Sanctification, again, is a thing which does not prevent a man having a great deal of inward spiritual conflict. By conflict I
mean a struggle within the heart between the old nature and the new, the flesh and the spirit, which are to be found together in
every believer (Gal 5:17). A deep sense of that struggle, and a vast amount of mental discomfort from it, are no proof that a man is not sanctified. Nay, rather, I believe they are healthy symptoms of our condition, and prove that we are not dead, but alive. A true Christian is one who has not only peace of conscience, but war within. He may be known by his warfare as well as by his peace.
In saying this, I do not forget that I am contradicting the views of some well-meaning Christians, who hold the doctrine called
“sinless perfection.” I cannot help that. I believe that what I say is confirmed by the language of St. Paul in the seventh chapter of
Romans. That chapter I commend to the careful study of all my readers. I am quite satisfied that it does not describe the experience of an unconverted man, or of a young and unestablished Christian; but of an old experienced saint in close communion with God. None but such a man could say, “I delight in the law of God after the inward man” (Rom 7:22).
I believe, furthermore, that what I say is proved by the experience of all the most eminent servants of Christ that have ever
lived. The full proof is to be seen in their journals, their autobiographies, and their lives.
Believing all this, I shall never hesitate to tell people that inward conflict is no proof that a man is not holy, and that they must
not think they are not sanctified because they do not feel entirely free from inward struggle. Such freedom we shall doubtless have
in heaven; but we shall never enjoy it in this world. The heart of the best Christian, even at his best, is a field occupied by two rival
camps, and the “company of two armies” (Song 6:13). Let the words of the Thirteenth and Fifteenth Articles be well considered by
all churchmen: “The infection of nature doth remain in them that are regenerated.” “Although baptized and born again in Christ,
we offend in many things; and if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”