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- The Theology of Holiness - 1/19 -
[Illustration: DOUGAN CLARK, M.D.]
THEOLOGY OF HOLINESS.
DOUGAN CLARK, M. D.
PROFESSOR OF SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY AND CHURCH HISTORY IN EARLHAM COLLEGE, RICHMOND, INDIANA.
TO THE MEMORY OF MY FATHER AND MOTHER, DOUGAN AND ASENATH CLARK, BOTH FOR MANY YEARS APPROVED MINISTERS IN THE FRIENDS' CHURCH, AND BOTH LONG SINCE DEPARTED TO BE WITH CHRIST, THIS BOOK IS LOVINGLY Dedicated.
I. ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION A NECESSITY II. ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION OBTAINABLE III. ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION IN PATRIARCHAL TIMES IV. ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION IN TYPE V. ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION IN PROPHECY VI. ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION AS TAUGHT BY JESUS CHRIST VII. ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION AS TAUGHT BY PAUL VIII. ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION AS TAUGHT BY PETER IX. ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION AS TAUGHT BY JOHN X. ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION AS TAUGHT BY JAMES AND JUDE XI. SANCTIFIED BY GOD THE FATHER XII. SANCTIFIED BY GOD THE SON XIII. SANCTIFIED BY GOD THE HOLY GHOST XIV. SANCTIFIED BY THE TRUTH XV. SANCTIFIED BY FAITH XVI. CONCLUSION
ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION A NECESSITY.
Science is a systematic presentation of truth. Theology is the most important of all sciences. It is the science that treats of God and of man in his relation to God. It is a systematic presentation of revealed truth. As the basis of Astronomy is the universe of worlds revealed by the telescope, and as the basis of Geology is the crust of the earth, so the basis of Theology is the Divine revelation found in the Holy Scriptures. The Theology of Entire Sanctification, therefore, is a systematic presentation of the doctrine of entire sanctification as derived from the written word of God. Such a presentation we hope--with the help of the Holy Spirit, which we here and now earnestly invoke--to attempt to give in this book. May God bless the endeavor, and overrule our human weakness, to the glory of His Name. Amen.
It is a lamentable fact that there is a large class of Christians to whom the subject of entire sanctification is a matter of indifference. They hope, with or without sufficient reason, that their sins are forgiven. They propose to live moral and useful lives, and trust, again with or without sufficient reason, that they will go to heaven when they die. The subject of holiness does not interest them. They suppose themselves to be doing well enough without it.
There are others claiming to be Christians, to whom the subject is even positively distasteful. It is an offence to them. They do not want to hear it preached. They regard those who claim it as cranks. They look upon holiness meetings as being hotbeds of delusion and spiritual pride. They turn away from the whole subject not only with indifference, but with disdain.
There are still others, and these God's children, as we may charitably believe, who do not even regard holiness as a desirable thing. They assert that it is needful and salutary to retain some sin in the heart as long as we live, in order to keep us humble. It is true that they are never able to tell how much sin it takes to have this beneficial effect, but a certain amount they are bent on having.
Another class takes the opposite view. They regard holiness as very desirable, and a very lovely thing to gaze upon and think upon, but they also regard it as quite impossible of attainment. They hope to grow towards it all the days of their lives, and to get it at the moment of death. Not sooner than the dying hour, do they believe any human being can be made holy. Not till death is separating the soul from the body can even God Himself separate sin from the soul. The whole doctrine of entire sanctification, therefore, they regard as a beautiful theory, but wholly impossible as an experience, and wholly impracticable as a life.
In general terms, we may say that carnal Christians, as described by Paul in I. Corinthians 3:1-4, are opposed to the doctrine of entire sanctification. "The carnal mind is enmity against God," and the carnal mind is irreconcilably opposed to holiness. This opposition may take one of the forms already described, or, possibly, some other forms which have been overlooked, but the root of the hostility is the same in all. Wherever "our old man" has his home in a Christian's heart, there entire sanctification will be rejected.
But we must not forget that there are many exceptions. There are thousands of sincere, believing hearts in all Christian denominations, in whom inbred sin still exists, but not with the consent of the will. They are tired--very tired of the tyrant that rules them, or of the ceaseless struggles by which, with God's added and assisting grace, they are enabled to keep him under. They long for deliverance. They are hungering for full salvation, and rejoice to hear the message of entire sanctification through the baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire. The Lord bless all these hungering multitudes, and give them the desire of their hearts by saving them to the uttermost, and may their numbers be vastly increased, so that the banner of Christ's church may everywhere be unfurled--the banner on which is inscribed the glorious motto of Holiness to the Lord.
Now we meet all objections to the doctrine of entire sanctification-- whether in the form of indifference, or dislike, or undesirableness, or impossibility--with the simple proposition, It is necessary. If this proposition can be established, all objections, of whatever character, must fall to the ground, and the eager cry of every Christian heart must be, How can I obtain that priceless blessing which is essential to my eternal bliss, which is indispensable, and without which I shall never see the Lord?
For this is the language of the Holy Ghost in Heb. 12:14, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord," and in the Revised Version, "Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man shall see the Lord." This can mean nothing short of entire sanctification, or the removal of inbred sin. And, surely, it is hardly necessary to argue the question as to the indispensableness of this blessed experience, in order to gain an entrance into heaven. Everyone will admit that God Himself is a perfectly and absolutely holy Being, and He has ever told His followers in all ages, "Be ye holy for I am holy"--making His own perfect and entire holiness the sufficient reason for requiring the same quality in His people. And, although the holiness of the highest created being will always fall infinitely short of that of the Infinite God, as regards quantity, it will be the same in quality, for Jesus tells us, "Be ye perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect," not, of course, with the unmeasurable amount of perfection which appertains to Him, but with the same kind of perfection so far as it goes. And again in Rev. 21:27, we are told that "There shall in no wise enter into it" (the heavenly city) "anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie." Heaven is a holy place, and occupied with none but holy inhabitants.
But if holiness of heart is a necessity in order that we may reach the blissful abode of the glory land, when is this stupendous blessing to be obtained? It is by no means, thoughtlessly, that I write obtained and not attained. It is very generally spoken of as an attainment, and this form of expression has a tendency to discourage the seeker by magnifying the difficulty of receiving this blessing. The thought contained in the word attainment is that of something earnestly striven for, struggled after, persistently pursued with much labor and toil and effort, until, at last, the coveted prize is attained. A very few of the multitudes who went to California, soon after gold was discovered there, attained fortune; but it was after years of hard labor and privation and hardship. The majority died on the way, or while mining for the precious metal, or returned as poor as they went.
On the other hand, the idea of an obtainment is simply that of a gift. And entire sanctification is precisely a gift, "merely this and nothing more." It is not received by struggle, nor effort, nor merit of our own; it is not a great and laborious enterprise to be undertaken; not the fruit of a long journey or a perilous voyage; not by doing, nor trying, nor suffering, nor resolving, nor achieving, but by stretching out the hand of faith and taking. Praise the Lord.
And, therefore, we ask again when is this indispensable gift to be obtained? The Roman Catholic and the Restorationist answer, in purgatorial fire, or in some kind of a second probation after death. But the Holy Scriptures tell us absolutely nothing either of a purgatory or a post-mortem probation. On the contrary, they clearly teach us that our destiny for all eternity is to be determined in one probation, which is allotted to us in the present life. Let no one suppose, for a moment, that he can be made fit for heaven at any time, nor in any place, nor by any means, after he has left this mundane sphere. "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."
But all the Calvinistic churches by their creeds, and also a large portion of the membership of Arminian denominations, without regard to their creeds, if asked when are we to obtain entire sanctification as an essential meetness for heaven, would answer, at death. The prevailing idea on this subject, among Christian believers, seems to be
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