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guide ns to its proper solution, several important inquiries crowd upon our mind. We want to know, first, what the author means by Christian Purity; and then, as to whether it is possible to enjoy such a state or experience; and if so, whether it is not our duty to enjoy it at once, without any further delay; what is the way by which it may be enjoyed, whether by gradual processes, or by an instantaneous work wrought in us, following some crisis in our experience; and whether, when it is wrought, the soul is conscious of it, and may speak of it without hesitation or doubt. We find that all these, and kindred questions, are treated in these volumes with great clearness and forcefulness, and with that Christian candor and charity for which the author is distinguished. However the reader may differ from him on various points, he must admit that while he presses his argument with great force, and with all the strength of his vigorous intellect, he never so far forgets himself as to condescend to bitterness of spirit, or to the petty narrowness of partisan bigotry. These points must now pass somewhat rapidly in review before Us.
What, then, does the author mean by Christian Purity? To give us,, as he says, "the utmost explicitness" of definition, he disclaims several ideas which have been associated by some with this state. He does not include in it " infallibility of the intellectual processes or faculties;" nor "physical perfection ;" nor "freedom from mistakes, or temptations to sin, and suggestions of evil;" nor "impeccability, or exemption from liability to sin, or freedom from sorrow;" nor "perfection of degree, or attainment beyond which there is no progress." But he does include in it: (1.) "A state in which the Christian is entirely free from sin, properly so called, both inward and outward ; a state in which he will do no act involving guilt, in which he will possess no unholy temper, in which the entire outward man of the life, and the entire inward man of the heart, will be pure in the sight of God."—P. 72. (2.) "But, additionally, we include in our idea of entire holiness more than mere freedom from sin in the foregoing sense. That is merely a negative view; it has a positive character. We believe it to include, besides this, the spiritual graces, as love, meekness, humility, and such like, in perfection—perfection not of measure, but of kind. That these graces exist in the entirely sanctified soul without alloy, without mixture, in simplicity'." —P. 76.
Thus we see that it is not claimed for any one that he has reached, or that he can reach, "angelical perfection," or "Adamic perfection;" but that a human, fallen, sinful being may be so saved, renewed, and sanctified as to be free from not only the condemnation and power of sin, but from its defilement and impurity; while those involuntary mental and physical conditions which arise from his lapsed and fallen state may still remain without invalidating or negativing the entire holiness of his heart and life. The various theories which have been held by different persons and at different periods are noticed by our author, but not for the purpose of combating them. He prefers rather to formulate the doctrine as held by the Methodist Church, and to proceed directly to its defense; knowing well that if this is substantiated, all other theories must fall to the ground. The position, then, which he assumes, and which he proceeds to defend, is as follows:
That entire eanctification and regeneration are not identical; that regeneration is sanctification begun; that entire sanctification may be an immediate or instantaneous work, and is almost, if not always, a distinct one, to be attained by the agency of the Holy Spirit, through faith, at any time when the requisite faith is exercised, and once so attained is an experience to be enjoyed during life.
This, he proceeds to say, "in our deepest conviction contains the truth—nothing but the truth—The Entibe Truth."
Throughout the entire discussion of this question Dr. (now Bishop) Foster us^s the words holiness, purity, entire sanctification, perfection, and perfect love interchangeably, and as meaning the same thing when applied to this state. The use of the word "perfection " we may say, however, has .given rise to much misapprehension and prejudice because of its ambiguity in our language. In its original use it signifies wholeness, completeness, adulthood. But in its ordinary use it signifies the possession of every excellence without frailty or fault. Hence, when any one speaks of perfection as attainable in this life, the minds of multitudes are shocked at the idea, and revolt from it as the height of fanaticism or folly. When the Old Testament speaks of Noah, Abraham, and others as perfect men, its undoubted meaning is that they were upright, sincere men, men of integrity. In the New Testament the word evidently signifies adulthood, and refers to one who has attained "unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." Such a one is a perfect man; that is, he has all the elements of spiritual manhood developed. He has outgrown the childhood and the young manhood of his experience, and come into a full-grown, vigorous, and complete manhood. We think that, understood in this sense, the word is divested of its ambiguity and repulsiveness, and the true idea which its use is intended to convey is seen to be in harmony with the teachings of the word of God and with the facts of Christian experience. But as the use of the word in an unmodified and unexplained sense is liable to do more harm to this question than good, we think that great care should be exercised in employing it in the discussion of this state. The other words referred to, especially when qualified by the word " entire," have a more fixed and definite meaning assigned to them, and are more readily and clearly understood. In addition to these the words, "higher life," "rest of faith," "full assurance of faith?" and "full salvation," have generally come to be understood as signifying the same thing as the words holiness, purity, etc. Very much depends, in the use of these words, on the previous training of the persons employing them, and the peculiar phase of the religious experience which they enjoy. All these forms of expression are either directly, or substantially, employed by the inspired writers as indicative of this blessed experience, and none of them should be slighted or ignored. Many, doubtless, as President Edwards, Payson, and others, have enjoyed this rich experience who have never made use of any of the forms of expression referred to in the relation of their experience; but we can clearly gather from the language whiqh they do employ, that they had entered into this Canaan-land and were feasting upon its rich and luscious fruits. The largest Christian charity should, we. conceive, be exercised by those who write upon or speak of this experience, and especially by those who .testify to its personal enjoyment.
We are now brought face to face with this inquiry, Is this state, or experience, to be attained and enjoyed in this life? This is the great question in this whole discussion. For if it can be, it should be; no excuse, then, of whatever kind, will avail for " neglect of this great salvation." If it cannot be, it is useless to discuss the question further; we must wait until "mortality is swallowed up of life." Dr. Foster most clearly shows the distinction between regeneration and entire sanctification. The only wonder to our mind is, that there should ever have been any question on this point. The whole New Testament so clearly marks this distinction; the creeds of all evangelical Churches so fully express it, and the experience of the Christian world so abundantly demonstrates it, that any theory which would state their identity must be regarded as sentimental or fanciful. There are, therefore, only two prominent opinions in the Christian world on the question of the attainableness of the state of entire holiness. The one is, that it can be attained only at death; the other, that it may be enjoyed while the soul is still in union with the body, and amid all the temptations, afflictions, and activities of life. ■ That it must be obtained some time and some where, all evangelical Christians agree in affirming. It is the latter opinion, referred to above, that our author most ably and eloquently argues and maintains. He shows most clearly that a holy God has commanded it; that we are exhorted to its enjoyment by holy and inspired men; that it is promised with the utmost clearness, and on almost every page of the Word of the Lord; that men who have prayed '-' in the Holy Ghost" have asked for its bestowment upon themselves and others, and that many of the Old and New Testament saints have enjoyed this grace. And he argues most logically and convincingly that, if God has commanded it, its attainment is possible, or else he is unjust; if God has promised it upon the performance of practicable conditions, then, when those conditions are complied with, the fulfillment of the promise will be realized or God is false; if holy men, under the inspiration of the Spirit, have prayed for it, then they believed it attainable, or, if not, they were guilty of mockery; and if they were not inspired by the Holy Ghost, then so much of the inspiration of the Scriptures is denied; or else they were led by the Spirit to ask for what it was before known by him that no man could receive. And, furthermore, if we are exhorted to this duty by inspired men, then it is practicable or, if not, we are exhorted to make efforts to do or to be that which it is neither practicable for us to do or to be. Further, if Christ died to make provision for our entire purity, or holiness, then his provision is adequate for this work or it is not; his blood can cleanse from all sin or it cannot. It follows, then, that if the provision is inadequate the atonement is a failure; if the blood of Christ cannot cleanse from all sin, then the remedy is insufficient. Such are the alternatives involved in the affirmation or denial of the attainableness of this state in this life. For all these commands, and provisions, and promises, and prayers, are for the present time and the present life.
There can be no doubt that some of the old pagan philosophy has, almost unconsciously, crept into the dogmatic theology of some of our creeds, by which sin is located solely in the flesh, and all evil is attributed to matter. If this were true, then the work of death might, in some sense, add to the means provided for the destruction of sin. But sin has its seat in the soul; and the fact that the soul is united to a body which labors under the involuntary effects of the fall, and which suffers, as a consequence, pain, sickness, and death, does not make it necessary for sin to remain in the soul until that connection is dissolved by death. If it did, then death is to be regarded as a factor in, the work of our complete sanctification. But we all know that death is only a physical change, not affecting the character of the soul, but only changing its mode of existence. If it is the blood of Christ which is to effect this moral purity, that blood can cleanse the soul as well now as at any period in the endless cycles of the future. If it is the power of the Holy Ghost which is to sanctify the believer wholly, he can just as readily and effectively employ, or exert, that power now as at any time in the future. The Word of God recognizes no other agencies in this work than the blood of Christ and the power of the Holy Ghost. These agencies are regarded and announced as all-sufficient, and if they could fail, the whole Christian system would fail with them. We are aware that a certain school of divinity, in order to make this state of holiness more readily and easily attainable, has declared that the law of God has yielded its claims, and lowered itself to meet our actual condition. But whatever motive may have prompted the dogma, it has no foundation in the Word of God. We nowhere learn that the law of God relaxes its claims upon us, or that it makes any allowance for our lapsed condition. This is not the province of law. By it is simply the knowledge of sin. But