Frequently Asked Questions From The 1800's

Earnest Seeker's contemporary responses for today's Church

Wesley's responses in the 1700's

 
 


from: THE INHERITANCE RESTORED
By Milton Lorenzo (M. L.) Haney
(other chapters to be found in the "Entry Directions" section)

Third Edition, Published In 1897

Chapter 51

QUESTIONS ANSWERED


May the grace of entire sanctification be lost?

Undoubtedly it may.


What are the most fruitful causes of losing the blessing?

The taking back something we have consecrated, the failure to keep up with added light, and the refusal to testify as to what God hath wrought in us.


If we lose the blessing, can we be restored by a single act of faith, or must we again be first justified, and then sanctified?

The backslider from sanctification will be restored to that state, when the sins he has committed since he was sanctified, are all washed away; and that may be done through a single act of faith.

Precisely the same is true of justification. When the justified soul falls, his restoration does not depend on the removal of sins which were once forgiven, but on the adjustment of what has transpired since his justification. If his fall has been occasioned by a single wrong act, his restoration depends, solely, on the removal of that single act of wrong. Restoration to the sanctified state is inevitable, the moment the guilt and pollution which have accrued since our sanctification, are all washed away. If but one sin has been committed, when that one sin is forgiven and our nature purified from its stain, we stand as before it was committed.

For more on this question, see:

Regaining His Rest
Some people make mistakes while walking with God, and truly lose their salvation (if the plain truth is told) -sometimes repeatedly.  Do people in His Rest make mistakes also? If so, what happens to them?  24 pages of excerpts compiled by Earnest Seeker


In what relation to inherited sin, does a sanctified soul stand after it has committed sin?

In the same relation that Adam stood after he fell, polluted by his own act, but not by inheritance.


What is the witness to entire sanctification?

The evidence to be believed, in order to be sanctified, is the word or promise of God. The witness which testifies to our consciousness, that our faith has been accepted and the work wrought, is the Holy Spirit. The promise is given to be believed; the witness, because we have believed. Heb. 10:14-15; I Cor. 2:12.


What time should elapse between the new birth and entire sanctification?

Sufficient time for the child, thus born, to be instructed as to his need of sanctification. The testimony of all experience shows that the longer it is delayed, the more difficult it is for us to yield to the conditions of its attainment. Why should a child of God go years in disobedience to a plain commandment? Time should be given him, after his conversion, to read the fourth and fifth chapters of first Thessalonians. If he cannot read, read these chapters to him, and let him at once be wholly sanctified.


Are we liable to be tempted after we are sanctified?

Yes, more liable than before. Do you suppose that Satan will fall in love with you because you have been made holy? It is enough that you be as your Master, who was "holy, harmless and undefiled," and yet was "tempted in all points as we are."


What is the difference between our temptations before, and after sanctification?

Before we are sanctified, the unholy nature within takes sides with Satan. When we are sanctified, the unholy nature is removed and the battle is transferred to the outside. In the one case we fight the enemy without, and ourselves within; in the other, the whole man takes sides with God, and Satan is easily vanquished. It is difficult to kindle a fire when the kindling wood is all removed.


If the evil nature is entirely removed in sanctification, how is it possible that we should sin?

Just as it was possible for angels, who fell from heaven when there was no tempting devil, and for Adam, on his first temptation.


How can evil desires spring up in a heart that is pure?

By entertaining any evil suggestion. The heart of Eve was as pure as heaven, when Satan said to her, "Ye shall not surely die; for God doth know, that in the day ye eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Gen. 2:4-5. If she had instantly responded, "God has forbidden it," and turned away, no harm would have resulted; but by permitting the evil seed to remain in her heart, it brought forth evil desire. The thoughts of evil were Satan's and not hers, and could not defile her; but there was a time when she adopted them, and then the temptation became sin.

Satan and his emissaries may suggest evil thoughts to us, but they are not our thoughts till the will acts upon them. But there is no time nor space, where an evil thought entertained will not produce evil desire. The precise line between temptation and sin, may have been left obscure to warn us against approaching it.


Are all the graces of the Holy Spirit imparted in regeneration?

They are. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, etc., are all imparted at the time we are born of God.


Are there no new graces imparted, when we are sanctified wholly?

No. The work of entire sanctification consists in the removal from our nature of everything which is contrary to the graces already imparted.


What, then, is the difference between these two states?

In regeneration, we have faith, hampered by unbelief; humility, mingled with pride; love, mixed with enmity; and goodness, opposed by remaining evils. In sanctification, the graces of the Spirit are left unmixed in the soul. We then have faith, without unbelief; humility, without pride; love, without enmity; and goodness, without mixture of moral evil.


Is the Christian's love for God natural to the human heart?

No. It is the "love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost given unto us." Great evils may spring from an increase of natural love, because that is depraved. The love which comes from God is pure, as He is pure. The effort to supplant Divine love by a superabundance of human love is a devilish delusion.


When is this love imparted?

At the time we are born again; it is the new life then implanted in the soul.


If of God, why then, must it afterwards be perfected?

Perfect love is the love of the whole heart. The love of God is the same, in kind, in all stages of Christian experience, both in earth and heaven, but it is, necessarily, imperfect in degree, till we are wholly sanctified. The measure of love required in both Testaments, is the love of all the heart, and mind, and soul, which cannot be exercised, while there remains anything in the heart, or mind, or soul, which antagonizes that love. The divine work wrought in entire sanctification removes all such antagonism, and thus is "the love of God perfected in us."


If, as the fruit of entire sanctification, we love God with all our powers, how can that love be increased?

We cannot love God with a measure above our capacity; but as our capacity enlarges, there must be a proportionate increase of love, or it will cease to be perfect. A quart measure will be perfectly filled with one quart of pure water, but if it should enlarge to the capacity of a gallon measure, it would then require four quarts of water to fill it. Entire sanctification prepares the soul for rapid and endless enlargement.


How should we answer the arguments of those who oppose this doctrine?

Usually, by relating some portion of our experience. When opposers are angry, or in a caviling mood, we should be careful not to offend them, and say but little till they are in a better state of mind. When a man comes to dispute about holiness, he is not in a condition to be benefited. Avoid disputations.


May a holy soul be led astray by giving too much attention to anything that is right?

Yes, and that is one of Satan's measures to lead us from Christ. It is quite easy to take up some incident of Christian experience, unimportant in itself, and magnify it till we lose our hold on Christ. I know a woman who was once holy, and is now an infidel, who went wild over the question of plain attire. Plain attire is right, but giving undue attention to it is sin. Others have lost the experience by being carried away with temperance, or abolition. Temperance is right, and the abolition of human slavery is right, but an abnormal interest in either of them, never failed to lead its subject into the dark.

Rev. J. A. J. Wood says, "Do not let the Adversary lead you to dwell upon some one subject, to the exclusion of others, such as faith, dress, pride, worldliness, masonry, (Masonic Lodges) etc. Aim at symmetry of character, and give each item its proper attention. Make no hobby of any single item in particular, but a symmetrical holiness in general. The Bible has no hobby but holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." --Perfect Love.


May we not lose the experience, and injure the cause of holiness in opposing that which is wrong?

Most easily. Any holy minister may lose both his justification and sanctification, in opposing Robert Ingersoll. (a fanatical Holiness opposer) Many have lost the experience of holiness, fighting opposers of holiness. The truth they advocate is of God, and the principles they aim to put down are wrong, but they measure arms with their enemies till they become possessed of the same spirit, and then there is nothing left but the fight. Holiness lost, fighting for holiness!


Is there any danger, in the sanctified life, of a censorious, fault-finding spirit?

There is, and perhaps more damage to holiness has resulted from this, than from any other cause.

Real holiness gives us very clear views of right and wrong. It also gives us a hearty love for the right, and hatred to the wrong. If this is not carefully guarded, when our attention is called to others, it will make us very exacting. I could not use tobacco, but I apply my light to a brother whose father, and whose father's father lived and died in its use, and went to glory. I say to him, brother if you don't quit the use of tobacco you will be damned!

God has taught me that he is not pleased to have me in connection with Odd Fellowship or Free Masonry. I therefore conclude and declare, that all who are thus associated are in the open way to hell! I have found out that it is not best for me to use tea and coffee. I therefore decide that the profession of those who do use it, is a sham!

How inconsistent and unscriptural it is, to condemn people for doing what they are not yet able to see to be wrong. Harsh and uncharitable attacks on such evils, is a sure way to fasten the evils on those we thus assault. Hold your lamp lovingly, till they see more clearly, and then you can lead them out of their errors.

It is easy for a holy man, or woman, to concentrate their attention upon existing evils in others, till their whole life is made up of attacking such evils; and in every instance, as their love leaks out little by little, they become still more exacting, and, ultimately, have no joy, except in making somebody else miserable. Scarcely any character is more dreadful, or more dreaded in any community, than a holiness fault-finder.


Is holiness consistent with seeking human honors, and scheming for preferment and position?

It is not. The entrance to entire sanctification is by a very lowly gate, and its retention depends on great humility. This experience, only, brings Christians where they "in honor," prefer another.


Is it possible to lose the experience of perfect love, and, at the same time be unconscious of our loss?

Yes, and it is to be feared that many have retained the profession, after the experience is gone. This is also true of the grace and experience of justification.


Does perfect love cast out all fear?

It does not. It does not take away the filial fear of God--the fear to offend him. Nor does it remove the natural instinct of fear in exposure to danger. It does remove all fear of death and hell, and of the consequences of final judgment.


Will the grace of entire sanctification give equal liberty in testimony to all who possess it?

It will fully deliver its possessor from all slavish fear of man, but will not give equal boldness and liberty in testimony. Testimony involves talent, and all are not equally talented. Some are born talkers, and they love to speak, either with or without salvation. Others, from infancy, have shrank from public gaze, and with difficulty express their thought. Sanctification does not bestow talent, but liberates that we have. Perfect freedom and boldness, to a timid soul, in public exercises, will depend on the measure of the Holy Spirit possessed.


How may we be continually possessed of a happy state of mind?

By being filled, at all times, with the Holy Spirit.


Is there any difference in the measure of the Holy Spirit possessed by those who are equally cleansed from sin?

There is. But few holy people have found their full inheritance. Many seem to have stopped in the negative part of sanctification, without being filled with all the fullness of God. Nothing short of the joy of the Lord, will enable us to fill our measure in working for Christ. (similarly today: many are "filled with the Spirit", but few are poured out to allow a river of His Spirit to flow forth... Edit.)


Is there not a great tendency to clannishness, among those who enjoy perfect love?

Yes, wonderful to those who never had the experience. Dr. Steele says, "But this intense fellowship, which has been stigmatized as clannishness, may be one of the strongest scriptural evidences of Christian purity. Hear what St. John says will invariably follow, when a number of fully consecrated souls walk arm in arm with Jesus, robed in the spotless linen of his righteousness. 'But 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.'

Those in whom the bond of Christian communion is so weak that church sociables must be resorted to for the promotion of church feeling, in the absence of true spiritual sympathy, which died with the forgotten prayer meeting and the disbanded class-meeting, may well wonder at the mysterious magnetism which draws together devout persons and holds them with hooks of steel, without ice cream, oysters, cigars or other sensuous attractions of the club room.

Let that church which is vexed with a clique devoted to the higher Christian life, take the following course, and the clique will be killed and buried beyond the hope of a resurrection. Let them no longer 'forsake the assembling themselves together, but exhort one another daily, while with one accord, and in one place they seek to be filled with the Spirit.'

Then let them give free expression to his voice within them, not by a hired quartette, but by speaking to themselves " in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, making melody in their hearts to the Lord."   Eph. 5:18-19.

Let them evince the genuineness of the Spirit baptism, by a life ever victorious over the world through faith in Jesus Christ, a beneficence which comes from 'from giving yourselves unto the Lord,' and a daily practice in harmony with the moral code of the gospel.

"Under such treatment, clannishness would speedily disappear, and the longest lived 'holiness meeting' would not survive a month." --Love Enthroned.

Would not this course break up all the "irregular" holiness work?


What should we do where the holiness testimony is objected to?

Keep on testifying in the spirit of meekness, till the opposition ceases. When definite testimony is given in the presence of those who oppose, it is difficult not to appear defiant in attitude. Such an attitude, even in appearance, always does much harm.

It is unfortunate for the witness to refer to the opposition at all. It is always better to relate our experience as if there were no objectors. If we say nothing about our enemies, very little about ourselves, and much in a loving way, about Jesus, the opposition will become weary by and by.


What should we do when the church, of which we are members, is not in sympathy with holiness?

Patiently endure whatever is put upon you, and carefully avoid the spirit of resentment. "Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again." Let us follow Him.

God has put you in that church, with a torch in your hand, to give light to those who are in the dark. Stay, like your Master did, and hold up the light. After a time your worst enemies will become your best friends, if you will endure hardness as a good soldier, and never complain of the evils done you. Many of your brethren will see the light and be saved, if you do not become impatient with their blindness. If you withdraw from them, your influence to help or save them will at once be lost.

Rev. J. A. Wood says, "Do not separate yourself from those who are in the dark respecting this glorious experience. Stay in the church, and 'let your light shine.' If you stand up for Jesus, and confess and urge holiness in some of our popular, proud, formal and fashionable churches, you may find but little sympathy, and may have to stand alone. No matter; according to your day, so shall your strength be. Do your whole duty in the church, with meekness and wisdom. If you are excluded, let not the responsibility be yours. 'He that endureth to the end shall be saved.' " --Perfect Love.

The teaching of every holy man, who has written wisely on this subject, from Wesley down to the present, coincides with this counsel of Brother Wood.

In all the centuries, blessed blood-washed souls have been pressed by the unspirituality of the churches, but never less than now. This is the battle-ground, and the conflict will not end till we reach the river's side.

You will be glad of a few scars on coronation day.



Perfect Love
Are you really loaded with questions?  Well here you go.  This full length 1880 classic by J. A. Wood is sure to please.  From cover to cover it is Questions with quality answers!  ....228 of them on 141 pages.  This book rapidly became famous when it came out, and it is still easy to see why!  I spent extra time putting all the questions on the PDF index so each is available to you with one click.




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Wesley's responses in the 1700's 


 

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