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 started this on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed blogging from that book 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. Since then, I have begun adding material from his Bible commentaries. I also re-blog many of the old posts.

Friday, March 15, 2013

"O Ye of Little Faith"

The most surprising fact which came to the knowledge of Jesus was the weakness of his disciples' faith. Descended from heaven, written all over with proofs of his divinity, and bearing the great seal of God in his right hand — the miracle-working power — he stood unrecognized in the world. A little band of a dozen or more attach themselves to his fortunes, and avow faith in him; but often their perception of the wonderful beauty of his character was so dim, and their glimpses of his divinity were so brief, that they relapsed into distressing doubt, and were on the point of abandoning him forever.

We often wonder at their skepticism and spiritual stupor, as if we, standing in their place, would have had eyes to pierce the clouds of doubt, and to behold and adore the full-orbed sun in its first rising upon the world's darkness; but we are by no means sure that if we had been the companions of Christ's earthly wanderings, listened to his words, and witnessed his works, we should have escaped the oft-repeated rebuke, "O ye of little faith! wherefore do ye doubt!"

Should Jesus today step into our Christian assemblies, and tell us his view of our spiritual condition, he would find a sentence in his gospels just adapted to the state of the modern Church, "O ye of little faith."

We have somewhere met with a quaint, but exhaustive classification of mankind in respect to Christ; namely, believers, half-believers, make-believers, and unbelievers. There is no fifth class. Nor can they be reduced to three. Some persons deny the existence of half-believers. They assert that there are no degrees of faith; that it is not possible that a soul should be in such an equivocal attitude toward Christian truth; that there is either full belief or unbelief. But half-believers have existed all along the history of the Church; and they throng our churches today, and they make up the majority of disciples now as they did in the days of the Son of man.

It is interesting to trace the boundary between half-believers, or doubters — we use the term synonymously — and unbelievers. Unbelief has no positive element of faith, and hence is always the ground of condemnation. It is always fatal to right practice. The unbeliever cannot perform Christian duties with any sincerity, for there is no motive power. Unbelief is spiritual paralysis, voluntarily induced and retained. Its inner essence and culpability lie in the obstinacy of the will against the truth.

The secret reason why the intellect does not assent to the truth is, that the will refuses to obey. Unbelief has always a moral and not an intellectual cause. It arises, not from a lack of evidence, but from an unwillingness to follow wherever the truth may lead. Hence, Jesus applies his antidote directly to the will when he would prescribe an infallible remedy.

"If any man wills to do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."

— edited from Love Enthroned Chapter 13.

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