The Ashburton Guardian Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit MONDAY, APRIL 21, 1890. PERFECT HOLINESS.
The other day there was telegraphed from Auckland throughout the colony an account of an unseemly occurrence at the Baptist Tabernacle in that city culminating in a " scene" between Pastor Birch and the well-known evangelist, Henry Varley, arising out of the denunciation of the latter by the former of his denial of the doctrine held by Pastor Birch and other perfectionists, of the possibility of human beings, while yet on earth, attaining to a condition of absolute sinlessness. Auckland papers now to hand deal with the matter in much fuller detail than was possible to the to the agents of the Press Association. A writer in one of these says that the dogma of complete holiness " first came into prominence in Auckland through some unsavoury scenes at Port Albert, which necessitated the intervention of Special-constable Inger. It was then introduced into Norfolk Island by some of its devotees, where the bitterness, strifes, and divisions which followed were a scandal to the Christian Church." And, referring to the recent Holiness Convention, which culminated in the fiasco at the Tabernacle, the writer goes on to say : — " Men got up at that convention the other day, and named varying periods during which they were without sin; but some of them would not have felt flattered if they had heard the running comments in the pews. One man got up and stated how long he had been without sin. An auditor quietly said 'All right, old man; but you had me for 17 per cent in that business transaction, all the same!' A sharebroker, who apparently had had his experiences, said, ' I like a holiness man very well, but give me cash transactions.' At the meeting at the Tabernacle on Monday night might be seen men claiming to be kept from sin, who evidently could not control their own tempers and tongues for a single night." Just so, and yet these claimants to sinlessness are members of a Protestant communion, and as such reject the doctrine of Papal infallibility as being unscriptural. How inconsistent humanity is to be sure ? We're it not so, surely they would see, even as Protestants, , less improbability — a priori —in the infallibility of the Head of a great Church than in the infallibility of themselves as mere lay members of another Church. Such people, however well-intentioned, do harm to the cause of religion —which is the cause of humanity as well as the cause of God, and it is infinitely to be regretted that they should publicly avow such inordinate pretensions. It were bad enough to indulge them privately. Do they venture to maintain their doctrine as warranted by Scripture 1 Then it seems to us that they are answered by the Highest of all Authority for He, who first condemning vain repetitions, gave to mankind the most perfect formula of prayer, bade all men add to ths daily prayer for daily bread, the daily petition, " And forgive us our trespasses."