Chapter 5

Romans 6:22 — But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

My Dear Comrades,

Since writing my last Letter, I have been visiting the Salvationists of Switzerland, Italy, and France. Everywhere I find vast openings for The Salvation Army. Everywhere I have met with dear Comrades longing to make the most of their opportunities; and everywhere, it has seemed to me, that more Red-hot Religion would make these Comrades equal to the splendid chances of usefulness that lie right before them.

But is it not the same in Great Britain, America, Australia, and in every other part of the world to which these Letters will come? Is it not so in your Corps? — nay, is it not so with every individual Soldier who reads these words?

Now, as I have explained to you before, by Red-hot Religion I mean hearts made hot with love for God, for Comrades, for perishing souls, for noble work, and for every other good thing possible to men or women on earth or in Heaven. I mean hearts made hot with holy love, such love as will compel us to toil and sacrifice for the welfare of the object cared for. Such love as will make its possessor the servant of those beloved, and exercise a self-denying mastery over the heart that experiences it. Such love will be like our Master's. For "herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us."

Look at the Mother's love. Does it not make her sacrifice time, comfort, and health for her child?

Look at the Patriot's love. Does it not compel him to turn his back on home, family, business, to fight and die for his country?

And so Hot love in the Salvationist will make him lay health, time, goods, and all he possesses at the Feet of his Lord, and there use all in blessing and saving the souls of men.

Now it is this spirit of Love which makes this blessed heat in the souls of men and women. As the Devil lights and feeds the fires of malice, ambition, selfishness, pride, lust, and the other evils that encourage and strengthen souls in their warfare with God, and carries them down the broad way to destruction, so the fierce heat of Pure Love, created and maintained by the Holy Spirit, makes the Salvationist watch and pray, toil and talk and suffer, careless of what it costs him in doing so, if he can thereby gain the blessed object on which his heart is set.

But the Holy Spirit only dwells, in all His mastering power and burning zeal, in souls that have been cleansed from evil; so that if you are resolved to spend your life in blessing and saving men, and fighting for your Lord, you must have a Pure Heart.

A Pure Heart will make you a blessing to those around you, and that not merely as a result of what you do, but from the fact of what you are. People will, no doubt, be drawn to love Christ, and seek Salvation, and fight for The Army by what you say and sing. Your appeals and your prayers will all affect them; but if, in addition, you possess this treasure they will also be led to God and Holiness and Heaven by what they see you are.

A Pure Heart, as we have seen, makes a good life. Goodness is attractive; men respect it, and are drawn to it, for what it is in itself. Even if they are themselves the slaves of what is bad and devilish, they cannot help admiring what is Holy and Divine. And if this is the case with the slaves of sin and vice, it will be a thousand times more so with those around you who have already been captivated by the charms of Holiness. To such hearts, your life, if governed and inspired by Pure Love, will be a constant source of light, and strength, and consolation.

This is what we call Influence. It is something that is always going on. It is like the fragrance of a rose. You take the flower and place it in the middle of a room, and day and night it will send forth a sweet smell to all around. You have not to do anything at it, or with it. You need not wave it about, or pass it from one to another. It will spread abroad its pleasant perfume quite apart from any movement.

So it is with the Soldier who enjoys Purity of Heart, and lives in harmony with the experience. A holy influence will be going out from him all the time, not only from what he says and does, but from what he is himself.

You feel the power, and the sweetness, and the genuineness of his spirit and devotion. And when you hear his testimony, or listen to his prayers, or hear his pleading with sinners, you feel this blessed influence proceeding from him wherever you find him.

As you look into his eyes, and shake his hand, or sit by his side, it will be there. When you see him in the furnace of affliction, or stand by his dying bed, or follow him to the grave; nay, long after he has passed from mortal sight, this influence will continue to flow out to you. For years to come, a sight of his photograph or the bare mention of his name, will warm your heart, strengthen your courage, sustain your faith, and increase your love for all that is Christlike and true. Why is this, my Comrades? It is because you believed he was a Holy man. You admired his self-sacrificing life. You felt that he had a Pure Heart.

There is another inducement which should lead you to seek a Pure Heart, and that is, because it will bring you into the possession of a good hope. This is a precious treasure. To feel that whatever clouds may darken the sky, or whatever sorrows may sweep over your soul, there is good ground for anticipating peace, and joy and victory in the future, must be a precious and desirable thing.

A Soldier who knows that he sincerely loves God, and that he is living in obedience to Him, has an inward assurance that God will care for him, whatever troubles may arise. Whereas one who feels that he has malice, hatred, pride, love of the world, and other wrongs hidden away in his secret soul, and who knows that he is daily neglecting his duty to his family or to himself, to his Corps, or the poor sinners around him, can no more have a bright hope that God is going to make him a happy future, than the sinners can expect that they are going to have Heaven at the end of a sinful life. He may hope for it, but it will be like the hope of the hypocrite, certain to be destroyed.

But when the soul has the witness of the Spirit and of a consistent life, to the possession of inward Purity, it can look forward with confidence to victory over every foe, deliverance out of every sorrow, and in the end, glory and honor, immortality and eternal life.

Have these blessed experiences any charm for you, my Comrades? Let me review them. I think they are entrancing.

1. There is the Holy Life that will always be the outcome of a Holy Heart. If the fountain spring is pure, the flowing waters of daily life and action will be pure also.

2. There is the peace of God that passeth all under standing, which is ever associated with inward Holiness. "The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt." Any evil left in the soul must make trouble. Purity and Peace are bound together by God Himself.

3. There is the presence and the indwelling of God as a flame of Holy Love, which is the strength and spirit of Holiness. This is the Fiery Baptism which burns up hatred, and grudges, and self-seeking, and self-will, and purifies all our motives and affections.

4. There is the useful life and the Holy Example that flow from a Pure Heart, which will not only speak in favor of God and Holiness while you live, but shall go on influencing the world long after you have passed to your reward in the skies.

5. There is a blooming hope of the future and the brightness of your crown in Eternity. The realization of all this glorious experience, my Comrades, hangs on your possession of a Pure Heart. These are only some of the inestimable blessings that flow out of this eternal spring of purity and power. Have you got this treasure? If so, Hallelujah! If not, I want you to go down and Seek it now.

Yours affectionately,

William Booth

 

"Love surpassing understanding,

Angels would the mystery scan,

Yet so tender that it reaches

To the lowest child of man.

Let me, Jesus,

Fuller know redemption's plan.

"Love that pardons past transgression,

Love that cleanses every stain,

Love that fills to overflowing,

Yet invites to drink again,

Precious fountain!

Which to open, Christ was slain.

"From my soul break every fetter,

Thee to know is all my cry;

Saviour, I am Thine for ever,

Thine I'll live, and Thine I'll die.

Only asking,

More and more of love's supply."

 

 

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