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.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Can Love Be Commanded?

"Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" (Deut. vi. 4, 5).

We are here met by the question, "Can genuine love be evoked by command? Is it not the free, spontaneous outflow of the heart towards the object for which it has affinity? How then can a soul void of all affinity for God, love Him supremely?" This question is more important than the theological puzzle, the origin of sin in a holy universe, inasmuch as the cure of an evil is of far higher interest to the sufferer than its genesis. If we turn to Romans viii. 7, we shall be appalled at the vastness of the multitude to whom the great command of both the Law and the Gospel is an utter impossibility, "because the carnal mind is enmity against God." But before we rashly accuse God of injustice, in reaping obedience where He has not sown ability, let us further read our Bibles and get the whole of the Divine purpose in this case. It is possible that a scheme of wondrous mercy may be found instead of severity. It is remarkable that most of those who find fault with God, have the least knowledge of His revelation. Turn again to the Old Testament at Deut. xxx. 6, and the difficulty vanishes, and God's moral character is vindicated. He proposes, by a direct supernatural interposition of His almightiness, with man's free consent, to perform a piece of spiritual surgery, to cut away the carnality which prevents love and invites enmity, and to clear the way for the natural up-springing of love, filling to the brim every faculty of intelligence and sensibility. "And the Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live," or have real and internal well-being. Carnality in the least degree is obstructive of love of the purest and most perfect kind.


— from Mile-Stone Papers Part 1, Chapter 5.