« VorigeDoorgaan »
to suppose that, in these days, we ought to imitate those who lived for weeks, and even years, on herbs, and roots, and pulse, and the like, yet we would remind the reader, that the word of God commands us to deny ourselves, and to take up our cross daily, and that high attainments in the divine life have never been made without this. Miss Holland was content to be the Lord's disciple on these terms, and * regarded things grievous to flesh and blood,” when she was providentially called to endure them, as opportunities of embracing God's will at the expense of her own ; and, consequently, as so many steps by which she might advance towards perfection. There are two particulars mentioned in her diary, in which she thus denied herself, abstinence from food, and engaging in public prayer. In reference to the former, she writes: “I purpose to use abstinence on every Friday. O Jesus, help me to deny myself, and follow thee! Let my motives be pure ; let all my actions flow from love to thee !” The week after she formed this resolution she says: “This last week I have enjoyed more peace and solid comfort. I see that I must deny myself daily. It is easy when practised; and I resolve, henceforward, by the strength of grace, that whatsoever I do, whether I eat or drink, I will do all to the glory of God.” In reference to the latter of these particulars of self-denial she writes: “I have been kept in peace this day ; but, at the class-meeting, I felt backward to engage in prayer. I could not take up my cross. Often have I brought darkness upon my mind by yielding to this temptation. If I prayed more in public, I should enjoy more of God.” In the evening of the same day it would seem that she overcame the temptation ; for she says: meeting to-night I found the Lord present. I can now rejoice in the God of my salvation; and I trust that I am willing to consecrate my service this day unto the Lord.”
There is every reason to believe that she lived, for a considerable period, in the enjoyment of the blessing of entire sanctification. From notices in her diary, it appears that, in the year 1834, her mind was led to dwell upon this high Gospel privilege ; and that, when convinced that it was attainable, she never rested until the perfect love of God was shed abroad in her heart,-until “the very God of peace sanctified her wholly;" and then she depended on Him that her * whole spirit, and soul, and body should be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ." Happy state! Blessed prelude to the purity and joy of heaven!
The space allotted to this sketch will not allow of further references being made to the characteristics of Miss Holland's life. But we must not omit to observe, that she manifested the deepest sympathy in the spiritual welfare of others. Her journal is replete with the most touching appeals to God on behalf of her relations and friends. But it was not for these alone that she felt concerned : she prayed for the salvation of all; and sought, as far as her circumstances would admit,
“ In the prayer
and as far as she was enabled to overcome her natural timidity, to extend the kingdom of Christ.
Such was the influence of divine grace on her heart and life. It led to gentleness of spirit, to communion with God, to intense delight in the services of the sanctuary, to careful self-examination and cheerful self-denial, to the enjoyment of perfect love, and to earnest longings for the salvation of others. Let us now follow her to the close of her earthly career, and witness the power of divine grace to support her when passing through “the valley and shadow of death."
Her last illness was sudden and unexpected. For some time previous to it her health appeared to be gradually improving, after long and painful affliction ; and her anxious relations flattered themselves that she would be fully restored to them. But “God seeth not as man seeth :" in his mysterious providence, he often calls first the loveliest and most useful of our fellow-beings. She was seized with typhus-fever; and, under the influence of that malignant disease, rapidly wasted away. She bore her sufferings with signal patience ; not a murmuring expression fell from her lips; and, on being informed that her medical attendant despaired of her recovery, she calmly replied,
“My Father's hand prepares the cup,
And what He wills is best."
Seeing her friends weeping around her, she entreated them to dry their tears, and to be resigned to the will of God; adding her favourite words,—“What He wills is best.” On another occasion she requested that the 499th hymn in the Wesleyan Hymn-Book might be read to her; and, when the following words were repeated,
“ Hallelujah, they cry, to the King of the sky,
To the great everlasting I AM!
Hallelujah to God and the Lamb!”she was enraptured, and seemed already to mingle, by faith, with the celestial throng in adoring her enthroned Redeemer. Just before she expired, she continued to exclaim, “ Jesus is precious ; Jesus is precious!" her joyous countenance attesting the truth of her language. The moment of her departure was one of peculiar interest. The room seemed filled with the divine presence; and, whilst a solemn influence rested upon her friends, filling them with
“ That speechless awe which dares not move,
And all the silent heaven of love,”
she sweetly fell asleep in Jesus, in the thirty-second year of her age, October 5th, 1840.
FAITH WORKING BY ACTIVE LOVE. CARIST JEsus our Saviour gave himself for us, to redeem us from all our sins and wickedness, and to purify us “a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” To this purpose we are admonished of the Lord : “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Therefore, whilst we have time, let us do good towards all men, and especially towards them of the household of faith. To this use the holy Scriptures were given unto us, that the man of God be perfect, and instructed unto all good works. It is clear, then, that we be not so justified by faith, that we should be unprofitable and barren ; but rather that, giving ourselves continually unto good works, we should advance the glory of God's grace, and show it before the eyes of all men as the light of our new creation. For we are regenerated in Christ ; and by its fruits we do declare ourselves before men to be justified. Therefore, let us not only show ourselves to be Christians in name, but to have become good of evil, and to declare, by good works, the goodness we have received of Christ. Good works be the fruits of faith, which worketh by love: they be works of God which he worketh in us, and by us ; but it must be considered with what mind those things be wrought which be of themselves good, whether of the affection of love and mercy, or for some other cause ; for he is not worthy straightway to have the commendation of good works, which doth bestow meat and clothing on the poor, not of the desire to do good, but rather to hunt and hawk for glory in the sight of men. Wherefore all be not immediately good works which are esteemed to be good, but only when they be such as do proceed from a good and faithful heart, and from the affection of charity. Nor is the goodness we are created unto determined in the works of mercy only, but it doth extend to our whole life, and common trade of living together, wherein one man is knit unto another by mutual love, aid, and service. And this true and sincere love is an inseparable property in the godly. No Christian without faith; and where is no love, is no faith. Where there is not the brightness of charity, neither is there the zeal of faith. Thou mayest as well take light from the sun, as charity from faith. Charity, in its fruits, is the outward act of the inward life of the Christian. As the body without the spirit is dead, so is faith without charity. He is not of Christ that hath not the Spirit of Christ; and he hath not the Spirit of Christ that hath not the gift of charity. Solomon's temple was all covered with gold within and without; so let God's temple, which is thyself, be all beautified with faith and charity within and without. Let charity move thy heart to compassion, and thy hand to contribution ; for neither is sufficient without the other. Faith receiveth all from God, and charity giveth again unto our neighbour.John Wells (1639).
THE TRUTH OF GOD, THE INSTRUMENT OF THE HOLY
SPIRIT IN THE SANCTIFICATION OF MAN.
(To the Editor of the Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine.) The great religious controversy vered.”* (Rom. vi. 17.) The Aposof the present day has a tendency to tle Peter refers to the truth of God, recall, to the devout and reflective as the instrument of our regeneramind, some important principles tion : “ Being born again, not of which it has, indeed, previously ad- corruptible seed, but of incorruptimitted, but its apprehension of ble, by the word of God, which which may have been feeble and liveth and abideti for ever.
And indistinct. Thus the question, this is the word which by the GosWhat is the channel through which pel is preached unto you.” (1 Peter the Spirit's influence flows to man? i. 23, 25.) And our adorable Reis calculated to lead those who de deemer, in his prayer recorded in rive their views of Christianity from John xvii., has the remarkable and the written word of God, to a more emphatic passage, —“ Sanctify them distinct recognition of the principle, through thy truth; thy word is that the truth is the grand instru- truth” and, soon afterwards, he ment which the Spirit uses in all the adds, “And for their sakes I sancprocesses by which he raises man to tify myself, that they also might be holiness on earth, and prepares him sanctified through the truth." for the glory of the heavenly state. (Verses 17, 19.) This principle is full of interest and In accordance with this general instruction; and if, at first, it should principle, we find the Apostles ever be presented to the mind in a con manifesting a deep solicitude for the troversial form, it is of such a cha- advancement of believers in spiritual racter, that the man who is in ear knowledge. They urge this not nest about religion will soon cease only as conducive to spiritual com. to contemplate it controversially, fort, but as essential to the increase and will apply it to the great pur- of piety. The prayers of St. Paul, pose of his own advancement in for several of the churches, will piety.
illustrate this. To the Colossians It may, indeed, be safely affirmed, he writes : “ For this cause we also, that, in every part of the New Tes- since the day we heard it, do not tament, there is the highest honour cease to pray for you, and to desire put upon the truth of God, as the that ye might be filled with the grand instrument of raising man to knowledge of his will in all wisdom a state of peace and spiritual life, and spiritual understanding ; tbat and then of nourishing and matur ye might walk worthy of the Lord ing every holy affection. The sys unto all pleasing, being fruitful in tem of Christian doctrine is repre every good work, and increasing in sented by the Apostle Paul as a the knowledge of God." (Col. i. mould, into which the human mind 9, 10.) His prayer for the Philipis to be cast ; so that all its senti- pian church is of a similar charac. ments and affections shall bear an ter : “And this I pray, that your exact correspondence to that scheme love may abound yet more and more of truth. Addressing the Romans, in knowledge and in all judgment; he says, “But thanks be to God, that ye may approve things that are that whereas ye were
excellent; that ye may be sincere vants of sin , ye have now obeyed from the heart the form of doc
* Wesley's translation. See also his note on trine into which ye have been deli this passage.
and without offence till the day of Christian covenant. It is his to Christ.” (Phil. i. 9, 10.)
convince of sin, to lead onward the The teaching of the holy Scrip- penitent mind to a believing appretures on the subject before us, is hension of the merits of Christ, to guarded in a very accurate and in- fill the heart thus resting on the structive manner. It is, perhaps, atonement with child-like confidence scarcely necessary to remark, that and love, and to conform it to unithe knowledge of the truth is never versal holiness. “For this is the adverted to, as if it could be of any covenant that I will make with the avail, unless connected with a holy house of Israel after those days, state of the affections, and with saith the Lord; I will put my laws practical obedience to the divine into their mind, and write them in will. If love to God, and benevo. their hearts : and I will be to them lence to man, glow not within our a God, and they shall be to me a breasts, then, however clear our people.” (Heb. viii
. 10.) It is worthy conceptions of the divine character of remark, that, in many passages and government, and of the plan of of Scripture, the agency of the redemption through our Lord Jesus Holy Spirit, and the instrumentality Christ, we are still in the region of of the truth, in the sanctification of spiritual death. “Though I under man, are placed in intimate constand all mysteries, and all know. nexion. Thus St. Peter says, " Seeledge, and have not charity, I am ing ye have purified your souls in Dothing."
obeying the truth through the Spi. Again: the knowledge of the rit, unto unfeigned love of the bretruth is never spoken of as if it thren, see that ye love one another effected our sanctification by a
pure heart fervently.” (1 purely natural process, independent- Peter i. 22.) St. Paul writes to the ly of an accompanying influence of Thessalonians : “But we are bound the Holy Spirit. The "truth as it to give thanks alway to God for is in Jesus” is, indeed, the grand you, brethren beloved of the Lord, instrument employed in the entire because God hath from the begincourse of our moral recovery; but ning chosen you to salvation through we are ever taught to acknowledge sanctification of the Spirit and bethe unseen but powerful agency of lief of the truth.” (2 Thess. ii. 13.) the Holy Spirit, as that which im. And in the well-known passage of parts a new spiritual life, breaks the our Lord's prayer, offered up just power of sin, and renders obedience before he entered upon the agonies to the divine commands at once of Gethsemane, Sanctify them practicable and delightful. It would through thy truth,” the exertion of be in vain to exbibit to the mind a divine power upon the mind is the beauty of holiness, and its ten distinctly recognised, while the truth dency to give happiness to indivi of God is pointed out as the great duals and to society, unless a power instrument of producing and susfrom above were promised, to call taining our holy affections. into existence new principles and We find one illustration of the feelings, to turn into a new channel principle before us in the nature and our desires, and hopes, and fears, process of that great change which and to effect even “ a new creation” constitutes us new creatures” in in the breast polluted by sin, and Christ Jesus. We are to be " born enslaved by its fascinations and its of the Spirit;" so that the agency power. The “law of sin which is of the Holy Ghost, in the work of in our members" cannot be reversed regenerating the human mind, is and destroyed by “the law of the altogether unquestionable ; and the mind,” enlightened to behold the doctrine which affirms it is an essenexcellence of the divine precepts, tial and prominent doctrine of the but only by " the law of the Spirit Christian revelation. This action of of life in Christ Jesus.” The pro the Holy Spirit on the mind of man mise of the Holy Spirit's influence is, in itself, mysterious ; and its is, indeed, the great promise of the modes and varieties are not to be Vol. XXIII. Third Series. April, 1844.