IMPORTANT SUBJECTS - SERMON III. TRADITIONS OF THE ELDERS paragraph 37 Matthew, 15-6.-"Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect, by your tradition."

Some have viewed the gospel, as merely a system of mercy, as offering a pardon for sin, irrespective of its design and tendency to make men holy. They have talked, and preached and prayed about the mercy of God; they have exhibited it as a remedy, without convincing the sinner that he was diseased; have urged him to accept a pardon without convincing him of sin; and thus by overlooking the holiness which the gospel inculcates, and enjoins; exhibiting the pardon of the gospel without requiring its duties, they have made the gospel of no effect. The gospel, thus perverted, has no tendency to save mankind, overlooking its morality, its mercy and its pardon can never save the souls of men; justification without sanctification, forgiveness without holiness, is not only absurd, but salvation upon such conditions is impossible. These, to be sure, lay great stress upon the atonement, admit the divinity of Jesus Christ, and exalt a dead faith even above obedience to the law of God. This class of professors may in general be known by their great zeal for what they term sound doctrine, and at the same time a manifest reluctance to hearing the self-denying duties of the gospel forcibly inculcated. The doctrines of God's sovereignty, the perseverance of the saints, and their kindred doctrines, are the only truth which they relish, and only a distorted and perverted view of these can feed them. They lay much more stress on doctrine than on that practice which it is the sole object of doctrine to produce. It is clear that they rest on the shadow and reject the substance. They are only hearers, but not doers of the word, deceiving their own selves, who shall utterly perish in their own corruption.



TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1836, LECTURE IX - True and False Repentance paragraph 67

     The individual who has this repentance may know that Jesus Christ is the only Savior of sinners, and may profess to believe on Him and to rely on Him alone for salvation, but after all, he is actually placing ten times more reliance on his reformation than on Jesus Christ for his salvation. And if he would watch his own heart, he might know it is so. He may say he expects salvation by Christ, but in fact he is dwelling more on his reformation, and his hope is founded more on that, than on the atonement of Christ, and he is really patching up a righteousness of his own.




Lecture V. On The Atonement



THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1856 paragraph 162 162 Lecture V. On The Atonement ...

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THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1856 paragraph 163 162 Lecture V. On The Atonement ...

On The Atonement
Lecture V
July 30, 1856








V. Apply these things to Christ as the Mediator between God and man. It is said in the Bible that Jesus Christ is a Mediator between God and man; this is plainly expressed, and we understand what it must mean. God addresses men in human language, he always uses that language which we can understand. I once heard a remark of this kind gravely made by a man who had been hearing a sermon on the atonement, in which the governmental view of it had been exhibited and enforced,--"Ah," said he, "you cannot explain spiritual things by natural things; you cannot explain the government of God by any human government or human transactions." Now, when I heard this remark, I could not forbear saying, "What a pity that God did not know that when he wrote the Bible." Cannot explain spiritual things by natural things! What a pity God did not take that into account when he wrote the Bible, where such illustrations are so abundantly introduced. But surely if God has seen fit to use such means to illustrate and explain his meaning to us, it is also permitted to us to do the same.




Let me say, once more, that another reason why men are not saved from sin is, that they have really come to regard justification in sin, as a means to save them from it! In support of this monstrous idea, they will even appeal to the Scriptures. They found justification on the atonement; now, this work of Christ can never be imputed to any man in such a sense as to justify him while he remains in sin! Justification in sin is a thing impossible! Now, how can a man be pardoned and justified, before he repents and believes! It is impossible! He must be in a state of obedience to the law of God before he can be justified! The fact is, there is a very great mistake among many people on this subject. They think that they must persuade themselves that they are justified, but they are not, and never can be, till they forsake sin, and do their duty.




I am not now preaching on the Atonement--my text did not lead me. I am not now preaching on Baptism--my text did not lead me. I am not now preaching about Election--my text did not lead me. I have been preaching about living to the glory of God! And have been urging you, beloved, to live to the glory of God. Will you do it? Perhaps I ought to say I shall, in all probability, see the faces of many of you no more until we meet in judgment. I shall make no appeal to your feelings in respect of meeting me there; but I would remind you that both you and I will soon have to meet God! Let us study to approve ourselves to Him, let men say what they will. Amen.



SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 35 - Extent of Atonement. paragraph 99 For whose benefit the atonement was intended . . Objections answered . . Remarks on the atonement




GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 12 - On the Atonement paragraph 0



GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 12 - On the Atonement paragraph 1




CHARLES G. FINNEY TESTIMONIAL OF REVIVALS, CHAPTER IV. - HIS DOCTRINAL EDUCATION AND OTHER EXPERIENCES AT ADAMS. paragraph 3 Discussion on the atonement - Revival revived - Further discussion - Encouragement from Elder H. - Lectures on Universalism - Licensed by presbytery - Father Nash - Review of Mr. Gale's theology.

SOON after I was converted I called on my pastor, and had a long conversation with him on the atonement. He was a Princeton student, and of course held the limited view of the atonement--that it was made for the elect and available to none else. Our conversation lasted nearly half a day. He held that Jesus suffered for the elect the literal penalty of the divine law; that He suffered just what was due to each of the elect on the score of retributive justice. I objected that this was absurd; as in that case He suffered the equivalent of endless misery multiplied by the whole number of the elect. He insisted that this was true. He affirmed that Jesus literally paid the debt of the elect, and fully satisfied retributive justice. On the contrary it seemed to me that Jesus only satisfied public justice, and that that was all that the government of God could require.



CHARLES G. FINNEY TESTIMONIAL OF REVIVALS, CHAPTER IV. - HIS DOCTRINAL EDUCATION AND OTHER EXPERIENCES AT ADAMS. paragraph 34 Discussion on the atonement - Revival revived - Further discussion - Encouragement from Elder H. - Lectures on Universalism - Licensed by presbytery - Father Nash - Review of Mr. Gale's theology.

I then appointed to lecture on the Universalist's argument founded on the Gospel. I delivered two lectures upon the atonement. In these I think I fully succeeded in showing that the atonement did not consist in the literal payment of the debt of sinners, in the sense which the Universalist maintained; that it simply rendered the salvation of all men possible, and did not of itself lay God under obligation to save anybody; that it was not true that Christ suffered just what those for whom He died deserved to suffer; that no such thing as that was taught in the Bible, and no such thing was true; that, on the contrary, Christ died simply to remove an insurmountable obstacle out of the way of God's forgiving sinners, so as to render it possible for Him to proclaim a universal amnesty, inviting all men to repent, to believe in Christ, and to accept salvation; that instead of having satisfied retributive justice, and borne just what sinners deserve, Christ had only satisfied public justice, by honoring the law, both in His obedience and death, thus rendering it safe for God to pardon sin, to pardon the sins of any man and of all men who would repent and believe in Him. I maintained that Christ, in His atonement, merely did that which was necessary as a condition of the forgiveness of sin; and not that which canceled sin, in the sense of literally paying the indebtedness of sinners.



CHARLES G. FINNEY TESTIMONIAL OF REVIVALS, CHAPTER X. - REVIVAL AT GOUVERNEUR. paragraph 25 Ride in the rain - Discussion with Dr. S. - Opposition of young men - Father Nash's announcement - Conversion of Mr. S. - Opposition of Baptists - Discussion of Baptism - Aunt Lucy's relief - Conversion of Mr. M.

When I came to dwell upon the atonement, and showed that it was made for all men, dwelt upon its nature, its design, its extent, and the freeness of salvation through Christ, I saw his feelings rise, till at last he put both hands over his face, threw his head forward upon his knees, and trembled all over with emotion. I saw that the blood rushed to his head, and that the tears began to flow freely. I rose quickly and left the room without saying another word. I saw that an arrow had transfixed him, and I expected him to be converted immediately. It turned out that he was converted before he left the room.



CHARLES G. FINNEY TESTIMONIAL OF REVIVALS, CHAPTER XVIII. - REVIVALS AT WILLWINGTON AND PHILADELPHIA. paragraph 22 Mr. Gilbert - New School preaching and its effect - Beginning in Philadelphia - Theology at Philadelphia - Hopkinsianism - Conversion of a desperate man - Of a despairing young woman - Fondness for dress - Interest among the lumbermen - Mr. Patterson.

Mr. Patterson was himself, I believe, greatly surprised that I met no open opposition from the ministers or churches, on account of my theological views. Indeed, I did not present them at all in a controversial way; but simply employed them in my instructions to saints; and sinners, in a way so natural as not, perhaps, to excite very much attention, except with discriminating theologians. But many things that I said were new to the people. For example, one night I preached on this text: "There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." This was a sermon on the atonement, in which I took the view that I have always held, of its nature and of its universality; and stated, as strongly as I could, those points of difference between my own views and those that were held by limited atonement theologians. This sermon attracted so much attention, and excited so much interest, that I was urged to preach on the same subject in other churches. The more I preached upon it, the more desirous people were to hear; and the excitement became so general, that I preached on that subject seven different evenings in succession, in as many different churches.