Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Daniel Steele: His Entire Sanctification

Daniel Steele (1824-1914) was a theology professor at Boston University and the founding president of Syracuse University. It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of Steele's influence on the Holiness Movement of later Wesleyanism. While his (over)usage of the Greek aorist tense in proving instantaneous entire sanctification is now questioned he remains a giant in second-blessing thought.

Below is his experience of receiving entire sanctification, culminating on the night of November 17, 1870. It is taken from chapter 15 of his first book, Love Enthroned:
But an evangelist of extraordinary power to awaken slumbering professors and to bring sinners to the foot of the cross, came across my path. I sought to find the hidings of his power, and discovered that it was the fullness of the Holy Spirit enjoyed as an abiding blessing, styled by him 'the rest of faith.' I was convicted. I sought earnestly the same great gift, but could not exercise faith till I had made public confession of my sin in preaching self more than Christ, and being satisfied with the applause of the Church above the approval of her Divine Head. I immediately began to feel a strange freedom daily increasing, the cause of which I did not distinctly apprehend. I was then led to seek the conscious and joyful presence of the Comforter in my heart.
"Having settled the question that this was not merely an apostolic blessing, but for all ages, 'He shall abide with you forever,' I took the promise, 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you.' The 'verily' had to me all the strength of an oath. Out of the 'whatsoever' I took all temporal blessings, not because I did not believe them to be included, but because I was not then seeking them. I then wrote my own name in the promise, not to exclude others, but to be sure that I included myself. Then writing underneath these words, 'Today is the day of salvation,' I found that my faith had three points to master: the Comforter; for me; now. Upon the promise I ventured with an act of appropriating faith, claiming the Comforter as my right in the name of Jesus. For several hours I clung by naked faith, praying and repeating Charles Wesley's hymn —
'Jesus, shine all-victorious love,
Shed in my heart abroad.'
I then ran over in my mind the great facts in Christ's life, especially dwelling upon Gethsemane and Calvary; his ascension, priesthood, and all-atoning sacrifice. Suddenly I became conscious of a mysterious power exerting itself upon my sensibilities. My physical sensations, though not of a nervous temperament, in good health, sitting alone and calm, were like those of electric sparks passing through my bosom with slight but painless shocks, melting my hard heart into a fiery stream of love.
"Christ became so unspeakably precious that I instantly dropped all earthly good-reputation, property, friends, family, everything — in the twinkling of an eye, my soul crying out, —
'None but Christ to me be given,
None but Christ in earth or heaven.'
He stood forth as my Saviour, all radiant in his loveliness, "chiefest among ten thousand." Yet there was no phantasm, or image, or uttered word, apprehended by my intellect. The affections were the sphere of this wonderful phenomenon, best described as 'the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost.' It seemed as if the attraction of Jesus, the loadstone of my soul, was so strong that my heart would be drawn out of my body, and through the college window by which I was sitting, and upward into the sky. O how vivid and real was all this to me! I was more certain that Christ loved me than I was of the existence of the solid earth and shining sun. I intuitively apprehended Christ.
Steele felt the witness of the Spirit so strongly that it led him to declare:
I think I went where Paul did when he heard things not lawful, not possible to utter. My whole being, soul and body, was pervaded with the indescribable joy of the Holy Spirit. The nervous sensations were delicious, a thousandfold more than any I ever experienced before. I believe that on that day — though the Divine influence had been descending for two weeks — my great Joshua brought me in, and allotted me a portion in the mountain of God. If I should derive my theology from my feelings I should have to adopt one of the five points of Calvin,

"But this I do find,
We two are so joined
He'll not live in glory and leave me behind."

Yes, I firmly believe that God can do this, again.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

William Carvosso: Sealed with the Holy Spirit

William Carvosso (1750–1834) was a layman from England—a contemporary of Wesley—who became a Methodist, so called, with all of his might. Never ordained a minister, Carvosso was a Class Leader of Methodist societies. He loved Wesleys' sermons and the Methodist Hymn-Book. He was just a regular man—except for the fact that he remains one of the greatest soul-winners in Methodist history.

As a saved and entirely sanctified Christian Carvosso left behind Life of William Carvosso, a gripping retelling of this dedicated servant's life in God. (E. M. Bounds mentions Carvosso in his work The Weapon of Prayer, Chapter 11, "Modern Examples of Prayer".)

In his spiritual autobiography Carvosso tells of occasions when God immediately and directly (to use D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones' words) witnessed to his human spirit that he was saved. Consider this Scripture:
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14 KJV)
The word translated, "after" is an acceptable rendering in the Greek though modern translations don't render it so. Modern translations render the sealing simultaneous with salvation while the King James renders it subsequent in nature. The late D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899—1981), for instance, held that our sealing with the Holy Spirit occurs after initial salvation. Lloyd-Jones wasn't a Wesleyan and didn't believe in entire sanctification as Wesleyans do. However, the famed Welsh Calvinistic Methodist held to a post-salvation baptism in the Spirit of God.

From Life of William Carvosso:
I have sometimes had seasons of remarkable visitation from the presence of the Lord. I well remember on one occasion, while paying a visit to my Camborne friends, I was one night in bed, so filled -- so overpowered with the glory of God, that, had there been a thousand suns shining at noonday, the brightness of that Divine glory would have eclipsed the whole! I was constrained to shout aloud for joy. It was the overwhelming power of saving grace. Now it was that I again received the impress of the seal, and the earnest of the Spirit, in my heart. Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, I was changed into the same image from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord. Language fails in giving but a faint description of what I then experienced. I can never forget it in time, nor to all eternity.
Carvosso goes on to relate another experience:
Many years before, perhaps not fewer than thirty, I was sealed by the Spirit in a somewhat similar manner. While walking one day between Mousehole and Newlyn, I was drawn to turn aside from the public road, and under the canopy of heaven kneel down to prayer. I had not long been engaged with God, before I was so visited from above, and overpowered by the Divine glory, that my shouting could be heard at a distance. It was a weight of glory that I seemed incapable of bearing in the body, and I therefore cried out, (perhaps unwisely,) "Lord, stay thine hand!" In this glorious baptism, these words came to my heart with indescribable power, I have sealed thee unto the day of redemption."
His testimony of entire sanctification is very definite:

At length, one evening while engaged in a prayer meeting, the great deliverance came. I began to exercise faith, by believing, "I shall have the blessing now." Just at that moment a heavenly influence filled the room, and no sooner had I uttered or spoken the words from my heart, "I shall have the blessing now," than refining fire went "through my heart, illuminated my soul, scattered its life through every part, and sanctified the whole." I then received the full witness of the Spirit that the blood of Jesus had cleansed me from all sin. I cried out, "This is what I wanted! I have now got a new heart." I was emptied of self and sin, and filled with God. I felt I was nothing, and Christ was all in all. Him I now cheerfully received in all His offices, my Prophet to teach me, my Priest to atone fore me, my King to reign over me.
Carvosso later shared in his book:
Giving glory to my God, I can say to the present moment, I feel the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth me from all sin. I am become a living temple, glorious all within. I can now love God with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my strength. My inward heaven of joy and peace was, I think, never so great as of late. O Lord, help me to make some suitable return of love and gratitude! O stupendous redeeming grace!
How God loves us, saints! How he loves us!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Uncle Bud Robinson: His Vision of Heaven

Reuben "Uncle Bud" Robinson (1860-1942) was a Methodist Episcopal evangelist who later joined the Church of the Nazarene. He was different.

Courtesy Classic Holiness Sermons

God made one of him and then smashed the mold beyond recognition. Robinson was the son of a Whiskey maker and barkeep from the hills of Tennessee. He was no scholar (and never pretended to be) but he saw over 100,000 people get saved through his folksy homespun ministry. He preached a strong message about second-blessing entire sanctification.

One of his prayers will tell you much about the man:
Oh Lord, give me a backbone as big as a sawlog, ribs like the sleepers under the church floor, put iron shoes on me and galvanized breeches, give me a rhinoceros hide for a skin, and hang a wagonload of determination up in the gable-end of my soul, and help me to sign the contract to fight the devil as long as I've got a fist and bite him as long as I have a tooth, then gum him till I die. All this I ask for Christ's sake. Amen.
Uncle Bud suffered a terrible accident as a pedestrian. A car both hit and ran him over. It shattered his body and took him months to recover. Soon after the accident when he hovered between heaven and earth he had a vision of Glory. Here are his words from his small but captivating book, My Hospital Experience:
About the second or third day after my smash-up. while I was near the gates of death, the angels of heaven came one day for me and carried me to heaven. I suppose this would be called a vision or something of that kind by most everybody, yet to me it was as real and as beautiful as it will be when I go up. I was carried to the gate of heaven and no mortal man can describe the scenery of that city. The gates of pearl and jasper walls and golden streets are just as real as the brick and mortar that go to make up the average city of the United .States, and heaven is just as real a city as Louisville or Cincinnati, or Chicago, or any other American city. It is the home of God, and I was allowed to go up and go in and see the city. There were millions and multiplied millions of angels, and they were more beautiful than I had ever imagined that an angel could be, but as beautiful as the angels were, they were not so beautiful as the redeemed saints. The saints were so beautiful that no pen nor tongue could describe their beauty. They were whiter than the driven snow. And while I beheld the saints, the great organs of heaven began to play. It was so beautiful that there is not a sinner in the world but what, if he could hear the music of that world, he would give his heart to God right on the spot.

After the big organs had played for sometime there were millions and million of saints gathered around the great white throne and they began to sing in the most beautiful tones of voice that 1 had ever heard. They sang an old hymn that I hadn't heard for some years, it was "Companionship with Jesus, O, How Sweet!" As they sang it seemed that all heaven rejoiced and the angels seemed to stand still while the saints sang the beautiful old hymn. And Jesus came out of the great multitude of those shining ones, and stood before me and began to talk with me. It was worth all the suffering that I have ever done. If I had been broken ten times as bad as I was, it would have been worth it all, to have made that trip to heaven and to have had Jesus come and look me over and talk with me.

My robe seemed to be whiter than the driven snow, and I was allowed to see my own heart. It was whiter than snow, and glittered like snow, mingled with gold or something of that kind;

***

...after Jesus had talked with me awhile He sent me back to this world to tell the people how He loves them, and wants to save all sinners and sanctify every believer and so purify their hearts that they can come and live with Him forever in His beautiful home, a the angels seemed to gather me up some way and brought me back to this world, and I opened my eyes and I was in room 303, in the big hospital in San
Francisco.
Uncle Bud related another vision he had after the accident when one leg was healed miraculously of pain:
At that time the District Assembly of the San Francisco district was in session in the Church of the Nazarene down in the city. I asked my wife to go down to the telephone and call Dr. Goodwin, and have him call the Assembly to prayer, that my leg was killing me. Dr. Goodwin called them to prayer, and I saw the prayers of the saints answered. It was the most remarkable thing I have ever seen, and when I say I saw the prayers answered, I don't just mean that they prayed and I got better. All of that took place, glory to God! but I saw more than that; I actually saw the prayers answered. While they were at prayer down in the Assembly Hall, I saw a stream of liquor gold come down from heaven. It was bigger around than my thumb, and seemed to be a stream of liquid gold poured out in heaven, and it was poured on my leg just above my knee, and the stream went down to my toe and back up over my leg to my knee again, and back down to my toe, and I opened my eyes and the pains were gone, and the pain in that leg never returned. I know this was the prayers of the saints.
Robinson had a vision of Jesus' face:
And I want to testify that during all these five months and a half that I lay on my back and suffered with my broken bones. and a sore back, and spent hours and hours so lonely, Jesus never left my bedside, and His presence was so real to me, that I could see His face on the wall.
Uncle Bud even had visions of Scriptures during the night:
And I want the world to know that the visions I had of Jesus, and the answers to prayer, and the wonderful revelations I had of God and His love for me, were worth so much that it would have paid me to have had all my bones broken, because through my broken bones, God revealed Himself as I had never seen Him nor known Him before. In the darkness of the night God has written verses of Scripture out on the walls of my room until I could read them as though I was reading by the sunshine at twelve o'clock in the day, and to my mind that is one of the miracles that God wrought in my case. To some people it might seem strange that God would allow me to get smashed and then while I lay on my back in the dark hours of the night, throw beautiful Scripture verses on the wall for me to read. It would seem to them to be all uncalled for, but God does many things that the unspiritual mind would never understand nor comprehend. And another beautiful thing about it all is, God never has to explain to other people why He takes some of His servants through such hard places.
Never doubt it for a second: during hard times Jesus truly is with his Christians, just as he was with Uncle Bud Robinson.

Charles W. Savidge: His Baptism of Fire

Charles W. Savidge (1850—?) was a pastor of the gospel. He began his career as a Methodist minister then became a pastor of an independent church. Savidge ran into hard times when he invited an evangelist to help him in a revival meeting. The evangelist turned out to be a robber and, as a result, Savidge's church split. The following year was intensely difficult for Savidge until he was a broken man. In his words from his autobiography, Have Faith in God:
For a year I thought and prayed and preached to almost empty seats..

But all that year I was dying and finally I lay down on a bed, folded my hands and gave the death yell.

From being a popular preacher of a sectarian church I was nobody. I didn't own a shingle on my roof; I had an old church on leased ground. The drunkards and harlots I had helped out of the ditch and for whom I had spent my last dollar forsook me.

I was in the garden of Gethsemane--poverty-stricken, forsaken, neglected, heart-broken. I thought all was gone. I prayed for death and expected it. My every hope had gone; there was not the twinkle of a single bright star in my sky. All was blackness and desolation--and that was where God wanted me.

For three days I ceased to pray. I was not angry with God, but I had nothing to say to Him. I had been in the heat of the battle, but I lay wounded and dying on the field, as it seemed to me.

I could not exactly understand my state; I seemed to be on the bosom of a great water and there was not a breath of air to fill my sails. I was waiting. I had come at last to the end of myself. Little did I think what was about to come to me.

Then Jesus stepped in:

© 2003 NEGenWeb Project

On the morning of the 20th of September, 1901, as the clock struck four, I was suddenly awakened while lying in my bed.

And as I opened my eyes I beheld a sight on which I had never before looked.

I had long studied that text in the Bible twice spoken by John the Baptist--"He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire."

Now on my ceiling I beheld a crown of gold and that crown was notched and ornamented by open work and it was wreathed in flames.

The flames broke out from the open work and around the edge with indescribable beauty.

I exclaimed aloud, "Oh, what does this mean!"

I had no sooner spoken these words than the vision of the crown and the fire vanished and into the deep recesses of my soul was poured the baptism of divine life and fire.

I have often tried to write of this matter and to tell it to friends and congregations, but I am unable to describe what I enjoyed--such peace, joy and holy love; such delight I never knew it was possible for a being on earth to enjoy.

The fact is I had paid God's price and He had witnessed to it. There were three manifestatiosn (sic) of the presence of the Holy Ghost.

The first was a wonderful peace.

The second was the burning fire, which I felt especially in my feet and lower limbs, accompanied by a desire to dance and shout. I seemed to be in the grip of a supernatural power that must be obeyed and my heart was ready.

There was a third manifestation, to me remarkable; there seemed to spring from my heart a stream of water arising in a perpendicular direction, then the central stream divided. And these streams of pure, beautiful water kept up a constant flow.

The Holy Ghost says in the Scripture, "I will be in you a well of water, springing up into everlasting life." This is literally true.

There was a fourth manifestation in my heart and that was there was the song of birds so sweet that they must have been born in Paradise.

I controlled myself under these divine manifestations the best I could until 6 o'clock.

* * *

When this baptism was being poured upon me it appeared to me that the Lord Jesus came and stood at my right hand and a little back of me, so I did not see His face. But His form and His dress were plainly to be seen. It appeared to me that I could almost touch Him. He made me understand many things.

He recited to me a hymn which I had often sung when I was a Methodist preacher:

"On the mountain top appearing,
Lo, the sacred Herald stands,
Welcome news to Zion bringing,
Zion long in hostile lands"

This hymn was descriptive of my previous condition, strikingly so, but the recitation of this hymn or the calling of my attention to its words was very sweet and comforting to my soul.

The Lord made me understand about my trials and sufferings, but He made me a divine promise that from that time on I should be blessed.

I cannot tell just how the instruction was conveyed to me, but I was made to understand that my hardest struggles were over, that I should have peace and blessing and temporal prosperity, that I should live to a good age and that at my death I should be saved in heaven and respected if not honored on earth.

This a beautiful story of a powerfully loving Savior for a despondently broken man.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

T. M. Anderson: He Saw Jesus

Whenever you hear of a testimony from someone who claims to have seen our Lord how do you respond? Are you skeptical? Are you cynical? Do you question the person's sanity or honesty?

I agree that some fantastical reports of visions have been claimed by various folks. Frankly, I have been skeptical of many of them. However, I ran across an account from an unlikely source: the late Wesleyan preacher and Asbury College professor, Tony Marshall Anderson (1888-1979). One morning in January 1950 T. M. Anderson claimed a divine visitation during his prayer time. From his book, Prayer Availeth Much:
During the peaceful hours of the early morning I was praying and waiting before the Saviour when He suddenly revealed Himself to me. I saw Him as clearly as anyone ever saw Him in the days of His flesh. I ceased to pray, and remained quiet and speechless in His Presence. The moments seemed too sacred for me to break the sweet silence by prayer. What could I have said to Him? Was He not the answer to all prayer?

I do not know how long He lingered with me on that memorable morning. I was not aware of the passing of time. To me, all time had ceased, and eternity had begun. No language can express my boundless joy and happy surprise when He stood before me. I shall never forget the beauty of His face and the glory of His garment. The glory radiating from His Person filled the room with a soft silent light. He spoke not a word to me. His attitude was as One who listens attentively when you speak. I realized as never before in my life that He wanted me to pray. My heart was immediately burdened to pray for a visitation of God. I humbled myself in His Presence and put my head between His feet and poured out my soul in the agony of intercessory prayer.

The vision of Jesus satisfied my heart and gave me perfect contentment of mind regarding His willingness to answer prayer. I realized that He was the end of all seeking and the answer to all problems of life. I bowed low before Him, and opened my inmost being to welcome Him as my Lord and Master. I devoutly worshipped Him in spirit and in truth. To this gladsome hour He is as real as the flesh of my body and the earth beneath my feet. I have never had one doubt regarding His presence.
Was Anderson ill? Did he really see Jesus...the real Jesus? He writes from his work, Prevailing Prayer:
Was I a misguided soul, led astray by my own over-wrought imagination? Was I a hapless victim of a mental disorder? Could it be that the vision was a hallucination created out of my wishful thinking? These were some of the questions presented to my mind.

My searching of the Scriptures was rewarded by finding revealed truth to assure my heart before Him. I recalled the words of Jesus spoken to His disciples: "Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also ... He that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him." The Savior spoke these words following the request of Philip, "Shew us the Father."

These words of the Savior glowed with a new light, and imparted a new meaning to my rejoicing heart. This promise was sufficient to confirm my faith in the reality of the Savior's manifestation. I needed no other promise to support my faith, and substantiate my sincere claim.
Again, this view came from a dyed-in-the-wool second blessing holiness preacher and teacher in the religious education department at Asbury College. Was he correct? Consider the Scripture...and the possibilities:
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."
(John 14.21 ESV)