By Henry Cowles
"From the Oberlin Evangelist, April 1, 1840, and continued in the edition of April 22, 1840


Some use may always be made of other men's opinions. Yet he would greatly lack sense who should set out to make all other men's opinions his own, by believing all that has ever been believed. But the man who adopts other men's opinions merely because they believe them, does substantially this very thing.

The Reformers were great and good men; and so have been the long line of orthodox theologians from their day to OUT own. I revere their memory, and love to do them honor. But when called to canvass their opinions and to form my own, I remember that I am to call no man master on the earth; for one is my Master, even Christ. With the Bible in my hand, on the great protestant principle, I am responsible for my own opinions of its meaning. The opinions of learned and able men may aid me in my researches after truth. Yet when I ask the question, What amount of confidence shall I place in their views? I am bound to inquire under what circumstances those views were formed, and especially under what influences resulting from philosophy, from the rest of their theology; and from the prevalent discussions of the day, they were led to adopt such views as they did on the point in question.

1. In this manner I propose now to refer briefly to the opinions of the Reformers and many of their successors on the subject of sanctification, and inquire what degree of confidence ought to be placed in those views because those great men held them.

a. It will not be doubted that the Reformers held the doctrine of physical innate depravity. I understand them to hold that all sin originates in a fountain lying back of moral action, in the "flesh," as they often term it. No volition or moral purpose of ours, no consecration of ourselves to God, can control, or directly affect this flesh. What remote bearing our moral action might have on this fountain of sin does not clearly appear; but it does appear that, in their view it is not a thing of volition-is not a voluntary state of either mind or body; but exists in consequence of our descent from Adam, and continues, despite all human agency to make it otherwise.

h. Consequently, they held the doctrine of physical regeneration and sanctification. By this is meant that the effects, known as regeneration and sanctification, are wrought, at least in part, upon this antecedent fountain of corruption. And so far as they are produced, they are wrought not at all by ourselves, but by the Spirit of God.

c. In regard to the spirituality of the divine law, they held that it demanded such, and so much love as must be incompatible with loving any other being at all, and even with our condition in the present world. Thus Calvin, "The precept of the law is--'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.' That this command may be fulfilled, we must be previously divest of every other perception and thought our heart must be free from all desires; and our might must be collected and contracted to this one point. Those who, compared with others, have made a very considerable progress in the way of the Lord, are yet at an immense distance from this perfection." With these given premises, his inference follows most conclusively.

d. As the natural result of this view, they maintained that however much Christians may strive to obey, they never yet do obey the law perfectly in any single point or act whatever.

e. They also said perfect obedience is rendered impossible by our connection with the flesh, and always will be impossible while we are in the body. In the words of Augustine and Calvin: "Since the highest excellence in this life is nothing more than a progress toward perfection, we shall never attain it till, being divested at once of mortality and sin, we shall fully adhere to the Lord."

f. They also held that remaining sins are profitable to the Christian. Luther also taught, "that it is very profitable to feel the unclean lusts of the flesh," because it keeps us humble; that it profits us very much to feel sometimes the wickedness of our nature and the corruption of our flesh, that by this means we may be waked and stirred up to call upon Christ; and that "these remains of unclean lusts and sins do not at all hinder, but greatly further the Godly."

g. They maintain without scruple that God demands more than we can perform, and that they are in great error who suppose that God measures our duty by our ability. See Calvin on 1 Thess. 5:23.

h. The difficult question of how can we be justified and accepted of God while actually violating His law, Calvin met by cutting the knot at once, and maintained that believers are not under the law, and are not to be judged by that rule. Thus he says, "Their consciences do not observe the law as being under any legal obligation; but, being liberated from the yoke of the law, they yield a voluntary obedience to the will of GOO." "Although you do not yet experience sin to be destroyed, and righteousness living in you in perfection, yet you have no cause for terror and dejection of mind, as if God were perpetually offended on account of your remaining sin, because by grace ye are emancipated from the law that your works may not be judged according to that rule." This development of Antinomianism has filled me with amazement. It is a striking instance of one error naturally producing another.

I only add that the great point of controversy between the Reformers and the Papists all along, was justification by faith, as opposed to justification in part or wholly by good works. Hence their minds were not brought to bear directly upon the questions, How much, and in what way the Christian may be sanctified in the present life? Yet incidently, their views on these points are brought out with sufficient fullness.

2. The views of the Reformers have had immense sway over the Protestant world' down to our own day. Every inch of ground gained in improving their views, even of the philosophy of doctrines, has been strenuously contested. Of course, it is not strange that on many or most of the points mentioned above, the mass of subsequent theologians have held with the Reformers. But we will briefly specify. They have generally held:

Sanctification is progressive and never perfect till death.

No man can obey the law perfectly in anyone instance. Thus the Larger Catechism of the Presbyterian Church holds, "that no man is able, neither of himself, or by any grace received in this life, perfectly to keep the commandments of God, but doth daily break them in thought, word, and deed."

c. The sinful cause of all sin lies back of voluntary action. They have, however, more generally placed it in something called relish, taste, or disposition; concerning which some have maintained that it is, and others that it is not, a voluntary state of mind, and subject to the control of the will.

d. Some of them have maintained that God's explicit purpose and wish is to have His people sanctified only in part during this life. He might sanctify them wholly, but deems it best on the whole to sanctify them only in part. Their sins will be more for His glory than entire holiness could be.

e. Again they have held such views of the state of sinless perfection, as must of course preclude the possibility of attaining it in this life. Thus Andrew Fuller writes, "The disparity between the highest degree of holiness (on earth) and a state of sinless perfection, is inconceivable." "For the Church of God, in full remembrance of its foul roots, to feel itself 'holy and without blemish,' is an idea too great for sinful creatures to comprehend."

f. Their minds do not seem to have been turned very directly to the power of faith in Christ as the grand moral influence which sanctifies the soul, and gives abiding victory over sin. They do not seem to have contemplated very directly whether the grace of Christ through the Spirit is such, and may be so received, as to keep the soul in a state of constant obedience to the known will of Gild, and give constant victory over all temptation.

3. Having now the history of the doctrine before us, we are prepared for the great question: What amount of confidence ought to be placed in these opinions, considering the circumstances under which they were formed, the philosophy and theology with which they were formed, the philosophy and theology with which they stand connected, and the amount of candid discussion which the vital points of the subject have ever received? Obviously, this confidence ought to be modified in view of the following facts and considerations.

a. They were formed under the influence of sturdy opposition against extreme errors. Against the false doctrines of the Roman church, they waged endless and desperate war. The Papists really paralyzed the influence of the divine law-that is, regarded a multitude of things which are flagrantly sinful to be no sin at all-and held utterly false and ruinous views of good works, expecting acceptance with God and pardon for past sins. They expected this, in part at least, on this ground--They "dreamed," says Luther, "that holy men have the Holy Ghost in such sort, that they never have or feel any temptation," and are "vaunted of their holiness as if they had never committed any evil."

Against these views, the Reformers rightly judged it their duty to contend boldly. But they were only men, and therefore were not beyond the danger of being pushed over into extremes, opposite to those against which they contended. I do not maintain that the fact of their opposing one extreme error proves that they fell into an opposite one; but I may with deference suggest whether views formed under such influences of strong opposition against extreme error, are worthy of unabated confidence. Do the known laws of the human mind authorize it?

Yet their views must stand ultimately on their own merit. There would I let them stand. When, however, I see them maintaining staunchly, that God's law demands vastly more of man than he can possibly do in a single point, I cannot help asking how they came to adopt such an opinion; and the history of its origin helps me to estimate the confidence which is its rightful due.

It is also worthy of serious consideration that Germany was long the seat of successive forms of fanaticism and its attendant errors. In earlier times, the Freer spiritual orders, and in later times the Anabaptists, held notions subversive to the law of God. Of these, some of the former class maintained that "the soul when absorbed in the love of God is free from all law, and may gratify every natural propensity without guilt; that perfect virtue and perfect beatitude may be obtained in this world; that the mind should be called away from the external and sensible parts of religion and fixed on inward and spiritual worship; and then is removed above every worldly consideration so that the moral virtues, as well as religious ceremonies may be neglected without offense." This doctrine was closely allied to the mystical notions about a reunion of the soul with God, from whom it is supposed to have emanated. It should he remembered that these errors lay directly under the eye of the Reformers, and could scarcely fail to modify their own views of the points here involved.

b. Their views were formed under the influence of a most defective system of philosophy. I refer to their philosophical views of the causes or origin of sin. Now if it were true that sin is in us, antecendently to any moral action, and will remain there as long as we are in the flesh, despite all we can do, and all God can help us do, then indeed would their views of sanctification be sound to the core. The great question is settled forever. Do what we may, there is no abiding and universal victory over the world and sin. It is easy to see that this philosophy demands this theology, and doubtless had no small influence in giving it birth. It lies legitimately at its foundation. If the foundation be rotten, will the superstructure stand?

On the other hand, suppose that there is no sin except in moral action, that under God's renewing and sanctifying grace the soul of man may turn heartily and utterly against all sin- that sinful habits may be reversed, artificial lusts subdued and slain, and our constitutional appetites and propensities be so sanctified as to become occasions of holiness rather than of sin-then is not the state of the case materially changed? If the latter views are true in philosophy, in revelation, and in fact, is not the way open for a different system of views in regard to sanctification from that held by the Reformers?

c. By many, not by all, the doctrine has been maintained that God justly may, and actually does, demand of His creatures what they are in every sense unable to perform. That this sentiment is false, I shall not deem it necessary to show now by any extended argument. I only say that it is very obviously unjust, and therefore cannot be true of a just God. Also, the very terms of the law repudiate the position utterly: for the law, as given in epitome by Christ, demands only that we "love the Lord with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength"-nothing more.

It is easy to see the effect of such a sentiment on the question of attaining holiness in this life. If the moral law is the standard of obedience, as all admit, and if this moral law undeniably demands more than we can possibly perform, then perfect obedience is, of course, out of the question.

On this point, I have only two suggestions to make. First, the premises are that God's law demands more than men of themselves, or by any grace, can in this life possibly perform: the conclusion is, that no Christian can in this life attain complete victory over sin. Now if the premises are false, is not the conclusion, certainly insofar as it rested on those premises, at least doubtful?

Second, the doctrine that God demands more than we can do, even with all the grace He will give us, has had some kind of influence on the Church. I ask if it has not been utterly and terribly Antinomian? If it has not crushed the aspirations of the renewed soul after holiness-quieted millions of consciences in continued sin, and reigning lust--in short, it has done the very same thing in regard to the onward and high attainments of the Christian which the doctrine "you can't repent if you try" has done to keep men from repenting. I cannot refrain from suggesting these inquiries to the consideration of those, especially, who manifest particular interest against the evil of Antinomianism. I honor their zeal against that giant evil; will they accept a hint which may aid them in their noble conflict against it?

d. The gift of the Holy Ghost has been regarded as dependent upon divine sovereignty. This consideration naturally and almost unavoidably depreciates our own views of the infinite freeness of grace with which it is promised, and greatly diminishes our sense of personal responsibility to obey the command, "Be ye filled with the Spirit."

Under the influence of this view of God's sovereignty in bestowing His Spirit, who has felt bound to be holy like Paul? Who has believed that he not only ought to be, but actually might always be "filled with the Spirit''? Who has appreciated the promise which bids us "ask and we shall receive',? God is more willing to give His Holy Spirit to those who ask, than any of you who is a father is willing to give bread to his starving child. Has not this great and rich promise been virtually frittered away?

And here I ask further, can such a view of God's dispensation of His Spirit be the gospel of Christ Jesus? If it is true the Holy Spirit is promised and given with the great generosity of a God-that of Christ's "fullness we may all receive"-that "having these promises," that is, of an indwelling Spirit we may hope to "cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God"; then could it not follow that Christians not only ought to, but actually may, and sometimes do, "abide in Christ"-"walk in love"-"he filled with the Spirit"-"keep a conscience void of offense"-live "dead to the world, and alive to God through Jesus Christ',?

While men suppose the gift of the Spirit to be in such a sense sovereign as to have no connection with our faith, prayer, or efforts of any sort, and so scanty as not to aid the Christian to obey the law fully in anyone instance, is it strange they should believe entire consecration to God impossible; or, their premises being false, need to surprise us if their conclusion should be false also?

All the Reformers, and very many subsequent orthodox theologians, have maintained that sin in the Christian is profitable to him, and greatly beneficial on the whole. In response to this sentiment, I ask: Then why not have more sin, even as much as any Christian may choose to commit? Why not, the more, the better? Why should God send His Son "to turn away every one from his iniquities," and His Spirit "to sanctify them wholly?" Why not admit sin into heaven to enhance its blessedness and the glory of God? Why does God declare that "this is His will even your sanctification"?

In the final analysis, the doctrine is, "Whatever is, is right;" and where will this lead us? I dare not speculate. I only add that this sentiment cannot be otherwise than dreadfully Antinomian in its tendency. It seriously perverts any system of theology in which it forms an element, and ought to discount largely from our confidence in the truth of all those positions which stand intimately connected with it.

f. The question how men may he sanctified, and how far they may he in the present life, has never been a general topic of thorough, candid, discussion. At no period have the mind and heart of the Church been generally and powerfully focused on these points. Of course, we cannot be certain where their views would settle if, under the great outpourings of the Spirit of GOO, such a deep and prayerful investigation were to be made. And of course we cannot rest with so much confidence on the views of the Church, as if these points had been deeply discussed, and especially, as if they had been discussed under peculiarly rich outpourings of the Spirit.

But these points must and will be discussed before the Church can shine forth in the beauties of holiness. May GOD turn the hearts of His people upon these inquiries with fervent prayer, and quenchless desire for truth; and then may He pour floods of sunlight upon His great promises and glorious provisions for sanctifying His people.

g. The great secret of the gospel's power to save from sin seems to have been very imperfectly understood. Beyond all question, this lies preeminently in the character and work of Christ, made manifest to the soul by the Holy Ghost. "He shall take the things of mine, and shall show them unto you." Then, "beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord." Here lies a power, in its nature, adapted to kill the influence of temptation, and sustain in vigor the spirit of obedience; or in the better language of the Bible, to "give the victory over the world," to "change us into the same image from glory to glory"-to "cause us to walk in his statutes," and ever "do all things through Christ who strengthens us."

Now is it very strange that while the meaning of these promises and declarations has been but very imperfectly understood, men should have held very low views of what God, through the gospel, can and may do for the sanctification of His people? Shall we give all credit to their views because they held them, when we know the great vital points of the subject were seen by them only "as in a glass darkly?"

To the entire strain of doctrine developed above, there have been some decided exceptions. The reader hardly needs to be reminded of Wesley and his followers who are well known to have held views quite different in most points from the system above given. Also, the writer has credible authority for the fact that there have been Christians in Germany, ever since the Reformation, who have held that the provisions of gospel grace are adequate to meet the needs of believers-that this grace through faith may be received by all, and is received by some-and that when received fully, it does give continual victory over the world and temptation. How numerous this class of Christians has been, is not definitely known. It is said also that similar views have long been held in the North of Scotland and by some, at least, among the Quakers. (See Barclay on Perfection.)

It deserves notice and is an encouraging consideration that some have most manifestly attained a state of entire consecration to God, who have renounced and opposed the sentiment (as they understood it) that Christians in this life become sinlessly perfect. In regard to such cases, there is no occasion to contend about the meaning of terms. They may have had such views of sinless perfection as are quoted above from Fuller, or their sentiments in regard to indwelling corruption may have utterly forbidden the idea of exemption from it while in the body. The great question is, Have they attained the real thing? Are they habitually dead to the world and alive unto God? Do they really gain the victory over the world through faith in Jesus Christ? Are their souls wholly drawn out in love to God and love to man? Through infinite grace sustaining them, do they fulfill all their various moral and social duties, and do all for God? In short, is it their meat to do the will of their Father and to finish His work by fully doing all His known will? If so, I would choose to call this state one of entire consecration to God. Some would call it, entire sanctification. And others still prefer the phrase, Christian perfection. We have better work to do than dispute about terms.

The position I now take is that some have held the state now described to be attainable and even to have been actually attained, who yet have altogether disavowed the views supposed to be held under the phrase, sinless perfection. Their testimony is pertinent and the more valuable because they had no favorite doctrine to support, and certainly not the doctrine that grace may sustain in the soul the spirit of holy obedience.

The reader is referred to Pres. Edwards' account of the revival in his day, and especially to his description of ''The nature of the work in a particular instance."

Let him notice the individual's love to Christ. "The heart was swallowed up in a kind of glow of Christ's love coming down as a constant stream of sweet light, at the same time the soul all flowing out in love to Him, so that there seemed to be a constant flowing and reflowing from heart to heart. The soul dwelt on high, was lost in God, and seemed almost to leave the body." "This heavenly delight has been (not transient, but) enjoyed for years together." "The soul was so strongly drawn toward God and Christ in heaven, that it seemed to the person as though soul and body, would as it were of themselves, of necessity mount up, leave the earth, and ascend thither." "The body often fainted with the love of Christ." Now does not this look like a voluntary consecration of all our powers of affection to God and Christ?

Again, contemplate her renunciation of the world, and devotion of heart and life to God. "All that is pleasant and glorious, and all that is terrible in this world, seemed perfectly to vanish into nothing, and nothing to be left but God, in whom the soul was perfectly swallowed up, as in an infinite ocean of blessedness." "There was a daily sensible doing and suffering every thing for God, for a long time, eating, working, sleeping, and bearing pain and trouble for God, and doing all as the service of love, with a continual, uninterrupted cheerfulness, peace and joy."

Here also was actual victory over sin, and even those habits of body and mind which sin had caused. This person, under lower degrees of grace had been subject to many infirmities and much unsteadiness; "but strength of grace and divine light wholly conquered these disadvantages, and carried the mind, in a constant manner, quite above all such effects." During the past three years "every thing of that nature seems to be overcome and crushed by the power of faith and trust in God, and resignation to Him."

Again, there was a most faithful, laborious, and cheerful discharge of all the relative social and moral duties. And all this began with intelligent consecration to God. It was accompanied with sweet and deep humility, and with strong, entire dependence on the present grace and help of God through His Spirit.

Whatever we call it, it is a blessed state. She most manifestly maintained the spirit of simple-hearted obedience to God. It was her unwavering, all controlling purpose to do God's will.

This is the state to which I suppose Christians may arrive, and in which they may abide. Would to Gild the whole Church might awake to know her privilege and her duty as to this attainment. Would to God that she might so believe in the provisions of gospel grace as to lay hold of and to abide in the light, and love and victory of "living by faith on the Son of God."

4. As to the doctrine of physical depravity, the Reformers did not mean to teach that actual sin is not voluntary action. They manifestly meant to carry the conviction home to every man's conscience that all his actual trangressions are really free acts of will and verily guilty. On this point, thus far, no exception is taken against their views. But in connection with this, they also hold that sin is in man antecedently to any intelligent moral action. They believe the very root and seed of all sin lies back of voluntary action and is the cause why this moral action is what it is-that it is horn in us-came from Adam through his fall and corruption, and is a calamity, an evil, which, unaided by God, we cannot remove; and in fact will remove only in such ways, and to such an extent as shall please himself.

Thus Calvin: ''The natural depravity which we bring from our mother's womb, though it does not soon produce its effects, is still however, sin in the presence of the Lord, and deserves His punishment." "Corruption was transferred from Adam to us, his descendants," "Adam's sin is the cause of ours. I call it ours because it is natural to us, and we are born with it." "Our nature being corrupted in Adam, is bound under the guilt of iniquity in the sight of GOO." "The mere participation of human nature is sufficient to entail the wretched inheritance of sin, for it resides. in flesh and blood." (Calvin on Romans 5.)

Also: "Original sin is an hereditary depravity and corruption of our nature, diffused through every part of the soul, which first makes us obnoxious to the wrath of God, and then produces in us those works which the Scriptures denominate the works of the flesh." "Men are ruined not only by the faultiness of a criminal course of conduct, but also by a depravity of nature." "Though infants have not (at birth) produced the fruits of their unrighteousness, yet they have the seed inclosed in them; nay their whole nature is a mere seed of sin, so that it cannot but be odious and abominable to God."

Of man's power to do right, Calvin speaks thus: "The will has not indeed perished, because it is inseparable from the nature of man, but is so chained by depraved lusts that it is not able to aspire to any good thing." "The will is held bound in such a subjection to sin that it is not able to turn-much less, apply itself to that which is good." "Such is the depravity of nature, that it is not possible for him to be excited to any thing but evil." {Calvin's Institutes.I )

5. The Reformers maintained in full that the law demands of us more than we can perform. Calvin defends this point: "It has indeed, long been a common opinion, that the faculties of men are co-extensive with the requirements of the divine law, and it has some speciousness, but it proceeds from a total want (lack) of an acquaintance with the law." "Instead of that, it was made far above us that it might produce a conviction of our impotence." "GOO requires what we cannot perform in order that we may know what we ought to seek from Him." Institutes. Book 2. Chapter 5:6, 7, 10. "Doth not GOD then do injustice to man by requiring from him in his law that which he cannot perform? NOT AT ALL." Catechism of the Reformed Dutch Church.

a. The views of original sin and depravity given above, of necessity lead to physical regeneration and sanctification. It will easily be seen that according to this system, sin being in us antecendently to our own agency, and abiding there beyond our power to remove it, three things must necessarily follow.

First our own sin is 80 far beyond our control, that at the utmost it cannot depend much on ourselves how far we shall be sanctified, or whether we shall be so at all.

Second, regeneration and sanctification are in such a manner the work of God, that if it is also believed that God does not wish or intend to sanctify His people except very imperfectly in this life, something like a paralysis is given to all efforts for eminent, and much more, entire sanctification.

Third, no Christian can know how much he is sanctified. He may indeed be conscious of all his moral acts, and can compare them with the law of God; but his consciousness can take no cognizance of that something which lies back of all moral action, the root and seed of all sin. If it is said that that is known by its fruits, it may still be replied that a temporary suspension of its sinful products may deceive us and baffle all our scrutiny.

b. The reader may be curious to know the practical influence of such theoretical views. I will cite two cases, the first from the experience of Luther, the other from the divinity of Dr. Hopkins of Newport; the first, of the ancient; the last, of the more modern school of Theology.

Luther, commenting on Galatians 5:17, and having shown that in his view, the flesh must be expected always to resist and hinder, adds, "It is very profitable for the godly to know this, and to bear it well in mind, for it wonderfully comforteth them when they are tempted. When I was a monk, I thought by and by that I was utterly cast away if at any time I felt the lusts of the flesh; that is to say, if I felt any evil motion of fleshly lust, wrath, hatred, or envy against any brother. I essayed many ways to quiet my conscience; but it would not be, for the concupiscence and lusts of my flesh did always return; so that I could not rest, but was continually vexed with the thought that I had committed this or that sin. If! had then rightly understood these words of Paul, I should not have so miserably tormented myself; but should have thought and said to myself as now I commonly do; Martin, thou shalt not utterly be without sin, for thou hast flesh; thou shalt therefore feel the battle thereof according to that saying of Paul, 'The flesh resisteth the Spirit.' Despair not therefore, but resist it strongly, and fulfill not the lusts thereof. Thus doing thou art not under the law." Again, "Christians know that the remnant of sin which is in their flesh is not laid to their charge, but is freely pardoned. Although they feel the flesh to rage and rebel against the Spirit, and themselves also do sometimes fall into sin through infirmity, yet are they not discouraged, nor think therefore that their state and kind of life, and the works which are done according to their calling displease God." (Luther's Works, I. 321,2.)

The reader will not fail to notice here, the comfort obtained while in sin. Some sin of a certain kind is not laid to our charge, but freely pardoned, even while in us. And falling into sin sometimes through infirmity does not displease God. Alas! such fruits of such theology!

The views of Hopkins may be given in these quotes. He held that "it is made certain by a divine constitution that no man shall be without sin in this life"; "that God has determined and made it known that no man shall live in the body without sin." In view of these premises, he formally discusses the question "whether Christians ought to pray that they may be perfectly holy in this life?" and answers it most decidedly in the negative. He admits indeed that it is "possible for a Christian to have such a clear view of his own sinfulness, of the evil of sin and its hatefulness, of the desirableness of being delivered from it and of being perfectly holy and conformed to Christ, as earnestly to pray that if it be consistent with the will of God, he may be freed from all sin, and live a perfect holy life for time to come; not at that time remembering that God has revealed that no man shall be so in this life"; and closes by saying, "PERHAPS this is not sinful"! It being a mere mistake into which a Christian may fall through the ardor of his hungering after righteousness, it may possibly be no sin!

This doctrine of Dr. Hopkins, however fair in theory, and apparently strong in argument, is radically defective for practice, unless accompanied with full instructions on at least the two following points, which the Dr. seems to have omitted.

First, he should have told us definitely how much sin we must have, and therefore may indulge, and how great that amount is from which we must not even ask for deliverance. Without instruction on this point, how shall I dare to pray for any degree of sanctification? Who can tell me how soon I shall step over the unknown line, and my very praying for holiness become sin!

Second, he ought to have informed us whether, since we may come boldly and ask for grace to help in every time of need, we may with propriety ask God to help us bear as well as we can with that amount of sin in us which His divine constitution has determined that we shall always have on earth. I know not a more crushing evil than the necessity (if it be one) of being my life long a slave to anyone however small. Now, may I look up to Jesus, that most compassionate High Priest, and pray for sympathy and help to be as resigned and quiet as possible in the commission of that needful sin? As if Jesus might also help me to be happy in sinning! But my own soul is shocked unutterably with the thought, and I can hardly forgive myself the apparent impiety of even naming it. Yet if the doctrine of Hopkins is true, every Christian who strives after holiness is thrown into this very dilemma.

The premises from which such conclusions legitimately follow must be absolutely false. The Dr. must either have misinterpreted his texts, or have misinferred his doctrine from them. That cannot be Bible truth which overthrows the gospel scheme of salvation from sin, and chills the aspirations of the soul after holiness.

In view of the sentiments now quoted and their manifold influences on the piety of the Church, I remark:

It is no wonder that so few have made high attainments in holiness.

In this world of sin and temptation it will always be hard enough, at best, to subdue sin and become holy. These difficulties greatly accumulate when I am forbidden to pray for entire deliverance from 8inencouraged to hope for God's favor while sinning-crushed with the doctrine that the demands of the law are absolutely greater than I can in any way fulfill-instructed that sin is in my nature where no efforts of mine can remove it, and finally, that though God could remove it all, yet in His sovereignty, He has determined and revealed it, that He will not remove it all in this life, but will leave some, (how much none can tell) as long as I live.

Is this the gospel--the glorious gospel of the blessed God "which brings life and immortality to light"? Is it the gospel of Jesus, who came to save His people from their sins; who gave us promises that we might "cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God?" Does it agree with his teaching who says, "This is the will of God, even your sanctification?"

It is unutterably grevious that the theology of the Church should be so shaped and held as to retard rather than to promote the sanctification of God's people. There is a great need to hold forth the glorious provisions of gospel grace, to show the power of faith in Christ, and the wonderful adaptation of the Spirit's work to meet our needs. But when these truths are neglected, or worse still, substantially nullified, and the strain of theological teaching is such as has been developed in this article, how woeful are the results! How greatly is the design of revealed truth misunderstood and counteracted! What a contrast between the current teachings and influence of such theology and those of the Bible!