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, July 24, 2014

An Encouragement to Seekers of Joy

Let no one throw away his Christian experience because it is not joyful. This is what the adversary of your soul desires. Are you a servant of God, fearing him and working righteousness? Thank God and ask him to adopt you as a son. Are you adopted and have the witness of the Spirit now and then? Ask for the abiding witness. Are your peace and joy interrupted and variable? Ask in faith for the indwelling Paraclete in the plenitude of his grace. Take large views of God's mercy and benevolent purpose toward you in this life.

Let Paul's cumulative phrases in the ascription at the end of his wonderfully comprehensive prayer inspire you to ask for large things, even to be filled with all the fulness of God: "Now unto him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us." This power is the personal Holy Spirit, the fountain of supreme joy through the inspiration of supreme love. Get an enlarged view of God's love as the ground of a larger faith. To this end study not only the Bible but the Christian poets. Let this spark from C. Wesley's glowing fire enkindle your soul:

"O Love, thou bottomless abyss,
My sins are swallowed up in thee!
Covered is my unrighteousness,
Nor spot of guilt remains on me,
While Jesus' blood, through earth and skies.
Mercy, free, boundless mercy, cries."

What a tonic to weak faith is Whittier's apostrophe to divine love:

"Immortal love! forever full,
Forever flowing, free;
Forever whole, forever shared,
A never ebbing sea."

I never read Faber without a conscious uplift of soul toward God and a stronger grip of faith:

"There's not a craving in the mind
Thou dost not meet and still;
There's not a wish the heart can have
Which Thou dost not fulfill.
O little heart of mine! shall pain
Or sorrow make thee moan,
When all this God is all for thee,
A Father all thine own."

When I present my strongest reason why my petition should be granted, I quote an argument from Paul which has always prevailed and always will prevail while Jesus intercedes: "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" After so great a self-sacrifice for me what gift necessary to the highest benefit of that sacrifice to me will he withhold?

When I ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit in his fullness I never fail to quote that promise which has been fitly styled "the dawn of Pentecost," "If ye being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"

Where consecration is complete and faith is unwavering and desire for the fulness of the Spirit in all his offices overtops all other desires he never fails to come and bring his all-cleansing power and the joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.

Jesus Exultant, Chapter 7.

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