There is such a thing as the sanctified experience. There is, thank God, a sanctified life. A volume might be written, but we content ourselves with calling attention to several features of what we call the sanctified life or experience.
PERHAPS THE PROMINENT FEATURE IS REST. The soul has been stilled and remains still. The spirit of Worry is gone. There is a sweet disinclination to fret. An atmosphere of calm pervades the breast and penetrates the life. It abides steadily through the day, no matter what the day holds for us in the shape of labor, burdens, unpleasant people, and trying circumstances. There is no delight over the trying circumstances themselves, but a restfulness of soul in spite of them. It certainly would be a novel experience to many Christians to begin and end the day calmly; to wake up in the morning with a sweet serenity of spirit, and to go through each new day with a deep, still peace, whose steady flow delights as well as astonishes him. Yet this is the promise of God!
A SECOND FEATURE IS THAT OF A SPIRIT OF PRAISE. The gift and grace we speak of under this head is a spirit of praise which abides in the soul under all circumstances. The inner bubbling of gladness is felt not simply when all is well, but when things are not well. It gushes up in the face of coldness, opposition, distraction, and wrong. It sings in spite of loneliness, and pain of heart and body. It praises God in the face of apparent failure. It can be cast off by loved ones and separated from the company of friends, and yet keep rejoicing. It can walk around the walls of Jericho thirteen times without seeing a crack, and yet shout. It can be unjustly condemned, put in a dungeon, and behold, at midnight it will burst into hosannas! It can, and does, cry hallelujah at all times.
A THIRD FEATURE IN THE LIFE OF THE SANCTIFIED IS THE BLESSED CONSCIOUSNESS OF PERFECT LOVE. Perfect not in the sense that it may not grow stronger and more intense as the years go by, but perfect as regards to the absence of things contrary to love embedded in the heart. It is a pure love. The former temporary hates, jealousies, envyings and bitterness toward certain people are all gone. A gentle, tender, loving feeling is in the heart for all men. This does not mean we love all alike. This would be unnatural and impossible. There is a general love for the whole race, peculiar affections for those naturally near us, and special likings and attachment to others. Yet to all different classes there is felt a pure, genuine love, although the love may vary in character and density.
On the Godward side, we are thrilled to discover that the love we now bear Him is not now mixed as it had formerly been, and is supreme at all times. It is sweet and blessed beyond words to describe, to feel the perfect love for God nestling in and warming the heart continually.
Such a condition of soul is found in its tenderness to all people to prevent the fault-finding and uncharitable speech. While the same tongue in speaking of God and things divine almost insensibly, and yet naturally, is drawn into simple, unaffected and reverential language. Cheerfulness takes the place of levity, kindness displaces harshness, and from the lips that once found fault with God and assailed man, come the breathings of the loyal soul that find utterance in praises and expressions of love to God and fervent “God bless you’s” to the children of men. And it abides. The fitfulness or fluctuation seen in the regenerated life is no more. The blessed experience is that of being ?xed, grounded, rooted, and settled in love.
A FOURTH FEATURE IS THE WORKING SPIRIT, OR DESIRE AND EFFORT TO DO GOOD. The instant the disciples received this grace they flew to the fields and vineyards of God. Not all are called to public work, but those who have this blessing find work to do, and gladly do it. They feel strangely and powerfully wound up to do it. It may be laid out by the divine hand in a very obscure corner or restricted sphere; it may be a simple enduring at times, and which will be a doing of the highest order; it may be a marching today and a standing still tomorrow. God knows, and He will direct, and the sanctified soul will obey. Such a one cannot be idle. In some way, in small things or in great things, and in his or her own line and way, the sanctified person must and will work for God.
A striking feature about it is that this work does not seem to exhaust. The soul remains fresh. There is a buoyancy felt throughout which delights the worker and gives moral force to their performance in the eyes of beholders. The soul is never so full of rest as when engaged in this unfailing activity for heaven. The man works now for God as he never did before, but he also rests at the same time with a depth and sweetness equally remarkable.
A FIFTH FEATURE OF THE LIFE IS THE DELIGHTFUL CONSCIOUSNESS OF BEING KEPT. It is difficult, if not impossible, to find senses that can penetrate the intricacies of grace as it affects the heart and life. Possession of the blessing is the only key to the understanding of this gracious blessing.
A kept life! Figures of restfulness, repose and protection arise at once to the mind; a child in the arms of its mother, a sealed fountain, a Walled city, and yet all fail to measure up descriptively to this strange, sweet experience of the sanctified soul, that we call being “kept.” It is a spiritual sensation as distinct as the feeling of pardon. It sustains all through the trying hours of the day, is the last thing felt in the heart as we fall asleep, and the first realized in the soul on awakening in the morning. If this were the only feature of sanctification, it would pay ten thousand times over to obtain the blessing.
This is a condensed statement of some of the features of the sanctified life. No one can read them without seeing it is a distinct experience; and anyone hearing of such a life should never be content until he comes into the same blessedness.
—From The Sanctified Life