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The War Cry, No. 103.-DEC. 8, 1881
SUGGESTIONS TO OPPOSERS.
By W. BRAMWELL BOOTH.
THERE are some things worth remembering in considering the opposition always offered with more or less violence to faithful and definite teaching and testimony on Holiness. Especially are they worth remembering by the opposers themselves, and to them I commend the following simple suggestions as worthy of some thought, with the assurance of my love in the Lord to all who may read these lines :
1. Well then, to begin with, it is no proof against the doctrine of Perfect Love, it is no strengthening of any case which is made out against it, it is no help in the search for what is true concerning it, to call it bad names. It is at least a cowardly, and insincere, and hypocritical opposition to this teaching to misrepresent what is put forward as an authentic statement of doctrine, or a correct standard of experience. There is absolutely nothing gained to the cause of truth in the earth by calling hard names, and abusing what is found difficult to refute. When we are accused of teaching “Sinless Perfection," we remember quite well, that, over and over again, this charge has been denied, nor can there be any proof given in support of it, from either the writings or teachings of any who have enjoyed the experience of a clean heart, or taught its attainability. We do not claim it. To say we do is to make a pretence, which we know full well is a pretence, and those who make it must know it too.
2. It is not wise to repeatedly assert as fact, that which all those who in every age, and of every church, have received this gift of purity, are agreed in declaring to be contrary to their experience. We do not claim any ground of boasting before God. We do not set ourselves up as being anything in ourselves, rather are we awake now as never before to our own emptiness, and nothingness; to our own utter unworthiness. But on the other hand, the soul that has received the Sanctifier in truth, can, does, must boast in HIM, must magnify His saving grace, and speak out and say, that once a bondman, slave, he is now come into the promised land, and dwells there, and eating of the fruits while walking in the liberty thereof, doth no longer want, and doth no longer doubt, doth no longer fear, doth no longer seek his own, doth no longer continue in sin, doth find ALL-CONQUERING, CLEANSING, KEEPING, GRACE abound continually, abundantly, EXCEEDING ABUNDANTLY, above all he can ask or think. Surely this boasting IN THE LORD, doth glorify Him, and Him alone. Doth sanctify His name among the heathen. The humble shall hear of this and be glad.
3. The heart which has renounced the world, the flesh, and the devil, and which has, by divine grace, renounced its own, henceforth, to seek the things that are Jesus Christ's, is found with all its powers, ranged on the side of right and truth, on God's side. Full of Divine love, it loves what God loves, wholly, and hates what God hates, wholly. Hence, to maintain the experience of entire harmony with God's will, it is an absolute necessity, and never-failing condition that we rebuke sin, and expose and denounce error wherever we find it. It must be. God cannot be divided against Himself. God will have us declare openly, in spite of a universe in rebellion against Him, to be against rebellion. To say so, to make men's lives a misery to them because they sin. It will appear, to them and others, uncharitable; it will appear as though we had no sympathy with all that is good or godly in them. It will create misunderstanding, mistrust. divisions, and separations. It will cost us a great deal, as it did Moses, and Jeremiah, and Daniel, and Jesus Christ, but it must be. He who walks in the light as HE is in the light, and has fellowship with Him can have no fellowship with darkness, or the fruits thereof, can only have hatred and loathing for it, can only have rebuke or warning, in love, for those who love it, because their deeds, or some of their deeds, are evil.
To the wholly sanctified child of God, there is needed a daily baptism of love, to do this work, and to do it well. A daily mellowing down into tenderness and compassion, that the unflinching thrust of the Spirit's sword may be done without hurt to the thruster, and with quickly following balm to the wounded soul. But it must be done.
4.-It is an easy thing to announce that those who teach Salvation from sin “ lower the standard," that their witness to the presence and power of Jesus, as a Saviour of His people from their sins, is rendered of no value because of “wrong ideas of sin,” and “low ideas of God's requirements.” But what are God's requirements : what does the moral law demand of us all, and what does God's Gospel of Grace propose to enable us to be and to do in regard to it? That we LOVE. That “love out of a pure heart" be the motive power, the main spring, the guiding end of all our life, and all our desires, and all our deeds. That we love THE LORD OUR GOD with all our heart, and mind, and soul, and strength, and our NEIGHBOUR as ourselves. This is the standard. Nothing less, nothing more than this.
Ah, it is not we who have lowered it, but rather those whose words so plainly suggest that God will not regard in wrath those of His own who fail to fully obey His Word, that He will wink at their shortcomings, and count them without condemnation, because they have a standing in Christ Jesus; though, sometimes, they do walk after the flesh, and, sometimes, do fulfil the lusts thereof. This, indeed, is lowering both the standard and the Saviour; is making Christ the minister of the sin which He came to destroy, and degrading in the presence of a mocking world the eternal purpose of the True One, that where sin abounded, grace should much more abound.
No, no! we will keep the standard up. A life of love. A life of liberty. A life of victory. Of purity. peace, and power. This God requires, and requiring this, offers you grace to raise you to it, Remember that. Anxiety about the demands of God's law should not make you forget or underestimate the abounding provisions of God's grace, leaping to meet you at every point of weakness, and failure, and nothingness. Remember His riches as well as your need.