffering at the hand of sin. Many are sorry for what sin does to them, but they are not sorry for what they have done to God. A lot of “six” conviction that people have is nothing more than self-pity.
We must not settle for a “six” forgiveness.
We have sinned against God. God has been offended. Who must forgive? And who must let me know it? God must forgive me and God must let me know it. Whenever they came to Jesus, He said, “Thy sins are forgiven thee. Go and sin no more.” And they knew it. God must speak that to me and to you and when you rise from your knees, you must be able to say, “I know my sins are forgiven” not because someone said, “Believe this and believe that and so I presume they are.” But unless you have truly repented and confessed, they are not forgiven.
One of the greatest problems we have in getting people sanctified is that they are seeking sanctification on top of a faulty conversion. You can’t die; you can’t consecrate; you can’t get to God on top of a faulty conversion.
We must not settle for a “six” conversion.
Reformation has fooled a lot of people into thinking they were converted. You know a lot of people get convicted and quit all the worldly things but they aren’t saved. The devil is in for reformation as long as we will mistake it for regeneration.
We must not settle for a “six” consecration or
a “six” crucifixion.
It tells us in the book of Hebrews, to “fear lest we come short of it.” You remember when Elijah was praying for rain. How many times did he send his servant over to look at the sky? He said, “Go over and see.” He came back and said, “There is nothing.” He went again and he said, “What do you see?” And he said, “nothing.” Six times he saw nothing and he came back and said, “Go again.” When did the rain come? He went the seventh time, but he came back and said, “Oh there is a cloud in the sky about the size of a man’s hand.” And Elijah said, “It is going to rain.”
Naaman went down and dipped in the Jordan one, two, three, four, five, six times and came up unclean. If he had stopped there, he never would have made it, but he said, “It’s got to be seven.” He went down and came up clean.
We must not have a “six” sanctification.
It can’t be. It’s got to be a seven sanctification done in this life—not growth or death or after life. “The very God of peace, himself, sanctify you wholly.” There it is, brother. Where are you? What’s your number?—Taken from a tape by permission of Max Morgan.
THE TESTIMONY OF ASA MAHAN
For forty years, Asa Mahan lived and preached Scriptural Holiness. Although a staunch Calvinist in his upbringing and church connections, the inbred sin of his own heart led him to make a thorough study of the Bible on the teaching of deliverance from sin. He wrote two books on the subject, The Baptism of the Holy Ghost and Christian Perfection which have brought tremendous light and blessing to many.
Asked at the age of seventy-six if his views had undergone any change, he wrote: “It is now about forty years since, after the most careful and prayerful examination of the Word of God upon the subject, I embraced the views set forth in my work entitled, Christian Perfection. All my subsequent examinations, and all my observations of facts, from that period to the present, have tended but in one direction—to confirm and render absolute my confidence in the truth and supreme importance of those views. My life labors are supremely directed to this one end, “the perfecting of the saints.”
I will, in conformity with the desires of my own mind, and the suggestions of some brethren, in whose judgment I place much confidence, give the reader a short account of the manner in which I was led by the Spirit of God, as I believe, to adopt the sentiments maintained in these discourses written in Christian Perfection.
In regard to my early experience as a Christian, I would say, that that experience had two prominent characteristics, a desire, inexpressibly strong, to be freed from all sin in every form and to be entirely consecrated to the love and service of God in all the powers and susceptibilities of my being. Nor can any one conceive the gloom and horror that covered my mind, when older Christians assured me, and, as I supposed, with truth, that that was a state to which I should never, in this life, attain. They assured me that my lusts would not be perfectly subdued or subjected to the will of Christ, and that one of the brightest evidences of my conversion and growth in grace was new discoveries of the deep and fixed corruptions of my heart—corruptions from which I was never to be cleansed till death should deliver me from my bondage. Notwithstanding all the impediments thrown in the way of my progress in holiness, I continued to press forward for a succession of years, till I could say, in the language of another, “I do know that I love holiness for holiness’ sake.”
In this state, I commenced my studies as a student in college. Here I fell and fell, by not aiming singly at the “prize of the high calling,” but at the prize of college honors. I subsequently entered a theological seminary, with the hope of there finding myself in such an atmosphere that my first love would be revived. In this expectation, I grieve to say, I was most sadly disappointed. I found the piety of my brethren apparently as low as my own. I here say it with sorrow of heart, that my mind does not recur to a single individual connected with the school of the prophets, when I was there, who appeared to me to enjoy daily communion and peace with God.
After completing my course under such circumstances, I entered the ministry, proud of my intellectual attainments, and armed, as I supposed, at every point, with the weapons of theological warfare, but with the soul of piety chilled and expiring within me.
Blessed be God, the remembrance of what I had been remained, and constantly aroused me to a consciousness of what I was. I looked into myself and over the Church, and was shocked at what I felt and what I saw. Two facts in the aspect of the Church and the ministry, struck my mind with gloomy interest. Scarcely an individual, within the circle of my knowledge, seemed to know the Gospel as a sanctifying or peace-giving Gospel.
Let me illustrate this remark. I met a company of my ministerial brethren, who had come together from one of the most favored portions of the country. They sat down together, and gave to each other an undisguised disclosure of the state of their hearts. They all, with one exception—and the experience of that individual I did not hear—acknowledged that they had not daily communion and peace with God. Over these facts they wept, but neither knew how to direct the others out of the thick and impenetrable gloom which covered them. I was in the same ignorance as my brethren.
I state these facts as a fair example of the state of the Churches, and of the ministry, as far as my observation has extended; and that has been very extensive. I here affirm that the great mass of Christians do not know the Gospel, in their daily experience, as a life-giving and peace-giving Gospel.
When my mind became fully conscious of this fact, I was led to compare my own, and the experience of the Church around me, with that of the apostles and primitive Christians, and with the “path of the just,” as portrayed in the sacred Scriptures. I found the two in direct contrast with each other. Hence the great inquiry arose in my mind, What is the grand secret of holy living? How shall I attain to that perpetual fullness and peace in Christ, which, for example, Paul enjoyed?
Till this secret was fully disclosed to my mind, I felt that I was, and must be, disqualified, in one fundamental respect, to “feed the flock of God.” While the Gospel was not life and peace to me, how could I present it in such a manner that it would be life and peace to others! I must myself be led by the Great Shepherd into the “green pastures and beside the still waters,” before I could lead the flock of God into the same blissful regions.
For years, this one inquiry pressed upon my thoughts, and often as I have looked over a company of inquiring sinners have I said within myself, I would gladly take my place among those inquirers, if any individual would show me how to come into possession of the “riches of the glory of Christ’s inheritance in the saints.” But clouds and darkness covered my mind in respect to this, the most momentous of all subjects.
In this state of mind, I became connected with the Institution at Oberlin, and continued to press my inquiries. At that time, during a series of religious meetings held in the Institution, a large number of the members of the Church arose and informed us that they were fully convinced that they had been deceived in respect to their character as Christians, and that they were now without hope, and appeared as inquirers, to know what they should do to be saved.
At the same time, the great mass of the remainder disclosed to us the cheerless bondage in which they had long been groaning, and asked us if we could tell them how to obtain deliverance. I now felt myself, as one of the “leaders of the flock of God,” pressed with the great inquiry above referred to, with greater interest than ever before. I set my heart, by prayer and supplication to God, to find the light after which I had so long been seeking.
In this state, I visited one of my associates in the Institution, and disclosed to him the burden which had weighed down my mind for so many years. I asked him if he could tell me the secret of the piety of Paul, and tell me the reason of the strange contrast between the apostle’s experience and my own. In laboring for the salvation of men, I observed that my feelings often remained unmoved and unaffected, while Paul was constantly “constrained” by the love of Christ.
Our conversation then turned upon the passage, “the love of Christ constraineth us,” etc. While thus employed, my heart leaped up in ecstasy indescribable, with the exclamation, “I have found it. I have now, by the grace of God, discovered the secret after which I have been searching these many years.” I understood the secret of the piety of Paul, and knew how to attain to that blissful state myself. Paul’s piety all arose from one source exclusively—a sympathy with the heart of Christ in His love for lost man. To attain to that state myself, I had only to acquaint myself with the love of Christ, and yield my whole being up to its sweet control.
Immediately after this, I came before the Church, and disclosed to them what I then saw to be the grand defect in my ministry:
- Christ had been but as one chapter in my system of theology, when He should have been the sun and center of the system.
- When I thought of my guilt, and need of justification, I had looked to Christ exclusively, as I ought to have done; for sanctification, on the other hand, to overcome the “world, the flesh, and the devil,” I had depended mainly on my own resolutions. Here was the grand mistake, and the source of all my bondage under sin. I ought to have looked to Christ for sanctification as much as for justification, and for the same reason.
The great object of my being now was to know Christ, and in knowing Him to be changed into His image. Here was the “victory which overcometh the world.” Here was the “death of the body of sin.” Here was a “redemption from all iniquity,” into the “glorious liberty of the children of God.”
At this time, the appropriate office of the Holy Spirit presented itself to my mind with a distinctness and interest never understood nor felt before. To know Christ was the life of the soul. To “take of the things of Christ and show them unto us”; to open our hearts to understand the Scriptures; to strengthen us with might in the inner man, that we might be able to comprehend the “breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge,” and thus be “filled with all the fullness of God”—is the appropriate office of the Spirit.
The highway of holiness was now, for the first time, rendered perfectly distinct to my mind. The discovery of it was to my mind as “life from the dead.” The disclosure of that path had the same effect upon others who had been, like myself, “weary, tossed with tempest, and not comforted.”
As my supreme attention was thus fixed upon Christ; as it became the great object of my being to know Him, and be transformed into His likeness; and as I was perpetually seeking that Divine illumination by which I might apprehend Him, an era occurred in my experience, which I have no doubt will ever be one of the most memorable in my entire past existence. In a moment of deep and solemn thought, the veil seemed to be lifted, and I had a vision of the infinite glory and love of Christ, as manifested in the mysteries of redemption.
I will not attempt to describe the effect of that vision upon my mind. All that I would say is, that, in view of it, my heart melted and flowed out like water. The heart of stone was taken away, and a heart of love and tenderness assumed its place. From that time I have desired to “know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified.” I have literally “esteemed all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord”; and the knowledge of Christ has been eternal life begun in my heart.
Now, when the Lord Jesus Christ was thus held up among us, by myself and others, a brother in the ministry arose in one of our meetings, and remarked that there was one question to which he desired that a definite answer might be given. It is this: “When we look to Christ for sanctification, what degree of sanctification may we expect from Him? May we look to Him to be sanctified wholly or not?”
I do not recollect that I was ever so shocked and confounded at any question, before or since. I felt, for the moment, that the work of Christ among us would be marred, and the mass of minds around us rush into Perfectionism. Still the question was before us; and to it we were bound, as pupils of the Holy Spirit, to give a Scriptural answer. We did not attempt to give a definite answer to it during that time. With that question before us, Brother Finney and myself came to New York, and spent most of the winter together in prayer and study of the Bible. The great inquiry with us was, What degree of holiness may we ourselves expect from Christ, when we exercise faith in Him, and in what light shall we present Him to others as a Savior from sin? We looked, for example, at such passages as this—“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”
We looked at such passages, I say, and asked ourselves this question—Suppose an honest inquirer after holiness comes to us, and asks us—What degree of holiness is here promised to the believer? May I expect, in view of this prayer and promise, that God will sanctify me wholly, and preserve me in that state till the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ? What answer shall we give him? Shall we tell him that merely partial, and not perfect holiness is here promised, and that the former, and not the latter, he is here authorized to expect?
After looking prayerfully at the testimony of Scripture, in respect to the provisions and promises of Divine grace, we were constrained to admit, that but one answer to the above question could be given from the Bible; and the greatest wonder with me is, that I have been so long a “master of Israel, and have never before known these things.” Since that time we have never ceased to proclaim it as a full and finished redemption, till Christ shall call us home. For myself, I am willing to proclaim it to the world, that I now look to the very God of peace to sanctify me wholly, and preserve my whole spirit, and soul, and body, blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. I put up this prayer with the expectation that the very things prayed for will be granted. Reader, is that confidence misplaced? In expecting that blessing, am I leaning upon a broken reed, or upon the broad promise of God?
There is one circumstance connected with my recent experience, to which I desire to turn the special attention of the reader. I would here say, that I have for ever given up all idea of resisting temptation, subduing any lust, appetite, or propensity, or of acceptably performing any service for Christ, by the mere force of my own resolutions. If my propensities, which lead to sin, are crucified, I know that it must be done by an indwelling Christ. If I overcome the world, this is to be victory, “even our faith.” If the great enemy is to be overcome, it is to be done “by the blood of the lamb.”
Wait Thou Only Upon God
Wait only upon God; my soul, be still,
And let thy God unfold His perfect will;
Thou fain would’st follow Him throughout this year,
Thou fain with listening heart His voice would’st hear,
Thou fain would’st be a passive instrument,
Possessed by God, and ever Spirit-sent
Upon His service sweet. Then be thou still,
For only thus can He in thee fulfill
His heart’s desire. Oh hinder not His hand
From fashioning the vessel He hath planned.
Be silent unto God, and thou shalt know
The quiet, holy calm He doth bestow
On those who wait on Him; so shalt thou bear
His presence and His life and light e’en where
The night is darkest, and thine earthly days
Shall show His love, and sound His glorious praise,
And He will work with hand unfettered, free,
His high and Holy purposes through thee.
First on thee must that hand of power be turned
Till in His love’s strong fire thy dross is burned,
And thou come forth a vessel for thy Lord,
So frail and empty, yet since He hath poured
Into thine emptiness His life, His love,
Henceforth through thee the power of God shall move,
And He will work for thee. Stand still and see
The victories thy God will gain for thee;
So silent, yet so irresistible,
Thy God shall do the thing impossible.
Oh question not henceforth what thou can’st do;
Thou can’st do nought, but He will carry through
The work where every human energy had failed,
Where all thy best endeavors had availed
Thee nothing. Then, my soul, wait and be still;
Thy God shall work for thee His perfect will.
If thou wilt take no less, His best shall be
Thy portion now and through eternity.
GOD’S MIGHTY CONQUESTS
By Mrs. E. F. Harvey
God IS! Christ IS! The Holy Spirit IS! Yes, the mighty Trinity still operate in this old world of ours today. Many Christians think of the Bible as a record of the past in which God mightily operated for the Patriarchs of old; that Christ did His wondrous works as recorded in the Gospels and that the Holy Spirit was actively at work in the Acts guiding the early Church. But they seem to think that was two thousand years ago, and that somehow Christians must operate today with their limited human resources and knowledge.
How wonderful it is when the tired, weary, frustrated Christian is suddenly given a revelation of the unseen resources of God with His vast hosts of heavenly armies in heavenly places; when by divine illumination he suddenly views the God “Who hides Himself,” striding across the world, with a precision and power that astounds the onlooker! It takes spiritually anointed eyes to see the mountains full of God’s chariots instead of the isolated, lonely position of the Christian in the devil’s world with all the forces of the enemy far outnumbering the meager few, fighting with inadequate resources, as compared with the wealth of the devil’s minions.
Recently we were encouraged when reading the last chapter in Firstborn Sons by G. H. Lang. Let me quote a paragraph:
“Let the truth sink into our heart that God has a program. He is not an opportunist, driven to His wit’s end by clever enemies, and just doing the best He can as occasion offers. Let the notion be for ever dismissed that He is as an unskillful chess player painfully watching for chances to outmaneuver an expert opponent. The great Architect of the ages drew out His plan before ever He began the work of construction, and those plans were complete, in both principles and details, before He commenced operations. The ends to be served, and the methods and measures for reaching those ends, were settled in advance: and the Lord God the Almighty is equal to the completing of the work that He has commenced, and He is not to be thwarted. Yea, in His infinite wisdom, He causes even the, by Him undesigned though foreseen, opposition of His foes to contribute to the accomplishment of His purposes.
“If we His people are to co-operate with our God to further His designs we must have some understanding of what His plan is. God has a program: it is our necessity, wisdom, duty and delight to grasp His plan and work in harmony therewith.”
When we, wearied with our self-originated plans for advancing the Gospel, come to see ourselves as the nothings we really are and wait upon God for guidance, how we find ourselves in the stream of His eternal purposes. Wide-eyed with wonder, we trace His footsteps in our storms, and see that He has even made a way in the sea, that enemies but promote His interests and further His gracious designs.
I wish to submit two examples of this sublime pre-working of God to perform His purposes. One, I discovered when reading through the two volumes on the life of Alexander Duff. The other, I discovered when reading A. T. Pierson’s New Acts of the Apostles. Both should hearten us in these dark times and cause us to diligently look for God in the providences that lie all about us in the seeming haphazard.
A young minister, Stewart by name, one Sunday morning leaned over his pulpit and confided to his audience his grave and growing sense of dissatisfaction with his spiritual grasp of the great eternal truths. The audience in that Presbyterian Kirk in Moulin, in the north of Scotland, listened with wonder, and it began to be whispered about among the parishioners that something rather awesome might happen any Sabbath. So, they came expecting to hear further from their very frank pastor, for had he not told them that when he would have received this increased revelation, he would share it with them? Anticipation gripped both priest and people. How long must they wait?
In the South of England, in the University town of Cambridge, God was preparing another instrument for His future purposes. Charles Simeon was a much maligned and persecuted clergyman at Trinity Church. On one bright Easter morning, the Holy Spirit assured him that he had truly been born again and his subsequent ministry reflected the brightness of that upsurging life of God.
But Simeon’s parishioners were not pleased with their new vicar, and locked their pews. For ten years or more his audience had to accommodate themselves in the aisles and alcoves of the building. The hostile attitude of his people made personal visitation work virtually impossible, and few people would be seen walking across the common in company with the man so much misunderstood. Anybody who dared to come under his influence might well be termed a “Sim”.
The young vicar’s attitude of courage eventually broke down some of this persistent opposition. But, God had not rejected Simeon if some at Cambridge had. While still serving his people, he in company with another minister, decided to take a few weeks’ absence in order to visit some of the Presbyterian Churches in Scotland. While at Dunkeld a slight indisposition caused Charles Simeon to change his plans and instead of returning to Glasgow, he went to view the Killicrankie Pass. But on his asking at an inn to hire horses for his return journey, he was told nothing was to be had as this was Communion weekend. Inquiring as to where the Communion was to be held, he was directed to Moulin, four miles distant. So instead of returning as previously planned, Simeon made his way to this little town where he was invited to minister on the morrow.
A thousand people had gathered for that memorable Communion service, and in the evening Simeon preached, later bewailing his barren and dull message. However, in that congregation were two young teenagers—James Duff and Jean Rattray. Their hearts were strangely moved and so was that of their minister.
From that time, Stewart changed the “strain of his preaching, determining not to know anything among his people save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” And from that time revivals followed. In due course these two young Christians, James Duff and Jean Rattray, married, and when their first son was born, they named him Alexander, who, twenty-four years later, was to obey the Divine summons to go out to far-off India.
“I know him that he will command his house after him,” could be said of James Duff, for he instilled into the young child a reverential fear of God. Even as a grown man, Alexander would never forget the countenance of his father radiant with the light of another world, as he communed with God. From him too he imbibed a catholicity of spirit for he had listened to the animated conversations of his father as he told of the triumphs of those who, regardless of denomination, had planted the ensign of the cross in distant lands.
The book, Cloud of Witnesses, was revered next to the Bible in the Duff household. Often, as the impressionable young lad heard of the heavy price his forebears had had to pay in martyrdom, exile and imprisonment in order to ensure their freedom to worship God, he was made ready to stand the hardships and toils incident to a missionary. “His father’s unsparing exposure and denunciation of the follies, levities and vanities of a giddy and sinful world,” trained his son to a readiness to forego the world’s applause for an unpopular cause.
“The spiritual ancestry of Alexander Duff,” said his biographer, “is not difficult to trace to Charles Simeon. . . . It was the remark of Duff himself, when in the fullness of his fame, he solemnly congratulated a young friend on a firstborn son, ‘that in nothing is the sovereignty of God so clearly seen as in the birth of a child; the fact, the sex, the circumstances, the bent. To be at all, is much; to be this rather than that is, to the individual, more; but to be the subject and the channel of a Divine force such as has made the men who have reformed the world in the days from the apostles to the greatest modern missionaries, is so very much more, that we may well look in every case for the signs which lie about their infancy.’”
God is still at work now in His silent, unobserved way, bring peoples together across the miles, passing the barriers of denomination, in order to further His own program for the Gospel. He has not left this old world to itself to haphazardly fumble its way through the maze of voices but is down in the vanguard as of old in a pillar of fire and a cloud to lead His obedient servants to a destined end. In the following story A. T. Pierson traces another of God’s quiet conquests.
A SERIES OF MARVELS
By A. T. Pierson
In the recently published memoir of Adolph Saphir, there is put on record one of the countless instances of Divine administration of missions, which we cite because of the many-sided lesson taught. It is the story of how the mission for the Jews was established in Pesth, Hungary. Prayer is the key to every new mystery in this series of marvels.
First, the father of this movement was Mr. R. Wodrow, of Glasgow, whose private diary shows whole days of fasting and prayer on behalf of Israel. The next step was the appointment of a deputation, in 1838, consisting of those four remarkable men, Doctors Keith and Black, with Andrew Bonar and McCheyne, to visit lands where the Jews dwelt, and select fields for missions to this neglected people.
The intolerance of the Austrian government seemed to shut the door to any work within its dominions and so, notwithstanding the large Jewish population there resident, Hungary was not embraced in the plan of visitation. But God did not purpose that this land should be longer passed by; and He, by mysterious links, joined the plan of the deputation to His own purposes for Hungary.
Dr. Black slipped from his camel’s back as they were crossing from Egypt to Palestine, and the seemingly trifling accident proved sufficiently serious to change the homeward route of Dr. Black and Dr. Keith, by way of the Danube. As they passed through Pesth, they made some inquiries as to the Jews there to be found, little knowing what unseen Hand was leading “the blind by a way that they knew not.”
The Archduchess Maria Dorothea, then residing in the Prince Palatine’s palace, had some years previously been led, by a death in her family, to seek solace in the Bible, where “she met Jesus.” She was, by the imperial law, forced to bring up her children in the Roman Catholic Church; but as she had found the truth, she taught them, with much prayer, the way of faith, and, in her solitude, yearned and besought of God that a Christian friend and counselor might be sent to her.
In the window of her boudoir, which overlooked the city with its hundred thousand people, day by day, for seven years, she had poured out her soul in prayer to God for someone to carry the true Gospel to those around her; at times, in agony, stretching out imploring hands to God for at least one messenger of the cross to come to Hungary.
The year of 1840 came, with Drs. Keith’s and Black’s providential visit to Pesth, and Dr. Keith’s almost fatal illness there—and just at this time the Archduchess was strongly and strangely impressed that a stranger was about to arrive who would bring a peculiar blessing to the Hungarians she loved. There was one fortnight particularly, when, night after night, she awoke at the same hour, with a vivid sense that something was about to take place which was to bring her relief. And when at last she heard that Dr. Keith was in town dangerously ill of cholera, she said to herself, “This is what was to happen to me.” And from that hour her sleep was no longer broken.
She went to the bedside of the prostrate stranger, and with her own hands ministered to his wants; and, as he became better, told him of her longings and prayers, acquainted him with the state of the Hungarian Jews, and assured him that if the Church of Scotland would plant a mission in Pesth, she would throw about it all possible guards. And so it came to pass that in the very field which the deputation purposely left out of all their scheme, God brought about, by link upon link of His inscrutable providence, the famous mission associated with the name of “Rabbi Duncan,” and which was the means of giving to the Church of Christ, Adolph Saphir.
Thus came the Protestant Gospel into Buda-Pesth: and by what a series of Divine leadings! A man’s prayer in Glasgow, a woman’s prayer in Hungary, a seeming accident on desert sand, a change of route, an almost fatal illness, a visit of an archduchess—who shall dare to doubt that the Hungarian mission was a tree of God’s planting! Who can wonder that as the first missionaries went to this new field they “felt wafted along by the breath of prayer, and had from the very beginning a mysterious expectation of success!”
—A. T. Pierson in the New Acts of the Apostles.
A MOST PERNICIOUS ERROR
By G. W. Wilson
One of the most pernicious errors that has attached itself to the truth is the declaration that we should witness to our faith. Many are missing the subjective work of the Spirit by being taught this fallacy, both in regeneration and sanctification.
Witnessing to your faith, the nice distinction between believing what God says, and knowing what God does, is ignored, and the real act of faith is omitted. This point has the sanction of some of the prominent workers in the church, and has produced a spiritless class of witnesses to regeneration and holiness, who dryly and with theoretical clearness profess spiritual experiences they do not possess, and never stir up any other soul to possess. Universally they become legalists on spiritual things, devoid of love, fanatical, censorious, making light of the striving to “enter in” of others, and usually do violence to the experience they profess to have.
This fallacy is all the more dangerous as it is supposed by its advocates to be the essence of true faith. They are taught, and they themselves say, “I have no consciousness of any experience, but I am taking it by faith.” “God says so, and I am believing His Word.” Let us look at such statements a moment. Their danger lies in the fact that they are half-truths, and if the soul would not rest there, no special harm would be done. But first days, then weeks, then months intervene, and they keep “testifying to their faith” till they slip over to the testimony to the fact without any fact to testify to. They do not say, “I have sought the new birth, and have found it.” This they dare not do and be true to self; nor, “I have found the glorious experience of perfect love,” but always relate the processes up to the point and say, “I just took it by faith,” or, “I am standing by faith.”
Now, standing by faith is neither the work of regeneration nor holiness, and if you ask them what it was they “took” by faith, they will say whatever the experience sought; then ask them if they have it, and they will say, “I believe I have.”
Now, can you not plainly see that this experience has no subjective side to it? This faith has no end to it; the act is not complete; they have not received “the end of their faith.” The end of your faith is the salvation of the soul, and, if full salvation is sought, the full salvation of your soul. They have not received the salvation, they have believed it; and the salvation is a non-reality because the act of receiving is a non-reality, which receiving is a conscious act. No one can receive a nonentity. A reality to be received must be perceptible to the one that receives it; and how logical, when one, instead of “believing that you receive IT, and you shall have IT,” and then testifying to the truth of God’s promise from a consciousness that you have it, stops seeking according to Christ (“He that seeketh findeth”), and testifies to faith in what God says, goes on without it.
Faith in the truthfulness of God’s Word is essential to any degree of salvation, but it is not sufficient for salvation. We must not only believe the promise is true, and that “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it,” but we must receive the thing His promise embraces.
A hungry man may have faith in the promiser, and his promise of a hearty meal, and may come where the meal is spread, and hear others talk of how sweet the food is to their taste, and believe them. But will it satisfy his hunger, or make him a reliable witness to the preciousness of the feast to say, “I believe I am eating and being filled; I don’t feel any different than when I came, but I am resting on the promise, and will let the feeling take care of itself”? What a witness to the feast, as the guests gathered in the parlor, and all wanted to praise the bounteous giver! One witness says, “Oh, how my soul has feasted on Thy Word!” Another, “the entrance of Thy Word giveth light”; another, “with joy do we draw water out of the wells of salvation”; the witness to his faith, “I am standing on your promise.” “Did you eat to the full?” “I am clinging by faith.” “How did you enjoy the feast?” “I believe what the promiser says.”
Brethren, beloved of God, it is time this stopped. This “believe you’ve got it and you have it” craze has flooded our churches with unconverted members, and it is doing the same with the work of holiness, born, I fear, of the same spirit to count success. Hold these souls to the crucifying point of receiving, where unbelief must die. How carnality dodges it! Anything to let them off from the real crucifixion. I haven’t got it, but I will believe I have it. I’ll testify to my faith, and stand with the witnesses. O my God, presumption takes the place of faith! A profession of Thy work not manifest is received instead of Thy sanctifying power. As a result, our meetings are hindered by spiritless, inconsistent witnesses, who persistently profess what they do not possess, on the plea of standing by faith, and hinder the real work of the Holy Spirit. This is the main cause of the awful task to secure genuine conversions in revival meetings, and resorting to any method of securing professions other than receiving “the spirit of adoption whereby we cry Abba Father.” And if any more of it goes on in connection with the work of holiness, dry conventionalities will take the place of Holy Ghost testimonies.
While the act of faith involves choice, it in itself accomplishes nothing spiritual. It only makes it possible for the Spirit to accomplish His work. Faith holds us in God’s hands until the likeness is so perfect we have no desire to be removed from Him.
“But can it be that I should prove
Forever faithful to Thy love,
From sin forever cease?
And I who dare Thy Word believe,
Without committing sin shall live,
Shall live to God at last?”
THE MIGHT OF NON-RESISTANCE
By George Bowen
“The weapons of our warfare,” says the Apostle Paul, “are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.” When he says that they are not carnal, we expect him to say that they are spiritual; but instead of that he says that they are mighty; as though, according to his conception, weakness and unprofitableness were connected with carnal weapons.
We have passed in review many of these carnal weapons, and have found them to be what the world regards as supremely potent. But the Apostle turns from all these—from wealth, influence, intellect, tradition, force, self-assertion, conciliation—turns from all these with a feeling of their utter inadequacy, and with good reason; for the Gospel which he preaches is one that aims to turn men away from confidence in these things to the living God.
The greatest event that earth had ever witnessed was the establishment of the Church of Pentecost in the midst of Jerusalem. What had caused this unparalleled phenomenon to spring into existence, like a fairy palace in the night, yet with the destiny far outstripping that of the pyramids? Was it wealth? Was it rank? Was it human intellect? Was it tradition? Was it force? Self-assertion? Conciliation? All these were arrayed against it.
Something mightier than these had called this wonderful Church of God into existence. All these were arrayed on one side, and on the other the conspicuous absence of all these; namely, instead of wealth, poverty; instead of rank, obscurity; instead of worldly wisdom, Galilean foolishness; instead of conservatism, startling innovation; instead of force, a few defenseless, scattered sheep; instead of self-assertion, non-resistance; instead of conciliation, direct protest against the reigning ideas—in a word, the Cross, a public ignominious death as a malefactor of malefactors, opprobrium that caused even Barabbas to go forth comparatively innocent. He that hung upon the Cross had gone about doing all manner of mighty works among the people for several years, but not a single disciple that could be relied upon to stand by his Master in the trying hour resulted from it.
When the time had fully come for the establishment of a church over which the gates of hell would not prevail, it was necessary for Jesus to abnegate all this exceptional power and to become like a lamb led to the slaughter. What weapon has He? We look, and can see nothing but faith in God expressed in absolute non-resistance. He says to Pilate, “Thou couldst have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above.”
He yielded Himself wholly up to everyone that felt moved to assail Him, smite Him, mock Him, drag Him through the streets, hoot at Him, scourge Him, put a wreath of thorns on His brow, a stick in His hand, blindfold Him. What a strange, unheard-of way is this of accomplishing anything—to allow your enemies to do everything, and yourself nothing! From the exhibition of supreme impotency what can possibly result but confusion and death? The world, of course, thought so, and was exceedingly thankful that it had had its own way so completely.
But on the day of Pentecost it became evident that the crucifixion of Christ had the effect of investing Him with all power in Heaven and in earth. Well, what is the power with which the risen Christ invests His disciples? Does He give them wealth, rank, worldly honor or wisdom or force? Nay; they are all animated by the Spirit of Christ, the spirit that made Him a lamb led to the slaughter, unresisting. They are scourged; they rejoice to be counted worthy thus to suffer. They are imprisoned; some of them are put to death; but the more their enemies do and they suffer, the more the Church rises in queenly beauty.
As we have intimated, this principle of non-resistance is the highest exhibition of faith in God. This idea runs all through the Sermon on the Mount.
Whosoever shall smite you, avail not yourself of your power in Christ, earthly or heavenly, to make the man suffer, but cheerfully suffer yourself, and show the man that his utmost cannot touch the Divine joy that is yours in Christ. Let him have thy cloak also, rather than contend with him for thy coat. If you contend with him, it will be like adopting his ideas of the value of things. You want to show him that the things he so values are of very little account in your eyes for all things are yours, and you are guaranteed against all harm. “Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain”; meet compulsion with submission, and show the man that the victory is on the side of submission.
All this appears to the world beautiful in theory, but absurd in practice, and utterly unadapted to real life. Nevertheless the Cross is the wisdom of God and the power of God unto salvation. This is the victory that overcometh the world; who is he that overcometh but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?