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HOLINESS

THE HEART OF CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE

BY

J. B. CHAPMAN, D.D.
 
{AGES Software • Albany, OR USA Version 1.0 © 1997}
 

HOLINESS IN THE TEACHINGS OF THE BIBLE

It is a good thing to store the mind with scripture texts. If I were back

again in my teens I think I would give more attention to memorizing the

Bible and the old hymns of the Church. These become an increasing

heritage as the years come and go. But to be fair with the Bible one must

take it in its broad sense. That is, one must not get a preconceived idea and

then go to the Bible for “proof texts.” Rather, he must take the Bible in its

general, as well as in its specific, statements.

Dr. Ellyson used to suggest that the name “Holy Bible” means simply

“Book on Holiness.” And that is what we find it to be. Of course there is a

great deal about sin in the Bible, but sin is always condemned and holiness

is exalted. There is a great deal about judgment, but mercy is the

outstanding theme. After the first few chapters, which tell of sin’s

entrance into the world, all the rest of the Bible is given to redemption and

salvation showing how to get rid of sin.

Sin and holiness are moral and spiritual antipodes, and one or the other

must finally prevail. Sin and holiness cannot go on in mixed form forever.

Either we must be saved from sin or sin will damn us forever. And this

applies to all sin. There is no sin in heaven and no holiness in hell. This

world is the place where we must make the abiding choice, and God

proposes to allow our choice of sin to become fixed in impenitence or our

choice of holiness to become effective by the power of His grace. This is

the teaching of the whole tenor of the Scriptures.

Many of the types of the Old Testament are difficult. Some of them seem

to us to be involved. But to the people to whom they were first given they

were clearer than they are to us—clearer even than straight, unillustrated

statements would have been. Take the camp life of the Israelites: They

were to keep the camp itself clean by excluding lepers, and by the

observance of the most rigid sanitary laws known in the world at that

time.

They were to keep their houses clean; they were to keep their bodies

clean; and their menu included only such animals and birds as were known

as clean for food and for sacrifice to God. All these things—insignificant

some of them within themselves—united in making clear to the people of

those and succeeding times the root idea of purity, so that when it was

applied to the heart, men could immediately understand the significance of

a heart entirely free from moral defilement. Indeed “the Old Testament is

the New Testament concealed, and the New Testament is the Old

Testament revealed”—all this with reference to the Bible standard of heart

and life.

Take the question of atonement for sin: Even the ancient sacrifices

included the idea of cleansing as well as pardon. Sin was seen to be

something deeper than guilt, although it included guilt. David prayed,

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be

whiter than snow.” This purging and washing reached farther than guilt for

transgression and involved a purity that goes beyond the whiteness of

snow. The flake of snow that seems so white may after all have a grain of

dust at heart. But David would have a heart with no moral dirt at its

center. And the minor prophet sang of a fountain opened to the house of

David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem “for sin and for uncleanness.”

Sin is transgression of the law, but uncleanness is the root from which

transgression springs. The fountain that flowed from the pierced side of

the Lamb of God upon the Cross contained both water and blood, and was

for sin as transgression and for sin as uncleanness.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee. Let the water and

the blood, from Thy wounded side which flowed, Be of sin the double

cure, save from wrath and make me pure.

Pardon of sin saves from wrath, and cleansing from inbred sin makes us

pure. Then take the question of “the finished work” —that is, the change

designated as the new birth and the further work designated as

sanctification. Here again we meet with duality of process. There is a work

of the Holy Spirit by which we are made alive unto God. Then there is a

work by which we are crucified to the world and sin dies out within us.

There is a work of the Spirit by which we are made new. Then there is a

further or second work by which we are made clean. There is a distinction

between a new heart in which there is yet contention between the Holy

Spirit and the fleshly or sinful nature, and a clean heart in which the Holy

Spirit reigns supremely and in which there is no longer any fleshly nature

to contend.

And if any man question whether it is possible to attain to such a state of

holiness in this world, let him remember that this is our world of

probation, and that here the blood of Jesus was shed and here the Holy

Spirit is poured out. Here all the conditions are possible and here all the

propitiation of Christ and all the efficiency of the Holy Spirit are available.

What merit can the future have that we do not have now? We have the

blood of Jesus. What more of merit can saints in heaven have? What

power to renovate spirit can they have in heaven that we do not have

here? We have the Holy Spirit, the infinite Refining Fire; what can they

have in heaven that can be more efficient? The world is sinful! That is true,

but “greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” Our own

natures are depraved! True, but “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son

cleanseth us from all sin.” We are too unworthy and weak! True, but “the

grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us

that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly,

righteously, and godly, in this present world.”
 

THE PREREQUISITES OF HOLINESS

Serious Christians are wont to ask, “Why is sanctification a second work

of grace? Why cannot God sanctify at the same instant in which He

justifies?” The answer is that the limitations are all on the human side.

Stated in simple language, men cannot be sanctified at the time when they

are justified because some of the conditions necessary to sanctification

cannot be met until after men are justified. This is why we speak of some

things as prerequisites to (required before) holiness.

There is a distinction in theology between justification, regeneration, and

adoption. Justification, the theologians say, takes place in the heart of God

and is accomplished by His gracious act of pardoning the sins of the

penitent sinner. Regeneration, the same authorities say, takes place in the

heart of man, and is the work of the Holy Spirit in implanting the new

spiritual life in the soul of the believing penitent. The new birth is just

another term for the same experience.

Adoption is the gracious act of God

by which the alien is made a child, and this act is based upon the fact of

regeneration. All this is theology. In actual experience whoever is justified

is also regenerated and adopted. So for all practical purposes we may think

of these three terms as synonyms, and the fact described is a definite

prerequisite to holiness.

In His high priestly prayer recorded in the seventeenth chapter of John,

our Lord prayed for the sanctification of His disciples, and in this

connection He definitely said, “I pray not for the world.” He could not in

the nature of the case pray for the sanctification of the world. He prayed

for the world indirectly when He mentioned “them who shall believe on

me through their word.” But those who are of the world must cease to be

of the world before they are included in the prayer for sanctification.

It is evident, likewise, that backsliders are not in position to be sanctified.

First they must be restored to the favor of God and the joy of salvation.

Sanctification is by the will of God, and sinners and backsliders are rebels

against God and disqualified for sharing in His will. When David sinned he

came first (Psalms 51) and prayed for forgiveness and restoration, and

then for cleansing and purity.

The preaching and testimony of holiness always act as genuine probers of

motives and discoverers of state and relation. There is a difference between

conviction for guilt and conviction for want. The sinner and backslider

have conviction for guilt, but the justified believer has conviction for want.

It may seem unnecessarily harsh to say it, but the fact still remains that

just as dead people have no desire and sick people are usually wanting in

appetite, so likewise the reason many are not set to seek and find holiness

is that they are dead in trespasses and sin or sick and ailing in their

spiritual lives.

Those who have explained that people who think they received the second

blessing were merely backsliders, and when they were restored to the

favor of God supposed they had something more than they ever had

before, are altogether mistaken in their premises. It is always the

Christians who are in the best state of justification who first realize their

need of sanctification; and the divine plan, after all, is not to “bless the

man who is nearest hell,” as sometimes we are wont to pray at the

beginning of the revival, but to begin first with the house of God, and by

blessing those who are closest up make way for those who are farther back

without doing violence to the moral and spiritual consistency and order.

Then the promise of cleansing is conditioned upon walking in the light. “If

we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with

another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

This walking in the light means simply obeying God to the full measure of

our knowledge of His will. It implies willing and glad obedience.

So we may summarize the prerequisites of holiness as

(1) a clean, definite condition of regeneration, and

(2) a heart that is willing to go all the way with God in all His revealed

will.

And when these two are considered together they become so closely

united as to be almost one. It is essential to a clear state of justification to

be ready and obedient. Reluctance and hesitation bring defeat and

darkness. How is it with you today? Is your witness of sonship and

acceptance with God bright and clear? Are you ready and willing to obey

God in any and all things in which His will may be made known to you?

Can you, as the poet would say, read your title clear to a mansion in the

skies? If all this is descriptive of your state and relation, then you should

have no hindrance in coming to God with prayer and faith to be “made

every whit whole.” There is a fullness in God’s grace and mercy for you as

a child of God. Do not be content without it. Claim your heritage. Lay

hold upon the promise. Pray with the poet:

Refining Fire, go through my heart,

Illuminate my soul;

Scatter Thy life through every part,

And sanctify the whole.
 

HOLINESS DEFINED

We have always to advance to things we do not know in terms of the

things we do know. For that reason spiritual truths have usually to be

illustrated by natural things. This was the approach Jesus made when He

called the change wrought by the Holy Spirit in making a saint of a sinner

being “born again,” and the approach He made by the use of parables.

What is holiness? Well, holiness is that state of heart which results from

being sanctified wholly by the power of the Holy Spirit. Sanctification is

the crisis; holiness is the result following the crisis. Such a state is that of

moral purity. The will is completely adjusted to the will of God and the

affections are purified, alienated from sin and the world, and exalted to a

supreme love for God.

It is not a negative state, implied simply by

freedom from sin; it is also a positive condition in which the heart is filled

with the perfect love of God, which enables one to love God with all his

heart and his neighbor as himself.

Holiness and health come from the same root word in the Anglo-Saxon.

That is, holiness is soul health. Holiness is to the soul what health is to the

body. Health is that state of the body in which there is freedom from

disease and in which there is general and complete soundness of organs and

tissues. It is not easy to describe the symptoms of health. Perhaps it is

best to think of it as the state in which one is enabled to live from day to

day without pain or tormenting weariness and with a minimum of thought

and care concerning himself. And holiness is like that to the soul. Sin is

abnormal, like disease in the body. It is likened to a thorn in the side or to

a broken foot. It brings uneasiness and strain and burden. Holiness

removes the thorn, cures the broken foot, and makes the Christian life a

joy.

Holiness is the standard of God’s Word for all, regardless of what one may

profess in the way of personal grace or attainment. So the profession of

holiness does not make a new standard; it just enables one to live up to the

standard he has always tried as a Christian to reach. It differs from the life

of a justified Christian in that it possesses inner power to walk before God

in holiness and righteousness. It does not increase the burdens of the

Christian life, but does increase the power of the Christian experience.

This is why Dr. Rinehart, pressed for a statement as to what sanctification

is, replied, “It is regeneration made easy.”

Holiness is not an abnormal attainment. It is the normal state in which man

was originally created. Sin is inherent in man since the fall of Adam, but

holiness was the image man originally wore, and it is the state in which

man reaches his real end.

That picture that shows a holy man as wearing

long hair, enduring some sort of voluntary punishment, holding himself

entirely apart from others, straining to reach a goal of character that is

always beyond him, following a course at variance to his inner impulses

and desires, and purchasing merit by his denial of the things he desires, is a

false picture—a caricature of the holy, happy, victorious Christian which

God designs to be the pattern saint. With the desire for sin entirely

eradicated, the sanctified Christian has come to the place where he can do

what he desires and yet do what God requires, for his will and affections

are adjusted and purified and his inner life and outer life are balanced and

he is happy in the will of God.

In giving personal testimony it is always best to use forms that exalt

Christ and not ourselves. The vast majority of intelligent people are

offended if anyone says, “I am sanctified,” or, “I am holy.” This sounds

like holiness is an accomplishment bringing merit to the possessor. The

proper form is, “God has graciously sanctified me,” or, “The abiding Holy

Spirit keeps my heart clean from sin.” Here the emphasis is on the divine

grace, where it actually belongs. Sin differs greatly in its manifestation. So

there are Pharisees and publicans in the same community.

But where the

manifestation is in a form of pride or in self-abandonment to evil, the fact

remains that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” and

that whatever there is that is good in any, it is all of grace and not of us.

John Fletcher used to say, “I nothing have and nothing am; my glory’s in

the bleeding Lamb, both now and evermore.”

Pride is a fruit of sin; holiness brings humility. Those who think we must

have some sin in us to keep us humble are entirely mistaken in their

judgment of the nature of sin. The quintessence of sin is selfishness and

pride. This pride may show itself in a brazen abandon that looks like the

opposite of itself, but the fact still remains that it is the heart that lifts

itself up in opposition to God that dares to choose a course in any way

contrary to that chosen by the Lord in His infinite goodness and wisdom.

Everyone who refuses to take God’s way in the fullest degree must base

his choice upon doubt of either the goodness or the wisdom of God.

Surely no one can answer the following question in any but the

affirmative: Is God able to save us from all outward and inner sin? Then

there is one more question that is not so simply answered, “Why does

God not save me from all outward and inner sin and make me free and holy

just now?”

But the answer to this is, after all, not so far to seek. God is

able and willing to save from all sin. If therefore He does not so save me it

is only because I do not this moment submit myself to the divine

processes according to the conditions laid down in the Bible. The

responsibility for any sin that may yet remain in me is my own

responsibility.

Christ is able and willing today.
 

THE WAY TO HOLINESS

In <431717>John 17:17 we are told that we are sanctified through the truth, and

further we are told, “Thy word is truth.” We understand, then, that the

Master was describing the place of the Bible as the Word of God in its

relation to the blessing of entire sanctification by means of which we are

made holy. In <442618>Acts 26:18 we are said to be sanctified by faith. In

<581312>Hebrews 13:12 we are told that we are sanctified by the Blood. In

<451516>Romans 15:16, we are described as sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

But

we all know the Bible, the blood of Jesus, faith, and the Holy Spirit are

not interchangeable words, and we know also that we cannot be allowed to

choose alternate ways of being sanctified. We never expect to find one

Christian sanctified by the Bible, another by the Blood, another by faith,

and another by the Holy Ghost. It must be that whoever is sanctified at all

must be sanctified by all the means mentioned. What then is the

explanation?

The theologians tell us we are to be sanctified instrumentally by the Word

of God, efficaciously by the blood of Jesus, conditionally by faith, and

efficiently by the Holy Ghost. By this we understand that the Bible is our

infallible Guide as to the manner we are to go about it to seek and find this

blessing. The blood of Jesus is the meritorious price paid for its purchase.

Faith is the one prime condition we must meet. And the Holy Spirit is the

actual Agent for changing, purging, and filling our hearts. Only Spirit can

change spirit, and that is why we cannot ascribe the efficient agency to

anyone or anything except the Holy Spirit, who was very properly

designated by Dr. Daniel Steele as “the Executor of God in the work of

salvation.”

In a matter so important as our state and standing with God we need a

sure word. The opinions of men will not suffice. Creeds and statements

wrought out in councils are valuable only when they are true

interpretations of the divine Word. But God has given us an inspired and

infallible Bible. Whosoever speaks contrary to this Word is to be rejected.

The Bible is the Touchstone of all doctrine. It is the dependable revelation

of the will of God and the way to God. If we get sanctified at all, we must

do so according to the terms laid down in the Word. Bible holiness is the

only true holiness.

There is no merit in works or words or tears or anything else we can bring.

The blood of Jesus alone is the price of our redemption. When we come to

be cleansed from all sin, we have no plea but the Blood. No matter how

many years we have served God, we have done only that which it was our

duty to do. No matter how much we have given of time or money for the

advancement of His kingdom, we have given nothing that we did not first

receive. The blood of Jesus alone has merit, and by it alone we have

entrance into the holy of holies—the divine presence—where we find the

cleansing we crave.

Faith has its prerequisites, as repentance in asking for pardon,

consecration in asking for holiness, and obedience in praying for

persevering grace. But faith remains the one and only prime condition.

Faith is the one thing without which there is no deliverance, and when it is

present there is always deliverance. Prerequisites lead to faith and faith

leads to victory. Faith is not a force within itself, but is the means by

which the power of God is released upon us. Faith salvation, like faith

healing, is a purely human thing. Faith is just the condition. God is the

Power.

The Holy Spirit is a Person, but He has different offices. The Holy Spirit

comes in convicting office to the sinner. He comes in regenerating office to

the penitent believer. He comes in sanctifying office to the consecrating,

accepting believer. There is no reason for confusion regarding whether the

Holy Spirit comes in regeneration or only in entire sanctification. He

comes in both instances. But in the latter instance He comes in Pentecostal

fullness and power. On the Day of Pentecost, He came in tongues of fire,

as well as in the likeness of a rushing mighty wind. Fire is the emblem of

purifying. There are many symbols of the Holy Spirit and His works in

the Bible. In His life-giving power He is like the wind, as Jesus told

Nicodemus in John three. In His regenerating office He is like water

(<560305>Titus 3:5).

In His feeding office He is like milk (<235502>Isaiah 55). In His

purifying and energizing power He is like fire. The deeper purging

represented by fire in contrast with the more outward cleansing effects of

water is well known in the realm of natural things, and the Spirit uses this

common knowledge to make clear the distinction between the work of

regeneration—a washing —and entire sanctification—a purging with fire.

How fully then is the way to holiness set before us! We come as we are

taught in the Bible. We bring the blood of Jesus as our merit. We exercise

faith as the condition. The Holy Spirit answers to the Blood by coming as

the vital Agency of our full purifying.

I once likened the four factors here considered to getting goods from a

mail-order house. There is the catalogue that describes the goods, states

the price, and gives directions for ordering. This is analogous to the place

of the Bible in our sanctification. There is the money required, which is in

the position of the Blood in our sanctification.

There is the act of sending

forth the order by mail —an act that passes beyond sight, and is analogous

to faith. Then there are the goods actually delivered to the door by the

postman, and this is like the coming of the Holy Spirit in Pentecostal

fullness. Surely none of us should go farther without the blessing. The

Word is true and dependable. The Blood has all merit. Faith has every

ground. The Holy Spirit waits at the door. Today, even this hour, “wilt

thou be made whole?”
 

HOLINESS AS A LIFE LIVED

Holiness is a doctrine to be believed, an experience to be received, and a

life to be lived. As a doctrine, it is the central thesis of the Bible. As an

experience, it is the heart of all the verities in the dealing of men with God

in the things of the soul. As a life to be lived, it is from every point of

view the best life possible.

There are two contrasting evils, toward one or the other of which we all

tend to a greater or lesser extent. One is to lower the standard to the point

where we can reach it without the grace God proposes to give us, and the

other is to hold up a standard impossible even to the best of men. And,

strangely enough, the practical results are about the same in both cases.

The standard should remain where God puts it. At such a point we shall

need all that grace can do for us to enable us to reach it, and yet by the

grace of God we shall be able to reach it with joy and gladness. On the

principle that the righteous are scarcely saved, and yet they are

abundantly saved, when we fail by refusing the grace of God we fail

miserably, and when we succeed by obtaining His grace we succeed

gloriously. There is, indeed, a twilight zone between outbroken sin and the

fullness of grace, where the appeal of the world is still strong and yet the

call of God is more or less effective. But that zone should be crossed, not

made a place of permanent dwelling.

Division of a subject sometimes helps us in grasping it, so let us think of

conduct in three parts: in our relationship to ourselves, in our relationship

to others of mankind, and in our relationship to God. Then we shall have a

summary in <560211>Titus 2:11-12, where it is said the grace of God teaches us

to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and that we should live “soberly,

righteously, and godly, in this present world.” To deny ungodliness and

worldly lusts means to turn away from them, to forsake them, to refuse to

indulge in them. Ungodliness is a word describing wicked conduct, and

worldly lusts a term describing unholy thinking and desires. To deny these

is to become outwardly and inwardly good in the negative sense. It

involves harmlessness. It describes the passive virtues.

But holiness is more than negative goodness. It is positive goodness also.

Taken apart, the statement is that we are to live soberly toward ourselves,

righteously toward our neighbors, and godly toward our Heavenly Father.

Sobriety is just another word for temperance. Temperance, in turn, is

defined as self-control. To live by this rule is to refuse tangents. To govern

the temper and the will.

To think soundly. To speak gently. To eat and

sleep and work with neither sloth nor excess. To check the inner

conscience sincerely. To face one’s limitations faithfully. To speak the

truth in word and in heart. To speak no ill of his neighbor. To neither

minimize nor exaggerate. To be transparent before the bar of God and

one’s own moral judgment. To testify faithfully. And to pray

unpretentiously.

To live righteously toward our neighbor is to be clean in our social

relations. To be honest in our business relations. To be truthful in our

communications. To be fair in our judgment of the deeds, words, and

motives of others. The righteous man is a faithful friend, a good husband,

son, and brother, an agreeable neighbor, a helper of the needy, a forgiver of

enemies, an upright citizen, a supporter of civic well-being, a careful

taxpayer, an observer of law and order, and a doer of good deeds.

To live godly is to live in the fear and love of God. To be obedient to all

His known will. To worship God only, according to the first

commandment; to worship Him spiritually according to the second

commandment; to worship Him reverently, according to the third

commandment; to worship Him statedly, according to the fourth

commandment.

It is to worship with the hand by tithing the income and

making gifts according to the ability which God giveth. It is to worship

with the mind by reading God’s Word and meditating upon His power,

wisdom, and love. It is to worship Him with the heart by pouring out the

heart in prayer, praise, and giving of thanks. It is to live always in the

attitude of willingness to give up what you seem to possess and to receive

whatever He may choose to give. To live godly is to live in gracious

communion, fellowship, and agreement with God.

If any are struck with the thought that we cannot live godly because we

are but finite and God is infinite, then let him remember that it is quality

and likeness and not quantity and identity that are required. We can be like

God in the sense that a drop of ocean water is like the ocean.

A visitor to a clock and watch exhibition saw there a clock so large that the

dial was fifty-two feet across and the minute hand was twenty -six feet in

length. Then there were smaller clocks ranging on down to hall clocks,

mantel clocks, and table alarm clocks. Then there were large, heavy

watches, smaller gentlemen’s watches, large-sized ladies’ watches, wrist

watches, and on down to one with a dial so tiny that one could not see the

position of the hands except by use of a magnifying glass. But all the

clocks and watches, great and small, were good timekeepers, and were kept

regulated and set by experts, so that they were in perfect agreement. When

the big clock up at the head of the line said, “Twelve o’clock,” and the

clocks and watches along the line said, “Twelve o’clock,” the little, tiny

one at the very foot spoke up in unison with the others and said, “Twelve

o’clock.”

The little watch was not the big clock, but it was in perfect

accord with it. And it is in something of that sense that we can be godly

“in this present world.” For our present purpose it is superfluous to add

those final words, for it is in this sense only that we can be godly even in

heaven. And it is to the glory of His grace that God can so save and keep

us that we can live truly godly right here, where Satan is loosed and

temptation is rife and that we can live so all the days of our lives (<420173>Luke

1:73-75).
 

HOLINESS AND PRACTICAL LIVING

No child has any choice regarding his parentage or the place and condition

of his birth. So far as the child’s responsibility goes, all these things are

accidental. There is not much the child can do about the general course of

his life during his minor years.

At a very early age he can give his heart to

God and be saved and sanctified wholly, but in working out his life he is

subjected to the conditions around him, even as our blessed Lord was

subject to His earthly parents during His minor years. In Christian lands it

is unusual to find parents who are unwilling for their children to live the

Christian life, even though they may not share fully the children’s

practical judgment of what is best and wisest. There are instances,

however, in which it becomes necessary for even a young child to bring to

bear the full meaning of the scriptural admonition to obey his parents only

“in the Lord.”

Should a parent insist that a minor child use liquor or

tobacco, attend places of worldly amusement that are clearly ungodly,

engage in dishonest dealings of any kind, or enter into associations that the

child believes firmly are injurious to the soul, the minor child must choose

to suffer affliction with the people of God and keep himself within the

bounds of his own good conscience. Any demand for choice or action that

is in violation of the Ten Commandments or the well -established

principles of Christian conduct must be resisted, even though such

resistance may lead to punishment, disinheritance, and even banishment.

When the years of responsibility come along, questions like the choice of

company, matrimony, vocation, education, and even the place of one’s

abode, should be taken to the Lord in earnest prayer for divine guidance,

and in the fullest confidence that God does know and care and will find a

way by His providences, His Holy Word, and the Holy Spirit to direct the

course of any who are willing to listen diligently to His voice.

As a young sanctified Christian I found great help in Impressions, a book

by Martin Wells Knapp. From this book I learned that in important

matters one should not be hasty in his conclusions and should insist on

having “two or three witnesses.”

That is, the providences of God may

determine us in many simple things like eating, drinking, sleeping, and the

hours of labor. The Word of God, the Bible, is sufficient Guide for actions

like purity, honesty, veracity, and industry. The inner impressions of the

Holy Spirit are enough to direct us in prayer, testimony, and other such

matters. But in such matters as matrimony there should be agreement of

two or all three of these methods of guidance before we are satisfied.

“Impressions,” Mr. Knapp said, “may come from our own desires, from

the devil, or from the Holy Spirit, and we need always to keep the Word

of God before us and to remember that always the Spirit and the Word

agree, and that the Holy Spirit will not lead us to do anything that is

contrary to the Word—the Bible.”

The majority of people do not have great, romantic experiences in life.

Their course leads over a more or less undulating plain. Every day is much

like every other day. The necessities of economic life drive them to their

hours of labor and of rest. Their occupation brings them the large

percentage of contacts with others, and hence their opportunities for doing

good.

And this is equivalent to saying that what we all need most is grace

to live the common life in an uncommon manner. We need wisdom to see

God in the circumstances of everyday life, and we need grace to do

faithfully the myriad of little things which seem to have no particular

connection with our religious profession. To be patient where others

would become irritable, to be cheerful where others would be possessed of

fear, to be kind when others would be resentful, to be pure when others

would break under temptation, to reject all price offered for doing wrong,

to just exemplify the spirit of the Master in the common places among

common people this, to the great majority of us, is real victory.

It is our common obligation to “attend the means of grace,” such as family

and secret prayer, the services of the church, and as many of the gatherings

of the people of God as we can profitably afford. It is our obligation,

without exception, to maintain a standard of conduct and conversation that

will commend the profession we make, and make it clear to all that we are

conscious always that God sees and knows and cares and that we are

responsible to Him now and at the judgment and in eternity. Excessive talk

and unguarded levity are twin enemies of true spirituality, and carelessness

about keeping one’s word even in small matters, and about meeting his

bills or meeting his financial obligations, will limit, if not actually destroy,

the value of a Christian professor’s influence.

We are all commissioned of our Lord to evangelize our neighbors and to

send the gospel to the uttermost part of the earth. Some are called

personally to devote their lives to the public ministry or to some form of

Christian service which within itself becomes a vocation. But those who

are not so called are yet commissioned to do the same work in a different

manner, that is, by supporting with influence, prayers, and money. In

matters of money and goods, Christians are differentiated from pagans in

this: pagans account themselves owners of what they possess, while

Christians know and confess themselves to be stewards only God is

Owner of all. Money is a great means of doing good when properly used.

But when improperly used it is a snare and a curse. From the days of

Abraham, and long before the Old Testament law was promulgated, good

men found the tithing plan a useful guide in making acknowledgment of

their stewardship of money and goods, and that plan and principle has

never been abrogated. The systematic, faithful tither is assured of a good

conscience in prosperity or adversity, and this together with a spirit of

liberality enables him to share with those who go, and to feel and know

that he is a faithful steward of the gospel, as well as of the money and

goods with which he is entrusted.