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Great Christian Works:       Progress After Entire Sanctification     by Arthur Zepp

Arthur Zepp

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Progress After Entire Sanctification
by Arthur Zepp


Chapter 1
Advancement After Entire Sanctification

"Advance in the love and knowledge of our Lord Jesus." 2nd Peter 3:18. 20th Cent. Test.

"From one point of view the development of Character is never complete because experience is constantly presenting new aspects of life to us; and in consequence of this fact, we are always engaged in slight reconstructions of our modes of conduct, and our attitudes toward life.", — Angell's Psychology.

The Principal Progress in the Divine Life Comes After Entire Sanctification

Listen in vain for statements to fall from the lips of any of the accredited teachers of entire sanctification to substantiate this charge. On the contrary we aver our belief in growth in grace, both before entire sanctification, after, especially after, and throughout the endless cycles of eternity. The command, 'Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ,' applies to the entirely sanctified as to no other class. 'It was originally given to those who were steadfast, which regenerated souls are not.' Sanctification endows with a spiritual life which has the highest capabilities of development. To suppose sanctification is all, brings stagnation. The principal progress in the Divine life comes after heart cleansing. 'Holiness is not the end; it is a good beginning. There is no end to it. Paul says, "Ye have your fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life.'

The absurdity of that supposition, "If the heart is pure there is no use to endeavor to advance," is seen from the following:

Disease and Deformity Obstruct Physical Growth Sin Principle Retards Spiritual Progress

"If evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, shall it be thought a thing incredible that the purified shall grow from strength to strength, from grace to grace, and from glory to glory? If wealth and health enable a man to accumulate property easier and more rapidly than a state of poverty or sickness, will not purity, which is the soul's wealth and health, prepare it to grow with increasing vigor, beauty and symmetry? Vegetables in a garden cleansed from weeds and grass will grow more thriftily than otherwise, nor will they cease to grow when every noxious thing is exterminated; a tree, pruned, and all worms and insects cleansed from it, will not cease to grow, but will grow all the faster; a healthy child will grow in strength and stature more rapidly than a sickly one. All disease or deformity obstructs growth, while health is its most essential condition. Thus when the .carnal mind is destroyed, the soul will grow with increasing thriftiness and uniformity. Sin degenerates, cripples and enervates; while holiness quickens and invigorates, and secures the best possible foundation for the development of all our powers and faculties.", — J A. Wood

In lieu of the foregoing, how erroneous, fallacious, and misleading to suppose a state of heart purity derogatory to development! Rather it is indispensably necessary to satisfactory growth.

Greater to "Retain" Sanctification and Progress Therein Than to "Gain" It

Mr. Wesley's mature judgment was that it is a greater thing to "retain" than to "gain" sanctification; and his observation was, that hardly one in three retained the grace of holiness. To retain this grace requires progress, like riding a bicycle, we must go on or fall off. The housewife will testify the work of cleaning house is a small thing compared to keeping it clean. So likewise, being cleansed from all sin, in entire sanctification, is a small part of the holy life the greatest part, "Keeping ourselves unspotted from the world," is before us.

Sanctification not Finality

Because a garden with young growing vegetables is cleansed of all poisonous and hurtful weeds which would retard the progress of their growth, is no evidence whatever the vegetables are mature; so, also, a heart cleansed is not a mature heart. Sanctification is not "finality," but, "beginning", commencement. Looking on sanctification as the summit of attainment accounts for the many disappointed and unvictorious professors of sanctifying grace.

The Goal for the Sanctified Does not Consist in an Increase of Purity:

"Beyond sanctification there is no increase in purity, but increasing increase in expansion." Dr. Dempster.

"Purity is to be distinguished from maturity. When inbred sin is destroyed there can be no increase of purity, but an eternal increase in love and all the fruits of the Spirit.", — Amos Binney

Maturity the Goal

"We understand simple purity, as not a high state of grace when compared with the privileges of the divine life. Purity is only the base, the substratum of a grand Christian life.

Maturity, by which we understand an ever increasing increase of love and all the fruits of the Spirit, is not a condition of salvation. Purity is. Maturity is gradual and indefinite, a gradual and progressive process involving years of growth, cultivation and enlargement. Were maturity a condition of salvation many sanctified but immature Christians would be lost; thousands die in immaturity and are saved.", J. A. Wood

The sanctified progress towards maturity and are blameless before God at every stage; their progress will not cease with this life; they shall, "throughout the countless cycles of eternity, ever be advancing towards and approximating God's infinite perfection."

Degrees in the Development of the Sanctified

The Bible reveals stages in the development of the Christian life; and this surely applies to the sanctified. John writes of some who were "little children," others, who were "young men;" and still another class whom he calls "fathers" in Christ. Paul notes the same distinctions in his epistles. To the Corinthians he wrote as unto, "babes in Christ;" in another place of "children", "That we should be no more children." And yet again, that we should attain unto a "full-grown man" in Christ. There are similar degrees noticed in the development of the entirely sanctified. We have seen the wobbling, vacillating, babe in sanctification; the stalwart, young man, and also the established father and mother in holiness. God does not fault the babe in the sanctified life for not being as mature as the young man or father. The babe in the sanctified life is just as pure as the young man or father, but simply not as mature; because maturity does not come instantaneously like cleansing; maturity is the result of years of growth, experience and development.

A Source of Discouragement

S. A. Keen suggests the not observing distinctions similar to those just enumerated in the development of the sanctified life is the cause of much discouragement to zealous young professors of sanctifying grace. They have looked on the development and maturity of such characters as Fletcher, when his spiritual life had reached its zenith, and have thought they might obtain in a moment, that which, with him, was reached, by virtue of long years of obedience, growth, discipline and development.

"The maturing of a Christian experience cannot be reached in a moment, but is the result of the work of God's Holy Spirit, who, by His energizing, and transforming power, causes us to grow up into Christ in all things, and we cannot hope to reach this maturity in any other way, than by yielding ourselves up utterly and willingly to His mighty working.", — H. W. Smith.

A Caution

We mistake to look for perfection proximating faultlessness, infallibility, or absolute perfection. A zealous, consecrated, and intelligent worker whom the writer had been instrumental in leading into the sanctified life divulged in a conversation on "Progressive Holiness" that her ambition was to be so perfect (absolutely) that she would never make a mistake. (As might be expected, pursuing such an irrational ideal she drifted into fanaticism.) Such perfection is nowhere promised in the word of God to mortals during probation. The holiest of men have erred and will err until the end of time. Errors, however, may be reduced to the minimum by care and watchfulness. God uses errors to prod us and remind us we are still in the flesh; and whilst we do not believe the worldly Christian's (?) favorite maxim,, "A little sin is necessary to keep the soul humble," yet we can conceive how an occasional error and unwitting mistake may serve to humble the sanctified and incite to greater watchfulness.

What are we to Expect after the Crisis of Entire Sanctification?

The greatest danger to the sanctified lies in not apprehending wherein true, rational, progress consists. Ignorance here results in fanaticism.

We are manifestly not to seek another crisis of experience which will preclude the necessity of constantly seeking new and deeper degrees of love for God and man. Neither are we to expect such an experience as will lift us above temptation and Satanic conflict; nor trials and sorrows, contingent on our earthly pilgrimage.

Mr. Wesley has pointed out the very desire of advancement may become a snare to the wholly sanctified:

John Wesley's Advice to the Wholly Sanctified

"The very desire of growing in grace may sometimes be an inlet to enthusiasm. As it continually leads us to seek new grace, it may lead us to seek something else new, besides new degrees of love for God and man. So it has led some to seek, and fancy they had received, gifts of a new kind after a new heart, as (1) The loving God with all our mind. (2) With all our soul. (3) With all our strength. (4) Oneness with God. (5) Oneness with Christ. (6) Having our life hid with Christ in God. (7) Being dead with Christ. (8) Rising with Him. (9) The sitting with Him in heavenly places. (10) Being taken up into His throne. (ii) The being in the New Jerusalem. (12) The seeing the tabernacle of God come down among men. (13) The being dead to all works. (14) The not being liable to death, pain, or grief or temptation.

One ground of these and a thousand mistakes is the taking every fresh, strong application of any of these Scriptures to the heart, to be a gift of a new kind; not knowing that several of these Scriptures are not fulfilled yet; that most of the others are fulfilled when we are justified; the rest, the moment we are sanctified. It remains only to experience them in higher degrees. This is all we have to expect.

Another ground of these mistakes is the not considering deeply that LOVE IS THE HIGHEST GIFT OF GOD,, humble, gentle, patient love; that all visions, revelations, manifestations whatever, are little things compared to love. It were well you should be thoroughly sensible of this, the heaven of heavens is love. There is nothing higher in religion; there is, in effect, nothing else; if you look for anything but more love you are looking wide of the mark, you are getting out of the royal way. And when you are asking others have you received this or that blessing; if you mean anything but more love, you mean wrong; you are leading them out of the way and putting them on a false scent. Settle it, then, in your heart, that from the moment God has saved you from all sin, ("Sanctified you wholly") you are to aim at nothing but more of that love described in the thirteenth of First Corinthians. You can go no higher than this until you are carried, into Abraham's bosom.

"What I have seen in London occasioned the first caution I gave you. George Bell, Wm. Green, and many others, then full of love, were favored with extraordinary manifestations from God. But by this very thing Satan beguiled them from the simplicity that is in Christ. By insensible degrees they were led to value these extraordinary gifts more than the ordinary grace of God; and I could not convince them that a grain of humble love was better than all these gifts put together."

O desire nothing different in nature from love! There is nothing higher in earth or heaven. Whatever he speaks of, which seems to be higher, is either natural or preter-natural enthusiasm. Desire none of these extraordinaries. Such a desire might be an inlet to a thousand delusions.

The cry of the sanctified should be:
"O grant that nothing in my soul may dwell,
But Thy pure love alone;
O may Thy love possess me whole,
My joy, my treasure, and my crown;
Strange flames far from my heart remove
My every act, thought, word be love."

Clamoring for the supernatural gifts of the Spirit above His graces, has shipwrecked many a hitherto useful sanctified life. The writer knows of holiness people, caught by the power-heresy wave which has recently swept over certain organizations, who have spent months seeking the gift of tongues, under the false impression that all might have that gift; others there are who are seeking power to walk on waves, or through closed doors and walls as Jesus did. Paul, after writing of the nine supernatural gifts of the Spirit, which God bestows, sovereignly, on whom He wills, closes the chapter by saying (free translation of Greek), "Yet show I unto you a way beyond all comparison the best." Then follows that matchless thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians, describing the way of God's kind of love, the more excellent way. Oh, that holiness professors would spend their time seeking deeper degrees of that love which abides forever! To be swallowed up in love, to be "stripped of all but love," and have "our hearts aflame with love, "hot with love," is the crying need of the hour.

"Had I the gift of tongues
Great God, without Thy grace,
My loudest words, my loftiest songs
Would be but sounding brass.

Had I such faith in God
As mountains to remove,
No faith could effectual prove
That did not work by love.

Grant then this one request
Whatever be denied,
That love divine may rule my breast
And all my actions guide."

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Chapter 2
Progress In Quantity Not In Quality

"Whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shalt have more abundance."

"If one is holy, how can he be more holy? If perfectly holy, how can he increase in holiness?

A thing may be perfect in nature, yet not in degree. An oak when it first rises above the ground, is so small that it may be trodden under foot; yet as truly an oak as when it stands in the strength of years. A child is in nature as much a human being in infancy as in manhood It is so with any intellectual power or appetite or affection. A reasoner understands reasoning, and may be able to apply the principles perfectly in a given case; yet, by habit, he may increase the promptness, facility and perfection of the mental faculty. An intemperate man may become perfectly temperate; yet one entirely reformed is less likely to be overcome when the temperate principle has acquired strength.

The most perfect thing, if susceptible of growth, will have the most sure and rapid growth. Which grows best the perfect flower, or that which has canker or is defective in some part, the perfect child or the one afflicted or malformed? Such facts show that the state called holiness, assurance of faith, perfect love, and sanctification may increase. There is no physical impossibility in it, but perfection in nature is requisite to perfection in degree. One partially holy may grow in holiness, but one entirely holy, although assailed by unfavorable influences outwardly, will grow more. Obstacles to growth in holiness will be much less in the latter than in the former, and that inward vitality necessary to the greatest expansion will possess a power unknown under other circumstances.

These views commend themselves to common observation, human reason, and accord with Scripture. John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Ghost from his birth; he was sanctified from that early period. But in after life, in his temptations and labors, in his faithful preaching, in his stern rebuke of wickedness, in high and low places, in his imprisonment, and in the general growth of his matured and consecrated powers there can be no difficulty in ascribing to him growth in holiness. It is said of him, "The child grew and waxed strong in spirit." The Savior was holy from the beginning. Every power of body or mind was fully sanctified. But "the child grew and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him."

Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man," What is the meaning of this increase of strength in spirit? How could He increase in the favor of His heavenly Father, if, with the increase of His expanding powers, there was not also a corresponding growth in holy love? The Scriptures do not recognize standing still; all passages which require growth in grace and religious knowledge are as applicable after sanctification as before. "Let as many as be perfect, be thus minded," in that we press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." "Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect," implies that we be perfect in our sphere, in our perceptions, feelings and purposes, to the full extent of our capability, and also that we should continually expand (in accordance with the law of increase which is part of the nature of every rational being) our capacity of feeling and of knowledge.

In doing this we fulfill the command absolutely, so far as the nature of our mental exercises is concerned; and fulfill it by approximation, or continual growth, so far as relates to their degree. The angels in heaven are holy, but are always growing in holiness. In their exercises they are like their heavenly Father, and perfect as He is perfect; but in relation to the degree of their exercises, they can be said to be perfect only in availing themselves of every possible means of approximation and growth. Growth, therefore, continual advancement, is the unalterable law of all created holy beings. "Whoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance."

Hence growth in holiness, when the heart is sanctified, is reasonable. The growth of a sanctified soul in holiness would be more rapid than that of the partially sanctified. The testimony of those who have arrived at this state is, that their growth is more rapid and sure. They are conscious of increased power against temptation, and of increased union with the Divine will, to an extent unknown in previous experience. What growth, then, must there . be in angel minds, which are neither obstructed by inward nor by outward evils in their progress! What expansion! What increased intensity of desire! What higher and more triumphant energies of love.", — Thomas C. Upham

"So many look upon holiness as a finality and make no proper effort to advance in the grace and consequently it parts with its sweetness and power. Holiness is a Progressive Principle and cannot live in an atmosphere of stagnation. Whosoever, therefore, would enjoy and retain holiness after it has been obtained must 'forget those things which are behind and reach forth to those things which are before, and press toward the mark; he must continue with open face to behold the glory of the Lord,' and thereby change into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord.", — Sheridan Baker.

Manifestly the crying need of the holiness movement is the developing of a ministry which will lead the fully sanctified on and on into the deeper degrees in the Divine life to "all the fullness of God."

Joseph H. Smith, in his pamphlet on "Holiness Work," said, "We have the great task of developing sainthood and the maturing of a wholesome saintliness in those who are truly sanctified. None are more susceptible to the advancing ministries of a progressive piety than those who are made free from sin. And none are in any more need of being ministered unto than those who (rid of the appetite for worldly things) cannot thrive without the strong meat of God's word. Yet there are few who know how to 'feed sheep.' For these cannot fatten, mark you! either upon the barbwire of cautions which is frequently rolled out to them from many ministries, nor, yet, from the mere rehearsal of the truths whereby they were sanctified. How few there are of us who are skilled in the art of culturing their graces, developing their gifts, perfecting their conduct, and maturing their influence and their service!

"True, they are in the school of providence, and ate the subjects of fostering and chastening grace. True, too, they as none others, are capacitated to work out their own salvation. But it is also true that the gospel contemplates a nursing mother and an admonishing father, ministry for all saints to the very end of probation. And we are called to be such. For lack here, many may be developed farther as holiness people than as holy people."

"Peter may be denominated the great apostle of growth. To him all the advocates of a growth into holiness appeal in the advocacy of their theory. But they fail to correctly interpret this apostle. In the orders which he gives the churches to gradually advance in religious life he assumes that purity is an antecedent necessity. In his second epistle, Chap. 1, verses 5 and 6, he says: 'And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue, and to virtue, knowledge, and to knowledge, temperance, and to temperance, patience,' and so on. This has been interpreted to mean a gradual advance in the religious life until a state of perfected purity be reached. But a little care will discover that the apostle is urging a spiritual development which succeeds to, or follows after, entire purification. 'Besides this,' he says, 'giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue, and to virtue, knowledge,' etc. Now let it be inquired, besides what? The answer comes in the preceding verse: 'Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.' Hence, 'besides this' means besides having the Divine nature, and besides being freed from the carnal nature, 'add to your faith virtue,' and so on, that is, develop and mature the state of purity."

"In the famous order of this apostle by which he closes his second epistle, 'But grow in grace, and the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,' he assumes that the persons addressed were 'steadfast,' or already in a favorable condition for vigorous growth, as appears from the preceding verse. Before he gave this order he gave another, which he viewed as an antecedent in the order of grace: 'Be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot and blameless.' Peace, spotlessness and blamelessness first, then Christian growth and development.", — D. S. Baker.

"How can holiness be perfect and yet progressive?"

J. A. Wood in "Perfect Love" answers this question:

"Perfection in quality does not exclude increase in quantity. Beyond entire sanctification there is no increase in purity, as that which is pure cannot be more than pure; but there may be unlimited increase in expansion and quantity.

"After love is made perfect, it may abound yet more and more. Holiness in the entirely sanctified is exclusive, and is perfect in kind or in quality, but is limited in degree or quantity. The capacities of the soul are expansive and progressive, and holiness in measure can increase corresponding to increasing capacity. Faith, love, humility, and patience, may be perfect in kind, and yet increase in volume and power, or in measure harmonizing with increasing capacity. A tree may be perfectly sound, healthy, and vigorous in its branches, leaves and fruit, and yet year by year increase perpetually its capacity and fruitfulness. Analogous to this is a wicked life. The church has always held the doctrine of total depravity, and yet believed in acquired depravity, and in aggressive depravity.

"Why can a soul entirely sanctified grow in grace more rapidly than others?

"Holiness does not put a finality to anything within us, except to the existence and practice of sin; and the soul, perfect in love, can grow faster than others."


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