Perpetuation Of Entire Consecration
“O God, I am glad Thou couldst trust me enough to take me at my word. I did not know that this was included in my consecration, but I am so glad Thou couldst trust me to endure it all” [i. e. imprisonment for loyalty to sanctification.] — Madame Guyon
“Yield yourselves to God.” — Paul.
These four simple words from Paul express the essence of consecration, whether in order to the obtainment, or maintainment and progression in the sanctified life. They contain depths little dreamed of when consecrating for holiness. The seeker is told to consecrate “all he knows” and “all he does not know” and he does so as far as he has light. The future will reveal what he did not know far exceeds what he knew at the time of his entire consecration. It is well God has ordained that the sincere and willing mind is acceptable to Him in this; else, many, on seeing what the future involved would draw back. As we are able to bear light is God’s gracious method of dealing with us. Had the writer seen, when seeking to be sanctified wholly, what has since developed — the surrender of comfortable position, separation from loved ones, friends, and, ultimately, wife and family, he fears with the grace he then had, the revelation would have proved too much.
We fear some advocates of holiness are too exacting at this point — not that everything essential should not be surrendered, but when it comes to the worker supposing tests for the seeker as, “What if God called to Africa? or if He required this, that, or the other, would you do it?” And all manner of “ifs” which bewilder the perplexed soul and are not relevant. This is to assume prerogatives which belong to the Spirit who guides into all truth as we are able to bear it. Too much light blinds and bewilders. We should never burden the soul seeking holiness with conditions which belong to after development. Because God leads an individual into sanctification a certain way is no evidence He will lead all that same way. One, having light may have to come out of his lodge, in order to receive sanctification; another is as truly sanctified, but does not have to yield this until later when God calls his attention to the incompatibility of such alliances with a profession of holiness. So it is in perpetuating the once for all consecration made in order to the obtainment of sanctification. All are not led through the same route. Well did a lady express it in our hearing, “When I was sanctified I did not know what consecration meant” (i.e. the perpetuation of entire consecration) .
The complete once for all consecration, which included willingness to walk in all subsequent light, brought the soul into a state where all the blinds of the soul’s windows were thrown wide open — to the place where the full light of God’s will shines in undimmed. Now, the soul, to retain God’s favor, and progress, must walk in the light God reveals subsequently and continuously. “Whatever He saith” must now be done. The condition laid down by John, “If we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin,” in order to obtaining, does not cease when perfect love is experienced. There will now commence revelations of things in the past life which need adjustment; and things to which we must die daily. Refusal to yield to God in these past and present requirements is the source of condemnation to many professors of sanctification. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus is only a half truth; its complement is overlooked, “Who walk after the Spirit.” As many as are led by the Spirit they are the sons of God.
This is the condemnation that light is come (i.e. the revelation of God’s will) and men loved darkness (their own wills), rather than light. The spirit of yieldedness to these God given requirements, of obedience to particular revelations of His will subsequent to sanctification leads the soul into a “larger place” and ever increasing manifestations of His love and favor.
Thomas C. Upham writing on the perpetuation of consecration after perfect love said:
“It is a universal law, unalterable as God, and lasting as eternity, that no created being can be truly holy, useful or happy, who is knowingly and deliberately out of the line of Divine co-operation even for a moment. Accordingly we are to consider every movement as consecrated to God. It is true that, in order to the full and assured life of God in the soul, there must be the general act of consecration, which is understood to relate to man’s whole nature, and to cover the whole ground of time and eternity. And we may say further, that it is proper to recall distinctly to the mind, and to repeat at suitable times, the general act of consecration; but it does not appear to be necessary, in the strict sense of the term, or in any other sense than that of repeating it, to renew it, unless it has been, at some period, really withdrawn. But while the general act remains good and diffuses its consecrative influence over the whole course of our being, as the events or occasions of such particular consecrations may successively arise; and in the remark, as we now wish it to be understood, we do not mean those events which, while they are distinct, are peculiarly marked and important; but all events of whatever character! In other words, although we may have consecrated ourselves to God in a general way, and by a universal act of consecration, in all respects, and for all time, we must still consecrate ourselves to Him in each separate duty and trial which His providence imposes, and moment by moment. The present moment, therefore, is, in a special sense, the important moment — the Divine moment — the moment which we cannot safely pass without having the Divine blessing upon it.”
Bishop Foster, author of Christian Purity gives a paragraph on “consecutive, or rather perpetual consecration” which is to the point:
“This, to some, may seem to be included in the resolute resistance of every approach of sin. However this may be, it does not do away with the need of the remark we wish to make under this head. Entire consecration, as a means to the attainment of sanctification, has been explained in another connection; what we wish now to say is that it is a means and an indispensable one, of its preservation. It is so vital that the state cannot exist a, moment in its absence. Hence, let it be remembered that the consecration which precedes this state is likewise to continue in the same degree after it is gained, for its perpetuation. It is a constant, uninterrupted, and undying consecration, a point carried on into an endless line.”
Psychologists tell us of the sub-conscious field — i.e. that we know, or have stored away in that field, thousands of facts which we do not know that we know — i.e. they are not always present in consciousness, but remain hidden away in the sub-conscious field waiting for some circumstance to call forth said facts into consciousness. And it takes some special event to call said facts forth. This is illustrated by that familiar expression ‘That (what you say) calls to my mind something which happened years ago.” It requires frequently, circumstances, events, or some word in conversation, in sermon, prayer, or testimony, to jostle some of the knowledge, stored away in memory, into consciousness; and if not called forth thus, must ever remain in oblivion. No man can possibly know when consecrating himself to God what subsequent revelations and requirements will be imposed on him. This fact makes our consecration blameless and acceptable to God when in reality there may be many wrong things in the past life unadjusted, yet not present in consciousness, when consecration is made. There were unknown things which required restitution when the writer was sanctified, which subsequent circumstances have brought to his mind and as fast as memory, aided by such circumstances and unaided too, by its own strength and power, has been able to recall trespasses committed in youth they have been adjusted. Demurring, when light comes here, brings condemnation. There may be yet in the sub-conscious field things which subsequent events will bring to light which will need adjustment; but for the present lie is blameless, “The willing mind is acceptable to God according to that a man hath;” whether it be ability to do, or whether light is needed concerning what to do. Evan Roberts taught the people in Wales, “Every known wrong to our fellowmen must be made right.” God does not condemn for the “unknown.”
A brother who professed holiness, had failed in business (previous to his sanctification), and by transferring his property to his wife’s name saved his home and . other property. The law excused his debts; they were out of date. Subsequently it was revealed to him by a higher law, though the law of the land excused him, his conscience was not “void of offense towards God and man;” that an honest debt is never out of date with an honest man, law or no law; and that to retain the experience of holiness he must promise his creditors as fast as God enabled him to repay every dollar. Thus after sanctification the Spirit explores our past life, bores down, and brings to light the hidden things for adjustment; He also brings us face to face with things which require perpetual devotement to God. Here the principle of obedience to God in unknown things, consented to when consecrating for entire sanctification, is tested in the minute details of life. It is at this point many who have been truly and gloriously sanctified have failed. They were willing to say “yes” in order to receiving the joyous experience of sanctification, but have said “no” as God has shown them the cost of the perpetuation of that consecration.
Shall we turn back? To what? “If any man draw back my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” It is of little avail to start out well and stop. “He that endureth to the end shall be saved.” “No man having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
I have made my choice forever,
I will walk with Christ my Lord;
Naught from Him my soul can sever,
While I’m trusting in His Word;
I the lonely way have taken,
Rough and toilsome tho’ it be,
And although despised, forsaken,
“Jesus, I’ll go through with thee.”
Tho’ the garden lies before me,
And the scornful judgment hall,
Tho’ the gloom of deepest midnight,
Settles round me like a pall;
Darkness can affright me never,
From thy presence shadows flee,
And if thou wilt guide me ever,
“Jesus, I’ll go through with thee.”
Tho’ the earth may rock and tremble,
Tho’ the sun may hide its face,
Tho’ my foes be strong and ruthless,
Still I dare to trust thy grace;
Tho’ the cross my path o’ershadow,
Thou didst bear it once for me,
And whate’er the pain or peril,
“Jesus, I’ll go thro’ with thee.”