The life of those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High may be called a Hidden Life, because the animating principle, the vital or operative element, is not so much in itself as in another. It is a life grafted into another life. It is the life of the soul, incorporated into the life of Christ; and in such a way, that, while it has a distinct vitality, it has so very much in the sense, in which the branch of a tree may be said to have a distinct vitality from the root.

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Dispensation of the Spirit

It is a scriptural, and I suppose, a generally acknowledged fact, that the world is now, in a special manner, under the dispensation of the Holy Ghost.

The Father, in conceiving and adopting the plan of man's redemption, may be said, in relation to our apprehension of things in TIME, to have reconciled. justice and mercy prospectively. The Son, by coming into the world in accordance with the plan of redemption, and by fulfilling in his death on the cross the indispensable conditions of the plan, rendered this reconciliation not only prospectively, but presently and actually possible. The office of the Holy Ghost, among other things, is to teach men; and by teaching, and other spiritual operations, to induce and enable them to accept and to realize in their own renovated persons and natures all the benefits, which the wisdom of the Father has provided, and which the voluntary humiliation of the Son has rendered possible.

The work of man's salvation, therefore, in its practical and personal application, and so far as it remains uncompleted, may be said to be under the direction of the Holy Ghost. Accordingly when our Savior left the world, he held the following language to his disciples. "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." And again, he says, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth, for He shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak; and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify me; for He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you." John, 16: 7, 8, 12, 13, 14.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd Edition, 1844) Part 3, Chapter 1.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

'Tis Not in Vain the Mind

'Tis not in vain the mind,
By many a tempest driven,
Shall seek a resting-place to find,
A calm like that of heaven.

The weak one and dismayed,
Scarce knowing where to flee,
How happy, when he finds the aid
That comes alone from Thee!

In Thee, oh God, is REST! —
Rest from the world's desires,
From pride that agitates the breast,
From passion's angry fires.

In Thee is rest from fear,
That brings its strange alarm;
And sorrow, with its rising tear,
Thou hast the power to calm.

— from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 8, Chapter 1.

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Rest of God

The truth and perfect emblem of all rest is God himself; — the infinite rest, the eternal peace, the just and unalterable tranquility. He is in peace, because he is in the truth. The truth is in him; it encircles him, and proceeds forth from him. All things, which are made, are formed in accordance with those true and eternal ideas, which are inherent in the divine mind. Every action which proceeds from God is in harmony with the truth; every thought, also, which comes from the same source, is in harmony with the same truth. God could not possibly act, or think, or feel, otherwise than he does, without an infringement of the truth and right of things, and without placing himself in a false and wrong attitude. And this is the foundation of his rest. Like the sun in the midst of the solar system, while he is the source of movement and power to all things that exist, he acts without labor, controls without effort, occupying a center which is unchangeable, because perfection can never have more than one center, and resting there with perfect rest and peace of spirit, because his mighty thoughts and purposes all harmonize with his position.

If God rests by having his center in himself, man may rest by having his center in God; and the rest of man, having its supports in the Infinite Mind, may possess the same attributes as the rest of the Divinity. So that man derives his rest or peace of spirit from God, as he derives everything else from the same source.  And just in proportion as we approach to quietness of spirit, founded on just principles, we approach in similitude to God. It is the quietist,— the man who moves unshaken in the sphere and path which God has marked out for him, unelated by joy, undepressed by sorrow, unallured by temptations, unterrified by adversities, — it is this man, bearing about always the divine calmness of his crucified Elder Brother, who is truly godlike. And, just so far as he is like God in character, he is like him in inward tranquility.

And it is such views as these which furnish the true explanation of the words of the Savior, which conveyed to his followers his parting legacy: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you."

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 8, Chapter 1.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Illustrations of Spiritual Rest

The rest of the soul, in the highest spiritual sense of the terms, is that state of the soul, whether it be in repose or in action, which is in harmony with God. There is only one right position of the soul. All others must necessarily be wrong. And that position is one where the creature is brought into perfect adjustment with the Creator, by deriving its perceptions from God, by merging its affections in God's affections, and by harmonizing its will with God's will. In such a state of the soul there must necessarily be rest, if God has rest.

Of rest, as thus explained, — the rest, not of inaction but of harmony of position, — we have illustrations everywhere. In this view of it, physical nature is at rest. It is impossible to look on the mingled expanse of land and water, of field and forest, without a deep sense of harmony and repose. The various objects which nature thus presents to us, "from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that springeth out of the wall," are arranged in their appropriate place, and are clothed in strength and beauty, but without the turmoil of labor. As their rest is the rest of harmony, a rest appropriate to their nature and involved in the fulfillment of their own laws of life, it is necessarily incidental to their growth and perfection. They grow in rest; — they shine in rest. Their rest, therefore, is at the same time their work. But their work, great as it is in extent, and wonderful in its  variety, is always accomplished without effort and without the sense of fatigue. "Behold the lilies of the field. They toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you, that Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these."

Again, we may find an illustration of the subject in the aspect of repose, the beautiful stillness which characterizes the heavenly bodies, when seen in a cloudless sky at night. The beautiful orbs which then spangle and adorn the heavenly vault, are always in motion; always fulfilling the ends for which they were made; but, at the same time, they are never in a state of discordance and unrest, because their movement always harmonizes with law. Their constant motion, as in the language of an English poet, they "wheel unshaken through the void immense," does not cost them more labor than that constant proclamation of God's greatness, which the Scriptures ascribe to them. And it is not more wonderful that  they should move in rest, and fulfill their destiny without labor, than that they should thus proclaim the glory of God by the mere perfection of their being, "without speech or language." [Psalm 19:1-3.] Both are the developments, the unconstrained but necessary results, of their own nature, and of their perfect adjustment to the facts and relations of things.

But if material existences may be described as being in a state of rest while fulfilling the laws and purposes for which they exist, we may be certain that this may be said, with equal or greater truth, of all sentient and moral beings. All such beings, in conformity with that eternal wisdom which assigns to everything its place and its laws, have their sphere of action, their orbit of movement.  By their capabilities of perception, feeling, and action, they are as precisely fitted to their sphere of movement as the material bodies which move and shine in the heavens, or as any classes of animated existences below them, all of which have their place, their sphere their laws, their destination. And in the sphere which is thus allotted them, in their appropriate place and under their appropriate laws, they fulfill the ends of their existence by action carried on without any care or labor, which is inconsistent with true peace.

In making these remarks, we speak, of course, of their original constitution; of what they were designed to be; and of what they are, so long as they do not deviate from the principles and designs, in view of which they were formed. So long as this is the case, there will always be found to be a harmony of position, a truth and harmony of movement, which will always be characterized by peace. And on no other condition can it be said of them that they are either right in morals or happy in experience. Angels, for instance, have their sphere of life. To that sphere they are undoubtedly limited. And so long as they do not deviate from it, they exist in and have the experience of true spiritual rest; — not stupid, not inactive, not without thought, feeling, and purpose; but always in the perfection of repose, because always in the perfect harmony of physical and moral position. If they were otherwise than they are, if there were the least variation of adjustment in place or in action, their rest would be disquieted, their joyous repose be broken.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 8, Chapter 1.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Rest of the Soul

Even in the beginning of its renovated life, when it first finds the blessedness of forgiveness, the soul experiences a degree of peace. But, compared with what it is subsequently, it is limited both in degree and permanency. At the early period to which we now refer, the soul finds rest from the condemnation of past sins, without finding rest from the sharpness of inward conflicts, from doubts, uncertainties, and heavy temptations. As it advances in religious experience, the elements of rest develop themselves. When, by the crucifixion of self and the full resurrection of a new and purified spirit, it has become one with its heavenly Father, it then has a peace or rest approaching that of the heavenly world. "Thou wilt keep him in  perfect peace,"  says the prophet Isaiah, "whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee.”

It is important to understand correctly in what true rest or peace of the soul consists. There is a rest which is more so in appearance than reality; just as there is a semblance, a counterfeit of humility, of benevolence, and of other Christian graces. There are some persons whose apparent rest is to be ascribed to natural inertness or stupidity, and not to the sanctified adjustment of their powers. The true rest, however, is not to be regarded as identical with inaction.

The rest of the soul, in the highest spiritual sense of the terms, is that state of the soul, whether it be in repose or in action, which is in harmony with God. There is only one right position of the soul. All others must necessarily be wrong. And that position is one where the creature is brought into perfect adjustment with the Creator, by deriving its perceptions from God, by merging its affections in God's affections, and by harmonizing its will with God's will. In such a state of the soul there must necessarily be rest, if God has rest.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 8, Chapter 1.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

All Things Equal

That doth no private ends fulfill;
But bends beneath the just control
Of God, the great, the sovereign Will.

It sees, in all things high and low,
The presence of a higher care;
And if there's much it doth not know,
'Tis sure of this, that God is there.

It sees Him in the stormy cloud;
It sees Him in the smiling sun;
And says, with thoughts and purpose bow'd,
In light and cloud, "THY WILL BE DONE."

Christ in the Soul (1872) XLVII.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Christ in Man

How beautiful the wondrous plan
Of God in Christ, and Christ in man;
Which helps prophetic souls to trace
Bright heaven beneath the human face.

'Tis true,  He  shines in brook and tree;
But  brighter shines, oh man, in thee.
Oh, dim not with the shades of sin,
The glory which should gleam within.

In  thee doth Jesus walk the earth;
In  thee He speaks of heavenly birth;
In  thee instructs, in thee rebukes,
With wisdom not in earthly books.

Look not to heaven's celestial dome;
In holy hearts He makes His home;
And let it be thy thought and care,
To seek, and find, and know Him there.

Christ in the Soul (1872) XLVI.

Saturday, February 20, 2016


'Tis a great lesson which we learn,
In this our weak and trying state,
To see God's hand at every turn,
And patiently to wait.

Conceal'd in mysteries sublime,
When painful months and years are past,
The things, deep hidden for a time,
Are all revealed at last.

We know them then, but know not now;
We walk by faith and not, by sense;
And cheerfully and humbly bow
Before Thy Providence.

Oh God, this blessedness impart,
This foretaste of a heavenly state,
The gift of a believing heart,
Which patiently can wait.

Christ in the Soul (1872) XLV.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Confession and Humility

It ls proper and important also to acknowledge our having sinned against God and to humble ourselves before him on account of sin, because we are thus continually reminded of the unspeakable condescension and mercy of God as manifested in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is impossible, that a truly holy mind, one that has deeply felt the living God within, should ever forget the depth of its former degradation, however different and however encouraging may be its present state. And whenever it calls to recollection its former pollution, it cannot be otherwise than deeply impressed with a sense of the Savior's wonderful goodness and love. May we not even conjecture, that it will be our privilege through all eternity to remember and to confess our former fallen state? Even in heaven, renewed and purified as we shall be, we shall, in one sense at least, be sinners saved by grace; and shall undoubtedly repeat with joy the song of the ransomed, "Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation."

While it is proper for all to make a confession during life, it is nevertheless true, that the mind of a person, who is truly in a sanctified state, is chiefly occupied with supplications and thanksgivings. Such persons may be said for the most part to be always praying, always supplicating, and in every thing giving thanks. The state of those, who possess this blessing, is very different from the condition of persons, who have nothing but their sins to speak of. Such is their peace of mind, such their delight in God's character, such their sense of inward purity, such their conformity to God's will, that their prevalent state must necessarily be one of divine communion and of holy rejoicing.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition, 1844) Part 2, Chapter 16.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Confession and the Decietfulness of Sin

It is proper... to confess our sins, because there may be sins in us, and not merely those which result from infirmity and are involuntary, which are seen by the omniscient eye of God, but which may not be obvious to ourselves. We have no doubt that, as a general thing, we may rely upon our consciousness in confirmation of the great fact of perfection in love. Certainly it is a reasonable idea, that, as a general thing, a man may know in himself or in his own consciousness, whether he loves God or not; and whether he loves him with his whole heart or not. At the same time there may occasionally be cases, in which he is left in some degree of doubt. He may through the influence of some sudden temptation, be driven so closely upon the line which separates rectitude from sin, that it is almost impossible for him to tell whether he has kept within it. The Scriptures also recognize the great deceitfulness of the human heart. Who, then, is able, either on philosophical or scripture principles, to assert, absolutely and unconditionally, that he has been free from sin, at least for any great length of time? We may, therefore, with great propriety, even if there were no other reason but this, ask the forgiveness of our trespasses, of our sins, or of whatever God sees amiss in us. And it is unquestionably our duty so to do.

We may add here, that it is generally, and perhaps we may say, universally the case that those, who give good evidence of being in that state which we variously describe as assurance of faith and as perfect love, and which involves the possession of the blessing of present sanctification, speak of their state in a qualified, rather than in an absolute manner. In other words, they generally express themselves, (and it is exceedingly proper that they should do so,) merely as if they hoped or had reason to hope that they had experienced this great blessing, and were kept free from voluntary and known sin. Such a mode of expression seems to be unobjectionable; it is consistent with confession, and corresponds to the precise state of the case.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition, 1844) Part 2, Chapter 16.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Confession and Infirmity

There is a propriety and a practical importance in the confession of sin, during the whole course of the present life, because our various infirmities, our defects of judgment, our frequent ignorance of the motives and characters of our fel­low-men, and the relatively wrong acts and feelings which originate in these sources from which no one, in the present period of the history of the church, can reasonably expect to be free, require an atonement, as well as our willful or voluntary transgressions. We do not suppose, that it is necessary here to enter into an argument for the purpose of showing, that such imperfections, originally flowing from our fallen condition and our connection with Adam, require the application of Christ' s blood. Such is not only our own belief; but we have reason to believe, that it is a doctrine which is generally conceded by those, who will be likely to take an interest in these inquiries. There are various passages of Scripture, such as Lev. 4:3, and Numb. 15:27-30, which have relation to such infirmities and sins, and which might be properly consulted, if the present were an occasion to enter into a minute examination of the subject.

It is in accordance with what has now been said, that Christians, who are well established in the interior life, whenever they have fallen into such errors and infirmities, experience no true peace of mind, until they find a sense of forgiveness. For an error in judgment, for an ill-placed word when there was no evil design or intention of saying what was wrong, for an action which was undesignedly a mistaken one either through undue remissness or through undue haste, for any unavoidable blindnesses and ignorances whatever, which are followed by evil and unhappy results, they find no resource but in an immediate and believing application to the atoning blood. It is true, they do not ordinarily have those bitter feelings of condemnation and remorse, which they have, when they have committed a deliberate transgression; but they feel deep humiliation and sorrow of heart; they see the results of sin flowing from the original rebellion; and have what may perhaps be called an instinctive conviction, that the occasion is a fitting one for penitent grief and for humble confession. Now as such infirmities are very frequent, and as indeed they are unavoidable, so long as we come short of the intellectual and physical perfection of Adam, we shall have abundant occasion to confess our trespasses; and it will ever be true, that our sin, in this sense of the term, will always be before us.

It may be proper to remark here, that it was probably in this view of the subject that Mr. Wesley, while he maintained with great ability and earnestness the doctrine of Christian perfection or of perfect love, did not hold to the doctrine of sinless perfection. That is to say, he maintained that it was both our duty and our privilege to love God with all our heart; and also that this state of mind, viz. of assured faith and perfected love, had been actually, and in many cases, realized. He maintained, nevertheless, that this state was consistent with all those wrong judgments which are involuntary and unavoidable, and consequently with relatively wrong acts and affections; that we are continually liable to transgress in the respects which have been mentioned, even while we are in a state of perfect love, and that the best of men may say from the heart,

"Every moment, Lord, I need
"The merit of  thy death."

Under these circumstances, he thought it proper and necessary, that even persons, who, on evangelical principles, could justly lay claim to the blessing of sanctification, should continually humble themselves before God and make confession. This view seems to be correct. And it is very desirable when we look at it in its practical results, as well as in its moral relations, that it should continue to be maintained, because it will constantly prompt us not only to seek perfection in love, which is the most important thing, but to seek perfection in manners, habits, health, words, knowledge, and all good judgment.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition, 1844) Part 2, Chapter 16.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Confession of Sin is Needed Throughout the Christian Life

Should those, who are so far advanced in the religious life as to be justly regarded as sanctified or holy persons, confess sin? This is a question, which is sometimes asked with a degree of solicitude and from good motives. And besides, it is often adduced as one of the greatest objections to the doctrine of the realization of holiness in the present life, that those, who have experienced it, ought not to, and cannot confess sin.

The confession of sin during the whole course of the present life is exceedingly proper, for various reasons; and in the first place, because sin is an unspeakable evil. We suppose that those, who have experienced a perfected state of faith and love, will understand this remark more fully than others. They have tasted the bitter fruits of sin; they have in many cases endured a severe and terrible contest in driving it from the heart; they are now engaged momentarily in a constant warfare to prevent its re-entrance; they know it is the one great thing and the only thing which separates the soul from God; they know that every sin, even the smallest, is exceedingly heinous in God's sight; they feel that they had rather die a thousand deaths, than voluntarily commit even the smallest sin. Now when they remember, that during a considerable portion of their lives they were sinning against God every day and hour; despising, injuring, and insulting continually that great and good Being, whom now their hearts as continually adore, they are penetrated with the deepest grief. They never, never can forget the greatness of their former degradation and guilt. And, in their present state of mind, they never can remember it, without being, at each distinct retrospection, deeply humbled and penitent. Indeed, as true confession consists much more in the state of the heart than in the expression of the lips, and as the surest mark of true confession is an earnest striving after the opposite of that which is confessed as wrong, those, who are earnestly seeking and practicing holiness, may be said in the highest sense of the terms to be always acknowledging and always lamenting their sin. Their watching, their strife, their warfare is against sin, as the evil and bitter thing which their soul hates; and which their souls shall ever hate whenever and wherever committed, whether by themselves or others, at the present time or  in times past.

— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (2nd edition, 1844) Part 2, Chapter 16.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Palmer: The Professor and His Wife

 Guest blog by Phoebe W. Palmer (1807-1874) — from a letter to Timothy Merritt, editor of the Guide to Christian Perfection:

And now let me give you matter for special thanksgiving, by referring to one of the witnesses, who gave in a delightful testimony of the power of our Lord and Savior to "wash and keep us clean." She is the wife of Prof. Upham, and for several months has been enjoying the witness, that the blood of Jesus cleanseth. Her experience is remarkably clear and instructive. It furnishes further assurance of the utility of meetings for testimony on the subject of holiness. This lady, as she has since told me, found herself under rather unlooked-for circumstances at a Methodist meeting, and, from a little maid in Israel, heard an unsophisticated testimony of the power of Christ to save from all sin. The testimony was from one who could say, "We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen." Had the learned disquisitions of a theologian been brought to bear thus unexpectedly upon her mind, however truthful his position had been, Mrs. Upham, not unacquainted with theological warfare, might have been better prepared for resistance; but truth, unfettered by adornment, with the sharpness of the two-edged sword, penetrated her heart, and she left the place deeply conscious that a further work must be wrought in her heart before she could stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

Conceiving that what she had heard was Bible truth, she set herself, as far as circumstances would permit, to searching the Scriptures, in order to assure her heart before God whether she might indeed expect salvation from all sin in this life; not for a moment doubting but that, if such were her privilege, the Lord would make it known to her through his word and bring her into the enjoyment of that state. For weeks she continued in this employ; while clearer light with every day shone upon the word, leading her to the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world. While passing through this process, her husband often pleasantly inquired, "Well, wife, how comes on Christian perfection now?" and as her confidence from her Biblical investigations gathered strength, she daily expressed her belief, her increasing belief, in the doctrine, until, with a full heart, and with her eye upon the word of God, she exclaimed, "O, husband, IT IS ALL HERE," As intimated, it was only for her to be assured that the Scriptures presented it as her privilege to be saved from all sin in this life, in order to enter upon the enjoyment of this blessed state. I think she said to me that she never thought of doubting, the faithfulness of God in fulfilling his promises at once to her, so soon as her faith was settled scripturally, as a preparation on her own part for this reliance. According to her faith it was done unto her. She no sooner found the doctrine in the Bible than she at once received the blessing in her heart.

But this is not all: I have something to relate relative to her distinguished husband, which will raise the note of praise yet higher. Ever since Mrs. Upham's mind became interested on the subject of holiness, he had been in an inquiring state. On the 24th of December, Mrs. Upham came to the Tuesday meeting, which she very much enjoyed. She afterward expressed a wish that her husband might be permitted to attend, during his visit to this city, which was of course acceded to.

On the intervening Thursday, Prof. and Mrs. Upham, with some other Christian friends, supped at sister Lankford's. It was truly a pious visit; and the interview I shall never forget. During the evening the Professor asked very many questions, involving some nice points, most evidently with the single aim to elicit light on the doctrine and experience of holiness. The enlightening and hallowing influences of the Holy Spirit seemed to be very present, both with the questioner and the questioned; and when, at the close of the lengthy interview, he was called upon to pray, in defiance of former prejudices in reference to females exercising before men, he called upon the female friend whom he had questioned during the evening to pray. She had heard of his views on this point, and the cross was heavy; but she saw that, in order to carry out the principles of holiness, no other way remained, and she led in prayer.

After her return home, until about midnight, she continued to plead for him with groanings unutterable. Her mind seemed to take within its comprehensive range how the entire sanctification of such mental energies as the Lord had bestowed upon him might promote the cause of holiness, when wholly enlisted. And she well knew that it was not possible for any one to live in the enjoyment of the blessing of sanctification, without feeling it as a consuming fire shut up in the bones, enlisting all the powers of body and mind in its promotion and with desires inexpressibly intense: did she long that an understanding acknowledged to be so clear in philosophical truth, might concentrate its energies in presenting to the world the principles of holiness; for well did she know that the more closely it was examined, the brighter it would shine. If time would permit I should love to tell you how Satan tried to withstand her, for it was a season of wrestling with principalities and powers, never to be forgotten; but I may not extend my communication on this point, further than to record a most solemn vow, which was uttered in this hour of extremity. "If thou wilt do this," said she, in her importunity, "I will, through thy grace, be more truly 'instant in season and out of season,' in urging the subject of holiness on persons of this description, and will henceforth regard the granting of this, my desire, as a special subject of praise through time and eternity." The high and holy One at that moment condescended to assure her heart, that her prayer had in truth come up in remembrance before him. Had a voice from the highest heavens fallen upon her ear, saying, "Thy prayer has been heard, and thy vow shall be in perpetual remembrance before God, the desire of thy heart shall be granted;" she could not have been more confirmed in the persuasion that she should have the thing she had desired of God. Yet, though so fully assured that it should be granted, the bestowment was in prospective, and she retired to her couch so burdened for the bringing forth of her desire, that the whole night was spent in strugglings for deliverance; even when the bodily powers had yielded to broken slumbers, the spirit remained conscious in its unutterable groanings. Before morning dawned she was again in the attitude of a suppliant, and in her earnest implorings she said, "Let it be now, that he may have such perceptions of the way of faith, of its simplicity and power, as he never before had any conception of." It was suggested, "He is probably asleep, and it is inconsistent to ask that he may be so signally blessed just now, when his mind may not be in a state to receive the blessing." The response of her heart was, that whether he was now waking or sleeping, his spirit was doubtless in a state of preparation; for the power of the Holy Ghost, which had been operating on her heart, as if it were almost apart from herself, must have influenced his heart simultaneously, and still she cried, "Let it be just now." As ever, her heart fled to the blessed WORD for a foundation upon which to rest her faith, when yet again, as in former emergencies, she was enabled to say, "And this is the confidence that I have in thee, that if I ask anything according to thy will thou hearest me, and if I know that thou hearest me, whatsoever I ask, I know that I have the petition that I desire of thee." She laid hold, and kept steadfast hold on the promise implied in this wonderful portion of the word, and now began to say, "I have the petition I desired of thee," and prayer was turned to thanksgivings to God for the reception of the thing desired. Many temptations had she during that day to give up a faith which the enemy suggested was so venturesome. Hour after hour she waited the expected arrival of Professor Upham to announce the victory of faith, and as the moments succeeded each other, without bringing any sensible assurance of the effect of her faith in his behalf, the trial became more severe. She well knew that the blessing could not be enjoyed without exerting upon the mind a pervading and all-controlling influence, and "if you had not believed in vain," said the deceiver, "the object of your faith and prayers would have been moved to hasten to you with the confession of how great things the Lord had done for him." But the whole of that day passed, and it was not until near the close of another that she again saw Professor Upham. The struggle which was endured in holding fast her confidence, two or three hours previous to seeing him, can never be forgotten. It was, indeed, terrible, but grace empowered her to endure. On seeing her the professor said, "At about such an hour yesterday morning I received such clear views of faith, of its simplicity and power, as I never before had a conception of. It was the full assurance of faith."

The hour named was precisely the time the sister had claimed the blessing for him, and he also stated, that, during the hours of the night preceding this transition, his spirit had been under an unusual influence, and in wakefulness had been progressing toward that point of light and power upon which it had now entered. "O," said he, with intense ardor, "faith hath power in it." He since delights in calling the state of blessedness upon which he has entered, "HOLINESS." Since his return home we have received a letter from him filled with assurances of his identity with the blessed theme of full salvation. He says, "On this point, namely, whether I love God fully, entirely, I can say, with the devoted Mrs. Rogers, Satan has ceased to tempt me and my soul is entirely at rest. If I am not mistaken, (and how can I be mistaken, when I have a consciousness of it as deep and as distinct as of my own existence?) my soul has panted after God until it has found him, and has entered into the inner sanctuary of the divine love." Relative to promoting the cause of holiness, he observes, "I feel as if I had nothing else to live for. I consider myself consecrated and pledged for ever." I have thought that some profitable communications for the "Guide" might be expected from either Professor Upham or his gifted lady. Such talents, consecrated and pledged to the promotion of holiness, may surely be expected, through the blessing of God, to tell advantageously on the cause; but I well know that brother Merritt truly feels that it is "not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord."

— edited from Faith and Its Effects (1848) XXVIII.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is taken from a letter addressed to Timothy Merritt (identified as "Rev. T_____ M_____), the original editor of the Guide to Christian Perfection (later the Guide to Holiness). I have supplied the names — though I am a bit less sure of the identity of "sister L_____" as Sarah Lankford (1806-1896) than I am of the others. Upham's own account of his spiritual journey — and the influence of the Methodists on him — differs a bit, and can be found here: The Testimony of Prof. T. C. Upham

Saturday, February 13, 2016

God's Happiness in Human Holiness

The sources of God's happiness, therefore, are twofold; — first, that simple but ever-flowing consciousness of happiness which has already been mentioned; and, second, the contemplation of his perfections, as they are imaged forth and realized objectively, that is to say, in the hearts and lives of his creatures. The moral universe around him, when unpolluted by sin, is the bright mirror of himself. It is the beauty, therefore, of his own being, seen in the infinitude of holy beings whom he has created, — the light of true glory kindled up in all parts of the universe, and reflected back upon the central fountain of light,— which constitutes a large share of his ineffable bliss. Considered in relation to the beings he has made, God may properly be regarded as the great moral center, as the sun in the vast system of holy love, rejoicing in the infinite number of stars which his own radiance has kindled up around him.

The holiness of the creatures of God is one of the great elements of his happiness. The doctrine that the happiness of God rests for its support, in part at least, upon the holiness of his creatures, is one of great interest to men. It  furnishes a new motive to holy effort. Everything we do has its correspondent result in the divine mind. There is not a throb in our bosoms, beating in the direction of pure and universal love, which does not excite joy in the bosom of our heavenly Father. It is not more true that angels rejoice, than it is that God rejoices, over every return from sin and every advance in holiness.

It  is hardly possible to conceive of a higher result in the destiny of man than that which thus contributes to the happiness of God. The thought, therefore, should animate us in all our efforts, namely, that God sees us; that he takes an interest in all our acts and feelings; and that when we are good our Father is happy. The light of our little star goes back to its parent sun. The small wave of our little fountain swells the broad billow of the mighty ocean. Can there be a higher motive to action than this?

Then let us labor on. God works. Let us work with him. Let us suffer; if needs be. Yea, let us rejoice in suffering; but neither in toil nor in suffering trusting to ourselves, but rather "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 12.

Friday, February 12, 2016

God Desires Human Happiness

God's nature, including all his acts and feelings, corresponds precisely to the truth and relations of things. If he is a perfect being, it cannot be otherwise.  It is not possible for him, being what he is, to sunder himself from the things he has made, and from the relations they sustain to himself and each other; nor to act otherwise, and to be otherwise, than in perfect consistency with such things and relations.

Among other works which are to be attributed to him, God has formed moral agents. Of all his various works, this is, in some respects, the greatest. He has formed angels; he has formed men. The mere fact that he has made them, which involves the additional fact of the relationship of cause and effect, in other words, of father and child, constitutes an alliance, which is both an alliance of morality and an alliance of the affections In other words, he is allied to them by duty and allied to them by love.

If God is a good and holy being, it is not possible for him to create a being or beings susceptible of happiness, without making provision for their happiness, and without rejoicing in their happiness. To be indifferent to and not to rejoice in the happiness of his creatures, would be the characteristic of an evil and not of a good being. But no moral being which God has created can be truly and permanently happy without loving God and all other beings as God would have them love; in other words, without being holy. We come, then, to the conclusion, that another and very great source of God’s happiness is the contemplation of the holiness and happiness of his creatures. If they are holy, they cannot be otherwise than happy; and if they are happy, God must be happy in them.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 12.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Happiness of God

God is happy. Being infinite, he is infinitely happy. And it is interesting to know that holy beings, in whatever parts of the universe they exist, constitute one of the elements of the divine happiness. This being the case, there is such a thing (and it is certainly a most interesting and important consideration) as being united with God in the promotion of his own happiness. The humblest soul, when purified by divine grace, becomes a gem in the crown of the Infinite Father's bliss.

Undoubtedly the elements of the divine happiness are various. God, for instance, is happy in the knowledge of his own perfections; and especially is he happy in the consciousness that the central principle or life of his nature, that which brings the infinity of his natural attributes into action, is holy love. Most readily do we admit that he rejoices in his natural attributes also, in his inherent and universal knowledge, in his omnipresence and omnipotence; but more than all and above all does be rejoice in that living and life-giving principle, which saves his merely natural attributes from evil applications, and renders them available to the highest purposes.

And the exceeding  happiness  which God thus experiences is not the result exclusively, nor chiefly, of a reflex act. Some writers seem to suppose (at least such would be the interpretation of their language if taken in its natural and obvious import) that God sits alone in an infinite solitude, and is happy chiefly by means of such an act; that is to say, by means of the mind turned back in acts of contemplation on its own inward nature. It  seems to us better, and more in accordance with the divine nature, to say that God is happy, not so much by a series of reflective and deductive acts, as by direct consciousness.

Consciousness of happiness takes place when the happiness, flowing out naturally and necessarily from the existing states of the mind, pervades the mind and makes itself known without any care or effort on the part of the percipient subject. He, who loves with pure love, is happy; because happiness is a part of love's nature. Happiness, although there may be causes of affliction, which will diminish the amount of it at times, never was separated and never can be separated, from love. To speak figuratively in the matter, happiness is the smile of love, and it sits just as naturally and beautifully upon love's countenance, as the smile does upon the countenance of any pure and benevolent being. Or, to use another illustration, it is love's bright and eternal seal engraven upon it with letters of light. They are thus connected by an eternal relationship. And God can be no more unconscious of happiness in love, than he can be unconscious of love itself.

— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 7, Chapter 12.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Palmer: Perfection Requires Progression

Guest blog by Phoebe W. Palmer (1807-1874).

In view of the admonition, "Go on unto perfection," you inquire,

"Should I go steadily onward, how soon may I expect to arrive at a state of perfection? And when I arrive at this point, will not the summit of Christian attainment be reached?" 

Permit me to answer your latter inquiry first, and it will enable me more readily to meet the former.

The summit of Christian attainment reached? No, not in eternity itself, with receptive powers still growing, while immortality endures, will the attainments in love, knowledge, light, and power, which have been made possible through the atonement, be grasped. Paul says, "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do: forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

It is evident, as you perceive, on Scriptural authority, that a state of perfection which will not admit higher degrees is not to be expected. But that a state of perfection is attainable is most evident, and is proven upon the same premises. The apostle, in continuation of what I have already quoted, goes on to say, "Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded;" including, as you observe, both himself and a part of those addressed as being in a state of perfection. I am the more particular in speaking of this subject, because it is not uncommon for those who oppose the doctrine of Christian perfection to refer to this passage.

Just the state of perfection aimed at in these passages (Phil. iii, 8-15) is what I would now urge upon you: that is, a state of perfection which requires progression — a state which could not even be retained, without obedience to "this one thing — forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before." The perfection to which your attention is urged, does not imply perfection in knowledge or light, but a state of supreme love to God, where all the powers of body and mind are perfectly subject to love's control, and ceaselessly offered up to God through Christ. This is Christian perfection; not angelic perfection, neither Adamic perfection, but Christian perfection. To think disparagingly of Christian perfection, implies, to my mind, thinking lightly of the atonement. To undervalue the efficacy of the blood of Christ to cleanse is sinful. And it would be sinful to doubt whether the offering presented to God, through Christ, is holy and acceptable.

What you need, in order to bring you into this state, is an offering up of yourself through this purifying medium. Now do you still ask, How soon may I expect to arrive at this state of perfection? Just so soon as you come believingly, and make the required sacrifice, it will be done unto you according to your faith. Christ came to take away our sin, to destroy the works of the devil, and to purge us from all iniquity. The purpose of man's redemption is not accomplished until he is presented perfect in Christ Jesus. When the Savior said, "It is finished!" then this full salvation was wrought out for you. All that remains is for you to come complying with the conditions, and claim it. As it has been purchased for you, it is already yours. If you do not now receive it, the delay will not be on the part of God, but wholly with yourself.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I Shall Yet Praise Him

"Why art thou cast down, Oh my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."  Ps. xlii. 11.

AT that dim hour, when ploughmen first arise,
Roused from their homely couch and deep repose,
When stars still linger in the changing skies,
And in the East the dawning feebly glows,
'Tis doubtful long, which of the two bears sway,
The nascent day or unextinguished night,
Till ruddy morn, at length, with bright array,
Proclaims the triumph of victorious Light.
So when there breaks upon the heart's domain
The Light Divine, which mars the shades within,
Oh, who can tell which of the two shall reign,
The recent purity or ancient sin?
And yet the inward Light, like outward day,
Shall shine, revealed at last, with a triumphant ray.

American Cottage Life (1850) XXVI.

Monday, February 8, 2016

The State of Continual Prayer

He, who can say from a full and sincere heart, THY WILL BE DONE, is in a state of continual prayer. And it is a prayer, which, although it is general in its form, may be regarded as realizing and including in itself all particular and specific prayer. He, who is the subject of it, sympathising as he does with the divine mind, prays for everything which God requires him to pray for. He can as really pray for all the objects of prayer without specifically knowing them, as he can adore all the purposes of God without knowing them. There is no sinner in all lands and no sorrow in the wide world, which he does not virtually and at the same time really present before God. It should be remembered, however, that this sublime state of mind, which exists much less frequently than it should do, is entirely consistent with specific prayer, and that it really lays the best foundation for it.

Religious Maxims (1846) CLX.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Do Not Remain in Ignorance

If an intellect and conscience, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, furnish the instrumentality, which indicates the nature and regulates the degree of the religious affections, then the law of religious experience requires us to  know  the right, as well as to be and do the right. Be not contented, therefore, to remain in ignorance. Sit at the feet of the great Teacher, and  learn. "For this cause," says the Savior, "came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the TRUTH." And again he says in another place, "The TRUTH shall make you FREE." John 8:32, 18:37.

Religious Maxims (1846) CLIX.

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Holy Spirit Illuminates the Intellect

It is one part of the office of the Holy Spirit to illuminate the intellect, and through the intellect to impart clearness and strength to the conscience. We ought, therefore, highly to value not only those affections, which are originated and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, but also an intellect and conscience, enlightened from the same source. Especially when we consider, that a spiritually enlightened conscience is the surest guide in relation to the true character and the right degree of the affections.

Religious Maxims (1846) CLVIII.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Holy Spirit Works in Cooperation With Us

The Holy Spirit does not teach by arbitrary acts, or those acts which have no relation to the constitution of the human mind; but by silently and yet effectually, inspiring and guiding the movements of the natural powers of perception and knowledge, in co-operation with their own action. "Strive, therefore, to enter in."  He who desires and purposes to be holy, must employ the appropriate means to be holy. He must be willing to think and to reason; he must be willing to reflect, to resolve, to pray; doing all, however, under the guidance of the great Inward Teacher, who gives life without countenancing inactivity, who is the inspirer of human movement, but is not the substitute for it.

Religious Maxims (1846) CLVII.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Depending on God for the Means as Well as the End

God is not only in the beginning and the end; but in all the intermediate methods and instrumentalities which connect them together. He, who lifts a finger or moves a foot in any enterprise without God, does it at the hazard, not only of displeasing God, but of failing of his object. We ought, therefore, to exercise the same sense of dependence and the same submissiveness of spirit in the choice and employment of the means applicable to a given end, which we exercise in relation to the end, when in the Providence of God it is either accomplished or fails to be accomplished. "Except the Lord build  the  house, they labor in vain that build it. Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain." Ps. 127:1.

Religious Maxims (1846) CLVI.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Christ Inward and Christ Outward

In the early periods of our religious experience, we are chiefly interested in what Christ was by SITUATION, his birth in the manger, the incidents of his childhood, his temptations and labors, his betrayal and his crucifixion. At a later period we are interested, in a still higher degree, in what Christ was and is by CHARACTER, his purity, his condescension, his forbearance, his readiness to do and suffer his Father's will, his love. The first method of contemplating Christ is profitable; the second still more so. The tendency of the one is to lead to a Christ outward, to Christ of the times of Herod and of Pilate, to a Christ with blood-stained feet and with a crown of thorns; who is now gone, and who never can exist again, as he was then. The tendency of the other is to lead us to a Christ inward; who lives unchanged in his unity and likeness with his Father; forever  the same in himself, and forever the same in the hearts of those who are born in his image. Christ outward is precious, and always will be precious, historically; "THE STAR OF MEMORY." Christ inward, who can never die, and who reproduces himself in the hearts of his followers, is still more precious, by present realization; the star, the sun of the affections. 

Religious Maxims (1846) CLV.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Mirrors of God

God, in the formation of his spiritual work, can stamp no image and form no feature, but the image and the feature which exists eternally in himself. And accordingly all holy souls are not only lights in the world; but being born of God and bearing his image, are necessarily mirrors of the Divinity. If the mirror is clear, God is manifest. And just in proportion, as it is stained and soiled, there is no divine reflection. God is no longer a subject of inward consciousness, nor of outward observation.

Religious Maxims (1846) CLIV.