How wonderful the achievements, even without God's light, of Plato, and Socrates. How sublime the genius and imagination of Homer, Virgil, Dante and Shakespeare! How superb the taste of Phidias, Raphael, and Michelangelo! Yet, how sad the highest issues of human culture and wisdom! How bitter and disappointing the brightest prospects to which the best of them could look and how fearful the wreck to which may of them plunged even before the eternal depths were revealed to view! How frequently the brightest intellects have the saddest lives, and how extreme the perils that encompass the path of genius, success or beauty! Oh, how the world needs the Sanctifier to guard even her richest treasures from being their own destroyers!
What Is Meant by the Sanctification of the soul?
How are all these attributes and faculties to be wholly sanctified? Well, we cannot better make this plain than by applying our three simple tests in detail to each of them. They can be separated, dedicated and filled with the Spirit and life of God and thus, in no other way, can they be wholly sanctified. Let's apply the tests in detail.
Is our understanding separated? Have we learned to withdraw out attention and perception from all that is unholy and to refuse to see forbidden things? Is not this the real source of most of our difficulties about a holy life? We allow the unholy world to sweep in through all the avenues of our beings and absorb all our attention until there is inevitable pollution and misery.
The very first thing therefore for us to do is to close the hatches and exclude the objects that intrude themselves upon our gaze, to drop the eyelash and be kept as the apple of His eye from the seeing of evil. We can refuse to perceive and notice the evil around us.
As you walk down the street, have you ever been conscious of two forces, the one holding your attention to God in a spirit of quiet recollection and communion, the other tempting you to look at everything on the street - the glare of the shop windows, the busy crowd, the whole animated scene and many a picture of evil - which, if it does not defile, distracts you from the simplicity of your spirit? Have you ever felt, on glancing over your morning paper, a check upon your mind as you eye fell upon the glaring columns and a voice that seemed to hold you from absorbing with your eye all the reeking filth that literary scavengers had shoveled from the alleys of a wicked metropolis? Have you not felt, when you had read it, all saturated with uncleanness, even though you yourself had not any participation in these crimes? Your thought had touched them and therefore were defiled?
The very first thing therefore in the sanctification of the mind is to separate it from all evil. Absolutely ignore evil and refuse any contact with it.
Separate ourselves from thoughts. We also should separate ourselves from thoughts as well as objects that are not purifying. There are 10,000 inward activities which spring up on the soul without any touch from the external world or any observation of people or things. Many of these are evil thoughts, and still more of them are unnecessary thoughts. These we must suppress.
It is possible to so hold the reins of the mind that it will refuse to dwell upon thoughts which the judgment denies. It may be like the waves that beat against the vessel, but this is very different from letting them into the hold through the hatches. We can keep the hatches down and refuse to open them. If we do so, God will take our thoughts and hold them captive and fill our minds with His higher, holier thoughts.
A great many people wear their minds out with useless thinking. Much of the waste of brain and the dead pain in the cerebellum is not due to overwork for God, but is due to a thousand cares and questions which did nobody any good and did us infinite harm.
A sanctified soul is one that has learned to be still and cease from all its own activities. This is the meaning of the psalmist's passionate cry when wearied with his own exhausting activity, "I hate double-minded men, but I love your law" (Psalm 119:113). This is the meaning of the apostle when he says in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Our imaginations and thoughts must be suppressed until we learn to wait in stillness for God's voice and God's thoughts. In that way we will save ourselves needless exhaustion and ever be within touch of God and out of innumerable sources of temptation. For every one of satan's wandering thoughts is like a thistledown with wings at one end and a seed of evil at the other. Softly it floats into the soul, but everywhere it goes, it deposits its little germ in the fertile soil which brings forth its harvest of poisonous thorns.
~A. B. Simpson~
(continued with # 17)