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“We teach no angelic perfection in man while he is out of heaven. In this world we must be contented with Christian perfection, which, according to Mr. Wesley, is pure love reigning alone in the heart and life.'
“The sanctified soul trusts more perfectly and constantly in the atonement than
other. He, more than any other man,
• Every moment, Lord, I need
6 Christian Perfection does not exclude the possibility of growing in grace. The pure in heart grow faster than any others. There is no standing still in religion or sin. We are either progressing or receding. If we are neglecting present duty, we are backsliding, however great our attainments may have been.
“ Christian Perfection does not exclude a liability to temptation. Our holy Saviour was tempted. So long as we are in an unholy world, we may expect to be tempted. It is no sin to be tempted, provided proper caution has been used to avoid the occasions of temptation.
“ Christian Perfection does not exclude the possibility of falling away; but it renders it much less probable. We must wait for absolute security until we arrive at heaven. Hence, we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.'
“No temptation or evil suggestion to the mind becomes sin till it is tolerated. Sin consists in yielding to temptation. So long as the soul maintains its
integrity, so that temptation finds no sympathy within, no sin is committed, and the soul remains unharmed, no matter how protracted or severe the fiery trial may prove.
6. Christian Perfection does not make any one perfect in knowledge. Of those sanctified wholly, it may be emphatically said, they walk in the light, as he is in the light.' The perfect in love have a more clear apprehension of God, of His presence, and of spiritual things, (other things being equal), than any other. .
- Christian Perfection does not exclude the infirmities of human nature, — such as slowness of understanding, errors of judgment, mistakes in practice, erratic imaginations, a treacherous memory, etc.
“ Holiness may be perfect, and yet be progressive. It is complete in the sanctified soul in kind, but limited in degree. Perfection in quality does not exclude increase in quantity. The capacities of the soul are progressive, and holiness should increase in a measure corresponding to its increasing capacity. Faith, love, humility, and patience may be perfect in kind, and yet increase in volume and power — in measure.”
At the close of this sermon, another preacher arose, and in a few words gave his testimony of the possession of the “Second Blessing,” and urging all those present who had this witness, to profess it — laying much stress upon the idea that the blessing of entire sanctification could not be retained without confessing its possession on all suitable occasions. He also cited standard authorities in proof of this.
Israel thought of these words found in Romans 14: 22:
“ Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before
God," and wondered what disposition this man would make of them.
One after another, both men and women, young men and young girls, rose before all that numerous audience, and said like this:
By faith in the atoning blood of my Saviour, I am saved from all sin, and live now with the Spirit witnessing to my spirit that I am clean."
Or, in these words: “At [a given time] I reckoned myself to be dead unto sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Praise to the grace which saves.”
Israel said to himself: “This may all be true, but how can I reconcile it with the scriptural command, "in lowliness of mind let each esteem the other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Christ's own account of the Pharisee and the Publican also presented itself at that time.
After this kind of testimony, a short exhortation was given to all present who had the blessing of justification, to seek “just now” the blessing of sanctification. The seats around the altar were cleared while this verse was sung :
“Break off the yoke of inbred sin,
And fully set my spirit free;
Several short, earnest prayers to the present object were now offered, a few more words from the leader of the occasion spoken, and then it was urged that all who had now obtained the second blessing should rise, and in the fewest words, profess it.
A young girl was one of the first to testify that she was now saved from all sin. Others, in quick succession, followed, till some twenty persons had professed to the new possession.
These words, with other similar ones, were sung in a remarkably solemn manner :
“The world is overcome by the blood of the Lamb!
My sins are washed away in the blood of the Lamb!
“If it is really so," reflected Israel, “ that these persons have now overcome the world, the flesh and the devil, and have arrived at that heavenly state which was enjoyed by the martyrs and saints of all ages in their hours of death, this must be called the very gate of heaven.”
These scenes deeply impressed him. Afterwards, when he had entered the tent whither Cyprian Cutting invited him to tarry for that night, he could not but reflect earnestly upon this, to him, new doctrine. But the scenes which soon transpired around him, the night-worship- the getting ready to lie down upon the straw under a blanket, and with a carpet-bag for a pillow, while nothing but a canvas divided them from the women, who seemed to talk incessantly during their similar process, scarcely interrupted by the cries of infants drove away these reflections for the present. Every once in a few moments, for hours, Cyprian cried out in stentorian tones, “Glory to God ! O, I am on the mount!” Similar sounds were heard also from one of the adjoining tents; and in another, a meeting of the most arousing description was in progress all night.
It is contrary to the rules of the camp-meeting to have meetings in the tents, or other disturbances, after ten o'clock ; but on the later nights of the week, this rule, under extraordinary occasions, is sometimes suspended or ignored.
Israel found it impossible for him to shut his eyes in sleep; he therefore arose and went to the tent where the meeting was in progress. Here he perceived that two or three persons lay in the arms of others of their own sex, apparently in a stupor; one of them occasionally rallied sufficiently to shout. On inquiry, he was told that these had passed into that state which is called “ losing the strength.”
He ventured to ask a man who seemed inclined to talk with him, if there was any spiritual authority for this demonstration; and was referred to the example of Saul of Tarsus, who was on his way to Damascus; to the case of the prophet Daniel, who says when he saw the “great vision," "and there remained no strength in me;" and to John, in the Apocalypse, who saw the one in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, and “fell at his feet as dead.”
56 Were not those more extraordinary cases than it is possible for any of these to be?” asked Israel; 6 Those
persons saw Christ himself, or at least his