I am reading a book called ‘Speeches on Perfect Love’, which contains six speeches on the subject of ‘entire sanctification’, compiled by Hiram Mattison. This book is another gem from Russell Stephenson’s library.
This book has an 8-page introduction into the controversy that happened at the Methodist Episcopal Preachers’ meeting in New York City held in February, 1867.
The subject under discussion was “what are the best methods for promoting the experience of perfect love,” but took a turn with Hiram Mattison’s speech and became more a discussion concerning “to promote the experience of perfect love we must understand what it is, and the true theory of sanctification.”
In Hiram Mattison’s speech, he made 8 declarations and then spoke in support of each of them.
2. Perfect love or entire sanctification, as I understand it, is THE ENTIRE REMOVAL OR DESTRUCTION OF INBRED SIN, or the carnal mind; followed by the disappearance of all outward manifestations of inward depravity, and the exhibition of all the fruits of the Spirit — love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, patience, and charity, in evangelical perfection.
3. To attain to the state of ENTIRE sanctification we must fully recognize the doctrine of PARTIAL sanctification.
4. If we wish to promote the experience of a genuine “perfect love,” we must receive and everywhere insist upon the old Wesleyan and scriptural doctrine that SANCTIFICATION IS GRADUAL as well as INSTANTANEOUS.
5. The Bible everywhere enjoins GROWTH IN GRACE, or GRADUAL SANCTIFICATION; but nowhere teaches, or even implies or intimates, an instantaneous sanctification, except as it is proceeded and reached by the gradual progress.
6. John and Charles Wesley and Mr. Fletcher distinctly taught the identity of regeneration and entire sanctification AS ONE IN NATURE, and difference only in DEGREE; and also the doctrine that sanctification is GRADUAL from conversion to entire sanctification.
7. As growth in grace, or gradual sanctification, is essential to entire sanctification, the best means for promoting holiness are THE MEANS OF GRACE ORDAINED BY CHRIST, and everywhere recognized until recently as the means of spiritual progress and sanctification.
8. We must guard our people against the error of supposing that mere consecration is the same as entire sanctification.
Here Mattison, without directly addressing the issue of Phoebe Palmer’s “shorter method” or “altar theology,” addressed the results of her teaching. Palmer taught that if you consecrate yourself on the altar of God, the altar sanctifies the sacrifice and hence all you need to do to obtain entire sanctification was to consecrate and believe.
Some hold that those that taught the “shorter method” to entire sanctification sidelined the teaching of gradual sanctification and lowered the standard of piety required to profess entire sanctification.
Palmer’s leadership in the “Tuesday Meeting for the Promotion of Holiness” since 1837, her preaching tours through US, Canada, and the UK in the 1850’s, and her husband’s 1864 purchase and and her editorship of the monthly journal called “The Guide to Holiness” gave her and her views a lot of influence in the Methodist Episcopalian denomination and in other holiness denominations and associations.
The controversy over this issue at this 1867 preachers’ meeting led to the publishing of 6 messages in the book ‘Speeches on Perfect Love’.
I was very excited to find this book with its six speeches, as this subject is of great interest to me, as I hold that entire sanctification of the believer produces a high standard of piety in their life.
The issue of the standard of piety that entire sanctification produces in a believer was one of the 16 issues I had with the Restoration Movement that I brought up in my email to Henry Hildebrandt, which caused me to be expelled and banned from their movement and meetings.
The Church of God Evening Light movement has made a similar error that the Pentecostal movement has made: the over-emphasizing of one of the results at Pentecost. While the Pentecostal movement over-emphasizes the speaking of foreign languages, the Evening Light movement of D.S. Warner and its many divisions has over-emphasized the doctrinal unity that entire sanctification brings.
The direct fruit of entire sanctification is not unity, but rather the fruit of the Spirit and a deep piety in the believer — it is the fruit of the Spirit and the piety of the believers that causes unity. Entire sanctification removes carnality and gives the fruit of the Spirit; unity is the by-product.
At this point I have only read the first speech in this book by Hiram Mattison, and I may do a further post after I read the other five speeches.