HOME PAGE --

Search for REAL RELIGION


REVIVAL LECTURES - LECTURE XX. - INSTRUCTIONS TO CONVERTS (continued). paragraph 9 Other points on which young converts ought to be instructed - How young converts should be treated by the Church - Some of the evils resulting from defective instruction in the first stages of Christian experience.

1. It is of great importance that young converts should early be made to understand what religion consists in. Perhaps you will be surprised at my mentioning this. "What! Are they converts, and do not know what religion consists in?" I answer: "They would know, if they had had no instruction but such as was drawn from the Bible." But multitudes of people have imbibed such notions about religion, that not only young converts, but a great part of the Church members do not know what religion consists in, so as to have a clear and distinct idea of it. There are many ministers who do not. I do not mean to say that they have no religion, for it may be charitably believed they have; but what I mean is, that they cannot give 79 a correct statement of what does, and what does not, constitute real religion.

 

 


TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS 1837, LECTURE IV - Religion of the Law and Gospel paragraph 40

     Now, beloved, I have as particularly as I could in the time, pointed out to you the distinction between the religion of the law and the religion of the gospel. And now, what religion have you? True religion is always the same, and consists in disinterested love to God and man. Have you that kind of religion? Or have you the kind that consists, not in disinterested love, but in the pursuit of happiness as the great end. Which have you? The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace.---There is no condemnation of such religion. But if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of His.---Now, don't make a mistake here, and suffer yourselves to go down to hell with a lie in your right hand, because you have the religion of the law. The Jews failed here, while the Gentiles attained true holiness by the gospel. O, how many are deceived, and are acting under legal considerations, while they know nothing of the real religion of the gospel!

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 317 292 Lecture V. The Law of God 1 ...

And here is one grand mistake of the Church. They have supposed that the revival consists mostly in this state of excited emotion, rather than in conformity of the human will to the will of God. --Hence, when the reasons for much excitement have ceased, and the public mind begins to grow more calm, they begin immediately to say, that the revival is on the decline; when, in fact, with much less excited emotion, there may be vastly more real religion in the community.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 393 342 Lecture VI. The Law of God 2 ...

5. That the government of God is very little understood in this world. And human law, instead of the law of God, has come to be very generally regarded as the rule of right. This has blinded the world, and the Church, in regard to what real religion is. So that much passes current, among men, for true religion, that is, after all, an entire violation of the law of God. Multitudes in the Christian Church, are regarded as pious men, who are daily transacting business upon principles of entire selfishness.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1839 paragraph 618 577 Lecture IX. Dominion Over Sin ...

2. Want of attention to this truth, has suffered a great many unconverted persons to enter the Church. In some respects, a reformation has been apparent. In such cases, without sufficient discrimination, hope has been indulged by the individual himself, and encouraged by members of the Church--and he has been admitted to the communion, to the great disgrace of religion. It does not appear to me, to have been sufficiently understood, that grace not only ought, but actually does, in every case where piety is real, so overcome sin as to leave no form of it habitual. It has indeed been a common maxim, that where sin is habitual, there is no real religion. But this has manifestly not been adopted in practice; for great multitudes have been admitted, and are still permitted to continue as members, in good standing in Christian Churches, who habitually indulge in many forms of sin. I think the gospel demands, that no professed convert should be thus encouraged to hope, or suffered to become a member of the Church, whose reformation of life and habits is not universal.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1840 paragraph 70 21 Lectures I. - IX. Sanctification- No.'s 1 - 9 ...

6. It does not imply that any organ or faculty is to be at all times exerted to its full strength. This would soon exhaust and destroy any and every organ of the body. Whatever may be true of the mind, when separated from the body, it is certain, while it acts through a material organ, that a constant state of excitement is impossible. When the mind is strongly excited, there is of necessity a great determination of blood to the brain. A high degree of excitement cannot long continue, certainly, without producing inflammation of the brain, and consequent insanity. And the law of God does not require any degree of emotion, or mental excitement, that is inconsistent with life and health. Our Lord Jesus Christ does not appear to have been in a state of continual excitement. When he and his disciples had been in a great excitement for a time, they would turn aside "and rest awhile."

Who, that has ever philosophized on this subject, does not know that the high degree of excitement which is sometimes witnessed in revivals of religion, must necessarily be short, or that the people must become deranged. It seems sometimes to be indispensable, that a high degree of excitement should prevail for a time, to arrest public and individual attention, and to draw people off from other pursuits, to attend to the concerns of their souls. But if any suppose that this high degree of excitement is either necessary, or desirable, or possible, to be long continued, they have not well considered the matter. And here is one grand mistake of the Church. They have supposed that the revival consists mostly in this state of excited emotion, rather than in conformity of the human will to the will of God. Hence, when the reasons for much excitement have ceased, and the public mind begins to grow more calm, they begin immediately to say that the revival is on the decline; when, in fact, with much less excited emotion, there may be vastly more real religion in the community.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 58 16 Lectures XXV. & XXVI. Submission to God- No.'s 1 & 2 ...

8. Many deceive themselves, by ascribing to benevolence or true religion what is in fact the result of other and radically different principals of action. Some ascribe to true benevolence, that which is the result merely of constitutional temperament. Others ascribe that to benevolence, which is the result of the influence of public sentiment, a regard to their own reputation, which should have been done or omitted from pure benevolence alone. And without questioning themselves in respect to what the motive is, under whose influence they are acting, they take it for granted that it is real religion; because outwardly it is in conformity with the principal of benevolence. Or, they ascribe to benevolence and true religion in the heart, those duties that are performed under the influence of hope and fear, or merely legal considerations. In short, they deceive themselves; because they are too careless, or too uncandid to thoroughly discriminate between those things that are the undoubted and conscious results of benevolence, and those things that result from other and opposite principles.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1841 paragraph 139 79 Lecture XXVII. Love Worketh No Ill ...

12. You can see how real religion makes its possessor happy. There is a sweetness and a divine relish in the exercise of benevolence itself, and in addition to this the emotions of the mind will, ordinarily, be in accordance with the state of the will or heart. And thus true religion necessarily results in the happiness of its possessor.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1842 paragraph 146 115 Lecture II. Danger of Delusion ...

By this, as I have already intimated, I do not mean, that persons may not be religious, and yet in theory make a mistake in regard to what constitutes real religion. But I do mean,

1. That unintelligent action has no moral character.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1845 paragraph 873 815 Lecture XVII. Victory over the World through Faith ...

But the infidel is in fault in his premises. He assumes the current Christianity of the age as a specimen of real religion, and builds his estimate upon this. He proves, as he thinks, and perhaps truly proves that the current Christianity does not overcome the world.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1845 paragraph 874 815 Lecture XVII. Victory over the World through Faith ...

We must demur to his assuming this current Christianity as real religion. For this religion of the mass of nominal professors does not answer the descriptions given of true piety in the Word of God. And moreover, if this current type of religion were all that the gospel and the Divine Spirit can do for lost man, then we might as well give up the point in controversy with the infidel; for such a religion could not give us much evidence of coming from God, and would be of very little value to man;--so little as scarcely to be worth contending for. Truly if we must take the professedly Christian world as Bible Christians, who would not be ashamed and confounded in attempting to confront the infidel? We know but too well that the great mass of professed Christians do not overcome the world, and we should be confounded quickly if we were to maintain that they do. Those professed Christians themselves know that they do not overcome the world. Of course they could not testify concerning themselves that in their own case the power of the gospel is exemplified.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1848 paragraph 22 13 Lecture I. Refuges of Lies ...

This also is a selfish religion, but of a different form from the preceding, and it manifests itself in a different way. The man of this kind of religion is governed by his sensibility, or in other words, by his feelings, and not by the law of God as revealed to his intelligence. He thinks himself very religious because he has so much feeling. He supposes himself to be very sincere, for he is conscious of having much feeling and many strong desires, and of being exercised by these feelings and desires. And as he assumes this to be religion, he infers that he has real religion, and has it in an unusual degree.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1848 paragraph 392 354 Lecture VI. Pride of Heart Deceives ...

In the second place, this practice of making some other professor of religion your model, is delusive and untrustworthy, because what may be admissible for him, may be utterly wrong for you. He may have so much less light than you that God may wink at his ignorance, but condemn you for sinning against actual knowledge of your duty. A few days since I said to a young man who was about leaving this place--"You will find different habits abroad from what you have been accustomed to here. You will doubtless find many Christian people using tea, coffee, tobacco and perhaps wine; and if you allow yourself to argue that you may rightly use these articles because other Christians do, you will be grievously ensnared, and may ruin your soul. They may have so little light on the subject that possibly it may not be wrong for them to use these articles; but you know better than to use them, and you can not hope that God will excuse your sin in the case on the ground that you had not light enough to create moral obligation. And surely it were of no avail for you to flatter yourself that with all the light you have, you can be allowed to do wrong because others do the same things under circumstances which make their sin much less than yours, or even as the case may be, which remove all guilt from their conduct."

6. Some persons deceive themselves by mistaking the excitement and play upon their sensibilities for real religion. Some persons, for example, are so constituted physiologically, that under the stimulus of ardent spirits they become exceedingly pious, and can sing and talk religiously, so that you might be tempted to think them the greatest saints.

In my early life I boarded with a family in which the father would sometimes come home at night half drunk, and then be so good-natured, and read his Bible, and weep and pray, as full of religious feeling apparently as any man could be. I looked on and marveled; but I could not be long in solving the mystery. But suppose I had argued from this that it is good for a man to get half drunk, because it makes him so beautifully pious. Suppose I were to argue in maintaining it that I had seen its fruits with my own eyes. Fortunately the common sense of mankind has taught them that the spirit from above and the spirit from below are not at all akin to each other. Yet one might just as well plead for an alcohol religion--one which manifests itself in soft and tender developments of the sensibility--as for any other type of mere sentimentalism--as for any religion which lives only in an excited sensibility. Good music may sometimes answer the same purposes of excitement as alcohol, and may be equally deceptive. If it acts only upon the sensibility, leaving the heart untouched, its results can be in the end no more converting, and are no better proof of real piety than the similar results of ardent spirits.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1848 paragraph 401 354 Lecture VI. Pride of Heart Deceives ...

How is it with you in this respect? Do your spirit and life bear witness that you have this faith in Jesus Christ, and this indwelling Spirit of Christ in your soul?

12. Many confound resolutions to do what they think right, with real religion. Now it should be considered that mere resolutions are purely legal, and differ fundamentally from the religion of love. Suppose, for illustration, that the wife should say, "I must do just right towards my husband--precisely right in everything;"--and she screws herself up by dint of resolutions to do every thing that is right--and this is all. Would you suppose this to be love--the whole of the love which befits the relation of a wife to her husband?

I saw a lady in Boston who manifested the greatest anxiety lest some word or thought should be wrong. Indeed she seemed to be in agony lest she should infringe upon some principles of duty towards God or man. I noticed her great legality. I said to her, "Sister, I see you seem to be in great distress lest you should not please your Savior--you seem to be in agony about it all the time; now tell me--Have you the same sort of distress and agony lest you should not please your husband?" "O no," said she. "Why not?" "Because," said she, "It is natural for me to please my husband, and I know that I do. I love to please him and it does not seem to cost me any effort." "Why then," said I, "should it not be so towards Christ? Why not make His service a sweet labor of love? Why act as if nothing but the pricks of conscience can keep you in the path of obedience? Why not yield up your soul to all the impulses of pure love, and let it reign, strong, sweet, attractive, all-controlling? This would make your religious duties a paradise."

13. Many have made up their minds to serve God, as they suppose, and this is the form of their religion and the whole of it. Now it is plain that if they have not formed the right conception of what this service is, it may be the case and probably is, that they have no religion at all.

Let us illustrate this in reference to one vital point. Suppose a wife should make up her mind to serve her husband. By this she understands that she shall do all the things externally which he requires. She is going to be his real servant and evermore do all his bidding. But unfortunately in her estimate of duties, the element of love has entirely dropped out, and she takes no notice of this whatever. She means to be faithful in all her domestic duties--she will keep his house and his clothes in first rate order and will leave no external duty neglected--but all may be as heartless as if it were done by a steam engine. Now although such duty, so performed, might be endurable in an employed domestic, yet who could endure it in a wife? What husband would not say--"You are the chosen companion of my life--the chosen object of my love, and when I vowed my conjugal affections to you, I flattered myself the vow was really reciprocated. I do not want your tasks--I want your heart."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 309 281 Lecture VI. Jesus, A Savior from Sinning ...

7. Many think their sins are forgiven, and seem to satisfy themselves with the hope that they are justified before God. They know they live in sin, but they strangely imbibe the impression that they are accepted of God, are His real children, and have a well-founded hope of eternal life. Of this class, one thing must be certain; they have not one particle of religion. If they can content themselves and bless their souls that they are justified, and then live along without a devoted life and without a penitent, grateful heart, drawn to God evermore by a sense of His pardoning grace, they have not the first particle of real religion. For how can this state of mind consist with real love to God? How can there be real love to God in the soul, which yet shall not "constrain" the soul to love God and do His will?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 456 442 Lecture X. The Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of True Christianity ...

3. The end must be chosen for its own sake. This must be a condition of our receiving joy in any object; that we choose it for what it is in itself. It must be a good object; an object the attainment of which is naturally adapted to give us joy. Then let it be sought earnestly and sincerely, and its pursuit will not disappoint us. The Bible represents Christ as having set His heart on this great end of securing the good of others.

IV. Nothing short of this state of mind, possessed and manifested by Jesus Christ, is real Christianity.

1. Nothing else than this is the spirit of Jesus Christ; and we have the highest authority for saying that "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His," and can not have any real religion. If we would understand what Christianity is, we must understand what Christ is. It is plain that we can never understand Christianity only as we understand Jesus Christ. He is the great and perfect embodiment of real Christianity. Hence to know Christianity we must know Christ--must know His ends and His means for attaining those ends. Now it is certain, as we have seen, that His end was the highest good of being. Hence nothing else than this can be Christianity.

Again, nothing short of this is intrinsically right. Nothing short and nothing else can satisfy the demands of the intelligence. We know it to be essentially and necessarily right that all beings--even the Deity Himself, should devote themselves to this end. We know that we, and that all our race ought to consecrate ourselves to this end sincerely and supremely. Hence nothing less, and nothing else than this can be real Christianity.

2. Nothing short of this can prepare us for heaven. How could we receive joy in the employments of heaven unless we are prepared for it by sympathy with their great ends and objects? Who does not know that there must be interest felt in an end before its attainment can give us joy? How then could even heaven be agreeable to us only as our hearts are set upon those objects, the attainment of which makes heaven blissful to its inhabitants?

The Spirit of Christ will naturally manifest itself in all men as it did in Christ Himself. Why should it not? Why should not the same Spirit manifest Itself in the same forms and modes?

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 530 499 Lecture XI. Judicial Blindness ...

Brethren, do you believe with all your heart what you profess to believe? Some say --"I believe the doctrine of sanctification." If you do, you should embrace it with all your hearts. Failing to embrace it heartily, you resist the truth; and then the result will naturally be that God will leave you to darkness, and you will find a short path to error, delusion and damnation. If you will not receive into your heart the truth you know, you cannot rationally hope that you have a particle of real religion. "He that doeth truth cometh to the light" -- for he loves all that is real light, and bids it most welcome to his soul. Do you suppose you can be a Christian and yet refuse to obey known truth? Nay, verily; a disobedient Christian can no more be, than an obedient, dutiful sinner. When you see a truth which you yet refuse to obey, in the very nature of the case you abjure your religion. You are at once on the ground of God's enemies. You are saying to God -- "I am not Thy servant." There can be no greater mistake than to suppose that men can be religious and yet not obey known truth. Nothing is more plainly taught in the Bible than this, that if you "keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, you are guilty of all." You really evince a spirit of disobedience to God and of disregard to His law; and this is just what God regards as sin. It is in the very nature of the case impossible that a man should be allowed to say before God -- "Lord, I will obey this precept, and this; but I will not obey that, and that." There cannot be the least particle of virtue, piety, or obedience in this. So long therefore as there is one promise which you know, but do not embrace, you cannot heartily embrace any. So long as there is one threatening known, but not regarded, you do not really regard any.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 654 636 Lecture XIV. Faith the Work of God ...

4. No obedience whatever to public sentiment is real religion. It is wonderful to see how much that passes for religion is done from regard to public sentiment. In places where the standard of piety as determined by public sentiment is very low, you will scarcely distinguish this class of persons from the most worldly men. But transfer them to other circumstances and relations where public sentiment requires much of them, and you will see their lives greatly modified. They will become very strict in their religious duties, and very careful to meet all the claims which the current public sentiment makes upon them.

It is not strange that in some situations these persons should seem to be very religious. Since I have lived in Oberlin I have conversed with hundreds who have told me how much their religious life had improved since they have been here. But this change may have been simply the result of external circumstances--no principle at bottom controlling their conduct except a regard to public opinion. Such persons are greatly in danger of misjudging their own character, and of becoming very self-complacent in the idea of their making great progress in holiness, while really they ought only to condemn themselves for being under the control of public sentiment rather than of faith working by love.

5. Nothing done in obedience to the commandments of men is doing the work of God. Human laws are well--in civil governments, in the school and in the family; but to suppose that obeying them is doing our whole duty to God is a great mistake. It is a part of our duty to God, no doubt, but it is not the great thing which God requires. And when regard to human authority is the ultimate motive, and we go no farther than this, then plainly we render obedience simply to parents, and not to God--that is, if in this very obedience they have no regard at all to God, they render Him no obedience at all. To do so is not "obeying parents in the Lord."

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1849 paragraph 658 636 Lecture XIV. Faith the Work of God ...

10. Nothing done to obtain comfort is real religion. If they had hope of success, they might toil and labor for this event in hell. The rich man praying for a drop of water to cool his tongue, might as well flatter himself that he is thereby doing the work of God, as they. How vain for persons to suppose that their labors to obtain rest of mind are really the work of God, unless those labors take the direction of faith and love. Intuitively the soul cries out,

"O where shall rest be found,

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1851 paragraph 129 104 Lecture III. Jesus Christ Doing Good ...

1. How very simple and intelligible is the nature of true religion. Every man knows what it is to love to do good to some individual. Every person has some one or more objects of affection. Now suppose that selfishness were all put away--that we were to associate our own happiness most intimately with that of all our race, taking as much interest in each other person's well-being as in our own; could we not then understand this state of mind! This is real religion.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1851 paragraph 130 104 Lecture III. Jesus Christ Doing Good ...

Devotion to other's good is a very simple thing. When our devotion to the production of happiness is not restricted to ourselves, but we labor for other's good, and love to promote the good of others not less than our own, this is an intelligible thing; and this is true benevolence--real religion.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1851 paragraph 138 104 Lecture III. Jesus Christ Doing Good ...

4. It is wonderful to see the astonishing blindness of mind which often exists as to real religion.

 

 


THE OBERLIN EVANGELIST 1854 paragraph 192 172 Lecture V. What Men Highly Esteem, God Abhors ...

(3.) There are still other facts which show that men loosely set up a false standard, which they highly esteem, but which God abhors. For example, they will require true religion only of ministers; but no real religion of any body else. All men agree in requiring that ministers should be really pious. They judge them by the right rule. For example, they require ministers to be benevolent. They must enter upon their profession for the high object of doing good, and not for the mere sake of a living--not for filthy lucre's sake, but for the sake of souls and from disinterested love. Else they will have no confidence in a minister.

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 8 - WHY LONDON IS NOT CONVERTED. paragraph 19

Now, if Christians live without a true idea of what real religion is, what impression can the world get of the religion of Jesus Christ? The impression made upon the world will be, that the religion of Jesus is, in itself, essentially the same as it is manifested by his professed followers. What other idea can the world get? Now, do you suppose that, if Jesus had lived to promote his own personal comfort and to please himself, anybody would have got the impression that he was living for the salvation of men--that his great aim was to bring them to God? Would this have been the impression made upon his immediate disciples, and would the effect of this have been developed in their minds and manifested in their actions. But, the fact is, the great idea that stood boldly and prominently out in the minds of his disciples and apostles was, that he did not live to himself, but solely and entirely for the promotion of the object which he came on earth to accomplish. He laid himself upon the altar most unreservedly, and his immediate disciples did the same, and the spirit of self-sacrifice was communicated to all around them; and the work of conversion went forward gloriously; wave after wave of salvation flowed over every land; and, in consequence, in a comparatively few years, they had accomplished wonderful things; and if they had possessed our facilities--our Printing Press, our Electric Wires, our Steam Power, and a thousand things that we possess--with their faith, with their energy, and with their devotion, they would in a few years have converted the world to God. But the Church has failed to do this; the Church has not even made the people understand what the religion of Christ is. If the apostles had had our facilities, do you suppose that they would have failed to make the people understand in what the religion of their Lord and Master consisted? Do you suppose that they would not have possessed the land long ago? But somehow or the other, the Church has really failed to secure this object. What is the cause of this? Why has the Church failed to accomplish her great and only mission upon earth? Has the promise run out which says, "Lo! I am with you alway even unto the end of the world?" Has the Church lost her hold upon Christ, or has the promise of Christ expired? Brethren, which is it?

 

 


FROM THE PENNY PULPIT, SERMON 30 - REFUGES OF LIES. paragraph 10

But let me say again: others have a mere religion of opinion, which is just the opposite of a religion of impulse. The religion of impulse implies that a man feels strongly, and he acts in accordance with his feelings. But right over against this is the religion of opinion, which is another refuge of lies. These men hold very strongly a set of opinions--right or wrong they hold on to them. These opinions do not mould their lives nevertheless; but they hold the doctrines, the opinions, and make a great deal of them; yet they don't obey the commands involved in them. They live very careless and worldly lives, but no matter how corrupt, they think themselves to be Christians. But their religion is a mere matter of opinion, a mere question of doctrines, a mere holding on to certain dogmas, that do not mould, and fashion, and influence the life: dogmas that lie in their minds, but have never come into sympathy with their hearts; and while this is the case with men, they are only trusting in a refuge of lies: they have no real religion. They make much of their orthodoxy. They cannot bear to hear a word said that does not accord with their particular notions of orthodoxy. They come to meeting, and they hear a sermon, and when it chimes in with their views, they say it is sound doctrine. Now the question is, do these doctrines affect their hearts? If so, it is well; but if it is otherwise, then sound doctrine is only leading them the shortest road to hell. Their orthodoxy is the most direct road to hell, because they are living in the full blaze of light. They will speculate about doctrines, but they make no efforts to pull sinners out of the fire, and to build up the kingdom of Christ. They are selfish, and close fisted; you would think that they were holding their worldly possessions with a death grasp. Now mark, they are very orthodox, and you cannot offend them more than by touching their orthodox, but they are not living for God, and are not laying themselves out for the salvation of men--they live for themselves, and are maintainers of certain opinions; and if the doctrines which are involved in them were taken to the heart and moulded to life, they would stand forth as beautiful specimens of Christianity. But I repeat, much of the religious opinion is only a refuge of lies.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 16 - Moral Government--Continued (Part III) paragraph 39 What constitutes obedience to moral law . . Just rules of legal interpretation . . That actual knowledge is indispensable to moral obligation shown from scripture . . In the light of the above rules, inquire what is not implied in entire obedience to the law of God

     Who that has ever philosophized on this subject, does not know that the high degree of excitement which is sometimes witnessed in revivals of religion, must necessarily be short, or that the people must become deranged? It seems sometimes to be indispensable that a high degree of excitement should prevail for a time, to arrest public and individual attention, and draw off people from other pursuits, to attend to the concerns of their souls. But if any suppose that this high degree of excitement is either necessary or desirable, or possible to be long continued, they have not well considered the matter. And here is one grand mistake of the church. They have supposed that the revival consists mostly in this state of excited emotion, rather than in conformity of the human will to the law of God. Hence, when the reasons for much excitement have ceased, and the public mind begins to grow more calm, they begin immediately to say, that the revival is on the decline; when, in fact, with much less excited emotion, there may be vastly more real religion in the community.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 46 - Regeneration--Continued (Part V) paragraph 58 In what saints and sinners differ . . What is it to overcome the world? . . Who are those that overcome the world? . . Why do believers overcome the world?

     But the infidel is in fault in his premises. He assumes the current Christianity of the age as a specimen of real religion, and builds his estimate upon this. He proves, as he thinks,--and perhaps truly proves--that the current Christianity does not overcome the world.

 

 


SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (1851), LECTURE 46 - Regeneration--Continued (Part V) paragraph 59 In what saints and sinners differ . . What is it to overcome the world? . . Who are those that overcome the world? . . Why do believers overcome the world?

     We must demur to his assuming this current Christianity as real religion. For this religion of the mass of nominal professors does not answer the descriptions given of true piety in the word of God. And, moreover, if this current type of religion were all that the gospel and the Divine Spirit can do for lost man, then we might as well give up the point in controversy with the infidel; for such a religion could not give us much evidence of having come from God, and would be of very little value to man,--so little as scarcely to be worth contending for. Truly, if we must take the professedly Christian world, as Bible Christians, who would not be ashamed and confounded in attempting to confront the infidel? We know but too well, that the great mass of professed Christians do not overcome the world, and we should be confounded quickly if we were to maintain that they do. Those professed Christians themselves know, that they do not overcome the world. Of course they could not testify concerning themselves, that in their own case the power of the gospel is exemplified.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 21 - Men Often Highly Esteem What God Abhors paragraph 19

There are still other facts which show that men loosely set up a false standard, which they highly esteem, but which God abhors. For example, they will require true religion only of ministers; but no real religion of anybody else. All men agree in requiring that ministers should be really pious. They judge them by the right rule. For example, they require ministers to be benevolent. They must enter upon their profession for the high object of doing good, and not for the mere sake of a living -- not for filthy lucre's sake, but for the sake of souls and from disinterested love. Else they will have no confidence in a minister.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 22 - Victory Over the World Through Faith paragraph 67

But the infidel is in fault in his premises. He assumes the current Christianity of the age as a specimen of real religion, and builds his estimate upon this. He proves, as he thinks, and perhaps proves truly, that the current Christianity does not overcome the world.

 

 


GOSPEL THEMES, SERMON 22 - Victory Over the World Through Faith paragraph 68

We must demur to his assuming this current Christianity as real religion. For this religion of the mass of nominal professors does not answer the descriptions given of true piety in the Word of God. And, moreover, if this current type of religion were all that the Gospel and the Divine Spirit can do for lost man, then we might as well give up the point in controversy with the infidel; for such a religion could not give us much evidence of coming from God, and would be of very little value to man; so little as scarcely to be worth contending for. Truly, if we must take the professedly Christian world as Bible Christians, who would not be ashamed and confounded in attempting to confront the infidel? We know but too well that the great mass of professed Christians do not overcome the world, and we should be confounded quickly if we were to maintain that they do. Those professed Christians themselves know that they do not overcome the world. Of course they could not testify concerning themselves that in their own case the power of the Gospel is exemplified.