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, January 16, 2014

The "Seven Feet of Gravel" Cure

A person suffering from an annual attack of hay fever, having been told that Oliver Wendell Holmes, the poet physician, had effected a cure of that malady in his own case, wrote to that renowned littérateur, inquiring for the antidote. In accordance with his concise and vigorous style, the great humorist replied, "Seven feet of gravel." By this laconic answer he corrected the report of his own cure, and strongly intimated his belief that death is the only specific for that disease. This despair of healing, when once in full possession of its subject, would shut out a further trial of remedies. Unbelief paralyzes the will and destroys the motives to action.

It was an evil day when Christianity was blighted by that admixture of pagan philosophy which teaches the eternity of matter and its inherent, essential, and ineradicable sinfulness; and that the human spirit, so long as it is encased therein, must bear the taint of its polluted envelope. Down through the Christian ages this pagan element has wrought its baneful work, responding to every cry for the complete cure of sin, "Seven feet of gravel." This dreadful answer belittles the glorious Gospel, discrowns its Author, and dishonours His successor, the Holy Comforter and Sanctifier. It dwarfs and degrades the Gospel because it makes it, in respect to entire sanctification, as great a failure as the Law (Heb. x. 1-3). Especially note the contrast between Heb. vii. 19, and vii. 25. It discrowns Christ, because it ascribes a greater power to death, making it exterminate that inbred sin which had successfully defied His grace; and absurdly making an effect annihilate its cause. It dishonours the Holy Spirit, called Holy because it is His office to make believers perfectly holy — by making death usurp His office, and accomplish a work which had baffled His power.

Mile-Stone Papers, Part 1, Chapter 12.