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Standards of Life and Service   By: (1849-1923)

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The following pages contain reports of addresses delivered by Commissioner Howard, of our International Headquarters, during an important series of Holiness Meetings held in the Congress Hall, London, principally in 1908. Those Meetings were widely used by God, and at my request the Commissioner has revised the shorthand reports of his words for this volume. We now send forth his messages in the hope of still further extending their usefulness.

Christianity is a present day call to a good life. If it be anything less than that, it is really not worth troubling about. It is, of course, rich in holy memories, and venerable in its association with all that is true and best in the past. But it is not only ancient in its origin and triumphs it is intensely modern in its touch with human need, and in its demand that the spirit of righteousness should be the controlling force in human life in the common life of to day. It is the aim of the following addresses to bring that truth home to us, and to help us to go direct to JESUS CHRIST Himself for power to respond to that claim.

Cast in popular form, as was necessary for meeting such occasions as those which called them forth, these addresses do not attempt any comprehensive statements of the philosophy of Holiness. Anything of that kind, no matter how successful, would have been the undoing of the whole effort. Nevertheless, the diligent reader will, I think, find underlying these practical counsels certain valuable principles. In particular, he will find implied, when not actually expressed, an important distinction between the work of God in the justifying and purifying of the soul, and the work of man in walking in obedience to the laws of God. It is that obedience I am thinking of when I say that Christianity is a demand for righteousness. It is that obedience we mean when we talk of Holiness in its practical aspects.

One of the dangers to which all deeply spiritual teaching is open, is a kind of antinomianism a species of religious bargaining between the soul and God; and that is a thing which is, of course, totally alien to His will, and completely ruinous to true progress. The process of such thought is something like this: 'Christ has performed for me a work of infinite love and merit. If I confess and deplore evil, I may claim pardon for it and purifying from its guilt by faith in the Divine Sacrifice made for me. That will ease my burdened soul and free me from apprehension as to future peril peril which would otherwise have proved very real. As to temptation to further evil, I must watch against it; but if by chance or evil impulse, or even wilful choice, I fall into it, let me not be too deeply concerned. I can easily obtain again what I have obtained before.'

Now, that is not only a false position, but it involves an extremely dangerous error an error which in practice is ultimately destructive of real faith. Salvation indeed, all spiritual experience, is entered into by faith, of course; but it can only be maintained by hearty, determined obedience on our part. Christ has died for us, but He has not obeyed for us. The 'new heart' is by faith in Him but the new life can only be lived by watchful and often painful obedience to the law of love. 'I counsel thee to buy of Me', saith He that walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, 'white raiment that thou mayest be clothed'; and 'Blessed', He says also, 'is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked '... Continue reading book >>

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