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.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Communion of the Holy Spirit

It is not by accident that, in the apostolic benediction, "the communion of the Holy Ghost" comes last. It is the crowning blessing of the Triune God. Without it the "grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God," could not be satisfactorily and joyfully known. These might exist as a matter of inference from the gracious dispositions and holy aspirations of the soul. They cannot be immediately known by a knowledge excluding all doubt, except as they are uncovered by the Holy Ghost. "He shall receive of mine and show it unto you." "He shall testify of me."

All views of Christ, without the Spirit's illumination, are mere cold, intellectual conceptions, awakening by his moral beauty such esthetical emotions as arise when we gaze on the marble creations of Phidias or Angelo. To set the soul on fire with love as a consuming passion, this Christ must be brought into personal relations with me; he must be revealed in me by a process wholly inexplicable, but affording absolute assurance, and joy unspeakable. "We have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given us of God." No gracious attainment can be otherwise brought into consciousness in the soul of the believer.

If the sins of the wicked man are set before him in terrific array, calling for the thunders of wrath Divine, it is the work of the Spirit. If the believer is freely justified through faith in Jesus Christ, the Spirit, as the carrier-dove of heaven, brings down to the condemned culprit the assurance of pardon. The same Spirit pours down light into the hidden depths of the soul after regeneration, and reveals the hideous deformities of a nature not yet wholly conformed to the pattern of Christ's spiritual beauty. Then, by a distinct exertion, he fashions that soul into a form of Christlike symmetry and loveliness, and the great Transformer reports his completed work to the consciousness as something "freely given to us of God."

The conscious residence of the Holy Spirit within is the power which gives victory over sin. Sin, whether as an act or a state, cannot consist with the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. Hence He is called "the Sanctifier." They who hold daily communion with him walk the paths of the higher life. They are purified. For how can purity commune with impurity? Hence uninterrupted joyful communion of the Holy Ghost is Christian perfection. Such a soul "rejoices evermore, prays without ceasing, and in every thing gives thanks." How many professed Christians are ignorant of this bliss!

— edited from Love Enthroned, Chapter 11.

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