Home   About Us   Holiness Library   Bible Prophecy   Listen to Sermons  History of the Holiness Movement   Early English Bibles   Bible Studies










The Imitation of Christ

Thomas á Kempis


Written around 1418, this book had a profound impact on the young John Wesley and influenced his thinking along the lines of holiness prior to his conversion. It was written to assist serious Christians in the pursuit of holiness in a time when holiness was confined to the monastery. Although it is tainted with some medieval superstition and reliance on good works, it still has merit for all who want to understand the fundamentals of practical holiness in every day life.



A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life

William Law

This book impacted the life of the young John Wesley and influenced his starting a holiness club, which eventually became Methodist Societies under his ministry. First published in 1729, this is not an easy read for modern Americans but it is well worth the study. While heavy on legalism, it does prefigure the spiritual condition Wesley sought to promote.


Pseudo Macarius


50 homilies written by an unknown writer at a time in the history of the Christian church when it was thought that a holy life could be lived only apart from common society--in caves, in the wilderness, or sitting on the top of a pole. 

Macarius is so far different from his times in that he believed that holiness was possible only through the indwelling and life changing presence of the Holy Spirit. This book had a profound impact on John Wesley and his understanding of holiness. Wesley wrote in his diary on July 30, 1736, "I read Macarius and sang."


The Didache


The Didache is an ancient Christian writing dating from between 65 and 80 A.D. It is a short document but it says a great deal about the practice and discipline of the primitive church.



The Church

John Huss

The early rays of the Reformation began to peek through the spiritual darkness and godly men such as John Wyclif and John Huss became awakened to gospel truth that had been obscured in the darkness of Romanism.

Huss's treatise on the church is a landmark work in the history of the church that has been overlooked. Still brushing away the shrouds of Romanism, Huss began to see the true nature of the church Jesus built. Please keep this in mind as your read this book.

It was this book that was the ground of his conviciont as a heretic and led to his martyrdom at the stake.


The 95 Theses

Martin Luther

The 95 Theses of Martin Luther are the hallmark of the Protestant Reformation. Have you ever wondered what these Theses are?



A Study of Holiness from the Early Church Fathers

J. B. Galloway


Galloway asks a crucial question: Did the Early Church teach holiness? If holiness was indeed part of the gospel and the other books of the New Testament it is reasonable to believe that evidence of the this teaching would have been passed down to the generations immediately following the disciples of Jesus.

Galloway spent years reading and researching the writings of the Early Church Fathers to find out if they knew anything about holiness, sanctification, living free from sin, heart purity, Christian perfection, and a second blessing.

This book is full of statements from the writings of the Early Church Fathers that show us they did in fact believe in and teach holiness. Holiness is not a fabrication of an American Holiness Movement.




The Way of Salvation

Albert Barnes

Written in 1863, this is a collection of 36 sermons by Dr. Albert Barnes, who is famous for his Notes on the New Testament.

Dr. Barnes may not readily be thought of as a holiness minister but his slow and methodical contemplation of the human condition and God's method of changing it to conform to His righteous is clearly a holiness message.


John Wesley And The Second Blessing

Timothy L. Smith


A scholarly and well documented article by Smith in which he examines the evolution of Wesley's understanding of entire sanctification as a distinct experience subsequent to conversion.



Entire Sanctification; John Wesley's View

D. A. Whedon


This short booklet is a compilation of extracts from the works of John Wesley showing his progress in understanding and articulating the doctrine and the experience of entire sanctification.

The Life That Wins

Charles G. Trumbull

From a sermon by Charles Trumbull delivered in 1911. Trumbull speaks of his CONSTANT FAILURE in his Christian experience until he experienced and encounter with Christ that transformed his life to CONSTANT VICTORY. Trumbull found that in the New Testament words such as Christ in you, Christ our life, abiding in Christ, etc. are not mere figures of speech or goals at which to direct our lives, they are literal.

I had always known that Christ was my Saviour; but I had looked upon Him as an external Saviour, one who did a saving work for me from outside, as it were; one who was ready to come close alongside and stay by me, helping me in all that I needed, giving me power and strength and salvation. But now I know something better than that. At last I realized that Jesus Christ was actually and literally within me; and even more than that, that He had constituted Himself my very life, taking me into union with Himself—my body, mind, and spirit—while I still had my own identity and free will and full moral responsibility.


The Way To Pentecost

Samuel Chadwick


If you read only one book from this website, read this one! It is very readable and worth your time.

Chadwick deals fearlessly with the Church's lack of focus on the Person, presence, and work of the Holy Spirit. While the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ are extremely important to Christianity, we seem to forget that after those events our Lord sent the Holy Spirit to fill and empower us. We love tradition, theology, and church, but we tend to ignore the work and person of the Holy Spirit.

Chadwick speaks plainly to the conditions of "the church" in his day (book published in 1937). It appears no one paid attention to him because what we have today is even worse.

Read this book and ask God to challenge you! To quote Chadwick, "Suppose we try Pentecost!"



Perils of the Victorious Life

Charles G. Trumbull

Another outstanding sermon by Trumbull. His foundation thought is "The secret of complete victory is faith: simply believing that Jesus has done and is doing all. Victory is entered upon by a simple act of faith.

It is this simple act of faith that is constantly assailed by the enemy of souls to rob the sincere Christian the victory that is his through redemption. Trumbull talks about these "perils" and how we must deal with them.



Love Enthroned

Daniel Steele

This holiness classic is a non-academic discussion of what holiness looks like in the lives of the sanctified. Dr. Steele, a Methodist theologian, was once an opponent of entire sanctification but became an ardent supporter of both the experience and the teaching after his own experience of entire sanctification (Read his testimony in Chapter 15).

While approaching entire sanctification from the "second blessing" perspective, Dr. Steele is loathe to systematize the experience, "merely trading transformation wrought by the Holy Spirit for a mere dogma and a sense of supposed orthodoxy."

Readers will find much value regardless of their approach to entire sanctification. A good read!



Why I Am Not a Premillennialist

Daniel Steele

While this is not a topic directly related to holiness, it is a topic that should interest serious students of the Bible. Dr. Steele took a strong position in opposition to dispensational premillennialism. He deals with the subject at length in his work Substitute for Holiness, located in our section on Important Works of Theology.

Here is a short and concise message on his reasons why he did not embrace this view of eschatology that is so prevalent in our day.



Mile-Stone Papers

Daniel Steele


This is perhaps the capstone work of Daniel Steele. It is a set of essays in two parts that focus on the reality of entire sanctification. In many respects, it goes into greater depths of his previous work Love Enthroned.

Part 1 is a series of 22 essays largely doctrinal in nature. Part 2 contains 10 essays that reflect on Steele's experience in entire sanctification--the doctrine made personal in life.

Chapter 8 of Part 1 is a notable part of this work of Steele. The chapter is "The Tense Readings of the Greek New Testament." While that may sound dull and boring upon first hearing, this chapter has been referred to and quoted extensively by many other holiness writers.



The Gospel of the Comforter

Daniel Steele


Published in 1898, this is one of the last works written by Daniel Steele. It is written from the perspectives of experience and practicality rather than strictly theological. While the New Testament has much to say about the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of people, it is the actual indwelling presence and ministerings of the Holy Spirit that matter in Christian experience.

Steele presents 36 chapters of meaningful messages on the relationship and workings of the Holy Spirit. Many of these messages are sadly missing from most modern holiness churches today.

Of greatest significance to modern readers is Chapter 36 in which Steele discusses the impact on orthodoxy of dismissing the Holy Spirit from the Church. He gives examples of his time and speculates on the future of the Methodist Church. His speculations definitely came true, and the impact there has been experienced similarly in many denominations,  including holiness denominations and groups, during the over 100 years since the publishing of this book.

We suggest you read Chapter 36 first!



Half-Hours With St. Paul and Other Bible Readings

Daniel Steele

This work is a classic work on holiness by Dr. Steele. Concentrating in the epistles written by the Apostle Paul, he explores the teachings of entire sanctification and holiness of life in several different ways. Dr. Steele was a highly respected professor of Greek, and he applied this knowledge in explaining some of the unique words "invented" by the Apostle that give a proper meaning to his writings. There is also a great deal of pastoral teaching and encouragement contained in this book.




Half-Hours With St. John's Epistles

Daniel Steele


Written in 1900, Steele begins the book with some history of the Apostle John and his writings. After this, the book is largely a commentary on John's epistles. This commentary is not just verse by verse, but phrase by phrase. It is a valuable study tool for serious Bible students. Following the commentary are four essays by Dr. Steele of great value to serious Bible students.




New Testament Holiness

Thomas Cook

Written in 1902, Thomas Cook presents holiness, not just in terms of a second work of grace, but a true life-style made possible by the Holy Spirit and received solely through faith.

Scholarly, yet clear and sensitive; this is not a work of theology but the essence of 25 sermons preached by Cook that were used by God to establish hundreds in the grace of entire sanctification.




Principles of the Interior or Hidden Life

Thomas C. Upham



Upham lived from 1799 to 1872 and was a highly influential writer among holiness people. Upham started as a Congregational minister but gravitated to academia and was Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy at Bowden College.

What makes this book different from other works in this section is that it was not written as a theological treatise, but as a practice "what and how to" book: it is holiness from the perspective of our living the life. Upham treats holiness not so much as the result of the traditional thought of eradication but as to submission to God through simple faith and entire consecration--when we abandon self, the Holy Spirit moves in and enables us to live a holy life. His perspective is not that of the Higher Life; he believes that through the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit, people actually can be holy!

Upham is also noted for his work in verse, which has also appeared in several hymns. He was frequently quoted by holiness authors of the Nineteenth Century.



The Life of Faith

Thomas C. Upham


Christianity harmonizes with itself, and involves in its progress the same great principles, which characterize its incipient state. The Christian, therefore, lives as he began to live. He began in faith. He lives, day by day, in the exercise of faith. And, by the grace of God, he is ultimately made victorious, and is brought into the possession of the divine image, through the same faith.

According to Upham, a sanctified life is a life of faith. His thoughts on that subject are deep: thoughts which holiness people tend not to think. The Holiness Movement dwelt strongly on the concept of the second blessing--a second trip to the altar after being saved, where a person is baptized with the Holy Spirit and sanctified. Too often, the teaching stopped right there. Upham goes beyond the mere doctrinal approach to sanctification and deals with what we might call the psychological aspect of sanctification.

This book is deep and it would be well for the serious seeker of holiness to read and understand what Upham had to say.




Absolute Religion

Thomas C. Upham


Absolute religion is a concept that has been tried at various times in human history--really, without much success. It is essentially a philosophical approach to God, morality, and the issues of human existence and responsbility. However, the "religion of Christ" best suits the concept as it is universal, timeless, and without regard to political, geographic, or social boundaries. In this book, Dr. Upham explores the doctrines of the Christian faith with the thought that they are both universal and absolute and that which God has revealed.

This book will be a challenge to contemporary readers, and one may wonder at times if Upham was even an Christian. His exploration of Christian doctrines is more on the line of philosophy than theology and, consequently, will be unfamiliar to the average Christian.. Upham was not a clergyman, he was Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy at Bowdoin College from 1825-1868. He was quite famous in the academic world of psychology and one must read his works with this in mind.

While Upham was not a clergyman or a theologian, he was influential in the early holiness movement. He collaborated with Phoebe Palmer in the early work of the American Holiness Movement.




Holiness, The Central Purpose of Redemption

David Shelby Corlett

Dr. Corlett presented this sermon at a District meeting of the Church of the Nazarene in January 1940. It was so well received that it was eventually printed and sent to Districts across the country. 

Holiness is the natural and logical outcome of salvation. Salvation is not just the forgiveness of sins, it is a life lived in the context of that forgiveness.

This is a MUST READ!




Holiness the Harmonizing Experience

Lewis T. Corlett

Have you ever thought of holiness, Christian perfection, or the second blessing, in the terms of psychology? Probably not but Lewis Corlett has and ably expresses it in this series of five lelcltures. Written in 1951, Corlett's thoughts are as up-to-date as if they were penned yesterday. 

The Heritage of Holiness

H. E. Jessop

This is a series of six lectures delivered by Dr. Jessop. Holiness is not a recent invention of overzealous Christians, it is rooted in God and it is seen throughout the entire Bible revelation of God and His dealings with mankind.

Holiness is God's requirement and it is the natural and logical outcome of salvation. Sin has defiled man, and God's plan of salvation restores man to God's required spiritual state.

In lecture six, Jessop presents a brief and concise review of the revivals under the Wesleys.



Helps to Holiness

Samuel L. Brengle

Written in 1896 by Samuel Bringle, a member of the Salvation Army, this is an extremely helpful book for anyone seeking instruction for living a holy life.

Written from the traditional holiness second blessing view point, it provides much insight to the practices and attitudes essential to a life of self-denial and total consecration to Jesus Christ and the perfect will of God for your life. People who might not accept the second blessing concept will still find much of value in this book.

This book is a holiness classic. It contains many terms and illustrations out of Salvation Army practices from the times.



Heart Talks on Holiness

Samuel L. Brengle

Written in 1897, Dr. Bringle, a Commissioner in the Salvation Army, presents helpful comments on many aspects of holy living. This book is written in a conversational style rather than academic. It object is pastoral rather than doctrinal or apologetic.

This is a classic book on holiness and a "must read" for people who want to know more about every-day holy living. It is written from the point of view of the "second blessing", which is evident from some of the terminology used, but the principles are valid for people that might not totally accept that view.




Samuel L. Brengle


The Message of this Book by Commissioner Brengle has two elements of great value. It is an encouraging message—calculated to incite us to seek after the highest things. Perhaps it suffers somewhat, as such writings often suffer, by being more or less disconnected, having been written at different times and to meet varying conditions of thought and feeling. Yet through it all there runs the spirit of Hope—unfailing, undaunted, imperishable—the promise of Light and Blessings and Victories to come. Christ in us the Hope of Glory. (General Booth)

This book is primarily addressed to the Officers and Soldiers of the Salvation Army but it is of significant interest to all who may not have ever been affiliated with the Army.



When The Holy Ghost Is Come

Samuel L. Brengle


Written in 1908, this book by Brengle is an excellent discussion of who the Holy Spirit is and the work He does in and for the lives of believers. He is God, Third Person of the Trinity, fulfilling the work of full salvation in the lives of those who repent of sin and give their lives to Christ. He is a Comforter, Cleanser, Empowerer, Caller and Gifter. It is only  through indwelling presence of this Holy Person that the believers, the church, can do the work of the kingdom.



The Way of Holiness

Samuel L. Brengle


Brengle wrote this book primarily for the young people of his time in an attempt to explain to them what sanctification is. "It is, in our measure, to be made like god. It is to be made a 'partaker of the Divine nature.' (2 Peter 1:4)" Holiness is conformity to the nature of God. It is likeness to God as He revealed in Jesus.



The Soul-Winner's Secret

Samuel L. Brengle


Personal holiness and personal commitment to the will of God are the essentials of being a soul-winner. The kingdom of God does not increase by accident, but as godly people take the command of Jesus "Go make disciples" seriously. Do you have the personal discipline and the quality of holiness in your life that will cause others to want to be saved as your are saved?

What was true about soul-winning in 1920 is still true in the Twenty-first Century!




Edgar Painter Ellyson


This book, written in 1935, is an excellent discussion of Pentecost, both in its historical sense and in the sense of its practical experience in the lives of both the church and individual Christians. It appears that Ellyson wrote this book for the benefit of the Church of the Nazarene in his day, but its value and appeal is universal among holiness people.

He concentrates mostly on the Pentecostal experience, entire sanctification an its importance for the successful work of the church. Culture, learning and human skill were no substitute for Pentecostal experience and power. The lack of this experience was the cause, and will be the cause, for the church to fail to influence the world for Christ. The church needs anointed preachers--but it needs a host of Spirit-filled witnesses to prepare the ground for the preaching.



Bible Holiness

Edgar Painter Ellyson




Written in 1938, this book is essentially a series of lectures delivered by Dr. Ellyson on the subject of Bible Holiness. He presents his subject in a practical manner, emphasizing various stages of maturity in the believer and how holiness is applicable in those stages.

The point of his message in the lectures is summed up in this terse statement: Christianity is holiness, Remove holiness and Christianity is no longer Christian.


With Christ At Prayer

Edgar Painter Ellyson

This book is a series of Chapel Talks given by Dr. Ellyson upon his coming to Texas Holiness University, Peniel, TX in 1908. (THU is now Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, OK). These talks were eventually printed in the "Pentecostal Herald" and then made into this book.

Ellyson's subject is intercessory prayer as seen in the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John.


The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life

Hannah Whitall Smith


This book has long been considered a Christian classic. Ms Smith admits that she is not a theologian and that her book may fall short of the expectations of those trained in theology, but she did an excellent job of explaining the life of holiness, what we might call entire sanctification or the higher life. While she uses the Bible to support her work, her work is focused on the Christian's part in holy living. She points out that all too often ministers preach on God's part, or the doctrinal aspect of holiness, but seldom are practical, every day concepts given to people to help them have the "Happy Life" God intends for them.



The God of All Comfort

Hannah Whitall Smith


For many Christians the words Jesus and comfort are closely linked. In this book, Mrs. Smith describes why faith in the Christian God leads to a comfort and joy that cannot be found anywhere else. Without Christ, life is little more than living through doubt, fear, and anxiety. She reminds us of the reality of God's promises so that, with Christ, doubt, fear, and anxiety are "obsolete" feelings.



Pure Gold

George D. Watson


Pure Gold is a collection of several thoughts on different themes related to holiness from the pen of Dr. George D. Watson. This is not a doctrinal work on entire sanctification; it describes what a sanctified life is to be like—and what hinders it. Published in 1898, this work is written in the flowery style of the time that may be a little difficult for modern readers; but, the read is worth the effort. Some of Watson’s thoughts have millennial overtones that the discerning reader should not allow to overpower the truths of holiness he brings out.  

A Pot of Oil

George D. Watson


The title is based on Elisha's encounter with the poor widow who needed God to work a financial miracle in her life--which He accomplished by making a pot of oil produce countless pots of oil she could sell. It is the common things in life that most often chooses to demonstrate His power. Not only does God meet our needs, He chooses to use us to meet the needs of others.

There are seventeen articles designed to inspire faith in common circumstances as we live holy lives for God. Each article deals with an attribute of holy living and disposition that would be excellent topics for small discussion groups.

The chapter on Abrahamic Religion is strongly millennial and seem to project New Testament salvation on this man of God. The reader is encouraged to look beyond these debatable points and look for the fundamental truth underlying the religion of Abraham.



Beauty for Ashes

George D. Watson


The subtitle of this work is "Heart Wanderings: Their Cause and Cure." Yes, even holiness people can backslide. Backsliding begins with subtle "heart wanderings." Watson explores 12 of these heart wanderings, or spiritual weaknesses, and 13 remedies.

Written in 1896, it is up to date as salvation. All should read this short little book and take heed of Watson's advice.

Out of Darkness

Asa Mahan, D.D.


This is an interesting book written by Dr. Mahan in 1877. It is somewhat autobiographical but it is not an autobiography. He uses illustrations from his life to demonstrate the spiritual advance from sin to conversion to holiness as is taught in the New Testament. Thickly sprinkled throughout the narrative are Scriptural quotes that Mahan believes relate his experiences with the clear teachings of the Bible on salvation.

Saved from a life of sin at an early age, he began teaching school at the age of 17. Going to college and seminary, he became a minister and college president. While being used of God in revivals where many were being saved, he felt that he was not completely what God wanted him to be. Saved but still struggling with the inner man. He was pressed to give a group of young men an answer to how they could be consistent in their living for God--which thing he was having great difficulty. This pushed him to seek the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, something of which he had not been taught. At a moment in time, the truth came to his heart and he experienced the infilling of the Holy Spirit that at once "resolved all the mysteries of life and godliness."



The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Asa Mahan, D.D.

Dr. Mahan wrote this book in 1870, quite some time after his Christian Perfection. While it has a holiness focus, it proceeds on a  different tack than Perfection and may be confusing to the casual reader. This perhaps raises more questions than it answers.

The doctrine of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was not originally associated with with the Wesleyan understanding of entire sanctification. Dr. Mahan makes a vague attempt to tie the two together, but his approach is not as clear as later Holiness teaching on the subject. At times he his confusing. Nevertheless, this book is historically significant in the area of holiness teaching. While few would agree with the entire concept of this book, there are many valuable truths brought out by Dr. Mahan.



Misunderstood Texts of Scripture

Asa Mahan, D.D.


Published in 1876, this is undoubtedly one of the best works by Dr. Mahan on the subject of holiness.

He presents texts used to support the teaching of continued conscious sinfulness of all believers in this life and refutes them with the correct explanations of those scriptures.

He points out that holiness was the primitive position of the Church and that the sinning Christian is the product of post-primitive construction.

This is a good and very valuable read--and it would preach very well today.



Teachings of the Spirit

Asa Mahan, D.D


Can we know the truth? How can Christians who know the truth be disagreed on some things they hold to be the truth? Dr. Mahan tackles this difficult questions in this article he wrote in 1843.

Some truths are plainly seen; others must be dug our of obscurity, but it is the Spirit of God that can show us where and how to dig.

It is certain that we can know with absolute certainty the critical things that pertain to salvation and holiness. There are shades of doctrine where the mind must be challenged so that our understanding can grow. Also, the fact that people learn differently and with certain prejudices requires that we be tolerant of those who do not see "truth" exactly as we see it.

Dr. Mahan is not soft on the truth, but he is being realistic in this article. "God has a system, the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, in which: if we shall be only honest hearted, confiding and active, we shall never be deceived on any subject."



Scriptural Sanctification

Peter Wiseman


This short book, written in 1951, contains five lectures by Dr. Wiseman on different aspects of sanctification. He carefully traces each of the aspects to direct and ample statements from Scripture.

From Pollution to Purity

Peter Wiseman


This is a short book that is doctrinal in nature. It Scriptural traces God's working in salvation from the Fall of Man through entire sanctification. It is not a dissertation, but a systematic, logical presentation of Scripture texts along with commentary from Wiseman and other notable holiness writers of the time.



The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Rev. Danny McCain

A sermon by the Reverend Danny McCain in which he examines the New Testament accounts of the baptism of the Holy Spirit: Pentecost, Samaria, Cornelius, and Ephesus. What happened in each case? What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit? There are several ways in which that question is answered in the Holiness Movement that depend on the explanation for entire sanctification held by individual churches or groups. Does this happen in a first work or grace; a second work of grace; a third work of grace? Is the baptism of the Holy Spirit when inherited sin is eradicated or when people are supposed to speak in tongues? What is it?

McCain summarizes his message saying . . . the baptism of the Spirit is the event or time when the Holy Spirit places a believer into the body of Christ. This takes place at conversion. Though there are often powerful spiritual experiences that occur after conversion, the term "baptism of the Holy Spirit" is not the appropriate term to describe those experiences. At least, that is not the way the term is used in the New Testament.




The Baptism of the Holy Spirit in the Wesleyan Tradition

George Allen Turner


The doctrine of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit has been approached in different ways among holiness churches. After citing these views, Turner pursues the baptism of the Holy Spirit as linked to entire sanctification experienced subsequent to conversion. He cites John Wesley and John Fletcher in the development of this view and then briefly traces the history of this teaching from Wesley into the Nineteenth Century.


The Role of the Holy Spirit in Entire Sanctification in the Writings of John Wesley

William M. Arnett

Arnett searches the writings of John Wesley to cull out his teaching on the role of the Holy Spirit in Entire Sanctification. While it is not exhaustive, it is thorough and relevant. He classifies Wesleys' statements into four areas" (1) the preparatory work of the Holy Spirit prior to sanctification , (2) the preliminary work of the Holy Spirit in entire sanctification, (3) the purifying work of the Holy Spirit, and (4) the witness of the Spirit in entire sanctification.



Entire Sanctification and the Baptism with the Holy Spirit: Perspectives on the Biblical View of the Relationship

Alex R. G. Deasley



Equating entire sanctification with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit did not originate with John Wesley. There are divergent views on this subject among Wesleyan theologians, each having their doctrinal points clearly outlined and thought out. However, the evidence of the Book of Acts cannot be systemized in a completely tidy way, as some would have us believe. Never-the-less, this in no way negates or compromises the teaching of the "second blessing", entire sanctification.



Entire Sanctification

Dr. Adam Clarke

Dr. Clarke is the writer of the famous commentary that bears his name. While the title might suggest an exposition on the Wesleyan concept of the Second Blessing, this essay actually presents an keen explanation of holiness in the fashion of Christian Perfection. "The perfection of the gospel system is not that it makes allowances for sin, but that it makes an atonement for it; not that it tolerates sin, but that it destroys it.



Entire Devotion to God

Phoebe Palmer

Written in 1855, Mrs. Palmer was the first woman author to write literature on holiness in a popular style as opposed to an academic style thereby making the subject available to average Christians.

Mrs. Palmer writes that holiness is attainable because it is integral to God's plan of salvation. This book contains simple and provocative chapters on practical holiness. This is not legalism or pious sentiment as too often identified with holiness but genuine consecration to God.


Entire Sanctification As Taught In The Book Of Romans

Wilber T. Dayton

This paper by Wilber Dayton was originally published in the Wesleyan Theological Journal. The phrase "entire sanctification" appears only once in the King James Version of the Bible, yet concept is critical to the teaching of holiness. Dayton shows how this concept is related in the Book of Romans using many different terms. He also shows how this concept is to be understood, not just in a narrow sense but in a larger sense of holiness.



Entire Sanctification - A Second Blessing

C. W. Ruth

C. W. Ruth was a holiness evangelist. This book is his major contribution to holiness literature. Written in 1903, it is perhaps one of the clearest and most concise writings on the subject of entire sanctification from the Wesleyan-Holiness viewpoint. It is written in common language with very short, readable chapters. This book is highly recommended for lay persons and for Christians that may not be familiar with the teaching of entire sanctification.

Ruth includes his personal testimony in this work along with lists of scripture readings on sanctification. The final section of this book contains many sermon outlines relative to sanctification and its impact on the life of the Christian.



The Second Crisis in Christian Experience

C. W. Ruth

The content of this book by C. W. Ruth is similar to that of Entire Sanctification-A Second Blessing. It was written, not for theologians, but for the interested Christian. It is quite readable with short chapters. Ruth emphasizes that Entire Sanctification is a second definite crisis experience in the work of salvation.



Temptations Peculiar to the Sanctified

C. W. Ruth

Temptations are to the Christian life what exercise is to the gymnasium. Since temptation is common in the Christian life, it is best for us to understand temptation. Sin is not a mistake. A mistake is something one does when he does not know better; a sin is something one does when he knows better. We are never saved from making mistakes but we can be, and must be, saved from all sin. In this short book, Ruth discusses many temptations peculiar to the state of entire sanctification.



The Theology of Holiness

Dougan Clark


Quakers are not generally associated with the Wesleyan teachings on entire sanctification, but here is a book by Dr. Clark, who was head of the theological department of Earlham College, dealing with holiness and entire sanctification.

His thesis is that entire sanctification is fully and clearly taught in Scripture and runs from Genesis through Revelation. He methodically reviews the teachings of the New Testament on the subject. He seems to be of the opinion that salvation and sanctification under the Old Testament were essentially the same as under the New Testament.

This is an interesting read and has some value to the student studying the subject.



The Inner and Outer Life of Holiness

Dougan Clark


This is a very worthwhile book on the meaning of a life that is entirely sanctified. While sanctification is an inward work of God's grace, it does have a major impact on the spiritual nature of a person and on his outward behavior.

The inner life of holiness regulates all the sensibilities and keep each in its proper place and its proper exercise.

The outer life must conform to the condition of the inner life. Holiness is not the profession we make but the standard of Christian living God has set before us. This is not to advocate for legalism or fanaticism, but for behavior that conforms to the nature and word of God.



The Offices of the Holy Spirit

Dougan Clark


Written by Dougan Clark in 1878. "I have here discussed the Offices of the Holy Spirit in His relations (1) to the unconverted world, (2) to the individual believer, (3) to the visible Church. The treatise is by no means an exhaustive one; but it has been my aim to give, in small compass and in simple language, a clear, definite, and scriptural account of the Holy Spirit’s work. How far I have succeeded in this object, the reader will decide."  

In spite of only a few doctrinal points with which most holiness people would disagree, this is undoubtedly one of the best and clearest books on the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of God's people. The serious seeker of God will not be disappointed.


Objections to Entire Sanctification Considered

H. A. Baldwin

In this book, written in 1911, Baldwin counters several doctrines and viewpoints that object against the teaching of entire sanctification. Since the time of John Wesley, there have been those who do not want to accept the possibility that a Christian can live a consistent holy life brought about by an experience of entire sanctification. One way they try to get around this truth is to develop arguments as to why they think this is not possible. Baldwin identifies and counters those arguments.



"GOD'S WILL . . . FOR YOU" Sanctification in the Thessalonian Epistles

Wayne McCown

Sanctification texts in the Thessalonian Epistles are often used as "support" texts but seldom as foundation texts for the doctrine of entire sanctification. There is some valuable information in this article concerning sanctification: Sanctification is God's work in the believer. Our assurance of sanctification is based upon the character of God.



Holiness and Discipleship

Allan Coppedge

Holiness begins with the character of God. If He is holy and made man in His image, it follows that in some sense man was designed to be holy as well. In holiness there is more than just a requirement to BE, there is a requirement to DO. Entire sanctification is demonstrated in discipleship--and Christ gave the church a commandment to make disciples. Included within this article is a good explanation on what it takes to experience entire sanctification.




Bishop J. C. Ryle

J. C. Ryle was Bishop of Liverpool, England from 1890 to 1900. One does not normally associate the teaching of holiness with the Church of England, but Bishop Ryle was an unusual Anglican in that he was evangelical in his outlook and did believe in and teach practical holiness. His perspective on holiness was not from the Wesleyan point of view. His approach in his words: Holiness is essential in salvation. The sinful nature and a holy nature are constantly in conflict throughout the lifetime of the believer, but yet, living without committing sin is a requirement put on us by God.

While outside the norm of Wesleyan holiness writings, this is an interesting and valuable work that should be read by all serious students of holiness. There is much with which to disagree, but there is far more that can and should be agreed upon.



Christian Perfection

Arthur W. Pink


Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952) was a pastor and author. Pink is fairly typical of evangelicals in his opposition to the concept of Christian Perfection as held by holiness people. He wrongly assumes that our position is sinless perfection.

Pink offers his definition of Christian Perfection in this article. He argues against living without committing sin and opts for a "relative" perfection that is probably better described as "do your best."

It is included here as a example of how the opponents of holiness attack real holiness and put forth their substitute. The editor has added footnotes to comment on some of Pink's arguments.



Biblical Foundations for the "Secondness" of Entire Sanctification

Frank G. Carver

Among holiness people there has always been a question as to whether or not entire sanctification is a "second work of grace." Carver relates his personal experience of moving from an inherited theology to biblical knowledge on this question. He establishes a biblical basis for the holiness message and explains that entire sanctification is a faith privilege as opposed to a chronological process. There is a definite "secondness" as the believer moves from the privilege of grace (initial sanctification) to the crisis of faith (entire sanctification).



Original Sin and Sanctification: A Problem for Wesleyans

Vern A. Hannah


Original sin (inherited sin in Wesleyan terminology) and the eradication view of entire sanctification have been theological difficulties for the Holiness Movement. Hannah here discusses the more Arminian approach to original sin as deprivation rather than depravity.



The Old Man

Rev. Beverly Carradine, D.D.

Published in 1896, Carradine explores the biblical concept of the old man as understood in the Wesleyan-Holiness sense. Written to counteract the influence of the influence of the teachings of Count Zinzendorff that were impacting the Methodist Church and the general holiness movement at this time, Carradine defends the concept of sin remaining in believers after conversion and its eradication through a second work of grace, which he equates with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.


Revivals of Religion or Lectures on Revival

Charles G. Finney


Charles Finney was a leading minister during the Second Great Awakening in North America. In this major work by Finney, he shares his thoughts on what revival is and what it takes for revival to take place. He also speaks of things that can hinder revival. Revival is not accident and it is not a miracle; it happens through our full cooperation with the Holy Spirit.



Abiding In Christ and Not Sinning

Charles G. Finney

And article from The Oberlin Evangelist dated 1858. Finney contends that living without committing sin is natural to salvation as in salvation the moral attitude of a person is reversed. To be in Christ is to be out of ourselves. A selfish heart regards itself and its own interests; but to be in Christ he must cease to live and be in himself, he must come to the and to live in Christ.


The New Creation: The Wesleyan Distinctive

Theodore Runyon

Runyon interprets the concept of the New Creation in the view of John Wesley as expressed in his own writings. This concept has been a focal point of the Holiness Movement, a distinctive, but it has very much value to offer for those that do not consider themselves Wesleyans or holiness.



An appraisal of the Keswick and Wesleyan Contemporary Positions

W. Ralph Thompson

This article discusses some of the similarities and differences of two main approaches to the teaching of holiness in modern times. The term "Keswick" may be unfamiliar to many Americans but this doctrinal approach to holiness is common among many Pentecostal denominations. The primary differences between the Wesleyan and Keswick views are the definition of sin and the explanation of what happens in the heart of the sanctified.




Biblical Concepts of Sin

Kenneth Kinghorn, Ph.D.

We  tend to think of sin as things people do. The Bible does not give a precise definition for sin; rather, the concept of sin is gradually revealed through God's dealing with humankind in both the Old and New Testaments. There is and outward aspect of sin and an inward aspect of sin, therefore sin is a tension between the ethical and the objective (legal). Anything in thought, deed, or disposition which disrupts one's relationship with God is sin.



Characteristics of Wesley's Arminianism

Luke L. Keefer, Jr.

 This article is more of scholarly interest than any practical value on the subject of holiness. The reader must be well acquainted with the Calvinistic and Arminian doctrinal positions as the disagreements between the two positions in the eighteenth century are mentioned. Wesley was a staunch believer in universal redemption!

Wesley's Arminianism is implicit rather than explicit. He never developed a full-blown Arminian theology but rather addressed the practical issues of a topic as demanded by particular situations. His approach to Arminianism, although inherited from the Church of England, was more pastoral than theological.




The False God and Gospel of Moral Government Theology

E. Calvin Beisner

This article deals with the modern concept of Moral Government Theology as represented in the work of  Gordon C. Olson. Moral Government Theology (MGT) is not to be confused with the sense of moral government as used in Arminian Theology. Olson's view became the theology of the "Jesus Freaks" of the 1960s. While this article is not on the subject of holiness, it is included here for you information and for warning. A considerable number, especially in the independent Church of God fellowship have fallen into the error is this theology while thinking they were following the principles of Arminian theology.




Scriptural Holiness

B. A. Cundiff



B. A. Cundiff, a Methodist minister, writes on the experience of entire sanctification. He states that "holiness is the qualification for admission into heaven." He briefly explores five theories of sanctification and compares them with the biblical teaching.

His plan is excellent but bound up in the second blessing approach to entire sanctification that is typical of much of the holiness movement at the time, and even today in many places.

He begins his book with a laborious but valid argument that the doctrine of entire sanctification is biblical and therefore required of Christians. He uses a great deal of Scriptural quotations in every chapter and for every point, which is not a bad thing.

While there may be some aspects of his presentation that are weak, it is an interesting read, especially how he contrasts the five theories against what the Bible teaches.




Scriptural Freedom from Sin

Henry E. Brockett


This book is written as a defense of the teaching of entire sanctification by faith as compared to the doctrine of the two natures. Brockett frames his argument against the teaching of Dr. H. A. Ironside as set forth in his book Holiness: the False and the True. This is not a personal attack against Dr. Ironside; it is a polemic against the errors Dr. Inronside uses to argue against entire sanctification.



The Old Man and the New

Charles G. Finney

 A sermon by Finney originally delivered on May 21, 1845. Finney draws a stark ethical line between what the Bible calls the Old Man and the New Man. Traditional holiness teaching identifies the Old Man with inbred (original) sin but Finney denied any transmission from a sinful nature from generation to generation. In this sense, he was Pelagian. Yet, he speaks of the supreme intention to please self in the same sense as others speak of inbred sin or native depravity.

Finney here does not say anything about the work of the Holy Spirit involved in the change from the Old Man to the New man but emphasizes instead the importance of the will of man and his mind. While the sermon is spiritually deficient, it is ethically good and valuable. Sometimes holiness preachers emphasize the work of the Spirit without giving place to the will of man in living a holy life. While we may not agree with Finney's Pelagianism, it is good to be reminded that we must put in to action what God works in us.




Habitual Holiness the Test of Christian Character

Charles G. Finney

This is a sermon preached by Finney on February 15, 1843. His text is 1 John 3:9 "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin."

He explores, among other things, what sin is NOT; what it IS; what is the seed; and how a Christian can be distinguished form a sinner.




Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians

J. Gilchrist Lawson



This book is a classic in Christian literature. Lawson relates the testimonies of several individuals in Christian history taken from their diaries, books, or historical records. The "deeper Experience" is definitely the result of the Holy Spirit working in their lives even though they might not have called this relationship "entire sanctification."

This is an excellent read and it should be read by every sincere Christian.




A Method For Prayer

Matthew Henry


This is a work by the celebrated author of the Commentary bearing his name. A devout English Presbyterian minister, Henry in this work published in 1710 seeks to help Christians with their prayer-life. This is not a book on HOW to pray, but WHAT to pray. He devises myriads of short prayers based on Biblical texts and organizes they by topic.

Also in the work are a list of texts to the glory of the Trinity, a glossary of Bible words, and a one-year Bible reading plan.

Some people feel uncomfortable or unspiritual with written prayers, but sometimes a model of what someone else has prayed can give us guidance in framing our words as we pray to God.

This work predates the work of John Wesley, so there are many confessions of sin included in some of the prayers to which holiness people may take objection; but it must be remembered that Mathew Henry was a godly man who was not encouraging people to sin, but strongly encouraged them not to sin--but also to confess and repent of any sin if it had been committed.

Americans must remember that this was written prior to the American Revolution. America, the Colonies, are referred to as "the Plantations." Henry encourages his people to pray for their homeland: Great Britain. Americans should pray for the United States!




A Discourse on Meekness and Quietness of Spirit

Matthew Henry


This is a republished version of Henry's book published by the American Tract Society in 1825. Henry ministered prior to the Wesleyan revivals. One might not think of him as a holiness writer, but he certainly grasped holiness in a very practical way.

Meekness is not bashfulness or passivity; it is the very strength of holiness as Henry shows in this book. Henry was a master of the English language and conversant in the languages of the Bible. He explores aspects of meekness of which most people have never thought. This is a valuable read.



A Short And Easy Method of Prayer

Madame Guyon


Although a Roman Catholic, Madam Guyon very much resembled the modern Quakers, or Friends, in her teachings.  She was the center of the great spiritual movement known as “Quietism,” which was perhaps the greatest spiritual movement ever originated within the Roman Catholic Church. In its emphasis of the work of the Holy Spirit, the “Quietist” movement very much resembled the Quaker movement, and the original Friends were often classed as “Quietists” on this account. The name “Quietist” refers to their quiet submission to the will of God and to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

While Madame Guyon and the Quietists of her time may not resemble holiness people of today, her writing was one of those influences that acted upon John Wesley to help him realize that the Holy Spirit is indeed a personal Presence in the lives of holy people.




Autobiography of Madame Guyon

Madame Guyon


Jeanne-Marie Bouvier de la Motte-Guyon lived from April 18,1648 to June 9, 1717. Classified as a "mystic" she was a devout catholic whose life and spirituality were so contrary to the Roman Catholic Church. Here testimony clearly speaks of salvation by grace and experiences of justification although modern holiness people may not quite grasp her experience. Her "death to self" was a long and difficult process; if had light on entire sanctification as taught later in time, her path may have been easier--but then, she may not have wanted it that way.

Madame Gyon did not have an easy life. A difficult childhood with very little love; married at the age of 15 to a man aged 28, widowed, and persecuted by her family, servants, and  church. Yet, the grace of God is evident as she passed through these challenges in her life.



Grace Abounding

John Bunyon


If you think you are or were the worst of sinners, you must read this. The full title of the book is "Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners." This is John Buyon's autobiographical work in which he talks about his sinful past, how God dealt with him, and how God lead him into the ministry. It seems that such a godly man should be persecuted and thrown in prison, but it was perhaps there that he did some of his greatest work for the kingdom of God.

Many converts and established people of God go through prolonged periods of temptation and spiritual battle. Bunyon experienced so many and so powerful doubts and fears in his early Christian experience, yet God brought him through them all with a sound mind and a strong faith in his Redeemer.



Christian Behavior

John Bunyon


      Written in 1663, this book is as up to date as if it were written yesterday. Bunyon presents an excellent dissertation on good works and faith and how they relate to each other. He writes of Christian behavior in general and then treats on Christian behavior in the relationships of people: fathers, mothers, children, etc.

     It would be half a century before John Wesley would rediscover the doctrine of entire sanctification. Bunyon does not speak of this although he has a very high opinion of justification and the grace of God, which could easily speak for the experience of sanctification in lieu of the doctrine itself.