Page images
PDF
EPUB

our professors, regarding sanctification. The head has gone further than the heart with many of them. The experience of the heart has not kept pace with the knowledge of the head. They know more than they have ever enjoyed. The atmosphere of such is not healthy, unless they are rare persons indeed.

An old mathematician demonstrated of him who performed a journey round the world, that his head travelled several thousand miles more than his feet, as his head performed much the widest circle. He proved, also, that had his journey been to heaven, instead, his feet would have outtravelled his head.

This is no new problem in theology. I have often seen it demonstrated, and so have you, in the characters you mention. We meet with such every day, who, for years, have gone the circuit of theology, but it has always happened, somehow, that their heads have travelled faster and further than their hearts, their knowledge has outgone their experience, especially in holiness.

However, we have something to set off against this fact. We have some, and they have increased to hundreds in this town within the last six weeks, whose hearts have kept equal pace with their heads in holiness. Nor would I undertake to prove that there are none among them whose hearts have not out-travelled their heads. St. Paul speaks of "the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge."— Ephes. 319. There are few who experience full salvation who do not find the enjoyment of it to exceed the anticipation. And what is that but experience surpassing previous knowledge?-the heart becoming tutor to the heal? "There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding."- Job 328. There is an inspiration in PERFECT LOVE which

[ocr errors]

gives lessons to the understanding, seldom, if ever, learned otherwise. What a change the soul undergoes when the body dies! Who among the living comprehends or conceives what it is?that surpasses knowledge, also. How great the change when the whole "body of sin" dies, and the soul is free from its influences! I never saw any one who allowed that his previous information upon the subject was equal to the actual experience.

The admission has been made; the heart of some outtravels the head. I like the idea. The heart is apt to prove deceitful, if the head leave it too far behind; like Peter, who followed his Lord afar off, and a woman involved him in trouble; his head was right, poor soul, but his heart failed him.

We have those among us who are not remarkable for "theological accuracy," the head may be at fault, now and then, nor does it offend them to hear of it; and the tongue, perhaps, unable to marshal its words in the exact theological order desired; but the heart, ay, the heart quite out-travels both head and tongue in the deep things of God. Their motions are not circular, like him who travelled round the world. They may never have gone, in abstract theology, the segment of a circle, as they say in geometry; nevertheless, Christianity, in its saving and purifying influences, has taken the entire circuit of their nature, subduing the whole to itself. Their hearts have gone further than their heads, but both are travelling heavenward; both will be equal by and by, and wiser than the wisest philosophers below, when they gain their crown above. Hallelujah!

However, let us praise the Lord, there are those among us whose head and heart travel together. They traverse the whole circle of theology,- all that lies within the horizon of theological investigation, but the heart is never

[ocr errors]

left behind. As one remarked, "Sanctification in the soul is a living spring, running with a kind of central force heavenward." Yes, and head and heart move together with the living spring! They are as familiar with the straight lines of holiness as with the circle of obedience. They have one direct aim,— to glorify God; one desire, -to be always happy in him; one endeavor,-to please him who has called them from darkness to light, to please him in everything; one object, entire devotion to his will; one ambition,- to be pure as he is pure, and holy as he is holy, and to love him with all their heart, and soul, and mind, and strength, and their neighbor as themselves; one absorbing desire,-to sink as deep in pure, loving humility as the grace of God can sink them, and to rise in the joy of faith in perfect love and holiness, as the grace of God can exalt them, fully resolved to

[blocks in formation]

A noble ambition this! to obtain one of the first seats in glory. To use an idea of Mr. Fletcher,— a constant, evangelical striving to have ministered unto them an abundant entrance into the heavenly kingdom, and a throne among the peculiarly redeemed, who sing the new song which none could learn save those who were without fault, and who fo lowed the Lamb whithersoever he went.- Rev. 14 : 1, 5.

They belong to that succession, the true succession of holy souls, of which our poor earth has never had a superfluity, but which it has never entirely lacked.

They are the regular liners," to use a sea-phrase, which steer straight for the port of heaven, over the ocean of life, as the New York and Liverpool line of packet-ships

cross the Atlantic straight to the destined port, and having nothing to do with the coasting trade.

To alter the figure once more: like Abraham, they walk up and down in the length and breadth of the Canaan of perfect love. Gen. 13 : 17. Caleb-like, they said, long ago, "Let us go up at once and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it." And so, like him and a host of others, "they passed over this Jordan, and possessed the and." And, like them, true to their principle,— faith in the immediate power of God, in accordance with his promise, they took no round-about way to enter the land of holiest love, but went straight forward through the swellings of Jordan, undaunted by difficulties and perils. They were not submerged nor overwhelmed; opposition gave way, the obedient waters divided before them, like Jordan, and they passed over dry shod unto the land that flowed with milk and honey, and thus possessed their promised rest. There they abide to this day. Their numbers are increasing in this town daily. More than four hundred purified souls have joined them within a few weeks. Hundreds more are all in readiness to leave the wilderness side of Jordan to enter the promised land,

[ocr errors]

"Where dwells the Lord our righteousness,
Who keeps his own in perfect peace,
And everlasting rest."

CHAPTER XV.

JUSTIFIED PERSONS DESIRE PURITY.

1ST To "A perplexed and anxious inquirer.”

Your preferences have not been for holiness. Your justification has been defective in one thing, to say the least,a hearty desire for purity; that is the brightest gem that sparkles in real justification. Solomon says, "A virtuous woman is a CROWN to her husband." Purity is the crown of justification. If it be genuine, this desire is always attached to it, as weight to lead, as heat to fire, as fragrance to the rose, as green to a healthy leaf,— inseparable. St. John comes down upon this point unmistakably. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not appear what we shall be: but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. AND EVERY MAN THAT HATH THIS HOPE IN HIM PURIFIETH HIMSELF EVEN AS HE IS PURE."-1 John 3:2, 3. It is upon this principle he speaks so positively, from the fourth verse to the tenth, that "whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin." He who is thus aiming and ardently desiring to be as pure as Jesus will hate and avoid sin,"he cannot sin," certainly not when filled with such a noble ambition and ceaseless aspiration.

--

Some years ago a young lady in Philadelphia, since gone to heaven, lost her evidence of justification, through some sore mental conflict or other. But one day, when listening

« PreviousContinue »