A Sanctified Soul
In the previous chapter we learned that the spirit is the higher part — the region of the conscience and of the will. The soul is the seat of the affections, understanding, emotions and tastes. We are told by the best scholars that the word “soul,” translated in the Old Testament nephesh, is the exact equivalent of the New Testament word (Greek) psyche, for soul. The soul, with its emotions, sensibilities and affections is a little world within itself. It is like the ocean, with its storms and calms. Men have sailed its bosom, dived into its depths, walked up and down its shores, and still there are depths which are hidden and unknown.
We wish to notice the blessing of Sanctification as it is related to our threefold nature. Take the affections. While they are not sinful within themselves, they are in a fallen state and often prove an easy channel for sin. They are no more a safe guide than is an unenlightened conscience a correct guide. They should be brought under control of the sanctified judgment. The affections are like the tendrils of the vine whose nature it is to cling to some object. Often a beautiful vine is seen clinging to a rotten tree that is almost in the act of falling, or to some tottering wall. How often have we seen a beautiful life ruined by allowing its affections to cling to some human idol or to some forbidden object. The nature of a vine is to climb upward. So the Holy Ghost in conversion gently unwinds our affections from the low, earthly things and entwines them around things above. In Sanctification, they are purified, refined, enlarged and sweetened until even our love for friends is deeper, purer and holier.
The Bible speaks of an inordinate affection which we are to mortify and put to death, along with uncleanness and fleshly lust. In Gal. 5:24 we read: “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” There is a kind of earthly, sensual love which God says must be crucified if we live in the Spirit. Some of the darkest crimes of the ages began in the channel of unsanctified affections. Samson could strangle young lions, pick up gates of brass, slay whole armies, but he went down with a crash through unsanctified affection. There are thousands of shorn Samsons today who have had their spiritual locks clipped and have been robbed of their power by following their inordinate affection. No one is safe with an unsanctified nature. Oh, for hearts to be saved to the core!
The soul embraces the understanding, which has several departments, involving thought, reason, judgment. Then, there is the storehouse of memory and the faculty of the imagination, or image-room. When we pause to think how our future life is molded by our thoughts, and how the mind controls the body, and how the imagination, like an artist with brush in hand, is constantly painting pictures, how very essential it is to have all the powers and faculties brought under subjection and control of the Holy Ghost!
It is a psychological fact that to follow in any one line of thought produces little brain-paths, making it easy to continue in that channel of thinking, and thus is formed a fixed thought habit. It can readily be seen, then, the importance of refusing to entertain impure thoughts. Evil thoughts are like seeds blown by the wind. If allowed to remain, and if kept warm by our consent, they will produce a harvest of sin. Let us remember that chilled eggs never hatch. We can chill impure suggestions by refusing to harbor them.
In considering the storehouse of memory, it is the mission of the Comforter to bring all things to our remembrance concerning spiritual things. It is wonderful how the mind, under the illumination of the Holy Ghost, becomes quickened, grasping the deep things of God and of spiritual truths with a vigor that would be impossible without this heavenly illumination. When precious truths are stored away in the subconscious mind, it is like depositing money in the bank to be drawn out for future use. Memory will bring them to consciousness when the need for them is realized. One of the blessed consolations of old age is that of a sanctified memory, recalling, as it does, a life well spent for God and for souls.
Another department of the mind is the imagination or image-room, where all kinds of pictures are painted. These are hung on the walls of the soul. The imagination is that power that can create a world of its own fancy. It can cross oceans or bring the distant near. The devil can take advantage of this faculty and use it to the destruction of the individual. This is what the Apostle meant by “casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” — 2 Cor.10:5.
A celebrated writer describes a certain island which is every day thronged by thought-visitors. A young girl comes and spends hours here, but on her return she would not for worlds permit her mother to know of that visit. Then comes a married man who also spends hours under those beautiful shade trees. His faithful wife is all unconscious of these hours he has spent away from her in this deadly place. The writer calls this place the “Island of Imagination.” How true that, without even leaving the room; trips may be taken where the vilest of earth are mingled with, the nearest of ties be sinned against, and the walls of the soul indelibly blackened and scarred. Here is where sin is conceived and has its birth. Oh, how we need to crush, as we would a viper, every unholy imagination! The Holy Spirit does not destroy this wonderful faculty in Sanctification; He only purifies it, until thought pictures can be painted of Jesus, Heaven, the Second Coming and heavenly things.
Next in order are the emotions of the soul. Psychologists have classified them forty-two in number, but only two shall be here considered. These are the pure and impure — the holy and unholy. All pure emotions, such as love, joy, peace, kindness, gentleness, are constructive and real health-builders. Consider the power of love. It can transform any condition of life and make the heart that once was a nest of vipers blossom like an Eden. Love drives from the soul all hatred, malice, envy, strife and bitterness, at the same time starting emotions to working and flowing until every part of the mental and physical being is affected. Love puts a kindly tone in the voice, and a tenderness in the eye that changes the expression of the entire face. There is nothing more beautifying than pure, radiant joy.
Joy is the best stimulant and tonic that has been found for soul and body. It drives away blues and doubts and fears, and arouses all the faculties of the soul, putting it at its best for God and for humanity.
Peace quiets the nerves, takes the tired, careworn look from the face, and leaves in its stead the soft, lovelight from the hills of Glory.
Kindness has a reaction on the heart. It is impossible to do a kind act without being repaid in a sweetness that is beyond expression. While this is true, it is also true that hatred, malice, jealousy and envy have a deadening effect on all the faculties of soul and body.
Anger is like a furnace of fire. It quickens the circulation and produces heart trouble. Continued anger weakens the body equal to an attack of fever. It also poisons the blood and undermines the health. Another destructive force is malice. It has been said that malice is “anger cooled off.” It dries up all of the finer sensibilities of the soul and puts a hard expression on the face; it drives kindness and tenderness from the heart; it eventually seriously injures the digestive organs.
The great blessing of Entire Sanctification affects every emotion of soul and body.
Again, belonging to the soul is another faculty of no small import. This is the faculty of taste. It is really surprising how much of life is governed by this power. Just as the taste of the mouth decides the kind of food to be taken into the system, so the inner taste of the soul decides the character of pabulum that is to be taken into the moral and spiritual life.
There are those who have a musical taste which, unless sanctified and dedicated to God, will prove a snare instead of a blessing. A leading evangelist tells of a beautiful, talented young girl who had an old-fashioned, sanctified mother. But this girl refused to take the narrow way, choosing rather to enjoy the cheap fame of a moving-picture star than to consecrate her gifts to the lowly Nazarene. Her brilliant musical powers brought her renown from ocean to ocean. While in the height of her glory, only a short time ago, she was found in her room in a hotel, murdered in a manner too horrible to relate, robbed of her jewels, her purity, her life, and her soul sent to hell. Her perverted taste had proved her doom. Much of the so-called “fine arts” is nothing more nor less than refined lust. A sanctified taste has no secret longings for the tawdry things of life, for worldly dress, for chaffy literature, for gay society nor worldly amusements. But the heart ever sings:
“Hallelujah! I have found Him
Whom my soul so long has craved;
Jesus satisfies my longings,
Through His blood I now am saved.”