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Before I close I must be true, not only to the Tongues people, but likewise to my own crowd, the Holiness movement. We must not be too severe on those who seek a third blessing, largely because of our superficial methods with them when they were seeking the second blessing. Are we not to blame if hungry souls run off to borrow from our neighbors what we failed to set before them at home?

Brethren, let me speak plainly! I am convinced that many modern holiness leaders are entirely too shallow in their altar work. They have the theory down pat and some of them preach it strong, but, sad to say, spoil it all at the altar. They rush the seekers through to a profession by singing or shouting and the result is, after the “hurrah” dies down, a dissatisfied soul. Then he concludes he has lost the blessing, or he goes against his inward feelings and professes more loudly than before. Finally, he wearies of this and decides he needs his “baptism,” and away he goes to those who will encourage him in his seeking. Do not censure this hungry heart; censure yourself or those who daubed him over with “untempered mortar,”* (Ezekiel 22:28) crying, “Peace, peace, when there is no peace.”* (Jeremiah 6:14; 8:11)

I well remember my own experience when but a young preacher. I awoke to the fact that, though I had a measure of success in soul winning, I had doubts at certain times whether all unholy tempers were gone. When I told it to my brethren they tried to calm my tears by saying it was “temptation,” or “human infirmities.” They said I had the standard too high. During those six years I professed to have received the “blessing” a number of times, but I see now that my advisors sidetracked me. They meant well, but instead of teaching me that holiness of heart was an experience, and inward crucifixion, they held, as many do today, that it was a great blessing. I was instructed to “make a complete consecration, lay all on the altar, and believe the altar sanctifies the gift.” Of course I received a great blessing, as any honest soul would. But this was not my trouble—lack of consecration and abandonment to God. No! I was fully given up to God and delighted to do His will. I was not after a blessing. I wanted purity. My good brethren diverted me from my trouble within to a blessing and more activity without.

Finally, I heard a mighty man of God tell his experience, how he had preached and professed holiness for twenty-five years without it. But when the Holy Ghost revealed to him his depravity—“the depths of pride, self-will, and hell”1—he cried out, “Let me die! Let me die!” He said he was three days confessing and deploring carnality, then suddenly the refining fire of God purified him through and through. When I heard this, immediately I said, “This is the Bible route—the death route.” “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him [not consecrated or made happy], that the body of sin might be destroyed.”* (Romans 6:6) The Holy Ghost took me through step by step until I came to the end of myself, when the death stroke was given and the clear witness received that the precious Blood did now cleanse from all sin. Oh, praise His name!


John Wesley; A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

It was too bad that I did not get proper instruction sooner. And it is too bad that today many of our holiness evangelists fail at this important point. I fear that either they never died the death themselves, or they have gotten into a rut and cannot get out. O brethren, let us do thorough work, remembering that when we let souls stop short we are simply preparing more material for the Tongues or some other side-track movement. Let us stick to the old main-line of death to carnality and the infilling of the Holy Spirit. I submit to you that when we give souls time to go to the bottom they will get such an experience that all imitations will look like foxfire in the presence of lightning.

The saintliest man John Wesley ever met, John Fletcher, said:

The deeper our sorrow for and detestation of dwelling sin are, the more penitently do we confess “the plague of our heart,” and when we confess it properly we inherit the blessing promised in these words: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”* (1 John 1:9)

To promote this deep repentance, consider how many spiritual evils still haunt your breast; look into the inward “chamber of imagery,” where assuming self-love, surrounded by a multitude of vain thoughts, keeps her court. Grieve that your heart, which should be all flesh, is yet partly stone; that your soul, which should be only a temple for the Holy Ghost, is yet so frequently turned into a den of thieves, a hole for the cockatrice, a nest for a brood of spiritual vipers, for the remains of envy, jealousy, fretfulness, anger, pride, impatience, peevishness, formality, sloth, prejudice, bigotry, carnal confidence, evil shame, self-righteousness, tormenting fears, uncharitable suspicions, idolatrous love, and I know not how many of the evils which form the retinue of hypocrisy and unbelief.

Through grace detect these evils, by a close attention to what passes in your heart at all times, but especially in an hour of temptation. By frequent and deep confession drag out all these abominations. These sins which would not have Christ to reign alone over you, bring before Him; place them in the light of His countenance and if you do it in faith that light and warmth of His love will kill them, as the light of the sun kills the worms which the plow turns up to the open air in a dry summer day.

Lament, as you are able, the darkness of your mind, the stiffness of your will, the dullness and inexorbitance of your affections and importunately entreat the God of all grace to “renew a right spirit within [you].”* (Psalm 51:10) If ye sorrow after this godly sort, what carefulness will be wrought in you! what indignation! what fear! what vehement desire. What zeal! yea, what revenge (2 Corinthians 7:11). Ye will then sing in faith what the imperfectionists sing in unbelief—

“Oh, how I hate these lusts of mine,
That crucified my God;
Those sins that pierced and nailed his flesh
Fast to the fatal wood!

“Yes, my Redeemer, they shall die!
My heart hath so decreed:
Nor will I spare those guilty things
That made my Saviour bleed.

“While with a melting, broken heart,
My murdered Lord I view,
I’ll raise revenge against my sins,
And slay the murderers too.”2


Isaac Watts; The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts, “Hymns, Book II: Composed on Divine Subjects. - Hymn 106”

[John Fletcher; The Last Check to Antinomianism, “Section XIX”]

The above is the teaching of Fletcher on death to carnality. Adam Clarke says, “Few are pardoned because they do not feel and confess their sins, and few are sanctified or cleansed from all sin, because they do not feel and confess their own sore, and the plague of their own hearts.”3 However, seeing and confessing carnality is not enough; we must have faith. “But what is that faith whereby we are sanctified?… It is a divine evidence and conviction that what God hath promised He is able to perform…. To this confidence there needs to be added one thing more—a divine conviction that He doeth it. Then the soul is pure from every spot of sin. It is clean ‘from all unrighteousness.’* (1 John 1:9)4


Adam Clarke; Commentary, “1 John 1”


John Wesley; Sermons on Several Occasions, “The Scripture Way of Salvation”