. . . .”They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”—The prayer of Jesus for his Disciples.
” ‘Tis done! thou dost this moment save,
With full salvation bless;
Redemption through thy blood I have,
And spotless love and peace.”
NOW that she was so powerfully and experimentally assured of the blessedness of this “shorter way,” O, with what ardor of soul did she long to say to every redeemed one, “Ye have been fully redeemed; redeemed from all iniquity, that ye should be unto God a peculiar people, zealous of good works!”
So reasonable did it appear, that all the Lord’s ransomed ones, should be sanctified, set apart for holy service, as chosen vessels unto God, to bear his hallowed name before a gainsaying world, by having the seal legibly enstamped upon the forehead, proclaiming them as “not of the world,” a “peculiar people to show forth his praise;” that all the energies of her mind were now absorbed in the desire to communicate the living intensity of her soul on this subject to the heart of every professed disciple.
Her now newly-inspired spirit could scarcely conceive of a higher ambition, in the present state of existence, than to be endued with the function of the Holy One, and then permitted, by the power of the Spirit, to say to every lover of Jesus, “This is the will of God, even your sanctification.” Jesus, your Redeemer, your Saviour, waits even now to sanctify you wholly; “and I pray God that your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”
It was in that same hallowed hour when she was first, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, permitted to enter within the veil, and prove the blessedness of the “way of holiness,” that the weighty responsibilities, and also inconceivablyglorious destination of the believer, were unfolded to her spiritual vision, in a manner inexpressibly surpassing her former perceptions.
She seemed permitted to look down through the vista of the future, to behold herself as having begun a race, in a way luminously lit up by the rays of the Sun of righteousness, with the gaze of myriads of interested spectators—ay, even the gaze of the upper, as also the lower, world—intensely fixed upon her, watching her progress in a course that seemed to admit of no respite, or turning to the right or to the left, and where consequences, inconceivably momentous, and eternal in duration, were pending.
Have you brought yourself into this state of blessedness? Is it through your own exertions that this light has been kindled in your heart? were the inquiries which were now urged upon her attention. She deeply felt, as her heart responded to these interrogatories, that it was all the work of the Spirit; and never before did such a piercing sense of her own demerit and helplessness penetrate her mind as at that hour, while her inmost soul replied, ‘Tis from the “Father of lights,” the “Giver of every good and perfect gift,” that I have received this precious gift. Yes, it is a gift from God, and to his name be all the glory!
The Spirit then suggested, If it is a gift from God, God is not exclusive in the impartation of his gifts, and you will be required to declare it; to declare it as his gift, through our Lord Jesus Christ, ready for the acceptance of all, as his free gift; and this, if you would retain the blessing, will not be left to your own choice. You will be called to profess this blessing before thousands! Can you do it? And here she was permitted again to count the cost. She had been saying, Rather let me die than lose the blessing, for Satan had suggested that she would ever be vacillating in her experience; one day professing the blessing, and another not; that she was so constitutionally prone to reason, it would require an extraordinary miracle to sustain her amid the array of unpropitious circumstances, which, like a mighty phalanx, crowded before the vision of her mind: but the Spirit brought to her remembrance the continuous miracle of the Israelitish nation, fed daily with bread directly from heaven. And though assured that a miracle equal in magnitude would be constantly requisite for her support, yet she gloried in the assurance that the same almighty power stood continuously pledged for its performance. And now that she was called to count the cost of coming out in the profession of his blessing before thousands, the enemy directed her mind most powerfully to what her former failures had been, in reference to making confession with the mouth.
In few duties had she more frequently brought condemnation on her soul than in this; and the suggestion from the adversary, that a failure in this requirement was precisely the ground on which she should lose the blessing, assumed more plausibility than former temptations. But the Spirit raised up a standard; and she was enabled to resolve to be a worker together with God, in such a manner, that the onward pilgrimage of more than five succeeding years has tested the happy consequences of the decision, and proved that it was indeed the Spirit of the Lord that raised the standard—the Spirit that taught!
The matter was decided thus: Some settled principles must be established in the soul, by which it may be known what shall constitute duty in reference to this subject. Duty must be determined by a reference to the requirements of the Word; and being settled thus, the voice of duty is literally the voice of God to the soul. She was then enabled to decide the matter of testifying to the work of the Spirit thus: The church is represented as Christ’s body. I am one of the members of that body.
If I, by testifying of the Spirit’s operation within my heart, am individually benefited, the [illegible] body is advantaged, by a more healthy action being produced throughout, while if I neglect to testify, and, in consequence, suffer loss, my relation to the body will of necessity cause it to participate in that loss. It is plain, therefore, and beyond all contradiction, my duty to declare the work of God. The health of my own soul and that of the precious body of Christ, of which I am a member, demand its performance.
The inquiry then arose, But am I by my own power of reasoning to determine in matters so momentous? The answer was, If you have power to reason above an idiot, or the beasts that perish, God has given that power; it is a talent intrusted, for which you will be called to render an account of stewardship. Natural abilities are as truly gifts from God as those termed by men gracious abilities. Grace does not render natural endowments in any degree useless, it only turns them into a sanctified channel.
Having received, through these gracious communications, more enlightened and confirmed views of duty, and feeling assured that the voice of duty was in verity the voice of God, she was enabled to resolve that however formidable the circumstances were, if it literally cost life in the effort to go forward, she would still proceed; and though a martyr to the cause, it should be enough that the Almighty had said, “Go forward.” On coming to this point, a yet more glorious increase of light burst upon her way! The Spirit brought to her remembrance the words she had most solemnly uttered but a few moments before, when, making the sacred dedication of all her powers for ever to God, she had used the dedicatory words of David, “Into thy hands I commit my spirit, for thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.” She had realized and acknowledged the offering accepted. And now the Spirit said, Had your spirit actually left the body, and mingled with the spirits before the throne, when you thus solemnly committed it into the hands of God; and had the Father of spirits permitted you to return and again actuate that body, for the special purpose of declaring before thousands that Jesus is a full Saviour, able to save to the uttermost, could you do it?
She thought of the blood-washed spirits surrounding in waiting attitude the eternal throne, and, from a newly-received affinity of feeling began to conjecture their burning ardor, as messengers of love, to communicate tidings of grace to whatever sphere commissioned. She thought of one sent to the earth with a special embassy, charged to communicate it to the greatest possible number of its inhabitants; she conjectured the zeal he would manifest in giving publicity to the tidings, the expedients he would use the ideas of his auditors relative to the importance of his mission, their probable indifference, perhaps contumely and scorn, pronouncing him over-zealous, charging him with carrying matters too far—perchance fanatic, or monomaniac, might be the epithets that would serve to distinguish him from the mass of mankind, and be the reward of his labors of love, during the performance of his earthly mission.
Yet the thought of the manner in which these considerations would affect him, the various motives that would call forth his commiseration, the little weight which a contemptuous reception of his message would have on his personal feelings, only so far as the honor of his Sovereign was concerned, his slight associations and attachments to earth, except as the place for the completion of his work, his thoughts of heaven, as the end of his operations, the home of his heart, his native country, &c., all tended to instruct and admonish her.
It was now that the Scriptural meaning of the words, “The very God of peace sanctify you wholly,” “body, soul and spirit,” “thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven,” “we are not of the world, I have chosen you out of the world,” “redeemed from all iniquity,” “a peculiar people,” “strangers,” “pilgrims,” “sojourners,” “fellowcitizens with the saints in light,” &c., poured torrent after torrent of light upon the pecular nature, responsibilities, and infinited blessedness of the way upon which she had newly entered. And in answer to the inquiry, Can you declare this great salvation to others? her heart responded, Yea, Lord, to an assembled world at once, if it be at thy bidding! Only “arm me with thy Spirit’s might.” “Into thy hands I commit my spirit;” let it but actuate this body for the performance of thy good will and pleasure in all things: and if at any time thou seest me about to depart from thee, cut short the work in righteousness, and take me home to thyself.
“‘Tis done! the great transaction’s done,
I am the Lord’s and he is mine;
He drew me, and I follow’d on.
Charm’d to confess the voice divine.
Now rest, my long-divided heart,
Fix’d on this blissful centre rest,
Nor ever from thy Lord depart,
With him of every good possess’d.”
THERE IS BUT ONE WAY.