This book is intended to help every reader of its pages into the immediate enjoyment of Bible holiness. Its writer is an officer of The Salvation Army who, having a gracious experience of the things whereof he writes, has been signally used of God, both in life and testimony, to the sanctifying of the Lord’s people, as well as in the salvation of sinners. I commend him and what he has here written down to every lover of God and His kingdom on the earth. I joyfully add that the perusal of some of the papers which follow has been abundantly blessed to my own heart, and that I have no doubt but that the Holy Spirit has instructed and influenced the writer.
In no department of its teaching has The Salvation Army suffered more reproach than in this — of “Holiness unto the Lord.” Indeed, its teaching, as distinct from its methods, has, apart from this, been largely welcomed by every section of the professing Church. It is one of the strange contradictions of modern Christianity that every church seems to hold so lightly the importance of its own creed that it extends the right hand of benediction to every other; and thus there is a tacit understanding nowadays that it does not much matter what you believe, so long as you profess to believe something. Thank God! we have been in great measure preserved from this false charity, and from the chaotic indefiniteness and confusion which inevitably flow from it; and our witness to entire sanctification has done much to preserve us, for it has aroused opposition, not merely from the intellectual apologists for existing systems, but from the thousands whose half-hearted service and unwilling consecration it has condemned.
Because, the holiness that we contend for is a fighting holiness, a suffering holiness, a soul-saving holiness; in short, Jesus Christ’s holiness. Any mere “enjoyment of religion,” or “waiting on God,” or “fullness of blessing,” which has not immediately and indissolubly joined with it, in every expression of it, the most unselfish and aggressive passion for the instant rescue of sinners from their sins, is, in our judgment, a mere caricature of the higher life of complete union with Christ, which the word of God declares to be the highest life of all.
And this fact makes it impossible for us to issue even a book like this without a word of caution to every reader. There are, alas! multitudes of good people who delight to read and to hear anything about holiness, who frequent holiness meetings and higher life conventions, and yet, in the course of years, appear — whatever professions their lips may make — unable to see the need of separation from the world in so small a matter as the putting away of the worldly dress of the soberly-elegant, the ease-loving habits learnt in the wealthy home, or the worldly associations of their family and their circle.
For your soul’s sake, do not read this, or any other holiness book, if you are not willing to hear in it the voice of God telling you what to leave and what to do for Him. And when you have read, go at once and, without consulting anybody, obey. God help you!
W. Bramwell Booth
London, E. C.
February 7, 1896