By Charles H. Stalker
Message Delivered at Penn, Evening Meeting, March 29th, 1919
"Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God."
When the Holy Ghost gives an expression like this, it is always worthy of our obedience. When He calls our attention to a thing, it is not a moving picture show or a painting in oil, or something that will pass away with time, but it is something eternal. Jesus never mentioned the things that could be seen with the natural eye, except to draw attention to eternal things. He spoke of feeding them with bread, and then He told them of the bread of life.
Tonight we have our attention called to one of the most wonderful things that has ever been known. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God." In the plan of creation, all that was created was for everybody, but the plan of redemption was for individuals who would meet certain conditions, and by simple faith claim the provisions that had been made for them. The sun shines on the just and on the unjust. The people who have cursed God today have had just as much of the sunshine as the people who have been praising God. The people who are serving the devil have just as much right to look at the sun as the people who are standing for God and Holiness. In the creation, everything was universal, in redemption, everything is personal, and there is nothing general about it.
Whenever people begin to talk about the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, they always mean to tone down something that God has said, they want to put their own interpretation on the word of God.
The deepest love was not expressed to us in creation, but in redemption, and it brought within the reach of everyone the plan of redemption that could save them. When the devil came into the Garden of Eden, and our first parents fell out of the image of God and they lost communion with Him, it was not the act of sin that was so awful, but because of that act the devil brought into their hearts the depraved nature, the carnal nature, that damnable nature from hell, that nature of the devil that will damn anybody that has it. When the act of sin is forgiven through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary, that nature of sin still remains in the heart, and so many have never heard that there is deliverance from it. That is why I specially believe in Holiness Meetings.
There is no other kind of meeting on earth that deals with the cause of sin. There is no ministry that teaches it, and there are no songs that mention it until you get to Holiness. There are thousands and millions today who are ignorant of the cause of their defeat. I believe the Holy Ghost will reveal it to you tonight, and some of you, I feel sure, are honest enough to seek deliverance from that damnable thing. That is why I believe in preaching Holiness. When you think of these things, you can see that after the act of sin has been forgiven, many times people have gone back into sin again, and the last state has been worse than the first, but when the nature of sin was destroyed from the hearts of the hundred and twenty who gathered in the Upper Room, they never took another backward step. They had the thing taken out that causes others to backslide.
When God expressed His love in the plan of redemption, He did not simply deal with the act of sin. The act of sin is under your control, but the nature of sin is under the devil's control. It is the supreme work of hell, and was brought out to damn humanity. The devil hates this message, he keenly contests souls being delivered from this carnal nature which he put in the heart to defeat the thought of Divinity and to damn humanity. I will tell you how much I believe in Holiness. I believe in it enough to give my life for it. I believe it is a special message, and it will do special things in this country, and God will have the glory. Anything less than this will bring defeat.
When God made the plan of redemption in heaven, it was placed on the basis of faith, when the devil made his scheme in hell it was based on action. You can see the difference. The devil wanted to get them to doubt God, and he was successful in his attempt. Whenever he can get a person of any age, class, or color, to doubt the inspiration of the Bible and the power of the blood, and the purpose of Divinity to save humanity for time and eternity, they will be damned. You can never reach a person with a wrong doctrine as long as they hold to it. They are under a blighting, withering, damnable influence, and they see nothing in the light because they are in darkness, they see nothing in faith because they are in doubt, and they see nothing in Holiness because they are on the road to hell.
God purposes to place the plan of redemption in the reach of everybody. How does He do it? God knows all that the devil has done and is going to do, but the devil knows nothing of what God has done. He is as ignorant of the plan of redemption as he was when he fell out of heaven. God knows all about the schemes of hell, but the devil knows nothing about the schemes of heaven. That is the reason why sinners can come from the back of this room and, although they have the burden of sins upon them, and the nature of hell in them, God almighty can break the chains of sin and liberate them, and send the devil back to hell to advertise the victory. The devil has been a seeker, and he has desired to find out these things, but they are hidden from him, and also from the people who follow him.
That is a great inspiration to the children of God. All through the Bible we find that the devil knew nothing of what God was going to do. He knows what sin is, and he knows what hell is, he knows what doubt is, and he knows what the carnal nature is, but he knows nothing of the plan of redemption and the secrets of the Holy Ghost. That is the reason why the children of God, full of faith and the Holy Ghost, can go to the trapdoor of hell and plant the flowers of divine grace, and water them with their own tears, and gather bouquets after many years.
That is why the Bible says that God has all power, and He will give you power over all the power of the enemy. Right by the devil's power in every heart and in every life is the power of God, and as soon as you are willing to say, "Thy will be done," the work of God is begun. And so, tonight, we are not throwing out a few paper wads, but we are taking the biggest sinner in England and preaching to him a salvation that will save from all sin and baptize him with the Holy Ghost if he is willing to meet the conditions. If you want anything better than that, I cannot tell you where you will find it.
The purpose of the devil in persuading Adam and Eve to commit the act of sin was not simply for the act, but by that act he was able to put the nature of sin in them. As a result, everybody is born with that damnable nature in them, but by faith everyone can be saved from sin and filled with the Holy Ghost, and be made partaker of the divine nature. This message is worth hearing, and it is the only message for the hour. It is the only message that has saved humanity. Pay no attention to the cost, and the prayers, and the tears. Will you live in sin and die and be damned, or will you be without sin and live holy and die happy? You can make your decision.
Now, sin has passed upon all men because of the act of Adam and Eve, and salvation is offered to every man, because of the sacrifice of Calvary. Some of you think you have always been good, but you are good enough for hell and to damn souls. Nobody is good enough except through faith, and through a change of heart. That damnable nature must be taken out of the heart. We are not afraid to preach this message, we are not afraid of hell. God has called us to preach Ho mess, and we will honor the Bible, and the blood, and the Holy Ghost, and He will do the rest.
When the Holy Ghost said, "Behold! He was not drawing attention to natural love and affection produced by circumstances and environments, but He was speaking of the real divine love. That love is always the same, it has not changed in its action or its judgment. God loved this lost world, and He gave His Son to die for it. God so loved that He gave, and you will never love God very much until you give everything to Him. As soon as that divine love is put into your soul you will begin to give, and there is no end to the giving. "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
Now, we are made partakers 6f the divine nature by an act of faith, and it is a personal matter, but the nature of the devil was by an act for which we were not accountable. "Death passed upon all men, for all have sinned." All have been under the fall, but faith puts an end to the fall when we surrender all and answer God's call.
Just throw yourself into the hands of God. And it is a wonderful thing that we can be called the "Sons of God," not by a church, not by a preacher, but by God Himself. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God." It does not say we shall be called a church member, or a Methodist, or a Presbyterian, but a son of God. How do we become children of God? By being born again. The New Birth ends all activity in sin, there is no place for sin. Then the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire destroys the nature of sin and places in your heart the divine nature. You not only have the desire to do the will of God, but the Holy Ghost is there to work in and through you to the glory of God.
We can see that God knows everything that the devil knows, but the devil knows nothing of the plan of God. He knows no more about the conversion of a soul than he did when he first fell; he understands no more about the baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire than he did when the hundred and twenty received it. That is the reason why the work of God has been a success and sin has been a failure. "If God be for us, who can be against us? " "Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world." The Divine personality dwelling within your heart gives you victory.
Some people speak of a universal salvation because Jesus died on the cross, but you are not saved because Jesus died, but because you accept the sacrifice that was made on the cross. While the sacrifice was made that all might be saved, none will be saved but those who accept the sacrifice. It is all ready, and it is left for you to see that the work is done.
As far as divine thought was concerned, it was done on Calvary, and it can be done in your heart when you accept it by faith. Our forefathers looked forward to Calvary's sacrifice, and we look back to it, but it is nothing to us until we appropriate it by faith. That is the reason why there is so much dry theology and empty profession; there is no divine nature, and souls are paralyzed and withered and damned by the carnal nature.
"Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." That was the climax of the plan of redemption. If Jesus had only saved man from the act of sin, then the devil and sin would have been a success, but He died to save man from the nature of sin and from total depravity, and from eternal damnation, and, thank God, He is able to do it.
If you go to one who has been wrecked by the act of sin, you can give him no hope if you cannot tell him that the nature of sin can be destroyed. The act has wrecked him, but you must remember that when the act is forgiven, the mind is still weak and the old carnal nature will begin to act again, but when God comes in and destroys the carnal nature, He puts the Holy Ghost in that weak body to take charge, and His presence gives that weak person complete victory.
Oh, I am getting so blessed, I like to think of the old devil being defeated and locked up. You do not know what you are missing. Everything is before you, and you can have all you need if you will believe God. For a long time I could see these things were for the other folk, but I was tickled nearly to death when I saw they were for me.
I have not got over it yet. Nobody could say they were not for me, because the Holy Ghost said they were, and I believed it. God is able to take any withered, depraved, and debauched piece of humanity and work a miracle of divine grace, right before the devil's face. That is the reason why Holiness is a success. Do not rub your head up against this thing, Holiness can live without you, and it will be in heaven when you are screaming in a devil's hell. You can make your choice.
I want you to see that this is a personal matter. You have nothing to do with the plan of creation, the stars are going to give light and people are going to eat and sleep, but as soon as you finish the act of sin, and the nature of sin is destroyed from your heart, then there is a personal thought and a personal working -- out of God's plan.
The Holy Ghost says, "Behold!" Just look at that. Think over the few scattering fragments of truth, and there is nobody on earth or in hell that can answer them. The devil can meet brains, scholarship, tradition, and education, but he is silenced when the Holy Ghost speaks.
Now His purpose in saving your soul was not simply to stop the act of sin. When the act of sin is forgiven, there is power enough in every unsanctified soul to make them sin again, because the purpose of the devil can be worked out through the carnal nature. I am more then ever convinced that the devil does not mind what people profess, or what they preach, if he can keep them blind to the fact that the nature of sin will damn them.
I wish somebody would get a vision in this room tonight, I wish somebody would see their opportunity and their privilege of taking this message to some soul I may never see. When the acts of sin are forgiven, you have the consciousness that the burden of sins for which you were accountable has been lifted. But while the nature of sin remains it will exert itself and cause you to sin again.
So you see how important it is that sin should be destroyed. Your destiny rests upon your own decision, and the devil can never make you go back into sin against your will. It is a simple thing to lift your hand to heaven, but think what it means for God's hand to reach down to you; you can pray a simple prayer, but think what God does when He answers your heart-cry.
You know it is proper to ask for things. When you go to the store, you ask for what you want. You do not say, "Oh, anything will do," and yet when people come to God they stutter and stammer and hardly know how to ask. Others are not willing to pay the price.
One day, after they raised the price of tickets in our country, I was standing in the station waiting for the train, and a man went to the booking office and asked for a ticket; the clerk told him how much it would cost, and he said, "Oh, I am not going to pay that," and the clerk said, "You are not obliged to do so." I went to the train, but that man sat still in the station. I do not know how long he sat. What did it matter to the railway company? They have made the plans and arranged the fares, and if people do not pay they cannot have the benefits. What does the railway company care? That is just how much God cares when you go to a meeting and will not walk in the light.
Some people think that Holiness cannot make any headway without them, but they are mistaken. It went along before they were born, and it will continue without them. Some have the impression that God cannot do without them, but it is a mistake. They ought to see that they cannot do without God. It is a wonderful thing that He pays any attention to us. I was thinking the other day what a wonderful thing it is that God has made a plan of redemption that can reach everybody.
The Holy Ghost can meet every extreme need of the human heart. There is not a desire in your heart that cannot be satisfied if you will allow God to save you and to baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.
The devil has made a great many people believe that the life of Holiness is abnormal, but that is not so. It is natural and supernatural. You can live the normal Christian life when that old carnal nature has been destroyed. It has caused you many a doctor's bill, and as soon as it is taken away your health is better.
Holiness gives you good health. That old, mean disposition that the devil brought out of hell and put in you before you were born is an awful thing. You are not accountable for having it, but you are accountable for keeping it. You know there is something the matter, and you think it is your liver, but it is the carnal nature.
People go to the doctor when they ought to go to a Holiness Meeting, that is where the Holy Ghost can deal with the case and destroy that nature of sin. He can do it in an instant. A man was in a meeting and he had taken advantage of another person. The Holy Ghost spoke to him, and he came to the altar. I had the privilege of praying with him, and he saw he had to make restitution. As soon as he went and put things right with the person whom he had wronged, they, too, wanted to go to the Holiness Meeting.
Carnal nature produces jealousy, envy, backbiting, and all those kind of things, and when God made the plan of redemption He never intended that nature to remain in the heart of man. Why, being angry for ten minutes is worse for you than ten years hard work, and there are people today who are so controlled by their passion that they are not fit to be amongst society.
Somebody says, "I haven't a nature like that." You have that nature, and it will take you to hell, and it will laugh at you after you are damned. Refinement and education may restrain it for a time, but it will go to hell, that is its place, and that is its environment. It came from hell and it is going to return.
God, in giving His Son to die for this lost world, produced a salvation that destroys the works of the devil. Why could He do it? God knew what the devil would do, and so before He made man He thought out the plan of redemption. The devil made his scheme in hell and put carnality in the heart of humanity. God made the plan of redemption and sent the personal Holy Ghost to destroy the works of the devil, to take charge of you and to take you to heaven and introduce you to the angels and the blood-washed. Why does He stay with you for ever? Because you are not safe for one minute without Him. If He left you the devil; would have a chance to defeat you, but He will stay with you for time and eternity.
I wonder if you realize how much it is worth to this community and to this country to have this meeting here tonight. I have been to many places, and I have seen many things in the country, but the greatest thing I have seen is this Independent Holiness Movement. People do not realize it, and carnality hates Holiness. If you take notice, you will see that the religious people are not fighting the sinners who are being saved, but they are fighting the Christians who are being sanctified wholly. They turned against Jesus, but He had done nothing wrong, He blessed everybody. The blind received their sight, the deaf were made to hear, and the sick were healed. Why did they kill Him? Because they hated Holiness. They wanted to crucify the Son of God. It was Holiness they hated. There is not a thing outside of hell that is hated so much as Holiness. I am not saying these things in a hurry, I have stood up against the hostility of hell nearly all my life, I am against its damnable onslaughts and its subtle power.
They hate me because I preach Holiness. If I would only entertain them with a talk on the Boxer Movement they would be satisfied. If I were to announce that I would speak on my travels next Saturday night, you would have to arrange for a larger hall. Carnality hates Holiness. After they had killed Jesus, and the one hundred and twenty had received the Holy Ghost, they wanted to kill them. Not one of those early disciples died a natural death. Look at the case of Paul. He had papers in his pocket and authority to go and kill the Christians and to stop the Holiness Movement and put it in hell. He had been sitting at the feet of Gamaliel, and he was on his way to Damascus when he fell in the mud, and you know what happened -- he found salvation. Afterwards) he received the Holy Ghost, and then they wanted to kill him. They were on his track continually. They stoned him and left him for dead, but he crawled out and he went on preaching Holiness until they took off his head. Why did they do it? Because that damnable carnality hates Holiness.
Mark what I tell you, if you press forward with this message, some are going to get the light, but martyrs crowns will again be worn. We are not out for play we are not out to make friends, we are not out to measure our salaries, but we are out to stand against sin as long as God gives us breath. We are going to have a hearing in this country, and the people are going to have a chance to hear the message. God's love is as much expressed in allowing people to go to hell as it is in taking others to heaven. I never count numbers, all the Holy Ghost called me to do was to carry an unanswerable message to hungry hearts, and I have given my life for it and to it. The atmosphere in this meeting is rare, you could go to many places and find nothing like it.
I want you to see that God's love is expressed as much in judgment as it is in mercy. His love has given its final expression in the plan of salvation. So you see the tremendous opportunity and the great responsibility, and you can see what the Holy Ghost and purity and unction means to a living soul.
I do not suppose you will be troubled with many messages like this, but if any of you do not believe it, I want to ask you how you can evade it. I have no secondary motive. I simply want you to get this message. You have no time to lose. Do you want to keep the nature of hell or will you let God destroy it and give you the nature that comes from heaven? You can make your choice.
I want to thank God that He made the plan of redemption to save man before He took the dust in His hand to make man, and that He established Holiness in heaven before there was a hell, and He defeated the purpose of the devil before the devil had a purpose.
If you think Holiness is a little thing, you are mistaken. The devil cannot touch the plan of redemption through time or through eternity. Just think of the Holy Ghost saying, "Behold!" People go miles to see their friends, they take long trips to see certain sights. We sat out on the deck to see the Southern Cross. I had heard of it, and I saw it, but tonight I can see the cross, and God has put it in a place where it can never be taken down. There are people who would not come across the street to this meeting, but the Holy Ghost has brought some a long way to "Behold." To behold the decisions of the Peace Conference? No. To behold the love of God that reached down before the devil did a thing. You think you have a right to sin and to weaken your body and damn your soul. You have; and you have a right to the precious blood and to the Holy Ghost and the tree of life. You have a right to carry a burden and a right to shed tears that will water the flowers of divine grace that are placed in your heart by the hand of God. Why, if there was no hereafter, if there was no heaven and no hell, a man is a fool to live twenty-four hours out of the will of God.
I feel like thanking God that I ever heard about the blood and the Holy Ghost, and that He ever found His way to my poor hungry heart. I simply ask you to make your choice. It is not a question of numbers, or of joining something, or wearing a label, but it is a question of having that thing, the works of the devil, taken out of your heart.
The act of sin is ended when you confess and forsake your sins, and the nature of sin is destroyed when you are baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire, when the Holy Ghost will come to abide for ever. I never did have such inexpressible gratitude in my heart as I have tonight. You are strangers to me, but I want you to get acquainted with the Holy Ghost, and then we will soon know each other. He took me when nobody else would, and now He can keep me. It is a personal matter, and I want you to think honestly and seriously about it. It is worth all your thought and all your attention.