One thing has always troubled me, and that is the witness of entire sanctification. How may one know all the time that He is sanctified? What is the witness to sanctification? Is it a feeling? an assurance? a peace? or what is it? Is it equally strong at all times, or does it come and go? If you can give me any information on this line, I shall greatly appreciate it.
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One of the things that Joshua commanded the Israelites to do at the crossing of the Jordan has always been intensely interesting and suggestive. It was not a miracle, and there was nothing marvelous about it; it was just a thing that any man could do. When the crossing was being made, Joshua selected twelve men, one from each tribe, to do a special service. After all the people had passed over and the twelve priests were standing still in the River's bed, with the ark of God, Joshua commanded the twelve men to go to the middle of the Jordan and each take up a stone, place it on his shoulder, and carry it across to the camp in Canaan. Here the stones were to constitute a memorial: "And these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel forever" (Joshua 4:7). Joshua also set up twelve stones where the priests' feet had stood in the River; but it is these stones on the bank in Canaan that are of most interest to us.
We shall call these stones the "stones of testimony." They testified to a great fact, a great miracle, a great crossing, to the beginning of a new era in the lives of those hundreds of thousands of Israelites. Whenever an Israelite saw those stones, he was reminded of this fact.
Now, dear, seeking soul, as you cross the Jordan of entire consecration, the line between the place where you are not wholly consecrated and where you are wholly consecrated, the line between the time when you hope to be sanctified and the time when you shall know you are, as you cross this, carry out your stone of testimony. You have never passed this way before, and you need not pass it again; so get your stone of testimony now.
First note that this memorial was stone. It was not wood, that would rot, burn up, or float away to the Dead Sea. It was not gold or some precious metal that would be needed for other uses. It was not a piece of parchment or paper upon which was written an account of the crossing. It was common, solid, enduring stone. So, too, the testimony of your sanctification is solid and enduring -- as solid and enduring as the Word of God, the directions of which you have followed.
Notice also that this memorial was rather large, too large to carry around all the time, but was dropped and left as a reminder. There is of course an inner witness that is yours forever; but the crossing of the Jordan, that is, the obtaining of entire sanctification, is an event that will forever stand out as a time when you really received the experience of entire sanctification. There should be those witnessing spiritual realizations that differentiate it from all the other of your spiritual experiences. In short, it should mark your entrance into Canaan, the land of rest, of milk and honey.
What are these realizations? First, that you have been brought to a knowledge of God's will to sanctify you wholly. Next, you have definitely and solemnly dedicated yourself to God to be His and His alone forever. Then you have asked God to sanctify you according to His Word. You have believed that the work is done. All these steps are in direct harmony with what God said for you to do, and they, being carried out with the help of the Spirit, constitute the charter or receipt or evidence of your entire sanctification. You have met all conditions, and the grace is yours. You are sanctified wholly, filled with the Spirit, and you drop your memorial stone on the Canaan side of the Jordan.
As long as you remain true to your vows, to your covenant and consecration, you will continue in possession of your experience. You have no need of ever going back into the wilderness, much less to the Egypt of sin, but the fair land is before you -- launch out and explore it. Enjoy for yourself the boundless riches of the grace of God and eat honey out of the rock.