Intro

This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I began the project on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed it on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. I still do that every once in a while.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sanctification and the Theory of Temptation

An exhaustive discussion of the relation of a completely sanctified soul to the possibility of sinning, involves the theory of temptation.

Some teach that sin enters the soul when the sensibilities are stirred by the cognition of the forbidden object by the intellect. We are not of that class. The activity of the emotional nature in the presence of its proper objects is just as inevitable as that of the perceptive faculties. An apple presented to the gaze of a hungry child necessarily awakens, not only a perception, but a desire. This desire is as innocent as the impression on the retina, or the cognition in the mind. Sin comes in when the will indulges the desire, or even fosters it against the remonstrance of conscience. Yet this state of excited sensibility in the presence of a forbidden object is full of peril, for here is where sin is conceived. "Lust when it is conceived bringeth forth sin."

Into this region the Sanctifier enters, and does his work, by exterminating every incentive to sin which is culpable in itself, such as pride and malice; by preventing the improper excitement of the innocent sensibilities, and by reinforcing the will, and inclining it to obey the mandates of the moral sense, the eye of which is now purged from the film of sin.

The abiding Comforter is, therefore, the keeping power within the soul. The vigilance enjoined by our Saviour is obligatory upon the entirely sanctified, and consists in that habit of faith which holds the soul in communion with God, and links it to that spiritual force which gives it constant victory, "being kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation." Hence we indirectly, yet most effectually, watch against all sin, while we maintain that believing attitude of soul which retains the Holy Spirit in the fullness of his purifying and keeping power.

A rupture in the continuity of this life of faith is the breach through which the forces of Satan enter and recapture the city of Mansoul. He has already passed over the boundary between Christian discretion and fanaticism who imagines that St. Paul did not write for him "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall," and that our Saviour did not have in view the highest state of grace attainable under the Gospel when he said, "What I say unto you, I say unto all, watch."

"Hang on His arm alone,
With self-distrusting care,
And deeply in the Spirit groan,
The never-ceasing prayer."

Love Enthroned, Chapter 17.