"Having, therefore, these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God," 2 Coeinthians vn, 1. The holy Scriptures assure us that we are not only guilty and condemned, on account of actual transgression, but that our whole moral nature is totally corrupt: "The whole head is sick, the whole heart faint;" "The carnal mind is enmity against God ; it is not subject to the laws of God, neither indeed can be ;" "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." It is a fountain of moral corruption, and its polluting stains are visible in the actions of the life. The word of God and reason itself confirm the truth of the doctrine, that all the attributes of God are opposed to sin; that none but the "pure in heart shall see God." othing unholy can enter heaven; therefore, "without holiness no man shall see the Lord." All that have been redeemed from earth and are now saved in heaven, have "washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." Moral purity and happiness are inseparably connected. It is important, therefore, that we have an experimental knowledge of the nature and truth of the doctrine of entire



sanctification or moral purity. It is necessary not only to

be forgiven, but also purified, in order to present peace and usefulness, and our eternal happiness in the world to come. In illustrating the words of the text, we will notice, L The nature and extent of the moral purity required. It is a state of complete sanctification — an entire conformity to the Divine nature and government. By the terms " flesh and spirit," the apostle, doubtless, means the whole man, in his sentient, intellectual, moral, and social nature, including all the faculties of the mind and affections of the heart. In the state of moral purity required in the Gospel, the soul is not only delivered from the gmilt and dominion of sin, but is also saved from its very existence. It is so renewed after the image of Him that created us, as to be sanctified throughout spirit, soul, and body, and " preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." In the language of Mr. Fletcher, "It is the cluster and maturity of the graces which compose the Christian character. In other words, it is a constellation made up of these gracious stars — perfect repentance, perfect faith, perfect hope, perfect love;" and we may add, perfect obedience. 1. Perfect repentance. The Bible teaches that repentance is the gift of God : " Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior ; to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins;" " Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." From God we receive every "good and perfect gift." ow, as repentance is the gift of God, it must be perfect. A true and genuine penitent will hide nothing of his state. He attends to serious reflection, close self-examination, till he sees and bewails the acts of sin which he has committed, and the disposition that led him to sin. He deplores not only the transgression, but ajso the deep depravity of his heart.



The light of divine truth that shines into his soul shows him not only the corrupt source whence transgression proceeds, but points him also to the "glorious fountain opened to the house of David for sin and for uncleanness." He now asks, w T ith all his heart, pardon for his trangressions, and washing and cleansing from his inward defilement. This is perfect repentance, and this alone can find favor with God. 2. Perfect faith. By perfect faith we mean that which is the result of the grace and ability we receive from God ; uniting assent with reliance, belief with trust: acknowledging salvation to flow from the unbounded love of God ; that can speak in the first person, and say, " I have sinned ; I have need of pardon ; my heart is depraved ; I need full salvation ; I believe that Christ died for me, and I accept of him as my Savior, and the Holy Spirit as my sanctifier. The promises are all the gift of my Father ; the blessings promised are the purchase of my Savior; they are all mine." This is perfect faith, which was clearly exemplified by Abraham in offering up his son Isaac, Jacob in prevailing with the angel, Daniel in the den of lions, the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace, and Stephen in the hour of death. 3. Perfect hope — which, as a bright and glittering star, is always visible in the moral sky of the humble Christian ; a guide through life, radiating its light around the pathway of the pious; an "anchor to the soul, both sure and steadfast;" throwing around the grave a glorious halo; teaching us to despise the world and labor for eternity. He who has this perfect hope purifies himself, even as God is pure.

4. Perfect love. " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind." Here the perfection of the love required is clearly marked. " With all thy



heart:" the whole heart is filled with the love of God. This love admits no rival. The allurements of the world will not alienate the affections from God. The soul thus elevated by perfect love, can look down upon wealth, pleasure, honor, and dignity, as possessing no attractions. " With all thy mind :" every intellectual faculty employed for God; the understanding consecrated to the contemplation of his infinite excellences ; every thing banished from the mind which is opposed to the glory of God, and the salvation of man. God is in all his thoughts: " He is all and in all.'' The soul thus " rooted and grounded in love is able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and hight ; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge;" and is "filled with all the fullness of God ;" " God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him ;" "Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as he is so are we in this world." 5. Perfect obedience. ot perfect obedience to the paradisiacal law of innocence. That law was adapted to beings whose perceptive and judging powers were so perfect that, so far as God permitted them to know any thing, they knew it correctly, and were not subject to error in

judgment or practice. Man in his fallen state is not a proper subject of that law. His mental and bodily powers are so enfeebled that he can not avoid breaking that law in numberless instances. But Christ has fulfilled that law of innocence ; so that we shall not be judged by it, but by a law adapted to our fallen state — the "perfect law of liberty;" "the law of Christ." This law allows of sincere repentance, and is fulfilled by that "faith which worketh by love." By this law of liberty we shall be judged. Hence, it not only may, but it must be kept. It is the privilege of the believer to say, "The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the



law of sin and death ; for what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit." If Jove be sincere, it is accepted as the fulfilling of the law. When the soul is fully " cleansed from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit," all the Christian graces are perfected, the whole mind is assimilated to God, and all its energies unreservedly consecrated to his service. The Holy Spirit, as comforter and sanctifier, dwells in the heart, and every root of bitterness is eradicated, and all the plants of holiness are fresh, vigorous, and productive. This state of moral purity is what the apostle calls " sanctification of spirit, soul, and body." It is a full salvation from every principle of the heart opposed to holiness ; the entire destruction of sin — of sin properly so called. We will now pro-

ceed to show, II. That this purity of heart may be obtained in the PRESE T LIFE. 1 . From the nature of God. God is holy ; he is the "high and lofty One whose name is holy, and who dwell eth in the high and holy place/' and who is "glorious in holiness. " 2. From the amplitude of the provisions of the Gospel. "The Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil;" " Christ also loveth the Church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word ; that he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish;" "Therefore, Jesus, also, that he might sanctify his people with his blood, suffered without the gate ;" "If we walk in the light as God is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of 24



Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanseth us from all sin;" "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness ;" "And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth: thy word is truth;" "Whom

we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom ; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." 3. From the commands of God. "Be ye, therefore, perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." God is infinitely holy. The command requires unmingled holiness. Be ye holy as God is holy, according to the extent of your powers. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all. thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind." Can the Christian, in the exercise of all the powers God has given him, and by the aid of the Holy Spirit, which God has said shall be sufficient for him, and which all who ask will receive, obey these commands? If he can, then our proposition is sustained; holiness is attainable. "I am the Lord your God ; ye shall, therefore, sanctify yourselves ; and be ye holy;" "Put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness;" "Let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing;" "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one shall see the Lord." ow, if it be true that God is ever ready to grant us his Spirit to enable us to do our duty, then certainly we have power to obey the command of God, and to be fully sanctified in the present life. 4. From the 'promises of God. "And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities;" " Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness and from all your idols will I cleanse you ;" "And the Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and



with all thy soul, that thou mayest live;" " Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness ; for they shall be filled. " With these promises, and many more that might be adduced, who can doubt the possibility of being fully cleansed from all unrighteousness in the present life ? 5. From the prayers of our Savior, and by the prayers of men who were inspired by the Holy Ghost. " I pray not," said our blessed Lord, "that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil;" " Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth;" " either pray I for these alone, but for them also who shall believe on me through their word ; that they all may be one ; as thou, Father, art in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in us ; I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one." David prayed, "Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin;" "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean ; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Create in me a clean heart, God, and renew a right spirit within me." Paul said, "I bow my knees unto the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he would grant you, that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and hight; and to know the love of Christ, w T hich passeth knowledge, that ye may be filed with all the fullness of God;" "The very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he who hath called you, who also will do it;" " Laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God." Here are prayers for entire sanctification in this life ; and the apostle says it will be done.



6. From the testimony of God concerning many of his saints. The Holy Ghost bears testimony that " Enoch walked with God three hundred years ; and by faith he was translated that he should not see death ; for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." ow, as God is holy, and can not look upon sin with allowance, but is angry with the wicked every day, and as two can not walk together except they be agreed, Enoch must have been holy three hundred years. " oah was a just man and perfect in his generation ;" " Caleb and Joshua followed the Lord fidly " Zacharias and Elizabeth were both righteous before God, and walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless;" "Blessed are the undeflled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord;" "The upright shall dwell in the land; the perfect shall remain in it;" " Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God;" " Herein is the love of God made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is so are we in this world;" "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless, I live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me ; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God;" " Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily, and justly, and unblamably we behaved ourselves among you that believed;" "Those things which ye have learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do ; and the God of peace shall be with you;" "Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example;" "Be followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." Here, then, we have the nature of God;

the rich and ample provisions of the Gospel ; the commands and promises of God; the prayers of Christ and inspired men, and the examples of the Old and ew Testament saints, all testifying that we may be "cleansed from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit," and that we



may receive this great salvation now. Who, then, can doubt the possibility of being fully sanctified in the present life? "God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." We will now proceed to show, III. HOW THIS WORK IS TO BE ACCOMPLISHED. 1 . We must have a clear and definite view of the doctrine itself. Some persons, by placing it too low, have presumed that they were fully cleansed from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit when they were only justified. This opinion may do serious harm ; for unless believers are fully convinced of the deep depravity and corruption of their hearts, they will have but little concern about entire s an ctifi cation. or will they be likely to exercise their abilities to the uttermost, trusting in the efficacy of the blood of Jesus, and the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit for a higher state of inward purity. Others, by placing it too high, have mistaken it for the maturity and glory of departed saints, and, finding they can not attain to it, have given up seeking for it ; while others, by viewing it as the maturity of grace to which all true believers may attain under the Gospel dispensation, have, by faith,

soon entered into the rest of perfect love. 2. In order to seek this blessing aright we must deeply feel its importance. We must have an internal wrestling ; our hearts must be stirred with inexpressible desire after holiness or moral purity; we must "hunger and thirst after righteousness, " before we can be filled. But do you ask, "What can I do? I have no faith; I do not hunger and thirst after righteousness ?" I answer, there is something that you can do. God's word declares, "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Can vou not call on him? But you say, "I have no earnestness" Still call on him as well as you can. Begin to pray in a spirit of deep and unwavering earnestness, and 24*



fix your mind on the necessity of the present attainment of holiness of heart. 3. We must consecrate ourselves wholly to God — soul, body, talents, property, and friends, just as we are, and all we have, as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, as our most reasonable service ; submitting in all things to thawill of God; praying, "Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make me clean ; I yield myself up to thee ; I can not form my heart anew; thou only canst do the work." In all this cleansing, or setting ourselves apart for Christ, we can not put away sin ; our only remedy is the blood of Christ.

4. This blessing must be sought by simple faith — by an unwavering trust in Christ as an almighty Savior, and in the method he has revealed in his holy word — by faith in his atoning sacrifice, and by the power of his sanctifying Spirit. It must be a firm trust in Christ to save us: We must believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is willing to save us — to save us now from all sin: " Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." If we apply to him with no other plea than this, that we are sinful and defiled, and embrace him by faith as a mighty and gracious Savior, we shall find the blessing sought. He came to make an atonement for us, and to create in our hearts holiness and love. By submitting to be saved by the sanctifying grace of Christ alone, we give all the glory to the gracious Savior. True faith in Christ places us within the circle of the Divine attributes, as a fortress. Obtain this, and the privileges of the new covenant of grace are ours. We must let nothing hinder us. Why should we ? Christ is ready, and "he is able." He is now waiting for us ; he is at "the door;" believe and be saved; the work is done. "I am my Lord's and lie is mine; He drew me and I followed on, Charmed to confess the voice divine."



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