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Samuel Logan Brengle (1860–1936) was a commissioner in The Salvation Army and a leading author, teacher and preacher on the doctrine of Holiness. His books include The Soul Winner's Secret, Helps to Holiness and Heart Talks on Holiness.
As a teenager, he was saved during a revival meeting and began a life of dedication to the Lord. Following the death of his mother he enrolled in what is now known as DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. There he was an exceptional scholar and while a number of opportunities were open to him, he felt that his calling was to be a preacher and so following university he became a circuit preacher for the Methodist church. Later on he was encouraged to study theology and so he enrolled at the Boston Theological Seminary. It was at this seminary that he was exposed to the teaching of holiness and later claimed the experience for his own life.
'Second Blessing' Holiness Teaching
He described his experience as being a full immersion in the love of God. He would later write of the experience: I walked out over Boston Common before breakfast, weeping for joy and praising God. Oh, how I loved! In that hour I knew Jesus, and I loved Him till it seemed my heart would break with love. I was filled with love for all His creatures. I heard the little sparrows chattering; I loved them. I saw a little worm wriggling across my path; I stepped over it; I didn’t want to hurt any living thing. I loved the dogs, I loved the horses, I loved the little urchins on the street, I loved the strangers who hurried past me, I loved the heathen, I loved the whole world. This experience would become his life's focus as he taught and admonished believers to seek 'the blessing' on an international level.
Salvation Army Career
Following his graduation he received offers to pastor some of the largest Methodists churches in the US. However, he turned them down as he became interested in the work of The Salvation Army. He had heard William Booth speak at an open air service and was drawn to his ministry and mission and he desired to travel to England to meet and volunteer his services to the Founder of The Salvation Army. He had also met a young Salvationist by the name of Elizabeth Swift and had asked for her hand in marriage.
When he did arrive in England and meet the Founder, the meeting was far from cordial, Booth viewed Brengle with some scepticism calling him a dangerous man in that he had been his own boss and Booth was not sure Brengle would adhere to the discipline of The Salvation Army. Nonetheless he was accepted for training and made his home at the Salvation Army Training Barracks in London. There one of his first duties was to blacken and shine the boots of his fellow cadets, a job that was considered menial. Rather than complain he reminded himself of the fact that His Savior did not consider it beneath Himself to wash the feet of the disciples. He took on all tasks, from selling the War Cry to preaching on the streets with equal humility and zeal.
After training he was appointed back to the United States where it is said he laboured for the salvation of sinners and the sanctification of saints. Early on, many began to recognize the spiritual gifts and ministry of Brengle and later on he was taken out of church work and given a unique spiritual ministry. He was being recognized as a Prophet of Holiness and so he taught and wrote on the Second Blessing, as the experience is called.
This did not come immediately rather after an enjoyable ministry in a community he and his wife received farewell orders and were appointed to the Boston #1 Corps. He admitted later there was a feeling of faintness as he read the telegram, this corps was in a very difficult area of the city. Yet he persevered and was used by the Lord. While at this appointment he was injured when a drunk threw a brick at him. The result of the injury meant he was unable to preach for 18 months. It was during this time of recuperation that he began to write the articles that would form the basis of his book Helps to Holiness. He was the author of several other books advancing the doctrine of holiness in The Salvation Army. In later years he was the Salvation Army's International Special Spiritual Ambassador of holiness.
He rose through the ranks, attaining the rank of Commissioner. He was the first American born officer to reach this rank. He retired in 1931. although he continued a career of preaching and teaching for two more years.
He was once asked for his secret of holiness to which he replied: Keep in the will of God, obey Him, seek Him daily, waiting at His gates. Read the Bible regularly. Never neglect secret prayer. Keep testifying to the grace bestowed upon you. Help others.
Later on he experienced a lessening of his health and so even this aspect of his ministry came to an end. It was on May 19, 1936 that Commissioner Samuel Logan Brengle was promoted to Glory.
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