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.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Virtue vs. Holiness

What is the specific difference between virtue and holiness? Repression. Virtue is the triumph of right against strong inward tendencies toward the opposite. Jesus triumphed over outward temptations to sin, and was holy. Mary Magdalene, by divine grace, triumphed over strong inward tendencies toward vice, and was virtuous. The repressive theory of holiness, involving, as it must, the co-working of the human soul with the divine Represser, confounds the broad distinction between holiness and virtue, and banishes holiness from the earth, substituting virtue instead. In fact, we do not see any possibility, by this theory, for a fallen man ever to become holy in the sense of the entire extinction of inbred sin. If this is only repressed here it may be only repressed for ever hereafter. If the Holy Spirit cannot eradicate original sin now, through our faith in the blood of Jesus, what assurance have we that He can ever entirely sanctify our souls?

But if by repression is meant the right poising of the innocent passions of sanctified human nature after the extinction of ingratitude, unbelief, malice, self-will, and every other characteristic of depraved human nature which is sinful, per se, we accept it as Wesleyan and Scriptural.

— edited from Mile-Stone Papers, Part 1, Chapter 13.