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.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Looking Unto Jesus

The gospel scheme of keeping men from sinning is so peculiar that it never was conceived or dreamed of by mere human reformers. It is to commit the keeping of your soul wholly to another, even Christ. The attitude of the watchful soul is to be that of Peter's eyes when he first stepped from the ship upon the waters of the sea — LOOKING UNTO JESUS.

Philosophy says, "Eye well your deadly foes;" the Gospel says, "Eye Jesus only." Philosophy says , "Dispose of your enemies first, and look to Jesus afterward;" the Gospel says, "Look to Jesus first and last, and He will dispose of your foes."

Weakness, not strength, comes from a constant survey of the hosts in battle array against you. Power comes into the palsied arm when the eye turns wholly toward the Angel of Jehovah, who encampeth around about the believer. Philosophy says, "Grow strong by a downright grapple with the threatening foeman;" but the Gospel of the Old Testament, as well as that of the New, says, "THEY THAT WAIT UPON THE LORD SHALL RENEW THEIR STRENGTH."

We take from the shelves a book written by the Christian philanthropist, William Wilberforce, entitled, "The Practical View." We read again the pages we had read years ago, wondering why the writer should print in large capitals, amply spaced, six times in the course of nine pages, the words, "LOOKING UNTO JESUS!" We no longer wonder, since we have learned by experience, that this is the conquering attitude of the soul.

Then sin appears most hateful, the world with its pleasures shrivels to a mote driven by the wind, the angelic mask is stripped from the face of Satan, time dwindles to a point, and eternity unrolls its ceaseless cycles. Self is then annihilated, and Christ becomes all in all. In this attitude it is easy to "subdue kingdoms, work righteousness, obtain promises, stop the mouths of lions, quench the violence of fire, out of weakness be made strong, wax valiant in fight, and turn to flight the armies of the aliens."

The secret of so much backsliding as we find everywhere is in this, the eye, bewildered by the thousand cross-lights of worldly pleasure, loses sight of Christ. The keeping power of this divine vision is broken. The spell of pleasure as taken the place of the spell of the cross. The downward gravitation has taken the place of the heavenward. The soul is in imminent peril: before such, the faithful evangelist, assisted by the Holy Spirit, must hold the lamp of gospel truth so steadily that the wandering eye may see once more the lost Jesus, the only keeper of the soul.

"But," says an objector, "do not the Holy Scriptures command us to a direct hand-to-hand fight with our spiritual enemies, and to put on the whole armour for this good fight of faith? How, then, does the advice to look at Jesus only square with the Bible?" The question is a fair one, for there is an apparent difficulty here which should be removed. Our answer is that looking unto Jesus includes all the good resolutions against sin, all possible antagonisms to moral evil, and vastly more. It includes a sense of our own weakness, which drives us to the supreme source of strength. "When I am weak then am I strong." Why? Because we are led to seek an ally, even the unconquerable Captain of our salvation. And He, instead of placing us by His side to bear with Him the brunt of the battle, places Himself before us as an impervious shield, interposed between us and the deadly weapons of the foe.

— edited from  Mile-Stone Papers, Part 1, Chapter 21.

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