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REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE XII. - HOW TO PREACH THE GOSPEL. paragraph 40 Several passages of Scripture ascribe conversion to man - This is consistent with other passages which ascribe conversion to God - Several important particulars in regard to preaching the Gospel.

I have been informed of a minister in New England, who was settled in a congregation which had long enjoyed little else than Armenian preaching, and the congregation themselves were chiefly Armenians. Well, this minister, in his preaching, strongly insisted on the opposite points, Election, Divine Sovereignty, Predestination, etc. The consequence was, as might have been expected where this was done with ability, that there was a powerful revival. Some time afterwards this same minister was called to labor in another field, in this State, where the people were all on the other side, and strongly tinctured with Antinomianism. They had got such perverted views of Election and Divine Sovereignty, that they were continually saying they had no power to do anything, but must wait God's time. Now, what does the minister do, but immediately go to preaching the doctrine of Election. And when he was asked how he could think of preaching the doctrine of Election so much to that people, when it was the very thing that lulled them to a deeper slumber, he replied: "Why, that is the very class of truths by which I had such a great revival in -"; not considering the difference in the views of the people. You must take things as they are; find out where sinners lie, pour in truth upon them there, and START THEM OUT from their refuges of lies. It is of vast importance that a minister should find out where the congregation is, and preach accordingly.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE XII. - HOW TO PREACH THE GOSPEL. paragraph 53 Several passages of Scripture ascribe conversion to man - This is consistent with other passages which ascribe conversion to God - Several important particulars in regard to preaching the Gospel.

By preaching truth in proper proportions, I do not mean mingling all things together in the same sermon, in such a way that sinners will not see their connection or consistency. A minister once asked another: "Why do you not preach the doctrine of Election?" "Because," said the other, "I find sinners here are entrenched behind Inability." The first then said he once knew a minister who used to preach Election in the forenoon and Repentance in the afternoon. But, bringing things together that confound the sinner's mind, and overwhelm him with a fog of metaphysics, is not wise preaching. When talking of Election, the preacher is not talking of the sinner's duty. It has no relation to the sinner's duty. Election belongs to the government of God. It is a part of the exceeding richness of the grace of God. It shows the love of God - not the duty of the sinner. And to bring Election and Repentance together in this way is diverting the sinner's mind away from his duty. It has been customary, in many places, for a long time, to bring the doctrine of Election into every sermon. Sinners have been commanded to repent, and told that they could not repent, in the same sermon. A great deal of ingenuity has been exercised in endeavoring to reconcile a sinner's "inability" with his obligation to obey God.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE XVII. - FALSE COMFORTS FOR SINNERS. paragraph 76 The necessity and design of instructing anxious sinners - Anxious sinners are always seeking comfort - The false comforts that are often administered.

19. People sometimes comfort a sinner by telling him: "If you are elected, you will be brought in." I once heard of a case where a person under great distress of mind was sent to converse with a neighboring minister. They talked for a long time. As the person went away, the minister said to him: "I should like to send a line by you to your father." His father was a pious man. The minister wrote the letter, and forgot to seal it. As the sinner was going home, he saw that the letter was not sealed, and he thought to himself, that probably the minister had written about him, and his curiosity at length led him to open and read it. And there he found it written to this purport: "Dear Sir, - I found your son under conviction, and in great distress, and it seems not easy to say anything to give him relief. But, if he is one of the elect, he is sure to be brought in." He had wanted to say something to comfort the father; but now, mark: that letter had well-nigh ruined the son's soul; for he settled down on the doctrine of Election, saying: "If I am elected, I shall be brought in;" and his conviction was gone. Years afterwards he was awakened and converted, but only after a great struggle, and never until that false impression had been obliterated from his mind, and he had been made to see that he had nothing at all to do with the doctrine of Election, but that if he did not repent he would be lost.

 

 


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE XIX. - INSTRUCTIONS TO CONVERTS. paragraph 85 Several things to be considered in regard to the hopes of young converts - Several things respecting their making a profession of religion - The importance of having correct instruction given to young converts - What should not be taught - What things are necessary to be taught.

I always feel in doubt about them. When I hear them asking: "Do you believe in the doctrine of Election?" or: "Do you believe in sprinkling?" or: "Do you believe in immersing?" I feel sad. I never knew such converts to be worth much. Their sectarian zeal soon sours their feelings, eats out all the heart of their religion, and molds their whole character into sinful, sectarian bigotry. They generally become mighty zealous for the traditions of the elders, and very little concerned for the salvation of souls.

 

 


IMPORTANT SUBJECTS - SERMON X. DOCTRINE OF ELECTION paragraph 0 Ephesians, 1:45.--"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will."
DOCTRINE OF ELECTION This lecture was typed in by Vic Johanson.

 

 


IMPORTANT SUBJECTS - SERMON X. DOCTRINE OF ELECTION paragraph 3 Ephesians, 1:45.--"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will."

DOCTRINE OF ELECTION

 

 


IMPORTANT SUBJECTS - SERMON X. DOCTRINE OF ELECTION paragraph 5 Ephesians, 1:45.--"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will."

THE subject of this discourse is the doctrine of election, and in the discussion of it, I shall pursue the following order:

 

 


IMPORTANT SUBJECTS - SERMON X. DOCTRINE OF ELECTION paragraph 26 Ephesians, 1:45.--"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will."

II. But, by the doctrine of election, is intended, that a part of the human family are chosen to eternal salvation; that not only are they chosen as a whole, but as individuals; every one of whom will finally be saved.

 

 


IMPORTANT SUBJECTS - SERMON X. DOCTRINE OF ELECTION paragraph 33 Ephesians, 1:45.--"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will."

Again. The doctrine of election may be inferred from the unchangeableness of God. Suppose ourselves all gathered around the judgment seat, suppose all his saints to be gathered at his right hand, and now the final sentence is to be passed, and now God designs to take all his saints to heaven. But when did God first form this design? Has he any new light on the subject? has he changed his mind? "He is of one mind, and who can turn him?"

 

 


IMPORTANT SUBJECTS - SERMON X. DOCTRINE OF ELECTION paragraph 34 Ephesians, 1:45.--"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will."

Again. The doctrine of election may be inferred from the fact that with God there is no past or future time, but that all eternity is present time to him. The beginning and the end of time, all the events of time and eternity, past to us, the judgment day and eternity beyond, with all their events, are present to his mind. The name and character and eternal destiny of every creature are present to him, and that is a very unworthy view of God, which exhibits him as having no definite plan in relation to all the concerns of his vast empire; indeed it is virtually denying God, and robbing him of the essential attributes of his nature.

 

 


IMPORTANT SUBJECTS - SERMON X. DOCTRINE OF ELECTION paragraph 41 Ephesians, 1:45.--"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will."

Nor are we to suppose that God acted in the selection of the elect without motives. He must have had some good and substantial reason for choosing one man in preference to another. Some speak of election in such a manner as to leave the impression on the mind, that God acted arbitrarily, and that the whole turned upon an inscrutable sovereignty the reasons for which we can in no wise understand. But certainly I have not so learned the doctrine of election. For although he has not told us why he has selected one in preference to another, yet he has told us certain things from which we may justly infer what the reasons are which led him to this selection. The Scriptures inform us that God is good, yea infinitely good, and that he doth good; and from the fact that he is infinitely good we are bound to infer that he does all the good he can.

 

 


IMPORTANT SUBJECTS - SERMON X. DOCTRINE OF ELECTION paragraph 48 Ephesians, 1:45.--"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will."

God was under obligation to no one--he might in perfect justice have sent all mankind to hell. The doctrine of election will damn no one; by treating the non-elect according to their deserts he does them no injustice; and surely his exercising grace in the salvation of the elect is no act of injustice to the non-elect, and especially will this appear to be true if we take into consideration the fact that the only reason why the non-elect will not be saved is because they pertinaciously refuse salvation. He offers mercy to all. The atonement is sufficient for all. All may come and are under an obligation to be saved. He strongly desires their salvation and does all that he wisely can to save them. Why then should the doctrine of election be thought unjust.

 

 


IMPORTANT SUBJECTS - SERMON X. DOCTRINE OF ELECTION paragraph 55 Ephesians, 1:45.--"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will."

XII. The doctrine of election affords the only ground for encouragement in the use of means for the salvation of sinners.

 

 


IMPORTANT SUBJECTS - SERMON X. DOCTRINE OF ELECTION paragraph 61 Ephesians, 1:45.--"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will."

II. You see why many persons are opposed to the doctrine of election, and try to explain it away; 1st they misunderstand it, and 2d. they deduce unwarrantable inferences from it. They suppose it to mean, that the elect will be saved at all events, whatever their conduct may be; and again they infer from the doctrine that there is no possibility of the salvation of the non-elect. Their understanding of the doctrine would be an encouragement to the elect to persevere in sin, knowing that their salvation was sure, and their inference would drive the non-elect to desperation, on the ground that for them to make efforts to be saved would be of no avail. But both the doctrine, as they understand it, and the inference are false. For election does not secure the salvation of the elect irrespective of their character and conduct; nor, as we have seen, does it throw any obstacle in the way of the salvation of the non-elect.

 

 


IMPORTANT SUBJECTS - SERMON X. DOCTRINE OF ELECTION paragraph 65 Ephesians, 1:45.--"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will."

VI. Why should the doctrine of election be made a stumbling block in the way of sinners. In nothing else do they make the same use of the purposes and designs of God, as on the subject of religion; any yet in every thing else God's purposes and designs are as much settled and have as absolute an influence. God as certainly designed the day and circumstances of your death as whether your soul shall be saved. It is not only expressly declared in the Bible, but is plainly the doctrine of reason. What would you say on going home from meeting, if you should be called in to see a neighbor who was sick, and on inquiry you should find he would neither eat nor drink, and that he was nearly starved to death: on expostulating with him upon his conduct, he should calmly reply, that he believed in the sovereignty of God, in foreknowledge, election, and decrees; that his days were numbered, that the time and circumstances of his death were settled, that he could not die before his time, and that all the efforts he could make would not enable him to live a moment beyond his time. If you attempted to remonstrate against his inference, and such an abuse and perversion of the doctrine of decreed, he should accuse you of being a heretic, of not believing in divine sovereignty. Now should you see a man on worldly subjects reasoning and acting thus, you would pronounce him crazy. Should farmers, mechanics, and merchants reason in this way in regard to their worldly business, they would be considered fit subjects for bedlam.

 

 


IMPORTANT SUBJECTS - SERMON XI. REPROBATION paragraph 37 Jeremiah, 6:30.--"Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the lord hath rejected them."

1st. As it respects God, from eternity. But as it respects men they are reprobated when they become refuse and good for nothing. As God knew from eternity how every event would be; how every sinner in the universe would behave himself--as this was always present to his mind as much as it ever will be--his decision upon it all, must have been from eternity just what it always will be. So far as the making up of his own mind is concerned, he needs only to have all the evidence in the case, and this he has always had, as much as he ever will have. If, at the day of judgment, he will see cause to reprobate them, and send them to hell, he has always seen this cause, and always been of one mind upon this subject. But so far as the reprobates themselves are concerned, they become reprobates when they pertinaciously, and finally refuse to accept eternal life on the terms of the Gospel. The doctrine of reprobation is just like the doctrine of election, in this respect, as existing in the mind of God; like all other purposes of the Divine mind, it is eternal. He has no new thoughts, nor new knowledge, nor purposes, nor designs. But as it respects us, reprobation is just like election, conditional, a contingency. It is just so on every other subject; man's life and death are all fixed, and his days are numbered. God has set the bounds of his habitation that he cannot pass, and all the circumstances of his life and death are settled; yet, who does not know that the time of every man's death, so far as he himself is concerned, is a matter of entire contingency; that his days may be lengthened or shortened by his own conduct; that years, and scores of years, may be added to, or subtracted from his life, through the instrumentality of his own agency. The fact of its being settled in the mind of God does not alter the contingency with regard to us. It is to us just as much a matter of contingency as if neither God nor any being in the universe had any fore-knowledge of the event. So in regard to our salvation or damnation; although God is perfectly acquainted with what the result will be, still the event is to us, just as contingent and just as much suspended upon our own voluntary agency, as if God knew nothing about it. The event alone develops to us what was before a certainty in the mind of God.

 

 


IMPORTANT SUBJECTS - SERMON XI. REPROBATION paragraph 79 Jeremiah, 6:30.--"Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the lord hath rejected them."

Probably there are individuals here, to whom I have been preaching, that have not been in the least benefited by any thing I have said, or could say. You have set yourselves to oppose God, and have taken such an attitude, that truth never reaches you to do you good. Now, sinner, if you do this, and go home in this state of mind, tonight you will have additional evidence that God has given you up, and that you are a reprobate. Now, will you go away in your sins, under these circumstances? Don't talk of the doctrine of election or reprobation as being in your way. No man is ever reprobated for any other reason than that he is an obstinate sinner.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1836, LECTURE V - True Saints paragraph 51

     I mean when the sermon is not specially addressed to the church, to stir them up. Others may approve the sermon, and praise it, and tell what a great sermon it is, or how eloquent, or lucid or grand or sublime, but it does not suit them if it lacks this one characteristic---a tendency to convert sinners. You will find some people that are great sticklers for the doctrine of election, and they will not believe it is a gospel sermon unless it has the doctrine of election in it, but if the doctrine of election is in it they are suited whether it is adapted to convert sinners or not.---But where a man has his heart set on the conversion of sinners, if he hears a sermon not calculated to do this, he feels as if it lacked the great thing that constitutes a gospel sermon. But if they hear a sermon calculated to save souls, then they are fed, and their souls rejoice.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1836, LECTURE VI - Legal Religion paragraph 30

     Such persons are apt to be fond of having the doctrine of saints' perseverance much dwelt on, and the doctrine of election. Often, they want nothing else but what they call the doctrines of grace. And if they can be preached in such an abstract way, as to afford them comfort without galling their consciences too much, then they are fed.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1852 paragraph 425 344 Lectures VII. & VIII. Salvation Difficult to The Christian- Impossible to The Sinner-- The Salvation of Sinners Impossible- No.'s 1 - 2 ...

1. From this standpoint we can easily see what we are to understand by the doctrine of election--a doctrine often mis-stated, and often perverted to a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence. The simple and plain view of it is, that God, foreseeing all the future of your existence as perfectly as if all were in fact present, determined to deal with you according to your voluntary course; determined to offer you the gospel, and on your refusal of it, to give you over to the doom of those who deny the Lord that bought them. Election is no new or different plan of divine administration, aside from and unlike what the Bible reveals as the plan of saving men through the gospel. It is this very plan of which the Bible is full, only that it contemplates this plan as framed by the divine Mind "before the world began."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1852 paragraph 426 344 Lectures VII. & VIII. Salvation Difficult to The Christian- Impossible to The Sinner-- The Salvation of Sinners Impossible- No.'s 1 - 2 ...

2. If you will now consent to give your heart to God, you can be saved. No election will hinder you. The doctrine of election is simply the fact that God sends forth his Spirit to save as many as by the best system of influences He wisely can save; and surely this never can hinder any sinner from repenting and gaining salvation, for the very good reason that this plan contemplates saving and not damning men, as its object, and is in fact the sinner's only hope.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1855 paragraph 469 446 Lecture XI. Losing First Love ...

1. Many persons keep just enough of what they call religion to fasten their delusions on their own souls. By dint of resolution and self-impulses, they keep up the forms of family prayer and of public worship, and by these means, they sustain the delusion that they are true Christians. If they had dropped these forms and gone into open apostasy, they would have known themselves, and would not have once thought of maintaining a hope of personal religion. The delusion could not have existed. But those who maintain the forms of religion, and the forms only, cannot have the witness of God's Spirit - can have no evidence from their own daily experience, but content themselves to live on the most meagre allowance of testimony to their own piety. They dare not speak very confidently, yet they are hopeful. They love to bring up the case of persons who had a great many doubts, and yet, on the whole are esteemed good Christian people. Some of them live on the doctrine of election, or perseverance of saints. Some live on the case of those who were reclaimed just before death. They sing the backslider's hymns and pray the backslider's prayer. From every quarter they are picking up shreds of matter of every sort wherewith to feed their own delusion. Sometimes, to help themselves out of their trouble, they set themselves to pick flaws in better Christians than themselves. This avails to relieve their conscience a little.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 36 - NOT FAR FROM THE KINGDOM OF GOD. paragraph 23

     Again, when filled with the prejudices of education, false ideas of religion, are men far from the kingdom of God. Who does not know, for example, how many false theories and doctrines of religion there are. Look at the Jews, how full they were of the prejudices of education. The Jews, in general, had not gone so far as this Scribe, by any means, inasmuch as he had come to see what the spirituality of the law really intended. Now, how many are there in this country, who think religion is made up of ordinances? As the Jews, they suppose religion to consist in certain ordinances--in submission to certain priests, prelates, baptisms, and purifications--mere ordinances. Who does not see how full the Catholic Church is of this? How much of this there is after all in those gross ideas of religion and those prejudices of education, which close the mind like a bolted door, against God. Thus it was with the Jews; they had so much to unlearn, as to place the mass of them in an attitude of hopeless resistance. As far as salvation was concerned, they were gone beyond the reach of those efforts which God could wisely make to save them. It frequently happens that persons listen to some curious notions, and are so blinded by, and intrenched in them, that what they have learned will cost them probably more pains than they will ever take to rid themselves of them. Hold out the gospel to them--they have immediately some prejudices of education which strongly militate against its reception. They raise, perhaps, election, Divine Sovereignty, dependence on the Holy Spirit, or something else, which they call "orthodoxy;" they must "wait God's time"--"if they are elected they are sure to be saved," and all such stuff. Now to unlearn all that men have been taught of this kind, is oftimes as hopeless, as for the Jews, or Roman Catholics, to unlearn all their prejudices and falsehoods. There is a sense, however, in which God is sovereign--in which, without the Holy Spirit, they cannot be converted; so is the doctrine of election true; but they have perverted the true sense. Oh! how difficult it is for them to get into the Kingdom of God! Far enough are they from the Kingdom of God.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 74 - Election paragraph 8

     II. WHAT THE BIBLE DOCTRINE OF ELECTION IS NOT.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 74 - Election paragraph 28

     II. What the Bible doctrine of election is not.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 74 - Election paragraph 29

     1. Not, as Huntington maintained, that all men are chosen to salvation through the atonement of Christ. This gentleman, who was a congregational minister of New England, left a treatise for publication after his death, (which was accordingly published,) in which he maintained the usual orthodox creed, with the exception of extending the doctrine of election to the whole human race. He took the old school view of the atonement, that it was the literal payment of the debt of the elect; that Christ suffered what and as much as they deserved to suffer, and thus literally purchased their salvation. Assuming that such was the nature of the atonement, he sets himself to inquire into the extent of the atonement, or for whom it was made. Finding that Christ tasted death for every man, that he died for the world, he came to the conclusion that all were elected to salvation, and that all will therefore be saved. I have never seen the work of which I speak, but such is the account I have had of it from those who know. But this is not the Bible doctrine of election, as we shall see.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 74 - Election paragraph 30

     2. The Bible doctrine of election is not that any are chosen to salvation, in such a sense, that they will or can be saved without repentance, faith, and sanctification.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 74 - Election paragraph 33

     5. The Bible doctrine of election is not that God elected some to salvation, upon such conditions that it is really uncertain whether they will comply with those conditions, and be finally saved. The Bible does not leave the question of the final salvation of the elect as a matter of real uncertainty. This we shall see in its place. The elect were chosen to salvation, upon condition that God foresaw that he could secure their repentance, faith, and final perseverance.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 74 - Election paragraph 34

     III. What the Bible doctrine of election is.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 74 - Election paragraph 35

     It is, that all of Adam's race, who are or ever will be saved, were from eternity chosen by God to eternal salvation, through the sanctification of their hearts by faith in Christ. In other words, they are chosen to salvation by means of sanctification. Their salvation is the end--their sanctification is a means. Both the end and the means are elected, appointed, chosen; the means as really as the end, and for the sake of the end. The election of some individuals and nations to certain privileges, and to do certain things, is not the kind of election of which I treat at this time; but I am to consider the doctrine of election as it respects election unto salvation, as just explained.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 74 - Election paragraph 37

     It is plainly implied in the teaching of the Bible: the Bible everywhere assumes and implies the truth of this doctrine, just as might be expected, since it so irresistibly follows from the known and admitted attributes of God. Instead of formally revealing it as a truth unknown to, or unknowable by, the human reason, the scriptures in a great variety of ways speak of the elect, of election, &c., as a truth known by irresistible inference from his known attributes. To deny it involves a denial of the attributes of God. I have been surprised at the laboured and learned efforts to show that this doctrine is not expressly taught in the Bible. Suppose it were not, what then? Other truths are taught, and reason irresistibly affirms truths, from which the doctrine of election, as I have stated it, must follow. It is common for the inspired writers to treat truths of this class in the same manner in which this is, for the most part, treated. Suppose it were possible so to explain every passage of scripture as that no one of them should unequivocally assert the doctrine in question, this would be to no purpose; the doctrine would still be irresistibly inferrible from the attributes of God. It would still be true, that the Bible assumes the truth of the doctrine, and incidentally speaks of it, and introduces it as a truth of reason, and as following of course from the attributes of God. It is thus treated throughout the entire scriptures. The Bible as really assumes the truth of this doctrine, as it does the existence of God. It asserts it just as it does the attributes of God. The learned and laboured efforts to show that this doctrine is not expressly asserted in the Bible, are of no value, since it would follow as a certain truth from the attributes of God, and from the revealed facts that some will be saved, and that God will save them, even had the Bible been silent on the subject.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 74 - Election paragraph 67

     To deny the doctrine of election, therefore, involves a denial of the attributes of God.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 74 - Election paragraph 112

     God was under obligation to no one--he might in perfect justice have sent all mankind to hell. The doctrine of election will damn no one: by treating the non-elect according to their deserts, he does them no injustice; and surely his exercising grace in, the salvation of the elect, is no act of injustice to the non-elect; and especially will this appear to be true, if we take into consideration the fact, that the only reason why the non-elect will not be saved is, because they pertinaciously refuse salvation. He offers mercy to all. The atonement is sufficient for all. All may come, and are under an obligation to be saved. He strongly desires their salvation, and does all that he wisely can to save them. Why then should the doctrine of election be thought unjust?*

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 74 - Election paragraph 129

     2. You see why many persons are opposed to the doctrine of election, and try to explain it away; 1st., they misunderstand it, and 2nd. they deduce unwarrantable inferences from it. They suppose it to mean, that the elect will be saved at all events, whatever their conduct may be; and again, they infer from the doctrine that there is no possibility of the salvation of the non-elect. The doctrine, as they understand it, would be an encouragement to the elect to persevere in sin, knowing that their salvation was sure, and their inference would drive the non-elect to desperation, on the ground that for them to make efforts to be saved would be of no avail. But both the doctrine, as they understand it, and the inference, are false. For election does not secure the salvation of the elect irrespective of their character and conduct; nor, as we have seen, does it throw any obstacle in the way of the salvation of the non-elect.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 74 - Election paragraph 133

     6. Why should the doctrine of election be made a stumbling-block in the way of sinners? In nothing else do they make the same use of the purposes and designs of God, as they do on the subject of religion; and yet in everything else, God's purposes and designs are as much settled, and have as absolute an influence. God has as certainly designed the day and circumstances of your death, as whether your soul shall be saved. It is not only expressly declared in the Bible, but is plainly the doctrine of reason. What would you say if you should be called in to see a neighbour who was sick; and, on inquiry, you should find he would neither eat nor drink, and that he was verily starving himself to death. On expostulating with him upon his conduct, suppose he should calmly reply, that he believed in the sovereignty of God, in foreknowledge, election, and decrees; that his days were numbered, that the time and circumstances of his death were settled, that he could not die before his time, and that all efforts he could make would not enable him to live a moment beyond his time. If you attempted to remonstrate against his inference, and such an abuse and perversion of the doctrine of degrees, he should accuse you of being a heretic, of not believing in divine sovereignty. Now, should you see a man on worldly subjects reasoning and acting thus, you would pronounce him insane. Should farmers, mechanics, and merchants, reason in this way in regard to their worldly business, they would be considered fit subjects for bedlam.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 75 - Reprobation paragraph 32

     Again, it follows from the doctrine of election. If God designs to save the elect, and the elect only, as has been shown, not for the reason, but upon condition of their foreseen repentance and faith in Christ, it must be that he designs, or purposes to cast away the wicked, for their foreseen wickedness. He purposes to do something with those whom he foresees will finally be impenitent. He certainly does not purpose to save them. What he will ever do with them he now knows that he shall do with them. What he will intend to do with them he now intends to do with them, or he were not unchangeable. But we have seen that immutability or unchangeableness is an attribute of God. Therefore the present reprobation of those who will be finally cast away or lost, is a doctrine of reason.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 75 - Reprobation paragraph 119

     The man who will stumble either at the doctrine of election or reprobation, as defined and maintained in these lectures, should, to be consistent, stumble at everything that takes place, and never try to accomplish any thing whatever; because the designs and the foreknowledge of God extend equally to everything; and unless he has expressly revealed how it will be, we are left in the dark, in respect to any event, and are left to use means to accomplish what we desire, or to prevent what we dread, as if God knew and designed nothing about it.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 75 - Reprobation paragraph 136

     Perhaps, reader, you have not been in the least benefited by anything I have said, or could say. You have set yourself to oppose God, and have taken such an attitude, that truth never reaches you to do you good. Now, sinner, if you do this, and close this book in this state of mind, you will have additional evidence that God has given you up, and that you are a reprobate. Now, will you go on in your sins, under these circumstances? Do not talk of the doctrine of election or reprobation as being in your way. No man is ever reprobated for any other reason, than that he is an obstinate sinner.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 81 - Perseverance of Saints IV paragraph 20 Consideration of principal arguments in support of the doctrine

     But still it is said, that when Christians backslide, they know if this doctrine is true, that they shall not die in a backslidden state, and that, therefore they are naturally rendered presumptuous by it. I answer, that the same objection lies against the doctrine of election, which cannot be denied. Who does not know that sinners and backsliders say, If I am elected, I shall be saved; and if not, I shall be lost? The event is certain at any rate, and if I am to use the means, I shall use the means; and if I am to neglect them, I shall neglect them. If I am one of the elect, I shall not die in sin; and if not, I shall, do what I may. The backslider says, I have been converted, and am therefore one of the elect; for there is no evidence that any of the non-elect are ever converted; but the elect cannot be lost, or will not be lost, at any rate; therefore I shall be reclaimed before I die. Now who does not see that all such refuges are refuges of lies? They are abuses of precious truth. The objection we are considering is based upon an overlooking of the all-important distinction between the natural tendency and the abuse of a doctrine. If this doctrine has a natural tendency to mischief, it must be calculated to mislead a humble, honest, and prayerful mind in search of truth. It must tend to lead a true saint away from, instead of to Christ. The fact that sinners and backsliders, who for the time being are the chief of sinners, will and do abuse and pervert it, is no better reason for rejecting this doctrine, than it is for rejecting the doctrine of atonement, of justification by faith, or the doctrine of the free pardon of the greatest sinners, upon condition of repentance and faith. It is true that no person whom God foresees will be saved, will die in sin. It is true that no elect person will die in sin; and as I believe all true saints are elect, nevertheless, the natural tendency of this doctrine is anything else than to beget presumption in the real saint; but on the contrary, it has a natural and a powerful tendency to impress him with sin subduing views of the infinite love, compassion, faithfulness, and grace of God, and to charm him away from his sins for ever. If by any means he falls into temporary backsliding, he may abuse this, as he may every other doctrine of the gospel; but let it be understood, that he does not believe for the time being one of the doctrines of the gospel. Not believing them, he of course is not injured by their natural tendency, but only by a perverse abuse of them.

 

 


WAY OF SALVATION, SERMON 8 - The Salvation of Sinners Impossible paragraph 42

1. From this standpoint we can easily see what we are to understand by the doctrine of election -- a doctrine often misstated, and often perverted to a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence. The simple and plain view of it is, that God, foreseeing all the future of your existence as perfectly as if all were in fact present, determined to deal with you according to your voluntary course; determined to offer you the gospel, and, on your refusal of it, to give you over to the doom of those who deny the Lord that bought them. Election is no new or different plan of divine administration, aside from and unlike what the Bible reveals as the plan of saving men through the gospel. It is this very plan of which the Bible is full, only that it contemplates this plan as framed by the divine Mind "before the world began."

 

 


WAY OF SALVATION, SERMON 8 - The Salvation of Sinners Impossible paragraph 43

2. If you will now consent to give your heart to God, you can be saved. No election will hinder you. The doctrine of election is simply the fact that God sends forth his Spirit to save as many as by the best system of influences he wisely can save; and surely this never can hinder any sinner from repenting and gaining salvation, for the very good reason that this plan contemplates saving and not damning men, as its object, and is in fact the sinner's only hope.

 

 


CHARLES G. FINNEY TESTIMONIAL OF REVIVALS, CHAPTER VIII. - REVIVAL AT ANTWERP. paragraph 29 Impression of the place - Prayer on Saturday - Plain preaching on Sabbath - Scene at Sodom - Preaching to the Universalists - Sermon on election - Cure of insane woman.

Among the converts was also a considerable number whose friends were Methodists. On Saturday I learned that some Methodist people were saying to the converts, "Mr. Finney is a Presbyterian. He believes in the doctrine of election and predestination; but he has not preached it here. He dare not preach it, because if he should, the converts would not join his church." This determined me to preach on the doctrine of election, the Sabbath morning previous to their joining the church. I took my text, and went on to show, first, what the doctrine of election is not; secondly, what it is; thirdly, that it is a doctrine of the Bible; fourthly, that it is the doctrine of reason; fifthly, that to deny it, is to deny the very attributes of God; sixthly, that it poses no obstacle in the way of the salvation of the non-elect; seventhly, that all men may be saved if they will; and lastly, that it is the only hope that anybody will be saved; and concluded with remarks.

 

 


CHARLES G. FINNEY TESTIMONIAL OF REVIVALS, CHAPTER VIII. - REVIVAL AT ANTWERP. paragraph 30 Impression of the place - Prayer on Saturday - Plain preaching on Sabbath - Scene at Sodom - Preaching to the Universalists - Sermon on election - Cure of insane woman.

The Lord made it exceedingly clear to my own mind, and so clear to the people, that, I believe, it convinced the Methodists themselves. I never heard a word said against it, or a word of dissatisfaction with the argument. While I was preaching, I observed a Methodist sister with whom I had become acquainted, and whom I regarded as an excellent Christian woman, weeping, as she sat near the pulpit stairs. I feared that I was hurting her feelings. After the close of the meetings she remained sitting and weeping; and I went to her and said to her, "Sister, I hope I have not injured your feelings." "No," said she, "you have not injured my feelings, Mr. Finney; but I have committed a sin. No longer ago than last night, my husband, who is an impenitent man, was arguing this very question with me; and maintaining, as best he could, the doctrine of election." Said she, "I resisted it, and told him that it was not true. And now, today, you have convinced me that it is true; and instead of forming any excuse for my husband, or anybody else, it is the only hope I can have that he will be saved, or anybody else." I heard no farther objection to the converts joining a church that believed in the doctrine of election.

 

 


CHARLES G. FINNEY TESTIMONIAL OF REVIVALS, CHAPTER XXXV. - LABORS IN ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND. paragraph 5 Preaching in Edinburgh - The E. U. Church - The ladies prayer meeting - Preaching in Aberdeen - Circumscribing prejudice - Going to Bolton, England - First evening at Bolton - The week of prayer - Cooperation of denominations - Canvassing the city - A more quiet manner - Work in Mr. B's mill - Cases of restitution - Conversion of the miserly mill-owner - Labors in Manchester - Want of cooperation - Return home.

Mr. Kirk was at that time not only pastor, but also professor in a theological school in Glasgow, and in addition, was editor of the Christian News, which was published at Glasgow. In that paper, from time to time, he represented my theological views, as identical with the views of their theological seminary and of their church. But on some points I found that I very considerably differed from them. Their views of faith as a mere intellectual state I could not receive. They explained away, in a manner to me utterly unintelligible, the doctrine of election; and on sundry points I found I did not agree with them. However Mr. Kirk insisted that he entirely accepted my views as he heard me preach them, and that they were the views of the E. U. church. Thus insisting that my views were identical with theirs, without intending it, he shut the doors of the other pulpits against me, and doubtless kept multitudes of persons who otherwise would have come and heard me, from our meetings.