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THE SOUL-WINNER’S SECRET

BY

SAMUEL LOGAN BRENGLE

(1920 VERSION)
 
{See our introduction to Excerpts from Augustine as those words apply here}
 

CHAPTER 2 OBEDIENCE

“I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision,” said Paul, and in that

saying he reveals the secret of his wonderful success as a soul-winner. The

soul-winner is a man sent by God, and will have visions and revelations

and secret orders that, if affectionately heeded and heartily and

courageously obeyed, will surely lead to success. He is preeminently “a

worker together with God,” and a soldier of Jesus Christ, and as such must

obey. It is his business to take orders and carry them out.

“Before I formed thee I knew thee, and before thou camest forth I

sanctified thee and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nation,” said the

Lord to Jeremiah, and when Jeremiah interrupted and said, “Ah, Lord God,

behold I cannot speak, for I am a child,” the Lord said to him, “Say not I

am a child, for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I

command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces, for I am with

thee to deliver thee,” saith the Lord; “thou therefore gird up thy loins and

arise and speak unto them all that I shall command thee. Be not dismayed

at their faces lest I confound thee before them.”

“If they had stood in My counsel and had caused My people to hear My

words, then they should have turned them from their evil way and from

the evil of their doings,” said the Lord of the false prophets. (<242322>Jeremiah

23:22.)

“Not what is proper, but what is right must be my fearless and constant

inquiry. Jesus, still lead on!” was the motto of Joseph Parker, one of

London’s mightiest preachers.

The soul-winner must get his message from God and speak what and when

He commands. He is a servant of God, a friend of Jesus, a prophet of the

Most High, an ambassador of heaven to the sons of men, and he must

needs speak heaven’s words and represent heaven’s court and King and

not seek his own will, but seek the will of Him that sent him. “Behold, to

obey is better than sacrifice.” He must not trim his course to suit men, nor

stop to ask what this man or that shall do, but he must attend strictly to

his Lord and steadfastly follow Jesus. Paul tells us that Jesus was

“obedient unto death” (<500208>Philippians 2:8), and again and again he calls

himself “a servant of Jesus Christ.”

First: This obedience must be prompt. In spite of the appeals and

encouragements of Joshua and Caleb, the children of Israel refused to go

over into Canaan, but afterwards, seeing their sin in refusing to obey

promptly, they essayed to go over in spite of the warnings of Moses not

now to attempt it, and met with bitter defeat. Promptness would have

saved them forty years of wandering in the wilderness. Once the

soul-winner knows the Master’s will, he must not delay to fulfill it. If he

is in doubt he can take time to assure himself as to what that will is. God

would not have him run before he is sure he is sent, nor go before he has

his message, nor falter and possibly fall because of uncertainty. But once

he has received his orders and got his message, let him remember that “the

King’s business requires haste;” let him “strike while the iron is hot;” act

and speak when the Spirit moves, and not, like covetous Balaam,

dilly-dally to see if God will not change His mind and His orders.

Dewey’s matchless victory at Manila was won, and the geographical

boundaries of the nations changed, by the promptness with which he

carried out his orders to destroy the Spanish fleet.

I have noticed that if I speak when the Spirit moves me, I can usually

introduce the subject of religion and God’s claims to any individual or

company of men with happy results, but if I delay, the opportunity slips

by, not to return again, or if it does return, it does so with increased

difficulties.

Second: This obedience must be exact. Saul lost his kingdom and his life

because his obedience was only partial. (See <091501>1 Samuel 15.) So also did

the prophet who warned the wicked King Jeroboam. (See <111301>1 Kings, 13.)

“Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it,” said Mary to the servants at the

marriage of Cana, and when they obeyed Him Jesus wrought His first

miracle. And so He will work miracles today through His chosen people, if

they will do whatever He saith. The soul-winner must beware of

quenching the blessed Spirit, and then he will find that it is not himself but

the Spirit that speaks in him, so that he can say with Jesus, “The words

that I speak, I speak not of Myself, but the Father that dwelleth in Me,

He doeth the works,” for does not Jesus say, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the

Father in My name, that will I do”?

Third: This obedience must be courageous. “Be not afraid of their faces,”

said the Lord to Jeremiah. And again He said to Ezekiel, “And thou, son of

man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers

and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions. Be not

afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a

rebellious house. And thou shalt speak My words unto them, whether

they will hear or whether they will forbear.” He was not to say that which

would please the people, but that which God gave him to say, and that

without fear of consequences.

“And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned, for I have transgressed the

commandments of the Lord, because I feared the people and obeyed their

voice.” No wonder God cast him off and gave his crown and kingdom to

another! God says, “Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed,

for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee: yea, I will help thee; yea, I will

uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.” Let the soul-winner

recognize that he is on picket duty for heaven, and let him throw himself

on heaven’s protection and rest in the assurance of his Heavenly Father’s

care, and the utmost sympathy and support of Jesus, and do his duty

courageously, saying with Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which

strengtheneth me.”

Again and again I have comforted myself with the assurance of good King

Jehoshaphat, “Deal courageously and the Lord shall be with the good,” and

encouraged myself with the bold declaration of Peter to the enraged and

outwitted Sanhedrin, “We ought to obey God rather than men,” and

measured myself by the self-forgetful words of Nehemiah, “Should such a

man as I flee, and who is there that being as I am would go into the temple

to save his life? I will not go in.” (<160611>Nehemiah 6:11.) And of Paul “Neither

count I my life dear unto myself. so that I might finish my course with joy

and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus to testify the

gospel of the grace of God.” And of the three Hebrew children: “O

Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be

so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery

furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king; but if not, O,

king, be it known unto thee that we will not serve thy gods nor worship

the golden image which thou hast set up.”

That is the kind of stuff out of which God makes soul-winners.

Do you ask, how can a man get such a spirit of courageous obedience? I

answer by dying — dying to your selfish interests, dying to the love of

praise, the fear of censure, the hope of reward in this world, and by a

daredevil faith in the reward that God will give in the world to come; by a

steadfast looking unto and following of Jesus, and a constant comparison

of time with eternity. I read the other day that it was only dead men who

were living preachers.

Fourth: The obedience must be glad. The command is, “Serve the Lord

with gladness.” “I delight to do thy will, O God,” wrote the Psalmist.

There was no grudging about his obedience; it was his joy. It is a love

service God wants, and that is always a joy service. “My meat and My

drink is to do the will of Him that sent Me,” said Jesus, and Paul declares,

“If I do this thing willingly, I have a reward.” It is a glad love service God

calls us to, and once we are wholly His and the Comforter abides in us, we

shall not find it irksome to obey, and by obedience we shall both save

ourselves and others to whom the Lord may send us.
 

CHAPTER 3 PRAYER

Prayer is the way of approach to God, and the soul-winner keeps it open

by constant use. It is the channel by which all spiritual blessings and

power are received, and therefore the life of the soul-winner must be one of

ceaseless prayer. “Pray without ceasing,” wrote Paul. It is the breath of

the soul, and other things being equal, it is the secret of power.

It is written of Jesus, “And it came to pass in those days that He went out

into. a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” And

this was followed by mighty works.

What an amazing statement is this: “Whatsoever things ye desire when ye

pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them;” and this:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My

name, He will give it you;” and this: “If ye abide in Me and My words

abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you!” And

yet, amazing as they are, there they stand in “the Scripture of truth,” a

challenge to every child of God who is jealous for God’s glory, who longs

for the triumph of righteousness and who seeks the salvation of souls.

The soul-winner must pray in secret; he must get alone with God and pour

his heart into his Heavenly Father’s ear with intercessions and pleadings

and arguments, if he would have good success. There is no substitute for

much wide-awake, expectant, secret waiting upon God for the outpouring

of the Holy Spirit, the gift of wisdom, strength, courage, hope, faith,

discernment of times and spirits, and a glowing, burning, comprehensive

message from Him to the people. If men fail at this point, they will in due

time fail at every point Jesus said: “When thou prayest, enter into thy

closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in

secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

Here, then, is the secret of success closet communion and counselings and

conversations with God, who is our Father, and who can and will no more

turn away from us when we come in the spirit of an obedient and

affectionate child, than can the sunlight when we throw open the windows

and doors and stand in its beams. I say it reverently. He cannot turn away

from us, but will surely reward us, and that openly, because He said He

would, and He cannot lie.

Prayer must be definite. Once, when Jesus was leaving Jericho with his

disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimeus sat by the wayside

begging, and when he heard Jesus was passing by, he began to cry out and

say: “Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me,” but that prayer was

not definite — it was altogether too general. Jesus knew what Bartimeus

wanted, but He desired Bartimeus to state exactly what he desired, and

said to him:

“What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?” Then the blind man prayed a

definite prayer.

“Lord, that I might receive my sight,” and the definite prayer then received

a definite answer, for Jesus said unto him:

“Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole,” and immediately he

received his sight.

We should be as definite when we go to God, in asking him for what we

want, as we are when we go to the store. The salesman is prepared to sell

us anything and everything in the store, but he in reality sells us nothing

until we tell him what we want, and so it is with our Heavenly Father.

Our prayers must be bold Paul said: “We have a great High Priest who has

passed into the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, who is touched with the

feelings of our infirmities, and was tempted in all points like as we are, yet

without sin,” and adds: “Let us come boldly unto the throne of grace that

we may obtain mercy and find grace in time of need.” Of course this

boldness must be coupled with humility, but the greater the humility, the

greater the boldness, if mixed with faith. I have often been amused and

amazed at the boldness with which children come to their parents for the

things they need and the things they want, and how gladly does the true

parent respond to the child’s request, especially if it expresses a genuine

need! And Jesus said: “If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts

unto your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give good

things to them that ask Him?”

The devil stands mocking and teasing the praying souls to drive him from

his knees and from his Father’s face, but let him rather come boldly in the

name of Jesus and wait patiently for the things he desires, and he shall

have an abundant reward. It is not our Heavenly Father’s will to

disappoint His trusting children, but rather to give them their utmost

desire, yea, “exceeding abundantly above all they ask or think,” for His

heart is all love toward them; therefore let them not be timid and wavering,

but steadfast and bold as His dear children.

Prayer must be importunate, persevering. Jesus teaches this very clearly in

His parable of the importunate friend “Which of you,” said Jesus, “shall

have a friend and shall go unto him at midnight and shall say unto him;

‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine in his journey has come

to me and I have nothing to set before him and he from within shall say,

‘Trouble me not, the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed

I cannot rise and give thee.’ I say unto you, though he will not rise and give

him because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity, he will rise

and give him as many as he needeth;” and then Jesus adds: “Ask and it

shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened

unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth,

and to him that knocketh it shall be opened unto him;” by which Jesus

means to teach that we are to hold on in prayer till we get an answer. If the

answer is delayed, our own hearts will be searched, the purity of our

motives will be proved, and our faith will be purified, tried, developed and

strengthened for future and greater triumph.

Jesus prayed three times that the cup of death in the garden of

Gethsemane might pass from Him. It was not death on the Cross, but

death in the garden He feared and the apostle tells us, in <580507>Hebrews 5:7,

that He was heard. Daniel abstained from all pleasant food for three weeks

at one time, and prayed until God appeared unto him and said: “O man,

greatly beloved, fear not; peace be unto thee; be strong; yea, be strong;”

and added, “I will show thee that which is noted in the Scriptures of

truth,” and then told him all that he desired to know. And Elijah, after his

victory over the priests of Baal, sent his servant seven times to look for

the cloud that should bring rain, while he bowed his face between his

knees, and poured out his heart to God in prayer until the cloud appeared

that should bring the floods of rain. Muller sometimes prayed every day,

and often several times a day, and that for months and years for some

things he wanted, before the answer came, but come it did in due time.

Though the answer be delayed, it is not God’s purpose to deny us without

letting us know the reason why.

Prayer must be for the glory of God and according to His will. If we ask

things simply to gratify our own desires, God cannot grant them. James

said of certain ones, Ye ask ….. but ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it

upon your lusts,” but John said, “This is the confidence that we have in

Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us.; and if

we know that He heareth us….. we know that we have the petitions that

we desired of Him” Jesus said, “If ye abide in Me and My words abide in

you. ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.”

We are to ask according, to the things revealed as His will in His Word, and

according to the principles laid down therein; therefore we should study

His Word constantly and hide it in our own hearts, and see to it that we

hide ourselves in His heart and thus be filled with the truth; we shall then

not ask amiss, and being filled with the Spirit, we shall not be denied.

Prayer must be mixed with faith — must be believing prayer. “Whatsoever

ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive and ye shall have.” Oh,

what a victory I got one morning over the devil, when he tried to shake my

faith and confidence! I laid hold of that promise and wrestled through to

the solid rock of believing prayer, and had one of the most glorious

soul-saving days in my life! The man whose faith is constantly wavering

shall receive nothing from the Lord. (<590106>James 1:6-7.)

Finally, prayer must be in the name of Jesus. “Whatsoever ye will ask in

My name that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son,” said

Jesus.

“The Blood, the Blood is all my plea,” and with that plea the vilest sinner

may come, while the child of God may approach with unabashed boldness

into the presence of his Heavenly Father and claim all the resources of

Heaven in his warfare against sin, in his effort to save sinners and build up

the kingdom of God.
 

CHAPTER 5 SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP

The soul-winner must have the power of spiritual leadership, and spiritual

leadership is a thing of the Spirit, and not of birth, or rank, or title, or

education, or circumstances. Here is the secret of the power of humble

Salvation Army officers from the lowly walks of life.

Joseph was a youthful prisoner in an Egyptian dungeon, but he walked

with God, and was “a prosperous man,” for God was with him, and one

day he reached his rightful place next to Pharaoh’s throne (<013901>Genesis 39

and 40.)

Paul was a prisoner under Roman guards on board ship, hastening to

Caesar’s judgment bar; but one day God’s winds made the sea to boil, and

winds and waves smote the ship, and when men’s hearts failed them for

fear, Paul, by right of spiritual kingship, became the master of all on board.

(<442701>Acts 27.)

I knew a Lieutenant, a quiet, modest, thoughtful, prayerful, faithful,

humble, holy lad, of moderate ability, stationed with an Ensign, at whose

feet the Ensign and his wife sat for spiritual counsel, though the Lieutenant

knew it not. They hung on his God-wise words, and remembered his

example, and treasured his spirit, and talked to me about his saintliness and

Christlikeness long after he, as Captain, had left them for a corps by

himself.

They commanded the corps, but he held spiritual supremacy because he

walked with God. and God was with him and in him.

Spiritual leadership is not won nor established by promotion, but by many

prayers, tears and confessions of sin and heart-searchings and humblings

before God, and self-surrender and a courageous sacrifice of every idol and

a bold and deathless, and uncompromising and uncomplaining embrace of

the Cross and an eternal, unfaltering looking unto Jesus crucified. It is not

gained by seeking great things for our selves (<244505>Jeremiah 45:5), but rather,

like Paul, by counting those things that were gain, loss for Christ. Hear

him: “What things were gain to me those I counted loss for Christ. Yea,

doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the

knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of

all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ.

(<500307>Philippians 3:7, 8.)

That is a great price, but it must be unflinchingly paid by him who would

be not merely a nominal, but a real spiritual leader of men — a leader

whose power is recognized by three worlds and felt in heaven, earth and

hell. Moses gained this spiritual leadership among Pharaoh’s palace halls

and Sinai’s solitudes and fastnesses, when he “refused to be called the son

of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people

of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the

reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.”

Spiritual leaders are not made by man, nor any combination of men.

Neither conferences, nor synods, nor councils can make them, but only

God.

Spiritual power is the outcome of spiritual life, and all life, from that of the

moss and lichen on the wall to that of the archangel before the Throne, is

from God. Therefore let those who aspire to this leadership pay the price,

and seek it from God.

Who made Elijah and John the Baptist — hairy, uncouth men of the

wilderness and desert — prophets who awed kings and swayed nations?

God.

Who took Moses from the universities of Egypt and the palaces of

Pharaoh and after drilling him among flocks of sheep on the back side of

the desert for forty years, made him the meek, but unconquerable leader of

two millions of slaves, and the lawgiver and fountainhead of jurisprudence

for all time? God.

Who took the baby Samuel and put into his mouth prophetic words to the

aged priest Eli, and made him spiritual leader of Israel? God

Who took the boy David, trained to feed harmless, patient sheep, and put

courage into his heart, and nerved his arm to fight the lion and the bear and

the giant, and gave him skill to lead Israel’s armies, so that the women

sang: “Saul hath slain his thousands and David his ten thousands,” while

the elders, after the death of Saul, came to him, saying, “In time past, when

Saul was king over us, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in

Israel, and the Lord said to thee, thou shalt be a captain over Israel?” God.

And why did God single them out and distinguish them, and give them this

power above other men? Because God was to them the supreme Fact.

They believed God, sought God, feared and trusted and obeyed God. Read

the Psalms and see how God fills the whole heaven of David’s thought,

desire and affection, and you will cease to wonder at his leadership. It was

based on spiritual life, power and fellowship with God.

This spiritual leadership, once attained, can be maintained. Witness

Moses, Elijah, Paul, Fox, Wesley, Finney and General Booth, and ten

thousand leaders in humbler spheres who still bear “fruit in old age,” and

continue “fat and flourishing;” like a white-haired old saint of eighty years,

on whom I called, who, after I had prayed, burst into prayer, and said: “O

Father, I testify to Thee, and the angels, and these young brothers, that old

age is not a time of dotage and second childhood but the springtime of

eternal youth.”

I hear comparatively young men complaining and expressing. fear that

when they get old they will be set aside and superseded by younger and

more virile men without a tithe of their experience, forgetting that it is not

long service and experience that makes spiritual leaders, but vigorous

spiritual life, and that if set aside, it will be because they have not kept

step with God, but have neglected the divine life, the Holy Ghost in them,

Neither conferences. nor synods, nor councils, nor commanders, can make

a man acceptable to the people, however long his service and varied his

experience, if he has lost the spirit of prayer and faith and fiery-hearted

love, and the sweet simplicity and trustfulness and self-sacrifice of his

youth, and is now living on past victories and revelations and blessings.

But fresh anointings of the Spirit and present-day experiences will make

him acceptable, though his eye be dim and. his back bent, and his voice

husky with age. It was with Finney, and Whitefield and Wesley, and so it

may be with you, O my brother!

There have been ministers who in their prime fought holiness and refused

the baptism of the Holy Ghost, or who, having received the baptism,

neglected and lost it, who filled big pulpits and drew fat salaries, but

whose influence gradually waned and whose old age was full of

complainings and disappointments and bitterness and jealousies, and

whose sun went down behind clouds, if not into a starless night, because

they neglected God

And I know men — old men — full of God, who were persecuted in their

prime for Jesus’ sake, but who had salt in themselves and kept sweet and

delighted themselves in the Lord, whose bow abides in strength, whose sun

is shining in fullness of splendor, and who are filling the world with divine

messages that men are eager to hear. Know this: that not long service and

experience will save you from becoming a back number, but God in you

will. God is always up to date. It is God men want.

What service had they performed, and what experience had Moses, and

David, and Daniel, and Paul, when God set them up as leaders? None. But

they were in touch with God; they were pliable to His will, teachable,

trustful, obedient, courageous and uncomplaining.

They were full of God. And know this, you who fear the time is coming

when your services will no longer be appreciated or wanted, and you will

be thrust into a corner, that a man full of God cannot be thrust aside. If he

is put into a desert place, then all the countryside and Jerusalem will flock

to the desert place, as they did to Jesus and John the Baptist; and if he is

thrust into a corner, then the world will stop and bend its ear to his corner

to hear his latest message from God. They thrust Paul into prison, but he

spoke and wrote words of life and power that burn with unquenchable fire

of the Holy Ghost, and are doing more to direct the thought, inspire the

faith and inflame the affections of men today than ever before. The Jews

and Romans thought they had done with him when they cut off his head as

that of a dog, but, after two millenniums his influence still increases, and

forever will.

And so they thought to silence Madam Guyon in the Bastile, and John

Bunyan in the filthy Bedford jail. But who can silence the thunder of

God’s power, or hush His “still small voice,” when He chooses a man to

speak through him? Their silent prisons but become public telephone

stations, connected with the skies.

The other day, in one of our great cities, died an old man, long since past

three score years and ten, a minister, who at the age of forty-seven, broke

down so utterly in health from overwork, that for five years he never read

a Chapter from a book, not even from the Bible, but he held fast his faith

in both God and man, kept his love all aglow, and at last died full of years

and was mourned by hundreds in all parts of the globe who had been

saved, sanctified, inspired and qualified for service by his words and life,

and the agencies he set in motion for the sanctification of the church and

the salvation of the world. And, by odds, his greatest work was

accomplished after he had passed three score years. God was with him.

But while this spiritual power and leadership may be maintained, yet it is

a subtle thing that may be lost forevermore.

When Saul was little in his own sight, he was made king, but, when lifted

up he became disobedient, his kingdom was rent from him and given to

another. And is it not this we are warned against in the words: “Hold fast

that which thou hast, that no man take thy crown?” The bishopric of

Judas was given to another. The one talent was taken from the “wicked

and slothful servant,” and given to him that had ten.

I know a Christian worker surrounded by a number of other bright,

earnest, teachable, spiritually ambitious young workers, who looked to

him for direction and guidance. He invited them to his home for an evening,

and when they waited for soul food, coffee and cake were brought out; and

when they expected prayer and counsel the chessboard was produced, and

the opportunity of the evening slipped away, and the strong bonds that

united them in God were relaxed and weakened, if not in one or two cases

broken, and while his official and titular leadership was recognized his

commanding spiritual leadership was gone, alas! I fear forever.

As electric wires, in order to carry the subtle current, must be insulated, so

must men who hold spiritual leadership and who would transmit to their

fellows spiritual power and life.

“But ye beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying

in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the

mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life….. Now unto Him that is

able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the

presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God, our

Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power both now and ever.

Amen” (<650120>Jude 20-25.)
 

CHAPTER 12 SAVING TRUTH

All truth is precious, but not all truth is adapted to secure the immediate

conversion and sanctification of men, any more than all medicine is

adapted to cure heart-disease or rheumatism.

There are certain truths which, preached in the power of the Holy Ghost,

are as much adapted to convert and sanctify souls as food to satisfy

hunger, or fire to melt ice; while there are other truths, equally Biblical,

that will no more secure such results than will the truths of the

multiplication table comfort a brokenhearted mother while mourning for

her lost children, or those of astronomy quiet a guilty conscience roused

from the slumber of sin.

Some time since I read the amazing and humbling statement that “there

were over 3,000 churches in two of the leading denominations of this

country that did not report a single member added by profession of faith

last year.” Well may the writer add, “Think of more than 3,000 ministers

in two denominations world-renowned for their schools and culture,

preaching a whole year, and aided by deacons and Sabbath-school teachers

and Christian parents and church members and prayer meetings and

Sabbath schools and Christian Endeavor Societies, and helps and helpers

innumerable, and all without one conversion!”

Why this stupendous failure? It cannot be that truth was not preached and

taught in the Sunday schools and prayer meetings. These preachers and

teachers and parents were orthodox, cultured, and skilled in Biblical lore.

No doubt they preached and taught truth from one end of the year to the

other, but it was not the truth — the truth that saves, the truth that first

smites the conscience, lays bare the secrets of the heart, and arouses the

slumbering soul until, self-convicted, it feels that every man it meets is

acquainted with its guilt, and every wind and every footfall is an accusing

voice, and no cover can hide from God’s searching eye, and when

conviction has wrought its purpose, and penitence is complete, whispers

of forgiveness and peace, and offers mercy and salvation full and free

through the bleeding Lamb of God, “before the world’s foundation slain.”

Such truth preached faithfully and constantly in these pulpits and

churches — not timidly and feebly, like powder and shot buried by a

child’s hand, but rather with power, like thunderbolts from the cannon’s

mouth — might have set the nation in a blaze of revival fire.

The fact is there are different kinds or grades of truth for different classes

of people, just as there are different medicines for various diseases, and

food for different ages and constitutions. Jesus declares this when He says,

“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.”

(<431612>John 16:12.) The soul-winner must recognize this fact, and seek rightly

to divide the word of truth. The Christian needs a different kind and

application of truth from that needed by the sinner or backslider, and the

sanctified man can receive the strong meat of God’s Word, while babes in

Christ must be fed on milk. (<460301>1 Corinthians 3:1, 2; <580512>Hebrews 5:12, 14.)

With the sinner, the principal attack should be made on the conscience and

the will; he may be moral, and more or less amiable in his family and social

relations, and honorable among his business associates, but be sure that

under this is secret selfishness and heart sin. He seeks his own way, is

disobedient to the light, careless to the dying love of Jesus, and in reality,

if not in profession, he is an enemy to God, and must be convinced of

these facts, and faithfully and lovingly and firmly warned of his utter ruin

if he does not repent. Repentance, deep, thorough and heartfelt, that leads

to a confession and an utter, eternal renunciation of all sin and a complete

amendment of life and a making right as far as possible of all past wrong,

must be presented as the “strait gate” through which alone he can enter the

highway to heaven. We must insist on an immediate and unconditional

surrender to all the light God gives, and offer him mercy and tender love

through Jesus Christ only if he yields.

The motives that lead to repentance are drawn from eternity, and there is a

whole armory of truth with which the sinner can and must be bombarded

to bring him to terms, such as the certainty that what he sows he shall

reap; that his sins will surely find him out; that death will speedily

overtake him; and that if, refusing mercy, he presumes on the goodness of

God, and continues in selfishness and sin, hell shall be his portion forever;

while a life of peace and joy here, a happy deathbed, and eternal glory can

be offered him as the alternative, on condition of obedient faith.

About the same kind of truth is necessary for the backslider, except that

the proportions may have to be varied. If he is stubborn, thunder the law

at him until he hoists the white flag and sues for mercy. If he is sorry he

has backslidden, but fears it is vain to try again, then he should be

encouraged in every possible way to look up and trust, and the infinite

love and pity of God revealed in Jesus should be pressed upon his

attention, and he should be urged to cast himself upon God’s mercy.

If these foundation truths of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord

Jesus Christ are fully, affectionately, and prayerfully presented, and the

sinner or backslider grasps and trusts them, he will be converted, accepted

by the Lord, and adopted into His family. He must now be fed upon

truths different from those he was fed on before. He will have a tender

heart, and so it will be most unwise to thunder the law at him, though he

should be fully instructed as to the spirituality of the law, and that it is the

law by which God wishes us to order our conduct, and for which abundant

grace will be given. Nor should he now be asked to surrender since he is

saved; but he should be intelligently instructed as to the nature and extent

of the consecration that is expected from him, and he should be urged, and

wisely and tenderly encouraged to make the consecration, presenting his

body a living sacrifice and yielding himself to God, “as those that are alive

from the dead.”

He should now be instructed as to the fact of inbred sin, which he will

soon find stirring within him, and the importance and possibility of having

this enemy cast out. Holiness should be presented not so much as a stern

demand of a holy God, but rather as his glorious privilege as a child of

God. He should be taught that it is an experience in which “perfect love

casteth out fear” — a rest of soul, in which, as our bones and sinews are so

covered with flesh as to be unperceived, so the fact of duty, while still

remaining in force, is yet clothed upon and hidden by love.

Therefore, while the necessity of holiness should be presented, and a

gentle and constant pressure be brought to bear upon the will, yet the

principal effort should be made to remove slavish fear by instructing the

understanding, and so drawing out the confidence and affections that the

soul which in conversion bowed at the feet of Jesus as its Conqueror, will

now intelligently and rapturously yield to Him as its Heavenly

Bridegroom and fall so desperately in love with Him by the incoming of

the Holy Spirit that it shall cry out with David, “I delight to do Thy will,

O God!” and with Jesus “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me.”

If the soul-winner does not keep a clear, warm, tender experience of full

salvation himself, there is a danger of driving the people to a legal

experience instead of leading them into a “perfect-love” experience. A legal

experience is one in which the man braces up to his duty because the law

demands it, in which he is prodded and pushed up to it by the terrors of

the law rather than led up to it by the sweet wooings and gentle drawings

of love.

In a holiness meeting, where there are sinners and backsliders, there will be

a strong temptation to address them, and as the kind of truth they need

differs from that needed by converts, if this is done, confusion is likely to

result and an uncertain experience engendered in the hearts of Christians. It

will usually be found wisest to leave the sinners and backsliders alone in

this meeting, and go straight for the Christians, to get them sanctified. The

Lord has been pleased to give me victory along this line, and usually I find

also there are some sinners saved in my holiness meetings.

Jesus likens a Christian to a sheep. Our duty then in the holiness meeting

is not to club them with the law, but rather to feed them with the promises

and assurances of the Gospel, and to teach them to discern the voice of the

good Shepherd and to remove all fear, that they may gladly follow Him.

The staple diet of all saints should be the promises, seasoned with the

commandments to give them a healthy relish.

The promises draw us on in the narrow way, and the commandments

hedge us in that we do not lose the way. The promises should be so

presented and the fullness there is in the Gospel and in Jesus so be brought

to view that the souls of the people will run hard after Him and not need

continual beatings to keep them from breaking through the hedge on to the

devil’s territory.

To discern clearly and apply skillfully the truth needed by the souls we

are set to save, requires heavenly wisdom, and well does Paul exhort

Timothy, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that

needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” But our

study will be in vain unless we, in lowliness of mind, sit at the feet of

Jesus, seek wisdom from God, and submit ourselves in glad, prayerful

faith to the Spirit of truth who can and will guide “into all truth.” (<431613>John

16:13.)

The Bible, which contains the revealed truth necessary to salvation, will

surely puzzle and mystify all who come to it in the big and swelling

conceit of worldly wisdom, but it will open its treasure to the plain and

humble men who come to it full of the Spirit that moved holy men of old

to write it.

O Lord, evermore give to Thy people leaders and teachers filled with this

Spirit, and clothed with this wisdom!