Intro

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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Salvation Conundrums

QUESTION: If God takes away from the dying infant the bent to sinning, why does he not take it away from the babe destined to become adult?

ANSWER: This conundrum resolves itself into another, "Why does not God save irresponsibles and responsibles in the same way, on just the same terms?" A still harder question which this Arminian Question Box cannot answer is this: "Why does an impartial God elect to eternal life unconditionally a part of the human race, by death in infancy, and subject the other part to the hazards of probation in which they are to be saved conditionally?" Why does the Creator send into probation one through the gateway of a heathen birth and another through that of a Christian birth? All these questions I bind up in the bundle of mysteries which a righteous God may explain to me in the ceaseless ages of eternity. He has not revealed anything respecting the future of infants specifically except, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven"; and even this ray of light some would cruelly take away when they say it doesn't mean babes, but adults who have child-like qualities, such as trust, teachableness, and a sense of dependence.

Steele's Answers p. 267.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Salvation and Human Responsibility

QUESTION: Is it true that there is nothing in the hour and article of death to cause God to change the spiritual condition of the soul, either in part or whole?

ANSWER: It is not true of the irresponsible, infants and idiots, whom He saves unconditionally. Rom. 5:18, "By the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." No man will ever be punished for the sin of Adam, which is legally covered  by the expiatory death of the second Adam. All responsible persons must have persevering faith in Christ to avail themselves of the justification of life, eternal life. "If children, then heirs." Adam's sin will keep no man, but himself, out of heaven, who I trust through faith in the promised "seed of the woman" has been saved.

Steele's Answers pp. 266, 267.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

How Did God Speak to Israel?

QUESTION: Did God speak audibly and directly to Israel?

ANSWER: He had various ways of speaking: (1) through words vibrating in the air like the human voice, only much louder (Ex. 20:22; Deut. 4:33; 5:22-27; Neh. 9:13). (2) By the urim and thummin, as in Num. 27:21; I Sam. 28:6. (3) By the Holy Spirit in the heart convicting the sinner (John 16:8-11), and assuring the believer (Gal. 4:6). The prophets got their messages probably in this way. (4) By writing (Ez. 32:16; Dan. 5:5).

Steele's Answers p. 266.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Is Suffering Necessary?

QUESTION: Do not such texts as Luke 24:26, 46; Rom. 8:17; Col. 1:24; II Tim. 2:12; 3:12, and Heb. 12:6 teach that suffering is a necessary part of earthly preparation of Christians to enter into glory? (2) How can this be harmonized with the truth that "God is love"?

ANSWER: The suffering is for Christ's sake, to promote his glory by confessing rather than denying him. The suffering is not inflicted by God, but by his enemies, the persecutors, to whom all believers were exposed in the apostolic age, of which period this is explicitly affirmed. In a less degree suffering from self-denial and sacrifice for the promotion of Christ's kingdom in all the world is a part of the discipline of all Christians. Yet we are not to consider our piety spurious because we are not persecuted. (2) The God of love allows this suffering in order to develop those moral qualities which will insure our eternal felicity. Many men, like Abraham Lincoln, have thanked God for the poverty into which they were born, the struggle against which developed those noble qualities which made them eminently successful. The loving father chastises the disobedient son, and lays heavy burdens on the obedient one to develop his strength. Will the heavenly father do less? See Rev. 3:19.

Steele's Answers pp. 265, 266.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Our Daily Bread

QUESTION: Our pastor says that "daily bread" in the Lord's Prayer means bread for tomorrow. Is this so?

ANSWER: The original word occurs only in this prayer. Hence its meaning is doubtful. Some say "bread of our necessity," others say "for sustenance"; still others say "food for the morrow." Thus Christ does not allow us to go beyond the absolute necessity of the nearest future in our prayers for temporal things. This interpretation harmonizes finely with Matt. 6:34, which forbids anxiety for the morrow after having prayed for its supply. I think your pastor is correct.

Steele's Answers pp. 264, 265.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Atonement in Romans 5:11

QUESTION: What is the meaning of atonement in Rom. 5:11, "We also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the atonement"?

ANSWER: This is the only place where atonement is found in the King James version of the N. T. In the Revision it is "reconciliation," so that atonement is not now a N.T. word. Reconciliation signifies the restored favor of God received through penitent faith in the expiatory death of Christ.

Steele's Answers p. 264.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Baptism of Suffering

QUESTION: What was the baptism Christ spoke of in Mark 10:38, "Ere ye able to be baptised with the baptism I am baptized with?"

ANSWER: Both the baptism and the cup indicate overwhelming suffering by Christ and his disciples in establishing the kingdom of Christ. They endured ten imperial persecutions, during the first 300 years and were hunted and killed as outlaws.

Steele's Answers p. 264.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Is God Responsible?

QUESTION: My grandson was recently drowned. Some say it was God's will; and the boy's time to die had come. Is this true?

ANSWER: This implies that God  has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass. A mother near my house forbade her boy playing on a raft in the milldam. The boy disobeyed and was drowned. Did God decree his disobedience? It must be so, if foreordination is true. This makes God the author of sin.

Steele's Answers pp. 263, 264.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

How to Recognize the Holy Spirit

Some may be inclined to ask another question, How do we recognize the Holy Spirit? How do we know that it is He and not some lying spirit who is speaking to us?

The how of all knowledge is mysterious. The philosophers are not agreed in the method of our knowledge of the external world. Some assert that we know only our own sensations and ideas, and therefore we are not sure that there is a material world external to our minds. These idealists are inclined to apply the same reasoning to Christian experience and to insist that it is all subjective in its origin, that there is no God in it, that all the changes supposed to be wrought by a divine person outside of us, regenerating, forgiving witnessing, sanctifying and indwelling, are from hidden causes in our own minds. This kind of reasoning would deny the existence of any human personality outside of ourselves, as well as any material existence. It would reduce all phenomena to our own consciousness and ourselves to a string of sensations. All these absurdities must follow the admission that all our religious experiences are only varying states of our own thoughts and feelings with no external cause. Such a conclusion we are not prepared to accept. When the morning light dispels the darkness, I know that the sun has arisen, and I do not need a candle to see him rise. So when amid the gloom of condemnation for my sins, while trusting in Jesus Christ, a light suddenly shoots into my mind and a voice within cries "Abba, Father," and the feeling of dread is suddenly, changed to filial love toward God, I know that a divine messenger is announcing forgiveness of my sins. This divine sunrise is self-evidencing. I need no rush-light of human philosophy or testimony to certify it. What has taken place is that my dead soul has been made alive. This life has quickened my dormant power of spiritual perception, so that I know by unerring intuition the presence of God the Holy Spirit. "To know the Spirit," says Murray, "is the divine foundation of 'certainty." Christian experience rests upon the same basis with mathematics and all philosophy — "self evident truth, the activity of the immanent God in the human soul." (Joseph Cook.)

But we are not left without some light upon the question how we know the Holy Comforter. John says, "Ye know him, for he shall be in you," or as the Revised Version, "He is in you," the future being by prolepsis spoken of as present, as Alford thinks. The abiding indwelling of the Spirit is assumed to be in the consciousness of the believer.

He who knows the Holy Spirit will always have the Spirit's fruit as a confirmation of His inmost indwelling. But the knowledge is not the result of the fruit, but its cause. He must know in order to have love, joy, peace, etc. He knows directly by intuition, and not inferentially. Hence he needs not to be told by some experienced Christian, "This is the Holy Ghost." He needs no such introduction. The Spirit of truth brings His own credentials with Him, which even the most illiterate can read. He may not be able to tell the distinctive marks by which the voice of the Spirit is distinguished from the suggestions of his own heart, but he instinctively feels them.

He recognizes the Spirit of God as a solid and eternal reality, while the world with its glitter of gold, and rank, its style, pomp and power, is a brilliant but vanishing vapor. Hence he is ready, if he must choose between grieving the Spirit and the loss of all earthly good, to go to a martyr's death at the stake or block with shouts of joy. If you think I am theorizing, read Ulhorn's "Conflict of Christianity with Paganism" and Fox's "Book of Martyrs."

He who knows the Spirit quickly recognizes the stranger who has the same knowledge, when all the rest of mankind fail to discern the invisible seal of God in his forehead.

He does not look at the denominational badge. He is free from any overweening partiality to some particular earmark when the name of Jesus is on the sheep, for the Spirit of God dwells in all real saints.

"Names and sects and parties fall;

Thou, O Christ, art all in all."

The explanation of this fact is that the Paraclete is the bond of union, the Spirit of life, connecting each believer with all others by uniting them with our risen Lord. We have in our modern times telephones, which so transmit speech as to bind up into a social union and possible daily converse millions of people separated by hundreds and even thousands of miles. This is possible only by having all the wires meet at a common center. This center of Christian union and communion through the Holy Ghost is our glorified and adorable Lord Jesus. The agency of electricity in the social union of mankind is a faint reflection of the agency of the Holy Spirit in the spiritual union of Christians. The wonders of science on the plane of nature are of small account when compared with the wonders of the Spirit on the plane of the supernatural.

— from The Gospel of the Comforter, Chapter 22.

Friday, June 19, 2015

"Ye Know Him"

The declaration of Christ is, "Ye know him, for he abideth with you, and shall be in you."

We see no form. We hear no sound. We feel the touch of no hand. The Spirit does not address any one of the five senses when He creates the soul anew. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned by minds quickened into spiritual life by the omnipotent Spirit, the giver of life. In regeneration the Spirit is inscrutable, His act of new creation is to the subject a fact, a something done in an unfathomable depth below his consciousness. This fact is recognized only by its effects. He knows that he is a new man, that he is fundamentally changed in all his tendencies, that he is released from his accusing conscience, that his past sins are forgiven and that he is no longer cowering beneath the wrath of God, but basking in the sunshine of His love. He no longer thinks of Him as a police judge sentencing him to a deserved punishment, but as a loving Father. The filial feeling has been suddenly and mysteriously inspired in his bosom, and he hears with his spiritual ear new words sounding in his heart, "Abba, Father." Almost involuntarily he utters them with his lips. He is conscious of a spiritual transformation. The personal agent he does not perceive. In fact the personality of your most intimate friend you have never directly seen. Personality is spiritual and is recognized only by its effects — words, smiles and other actions. You may therefore know the Holy Spirit's personality by His works in your own consciousness, as certainly as a son may know his father with whom he has daily intercourse. We say this to show that spiritual knowledge has the same certitude as our knowledge of men and things around us.

Delitzsch writes in  "Biblical Psychology," pages 418, 419:
It happens sometimes that the indwelling of Christ and God and His Spirit signalizes itself with such an energy in the believer that the human individual life is overflowed and swallowed up by the divine as a river of delight. . . . In other cases it is certified that the walk of the Christian is in heaven actually ( Phil. iii. 20, compare Zech. iii. 7 ), by the fact that the future glory is not merely revealed to his perception as a subject of hope ( I Cor. ii. 9, 10 ), but is given him for a moment to see and share in by way of foretaste.
This is a state of ecstasy, the highest experience of heavenly blessedness and of a knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. The recipe for the attainment of this knowledge is found in Matt. v. 8, Luke x. 22.

— from The Gospel of the Comforter, Chapter 22.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Overcoming a Hazy Christian Experince

Andrew Murray writes:

It is because the presence of the Spirit as the indwelling teacher in every believer is so little known and recognized in the Church, and because, as the result of this, the workings of the Spirit are greatly limited, and, there is so much difficulty and doubt, so much fear and hesitation about the recognition of the virtues of the Spirit.
This spiritual incertitude, these hazy Christian experiences and weakening and distressing doubts in respect to fundamentals — the truth of Christ and personal salvation through Him — are the natural product of nebulous preaching on the subject of the offices of the Holy Spirit. This defective preaching comes from a negative experience of the fulness of the Spirit.

Conversions take the type of doctrines. The Wesleys, after a long and painful search, received the direct witness of the Spirit to the forgiveness of sins. They immediately began to preach this doctrine, strange to that era of spiritual death, though shining in the New Testament as clearly as the midday sun. People were converted by thousands, of whom John Wesley testified that ninety-nine out of every hundred could tell the exact time of their saving acceptance of Christ.

This is not the ratio of clear-cut conversions with a date among modern Methodists, because the offices of the Holy Spirit are not now so prominently and constantly held up before the people in the ministrations of the pulpit. What is the remedy? Let the pulpit be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Let preacher and layman who desire to know the promised Paraclete and to realize His indwelling, study the teaching of the Bible on this theme, especially the promises in the fourth Gospel. Gather these promises together and study them earnestly, and then turn to the Pentecostal fulfillment in the Acts, and to the full development and application of this doctrine by the apostolic writers, especially John and Paul. Approach these epistles athirst to find the artesian well of "waters springing up unto everlasting life," and to drink evermore therefrom. Study prayerfully and with faith all that the Spirit of inspiration has put on record respecting Himself and His indwelling and blessed work in your heart. Study in dependence on the Spirit, who alone can unlock the Word that He has inspired. Study with a will to follow whither the Spirit may lead, and with a complete self-surrender to God and that perfect self-effacement which Paul describes as a double crucifixion, "the world has been crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (Gal. vi. 14). Consecration is indispensable to the successful study in this high theme. It clarifies the intellect, dispels prejudices and misconceptions, and unifies and strengthens all the faculties.

In this attitude of hearty consent to the leading of the Spirit, obedience to Christ and crucifixion of the flesh, the persevering believer will soon find the Spirit working in him, first as a search-light revealing impurities and mixed motives never discovered before. Then, if the will consents to their removal, the Spirit will entirely cleanse the temple of the heart and permanently fill it with His glorious presence. He will beautify His sanctuary with the entire galaxy of Christian virtues. He will strengthen its walls and make them impregnable to all assaults from without, and He will insure loyalty within by His constant indwelling "who yearneth for us even jealously" (James iv. 5, Revised Version, margin). We must remember that in both the natural and the spiritual world knowledge is preceded by faith. We must believe the Holy Ghost before we can know Him. Every altitude of higher knowledge must be the result of a stronger trust. Faith must be the habit of the soul that aspires after constant growth. Faith ever has to do with the invisible and the seemingly unreal. The Paraclete is unseen to the natural eye, and the inner eye of reason does not recognize His existence. Hence faith is the only door for the Spirit to enter and the only atmosphere in which He can dwell. There is no way of knowing the Holy Spirit but by possessing Him and being possessed by Him, just as there is no way of knowing life but by living. In fact the Holy Spirit is the life of the believing human spirit. The spiritual life is as real to consciousness as the natural life.

— from The Gospel of the Comforter, Chapter 22.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Conscious Experience of the Holy Spirit

The apostles knew nothing of an unconscious incoming and indwelling of the personal Paraclete. Unconscious regeneration in water-baptism and unconscious reception of the Holy Spirit through a bishop's hands in confirmation are doctrines lacking Biblical proof, the only proof possible after the exclusion of consciousness. The philosophy of the mind seems to require that the introduction of another personality to me, a person, must be with my assured knowledge. If a human person enters my library and addresses me while writing these words, I know it. Shall I not know it if a divine person knocks at the door of my heart and, at my invitation, enters? Will not His personal presence be self-evidencing? Will not His testimony to my adoption prove that He is a Person because He has faculties responsive to my own? If He takes up his abode in me, and converses with me and inspires love in me to Him and the other Persons whom He represents, shall I not be conscious of His personal presence? Love is a spiritual energy which goes forth only toward persons, never toward things. We admire pictures and statuary, but we love persons only.

— from The Gospel of the Comforter, Chapter 22.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Knowing the Holy Spirit

In what sense may believers know the Comforter? Jesus, who sends Him, assured His disciples that they should know Him because of His intimate relation to them, dwelling with them and ultimately being in them. The indwelling would be true after His future coming. If we fulfill the condition, which is love to Christ certified by obedience, we shall receive the Comforter and shall know Him. Of course we shall know when we receive so important a person. It will be a crisis marking a new era in our lives. It is evident that this is not inferential knowledge, though this is important as a confirmation. It comes from noting the fruits of the Spirit described in the Bible and comparing them with the Christian graces observed in ourselves, love, joy, peace, etc. Knowledge of God in the scriptural sense is assimilative. No man can truthfully say that he knows the Comforter when these fruits of the Spirit are absent. But knowledge of a person includes more than an acquaintance with his works. I had known the military career of Gen. Grant, and had read his brief dispatches after his battles, but I had no personal acquaintance with that great soldier till one day in June, 1856, he permitted me to be presented to him and to shake hands with him on the veranda of a Saratoga hotel. I then for the first time knew Ulysses S. Grant.

In like manner we may have such a second-hand knowledge of the Paraclete as we find in the Holy Scriptures and in the testimony of persons filled with the Spirit, while strangers to the personal Holy Spirit. It is one thing to know much about Him; it is quite a different thing to have an intuitive perception of Him, and to feel the thrilling and transforming touch of His hand, and to commune with Him by day and by night more intimately than with any earthly friend. This is the kind of knowledge invoked in the so-called apostolic benediction. We do not understand that in our knowledge of the Holy Spirit we differentiate Him from the Father and the Son, though some eminent Christians testify to an acquaintance with each Person of the adorable Trinity, one in substance, but three in subsistences. If such a knowledge has been given to any believers, it is quite exceptional. It may be universal in the future world; it is certainly very rare in this. In our present state it is enough for us to receive the love of God and the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ commingled in one blissful stream descending through the channel of the Holy Ghost. A distinctive knowledge of each person would tend to divide the divine substance and to lead to tritheism, three Gods.

In the scheme of revelation the Father revealed Himself in His incarnate Son. After His visible form was received by the cloud which hid Him from the eyes of His gazing disciples on the day of His ascension, the Paraclete was sent down to testify of the absent God-Man, to keep Him in the world's thought and to glorify Him who came to glorify the Father. Hence the Paraclete glorifies both the Father and the Son when He glorifies the Son. Hence Paul's prayer for the Ephesian church, "That the Father would give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him." This and other texts show that it is not the mission of the Comforter to give prominence to Himself, but to Christ, to whom He bears witness. Thus

"...when a messenger comes to tell a king, when a witness gives a testimony for his friend, neither speaks of himself. And yet, without doing so, both the messenger and the witness, in the very fact of giving their evidence, draw our attention to themselves, and claim our recognition of their presence and trustworthiness. And just so the Holy Spirit, when He testifies of Christ and glorifies Him, must be known and acknowledged in His divine commission and presence." (Andrew Murray.)

It is in this sense that we are to have a knowledge of the Paraclete while He holds up a light for us to see the Father in His adorable Son.

— from The Gospel of the Comforter, Chapter 22.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Soul Winning and the Fullness of the Spirit

The intimate connection between efficiency and success in saving souls and the fulness of the Spirit, may be seen in the study of the lives of those among the laity and the ministry who have instrumentally turned many to righteousness. It is an open secret that their suasive power dated from the hour when their hearts were enlarged by the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

From this experience in the city of New York, in answer to the prayers of a few consecrated women, Dwight L. Moody dates the beginning of his highest efficiency as an evangelist. This made Mrs. Catherine Booth's preaching so pungent in convicting of sin among the middle and upper classes in the West End of London; while by the same mighty power as a conscious experience, her husband, Gen. Booth, was conquering the slums in the East End of that city of nearly five millions of souls. Dr. Finney, after the Spirit anointed him, was like an electric dynamo from which streams of power went forth whenever he stood up to preach, and sometimes from his speechless presence. Benjamin Abbott, converted late in life, so extremely illiterate that he preached on the "oyster man," misreading "austere man," preached in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland under the anointing of the Spirit with so great success that thousands were added to the Lord. A layman by the name of Carpenter was comparatively a cipher in the Presbyterian church until he was filled with the Holy Ghost, when he became, through personal effort, the most successful winner of souls in his generation. He drew men to Christ to the number of several thousands as estimated at his funeral. These are a few instances out of myriads in which the baptism of the Spirit has given all the qualities requisite for moving souls from sin unto Christ, love, self-sacrifice, persistence, fear, fearlessness, tenderness and sympathy.

We should have mentioned joyfulness as an element of great power in drawing sinners to salvation. Joy always attends the of the Holy Spirit. It differs from all other kinds of happiness which arise from a pleasant environment and depend on things external and hence changeable and transient. The joy of the Holy Ghost is internal, abiding and eternal. The joy of men and women pelted with brickbats and rotten eggs, taking joyfully the spoiling of their goods, has a strange power to convince the persecutors of the truth of the gospel, on the principle that "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church."

— edited from The Gospel of the Comforter, Chapter 21.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Enlargement of the Heart

It was the Psalmist who, according to the Septuagint version, testifies: "I ran the way of thy commandments when thou dids't enlarge my heart." In his early spiritual life there was in this Old Testament saint the same straitness, slowness and lack of momentum which characterize young Christians in modern times. His service had been enforced by the law and its penalties. Duty was a word which had not been written over and almost concealed by the super-imposed capitals which spell LOVE. But it seems there was a crisis in his religious life where constraint ends and joyous liberty begins; where irksomeness disappears and spontaneity in service is a permanent characteristic.

The crisis which separates these two experiences is the enlargement of the heart. This is a figure for what St. John calls "perfect love," and which St. Paul elsewhere describes as "the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost," though he once, at least, employs the Old Testament phrase: "O ye Corinthians, my mouth is opened unto you, my heart is enlarged." Reverse the order of these clauses, and we have the cause and the effect. A full heart makes an unloosed tongue.

The inquiry is all-important, When is this crisis reached? Some say "Never this side the dying bed." But no Scripture proof of this dismal doctrine is ever given. It. is not true that the believing soul must be a partly filled goblet till it is over flowed by the waters of the river of death. Others, say: All souls at the new birth are deluged with love to the brim, a love that drives chariot wheels as swiftly as the mysterious electric current drives our street-car, up and down our tri-mountain city, Such a steady motive power is not the experience of multitudes, yea, the vast majorities who are truly regenerate. Their inertia is great and the impelling power is feeble. Indeed, something worse than inertia is to be overcome; a strong opposition often arises within, which it takes all their strength to overcome. They have not a heart at leisure from itself to concentrate upon the work of God. True it is that a few Christians, like John Fletcher, very soon after their birth into the kingdom, because of a correct apprehension of their privilege in the dispensation of the Spirit, are deluged with divine love and become giants in faith. The mass of believers are mere babes in spiritual development. They see days of great weakness and are often on the verge of surrender to the foe. Some, alas, throw away their arms and run away from the fight and never renew the battle. Others fight all their lives with foes in their own hearts and never overcome and cast them out. They have been told by their preachers that this war in the members is the normal Christian life. Hence, believing their preachers instead of the Word of God, they limit His power by their unbelief, and never gladly run, but always sadly drag themselves along the heavenly way.

This large class of Christians need enlightenment and encouragement, and not denunciation. They need to dwell in thought upon "the exceeding great and precious promises,"that they may have an experience of the "exceeding greatness of God's power to usward who believe." They need to lock arms with St. Paul and walk through his glorious epistles, and get his large view of the extent of Christ's saving power, since He has sent down the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier. They should study the new Greek words which Paul coined to express the fulness of divine grace and the wealth of privilege which are the heritage of those who fully believe; much as that translated by "more than conquerer" ( Rom. viii. 37 ); "much more abound" (Rom. v. 20, 11 Cor. vil, 4 ); "and the grace of our Lord abounded exceedingly with faith and love" (I Tim. i. 14 ). Especially should they ponder that declaration of God's ability to save, found in 11 Cor. ix. 8, in which are two "abounds" and five "alls" - "God is able to make all grace abound towards you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work." They should daily repeat St. Paul's prayer for the Ephesians, emphasizing each petition, especially the ascription at the close, "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly (super abundantly above the greatest abundance, A. Clarke. ) above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us" ( Eph. iii. 20 ). There is not sufficient familiarity with the promises on the part of professed Christians. While unbelievers are prone to neglect the promises of the Holy Scriptures.

Again, the growing failure to magnify the Holy Spirit results in constraint and the legal spirit, instead of the freedom of the evangelical spirit, inspiring courage to run through troops of foes. How many so-called evangelical Christians there are whose creed is practically as defective as was that of the first believers in Ephesus: "We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost" as receivable into the heart.

This important item dropped out of a Christian's faith palsies his tongue, paralyzes his hands and enfeebles his feet. If he is a preacher, his message will be delivered in the weakness of uncertainty and doubt,. Splendid rhetoric and oratorical tones and attitudes tire beggarly substitutes for the unction of the Holy Ghost. The anointed pulpit will always be mighty. The Spirit inspires fearlessness, imparts freedom of utterance, enkindles zeal and unconquerable love of souls. All of those are elements of genuine eloquence. They furnish the man, the subject and the occasion.

The formal prayer meeting would be transformed by the enlargement of the heart. Dumbness, the penalty of unbelief (Luke i. 20 ), will find it ready and glad utterance, and the dry harangue will be replaced by the hallelujah.

Let the heart of Protestantism be enlarged by the fulness of the Comforter, and rivers of salvation would flow out unto the ends of the earth, vitalizing those which have been devised as substitutes for His regenerating and sanctifying power.

— from The Gospel of the Comforter, Chapter 21.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Salted With Fire

QUESTION: Explain Mark 9:49, "For every one shall be salted with fire." (R. V.)

ANSWER: "Every one" is not every person, but every one who "is cast into Gehenna," as in the preceding context. The fire is the penal fire of the obdurate sinner who under punishment is not annihilated, but preserved as salt preserves meat. God's love reciprocated gladdens forever; rejected it torments forever, for it will never change. The lost soul can never be indifferent to it, hence its misery.

Steele's Answers p. 263.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Norwegian Games

QUESTION: Am I breaking any rule of the M. E. Church by playing the Norwegian games in which occur many of the changes used in dancing?

ANSWER: The church forbids "the taking of such diversions as cannot be used in the name of the Lord Jesus." I never before heard of these games. I infer from the description that they are the A, B, C of dancing, which is specifically forbidden in the discipline of that church.

Steele's Answers p. 263.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The First-Born of the Dead

QUESTION: In Rev. 1:5 Jesus Christ is called the first-born of the dead. What does this mean?

ANSWER: It means that he was the first who arose to die no more. In this sense he was "the first fruits of them that slept." It also signifies prominence; he is the chief of all risen from the dead, and leader of the resurrection.

Steele's Answers pp. 262, 263.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Delivering Milk on Sunday

QUESTION: Am I committing sin by delivering milk on the Lord's day, having several poor families with infants whose fathers are too poor to take ice. (2) Is it wrong to give my cows brewers' grain?

ANSWER: I have for many years told my milkman that he need not leave milk at my home on Sunday, because I do not wish to take his day of rest away from others. He must, however, milk his cows and take care of the milk in some other way, which may cost him more time and labor than the delivery of it. It may be regarded a work of necessity and, in the case of the infants, a work of mercy also. I will not dogmatize but leave it to the conscience of the milkman. (2) The objection to brewery grain feeding is two-fold, it helps a bad business and it makes milk of an inferior quality, it is said. I do not say it is a sin.

Steele's Answers p. 262.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Doctrine of Eternal Punishment

QUESTION: On what grounds does the doctrine of eternal punishment rest?

ANSWER: On the authority of Christ, Matt. 25:46; Mark 3:29, "eternal sin," R. V., and that of his apostles, Heb. 6 2, "eternal judgment;" Rev. 20:10, "tormented day and night forever and ever;" and 14:11, "the smoke * * * forever and ever." The human reason sustains this in its highest upreaching, as in Plato, who supports this doctrine in the case of the incurable wicked. Given these two terms: a perverse free will forever refusing to repent, and the immortality and indestructibility of the soul, and eternal misery is the only possible inference. Both Revelation and Reason prove this awful doctrine.

Steele's Answers pp. 261, 262.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Who Changed the Sabbath?

QUESTION: When and by whom was the Sabbath changed to the first day of the week?

ANSWER: Indirectly by Christ on the day before his crucifixion, when he relegated to the Holy Spirit the many things the disciples could not then bear (John 16:12, 13), and directly by the church filled with the Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:2; Rev. 1:10). "I was in the Spirit on the Dominican Day;" the adjective Dominican described the Lord's Supper (I Cor. 11:20). This shows that the Lord's Day kept by John is not Jehovah's day; but the first day. Christ had much trouble with the Jews about the Sabbath. If He had made the change, His disciples were so weak as not to be able to bear it; some Christians even are so infantile that they cannot bear it now. Let them go eastward around the world, keeping every seventh day, and when they get back, having gained a day, they will be keeping the first.

Steele's Answers p. 261.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Are the Ten Commandments Still in Force?

QUESTION: Are the Ten Commandments still in force? (2) If so explain II Cor. 3:7-11.

ANSWER: Christ confirmed them in Matt. 22:10, and in Mark 10:19. (2) There is no collision between these passages. The more glorious dispensation of the Gospel does not vacate or abrogate the moral law. The atonement made by Christ honors and establishes the law (Rom. 3:21-31). We are still under the law as the rule of life, but not as the ground of justification. If we were, we should all be condemned. Nor are we under the law as the impulse to service, which is not fear of the law, but love to the Lawgiver.

Steele's Answers pp. 260, 261.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A New Heart

QUESTION: When is this prediction to be fulfilled, Ezekiel 36:26; "A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you"?

ANSWER: This seems to be a type of the rich blessings of the Gospel dispensation under the imagery of the happy condition of Israel after restoration from captivity in Babylon.

Steele's Answers p. 260.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Fiery Trial - 1 Peter 4:12

QUESTION: What is the fiery trial in I Pet. 4:12, "Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you," etc.?

ANSWER: This epistle was written in A. D. 64, the date of the imperial edict of Nero authorlsing and commanding the persecution of Christians. It is natural that Peter should forewarn the churches he had founded in Asia Minor of this trial of their faith, which would put them to the test as the furnace tests and purifies gold. Yet it may mean an actual suffering by literal fire, called the fire torment.

Steele's Answers pp. 259, 260.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Churches That Oppose Holiness

QUESTION: Is it right for a person professing sanctification to remain in a church where they oppose holiness?

ANSWER: "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Do not let Christian perfection get the bad repute of being schismatic, a thing that Satan very much desires.

Steele's Answers p. 259.