..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Rarity of Gentleness by George D. Watson Part 2

by George D. Watson

No Desire To Be Gentle

So few professed Christians form a deep
determination to becoming thoroughly gentle
in their nature and life. They look upon
a gentle disposition as a beautiful flower
which can grow only in favored spots, or
as a spiritual luxury, a celestial cake
and ice cream, which is pleasant to have
in the feverish bustle of life, but not as
being an essential staple in Christian experience.

This is why so few Christians are really gentle.
Many wicked sinners think they cannot give
sufficient emphasis to their language without
loading it with oaths and rude swearing.

And in like manner, many Christians think if
they are not rough, and loud, and impetous,
and cutting, that their words will have no
power. Some think they must us "slang," and
"rowdy expressions," to suit a certain class
or strike truth home, but if such persons will
consult the behavior of Jesus, and the Apostles,
and preachers like Wesley, and Fenelon, and
Fletcher and Edwards, and Finney, men that God
used in breaking the hardest of hearts, they will
find that the purest, hottest truth requires no
adjuncts of passion or street language to give
it edge.

Unless we, from the bottom of our hearts, desire
a gentle spirit, and then by the grace of God
determine that we will have it, it is not likely
that we will ever known its inexpressible
blessedness. It is possible for us to desire
sanctification, and even resolve on having it,
without involving the proper appreciation of
having a soul filled with all the meekness and
gentleness of Jesus.

It is a law in the spiritual life that we get from
God just about what we determine to have. It is
amazing how God watches and honors the deep, serious
determinations of the will of his creatures. Most
men do not known that they determine to go to hell,
but such will be proved to be the fact in the day
of judgment. Most Christians are in one sense
willing to be made holy, but a still fewer number
ever seriously determine from their hearts desire
to be holy, and a still fewer number ever
seriously determine to become holy, and a still
fewer number determine to have all their nature
turned into spotless, lowly, gentle love.

Every advance step in grace must be preceded
by first apprehending it, and then a prayerful
resolve to have it. Real gentleness is not a
mere set of parlor manners that we can put off
and on, it must be soaked into every fiber of
our being, and must be drawn from a Divine mountain.

No Commitment To Becoming Gentle

So few are willing to undergo the suffering out
of which thorough gentleness comes. We must die
before we are turned into gentleness, and
crucifixion involves suffering; and it is not a
painted death, but a real breaking and crushing
of self, which wrings the heart, and conquers
the mind. There is a good deal of mere mental and
logical sanctification nowadays, which is only a
religious fiction.

It consists of mentally putting one’s self on
the altar, and then mentally saying the altar
sanctifies the gift, and then logically
concluding therefore one is sanctified: and such
an one goes forth with a gay, flippant, theological
prattle about the deep things of God; but the
natural heart strings have not been snapped, and
the Adamic flint has not been ground to powder,
and the bosom has not throbbed with the lonely,
surging sights of Gethsemane, and the beautiful
self-constructed air castles have not been crushed
to pieces; and not having the real death marks of
Calvary, there cannot be that soft, sweet, gentle,
floating, victorious, overflowing, triumphant life
that flows out like a Spring morning from an empty

We must not only lie in the tomb when we are first
sanctified, but that death must be carried out in
the little hidden details of life, and this involves
a vast amount of quiet suffering, the unostentatious
bearings of a thousand pains, and the speechless
enduring of secret crosses, told only to God with
silent midnight tears. But if we want to be filled
with a gentle spirit, we must be filled with death
to self.

Many Christians seem to not understand that, after
the instantaneous work of sanctification, there is
a vast stretch of progress in having the mind of
Jesus; that the will can more and more sink into
God's will, until, in numberless ways, the choices
and preferences on the smallest matters are sunk in
the sweet, placid waters of the Father's will, and
the thoughts can be more and more lifted to heavenly
perceptions, and all the affections enlarged and
flooded with the indwelling of Jesus, until every
expression, and tone, and manner, in some way
indicates the mark of God upon it.

To have a real gentle spirit, there must not be the
least secret feeling of anything bitter, or sour,
or severe, or combative, or dictatorial, or sitting
in judgment, or religious braggadocio. If we do not
know how to suffer, then we will never know how to
be gentle.

No Commitment To Be Like Jesus

To be filled with the gentleness of Jesus, we must
put it above everything else; that is, set a price
on it in our hearts, above all Christian activity,
above all preaching, or evangelistic work, or
Scripture exegesis, or building of churches, or
running a mission, or feeding the poor, or nursing
the sick, or going to heathen lands, or cutting a
great figure in the Christian world, or in the
visible church. Who will believe this and comply
with it?

The ruin of spirituality among modern Christians
is in putting the fussy doing of religion ahead of
the deep, divine inward being like Jesus. Unless
our hearts fairly break with the intense love of
the humility and gentleness of Jesus, so that we
appreciate being just like him in all our inward
spirit and behavior, and esteem that first and
foremost in the moral universe, then we must
fail of ever knowing him in the deepest sense
that Paul refers to in the third chapter of
Philippians. The Lamb of God reveals the very
sweetness of his inner life only to those who
esteem him in and for himself, above all creation
and spiritual activities.


Jack Callahan aka Manny Rodriguez said...

please explain what is meant by this quote from your post on:Rarity of gentlness by George D. Watson part2
Quote:Many Christians seem to not understand that, after
the instantaneous work of sanctification.

Where do you find scripture to back up this statement?

Thank you


The Pen of The Wayfarer said...

Hi, i am not completely sure what tradition George Watson comes from,
this was written in the 1920's, and from this phrase that you have picked out I assume that he is from
some kind of holiness or wesleyan
tradition that believes in sanctification as a second work of grace. You can read what that means at this link: http://mb-soft.com/believe/txc/wesleyan.htm

It sounds like Watson believes in this but is adding a correction to common beliefs that once you had this experience you didnt need to walk in the daily process of dying to self and seeking holiness.

Whether one believes in sanctification as a second work of grace, or as an ongoing process. (and those who believe in sanctificatino as a second work of grace do believe that there is not ongoing process after that, a walking out of the grace one has received) seems to me to be less of an issue then, however we believe it, giving ourselves daily and completely to God to allow impurities to be burned out of us.

If you put that in context of what he is saying in the whole article, you may or may not disagree with that one point, but what he is seeking to say is that people are not willing to allow God to purify them and press out of them things that are not fruit of the Holy Spirit.

I enjoy the old holiness writers although i do not believe in sanctification as a second work of grace, but an ongoing process. I do believe that the roots of sin must be layed to the axe within us, and then we are free to follow Christ and refuse the sin nature's rule within. This needs to happen not just positionally in Christ (which would happen, as i understand it, at our conversion), but experientially, also, as an ongoing and ever increasing process.