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.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Unity of the Spirit

"Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:3 KJV.)

The apostle Paul beseeches the Ephesian church to be diligent, to be constantly keeping that essential unity which the personal Holy Spirit originates in the true Church of Christ. The element of principle in which this oneness is maintained is peace, "the bond of peace." The exhortation to diligence implies that in keeping this unity human agency must be vigorously applied. Why cannot the Holy Spirit alone continue that unity of which He is the sole author? We answer, that [where] there is an obedient will He could preserve that concord which He has produced, if it were the province of the divine Spirit to assimilate intellects as well as hearts. Grace does not harmonize divergent reasons and conflicting judgments. We are to think and let think, and accept the honest conclusion within the limits of Christian orthodoxy. We must within this sphere agree to disagree, as did John Wesley and George Whitefield on the five points of Calvinism, while still loving each other. The hearts of Barnabas and Paul were united while a practical question on which they differed made it expedient for them to labor for a season in different fields. The diligent endeavor which Paul urges the Ephesians to make is to be directed against magnifying differences of opinion on minor questions into causes of heart alienation. It requires constant effort to keep this threefold maxim:

"In non-essentials liberty;
In essentials unity;
In all things charity."

— from The Gospel of the Comforter Chapter 20.

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