Friday, September 2, 2011

God’s Gracious Plan Of Salvation – Meaning, Source, Stages, Scope, Nature, Essentiality, Blessings And Attaintment

Chapter 1: Personal Salvation: Its Stages
Chapter 2: Present Salvation: Its Source
Chapter 3: Partial Salvation: Its Scope
Chapter 4: Perfect Salvation: Its Nature
Chapter 5: Perfect Salvation: Its Concomitants
Chapter 6: Perfect Salvation: Its Essentiality
Chapter 7: Perfect Salvation: Its Blessings
Chapter 8: Perfect Salvation: Its Attainment
Chapter 9: Perfect Salvation: Its Permanence

This article, “God’s Gracious Plan of Salvation” is intended to present a full-length portrait of Salvation as a conscious experience from its inception in pardon to its consummation in glory. It seeks to honor especially the agency of the Holy Ghost in the work of personal salvation. It gives emphasis to the second stage in the progress of saving grace; namely, full salvation. The Wesleyan designation being “The Second Blessing”. Andrew Murray and other modern writers call it the “Second Crisis,” The author herein denominates it perfect salvation, in as much as it is the consummation of the work of saving grace in the soul, delivering it from sin as an interior principle, imparting to it the full mind of Christ, and making it meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. We have sought, as far as possible, not to cast the subject in a merely theoretical and doctrinal mold: First, in order to avoid a dogmatical and controversial air; Second, to give a purely experimental and practical treatise on the subject. Hence the volume abounds in statement, rather than argument; in illustration, rather than definition. Our design has been to help those in whom a good work of the Spirit is begun, that he may perfect it in them. We would, by this unpretentious exposition, lead many Apostles into the more perfect way of complete salvation. In this hope we commit this to its mission, trusting that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit may give it their Triune benediction.

Titus 2:11: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men.” The term “Salvation” is sometimes used in its widest application, including the whole work of saving grace, from its inception in pardon to its consummation in glory. Then, it is sometimes used to define the different states of grace; as when it is said of the converted soul, “It is saved;” proof the believer who has experienced full salvation, “He is fully saved;” or when one dies in holy triumph, “He is forever saved.” In each of the above cases, “saved” is used to define only apart and not the whole of recovery from sin. Complete recovery from sin is reached by three distinctive stages:

1.1. Partial Salvation:-
The sinner hears the gospel, is awakened, turns to God, forsakes his sins, bows at the Cross, believes on the Son, and joyfully exclaims:

             “Hallelujah ‘tis done,
              I am saved by the blood of the Crucified One.”

He obtains pardon, the renewal of his nature, adoption into the divine family, and the witness of the Holy Spirit that he is accepted in Thee Beloved. He is saved; the kingdom of God is implanted in his soul, in its threefold power — glory of righteousness, peace and joy, and the Holy Ghost. He is saved from the condemnation of the law, the displeasure of God, and the death penalty of sin. What a glorious salvation! But it is partial; it is not the whole. It is the beginning, and not the consummation. Partial salvation, consisting of pardon, regeneration, adoption, and assurance, is the chief cornerstone in the superstructure of Christian experience. It has the twofold glory of taking precedence in order of time in the progress of salvation, and the pre-eminence that, without it, the work is not begun and cannot be consummated.

1.2. Perfect Salvation:-
The child of God, having experienced partial salvation, which brings peace with God, soon begins to discover in his heart, under the light of adoption and the illuminations of the Holy Spirit, providing he maintains his justified relation and is rightly instructed, peculiar tendencies to evil, inclinations to envy, jealousy, ill-will, pride, ambition, worldliness, self-indulgence, ease; inordinate affection for lawful things, and carnal desires for sensual things; peculiar disinclinations to spiritual things; a disrelish for holy activities; an aversion often to prayer, to Christian conversation, to reading God’s Word, and the means of grace; peculiar weakness in the presence of temptations, duties and trials, accompanied with distressful doubts, fears, and clouds, — all these originating an interior unrest and turmoil of soul, oft eventuating in frequent lapses into sin, repeated heart-wanderings, painful inconsistencies, dreadful discouragements, and spiritual dissatisfaction when he begins to cry out, “O, wretched man that I am!”

Then, if he be properly instructed by his spiritual leaders, he will come to discern that his unsatisfactory experience arises from the existence of inbred sin in the soul, which was not removed when the guilt of sin was canceled and the new spiritual life was imparted in conversion. Now, being taught that there is a fountain open for sin and the uncleanness of sin, as well as for its guilt, he steps by faith into the crimson tide, is made free from sin in his soul, is filled with love, and the days of his mourning are past. He is fully saved.

1.3. Final Salvation:-
The believer, having been fully saved, is now fitted to war a good warfare, to run with patience the race of Christian life, and to do good as he has opportunity. He will have contests with the adversary, struggles with temptations and sorrows; he will have duties to perform and crosses to bear; for from none of these things does full salvation free him. But at last, having through faith glorified God in body and spirit, his release will come. The plaudit, “Well done!” will be given him. He will enter the heavenly rest forever saved from the presence of sin. This is final salvation — eternal redemption. By this method of progress in salvation — first partial, then perfect, and lastly final salvation — has every ransomed soul reached the crown it wears and the palm it waves before the throne.

A circumstance like this occurred in Central Ohio years ago. A lady was in decline from consumption, which is so fatal in that climate. She was hastening rapidly to the grave. She was pronounced to be in the last stage of the disease. When she heard of a physician who thought he had found a treatment for this disease, which would arrest its progress, even in that climate and when far advanced, she sent for him, and put herself under his care. He promised her that within thirty days she would be on the health-ward side of life, if she would follow the treatment. She did so, and in thirty days was able to quit her bed — a surprise to herself and friends. That was her partial salvation physically. The disease was arrested; her decline had ceased; she had passed from the death side to the life side.

But said her physician to her: “This is only the arrest of the death-tendency of your case. The disease-tendency is still with you. You are not cured, but you are saved from the grave. Now, if you will pursue a slightly changed form of treatment for sixty days, you will be saved from your disease, as well as from the grave.” She followed his treatment for sixty days, and, sure enough, was cured, as will be seen further on. That was her full salvation physically. The seed of disease had been expelled from her body, and she was indeed made whole. But said her physician: “This is a very changeful climate, and many of the conditions conduce to pulmonary diseases, and you have a constitutional susceptibility to such diseases. Now, if you will remove to Southern California or Colorado, you will never die of consumption. The mild, genial air and uniform temperature of those regions will protect you from a recurrence of this disease.”

She went to Colorado; years have gone, and she still lives, a blessing to her home and the Church. That was her final salvation physically. Under the Colorado skies linger no foul malarias, and there blow no fierce winds to superinduce consumption. What a parable of the soul’s recovery from sin! The poor sinner comes to the Great Physician of souls, accepts the balm of his precious blood, and finds its pardon; it arrests the death-tendency of sill, and is restored to Divine favor, and escapes the death that never dies. This is partial salvation. But the disease of Sin remains still. Soon it begins to war against the new life, and the new given peace of the soul. He goes again to the Great Physician, and finds the same balm of Calvary efficacious,

                 “To save from wrath, and make him pure.”

And lo! he is made whole. This is perfect salvation. Now he lives; lives to God; lives victorious over sin, notwithstanding his own susceptibility to evil, and the moral malarias and infectious air of this present world; and so lives,

                 “Till the Lord in glory come,
                  And Soon or late translates to his eternal home,”

When he passes to the Colorado of the skies, saved by the power of all endless life. This is final salvation. Dear reader, may you come to the Great Physician, who call make you every whit whole, and save you to sin no more, and give you heaven!

Titus 3:5: “He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.” The agency of the Holy Ghost in the work of salvation, from its inception to its consummation, is clearly revealed in the Scriptures. It is He that awakens, renews, and sanctifies the soul. Hence salvation is Pentecostal in its whole progress; that is, it is by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. While the atoning blood is the meritorious or procuring cause of salvation, the Holy Ghost is the efficient cause. We are saved through the blood, but by the Spirit. Paul, in writing to Titus, says: “He saved by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he abundantly shed on us.”

The apostle here attributes the whole work of salvation to the agency of the Holy Ghost — namely, by his regenerating and his renewing power. The Divine method of grace is to save the soul from sin by two distinctive operations of the Spirit: First, by the regeneration of the Holy Ghost; second, by the renewing of the Holy Ghost. That is, the work of salvation is commenced by the Spirit in regeneration, and is consummated by the Spirit in the full renewing of the Holy Ghost. This method of grace for saving — by two distinctive spiritual epochs — is presented in the Scriptures in various ways:-

2.1. They discriminate between being born of the Spirit and being baptized with the Spirit. The apostles had been born of the Spirit antecedent to Pentecost, but then they were filled with the Spirit. Jesus, in his teachings, had recognized them as knowing and having the Spirit, yet said to them: “He shall be in you.” He breathed on them and said: “Receive ye the Holy Ghost”. Then, when the Pentecostal effusion was given, the record is, “They were all filled with the Holy Ghost,” implying that they had had antecedent manifestations of him, and had possessed a measure of his power and blessing, but now they had the full manifestation of his presence and his saving power without measure.

The apostle, in the text just given above, from the Epistle to Titus, distinguishes clearly and emphatically the regenerating effusion and the renewing effusion of the Holy Ghost. He characterizes the renewing of the Holy Ghost by associating it with the Pentecostal outpouring, in saying, “which he abundantly shed on us. The Scriptural designations for the Pentecostal measure of the Holy Spirit are abundance, fullness, etc.

2.2. They discriminate between Christ as Sacrifice and Savior, and Jesus as Another or Baptizer with the Holy Ghost. When John stood with two of his disciples and saw Jesus passing, he said, pointing to Jesus: “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world.” Here he called attention to Jesus as Sacrifice and Savior. Presently, John added: “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” Now he presented “Jesus as Baptizer and Anointer,” thus indicating that Jesus holds a twofold office in the work of salvation in which he is to be successively recognized in order that the saving work may be fully actualized to the soul. He is first to be received as Sacrifice, in order to the washing of regeneration; and, Second, as Baptizer, in order to the renewing of the Holy Ghost.

Hence Paul, in his comprehensive statement of the process of salvation by the agency of the Holy Ghost given to Titus, says, “Which he [Jesus] abundantly shed on us;” recognizing Jesus as the source of the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Jesus said: “I will send Him unto you.” Jesus must be received both as Savior and as Anointer in order that the work of salvation shall be perfected in the soul.

2.3. They discriminate between the work of the Spirit begun; and the work of the Spirit consummated in the records of experience which they give. Paul, in writing to Titus, had doubtless in mind their own personal Pentecost when he wrote, “which he abundantly shed on us.” Who can doubt but Paul’s heart as he wrote those glowing words was recalling the visit of Ananias in Damascus, when he laid his hand on him and said: “The Lord Jesus hath sent me that thou might receive thy sight and be filled with the Holy Ghost?” As he thought of the flood of light that came to his darkened vision, and the flood of glory that came to his darkened soul, he could but write, “which he abundantly shed on [me].”

Certainly the filling with the Holy Ghost of Paul, under the teaching faith and laying on of hands by Ananias, was epochal and distinctive from all antecedent manifestations of grace. His experience on the Damascus road had been wonderful. He had surrendered and received the Lord Jesus as Sacrifice and Savior. But on the street called Straight he received Jesus as the Baptizer with the Holy Ghost, and was filled with the Holy Ghost. He could not forget it. It stood out well defined in his life. He directly and indirectly speaks of it in his letters to Timothy, to Titus, and to the Churches. Henceforth Christ is formed in him the hope of glory. He lives, but not he; Christ lives in him.

Thence he can write, “Where sin abounded, grace doth much more abound;” “Who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity;” “Being made free from sin we have our fruit unto holiness;” “Wherefore he is able to save unto the uttermost all them that come unto God by him.” Thereafter his tongue is resonant, and his pen aflame with heralding a full salvation by the power of the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. His closet hours breathe with such enlarged desires and mighty supplications as these for his brethren: “To be strengthened with might by his Spirit;” “That Christ may dwell in your hearts;” “That ye may know all the fullness of God.” Surely a salvation which gives such testimonies, offers such prayers, and hives such a life, is a full, a Pentecostal salvation.

It is wrought by nothing short of the baptism with the Holy Ghost. Now, while the Scriptures thus teach that the saving work is carried forward and consummated by a twofold manifestation of the Spirit — one the birth of the Spirit, the other the filling of the Spirit; one effecting the washing of regeneration, and the other the renewing of soul in the full image of Christ — yet they nowhere intimate that these two distinctive manifestations must necessarily be long apart. Indeed they plainly reveal that they may and ought to succeed one the other very soon. We regard Paul’s case a typical case. Within three days after he surrendered to and received the Lord Jesus he was filled with the Holy Ghost.

So soon as he received instruction from the disciple Ananias as to the will of God concerning himself, he at once consented to and received both his sight and the baptism with the Holy Ghost. We believe the normal order is, that new converts rightly instructed may be led into the fullness of the Holy Ghost, experience cleansing from all sin, be filled with love, and empowered for Christian service. The converts at Samaria, according to the best commentators, were filled within a few weeks after they had become believers. Let the Church but recognize the New Testament order for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and regenerated souls will not wander in the wilderness, but, soon reaching Kadesh-barnea, they will, without the severe crisis of a Jordan crossing, pass definitely but easily into the Canaan of the fullness of the Spirit.

The maturest thought of Mr. Wesley in the last fifteen years of his life, as indicated by the records in his journals, of cases brought speedily from conversion to full salvation, was that it is God’s plan, when rightly understood, to follow the washing of regeneration early with the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Some of the choicest saints now living are those who received the gift soon after conversion. There was but a very little appreciable lapse of time between their regeneration and entire sanctification. When, however, for any reason, the regenerated soul has not, even after a considerable lapse of time, received the gift of the renewing of the Holy Ghost, let such a soul, by a complete abandonment to Jesus and immediate faith in him for the baptism with the Holy Ghost, enter at once into the fullness of the Spirit.

Philippians 1:6: “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Salvation in its simplest sense means recovery from sin. There is no possibility of understanding salvation only as it is studied On the dark background and in the long-drawn perspective of sin. The Scriptures teach, and Christian experience corroborates the truth, that it is God’s plan under the atonement to recover the human soul from sin in this life by two distinct stages — partial salvation (regeneration), and perfect salvation (entire sanctification). The one is salvation from the guilt and power of sin; the other is salvation from the principle and defilement of sin. Each of these experiences is epochal, and not transitional. They do not glide one into the other imperceptibly. Each is obtained through definite conviction, consecration, prayer, and faith

They are respectively attested by the witness of the Spirit, and are attended by emotions peculiar to each. When they are well developed, as the photographer would say, under the light of truth and by the power of the Holy Ghost, they stand out clear-cut and well defined in their distinctive lineaments. Let us study, in this paper, partial salvation as a work of the Spirit. The fundamental difference between partial salvation in pardon, and perfect salvation in entire sanctification, is what each does for the soul in respect to sin. Sin is of a twofold form: It is an act, the transgression of law; it is also a disposition, a tendency of the heart toward evil. Sin as an act incurs upon the soul guilt; as a disposition, it infects the soul with impurity.

Regeneration, or partial salvation, delivers the soul from the guilt of the sin and its concomitants — dread, distress, and spiritual death entire sanctification, or perfect salvation, removes the principle of sin with its concomitants — impurity, doubt, fear, and unrest. The Scriptural discriminations between these successive states of grace are indicated by the provisions and promises of redemption. The prophet said: “There shall be opened up in the house of David a fountain for sin, [its guilt] and for uncleanness [its impurity].” The apostle says: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive [pardon] our sins and to cleanse [sanctify] us from all unrighteousness.”

The work of partial salvation is the preparation for that of perfect salvation. The Spirit, by washing of regeneration, accomplishes the first, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost the second. Partial salvation is Pentecostal n its nature, because it is the work of the Spirit commenced, which he will perfect if the soul follow on to the gift of the Holy Ghost himself. The Holy Spirit brings the soul out of the Egypt of guilt by the washing of regeneration, that he may bring it into the Canaan of perfect salvation by the renewing of the Holy Ghost. “The holy to the holiest leads.”

The outer court of regeneration is the way to the inner court of full salvation. The highest incentive which Peter on the day of Pentecost presented to those who were awakened and said, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” to induce them to at once become believers, was that if they should repent and be baptized they should receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was in effect saying to them, to be born of the Spirit would qualify them to receive the fullness of the Spirit. Partial salvation effectuated by the washing of regeneration has as its most significant characteristic an instinctive longing for the fullness of the Spirit. When rightly instructed, the new convert starts at once for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

A young man, the son of a minister, for six years a seeker of pardon, through a mistake respecting the way of faith, at last believed and was saved. In these years he had heard the truth of the fullness of the Spirit for believers taught by preaching and testimony. So the next night after his conversion he was again at the altar. When asked what he desired, he replied: “I am saved; but I must have full salvation, the baptism with the Holy Ghost.” The third day he received the gift of the Holy Ghost. Since then he has walked in the Spirit, going from strength to strength and from glory to glory with the Indwelling Spirit. Partial salvation is the glorious anteroom to the King’s chamber of full salvation in the royal palace of redemption.

The washing of regeneration makes ready the soul for the white robes of the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Never is a soul fully recovered from sin in this life until it is delivered from the inherent defilement of sin in the soul. When this is obtained, it is saved from all sin. Not from the power to sin, or the possibility of sinning, but from the presence of sin in the soul, which does not destroy the power to sin, but does diminish the probabilities of sinning to its very minimum. The only sinless perfection possible is to be perfectly saved from sin in the soul, and this is fully provided for as promised to us in the Gospel: “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.”

The question is asked, “Why doesn’t God cleanse the soul from interior sin simultaneously when he pardons its guilt?” The Divine rationale of this is not revealed. There are, however, reasons which we may conjecture as justifying this Divine procedure in first forgiving and afterwards cleansing. There may be an impossibility in the condition of the soul under sin which makes this order of salvation necessary. The moral darkness of the soul under sin may be such that it is incapable of apprehending both its guilt and deformity at one and the same time. Hence it becomes necessary for God to first awaken it respecting the danger of sin to itself; then, when being moved by fear, it flees to the Ark of Safety, and finds refuge from the curse of sin, it is prepared soon or late, as it walks in the light of adoption, to have revealed to it its interior sinfulness.

Moreover, while the un-renewed heart has thorough prevenient grace, the power to believe unto salvation from the guilt of sin, it is incapable of such a stretch of faith as would compass at one bound both pardon and purity. It is hardly credible that God expects or deems it possible for the natural heart by one leap of faith to cover both the Red Sea of guilt and the Jordan of depravity. It is not a question of God’s ability to bestow both pardon and purity in one impartation of grace, but whether man is able to receive both at the same time into the soul. Indeed, God’s method of completing the soul’s salvation by two epochs seems very merciful.

It does no violence to the soul, as the tremendous strokes of Divine power might. Should God when he first convicts the soul of its host condition super-add the awful sense of its innate depravity, which he does disclose before the soul finds entire cleansing, it might be crushed into despair by the twofold burden of its guilt and its depravity; so that it could not so much as lift its eyes and cry: “God be merciful to me a sinner.” God could damn the sinner with conviction by giving him a just sense of his incurred guilt and inherent sinfulness by one illumination of the Holy Spirit. But God does not deal thus violently with the lost soul. First, he reveals its guilt under the law; then, when it has accepted the grace which makes it free from the condemnation of the law, he illuminates it as to its interior corruption, and reveals to it the exceeding riches of grace in Jesus Christ which can fully make it free from sin.

We met in the army a surgeon. He was rough in exterior and manlier, but was very skillful, and had a kindly heart. One day a soldier was brought to him, having had both lower limbs shattered by a shell. The surgeon said to him: “They must come off” The soldier said to him: “off with them both, doctor, at once.” “O, no,” said the surgeon, “you haven’t strength enough for that; your nervous system could not endure that immediately; you might die in the operation. I will amputate one, and then, when you have rested a little and soul-strength is rallied somewhat, I will take off the other.” How kind that was! The surgeon had the power and skill.

He could have removed both at once as well as one, but he wanted to save a noble life. So he took off one, and then in a few hours the other, and the soldier lived. So God, in removing sin from the soul, takes it away as it can bear the operation first the limb of guilt; and then when the soul has received some salvation, some hope, some joy, and can endure it, he removes the limb of depravity, and so saves the soul alive and fills it with all joy and blessedness. God wants to save, and not destroy the soul; therefore he completes its salvation by two operations of grace instead of one. “O, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!”

Hebrews 7:25: “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him.” The presentation in a preceding “paper” as to what the gracious work of the Holy Spirit accomplishes in the soul, in respect to sin, that partial salvation, or the washing of regeneration, cancels the guilt of sin and perfect salvation, or the renewing of the Holy Ghost, removes the impurity of sin, heads naturally to a fuller view of perfect salvation as wrought in the soul by the baptism with the Holy Ghost and fire. Perfect salvation does not cancel or supersede the experience of conversion or partial salvation, but maintains, improves, enlarges, exalts, enriches, and establishes it, yet super-adds to it a phase and quality of saving grace quite different from and superior to it.

It is not the professor of religion that has an equivocal conversion, is careless, neglectful, half-hearted in his service, that comes to see the depravity of his heart; but the truly regenerated, who is working out his salvation, growing in grace, and hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Such a child of God, having recognized “the seed of sin’s disease” in the soul, as the exciting cause of all his interior contests and his exterior failure, then being taught that there is a fountain open for the uncleanness of sin, as well as its guilt, he steps a second time by faith into the crimson tide, is made free from sin in his soul, and rises into all the life of God.

Now he lives — lives to God, lives victorious over the world. The days of his mourning are past. He is fully saved. Perfect salvation, however, is more than an elimination of sin, more than an emancipation must be this primarily, but not exclusively. It is endowment and enlargement, as well as subtraction and separation, “Being made free from sin, we become servants to God; have our fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” Grace as well as nature abhors a vacuum. The inevitable sequence of freedom from sin is fruit unto holiness. Every grace of the Spirit prominent in the heart by conversion, so soon as carnality — inward sin — is removed, springs into perfectness.

So soon as the wholly consecrated child of God accepts by simple faith the blood of Jesus Christ for the cleansing of the soul from all sin, so soon the Spirit answers to the blood, and brings into the soul all the fullness of God. Indeed, it is the incoming of the Holy Ghost in all his fullness that removes the presence and impurity of sin. As the antidote expels the poison, or the morning supplants the night, so does Divine grace eliminate sin and consummate the full salvation of the soul by bringing into it the fullness of the Spirit. Moreover, this translation from partial salvation to perfect salvation by the baptism with the Holy Ghost through faith is in the order of an ascending series as to the emotional elements of salvation.

The joys of pardon becomes joy unspeakable; the peace of God in acceptance unfolds into the peace of God that passeth all understanding; the sweetness and warmth of first love graduates into the rapture and fervency of perfect love. The experience of Dr. L. W. Pilcher, late president of Peking University, and for twenty three years a self-sacrificing missionary in China, who died November 24, 1893, illustrates most beautifully the distinction between partial and perfect salvation, and shows how definite the transition becomes from one to the other under the light and power of the Holy Ghost.

His own record of his spiritual transfiguration, under date of February 2, 18877 — six years preceding his translation to heaven — which was found among his papers, tells impressively his story of the struggle and triumph by which he reached the delectable mount of full salvation. He said: “It is now twenty one years since I received the assurance that God, for Christ’s sake, forgave my sins. During all these years I have been as one dwelling upon a plateau of comfortable width, well up the mountain sides. Beneath me was the ‘pit from which I was digged. Before me was spread out the beautiful landscape, filled with many a view of delight to the spiritual sense.

But before and above me towered the mountain with its brow bathed in eternal light, and from whose crest the ever-widening view stretched away in every direction clear up to the gates of pearls, through whose open portals streamed the glory that filled the soul of the dwellers upon the mountain-top, and shed some rays down the slope till they reached me, imparting some notion of what was above and beyond. “Year after year, and day after day, I continued to dwell there. Earnest men and women passed me in their journey toward the light that blazed overhead. They often stopped and urged me to go with them. With Bible in hand, they pointed out the promises of our God which gave assurance of a loftier experience and a broader vision.

I often felt drawn to follow with them, but with decreasing satisfaction and diminishing pleasure continued to dwell upon my chosen terrace, with its beautiful but narrow view. Each time I wished them Godspeed, and each time was left behind. By and by these passers-by irritated me. I shunned their presence as much as possible. If obliged to listen to their stories of the wonders of the glory that shone above me, I did so with indifference, and looked upon them as visionaries. I put aside all their messages unread. I tried to persuade myself that the towering mountain and its crown of glory was a figment of the imagination, and that where I stood was the true height of spiritual desire. In this delusion I rested.

For seventeen years God has permitted me to preach the gospel of love and salvation. He has placed me upon the outpost in a most responsible position. I have tried to tell men of Christ, and, from my own experience, could point to the “Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” Under my ministry men have, from time to time, seemed to yield, but seldom have they given themselves to Christ. Within the last fortnight, by the kind exhortations of a friend, and because of our intensified desire to help some who are about me, I have been forced to thoroughly review my whole Christian life, and examine into the motives that have inspired what had seemed to be my most praiseworthy acts. Prayerfully and tearfully I undertook the task.

I suddenly — and I must say it in justice to myself, for I verily thought during all these years that I was doing God’s service — awoke up the fact that I had been striving to glorify self and enjoy God forever! “Dwelling upon my little mountain terrace, God’s face has been hid from me, and only a few rays of his glory have fallen upon the spot where I lived. I have sung, ‘Arise, my soul, arise,’ and have clung hard to things below. I have cried out, ‘Nearer, my God, to thee,’ and then turned my back upon him. I have with my lips said, ‘O for a heart to praise my God!’ and my heart said to praise self. I have exclaimed, ‘Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove!’ and have not looked up for the blessing.

My private devotions have not been seasons of communion with my Father, but times of formal adherence to habits formed in childhood. My Bible has been read only in a perfunctory way, because a professing Christian is supposed to own a Bible, and read it too. But, alas! its clean pages and unused condition testifies too truly to my neglect. Humiliating as this confession is, it is not half of what the Lord showed me, until in self-abasement I could have groveled in the dust in agony of despair. “For a whole week I sought the path leading up. For some reason it seemed hedged up, and I could not make the start. Others about me found the path, and from their altitude of desire attained, beckoned me on, pointing out the path that seemed so plain to them, but hidden from me. “I tried, with God’s help, to remove self entirely from sight; but at the same time I was inclined to dictate to the Lord just where I ought to discover the way and just how I wished the blessing.

So long as I continued in this spirit, the way was hidden from my view. Once I was almost ready to give up, thinking the blessing was for me, and that the glory of the mountain-top was reserved for others. For a while I tried to rest resigned in this thought; but I found I could live no longer where I had dwelt so long. I must climb higher, or sink lower. Encouraged by the words and experience of others, I determined to rest in the promises and wait, expecting the answer in God’s own time and way. “Yesterday, at noon, in our prayer-meeting, the pathway began to open up.

The evening before, while exhorting the Chinese who had been seeking salvation, I had used the illustration of the persistency of a beggar in seeking alms. Good old Brother Sun arose soon after, and, dwelling upon the same illustration, spoke of how often it was the case that the beggar became so engrossed in seeking, that he fails to notice the gift that is thrown to him, and allows it to fall unheeded in the dust. I thought, while others in the noon prayer-meeting were telling their joys, ‘Have I not failed to heed the gift already bestowed?’

Then the light began to stream in, slowly filling the broken and empty vessel. Higher by faith I climbed, until soon I stood upon the summit, all bathed in light with the joy that overflowed. “It was no vision or chimera of a disordered mind. I hungered and thirsted, and was filled. O blessed experience! O joy unspeakable! I had asked for a great deal, but the Lord gave me more — exceeding Abundantly, Above all that I asked or thought. “I now stand on the mountain-top. Clouds of doubt cannot rise to this altitude. The light that is all around, streaming forth from the throne of God, is too bright and all-pervading to permit of a shadow.”

Matthew 5:6: “Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Full salvation as a unit of experience has been set forth in these papers as such a freedom from sin — “the sin that dwelleth in us” — as that the soul receives the fullness of the Holy Ghost, has its fruit unto (perfect) holiness, takes on accelerated growth in grace, enters into intimate communion with God, and exhibits a convincing manner of life As an experience it is distinctive and epochal — a conscious translation from a state of partial to a state of perfect salvation. There are two indispensable concomitants to this experience of complete salvation; the one is precedent, the other subsequent to it.

5.1. Enlightenment:-
The sole condition of the believer’s eligibility to this experience is a rational persuasion of its necessity and attainability. Spiritual enlightenment alone can impart a perception of the existence of inbred sin, the provisions for its removal, and impel the soul to seek and find it. Such illumination is a John the Baptist, preparing in the renewed heart the way of the Lord, who is to sit as a refiner, making it a habitation of God through the Spirit. This illumination is threefold, including the light of adoption, the light of the Holy Spirit, and the light of Divine truth, constituting a compound spiritual flame by whose glow the hidden evil of the heart, and the Divine requirement that it be expelled, are revealed.

The process of this enlightenment seems to be like this: The soul of the child of God, soon after receiving the witness of pardon, if he walk after the Spirit, will find the light of adoption develops a conscious uneasiness of heart, inward conflict, and a suspicion of something wrong. It is only a glimpse — just enough to know that the trouble is interior. Then, if in view of these unexpected heart disclosures, he will be true enough to himself and faithful enough to God to open his soul to the additional light of the Holy Spirit, the great heart-searcher, what had only been seen dimly as something unpleasant and disturbing to the peace of the soul will appear as a dark, foul state of the heart, dishonoring to his filial relation and displeasing to God.

The soul, hitherto disquieted, now becomes distressed by the revelations of itself. Should, then, the light of the Word, which is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, be turned in upon the soul, the inward darkening and disturbing state of the heart, already recognized, will become defined as the “carnal mind,” “the old man,” “the sin that doth so easily beset;” and were it not that at just this point of illumination the Word brings concurrently the assuring light that where sin abounds grace does much more abound, that “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin,” the heart, with all its conscious sense of pardon and good hope through grace, would sink into despair; so pungent and vivid becomes the conviction for inbred sin.

Let any converted man who is hungering and thirsting after righteousness, keeping the commandments, working out his salvation, is using the means of grace, and seeking to save souls, who is not fully saved, or thinks he was fully cleansed when regenerated, who is confused or even skeptical respecting the experience of full salvation, put his heart honestly for one-half hour alone with God under the full blaze of this threefold flame, and he will come from this faithful inspection no longer “perplexed” as to how a “new heart” can be an “unclean heart,” clearly discerning the need of heart purity, and deeply actuated to seek it.

Sense of need, and ardent desire for it, render the soul eligible to full salvation. Having these, the soul may go up at once and possess the land of perfect love. Enlightenment is the pillar of fire that leads the soul to the borderland. How many die in the wilderness state, as Mr. Wesley calls it! How many of God’s people are sick and faint, and perish for lack of knowledge of the more excellent way! Should, today, in the Church, the babes, the young men, the fathers in Christ, become rightly instructed as to the necessity, reality, and blessedness of this experience by their spiritual guides — pastors, teachers, class-leaders, parents, and friends — to whom is given the grand commission, “Feed my sheep,” instead of being exceptional, the Pentecostal salvation would become general in Christian life, adorning its morning, irradiating its noon, and making glorious its evening. Then would reappear in our day that Pentecostal wonder of the early Church, “All filled with the Holy Ghost.”

5.2. Fullness:-
This is a Consequent accompaniment of perfect salvation: First. It presents a fullness of life. The removal of the sinful tendency having cleared the way for the new, regenerate life of the soul, it becomes a life more abundant. The soul has a glory and a thrill of spiritual vitality hitherto unknown. A fullness of faith is observable. Saving faith, as a voluntary act of the soul by which it appropriated salvation, has, without surrendering any of its saving efficacy, graduated into a temper of faith that is “the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.” All doubt and uncertainty as to things Divine and spiritual respecting the soul is expelled. It is full of faith, and sings, with Faber:

                    “I know not what it is to doubt;
                     My heart is ever gay.”

A fullness of the Holy Spirit is a distinctive feature. The soul has come into a conscious, personal union with the Holy Ghost in the gift of himself to dwell in the soul, imparting a mode of experience distinguish able from any of his antecedent operations in regeneration, adoption, assurance. The consummation — the glory that excelled all in this experience of full salvation — is the fullness of God it brings into the heart. What is the fullness of God? It is love. “God is love.” Love is the quality that floods the infinitude of his being, “He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him”. When the heart is all love, up to its capacity of soul, might, mind, and strength, it is filled with all the fullness of God.

Full salvation is a wonderful synonym. It embraces entire sanctification, for it means the removal of all uncleanness from the heart; it includes holiness, for it is the implantation of all the life of God and the impartation of the Divine nature; it covers perfection, because it is the full recovery of the soul from sin so far as provided for in this life, and completes it in love, enabling it to love God up to its finite capacity. Perfection anywhere is that which measures up to capacity. Dear reader, does full salvation now, as compared with your experience of partial salvation in conversion, appear so colossal, and as being a new epoch, does it seem so removed in advance of you that there must necessarily elapse a long interval of time between these two experiences? Not so; it is not a long-drawn process — a weary march.

Full salvation may and ought to succeed initial salvation very speedily, and, indeed, does when the new convert, or the established believer, is rightly instructed as to the nature, necessity, and conditions of full salvation. The avidity with which the work of salvation may be carried is exhibited by this impressive incident, which came under my own observation: A few years since I visited a lady member of my Church who was sick. She was not regarded by herself or by her physician as critically ill. She said to me: “I have been long a member of the Church, but I am not converted. I want to be saved.” I pointed her to Jesus, explained the way of salvation, and prayed with her.

When I returned to see her, a few days later, I found her very happy in the consciousness of sins forgiven, and in a clear sense of acceptance with God. Day by day she grew worse physically, but continued happy spiritually. About the third week after I began to visit her, as I entered her room one morning, I noticed a shadow over her countenance, and that her usual gladness was wanting, when she said to me with tears: “I know I have a new heart, and that God has accepted me, but I am not satisfied. There is some wrong feeling in my heart toward a neighbor, and impatience toward my husand and the children. This troubles me.” I explained to her that the Holy Spirit was disclosing to her the sinful tendencies of her heart, and that as God had given her a new heart, he would also give her a clean heart, if she would seek it and trust the word of Jesus for it as she had believed on him for pardoning grace. O, the eagerness with which she listened to this gospel of full salvation!

I returned to see her the day following. So soon as I entered the room she exclaimed: “O, Jesus has cleansed my heart; it is all love now”. Her ecstasy was boundless. She was fully saved. In this holy frame of mind she continued almost a week, when the Master came for her. As I held her hand, chilling in death, she said: “I did not think when you first came I was going to die; but Jesus has converted me and cleansed me, and now I am going home.” About midnight she entered the heavenly rest. Here was a soul who in the brief period of four weeks found pardon, full salvation, and eternal redemption in heaven. If there be those who have had a lapse of long years between the experience of pardon and full salvation, it is either because they do not know their privilege, or, knowing it, are tardy in meeting the conditions of complete self-dedication to God and immediate faith in his promises. Reader, having learned that “ye are saved by grace through faith,” at once give all to the Lord, and by simple faith exclaim:

               “Thou dost this moment save,
                 With full salvation bless.”

Romans 6:22: “Being made free from sin, … ye have your fruit unto holiness.” Full salvation having been defined as the deliverance of the soul from sin as an hereditary taint in soul, is there any necessity in Christian life for such a work of grace? Is not regenerating grace sufficient to overcome the tendencies of inward sin to develop into wrong acts, words, tempers? Assuredly, regenerating grace does so re-enforce the moral power of the soul as that it may overcome the uprisings of the uncleanness of the heart.

But, as a matter of experience, the presence of indwelling sin, co-existent with pardoning grace, begets in the soul such painful dissatisfaction with its spiritual state, puts it at such a disadvantage in the conflict with temptations, and is such a weakening force in the presence of duties, crosses, and services, that the child of God is frequently and easily brought into defeat and captivity by this sinful tendency. Full salvation having been attained, Christian life becomes harmonized with itself; its discordant notes are hushed; its variable moods disappear; it passes to a revised, improved, and enlarged edition. Full salvation is essential to Christian life in several particulars.

6.1. Full salvation is essential to satisfactory growth in grace. Growth in grace is indispensable to a sustained, justified relation to God. Growth in the regenerate state, notwithstanding prayer, watchfulness, and effort, is commonly unsatisfactory; it is slow, inconstant, difficult. Much of it is growth in the collaterals of Christian life, which is not growth in grace at all; such as expansion in the knowledge of doctrines and principles, improvement in ease and facility of service, enlargement in attachment and loyalty to the Church.

All this desirable and invaluable development of Christian life may be mistaken for growth in grace — indeed, may conceal a lack of growth in grace. A soldier of the regiment in which the writer served during the war was remarkable for his rapid mastery of the manual and movements of the drill, the facility with which he developed the soldierly mien and action putting many of his comrades to shame. But there was no corresponding growth in loyalty and heroism; for he became a consummate coward, and finally deserted. Even so enlargement in some elements of Christian life may co-exist with decadence in grace.

Growth in grace means more meekness, more gentleness, more goodness, more devotion, more spirituality, and more Christ-likeness, and no development of incidental qualities can compensate for the absence of enrichment and enlargement in grace. Not a few of God’s earnest, faithful children toil, watch, wait, and wonder why growing in grace is so difficult and so discouragingly slow; that so much thought and labor adds so little to spiritual stature. This is so contradictory to the growth process elsewhere. Growth in nature is easy and constant.

                “Behold the lilies how they grow; they toil not.”

What is it that obstructs the growth-forces in grace, rendering it slow variable, and unsatisfactory? Is it not sin in the soul, which, like an uncongenial climate, makes it a struggle for the fruit of the Spirit to mature? Spiritual life is a tropical plant; it is begotten by a baptism of fire; frigidness is inimical to its enlargement. Sin in the heart is an iceberg, creating an atmosphere which chills and pinches the growth-forces of the soul. The removal of all sin rids the heart of this depressing and unfavorable atmosphere, and brings in the warm, invigorating climate of the summer-land of perfect love.

               “The Lord into his garden comes;
                The spices yield their sweet perfumes,
                The lilies grow and thrive.”

The graces all take a new start. Growth is easy, constant, adequate the soul becomes a garden of the Lord, teeming with magnificent specimens of patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, heavenly-mindedness; the life, “like a tree planted by a river of waters, bringeth forth fruit in its season; its leaf also doth not wither.” Full salvation opens in the soul the artesian well of water, “springing up unto everlasting life,” which keeps it thrifty and productive in grace. Here is the plaint which comes from the Christian heart that has not found this more excellent way of advancement in grace, said a ministerial friend, whom I have known for twenty years, whose earnestness, fidelity, and genuineness of Christian character has been commendable: “I do not believe I am as patient, sweet-spirited, and as forbearing under trial and opposition as in my early Christian life; my increase in love, faith, joy, and spirituality has been discouragingly meager; indeed, as to fervency of love and intensity of joy, they are not what I have once known”. “What,” I said to him, “Do you think has defeated you in your earnest purpose to increase in the love and knowledge of God?” “O, it has been my heart. Had I a heart from sin set free, it would have been different.” This experience finds its echoes in the widespread confessions of spiritual failure to grow in grace which comes up from God’s people everywhere. When full salvation becomes the common, as it is now the exceptional, experience of God’s people, then shall they grow as the palm and become as the cedars of Lebanon.

6.2. Full Salvation is essential to the best manifestations of Christian life. Every Christian should present constancy, earnestness, and rectitude of conduct; but with such a commendable exhibition of religious character, there may commingle a spirit of petulance, censoriousness, sensitiveness or un-spiritualness, as shall disarm it of the moral force which its otherwise admirable qualities would impart to it as an expression of piety. No beauty of uprightness, nor glow of generosity, nor excellence of Churchly devotion can compensate for the depreciating effects of a wrong tone of feeling in our Christian life upon souls about us in the home and in society.

The world, in its ultimate test, estimates Christian life as it does coin — not by its appearance or superscription, but by its ring. If it gives out a sweet, unworldly, unselfish tone, it passes current; but if a harsh, discordant, un-Christly note, it is repudiated, whatever other excellent qualities it may possess. Much Christian life seems worse than it is; it is judged hypo. critical when it is real and true; it does not go for what it is worth. Why is it? It is the distorting effects of uncleansed sin in the heart, betraying it into hasty words, bad feelings, or spasms of temper. Said an intelligent, active Christian woman to the writer: I am greatly humbled.

My little daughter asked me ten years back, ‘Mamma, are you a Christian?’ I said to her, ‘Why do you ask me that? Don’t I go to church and class-meeting and prayer-meeting, and read the Bible to you, and talk to you about your soul?’ ‘O yes, mamma: but you speak so loud, and look so awful at me, when I don’t mean to be naughty, I thought maybe you were not a Christian.’ That was a barbed arrow to my heart. I am so ashamed that, with all my show of religious effort, my own child suspects the reality of my piety. Do tell me what it is that robs my Christian life of its spiritual power over my own family?

I ventured to assure her that the seat of the trouble was in her heart; that the uncleansed evil there was the source of the petulance and crossness which, despite her earnest purpose to exhibit a true Christian spirit, neutralized the influence of all that was otherwise good in her personal influence. At once she replied: “It must be, it must be. I will be delivered from it”. Soon after she entered into the blessing of full salvation. Within one year both of her children were converted under her own prayers. Would we have a Christian life, whose influence shall be sweet, beneficent, irresistible, so far as convincing friends and foes of the reality and power of Divine grace, we must consent to and receive a complete freedom from sin in our hearts.

Two young ladies, who were sisters, when asked: “Why have you become Christians?” replied, “O, we resisted as long as we could; but mother’s sweet spirit, bright face, and ceaseless songs, amidst trials, cares, and discouragements, broke us down. We felt we must have a religion like hers.” She had full salvation. Full salvation enables the believer and the Church to present such an exhibition of the reality, loveliness, and effectiveness of the Christian life as that men shall recognize and be attracted to it. Such a salvation supplies the volume and momentum that make God’s people irresistible for good.

It is the final attachment after all other appliances have been availed of by which the Church “looks forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the still, and as terrible as all army with banners.” Purity is power; its conquests are noiseless, but matchless. Having it, the Church bears from every conflict into which it enters, as the trophies of its might, surrendered flags, gathered from the fallen strongholds of evil; and marching on, lifting high these captured banners as the ensigns of its victorious warfare, Zion becomes terrible. The fear and dread of it possess the hearts of all its foes, insuring larger successes as it sweeps on to the conquest of the world.

                   Awake, awake! Put on thy strength,
                   O Zion! Put on thy beautiful garments,
                   O Jerusalem!

Psalms 51:10, 12, 13: “Create in me a clean heart … restore unto me the joy of thy salvation … then will I teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall he converted unto thee.”

7.1. Full salvation is essential to sustained and intimate communion with God. Sin is the only thing that can separate, between the human soul and God. Where sin exists in any degree in the soul, there is a conscious dread and distance from God. When sin is removed, there is a conscious drawing toward and delight in God. The guilt of sin having been canceled, the smile of God’s pardoning favor immediately greets the soul, and it ‘instinctively begins to sing,

                 “With confidence I now draw nigh,
                  And ‘Father, Abba, Father,’ cry.”

Let this be followed by the cleansing of the soul from the defilement of sin, and the intimate Communion with God lost in Eden is restored. The heart exultingly exclaims,

                 “O, blessed fellowship divine
                  O joy, supremely Swept!”

Many of God’s children — some eminent even for their zeal, earnestness, and usefulness — say to us: “Why, after these years of religious life and effort, have we so little real enjoyment in God, and are so much without a sense of his presence? Clouds and darkness frequently veil his face from us. Now and then a rift in the skies, a glimpse, a momentary exultation to the rapture of an open vision of glory; then hours, days, months of weary going on under leaden or blackened skies.” The clouds and darkness, which thus obscure the soul’s vision of God to the justified, obedient Christian hearts, are not the shadows of sorrow, of temptation, or Satanic influence which may envelope the soul of the most saintly at times; for under just such clouds as these, saved souls have known and enjoyed the richest, clearest communion with God, and walked through such darkness in the light of the sweetest, holiest Divine fellowship.

The clouds which are impenetrable by the Divine presence to the soul, or which are impervious to the soul’s gaze upon God, when the believer is not under conscious condemnation for disobedience or unbelief, are those darknesses which the inbred sin of the heart generate. Remaining carnality, the unremoved depravity of the heart, exhales the doubts, fears, and dissatisfactions which overcast the celestial uplift of the soul. Let the unhealthful and unseemly bog of inward uncleanness become supplanted by an ocean of purity, through the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus, and his spiritual sky becomes clear from nadir to zenith.

                   “Not a cloud doth arise
                    To darken his skies.”

He pitches his tent on the plains of light. God’s presence becomes a constant quantity. Old variablenesses — sometimes up, sometimes down — disappear. The soul ascends into the hill of the Lord. The mountain-top becomes the staple experience. On these heights of purity the soul walks with God, has Jesus with it all the time, and knows the Comforter as an abiding presence. Such communion with God is vital. It is indispensable as an inspiration to Christian warfare, and a necessary preparation for heaven. It is heaven, There is no other heaven than to know and enjoy God. In this Beulah-land of perfect love the soul sings,

                ‘Tis Thee that makes my paradise,
                 And where thou art is heaven.”

A present heaven in the soul, as a fitness for a heaven beyond. is a Pauline truth which it has been the glory of Methodism to revive, re-state, and proclaim. It is a serious fact that many Christians have come to the very gates of the heaven for which they have striven, conscious of an incompleteness and unfitness which made them reluctant to pass on to the everlasting joy, in hope of which they had often rejoiced. Why? Because, without the heaven of a perfect salvation, and of Divine communion in their souls. During a ministry of over twenty years, the writer has had enforced upon his attention the singular but awfully suggestive revelation, that the majority of Christians to whom he has been called to minister in the closing hours of life have felt themselves not meet for the inheritance of the saints in light, and had to seek on dying beds a consummation of the work of grace in order to a hopeful and peaceful departure.

Not a few of these had been esteemed pillars and patterns, some public headers and able ministers. They had lived without the heaven of perfect love and Divine communion in their souls, either through a misapprehension of its necessity or an indisposition respecting its attainment. Full salvation is the white robe which prepares the soul for the palace of God. Having it, the child of God, when he passes into the shadow of Death’s dark presence, and hears the rustle of his black wings above him, looks up undismayed, and says to the last enemy, as did Christmas Evans, the great Welsh evangelist, when dying, “Drive on,” while he leaves lingering on the air of time the heavenly music of his soul,

                   “O, hear my longing heart to Him
                    Who bled and died for me;
                    Whose blood now cleanses from all sin,
                     And gives me victory.”

7.2. Full salvation is essential to the passion and power winning souls. It is the propulsive force of the Christian life. Its ordinary love for souls becomes a passion for souls. The love of Christ constrains it; a supreme enthusiasm for the work of salvation possesses it. The baptism with the Holy Ghost puts in to the soul a ceaseless push; it compels it to go; then it “will teach transgressors Thy ways.” A full salvation that does not impel to, and put into the life of its professor, a restless zeal for soul-saving is not quite full. Our observation in the twenty-five years of labor, seeking to promote the experience of full salvation, is that those who have given evidence of receiving it, have had a consuming love for souls, and have given themselves to ceaseless effort in that direction.

Full salvation is not only a propulsive force, but also a promotive force. It not only moves us to rescue the perishing, but enables us to move melt toward the kingdom. It is not only the aggressive element, but the achieving element in Christian life. He who has it does not spend his strength for naught; his labor is not in vain for souls; “whatsoever he doeth prospers;” “he comes rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him;” barren lives become abundant lives, fruitless ministries become fruitful ministries. As rapidly as the experience of full salvation possesses the ministers and the people, so great becomes the evangelizing success of the Church.

The people today that are in the slums, in the rescue-mission work, and the highways and hedges of life, searching for and saving souls in any considerable degree, are those who are driven on by the passion for souls imparted by a full salvation. The power which Jesus promised when he said, “Ye shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you,” is the holy, efficient energy which completes salvation — the baptism which the Holy Ghost imparts.

Ephesians 2:8: “By grace are ye saved through faith.” The most interesting question respecting full salvation is its attainment. Two things must be noted at the outset: (a). Only genuine believers are eligible to the grace of full salvation. Persons who have not been born again, or who have not a clear witness of adoption, or who are backslidden in heart, cannot receive it. The work of partial salvation must be wrought and established in the soul before it is heir to the fullness of salvation. All who are genuinely saved, and are walking in the light of acceptance, may, and should at once receive cleansing from all sin.

(b). Full salvation is by faith. Salvation from inbred sin, like salvation from the guilt of sin, is to be received by faith, and by faith alone. “By grace are ye saved through faith.” Mr. Wesley says: “I have continually, in private and in public, for these five and twenty years [1764, Sermon, ‘Scripture Way of Salvation;’ No. 43, Vol. I], taught that we are sanctified as well as justified by faith. Faith is the condition, and the only condition of entire sanctification. No man is sanctified wholly until he believes, and he is thus sanctified when he does believe.” Hence, whatever hinders faith, prevents the soul from receiving entire cleansing. The prominent hindrances to faith for the blessing are:

8.1. Inadequate conviction respecting the necessity of having it. The duty of being fully saved must press upon the soul. The heart must be crowded to a willingness, a desire, a purpose to believe for this gift under a sense that, to come short of it, is to grieve the Holy Spirit, displease God, and forfeit the grace already received. When the soul of a believer is put into such a spiritual strait as this, it will believe — because it must believe. Such a consciousness is just the spur that prompts the soul to say: “I can, I will, I do believe for this salvation.” Indeed, faith in such a soul-crisis becomes a blessed opportunity, a glorious privilege. The principal cause why so many believers do not receive the fullness of the Spirit is that its attainment is regarded as desirable and optional, rather than indispensable and imperative.

When a deep and pungent persuasion of the necessity of this blessing enters into a believer’s soul, he will eagerly move on to the point of believing and receiving it. The reader may say: “That is just my trouble. I desire, hunger, and pray for this fullness, yet I am not anxiously concerned for it; do not feel condemned for not having it; am not distressed on account of its absence.” Now, the awakening of a believer to a sense of his need of this grace comes just as does the awakening of the soul of the impenitent to a concern for salvation. He must open his ear to what God says, and listen until the voice of the Spirit arouses his heart, as soon he will, in to a sense of the indispensableness of being fully saved.

Let his soul linger about such words as these: “He that believeth not [what he ought to believe for] is condemned already,” “Reckon yourselves dead indeed unto sin,” “Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord,” and he will be alert to believe, and escape the guilt of disobedience and unbelief. Take ye away this stone from the pathway of faith, by opening your heart up to the searching, actuating light of God’s Word.

8.2. Disinclination to make the essential consecration. When the need of the fullness of salvation is deeply felt, and the soul is urged on by well-defined and pungent convictions to its attainment, just then the carnal nature remaining may interject a farther hindrance to faith. It begins to shrink from yielding itself absolutely to the Spirit’s way in the soul. It fears becoming peculiar, unwisely zealous, or unduly aggressive. It imagines missions, duties, services, and work may be given it so unusual, onerous, and unnatural that it would be impossible to walk in this grace, should it be received. Hence, delay ensues in the commitment of the soul to the Holy Spirit; a paralyzing reluctance possesses it; faith is deferred, and the Spirit’s course is restrained.

Just the moment the heart Says, “Lord, I am thine, entirely thine, to be filled with the Spirit,” it passes easily over into the simple confidence that the blessing is given. The consecration that brings full salvation does not differ from the consecration which consistent, happy, useful believers live, as being a consecration to new duties and services, but as a consecration for this blessing, a consenting to receive, and a commitment to be a vessel unto entire sanctification, meet for the Master’s use. Such a consecration is a giving that gets; a yielding that receives. When consecration is done, faith is begun and the soul shouts:

               “Hallelujah! ‘tis done!
                I believe on the Son.”

8.3. Temptations to doubt. When a deep concern for the cleansing power is actuating the soul until it throbs with an unutterable desire for the experience, and this is attended by a cheerful, consummate dedication to God for his incoming glory, it sometimes occurs that Satan makes his last powerful stand against the soul to defeat it by interjecting unusual and insidious, temptations to doubt. He will insinuate that this is a sovereign grace, arbitrarily conferred by God upon whomsoever he will, instead of freely given to whomsoever will believe for it; that it is too much for you to expect; your temperament, circumstances, infirmities, or unfaithfulness disqualify you for receiving it; or that you can’t believe; that it is only attainable when faith, for it has been bestowed, and that has not been given you.

These and other suggestions of the adversary are only specious forms of temptation, as will be seen when the light is turned upon the one promise: “Whosoever believeth on Him shall be saved.” These temptations which obstruct the soul in its attempt to believe should be treated as temptations should always be dealt with. They must be resisted, the soul must recognize in them the voice of the tempter, and say: “Get thee behind me, Satan; thou art an offense unto me — a hindrance, an obstacle to my faith.” Thus resisting the devil, he flees from the believer; and, instead of yielding to doubt, he triumphs over it, and finds himself reposing on the immutable Word of the Lord — believing unto the fullness of salvation. The victory of faith is won, and exultingly he sings:

               “The Spirit’s bright witness now surely I know,
                 Henceforth in his power triumphantly go.
                 Hallelujah! ‘tis done! I believe on the Son;
                 I am cleansed by the blood of the Crucified One.”

Dear reader, Jesus is at your side. He Says: “Do ye now believe?” Look up into his face and say, “I can, I will, I do trust thee, O Blessed Christ,” and he will answer by his Spirit to your heart: “According to your faith be it unto you. Thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” Listen to John Wesley’s exhortation as it comes reechoed in the glad experiences of a century. Expect it by faith. Expect as you are. Expect it now. He is at the door. Let your inmost soul cry out:

                 “I can, I will, I do believe
                   That Jesus saves me now.”

1 Peter 1:5: “Who are kept by the power of God unto salvation.” The experience of full salvation having been attained, may be maintained. It may become a fast color; a sustained, abiding life. Its permanence, however, is not irresistible, but contingent. Full salvation does not persist by any inherent quality of itself; neither its genuineness, nor its completeness, nor its blessedness, renders it permanent. A complete salvation is forfeitable. The seraphic Fletcher lapsed five times from the experience of perfect love. Alfred Cookman lost this blessing several times. Persons sometimes say: “I want a conversion, or a full salvation that will last.” No salvation, however genuine or perfect, stays only as the believer stays with it. There are perils which threaten the permanence of full salvation; yet these perils are neither so hidden nor so fateful as that he, who has entered upon this glorious life, must rejoice with trembling, or have his peace broken by a constant dread of spiritual failure. Let us notice some of the perils to full salvation:

9.1. Spiritual Assumption:-
The soul having entered into the experience of full salvation may, either from imperfect knowledge or Satanic delusion, assume that this grace cannot be lost. It is sometimes said: “I now have a salvation I do not have to keep — it keeps me. There is in full salvation such a conscious revolt from sin, and such a strong affinity for holiness, that, like the magnet which holds the needle, so it holds the soul by the sweet attractions of love. It does turn spiritual gravitation so fully and strongly Christ-ward and heaven-ward, as that it is held in the embrace of holy inclination; yet not so held but that the gracious influences which keep it may be and will be ruptured, unless the soul reciprocally holds the grace attained by the same grasp of consecration and faith by which it was received.

Not that to keep the soul in the experience of full salvation means a sort of tug, dint of will, and strained anxiety lest it may evanesce; not so: this experience has its life and richness in the presence of the indwelling Holy Ghost. He comes to abide. He is not sensitive; he is considerate and tender. He may be grieved and quenched, but he does not desert the soul for any mere slight or inattention, or even wound; only perverse resistance to his light, rejection of his help, or repudiation of his work in the soul, forfeits the sanctification of the Spirit. So, while full salvation must be maintained in order to its permanence, as an experience, its perpetuity is not a distressful holding-the-fort, clinging-with-death-grip, or sweat-of-the-brow effort to keep it, but simply a thoughtful, prayerful clinging to, and cultivating of, the experience by sustained consecration, faith, and obedience, whereunto we have attained, walking by the same rule, and minding the same thing.

9.2. Spiritual Testing:-
The misconception that entering the Beulah-land of perfect love emancipates the soul entirely from temptations to sin, doubt, and discouragement, is a peril that it confronts, and not infrequently wrecks this experience. The conscious destruction of sin in the soul, transporting sense of purity, and the full assurance of faith which floods the soul as it enters in to full salvation, may easily lead it to suppose that all susceptibility to sin is annihilated, and that it is so removed beyond the range of temptation and the approach of Satanic power, — that, when the shadow of the black wing of the Satanic presence falls upon it, or the first hot breath of Satanic solicitation strikes it, their surprise and stagger the soul, and it may go down into despair thinking itself deceived, or may yield at once to the temptation, and fall into condemnation.

Let every fully-saved soul remember that the grace given, still leaves it in the realm of probation, which means proving and testing, so that when temptations come it may know — that no uncommon thing has happened to it; indeed, let not such a heart be at all surprised if assaulted by the newer, deeper, stronger forms of temptation than characterize the state of partial salvation. The great grace invites the greater testing, but insures, also, the greater victory, if met joyfully and believingly.

9.3. Spiritual Failure:-
Through inexperience and imperfect instruction, there may come spiritual failures to the fully-saved soul, such as temporary disobedience, inadvertent yieldings to temptations, impulsive indulgences in wrong feelings, occasional lapses into sin. While full salvation saves the soul from the sin principle, it does not save it from the power to sin or the liability to sin under some sudden and subtle attacks of the adversary. When such spiritual accidents occur, they are a great surprise and humiliation to the sanctified heart. The slightest yielding to temptation, the least indulgence of a feeling of impatience or selfishness or other unholy feelings, the smallest unseemly act, word, or manner after the heart has been cleansed, burns like a live coal upon the refined spiritual sensibilities of the purified soul.

There comes, as the results of these spiritual lapses, a veiling of the Divine face, a sense of condemnation commingled with a sense of spiritual sorrow and holy remorse. This bitter experience of failure is taken advantage of by the enemy to induce the soul to repudiate its experience of full salvation, either insinuating that it was mistaken as to having attained it, or that it has forfeited it, or that it is impossible, with its temperament, circumstances, and associations, to retain it. This peril has swept down many once fully-sanctified souls. The anchor that can hold the soul in this fierce storm is to know that such spiritual repulses do not forfeit the gracious state of cleansing from all sin, unless they come from a precedent repudiation of its consecration and trust, or are immediately followed by the cancellation of the same.

The soul must know, whenever such spiritual calamities come, that an immediate confession to God, and a reassertion of its trust in the all-cleansing blood, will prevent the forfeiture of its experience, and bring an immediate renewal of the witness to full salvation, just as, in a state of pardon, an act of disobedience or falling into a sin does not forfeit immediately the soul’s justification and adoption, unless it occurred of deliberate purpose, and may be put away by confession and continued faith in the atoning blood. So, also, the fully-sanctified soul does not forfeit the grace of purity by spiritual lapses that are not intentional but involuntary, providing the soul at once applies the antidote of confession and faith to the wound of heart which the poisoned fiery dart of the enemy has inflicted.

Some years since, in a revival meeting in Central Ohio, conducted by the writer, a teamster was converted, upon whom the wicked habit of profanity had a strong hold. His salvation was clear, powerful, blessed. About a week after he was saved, on a bitter cold night, as he was returning home with a heavy load, a bolt of the wagon became misplaced. He was compelled to stop and replace it. In doing so he struck his thumb with a wrench, crushing it. Involuntarily an oath leaped from his lips. He was alone, no one heard it; but it came back to his new soul like a voice of doom. He reached home late in the night. He could not rest, his heart was sorer than his thumb. He sought the pastor, told him his spiritual mishap.

He said: “I never supposed I would swear again. What shall I do; must I give up? I know the Lord did save me”. We explained to him how it was an unintentional failure, occasioned by the momentum of old habit; for him to confess it, hold on to Jesus, and he would find that the Lord was still saving him. He went away comforted. The next morning he returned, saying: “O, I am happier than ever!” The method of grace for spiritual repair and preservation in the state of full salvation is just the same as that for justification. A beloved brother minister, widely known as a writer, had entered into full salvation, and was walking in it with coin fort and victory. Exasperating disobedience of a daughter in the home had betrayed him into unbecoming feeling, hasty language, and undue severity in her correction.

We happened to call upon him in the evening of the day of this misfortune, on our way to prayer-meeting. He told us about it; an awful darkness was upon his soul; his spiritual remorse was excruciating; he felt all was gone, his experience of full salvation, and his holy influence over his child and home. We told him it was not. If he would immediately confess to God, and to the daughter his wrong, and would ‘hold unwaveringly to his faith’, he would find that the blood still cleansed. We left him. He thought at first he could not come to prayer-meeting, but afterward came. When the service was over, the witness had reappeared to his soul; be had been kept by the power of God unto full salvation, and had gone up into higher altitudes of purity and strength.

Here is God’s covenant promise with those who have been saved: “If [by any moral accident or inadvertence] any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” When a believer, not of purpose or determination, but unintentionally sins, our High Priest at once takes up his case, stays the spiritual sequences of such a lapse, preserving him from the infection of unholy dispositions, until the Holy Spirit can call the attention of the soul to the enormity of its failure, and can point it to the atonement provision for repairing it, — “If we confess our sins, he is just and faithful to forgive us our sins, and to’ cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Should the soul heed this language, confess and maintain its faith, it goes its way rejoicing, established, strengthened, and advanced in the fullness of love. If the soul that has been overtaken by such failure does not understand this wonderful provision, or, knowing it, does not avail itself of the same, the fullness of salvation becomes forfeited, and he has fallen from grace. The foul spirit of carnality reenters the soul, and brings with it seven spirits worse than itself. God makes no allowance for sin, but he has made all provision for our deliverance and preservation from it. “These things,” says the apostle, “I write unto you that ye may not sin” (I John 2:1).

(For further reference:- S. A. Keen, Salvation Papers. Albany, USA, 1997. John W.R. Stott, Authentic Christianity. Inter Varsity Press, Leicester, England, 1995. John McArthur JR, Ashamed of the Gospel: When the Church Becomes Like the World. Crossway Books, Nottingham, England, 1993. Ruth A. Tucker & Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church. Zondervan, USA, 1987).



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