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The fire burns low, and often seems ready to expire. It takes you almost all your time to keep yourself saved. Well, you want a higher up religion. You need to be holy, because holiness means strength, and faithfulness, and power. It removes doubts by bringing in assurance of personal salvation, and doubts, you know, mean always weakness; and it also removes all the hindrances to perpetual indwelling of Jehovah. As sin goes out, God comes in ; and with Christ fully dwelling in the vessel, in the temple, in the body, you will be fully equipped and qualified for every good work. Holiness means usefulness. Come, then, let us pursue this interesting and important inquiry. How far can God save from sin here? And we are sure our readers will agree with us—at least, we hope they will—when we say that this question can only be satisfactorily answered by hearing what the Lord says on the subject; and, having listened to the Scriptures, you may then with propriety and advantage listen to the testimony of those who boldly profess to have an experience on the subject.
What says the Word of the Lord ? What people say—whether they be learned or unlearned, official or unofficial, or anything else—if they speak not in harmony with the direct and plain teaching of the Word of God, they speak not the truth on this subject, whatever they may do on any other. And as the opinions of other men are not our standard, neither are their lives. If A and B say I cannot be saved from sinning,-if they say I must go on in unbelief, and unfaithfulness, and evil tempers, unto the end of my earthly days; if they say I cannot love God with all iny heart, and be loyal •with simple obedience to my heavenly King, I ask A and B for their authority; and if they confess that, after some two or three disjointed, misapprehended texts of Scripture, they rely upon the fact that this unholy, inconsistent, spirit-grieving life is the common confessed experience of the bulk of Christians, and therefore nothing better is possible to me,-I reject their authority. I won't accept the backsliding experience of any number of people as the standard of religious attainment for me. It is not what men are, but what God wants them to be; not what they actually possess and enjoy of purity, and peace, and power, but what Christ, the blessed Christ, with his agony and blood bought for them ; what the Father freely offers, and what the pleading, long-suffering Holy Spirit waits to bestow. If I live at Ephesus, am I to conclude that it is impossible for me to keep my first love with its self-consuming, soul-saving power ? or if my lot is cast in Laodicea, am I to teach that it is the right and acceptable thing before God and men not to be enthusiastic, not to be eaten up with the zeal of God's house, not to be burning hot; but to be miserably, contemptibly lukewarm in His service ?
Oh, my brethren, my comrades in The Salvation Army, to you I write, Beware of this measuring yourselves with yourselves. It is not wise. Endless loss, and sorrow, and backsliding have been caused by it,-contenting ourselves with being as good as other people. And yet many will do it, no matter how warned or cautioned they may be; and therefore let us hurry up to the high levels of attainment, so that instead of dragging men down to Ephesus and Laodicea we may lift them up to Mount Beulah, and draw them on to that blessed highway, the highway of holiness.
The War Cry, No. 23.—MAY 29, 1880.
A HIGHER UP RELIGION.
BY THE GENERAL.
THE DESTRUCTIBILITY OF SIN. WE return to our theme. Our war is with sin. Here we are sure we are one in plan and purpose with Jehovah. About this we have no hesitation. Sin is the great evil He wants utterly to destroy. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested that He might destroy the works of the Devil. The plan is revealed in The Book_“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and TO CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS."
What is sin ? Sin is the transgression of the law, and all unrighteousness (all unrightness) is sin. Where is sin? It has a lodging-place, unfortunately, in this otherwise beautiful and happy world. But where does it abide here? Not in the material part of it. Not in the mountains and oceans and plains and rivers; they are sinless. Not in the animal world. The birds and beasts have no condemnation: they never transgressed the law of their Maker. Sin has its abode in the heart of man. Out of the heart of man-the favourite of heaven-alas! proceedeth all evil things. Here is the source and dwelling-place of the traitor. This is the citadel possessed by the enemy, and against this stronghold God levels his guns. From hence the foe must be dislodged. But is this possible ? Can he be got out of this centre, so that when Satan cometh he shall find nothing of his own nothing there in harmony with his black rebellious nature? Hallelujah! We believe it can be done. All things are possible with God, and all things are possible to him that believeth. Let us see.
Now let it be known, as it already will have been, we suppose, by those who have read the former papers of this series, that we are writing for simple uneducated people-people not only untaught in theological and biblical schools, but in all other kinds of schools, and that, therefore, we must strive in the plainest language and the most homely illustrations to make ourselves understood.
We have talked about God destroying sin out of the soul: putting it away and keeping it away, and so, beautifully uniting the heart to fear, and love, and serve Him. No Philistines left in the land, neither in the hill country, nor the valleys. The sovereignty and rule of Jehovah acknowledged and obeyed from the centre to the circumference. Peace in all the borders of the soul: devils outside, and all manner of devilish people, and, consequently, all manner of storms and miseries too; but inside, the peace of God which passeth understanding, keeping the heart