Is Holiness Invariably A Second Work Of Grace?
Any reader of this volume who has followed us thus far in our efforts to set forth the various phases of this great experience of entire sanctification will naturally conclude that we are firmly convinced that it is, indeed and invariably, a second work of grace. It is possible, consequently that such a person may not see the necessity of including this chapter in the book. However, despite the statements that precede this, and despite the clear intimations that we have endeavored to maintain from time to time, that this experience is a second, definite work of grace, it has seemed wise to us to insert here some of the arguments available, that will prove this to be the case. We do this all the more readily because of the hope that we have, that some of our young ministers may be able to use this in connection with the support of this holy truth. We trust to thus place in their hands an arsenal of weapons with which they may combat the enemy of holiness.
That the experience of entire sanctification is a second definite work of grace is proved by the fact that all denominations, without an exception, teach it thus. To be sure, many of them allege that this grace cannot be secured at all in this life, with which view we do not concur; but the fact that they do allow that one can be regenerated now in this life, and then alter that, although in another existence, be sanctified wholly, sustains our contention that this experience is a second work of grace. Its obtainment any time, anywhere subsequent to regeneration, proves our point.
That it is a second work of grace is proved by the fact that no minister in the world ever thinks of urging sinners to come forward, or to kneel down, or visit an inquiry room, or do anything else in order to obtain the experience of heart purity or holiness. Sinners, i. e., unregenerated people, are invariably urged to repent, induced to reform, begged to turn away from their sins and seek forgiveness therefor, but never to get sanctified wholly. If this experience were not a second work of grace, it would seem as though one would hear, now and then, an exhortation for sinners to seek it. But this never occurs. This proves that it is never to be possessed by sinners coming directly from their sinful state. It proves that a sinner must first be justified, and then later on he can be sanctified wholly.
That it is a second work of grace is proved by the fact that all of its advocates have so preached and proclaimed. Among its first preachers, in modern times, were John and Charles Wesley, the founders of the mighty revival called Wesleyanism. They clearly write that a person must first be justified and then sanctified. This appears over and over again in John Wesley’s diary. George Fox, the saintly founder of the Quaker movement, declared that after he was converted to God, he still felt something within his heart that would misbehave. He went the second time to Jesus, the Savior, and He cast the troublesome thing out, and then entered his heart, and remained there Himself. Richard Whatcoat, an early bishop of the Methodist Episcopal church; John Inskip, a flaming preacher of this grace, about the time of its later spread in the United States; Matthew Simpson, another bishop; McDonald, Gill, Pepper, the Palmers, husband and wife; Lowrey, Haney, Bishop Joyce, Bishop Roberts of the Free Methodist church; Phineas Bresee of the Church of the Nazarene; all of whom have passed on to their eternal reward, were flaming preachers of entire sanctification. Each. one held firmly and continuously that it is a second work of grace, and is obtainable in this life. There are also a host of others, almost too numerous to make mention of, who are still this side the grave, and who are pressing the battle for the cause of holiness as a second work. In fact this writer has never known of an outstanding minister who pressed the cause of entire sanctification, who was not a believer in it as a second work. It is obviously useless to say anything about it, if one gets it 41 at conversion; and equally useless if one is not to receive the sanctifying touch till the resurrection day. Hence all who urge the matter of heart cleansing, all who press people into an experience of the destruction of the moral corruption of the soul called carnality, are, all of them, advocates of the second work of grace. There are, we will admit, some distinguished ministers who claim that one can receive the baptism with the Holy Ghost in this life, as an occurrence subsequent to conversion, and that such a baptism imparts power for service; but even these do not claim that such a baptism eradicates the inherited depravity of inbred sin; indeed, they distinctly teach that it does not. Consequently all who teach anything about sanctification at all, as an experience, which eradicates the carnal nature, insist that it is always a second work of grace.
Again, that it is a second work of grace is proved by the clear teachings of the Scriptures. Conversion or regeneration is declared to be a “new birth” (John 3:3), or being “born from above,” making one a “new creature in Christ Jesus” (2 Cor. 5:17). Then later we are told that one who has been thus born from above, may receive the “baptism with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:4). It is very clear then that the baptism with the Holy Ghost is a second experience, because of the fact that only such as were already believers were eligible to it. Besides, the very typical names employed for these spiritual experiences carry the same implication. One is called a “birth,” while the other is called a “baptism.” It is very clear that if we are to allow the natural analogy to hold, one must be born before he can be baptized. A birth is, furthermore, never confused with a baptism, nor a baptism with a birth. Each is a separate and distinct experience in the physical life, and the baptism is invariably subsequent to the birth. When we examine into the experience of being baptized with the Holy Ghost, we find (Acts 15:8 and 9) that their hearts were purified. This allies the wonderful coming of the Holy Ghost in His Pentecostal anointing, with the cleansing of believers’ hearts, the very thing that is accomplished in entire sanctification. We frankly admit that the ones thus baptized also received power for service, just as some ministers contend, as is witnessed by the amazing activities and remarkable courage immediately after the coming of the Holy Ghost, but we also insist that His coming was for the purpose of cleansing, as well as empowerment, and the proof is manifest in that reference in Acts 15:8, 9.
That the baptism with the Holy Ghost and entire sanctification are one and the same, the one being the Agent, and the other being the result, and are a second work of grace, is further proven by considering the spiritual condition of the disciples before the Holy Ghost fell on them at Pentecost, and then by considering their spiritual condition after that enduement took place. We read in John’s gospel, the 17th chapter, where Jesus, just before He faced Calvary, was offering His high priestly prayer, in behalf of these same disciples: He says of them, “and they have kept thy word.” Strange language this for the Master to employ concerning these men, unless He knew they were regenerated at the time. Do we ever use such language of sinners? Do sinners ever keep God’s Word in such manner that any may employ that kind of language of them? Again He declares that they had received God’s Word, and had believed on Him, Jesus. Could unregenerated men do as much as that, and still remain unregenerated? Again He declares that He does not pray for the world, but for them whom God had given Him out of the world. “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” It is absurd to suppose that such language can be employed of any but regenerated people. He states of them, again, that “none of them is lost,” except the son of perdition, referring evidently to Judas Iscariot. And from this sentence alone it is clear that if none of them were lost, then they must be saved, or justified. Then our Lord climaxes His whole prayer for them, by a petition that they should be sanctified. Evidently, as well off as they were, according to Jesus’ own estimate, there was one thing they did not have, and that was sanctification. For them to possess this, He especially prayed. There is no place or time, except the wondrous hour of Pentecost, when they received the fullness of the Holy Ghost, that this prayer could be answered. But when we couple this prayer with His urgent command not to depart out of Jerusalem until they were baptized with the Holy Ghost, found mentioned in Acts 1:4 and 5, we gather at once, that it was Pentecost to which He looked for the fulfillment of His prayer for the disciples’ sanctification.
Study now, for a moment, the mighty change that the enduement at Pentecost wrought in them, and we have the very elements of the marvelous experience of entire sanctification, and also its Scriptural setting and occasion. After tarrying in one accord for several days, until the Holy Ghost came “purifying their hearts by faith,” as recorded in Acts 15:8 and 9, we see some common men and women, who a few days before were cowering in deadly fear of the authorities who had but recently crucified their Master, sallying forth with a courage that amazes us and preaching with persuasive tongues that hearers were unable to resist; and with a burning zeal that knew no bounds and feared no results, and with hearts of flaming love, but with tender forgiveness, they proclaimed the gospel into the very teeth of the men who had slain their great leader, and carried away with them as disciples some of the very followers of the authorities before whom they had but recently trembled with a great dread. More than that, this enduement enabled them to suffer persecution, even (with some of them) unto death. It lifted them above all sordid sin-taint, made them generous where before they had been self-seeking, bold where they had been timorous, large-hearted where erstwhile they had been leaning toward vengefulness, self-sacrificing, humble, obedient, otherworldly, in short, as near like their divine Master as redeemed souls could well be. Forth they went counting not their goods their own, nor esteeming their lives of any great value, if by suffering and death they could glorify God, or advance the kingdom of their crucified Master, Jesus Christ. Here we have the very marks of entire sanctification. It is conferred upon men whom their Lord had pronounced as having been given Him out of the world, keepers of His Word, none of whom were lost, believers in Him, and possessors at least of a degree of His joy. This proves that entire sanctification and the Baptism with the Holy Ghost are one and the same experience, and that this experience is a second work of grace, conferred upon wholly consecrated men and women who have previously been freely forgiven and graciously regenerated.
Again, that it is a second work of grace is shown by the two gifts that are made to mankind. One is made by God, and is given to sinful men. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Notice here that God gives His Son. He gives Him to the world. The gift is for the salvation of the world, if it will believe. Here is the other gift. “Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it . . . that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25, 26, 27). Here Christ gives Himself. Gives Himself for the church. Gives Himself that the church should be holy. Here are two distinct gifts. One is given by God to the world for salvation. The other given by Christ to the church for sanctification. At a glance it is seen that these two gifts, while they are the same Being, are given to two different companies, one the world, with all its sin, misery and wrong, in order to win it to salvation. The other to the church, now already converted, regenerated, justified, or otherwise, it could not be the church, in order to lead it on to holy cleansing. These are two different companies, and two different experiences. The world, if it will believe, is to receive the first experience, and become saved. The church is to receive the second, and it is to result in entire sanctification. This proves that the latter is, then, a second work of grace.
Again, the words of John the Baptist show that this is a second work of grace. John preached in these words: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance ; but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matt. 3:11, 12). John preached “repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4). That is, his errand and message was one of conversion, or regeneration. No other interpretation can be placed on the expression remission of sins.” That is as strong a statement as can be employed for regeneration, and the words of St. Paul in Acts 19, where he chanced upon some of John’s converts, indicate that people obtaining the experience that John the Baptist taught, were eligible at once to the second work of grace, or the baptism with the Holy Ghost. Evidently then, John’s converts were justified and regenerated people. But he declares that Jesus was coming, and that when He came He would announce another experience; known as the baptism with the Holy Ghost, or the baptism with fire. Then he goes on to explain what this second one would accomplish in the hearts of the people who had already experienced what he, John, was proclaiming. He states that “he will throughly purge his floor” (Matt. 3:12). Examine a moment, that word purge; it is one of the most drastic words for cleanse. It suggests the intensified application of some cleansing agency, and fits, in a remarkable manner, the very contentions that have been maintained by the advocates of the work of grace known as holiness, which results in a pure heart, and holy affections(. Then notice that He calls it “his floor,” indicating that it already belongs to Him, by virtue of the first experience, viz., “remission of sins,” symbolized by their baptism with water, which they were receiving at the hands of John. “And gather his wheat into the garner.” Let this expression of ownership sink into your thinking — “his wheat!” “Into the garner,” — that is, into the “secret place of the most High,” the center of His will, “the holy of holies,” where we are “hid with Christ in God,” and filled with perfect love.
“But he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Where can one find a better figure for the cleansing of the moral pollution out of the heart by a “baptism of fire,” than in this pregnant sentence? Carnality is here termed “chaff,” useless if the wheat is to be made into bread. The “fire,” is to be the very thing that John’s great successor is to bring. He further declares that it is to be “unquenchable.” Nothing (except the believer’s own desire in the case) can ever extinguish it, for is it not the holy “fire” of perfect love? It shall burn forever! It shall burn till no “chaff” remains. It shall be the eternal-life-fire that shall make of believers “burning, as well as shining lights.” Carry all this over in your thinking now, to the wondrous Pentecostal occasion, and there we have the baptism of fire! There we see the evident “chaff” of carnality burned away. There we find the “unquenchable fire” of perfect love carrying the apostles on and on to victory after victory, until they finally spread the fiery contagion of full salvation into the lands beyond the sea. Down through the “dark ages” it goes, now almost dying out, and then again flaming, like the creeping forest fires. Advancing, receding, flaming up, dying down, it is the very heart of Christianity. Where it is found, there the church prospers, and souls find God; where it is lost, darkness resumes its baleful sway, and decay chills the heart of God’s sacred cause. It flames up again during Martin Luther’s reformation; brightens into a conflagration under Fox, the great “Friend;” spreads like a prairie fire under the Wesleys; rolls with the “spirit of burning,” through colonial America; dies down while brother slays brother during the dark days of civil war; breaks out again in the seventies, under Inskip, McDonald, Simpson, Cookman, and others; is caught up by the modern “holiness movement,” and scattered broadcast; is organized into holiness churches; and is now in the hands of the present generation, to be planted, if we will, in every city, country place, and foreign land. Its forked tongues of flame are waving, in our day, to the breeze! Shall we catch up this burning torch of holiness and carry it to the next relay of unborn generations? God grant that we may, with its flame still higher flung than our fathers have ever seen it.
Holiness is a second work of grace, because of the testimonies of those who have experienced it. Below we give a select few of the tens of thousands of testimonies that could be published. Every one of these was a gracious Christian before finding the burning experience that he here records. No sinner has ever been heard to testify thus. This will prove that the grace of entire sanctification is one that is never conferred upon sinners, until after they have been forgiven, regenerated, and adopted into God’s family called the Church:
“I have continually testified (for these five-and-twenty years) in private and public, that we are sanctified as well as justified by faith. And, indeed, the one of those great truths does exceedingly illustrate the other. Exactly as we are justified by faith, so are we sanctified by faith.” — John Wesley, Methodist.
“I knew Jesus and He was very precious unto me. But I found something in me that would not always be gentle, kind and loving. I did what I could to keep it down, but it was there. I besought the Lord to do something for me, and He took it out and shut the door.” — George Fox, Quaker.
“I will confess to all the world; and I declare unto you, in the presence of God, the holy Trinity, I am now ‘dead indeed unto sin.’ I do not say, ‘I am crucified with Christ,’ because some of our well-meaning brethren say, ‘By this can only be meant a gradual dying;’ but I profess unto You, I am dead unto sin, and alive unto God.” — John Fletcher, Episcopalian.
“I was distinctly conscious when I reached it. . . . I was then redeemed by a mighty power and filled with the blessing of perfect love.” — Thomas C. Upham, Congregationalist.
“I am ready to testify to the world that the Lord has blessed my soul beyond my highest expectations. People may call this blessing by what name they please: ‘faith of assurance,’ ‘holiness,’ ‘perfect love,’ ‘sanctification.’ It makes no difference with me whether they give it a name or no name; it contains a blessed reality, and, thanks to my heavenly Father, it is my privilege to enjoy it.” — James B. Taylor, Presbyterian.
“The evidence in my case was as clear and indubitable as the witness of sonship received at the time of my adoption into the family of heaven. Oh, it was glorious, divinely glorious! I could not doubt it. Need I say that the experience of sanctification inaugurated a new epoch in my religious life? Oh, what blessed rest in Jesus! What an abiding experience of purity through the blood of the Lamb! ” — Alfred Cookman, Methodist Episcopal.
“The last year (1873) has been an eventful one to me.
It includes a day memorable among all other days of my ministry, Thursday, July 31st, when God most graciously and sweetly cleansed me from all unrighteousness, and baptized me with the Holy Ghost as never before. Francis Hodgson, American theologian.
These testimonies have been selected as much for their representative character, as for their faithfulness to holiness, as a second work of grace. Here we have several denominations represented; also flaming youth and mature years. These are but a few of the thousands out of which we might choose. Each one is a commentary on the truth of the contention of this chapter, that entire sanctification is a second work of grace.
Let us exhort anyone who may chance to read these lines, that if you are now a stranger to the “baptism of fire,” but are enjoying the grace of justification, that you seek at once for this sanctifying experience of perfect love. That you at once lay all other considerations aside, and devote your time, thought, prayer and effort to the possession of this marvelous grace. Doubtless this is the experience that fell upon the disciples at Pentecost. This is what God bestowed upon the converted Samaritans when Peter and John laid their hands on them, after the gracious revival under Philip was over. This is what cleansed the hearts of the Roman centurion and his converted household. This is what Paul bestowed, by the imposition of his hands, upon the sixteen believers at Ephesus. This is what fired the hearts of the Christians in the first century and made them, despite the fact that they were without a church building, without a hymn book, without a printed page, without a missionary society, without a settled pastorate, without a district or a diocese, and in the face of sternest persecution, antagonistic religions hoary with age, and a population that alternately offered to worship or to slay them, able to conquer their enemies’ prejudices, convict their hearts, win their approval and conversion, and a devotion as splendid as that displayed by the early apostles themselves, and finally to capture the governments of the nations. Friend, if you have failed to secure this burning baptism, you have missed the kernel of the Christian faith. You have missed the mightiest stride back toward the recovery of the estate that was lost in Eden, that can be taken in this life. Possibly, and very probably, the recovery that shall be accorded the race when it reaches the “more excellent glory,” will be greater than that imparted upon complete consecration and faith, to the humble believer here in this life, and known as entire sanctification, but it can never be more important.
Possibly, reader, you are a minister. Then allow us to entreat of you to obtain at once this experience, unless it is already yours. No minister can endure the taxing demands of the pastorate, the leadership of a church composed of a group of people of variegated characteristics, the conduct of spiritual things, the winning of men from sin and unrighteousness and their advancement into that “holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14), be a proper guide to the living, and a solace of the dying, an example for the youth, a sage adviser for the mature or aged, and bring fire and enthusiasm from the skies, unless he has been sanctified wholly-baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire.
Fellow minister, contend for this holy truth. It is the very core of the gospel that was given for the purpose of restoring a lost and ruined race to the holiness that was forfeited in the garden of Eden.